Tearing his hair beneath his cap he cried:
"But don’t I tell you I’m waiting for my money! Here’s a fix! Misère de misère! Bon sang de bon sang!"
By these words, expressive rather of despair than of rebellion, Constable 64 considered he had been insulted. And, because to his mind all insults must necessarily take the consecrated, regular, traditional, liturgical, ritual form so to speak of Mort aux vaches, thus the offender’s words were heard and understood by the constable.
“Ah! You said: Mort aux vaches. Very good. Come along."
Stupefied with amazement and distress, Crainquebille opened his great rheumy eyes and gazed at Constable 64. With a broken voice proceeding now from the top of his head and now from the heels of his boots, he cried, with his arms folded over his blue blouse:
"I said ‘Mort aux vaches’? I? … Oh!"
The tradesmen and errand boys hailed the arrest with laughter. It gratified the taste of all crowds for violent and ignoble spectacles. But
- It is impossible to translate this expression. As explained on p. 21, it means “down with spies," the word spies being used to indicate the police.