Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/209

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177
MISANTHROPY PLATS ITS PRANKS.

"Be quiet there!" said the head.

The mouth was silent. The head began again:—

"Is anybody there?"

"Yes," the child answered.

"Who is it?"

"Me."

"You? Who are you? Where did you come from?"

"I am tired," said the child.

"What time is it?"

"I am cold."

"What are you doing here?"

"I am hungry."

"Every one cannot be as happy as a lord," the head replied. "Go away."

The head was withdrawn and the window closed.

The boy folded the sleeping infant closer in his arms, and summoned up all his strength to resume his journey; he had already taken a few steps, and was hurrying away. But as the window of the wagon closed, the door opened; a step was let down, and the voice which had spoken to the boy cried out angrily from the interior of the van,—

"Well! why don't you come in?"

The boy turned back.

"Come in," resumed the voice. "Who ever heard of a fellow like this,—a fellow who is hungry and cold, and yet who does not come in?"

The boy, at once repulsed and invited, stood motionless.

"You are told to come in, you young rascal," the voice continued.

The boy made up his mind, and placed one foot on the lowest step. There was a loud growl from under the van. The boy drew back; the gaping jaws had reappeared.