Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/111

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Everything was barren, rude, and inhospitable-looking. Some pointed piles of bones lay about, and the projecting roof of the gable had two or three horses' skulls nailed to it, a decoration worthy of the whole.

Judock sat at his door, busied with some old cordage, which he was pulling to pieces. He was a little, thin, shrivelled old man, with a large bald head. The prevailing hue of his face was almost brick-colored, but in the countless wrinkles the skin was lighter; and as these wrinkles widened more or less at every change of feature, or when he spoke, they gave him a strange repulsive appearance, and made a varying and confusing impression upon the beholder. His restless, piercing glance, his beak-like nose, his low forehead, his toothless mouth, his under jaw in constant motion,—all completed a picture which only answered too well to the opinion that I had already formed of him.

As soon as he saw me he started, and furtively watched all my movements with visible unrest and suspicion. But he pretended not to observe me.

"Now then, old sinner," said Guiller to him at last, "canst thou not give God's blessing and the good-day to this gentleman?"

"What is the nobleman seeking for on this coast?" was the ungracious answer, spoken in an undertone.