Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French II).djvu/113

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why should not your dear little son do the same?"

"Only hear him, the young imp!" exclaimed the old man, half angrily and half piteously. "He himself confesses that he has slipped in here to rob his poor old father!"

"Eh, father dear!" continued the youth in the same mocking tone; "so there is then something to rob you of, and people are not so far wrong—eh?"

That last sentence was too much for the old man. He seized an iron implement which lay at hand, and rushed upon Bauzec; but with a laugh he slipped away from him, and out at the door, with cat-like agility. The old man followed, but he very soon returned out of breath, apparently without having effected anything. He spent himself in asseverations respecting his poverty, his age, and his wretchedness; the untruth, and indeed impossibility, of any reports to the contrary; the bad-heartedness and ingratitude of the "vermin," as he called his well-educated son.

The miller put an end to the repulsive garrulity of the old man—whose mind was actually weakened by the alarm given to his covetousness—by reminding him of the payment due, and of the glass of brandy that was to accompany it. But he could only bring him to the point by the positive threat of no longer grinding for him.

At last the boat of old Salaun touched the