Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French III).djvu/80

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lating like flame: look at those grooves contrived for the blood to run along, those teeth set backward so as to tear out the entrails in withdrawing the weapon,—it is a fine character of ferocious arm, and will look well in your collection: this two-handed sword is very beautiful,—it is the work of Josepe de la Hera; and this colichemarde, with its fenestrated guard,—what a superb specimen of handicraft!"

"No; I have quite enough weapons and instruments of carnage;—I want a small figure, something which will suit me as a paper-weight, for I cannot endure those trumpery bronzes which the stationers sell, and which may be found on everybody's desk."

The old gnome foraged among his ancient wares, and finally arranged before me some antique bronzes,—so-called, at least; fragments of malachite; little Hindoo or Chinese idols,—a kind of poussah toys in jade-stone, representing the incarnations of Brahma or Vishnoo, and wonderfully appropriate to the very undivine office of holding papers and letters in place.

I was hesitating between a porcelain dragon, all constellated with warts,—its mouth formidable with bristling tusks and ranges of teeth,—and an abominable little Mexican fetish, representing the god Vitziliputzili au naturel, when I caught sight of a charming foot, which I at first took for a fragment of some antique Venus.