Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

As they rose from the table, Louise, whose face had been growing grimmer and grimmer with suppressed disapproval as she came and went from the kitchen serving dinner, addressed Madame:
"The kitchen, Madame, is full of peasants." Her voice was charged with a Parisian's disgust at these uncivilised Bretons. "And they all say they have found Mademoiselle Sara's watch."
Sara gave a little jump and a squeak of joy; Caroline and Madame looked at each other in consternation.
"I knew that enormous reward would do the trick," said Sara jubilantly, itching to be off to claim her lost property.
"Yes, but what trick?" Caroline asked dolefully.
Madame led them to the kitchen, Louise following in their wake, muttering. Indeed, the big, stone-flagged kitchen, its pots and pans gleaming in the light of the fire, seemed to be full to bursting of dark, smiling faces, but after the first shock Caroline counted six small boys, two young fishermen in their blue jerseys, and one ancient crone who leaned on a stick and who could only have reached Petit Chose at all by a miracle or a lift from M. le Boulanger. They gave Madame a great welcome, and the ubiquitous Josèphe-Marie, in his sabots and black pinafore, who was apparently first in the field, was pushed forward and exhorted to produce his exhibit. Which he did with pride and confidence. There was a deathly silence. It was a watch, all right, there was no mistaking that, but there the resemblance to Sara's ended. Impossible to know from whence Josèphe-Marie had unearthed that venerable turnip, but it had served its day and generation and should have been left to moulder in peace. Its face was begrimed out of all recognition, its case, once perhaps silver, was black where it wasn't green and carried many an honourable scar.
Sara gazed at it with wide eyes and listened spell-bound while Josèphe-Marie described with a wealth of detail just where on the path he had found it. Sara shook her head dumbly, and again more dumbly when he asked in a tone of the greatest surprise if she were quite sure it wasn't her watch. That, and a word from Madame, made Josèphe-Marie retire, obviously astounded at his failure, and one by one the others were produced. Never can there have been such a collection of watches - they were all sizes, in varying stages of decay, two only were wrist-watches, one of them of gunmetal and brand-new, no doubt straight out of M. l'Horloger the watch-maker's; one had an Albert chain attached.
"I'm waiting for the crone to produce an hour-glass," giggled Caroline in Sara's ear. They were all laughing by this time.

From BRETON ADVENTURE, Chapter 9, The Great Watch Racket.