`With your gracious permission, that was the wonder of it, Monseigneur. His head hanging over--like this!'
He turned himself sideways to the carriage, and leaned back, with his face thrown up to the sky, and his head hanging down; then recovered himself, fumbled with his cap, and made a bow.
`Monseigneur, he was whiter than the miller. All covered with dust, white as a spectre, tall as a spectre!'
The picture produced an immense sensation in the little crowd; but all eyes, without comparing notes with other eyes, looked at Monsieur the Marquis. Perhaps, to observe whether he had any spectre on his conscience.
`Truly, you did well,' said the Marquis, felicitously sensible that such vermin were not to ruffle him, `to see a thief accompanying my carriage, and not open that great mouth of yours. Bah! Put him aside, Monsieur Gabelle!'
Monsieur Gabelle was the Postmaster, and some other taxing functionary united; he had come out with great obsequiousness to assist at this examination, and had held the examined by the drapery of his arm in an official manner.
`Bah! Go aside!' said Monsieur Gabelle.
`Lay hands on this stranger if he seeks to lodge in your village to-night, and be sure that his business is honest, Gabelle.'