a book of narratives

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: I. THE PIECE OF STRING1 Guy De Maupassant It was market-day, and over all the roads round Goderville the peasants and their wives were coming towards the town. The men walked easily, lurching the whole body forward at every step. Their long legs were twisted and deformed by the slow, painful labors of the country:—by bending over to plough, which is what also makes their left shoulders too high and their figures crooked; and by reaping corn, which obliges them for steadiness' sake to spread their knees too wide. Their starched blue blouses, shining as though varnished, ornamented at collar and cuffs with little patterns of white stitch-work, and blown up big around their bony bodies, seemed exactly like balloons about to soar, but putting forth a head, two arms, and two feet. Some of these fellows dragged a cow or a calf at the end of a rope. And just behind the animal, beating it over the back with a leaf-covered branch to hasten its pace, went their wives, carrying large baskets from which came forth the heads of chickens or the heads of ducks. These women walked with steps far shorter and quicker than the men; their figures, withered and upright, were adorned with scanty little shawls pinned over their flat bosoms; and they enveloped their heads each in a white cloth, close fastened round the hair and surmounted by a cap. Now a char-a-banc passed by, drawn by a jerky-paced nag. It shook up strangely the two men on the seat. And the womanat the bottom of the cart held fast to its sides to lessen the hard joltings. 1 Reprinted from The Odd Number with the kind permission of Harper and Brothers. This story is discussed at length in the Introduction, pages 4-5, 7-8. In the market-place at Goderville was a great crowd, a mingled multitude of men and beasts. The horns...
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