The grass exhaled an odour of summer; flies buzzed in the air, the sun shon_n the river and warmed the slated roof. Old Mother Simon had returned t_elicite and was peacefully falling asleep.
The ringing of bells woke her; the people were coming out of church.
Felicite's delirium subsided. By thinking of the procession, she was able t_ee it as if she had taken part in it. All the school-children, the singer_nd the firemen walked on the sidewalks, while in the middle of the stree_ame first the custodian of the church with his halberd, then the beadle wit_ large cross, the teacher in charge of the boys and a sister escorting th_ittle girls; three of the smallest ones, with curly heads, threw rose leave_nto the air; the deacon with outstretched arms conducted the music; and tw_ncense-bearers turned with each step they took toward the Holy Sacrament,
which was carried by M. le Cure, attired in his handsome chasuble and walkin_nder a canopy of red velvet supported by four men. A crowd of peopl_ollowed, jammed between the walls of the houses hung with white sheets; a_ast the procession arrived at the foot of the hill.
A cold sweat broke out on Felicite's forehead. Mother Simon wiped it away wit_ cloth, saying inwardly that some day she would have to go through the sam_hing herself.
The murmur of the crowd grew louder, was very distinct for a moment and the_ied away. A volley of musketry shook the window-panes. It was the postilion_aluting the Sacrament. Felicite rolled her eyes, and said as loudly as sh_ould:
"Is he all right?" meaning the parrot.
Her death agony began. A rattle that grew more and more rapid shook her body.
Froth appeared at the corners of her mouth, and her whole frame trembled. In _ittle while could be heard the music of the bass horns, the clear voices o_he children and the men's deeper notes. At intervals all was still, and thei_hoes sounded like a herd of cattle passing over the grass.
The clergy appeared in the yard. Mother Simon climbed on a chair to reach th_ull's-eye, and in this manner could see the altar. It was covered with a lac_loth and draped with green wreaths. In the middle stood a little fram_ontaining relics; at the corners were two little orange-trees, and all alon_he edge were silver candlesticks, porcelain vases containing sun-flowers,
lilies, peonies, and tufts of hydrangeas. This mount of bright colour_escended diagonally from the first floor to the carpet that covered th_idewalk. Rare objects arrested one's eye. A golden sugar-bowl was crowne_ith violets, earrings set with Alencon stones were displayed on green moss,
and two Chinese screens with their bright landscapes were near by. Loulou,
hidden beneath roses, showed nothing but his blue head which looked like _iece of lapis-lazuli.
The singers, the canopy-bearers and the children lined up against the sides o_he yard. Slowly the priest ascended the steps and placed his shining sun o_he lace cloth. Everybody knelt. There was deep silence; and the censer_lipping on their chains were swung high in the air. A blue vapour rose i_elicite's room. She opened her nostrils and inhaled with a mysti_ensuousness; then she closed her lids. Her lips smiled. The beats of he_eart grew fainter and fainter, and vaguer, like a fountain giving out, lik_n echo dying away;—and when she exhaled her last breath, she thought she sa_n the half-opened heavens a gigantic parrot hovering above her head.