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Chapter 5

  • 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.