Thursday, June 14, 2012


This is what he did: he unfolded the sack he was carrying, opened
its mouth wide, and seizing the youth by his head, pushed his whole body in
the rough sacking envelope. With his handkerchief, he tied up the end that
had served as way of introduction. As Mervyn was uttering loud and piercing
cries, he picked up the sack like a bag of linen and smashed it repeatedly
against the parapet of the bridge. Then the victim, aware that his bones were
breaking, became silent. A unique scene no novelist will ever find again! A
butcher was passing, sitting on the meat in his cart. An individual runs up to
him, urging him to stop, and says: “There’s a dog in this sack; it has rabies:
Put it down as quickly as you can.” The butcher is happy to oblige. As the
individual walks away, he sees a young girl in rags holding out her hand.
What heights of audacity and impiety can he reach? He gives her alms! Tell
me if you want me to escort you through the door of a distant
slaughterhouse, a few hours later. The butcher has returned and as he
throws his burden onto the ground, he has said to his friends: “Let’s hurry up
and kill this rabid dog.” There are four of them, and each picks up the
hammer he normally uses. And yet they are hesitant because the sack is
moving violently. “What’s this emotion that grips me?” one of them shouted,
slowly lowering his arm. “This dog is whimpering with pain like a child,” said
another, “you’d think it knows the fate that awaits it.” “They usually do,” said
the third, “even when they are not sick, as in this case; their master only has
to stay away from home for a few days and they start howling in a way that’s
horrible to hear.” “Stop!… stop!…” the fourth shouted, before all their arms
were raised in unison to resolutely strike the sack. “Stop, I tell you, there’s a
fact here that has escaped us. Who told you that this cloth sack contains a
dog? I want to make sure.” Then, despite the taunts of his companions, he
untied the bundle, and pulled out one after the other the limbs of Mervyn! He
was almost suffocated by the discomfort of this position. He fainted when he
saw the light again. After a few moments he gave undoubted signs of life. His
rescuer said: “In future, learn to use caution in all of your dealings. You
almost found out for yourself that it is pointless practising non-observance of
this law.” The butchers fled. Mervyn, heavy-hearted and full of grim
forebodings, returns home and locks himself in his room.