Honore de Balzac: The Country Doctor

5. CHAPTER V: ELEGIES (continued)

"That is the cemetery," the cure told him. "He is the first to be buried in it. Only three months before he was brought here, it struck him that it was a very bad arrangement to have the churchyard round the church; so, in order to carry out the law, which prescribes that burial grounds should be removed a stated distance from human dwellings, he himself gave this piece of land to the commune. We are burying a child, poor little thing, in the new cemetery to-day, so we shall have begun by laying innocence and virtue there. Can it be that death is after all a reward? Did God mean it as a lesson for us when He took these two perfect natures to Himself? When we have been tried and disciplined in youth by pain, in later life by mental suffering, are we so much nearer to Him? Look! there is the rustic monument which has been erected to his memory."

Genestas saw a mound of earth about twenty feet high. It was bare as yet, but dwellers in the district were already busily covering the sloping sides with green turf. La Fosseuse, her face buried in her hands, was sobbing bitterly; she was sitting on the pile of stones in which they had planted a great wooden cross, made from the trunk of a pine-tree, from which the bark had not been removed. The officer read the inscription; the letters were large, and had been deeply cut in the wood.

D. O. M.





"Was it you, sir," asked Genestas, "who----?"

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