MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 153
' Oh no, surely not!'
' Anyhow, he'll never be good for anything again.' And he laid him on the ground at my feet.
' Pritchard, my poor Pritchard ! ' I cried.
At the sound of my voice, Pritchard opened his yellow eye and looked sorrowfully at me, then stretched out his four legs, gave one sigh, and died. Catinat had bitten his throat quite through, so that his death was almost immediate.
' Well, Michel,' said I, ' it is not a good servant, it is a good friend that we have lost. You must wash him carefully — you shall have a towel to wrap him in — you shall dig his grave in the garden and we will have a tombstone made for him on which shall be engraved this epitaph:
' Like conquering Rantzau, of courage undaunted, Pritchard, to thee Mars honour has granted, On each field of fight of a limb he bereft thee, Till nought but thy gallant heart scatheless was left thee.'
As my habit was, I sought consolation for my grief in literary labours. Michel endeavoured to assuage his with the help of two bottles of red wine, with which, mingled with his tears, he watered the grave of the departed. I know this because when I came out early next morning to see if my wishes with regard to Pritchard's burial had been carried out, I found Michel stretched upon the ground, still in tears, and the two bottles empty by his side.