BLUE BEARD 293
After several goings backwards and forwards she was forced to bring him the key. Blue Beard, having very attentively considered it, said to his wife,
' How comes this blood upon the key ? '
' I do not know,' cried the poor woman, paler than death.
' You do not know!' replied Blue Beard. ' I very well know. You were resolved to go into the closet, were you not ? Mighty well, madam ; you shall go in, and take your place among the ladies you saw there.'
Upon this she threw herself at her husband's feet, and begged his pardon with all the signs of a true repentance, vowing that she would never more be disobedient. She would have melted a rock, so beautiful and sorrowful was she ; but Blue Beard had a heart harder than any rock !
' You must die, madam,' said he, ' and that presently.'
' Since I must die,' answered she (looking upon him with her eyes all bathed in tears), ' give me some little time to say my prayers.'
' I give you,' replied Blue Beard,' half a quarter of an hour, but not one moment more.'
When she was alone she called out to her sister, and said to her:
' Sister Anne ' (for that was her name),' go up, I beg you, upon the top of the tower, and look if my brothers are not coming; they promised me that they would come to-day, and if you see them, give them a sign to make haste.'
Her sister Anne went up upon the top of the tower, and the poor afflicted wife cried out from time to time:
4 Anne, sister Anne, do you see anyone coming? '
And sister Anne said :
' I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which looks green.'
In the meanwhile Blue Beard, holding a great sabre in his hand, cried out as loud as he could bawl to his wife :
' Come down instantly, or I shall come up to you.'
'One moment longer, if you please,' said his wife; and then she cried out very softly, ' Anne, sister Anne, dost thou see anybody coming ? '
And sister Anne answered:
' I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which is green.'