a light breeze

August 04 [Thu], 2016, 18:36
The body was stripped of its garments, carried to the brook, and bathed. Vasile’s features were changed but little; his mouth, half-open, still bore the silly smile of the drunkard; his open eyes preserved a stupid look. His limbs had not lost their suppleness; the rigor mortis does not come, for a long time, to those who die by accident.

The King’s coffee-bearer and pipe-bearer proceeded to dress the dead. The King bore the expenses as heir. Vasile had no relatives, and all his property reverted to the King. They clothed the body in a fine shirt, a shirt of beautiful percale, and a vest embroidered with silver. They covered his wet locks with a bonnet which was nearly new. They put leggins of red silk on the legs which would never run again. Slippers of Russia leather were slipped on his feet. In all his life, poor Vasile had never been so clean nor so gorgeous.

They touched his lips with carmine; they whitened and rouged his face as if he was a young actor about to step on the stage. During the whole operation, the bandit orchestra executed a lugubrious air, which you must have heard in the streets of Athens. I congratulate myself that I did not die in Greece, because the music is abominable, and I never could have consoled myself, if I had been buried to that air I was convinced that he was hungry, that if I could find enough to surfeit him..

Four brigands began to dig a grave in the middle of the chamber, upon the place where Mrs. Simons’ tent stood, and on the spot where Mary-Ann had slept. Two others ran to the store-house to find wax-tapers, which they distributed. I was given one with all the others. The monk intoned the service for the dead. Hadgi-Stavros made the responses in firm tones which went to the depths of my soul. There was , and the wax from my taper fell upon my hand in a burning shower; but that, alas! was a small thing in comparison with what awaited me. I would have willingly endured that trouble, if the ceremony could never have been finished.
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