“To begin with, we couldn’t see very clearly… I thought for a moment he was dead…“
My husband wanted to call some of our neighbours to help lift him on to a bed… But Jean understood… he started squeezing my hand… squeezing it so hard!… It was as if he was hanging on to it like grim death…“
And I could see him sniffing…
“I understood… Because in the eight years he’s been with us, you know… He can’t talk… but I think he can hear what I’m saying… Am I right, Jean?… Are you in pain?”
It was difficult to know whether the injured man’s eyes were shining with intelligence or fever.
The woman brushed away a piece of straw which was touching his ear.“
Me, you know, my life’s my little household, my brasses, my bits and pieces of furniture… I do believe that if somebody gave me a palace, I’d be downright unhappy…“
For Jean, it’s his stable… and his horses… How can I explain?… There are naturally days when we don’t move because we’re unloading… Jean has got nothing to do… he could go to the pub…
"But no! He lies down here… He leaves an opening for a ray of sunlight to come in…”
And Maigret imagined himself where the carter was, seeing the partition coated with resin on his right, with the whip hanging on a twisted nail, the tin cup hooked on to another, a patch of sky between the boards above, and on the right the horses’ muscular croppers.
The whole scene gave off an animal warmth, a sensation of full-blooded life which took one by the throat like the harsh wine of certain hill-sides.