Nouvelles histoires extraordinaires

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 133

noirs et
d'escarpins qui ressemblaient à des moitiés de souliers, avec d'énormes
bouffettes de ruban de satin noir pour cordons. Sous l'un de ses bras,
il portait un vaste claque, et sous l'autre, un violon presque cinq fois
gros comme lui. Dans sa main gauche était une tabatière en or, où il
puisait incessamment du tabac de l'air le plus glorieux du monde,
pendant qu'il cabriolait en descendant la colline, et dessinait toutes
sortes de pas fantastiques. Bonté divine!--c'était là un spectacle pour
les honnêtes bourgeois de Vondervotteimittiss!

Pour parler nettement, le gredin avait, en dépit de son ricanement, un
audacieux et sinistre caractère dans la physionomie; et, pendant qu'il
galopait tout droit vers le village, l'aspect bizarrement tronqué de ses
escarpins suffit pour éveiller maints soupçons; et plus d'un bourgeois
qui le contempla ce jour-là aurait donné quelque chose pour jeter un
coup d'oeil sous le mouchoir de batiste blanche qui pendait d'une façon
si irritante de la poche de son habit à queue d'hirondelle. Mais ce qui
occasionna principalement une juste indignation fut que ce misérable
freluquet, tout en brodant tantôt un fandango, tantôt une pirouette,
n'était nullement _réglé_ dans sa danse, et ne possédait pas la plus
vague notion de ce qu'on appelle aller en mesure[7].

Cependant, le bon peuple du bourg n'avait pas encore eu le temps
d'ouvrir ses yeux tout grands, quand, juste une demi-minute avant midi,
le gueux s'élança, comme je vous le dis, droit au milieu de ces braves
gens, fit ici un chassé, là un balancé; puis, après une pirouette et un
pas de zéphyr, partit comme à pigeon-vole vers le beffroi de la Maison
de Ville, où le gardien de l'horloge stupéfait fumait dans une attitude
de dignité et d'effroi. Mais le petit garnement l'empoigna tout d'abord
par le nez, le lui secoua et le lui tira, lui flanqua son gros claque
sur la tête, le lui enfonça par-dessus les yeux et la bouche; puis,
levant son gros violon le battit avec, si longtemps et si vigoureusement
que,--vu que le gardien était si ballonné, et le violon si vaste et si
creux,--vous auriez juré que tout un régiment de grosses caisses battait
le rantamplan du diable dans le beffroi de clocher de
Vondervotteimittiss.

On ne sait pas à quel acte désespéré de vengeance cette attaque
révoltante aurait pu pousser les habitants, n'était ce fait
très-important qu'il manquait une demi-seconde pour qu'il fût midi. La
cloche allait sonner, et c'était une affaire d'absolue et supérieure
nécessité que chacun eût l'oeil à sa montre. Il était évident toutefois
que, juste en ce moment, le gaillard fourré dans le clocher en avait à
la

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