The Farm—The Castle—The Forge
They began to kick and prance and the grooms could scarcely hold them. Some of them indeed escaped and fled in terror to the woods.
"It is the bear! It is the bear!" cried the grooms. "It has terrified the horses. Drive it off! Chase it away! We cannot control our horses."
"Off with you!" cried the superintendent.
Ourson was stupefied by his misfortunes and was immovable.
"Ha! you will not go," vociferated the man. "Wait a few moments, you hairy beast. I will give you something to run for. Halloa, men! bring out the dogs, and set them upon this animal. Hurry!—see him scampering off!"
In fact Ourson, more dead than alive at this cruel treatment, precipitately withdrew from the presence of these wicked and inhuman men. This second attempt had failed utterly but he would not allow himself to be discouraged.
"It is still three or four hours before sunset so I have time to continue my search for work."
He directed his steps towards a forge which was some distance from Woodland Farm. The master of the forge employed a great many workmen. He gave work to those who asked it, not in charity, but in view of his own interest. He was feared but he was not loved. He developed the riches of the country but no one thanked him for it because he alone profited by it. By his avidity and his opulence he ground down the poor workmen who could only find employment with this new Marquis of Carabas.
Poor Ourson arrived at the forge. The master was at the door, scolding some, threatening others and terrifying all.
"Sir," said Ourson, drawing near, "have you any work to give me?"
"Certainly. What kind of work——?"
He raised his head at these words for he had replied without looking at Ourson. When his eye fell upon him he did not finish his phrase; his eyes flashed with rage and he stammered out:—
"What foolery is this? Are we in the midst of the Carnival, that a workman ventures upon such a ridiculous masquerade? Throw off your ugly bear's skin instantly or I will crisp your bristles for you in my fire.