Yes, I can; and it’s good enough that I will have to make use of it.” With that said, he took a pair of pliers and opened out a box, and after examining it and giving it a slight glance he opened it. There were many small papers. A very small quantity, as well as the papers themselves; but the most of them were worth more than those worth four hundred of the old ones, and the rest were worth nothing.
At once, therefore, he set to work, and with a little effort turned out all the paper I had wanted, and after turning it round he put one of the pieces of paper into a big box, and drew back the door. Then he drew back the door of a small room, and put the lid upon it. It was full of a deep black dust, and the smell of the coal in it seemed so thick with a stench that it made the air thick as wood.
It was a hard wooden door, that seemed as thick as iron. The only thing that would have helped would have been a few strips of leather or canvas or wood, to cover its opening, but in the end he had to do without that. He opened the mouth of the box, and looked down within. It opened out onto a room filled to the brim with coal. In it were two carts on wheels. A small box was at the bottom containing four bundles of cloth and five sacks of coarse coal of every shade of colour that was suitable and suited to the wood, and as he bent over them, he had the impression of a vast, black chest beneath. He looked more closely at each one and each contained its own parcel of coal. A good many of the bundles and sacks were full of rubbish, and he had the unpleasant feeling that some of it was, or was likely one day to be, used as a kind of stock-room. He looked round him, and he could now see that the house was entirely empty, which seemed strange and sad; but he could make no definite remark save that it was empty. With a heavy heart and a deep sigh he drew back the door, took a big lump of coal, and set it down in the centre of the room, and shut it again.
From all round him came the strange sound of hoofs, the sound of hoofs upon the ground, thumping upon the dirt with the speed and power of heavy horses. It was not so much as his eye could
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