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Madame Chrysantheme — Volume 4 by Pierre Loti
page 2 of 43 (04%)
"Neko-San?" ("It is Messieurs the cats?")

"No!" she replies, still terrified, and in an alarmed tone.

"Bakemono-Sama?" ("Is it my lords the ghosts?") I have already the
Japanese habit of expressing myself with excessive politeness.

"No! 'Dorobo'!" ("Thieves!")

Thieves! Ah! this is better; I much prefer this to a visit such as I
have just been dreading in the sudden awakening from sleep: from ghosts
or spirits of the dead; thieves, that is to say, worthy fellows very much
alive, and having, undoubtedly, inasmuch as they are Japanese thieves,
faces of the most meritorious oddity. I am not in the least frightened,
now that I know precisely what to expect, and we will immediately set to
work to ascertain the truth, for something is certainly moving on Madame
Prune's roof; some one is walking upon it.

I open one of our wooden panels and look out.

I can see only a vast expanse, calm, peaceful, and exquisite under the
full brilliance of the moonlight; sleeping Japan, lulled by the sonorous
song of the grasshoppers, is charming indeed to-night, and the free, pure
air is delicious.

Chrysantheme, half hidden behind my shoulder, listens tremblingly,
peering forward to examine the gardens and the roofs with dilated eyes
like a frightened cat. No, nothing! not a thing moves. Here and there
are a few strangely substantial shadows, which at first glance were not
easy to explain, but which turn out to be real shadows, thrown by bits of
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