The man accosted her. He spoke in a voice that was grave and almost bass.
"My child, what you are carrying is very heavy for you."
Cosette raised her head and replied:--
"Give it to me," said the man; "I will carry it for you."
Cosette let go of the bucket-handle. The man walked along beside her.
"It really is very heavy," he muttered between his teeth. Then he added:--
"How old are you, little one?"
"And have you come from far like this?"
"From the spring in the forest."
"Are you going far?"
"A good quarter of an hour's walk from here."
The man said nothing for a moment; then he remarked abruptly:--
"So you have no mother."
"I don't know," answered the child.
(3 years and 25 days ago)