From Flemish School, Old Paris, & Nights & Its Spells...
Dear Lord, grant me at the hour of my
death the last rights, a linen shroud,
a fir coffin and a dry place for my grave.
Paternosters of a General
Scarbo muttered much into my ear that night: Whether you die absolved or damned, youll have a cobweb for a shroud. And, dont worry, Ill wind the spider in it with you.
By the time I answered him my eyes were red from having cried so much. Oh, may I at least have an aspen leaf for a shroud so I can be lulled by lake breezes?
No! the snickering dwarf jeered. Youre going to be fodder for dung-beetles hunting down gnats blinded by the setting sun.
How about, I asked him with my cheeks still streaming with tears, how about if I were sucked up by a tarantula with an elephant-size trunk? Would you like that better?
Thatd be good, he added. But console yourself with the fact that youll have a snakeskin with its thin, gold-flecked bands for a shroud. Ill wrap you in it tighter than a mummy.
And in Saint-Bénignes filthy crypt Ill lay you to rest propped up against a wall. There youll hear at your leisure small babies crying in Limbo.