The Golden Rose: Literature in the Making

The Golden Rose: Literature in the Making

The Golden Rose: Literature in the Making

The Golden Rose: Literature in the Making

Excerpt

I cannot remember how I came to hear the story of Jean Chamette, the Paris dustman who earned his living by sweeping the shops of the artisans of his quarter.

Chamette lived in a shanty on the outskirts of the city. To describe his neighbourhood at length would lead the reader away from the main trend of the story. I would point out, however, that to this day the outskirts of Paris are surrounded by fortifications which, at the time this story unfolds, teemed with birds and were covered with honeysuckle and hawthorn. Chamette's shanty lay at the foot of a northern rampart, in a row with the shacks of tinkers, cobblers, garbage pickers and beggars.

If Maupassant had shown an interest in the inhabitants of these shacks I am sure he would have written many more splendid stories. Perhaps he would have added more laurels to his immortal crown. But outsiders rarely peered into these places--that is, except detectives, and these only when in search of stolen goods.

His neighbours nicknamed Chamette Woodpecker, from which it may be supposed that he was a lean, hatchet-

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