They wound their way between the cabins, which looked like dirt-heaps huddled together without any plan, and surrounded by old palisades; all filthy in the extreme, and redolent of villainous smells. At length they arrived at the council lodge.
Inspired by the success of the little boy, I went out in the afternoon in a pair of thick boots, and with a pair of sharp eyes, to search for treasure! It had been raining hard for several days, and it was a good time for making an inspection of the old washed-out dirt-heaps. After a long search I found only one speck of gold, of the value of about 4d.
The Milesian deposits all garbage and filth before his house door here, as he was accustomed to do at home, and so accumulates the pools and dirt-heaps which disfigure the working-people's quarters and poison the air. He builds a pig-sty against the house wall as he did at home, and if he is prevented from doing this, he lets the pig sleep in the room with himself.
The whole place, with its scattered dirt-heaps and ill-grown shrubs, had a blighted, ill-omened look which harmonized with the black tragedy which hung over it. On reaching the boundary wall Toby ran along, whining eagerly, underneath its shadow, and stopped finally in a corner screened by a young beech.
Hungry and gaunt as she-wolves, but with none of their fierceness, these poor animals seek the city gates, and, molesting nobody, find a foul and precarious subsistence from the Immondezze of the streets; but when their condition and appearance are improved, and they are beginning to think of an establishment, the fatal edict goes forth; nux vomica is triturated with liver, and the treacherous bocconi are strewn upon the dirt-heaps where they resort; the unsuspecting animals greedily devour the only meal provided for them by the State, and in a few hours experience the anguish of the slowly killing poison; an intense thirst urges them to the fountains, but the water only serves to dilute and render it more potent: their bodies swell, they totter, fall, try to recover their feet, but cannot; then piteously howling are carried off in the height of a titanic convulsion.
The carpets which were spread for the Countess have been rolled away, and our three humble friends pick their steps as best they may among the dirt-heaps, occasionally slipping into a puddle I am afraid Avice now and then walks into it deliberately for the fun of the splash! and following the road taken by the Countess as far as the Bull Gate, they then turn to the left, leaving the frowning Castle on their right, and begin to descend the steep slope well named Steephill.
The streets are some four and some five feet across; in threading them you pass under a succession of archways, for every house desiring more space has thrust forth a couple of storeys over the street, sustained by an arch. The exhalations from the dirt-heaps, the foulness of every house, the general condition of tumble-down, compose a something to make a sanitary officer's hair stand on end.