A superstitious fear had associated itself with the idea of Antoine in the minds of the other villagers. The Kaudrens' cottage was more and more avoided, and the fishing business was injured, for people chose rather to buy their fish of those of whom no evil things were hinted. The Pierrés themselves were infected with this feeling, and Marie's father would go partner with Jean no longer.
He would lounge in the doorway of the café, watching for him, and sing a mocking song as he passed down the road. He would mimic his sayings among the other lads, who were not, however, very ready to join in deriding him. And once he contrived to poison the Kaudrens' bait, just when weather and season were at their best for fishing, so that Antoine brought not a single fish home.