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Although Maitre Hauchecorne is legally cleared of stealing the lost pockebook in "The Piece of String," his troubles don't end there. Because he continues to expound his innocence to anyone who will listen (and to those who don't want to hear it), even stopping strangers to tell them his story, the citizens of the town begin to believe that he "doth protest too much." Had Maitre Hauchecorne allowed the situation to die down on its own, the whole matter may have been forgotten. Calling him a "rogue" and a "scamp," the townspeople begin to believe that Hauchecorne must have had an accomplice--"one who finds it and there's another one who returns it." So, he begins to explain his innocence again, this time in more depth and with new variations of his tale. They called him a "liar," and the old peasant, who had never been particularly truthful but who valued his reputation, "was visibly wasting away." Eventually, the townspeople called him over to retell his story, laughing at his expense as they heard it. Soon, he "took to his bed," and he died a month later, protesting his innocence in his dying words.
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