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48 W hen I waked I was alone. At first nothing was clear to me; my brain was dancing in my head, my sight was obscured, my body painful, my senses were blunted. I was in darkness, yet through an open door there showed a light, which, from the smell and flickering, I knew to be a torch. This, creeping into my senses, helped me to remember that the last thing I saw in the Intendant’s courtyard was a burning torch, which suddenly multiplied to dancing hundreds and then went out. I now stretched forth a hand, and it touched a stone wall; I moved, and felt straw under me. Then I fixed my eyes steadily on the open door and the shaking light, and presently it all came to me: the events of the night, and that I was now in a cell of the citadel. Stirring, I found that the wound in my body had been bound and cared for. A loosely tied scarf round my arm showed that some one had lately left me, and would return to finish the bandaging. I raised myself with difficulty, and saw a basin of water, a sponge, bits of cloth, and a pocket-knife. Stupid and dazed though I was, the instinct of self-preservation lived, and I picked up the knife and hid it in my coat. I did it, I believe, mechanically, for a hundred things were going through my mind at the time. All at once there rushed in on me the thought of Juste Duvarney The Rat in the Trap Chapter IV 49 as I saw him last—how long ago was it?—his white face turned to the sky, his arms stretched out, his body dabbled in blood. I groaned aloud. Fool, fool! to be trapped by these lying French! To be tricked into playing their shameless games for them, to have a broken body, to have killed the brother of the mistress of my heart, and so cut myself off from her and ruined my life for nothing—for worse than nothing! I had swaggered, boasted, had taken a challenge for a bout and a quarrel like any hanger-on of a tavern. Suddenly I heard footsteps and voices outside, then one voice, louder than the other, saying, “He hasn’t stirred a peg—lies like a log!” It was Gabord. Doltaire’s voice replied, “You will not need a surgeon—no?” His tone, as it seemed to me, was less careless than usual. Gabord answered, “I know the trick of it all—what can a surgeon do? This brandy will fetch him to his intellects. And by-and-bye crack’ll go his spine—aho!” You have heard a lion growling on a bone. That is how Gabord’s voice sounded to me then—a brutal rawness; but it came to my mind also that this was the man who had brought Voban to do me service! “Come, come, Gabord, crack your jaws less, and see you fetch him on his feet again,” said Doltaire. “From the seats of the mighty they have said that he must live—to die another day; and see to it, or the mighty folk will say that you must die to live another day—in a better world, my Gabord.” There was a moment in which the only sound was that of tearing linen, and I could see the shadows of the two upon the stone wall of the corridor wavering to the light of the torch; then the shadows shifted entirely, and their footsteps came on towards my door. I was lying on my back as when I came to, and, therefore, probably as Gabord had left me, and I determined to appear still in a faint. Through nearly closed eyelids however I saw Gabord enter. Doltaire stood in the doorway watching as the soldier knelt and lifted my arm to take off the bloody 50 scarf. His manner was imperturbable as ever. Even then I wondered what his thoughts were, what pungent phrase he was suiting to the time and to me. I do not know to this day which more interested him— that very pungency of phrase, or the critical events which inspired his reflections. He had no sense of responsibility; but his mind loved talent, skill, and cleverness, and though it was scathing of all usual ethics , for the crude, honest life of the poor it had sympathy. I remember remarks of...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781771120456
Related ISBN
9781771120449
MARC Record
OCLC
966771243
Pages
408
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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