a marriage under the terror

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III SHUT OUT BY A PRISON WALL THE fiacre drew up at the gate of La Force. M. le Vicomte de Selincourt got down, bowed politely, and assisted Madame de Montargis to alight. He then gave his hand to her cousin, and the little party entered the prison. Mme la Marquise walked delicately, with an exaggeration of that graceful, mincing step which was considered so elegant by her admirers. She fanned herself, and raised a scented pomander ball to her nostrils. "Fi done! What an air!" she observed with petulant disgust. Renard of the dramatic soul shrugged his shoulders. It was vexing not to be ready with a biting repartee, but he was consoled by the conviction that a gesture from him was worth more than many words from some lesser soul. His colleague Lenoir—a rough, coarse- faced hulk—scowled fiercely, and growled out: "Eh, Mme l'Aristocrate, it has been a good enough air for many a poor devil of a patriot, as the citizen gaoler here can tell you, and turn and turn about's fair play.'? And with that he spat contemptuously in Madame's path, and scowled again as she lifted her dainty petticoats a trifle higher but crossed the inner threshold without so much as a glance in his direction. Bault, the head gaoler of La Force, motioned theprisoners into a dull room, used at this time as an office, but devoted at a later date to a more sinister purpose, for it was here in days to come—days whose shadow already rested palpably upon the thick air—that the hair of the condemned was cut, and their arms pinioned for the last fatal journey which ended in the embraces of Mme Guillotine. Bault opened the great register with a clap of the leaves that betokened impatience. He was a nervous man, and the times frightened him; he slept ill at nights, and was irritable enough by d...
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