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    Chapter 23

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    Chapter 23
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    Évariste Gamelin was worn out and could not rest; twenty times in the night he would awake with a start from a sleep haunted by nightmares. It was only in the blue chamber, in Élodie's arms, that he could snatch a few hours' slumber. He talked and cried out in his sleep and used often to awake her; but she could make nothing of what he said.

    One morning, after a night when he had seen the Eumenides, he started awake, broken with terror and weak as a child. The dawn was piercing the window curtains with its wan arrows. Évariste's hair, lying tangled on his brow, covered his eyes with a black veil; Élodie, by the bedside, was gently parting the wild locks. She was looking at him now, with a sister's tenderness, while with her handkerchief she wiped away the icy sweat from the unhappy man's forehead. Then he remembered that fine scene in the Orestes of Euripides, which he had essayed to represent in a picture that, if he could have finished it, would have been his masterpiece--the scene where the unhappy Electra wipes away the spume that sullies her brother's lips. And he seemed to hear Élodie also saying in a gentle voice:

    "Hear me, beloved brother, while the Furies leave you master of your reason ..."

    And he thought:

    "And yet I am no parricide. Far from it, it is filial piety has made me shed the tainted blood of the enemies of my fatherland."
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