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    Book The First- Poverty

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    Chapter 2
    Previous Chapter

    Sun and Shadow

    Thirty years ago, Marseilles lay burning in the sun, one day.

    A blazing sun upon a fierce August day was no greater rarity in
    southern France then, than at any other time, before or since.
    Everything in Marseilles, and about Marseilles, had stared at the
    fervid sky, and been stared at in return, until a staring habit had
    become universal there. Strangers were stared out of countenance
    by staring white houses, staring white walls, staring white
    streets, staring tracts of arid road, staring hills from which
    verdure was burnt away. The only things to be seen not fixedly
    staring and glaring were the vines drooping under their load of
    grapes. These did occasionally wink a little, as the hot air
    barely moved their faint leaves.

    There was no wind to make a ripple on the foul water within the
    harbour, or on the beautiful sea without. The line of demarcation
    between the two colours, black and blue, showed the point which the
    pure sea would not pass; but it lay as quiet as the abominable
    pool, with which it never mixed. Boats without awnings were too
    hot to touch; ships blistered at their moorings; the stones of the
    quays had not cooled, night or day, for months. Hindoos, Russians,
    Chinese, Spaniards, Portuguese, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Genoese,
    Neapolitans, Venetians, Greeks, Turks, descendants from all the
    builders of Babel, come to trade at Marseilles, sought the shade
    alike--taking refuge in any hiding-place from a sea too intensely
    blue to be looked at, and a sky of purple, set with one great
    flaming jewel of fire.

    The universal stare made the eyes ache. Towards the distant line
    of Italian coast, indeed, it was a little relieved by light clouds
    of mist, slowly rising from the evaporation of the sea, but it
    softened nowhere else. Far away the staring roads, deep in dust,
    stared from the hill-side, stared from the hollow, stared from the
    interminable plain. Far away the dusty vines overhanging wayside
    cottages, and the monotonous wayside avenues of parched trees
    without shade, drooped beneath the stare of earth and sky. So did
    the horses with drowsy bells, in long files of carts, creeping
    slowly towards the interior; so did their recumbent drivers, when
    they were awake, which rarely happened; so did the exhausted
    labourers in the fields. Everything that lived or grew, was
    oppressed by the glare; except the lizard, passing swiftly over
    rough stone walls, and the cicala, chirping his dry hot chirp, like
    a rattle. The very dust was scorched brown, and something quivered
    in the atmosphere as if the air itself were panting.

    Blinds, shutters, curtains, awnings, were all closed and drawn to
    keep out the stare. Grant it but a chink or keyhole, and it shot
    in like a white-hot arrow. The churches were the freest from it.
    To come out of the twilight of pillars and arches--dreamily dotted
    with winking lamps, dreamily peopled with ugly old shadows piously
    dozing, spitting, and begging--was to plunge into a fiery river,
    and swim for life to the nearest strip of shade. So, with people
    lounging and lying wherever shade was, with but little hum of
    tongues or barking of dogs, with occasional jangling of discordant
    church bells and rattling of vicious drums, Marseilles, a fact to
    be strongly smelt and tasted, lay broiling in the sun one day.
    In Marseilles that day there was a villainous prison. In one of
    its chambers, so repulsive a place that even the obtrusive stare
    blinked at it, and left it to such refuse of reflected light as it
    could find for itself, were two men. Besides the two men, a
    notched and disfigured bench, immovable from the wall, with a
    draught-board rudely hacked upon it with a knife, a set of
    draughts, made of old buttons and soup bones, a set of dominoes,
    two mats, and two or three wine bottles. That was all the chamber
    held, exclusive of rats and other unseen vermin, in addition to the
    seen vermin, the two men.

    It received such light as it got through a grating of iron bars
    fashioned like a pretty large window, by means of which it could be
    always inspected from the gloomy staircase on which the grating
    gave. There was a broad strong ledge of stone to this grating
    the bottom of it was let into the masonry, three or four feet above
    the ground. Upon it, one of the two men lolled, half sitting and
    half lying, with his knees drawn up, and his feet and shoulders
    planted against the opposite sides of the aperture. The bars were
    wide enough apart to admit of his thrusting his arm through to the
    elbow; and so he held on negligently, for his greater ease.

    A prison taint was on everything there. The imprisoned air, the
    imprisoned light, the imprisoned damps, the imprisoned men, were
    all deteriorated by confinement. As the captive men were faded and
    haggard, so the iron was rusty, the stone was slimy, the wood was
    rotten, the air was faint, the light was dim. Like a well, like a
    vault, like a tomb, the prison had no knowledge of the brightness
    outside, and would have kept its polluted atmosphere intact in one
    of the spice islands of the Indian ocean.

    The man who lay on the ledge of the grating was even chilled. He
    jerked his great cloak more heavily upon him by an impatient
    movement of one shoulder, and growled, 'To the devil with this
    Brigand of a Sun that never shines in here!'

    He was waiting to be fed, looking sideways through the bars that he
    might see the further down the stairs, with much of the expression
    of a wild beast in similar expectation. But his eyes, too close
    together, were not so nobly set in his head as those of the king of
    beasts are in his, and they were sharp rather than bright--pointed
    weapons with little surface to betray them. They had no depth or
    change; they glittered, and they opened and shut. So far, and
    waiving their use to himself, a clockmaker could have made a better
    pair. He had a hook nose, handsome after its kind, but too high
    between the eyes by probably just as much as his eyes were too near
    to one another. For the rest, he was large and tall in frame, had
    thin lips, where his thick moustache showed them at all, and a
    quantity of dry hair, of no definable colour, in its shaggy state,
    but shot with red. The hand with which he held the grating (seamed
    all over the back with ugly scratches newly healed), was unusually
    small and plump; would have been unusually white but for the prison
    The other man was lying on the stone floor, covered with a coarse
    brown coat.

    'Get up, pig!' growled the first. 'Don't sleep when I am hungry.'

    'It's all one, master,' said the pig, in a submissive manner, and
    not without cheerfulness; 'I can wake when I will, I can sleep when
    I will. It's all the same.'

    As he said it, he rose, shook himself, scratched himself, tied his
    brown coat loosely round his neck by the sleeves (he had previously
    used it as a coverlet), and sat down upon the pavement yawning,
    with his back against the wall opposite to the grating.

    'Say what the hour is,' grumbled the first man.

    'The mid-day bells will ring--in forty minutes.' When he made the
    little pause, he had looked round the prison-room, as if for
    certain information.

    'You are a clock. How is it that you always know?'

    'How can I say? I always know what the hour is, and where I am.
    I was brought in here at night, and out of a boat, but I know where
    I am. See here! Marseilles harbour;' on his knees on the
    pavement, mapping it all out with a swarthy forefinger; 'Toulon
    (where the galleys are), Spain over there, Algiers over there.
    Creeping away to the left here, Nice. Round by the Cornice to
    Genoa. Genoa Mole and Harbour. Quarantine Ground. City there;
    terrace gardens blushing with the bella donna. Here, Porto Fino.
    Stand out for Leghorn. Out again for Civita Vecchia. so away to--
    hey! there's no room for Naples;' he had got to the wall by this
    time; 'but it's all one; it's in there!'

    He remained on his knees, looking up at his fellow-prisoner with a
    lively look for a prison. A sunburnt, quick, lithe, little man,
    though rather thickset. Earrings in his brown ears, white teeth
    lighting up his grotesque brown face, intensely black hair
    clustering about his brown throat, a ragged red shirt open at his
    brown breast. Loose, seaman-like trousers, decent shoes, a long
    red cap, a red sash round his waist, and a knife in it.

    'Judge if I come back from Naples as I went! See here, my master!
    Civita Vecchia, Leghorn, Porto Fino, Genoa, Cornice, Off Nice
    (which is in there), Marseilles, you and me. The apartment of the
    jailer and his keys is where I put this thumb; and here at my wrist
    they keep the national razor in its case--the guillotine locked

    The other man spat suddenly on the pavement, and gurgled in his

    Some lock below gurgled in its throat immediately afterwards, and
    then a door crashed. Slow steps began ascending the stairs; the
    prattle of a sweet little voice mingled with the noise they made;
    and the prison-keeper appeared carrying his daughter, three or four
    years old, and a basket.

    'How goes the world this forenoon, gentlemen? My little one, you
    see, going round with me to have a peep at her father's birds.
    Fie, then! Look at the birds, my pretty, look at the birds.'

    He looked sharply at the birds himself, as he held the child up at
    the grate, especially at the little bird, whose activity he seemed
    to mistrust. 'I have brought your bread, Signor John Baptist,'
    said he (they all spoke in French, but the little man was an
    Italian); 'and if I might recommend you not to game--'

    'You don't recommend the master!' said John Baptist, showing his
    teeth as he smiled.

    'Oh! but the master wins,' returned the jailer, with a passing
    look of no particular liking at the other man, 'and you lose. It's
    quite another thing. You get husky bread and sour drink by it; and
    he gets sausage of Lyons, veal in savoury jelly, white bread,
    strachino cheese, and good wine by it. Look at the birds, my

    'Poor birds!' said the child.

    The fair little face, touched with divine compassion, as it peeped
    shrinkingly through the grate, was like an angel's in the prison.
    John Baptist rose and moved towards it, as if it had a good
    attraction for him. The other bird remained as before, except for
    an impatient glance at the basket.

    'Stay!' said the jailer, putting his little daughter on the outer
    ledge of the grate, 'she shall feed the birds. This big loaf is
    for Signor John Baptist. We must break it to get it through into
    the cage. So, there's a tame bird to kiss the little hand! This
    sausage in a vine leaf is for Monsieur Rigaud. Again--this veal in
    savoury jelly is for Monsieur Rigaud. Again--these three white
    little loaves are for Monsieur Rigaud. Again, this cheese--again,
    this wine--again, this tobacco--all for Monsieur Rigaud. Lucky

    The child put all these things between the bars into the soft,
    Smooth, well-shaped hand, with evident dread--more than once
    drawing back her own and looking at the man with her fair brow
    roughened into an expression half of fright and half of anger.
    Whereas she had put the lump of coarse bread into the swart,
    scaled, knotted hands of John Baptist (who had scarcely as much
    nail on his eight fingers and two thumbs as would have made out one
    for Monsieur Rigaud), with ready confidence; and, when he kissed
    her hand, had herself passed it caressingly over his face.
    Monsieur Rigaud, indifferent to this distinction, propitiated the
    father by laughing and nodding at the daughter as often as she gave
    him anything; and, so soon as he had all his viands about him in
    convenient nooks of the ledge on which he rested, began to eat with
    an appetite.

    When Monsieur Rigaud laughed, a change took place in his face, that
    was more remarkable than prepossessing. His moustache went up
    under his nose, and his nose came down over his moustache, in a
    very sinister and cruel manner.

    'There!' said the jailer, turning his basket upside down to beat
    the crumbs out, 'I have expended all the money I received; here is
    the note of it, and that's a thing accomplished. Monsieur Rigaud,
    as I expected yesterday, the President will look for the pleasure
    of your society at an hour after mid-day, to-day.'

    'To try me, eh?' said Rigaud, pausing, knife in hand and morsel in

    'You have said it. To try you.'

    'There is no news for me?' asked John Baptist, who had begun,
    contentedly, to munch his bread.

    The jailer shrugged his shoulders.

    'Lady of mine! Am I to lie here all my life, my father?'

    'What do I know!' cried the jailer, turning upon him with southern
    quickness, and gesticulating with both his hands and all his
    fingers, as if he were threatening to tear him to pieces. 'My
    friend, how is it possible for me to tell how long you are to lie
    here? What do I know, John Baptist Cavalletto? Death of my life!
    There are prisoners here sometimes, who are not in such a devil of
    a hurry to be tried.'
    He seemed to glance obliquely at Monsieur Rigaud in this remark;
    but Monsieur Rigaud had already resumed his meal, though not with
    quite so quick an appetite as before.

    'Adieu, my birds!' said the keeper of the prison, taking his pretty
    child in his arms, and dictating the words with a kiss.

    'Adieu, my birds!' the pretty child repeated.

    Her innocent face looked back so brightly over his shoulder, as he
    walked away with her, singing her the song of the child's game:

    'Who passes by this road so late?
    Compagnon de la Majolaine!
    Who passes by this road so late?
    Always gay!'

    that John Baptist felt it a point of honour to reply at the grate,
    and in good time and tune, though a little hoarsely:

    'Of all the king's knights 'tis the flower,
    Compagnon de la Majolaine!
    Of all the king's knights 'tis the flower,
    Always gay!'

    which accompanied them so far down the few steep stairs, that the
    prison-keeper had to stop at last for his little daughter to hear
    the song out, and repeat the Refrain while they were yet in sight.
    Then the child's head disappeared, and the prison-keeper's head
    disappeared, but the little voice prolonged the strain until the
    door clashed.

    Monsieur Rigaud, finding the listening John Baptist in his way
    before the echoes had ceased (even the echoes were the weaker for
    imprisonment, and seemed to lag), reminded him with a push of his
    foot that he had better resume his own darker place. The little
    man sat down again upon the pavement with the negligent ease of one
    who was thoroughly accustomed to pavements; and placing three hunks
    of coarse bread before himself, and falling to upon a fourth, began
    contentedly to work his way through them as if to clear them off
    were a sort of game.

    Perhaps he glanced at the Lyons sausage, and perhaps he glanced at
    the veal in savoury jelly, but they were not there long, to make
    his mouth water; Monsieur Rigaud soon dispatched them, in spite of
    the president and tribunal, and proceeded to suck his fingers as
    clean as he could, and to wipe them on his vine leaves. Then, as
    he paused in his drink to contemplate his fellow-prisoner, his
    moustache went up, and his nose came down.

    'How do you find the bread?'

    'A little dry, but I have my old sauce here,' returned John
    Baptist, holding up his knife.
    'How sauce?'

    'I can cut my bread so--like a melon. Or so--like an omelette. Or
    so--like a fried fish. Or so--like Lyons sausage,' said John
    Baptist, demonstrating the various cuts on the bread he held, and
    soberly chewing what he had in his mouth.

    'Here!' cried Monsieur Rigaud. 'You may drink. You may finish

    It was no great gift, for there was mighty little wine left; but
    Signor Cavalletto, jumping to his feet, received the bottle
    gratefully, turned it upside down at his mouth, and smacked his

    'Put the bottle by with the rest,' said Rigaud.

    The little man obeyed his orders, and stood ready to give him a
    lighted match; for he was now rolling his tobacco into cigarettes
    by the aid of little squares of paper which had been brought in
    with it.

    'Here! You may have one.'

    'A thousand thanks, my master!' John Baptist said in his own
    language, and with the quick conciliatory manner of his own

    Monsieur Rigaud arose, lighted a cigarette, put the rest of his
    stock into a breast-pocket, and stretched himself out at full
    length upon the bench. Cavalletto sat down on the pavement,
    holding one of his ankles in each hand, and smoking peacefully.
    There seemed to be some uncomfortable attraction of Monsieur
    Rigaud's eyes to the immediate neighbourhood of that part of the
    pavement where the thumb had been in the plan. They were so drawn
    in that direction, that the Italian more than once followed them to
    and back from the pavement in some surprise.

    'What an infernal hole this is!' said Monsieur Rigaud, breaking a
    long pause. 'Look at the light of day. Day? the light of
    yesterday week, the light of six months ago, the light of six years
    ago. So slack and dead!'

    It came languishing down a square funnel that blinded a window in
    the staircase wall, through which the sky was never seen--nor
    anything else.

    'Cavalletto,' said Monsieur Rigaud, suddenly withdrawing his gaze
    from this funnel to which they had both involuntarily turned their
    eyes, 'you know me for a gentleman?'

    'Surely, surely!'

    'How long have we been here?'
    'I, eleven weeks, to-morrow night at midnight. You, nine weeks and
    three days, at five this afternoon.'

    'Have I ever done anything here? Ever touched the broom, or spread
    the mats, or rolled them up, or found the draughts, or collected
    the dominoes, or put my hand to any kind of work?'


    'Have you ever thought of looking to me to do any kind of work?'

    John Baptist answered with that peculiar back-handed shake of the
    right forefinger which is the most expressive negative in the
    Italian language.

    'No! You knew from the first moment when you saw me here, that I
    was a gentleman?'

    'ALTRO!' returned John Baptist, closing his eyes and giving his
    head a most vehement toss. The word being, according to its
    Genoese emphasis, a confirmation, a contradiction, an assertion, a
    denial, a taunt, a compliment, a joke, and fifty other things,
    became in the present instance, with a significance beyond all
    power of written expression, our familiar English 'I believe you!'

    'Haha! You are right! A gentleman I am! And a gentleman I'll
    live, and a gentleman I'll die! It's my intent to be a gentleman.
    It's my game. Death of my soul, I play it out wherever I go!'

    He changed his posture to a sitting one, crying with a triumphant

    'Here I am! See me! Shaken out of destiny's dice-box into the
    company of a mere smuggler;--shut up with a poor little contraband
    trader, whose papers are wrong, and whom the police lay hold of
    besides, for placing his boat (as a means of getting beyond the
    frontier) at the disposition of other little people whose papers
    are wrong; and he instinctively recognises my position, even by
    this light and in this place. It's well done! By Heaven! I win,
    however the game goes.'

    Again his moustache went up, and his nose came down.

    'What's the hour now?' he asked, with a dry hot pallor upon him,
    rather difficult of association with merriment.

    'A little half-hour after mid-day.'

    'Good! The President will have a gentleman before him soon. Come!

    Shall I tell you on what accusation? It must be now, or never, for
    I shall not return here. Either I shall go free, or I shall go to
    be made ready for shaving. You know where they keep the razor.'

    Signor Cavalletto took his cigarette from between his parted lips,
    and showed more momentary discomfiture than might have been

    'I am a'--Monsieur Rigaud stood up to say it--'I am a cosmopolitan
    gentleman. I own no particular country. My father was Swiss--
    Canton de Vaud. My mother was French by blood, English by birth.
    I myself was born in Belgium. I am a citizen of the world.'

    His theatrical air, as he stood with one arm on his hip within the
    folds of his cloak, together with his manner of disregarding his
    companion and addressing the opposite wall instead, seemed to
    intimate that he was rehearsing for the President, whose
    examination he was shortly to undergo, rather than troubling
    himself merely to enlighten so small a person as John Baptist

    'Call me five-and-thirty years of age. I have seen the world. I
    have lived here, and lived there, and lived like a gentleman
    everywhere. I have been treated and respected as a gentleman
    universally. If you try to prejudice me by making out that I have
    lived by my wits--how do your lawyers live--your politicians--your
    intriguers--your men of the Exchange?'

    He kept his small smooth hand in constant requisition, as if it
    were a witness to his gentility that had often done him good
    service before.

    'Two years ago I came to Marseilles. I admit that I was poor; I
    had been ill. When your lawyers, your politicians, your
    intriguers, your men of the Exchange fall ill, and have not scraped
    money together, they become poor. I put up at the Cross of Gold,--
    kept then by Monsieur Henri Barronneau--sixty-five at least, and in
    a failing state of health. I had lived in the house some four
    months when Monsieur Henri Barronneau had the misfortune to die;--
    at any rate, not a rare misfortune, that. It happens without any
    aid of mine, pretty often.'

    John Baptist having smoked his cigarette down to his fingers' ends,
    Monsieur Rigaud had the magnanimity to throw him another. He
    lighted the second at the ashes of the first, and smoked on,
    looking sideways at his companion, who, preoccupied with his own
    case, hardly looked at him.

    'Monsieur Barronneau left a widow. She was two-and-twenty. She
    had gained a reputation for beauty, and (which is often another
    thing) was beautiful. I continued to live at the Cross of Gold.
    I married Madame Barronneau. It is not for me to say whether there
    was any great disparity in such a match. Here I stand, with the
    contamination of a jail upon me; but it is possible that you may
    think me better suited to her than her former husband was.'

    He had a certain air of being a handsome man--which he was not; and
    a certain air of being a well-bred man--which he was not. It was
    mere swagger and challenge; but in this particular, as in many
    others, blustering assertion goes for proof, half over the world.

    'Be it as it may, Madame Barronneau approved of me. That is not to
    prejudice me, I hope?'

    His eye happening to light upon John Baptist with this inquiry,
    that little man briskly shook his head in the negative, and
    repeated in an argumentative tone under his breath, altro, altro,
    altro, altro--an infinite number of times.

    ' Now came the difficulties of our position. I am proud. I say
    nothing in defence of pride, but I am proud. It is also my
    character to govern. I can't submit; I must govern.
    Unfortunately, the property of Madame Rigaud was settled upon
    herself. Such was the insane act of her late husband. More
    unfortunately still, she had relations. When a wife's relations
    interpose against a husband who is a gentleman, who is proud, and
    who must govern, the consequences are inimical to peace. There was
    yet another source of difference between us. Madame Rigaud was
    unfortunately a little vulgar. I sought to improve her manners and
    ameliorate her general tone; she (supported in this likewise by her
    relations) resented my endeavours. Quarrels began to arise between
    us; and, propagated and exaggerated by the slanders of the
    relations of Madame Rigaud, to become notorious to the neighbours.
    It has been said that I treated Madame Rigaud with cruelty. I may
    have been seen to slap her face--nothing more. I have a light
    hand; and if I have been seen apparently to correct Madame Rigaud
    in that manner, I have done it almost playfully.'

    If the playfulness of Monsieur Rigaud were at all expressed by his
    smile at this point, the relations of Madame Rigaud might have said
    that they would have much preferred his correcting that unfortunate
    woman seriously.

    'I am sensitive and brave. I do not advance it as a merit to be
    sensitive and brave, but it is my character. If the male relations
    of Madame Rigaud had put themselves forward openly, I should have
    known how to deal with them. They knew that, and their
    machinations were conducted in secret; consequently, Madame Rigaud
    and I were brought into frequent and unfortunate collision. Even
    when I wanted any little sum of money for my personal expenses, I
    could not obtain it without collision--and I, too, a man whose
    character it is to govern! One night, Madame Rigaud and myself
    were walking amicably--I may say like lovers--on a height
    overhanging the sea. An evil star occasioned Madame Rigaud to
    advert to her relations; I reasoned with her on that subject, and
    remonstrated on the want of duty and devotion manifested in her
    allowing herself to be influenced by their jealous animosity
    towards her husband. Madame Rigaud retorted; I retorted; Madame
    Rigaud grew warm; I grew warm, and provoked her. I admit it.
    Frankness is a part of my character. At length, Madame Rigaud, in
    an access of fury that I must ever deplore, threw herself upon me
    with screams of passion (no doubt those that were overheard at some
    distance), tore my clothes, tore my hair, lacerated my hands,
    trampled and trod the dust, and finally leaped over, dashing
    herself to death upon the rocks below. Such is the train of
    incidents which malice has perverted into my endeavouring to force
    from Madame Rigaud a relinquishment of her rights; and, on her
    persistence in a refusal to make the concession I required,
    struggling with her--assassinating her!'

    He stepped aside to the ledge where the vine leaves yet lay strewn
    about, collected two or three, and stood wiping his hands upon
    them, with his back to the light.

    'Well,' he demanded after a silence, 'have you nothing to say to
    all that?'

    'It's ugly,' returned the little man, who had risen, and was
    brightening his knife upon his shoe, as he leaned an arm against
    the wall.

    'What do you mean?'
    John Baptist polished his knife in silence.

    'Do you mean that I have not represented the case correctly?'

    'Al-tro!' returned John Baptist. The word was an apology now, and
    stood for 'Oh, by no means!'

    'What then?'

    'Presidents and tribunals are so prejudiced.'

    'Well,' cried the other, uneasily flinging the end of his cloak
    over his shoulder with an oath, 'let them do their worst!'

    'Truly I think they will,' murmured John Baptist to himself, as he
    bent his head to put his knife in his sash.

    Nothing more was said on either side, though they both began
    walking to and fro, and necessarily crossed at every turn.
    Monsieur Rigaud sometimes stopped, as if he were going to put his
    case in a new light, or make some irate remonstrance; but Signor
    Cavalletto continuing to go slowly to and fro at a grotesque kind
    of jog-trot pace with his eyes turned downward, nothing came of
    these inclinings.

    By-and-by the noise of the key in the lock arrested them both. The
    sound of voices succeeded, and the tread of feet. The door
    clashed, the voices and the feet came on, and the prison-keeper
    slowly ascended the stairs, followed by a guard of soldiers.

    'Now, Monsieur Rigaud,' said he, pausing for a moment at the grate,
    with his keys in his hands, 'have the goodness to come out.'

    'I am to depart in state, I see?'
    'Why, unless you did,' returned the jailer, 'you might depart in so
    many pieces that it would be difficult to get you together again.
    There's a crowd, Monsieur Rigaud, and it doesn't love you.'

    He passed on out of sight, and unlocked and unbarred a low door in
    the corner of the chamber. 'Now,' said he, as he opened it and
    appeared within, 'come out.'

    There is no sort of whiteness in all the hues under the sun at all
    like the whiteness of Monsieur Rigaud's face as it was then.
    Neither is there any expression of the human countenance at all
    like that expression in every little line of which the frightened
    heart is seen to beat. Both are conventionally compared with
    death; but the difference is the whole deep gulf between the
    struggle done, and the fight at its most desperate extremity.

    He lighted another of his paper cigars at his companion's; put it
    tightly between his teeth; covered his head with a soft slouched
    hat; threw the end of his cloak over his shoulder again; and walked
    out into the side gallery on which the door opened, without taking
    any further notice of Signor Cavalletto. As to that little man
    himself, his whole attention had become absorbed in getting near
    the door and looking out at it. Precisely as a beast might
    approach the opened gate of his den and eye the freedom beyond, he
    passed those few moments in watching and peering, until the door
    was closed upon him.

    There was an officer in command of the soldiers; a stout,
    serviceable, profoundly calm man, with his drawn sword in his hand,
    smoking a cigar. He very briefly directed the placing of Monsieur
    Rigaud in the midst of the party, put himself with consummate
    indifference at their head, gave the word 'march!' and so they all
    went jingling down the staircase. The door clashed--the key
    turned--and a ray of unusual light, and a breath of unusual air,
    seemed to have passed through the jail, vanishing in a tiny wreath
    of smoke from the cigar.

    Still, in his captivity, like a lower animal--like some impatient
    ape, or roused bear of the smaller species--the prisoner, now left
    solitary, had jumped upon the ledge, to lose no glimpse of this
    departure. As he yet stood clasping the grate with both hands, an
    uproar broke upon his hearing; yells, shrieks, oaths, threats,
    execrations, all comprehended in it, though (as in a storm) nothing
    but a raging swell of sound distinctly heard.

    Excited into a still greater resemblance to a caged wild animal by
    his anxiety to know more, the prisoner leaped nimbly down, ran
    round the chamber, leaped nimbly up again, clasped the grate and
    tried to shake it, leaped down and ran, leaped up and listened, and
    never rested until the noise, becoming more and more distant, had
    died away. How many better prisoners have worn their noble hearts
    out so; no man thinking of it; not even the beloved of their souls
    realising it; great kings and governors, who had made them captive,
    careering in the sunlight jauntily, and men cheering them on. Even
    the said great personages dying in bed, making exemplary ends and
    sounding speeches; and polite history, more servile than their
    instruments, embalming them!

    At last, John Baptist, now able to choose his own spot within the
    compass of those walls for the exercise of his faculty of going to
    sleep when he would, lay down upon the bench, with his face turned
    over on his crossed arms, and slumbered. In his submission, in his
    lightness, in his good humour, in his short-lived passion, in his
    easy contentment with hard bread and hard stones, in his ready
    sleep, in his fits and starts, altogether a true son of the land
    that gave him birth.

    The wide stare stared itself out for one while; the Sun went down
    in a red, green, golden glory; the stars came out in the heavens,
    and the fire-flies mimicked them in the lower air, as men may
    feebly imitate the goodness of a better order of beings; the long
    dusty roads and the interminable plains were in repose--and so deep
    a hush was on the sea, that it scarcely whispered of the time when
    it shall give up its dead.
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