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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesLes Miserables - Volume III - BOOK EIGHTH - THE WICKED POOR MAN - Chapter XVIII. Marius' Two Chairs form a Vis-a-Vis
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Les Miserables - Volume III - BOOK EIGHTH - THE WICKED POOR MAN - Chapter XVIII. Marius' Two Chairs form a Vis-a-Vis Post by :checkmate Category :Long Stories Author :Victor Hugo Date :March 2011 Read :780

Click below to download : Les Miserables - Volume III - BOOK EIGHTH - THE WICKED POOR MAN - Chapter XVIII. Marius' Two Chairs form a Vis-a-Vis (Format : PDF)

Les Miserables - Volume III - BOOK EIGHTH - THE WICKED POOR MAN - Chapter XVIII. Marius' Two Chairs form a Vis-a-Vis

Suddenly, the distant and melancholy vibration of a clock shook
the panes. Six o'clock was striking from Saint-Medard.

Jondrette marked off each stroke with a toss of his head.
When the sixth had struck, he snuffed the candle with his fingers.

Then he began to pace up and down the room, listened at the corridor,
walked on again, then listened once more.

"Provided only that he comes!" he muttered, then he returned
to his chair.

He had hardly reseated himself when the door opened.

Mother Jondrette had opened it, and now remained in the corridor
making a horrible, amiable grimace, which one of the holes
of the dark-lantern illuminated from below.

"Enter, sir," she said.

"Enter, my benefactor," repeated Jondrette, rising hastily.

M. Leblanc made his appearance.

He wore an air of serenity which rendered him singularly venerable.

He laid four louis on the table.

"Monsieur Fabantou," said he, "this is for your rent and your most
pressing necessities. We will attend to the rest hereafter."

"May God requite it to you, my generous benefactor!" said Jondrette.

And rapidly approaching his wife:--

"Dismiss the carriage!"

She slipped out while her husband was lavishing salutes and offering
M. Leblanc a chair. An instant later she returned and whispered
in his ear:--

"'Tis done."

The snow, which had not ceased falling since the morning,
was so deep that the arrival of the fiacre had not been audible,
and they did not now hear its departure.

Meanwhile, M. Leblanc had seated himself.

Jondrette had taken possession of the other chair, facing M. Leblanc.

Now, in order to form an idea of the scene which is to follow,
let the reader picture to himself in his own mind, a cold night,
the solitudes of the Salpetriere covered with snow and white as
winding-sheets in the moonlight, the taper-like lights of the street
lanterns which shone redly here and there along those tragic boulevards,
and the long rows of black elms, not a passer-by for perhaps
a quarter of a league around, the Gorbeau hovel, at its highest
pitch of silence, of horror, and of darkness; in that building,
in the midst of those solitudes, in the midst of that darkness,
the vast Jondrette garret lighted by a single candle, and in that den
two men seated at a table, M. Leblanc tranquil, Jondrette smiling
and alarming, the Jondrette woman, the female wolf, in one corner,
and, behind the partition, Marius, invisible, erect, not losing
a word, not missing a single movement, his eye on the watch,
and pistol in hand.

However, Marius experienced only an emotion of horror, but no fear.
He clasped the stock of the pistol firmly and felt reassured.
"I shall be able to stop that wretch whenever I please,"
he thought.

He felt that the police were there somewhere in ambuscade,
waiting for the signal agreed upon and ready to stretch out their arm.

Moreover, he was in hopes, that this violent encounter between
Jondrette and M. Leblanc would cast some light on all the things
which he was interested in learning.

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Les Miserables - Volume III - BOOK EIGHTH - THE WICKED POOR MAN - Chapter XIX. Occupying One's Self with Obscure Depths
Hardly was M. Leblanc seated, when he turned his eyes towardsthe pallets, which were empty."How is the poor little wounded girl?" he inquired."Bad," replied Jondrette with a heart-broken and grateful smile,"very bad, my worthy sir. Her elder sister has taken her to theBourbe to have her hurt dressed. You will see them presently;they will be back immediately.""Madame Fabantou seems to me to be better," went on M. Leblanc,casting his eyes on the eccentric costume of the Jondrette woman,as she stood between him and the door, as though already guardingthe exit, and gazed at him in an attitude of menace
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Marius decided that the moment had now arrived when he must resumehis post at his observatory. In a twinkling, and with the agilityof his age, he had reached the hole in the partition.He looked.The interior of the Jondrette apartment presented a curious aspect,and Marius found an explanation of the singular light which hehad noticed. A candle was burning in a candlestick coveredwith verdigris, but that was not what really lighted the chamber. The hovel was completely illuminated, as it were, by the reflectionfrom a rather large sheet-iron brazier standing in the fireplace,and filled with burning charcoal, the brazier prepared
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