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Baron Trigault's Vengeance   By: (1832-1873)

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by Emile Gaboriau

A Sequel to "The Count's Millions"


Vengeance! that is the first, the only thought, when a man finds himself victimized, when his honor and fortune, his present and future, are wrecked by a vile conspiracy! The torment he endures under such circumstances can only be alleviated by the prospect of inflicting them a hundredfold upon his persecutors. And nothing seems impossible at the first moment, when hatred surges in the brain, and the foam of anger rises to the lips; no obstacle seems insurmountable, or, rather, none are perceived. But later, when the faculties have regained their equilibrium, one can measure the distance which separates the dream from reality, the project from execution. And on setting to work, how many discouragements arise! The fever of revolt passes by, and the victim wavers. He still breathes bitter vengeance, but he does not act. He despairs, and asks himself what would be the good of it? And in this way the success of villainy is once more assured.

Similar despondency attacked Pascal Ferailleur when he awoke for the first time in the abode where he had hidden himself under the name of Maumejan. A frightful slander had crushed him to the earth he could kill his slanderer, but afterward ? How was he to reach and stifle the slander itself? As well try to hold a handful of water; as well try to stay with extended arms the progress of the poisonous breeze which wafts an epidemic on its wings. So the hope that had momentarily lightened his heart faded away again. Since he had received that fatal letter from Madame Leon the evening before, he believed that Marguerite was lost to him forever, and in this case, it was useless to struggle against fate. What would be the use of victory even if he conquered? Marguerite lost to him what did the rest matter? Ah! if he had been alone in the world. But he had his mother to think of; he belonged to this brave hearted woman, who had saved him from suicide already. "I will not yield, then; I will struggle on for her sake," he muttered, like a man who foresees the futility of his efforts.

He rose, and had nearly finished dressing, when he heard a rap at his chamber door. "It is I, my son," said Madame Ferailleur outside.

Pascal hastened to admit her. "I have come for you because the woman you spoke about last evening is already here, and before employing her, I want your advice."

"Then the woman doesn't please you, mother?"

"I want you to see her."

On entering the little parlor with his mother, Pascal found himself in the presence of a portly, pale faced woman, with thin lips and restless eyes, who bowed obsequiously. It was indeed Madame Vantrasson, the landlady of the model lodging house, who was seeking employment for the three or four hours which were at her disposal in the morning, she said. It certainly was not for pleasure that she had decided to go out to service again; her dignity suffered terribly by this fall but then the stomach has to be cared for. Tenants were not numerous at the model lodging house, in spite of its seductive title; and those who slept there occasionally, almost invariably succeeded in stealing something. Nor did the grocery store pay; the few half pence which were left there occasionally in exchange for a glass of liquor were pocketed by Vantrasson, who spent them at some neighboring establishment; for it is a well known fact that the wine a man drinks in his own shop is always bitter in flavor. So, having no credit at the butcher's or the baker's, Madame Vantrasson was sometimes reduced to living for days together upon the contents of the shop mouldy figs or dry raisins which she washed down with torrents of ratafia, her only consolation here below.

But this was not a satisfying diet, as she was forced to confess; so she decided to find some work, that would furnish her with food and a little money, which she vowed she would never allow her worthy husband to see... Continue reading book >>

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