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remained there. A curious contagion of whispering was upon it,
and also, when it gathered together at the fountain in the dark,
another curious contagion of looking expectantly at the sky in one
direction only. Monsieur Gabelle, chief functionary of the place,
became uneasy; went out on his house-top alone, and looked in
that direction too; glanced down from behind his chimneys at the
darkening faces by the fountain below, and sent word to the
sacristan who kept the keys of the church, that there might be need
to ring the tocsin by-and-bye.

The night deepened. The trees environing the old chateau, keeping
its solitary state apart, moved in a rising wind, as though they
threatened the pile of building massive and dark in the gloom. Up
the two terrace flights of steps the rain ran wildly, and beat at the
great door, like a swift messenger rousing those within; uneasy
rushes of wind went through the hall, among the old spears and
knives, and passed lamenting up the stairs, and shook the curtains
of the bed where the last Marquis had slept. East, West, North, and
South, through the woods, four heavytreading, unkempt figures
crushed the high grass and cracked the branches, striding on
cautiously to come in the courtyard. Four lights broke out there,
and moved away in different directions, and all was black again.
But, not for long. Presently, the chateau began to make itself
strangely visible by some light of its own, as though it were
growing Then, a flickering streak played behind the architecture of
the front, picking out transparent places, and showing where
balustrades, arches, and windows were. Then it soared higher, and
grew broader and brighter. Soon, from a score of the great
windows, flames burst forth, and the stone faces awakened, stared
out of fire.

A faint murmur arose about the house from the few people who
were left there, and there was a saddling of a horse and riding
away. There was spurring and splashing through the darkness,
and bridle was drawn in the space by the village fountain, and the
horse in a foam stood at Monsieur Gabelle’s door. “Help, Gabelle!
Help, every one!” The tocsin rang impatiently, but other help (if
that were any) there was none. The mender of roads, and two
hundred and fifty particular friends, stood with folded arms at the
fountain, looking at the pillar of fire in the sky. “It must be forty
feet high,” said they, grimly; and never moved.

The rider from the chateau, and the horse in a foam, clattered away
through the village, and galloped up the stony steep, to the prison
on the crag. At the gate, a group of officers were looking at the fire;
removed from them, a group of soldiers. “Help, gentlemen-
officers! The chateau is on fire; valuable objects may be saved from
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