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the flames by timely aid! Help, help!” The officers looked towards
the soldiers who looked at the fire; gave no orders; and answered,
with shrugs and biting of lips, “It must burn.” As the rider rattled
down the hill again and through the street, the village was
illuminating. The mender of roads, and the two hundred and fifty
particular friends, inspired as one man and woman by the idea of
lighting up, had darted into their houses, and were putting candles
in every dull little pane of glass. The general scarcity of everything,
occasioned candles to be borrowed in a rather peremptory manner
of Monsieur Gabelle; and in a moment of reluctance and hesitation
on that functionary’s part, the mender of roads, once so submissive
to authority, had remarked that carriages were good to make
bonfires with, and that post-horses would roast.

The chateau was left to itself to flame and burn. In the roaring and
raging of the conflagration, a red-hot wind, driving straight from
the infernal regions, seemed to be blowing the edifice away. With
the rising and failing of the blaze, the stone faces showed as if they
were in torment. When great masses of stone and timber fell, the
face with the two dints in the nose became obscured: anon
struggled out of the smoke again, as if it were the face of the cruel
Marquis, burning at the stake and contending with the fire.

The chateau burned; the nearest trees, laid hold of by the fire,
scorched and shrivelled; trees at a distance, fired by the four fierce
figures, begirt the blazing edifice with a new forest of smoke.
Molten lead and iron boiled in the marble basin of the fountain; the
water ran dry; the extinguisher tops of the towers vanished like ice
before the heat, and trickled down into four rugged wells of flame.
Great rents and splits branched out in the solid walls, like
crystallisation; stupefied birds wheeled about and dropped into the
furnace; four fierce figures trudged away, East, West, North, and
South, along the night-enshrouded roads, guided by the beacon
they had lighted, towards their next destination. The illuminated
village had seized hold of the tocsin, and, abolishing the lawful
ringer, rang for joy.

Not only that; but the village, light-headed with famine, fire, and
bell-ringing, and bethinking itself that Monsieur Gabelle had to do
with the collection of rent and taxes-though it was but a small
instalment of taxes, and no rent at all, that Gabelle had got in those
latter days-became impatient for an interview with him, and,
surrounding his house, summoned him to come forth for personal
conference. Whereupon, Monsieur Gabelle did heavily bar his
door, and retire to hold counsel with himself. The result of that
conference was, that Gabelle again with-drew himself to his
housetop behind his stack of chimneys; this time resolved, if his
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