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Thenceforth, to secure his good will, she always spoke to him first,
and often gave him drink-money, which he readily received.
He was an inquisitive fellow, and sometimes when she had quite
forgotten him in gazing at the prison roof and grates, and in lifting
her heart up to her husband, she would come to herself to find him
looking at her, with his knee on his bench and his saw stopped in
its work. “But it’s not my business!” he would generally say at
those times, and would briskly fall to his sawing again.
In all weathers, in the snow and frost of winter, in the bitter winds
of spring, in the bot sunshine of summer, in the rains of autumn,
and again in the snow and frost of winter, Lucie passed two hours
of every day at this place; and every day on leaving it, she kissed
the prison wall. Her husband saw her (so she learned from her
father) it might be once in five or six times: it might be twice or
thrice running: it might be, not for a week or a fortnight together. It
was enough that he could and did see her when the chances
served, and on that possibility she would have waited out the day,
seven days a week.
These occupations brought her round to the December month,
wherein her father walked among the terrors with a steady head.
On a lightly-snowing afternoon she arrived at the usual corner. It
was a day of some wild rejoicing, and a festival. She had seen the
houses, as she came along, decorated with little pikes, and with
little red caps stuck upon them; also, with tricoloured ribbons; also,
with the standard inscription (tricoloured letters were the
favourite), Republic One and Indivisible. Liberty, Equality,
Fraternity, or Death!
The miserable shop of the wood-sawyer was so small, that its
whole surface furnished very indifferent space for this legend. He
had got somebody to scrawl it up for him, however, who had
squeezed Death in with most inappropriate difficulty. On his
house-top, he displayed pike and cap, as a good citizen must, and
in a window he had stationed his saw inscribed as his “Little Sainte
Guillotine”- for the great sharp female was by that time popularly
canonised. His shop was shut and he was not there, which was a
relief to Lucie, and left her quite alone.
But, he was not far off, for presently she heard a troubled
movement and a shouting coming along, which filled her with
fear. A moment afterwards, and a throng of people came pouring
round the corner by the prison wall, in the midst of whom was the
wood-sawyer hand in hand with The Vengeance. There could not
be fewer than five hundred people, and they were dancing like five
thousand demons. There was no other music than their own
singing. They danced to the popular Revolution song, keeping a