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|Part I||Baroness Emmuska Orczy|
XVIII The Removal
|Page 3 of 4||
"Bah!" she said, "I shall be glad to get out of this God-forsaken hole. I hate the very sight of these walls."
"Indeed, the citizeness does not look over robust in health," said Chauvelin with studied politeness. "The stay in the tower did not, mayhap, bring forth all the fruits of prosperity which she had anticipated."
The woman eyed him with dark suspicion lurking in her hollow eyes.
"I don't know what you mean, citizen," she said with a shrug of her wide shoulders.
"Oh! I meant nothing," rejoined Chauvelin, smiling. "I am so interested in your removal; busy man as I am, it has amused me to watch you. Whom have you got to help you with the furniture?"
"Dupont, the man-of-all-work, from the concierge," said Simon curtly. "Citizen Heron would not allow any one to come in from the outside."
"Rightly too. Have the new commissaries come yet?
"Only citizen Cochefer. He is waiting upstairs for the others."
"He is all safe. Citizen Heron came to see him, and then he told me to lock the little vermin up in the inner room. Citizen Cochefer had just arrived by that time, and he has remained in charge."
During all this while the man with the chest on his back was waiting for orders. Bent nearly double, he was grumbling audibly at his uncomfortable position.
"Does the citizen want to break my back?" he muttered.
"We had best get along--quoi?"
He asked if he should begin to carry the furniture out into the street.
"Two sous have I got to pay every ten minutes to the lad who holds my nag," he said, muttering under his breath; "we shall be all night at this rate."
"Begin to load then," commanded Simon gruffly. "Here!--begin with this sofa."
"You'll have to give me a hand with that," said the man. "Wait a bit; I'll just see that everything is all right in the cart. I'll be back directly."
"Take something with you then as you are going down," said Madame Simon in her querulous voice.
The man picked up a basket of linen that stood in the angle by the door. He hoisted it on his back and shuffled away with it across the landing and out through the gate.
"How did Capet like parting from his papa and maman?" asked Chauvelin with a laugh.
"H'm!" growled Simon laconically. "He will find out soon enough how well off he was under our care."
"Have the other commissaries come yet?"
"No. But they will be here directly. Citizen Cochefer is upstairs mounting guard over Capet."
"Well, good-bye, Papa Simon," concluded Chauvelin jovially. "Citizeness, your servant!
He bowed with unconcealed irony to the cobbler's wife, and nodded to Simon, who expressed by a volley of motley oaths his exact feelings with regard to all the agents of the Committee of General Security.
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