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John Leighton Stuart
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 389 pages of information about Paris under the Commune.
the lowest passions.  He spoke to her, and was at first repulsed; but, like the tempter Faust offering jewels to Marguerite, he tempted her with bright promises, and the poor girl, to whom work did not always come, listened to the base seducer.  Blame her not too harshly, pity her rather, and reserve all your indignation for the wretch who betrayed her.
“After three years, which were but anguish and remorse to the miserable woman, and during which she had no other consolation but the smiles of the children whose very existence was a crime, she was becoming reconciled at last to her life, when the father of her children deserted her.
“This desertion coincided with the glorious revolution of the 18th of March; and the poor work-girl, who had still room in her heart for patriotism, found some consolation in reflecting that the day, so miserable for her, had at least brought happiness to France.
“A fortnight passed, the poor abandoned mother had given up all hope of ever seeing the father of her three children again, when one evening—­it was last Friday—­a man, wrapped in a black cloak, introduced himself into the house, and made inquiries of the concierge—­a great patriot, and commander of the 114th Battalion—­whether Mademoiselle O... were at home?  Upon an answer in the affirmative from the heroic defender of Right and Liberties of Paris, the man mounted the stairs to the poor workwoman’s rooms.  It was he—­the seducer; the concierge had recognised him.  What passed between the murderer and his victims?  That will be known, perhaps—­never!  But certain it is, that an hour afterwards he went out, still enveloped in his black mantle.
“The next day, and the days following, the concierge was much astonished not to see his lodger of the fourth floor, who was accustomed to stop and talk with him on her way to fetch her cafe au lait.  But his deep sense of duty as commander of the 114th Battalion occupied his mind so thoroughly, that he paid but little attention to the incident.  Neither did he regard the sighs and sobs which were heard from the upper stories.  He can scarcely be blamed for this negligence; he was studying his vade-mecum.
“On the fourth day, however, the cries were so violent that they began to inspire the passers-by with alarm, and we have related how four men, headed by their caporal, were sought for to inquire into the cause.
“We have already told what was seen and heard, but the explanations of the neighbours were not sufficient to clear up the darkest side of the mystery, and perhaps the truth would never have been known if the caporal—­exhibiting, by a rare proof of intelligence, how far he was worthy of the grade with which his comrades had honoured him—­had not been inspired with the idea of lifting up the curtain of the bed.
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