The Companions of Jehu HTML version

26. The Ball Of The Victims
After taking about a hundred steps Morgan removed his mask. He ran more risk
of being noticed in the streets of Paris as a masked man than with uncovered
When he reached the Rue Taranne he knocked at the door of a small furnished
lodging-house at the corner of that street and the Rue du Dragon, took a
candlestick from a table, a key numbered 12 from a nail, and climbed the stairs
without exciting other attention than a well-known lodger would returning home.
The clock was striking ten as he closed the door of his room. He listened
attentively to the strokes, the light of his candle not reaching as far as the
chimney-piece. He counted ten.
"Good!" he said to himself; "I shall not be too late."
In spite of this probability, Morgan seemed determined to lose no time. He
passed a bit of tinder-paper under the heater on the hearth, which caught fire
instantly. He lighted four wax-candles, all there were in the room, placed two on
the mantel-shelf and two on a bureau opposite, and spread upon the bed a
complete dress of the Incroyable of the very latest fashion. It consisted of a short
coat, cut square across the front and long behind, of a soft shade between a
pale-green and a pearl-gray; a waistcoat of buff plush, with eighteen mother-of-
pearl buttons; an immense white cravat of the finest cambric; light trousers of
white cashmere, decorated with a knot of ribbon where they buttoned above the
calves, and pearl-gray silk stockings, striped transversely with the same green as
the coat, and delicate pumps with diamond buckles. The inevitable eye-glass
was not forgotten. As for the hat, it was precisely the same in which Carle Vernet
painted his dandy of the Directory.
When these things were ready, Morgan waited with seeming impatience. At the
end of five minutes he rang the bell. A waiter appeared.
"Hasn't the wig-maker come?" asked Morgan.
In those days wig-makers were not yet called hair-dressers.
"Yes, citizen," replied the waiter, "he came, but you had not yet returned, so he
left word that he'd come back. Some one knocked just as you rang; it's probably--
"Here, here," cried a voice on the stairs.
"Ah! bravo," exclaimed Morgan. "Come in, Master Cadenette; you must make a
sort of Adonis of me."
"That won't be difficult, Monsieur le Baron," replied the wig-maker.
"Look here, look here; do you mean to compromise me, citizen Cadenette?"
"Monsieur le Baron, I entreat you, call me Cadenette; you'll honor me by that
proof of familiarity; but don't call me citizen. Fie; that's a revolutionary
denomination! Even in the worst of the Terror I always called my wife Madame
Cadenette. Now, excuse me for not waiting for you; but there's a great ball in the
Rue du Bac this evening, the ball of the Victims (the wig-maker emphasized this
word). I should have thought that M. le Baron would be there."
"Why," cried Morgan, laughing; "so you are still a royalist, Cadenette?"