The Last Hope

The Last Hope

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Excerpt: ...his whip to the numerals, scrawled on a gate-post or written across a wall. At this time France was mysteriously flooded with cheap portraits of the great Napoleon. It was before the days of pictorial advertisement, and young ladies who wished to make an advantageous marriage had no means of advertising the fact and themselves in supplements to illustrated papers. The walls of inns and shops and diligence offices were therefore barer than they are to-day. And from these bare walls stared out at this time the well-known face of the great Napoleon. It was an innovation, and as such readily enough accepted. At every fair, at the great fete of St. Jean, at St. Jean d'Angely and a hundred other fetes of purely local notoriety, at least one hawker of cheap lithographs was to be found. And if the buyer haggled, he could get the portrait of the great Emperor for almost nothing. "One cannot print it at such a cost," the seller assured his purchasers, which was no less than the truth. The fairs were, and are to this day, the link between the remoter villages and the world; and the peasants carried home with them a picture, for the first time, to hang on their walls. Thus the Prince President fostered the Napoleonic legend. Dormer Colville would walk up to these pictures, and, as often as not, would turn and look over his shoulder at Barebone, with a short laugh. For as often as not, the numerals were scrawled across the face in pencil. But Barebone had ceased to laugh at the constant repetition now. Soon Colville ceased to point out the silent witness, for he perceived that Loo was looking for it himself, detecting its absence with a gleam of determination in his eyes or noting its recurrence with a sharp sigh, as of the consciousness of a great responsibility. Thus the reality was gradually forced upon him that that into which he had entered half in jest was no jest at all; that he was moving forward on a road which seemed easy enough, but of which the end...show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 94 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 5mm | 181g
  • Rarebooksclub.com
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236710983
  • 9781236710987