"When do you expect to leave?" she inquired.

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"This very night. Communications may he cut off at any moment."Admirable in her sorrow, but also full of energy, the poor girllooked up, and held out her hand to him.

"Go then," she said, "0 my only friend! go, since honor commands.

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But do not forget that it is not your life alone that you are goingto risk."And, fearing to burst into sobs, she fled, and reached the Rue St.

Gilles a few moments before her father, who had gone out in questof news.

Those he brought home were of the most sinister kind.

Like the rising tide, the Prussians spread and advanced, slowly,but steadily. Their marches were numbered; and the day and hourcould be named when their flood would come and strike the wallsof Paris.

And so, at all the railroad stations, there was a prodigious rushof people who wished to leave at any, cost, in any way, in thebaggage-car if needs be, and who certainly were not, like Marius,rushing to meet the enemy.

One after another, M. Favoral had seen nearly every one he knewtake flight.

The Baron and Baroness de Thaller and their daughter had gone toSwitzerland; M. Costeclar was traveling in Belgium; the elderJottras was in England, buying guns and cartridge; and if theyounger Jottras, with M. Saint Pavin of "The Financial Pilot,"remained in Paris, it was because, through the gallant influenceof a lady whose name was not mentioned, they had obtained somevaluable contracts from the government.

The perplexities of the cashier of the Mutual Credit were great.

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The day that the Baron and the Baroness de Thaller had left,"Pack up our trunks," he ordered his wife. "The bourse is goingto close; and the Mutual Credit can very well get along without me."But the next day he became undecided again. What Mlle. Gilbertethought she could guess, was, that he was dying to start alone, andleave his family, but dared not do it. He hesitated so long, thatat last, one evening,"You may unpack the trunks," he said to his wife. "Paris isinvested; and no one can now leave."

  In fact, the news had just come, that the Western Railroad, the lastone that had remained open, was now cut off.

Paris was invested; and so rapid had been the investment, that itcould hardly be believed.

People went in crowds on all the culminating points, the hills ofMontmartre, and the heights of the Trocadero. Telescopes had beenerected there; and every one was anxious to scan the horizon, andlook for the Prussians.

But nothing could be discovered. The distant fields retained theirquiet and smiling aspect under the mild rays of the autumn sun.

So that it really required quite an effort of imagination to realizethe sinister fact, to understand that Paris, with its two millionsof inhabitants, was indeed cut off from the world and separated fromthe rest of France, by an insurmountable circle of steel.

Doubt, and something like a vague hope, could be traced in the toneof the people who met on the streets, saying,"Well, it's all over: we can't leave any more. Letters, even,cannot pass. No more news, eh?"But the next day, which was the 19th of September, the mostincredulous were convinced.