It was the night of the tenth of March, 1793. The bell at Notre-Dame had just struck ten, and each stroke rang out clear and distinct, one after the other, before flying off into the ether like a night bird soaring from some bronze nest, sad, monotonous, and resonant.
Night had descended on Paris. But it was not the usual noisy, stormy Paris night, punctuated by lightning yet cold and misty. Paris itself was not the Paris we know today, dazzling by night with its thousands of lights reflected in its golden mire, the Paris of busy promeneurs, jubilant whisperings, and deliciously sleazy outskirts where fierce feuds and reckless crimes flourish, a wildly roaring furnace. It was a shabby little dive, tremulous, beetling, whose rarely seen inhabitants would run whenever they had to cross a street and scuttle away into their alleyways or under their porte-cochères, the way feral creatures pursued by hunters sink into their burrows.
It was, in a word, the Paris of the tenth of March, 1793, as I think I might have said.
Or laughing, or gasping, or smirking, or raising my eyebrows. Or telling anyone who'll listen, and many who won't, how good this book is. Or reading bits aloud to the others who live in this house (including the cat).
We know early on that Maurice, patriot, would sacrifice duty for a friend. What then would he do for love?! Oh, be careful, Maurice — she's using you.
Am fairly certain that Marie Antoinette will indeed be rescued from the Conciergerie, saved from the guillotine. Fairly certain.