A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor

By Kate Taylor

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Example text

Jean-Jean turned toward the sound of his brother’s voice and, in response to some frantic waving from the major, beat a rather awkward retreat toward them. “I was just explaining to the general that the point is the brakes—” he began, but his brother stopped him. “The general doesn’t want to hear about your mad schemes, and neither do we. Tell Dubon something funny. ” Jean-Jean, not a man well equipped to produce jokes on demand, was not to be dissuaded from his original topic. “Major, at the very least you must care about the recoil because it frightens the horses.

You flatter me. ” It was not in the least convenient. He glanced at the wall clock behind her. It was twenty past the hour, almost too late to bother visiting Madeleine. He would have to ask Roberge to send his mistress a message telling her he could not come tonight. And the following day he would again be pressed to see her because he and Madame Dubon were to attend a ball at General Fiteau’s. His wife was insistent that he be home early on such occasions so that she could discuss her costume with him and review the probable guest list.

Well, perhaps tolerate was too generous a word: they were prepared to ignore it and keep his secret. He would pay a heavy social price if anyone in the Fiteaus’ circle identified him as a former Communard. “If we are ever going to win back Alsace and Lorraine from the Germans …” Madame Verry continued. “I couldn’t agree with you more,” Dubon repeated, as he wondered how long this particular dance would last. As he guided Madame Verry down the room, he glanced back enviously at Masson, who had somehow succeeded in keeping his dance card blank and was sitting with their host.

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