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Caught in the Net by Émile Gaboriau
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By Emile Gaboriau



The cold on the 8th of February, 186-, was more intense than the
Parisians had experienced during the whole of the severe winter
which had preceded it, for at twelve o'clock on that day Chevalier's
thermometer, so well known by the denizens of Paris, registered three
degrees below zero. The sky was overcast and full of threatening signs
of snow, while the moisture on the pavement and roads had frozen hard,
rendering traffic of all kinds exceedingly hazardous. The whole great
city wore an air of dreariness and desolation, for even when a thin
crust of ice covers the waters of the Seine, the mind involuntarily
turns to those who have neither food, shelter, nor fuel.

This bitterly cold day actually made the landlady of the Hotel de Perou,
though she was a hard, grasping woman of Auvergne, gave a thought to the
condition of her lodgers, and one quite different from her usual idea of
obtaining the maximum of rent for the minimum of accommodation.

"The cold," remarked she to her husband, who was busily engaged in
replenishing the stove with fuel, "is enough to frighten the wits out of
a Polar bear. In this kind of weather I always feel very anxious, for
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