you don’t need a memento mori on your way to the gallows

A rickety cart, drawn by a miserable old skeleton of a horse, and surrounded by mounted guards, was slowly advancing through the dense throng towards the scaffold.

This passage from Theophile Gautier’s Captain Fracasse is the leadup towards the usual escape-from-the-gallows scene that appears in a lot of adventure novels. It’s a pretty unremarkable passage, except if you take one of the adjectives literally: What if it really is a SKELETAL HORSE? That is a bizarrely scary way to be carted to the gallows.

And that’s enough D&D inspiration from classy 19th-century novels. Next week: R. A. Salvatore!!


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