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Title: Robert Tournay - A Romance of the French Revolution
Author: Sage, William
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Robert Tournay - A Romance of the French Revolution" ***

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                           ROBERT TOURNAY

                 A Romance of the French Revolution

                          BY WILLIAM SAGE


    _WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
    ERIC PAPE AND MARY AYER_

    BOSTON AND NEW YORK

    HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

    The Riverside Press, Cambridge
    1900

    COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY WILLIAM SAGE

    AND HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

    TO MY MOTHER
    TO WHOM I OWE EVERYTHING
    I LOVINGLY DEDICATE
    THIS STORY.


[Illustration: "A CHEER FOR THE GODDESS OF LIBERTY"]



CONTENTS


I. HOW TOURNAY CAME TO PARIS

II. A LITTLE BREAKFAST AT ST. HILAIRE'S

III. THE BAKER AND HIS FAMILY

IV. THE "BON PATRIOT"

V. A BROKEN DOOR

VI. A MAN AND A MARQUIS

VII. GAILLARD GOES ON A JOURNEY

VIII. PÈRE LOUCHET'S GUESTS

IX. PRISON BOAT NUMBER FOUR

X. OVER THE FRONTIER

XI. UNDER WHICH FLAG?

XII. THE FOUR COMMISSIONERS

XIII. THE SWORD OF ROCROY

XIV. SOMETHING HIDDEN

XV. THE PRESIDENT'S NOTE

XVI. BENEATH THE MASK

XVII. PIERRE AND JEAN

XVIII. THE LUXEMBOURG

XIX. TAPPEUR AND PETITSOU

XX. UNCLE MICHELET

XXI. CITIZENESS PRIVAT

XXII. CITIZENESS PRIVAT'S CARD

XXIII. TOURNAY'S VISITOR

XXIV. TWO WOMEN

XXV. NO. 7 RUE D'ARCIS

XXVI. THE END OF THE TERROR



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


"A CHEER FOR THE GODDESS OF LIBERTY"

DE LACHEVILLE FACING A YOUNG WOMAN

"STOP!" CRIED TOURNAY

ADJUSTED THE NECKCLOTH TO HIS SATISFACTION

"WOULD YOU MURDER ME?"

A MOMENT THEY STOOD IN SILENCE



ROBERT TOURNAY



CHAPTER I

HOW TOURNAY CAME TO PARIS


The Marquis de Lacheville sat in the dining-hall of the château de
Rochefort. In his hand he held a letter. Although it was from a woman,
the writing was not in those delicately traced characters which suggest
the soft hand of some lady of fashion. The note-paper was scented, but
the perfume, like the color, was too pronounced; and the spelling,
possibly like the lady's character, was not absolutely flawless.

A smile played about the cold thin lips of the marquis; he carelessly
thrust the missive into his pocket, as one disposes of a bill he does
not intend to pay, and lifting his eyes, allowed his gaze to wander
through the open window toward the figure of a young girl who stood
outside upon the terrace.

She was watching a game of tennis in the court below, now and then
conversing with the players, whose voices in return reached de
Lacheville's ears on the quiet summer air.

A few minutes before in that dining-hall the Baron de Rochefort had
betrothed his daughter Edmé to his friend and distant kinsman, Maurice
de Lacheville. In the eyes of the world it was a suitable match. The
marquis was twenty-five, the girl eighteen. She was an only child; and
their rank and fortunes were equal.

They did not love each other. The marquis loved no one but himself.
Mademoiselle had been brought up to consider all men very much alike.
She might possibly have had some slight preference for the Marquis de
St. Hilaire, who was now playing tennis in the court beneath; but it was
well known that he was dissipating his fortune at the gaming-table.
Mademoiselle did not lack strength of will; but, her heart not being
involved, she allowed her father to make the choice for her, as was the
custom of the time.

De Lacheville continued sitting at the table, now looking
dispassionately at the woman who was to become his wife, now looking
beyond toward the wide sweep of park and meadow land, while he
calculated how much longer his cousin, the baron, would live to enjoy
possession of his great wealth.

What the young girl thought is merely a matter of conjecture. She was as
fresh and sweet as the pink rose which she plucked from the trellis and
gayly tossed to the marquis below. He caught it gracefully and put it to
his lips--while she laughed merrily with never a thought for the marquis
within.

Near the tennis court stood another man. He was tall and well-made,
with dark eyes and a sun-browned face. Beyond furnishing new balls and
rackets when required, he took no part in the game, for he was the son
of the intendant of the château and therefore a servant.

He watched the rose which the lady so carelessly tossed, with hungry
eyes, as a dog watches a bone given to some well-fed and happier rival.
At the call from one of the players he replaced a broken racket, then
took up his former post, apparently intent upon the game, but in reality
his mind was far afield.

It was in the early summer days of the year 1789. Looking out over the
baron's noble estates through the eyes of a girl like mademoiselle, the
world was very beautiful. Glancing at it through the careless eyes of
the prodigal St. Hilaire, it seemed very pleasing; but in spite of these
waving crops, and wealthy vineyards, in spite of the plenty in the
baron's household and the rich wines in his cellar, throughout France
there were many who had not enough to eat. Men, and women too, were
crying out for their share of the world's riches.

A new wave of thought was sweeping over France. A thought as old as the
hills, yet startlingly new to each man as he discovered it. Books were
being written and words spoken which were soon to cause great political
changes in a land already seething with discontent. Change and Progress
at last were in the saddle, and they were riding fast. As the careless
noblemen batted their tennis balls back and forth, thinking only of
their game; as the young girl leaned over the rose-covered terrace,
thinking of the sunlight, the flowers, and the beauty of life, Robert
Tournay, the intendant's son, pondered deeply on the "rights of man"
while he ran after the tennis balls for those who played the game.

As if wearied by the contemplation of his prospective married bliss,
Monsieur de Lacheville yawned, arose from his seat and strolled
leisurely from the room, descended the staircase and came out into the
park in the rear of the château, unobserved by the tennis players. The
note in his pocket called him to a rendezvous; and the marquis, after
some deliberation, had decided to keep it. Once in the wooded park and
out of sight of the house, he quickened his pace to a brisk walk;
proceeding thus for half a mile he suddenly left the driveway and
plunging through the thick foliage by a path which to the casual eye was
barely visible, came out into a shady and unfrequented alley.

A few minutes after de Lacheville's disappearance into the woods, the
other noblemen, wearied of their sport, retired into the house for
refreshment.

This left young Tournay free for the time being, and he availed himself
of the opportunity to go down toward a pasture beyond the park where
some young horses were running wild, innocent of bit or bridle. It was
Tournay's intention to break one of these colts for Mademoiselle de
Rochefort. She was a fearless rider, and it gave the young man pleasure
to be commissioned to pick out an animal at once gentle and mettlesome
for the use of his young mistress.

The Tournays, from father to son, had been for generations the
intendants of the de Rochefort estate. With the baron's permission
Matthieu Tournay had sent his son away to school, and he had thus
received a better education than most young men of his class. He was of
an ambitious temper, and this very education, instead of making him more
contented with his lot in life, increased his restlessness. It only
served to show him more clearly the line that separated him from those
he served. In his own mind he had never defined his feeling for
Mademoiselle de Rochefort. He only knew that it gave him great pleasure
to serve her; and yet, as he did her bidding, he felt a pang that
between them was the gulf of caste; that even when she smiled upon him
it was merely the favored servant whom she greeted; that although he
might be as well educated as the Count de Blois, a better horseman than
St. Hilaire, and a better man than de Lacheville, _they_ could enter as
equals into the presence of this divine being, while such as he must
always take his place below the salt.

It was with such thoughts as these revolving in his brain that the
intendant's son walked through the woods of the park. He followed no
path, for he knew each tree and twig from childhood. Suddenly he was
interrupted in his reverie by the sound of voices, and stopping short,
recognized the voice of the Marquis de Lacheville in conversation with
a woman. Tournay hesitated, then went forward cautiously in the
direction whence the sound came. Had he been born a gentleman he would
have chosen another way; or at least would have advanced noisily.
Indeed, such had been his first impulse,--but a much stronger interest
than curiosity impelled him forward; and drawing near, he looked through
a gap in the hedge.

On the other side stood de Lacheville facing a young woman. Her cheeks
were flushed, and the manner in which she toyed with a riding-whip
showed that the discussion had been heated. Although she was handsomely
dressed in a riding-habit and assumed some of the airs of a lady,
Tournay recognized her at once as a young girl who had disappeared some
months before from the village of La Thierry, and whose handsome face
and vivacious manner had caused her to be much admired. Near her stood
the nobleman, calm and self-composed. Before men, de Lacheville had been
known to flinch; but with a woman of the humbler class the marquis could
always play the master.

"And now, Marianne," said the nobleman slowly, "you had better go,--and
do not make the mistake of coming here again."

Although she had evidently been worsted in the argument, a defiant look
flashed in her dark eyes as she answered him: "If I believe you speak
the truth I shall not come here again."

[Illustration: DE LACHEVILLE FACING A YOUNG WOMAN]

"Of course I speak the truth," replied de Lacheville lightly. "I shall
marry Mademoiselle de Rochefort"--

The young woman winced, but she did not speak.

De Lacheville went on slowly as if he enjoyed the situation--"In a year
or two--I am in no hurry. She is very beautiful"--here he paused
again--"but I prefer your style of beauty, Marianne; I prefer your
vivacity, your life, your fire; I like to see you angry. My engagement
to Mademoiselle de Rochefort need make no difference in my regard for
you. That depends upon yourself." Here the marquis stepped forward and
kissed her on the lips.

Tournay controlled himself by a great effort, his heart swelling with
the resentment of a man who hears that which he holds sacred insulted by
another. And this man who held Mademoiselle de Rochefort in such slight
esteem was to be her husband.

"And now, Marianne," said the nobleman, "you must ride away as you
came," and suiting the action to the words he swung her into the saddle.
She was docile now and gathered up the reins obediently. "And,
Marianne," continued the nobleman, "never write letters to me. I am
rather fastidious and do not want my illusions dispelled too soon.
Good-by, my child."

She flushed as he spoke, and a retort seemed about to spring to her
lips; but instead of replying she shrugged her shoulders, gave a sharp
cut of the whip to the horse, and rode off down the pathway.

De Lacheville laughed. "She has spirit to the last. She pleases me;" and
turning, beheld Robert Tournay in the path before him.

For a moment neither spoke; then the nobleman asked sternly, "Have you
been spying upon me?"

"I have heard what has passed between you and that woman," replied
Tournay with a significance that made the marquis start.

"You villain," replied the nobleman hotly, "if you breathe a word about
what you have seen I will have you whipped by my lackeys."

Tournay's lips curled defiantly.

"Or," continued the marquis, "if one word of scandal reaches the ears of
Mademoiselle de Rochefort"--

Before the words had left his lips, Tournay sprang forward and had him
by the arm.

"Do not stain her name by speaking it," he cried fiercely. "I have heard
you insult her; I have seen how you would dishonor her; you, who are not
worthy to touch the hem of her garment. What right have you to become
her husband? Your very presence would degrade her. You shall not wed
her."

White with rage, if not from fear, the marquis struggled to free himself
from Tournay's grasp, but he could neither throw off his antagonist nor
move his arm enough to draw his sword. Finding himself powerless in the
hands of the stronger man, he remained passive, only the twitching of
his mouth betraying his passion.

"And you would prevent my marriage," he said coldly. "So be it. Go to
the baron; tell your story. Go also to mademoiselle, his daughter;
repeat the scandal to her ears; say, 'I am your champion;' and how will
they receive you? The baron will have you kicked from the room and
mademoiselle will scorn you. Championed by a servant! What an honor for
a lady!"

The truth of what he said struck Tournay harder than any blow; his arms
dropped to his side, and he stepped back, as if powerless.

The marquis arranged the lace ruffle about his neck. Placing his hand
upon his sword he eyed Tournay as if debating what course to pursue. He
smarted under the treatment he had received, and his eyes glittered
viciously as if he meditated some prompt reprisal. But above all the
marquis was politic, and he also knew that in his biting tongue he
possessed a weapon keener than a sword.

He stooped and plucked a flower from the border of the path, and as he
spoke a sarcastic smile played mockingly about his lips.

"I shall marry mademoiselle," he began, slowly dwelling on each word,
while he plucked the petals from the flower, and tossed them, one by
one, into the air. The gesture was a careless one, but there was a
vicious cruelty about his fingers as he tore the flower. "And you,"
continued the marquis,--"you, who one might think had dared to raise
your eyes toward the lady's face"--

Tournay stood dumb before his inquisitor. His heart raged and he writhed
as if under the lash, but still he stood passive and suffering.

"And you shall be our servant," ended the nobleman, with a laugh,
turning and walking haughtily up the path, but with his hand still on
his sword-hilt lest he should be again taken by surprise.

As the heels of the marquis crunched the gravel-walk Tournay felt the
truth of each word that he had spoken borne in upon his mind with
overwhelming force. It was not fear of the marquis's sword that had kept
him silent. It was the hopelessness of his own position. What right had
he to speak? And who would listen to him?

Silently the young man slipped into the forest as if to seek consolation
from the great murmuring trees. As he walked slowly beneath their green
arches as under some cathedral roof, a quiet strength came to his soul.
He seemed to feel that the day would come when his voice would be heard
and listened to. Until then he must bide his time; and in this frame of
mind he went back to the château.

When Tournay reached the house he was greeted by an order from the
baron. The tracks of a boar had been recently discovered in the forest
by one of the gamekeepers, and the intendant's son, who was himself a
keen huntsman, was directed to escort the party of gentlemen through the
woods to a glade where the animal was supposed to have his lair.

After he had collected the guns and ammunition, called up the dogs and
ordered the grooms to bring round the horses, Tournay went to the front
of the château to await the pleasure of the young gentlemen who intended
participating in the hunt.

There were half a dozen of them standing under the porte-cochère, and
Tournay disliked them all in greater or less degree; excepting perhaps
the Marquis de St. Hilaire. St. Hilaire was the eldest of the group, the
tallest and the handsomest. He rarely addressed any remark to Tournay,
but when he did, it was with perfect politeness. When the Marquis de St.
Hilaire rode his horse he did it with a grace none could surpass; when
he shot, he hit the mark. He had the reputation of being one of the most
dissipated young noblemen in the kingdom. He certainly spent money more
lavishly than the most prodigal. This reputation was at once the envy
and admiration of a host of young followers; and yet if asked, no one
could mention any particular debauchery of which he had been guilty.
When his companions, under the excitement of wine, committed extravagant
follies and excesses, St. Hilaire, although by no means sparing of the
winecup, maintained a certain dignity essentially his own. At the
gaming-table it was always the Marquis de St. Hilaire who played the
highest. He won a fortune or lost an estate with the same calm and
outward indifference. On every occasion he was the cool, polished
gentleman.

As Tournay approached the group of noblemen, the Marquis de Lacheville,
determined to keep him in a state of submission, greeted him with an
arrogant rebuke.

"You have kept us waiting a pretty length of time."

"I only received notice of your intended hunt a short time ago, and
various preparations had to be made," was the rejoinder.

"Make no excuses," continued the marquis,--"you always have plenty of
those upon the end of your tongue."

Tournay bit his lip to keep from replying.

"Whose horse is that?" called out the marquis a moment later, pointing
out one of the animals among the number which were being led up by the
grooms.

"My own, monsieur le marquis--a present from the baron."

"Well, it is by all odds the best one among them; I will ride it." And
the marquis swung himself into the saddle without waiting for a reply.

Tournay made no audible reply, but the color deepened on his cheek, as
he quietly took another horse.

"We shall never see that boar if we delay much longer," called out St.
Hilaire, who was long since in the saddle. "Are you ready, gentlemen?"

With one accord they all started down the avenue at a swift gallop;
Tournay following a short distance behind them.

For a mile or so they swept along the parkway until they arrived at the
gate which led into the wood. De Lacheville had been correct in his
judgment of the horse, and was the first to reach the gate. This seemed
to make him good-natured for the time being; and as they cantered
through the forest he allowed Tournay, who was best acquainted with the
ground, to ride in advance.

On approaching the entrance to the glade, the party dismounted and the
horses were fastened to the trees. The Counts d'Arlincourt and de Blois
went to the right; the Marquis de St. Hilaire to the left; Tournay took
two dogs and went toward the northern end; while de Lacheville remained
near the entrance.

It was arranged that Tournay with the dogs should rout the animal from
its lair in the upper end of the dale, and, the thicket being
surrounded, one of the gentlemen would be sure to bring it down with a
shot as it ran out.

Tournay had not gone half the distance when he heard a noise in the
underbrush, and looking in the direction whence it came, saw the boar
making its way leisurely down the glade, snuffing from time to time at
the roots of trees for acorns.

Tournay tried to work down ahead of the animal and drive him off to his
right in the direction of the Marquis St. Hilaire, as he was the best
shot in the company, and with a sportsman's instinct Tournay wanted to
give him the opportunity to win the tusks. One of the dogs, however,
upset this plan by slipping the leash and bounding off in the direction
of the boar; that animal took the alarm at once and started on a run
down the glade with Tournay and the two dogs after him in full pursuit.

"The Marquis de Lacheville will be the one to shoot him," thought
Tournay bitterly.

The boar, plunging through a thicket, made straight for the spot where
the horses had been tied, and where the Marquis de Lacheville had taken
up his position.

"Why does he not fire?" was Tournay's mental inquiry as he followed the
trail at full speed, with ear alert in the momentary expectation of
hearing the sound of a gun. "Can it be that the marquis is going to risk
attacking him with the knife?" And he dashed into the thicket,
regardless of the brushwood and briars that impeded his progress, to
come out on the other side, leaving a portion of his hunting blouse in
the grasp of a too-persistent bramble.

Here he beheld so ludicrous a sight that it would have moved him to
merriment, had it not overcome him with wonder. The marquis lay
sprawling on the grass, his eyes rolling with terror and his loaded gun
lying harmlessly by his side. The horses were straining at the tethers
and neighing with fright, while in the wood beyond, the boar was
disappearing from sight with the dogs upon his haunches.

As Tournay approached, the marquis struggled to his feet. For a moment
he stood silent and then said gruffly:--

"The brute sprang through the bushes before I expected him; my foot
slipped and I fell, so he got by me."

In the instant it flashed through Tournay's mind that the marquis had
fallen in trying to avoid the boar. He received the explanation in
silence, his face clearly betraying his suspicion.

The marquis eyed him savagely. "Where are the others?" he demanded.

"They have evidently missed all the sport," was the curt rejoinder.

The marquis scowled, but his anxiety to conceal the mishap from his
companions led him to overlook the ring of sarcasm in Tournay's voice.

"Did they hear or see the boar?" he inquired.

"I fear not. The animal started too near the centre of the glade, and
luckily for him made straight for you."

"We have not seen him, either," was the cool rejoinder.

"But I saw him," exclaimed Tournay with open-eyed astonishment.

"Up in the thicket beyond? Possibly," admitted the marquis, who had now
regained his self-possession and had resolved to put the best possible
face on the matter.

"No! Right here in the open, as he ran into that clump of beeches."

"You are mistaken. I did not see him," the marquis insisted, approaching
his horse and untethering him.

"Monsieur le marquis was possibly not looking in the right direction."

De Lacheville mounted his horse. He bent down from the saddle, saying
fiercely, "Twice this day you have ventured to oppose me. Have a care!
You will rue the hour when you dispute any statement of mine."

Tournay looked up at him defiantly, and with a significance too deep to
be misconstrued, said: "I will not lie at your bidding, Monsieur de
Lacheville."

"You insolent villain!" and the marquis' whip fell viciously across the
defiant brow. The next instant the nobleman was dragged from the saddle
and his riderless horse galloped off through the woods.

For a moment the two men stood looking at each other.

Tournay was the first to speak: "You will fight me for that blow,
Monsieur de Lacheville."

The marquis gave a harsh laugh: "We do not fight lackeys--we whip them."

"We are alone, and man to man you shall fight me with my weapons,
monsieur le Marquis." Tournay spoke with a certain air of dignity and
with a suppressed fierceness that made the marquis draw back; yet such
was the nobleman's contempt for the man of humble birth that he made no
response beyond flicking the whip which he still retained in his hand,
and looking at him disdainfully.

"You have a hunting-knife at your side; arm yourself," commanded Tournay
sternly, at the same time drawing from beneath his hunting-blouse a
long, keen blade.

The marquis turned pale. "I do not fight with such a weapon," he
faltered, looking about him as if in hopes of succor from his friends.

"Then for once the low-born has the advantage," replied Tournay
pitilessly, "and unless Heaven intervenes, I shall kill you for that
blow."

The blow itself was forgotten even as he spoke, and he felt a fierce joy
as he whispered to himself, "If heaven so wills it, you shall never
marry her, Marquis de Lacheville."

There was no fire of revenge in his eyes as he advanced, but the marquis
saw the light that burned there and, realizing his pressing danger, drew
his own hunting-knife.

There was a thrust and parry. Tournay closed in upon him, and the
nobleman fell backward with a groan.

The next instant Tournay threw aside the knife and stood looking with
awe upon the prostrate body. The bushes behind him parted with a rustle
and he looked over his shoulder to see the Marquis de St. Hilaire
standing by him.

"What's the matter?" inquired the latter sternly. "Has the marquis
injured himself?"

"He struck me," exclaimed Tournay, his face, except for a bright red
line across the brow, deadly pale. "And I--I have killed him."

St. Hilaire stooped down and undid the marquis's waistcoat, Tournay
giving way to him. "He's not dead," said St. Hilaire, after a short
examination. "Your blade struck the rib. He is not even fatally hurt,
but has fainted."

Tournay stood passive and silent.

St. Hilaire rose to his feet and proceeded to cut some strips from his
own shirt to make a bandage for de Lacheville's wound.

"As far as you are concerned, you might as well have killed him," he
said as he bound up the wound. "The penalty is the same."

"I'm not afraid of the penalty."

"Young man," said St. Hilaire, busying himself over the wound, "mount
that horse of yours and ride away from this part of the country as fast
as you can. I shall not see you."

"I'm not a coward to run away."

"Don't be a fool and stay," replied St. Hilaire sharply, without looking
up from his occupation. "You have acted as I would have done had I been
in your place, but I should not stay afterward with all the odds against
me. Come, you have only a minute to decide. I'll see the marquis has the
proper care."

In another minute Robert Tournay was on his horse's back riding swiftly
away from the scene. He only thought of one point of refuge and that was
the city of his dreams, the great city of Paris. Toward it he turned his
horse's head. When he had gone far enough to no longer fear pursuit he
dismounted and turned the horse loose, knowing that a man riding a fine
animal could be more easily traced; so the rest of his journey of a
hundred miles was made on foot.

It was about the noon hour, July 12, 1789, when he entered the southern
gates of the city. He had been walking since early morning, yet when
once in the town he was not conscious of any fatigue.

It seemed to him that there was an unwonted excitement in the air, and
the faces of many people in the crowded streets wore an anxious or an
expectant look. Several times he was on the point of stopping some
passer-by to ask if there was any event of unusual importance taking
place, but the fear of being thought ignorant of city ways deterred him.
So he wandered about the streets in search of some cheap and clean
lodging suitable to the size of his purse, where he could be comfortably
housed until his plans for the future matured. He went through narrow,
ill-smelling streets, where strange-looking faces peered at him
curiously from low wine-shops. Thence he wandered into the neighborhood
of beautiful gardens, where he marveled at the splendid buildings, any
one of which he fancied might be the home of the Marquis de St. Hilaire.
Finally, he came upon a number of people streaming through an arcade
under some handsome buildings. Judging that something of unusual
interest was going on there, and being moved by curiosity, he pushed his
way in with the rest, and found himself in a quadrangle of buildings
enclosing a garden. This garden was filled with a dense crowd. Turning
to a man at his elbow, he asked the reason of such an assemblage.

"The king has dismissed Necker," was the reply, "and the people are
angry."

"I should think they might well be angry," replied Tournay, who admired
the popular minister of finance. "Did the king send away such a great
man without cause?"

"I know not what cause was assigned, I do not concern myself much with
such affairs, but I know the people are very wroth and there has been
much talk of violence. Some blood has been shed. The German regiments
fired once or twice upon a mob that would not disperse."

"The villainous foreign regiments!" said Tournay. "Why must we have
these mercenary troops quartered in our city?" He had been in the city
but a few hours, but in his indignation he already referred to Paris as
"our city."

"The native troops would not fire when ordered, and were hurried back to
the barracks by their officers. Worse may come of it. There is much
speech-making and turmoil; I am going home to keep out of the trouble;"
and the stranger hurried away.

Tournay elbowed through the crowd. Standing upon a table under one of
the spreading trees, a young man was speaking earnestly to an excited
group of listeners that grew larger every moment. Tournay pressed near
enough to hear what he was saying.

He was tall and slender, with dark waving hair and the face of a poet.
He spoke with an impassioned eloquence that moved his hearers mightily,
bringing forth acclamation after acclamation from the crowd. He
denounced tyranny and exalted liberty till young Tournay's blood surged
through his veins like fire. He had thought all this himself, unable to
give it expression; but here was a man who touched the very note that he
himself would have sounded, touched the same chord in the heart of every
man who heard his voice, and by some subtle power communicated the
thrill to those outside the circle till the crowd in the garden was
drunk with excitement.

"Citizens," cried the young man, "the exile of Necker is the signal for
a St. Bartholomew of patriots. The foreign regiments are about to march
upon us to cut our throats. To arms! Behold the rallying sign." And
stretching up his arm he plucked a green leaf from the branch above his
head and put it in his hat.

The next instant the trees were almost denuded of their leaves. Tournay,
with a green sprig in his hat, swung his hat in the air, and cried, "To
arms--down with the foreign regiments--Vive Necker!"

He struggled to where the orator was being carried off on men's
shoulders. "What is it?" he said, in his excitement seizing the young
man by the coat,--"what is it that we are to do?"

"Procure arms. Watch and wait,--and then do as other patriots do," was
the reply.

The crowd surged closer about him. The coat gave way, and Tournay was
left with a piece of the cloth in his hand. Waving it in the air with
the cry of "Patriots, to arms!" he was forced onward by the crowd.



CHAPTER II

A LITTLE BREAKFAST AT ST. HILAIRE'S


The Marquis Jean Raphael de St. Hilaire was giving a breakfast-party. It
was not one of those large affairs for which the marquis was noted,
where a hundred guests would sit down in his large salon to a repast
costing the lavish young nobleman a princely sum. This being merely the
occasion of a modest little déjeuner, the covers were laid in the
marquis's morning cabinet on the second floor, which was more suitable
for such an informal meal.

There were present around the table the Count and Countess d'Arlincourt;
the old Chevalier de Creux; the witty Madame Diane de Rémur; the Count
de Blois, dressed in the very latest and most exact fashion; and the
Marquis de Lacheville, with the pallor of recent illness on his face. At
the lower end of the board sat a young poet who was riding on his first
wave of popularity; and next to him was a philosopher.

The guests, having finished the dessert, were lingering over a choice
vintage from the marquis's cellar.

The host, leaning back in his chair with half-closed eyes, listened
carelessly to the hum of conversation while he toyed with a few sugared
almonds.

"And so you think, chevalier," said the Countess d'Arlincourt in reply
to a remark by the old nobleman, "that our troublesome times are not yet
over?"

"Not yet, my dear countess, nor will they be over for a long time to
come."

"Oh, how pessimistic you are, chevalier; for my part I do not see how
affairs can be worse than they have been for the last year."

"For a longer period than that," remarked her husband, the Count
d'Arlincourt.

"Well, I remember particularly, it was a year ago when you first told me
that you could not afford to make me a present of a diamond crescent to
wear in my hair at the Duchess de Montmorenci's fancy dress-ball. You
had never used that word to me before."

"You have been extremely fortunate," said the Chevalier de Creux,
turning a pair of small, bright eyes upon the countess and speaking with
just the slightest accent of sarcasm. "Even longer ago than a year, many
persons were in need of other necessities than diamonds."

"Oh, yes, I know," interrupted the countess hastily, anxious to show
that she was not as ignorant as the chevalier's tone implied,--"bread.
Why don't they give the people enough bread? It is a very simple demand,
and things would then be well."

"My dear child," put in Madame de Rémur, "it would do no good to give
them bread to-day; they would be hungry again to-morrow. The trouble is
with the finances. When they are set right everything will go well; and
the people can buy all the bread they want, and you can have your
diamond crescent," and the speaker smiled at the chevalier and shrugged
her white shoulders.

"Yes, but," persisted the countess, raising her pretty eyebrows, "when
_will_ the finances be set right? The people cannot go forever without
bread."

"Nor can women go forever without diamonds," laughed Madame de Rémur.

"Women with your eyes, fair Diane, have no need of other diamonds," said
the Marquis de St. Hilaire debonairely. The lady smiled graciously at
the compliment. She was a young and attractive widow and she looked at
St. Hilaire not unkindly.

"We have frequently had financial crises in the past," said
d'Arlincourt, "and gotten safely over them; and so we should to-day,
were it not for the host of philosophical writers who have broken loose;
who call the people's attention to their ills, and foment trouble where
there is none. Of course you will understand that I make the usual
exception as to present company," he added, bowing slightly to the
philosopher. But the latter seemed lost in thought and did not appear to
hear the count's remark. The poet took up the conversation in a low
tone.

"Should we not look to these very men, these philosophers, these
encyclopædists, to point the way out of the difficulty?" and he turned
from one to the other with a shrug.

"Bah, no! They are the very ones to blame, I tell you," repeated
d'Arlincourt.

"My dear count," cried Madame d'Arlincourt, "I cannot permit you to
speak slightingly of our philosophers. They are all the fashion now. The
door of every salon in Paris is open to them. The other night, at a
great reception given by the Duchess de Montmorenci, half the invited
guests were philosophers, poets, encyclopædists. They say that even some
of the nobility were overlooked in order to make room for the men of
letters."

The Marquis de St. Hilaire threw a small cake to the spaniel that sat on
its haunches begging for it.

"We cannot very well overlook this new order of nobility of the
ink-and-paper that has exerted such an influence during the last
generation," he said carelessly.

"I should not overlook them if I had my way," cried the Count
d'Arlincourt. "I should lock them safely up in the Bastille."

"Oh!" cried the ladies in one breath; "barbarian!"

"These men are doubtless responsible for the inflamed state of the
public mind," said St. Hilaire, again taking up the conversation.

"Of course they are," agreed the count.

"And so are Calonne and Brienne," continued the marquis. "They
mismanaged affairs during their terms of office."

Here the philosopher smiled an assent.

"But the blame rests more heavily upon other shoulders than those of
scribbling writers or corrupt officials," and the marquis paused to look
around the table.

"I am all attention," cried the Countess d'Arlincourt, prepared for
something amusing. "Upon whom does it rest?"

"Upon the nobility themselves," answered St. Hilaire.

For a moment there was silence; then came a storm of protests from all
sides, only the chevalier and the philosopher making no audible reply,
although the latter said to himself:--

"You are right, monsieur le marquis."

"St. Hilaire is in one of his mad fits," de Lacheville exclaimed.

"If it were not for the nobility there would be no poetry, no wit,"
murmured the poet.

"The nobility is the mainstay of the throne, the vitality of the
country," said d'Arlincourt.

"What have _we_ done?" cried the ladies in concert. "We ask for nothing
better than to have everybody contented and happy." And they shrugged
their pretty white shoulders as if to throw off the burden that St.
Hilaire had placed there.

"Look at me," exclaimed St. Hilaire, rising and speaking with an
animation he had not shown before. He was a man of twenty-five with a
face so handsome that dissipation had not been able to mar its beauty.
"I am a type of my class."

"An honor to it," said the poet.

"Thank you; then you will agree that the cap which I put on will fit
other heads as well. I have wasted two fortunes."

"St. Hilaire is in one of his remorseful moods," whispered de Lacheville
in the ear of Madame de Rémur.

"I have spent them in riotous living with men like myself." Here he
looked at de Lacheville.

"I feel deeply honored, my dear marquis," said the latter, bowing.

"When I wanted more money I knew where to get it."

"Happy fellow," called out de Lacheville with a laugh.

"I went to the steward who managed my estates. I have estates, or rather
had them, for they are now mortgaged to the last notch, in Normandy,
Picardy, Auvergne and Poitou--I would say to my steward, 'I need more
money.'"

"'Very well, monsieur le marquis, but I must put on the screws a little
to get it.'

"'Put on a dozen if you like, but get me the funds.'

"'It shall be done, monsieur le marquis.'

"Again and again I went to him for money. He always responded in the
same manner, but each time the screws had to be turned a little tighter.
Do you suppose my peasants love me for that? No, they hate me just as
yours hate you, de Lacheville, and yours hate you, d'Arlincourt." De
Lacheville laughed, and the count lifted up his hand in denial. "I knew
that the day of reckoning would come," St. Hilaire went on. "Every time
I went to Monsieur Rignot, my steward, every time he put on the screws
at my request, I knew it was bringing us nearer the final smash."

"Us!" repeated d'Arlincourt, with a gesture of impatience.

"Yes, us," said St. Hilaire; "we are all in the same boat, but we have
all done the same thing in a greater or less degree. We shall all have
to pay the penalty."

"There is where I differ with you, my dear marquis," said the Count
d'Arlincourt; "I am willing to take what responsibility falls to me by
right, but I emphatically refuse to pay the penalty of your follies."

"My follies are but those of my class. You may have been an exception
yourself, d'Arlincourt, but that will not save you."

"What penalties must we pay? Save him from what?" demanded the pretty
countess, looking at St. Hilaire with her large blue eyes.

"From the revolution," was the answer. There was a general exclamation
of surprise. D'Arlincourt took up the word.

"Like all men given to excess,--pardon the remark, marquis, but you have
yourself admitted it,--you exaggerate the present unquiet state of
affairs. The people will not revolt. They have no real cause. If you had
made such a statement twenty years ago during the ascendancy of the
infamous du Barry I might not have contradicted you. But now the people
as a mass are loyal. They love their king."

"I still affirm," said St. Hilaire, "that the time is ripe for a
revolution. Sooner or later it must come."

The chevalier from the further end of the table said quietly; "It _has_
come."

"Surely you are not serious," said d'Arlincourt, turning to the
chevalier, "in calling the disturbance of the past few days a
revolution. Why, I have seen more serious revolts than this blow into
nothing. Our Paris mob is a fickle creature, demanding blood one moment
and the next moment throwing up its cap with delight if you show it a
colored picture."

"The disturbance of to-day will become great enough to shake France to
its centre," said the chevalier.

"One would think that you possessed the gift of second sight," laughed
de Lacheville.

"I do," replied the old man impressively.

"Give us an example of it, then," demanded d'Arlincourt. "What part am I
to take in the new revolution?"

"I see behind you, my dear d'Arlincourt," replied the chevalier, leaning
back in his chair and looking in the count's direction through
half-closed eyelids, "the shadow of a scaffold."

Unwittingly the count turned with a start, to see Blaise standing behind
him in the act of filling his glass with wine. There was a general
laugh.

"Madame de Rémur will bare her white shoulders to the rude grasp of the
executioner. De Lacheville will escape. No, he will not. He will die by
his own hand to cheat the scaffold."

"And I," interrupted the Countess d'Arlincourt, "shall I share their
fate?"

The chevalier looked at her with a peculiar expression in his eyes. "My
sight fails here," he said. "I cannot foretell your fate. Yet you may
live; your beauty should save you. People do not kill those who please
them; those who bore them are less fortunate." And he turned his
snapping brown eyes in the direction of the gentle poet and the
venerable philosopher.

"St. Hilaire's sudden and great interest in the people's welfare may
prove of service to him," remarked d'Arlincourt significantly.

"It will not save him," replied the chevalier. "He will finally come to
the same end. The shadow of the scaffold is behind him also."

St. Hilaire laughed as he cracked an almond. "Though I may sympathize
somewhat with a people who have been oppressed and robbed, I should feel
unhappy indeed to be left out in the cold when so many of the
illustrious had gone before. But you have overlooked yourself. That is
like you, chevalier, unselfish to the last."

"Oh, I am too old to be of importance; I shall die of gout," said the
old nobleman.

"You have disposed of us effectually," said the poet, "and I shall be
greatly honored at being permitted to leave this world in such good
company. But may I ask, are we to be the sole victims of your
revolution?"

"Far from it," answered the old chevalier, closing his eyes and speaking
in an abstracted manner, as if talking to himself, while his friends
listened in rapt attention, half inclined to smile at the affair as at a
joke, and yet so serious was he that they could not escape the influence
of his seriousness.

"I can see," he continued, "a long line of the most illustrious in
France. They are passing onward to the block. They are princes of the
blood; aye, even the king's head shall fall."

"Enough!" cried out the voice of d'Arlincourt, above the general
exclamations of horror that the chevalier's pretended vision called
forth. "You overstep the line, Chevalier de Creux. I do not object to a
pleasantry, but when you go so far as to predict the execution of the
king you carry a jest too far. It is time to call a halt."

"But was it a jest?" asked the chevalier dryly.

"A very poor one," said de Lacheville.

"My dear friend," said the chevalier in his blandest tone, "I am not
predicting what I should like to have take place. Not what ought to be,
but what will be."

The count scowled and de Lacheville turned away with a shrug and began a
conversation with Madame de Rémur.

"We all know that the chevalier is a merry gentleman, yet no jester,"
said St. Hilaire. "What will be, will be. I, for one, am willing to
drink a toast to the chevalier's revolution. Blaise, bring out some of
that wine I received from the Count de Beaujeu. I lost fifty thousand
livres to him the night he made me a present of this wine; it will be
like drinking liquid gold."

Blaise filled the glasses amid general silence.

St. Hilaire rose to his feet, holding his wine-glass above his head.

"What, my friends, you are not afraid?" he exclaimed in a tone of
surprise, looking about the table where only the chevalier and the
philosopher had followed his example. "Is it possible you have taken the
chevalier's visions so much to heart?"

They all rose from their places, ashamed to have it thought that they
had taken in too serious a vein the little comedy played by the
chevalier.

"Any excuse to drink such wine as this," said de Lacheville, with a
forced laugh.

"We drink to the revolution!" cried St. Hilaire in his reckless
manner--and he touched glasses with Madame de Rémur and then with the
Countess d'Arlincourt. As the glasses clinked about the table, a heavy
booming sound fell upon the ears of the revelers.

"What noise is that?" cried the countess nervously. They stopped to
listen, holding their glasses aloft. The booming ceased, then followed a
roar like that of the angry surf beating upon a rockbound shore.

"It is the chevalier's revolution," exclaimed Madame de Rémur.

"Are we to be frightened from drinking our toast by a little noise?"
cried St. Hilaire. "What if it be the revolution? Let us drink to it.
Come!" and they drained their glasses to the accompaniment of what
sounded like a volley of musketry.

The ladies looked pale and were glad to quit the table for the salon,
where they were joined by the poet and the philosopher, leaving the
others still at their wine.

The Marquis de Lacheville took another glass, and then a third.

"You had best be careful how you heat your blood with this rich wine, de
Lacheville, while that wound in your side is scarcely healed," remarked
d'Arlincourt.

"Confound the wound, and curse the young villain who gave it me,"
growled de Lacheville. "I have been forced to lead the life of an
anchorite for the past fortnight; but such nectar as this cannot
inflame, it only soothes," and he reached out his hand toward the
decanter. As he did so, the sound of guns reverberated again through the
room, making the windows rattle and jarring the dishes on the table. The
ladies in the adjoining room cried out in alarm, and d'Arlincourt rose
and went to reassure them.

"I will go with you," said the chevalier, and he joined the count.

De Lacheville threw his napkin down upon the spot of wine that had
splashed from his upraised glass upon the damask cloth.

"The devil take them!" he cried petulantly; then filling his glass again
with an air of bravado, "will they not permit a man to breakfast in
peace?"

"Your nerves must be badly shaken, de Lacheville, if you permit such a
slight thing to disturb you," laughed St. Hilaire, filling a glass to
the brim.

D'Arlincourt entered from the next room hurriedly. "I am going to see
what all this firing means," he said. "Will you accompany me,
gentlemen?"

"I make it a point never to seek for news or excitement, but rather
allow them to come to me," said St. Hilaire leisurely. "You would better
sit down and let me send a servant to ascertain the cause of this
turmoil."

"Why leave the house in search of truth when we have with us an oracle
in the shape of the chevalier?" interposed the Marquis de Lacheville.

"I shall be able to bring a more accurate account," replied d'Arlincourt
with an impatient shrug.

"As you will," said St. Hilaire. "Blaise, give the Count d'Arlincourt
his hat and sword. Are you quite sure you do not want some of my lackeys
to accompany you?" he asked.

D'Arlincourt declined the offer and hastily left the room.

The two marquises were left in possession of the dining-room and the
wine. They both continued to drink, each after his own fashion. With
each successive glass, de Lacheville became louder in voice and more
boastful, while as St. Hilaire sipped his wine, he became quieter and
more indifferent.

Within ten minutes d'Arlincourt returned to them, his face betraying
great excitement.

"A mob has attacked and captured the Bastille. The multitude is surging
through the streets. They will pass before this very door."

"It is impossible that they could have taken the Bastille!" exclaimed de
Lacheville, rising to his feet and steadying himself by holding to the
back of his chair.

"There are thirty thousand of them," replied d'Arlincourt, "and through
some treachery they have obtained arms. In order to save bloodshed
Governor Delaunay surrendered the fortress on receiving the promise of
the insurgents that the lives of all its defenders should be spared.
They are now dragging him through the streets, crying out for his blood.
The man was mad to trust the word of such a rabble."

"Let us go into the salon," remarked St. Hilaire quietly. "There we can
reassure the ladies and also view this interesting spectacle."

The three gentlemen entered the room which fronted upon the street,
d'Arlincourt with compressed lips and flashing eyes; de Lacheville,
unsteady of gait and with wine-flushed face, murmuring maledictions
against the beast multitude; and St. Hilaire, cool and calm as was his
wont.

In the salon they found the chevalier entertaining Madame de Rémur with
an anecdote which was the occasion of much laughter on her part.

The poet was reciting some of his own verses to the countess, while the
philosopher was asleep in an arm-chair.

"The crowd have torn down the Bastille," cried de Lacheville, speaking
in a thick voice, "and they are now coming down this street, seeking
whom they can devour."

The ladies cried out in terror.

"Marquis, you have interrupted one of my best stories," said the
chevalier petulantly.

"But, chevalier, the mob have taken the Bastille."

"Couldn't you have allowed them two minutes more to complete their work?
However, what you say is very interesting, though it does not surprise
me. I have been expecting it."

"You forget that the chevalier is gifted with second sight," said the
count, with a slight sneer.

"I have been expecting it for some time," continued the chevalier,
"though what they wanted to take it for, I cannot imagine. If they
should attack the Hôtel de Ville or the Louvre, or march against
Versailles, I could understand it."

Madame de Rémur and the philosopher, who had awakened from his nap, had
approached to hear the news; and the Marquis de Lacheville repeated it
to them as if he had been an eye-witness of the whole affair.

"For my part," he said in conclusion, "I think this disturbance amounts
to very little; the Baron de Besneval has but to give the order to his
troops, and the valiant mob will disperse like chaff. I have seen such
fellows run before this. It is amusing to see what a steel bayonet will
do toward accelerating the pace of the canaille."

"They say that the French Guards are not loyal," remarked the chevalier.

"The French Guards be hanged!" shouted the Marquis de Lacheville hotly.
"I would not trust them further than the canaille itself; they are a
white-livered lot in spite of their gaudy uniforms. Thank heaven, we
have other troops who are good and loyal, and who will put down these
disorders in a trice."

"We shall look to you, then, marquis," said the cavalier, "to restore
peace and quiet for us at once."

"I would not soil my hands with such dirt," replied de Lacheville
haughtily, and scowling at what he thought was a disposition on the part
of the chevalier to ridicule him.

"Is there really danger?" inquired the Countess d'Arlincourt of her
husband.

"The situation is grave, but I hardly think there is great cause for
alarm," he answered. "The king has too many loyal subjects to permit
anarchy and riot to exist for any length of time."

"Let us go out upon the balcony," interrupted St. Hilaire; "the show is
about to pass under our windows." He threw open the windows and ushered
his friends out upon the balcony with a gesture as if he were bidding
them welcome to his box at the opera.

Down the street, with a roar that drowned all other sounds, came the
surging mass like a torrent that had burst its bounds. In the front
ranks, carried on the shoulders of a dozen, were two men dressed in the
uniform of the French Guards. They were greeted on all sides with
acclamations.

"See how the Guards fraternize with the mob," said de Lacheville. "Down
with the French Guards! Down with the rabble!" he cried in his
excitement, shaking his fist over the railing.

St. Hilaire gripped his arm. "I don't care how much you expose your own
life, but as I do not wish to bring insult or danger upon the ladies
under my roof, perhaps you had better refrain from expressing your
opinions for the present."

"Do you think they would dare attack this house?" demanded de
Lacheville, turning pale.

"Men who have successfully stormed a prison are not likely to hesitate
before the walls of a house, even though it does belong to a marquis,"
replied St. Hilaire. "Look at that!" he exclaimed suddenly, pointing up
the street. Then turning to d'Arlincourt, he said, "Get the ladies
inside as quickly as possible." The count had no sooner followed his
directions, than along the street, borne on long poles on a level with
the very eyes of those on the balcony, appeared two heads dripping with
blood.

"Dear me, whose are those?" exclaimed the chevalier, adjusting his
eyeglasses. "By my soul, it's poor Delaunay's head. They have treated
him most shabbily. Can you make out the other, St. Hilaire?"

"No," answered the marquis, "I was never good at recognizing faces," and
he stepped to the window to reassure the ladies in the salon.

The chevalier leaned over the railing and called out to one of the men
in the crowd:--

"My good fellow, will you have the kindness to tell me whose head they
are carrying on the second pole?"

The man, thus addressed, looked up. He was tall and broad-shouldered,
with face browned from exposure to the sun. With one arm he supported a
member of the French Guards who had been wounded.

"Flesselle's," he answered. "He has betrayed the people again and again.
He has received a terrible punishment."

The man who had given the chevalier this answer did not move on
immediately, but stood looking up at the balcony. The old nobleman,
following this look, saw that it rested on the Marquis de Lacheville.

The latter, meeting the man's eye at the same moment, recognized Robert
Tournay. He started forward as if about to speak, then noticing the
weapon in Tournay's hand and remembering the recent warning of St.
Hilaire, he checked himself. Neither spoke, but the marquis could not
repress a look of hatred, which was answered by a look of defiance by
Tournay. Then the latter turned away with his companion leaning on his
shoulder. The crowd closed up and he was soon lost to sight.

"They have killed Flesselle, the mayor of Paris," said the chevalier, as
St. Hilaire joined him a moment later. "Well," he continued, as if in
answer to St. Hilaire's shrug, "Flesselle was a fool, but I am sorry for
poor Delaunay. Come, St. Hilaire, let us go in, the crowd is thinning
out now; in a short time the streets will be passable and I must be
going. I have to thank you for a most enjoyable day, marquis."

"The pleasure has been mine," replied the Marquis de St. Hilaire,
bowing.

"Are you going to the duchess's to-night?" inquired the chevalier.

"No, I think not," answered St. Hilaire, putting his hand upon the
window-bar. "After you, my dear chevalier," indicating the way into the
salon. As he was about to step into the room the chevalier turned and
took a final look at the street. The main body of the mob had passed and
their shouts were heard receding in the distance; although underneath
the window were still a number of persons, coming and going in restless
excitement.

"I think, marquis," he said, with his curious smile, "that your friends
need soap and water badly."

"They do, chevalier," said the other, returning the smile, "and the
smell is sickening. Come to my bedroom; I will give you a new perfume."

That evening, after the departure of his guests, the Marquis de St.
Hilaire called in his man of affairs.

"Rignot," he demanded carelessly, "have I a single estate that is
unencumbered?"

"Unfortunately no, monsieur le marquis."

"Think again, Rignot. Is there not some little estate still intact? Some
small farm heretofore overlooked by us?"

"Not a cottage, monsieur le marquis."

"What bills are unpaid?"

"Some three hundred thousand livres are rather pressing."

"Is that the sum total of all my liabilities? I want a full statement
to-night."

"You owe about eight hundred thousand francs, monsieur le marquis."

"Pay them at once."

"But, monsieur le marquis, it will be impossible. Where shall I get the
funds?"

"You may sell my furniture, personal property"--

"What, everything, monsieur le marquis?"

"Yes, everything; and after paying all my debts, if there is anything
left, take out a commission for yourself and give me the balance;" and
then he turned to the window and looked out on the lights of the city of
Paris, indicating that the interview was at an end. Rignot withdrew.

"Assuredly," said the Marquis de St. Hilaire with a yawn, "this
revolution arrives in good time. I should soon have become a beggar."



CHAPTER III

THE BAKER AND HIS FAMILY


The Count d'Arlincourt had just left the palace at Versailles.

He had been present at the reception to the Royal Flanders regiment. He
had heard their vow of fidelity to the king. He had been among the
officers and the nobles of the court who had trampled under foot the
tricolor of Paris and decorated their coats with the white cockade, and
now he left the royal presence with his sovereign's thanks and
commendations ringing in his ears.

As he proceeded through the courtyard three gentlemen entered at the
main gate. A shade of annoyance passed over the count's brow as he
recognized St. Hilaire and two other noblemen, all members of the States
General, and all reputed to lean somewhat too radically toward the
popular side in politics. He had hardly seen St. Hilaire since the
breakfast party at the house of the latter three months before. The
toast of the marquis and his expressed sympathy with revolutionary
orders had caused a decided estrangement.

Indeed, St. Hilaire and the two noblemen who were with him had become
alienated from their order, and many of their former friends among the
nobility had refused to speak or hold any relations with them whatever.

The count could not avoid meeting them, but he was undecided whether to
ignore them entirely or pass them with such a slight inclination of the
head as to be equally cutting.

The cordial bow of the Marquis de St. Hilaire, however, for whom he had
always felt a peculiar and inexplicable regard, caused him to change his
mind.

He saluted the three gentlemen politely, though with a certain reserve
of manner natural to him, and addressed St. Hilaire.

"A word with you, marquis," he said, "if I may be pardoned for taking
you from these gentlemen for a few minutes?"

St. Hilaire turned to his companions: "With your permission, messieurs,
I will join you in five minutes in the palace."

The gentlemen bowed in assent and walked toward the palace, leaving the
count and the marquis alone in the centre of the court.

"You were not present at the reception in the palace. We missed you
greatly, marquis," the former began, with an attempt at cordiality of
manner, having resolved to make one last appeal to his friend.

"Thank you, my dear d'Arlincourt, for your kindness in saying so,"
replied the marquis affably, "but I must tell you frankly that even if
affairs in the Assembly had not claimed my time, other circumstances
would have rendered my presence at this banquet impossible."

"The king," continued d'Arlincourt quietly, "inquired for you several
times and seemed much disturbed at your absence."

"I am now on my way to wait upon his majesty," replied St. Hilaire.

The count's face lighted up. "A tardy apology is better than none at
all, for I presume you are going to explain your absence."

"The two gentlemen who have left us, and myself, have been sent by the
convention as a committee to urge his majesty to sanction their latest
decrees,--the bill relating to popular rights," replied St. Hilaire
quietly.

"For the love of Heaven, Raphael!" burst out the count, "can it be
possible that you intend to persist in championing the popular cause,
like the Duke d'Orleans, or the Marquis de Lafayette? Your present
position is that of a madman. Come back to our side now. To-morrow it
may be too late."

"For the life of me, André," replied St. Hilaire lightly, "I cannot tell
you to-day what my line of action will be to-morrow, but in any case I
beg you will not compare me either with the duke or Lafayette. I am
neither as dull as the one nor as virtuous as the other. Why not permit
me still to resemble only the Marquis de St. Hilaire?"

"Then," replied the count warmly, "I tell you that as the Marquis de St.
Hilaire, your duty to the king should have brought you to the reception
in honor of the Flanders regiment."

The marquis dropped his air of levity suddenly. "Do you know, count,"
he said slowly, "I have just come from the Assembly, where news reached
us a little while ago that a mob of forty thousand was marching from
Paris toward Versailles."

The count started with surprise, but betrayed no other emotion.

"Is it a fitting time to be fêting a regiment composed of mercenaries?
Is it a fitting time to be clinking glasses and drinking toasts when
forty thousand men and women are approaching with their cry for bread?"

The count drew himself up as he replied,--"What more fitting time could
there be for the loyal nobles to gather about their sovereign than in
the hour of danger? I, for one, would not let the fear of any Paris mob
keep me from the king's side at such a moment."

St. Hilaire flushed deeply. "Count d'Arlincourt," he said quickly, "I
pass over that insinuation because it comes from an old friend. But know
this: that I am one of the members of the Assembly who have sworn to
support the constitution and enforce the rights of man. I should indeed
have been false to my trust had I participated in a fête to these
foreigners where oaths were openly made to defeat that constitution."

"Our ideas of duty evidently differ," replied the count stiffly. "My
duty is to my king."

"They do differ," said St. Hilaire. "My first allegiance is to the
nation. Count d'Arlincourt, I respect you and your opinions, but I also
have a regard for my oath. I have chosen my path and I shall follow
it."

"Good-day, Marquis de St. Hilaire," said the count, in his usual cold
manner.

"Farewell, Count d'Arlincourt," was the polite rejoinder, and raising
his hat St. Hilaire passed onward in the direction of the palace.

Forty thousand men and women were marching from Paris to Versailles.
They had forced a king to recall a banished minister. They had sacked a
prison fortress,--razing to the ground walls that had frowned on them
for ages, wiping out in one day a landmark of tyranny that had been
standing there for centuries. Now they were coming to see their king at
his palace. They had heard of the banquet at Versailles, given in honor
of the royal Flanders regiment, where wine had flowed like water and
where food was in abundance. At such a banquet, they argued, there must
be bread enough for the whole world; and they were coming to get their
share of it.

Although it was in the month of October, the sun was hot and the road
dusty. In the front rank, amid all the dust and sweat and noise, walked
Robert Tournay. He carried no weapon, nor did he seek to lead; but
animated by curiosity and by sympathy, he felt himself drawn into this
great heaving mass of people who had decided to correct these abuses
themselves, even if to do it they had to take the laws into their own
hands.

Hearing a shout and rumble of wheels behind him, Tournay looked over his
shoulder to see a cannon coming through the crowd, which parted on each
side to let it pass, and then closed up behind it. This cannon was drawn
along the road by a score of men, whose bare feet, beating the dust,
sent up a pulverous cloud that blew back into the faces of those behind
like smoke.

Seated upon the gun carriage, her hair streaming in the wind, was a
young woman wearing the red cap of liberty, and waving in her hand a
blood-red flag. The cannon stopped under the shade of some poplar trees,
and men stood around it wiping the perspiration from their foreheads.

"A cheer for the Goddess of Liberty," cried a voice in the crowd. A
shout went up that made the poplars tremble.

"Citizens," cried the girl, in response, standing erect and flinging her
flag to the breeze, "you want bread!"

"Bread! Bread!" was the answering shout.

"The women of Paris will lead you to it. Then you shall help
yourselves."

"Show us where it is and we'll take it fast enough," was the answering
cry.

"Where should it be but in the king's palace? There they are feasting
while the people in Paris are starving. They shall give the people of
their bread!"

"What if they have eaten it all?" asked another voice.

"Then shall the king bake more," answered the girl--"enough for every
one in his kingdom. He shall be the nation's baker, and his wife shall
help him knead the dough, and their little boy shall give out the
loaves."

There was a laugh at this and cries of "Good! Good!"

"My friends," she continued, taking off her cap and swinging it by the
tassel, "this marching is hot work, and talking is dry business. Has any
one a drink for La Demoiselle Liberté?"

A number of bottles were instantly proffered her.

"This _eau de vie_ puts new life into one," she exclaimed, throwing back
her head and putting a flask to her lips. With an easy gesture she took
a deep draught of the liquor, to the increasing admiration of the
bystanders. On removing the bottle from her lips, she said with a nod:
"How many of you men can beat that? Here goes one more." She was on the
point of repeating the act when she caught sight of Tournay, who had
drawn near and stood by the wheel of the truck looking at her intently.

"Here, friend, you look at this liquor thirstily; take a good pull at
it. You're a likely youth, and a sup of brandy will foster your
strength! What! You will not drink? Bah, man! I would not have it said
that I was a little boy, afraid of good liquor. But why do you stare at
me like that, without speaking? Have you no tongue?" Tournay put aside
the proffered bottle and said:--

"I stared at you because I know you. You are Marianne Froment, the
miller's daughter, who left La Thierry a year ago. And you should
remember Robert Tournay."

The young woman shook her head with a decided gesture.

"You mistake, friend; my name is not Marianne Froment. I know no miller,
and have never heard of the place you speak of."

Tournay remembered when he had seen her last in the alley of the park.
He felt no animosity toward her; instead he felt compassion for the
silly girl whose head had been turned by the flattery of a nobleman who
had already grown tired of her.

"It is you who are mistaken, Marianne," he replied quietly, "although
when I knew you at La Thierry, drinking strong liquor was not one of
your practices."

"I am La Demoiselle Liberté," replied the girl defiantly, throwing her
brown curls back from her forehead and replacing her cap. "I have drunk
such liquor as this from my cradle. So here's to you! May you some day
grow to be a man."

Tournay stayed the bottle in its course to her lips, and took her hand
in his.

"You are Marianne Froment," he persisted, "and it would be much better
for you to be in the quiet country of La Thierry. Why not go back?"

"If Marianne did go back, who would speak to her? Who among all those
who live there would take her by the hand?" she asked.

"Have I not taken you by the hand just now?" asked Tournay.

"I believe you would be the only one," she replied, stifling a sigh.
"Not even my father would do that. But you are no longer at La Thierry.
What are you doing here, and what sent you away from home? Are you going
back?"

Tournay shook his head. "There are reasons," he replied slowly, "why I
can never return."

"Neither can Marianne Froment," rejoined the girl. "Therefore,
compatriot, drink with me to our future good comradeship. And pass the
bottle to your neighbor. Then let us go on together. _En avant_, my
friends," she cried out in a loud voice. "The sooner we start again the
earlier we shall reach our bakery. Follow the carriage of La Demoiselle
Liberté, and she will lead you to it."

A score of brawny arms grasped the ropes attached to the truck, and with
a heavy rattle the cannon was drawn through the crowd, which cheered it
on its way.

The forty thousand swept into Versailles in an overpowering tide,
finding nothing to stop their triumphant course.

The crowd choked up the streets of the town, filling the public square
and invading the Assembly chamber.

The Assembly, with all the gravity and dignity of its recent birth, rose
to its feet to greet as many of the Paris deputation as could crowd into
the room, steaming with the sweat and dust of the march. Outside the
door another crowd remained, clamoring noisily.

The president of the Assembly addressed them in a few words full of
dignity. "I have just learned," he said in his quiet way, "that the
king has been pleased to accord his royal sanction to all the articles
of the Bill of Popular Rights which was passed by your Assembly on the
5th of August."

"Will that give the people more bread?" asked La Demoiselle, looking up
at Tournay with an inquiring expression in her brown eyes. Despite her
red cap, her swagger, and her boisterous talk, she was very pretty and
child-like. As he looked down upon her standing by his side her brown
head did not reach his shoulder.

"Whether it gives them bread or not, it is a glorious thing for the
people," exclaimed Tournay with enthusiasm.

A few minutes later the demoiselle yawned. "The old fellow is too
tiresome," she said; "let us go to the palace and get our bread."

Evidently the same thought moved the rest of the deputation. They began
to file out, while President Meunier was still addressing them, with a
restless scuffling of their feet, and a murmuring among themselves, "To
the palace! To the palace!"

The last Tournay saw of Demoiselle Liberté she was pushing through the
crowd that made way for her right willingly, while she cried out: "I
will show you the bakery, my brave people; I am now on my way to
interview the chief baker."

       *       *       *       *       *

The forty thousand got their bread. They got their bread and more. They
pressed in so close upon their monarch, they were so menacing, so
determined in their way, that he promised to dismiss his royal Flanders
regiment and go back to Paris with his beloved subjects. And so the
hungry, sullen, desperate mob became a shouting, happy, victorious one.
They cheered their monarch, who had sworn to be a father to his people;
they cheered the royal family, even the queen; but most of all they
cheered the loaves of bread which were distributed among the eager
multitude. Every shop in the town was soon depleted of its stock, and
all the bakers were working over-time to supply the food.

"Did I not tell you I would lead you where bread was plenty?" demanded
the Demoiselle de la Liberté gayly of those gathered around. "The king
is a capital baker; we have only to keep him with us and we shall have
food at all times." And she dipped her crust in a cup of wine.

"We will take our baker back with us to Paris," cried one.

"Aye, and the baker's wife and his little boy," cried another. At this
there was a laugh.

Tournay, who had aided in the distribution of the food, approached the
group, relieved by the thought that all were satisfied and contented, at
least for the moment.

"Ah, there is my handsome compatriot," exclaimed the demoiselle as soon
as she set eyes upon him. "Wilt thou join us in our supper, compatriot?"
she called out. She was seated carelessly on the truck of the
gun-carriage, with a cup of wine in one hand and a half-loaf in the
other, her face flushed with excitement. Unlike most of the women who
stood about her, she was of graceful form, with hands and arms
unblackened by hard toil, and the skin of her throat soft and white. She
wore her red cap in a rakish manner on the side of her head, its tassel
falling down over her forehead between her eyes. Every little while she
would throw it back by a quick toss of the head.

Tournay took the cup from her outstretched hand, and put it to his lips.
"Marianne," he said in a low tone, "it would be better if you were at
home among your own people."

"Why do you still call me by that name?" she asked in a tone of
suppressed passion. "_My_ home is Paris. _These_ are my people. They
never question who I am nor whence I came. There is not one in La
Thierry who would deal thus with me, unless it be yourself. You took my
hand this morning. And for that I will take yours and call you my
compatriot." Then changing to her usual tone of gayety, she cried aloud,
"Come, compatriot! This has been a glorious day. The people of Paris
have captured their king and are about to take him to Paris. Give us a
toast!"

Tournay felt that what she had said was true. Probably not one of those
who had known Marianne in La Thierry would speak to her should she
return there. He turned to those who stood around the gun. "Friends," he
cried, "I drink to freedom! May all among you who love it as I do live
for it and be ready to die for it." There was a shout as he turned away
and left them, and over his shoulder, looking back, he saw the
demoiselle dancing on the cannon, cup in hand.

He left the crowded part of the city to find some quiet spot as a change
from the noise and tumult of the past two days. Turning a corner he came
face to face with a man whom he had seen among the crowd in the Assembly
hall,--a man of gigantic stature with deep-set eyes. His appearance was
so striking that he could have passed nowhere unnoticed, and even in the
crowded hall Tournay's gaze had returned to him constantly. As they met,
Tournay again looked at him earnestly. The man stopped with the abrupt
question:--

"Why did you come to Versailles?"

"Because," answered Tournay, "when I saw great numbers of people in
Paris starving, and heard of the banqueting here, my blood boiled. This
Flanders regiment, which is feeding fat at the people's cost, must be
sent away. We cannot pause on our way to freedom with the destruction of
the Bastille. The king must come to Paris where the people need him, and
not spend his time here under the influence of a corrupt nobility."

"The king," mused the other; "do you believe in kings?"

"How do you mean?--'Do I believe in kings'?"

"Seventeen years ago," said the giant, "when only a boy, I stood in the
cathedral at Rheims while the coronation of the king was taking place.
I had never seen a king before, and moved by a strong desire to see a
being so exalted, I had walked many leagues to gratify my curiosity.
When I saw a pale-faced stripling kneel before the archbishop to receive
the crown, I could hardly keep from bursting into loud laughter at the
thought that such a puny creature could hold the destiny of a great
nation in his hands. I have often thought of it since, and to this day
it is as absurd as it was then."

"I think a nation should have a king," said Tournay, after a few
moments' thought. "But he should reign in the interests of his people.
And of all the people, not a small part."

"And so you came down here to see that our little king did his duty,"
suggested the large man, smiling.

"I came here, as I have already said, because in my humble way I wanted
to do something for my country."

"For your country?" repeated his companion interrogatively; "for the
people?"

"Yes," answered Tournay, "the people,--the common people, to whom I
belong; those who have never had a voice lifted up to speak for them,
nor a hand to fight their battles."

"There is a voice to speak for them at last," replied the giant, his
eyes shining with a fierce light. "France is full of them. From north to
south, from east to west, they have been called and are answering. In
the Assembly their voices are heard. In every street in Paris their
voices are heard. I can speak for them and I will; aye and fight for
them too," and he lifted his massive arm with a gesture which in its
force seemed to indicate that alone he could fight for and win the
people's cause. "Throughout France there are millions of arms which like
mine are ready to strike down tyranny. Have no fear, my friend. The
nation has found a champion in itself! The people have taken up their
own cause!" The power of the man, his earnestness and energy, stirred
Tournay to the depths of his soul. He looked with admiration at the
lion-like figure standing before him. Then grasping the man's hand he
said with earnestness:--

"I too am one of them,--I may not be of much use, still I am one. Will
you show me how I can be of more service?"

"A stout arm and a brave heart are always worth much," replied the
giant. "I like you, friend; your voice has the true ring in it. And
where Jacques Danton likes he trusts. Come with me and I will tell you
more."



CHAPTER IV

THE "BON PATRIOT"


Colonel Robert Tournay of the Republican army sat over his coffee in the
café of the "Bon Patriot" one December morning in the year 1793 of the
Gregorian Calendar, and the year 2 of the French Republic.

The four years that had passed since the July afternoon, when he first
entered Paris through the southern gate, had been full of stirring
events in which Tournay had taken such an active part as to make the
time equal to many years of an ordinary lifetime,--years which had drawn
lines upon his forehead that are not usual upon the brow of twenty-six.
His figure was considerably heavier, but even more elastic and muscular,
telling of a life of constant bodily exercise.

Shortly after his return to Paris from Versailles on the eventful day
when the Demoiselle de la Liberté, accompanied by her forty thousand,
brought the baker and his family back to their people, Tournay had
enrolled himself in the National Guard to protect Paris and the country
against foreign invasion.

From Paris to the army at the front was the next step, where he served
with such bravery as to gain promotion to his present rank. Promotions
were rapid in those days, and men rose from the lowest social ranks to
the highest military positions, if they proved their fitness by valor
and ability.

By the winter of '93 Tournay had won the shoulder-straps of a colonel,
and had now been sent to Paris by General Hoche with dispatches to the
National Convention. His dispatches had been delivered and he was
waiting impatiently for the reply which he was to take back to the
front. More than eighteen months had passed since he had been in Paris,
and the scenes in the city streets had a new charm for him. It was with
a feeling of pride that he looked out from the windows of the "Bon
Patriot" and saw the active, bustling crowds on the boulevards and
realized that the Republic was an accomplished fact and that he had done
his part toward creating it. And yet there was some sadness mingled with
his pride. Although an ardent Republican he could not sympathize in all
the horrors of the Revolution,--indeed he had been greatly shocked by
them. Yet his long absence from Paris had prevented him from witnessing
the worst phases of the reign of terror, and thus he could not fully
realize them. He was, moreover, first of all, a man of the people. He
had resented from childhood the cruelty and oppressions under which they
had suffered, and his joy at the abolition of unjust laws, his pride in
the assertion of equality for all men, overweighed his regret for the
bloodshed that had accompanied the triumph of their cause and the
gaining of the Republic.

Sitting over his coffee, he recalled his early life at La Thierry. Since
the day of his flight, he had never returned there, and with the
exception of an annual letter from his father, who although a Royalist
could not quite make up his mind to cast off his only son, he had no
communication with the inhabitants of the château. From these occasional
and brief epistles he had learned that the Baron de Rochefort had gone
to England almost at the outbreak of the Revolution. In a more
roundabout way he learned the cause of the baron's departure to be a
secret mission to the Court of St. James on behalf of the tottering
French monarchy. The mission had come to naught; the baron had fallen
ill in London and died there a few months after his arrival.

Edmé, his only child, was therefore left at La Thierry, where she lived
in great seclusion, with Matthieu Tournay still in faithful attendance.
The marriage with the Marquis de Lacheville had never taken place. As
the Revolution progressed and the de Rochefort fortune dwindled, the
marquis's ardor, never at glowing heat, cooled perceptibly, and during
the past two years nothing had been heard of him at the château. It was
thought that he had either gone abroad or was living in seclusion in
Paris.

Tournay had sometimes felt a little anxious as to the safety of
Mademoiselle Edmé and his father, but the letters he received from old
Matthieu were reassuring, and as the place was a secluded one and the
family not known to have shared actively in the royalist cause, his
anxieties had for some time been allayed and he thought of them now as
likely to escape suspicion and to remain there in quiet obscurity.

Tournay was roused from his reverie by the conversation of two men at an
adjoining table, or, more strictly speaking, a man and a boy, for the
younger was not over seventeen years of age. His face was quite innocent
of any beard. On his yellow curls he wore the red nightcap of the
Jacobins and his belt was an arsenal of knives and pistols. Taking up a
glass of beer he blew off the froth with a quick puff of the lips.

"Thus would I blow off the heads of all kings," he said in a voice that
courted attention; "I give you a toast, comrade: death to every tyrant
in Europe."

"I'll drink that toast willingly," answered the other, a big fellow, who
despite his swagger and insolent manner, had a face bearing considerable
traces of good looks. "But I should prefer to drink confusion to each in
a separate glass, seeing that you are standing treat for the day," and
he laughed at his own wit.

"The Revolution does not march quick enough to suit my fancy," he went
on, turning his glass upside down to indicate that it needed
replenishing, and then wiping the froth from the ends of his drooping
brown mustache. "The convention is too slow in its work of purging the
nation. Were it not for Robespierre we should make no progress. Why are
there still aristocrats walking in the broad light of day?"

"Very few come out in the daylight, citizen," remarked the boy. "They
creep out at night generally."

"Well, why are they allowed to live at all, young friend?" said the
elder man, striking the table with his fist.

"Be patient, good Citizen Gonflou; the Committee of Public Safety has
sent out a good batch of arrests within the last twenty-four hours,"
said the lad knowingly. "I have it from my brother, who has been charged
with the execution of one."

"Your brother, Bernard Gardin?" inquired the other as he drained his
glass. "Who is it now?"

"Bernard has gone down to our old home in the village of La Thierry to
arrest a young aristocrat by the name of Edmé de Rochefort," replied the
boy.

"Oh, oh, a woman!" laughed Gonflou. "Well, I'm glad I've not got your
brother's work. I'm too tender-hearted when it comes to be a question of
women."

Tournay uttered an exclamation of surprise. The next instant he tipped
over his coffee-cup with a clatter to cover up the betrayal of interest
in the conversation, and in replacing it, managed to draw his chair
nearer to the two men.

"When did he start?" was the inquiry of Gonflou.

"This morning at six. He will return in four days."

Recovered from the first shock, Tournay's resolution was immediate. Edmé
de Rochefort must be saved from arrest--and from the death that was
almost certain to follow.

He was a man of action, accustomed to think quickly, and he began at
once to devise means to save her. His first thought was of Danton. On
this man's friendship he felt sure he could rely. His ability and
willingness to assist him he resolved to test immediately.

The conversation between the two men at the adjoining table took another
turn and he saw he was likely to hear no more on this subject, so he
rose from his seat and hurried from the café. Ten minutes later he
climbed the dark stairway that led to Danton's lodging. Here he found
the Republican giant in his shirtsleeves,--a short pipe between his
lips, bending over his writing table. He did not look up as Tournay took
a chair at his elbow, but a nod from the massive head showed that he was
aware of his presence.

"Jacques," asked Tournay abruptly, "was an order for the arrest of a
certain Citizeness Edmé de Rochefort signed by the committee last
night?"

Danton looked at him for a moment while he stroked his chin
thoughtfully.

"Hum--de Rochefort? A daughter of the Baron Honoré who went to England
as emissary from the late monarchy? Yes, I believe the woman is to be
arrested," was the reply.

"If I furnish you with abundant reason for it will you have the order
rescinded at once?"

"I cannot," was the answer.

"Is there any other charge against the Citizeness de Rochefort except
that she is the daughter of her father?"

"None that I know of."

"Why arrest a young woman merely because her father went to England as
an emissary of Louis Capet more than three years ago?"

Danton shrugged his shoulders. Tournay continued.

"In view of the length of time which has elapsed, in view of the
absolute lack of result from the baron's mission, in view of the youth
and innocence of this girl, will you not endeavor to have this order
rescinded?"

"Why do you desire it so strongly?" demanded Danton, laying down his pen
for the first time.

"Because I have known her from a child. I was born on the de Rochefort
estate," was the prompt reply.

"Is that all?" asked Danton.

"No, it is not the only reason. I abhor this dragging of the weak and
innocent into the political whirlpool. We do not need to make war upon
women. I have protested against this before now, and I tell you again
that we are disgracing the Republic by the crimes committed in its name.
You are all-powerful with the masses, Jacques, your voice is always
listened to,--why do you not put an end to the atrocities, which instead
of decreasing, are growing worse daily? Where is your eloquence? Where
is your power? How can you sit passively by and see these horrors? Are
they done with your sanction? Can it be that a man with your strength
can take a pleasure in crushing the weak and defenseless?"

"Would to God that I had the power to stop it," cried Danton. "Do you
think that I take pleasure in the arrest of innocent young women? Do you
think that it is with delight that I see our prisons crowded with
thousands whose only crime is to have been born among the aristocrats?"
He rose and paced the floor savagely. "You talk of my power with the
people. You say they listen to my voice. To keep that power I must
remain in advance. If once I lag behind it is gone forever. We have
given life to this terrible creature the Revolution, and we must march
before it. If we falter it will crush us too."

"Let it crush us then," cried Tournay, springing to his feet. "I will no
longer be driven by it."

Danton looked at him a moment with kindly eyes, then shook his head and
said mournfully: "And France, what would she do without me? All I have
done has been done for her sake. And I do not regret what has been
done," he continued, resuming his former manner. "No, when I see what we
have done I regret nothing. That the innocent have perished, I know, and
I deplore it. That the innocent must still perish is inevitable. But
what is the blood of a few thousand to wash out the cruelty of ages?
What are the cries of a few compared with the groans of millions
throughout the centuries! Even now the allied armies of all Europe are
thundering at the doors of France. We cannot pause now. They have dared
us to the combat, and in return, as gage of battle, we have hurled them
down the bleeding head of a king. We must go on."

Then sinking into his seat, he said quietly, "No, Robert, my friend, let
Robespierre and his followers have their way in these small matters for
a little while longer. What are the lives of a few peachy-cheeked girls
weighed against the destiny of a nation?" And he took up his pen.

Tournay sat in silent thought for a few minutes. He saw that it would be
useless to say more. After Danton's pen had labored heavily over a few
pages, he exclaimed, "Jacques!"

"Well?"

"Will you procure me a passport from the Committee of Public Safety
which will take me to the German frontier?"

"Are you going to run away?" asked Danton, still busy over his work.

"Whatever happens, I shall never leave France," replied Tournay quietly.

"Very well," said Danton, ringing a bell. "I never shall suspect your
patriotism, but there are those who might if you talked to them as you
have to me."

As his secretary appeared in answer to the summons, he took up a sheet
of paper to write the order.

"Make it for Colonel Robert Tournay and wife," said Tournay carelessly,
leaning over his shoulder.

Danton looked up at him suddenly. "I did not know you were married," he
said.

Tournay made no reply.

Danton wrote a few lines rapidly. "Take this to the secretary of the
Committee of Public Safety," he said to his clerk, "and return with an
answer in half an hour."

In less than that time the man returned with the information that the
secretary was away and would not return until two o'clock that
afternoon.

"Will that do?" asked Danton, turning to Tournay.

"And it is now ten," said Tournay rather impatiently. "It will have to
do, I am afraid."

"I will send it to your lodgings the moment it comes in," said Danton,
resuming his work.

"Very well, do so, and many thanks. If I am not there have it left with
the friend who shares my lodgings." Tournay quitted the office and
hastened home, stopping on the way at a stable where his horse was
quartered, to give instructions that the animal be saddled and brought
to his door without delay.

Reaching his house, he ran up the four flights of stairs that led to the
little suite of rooms which he was sharing with his friend Gaillard.

Gaillard was a versatile fellow; he had been a poet, an actor, and a
journalist. Sometimes the one and sometimes the other, as inclination
prompted or destiny decreed.

Shortly after Tournay's first arrival at Paris, he had met Gaillard, who
was then a journalist, at a public meeting. The chance acquaintance led
to friendship. He had found the young writer in some financial straits
and had rendered him such assistance as his own slender purse could
afford.

Gaillard, who never forgot the favor, was devoted to his friend. He
watched his career as a soldier with interest and pride, and now that
Tournay had come to Paris for a few days, Gaillard had insisted that his
small chambers should have the honor of sheltering the gallant officer
of the Republic.

Gaillard was at present amusing crowds nightly at the Theatre of the
Republic, where he was playing a series of comedy rôles.

It was with satisfaction that Tournay, as he ascended the stairs, heard
Gaillard's voice in the room, repeating the lines of his part for that
evening's performance.

"Well, my brave colonel, how goes the convention to-day?" said Gaillard,
as Tournay entered the room. "Has the Tribunal done me the honor to
request that I be shaved by the guillotine?"

"I have not been to the convention to-day. Other business has
prevented," replied Tournay, going into his bedroom and taking a pair of
pistols from his wardrobe.

"No? then I must wait until I get to the club before I learn the exact
number of the nobility who are to patronize the national razor to-day."

"Are you in the piece for to-night, Gaillard?" asked Tournay, hardly
hearing what his friend was saying.

"I am."

"That's unfortunate, for I wanted to ask a great service of you," said
Tournay, as he proceeded to clean and load the weapon.

"Tell me what it is; I may be able to help you."

"I am going at once to La Thierry."

"La Thierry?" inquired Gaillard.

"Yes. It is my birthplace. I am going there on an important errand. I
must start instantly. I cannot even wait for a paper which is to be sent
to me here by Danton. I am perfectly willing to let you know that it is
a passport to the frontier, for myself and one other. The paper will not
arrive until two o'clock, several hours after I am on the way. I must
have a swift messenger follow with it and join me at the inn in the
village of La Thierry."

"I will see that this is done," replied Gaillard. "Is that all?"

"That is all," said Tournay, hurrying from the room. On the threshold he
turned. "Are you positive that you will be able to find a trustworthy
messenger? Failure would be fatal."

"I swear to you to have it there," cried Gaillard, lifting up his arm
and striking a dramatic attitude.

Tournay knew that, despite his apparent frivolity, Gaillard possessed
not only a loyal heart, but a clear head, and he felt that he could
trust him thoroughly. Much relieved in mind, he descended the stairway
and sprang upon his horse at the door. Since leaving Danton he had been
thinking out a plan which he hoped would successfully save Mademoiselle
Edmé de Rochefort, but to carry it into effect he must reach La Thierry
before Gardin. So putting spurs to his horse, he dashed through the
streets at a pace which threatened the lives of a number of the good
citizens. In a short time he was out of the gates, galloping along the
road toward La Thierry at a tremendous pace. Then suddenly recollecting
that the road to be traveled was a long one, he drew a tighter rein on
his horse and slackened his speed.

"Thou must restrain thy ardor," he said, leaning forward and stroking
the sleek neck of the animal affectionately; "thou hast a long journey
before thee and must not break down under it."

At ten o'clock that night he drew up before the inn at Vallières, just
half the distance to La Thierry. He reluctantly saw that his horse had
entirely given out. As for himself, he would have gone on if he could
have obtained a fresh beast. He looked critically at those in the stable
of the inn, and realized that with four hours' rest his own horse would
bring him to his journey's end more readily than any of the sorry
animals the landlord had to offer. Having come to this decision he threw
himself fully dressed on a bed for a short sleep. He slept until two in
the morning. Then, after a hasty cup of coffee, he was again in the
saddle and continuing his journey.

He rode steadily on with the advancing day, passing some travelers, none
of whom he recognized. At noon he entered the village of Amand. Thence
there were two roads to La Thierry. One, the more direct, led to the
right over the hill; the other, to the left and along the river, was the
longer but the better road. If his horse had been fresh, Tournay would
have taken the short-cut, going over hill and dale at a gallop, but his
tired beast decided him to choose the river road.

Toward the end of the afternoon he saw in the distance the spire of the
church of La Thierry. He felt positive by this time that Gardin must
have taken the upper road or he should have overtaken him before this,
so rapidly had he traveled.

Every step of the way was familiar to him. Every bend in the river,
every stone by the wayside was associated with his boyhood. Just before
he came to the village of La Thierry, he left the main road and turning
to the right followed a lane that made a short cut to the château de
Rochefort. It was about two miles long and in summer was an archway of
shaded trees and full of refreshment. Now the branches were bare, and
the flying feet of his steed sank to the fetlocks in the carpet of damp,
dead leaves.

As he approached the château on the right he heard a sound that caused
him to draw rein in consternation. Springing from his horse he fastened
him to a sapling by the wayside, seized his pistols from his holsters,
and hurried forward on foot. At every step he took the sounds grew
louder. There was no mistaking their meaning.

The lane terminated about a hundred yards from the house. Tournay threw
himself flat upon the earth and working his way to a place where he was
sheltered by the overhanging branches of some hemlock trees, looked
cautiously out toward the château.

An attack was being made on the château at the front. Half a score of
men armed with clubs and various other weapons were endeavoring to break
down the iron-studded oaken door. A gigantic figure with shirt open to
the waist, whom Tournay recognized as the blacksmith of La Thierry, was
dealing blow after blow in rapid succession with a huge sledge-hammer.
The door, which had been built to resist a siege during the religious
wars of the sixteenth century, groaned and trembled under the blows of
the mighty Vulcan, but still held fast to the hinges. A man, standing a
little apart from the others and directing their movements, Tournay knew
to be Gardin. Seeing that they were making little headway, the latter
ordered his men to desist, evidently to form a more definite plan of
attack. In the mean time Tournay was working along the line of the
hemlocks towards the rear of the house. Suddenly three or four men
detached themselves from the attacking party and approached him. Fearing
that he had been discovered, he lay perfectly quiet. He soon saw that
they were making for the trunk of a sturdy ash-tree which had been
recently felled by a stroke of lightning. This they soon stripped of its
branches, and hewing off about thirty feet of the trunk they bore it
back on their shoulders with shouts of triumph. Here was a battering-ram
which would clear a way for them.

Seeing them again occupied with the assault, Tournay continued to crawl
cautiously along the edge of the grove until he was in a line with the
rear buildings. Here were the servants' rooms, the business offices of
the estate, and at one corner the office and the rooms occupied by
Matthieu Tournay, the steward. This, the oldest part of the building,
was covered thick with old ivy, by whose gnarled and twisted roots he
had climbed often, when a boy, to the little chamber in the roof which
had been his own. From this he knew well how to reach the apartments in
the main building. The repeated blows of the ash-tree against the doors
warned him that they could not resist the attack much longer. He climbed
quickly up until he reached the well-known little window under the
eaves. Dashing it open with his fist he swung himself into the
attic-room which he had known so well in his boyhood.



CHAPTER V

A BROKEN DOOR


"Open, in the name of the Republic."

No answer.

Crash! Crash! Blow followed blow upon the door of the old château.

"Again, citizens, once again! Brasseur! bring fagots, we'll fire the old
trap. Forgons, take this sledge-hammer in your big hands. At it,
man!--we'll soon have the lair of the aristocrats down about their ears.
Defour, Haillons, and you others, take up that ash-tree and let it
strike in the same place as before."

Amid a pandemonium of shouts and curses the blows continued to rain upon
the iron-studded outer door of the château de Rochefort, and the tree,
used as a battering-ram, poised upon the shoulders of a dozen men, was
dashed forward with a force that made the hinge-bolts start from their
sockets and the oaken panels fill the air with splinters.

The besieged had taken refuge in one of the large salons on the second
floor. There were only four of them: an old man, a priest, and two
women.

"They have nearly forced the outer door," cried old Matthieu Tournay,
wiping the perspiration from his brow with trembling hand.

"But the inner one," exclaimed the priest, laying his hand on Matthieu's
arm. "How long will that keep them off?"

"They'll break through that easily. Nothing can save us now; we are all
lost," replied the old man.

"May the Blessed Virgin preserve us from the monsters," murmured the
priest, looking towards the woman.

Edmé de Rochefort stood near the window. The terrifying sounds which
echoed through the lower part of the building would have unnerved her,
had not anger supplied a sustaining force, and brought a deep flush to
supplant the pallor on her cheeks. The spirit of her race was roused
within her. Had she been a man she would have charged alone, sword in
hand, against the mob; but being only a woman she stood waiting the
issue. Trembling slightly, she stood with her small hands clenched and
white teeth firmly set. At her elbow was Agatha, her maid. She was paler
than her mistress, but it was not for herself she feared. Her devotion
made her fear more for Edmé's safety than for her own.

As the shouts redoubled Edmé saw the two old men turn, pallid and
trembling, towards her.

"They seek me only," she said resolutely. "Why should I endanger your
lives by remaining here? I will go to meet them!"

"You shall not go!" cried Agatha, placing herself in front of her
mistress.

"It can only be a question of a few minutes at the longest. Let me go,
Agatha."

"Listen," cried the priest, "they are in the house! They are coming up
the stairway now!"

"No," cried old Matthieu, "I can still hear them down there in the
courtyard."

Nevertheless a quick footstep was heard approaching from the corridor.
The portières at the further end of the room were thrown apart, and a
man, wearing the uniform of the Republican army, entered the salon.

"Robert!" came in a glad cry from old Tournay's lips.

Tournay did not wait to exchange words with his father, but approached
Edmé.

"I have ridden from Paris to prevent your arrest, mademoiselle; thank
God I have arrived in time. Only do as I direct and I shall be able to
save you."

"How are we to know that we can trust you?" she said, looking at him
fixedly.

He caught his breath as if unprepared for such a question. "You _must_
trust me, mademoiselle."

Edmé laughed scornfully.

The color which rose to his cheek showed that her laugh cut even deeper
than her words.

"Mademoiselle," he began, "if you"--

She interrupted him passionately. "Are not those men below who seek to
destroy my château your friends? They have been clamoring for admittance
in the name of the Republic." And she looked significantly at the
tricolored cockade in his hat.

"And because I am a Republican and wear the uniform of the nation do
you really think that I could have anything in common with those
ruffians? You do me great injustice; I am here with one object, to
protect this household."

Edmé continued to look steadily at him.

"You say nothing, mademoiselle. You condemn me by your silence. I will
prove to you how deeply you wrong me even if it take my life. I would
give that gladly only to prove it to you. But there is more than my life
at stake. There is your safety--and the safety of these, your servants.
My father--mademoiselle!"

Edmé's look softened a little as she answered:--

"Although since you left our house we have only thought of you as an
enemy, still I believe your father's son would be incapable of
treachery. As for saving us, listen to the mob below. One man is
helpless against so many."

"I can save you--but it depends upon yourself. No matter what I may say
or do, you must trust me implicitly."

"Oh! do as my son says, mademoiselle!" interposed old Matthieu, joining
his hands beseechingly. "For your sake, for all our sakes, listen to and
be guided by him."

"If you can really protect us in this dreadful hour I should be guilty
if I risked the lives of those who have faithfully remained at my side,
by refusing your aid. I will follow your father's and your counsel,"
said Edmé quietly.

"Is the door of the salon barred?" asked Tournay of his father.

"With such slight fastenings as we have," answered the old man.

"See that it is fast," said Tournay. "It will give us a few minutes.
Then listen to me."

There was a crash--louder than any that had yet been heard, and the mob
poured into the lower part of the château.

Here they paused for a moment to recover breath and wipe the
perspiration from their brows. Then some of the party began again their
work of destruction among the pieces of furniture, while others brought
up wine from the cellar to refresh themselves and their thirsty
companions.

Gardin, anxious only to make the arrest, stormed at this slight delay.

"Cannot you leave your wine until your work is done, citizens?" he
called out impatiently. "The aristocrat is above stairs--follow me!"

Through the large hall of the château and up the broad staircase, on the
heels of their leader, swarmed the mob, yelling and cursing.

Gardin and Forgons, like bloodhounds who scent their prey, made direct
for the door of the great salon, where the little party awaited them.
Gardin shook the door violently, then threw himself against it to force
an entrance.

"Here, citizen, we have already proven that two pair of shoulders are
better than one at that game," laughed Forgons, adding his strength to
that of Gardin. Under their combined weight the door yielded with a
suddenness that precipitated both men into the room,--Gardin on his
hands and face while Forgons fell over him,--and the two rolled
together in the middle of the floor. Amid a shout of rough laughter from
the men in the rear the two leaders regained their feet.

The scowl on Gardin's face vanished in a look of astonishment when he
found himself face to face with a man in the uniform of a colonel of the
French army.

Matthieu and the old priest had retreated to the corner of the room at
their entrance. Beside the chimney-piece stood Edmé de Rochefort. The
sight of the frenzied mob, the knowledge that it was her arrest alone
they sought; the shrinking dread which the thought of their rude touch
inspired, made her heart sink with sickening terror. Yet beyond
trembling slightly, she gave no sign of fear.

Gardin had expected to find a frightened girl, surrounded possibly by a
few servants who remained faithful. The sight of Tournay's tall figure,
his resolute face, above all his uniform, standing between him and the
object of his search, made him hesitate.

"There she is! That's the aristocrat!" exclaimed Forgons, as Gardin
hesitated. "Let me get my hands upon her." He rushed forward, but before
he could touch Edmé, Tournay pushed him backward with a force that sent
him reeling into the group of men behind.

"A thousand devils," cried Forgons, when he regained his equilibrium,
"what is the meaning of this, citizen colonel? Are you defending the
little aristocrat?"

"Keep back, will you, Forgons," interposed Gardin, fearing that his
dignity as leader would be usurped. "Leave me to manage this affair. I
am here," he said, addressing Colonel Tournay, "to apprehend the person
of an aristocrat, and shall brook no interference on the part of any
one."

"Let me look at your warrant," demanded Tournay, in a tone of authority.

"I am not obliged to show that to you," replied Gardin doggedly.

"Let me see it, I say!" was the determined rejoinder.

Gardin slowly drew a document from the breast of his coat and handed it
over with a sullen "Well, there's no harm in your seeing it."

Tournay read it carefully. Then folding it up with great deliberation he
returned it.

"It seems quite regular."

"Regular," repeated Gardin, with a laugh,--"well, I like that. Of course
it's quite regular,--signed and stamped by the Committee of Public
Safety." Then with a show of mock politeness: "Now if the citizen colonel
will condescend to step aside I will conduct this young citizeness from
the room."

"That order of arrest calls for a certain citizeness de Rochefort, does
it not?" asked Tournay, without moving.

"Certainly it does. The Citizeness Edmé de Rochefort who stands there,
right behind you."

"You will not find her here," replied Tournay.

"None of your jests with me, citizen colonel; why, as I said before,
she's standing behind you. I should know her for an aristocrat by the
proud look on her face if I had not seen her a hundred times here in La
Thierry."

"This is not Citizeness de Rochefort."

"That's a lie," replied Gardin bluntly, "and in any case she is the
woman I am going to arrest."

"That woman is Citizeness Tournay, my wife. You cannot arrest her on
that warrant, Citizen Gardin."

As the colonel spoke these words, which he did slowly and deliberately,
Mademoiselle de Rochefort drew a quick, short breath.

"It is a trick," cried Gardin savagely; "you are trying to save her by a
subterfuge."

Tournay repeated coolly, "She is my wife, and I am Robert Tournay,
colonel in the Army of the Moselle. Again I advise you not to try to
arrest her without a warrant."

"And I say again it is a lying trick," cried Gardin, beside himself with
rage. "You cannot save your aristocratic sweetheart this way, citizen
colonel. The Republic demands her arrest and I mean to take her."

"Citizen Ambrose," said Tournay, turning to the priest, "is not this
woman my wife?"

"Most certainly," said the old priest, coming forward with dignity;
"this lady is Madame Robert Tournay."

"Madame!" cried Gardin, repeating the word in a rage. "There are no
ladies in France now, and all priests are liars. This is a trick, and
you, citizen colonel, shall answer for it. Out of my way!" He grasped
Tournay by the lapel of his coat, and twisting his fingers into the
cloth endeavored to force the colonel to one side. There was a sharp
struggle, then Tournay threw him off with such violence as to send him
staggering across the room. His head struck the sharp edge of a mahogany
cabinet as he reeled backward, and he rolled senseless to the floor.

With a shout of rage at the assault upon their leader the mob rushed
forward to close about Tournay. But he was too quick for them; the
muzzles of a pair of pistols met them as they advanced, one covering
Forgons, who was in front, the other leveled at the men behind him.

The mob cowered and fell back a little. Clubs, hammers, and knives were
their only weapons, which they still brandished threateningly. If
Tournay had shown the least sign of flinching he would have fallen the
next moment, beaten and crushed to death. He advanced a step forward.
Before the threatening muzzles of the steadily-aimed pistols, the men
recoiled still further, and were quiet for a moment. Tournay seized the
opportunity to speak.

"This fellow," he cried in a loud voice, pointing to Gardin, "has dared
to lay hands upon an officer of the Republican army. In doing so he has
insulted the nation and deserves death. Is there any man here who would
repeat this insult?"

The mob, taken by surprise, looked at their fallen leader and then at
the two shining pistol-barrels that confronted them, and remained
irresolute. Tournay thought he heard Edmé catch her breath quickly when
the answer from the mob drowned everything.

"No, no! There are none here who would insult the nation!"

"Citizens, I am of the people, like yourselves. I am also a soldier of
France. I have fought its battles, I wear its colors. See!" he went on,
taking off his hat and pointing to the tricolor cockade--"here is the
tricolor. If you do not respect that, you insult the Republic. Is there
any one here who would dare to insult the Republic?"

"No, no!" came in quick response. "Long live the Republic!"

"But all who wear the tricolor are not our friends," muttered Forgons
uneasily.

"Citizens," continued Tournay, affecting not to hear, "Gardin has no
warrant to arrest this woman, who is not an aristocrat, since she has
become my wife, the Citizeness Tournay. As for Gardin, he has insulted
the Republic. He has forfeited the right to lead you. In the name of the
Republic I appoint you, Forgons, the secretary of this section. To-night
I return to Paris and will see that the confirmation of your appointment
is sent you at once. Now, citizens, take up this fellow," he said,
pointing to Gardin. "He shows signs of returning consciousness. A little
cold water pumped over his head will bring him back to life. Come,
follow me, I will be your leader for the present."

The mob took up the body and bore it off, cheering loudly for the
Republic. Forgons went with them slowly, shaking his head, with a
puzzled expression on his face.



CHAPTER VI

A MAN AND A MARQUIS


Colonel Tournay accompanied the crowd of zealous Republicans who had
been the followers of Gardin, until he saw them dispersed to their
various homes or noisily installed in the wine-room of the village inn.
Then he rapidly retraced his steps to the château.

He found Mademoiselle Rochefort seated in the salon, contemplating half
mournfully, half disdainfully, the evidences of the mob's incursion,
which surrounded her in the shape of costly pieces of furniture from the
drawing-room, now marred and broken; and bottles from the wine cellars,
shattered and strewn upon the floor.

She did not make any movement as Tournay entered the room, but seemed
occupied with her own thoughts; and for a few moments he stood in
silence, hesitating to speak, as if the communication he had to make
required more tact and diplomacy than for the moment he felt himself
master of.

Finally, approaching her, he said: "Mademoiselle, the immediate danger
is past. You have nothing to fear for the present. As soon as you have
recovered sufficiently I would like to speak with you."

She let her hand drop from her forehead and looked up at him. Her face
was very pale, but she was quite composed and the voice was firm with
which she answered:--

"I am able to hear you now, Robert Tournay."

He drew a sigh of relief. "She has the de Rochefort spirit," he thought.

"All is quiet now," he said. "But when Gardin fully recovers
consciousness I fear he will excite his followers to further violence.
It will be unsafe for you to remain here." As she did not answer, he
continued,--"I have made arrangements, mademoiselle, to conduct you to
the German frontier. Can you prepare to accompany me at once?"

"I am prepared to leave here at once--but--I cannot go with you. It is
better that I go alone," Mademoiselle de Rochefort replied.

"Alone! It would be folly in you to attempt it. Do you suppose that I
could stand quietly by and see you incur such a danger?"

Mademoiselle de Rochefort's eyes, at all other times so frank and
fearless, did not meet his earnest gaze; she answered him hastily, as
one who would have an unpleasant interview come to a speedy end:--

"You have saved me from a great danger. Believe me, I am not ungrateful.
You have already done too much. I cannot accept anything more from you.
Pray leave me now to go my own way."

"That is impossible, mademoiselle; I shall only leave you when you are
across the frontier. Traveling as my wife, under the passports that I
have secured, the journey can be made in comparative safety, provided
always that we start in time."

At the words "my wife" Mademoiselle de Rochefort started, but she only
repeated:--

"I cannot go with you."

"But," ejaculated Tournay, "I don't understand; it was agreed"--

She looked up at him. "I agreed to permit you to tell those wretches
that I was your wife, Father Ambrose, your father, and you, all
protesting that it was the only way to prevent them from destroying the
château and those within it. But you also said that the marriage would
not be considered valid, and as soon as the danger was over you would go
away."

"I said," answered Tournay quietly, "that I should in no way consider
the marriage valid; that when I had once taken you to a place of safety
I should leave you. But until then I shall remain by your side."

"Some one said you would go away at once, either your father or the
priest, and so I yielded. Now you tell me I must go away with you,
and"--she hesitated at the words, "be known as your wife."

"But no one will know who you are," said Tournay earnestly. "The
carriage will be a closed one--you shall have Agatha with you. No one
shall be allowed to intrude upon you. Three or four days will bring us
to the frontier. As soon as you are there, and in the care of some of
your friends who have already emigrated, I will leave you. Cannot you
trust me three days?" he asked sorrowfully.

"I cannot go with you," she repeated. "You are of the Republic--I have
already accepted too much from your hands. Can I forget that those hands
which you now stretch out to aid me have helped to tear down a throne?
that like all the Republicans, you share the guilt of a king's murder?"

"I am only guilty of loving France more than the king. I did help to
destroy a monarchy, but it was to build up a Republic."

"Then, instead of aiding, you should denounce me. I am of the Monarchy
and I hate your Republic," she said defiantly. "I will accept protection
from one of my own order or trust to God and my own efforts to preserve
me."

"Where are those of your own order?" demanded Tournay bitterly. "They
are scattered like leaves. Some have taken refuge in England or in
Prussia. Some are hiding here in France. Your own class fail you in the
time of need."

"They do not fail," cried Edmé. "If none are here it is because they are
risking their lives elsewhere for our unhappy and hopeless cause; or
languishing in your Republican prisons where so many of the chivalry of
France lie awaiting death."

As if the thought goaded her to desperation she added fiercely, "Where I
will join them rather than purchase my freedom at the price you
propose."

"Mademoiselle," said Tournay calmly but with great firmness, "listen to
reason. There is no time for lengthy explanation. I am actuated only by
a desire for your safety. You must accompany me hence. I shall take you
away with me."

Edmé arose and confronted him with a look of scorn. "I stood here a
short time ago," she said, "and before all that rabble heard myself
proclaimed your wife; I, Edmé de Rochefort, called a wife of a
Republican--one of their number. Oh, the shame of it! What would my
father have said if he had heard that I owed my life to a man steeped in
the blood of the Revolution? That his daughter consented to be called
the wife of her steward's son! a man of ignoble birth, a servant"--

"Stop!" cried Tournay, the blood mounting to his forehead. "Stop! It is
true that those of my blood have served your family for generations. It
was one of my blood, I have heard it told, who in days gone by gave up
his life for one of your ancestors upon the field of battle. Was that
ignoble? My father served yours faithfully during a long life; was that
ignoble? So have I, in my turn, served you. I was born to the position,
but I served you proudly, not ignobly. In speaking thus, you wrong
yourself more than you do me, mademoiselle."

[Illustration: "STOP!" CRIED TOURNAY]

The suddenness of his outburst silenced her. He saw that her bosom
heaved convulsively. He could not guess the conflicting emotions in her
breast; her pride struggling with her gratitude; her horror and
detestation of the Republic contending with her admiration for his brave
bearing in the face of danger; but as he looked at her, slight and
girlish, standing there before him with flushed cheeks, as he saw the
fire flash in her eyes although her hands trembled, he realized keenly
how young, how defenseless she was, and his sudden burst of anger
subsided. Her very pride moved him to pity by its impotence, and his
heart yearned to be permitted to protect her from all the dangers which
threatened her.

In a voice that trembled with emotion he went on:--

"Mademoiselle, I have known you since you were a child, and I have
served you faithfully. Your wishes, your caprices have been my law. It
was no galling servitude to me, mademoiselle, for mine was a service of
love." He uttered the last words almost in a whisper, then stopped
suddenly, as if the avowal had slipped from his lips unwittingly.

Mademoiselle de Rochefort started; while he spoke she had turned away;
so he could not see her face, but he could imagine the look of disdain
and scorn with which she had listened.

"Yes, I dared to love you," he continued. "I never meant to tell you,
but now that the avowal has slipped from my lips I would have you know
that I always loved you. That is why I am here now, pleading with you,
not for your love, for that I know never can be mine, but for your
safety, your life." She remained silent, and he continued, speaking
rapidly,--"You have said that a king's blood is upon my hands. His death
was necessary and I do not regret it." Edmé shuddered and letting
herself sink back into a chair sat there with her head resting on her
hand, while she still kept her face turned from him. "I do not regret
it, because it has given us the Republic. I glory in the Republic which
has made me your equal." Bending over her, he said in a low voice, "I
love you and am worthy of your love. Mademoiselle, listen to me. Come
with me while there is yet time. Give me but the right to be your
protector. I will protect you as the man guards the object of his
purest, his deepest affection." In his fervor he bent over her until his
lips almost touched her hair. "I will win a name that even you will be
proud to own. Edmé, come with me. It is the love of years that speaks to
you thus--Come!" and he took her hand in his. As his fingers closed upon
hers she sprang to her feet.

"Do not touch me," she cried, with a tone almost of terror. "I will hear
no more. I cannot bear it. I cannot bear to see you. Go! for the love of
heaven, leave me."

For a moment Tournay stood still. Her words wounded him to the quick,
yet as they stabbed deepest, he loved her the more. Without speaking
again he turned and left her. As he descended the stairs and passed out
through the broken doorway he vowed within himself that despite her
pride, despite what she might say or do, he would yet find means to
save her.

An hour passed, and Edmé remained in the salon where Tournay had left
her. The spirit she had shown a short time before seemed much subdued.
Darkness had settled down over the room, and she felt herself alone and
deserted. A current of air, coming through the broken doorway, swept up
the stairs into the apartment, chilling her with its cold breath. She
wondered what had become of Father Ambrose and old Matthieu, and whether
Agatha had deserted her. Yet she did not seek for them. Indeed, she did
not know where to find them, for the house had all the silence of
emptiness.

She tried to plan what she should do in case she had been entirely
abandoned, but her brain, usually so active, seemed benumbed. She could
not think. Conscious that she must shake off this feeling of
helplessness, she was about to rise and go in search of a light, when
she heard a footstep outside in the corridor. "Agatha has come back,"
she thought, and stepped forward to meet her maid. The sound of
footsteps approached until they reached the door of the salon; there
they seemed to hesitate.

Edmé was on the point of calling Agatha by name, when the door was
pushed open and a man entered and passed stealthily across the floor of
the salon into the ante-chamber without noticing her presence. Edmé
thrust her hand over her mouth to stifle the cry that was upon her
lips.

The man was evidently familiar with the surroundings, for almost
immediately the light of a candle shone out from the ante-room, throwing
a faint glow upon the polished floor of the salon. Edmé had seen him
very imperfectly in the darkness. She was uncertain whether he was one
of the mob, returned alone for plunder, or one of the lackeys of her
household who had got the better of his terror and returned to the
château.

Unable to bear the suspense, she advanced toward the door of the
ante-room. Her heart beat rapidly as she placed her hand upon the door,
which had been left ajar. She hesitated one moment, then summoning up
the courage that had sustained her during the whole of that terrible
afternoon, she boldly pushed the door open and looked into the room. To
her amazement she saw, bending over a cabinet, her cousin, the Marquis
de Lacheville. The marquis held a candle in one hand while he searched
hurriedly for something in the drawer of the cabinet. In his haste and
anxiety he threw out the contents of each drawer as he opened it till
the floor was littered with papers. So intent was he upon his search
that he did not hear Edmé's approach.

"Monsieur de Lacheville!" she said in a low tone. Upon hearing his name,
the marquis uttered a cry like that of a hunted animal, and turning,
confronted her.

"Mademoiselle de Rochefort, you here! How you startled me!" he
exclaimed, endeavoring to control himself; but his knees shook, and his
lips twitched nervously.

"Your coming gave me a start also, monsieur. You glided across the floor
of the salon so like a phantom, I did not know who it was, nor what to
think."

"I have just arrived from Paris, where I have been in hiding for
months," he stammered. "Upon seeing the doors all battered down and the
frightful disorder in the lower halls, I thought the château must be
deserted and that you had sought some place of refuge. Knowing that in
times past the baron, your father, was in the habit of keeping money in
this old secretary, I have been ransacking it from top to bottom. I have
need of a considerable sum; but I find nothing here--not a sou."

Edmé noticed that his dress was in great disorder and that his face was
pale and haggard. Every few moments he put up his hand in an attempt to
stop the nervous twitching of the mouth which he seemed unable to
control.

"My nerves have been much shaken lately," he said, as she looked at him
with wonder. And then he laughed discordantly. The sound of the
mirthless laughter, accompanied by no change in the expression of his
face, was painful to Edmé's ears.

"I have been pursued," he said, "hunted in Paris like a dog, but I have
given them the slip; they shall not overtake me now." The wild look in
his eyes became more intense. "I am going to leave France; I have a
friend whom I can trust waiting for me near at hand. Together in
disguise we are going to the frontier--either to Belgium or Germany. We
shall be safe there. But I must have some more money, money for our
journey." His fear had so bereft him of his reason that he apparently
forgot the presence of his cousin, the mistress of the house, and turned
once more to the old writing-desk to recommence his search with feverish
haste.

"To Germany!" cried Edmé joyfully. "You are going to Germany? then you
can take me with you. We can leave this unhappy blood-stained country
for a land of law and order."

The marquis turned upon her sharply.

"Why did not your father take you with him to England?" he demanded.

"Why? You have no need to ask the question. He went upon some secret
business for King Louis. He went away unexpectedly. When he left he
imagined that I, a woman, living in quiet seclusion, would be perfectly
safe, notwithstanding the disordered state of the country even at that
time."

"Can you not find a place of refuge with some friend here in France?"
asked de Lacheville. "The journey I am about to undertake will be full
of danger and fatigue."

"I am not afraid of danger," replied Edmé, "and as for fatigue, I am
strong and able to support it."

"But," persisted de Lacheville, "if you could find some suitable refuge
here it would be so much better."

"I cannot," retorted Edmé, in a decided tone of voice, "and I prefer to
accompany you to Germany, although it seems to me that you offer your
escort somewhat reluctantly."

"The fact is, Cousin Edmé," replied the marquis, "I cannot take you with
me. Alone, my escape will be difficult; with you it will be impossible."

Edmé looked at him for a moment with open-eyed wonder, then she repeated
the word. "Impossible! Do you mean to tell me that you, a kinsman, are
going to leave me here to meet whatever fate may befall me, while you
save yourself by flight?"

"No, no, you do not understand me," the marquis replied, his pale face
flushing. "It is for your own sake that I cannot take you. It will mean
almost certain capture. If, as I said before, you could remain in some
place of safety in France for a little while"--

"I am ready to run whatever risk you do," replied the girl coolly. "When
do you start?"

"Mademoiselle, this is madness," exclaimed de Lacheville, pacing the
floor. "Can you not listen to reason?"

The sound of shouting in the distance caused him to stop suddenly and
run to the window. The candle had burned down to the socket and went out
with a few last feeble flickers. The cries of Gardin's ruffians were
borne to him on the wind.

The slight composure which he had managed to regain during his talk with
Edmé left him again, and he turned toward her, the trembling, shaking
coward that he was when she had first discovered him.

"Do you hear that?" he whispered, his hand shaking as he put it to his
lips.

"I have heard it in this very room to-day," replied Edmé, looking at him
with disdain.

"They are coming here again," he whispered hoarsely. "But they shall not
find me," he exclaimed fiercely, clenching his fist and shaking it in a
weak menace toward the spot whence the sound came. "I have a swift horse
in the courtyard beneath. In an hour I shall be safe from them," and he
prepared to leave the room.

The ordeal of the afternoon had told on Edmé's nerves and the thought of
being left alone again made her desperate.

"You shall not leave me here alone," she cried, seizing his arm. "You
were born a man--behave like one. Devise some means to take me from this
place at once. Do not leave me alone to face those wretches again, or I
shall believe you are a coward."

De Lacheville roughly released himself from her grasp.

"I care not what you think of me," he snarled. "It is each for himself.
I cannot imperil my safety for a woman. I must escape." And he rushed
from the room.

She heard the crunching of his horses' feet upon the gravel, and going
to the window saw him ride rapidly away. The remembrance of the young
Republican leader offering to risk his life for her, and the cowering
figure of her cousin, indifferent to all but his own safety, flashed
before her in quick contrast. She turned away from the window to find
herself in the arms of Agatha, who had at that moment returned.

"Agatha," she exclaimed, "do your hear those hoof-beats? Monsieur de
Lacheville is running away. He, a nobleman, is a coward and flies from
danger, while another man, a Republican--oh, Agatha, Agatha, what are we
to do? whom are we to believe; in whom should we trust?"

"Calm yourself, mademoiselle," replied Agatha, "and think only of what I
have to tell you. Listen to me closely. We must leave at once. I have a
plan of flight. I have been making a few hurried preparations."

"True, Agatha, in my bewilderment and anger, I forgot for the moment the
danger we incur by remaining here. Where are Father Ambrose and
Matthieu?"

"Matthieu is here in the château; he says he will never desert you as
long as you can have need of his poor services. Father Ambrose has
disappeared, but I think he is in a place of safety. But now you are to
be thought of. Will you trust me?"

"How can you ask that, Agatha? Have you not always proved faithful?"

"I mean, can you trust me to lead, and will you follow and be guided by
my suggestions?"

"I will do just as you may direct. I know you have a wise head, Agatha."

"This is my plan, then," continued the maid; "listen carefully while I
tell it to you."

An hour later the two women, dressed as peasants, with faces and hands
brown from apparent exposure to the sun in the hayfield, left the park
behind the château de Rochefort, and made their way along a hedge-bound
lane that wound through the fields. As they reached the crest of a hill
they stopped and looked back at the château. A red glow appeared in the
eastern sky.

"Look, Agatha," said Edmé, "morning is coming, the sun is about to
rise."

Suddenly the glow leaped into a broad flame which lit up the whole sky.

"'Tis the château on fire!" cried both women in one breath, and clinging
to each other they stood and watched it burn.



CHAPTER VII

GAILLARD GOES ON A JOURNEY


The first object that Robert Tournay saw as he rode into the inn yard at
La Thierry was a horse reeking with sweat. The next moment he was
greeted by the smiling face of Gaillard, who came out of the inn. "Have
you brought the passport?" cried Tournay eagerly, as he grasped his
friend by the hand.

For reply Gaillard took a paper from his pocket, unfolded it, and
disclosed the seal of the Committee of Public Safety. "Am I in time?" he
asked. "I have ridden post haste to get here with it. Can I serve you
further?"

"Come into the inn, and I'll tell you," replied Tournay. "I am almost
exhausted and must have something to eat."

Ordering some supper and a bottle of wine, which were brought at once,
Tournay helped Gaillard and himself bountifully. They ate and drank for
a few minutes in silence, Gaillard waiting for him to speak.

Gaillard was rather short in stature, with a pair of broad, athletic
shoulders. His face was freckled, and animated by a pair of particularly
active blue eyes. A large mouth, instead of adding to his plainness, was
rather attractive than otherwise, for on all occasions it would widen
into the most encouraging, good-natured smile, showing two rows of
regular, white teeth, firmly set in a strong jaw.

After he had partaken of a little food and drink, Tournay recounted to
Gaillard the substance of what had taken place at the château, leaving
out most of his final interview with Edmé de Rochefort, but dwelling on
her flat refusal to accept his escort to the frontier.

The actor listened to him intently and in silence; his face, usually
humorous, expressive of deep and earnest thought.

"Now what do you advise?" asked Tournay, as he pushed back his plate and
emptied the last of the wine into Gaillard's glass.

"What plan have you?" questioned Gaillard.

"I mean to take her away from here at all hazards," answered Tournay.

"Quite right," nodded Gaillard.

"But I can't very well pick her up and carry her off bodily," continued
Tournay. "And if I did she would be quite capable of surrendering
herself into the hands of the first committee in the first town where
they stop us to examine our passport."

"Then we must induce her to go of her own free will."

"Which she will not do," replied Tournay gloomily.

"It seems to me," said Gaillard, speaking slowly, while he held his
glass of wine to the light and inspected it minutely, "that if some one
should approach Mademoiselle de Rochefort, purporting to come from some
of her friends who have already gone abroad, and should say he was sent
secretly to conduct her to them, she would be willing to go with him."

"Unless she suspected him to be an impostor, she might possibly go,"
replied Tournay.

"He will have to convince her that he is not an impostor, and after a
night spent in the château alone she is more likely to believe in him,"
was Gaillard's reply. "How about Gardin," he asked suddenly. "Do you
anticipate any further trouble from that quarter?"

"I hardly think so," replied Tournay. "I shall go back to the château at
once and remain in the vicinity all night unknown to Mademoiselle de
Rochefort. See if you cannot procure a carriage here suitable for a long
journey. Then come up the château road. I shall be in waiting for you at
the entrance to the park. We will confer together as to a plan of action
to be carried out at daylight."

"Good," replied Gaillard; "I will set about my part of the work at
once."

The two men rose from the table; Gaillard went to the inn stables and
Tournay mounted his horse and rode toward the château.

He had not made half the distance between the village and the château
when he heard a footstep crunch on the gravel of the road, and reined
in his horse just as the figure of a man crept by him.

"Who is there?" cried Tournay, clicking the hammer of his pistol.

"A good citizen," was the reply in a timid voice.

"Father, is it you?" exclaimed Tournay, springing from his horse and
approaching the figure. "Is all well at the château?"

"It is my son, Robert," cried the old man. "I did not recognize your
voice until after I had spoken; but I am no good citizen of your present
disorderly Republic."

"Is all well at the château?" repeated Robert Tournay.

"Well? How can we all be well when the doors are broken in and the
furniture strewn about the place in pieces? Can I call all well when"--

"Mademoiselle Edmé?" interrupted Robert, with impatience, "how about
her?"

"She has gone," said Matthieu Tournay.

"Gone!" cried Robert, clutching his father by the shoulder. "Gone--how
and where?"

"You need not be alarmed for her safety," said the old man; "she is with
Agatha,--a brave, clever girl, capable of anything. They set out this
very night to seek a refuge with some relatives of Agatha who will keep
them in safety."

"And you permitted them to go?" demanded the younger Tournay, almost
shaking his father in his excitement.

"Permitted them? Yes, and encouraged them. I would myself have gone with
them if I had not feared that my feebleness would impede rather than
assist their flight. As it is, you need have no apprehension; when
Agatha undertakes a thing she carries it through, and mademoiselle also
is resolute and strong-willed. They will be safe enough, I warrant."

"Where did they go?" asked Robert.

"I've promised not to tell," said the old man doggedly.

"Father," exclaimed young Tournay, "do you not see how important it is
that I should know where they have gone? If you have any affection for
mademoiselle you will tell me. Cannot you trust your own son?"

"Will you promise not to prevent their going?" replied the old man.

Tournay thought for a moment. "Yes."

"To La Haye, in the province of Touraine, near the boundary of La
Vendée."

"Will they reach there in safety?" inquired Tournay, half to himself.

"You need have no alarm on that score. They have disguised themselves as
peasants; no one will be able to recognize them. Look!" he added
suddenly, pointing in the direction of the château.

A tongue of flame shot into the night air, then another and another
followed in quick succession.

"Is the château on fire?" cried Robert in consternation.

As if in answer the flames burst fiercely forth, and the noble old pile
stood revealed to them by the light of the fire that consumed it.

The surrounding landscape became brilliant as day, and the great oaks of
the park waved their bare branches frantically in the direction of the
edifice they had sheltered so many years; seeming to sigh pityingly as
one turret after another fell crashing to the ground.

Young Tournay looked around to see if any of the attacking party were
still lurking in the vicinity; but with the exception of himself and his
father, no human eye was witness of the burning.

"Gardin's men must have ignited that during their drunken invasion of
the wine-cellar," he exclaimed excitedly. Then in the next breath he
added, "Thank God! Mademoiselle has been spared this sight."

Old Tournay stood looking at the conflagration in silence; then turning
away with a sigh, he said simply, "There goes the only home I have ever
known; where my father lived before me and where you were born, Robert.
I must now find a new place to pass what few days of life remain to me."

Tournay laid his hand on his father's arm. "Will you come with me to
Paris?" he asked.

"No, no," replied his father. "I am not in sympathy with Paris, Robert,
nor with your ways. I don't understand them, boy. It may be all right
for you. I know you are a good son, you have always been that, but I
shall find a shelter in La Thierry. None will molest an old man like
me."

Leading his horse by the bridle, Tournay walked back to the village with
his father. On the way they were met by Gaillard, who had seen the
flames and had guessed their meaning.

Robert Tournay explained the situation to him as they all went back to
the inn. Greatly in need of rest, Robert threw himself down to wait
until the morrow.

They were up with the dawn, when Gaillard had a new suggestion to offer.

"You must return at once to Paris, my friend, for you must arrive there
before Gardin. You will need all the influence of your own military
position and the aid of your most powerful friends to enable you to meet
the charges that man will bring against you for frustrating the arrest.
I will try to find mademoiselle at La Haye, and will meet you at our
lodgings as soon as possible."

Robert grasped his companion's hand warmly.

"I shall never forget your friendship, Gaillard."

"You may remember it as long as you like if you will not refer to it. I
can never repay you for your many acts of friendship toward me."

"But your profession," interrupted Tournay, "how can you leave the
theatre all this time? How will your place be filled?"

"Oh, it will be filled very well. I arranged all that before leaving;
whether I shall find it vacant or not when I return is another matter.
But it does not trouble me; let it not trouble you, my friend." And with
a cheerful wave of the hand, Gaillard departed.



CHAPTER VIII

PÈRE LOUCHET'S GUESTS


In the southern part of the province of Touraine, in the village of La
Haye, lived Pierre Louchet, or as his neighbors called him, Père
Louchet.

Logically speaking, Louchet, being a bachelor, had no right to this
title, but as he took a paternal interest in all the young people of the
village, they had fitted him with this sobriquet, partly in a spirit of
gentle irony and partly in affectionate recognition of his fatherly
attitude toward them.

Père Louchet lived alone in a little cottage that was always as neat and
well-kept as if some feminine hand held sway there. Indeed, if he fell
sick, or was too busy with the crops on his small farm to pay proper
attention to his household duties, there were plenty of women from the
neighboring cottages who were glad to come in and make his gruel or
sweep up his hearth, so it was not on account of any unpopularity with
the gentler sex that he lived on in a state of celibacy.

In a society where marriage was almost universal, such an eccentricity
as that exhibited by Pierre Louchet in remaining single did not escape
comment. Indeed at the age of fifty he was as often bantered on the
subject as he had been at thirty. But neither the raillery and
innuendoes of the neighbors nor the entreaties, threats, and cajoleries
of his sister, Jeanne Maillot, had ever moved him to take a wife.

"It's a family disgrace," said Jeanne, putting her red hands on her
hips, and regarding her elder brother with a look of scorn. "Here am I
ten years younger than you, and with five children. And Marie who lives
at Fulgent has eight. And you, the only man in our family, sit there by
the chimney and smoke your pipe contentedly, and let the young girls of
La Haye grow up around you one after another, marry, settle down, and
have daughters who are old enough to be married by this time; and you do
nothing to keep up the name of Louchet."

"'T is not much of a name," replied Pierre.

"It is one your father had, and was quite good enough for me, until I
took Maillot."

"If I should marry, there would be less for your own children when I am
gone."

"I'm sure it was your happiness I was thinking of before all," replied
Jeanne, mollified at this presentation of the case.

"If it's my happiness you are thinking about, let me stay as I am. I and
my pipe are quite company enough, and if I want more I only have to step
across a field and I can find you and your good husband Maillot." And
Père Louchet's eyes would twinkle kindly while his pipe sent up a
thicker wreath of smoke.

One young woman once declared maliciously that Père Louchet squinted.
But those who heard the remark declared that it was because he was
always endeavoring to look in any direction except towards her who
sought to attract his attention, and after that the slander was never
repeated.

One morning in December the neighborhood of La Haye was set all in a
flutter of curiosity by a sudden increase in the family in Père
Louchet's cottage.

As an explanation of it he remarked with his eyes twinkling more than
usual: "I am getting old and need help about the place, and that is why
a nephew and a niece of my brother-in-law Maillot have come to live with
me."

Paul and Elise Durand were natives of "up north" and had never before
been as far south as La Haye. The woman was about twenty-five years old,
brown as a berry, with a sturdy figure and strong arms. Her brother was
tall and slender. He said he was nearly twenty, yet he was small for his
age and his entire innocence of any beard gave him a still more boyish
appearance. He spoke with a softer accent than most country lads in
those parts, but that was because he came from the neighborhood of
Paris; and then he and his sister had both been in the service of a
great "Seigneur" before the Revolution.

In the neighboring province of La Vendée the peasants, led by the
priests and nobles, were threatening to take up arms in support of the
monarchy. But the inhabitants of La Haye took little interest in
political affairs, and although they shared somewhat the sentiment of
opposition in La Vendée to the new government in Paris, they busied
themselves generally with their vineyards and their crops and took no
active part in politics. Paul and Elise were content in the fact that
their new home was so quiet and so remote from the strife that was
raging so fiercely all about them.

One morning, shortly after her arrival, Elise was resting by the stile
which divided the field of Père Louchet from that of his brother-in-law.
She had placed on the stile the bucket containing six fresh cheeses
wrapped in cool green grape leaves, while she herself sat down upon the
bottom step beside it, to remove her wooden sabot and shake out a little
pebble that had been irritating her foot. The wooden shoe replaced, she
took up her pail and was about to spring blithely over the stile, when
she drew back with a little cry of surprise mingled with alarm. Standing
on the other side, his arm resting on the top step, leaned a young man
who had evidently been watching her closely.

Drawing a short pipe from between a row of white teeth, his mouth
expanded in a wide grin.

"Did I frighten you?" he said, in a slight foreign accent but with an
extremely pleasant tone of voice.

"Not at all," answered Elise, looking at him frankly. "I'm not easily
frightened. If you will move a little to one side, I can cross the stile
and go about my affairs."

"What have you in the pail?" asked the man, as he complied with her
request.

"Cheeses," she answered, as he came lightly over the wall. "It's clear
you're not of this part of the country or you would never have asked
that question."

"I am not from this part of the country," said the stranger. "You ought
to know that by my accent."

"Where is your native place?" asked Elise, her curiosity aroused.

"A long distance from here--Prussia. Have you ever heard of that
country?"

"Yes."

"We are most of us against the Republic--there," said he. "I am, for
one," and he looked at her out of the corner of his eyes. She made no
reply. "Let me carry your cheeses," he said, laying his hand upon the
bucket.

"They are not heavy," said Elise, "and I must hurry home."

"All ways are the same to me and I will go along with you," he said,
taking the bucket from her. "It's heavy for you."

"It's no burden for me, and as I don't know you I prefer to go home by
myself," she said frankly.

"Oh, I'm a merry fellow--you need not fear me. I am your friend."

"I have no way of being sure of that," was the reply, "though you don't
look as if you could be an enemy."

"I should be glad for an opportunity to prove myself your friend. And I
could prove that I am no stranger by telling you a good deal about
yourself and your brother Paul."

"Indeed," was all Elise vouchsafed in reply, but she looked a little
uncomfortable.

"I might tell you of an order of arrest that was not carried out; of a
château burned; of the midnight flight of two women and the arrival at
La Haye of a woman and her younger brother; all this I might tell you,
with the assurance that these secrets are safe in the keeping of a
friend."

"How will you prove that you are a friend?" Elise said in a low voice
with apparent unconcern, although she felt her heart beating with fear.

"The fact that I have just told you what I know and shall tell no one
else, should be one proof," he said. Elise did not answer, but looked at
him with a keen expression as if she would read his thoughts.

He had a frank, open face, the very plainness of which bespoke the
honesty of the man.

"Suppose I should say that I came from Hagenhof in Prussia and that I
was sent here by friends of your brother who have gone there. Suppose I
should say that they wanted you to join them and that I could take you
there with little risk to yourselves, would you be inclined to trust me
then?"

"What risk do we incur by remaining where we are?" inquired Elise,
without answering his question.

"You will always run the risk of discovery while in France," he replied.
"But tell me, are you inclined to trust me?"

"Yes," answered Elise, stopping and looking him full in the face. "I
am."

"Good," he cried, setting down the pail and extending his hand.

"I am disposed to trust you," she went on, "but in order to do so fully
I should wish to see a letter from the friend you speak of."

"It is dangerous to carry such a writing," he replied significantly.

"True, but you can mention names."

"I can, and will,--names your brother will know well. The Baron von
Valdenmeer, for instance. Besides, if I were your enemy I need not come
thus secretly. Your enemies can use open means."

"I said"--Elise hesitated--"I am disposed to believe you are what you
claim to be, but I can do nothing without the consent of my brother."

"Good! will you obtain his consent?"

"I will try."

"Good again. You will succeed. Talk with him and get his consent to
leave here. And as soon as possible I will make all the arrangements for
the journey so that we may leave in a week or at the latest a fortnight.
Then if you have not persuaded your brother that it is for his interest
to go with me, I will try and add my arguments to yours."

"I trust you will find us ready," said Elise; "but in the mean time
shall you remain here?"

"No, I must go to Paris," was the Prussian's answer. "If you should have
occasion to communicate with me, a word sent to Hector Gaillard, 15 Rue
des Mathurins, will reach me. But do not send any word unless it is of
the greatest importance, and then employ a messenger whom you can
trust."

"Is that your name?" asked the woman.

"That is my name while in France. Can you remember that and the
address?"

"I can."

"Then good-by. And a word at parting," he said--turning after he had
leaped the fence. "It is perhaps needless to caution you, but my advice
would be that your brother should not go too often to the village. His
hands are too small. Good-by." And he walked off up the lane smoking his
short pipe, and whistling gayly.

Two days later Gaillard joined his friend Tournay in Paris. He found
Tournay much more hopeful than when he had left him, and his spirits
rose still more as he heard Gaillard's news.

"It is Wednesday," Tournay said. "On Saturday the convention has
promised to send me back with my dispatches. Can you be ready for La
Haye by Saturday morning?"

"Yes," said Gaillard, "twelve hours earlier if necessary."

"It is agreed then for Saturday, unless the convention delays."

Three days after her meeting with Gaillard, Elise, on returning from a
neighboring town where she had gone to dispose of some butter, found the
kitchen deserted and the fire out. She had expected to find a bowl of
hot potato soup and a plate of sausage and garlic. Instead she found a
cold hearthstone and an empty casserole.

As usual, the first thought of the devoted sister was of Paul, and she
called his name loudly. It did not take long to ascertain that the house
was empty, and with her heart beating wildly with anxiety she ran
outside the cottage crying, "Oh, Paul, my child,--my brother, Paul!"
There was no answer save from the cattle in the outhouse who shook their
stanchions, impatient for their evening meal. She looked about for Père
Louchet. He also was absent. Evidently he had driven in the cows and had
been prevented from feeding them. Something serious had happened, and it
must have occurred within an hour, for at this time the cattle were
usually feeding.

Elise sat down for a moment on an upturned basket to collect herself.
Her first thought was to go to Maillot's in search of them. They might
be there, yet it would take an hour to go to Maillot's and return. And
then what if Louchet and Paul were not there! What if the couple had
been murdered and the bodies were still on the farm? Elise shuddered at
the thought, and called loud again, "Paul, Paul, my brother, art thou
not here?"

From the hay in the loft above came a smothered sound. With a glad cry
Elise sprang up the stairs, to see Père Louchet's head and shoulders
emerging from under a pile of clover.

"Where is Paul?" cried Elise, pouncing upon him before he had freed
himself from the hay, and almost dragging him to his feet. He blinked at
her for a moment while he picked the stray wisps of straw from his hair
and neck.

"Gone," he said laconically.

"Gone! Where?" cried Elise, frantically taking him by the shoulders and
shaking him so that the hayseed and straw flew from his coat. "Père
Louchet, what is the matter? I never saw you like this before; have you
been drinking?"

"No," he said slowly, and then as if the thought occurred to him for the
first time, he went toward a cask of cherry brandy which stood in a
corner of the granary and drew almost a tin-cupful.

With blazing eyes Elise saw him measure out the liquor slowly, with a
hand that trembled slightly, and put the cup to his lips. She felt as if
she must spring upon him and dash the cup from his hands, but she
controlled herself with an effort. Louchet drained off the brandy to the
last drop, straightened up, and looked at Elise. He acted like a
different man.

"Paul was taken from here about an hour ago by three men. They had
papers and red seals and tricolor cockades enough to take a dozen."

"And you let them take him?" cried Elise.

Père Louchet looked at his niece quizzically with his twinkling eye.

"There were three of them, Elise, my child, and they had big red seals
and swore a great deal."

"Of course," admitted the woman hastily, "you could do nothing by
force."

"I did try to prevent them from going upstairs where Paul was," the old
man replied, "but one of them knocked me on the head and into a corner
where I lay like a log."

"Oh that I had been here," moaned Elise, as she and Louchet went toward
the house. "If I could only know where they have taken Paul!"

"To Tours," replied Père Louchet with decision.

"How do you know?" asked Elise quickly.

"I remember it plainly now. When I lay in the corner with a kind of
dazed feeling in my head, not wishing to get up and stir around, I saw
one of the men--not the one who hit me, but a smaller man with a larger
hat and more cockades and more seals, take a paper out of his pocket and
read it to Paul. I tried to make out what it said, for although I could
hear every word that was uttered, I could not get an idea in my head
that would hold together; but I was able to catch the word Tours; I am
sure they have gone to Tours."

"How is your head now, Père Louchet?" asked Elise with feverish
eagerness.

"As clear as a bell," was the reply. "Let me have one little nip more of
that brandy and it will be clearer."

"Can you ride?"

"Like a boy."

"Good! Make up a bundle of food and clothing for a two-days' journey and
I'll have a horse at the door by the time you are ready."

Ten minutes later Père Louchet, with a bundle of necessities strapped on
his back, was mounted on one of his best horses which Elise had saddled
for him.

"Now, where am I to ride to?" he demanded, directing his twinkling eye
down upon his niece.

"Ride to Paris. Seek out Gaillard, 15 Rue Mathurins; give him this
letter. That is all I ask of you."

"And you--what are you going to do?" said Père Louchet, putting the
letter in his inside breast pocket with a slap on the outside to
emphasize its safety.

"I ride toward Tours," replied the intrepid woman.



CHAPTER IX

PRISON BOAT NUMBER FOUR


Paul Durand was confined in the prison at Tours. The prison was so
crowded that he had to be placed in a small room at the top of the
building adjoining the quarters occupied by the jailer and his family.

Paul was paler than usual, the result of fatigue from the long, rapid
ride from La Haye, but he showed no signs of fear and held up his head
bravely as the jailer entered the room. The latter carried a bundle
under his arm.

"You are to take these clothes," he said, "go into the adjoining room,
and put them on in place of the garments you have on."

Paul took the bundle and went into the next room. For fifteen minutes
the jailer sat upon the one chair the room contained, humming and
jingling his bunch of keys. Then the door into the outer corridor was
thrown open and a large man entered. The jailer sprang to his feet with
alacrity.

"Where's the prisoner, Potin?" demanded the newcomer in a harsh voice.

"In the next room, Citizen Leboeuf," replied Potin.

Leboeuf strode toward the door and laid his hand upon the latch.

"I beg your pardon, Citizen Leboeuf, but the prisoner may not be ready
to receive you."

"Well, there's no particular reason to be squeamish, is there?" asked
Leboeuf, screwing his fat face into a leer.

"If you will wait another minute I think the prisoner will come out,"
suggested Potin deferentially, jingling his keys.

"Bah, you show your lodgers too much consideration, citizen jailer; you
spoil them." Nevertheless Leboeuf allowed his hand to drop from the
latch and took a few impatient strides across the floor.

The door opened and, turning, Leboeuf saw Mademoiselle de Rochefort
standing on the threshold. She was thinner than when she left La
Thierry: but her eyes had lost none of their fire, and she looked
Citizen Leboeuf in the face without flinching. His dull eyes kindled
while he looked at her some moments without speaking.

"Do you know who I am?" he inquired in his thick, husky voice.

"Yes, I overheard the jailer call you Citizen Leboeuf."

"Right. I am Citizen Leboeuf; and do you know why you have been
brought here?"

"A paper was read to me last night which pretended to give some
explanation," was her quiet rejoinder.

"In order to save time and expense your trial will take place at Tours,
rather than at Paris. I am one of the judges of this district."

Mademoiselle Edmé looked at him with an expression of indifference.

"You do not appear to be afraid."

"I am not afraid," was the quiet reply.

Leboeuf eyed her with evident admiration.

"Why did you put on boy's clothes?" he asked abruptly.

"In order to avoid detection," she answered frankly, coming forward and
seating herself in the chair which Potin had vacated upon her entrance.
Leboeuf was standing before her, hat in hand, an act of politeness he
had not shown to any one for years.

"And you did it well," he said. "You threw them off the track
completely. Had it not been for me, your hiding-place would never have
been discovered. It was a splendid trick you played upon those bunglers
from Paris." And he slapped his thigh in keen appreciation of it, and
laughed hoarsely.

"I will take your boy's clothes with me," he continued as he prepared to
leave the room, "lest you should be tempted to put them on again from
force of habit. We don't want you turning into a boy any more. No, you
make too pretty a woman." Then going up to the jailer he said something
to him in a low voice which Edmé could not hear. Potin seemed to be
remonstrating feebly. Leboeuf scowled, and from his manner appeared to
insist upon the point at issue.

"Are you sure you are not afraid?" he said again abruptly to Edmé as he
went to the door and stood with one hand on the latch looking back into
the room.

"No!"

He looked at her admiringly.

"Remember you are a woman now and have a perfect right to be afraid;
also to kick and scream when anything is the matter."

Edmé made no reply.

"In case you should ever feel afraid," he said significantly, "just send
for Leboeuf, that's all," and with this he left the room.

Edmé remained in Potin's charge for two days. The jailer treated her
with great consideration, and she congratulated herself upon having
fallen into such kindly hands. She momentarily expected to be summoned
before the Tribunal. She did not know what the result would be; but she
looked forward to her trial with impatience. In any event it would end
the suspense in which she was living.

On the afternoon of the second day Potin entered her room, accompanied
by one of his deputies.

"You must prepare to go with this man, citizeness," said the little
jailer.

"Has the Tribunal sent for me? she inquired.

"Not yet. But you are to be transferred to another prison."

"I prefer to stay here," she said. "Cannot you ask them to allow me to
remain?"

"You have no choice in the matter, nor have I; I have only my orders."

"From whom did the order come? From that man Leboeuf who came here the
other day?" she demanded quickly.

"I am not at liberty to say," replied Potin, shifting his feet uneasily.

"Are you forbidden to tell me where I am to be taken?" was her next
question.

"To prison boat Number Four. The city prisons are so full," he
continued, in answer to her look of surprised inquiry, "that great
numbers have to be lodged in the boats anchored in the river. Number
Four is one of the largest," he added as if by way of consolation.

In company of the deputy Edmé was conducted to the floating prison on
the Loire. As they stepped over the side they were met by a little
round-shouldered man with splay feet. His face was wrinkled and brown
almost to blackness; his dress showed that he had a fondness for bright
colors, as he wore a purple shirt with a crimson sash, a bright yellow
neckcloth, and a red cap. The deputy turned over his charge to him,
received his quittance, and went away.

Edmé was conducted to a room in the stern of the vessel. It was a small
room and to her surprise she found it furnished comfortably, almost
luxuriously. On a table in the centre stood a carafe of wine and a
basket of sweet biscuit. Two or three chairs and a couch completed the
equipment of the room. At the extreme end, the porthole had been
enlarged into a window which looked out over the river. This window was
closed by wooden bars. Otherwise the place looked more like the
comfortable quarters of some ship's officer than a jail.

"Is this where I am to remain?" she asked of her new jailer.

The man nodded and withdrew, locking the door after him.

Edmé threw herself into a chair. It was intended that she should at
least be comfortable while in prison, and this thought helped to keep up
her spirits. She rose, took a glass of wine and some of the biscuit, and
then after finishing this refreshment, feeling fatigued, she lay down
upon the couch and fell asleep.

It was nearly dark when she awoke. Lying on the couch she could see the
dying light of the short December day shining feebly in at the window,
reflected by the metal of a swinging lamp over the table. As she lay
there she became aware of a noise that had evidently awakened her. It
was the sound of wailing and lamentation, accompanied by the creaking of
timber and the swash of water.

Rising from the bed she went to the window and looked out over the
river.

Going down the stream were two other prison boats. They were scarcely
fifty yards away and proceeded slowly with the current, the water
lapping against their black sides. They were old vessels, and creaked
and groaned as if they were about to fall apart from very rottenness.
From between their decks came the sound of human voices raised in cries
of fear, despair, and lamentation; all mingled in a strange, horrible
medley, which, borne over the water by the sighing night wind, struck a
chill into Edmé's heart.

The vessels, stealing down the river with their sailless masts against
the evening sky, looked like phantom ships conveying cargoes of
unrestful, tortured spirits into darkness. The sight so fascinated Edmé
that she stood watching them until they drifted out of sight and the
cries of those on board grew fainter and fainter in the distance. So
absorbed had she been as not to hear the lock click in the door and a
man enter the room. She only became aware of his presence on hearing a
heavy sigh just behind her, and turning her head she saw Leboeuf's
heavy face at her shoulder. She gave a startled cry and stepped nearer
the window.

"It is a sad sight, is it not," he remarked, with a look of sympathy
ill-suited to the leer in his eyes, "and one that might easily frighten
the strongest of us."

"It is your sudden appearance, when I thought I was entirely alone, that
startled me," replied Edmé, regaining her composure with an effort. "I
was so intent upon looking at those boats that I did not hear you come
in."

"I see you didn't. I may be bulky, but I'm active and can move quietly,"
and he gave a chuckle.

Edmé thought him even more repulsive than at the time of his visit to
the prison. His face seemed coarser and more inflamed, and his eyes, so
dull and heavy before, shone as if animated by drink.

"Where are they taking those poor people?" she asked; "for I presume
those are prison boats."

"They are," was the reply in a thick utterance. "Just like this. Are you
sure that you want to know where they are being taken?"

"Would I have asked you otherwise?"

"Are you sure you won't faint?"

Edmé gave a shrug of contempt. She saw that he was trying to work upon
her fears, and felt her spirit rise in antagonism.

The look of admiration that he gave her was more offensive than his
pretended sympathy. Leaning forward he whispered, "They are going down
the river for about two miles. There they will get rid of their
troublesome freight and return empty."

"What do you mean?" asked Edmé. "Where do they land the prisoners?"

"They don't land them, they water them," and he gave a low, inward
laugh. "They drown every prisoner on board. Tie them together in
couples, man and woman, and tumble them overboard by the score."

Edmé gave a cry of horror. "It is too horrible to be true. I don't
believe it!"

"Why not?" asked Leboeuf; "drowning is an easy death, and every one of
them has been fairly and honestly condemned. This boat is to follow in
its turn. Every prisoner here has looked upon the sun for the last time,
though not one of them knows just when he is to die."

The idea of such wholesale murder seemed so utterly impossible to her
that in her mind she set down Leboeuf's whole account as a fiction of
his drink-besotted brain, called up to frighten her. Yet at the moment
when she turned from him in disgust to look out of the window, she saw
that their own vessel had begun to move slowly through the water.

"We have started," said Leboeuf, as if he were mentioning a matter of
the smallest consequence.

"You say that every one upon this boat is a condemned person," said Edmé
quietly, repressing her terror with an effort.

Leboeuf nodded.

"But I am not. I have not even had a hearing."

"No?" exclaimed Leboeuf in a tone of surprise. "Then those jailers
have made another mistake."

Edmé advanced toward him one step, and in a tone which made the huge man
draw back, said:--

"I was brought here by your order!"

"Oh, no, I knew nothing of the change. It was that villain Potin."

"I was brought here by your order," she repeated. "I demand that I be
taken where I can have a trial."

"Potin has made another mistake," was all Leboeuf would vouchsafe in
reply.

"If there has been any mistake, it is yours. I demand that you set it
right."

"It is too late!"

"There must be some one aboard this vessel who has the power to do it,
if you have not. I will go and appeal for aid," and she took a step
toward the door.

Leboeuf interposed his bulky body between her and the means of exit;
closed and locked the door on the inside.

"I will cry aloud. Some one will hear me," she said in desperation.

"Who will hear you above all that noise?" he inquired tersely.

The prisoners on the boat, now fully aware that their time of execution
had come, were crying out against their fate,--some praying for mercy,
some calling down the maledictions of heaven upon their butchers, while
others wept silently.

"Merciful Virgin, protect me. I have lost all hope," cried Edmé, turning
from Leboeuf and sinking despairingly upon her knees.

"Ah, now you are frightened!" exclaimed Leboeuf, "admit that you are
frightened!"

"If it is any satisfaction to have succeeded in terrifying a woman
unable to defend herself, I will not rob you of the pleasure, but know
that it is not death, but the manner of it, that I fear."

"But you are afraid; you have confessed to it at last, and now Leboeuf
will see that they do not harm you." He gave a grim chuckle as if he
enjoyed having won his point. Rapidly pushing the table to one side,
turning back the rug that covered the floor, he stooped; and to Edmé's
astonished gaze lifted up a trap door in the floor of the cabin. Edmé
drew back from the black hole at her feet.

"It is large enough to afford you air for several hours," Leboeuf
said. "By that time I will get you out again. Quick, descend the steps."

Edmé, fearing further treachery, drew back in alarm. "I prefer to meet
my fate here."

Leboeuf struck a light and by the rays of the lamp a ladder was
revealed.

"I tell you it is certain death to remain here fifteen minutes longer.
Even I could not save you then. The more they throw into the water the
more frenzied they become for other victims. They will ransack the
entire boat; but they won't find you down there. Leboeuf alone knows
this place. Quick! If you would live to see the sun rise to-morrow, go
down the steps of that ladder."

He took her by the shoulder to assist in the descent. His touch was so
distasteful to her that she threw off his hand and went down the ladder
unaided. "Make not the slightest sound, whatever you may hear going on
up here above you, and wait patiently until I come to release you."

With these words the door was shut down and Leboeuf went out and up to
the deck alone.

The vessel had reached a point in the river just outside the city. Here
the stream narrowed and ran swiftly between the banks.

The sky was windy; and between the rifts of the high-banked clouds the
moon shone fitfully. To the east lay the city of Tours, its spires
standing out in sharp silhouette against the sky. On the river bank the
wind swept over the dead, dry grass with a mournful, swaying sound and
rattled the rotting halyards of the old hulk, which with one small sail
set in the bow to keep it steady, made slowly down the river with the
current, hugging the left bank as if fearful of trusting itself to the
swifter depths beyond.

A rusty chain rasped through the hawse-hole, and the vessel swung at
anchor.

In a small and close compartment in the ship's depths, totally without
light, and with her nerves wrought upon by Leboeuf's appalling story,
Edmé could only guess at what was happening above her head.

She knew that something terrible was taking place. She could hear a
confusion of cries and trampling of feet; of hoarse shouts and commands;
and she pictured in her imagination scenes quite as horrible as were
actually taking place above her. In every wave that splashed against the
vessel's side she could see the white face of a struggling, drowning
creature, and every sound upon the vessel was the despairing death-note
of a fresh victim. Through it all she could see the large face of
Leboeuf leering at her with his bleary eyes. To have exchanged one
fate for a worse one was to have gained nothing, and in her mental agony
she almost envied those who a short time ago had been struggling
helplessly in the hands of their executioners, and whose bodies now were
quietly sleeping in the waters of the flowing river.

A quiet fell upon the vessel. The last cry had been uttered, the last
command given, and no sound reached Edmé's ears but the soft plash of
the water as it struck under the stern of the boat.

Then the remembrance of Leboeuf's face and look became still more
vivid. She feared him in spite of all her courage; in spite of her pride
that was greater than her courage, she feared him. The knowledge that he
was aware of his power and took delight in it made the thought that she
would soon have to face him there alone more terrible than her dread of
the worst of deaths.

A footfall sounded on the floor above her head. That it was not
Leboeuf's heavy tread, Edmé was certain. Rather than fall into his
hands again she would trust herself to the mercies of the worst ruffian
among the executioners, and she struck with her clenched hand a
succession of quick knocks upon the trap.

The footsteps ceased, and in the stillness that followed Edmé called out
to the man above her and told him where to find the opening. In another
instant the door was lifted up and she came up into the cabin.

"Kill me," she cried out; "throw me into the river if it be your
pleasure, but I implore you, do not let"--

The man's hand closed over her mouth, and lifting her in his arms he
carried her across the cabin. The room was dark; either Leboeuf had
put out the light when he left, or the newcomer had extinguished it, but
Edmé saw that he bore her toward the window from which the lattice had
been removed. She closed her eyes to meet the end. She felt herself
swiftly lifted through the window, and then instead of water her feet
struck a firm substance.

"Steady for one moment," said a voice in her ear as she opened her eyes
in bewilderment to find herself standing on the seat of a small skiff, a
man supporting her by the arm. Her face was on a level with the window,
and looking back into the cabin she saw a light at the further end, as
the bulky form of Leboeuf appeared at the door, lantern in hand, his
heavy countenance made more ugly by an expression of surprise and rage.

Voices were heard in hot dispute, then came two pistol shots so close
together as to seem almost one. A figure leaped through the smoke that
poured from the window, and Edmé from her seat in the skiff's bow where
she had been swung with little ceremony, saw a man cut the line, while
the other bent over his oars and made the small craft fly away from the
vessel, straight for the opposite shore. The man who had leaped from the
window took his place silently in the stern. Placing one hand on the
tiller, he turned and looked intently over his shoulder at the dark
outline of the prison ship, which was rapidly receding into the gloom.

His hat had fallen off, and in the uncertain light Edmé saw for the
first time that it was Robert Tournay.

Before a word could be uttered by any of them, a tongue of flame shot
out from the vessel behind them, followed by a loud and sharp report.
The dash of spray that swept over the boat told that the shot had struck
the water close by them.

The man at the oars shook the water from his eyes and redoubled his
efforts. "Head her down the river a little," he said.

"But the carriage is at least two miles above here," replied Tournay.

"No matter," answered Gaillard. "The shore here is too steep. We must
land a little further down."

Tournay altered their course and steered the boat slantingly across the
current.

They were now nearing the right-hand shore, which rose abruptly from the
river to a height of some twenty feet. The current here was swifter, and
the greatest caution had to be exercised. A second flash flamed out from
the prison ship, a sound of crashing wood, and the little skiff seemed
to leap into the air and then slide from under their feet, while the icy
water of the Loire rushed in Edmé's ears,--strangling her and dragging
her down, until it seemed as if the water's weight would crush her. Then
she began to come upward with increasing velocity until at last, when
she thought never to reach the surface, she felt her head rise above the
water and saw the cloudy, threatening sky, which seemed to reel above
her as she gasped for breath.

Another head shot to the surface by her side, and she felt herself
sustained, to sink no more. The words: "Place your right hand upon my
shoulder and keep your face turned down the stream away from the
current," came to her ears as if in a dream. Instinctively she obeyed.
With a few rapid strokes Tournay reached the shore. The bank overhung
the river and under it the water ran rapidly.

With only one arm free he could not draw himself and Edmé up the steep
incline. Twice he succeeded in catching a tuft of grass or projecting
root, and each time the force of the current broke his hold upon it, and
twirling them round like straws carried them on down the stream.

Gaillard, who had been struck by a splinter on the forehead, was at
first stunned by the blow, and without struggling was swept fifty yards
down the river. The cold water brought him back to consciousness, and he
struck out for the shore. He noticed, some hundred yards below, a place
where the river swept to the south and where the bank was considerably
lower. Allowing himself to be borne along by the current, he took an
occasional stroke to carry him in toward the shore, and made the point
easily.

Drawing himself from the water by some overhanging bushes, he shook
himself like a wet dog, and sitting on the river's edge proceeded to
bind up his injured eye, while with the other he looked anxiously along
the river-side. Suddenly he bent down and caught at an object in the
water.

"Let me take the girl," he said quickly. "Now your hand on this
bush--there!" And with a swift motion he drew Edmé up, and Tournay,
relieved of her weight, swung himself to their side.

For a short time they lay panting on the bank. Gaillard was the first to
get upon his feet.

"We shall perish of cold here," he exclaimed, springing up and down to
warm his benumbed blood, while the wet ends of his yellow neckerchief
flapped about his forehead.

"Can you walk, Mademoiselle de Rochefort?"

Edmé placed her hand upon her side to still the sharp shooting pain, and
answered "Yes."

"Good; the road is only a few rods from here, but we must follow it at
least two miles to the west."

"I shall be able to do it!"

As she uttered these words the pain in her side increased. She felt her
strength leave her, and but for the support of Tournay's arm she would
have fallen to the ground.

"She has fainted," cried Tournay in consternation.

"No," she remonstrated feebly, struggling with the numbness that was
overpowering her. "It is the cold. Let me rest for a moment; I shall be
better soon."

"Mademoiselle, you must walk, else you will die of cold," exclaimed
Tournay. "Take her by the arm, Gaillard."

Instead of complying with the request, Gaillard stood with head bent
forward peering up the road into the night gloom.

"Gaillard! man, do you not hear me?"

"The carriage! I hear the rattle of its wheels," cried Gaillard
joyfully. "Agatha can always be depended upon to do the right thing at
the right moment!"

"Hurry to meet her," cried Tournay; "tell her we are here!"

Gaillard sprang rapidly forward, shouting as he ran.

"Courage but a little moment longer," whispered Tournay, and taking Edmé
in his arms he followed Gaillard as fast as his burden permitted.

She had not entirely lost consciousness, but cold and fatigue had
combined to enervate and render her powerless of motion.

In a half swoon she felt herself carried she knew not whither. She felt
Tournay's strong arms about her, and a sense of security came over her
as she faintly realized that each step took her further away from the
dreaded Leboeuf.

Tournay hastened toward the carriage. The wind swept freshly over the
marshes, and he held Edmé close as if to shield her from the cold. Her
hair blew back into his face, covering his eyes and touching his lips.
As he felt her soft tresses against his cheek his heart throbbed so that
he forgot cold, fatigue, and danger.... Where they blinded him he gently
put the locks aside with one hand in a caressing manner and looked
tenderly down into the white face pressed against his wet coat.

The sound of wheels upon the frozen road came nearer. Lights flashed
around a turn in the road, and Tournay staggered to the carriage door as
the vehicle drew up suddenly.

"Hurrah!" cried Gaillard from the box, where he had taken the reins from
the driver. "We have won!"



CHAPTER X

OVER THE FRONTIER


In the carriage Agatha related to her mistress what had occurred after
her disappearance from La Haye. How she had sent Père Louchet with the
message to Gaillard at Paris, and then had followed on to Tours and
discovered where her mistress was imprisoned. Tournay and Gaillard,
coming post haste to Tours, had reached there on the same day that saw
the transfer of Mademoiselle de Rochefort to the prison-ship upon the
Loire. Together with Agatha, they had formulated a plan of rescue and
put it into immediate execution.

The two men had approached the vessel in a small skiff on the river,
while Agatha had awaited them in a carriage on the other side. The
moving of the prison ship down the river might have disconcerted their
plans had not the watchful Agatha seen the movement, and following along
the shore reached them when they had almost succumbed from the exposure
and cold.

The carriage was a commodious one and well equipped for the long
journey, and in a few minutes Agatha had her mistress in a change of
warm clothing. As soon as Edmé was able, she bade Agatha call Tournay to
the carriage door.

"Thanks are a small return for what you have done," she said as he rode
by her side, "yet they are all I have to give." Then she stretched her
hand out to him with an impulsive gesture,--"Robert Tournay, I misjudged
you when you were last at La Thierry. Will you forgive it?"

It was the first time she had spoken to him as one addresses an equal,
and it moved him greatly. He leaned forward and took the hand she gave
him, looking down at her with a smile that lit up his face, as he
said:--

"Mademoiselle, I forgave the words you spoke as soon as they were
uttered. It is happiness enough to know that I have saved you." Before
he released it, he thought he felt the hand in his tremble a little.

The remembrance flashed through her mind, how, years before, she had
once noticed Tournay's manly bearing as he rode into the château-court
upon a spirited horse. She had at that time thought him handsome, with
an air about him superior to his station, and then had dismissed him
from her thoughts. As he rode before her now, the water still dripping
from his clothing, hatless, with damp locks clinging to his forehead,
she thought she had never looked upon a nobler figure among all the
gentlemen who in the old days frequented the château of the baron, her
father.

"Where are we going?" she asked, with more emotion than such a simple
question warranted.

"To the German frontier," was the reply. "We must travel rapidly night
and day. I shall hardly dare to stop for rest until you are safely over
the border."

"I leave myself in your charge," she said, leaning back in the carriage.

He gave a word of command and the coach rushed forward through the
night.

Tournay's words had recalled vividly to Edmé her unhappy situation.
Although innocent of all crime, she was proscribed and forced to fly
from her own country to take refuge among those who were invading it.
And the man who rode by the side of her carriage, and had undertaken to
convey her in safety across the border, was a soldier, fighting for the
government that persecuted her. Laying her head upon Agatha's shoulder
she felt her heart swell with bitterness. For hours, during which Agatha
imagined that she slept, she watched in silence through the window the
dark outlines of the swiftly moving landscape. Finally long after
Agatha's regular breathing announced her slumber, Edmé, worn out by the
excitement and fatigue, leaned back in the opposite corner and slept
like a tired child.

For five days the coach rolled toward the frontier, Tournay and Gaillard
riding on horseback.

Through Blois, Orleans, Arcis sur-Aube to Bar-le-Duc and on toward Metz
they went, stopping only to exchange their worn-out horses for fresh
ones, and for such few hours of rest as were absolutely indispensable.

During all the journey, Tournay saw little of Mademoiselle de Rochefort,
although her comfort and her safety were his constant care. The
passport with which he was provided prevented all delay; and it was
thought best that mademoiselle should remain as secluded in the carriage
as possible. When she did step out for a breath of air or a few hours'
rest at some inn she always wore a veil to hide her features. Whenever
he approached her to inform her as to the route they traveled he always
did so with the greatest deference, showing marked solicitude for her
health and comfort; expressing deep regret that the nature of their
journey rendered the great speed imperative.

One afternoon as they crossed the little stream of the Sarre, Tournay,
who had been riding some fifty yards in advance, drew rein and waited
for the carriage to come up to him.

"In an hour, mademoiselle," he said, as in obedience to his signal the
vehicle drew up by the roadside, "we shall be across the frontier, and
in Germany. At Hagenhof resides the Baron von Waldenmeer, who I think is
known to you as your father's friend."

"He was one of my father's friends," Mademoiselle Edmé acquiesced.

"I remember having often heard his name mentioned at La Thierry," said
Tournay. "So I took this direction rather than further south, which
would have been somewhat shorter. A few hours will bring us to Hagenhof,
where you will be able to put yourself under the baron's protection."

"And you?" inquired Edmé, "what are you going to do?"

"I shall return to France."

       *       *       *       *       *

The armies of Prussia and Austria, three hundred thousand strong, were
drawing in on France, to help to crush out the Republic and restore the
old régime.

The Baron von Waldenmeer's division was already on the frontier,
quartered at Falzenberg--waiting for other troops to come up before
joining the Austrian army at Wissembourg, near which the French had
concentrated a large force.

On a cold December afternoon two batteries of Prussian heavy artillery
were proceeding through the wood on the road going east from Inweiler,
whence they had been sent to join the main body of troops at Falzenberg.
It was snowing and at five o'clock darkness was already settling down on
the woodland road. Over the snow-carpeted leaves the wheels of the gun
carriages rolled almost noiselessly.

"Paff," growled Lieutenant Saueraugen, wiping the flakes from his
eyelashes for the twentieth time, as he thought of the hot sausages at
that moment being devoured in the mess-room at Falzenberg, and ten miles
between it and him. "A pest on such weather and such slow progress! at
this rate we shall not be at Falzenberg before midnight."

"_Donnerwetter!_ what is this?" he cried with his next breath, as along
the road that crossed from the north came a two-horse carriage at a
rapid gait. The driver of the vehicle saw the battery on the other road,
and tried to check the speed of his horses. The rider on the nigh leader
of the caisson whirled his horse to the left, but it received the
carriage pole on the right foreleg and went to the ground, dragging its
mate with it. Then followed a snorting of frightened animals and a
rattling of harness, flavored with the shouts and oaths of the
lieutenant and his men as they tried to bring order out of the
entanglement.

Two men on horseback rode up from behind the carriage, and with their
assistance the fallen horses were brought to their feet and the broken
harness repaired.

"Who the devil are you that tear through these woods like this?"
demanded the German, examining the abrasure on the leader's leg. "Come,
give account of yourselves." The two riders had remounted and seemed
anxious to be off.

"We are bound for Hagenhof," replied one of them. "We are in a great
hurry, and regret this accident, for which we are entirely to blame.
Name the amount which you think a proper compensation for your injured
horse and broken harness and we will gladly pay it."

He had spoken in German and in the easy, careless manner of one who
deemed the matter too trivial to be the cause of any controversy.

"You are French!" exclaimed the lieutenant, looking at the party
closely.

"We are," replied the man who had spoken before.

"You must accompany me to Falzenberg," said the German officer, "and
interview the general there."

"What does he say?" inquired the second Frenchman of his companion.

"Come, you had best not chatter your French before me," put in the surly
lieutenant, as one of the Frenchmen proceeded to interpret to the other.
"You may be spies for all I know, but that we shall find out when we get
to Falzenberg."

The dark eyes of the second Frenchman looked inquiringly at his comrade.
The other again translated the officer's words.

"We are most unfortunate, Gaillard, to have fallen in with this
imbecile," was the reply.

"My friend commends your prudence and judgment," repeated the
interpreter, his mouth widening and showing his white teeth, "and
desires me to tell you that we have important business at Hagenhof. If
you will send us there under an escort, we shall be able to prove that
we are not spying upon the movement of your troops."

The lieutenant scowled. "Can so few words of your language stand for all
that in German?" he demanded.

The Frenchman laughed lightly as he replied, "Our language is very
flexible."

"So perhaps may be your necks," said the officer brutally, a suspicion
entering his mind that he was being laughed at. "But you must come with
me to Falzenberg, and there's an end of it."

"Why not to Hagenhof?" persisted Gaillard with perfect good-humor.

"To Falzenberg!" roared the Prussian officer, swearing roundly, "and
before we start, let me see what sort of freight you are carrying along
the road." He approached the carriage with the intention of opening the
door.

Tournay wheeled his horse between him and the coach with a suddenness
that made the German jump aside to avoid being trodden upon by the
animal.

"We are going to General von Waldenmeer at Hagenhof," he said, speaking
his own language, "and if you prevent or delay our journey you may rue
it."

The lieutenant, infuriated at this interference, caught Tournay's horse
by the bridle with one hand, while the other flew to his belt; but the
mention of General von Waldenmeer's name and the ring of decision in the
speaker's voice caused him to pause.

"General von Waldenmeer at Hagenhof," repeated Tournay slowly and
distinctly, as if he were speaking to a person of defective hearing.

"Who is making so free with the name of Waldenmeer?" cried a voice in
the French tongue but with a strong German accent; and half a dozen
Prussian officers came riding out of the wood, the fresh-fallen snow
flying from the evergreen branches like white down as their horses drove
through them.

They circled round the group by the carriage, drawing their animals up
with a suddenness that threw them on their haunches.

"Who is it that claims the friendship of von Waldenmeer?" repeated one
of the number, this time speaking in German. He was a young man about
twenty-two, with short, dark red hair, and a small mustache. He rode a
black horse that pranced and curvetted nervously.

"These people, my colonel," said the lieutenant, growing suddenly
polite. "I was about to tell them"--

"Never mind what you were about to tell them, Lieutenant Saueraugen,"
replied the colonel haughtily, "but inform me as briefly as possible
what has occurred."

Confused by the thought that possibly he had been rude to friends of
General von Waldenmeer, the lieutenant stammered through a recital which
was far from clear.

While the lieutenant was speaking, the young Prussian colonel was
slapping his boot sharply with his riding-whip, or checking the
impatient pawing of his horse.

"_Potstausend!_" he exclaimed, interrupting the unhappy lieutenant in
the middle of his story. "I cannot make head or tail of your account,
Saueraugen. Broken harness, and French spies, closed carriage, and
injured horses." Then, turning to Tournay, he addressed him in French:--

"I understand you are on your way to find General von Waldenmeer,--he is
in the field, quartered at present at Falzenberg. You can accompany me
there."

"We are bound for General von Waldenmeer's castle at Hagenhof," replied
Tournay politely, "and with your permission we will proceed there."

"Do you know the general?" inquired the Prussian colonel.

"I have not that honor."

"I am his son, Karl von Waldenmeer, and I think it would be best for you
to accompany me to Falzenberg, where I am going to join my father."

"Perhaps if the baroness is still at Hagenhof it would better suit the
inclination of the lady whom I escort, Mademoiselle de Rochefort, to go
forward rather than be compelled to go to Falzenberg."

Colonel von Waldenmeer sat in thought during the long space, for him, of
five seconds. "I think you would better come with me as far as
Falzenberg," he said.

"As you command," answered Tournay.

"Did I understand you to say that the occupant of that carriage was a
Mademoiselle de Rochefort?" asked the young von Waldenmeer, as Tournay
spoke aside to Gaillard.

"Yes."

"What is the nature of your business with the baron my father?" was the
next question, abruptly put.

"Will you permit me to discuss that with the baron himself?"

"As you will," answered the Prussian colonel with hauteur. Then turning
to the group of officers who had sat motionless upon their horses, he
said:--

"Gentlemen, you will please accompany this carriage to Falzenberg.
Lieutenant Saueraugen, bring up your batteries with all possible speed
and report to me. Franz von Shiffen, you will please come with me." He
gave his black charger a slight touch with the spur, the spirited animal
sprang forward, and he was seen galloping down the road, with Franz von
Shiffen riding hotly after him.

Baron von Waldenmeer, general of the division of the Rhine, was seated
with a beer mug before him and his pipe freshly lit, enjoying his
evening smoke, when word was brought to him that the party of Frenchmen,
encountered by his son and some other members of his staff on the road
from Inweiler, had arrived at Falzenberg, and was now awaiting his
pleasure in the room below. His son, who had come in some time before,
had told him of the incident of the meeting.

The baron blew a cloud of smoke out of his capacious mouth.

"Show the entire party up here at once. We can then hear their story and
decide as to the probability of it. You, Karl, send word to General von
Scrappenhauer that I shall have to defer our party of Skat for an hour.
Ludwig, have your father's beer mug replenished. Would you have his
throat become like the bed of a dried-up stream? And now send up your
Frenchmen; I am waiting for them."

Ludwig von Waldenmeer, who was the picture of his younger brother Karl,
except that he was heavier in build and larger of girth, passed the
beer flagon from his end of the table to his father.

Karl gave a few commands to an orderly, then took a seat by the
general's side. The latter was a man of about sixty. Around his shining
bald pate was a fringe of grizzled hair that had once been red. His
mustache was a bristling, scrubby brush of the same color. Although not
of great height he was broad of chest and still broader about the
waistband; and even in his lightest boots he rode in the saddle at two
hundred pounds.

An orderly opened the door and ushered in the four French travelers.
Mademoiselle de Rochefort entered first. She paused for a moment at the
sight of a room full of officers. Then she took a few steps into the
room and stood awaiting the baron's command. The baron took one look at
the figure before him, then rose suddenly to his feet and came toward
her; the other officers took the signal and rose from their places at
the table and stood beside their chairs.

"You are the daughter of Honoré de Rochefort. One has no need to ask the
question, it is answered by your face." And General von Waldenmeer took
Edmé by the hand and led her to a seat by his side. Agatha kept at her
mistress's elbow like a faithful guardian.

Tournay and Gaillard, travel-stained and splashed with mud from head to
foot, remained standing by the door.

"If you have come, as I surmise, to find in Prussia a home denied you by
your native land, let me say that nowhere will you find a warmer
welcome than under the roof of von Waldenmeer," and the general put her
hand to his lips.

"I have come," she replied, "to find a refuge from the persecution which
follows me in my own unhappy country. Thanks to the devotion of these
friends," and she turned toward Tournay with a look of gratitude, "I
have been able to reach here in safety, to throw myself upon your
protection, and to ask your advice as to my future movements."

"If you will pardon this reception in a rough soldier's camp,
mademoiselle, and can put up with such poor accommodation as this house
affords, to-morrow you shall be escorted on to Hagenhof, where my wife
will receive you as one of her own daughters." And he bent over her hand
for the second time.

This unusual show of gallantry on the part of their general caused Franz
von Shippen to place his hand before his mouth to hide a smile, while
Ludwig von Waldenmeer looked up at the ceiling.

"Franz," called out the general, "interview the good lady whose house we
occupy and see that the best room she has is prepared for Mademoiselle
de Rochefort. Ludwig, to-morrow you shall have the honor of escorting
this lady to Hagenhof. There you shall be welcome, mademoiselle, as long
as you choose to honor us with your company. But rest assured it will
not be long before your own country will be rescued from the miscreants
who are devouring it. All Europe is in arms to avenge outraged royalty;
the Prussian army of two hundred thousand men is now prepared to march
on Paris. With us are thousands of your own nobility. We make common
cause against anarchy and murder. We shall not rest until we have
restored the monarchy and chastised these insolent Republicans."

Edmé looked quickly in the direction of Tournay, fearful lest the
baron's words should stir him to make a reply, but he and Gaillard stood
listening imperturbably. From their quiet and unobtrusive demeanor the
general had taken them for servants of Mademoiselle de Rochefort and had
not given them a second look.

"But you are fatigued, mademoiselle," said von Waldenmeer. "To-morrow
morning will be a more fitting time to discuss your affairs. The good
hausfrau by this time is preparing your quarters. I will conduct you to
them. Your followers will be comfortably cared for outside."

Edmé, glad of an opportunity to escape further conversation, was about
to thank the general for his permission to retire to her room, when the
outer door opened and a number of French noblemen, officers of the
general's staff, entered the room.

Among them was the Marquis de Lacheville. His quick roving eye caught
sight of Edmé instantly. He stopped in the middle of a conversation with
a companion and looked over his shoulder hastily as if he would retrace
his steps without attracting attention; but it was too late. The deep
voice of General von Waldenmeer sounded in his ears.

"Ah, here are some of your brave countrymen, mademoiselle, who deem it
no disgrace to serve under the flag of Prussia in order to reconquer the
throne for their rightful sovereign."

The door behind de Lacheville was closed by the Count de Beaujeu, who
was the last to enter, and the marquis, drawing a deep breath between
his set teeth, stepped forward as one who suddenly resolves to take a
desperate chance.

"Cousin Edmé!" he exclaimed, coming up to where she was seated and
endeavoring to take her hand. "Thank Heaven you have escaped!"

"Yes, I am in a place of safety, thanks to a brave gentleman," she
replied, drawing back her hand. "But do not call me cousin. I ceased to
be your kinswoman when you deserted me at Rochefort. There are no
cowards of our blood." And she turned from him with a look of
unutterable contempt as if he were too mean an object to deserve her
passing notice. She had spoken in a low voice, yet so distinctly that
all in the room heard what she had said. A murmur of surprise ran round
the entire group of officers. The marquis drew back under the rebuff,
his face deadly pale, while he darted at Edmé a look of hatred as if he
could have killed her.

"What's that?" roared the general as soon as he could master his
astonishment. "One of my aides a coward?"

De Lacheville gave a quick glance around the room, as a hunted man,
brought suddenly to bay, might seek some weapon to defend himself. As he
caught sight of Tournay, his eyes gleamed wickedly.

"This mad girl," he exclaimed, pointing to Mademoiselle de Rochefort as
soon as he could control his voice, "was once my affianced bride, but
she has found a mate better suited to her liking. She has been traveling
with him throughout France, and now she seeks to extenuate her own
conduct by slandering me, whom she has wronged."

"If you are not the coward mademoiselle has called you, you will answer
to me for that lie," said Tournay, throwing Gaillard's restraining hand
off from his arm and advancing toward the marquis threateningly.

De Lacheville drew back. He remembered the duel in the woods at La
Thierry. He looked again into the dark eyes of the stern man who
confronted him, and his mouth twitched nervously. Then with an effort he
turned to the French gentlemen at his side and said, speaking rapidly,
"This fellow is a Republican, one of those who clamored for King Louis's
death. Shall we forget our oath to kill these regicides wherever we may
find them?"

Before he had finished speaking, three swords were out of their
scabbards and three infuriated French noblemen sprang at Tournay.

"Gott in Himmel!" shouted General von Waldenmeer, as his Prussian
officers beat down the points of the excited Frenchmen, "will you spill
blood here under my very nose? Colonel Karl von Waldenmeer, place those
French gentlemen under restraint, and let there be quiet here while I
examine into these charges."

The Marquis de Lacheville had taken up a position near the door.

"He is Robert Tournay, an officer of the Republican army!" he cried out
as he sheathed his sword. "While he is here in the disguise of a lackey
in waiting to Mademoiselle de Rochefort, his intention is to play the
spy and return with his information to France. For your own sake,
General von Waldenmeer, you should place him where he can do you no such
injury."

"What answer have you to make to this?" said the old general, addressing
Tournay. "Are you a servant of Mademoiselle de Rochefort, or are you a
spy of those Republican brigands? Speak! I condemn no man unheard."

Tournay looked round the room before replying.

"I am a colonel in the Republican army," he said quietly. "But I came
here solely to bring mademoiselle to a place of safety; not to spy upon
your army, which as a matter of fact I thought twenty miles further
east."

General von Waldenmeer broke the silence that followed this avowal.

"You admit that you are an officer in the Republican army. You are
within our lines under very peculiar circumstances. You may have taken
advantage of Mademoiselle de Rochefort's confidence in you to play the
spy. Until it is proven to the contrary, I must take the ground that
both you and your companion are spies, and treat you accordingly.
Colonel von Waldenmeer, you will send for a file of soldiers and place
these two men under arrest."

"General von Waldenmeer!" said Edmé de Rochefort, turning toward the old
baron with an appealing gesture, "you are about to commit an act of
grave injustice. Colonel Tournay is guiltless of the charge of being a
spy. The charge was brought against him out of malice and revenge by the
man who has just slandered me so basely."

She did not look at the Marquis de Lacheville, but under the general
gaze which was directed toward him as she spoke, he quailed and shrunk
from the room, shivering as with ague.

"This gentleman," she went on, looking at Tournay gratefully, "has
incurred great danger and endured much privation in order to bring me
here in safety. He has been brave and devoted when others cravenly
deserted me; and if he should be treated by you as a spy it would be as
if I had decoyed him here only to destroy him."

"No, mademoiselle, no," said Robert Tournay in a low tone.

By a quick gesture she bade him be silent.

"General von Waldenmeer, you are a brave soldier. You have professed the
greatest friendship for your old friend's daughter. She now asks you to
release these gentlemen. As a soldier and a gentleman you are bound to
grant her prayer."

She spoke the words simply and in the tone which was natural to her, as
if the request admitted of no denial; and laying her hand upon the
general's arm looked into his rough face.

For a moment he sat in silence. His heavy brows came down until they
shaded his eyes completely. Then taking the hand that rested on his
sleeve, he said:--

"At the risk of neglecting my duty as a soldier, I will grant your
request. These men shall go free, but," he added hastily, as though his
consent to their liberation had been given too quickly, "they must be
kept under surveillance here until to-morrow, and then they shall be
escorted back over the frontier. Colonel von Waldenmeer," he continued,
addressing his son, "I leave you to conduct these French gentlemen to
their quarters. I make you responsible for their keeping."

Edmé held out her hand to Tournay. "Good-night, Colonel Tournay," she
said. "It is a great joy and relief to know that you are to come to no
harm through having brought me here. And you, who have done so much for
me, will surely overlook this last and slight indignity which you are
called upon to endure for my sake."

"Mademoiselle," he replied, bending over her hand and speaking in a tone
so low that none other in the room could hear, "there is nothing in the
world I would not endure for your sake. To have you speak to me like
this repays me a thousand-fold. Adieu, mademoiselle. Now, Colonel von
Waldenmeer, I am ready;" and with Gaillard at his side he followed young
von Waldenmeer from the room.



CHAPTER XI

UNDER WHICH FLAG?


As the three men came out into the corridor, the large outer door opened
and a sergeant of artillery stepped over the threshold, saluted the
colonel, and stood awaiting orders. The fine snow drifted past him into
the hall, stinging the faces of von Waldenmeer and his two prisoners.

The colonel turned toward the Frenchmen, and addressing them in his
quick way, said:--

"It is a vile night. Give me your word not to leave the quarters to
which I assign you until sent for, and I will permit you to pass the
night more in comfort under this roof."

Tournay gladly assented, the young von Waldenmeer spoke a few words of
command to the sergeant, who turned on his heel and repeated the order
in guttural tones to some snow-covered figures behind him. The door
closed with a loud bang and the escort was heard marching away.

Colonel Karl then led the way up a broad oaken staircase to a room at
the end of a long corridor on the upper floor.

"My own room is just opposite," said he with a gesture of the head, as
he threw open the door. "You will be more comfortable here than in the
guard-house."

The house which General von Waldenmeer had chosen for his headquarters
at Falzenberg was a commodious one, built around an open court, where in
summer a fountain played in the centre of a green grass plot. Tournay
stepped to one of the windows and looked out upon the scene. The bronze
figure in the fountain was draped with ice, and a great mound of snow
filled the centre of the square, where the soldiers had cleared a
passage for themselves. On the opposite side were the stables, and from
the neighing and stamping of hoofs, Tournay judged more than a dozen
horses were kept there. Lights flashed here and there as a subaltern or
private moved about in the performance of the night's duties.

The first thing which had struck Gaillard's eye on entering was a large
canopied bed. This reminded him too forcibly of his fatigue to be
resisted. He threw himself down upon it, boots and all, and was asleep
as soon as his head touched the pillow.

Von Waldenmeer stood in the centre of the room, slapping his hessians
with a little flexible riding-whip. Tournay began to thank him for the
courtesy he had shown them, when the latter stopped him in his abrupt
way, saying:--

"I was watching the Marquis de Lacheville's face while he was denouncing
Mademoiselle de Rochefort, and if ever I saw liar written upon a man's
countenance it was on his then. I wish that he had lied when he accused
you of being a colonel in the Republican army." And Colonel Karl strode
toward the door impatiently.

"Why should you have wished that?" demanded Tournay. "I am proud of my
position."

"Bah!" exclaimed the German, with his hand on the latch, "you should be
in the Prussian army. It is an honor to serve in the army that was built
up by the great Frederick. A man of your courage should not be content
to serve among those Republican brigands. Good-night,"--and he
disappeared rapidly through the door, slamming it behind him.

Tournay roused Gaillard from his slumber. Both men were numb with
fatigue. They had not taken off their clothes and slept in a bed since
leaving Paris, and five minutes later they had thrown off their garments
and sunk into a deep sleep in the large, white bed.

For ten hours Tournay slept without moving. Then he yawned, threw out
both arms, opened his eyes a little, and was preparing to sleep again
when he became conscious that a man was standing beside the bed. Opening
his heavy eyes a little further, he recognized Gaillard and said to him
drowsily:--

"Well! What is it, Gaillard? Can't I get a few minutes' sleep
undisturbed?"

"The forenoon is half gone," replied Gaillard; "you've slept enough for
one man."

"You don't mean to say that it's morning already!" exclaimed Tournay,
leaning on one elbow and blinking at the light.

"Morning! The finest kind of a morning," replied Gaillard gayly. "I've
been up these two hours. I gained permission to go to our carriage, and
I have taken out a change of linen from our equipment in the boot."

Tournay sprang from the bed and looked out of the window. The sun was
high in the heaven, and the day was bright and cold.

"That Lieutenant Sauerkraut, or whatever his name may be," said
Gaillard, "has just come up to say that the general would like to see
you at your convenience. The lieutenant was particularly civil, for him,
so I surmise nothing will interfere with our early departure. It's
astonishing how quickly an underling takes his tone from his superior
officer. I suppose it will be better for you to wait upon the general at
once, while the old gentleman is in a good humor," continued Gaillard,
"and as I have been given the liberty of the courtyard, I will employ
the time in looking after our horses."

"Very well," said Tournay. "I will go to General von Waldenmeer. I hope
nothing will interfere with our immediate departure."

General von Waldenmeer was seated at his table with a pile of maps and
papers before him. At Tournay's entrance the two officers who were
standing at the general's side withdrew to the further end of the room.
It was the same room in which the scene of the previous evening had
taken place. On the table at the general's elbow stood his beer-mug,
filled with his morning draught. The old soldier was evidently very much
absorbed in the work before him, for his heavy brows were drawn over
his eyes and his lips were moving as he studied the papers. From time to
time he reached out his left hand mechanically and took up the beer-mug,
refreshing himself with a long pull. With the exception of the two
officers, there were no other occupants of the room.

The picture of Mademoiselle Edmé, as she had appeared when pleading to
the general in his behalf, was so vivid in Tournay's mind that he stood
silently before the table, oblivious to his surroundings. He remained in
this position for some minutes when the general, upon one of his
searches for inspiration at the bottom of the beer-mug, glanced over the
rim and saw the Frenchman standing like a statue before him.

"_Potstausend!_" he exclaimed, as soon as he had set down the mug and
wiped the white froth from his mustache. "You were so quiet that I
forgot your existence and have been studying out a plan of campaign
against General Hoche under your very nose. He's a clever little man, is
Hoche," continued the old German musingly. "There is some sport in
beating him."

Tournay smiled quietly at hearing his idol patronizingly spoken of by an
officer who had not won half his fame.

"I wish you better success than your predecessor in the attempt, General
von Waldenmeer," he said.

The general smiled grimly at this hit and then changed the subject by
saying:--

"Last evening I told you that I would send you back to France with an
escort to the frontier."

Tournay bowed affirmatively.

"Since then, Mademoiselle de Rochefort has told me in full the story of
her escape from Tours, recounting your part in it, and dwelling most
flatteringly upon your bravery and discretion."

Tournay bowed again in acknowledgment.

"The service you have rendered the daughter of my old friend, by
effecting her rescue and bringing her here in spite of such great
obstacles, makes my obligation to you deep, very deep. My honor and my
inclinations are one, when they move me to accord you, not only your
freedom, but to offer you a commission in my son's regiment, the Tenth
Prussian heavy artillery."

If the general had ordered him out to instant execution or conferred
upon him in marriage the hand of his daughter Gretchen, Tournay could
not have felt more surprise. For a few moments he could find no words in
which to answer, and the general turned to the papers he had just laid
down.

"Is my entry into your service made a condition of my freedom?" he
finally found breath to inquire.

The Prussian general looked up from the map he had been studying,
pressing his fat finger upon it to mark the place.

"Certainly not," he replied, "I make no conditions in paying a debt."

"Then I will take my liberty, which you have promised to restore to me,"
answered Tournay, "and return to France."

It was now the general's turn to be surprised.

"You mean to say that you will go back to Paris?"

"I shall return to the French army at--It is needless to tell you where,
as you have been studying the map so attentively."

"But," interrupted General von Waldenmeer, "within six months our allied
armies will be in Paris. There will be no more Republic, and every one
who has been instrumental in the death of King Louis XVI. and the
destruction of the monarchy will have to pay the penalty. You are a
young man. You have been led into this republicanism by older heads. I
offer you an opportunity--not only of escaping the consequences of your
folly but the chance of redeeming yourself by fighting on the right
side--and you refuse?" and the general reached out for the beer-mug to
sustain himself in his disappointment. He was so sincere in his offer
and in his amazement at its refusal that the angry color on Tournay's
cheek faded away and a smile crept to his lips.

"Come," said the old general, putting down his mug after an unusually
long pull at the contents, "you are thinking better of it. I can
understand a soldier's disinclination to desert his colors, but this is
not as if I were asking you to be a traitor to your country. A von
Waldenmeer would cut out his own tongue rather than propose that to any
other soldier. I am putting it in your way to leave the service of a
faction who by anarchy and rebellion have gained control of France.
Under the banner of the allies are the true patriots of your country.
You have only to throw off that red, white, and blue uniform and put on
the colors of Prussia and you are one of them."

Again the flush of resentment rose to Tournay's cheek, but as he looked
down upon the German general who in perfect good faith and seriousness
made him such a proposal, and as he realized the utter impossibility of
either of them ever seeing the subject in the same light, his look of
anger changed to one of amusement, and a grim smile twitched at the
corners of his mustache.

"I appreciate the honor you would do me, General von Waldenmeer, but I
prefer to pay the penalty of my folly and remain loyal to the French
Republic."

The general took up his papers again. "Very well," he said gruffly. "I
will provide you with an escort over the frontier. It will be ready to
start within the hour." His eyebrows came down and he became deeply
immersed in the study of the map.

Tournay stood for a few moments looking at the fat forefinger of the old
soldier as it traced its way over the surface of the map. His thoughts
were of Mademoiselle de Rochefort. He wondered whether she had set out
on her way to Hagenhof. He almost hoped that she had left and that he
would be spared the pain of parting from her. Yet if she were still at
Falzenberg he knew he never could force himself to leave and not make an
attempt to bid her good-by.

It was with these conflicting emotions, mingled with a reluctance to
mention her name to the gruff old general, that he said in a low
voice:--

"Has Mademoiselle de Rochefort started on her journey to Hagenhof?"

He received no answer.

There had been a slight tremor in his voice as he spoke Edmé's name.
Hesitating for a moment, he stepped to the table and placing one hand on
it he asked again in a steady tone, "When does Mademoiselle de Rochefort
go to Hagenhof?"

The one word "To-morrow" came abruptly out of the large head buried in
the papers before him.

Tournay drew a sigh of relief. If she had gone away, leaving him no
word, he would have been the most miserable of men. Without further
words with the general he turned and left the room.

As he went along the hallway be heard the rustle of a woman's gown
behind him, and turning, saw to his great satisfaction the figure of
Agatha hurrying toward him.

"Agatha," he exclaimed, as she came up to him, "where is mademoiselle?
Can I see her?"

"Mademoiselle is in Frau Krieger's apartment at the further end of the
east wing. If you will come with me I will show you where it is. It is
fortunate that I have met you as I do, else it would have been difficult
to find you in this large place."

"Then you were sent to fetch me?" inquired Tournay eagerly.

"I did not say that," replied Agatha with a quiet smile.

"But you evidently were in search of me," persisted Tournay.

"I have no time to answer questions now," she replied, with a laugh.
"Here is the room," and she ushered him into a long old-fashioned salon,
whose uncomfortable pieces of furniture looked as if they had stood for
generations staring at their own ugly reflections in the polished
surface of the floor.

At one end of the room stood a porcelain stove in which a fire was
burning; but the large white sepulchral object seemed to chill the
atmosphere more than the fire could warm it. Two high windows hung with
heavy curtains faced the square in front of the house, while in the rear
two other windows looked out upon the courtyard.

Frau Krieger, the widow of a Prussian officer of high rank, had reserved
the salon and one or two adjoining rooms for her own use, and saw with
pride the remainder of her domicile turned into barracks by General von
Waldenmeer and his staff.

"Wait here a moment and I will tell mademoiselle," said Agatha,
traversing the salon and disappearing through a door in the further
side. Tournay walked to the front window and glanced out on the street.

The sentinel at the porte-cochère was on the point of presenting arms to
Ludwig von Waldenmeer, who rode out; and two of the general's staff
officers stood smoking and chatting in front of the building. Tournay's
alert ear caught the sound of light footsteps, and he turned just as
Edmé crossed the threshold from the inner room.

He had told himself many times within the last few minutes that the
interview must be a brief one if he were to retain complete mastery over
his feelings. As he approached her, his face, in spite of his efforts to
control it, expressed some of the emotions which the sight of her
awakened.

She extended her hand to him in her graceful, natural way, and he bent
over it, mechanically uttering the words he had been repeating over and
over to himself.

"I have come, mademoiselle, to say adieu."

At this, the color which had mantled her cheek as he touched her fingers
disappeared.

"You have not seen General von Waldenmeer, then?" she asked quickly.

"Yes, mademoiselle, and because I have seen him I intend to start at
once."

"General von Waldenmeer says that in less than three months' time the
Prussian army will be in Paris," said Edmé.

A slight smile of incredulity was Tournay's only reply.

"The monarchy will be restored," she continued; "little mercy will be
shown the Republicans. They will have justice meted out to them by their
conquerors."

"The allied armies will never reach Paris, mademoiselle, and before they
restore the monarchy they must kill every Republican who stands between
them and the throne."

"I do not want them to kill you," she said simply.

His heart beat wildly. For an instant he did not speak. When he could
trust his voice to answer he said:--

"I thank you deeply for your solicitude, mademoiselle, but whatever
happens I must go back to my duty."

Edmé hesitated a moment, then spoke, at first with evident effort; then
warming into a tone of almost passionate entreaty.

"You have done much for an unhappy woman, Robert Tournay. The
remembrance of the loyalty and devotion with which you watched over and
protected me shall never pass out of my memory. The de Rocheforts do not
easily forget such a debt as I owe you. In an attempt to repay it in
some measure, I persuaded General von Waldenmeer to offer you an
honorable position in his service. I am a proud woman, Monsieur Tournay,
and it cost me something to make such an appeal to the Prussian officer,
and now you reject his offer and present yourself before me so coolly
and say carelessly, 'I have come, mademoiselle, to bid you adieu.'"

"You think it easy for me to say those words?" replied Tournay
vehemently.

She did not wait for him to finish, but went on:--

"I place it in your power to serve the rightful cause, honorably and
loyally,--the cause of the king; _my_ cause, Robert Tournay, and you
refuse to do so."

"Do you not see that what you propose would be my dishonor?" he asked
gently.

"No," answered Edmé firmly. "You are a brave but obstinate man, who
madly pursues a wicked course; because, having once espoused it, you
think to desert it would be disloyal. You are mad, Robert Tournay, but I
will rescue you from your folly. I will save you in spite of yourself. I
command you to stay here!" and with the same imperious gesture which he
knew so well of old, she stood before him, her dark blue eyes, as was
their wont under stress of excitement, flashing almost black. The tone
was one of command, but there was in it a note of entreaty that went to
his heart. He caught the hand which she held out to him, and exclaimed
fervently:--

"I would give ten years of life to be able to obey you, but it cannot
be. You do not know what you are asking of me or you would not put my
honor thus upon the rack. It is cruel of you, mademoiselle, but I
forgive you. You cannot understand. How should you--you are of the
Monarchy, and I am of the Republic. The Republic calls me and I must
go."

"The Republic!" repeated Edmé, "Oh! execrable Republic! It has robbed me
of everything in the world--family, estate, friends, and now"--She
paused, the sentence incomplete upon her lips, and looked at him with an
expression of pain upon her face as if some violent struggle were
taking place within her. "And now you are going back to it. You may
become its victim; you, who are so brave and strong and noble. Yes," she
continued, "I will give the word its full meaning, Robert Tournay, you
are noble--too noble to become a martyr in such a cause. I entreat you
not to go. I fear for your safety."

Tournay's head swam. For a moment he felt that he must fold her in his
arms and tell her that for her sake he would give up everything in the
world for which he had striven,--country, liberty, and honor; the
Republic itself.

With a mighty effort he threw off the feeling of weakness, passionately
crying, "For God's sake, mademoiselle, do not speak to me like that. You
will make me forget my manhood. You will make me act so that your
respect, which I have been so fortunate as to win, will turn to
contempt. You could almost make me turn traitor to the Republic."

"What is this Republic? this creature of the imagination which you place
above all else in the world?" she asked impetuously. "What has it done
for France? What has it done for you?"

Before Tournay could answer, the sound of martial music was heard
outside, and the measured tread of passing troops shook the room. He
stepped to the window and drawing aside the curtains motioned Edmé to
come to his side.

Wonderingly she approached and saw a brigade of infantry passing in
review of the general of division. They marched with absolute
precision, the sun reflecting on the polished barrels of their guns as
on a solid wall.

"There go the best troops in the world," said Tournay. Edmé looked up in
his face with surprise at his sudden change of manner.

"The soldiers of Prussia: at the command of their officers they will
march like that to the batteries' mouth, closing up the gap of the
fallen men with clock-work movements. There are two hundred thousand of
them, and they are preparing to attack France. Joined with them are the
tried veterans of Austria. On the sea," he continued, "the fleets of
England are bearing down upon the ports of France. In the south, Spain
is pouring her soldiers over the Pyrenees. These allied armies have
banded together to destroy France. Yet we shall throw them back again,
as we did at Wattignes and at Jemappes. There the flower of the European
armies was scattered by our raw French troops. Although outnumbered and
outmanoeuvred, the _men_ of France hurled back their foes in broken
and disordered array. And why? Because in the heart of every Frenchman
burns the new-born fire of liberty. He is fighting for the freedom he
has bought so dearly. He is fighting for that Republic which has made
him what he is--a _man_! It is France against the world! and by the
Republic alone will she triumph over her enemies. That is my answer,
mademoiselle. The Republic has made a new France, and _I_ am part of it.
At her call I must leave everything and go to her defense."

While he spoke thus, Edmé saw his face animated with a light she had
learned to know so well,--the same light that had shone from his eyes
when he confronted the mob in her château; the same fire that flashed as
he defended himself before General von Waldenmeer.

"You say I place my duty to the Republic above any earthly
consideration," he said. "Let me tell you that I hold your respect still
dearer. If I should desert my cause, the cause for which I have lived,
should I not lose that respect? Ask your own heart, mademoiselle, would
it not be so?"

She stood in silence. Then her eyes met his. He read her answer there
before she spoke, and in the look she gave him he thought he read still
more--something he dared not believe, scarcely dared hope.

"You are right," she replied, speaking slowly and distinctly. "Go back
to France! It is I who bid you go."

"I knew you would tell me to go," he replied.

The sound of voices in the corridor outside fell upon their ears.

"There are Gaillard and the escort," said Tournay, sadly. "Mademoiselle,
good-by! I may never see you again. But I thank God that you are here in
safety, and I shall find some happiness in the thought that I have been
an instrument in your deliverance."

She did not answer, but stretched out her hand to him. He took it, and
dropping on one knee, put it to his lips. "It is for the last time," he
said, looking up at her. His face was deadly pale, and there was a look
of pleading in his brown eyes.

She placed her other hand upon his head. It was but the slightest touch,
as if she yielded to a sudden impulse, and then with the same swift
movement she drew away from him.

"As it _must_ be, I pray you to go quickly," she said, and without
waiting for a reply she turned and left him.

Tournay rose to his feet,--"I swear to you now, mademoiselle, that some
day I shall see you again," and he rushed from the room to the courtyard
below.

"Are the horses ready?" he whispered hoarsely, grasping Gaillard by the
arm.

"At the door with an escort of Prussian officers," was the reply.

"What time is it?"

"Three hours before dark."

"We must be over the frontier and well into France by to-night," was
Tournay's rejoinder. "Come!"

Standing by the window, Edmé saw him leap into the saddle. He gave one
look in her direction, but could not see her, concealed as she was by
the heavy curtains.

She heard the officers laughing and talking among themselves. She saw
one of the men jump from his horse, tighten a saddle girth, and remount
with an agile spring. Then Colonel von Waldenmeer approached and
addressed some remark to Robert Tournay. The latter, who had been
sitting erect and motionless upon his horse, turned slightly in the
saddle to answer the Prussian officer.

Edmé could see that his features were set and their expression stern.

Colonel von Waldenmeer mounted his own horse, gave a word of command,
and the party started forward.

Edmé watched them as they went up the road. Ten horses riding two
abreast, the snow flying out from under the heels of the galloping
hoofs. She watched them until the square shoulders of Colonel Tournay
were hardly distinguishable from those of Colonel Karl who rode beside
him. The cavalcade disappeared around a bend in the road, and Edmé
turned from the wintry aspect without to the dreary salon with a heavy
heart.



CHAPTER XII

THE FOUR COMMISSIONERS


Under the escort of Karl von Waldenmeer and half a dozen of his French
officers, Tournay and Gaillard rode rapidly toward the French boundary.

It had stopped snowing during the night, and the weather was clear and
cold.

They rode in silence, no sound being heard but the regular dull beating
of their horses' hoofs on the snow-covered ground.

They drew out of the wood and saw the frozen surface of the Rhine before
them, the sun dazzling their eyes with its reflected light upon the ice.

With one accord the party reined in their horses and sat motionless,
looking at the glorious sight of the ice-bound river.

Karl von Waldenmeer was the first to break the silence. Pointing with
his gloved hand toward the opposite shore he said:--

"There, gentlemen, is France, and my road ends here."

Tournay merely made an inclination of the head in assent. He was
thinking sadly of Edmé standing by the window in the cheerless old salon
at Falzenberg; but as he looked out over the river towards his own land
he remembered the army on the other side of the Vosges; the prospect of
the impending campaign caused his spirits to revive, and he replied:--

"We owe you thanks, Colonel von Waldenmeer, for the kindness you have
been pleased to show us. When we meet again it will doubtless be upon
the field of battle, but I shall not even then forget your courtesy of
to-day."

"It will always give me pleasure to meet you again, under any
circumstances, Colonel Tournay," said the Prussian, "and if it be on the
field, to cross swords with you. A brave foe makes a good friend, and I
shall be glad to count you as both of these. And now, gentlemen, we will
relieve you of our escort; there lies your way over that bridge, just
below here. We return to Falzenberg."

"Let us cross upon the ice," said Gaillard to Tournay; "it will bear our
weight easily."

They rode down the bank. At the brink their horses drew back, but being
urged by their riders, went forward, feeling the ice daintily with their
forefeet with cat-like caution. Seeing that the ice was quite safe, the
Frenchmen put spurs into their horses and the animals swung into a
gallop, their iron-shod feet cutting into the ice with a pleasant,
crunching sound.

Reaching the further side, they rode up the steep bank, then reined in
their horses and looked back. The declining rays of the sun tipped the
snow-clad hemlock trees on the other side of the river with crimson,
and against the dark outline of the forest behind, the figures of
Colonel von Waldenmeer and his officers sat motionless as statues. Each
party gave the military salute, and the Prussians rode back into the
wood, while Tournay and Gaillard sat looking after them until they were
no longer in sight.

"We are on French soil once more," exclaimed Tournay, "and now to join
General Hoche and fight for it."

"I had best return to Paris," said Gaillard.

"I fear to have you return there now, after having put your head in
danger by assisting me," said Tournay anxiously.

"I shall be as safe in Paris as anywhere in the world," replied his
friend. "Nobody will suspect the actor Gaillard of having any connection
with the flight of Mademoiselle de Rochefort. I cannot do better than to
return to Paris and resume my usual mode of life there. While, if you
are suspected, as is more likely, of instigating or effecting
Mademoiselle de Rochefort's escape from Tours, you must look to your
military reputation and your influence in the convention to protect you
from an inquiry on the part of the rabid revolutionists."

"What you say, Gaillard, is sound reasoning. I will follow your advice.
Embrace me, my friend, and let us part here."

"Good-by until we meet again, my colonel!" was Gaillard's only audible
reply, and then he rode off toward the west, while Tournay turned his
horse in the direction of the north, where the French troops lay
encamped.

It was about noon of the next day when he reached the French army, and
stopping only at his own tent to put on his uniform he hurried to the
headquarters of General Hoche and reported for duty. He had traveled so
rapidly from Tours that he reached the army almost as soon as General
Hoche expected him, and the general attributed the delay of a day or so
to the bad condition of the roads.

Tournay hesitated to set him right in the matter, as he deemed it more
prudent to refrain from mentioning to anyone his part in Mademoiselle de
Rochefort's escape.

"What news do you bring from the convention?" was the question of the
general as they were seated alone.

"Bad!" replied Tournay, "as you can tell by the tone of these
dispatches. The convention has many able men in it, but they are
dominated too entirely by the Revolutionary Tribunal, and that body is
dominated too much by one man. His power is ruining the Republic. Unless
we get rid of Robespierre, we might as well go back to the monarchy."

After a few moments spent in reading the papers Tournay had put in his
hand, General Hoche looked up with an expression of annoyance on his
brow.

"Yes; the insulting tone of this dispatch is almost beyond endurance. I
am glad after all that my business is out here fighting the external
enemies of France. Were I at Paris, I should be embroiling myself daily
with some of those who are in power. If we meet with the slightest
reverses here at the front there is a howl from St. Just and that crowd
that we are betraying the Republic. Meanwhile they furnish us with a
beggarly equipment. It is they who are betraying the Republic. Were it
not for Danton we should get nothing. He alone makes success against our
enemies possible. And we must be successful, Colonel Tournay; look here
at the plan of campaign."

And the young general, in his military ardor, forgetting entirely the
insulting dispatch, turned with enthusiasm to the maps which lay spread
out on the table.

"Here are the bulk of the Austrian forces at Wissembourg. That old
German beer-barrel von Waldenmeer is at Falzenberg. He intends to
concentrate his troops there and then bring them up to join the Austrian
general, Wurmser."

Tournay started at his own general's accurate information in regard to
the enemy's position and plans.

"We must attack Wurmser at once before he can receive reinforcements,
and then proceed to Landau. They have beaten us once at Wissembourg and
will not be looking for us to take the offensive again so soon. I have
already given the order to mobilize the troops. I and my staff will ride
forward this evening. By to-morrow night we shall have retaken
Wissembourg."

"One moment, general," interrupted Tournay, as Hoche took up another
map. "I wish to tell you that I have just seen General von Waldenmeer at
Falzenberg."

Hoche looked at his officer with surprise.

"I went to the Prussian frontier on an errand, the nature of which I
should prefer to keep secret for the present. I was suspected of being a
spy, taken prisoner, and brought before General von Waldenmeer. He
listened to my explanations and released me under circumstances no less
peculiar than those which brought me within his lines." Here Tournay
stopped, the blood coming to the surface under the bronze of his cheek
at the steady gaze of General Hoche.

"Is that all?" inquired the latter.

"That is all," answered his colonel, "except that had I not made this
detour I should have been here twenty-four hours earlier, and that as I
got within the Prussian lines by mistake and did not go as a spy, I can
give you no information which you have not already obtained."

"If you had arrived twenty-four hours later you would have missed the
grandest opportunity of your life; I intend to give you, Colonel
Tournay, the command of a brigade in the approaching battle."

"A brigade?" echoed Tournay in surprise.

"You shall atone for your breach of discipline by bearing great
responsibility in the attack. I intend your brigade to be where the
fight is hottest, and if there is anything left of it after the
engagement, and of you, colonel, you shall continue to command it and I
will recommend you for promotion."

Tournay grasped his chief by the hand.

"You may be sure, General Hoche, that I shall do my utmost to deserve
the honor you have done me."

"I was persuaded of that before I determined to give you the command,"
replied Hoche; "now go forward and join your regiment. By midnight I
shall be at Wissembourg and shall have one last word with all of my
generals. I do not believe in protracted councils of war."

That evening Colonel Tournay was encamped before the field of
Wissembourg. He sat in his tent waiting for the summons that should
bring him to General Hoche's council board.

An orderly entered with the word that a commission of four men from the
Committee of Public Safety at Paris wished to speak to him.

Tournay started from the reverie into which he had fallen. His thoughts
had been dwelling upon the events of the past week, and the announcement
struck a discordant note in his meditation. "Show them in," he replied
briefly.

In another moment the four commissioners stood before him. Three of the
men were unknown to him, but the fourth was Gardin. The latter, as
spokesman, stood a little in advance of the others. On his face there
was a look of mingled insolence and triumph.

Tournay's gorge rose at sight of the man, but remembering that he was
the recognized emissary from the committee he controlled his impulse to
kick him from the tent.

"Will you be seated, citizens?" he said, rising and addressing his
remark more to the three commissioners who were not known to him than to
Gardin. "Orderly, bring seats."

"Our business with you will be of such short duration that we shall have
no need to sit down," answered Gardin curtly.

"Orderly, do not bring the seats," was Tournay's quick order, as he
resumed his former place on a camp-chair and sat carelessly looking at
the four men standing before him. This placed Gardin in just the
opposite rôle from that he had intended to assume. He saw his mistake at
once, and hastened to recover his lost ground.

"Citizen colonel," he said, drawing a paper from his pocket and putting
it in Tournay's hands, "here is a document from the committee which even
you cannot question. It is addressed to Robert Tournay."

Tournay broke the large red seal of the letter and read:--

     CITIZEN COLONEL ROBERT TOURNAY; with the Army of the Moselle,
     Citizen General Lazare Hoche commanding:--

     The Citizen Colonel Tournay is hereby summoned to appear before
     the Committee of Public Safety to answer charges affecting his
     patriotism and loyalty to the Republic. He will resign his
     command at once, and return to Paris in the company of the four
     commissioners who bring him this document.

     Signed: For the Committee of Public Safety,

     COUTHON,
     ST. JUST.

     This 5th Pluviose, the year II. of the French Republic one and
     indivisible.

When he had finished reading the document Tournay folded it carefully
and placed it in his pocket.

"Well?" demanded Gardin impatiently.

"I cannot at present leave the army," was the reply.

The four commissioners exchanged looks.

"We are on the eve of a decisive engagement with the enemy. When that is
over--in a few days, if I am alive, I will answer the committee's
summons."

"We were instructed to bring you back with us at once," said one of the
commissioners.

"And we'll do it, too," muttered another under his breath.

The fourth pulled Gardin by the sleeve and whispered something in his
ear.

"I regret, citizen commissioners," repeated Tournay, "that I cannot at
present leave the army."

Then rising suddenly and confronting Gardin he said passionately:--

"Tell your masters that it is not necessary to drag Robert Tournay to
Paris like a felon, that he will appear before the committee of his own
free will; that he regards the welfare of France as paramount to
everything else, and that his duty to her will take him to the field
to-morrow."

"Your answer is not satisfactory to us," persisted Gardin, "nor will it
be to the committee. Once more, and for the last time, citizen colonel,
will you obey this summons as it is written?"

"No!" thundered Tournay.

"Then in the name of the Republic I suspend you from your command, and
arrest you as a traitor. Lay hands upon him!"

Gardin himself, remembering his previous encounter with Tournay in which
he had come off so poorly, merely gave the command, leaving the others
to execute it. Two of them stepped forward with alacrity, one upon each
side of Tournay, and grasped him by the arms.

He offered no resistance, but raising his voice a little called out:--

"Officers of the guard!"

Half a dozen of his Hussars who were in the adjoining tent hastened in
at his call.

"Arrest these four men!" commanded Tournay quietly.

"Stop!" cried Gardin; "arrest us at your peril. We are the authorized
emissaries of the Committee of Public Safety," and he flourished his
commission in the soldiers' faces. "We are but carrying out our strict
orders. To lay hands upon us will be to bring down upon your heads the
vengeance of Robespierre."

The Hussars stood still. The name of the man who governed France under
the cloak of the Republic made them hesitate.

"Conduct the prisoner away with as much dispatch as possible," said
Gardin in a quick, low tone to his companions.

"Lieutenant Dessarts, arrest these four men instantly," repeated
Tournay. There was a ring in his voice which his subordinates well
understood, and without further hesitation they laid hands upon the
Paris commissioners and proceeded to drag them from the tent by force.

"He has been relieved of his command and therefore has no right to give
you orders. Are you slaves that you obey him thus?" yelled Gardin,
struggling with the big corporal who held him.

"See that no harm is done them, Lieutenant Dessarts," Tournay called out
as the men were led away. "Conduct them outside our lines and give
orders that they shall not be permitted to return."

Following them to the door of his tent, Tournay coolly watched the
unhappy commissioners as they were led away, protesting vehemently
against the indignity of their arrest and vowing vengeance for it.

It was a cold winter night, and the wind blew down through the mountain
passes of the Vosges with biting keenness. Throwing his cloak over his
shoulder he strolled out through the camp. In spite of the chilling wind
the soldiers showed the greatest enthusiasm. As he went down the long
line of camp-fires, he was recognized and cheered roundly. Cries of
"We'll beat them at Wissembourg to-morrow, colonel!" "Landau or death!"
greeted him on all sides.

The next day showed that they had not uttered vain boasts.

Tournay's command, sweeping through a narrow defile in the face of a
destructive fire, tore through the enemy's centre, and combining with
Dessaix on the left, and Pichegru on the right, sent Wurmser's troops
backward before his Prussian allies could come to his assistance.

With the cry of "Landau or death!" the victorious French dashed on
toward the beleaguered city and raised the siege just as the brave
garrison was in the last extremity for want of food and ammunition.

The day after the relief of Landau, Colonel Tournay entered the tent of
the commander-in-chief. Hoche rose to meet him, and taking him by the
hand said warmly:--

"Colonel Tournay, in the name of France I thank you for the efficiency
and bravery displayed yesterday. The victory of Wissembourg will live in
the annals of history, and a full share of the glory belongs to you. In
my dispatches to the convention I have not omitted to mention your noble
conduct."

The generous Hoche pressed the hand of his colonel in fraternal feeling.
He was two years younger than Tournay, although care and fatigue gave
him the looks of an older man. At twenty-four this remarkable man had
risen to be preëminently the greatest general in France, and but for his
premature death might in later years have contested with Napoleon for
his laurels.

"I have come, general, to ask your permission to return to Paris," said
Tournay, much gratified by the words of praise from the lips of one whom
he regarded as the greatest military hero of the age.

"Again?" said Hoche, in a tone of surprise.

"The Committee of Public Safety have seen fit to summon me to appear
before them," Tournay continued. "Some one has been found to impeach my
loyalty, and I must answer the charge."

A shade passed over the face of Hoche.

"But I can ill spare you, Colonel Tournay. What does this committee mean
by suspecting the integrity of an officer in whom I have implicit faith?
By Heaven, I will not permit it! If they arrest you, I'll throw my
commission back in their faces before I will allow you to answer their
charges."

"That, my general, would but work injury to France, who depends upon
such a man as you to save her. You surely will not desert her because a
few overheated brains at Paris have seen fit to listen to some of my
traducers. I will go back to Paris and confront my enemies. My conduct
at Wissembourg will be an answer to their charge of treason." And the
colonel drew himself up with a flash of pardonable pride in his dark
eyes.

"You may be right," replied Hoche, "but I would not trust them. The
reputation which your conduct at Wissembourg will create for you will
make them jealous, and they will whisper it about that your popularity
renders you dangerous. I know them. They become jealous of any man's
reputation. They will have me before the bar of their tribunal as soon
as they feel that they can spare me."

And Hoche laughed scornfully as he uttered the prophecy which was so
soon to be fulfilled.

"I have no fear but that I shall be able to satisfy them as to loyalty,"
replied Tournay, smiling at the absurdity of the great and popular Hoche
pleading before the tribunal.

"Well, go if you will, but understand, Tournay, that if you refuse to
obey this summons, I will protect you. They shall bring no fictitious
charges against a trusted officer in my army without entering into a
contest with me."

"I thank you again, my general, but I will not permit you to embroil
yourself with the committee on my account. You are too indispensable to
France. Now I will take the leave of absence you accord me. In ten days
you may look for my return."

General Hoche shook his head as Tournay left his presence:--

"I fear it will be longer than that, my friend," he sighed to himself.

Colonel Tournay, accompanied by but one orderly, rode toward Paris. The
feelings of pride and pleasure which his general's praise had raised in
his heart were subdued by the humiliation at being summoned before the
Committee of Public Safety. But there was a fire in his eye, and a
hardening of the lines near the mouth which boded that he would not
submit tamely to insult nor an unjust sentence.



CHAPTER XIII

THE SWORD OF ROCROY


Citizen St. Hilaire had just come in from making a few purchases at the
baker's shop in the Rue des Mathurins. Shortly after dusk that evening
he had recalled to mind that he was without the gill of cream for his
next morning's coffee, and also that the small white loaf which formed a
part of his breakfast was at that moment reposing crisp and warm on the
counter of the baker's shop a few doors distant.

As Citizen St. Hilaire was very particular about his coffee and always
liked to have a certain choice loaf that Jules, the baker in the Rue des
Mathurins, made to perfection late every afternoon, he had braved the
wind and rain of a stormy January evening, and gone out to procure his
next morning's repast.

Returning to his small apartment at the top of the house, he threw off
his wet cloak and was on the point of extracting from his pocket a
little can of cream, when a knock sounded at the door of the chamber
which served him for sitting-room, dining-room, and library. Putting the
can upon the table, he took up a lamp and went to the door.

A young woman stood upon the threshold. She had evidently come in a
carriage, for the costly clothes she wore were quite unspotted by the
rain.

"This is Citizen St. Hilaire," she said in a tone of conviction as she
stepped into the room.

St. Hilaire bowed and stepped back to place the lamp upon a small table
near at hand, and stood waiting the further pleasure of his visitor.

As he stood within the circle of light, the young woman looked from him
to his modest surroundings with marked curiosity, her eyes dwelling upon
each object in the room in turn. It did not take long to note every
piece of furniture; the table, arm-chair, a few books, the violin case
in the corner, with a picture or two and a pair of rapiers upon the
wall. When she had completed her survey of the room her gaze returned to
him once more.

He was plainly dressed in a suit of dark brown color. His linen was
exquisitely neat, and his figure was so elegant that although his coat
was far from new, and of no exceptional quality, it became him as well
as if it were of the most costly material.

"Will you be seated?" said St. Hilaire, drawing forward the arm-chair
from its corner.

The young woman took the seat he offered her.

"And so you are Citizen St. Hilaire," she repeated as if the name
interested. "I--I am Citizeness La Liberté. I remember you well," she
continued; "I saw you a number of times, years ago, at the home of the
Marquis de----But why mention his name? There are no more marquises in
France, and he was a worthless creature," and she tossed back her head
with a gesture of careless freedom.

"No," he repeated, "there are no more marquises," and with a laugh he
seated himself opposite her. The sharp end of the crisp loaf in his
pocket made him aware of its presence. He took it out and put it in its
place upon the table beside the cream.

"The Republic has caused many strange changes, but I should never have
dreamed of finding you here like this, Citizen St. Hilaire," and again
she eyed him wonderingly.

"The Republic has done a great deal for you?" said St. Hilaire, raising
his eyebrows inquiringly.

"Everything," replied La Liberté with emphasis, while her eyes and the
jewels on her bosom flashed upon him dazzlingly. Her look indicated that
she thought the Revolution had not dealt so generously by him.

"It has done much for me too," said St. Hilaire.

"What good has it done you?" inquired La Liberté incredulously.

"It has taught me wisdom," he replied.

"Oh," she answered contemptuously, "it has brought me pleasure.
Therefore I love it. But you, Citizen St. Hilaire,--will you answer me a
question?"

St. Hilaire bowed in acquiescence.

"Are you satisfied with this Republic? I know it is dangerous to speak
slightingly of it in these days, but between us, with only the walls to
hear, do you like it?"

"I am never satisfied with anything," replied St. Hilaire with just a
touch of weariness in his voice.

"I should think that you would hate it. I should were I you," and La
Liberté shook her brown curls with a laugh.

"Notwithstanding," said St. Hilaire, "I would not go back to the old
régime."

"I do not understand you at all," exclaimed La Liberté in despair, with
a puzzled look on her brow.

"Why try?" he asked dryly. "I have given it up myself. Tell me in what
way I can serve you?"

"I have come here to do you a service," she answered. The room was warm,
and as she spoke she threw her ermine-lined cloak over the back of the
chair.

A slight trace of surprise showed itself upon Citizen St. Hilaire's face
as he looked at her inquiringly.

She had evidently found the chair too large to sit in comfortably, for
she perched herself upon its arm with one foot on the floor while she
swung the other easily.

"That is extraordinary!'" he exclaimed. "It is a long time since any one
has gone out of his way to do me a service. May I ask why you have done
so?"

"Oh, I can hardly tell you why," she replied, tapping her boot heel
against the side of the chair. It was a very dainty foot and clad in
the finest chaussure to be found in Paris. "You were once kind to a
friend of mine," she went on to say, slowly--"and I rather liked
you--and so I have come to show you this." She put a slip of paper into
his hand.

It was headed, "List for the fifteenth Pluviose." Then followed a score
of names. St. Hilaire saw his own among them near the end.

The young woman watched him earnestly while he read it. The careless
look had quite disappeared from her face, and given place to one of
seriousness.

"It is a list of names," said St. Hilaire, turning the paper over and
looking at the reverse side to see if it contained anything else. "And
my name is honored by being among them. Where did it come from? What
does it mean?"

"I picked it up," replied La Liberté. "I saw it lying on a table. I did
not know the other names upon it and should never have touched it had I
not seen your name. And I resolved that you should see it also, and be
warned in time. But you have little time to spare. To-morrow is the
fifteenth."

"Warned?" repeated St. Hilaire, "of what?"

"Every man whose name is upon that list will be arrested to-morrow. It
may be in the morning, it may be during the day, it may be late at
night. But it will surely be to-morrow. Oh! I have seen so many of those
lists, and of late they are longer and more frequent."

"Whose handwriting is this?" inquired St. Hilaire, looking at
critically.

"I dare not tell," said La Liberté in a low tone.

"As long as you have revealed so much, why not go a step further and
make the information of greater value?" he insisted quietly.

"One of the committee, I dare not mention his name even here," and she
looked around the room furtively. "One of the most powerful," she went
on, in a very low tone, as if frightened at her own temerity. "Cannot
you guess?"

"Yes, I think I can," rejoined St. Hilaire musingly.

"Now that you have had this warning I hope you will be able to elude
them. Give me the paper again, Citizen St. Hilaire, that I may replace
it before it is missed. He is at the club now, but I must hurry back.
Never mind the light; I can find my way well enough. My eyes are used to
the dark."

St. Hilaire took up the lamp, and in spite of her remonstrances
accompanied her down the four flights of stairs. At the door stood a
handsome equipage.

"That is mine," she said, as St. Hilaire escorted her to the carriage;
there was the same slight touch of pride in her tone that had crept out
once before. "This once belonged to the Duchess de Montmorenci," she
said. "It is rather heavy and old-fashioned, but will do very well until
I can get a new one."

"I see that you have had the coat of arms erased," St. Hilaire
remarked. "I suppose your new carriage will have a red nightcap on the
panel."

"Now you are laughing at me," she said, tossing back her brown curls
with a pout. "Good-night, marquis," she added in a low voice in his ear
as he was closing the door of the carriage.

"Citizen St. Hilaire," he corrected gravely, as she drove away. "You
forget there are no more marquises in France."

After La Liberté's departure the Citizen St. Hilaire retraced his steps
up the stairs, humming quietly to himself. On reaching the top landing
he entered his room and sitting down by the window he looked out over
the lights of Paris. For two hours he sat thus buried deep in thought
and scarcely moving. When he finally arose from his chair the city clock
had long struck the hour of midnight.

First drawing the bolt to the door as if to prevent intrusion even at
that late hour, he opened an old armoire in the corner of the room and
took from it an object carefully wrapped in a velvet cover. He took from
the covering a sword, with golden hilt studded with jewels. The
scabbard, too, was of pure gold, set profusely with diamonds, emeralds,
and rubies. Unsheathing the weapon he held it to the light. He held it
carefully, almost reverently, as one holds some sacred relic. His eye
was animated and had he uttered his thoughts he would have spoken
thus:--

"This is the sword that a marshal of France wielded upon the field of
battle. He was my ancestor, and from father to son it has come down to
me, the last of my race. It is as bright to-day as when it flashed from
its sheath at Rocroy. I have kept it untarnished. It is the sole
remaining relic of the greatness of our name."

Replacing the sword carefully in its scabbard, he buckled it around his
waist. Then taking a cloak from the armoire he enveloped himself in it,
so as to completely hide the jeweled scabbard. This done, he went into
his bedroom and drew from under his couch a small chest from which he
took a purse containing some money. All these preparations he made
quietly and with great deliberation. Returning to the sitting-room he
unbolted and opened the door. All was quiet. A cat, that frequented the
upper part of the building, and made friends with those who fed it,
walked silently in through the open door and arching her back rubbed
purringly against his leg. He went to the cupboard, and getting out a
saucer filled it with the cream that was to have flavored his next
morning's cup of coffee, and placed it on the floor. The animal ran to
it greedily, and for a few moments St. Hilaire stood watching the little
red tongue curl rapidly out and in of the creature's mouth as she lapped
up the unexpected feast. Then giving a glance about the room, but
touching nothing else in it, he extinguished the light and went out into
the corridor, leaving the door ajar.

When he passed out into the street he noticed that the rain had ceased.
The wind blew freshly from the west and the night was cool. Drawing his
cloak closer about him and allowing one hand to rest upon his
sword-hilt, he walked rapidly away, humming softly to himself. In the
room he had just left, the cat licked up the last few drops of cream in
the saucer; signified her contentment by stretching herself, while she
dug her forepaws into the carpet several times in succession; then
jumped into his vacant arm-chair and curled up for a nap.

The Citizen St. Hilaire had always foreseen the possibility of just such
an emergency as now confronted him. He was quite prepared to meet it.

On the other side of the river in the small and quiet Rue d'Arcis dwelt
an old man. The house in which he lived, number seven, was also very
old. It was large and rambling. St. Hilaire knew it well. As a child he
had played in it. It had once belonged to him, and he had deeded it to
an old servant of his father at a time when he regarded old houses as
encumbrances upon his estates, and when aged servants had found no place
in his retinue. If for no other reason, his family pride had caused him
to make generous provision for a faithful retainer, and now that his own
worldly fortunes were reduced, he knew where to find a home until he
could carry out his plans for leaving the country. For some time past he
had been forming such plans, but with his customary indifference to
danger he had delayed their execution from day to day.

Crossing the Seine by the bridge St. Michel and following the Quai, St.
Hilaire remembered an unfrequented way to the house in the Rue d'Arcis.
From the Quai on the left was a blind alley that ended at a row of
houses. Through one of these houses had been cut an arched passage to
the street beyond. The passageway came out on the other side almost
directly opposite number seven, and offered a tempting short-cut.

St. Hilaire walked quietly up the alley and had almost reached the
farther end, when a door on the opposite side opened and a woman came
out. The lateness of the hour and the signs of timidity which the woman
showed, caused St. Hilaire to stop in the entrance to the passageway and
look back to observe her actions.

She peered first down the street cautiously, as if to see that there
were no passers on the Quai, then up at the windows of the houses
opposite to assure herself that she was unobserved from that quarter.
Satisfied as to both of these points, she closed the door noiselessly,
and hurriedly passed down the street. She was, however, not destined to
reach the Quai unnoticed by any other eyes than St. Hilaire's, for she
had not gone fifty paces when a party of four men, talking in loud
voices, crossed the street on the Quai. At sight of them the woman
stopped short and hesitated. The four also stopped and looked at her.
One of them called out to her. Evidently frightened she turned, and
crossing the street hurried back. To St. Hilaire's surprise, she passed
by the house from which she had recently come, and made straight for
the passageway where he stood. The four men gave chase, one of them
overtaking her before she had reached the entrance. He placed his hand
upon her arm, while she cried and struggled to free herself. The hood
fell over her shoulders, and in the light from a lantern, hung upon a
projecting crane from one of the houses, St. Hilaire recognized Madame
d'Arlincourt.

The exertion to free herself from the man's grasp had caused her hair to
fall down upon her shoulders. Her blue eyes had a wild look like those
of a person whose mind is strained almost to madness. She fought
fiercely for her freedom.

A dove striking its pinions against a lion's paw could have been able to
effect its release as quickly as the poor little countess from the huge
hand that held her.

St. Hilaire was as gallant a gentleman as ever drew a sword, or raised a
lady's fingers to his lips. On the instant, he forgot his own danger and
the cause of his flight, and stepped forward into the circle of light.

"How now, citizen? What have you to do with this young citizeness?" he
cried out in distinct tones.

In his surprise at St. Hilaire's sudden appearance, the man loosened his
grasp upon Madame d'Arlincourt's shoulder. With a cry she flew instantly
to St. Hilaire's side for protection.

"Defend me, sir, oh, save me from them!" she cried, catching hold of his
arm.

"I will not let them harm a hair of your head," he whispered in reply;
"calm yourself, my dear madame."

The quiet way in which he spoke seemed to bring back some part of her
self-control. She ceased crying and stood by his side like a statue,
although he could feel by the pressure on his arm that she still
trembled.

"Well, citizen, what would you with this citizeness?" repeated St.
Hilaire in a loud voice, as the other men came up behind their comrade.

"Her actions are suspicious; she may be an aristocrat. We want to bring
her to the Section for examination," answered one of them.

"Let her come to the Section," echoed another.

The fellow who had first laid hands upon the countess now recovered
speech. "If she's an aristocrat here's at her; I've killed many an
aristocrat in my day." As he spoke he drew himself together and raising
his musket leveled it at the woman's head.

The countess tightened her grasp on St. Hilaire's arm with both her
hands, rendering him powerless for the moment.

St. Hilaire pushed her gently behind him, and looking straight into his
opponent's face, said firmly:--

"She shall certainly go to the Section, citizen, but first put down your
weapon and let me speak. I am Citizen St. Hilaire--were we in the
Faubourg St. Michel almost anybody would be able to tell you who I am."

"I know you, citizen!" exclaimed one of the men in the rear, "and you
should know me also. My name is Gonflou!" and the fellow grinned
good-naturedly over the shoulder of his companion, as if he recognized
an old friend.

"Ah yes, good citizen Gonflou!" repeated St. Hilaire. "Restrain the
ardor of this patriot who handles his musket so carelessly, while I
question the little citizeness."

"Lower that musket, Haillon, or I'll beat your head with this," said
Gonflou, rattling his heavy sabre threateningly.

Haillon muttered an oath and lowered the muzzle of his weapon.

"We can't be all night at this," he growled. "Better let me take a shot
at the woman; she's an aristocrat, that's flat."

St. Hilaire bent over the countess.

"Release my arm!" She obeyed like a child. Stepping back with her a
couple of paces, he continued:--

"Who is in the house you have just come out of? Answer me truthfully and
fearlessly."

She looked up into his face, and he saw that she now recognized him as
she answered in a whisper, "My husband. He is ill. I could only venture
out after midnight to summon a physician who is known to us."

"Well," exclaimed Haillon, impatiently grinding the butt of his gun on
the pavement, "how long does it take to find out about an aristocrat?"

"She was going to summon a doctor to attend a sick father," said St.
Hilaire without looking at Haillon.

"Bah," growled the latter.

"Right behind us," continued St. Hilaire, in a very low voice, and
looking into the countess' face earnestly to enforce his words, "is a
passageway that leads to the Rue d'Arcis."

Madame d'Arlincourt nodded. She understood.

"When I next begin to talk to these men, you must go through that
passage to the house opposite. It is number seven. You will not be able
to see the number, but it is directly opposite; you cannot mistake it.
Knock seven times in quick succession. Some one will inquire from
within, 'Who knocks?' You must reply 'From Raphael.' Do you understand?"

"Yes," said the countess.

"You are taking up too much of our time, citizen," interrupted Haillon,
"let me take a hand at questioning."

"Be silent, Haillon;" said St. Hilaire in a tone of quick authority.

"The door will be opened without further question. Once inside you must
tell them that you were sent by Raphael, and that they are to keep you
until it is safe for you to return to your own domicile. Now
remember!--as soon as I enter into conversation with these men."

"I can remember," replied the countess, "but what are you going to do
after that? Will they not harm you?"

St. Hilaire laughed lightly. "Oh, I will take care of that. I expect to
follow you in a few minutes." Then he turned and advanced a few steps in
order to cover her retreat more fully.

"The citizeness has convinced me that she is nothing but a poor
sewing-girl in great distress at the illness of her father. I have told
her that she might continue on her errand for a doctor unmolested. You
are over-zealous, good Haillon, to see an aristocrat in every shadow."

"She has disappeared," cried Gonflou.

Haillon raised his musket with finger on the trigger. St. Hilaire's hand
struck upward just as the detonation echoed through the quiet street.
Then the smoke, clearing away, revealed Haillon upon the pavement, while
the sword in St. Hilaire's hand was red with blood.

"He has killed a citizen," bellowed Gonflou. "Comrades, cut him down.
Avenge the death of a patriot."

Three sabres were uplifted against the citizen St. Hilaire. He drew back
a pace or two and with a smile upon his lips warded off the blows aimed
at his head and breast. Then he poised himself and set his face firmly.
The sword which had first won renown on the field of Rocroy now flashed
in the light of the flickering lamp of the passage d'Arcis, and another
of his assailants fell to the ground.

The wrist that wielded it was just as supple and the white fingers that
held the jeweled hilt just as strong as when, in the days gone by, the
Marquis de St. Hilaire was known as the best swordsman in his regiment.

His two remaining adversaries hesitated in their attack for a moment.
Then Gonflou, bleeding from two deep wounds and bellowing like an angry
bull, sprang at him again with his heavy sabre lifted in both hands.

One of the two fallen men had half raised himself and dragged over to
where Haillon lay. He drew a pistol from the dead man's belt and,
leaning forward, fired under Gonflou's arm. The blow from Gonflou's
sabre was parried, then Jean Raphael de St. Hilaire fell forward on his
face and lay without moving upon the pavement, while the sword of Rocroy
fell ringing to the ground.

One of the attacking party was still unhurt. He raised his weapon over
the prostrate body at his feet. Gonflou pushed him aside roughly.
"That's enough, citizen. We'll take him to the Section without cutting
him up." The man who had fired the shot had since busied himself with
tying up his own wounded arm. He now bent over St. Hilaire. "He still
breathes," he said. "Had we not better finish him?"

"No, my little Jacques Gardin," was Gonflou's answer, who, the moment
the fight was over, became as good-natured as before; "let us take him
to the Section."

"But he has killed Haillon," persisted young Jacques, who had reloaded
the pistol and was handling it lovingly.

"Pah," replied Gonflou, with a laugh, "Haillon should have been careful
when playing with edged tools. Come, citizens, take hold and we'll carry
them both to the Section. You may take your choice, Citizen Ferrand, the
corpse or the dying man. I'll carry either of them, and little Jacques
shall run ahead. Forward, march, comrades."



CHAPTER XIV

SOMETHING HIDDEN


"Colonel Robert Tournay, you are summoned before the Committee of Public
Safety!" Silence followed this call. The clerk repeated his summons.
Again silence.

"I move," said one of the members, "that the examination proceed. The
citizen colonel was summoned and has not appeared. If he is not here to
defend himself, that is his affair, not ours."

"Citizen Bernard Gardin," said the president, "repeat to the committee
the result of your interview with the Citizen Tournay."

Gardin rose. "The said citizen, Colonel Tournay, refused to recognize
the mandate of the Committee of Public Safety. The commissioners sent to
apprehend his person were treated with marked disrespect and expelled
from the camp with insult." Gardin spoke the words with bitter emphasis.

Without even looking at him, Danton interrupted the witness. "The
citizen colonel pleaded that an impending battle made it necessary for
him to remain in the field, did he not?"

"He did make some such excuse," sneered Gardin.

"Instead of refusing to obey the summons, the citizen colonel stated
that, the battle once decided, he would hasten to Paris, did he not?"
continued Danton, lifting his voice and turning his eyes full upon
Gardin.

"He did say he would come at some future time," admitted Gardin, "but he
refused to obey the summons which called upon him to return with the
commissioners."

"And thereby insulted the committee," said Couthon.

"If the committee recalls our officers from the field upon the eve of
battle they must expect our armies to be defeated," Danton remarked
dryly. "Colonel Tournay refused to obey the letter of the summons and
remained at his post of duty. The French armies have just won a glorious
victory at Wissembourg in which the accused distinguished himself by
great bravery and devotion to the Republic. I move that when he does
appear he receive the thanks of this committee in the name of France."

"Do you advocate rewarding him for his disobedience and his indifference
to our authority?" inquired President Robespierre.

"I believe that victories are more important to France at this juncture,
citizen president, than any slight disregard of the letter of the
committee's authority."

Robespierre shut his thin lips together and turned to St. Just.

"Let us proceed with the inquiry," he said after a moment's
consultation. "Clerk, call the other witnesses."

"Are you not going to give Colonel Tournay twelve hours longer in which
to appear in person?" persisted Danton.

"Of what use would that be?" asked Couthon. "He will not come within
twelve months."

"Let the inquiry proceed," commanded the president impatiently.

As if to show his indifference to the proceedings, Danton rose from his
seat, yawned, and then strolled to the window. As he did so, a sudden
shout rose from a crowd gathered below. Danton bent forward and looked
out into the street to ascertain the cause.

The door swung open and Colonel Tournay entered the room. He was
followed by many of the crowd. The news of the great victory of the
French armies on the frontier had just reached Paris and stirred it with
enthusiasm. The people in the streets had caught sight of his uniform
and surmising that he had just come from the scene of war pressed about
him closely, crying for details of the battle. Some had recognized him
personally and called out his name. The great crowd had taken it up, and
cheered wildly for one of the heroes of Wissembourg and Landau.

There was a flush of excitement on his cheek and a sparkle in his eye as
he stepped forward.

"I understand that I am called before this committee to answer certain
charges," he said in a clear ringing voice. "What is the accusation? I
am here to answer it."

The crowd outside the door took up the shout.

"Yes, of what is the citizen colonel accused? Who accuses the hero of
Landau?"

Robespierre changed color and hesitated. Danton eyed the president with
a sneer upon his lips, which he made no attempt to conceal. The breach
between the two men had widened to such an extent that it had become a
matter of common gossip.

"You are accused of winning a battle," said Danton with a laugh,--"a
rare event in these days."

Robespierre turned and whispered to St. Just. The latter answered
Tournay.

"There are three charges against you," he said. "First, you are accused
of having been concerned in the rescue of a certain Citizeness de
Rochefort from prison boat number four on the River Loire. Secondly, of
escorting the said Citizeness de Rochefort across France under a false
name. Thirdly, of having insulted the authority of four commissioners
sent by the Committee of Public Safety to arrest you. These accusations
have been preferred against you before this committee, which feels
called upon to investigate them carefully. If they decide that there is
sufficient evidence to warrant it, they will bring the case before the
Revolutionary Tribunal. Now that you have heard the charges, I ask you:
Do you wish to employ counsel?"

"With the permission of the committee I leave my case in the hands of a
member of the convention, Citizen Danton," said Tournay.

"Call the first witness," said St. Just.

"Citizen Leboeuf to the stand," cried the clerk.

The bulky form of Leboeuf lumbered forward. His face was red and his
eyes heavy. His testimony was given hesitatingly, as if he were
endeavoring to conceal some of the facts. He deposed that the accused,
Tournay, had assisted in rescuing the Citizeness de Rochefort from the
prison boat number four on the River Loire on the fifth Nivose.
Cross-examined by Danton, he admitted reluctantly that he could not
swear to the identity of the accused, but felt certain it was he. It was
a man of just his height and general appearance; he had good reason to
know that the citizen colonel was much interested in the fate of the
Citizeness de Rochefort.

Danton dismissed him with a contemptuous wave of the hand, and Leboeuf
retired, outwardly discomfited and purple of face, yet with a certain
inward sense of relief that the examination was over.

"The citizen colonel admits that he escorted a woman to the frontier,"
Danton went on, "but it was under a passport issued by the Committee of
Public Safety. It has not been proven that this woman was the escaped
prisoner, Citizeness de Rochefort. He also admits having refused to
accompany the commissioners to Paris, and having expelled them from his
camp. For this act of discourtesy to the committee he offers an apology,
and pleads in extenuation that it was on the eve of a battle in which
his presence was necessary to our armies."

Robespierre turned to St. Just and Couthon. They held an animated
discussion, during which both the latter were seen to remonstrate.
Finally at a signal from the president, the entire committee withdrew
for consultation.

Tournay glanced about the room. He knew that he had the interest and
sympathy of most who were present, and from the manner in which the
inquiry had been conducted, he felt little anxiety as to the result.

He had not long to wait before the members of the committee entered the
room and took their places.

The president touched the bell. St. Just rose, and speaking with
apparent reluctance said:--

"The committee do not find sufficient evidence to warrant the trial of
Colonel Robert Tournay upon the charge of treason to the Republic."

A cheer rang through the room, which was re-echoed in the corridor and
out into the street beyond.

The president touched his bell sharply. St. Just continued:--

"The committee relieves Colonel Tournay from his command for the
present. He will await here in Paris the orders of the committee in
regard to returning to the army. The inquiry is now ended, and the
meeting adjourns."

Tournay walked out of the court accompanied by Danton and through the
street to his friend's lodgings, followed by an admiring crowd cheering
the hero of Landau.

Two incidents took place in quick succession during the short walk to
Danton's house.

These incidents had no relation to each other, yet they both gave
Tournay the uncomfortable sensation that besets a man when he is
contending with unknown or secret forces.

In passing by the Jacobin Club he saw a man enter at the door. He could
not see the face, but the figure and movements were so much like those
of de Lacheville that had he not felt sure that it would be equivalent
to the marquis's death-sentence for him to be found in Paris, he would
have been certain it was his enemy. The idea was so unlikely, however,
that he dismissed it from his mind.

As they passed down the Rue des Cordelières and reached the door of
Danton's house, a man, issuing from the crowd, brushed closely against
Tournay's shoulder. In doing so the colonel felt a letter slipped into
his hand. "From a friend," sounded in his ear. "Examine it when alone."
Tournay mechanically put the paper in his pocket, and followed Danton
into the house, upon the giant uttering the laconic invitation:--

"Come in."

"You have not said a word about the prompt dismissal of the charges
against me," said Tournay, as they entered the dingy room which served
Danton for office as well as salon.

The giant threw off his coat and filled his pipe. Taking a seat he began
to smoke rapidly.

"There is more behind it," he said.

"What do you mean?"

"Did you not notice that no attempt was made to convict you?"

"I did, but I attributed it to lack of evidence on their part."

"Lack of evidence!" repeated Danton. "They are capable of manufacturing
that when needed."

"I confess I thought it possible that the popularity of the army with
the people had something to do with it."

Danton smiled pityingly.

"I tell you that there is something behind it all. I cannot account for
Robespierre's sudden change. It was he who directed your acquittal.
There is something behind all this. He works in the dark, and secretly.
Tournay, I mistrust that man as much as I hate him," and he began to
smoke violently.

"Why do you not crush him, Jacques?" asked Tournay coolly.

"Ay, that's the question I often ask myself," said Danton, lifting up
his mighty arm and looking at it, smiling grimly the while as if he were
thinking of Robespierre's sallow face and puny body.

"If you don't crush him, he will sting you to death," added Tournay
impressively, as he rose to go.

Danton doubled up his arm once more till the muscles swelled into great
knots upon it. "Ha, ha," he laughed, "I don't fear that, Tournay; he's
too much of a coward to lay hands upon me."

"Do you never fear for your own safety when you see so many falling
beneath the hand of this man who rules France?" asked Tournay.

Danton started at the words "rules France."

"Yes, he does rule France. He rules the tribunal. He rules me, curse
him! But as for fearing him, Jacques Danton fears nothing in this world
or the next."

"Good-night," said Tournay shortly. "But remember, Jacques, you, of all
men, can crush the tyrant if you will."

"Good-night," said Danton, placing his huge hand on Tournay's shoulder.
"Be assured that Robespierre is holding something back. There is
something behind the mask. Be prepared."

Tournay laughed. "I cannot, perhaps, say unreservedly that I fear
nothing in this world or the next, Jacques, but be assured, I do not
fear him." And he walked away with head erect and military swing, toward
the Rue des Mathurins. Danton resumed his pipe, muttering to himself
like some volcano rumbling inwardly,--

"Jacques, you can crush him if you will!"



CHAPTER XV

THE PRESIDENT'S NOTE


As Tournay entered the doorway of 15 Rue des Mathurins an excited little
man brushed quickly past him, muttered an apology, and ran hurriedly up
the street. Under his arm he carried a handsome coat.

"I'll wager that's some thief who has been plying his trade upstairs,"
thought Tournay. "It was clumsy on my part to let him get by me. But I'm
too tired to run after him. He can wear his stolen finery for all me."
And he climbed up the stairs to the fourth landing.

"Welcome, my general!" cried Gaillard, rising up and throwing to one
side the theatrical costume into which he was neatly fitting a patch.

"Not general yet, my little Gaillard," was the reply, as the two friends
embraced warmly.

"How? Not a general yet?" exclaimed the actor. "Why, all the city is
ringing with news of the victory of Wissembourg and the hero of Landau!"

"That may be, my friend, but I have not received my promotion, and, what
is more, I am not expecting it. I shall be quite satisfied to have the
convention send me to the front again, where there is work to be done."

"Bah! Is the convention mad that it overlooks our bravest and best
officer?" exclaimed Gaillard in a tone of disgust.

"Wait until you have heard what I have to tell you, and then say whether
I shall not be fortunate if permitted to return to my command, even if
it be but one regiment."

"Danton is right," said Gaillard, when the colonel had finished his
account of the day's proceedings. "Undoubtedly there is something behind
all this; what it is, the future will show."

"In the mean time let us have something to eat," said Tournay; "I am as
hungry as a wolf. Is there any food in the house?"

"An unusual supply," was Gaillard's answer. "We will dine in your honor,
colonel, and though the convention has not seen fit to adorn your brow
with laurels, I will make some amends by pledging your health in a glass
of wine as good as any that can be found in Paris to-day."

"I shall be pleased to eat a dinner in any one's honor, for I have eaten
nothing since daylight, and it is now four o'clock."

"Sit down for one moment then, while I take a few last stitches in my
work here. I had expected to wear a new costume in the piece to-night,
'Le Mariage de Figaro,' but the tailor brought a garment that fitted
abominably, and to the insult of a grotesque fit he added the injury of
an exorbitant bill, so I refused the coat and dismissed him with an
admonition."

"I must have encountered your tailor as I came up," said Tournay. "He
was very pressed for time, and seemed to have taken your admonition much
to heart."

"Not exactly to heart," replied Gaillard, his mouth widening with a
grin, "for I emphasized my remarks rather forcibly with my shoe. I
kicked him down one flight of stairs, and he ran down the others."

"I am afraid your dramatic nature causes you to be rather precipitate at
times, Gaillard," remarked Colonel Tournay, smiling.

"On this occasion all the precipitation was on the part of the tailor,"
replied Gaillard. "Well, this old costume is mended; it will have to
serve me for a few nights. Now for dinner. Take your place at the table.
I shall sit at the head, and you, as the guest, shall occupy the place
at my right hand. You will excuse me for one moment, will you not, while
I serve the repast?" and before Tournay could answer Gaillard had left
the room.

Tournay seated himself at the table, and took from his pocket the letter
which had been placed in his hands on the street. It was addressed in a
large hand to "Citizen Colonel Robert Tournay." The writing was that of
a person who evidently wielded the pen but occasionally, and he could
not be sure whether it came from a man or woman. He broke the seal and
read:--

     CITIZEN COLONEL,--Your attitude toward some of the members of
     the Convention has made you a number of enemies. Do not take
     the dismissal of the charges brought against you before the
     committee as an evidence that these enemies are defeated; they
     have merely resolved to change their tactics during your
     present popularity. Had you been defeated at Wissembourg and
     Landau, you would not now be at liberty. You may be sure these
     men have your ultimate downfall in view. Distrust them all.

Tournay ran his eyes hastily over a list of a dozen names, among which
were Couthon, St. Just, and Collot-d'Herbois.

"Here it is, hot and succulent from the kitchen of Citizeness Ribot,"
called out Gaillard, appearing from an inner room with a steaming dish,
which he placed before him. "What have you got there?" he asked, blowing
on his fingers to cool them.

Tournay handed him the paper. "All of them either friends or tools of
Robespierre," was Gaillard's comment. "How did this come into your
hands?"

Tournay told him. His friend stepped to the fireplace.

"What are you going to do?" inquired Tournay.

"I make it a point never to keep anything with writing on it. It may be
a tradition of my profession, for on the stage trouble always lurks in
written documents. We must burn this."

"Do not be so hasty, Gaillard; you may burn it after I have committed
those names to memory."

"Then I will put it here on the chimney-piece for the present. Don't
carry it about you. It is a dangerous paper in times like these."

"Very well, I will be guided by your counsels. And just at this moment
you advise dining, do you not?" and Tournay turned to the dish on the
table. "It has a very agreeable odor. What is it?"

"The menu, to-day, consists of three courses; bread, salt, and,"--here
the actor removed the cover of the dish with a flourish--"rabbit
ragout."

"Will you assure me that the rabbit did not mew at the prospect of being
turned into a ragout?" inquired Tournay, holding out his plate while
Gaillard heaped it with the stew.

"You will have to ask the cook, my little war-god. When I delivered to
her the material in its natural state it consisted of two little gray
tailless animals with long ears; but to exonerate her, I call your
attention to the house-cat at this moment poking her nose in at the
door. And let me say further, that whether it be cat or rabbit you seem
to be able to dispose of a goodly quantity of it."

"My dear Gaillard, I am a soldier and can eat anything," was Tournay's
rejoinder.

"But cast not your eyes longingly upon the poor animal who has come in
attracted by the smell of dinner; she is my especial pet. Let me divert
your attention from her by pouring you a glass of wine."

"Gaillard, your dinner is most excellent; your pet shall be safe."

Gaillard filled two glasses with wine.

"Your very good health, Colonel Tournay, of the Army of the Moselle."

"Yours, my dear friend Gaillard."

The two friends rose and touched glasses over the little table.

"That wine is wonderful," said Tournay as he put down the glass. "What
do you mean by drinking such nectar? Do you live so near the top of the
house in order that you may spend your savings on your wine cellar?"

"That bottle is one of six presented to me by our neighbor, Citizen St.
Hilaire. He has been living modestly in the attic overhead, but he
evidently had a knowledge of good wine."

"Ah, Citizen St. Hilaire," repeated Tournay. "He is a man who should
well know good wine; but you said he has been living overhead. Is he not
there now?"

"Three days ago he disappeared. He left a note for the Citizeness Ribot
with the money due for rent, and stated that he should not return. His
action was explained next morning when a gendarme from the section made
his appearance and inquired for Citizen St. Hilaire. Since then his
chamber is watched night and day. I doubt if he returns."

"He is quite capable of keeping out of danger or getting into it, as the
fancy suits him, if he is the man I once knew," remarked Tournay.

Gaillard filled the glasses again. "Let us not talk about him in too
loud a tone," he said, "but quietly pledge him in his own Burgundy."

Tournay took the proffered glass. The gentle gurgle down two throats
told that St. Hilaire's health was drunk fervently if silently.

"With your permission I will propose a toast," said Tournay, as Gaillard
emptied the last of the bottle into their glasses. The actor nodded.

"To the French Republic," exclaimed Tournay. "May victory still perch
upon her banners."

"To the Republic," echoed Gaillard.

Again the glasses clinked over the small wooden table.

"As long as we have victory," continued Tournay, "what care we whether
we be colonels, generals, or soldiers of the line? Our victories are the
nation's. All are sharers in its glory."

"Long live the Republic!" they cried in concert, and set down their
empty wineglasses.

"Now I must fly to the theatre," exclaimed Gaillard; "you have made me
late with your republics"--

"And I must to bed," said Tournay. "This morning's dawn found me in the
saddle in order to reach the convention at an early hour."

"You have made a mistake, citizen sergeant," exclaimed Gaillard
suddenly, as an officer of gendarmerie appeared at the open door. "The
floor above is where you want to go."

"I want to see the Citizen Colonel Tournay," was the reply.

"I am he," said Tournay.

The sergeant awkwardly gave the military salute. "Here is a letter for
you, citizen colonel."

Tournay took the paper, and the sergeant turned toward the door.

"Is there any answer required?" asked Tournay, as he broke the seal.

"None through me. Good-night, citizen colonel." And the heavy jack-boots
were heard descending the stairs.

Gaillard began hurriedly to make a bundle of his theatrical costume,
while Tournay broke the seal and glanced over the contents of the
letter.

"Read this," he said, passing the paper to Gaillard, who stood by his
side, bundle under arm.

Gaillard read:--

     To CITIZEN COLONEL ROBERT TOURNAY, Rue des Mathurins 15.

     Will the patriotic citizen colonel call upon the humble and
     none the less patriotic citizen, Maximilian Robespierre, this
     evening at seven, to discuss affairs pertaining to the good of
     the nation? If the Citizen Tournay can come, no answer need be
     sent.

     (Signed) MAXIMILIAN ROBESPIERRE.

     17th Pluviose, Year II. of the French Republic, one and
     indivisible.

"He evidently takes it for granted that I will come, for his messenger
waited for no answer," added Tournay.

"It's the sequel of this afternoon's inquiry," said Gaillard, as he
returned it, "and too exquisitely polite for a plain citizen. What are
you going to do?"

"I am going to see him, of course," replied Tournay. "It is the only way
to find out what he wants."

Gaillard nodded. "That's true; I almost feel like going with you and
remaining outside the door," and Gaillard placed his package on the
table.

"That is unnecessary, my friend; I never felt more secure in my life. Go
to your performance of Figaro and on your return you will find me here
in this easy-chair, smoking one of your pipes."

Gaillard took up his bundle again. "Very well, but mind, if I do not
find you seated in that arm-chair smoking a pipe I shall know you are in
trouble."

Tournay laughed. "You will find me there, never fear. And now let us go
out together."

"I am abominably late!" exclaimed Gaillard, as they parted at the
corner. "The director will have the pleasure of collecting a fine from
my weekly salary. Good-night--embrace me, my little war god! Au revoir,"
and the actor hurried down the street, whistling cheerfully.



CHAPTER XVI

BENEATH THE MASK


An atmosphere of secrecy seemed to pervade Robespierre's house, and
Tournay, following the servant along the dimly lighted corridor, passed
his hand over his eyes, as one brushes away the fine cobwebs that come
across the face in going through the woods.

The rustle of a gown fell upon his ear as he entered the salon, and at
the further end of the apartment he saw a woman who had evidently risen
at his entrance, and now stood irresolute, with one hand on the latch of
a door leading into an adjoining room, as if she had intended making her
exit unobserved by him.

She stood in such a manner that the shadow of the half-open door fell
across her face, but he could see that she was a young woman of small
stature and well proportioned figure. At the sound of his voice she
allowed her hand to fall from the latch, then lifting her head erect,
walked toward him.

"La Liberté!" ejaculated Tournay. He had not seen her since the day he
had left her dancing on the cannon-truck, winecup in hand; but she still
kept her girlish look, and except in her dress she had not greatly
changed.

She still showed a partiality for bright colors, by her gown of deep
crimson. But the material was of velvet instead of the simple woolen
stuff she used to wear. Her hair, which had once curled about her
forehead and been tossed about by the wind, was now coiled upon her
head, from which a few locks, as if rebellious at confinement, had
fallen on her neck and shoulders. She wore nothing on her head but a
tricolored knot of ribbon, the color of the Republic.

"How does it happen that we meet here?" asked Tournay after a moment,
during which he had gazed at her in surprise.

"Never mind about me for the present," she said, looking up in his face,
half defiantly, half admiringly; for as he stood before her, framed in
the open door, he was a striking picture, with his handsome, bronzed
face and brilliant uniform.

"Let us speak of your affairs," she continued. "I am told the committee
has ordered you to await its permission before returning to the army."

"How did you know that?" he demanded in surprise.

"Oh, I know many things that are going on in this strange world," and
she gave the old toss of her head. "Now do not talk, but listen. You
must return to the army. A soldier like you is at a disadvantage among
these intriguers. They will suspect you for the simple reason that they
suspect every one. You, who are accustomed to fight openly, will fall a
victim to their wiles."

"My enemies may find that I can strike back," said Tournay quietly.

La Liberté shrugged her shoulders.

"Did you receive a letter this afternoon?" she asked quickly.

"Did you write that letter?"

"I never write letters," she answered significantly; "but if you
received one and read it, you know the names of some of your enemies.
What can you do with such an array against you? I repeat, you are no
match for them. You must go back to your command."

"That is what I desire above all else," answered Tournay.

"You can go to-morrow, if you wish," said the demoiselle.

"How?"

"By listening to what the president of the committee has to say to you,
and agreeing to it. Yield to his demands, whatever they may be, and you
will be permitted to set out to-morrow."

"I shall be glad to meet the committee more than halfway. I will agree
to everything they wish, if I can do so consistently."

"Consistently!" she repeated. "I see you will be obstinate." Then she
stopped and looked full in his face. "I might know that you would after
all only act according to your convictions, and that any advice would be
thrown away on you. Well, I must say I like you better that way, and
were I a man I should do the same."

She placed one hand upon her hip where hung a small poniard suspended
by a silver chain about her waist, and went on earnestly: "But listen to
this word of advice. You, who have been so long absent from Paris, do
not realize Robespierre's power. It is sometimes the part of a brave man
to yield. Give way to him as much as your _consistency_ will permit. Now
adieu." She turned away; then facing him suddenly with an impulsive
gesture she came toward him.

"Compatriot!" she said with an unwonted tremble in her voice, "will you
take my hand?" He took the hand extended to him.

"I do not forget, Marianne, that you and I both came from La Thierry. If
ever you are in need of a friend, you can rely upon me."

For one moment the brown head was bent over his hand, and La Liberté
showed an emotion which none of those who thought they knew her would
have believed possible. Then throwing back her head she disappeared
through the door beyond, as Robespierre entered from the corridor.

Much absorbed in his meditations, Robespierre did not appear to notice
that any one had just quitted the room. He walked very slowly as if to
impress Tournay with his greatness, and did not speak for some moments.
He no longer affected the great simplicity of dress which had
characterized him at the beginning of the Revolution, and the coat of
blue velvet, waistcoat of white silk, and buff breeches which he wore
were quite in keeping with his fine linen shirt and the laces of his
ruffles.

It was Tournay who first broke the silence.

"Citizen president, you see I have been prompt to comply with your
request; I am here in answer to your summons."

Robespierre raised his head, and started from his soliloquy.

"Ah yes, you are the citizen colonel who appeared to-day before the
committee to answer certain charges."

"I am," replied Tournay.

"Citizen colonel," said Robespierre, "I will be perfectly frank with
you. The Committee of Public Safety, whose dearest wish, whose only
thought, is the welfare of the Republic," here the president's small
eyes blinked in rapid succession, "is not quite satisfied with the
condition of affairs in the army."

"I am sorry to hear that, citizen president, and in behalf of the army,
I would call the committee's attention to the recent battles in which
the soldiers of France have certainly borne themselves with great
bravery. I speak now as one of their officers who is justly proud of
them."

"It is not the conduct of the soldiers of which the committee finds
cause of complaint," replied Robespierre, "but of their generals."

"It is not for me to criticise my superior officers," said Tournay. "I
leave that to the nation."

"The committee has good reason to criticise the attitude of certain of
its generals, who seem to have forgotten that they are merely citizens.
They have been chosen to serve the Republic only for a time in a more
exalted position than their fellow citizens, yet they have become
swollen with pride, and take to themselves the credit of the victories
won by their armies. Their dispatches to the convention are couched in
arrogant and sometimes insolent language."

Tournay bowed. "Again I must refrain from expressing my opinion on such
a matter," he said.

"Ever since the treason of General Dumouriez," Robespierre went on, "the
committee has had its suspicions as to the conduct of several of its
generals. Hoche is one."

Tournay started.

"What you are pleased to impart to me, citizen president, sounds
strange. Permit me to state that I feel sure the committee's suspicions
are unfounded."

Robespierre looked at him closely. "Does General Hoche take you into his
entire confidence?" he inquired quickly; his weak eyes blinking more
rapidly than ever.

"No, I am merely a colonel in his army. Though I have good reason to
believe he places confidence in me, he naturally does not inform me of
his plans before they are matured."

"Citizen colonel, the committee also places great confidence in you, and
for that reason it wishes you to return at once to the army."

"I obey its orders with the greatest pleasure in the world," said
Tournay.

"The committee also desires," Robespierre continued, "that you send to
its secretary each week a minute report of everything that passes under
your notice, particularly as regards the actions of Citizen General
Hoche. Do not regard anything as too trifling to be included in your
report; the committee will pass upon its importance."

Tournay had listened in silence. His teeth ground together in the rage
he struggled to suppress. He felt that if he made a movement it would be
to strike the president to the floor.

"I must decline the commission with which the committee honors me. I am
not fitted for it," he replied.

"The committee has chosen you as eminently fitted for the work. The
confidence that General Hoche places in you makes you the best agent the
committee could employ."

"Then tell your committee, citizen president, that it must find some
less fitting agent to do its dirty work. My business is to fight the
enemies of France, not to spy upon its patriots."

Robespierre's sallow face became a shade more yellow. "Have a care how
you speak of the committee. In the service of the Republic all
employment is sacred and honorable."

"I prefer my own interpretation of the words," answered Tournay, with a
look of scorn.

"And yet you yourself have somewhat strange ideas of what is honorable,"
remarked Robespierre sneeringly.

"I do not understand what you mean," replied Tournay.

Robespierre stepped to the wall and pulled the bell-rope. "Perhaps when
it is made clear to you, your mind may change."

The colonel made no reply, but the next moment uttered an exclamation of
surprise as the Marquis de Lacheville entered the room. Robespierre
turned toward Tournay with the shadow of a smile hovering on his thin
lips.

"You know this citizen?" he asked in his harsh voice.

Tournay looked at the marquis curiously, wondering why he had
jeopardized his own safety by returning to Paris. The look of hatred
which the nobleman shot at him served as an explanation.

"I know him as a former nobleman, an emigré, who is proscribed by the
Republic; I wonder that he puts his life in danger by returning to the
land he fled from."

The marquis made an uneasy gesture, and was about to speak when
Robespierre said:--

"He has taken the oath of allegiance to the Republic."

Tournay laughed outright at this. "And do you trust his oath?" he asked.

"And for the service he now renders the nation, his emigration and the
fact of his having been an aristocrat are to be condoned." As he spoke,
a grim smile hovered about Robespierre's lips. It faded away instantly,
leaving his face as mirthless and forbidding as before.

"Shall we ask the Citizen Lacheville to tell us when he last saw you?"
he went on sternly.

"It is unnecessary. We met last at Falzenberg," said Tournay, eyeing him
with disdain.

"Where you were on terms of intimacy with Prussian officers," said de
Lacheville. "I will not dwell upon the fact of your having assisted an
aristocrat to escape from prison; but I will testify to your having come
in disguise to the enemies of France and entered into a secret
understanding with them. I was serving those same enemies at the time, I
will admit," and the marquis shrugged his shoulders, "but as the Citizen
Robespierre has said, I have repented of it, and have come here to make
atonement by faithful devotion to the nation. One of the greatest of my
pleasures is to help unmask a hypocrite."

Tournay addressed Robespierre.

"Do you believe this man's story?"

"You have already admitted having gone over the frontier," was the suave
rejoinder.

"I did go, yes."

"Will you deny having been closeted alone with General von Waldenmeer?"

"No, but"--

"Do you suppose any tribunal in the land would hold you guiltless upon
such testimony and such admissions?"

"Permit me to ask you two questions," said Tournay.

Robespierre acquiesced.

"Admitting that this--_citizen's_ accusation is true, why did I return
to Wissembourg and do my best to defeat the enemy with whom I am accused
by him of being on friendly terms?"

"There are hundreds of similar precedents--Dumouriez's, for example."

"Admitting, then, that I have already been false to one trust, how is it
that you are prepared to trust me now to play the spy for your
committee?" continued Tournay, with contempt ringing in his voice.

Again the peculiar smile flitted across Robespierre's pale features.

"All men are to be trusted as far as their self-interest leads them," he
answered. "None are to be trusted implicitly. You will be watched
closely and will doubtless prove faithful. It will be to your decided
advantage to attend to the committee's business efficiently. Your little
interview with the Prussian general, from which nothing has resulted,
may be forgotten for the time."

Tournay's anger during the interview had several times risen to white
heat. Not even his sense of danger enabled him longer to repress it.

"I have already told you that I would have nothing to do with the
commission of your committee!" he cried hotly. "And as for this man's
accusations, let him make them in court and I will answer him. Let him
repeat them in the streets and I will thrust the lies back into his
throat and choke him with them." As he spoke he advanced toward de
Lacheville who paled and retreated a step or two. "If any man accuses me
of disloyalty to the Republic," continued Tournay, turning and
addressing Robespierre, "unless he takes revenge behind the bar of a
tribunal he shall answer to me personally. I will defend my honor with
my own hand."

Robespierre turned pale and took a step or two in the direction of the
bell-rope.

"You may have an opportunity to answer the charges before the tribunal,"
he said coldly.

"Why did you not bring them in to-day's inquiry?" demanded Tournay.

"I do not announce my reasons nor divulge my plans," was the reply. "It
is enough to know that I had need of you. Neither am I in the habit of
having my will opposed. You would do best to yield before it is too
late."

"Robespierre," cried Tournay, the blood mounting to his forehead, "you
have played the tyrant too long! You are not 'in the habit of having
your will opposed?' I have not learned to bend and truckle to your will,
doing your bidding like a dog; and, by Heaven! I will not now. Bring
your charges against me before your tribunal, packed as it is with your
creatures, and I will answer them, but my answer shall be addressed to
the Nation. My appeal will be to the People. I will denounce you for
what you are, a tyrant. And a coward--too"--he continued, as
Robespierre, with ashen lips, rang the bell violently. "You shall be
known for what you are, and when you are once known the people will
cease to fear you."

He strode toward the committee's president, who, with trembling knees,
stood tugging at the bell-rope. De Lacheville had long since fled from
the room; and Robespierre, pulling his courage together with an effort,
lifted his hand and pointed a trembling finger at Tournay.

"Stop where you are!" he shrieked. "Come a step nearer me at your
peril!"

"I am not going to do you any injury," was Tournay's reply in a tone of
contempt; "I despise you too much to do you personal violence; I leave
you to your fears, citizen president."

There was a sound of heavy footsteps in the corridor, and Tournay moved
toward the door to be confronted by a file of soldiers.

"Henriot, you drunken snail," cried Robespierre, "why did you not answer
my summons? Arrest this man."

Tournay turned a look upon Robespierre which made the latter quail
notwithstanding the guard that surrounded him.

"You had this all arranged," said the colonel quietly.

"I was prepared," replied Robespierre grimly.

Tournay turned away with contempt. "Dictator, your time will be short,"
he murmured.

"Come, citizen colonel," said the Commandant Henriot, "I must trouble
you for your sword."

"Where are you going to take me?" asked Tournay as he delivered up his
weapon.

Henriot glanced at his chief as if for instructions.

"To the Luxembourg," was the order. Then, without looking at Tournay,
Robespierre left the room.

"May I send word to a friend at my lodgings?" Tournay asked of Henriot.

"No," was the short rejoinder, "you must come with me on the instant."

In the corridor stood de Lacheville. He smiled triumphantly as he saw
Tournay pass out between the file of soldiers.

"De Lacheville," said Tournay scornfully, "you have played the part of a
fool as well as a coward. A few days and you also will be in prison."

His guards hurried him on, and he could not hear de Lacheville's answer.

At the doorway that led into the street stood La Liberté.

"Out of the way, citizeness!" growled Henriot.

"Out of the way yourself, Citizen Henriot," was the woman's reply, and
she pushed through the soldiers until she stood at Tournay's elbow.

"Come, citizeness, none of that; you cannot speak to the prisoner,"
growled Henriot a second time.

"I was afraid of this," she whispered in Tournay's ear.

"Will you take a message for me?" he asked in a quick whisper.

"Yes."

"Go to Gaillard, 15 Rue des Mathurins, wait until he comes. Tell him I
am arrested. That is all."

With a nod of intelligence, La Liberté left his side and disappeared in
the darkness.



CHAPTER XVII

PIERRE AND JEAN


As Gaillard stepped out from the theatre into a dark side street a hand
fell upon his right shoulder. He looked around and saw a tall gendarme
standing by his side. The prospect did not please him, so he turned to
the left and saw another gendarme standing there. This one was short,
and stout with a smile on his red face. Then Gaillard stopped.

"Well, citizens of the police," he exclaimed, "I don't need any escort.
I can find my way home alone."

"Is your name Gaillard?" asked one.

"I have every reason to believe so," was the reply.

"Actor?" demanded the other.

"Ah, there I am not so certain," he answered.

"How? You do not know your own vocation?"

"My friends say I am an actor, and my enemies dispute it. What is your
opinion?"

"I can say you are an actor, for I have seen you act," said the stout
gendarme. "And a very good actor you were. You made me laugh heartily."

"Then I shall count you among my friends!" exclaimed Gaillard. "And
between friends now, what is it that you want of me?"

"We are going to take you to the Luxembourg."

"What for?"

"I will read you the warrant," said the tall gendarme. "Come under the
light of the lantern yonder."

Gaillard accompanied the two police officers to the other side of the
street.

One of them took a large paper from his breast-pocket:--

"Warrant of arrest for the Citizen Gaillard, actor of the theatre of the
Republic. Cause: Friend of the Suspect Tournay, and, therefore, to be
apprehended."

Gaillard repressed the start that the sight of his friend's name gave
him. "'The Suspect Tournay.' My colonel has been arrested," he said to
himself. Then heaving a deep sigh he exclaimed aloud in a pathetic tone
of voice:--

"It is very sad to think I should be arrested just as I was going to
have such a good part in the new piece at the theatre."

"Was it a funny one?" inquired the short gendarme.

"Funny! why if you should hear it, you'd laugh those big brass buttons
off your coat."

"It's a shame you can't play it," was the sympathetic rejoinder.

"I'll tell you what you can do," said Gaillard. "Go with me to my house,
15 Rue des Mathurins, and let me fetch the part so that I can study it
while in prison; then, if I should be released soon I shall be prepared
to play the part."

"It's against our orders," said the tall gendarme. "We must take you at
once to the Luxembourg."

"It's very near here," persisted Gaillard, "and I will read one or two
of the funniest speeches while we are there."

"It will not take us more than fifteen minutes," interposed the stout
gendarme, looking at his mate.

"And when I am released," said Gaillard persuasively, "and play the
part, I'll send you each an admission."

"Well," said the tall gendarme, "we'll go."

"You see," explained Gaillard as they walked off in the direction of the
Rue des Mathurins, "my arrest is a mistake, that's clear. Whoever heard
of an actor being mixed up in politics!"

"That's so," remarked the short gendarme.

"Yes," admitted the long one, "I have arrested many a suspect, and
you're the first actor. But I have my duty to perform, and if the
warrant calls for an actor, an actor has to come."

"Of course," agreed Gaillard, "you are a man of high principle, as any
one can see."

Gaillard knew that as soon as he was arrested his rooms would be
searched for any evidence of a suspicious nature. In all the house there
was only one document which could possibly compromise either himself or
Tournay, and that was the letter his friend had received that same
afternoon, and which was now lying upon the chimney-piece.

"Here we are at No. 15; I live on the fourth floor," he said, as they
came to the door.

"Whew!" exclaimed the stout gendarme. "You'll have to give us half a
dozen of the best jokes if we go way up there."

"You shall have as many as you can stand," answered Gaillard. "Now,
citizen officers, mind the angle in the wall, that's it. It's not a hard
climb when you're used to it."

"Whew!" exclaimed the stout man as they entered Gaillard's apartment, "I
could not climb that every day." He sank down in a chair and mopped the
perspiration from his brow.

"I wish I was sure of climbing it every day of my life," said Gaillard.
"It's thirsty work, however, so let us have something to refresh
ourselves with;" and he took out from the closet a bottle of the choice
Burgundy and three glasses.

"Here's to the gendarmerie," he said as he filled the glasses.

A moment later two pairs of lips smacked approvingly in concert.

"That's a vintage for you," said the short gendarme approvingly.

"I never drank but one glass of better wine than this in my life," said
the tall gendarme meditatively.

"When was that?" asked Gaillard as he filled the glasses again.

"That was when the Count de Beaujeu's house was sacked, and the citizens
threw all the contents of his wine cellar into the street."

"You did not drink a glass that time," remarked the stout gendarme, "you
had a hogshead."

The tall man scowled.

"Well, there's plenty of this," said Gaillard; "have another glass?"

"We will," said both of the gendarmes. "Let us have a few of the funny
lines of your new part, citizen actor," said the stout gendarme
swallowing his third glass of Burgundy.

"Willingly!" exclaimed Gaillard. He turned toward the chimney-piece and
took from it the manuscript of his part. Close beside it lay the letter.
His fingers itched to take it, but the eyes of the police officers were
upon him so closely that he dared not touch it.

"Let us fill our glasses again before I begin," said the actor,
producing another bottle from the closet.

"How many bottles of that wine have you?" inquired the tall gendarme.

"Two more besides this," answered Gaillard, drawing the cork.

"We might as well drink them all, now that we are here," said the
officer solemnly.

"It would be a pity to leave any of it," Gaillard acquiesced.

The short gendarme nodded his approval.

"I wish I had a hogshead of it," thought Gaillard. "I'd put you both in
bed and leave you."

After filling the glasses once again, Gaillard took up the lines and
began to act out his part. If he had been playing before a large and
enthusiastic audience, he could not have done it more effectively.

The stout gendarme was soon in such a state of laughter that the tears
ran down his red cheeks. His merriment continued to increase to such an
extent as to alarm his companion.

"He'll die of apoplexy some day, if he is so immoderate in his
raptures," said the tall man, shaking his head sadly.

The fat gendarme was now coughing violently. Gaillard stopped to slap
him on the back. When the paroxysm was over, the actor brought out the
two remaining bottles of Burgundy.

"A little of this wine may relieve your throat," he said, and filled the
glasses all round.

"Continue, my friend," called out the jolly-faced officer; "don't stop
on my account."

Gaillard went on with his rehearsal. The tall gendarme drank twice as
much wine as his stout companion, who was now rolling on the floor with
shouts of laughter.

Finally, when the merry fellow could laugh no more, and the last drop of
wine had disappeared, the tall gendarme stooped, and lifting his fallen
companion to his feet leaned him up against the wall. "Jean," he said,
"thou art drunk. Shame upon thee." Then he turned toward Gaillard.
"Come, citizen actor, we must take you to the Luxembourg."

"Let us at least smoke a pipe of tobacco before we go," said Gaillard,
bringing out smoking materials from the closet.

"No time, citizen; as it is we may get in trouble through Jean's
indulgence in the bottle." The short gendarme certainly showed the
effect of the wine he had taken, though he straightened up and denied
it.

"Pierre, thou liest, thou hast taken twice the quantity I have," he
rejoined, waving his hand toward the empty bottles.

This also was true; and Gaillard looked with wonder at the solemn
countenance of the tall gendarme.

"In any case, let us light our pipes and smoke them as we go along the
street," said the actor as he filled the pipes and handed one to each of
the police officers.

"I'm quite agreeable to that," said Gendarme Pierre.

Gendarme Jean made no reply, but endeavored to light his pipe over the
flame of the candle.

Through a defect in vision occasioned by his potations, he held the bowl
several inches away from the flame and puffed vigorously.

At this the tall gendarme laughed audibly for the first time during the
evening. Gaillard felt relieved. "He can laugh," he murmured.

"Wait one moment and I will give you a light," he said, and taking a
piece of paper from the chimney-piece he carelessly twisted it in his
fingers, ignited it in the candle's flames, and held it over Jean's
pipe. Then he repeated the service to Gendarme Pierre, and ended by
lighting his own pipe, holding the offending list until the flame
touched his fingers and it was entirely consumed.

"Forward, my children!" cried the stout gendarme gayly. "We must be off.
Shall we place seals upon the doors, comrade?" he said addressing his
friend Pierre.

"No, my little idiot Jean, you will remember we are not supposed to have
come here at all. The seals will be placed here by men from the section.
Hurry forward now."

They descended the stairs in single file. The tall gendarme leading, and
stout Jean bringing up the rear. He would stumble from time to time and
strike his head into Gaillard's shoulders. "Very awkward stairs," he
would murmur in apology, "very awkward."

Once in the street he got along better, although his knees were a little
weak, and he showed an inclination to sing.

"Be quiet, Jean," expostulated his companion in arms; "you will get both
of us in trouble."

"As mute as a mouse, my clothespin," was the obedient reply.

"You would better take his arm, citizen actor. We shall get along
faster." Gaillard complied, and arm in arm they walked off in the
direction of the Luxembourg.

"What's this?" demanded the warden in the prison lodge, rubbing his
sleepy eyes as three men appeared before him in the gray light of early
morning.

"Hector Gaillard, actor; domicile Rue des Mathurins 15; suspect. Warrant
executed by Officers Pierre Echelle and Jean Rondeau," said the tall
gendarme.

The sleepy guardian turned over the pages of his book.

"Ah yes, here it is. Bring your prisoner this way, citizen gendarme."

Whereupon the stout gendarme, who had been quiet for some time, burst
into tears.

"In God's name, what's the matter with him?" asked the astonished
warden.

"He always does that way," said the gendarme Pierre. "'Tis his
sympathetic nature. He gets very much attached to his prisoners. Cease
thy tears, Jean, thou imbecile," and he cursed his brother gendarme
under his breath.

Jean drew a long sob. "Adieu, my friend," he said, throwing his arms
about Gaillard's neck.

"Why weepest thou?" inquired the actor pretending to be much affected.

"I am afraid they will guillotine thee, my beautiful actor, before I
have laughed all the brass buttons off my coat at the play."

"Courage, my friend," replied Gaillard; "I trust for thy sake that I may
live to act in many plays. Adieu, my gendarme," and he was led away to a
cell.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE LUXEMBOURG


Robert Tournay breathed easier after having sent the message to Gaillard
by La Liberté. Gaillard at least was not likely to become implicated;
and the anonymous communication once destroyed, nothing of an
incriminating nature would be found, should their lodging be visited.
Nevertheless, he could not repress a feeling of disquiet as the iron
door of the Luxembourg clanked behind him and he found himself a
prisoner.

The cell into which he was conducted was absolutely dark.

"It will not be so bad during the day," volunteered the jailer. "There
is a small window that looks out on the courtyard." Tournay drew a sigh
of thankfulness on hearing this.

"Your bed is near the door. Can you see it?" asked the jailer.

"I can feel for it," replied Tournay. "Yes, here it is."

"Very well, I will now lock you up safely. Pleasant dreams in your new
quarters, citizen colonel." And with this parting salute the cheerful
jailer went jingling down the corridor, leaving Tournay in the darkness,
seated on the edge of his narrow bed, with elbows on knees and his chin
resting in the palms of his hands.

Suddenly he sat up straight and listened attentively. The sound of
regular breathing told him that he was not the sole occupant of the
cell. "Whoever he may be, he sleeps contentedly," thought Tournay; "I
may as well follow his good example." In a very few minutes a quiet
concert of long-drawn breaths told of two men sleeping peacefully in the
cell on the upper tier of the Luxembourg prison.

The little daylight that could struggle through the bars of the tiny
window near the ceiling had long since made its appearance, when Robert
Tournay opened his eyes next morning.

His fellow prisoner was already astir; and without moving, Tournay lay
and watched him at his toilet. He was most particular in this regard.
Despite the diminutive ewer and hand basin, his ablutions were the
occasion of a great amount of energetic scrubbing and rubbing,
accompanied by a gentle puffing as if he were enjoying the luxury of a
refreshing bath. After washing, he wiped his face and hands carefully on
a napkin correspondingly small. He proceeded with the rest of his toilet
in the same thorough manner, as leisurely as if he had been in the most
luxurious dressing-room. A wound in his neck, that was not entirely
healed, gave him some trouble; but he dressed it carefully, and finally
hid it entirely from sight by a clean white neckerchief which he took
from a little packet in a corner of the room near the head of his bed.
Having adjusted the neckcloth to his satisfaction, he put on a
well-brushed coat, and, sitting carelessly upon the edge of the
table,--the room contained no chair,--he began to polish his nails with
a little set of manicure articles which were also drawn forth from his
small treasury of personal effects.

[Illustration: ADJUSTED THE NECKCLOTH TO HIS SATISFACTION]

The light from the slit of a window above his head fell on his face. It
was thin and haggard, like that of a man who had undergone a severe
illness, but, despite this fact, it was an attractive face, and the
longer Tournay looked at it, the more it seemed to be familiar to him,
recalling to his mind some one he had once known.

Suddenly the colonel sprung to his feet. "St. Hilaire!" he exclaimed
aloud, answering his own mental inquiry.

St. Hilaire rose from his seat on the table and saluted Tournay
graciously.

"I am what is left of St. Hilaire," he replied lightly. "And you
are--For the life of me I cannot recall your name at the moment. Though
I am fully aware that I have seen you more than once before this."

"My name is Robert Tournay."

"Of course. I should have remembered it. You must pardon my poor
memory." Then, looking at him closely, he continued: "You wear the
uniform of a colonel. You have won distinction, and yet I see you here
in prison."

"It matters not how loyal a soldier or citizen one may be if one incurs
the enmity or suspicion of Robespierre," was the answer.

"What you say is true, Colonel Tournay," said St. Hilaire.

"Do you also owe your arrest to him?" asked the colonel.

"No," replied St. Hilaire, resuming his former seat. "I became involved
in a slight dispute with some of the gendarmerie about a certain
question of--of etiquette. The altercation became somewhat spirited.
They lost their tempers. I nearly lost my life. When I regained
consciousness I discovered what remained of myself here, and I am
recovering as fast as could be expected, in view of the rather limited
amount of fresh air and sunlight in my chamber."

Tournay thought of the brilliant and dashing Marquis Raphael de St.
Hilaire as he had seen him in his boyhood, and looked with deep interest
at the figure sitting easily on the edge of the table in apparent
contentment, cheerfully accepting misfortune with a smile, and parrying
the arrows of adversity with the best of his wit, like the brave and
sprightly gentleman he was.

"The resources here are somewhat limited," St. Hilaire continued. "But
by placing the table against the wall and mounting upon it one can
squeeze his nose between the bars of the window and get a glimpse of the
courtyard beneath. Occasionally the jailer has taken me for a promenade
there. It seems that we prisoners on the second tier are considered of
more importance, or else it is feared that we are more likely to attempt
to escape, for we are kept in closer confinement than those who are on
the main floor. Although this may be construed as a compliment, it is
nevertheless very tedious. But I am keeping you from your toilet by my
gossip. I have left you half of the water in the pitcher. Pardon the
small quantity. We will try to prevail upon our jailer to bring us a
double supply in future. He is an obliging fellow, particularly if you
grease his palm with a little silver."

Tournay accepted his share of the water with alacrity grateful for the
courtesy that divides with another even a few litres of indifferently
clean water in a prison cell.

After this toilet, and a breakfast of rolls and coffee, partaken
together from the rough deal table, the two prisoners felt as if they
had known each other for years.

The lines of their lives had frequently run near together during the
years of the Revolution, yet in all that whirl of events had never
crossed till now, since the summer day in the woods of La Thierry, when
the Marquis de St. Hilaire had placed his hand upon the boy's shoulder
and bade him save his life by flight.

By some common understanding, subtler than words, no reference to past
events was made by either of them. They began their acquaintance then
and there; the officer in the republican army, and the Citizen St.
Hilaire; fellow prisoners, who in spite of any misfortune that might
overtake them would never falter in their devotion and loyalty to their
beloved country, France, and who recognized each in the other a man of
courage and a gentleman.

So the day passed in discussing the victories of the armies, the
oppression and tyranny practiced by the committee, and the prospects of
the future.

A few days after Tournay's incarceration the turnkey came toward
nightfall to give them a short time for recreation in the courtyard.
This, though far from satisfying, was hailed with pleasure by the
prisoners, and especially by Tournay, who, accustomed to the violent
exertion of the camp and field, chafed for want of exercise.

They were escorted along the upper corridor, whence they could look down
into the main hall on the first floor of the Luxembourg. Here, those
prisoners who were happy enough not to be confined under special orders,
had the privilege of congregating during the hours of the day and early
evening. Looking down upon this scene shortly after the supper hour,
Tournay drew a breath of surprise. He felt for a moment as if he were
transported back to the days before the Revolution and was looking upon
a reception in the crowded salons of the château de Rochefort where the
baron entertained as became a grand seigneur. The republican colonel
turned a look of inquiry toward St. Hilaire. The latter gave a slight
shrug as he answered:--

"The ladies dress three times a day and appear in the evening in full
toilet. As for the men, they also wear the best they have. You will see
that many wear suits which in better days would have been thrown to
their lackeys. Now they are mended and remended during the day, that
they may make their appearance at night, and defy the shadows of the
gray stone walls and the imperfect candlelight quite bravely." And St.
Hilaire himself pulled a spotless ruffle below the sleeves of his
well-worn coat.

"And so," mused Tournay, "they can find the heart to wear a gay exterior
in such a place as this?"

"No revolution is great enough to change the feelings and passions of
human nature," replied St. Hilaire. "They only adapt themselves to new
conditions. Here, within these walls, under the shadow of the
guillotine, Generosity, Envy, Love, and Vanity play the same parts they
do in the outer world. Affairs of the heart refuse to be locked out by a
jailer's key, and these darkened recesses nightly resound with tender
accents and the sighs of lovers. Bright eyes kindle sparks that only
death can quench. Jealousy, also, is sometimes aroused, and I am told
that even affairs of honor have taken place here."

"I should never have dreamed it possible," said the soldier, looking
with renewed interest upon the moving picture at his feet; from which a
sound of vivacious conversation arose like the multiplied hum of many
swarms of bees.

St. Hilaire leaned idly with one arm on the gallery rail, while he
flecked from his coat a few grains of dust with a cambric handkerchief.
Suddenly he straightened himself and grasped the railing tightly with
both hands.

"Good God! can it be possible?" he exclaimed to himself.

Tournay looked at him, surprised by his sudden change of manner. St.
Hilaire did not notice him, but looked intently at some one in the hall
below.

Tournay followed the direction of his companion's eyes and saw a young
woman, with childish countenance, standing by the elbow of a woman who
was seated in a chair occupied with some needlework.

"Countess d'Arlincourt," St. Hilaire continued sadly, speaking to
himself. "I hoped that I had saved her."

The woman glanced upward, and her large blue eyes met St. Hilaire's
gaze. After the first start of surprise her look expressed the deepest
gratitude, while his denoted interest and pity.

Then he turned away. "Come citizen jailer," he said, addressing the
attendant, "lead us back to our cell."

As Tournay was about to follow St. Hilaire, he saw, to his amazement,
the figure of de Lacheville standing apart from the rest, in the shadow
of the wall, as if he preferred the gloomy companionship of his own
thoughts to the society of his fellow beings in adversity.

"Do you see that man skulking in the shadow by the wall?" asked Tournay,
pointing de Lacheville out to the jailer. "When did he come here?"

"A few days ago. Either the same evening you were brought in, or the
day following," was the reply.

"The same evening!" exclaimed Tournay to himself as he followed St.
Hilaire to their cell. "Robespierre has indeed been consistent in that
poor devil's case."

The Countess d'Arlincourt drew up a little stool and placed herself at
the feet of her friend, Madame de Rémur. The latter was still a woman in
the full flush of beauty. She was dressed in black velvet which seemed
but little worn, and which set off a complexion so brilliant that it
needed no rouge even to counteract the pallor of a prison.

The countess leaned her head against the knees of her friend, allowing
the velvet of the dress to touch her own soft cheek caressingly.

"Do not grieve, my child," said Madame de Rémur, laying down her
embroidery and placing one hand upon the blonde head in her lap. "Grieve
not too much for your husband; there is not one person in this room who
has not to mourn the loss of some near friend or relative, and yet for
the sake of those who are living they continue to wear cheerful faces. I
only regret that you, who were at that time safe, should have
surrendered yourself after the count was taken. It has availed nothing,
and has sacrificed two lives instead of one."

"Hush, Diane; a wife should not measure her duty by the result. He was a
prisoner. He was ill. It was my duty to come to his side."

"Your pardon, dear child. You, with your baby face and gentle manner,
have more real courage than I. I hardly think I could do that for any
man in the world."

"You always underrate yourself, dear Diane, you who are the noblest and
most generous of women!" exclaimed the countess, rising. "Now I am going
to speak to that poor little Mademoiselle de Choiseul. It was only
yesterday that they took her father." And Madame d'Arlincourt moved
quietly across the room.

"I cannot understand the courage and devotion of that child," said
Madame de Rémur, addressing the old Chevalier de Creux who stood behind
her chair. "I might possibly be willing to share any fate, even the
guillotine, with a man if I loved him madly; but"--and Madame de Rémur
finished the sentence with a shrug of her shoulders.

"Perhaps the countess loved her husband," suggested the young
Mademoiselle de Belloeil who sat near the table, bending over some
crochet work, but at the same time lending an ear to the conversation.

"How could she?" said Diane, "he was so cold, so austere, and so
dreadfully uninteresting, and then I happen to know she did not,
because"--

"Because she loved another gentleman," said the chevalier, completing
the sentence with a laugh. "Under the circumstances I do not know
whether I admire the countess's loyalty in following her husband to
prison, or condemn her cruelty in leaving a lover to pine outside its
walls."

"She was always a faithful wife, I would have you understand, you wicked
old Chevalier de Creux!" exclaimed Madame de Rémur, looking up at him as
he leaned over the back of her chair.

"Perhaps the lover may be confined in the prison also," suggested the
philosopher, who had also been a silent listener to the dialogue.

"More than likely," assented the chevalier dryly.

"Whether he were here or not," said madame decidedly, "she would have
done the same."

"Here is the Count de Blois," said the chevalier; "let us put the case
before him."

"Oh, you men," laughed Madame de Rémur. "I will not accept the verdict
of the best of you. But the count is accompanied by the poet; let us get
him to recite us some verses." And she tossed her fancywork upon the
table at her side.

Monsieur de Blois, with his arm through the poet's, bowed low before
them. The count had been in the prison for over a year, and the poor
gentleman's wardrobe had begun to show the effect of long service.

"They have evidently forgotten my existence entirely," he had said
pathetically one morning to a friend who found him washing his only fine
shirt in the prison-yard fountain. "When this shirt is worn out, I shall
make a demand to be sent to the guillotine from very modesty."

A few days later he had received a couple of shirts and a note by the
hand of the jailer.

     "Dear de Blois," the letter had read. "I am called, and shall
     not need these. If they prevent you from carrying out your
     threat of the other morning, I shall go with a lighter heart.

     "Yours, V. de K."

"De Blois!" said the chevalier, drawing the count away from the table of
Mademoiselle de Belloeil, "you are called to decide a point of the
greatest delicacy."

The count put his glass to his eye as if to look at the chevalier and
the philosopher, but in reality he only saw Mademoiselle de Belloeil
bending over her embroidery.

"If a lady," continued the chevalier, his bright eyes twinkling,
"voluntarily puts herself into a prison where are confined both her
husband and her lover, what credit does she deserve for her action? Can
it be called self-sacrifice?"

Before replying, the count looked attentively at the group before him:
at the philosopher's impenetrable countenance; at the chevalier's
quizzical and wrinkled brown physiognomy; then at Madame de Rémur's
handsome face, and lastly and most tenderly at the drooping eyelids of
the delicate Mademoiselle de Belloeil.

"She would be twice revered," replied de Blois.

Mademoiselle de Belloeil's needle stopped in its click-click.

"Why so, monsieur le comte?" inquired the philosopher. "If she has a
double motive for the sacrifice, should not the honor of it be only half
as great?"

"She should receive credit for her loyalty to the husband whom she had
sworn to obey, and homage for her devotion to the lover on whom by
nature she has placed her affections," replied the count, bowing to
Madame de Rémur, while he noted with a certain satisfaction the smile of
approval on the lips of Mademoiselle de Belloeil.

"And no one has said that she has a lover," declared Madame de Rémur
warmly.

"Did you not imply as much, dear madame?" asked the old chevalier slyly.

"I intimated that she might have had one--if--let us change the subject.
I move that the poet read us his latest verses. I am dying for some
amusement."

"Ladies and gentlemen," cried the old chevalier, clapping his hands
together to attract the attention of all those in the room, "this
brilliant young author and poet, who needs no introduction to you, has
consented to read his latest production. Will you kindly take places?"

There was some polite applause. "The poem! let us hear the poem," buzzed
upon all sides, and the throng began to settle down around the poet, the
ladies occupying the chairs, and the gentlemen either leaning against
the walls or seated upon stools by the side of those ladies in whose
eyes they found particular favor.

In a few moments a hush of expectancy fell upon an audience delighted at
the prospect of being entertained.

"This is a play in verse," began the poet, taking a roll of manuscript
from his pocket.

"A play! how charming," said Mademoiselle de Belloeil.

"It is in three acts," continued the author. "Act first, in the prison
of the Luxembourg, where the young people first meet and fall deeply in
love."

A rustle of approval ran through his audience.

"Act second is in the prison yard where they are separated, she being
set at liberty and he conducted to the guillotine."

"Oh, how terrible!" murmured the young damsel.

"One moment, monsieur le poëte," said Madame de Rémur. "How does it end?
I warn you that I shall not like your play if it ends unhappily."

"You shall judge of that in a moment, madame," replied the poet, bowing
to her graciously.

"In the third act," he continued, "the lovers are brought together under
the shadow of the guillotine, whither she has followed him. The knife
falls upon both of them in quick succession, and their souls are united
in the next world, never to be separated more."

"What a beautiful ending," cried Mademoiselle de Belloeil, and the
exclamation on the part of the audience showed that her sentiment was
echoed generally.

"Continue," said Madame de Rémur. "I was afraid it was going to end
unhappily."

The chevalier took a pinch of snuff and settled himself back in the
arm-chair which was accorded to him as a tribute to his advanced age;
and the poet unfolded his manuscript and began to read.

It was an intensely appreciative audience that listened to the dramatic
work of the poet. They followed with breathless interest the meeting of
the young lovers in the hall of the Luxembourg; assisted smilingly at
their rendezvous in the corridors and shadowy corners of the old prison;
and sighed gently during the most tender passages. At the scene of
separation, tears of regret flowed freely, and in the meeting in the
last act, tears of joy and sorrow mingled together in sympathetic
unison.

As the young poet ended he folded up his manuscript and bowed his
blushing acknowledgments to the storm of applause that greeted him.

The wave of approbation had not ceased to resound through the room when
the outer door opened, and the jailer and some half a dozen gendarmes
entered abruptly.

Instantly the hum of conversation stopped, and an icy chill fell upon
the assemblage. Faces that the moment before were wreathed in smiles now
became pale and marked with fear.

"The call of to-morrow's list to the guillotine," rang out through the
room in harsh notes.

Amid the silence of death, a captain of gendarmerie took a slip of paper
from his pocket, while a comrade held a lantern under his nose. Some of
those who listened wiped the clammy perspiration from their foreheads,
others trembled and sat down. Some affected an air of indifference, and
began a forced conversation with their neighbors; but all ears were
strained. Each dreaded lest his own name or that of some loved one
should be called out by that monotonous, relentless voice.

"Bertrand de Chalons."

An old man stepped forward.

"Annette Duclos."

There was a pause after each name, during which the suspense was
intensified.

"Diane de Rémur."

Madame de Rémur laid aside her work and rose.

"Diane! Diane! I cannot bear it!" cried the Countess d'Arlincourt,
throwing her arms about her friend's neck. "Oh, sirs, have pity!"

"Hush, my dear," replied Madame de Rémur soothingly. "Chevalier, look to
the poor child; she is hysterical." The chevalier gently drew the
countess aside, then took Madame de Rémur's hand and silently bending
over it, put it to his lips.

"Take your place in the line, citizeness," called out a gendarme, and
Madame de Rémur stood with the others.

"André de Blois!"

As de Blois' name was called, a shrill cry echoed through the room, and
Mademoiselle de Belloeil fell back into the chair from which she had
just risen. She did not swoon, but sat like one in a dream, staring with
wide-open eyes.

The count stepped to her side.

"Adèle," he said, bending down and speaking in a low voice, "give me one
of those roses you are wearing on your breast." Mechanically she took
the flower from her bosom and put it in his hand. He placed it over his
heart. "It shall be here to the last," he said softly; "now farewell;"
and he pressed a kiss upon her cold lips.

"Maurice de Lacheville."

A man crouched down behind a group of prisoners, and all heads were
turned in his direction.

"Maurice de Lacheville, you are called," said a gendarme, going up to
him and seizing him by the arm with no gentle grasp.

"There is some mistake," cried de Lacheville pitiably.

"There is no mistake, your name is here."

"I say, there must be some mistake. My arrest was a mistake. I was
promised"--

"Into the line with you," was the gruff interruption. "Many would claim
there was a mistake if it would avail them to say so."

"But in my case it is true," pleaded de Lacheville. "Send word to
Robespierre; he promised"--

"Into the line, I tell you!" cried the exasperated gendarme. "There is
no mistake; your name is written here. You go with the rest."

"One moment, one little moment," implored the wretched marquis in an
agony of fear. "Oh, messieurs the gendarmes, if you will but hear me, I
have an important communication to make." All this time he was fighting
desperately as the two officers of the law dragged him toward the door.

"Silence, idiot!" yelled the angry captain, "or I will have you bound
and gagged. Take example from these women who put you to shame."

"Idiot that I was," cried de Lacheville, "why did I ever return from a
place of safety? None but a fool would have trusted the word of
Robespierre."

"Bind him," ordered the captain.

With a strength no one would have believed that he possessed, de
Lacheville threw off those who held him.

"Stand back!" he shouted wildly, as the officers endeavored to seize
him. He drew an object quickly from his pocket.

"Take care, Jean. He has a weapon," cried one.

There was a report of a pistol, and the marquis fell forward to the
floor.

A murmur of horror filled the prison hall. Women fainted, and men turned
away their heads. The gendarmes hastened to bend over him.

"I believe he is dead, captain," said one after a brief examination.

"Carry him out with the others just the same," ordered the captain.
"Pierre, continue with the list."

"Bertrand de Tourin."

"Here."

"Adèle de Belloeil."

There was a cry of joy in the answer:--

"I am here. The Blessed Virgin has heard my prayer;" and Mademoiselle de
Belloeil stepped forward. "André, I come with you; we shall go
together where they can never separate us." And she threw herself into
the arms of her lover.

"About face--fall in--forward! march." The heavy door closed, and those
who had been called were led away, while those remaining in the prison
went quietly to their cells, to recommence the same life on the morrow
until the next roll-call.

"The nobility of France," said the chevalier to the philosopher, "may
not have known how to live, but it knows how to die."

"Except the Marquis de Lacheville," was the reply.

"Bah. He was always one of the canaille at heart; he only proves my
assertion," and the chevalier took an extra large pinch of snuff and
limped off to his mattress of straw.



CHAPTER XIX

TAPPEUR AND PETITSOU


"What are you bringing us now?" growled a voice from a corner of the
cell. Gaillard heard the rustling of straw, but his eyes were not enough
accustomed to the gloom to enable him to see what sort of being it was
who gave utterance to this harsh welcome.

"Are not two enough in a trap like this?" the speaker went on, rising
and coming forward. "There's hardly enough air for us as it is, without
your putting in another one."

"So it's you, Tappeur, complaining again," remarked the jailer. "You had
better be thankful you're not four in a cell as they are in most of
them. The prison is full to overflowing. No matter how many they take
out, there's always more to fill their places. You'll have to make the
best of it." And he closed the door with an unfeeling slam.

Tappeur brushed some of the straw from his hair and beard. "A plague
upon these suspects that fill up our prisons!" he exclaimed with an
oath; "we honest criminals have to put up with the vilest accommodations
because you crowd us to the wall by force of numbers. You _are_ a
suspect, aren't you?" he demanded, coming nearer and putting a dirty
face close to Gaillard's.

The cell which they occupied was below the level of the ground. Overhead
at the juncture of the ceiling and wall was a grating through which came
all the light and air they received.

"You are a suspect, is it not so?" repeated Tappeur as Gaillard made no
answer.

"I have not the honor of being an 'honest criminal,'" replied the actor,
drawing away with a movement of disgust from the seamed and distorted
visage thrust close to his.

"Bah, I thought not," said Tappeur with another oath. "Well, suspect,
come over here under the grating and let me take a good look at your
face," and he seized Gaillard roughly by the arm.

Tappeur received a violent blow on the chest which sent him reeling into
a dark corner of the cell, clutching at the empty air as if to sustain
himself by catching hold of the shadows. His fall to the ground was
followed by an explosion of oaths in a new voice, in which explosion
Tappeur himself joined vigorously.

"I've stirred up a nest of them," said Gaillard to himself, and then
stood awaiting developments.

The torrent of profanity having exhausted itself, Tappeur emerged from
the shadowy recess of the wall followed by a smaller man.

"How do you like my looks?" inquired Gaillard cheerfully.

"I'm satisfied for the present," replied Tappeur.

"Your fist is hard enough; what may your trade be?"

"I have no regular profession, I'm a little of everything. What's
yours?"

"I belong to the 'Brotherhood of the Ready Hand.' Our motto is 'Steal
and Kill;' our watchward 'Blood and Death;' and our coat of arms 'A Cord
and Gallows.'" And Tappeur chuckled gleefully.

"You are evidently a rare accumulation of talent and virtue. I should
enjoy knowing more of you. Is this a member of your band?" and Gaillard
pointed to the man who had just been awakened, and who was yawning and
stretching his arms.

"Our band, oh no, this is the great Petitsou."

"And who is Petitsou?"

"What! you don't know Petitsou?" demanded Tappeur pityingly.

"Never heard of him."

"He never even heard of you, Petitsou!" exclaimed Tappeur, turning to
his companion with a gesture of disgust.

Petitsou shrugged his shoulders in reply, as if to say, "He has been the
only loser."

"Pray let me be compensated for my ill fortune, by learning all about
you now, Citizen Petitsou."

"I have made more counterfeit money than any man in France now living, I
might say more than any man who ever has lived, but I believe some one
or two of the old kings have surpassed me," said Petitsou.

"He is an artist," whispered Tappeur; "he does not make you a clumsy,
bungling coin only to be palmed off upon women and blind men. He creates
an article finer to look at than the government mint can produce.
_Pardieu_, I'd rather have a pocket full of his silver than that bearing
either the face of Louis Capet or of this new Republic." And Tappeur
looked at his friend the artist admiringly.

"It was when the government issued these assignats that my great fortune
was made," continued Petitsou. "In fact, it was too much success that
brought me here. I found them so easy to make that I manufactured them
by the wholesale. I stored my cellar with them. I even had the audacity
to make the government a small loan in assignats on which I did the
entire work myself, reproducing the very signatures of the officials who
received the funds. Oh, it was a rare sport."

"But your forgeries were finally detected?" said Gaillard inquiringly.

"The workmanship and the signatures never. I could have gone on making
enough to buy up the whole government, but for a mishap. I made a
glaring error in the date of a certain issue of assignats. I never liked
the new calendar, and always had to take particular care to get it
right, but one day my memory slipped up, and I dated a batch of one
hundred thousand francs, November 14, 1793, instead of 25th Brumaire,
year II. Oh, that was an unpardonable slip, and I deserved to pay the
penalty."

"It seems cruel," remarked Gaillard, "to keep a useful member of
society, like you, in this filthy dungeon."

"The greatest cruelty is in keeping the materials of my trade away from
me. They know my love for my art, and take delight in torturing me.
Although I promise not to try any dodge, they won't trust me. If they
would only let me have a little pen, ink, and paper, I should be happy."

"Pen, ink, and paper?" repeated Gaillard. "That's a modest desire."

"They won't let him have them," put in Tappeur. "He'd play them all
sorts of tricks. He'd forge all sorts of documents, and worry the life
out of the jailers."

The door opened a few inches, and a jug of water and a large square loaf
made their appearance, pushed in by an invisible hand.

"Let's divide our rations for the day," suggested Petitsou. "Have they
given us a larger loaf, Tappeur, on account of our increased number?"

"But very little larger," replied Tappeur, picking up the loaf of black
bread and surveying it hungrily.

"Is that all we receive in the way of food?" asked Gaillard ruefully. He
had missed his usual supper after the theatre the night before, and was
quite ready for breakfast.

"That's all, unless you've got money. You can buy what you like with
that." And Tappeur eyed him slyly out of his deep-set eyes.

"What do you say to some wine in place of this cold water, and some
white bread, with perhaps a little sausage added by the way of relish?"
suggested Gaillard mildly.

"Hey, you jailer!" called out Tappeur, frantically rushing toward the
door, fearful lest the man might be out of hearing. The jailer retraced
his steps reluctantly.

"A commission from the new lodger. A bottle of wine. A white loaf in
place of this vile, sour stuff, and some sweet little sausage. A little
tobacco also. Am I not right, my comrade?" asked Tappeur, looking at
Gaillard inquiringly.

"Some tobacco, of course," nodded Gaillard, producing a coin.

"Have it strong; I have tasted none for so long that it must bite my
tongue to make up for lost time. Hurry with thy commissions my good
little citizen jailer; the new lodger is hungry, and we, too, have no
small appetites."

"Tobacco," said Petitsou, "next to ink and paper, I have longed for
that. And I have money, too!" and he produced a five-franc piece. "As
good a piece of silver as ever rang from the government mint, and yet
that cursed jailer refuses to take it, or bring me the smallest portion
of tobacco for it. The donkey fears I have manufactured it here on the
premises, or that I extracted it from thin air like a magician."

The breakfast being brought, Tappeur rolled a couple of large stones
toward the lightest portion of the cell, and placed a board across them
for a table. They had nothing to sit upon but their heels. The two
criminals had accustomed themselves to this method of sitting at meals,
but Gaillard found it more comfortable to partake of his food standing
with his shoulders to the wall.

"Fall to, comrades!" cried Tappeur, breaking off an end of the loaf and
taking a sausage in his other hand. "There's no cup, so we must drink
from the bottle." And he handed the wine to Gaillard first, by way of
attention.

Gaillard put the bottle to his lips and took a long draught of the
contents while Tappeur watched him anxiously. He then passed it over to
Petitsou, who treated it in a like manner. Tappeur received it in his
turn in thankful silence, and after having punished it severely, put it
down by his side. Gaillard helped himself to a piece of bread and a
sausage, and ate with good appetite, leaving his new companions to
finish the wine, to the evident satisfaction of those two worthies.

"You have a hard fist, my brave comrade!" exclaimed Tappeur, filling a
pipe as short and grimy as the thumb that pushed the tobacco down into
the bowl. "A hard fist and a free purse and Tappeur is your friend for
life." To give emphasis to his words he puffed a cloud of blue smoke up
into Gaillard's face, and drained the last few drops of wine in the
flagon.

"That's very good stuff," he continued, balancing the empty bottle upon
its nose, "but brandy would be more satisfying."

Gaillard refused to take the hint, and turned away to spread his cloak
in a corner of the cell, where he lay down upon it and was soon in a
deep sleep.

Week followed week, and Gaillard continued to live below the ground far
from the sunlight which he loved so dearly, while Tournay, confined in
the cell upon the second floor, wondered why he received no word from
the friend in the outside world.

Thus they lived within one hundred yards of each other, thinking of each
other daily, and with no means of communication. One thing Gaillard had
to be thankful for, and that was the sum of money the theatre manager
had paid him on the very night of his arrest. With it he had purchased
many comforts to make his life more bearable. He had procured a fresh
supply of straw and a warm blanket for his bed; some candles and a rough
chair upon which he took turns in sitting with the two jail-birds, his
companions, although at meals he always occupied it by tacit consent.

Under the influence of the additional food which Gaillard's purse
supplied, Tappeur grew fat and better natured, though he swore none the
less, and drank and smoked all that Gaillard would provide for him.
Indeed, he thought the actor a little niggardly in furnishing the
brandy, and one day, after a good meal, was inclined to be swaggering,
intimating that, with respect to drink, the rations should be increased.
Whereupon Gaillard cut off his potations entirely for twenty-four hours,
and he became as meek as a lamb and remained so ever after.

Both the bully and Petitsou would frequently regale Gaillard with long
accounts of their past crimes. During the recitals, Tappeur, although
always boastful on his own account, showed a certain deference to the
forger.

"I can cut a throat or rob a purse with the best blackguard in France,"
he would say to the actor, "but that little Petitsou is the true
artist."

Notwithstanding these diversions, the time dragged wearily, and
Gaillard's face began to lose its roundness, while the smile did not
broaden his wide mouth so frequently as of old. His money began to get
low, and he looked forward with dread to the time when it would be
entirely gone and he would have to divide the musty black loaf and the
pitcher of fetid water with the two criminals, without the wherewithal
to buy even such good nature and entertainment as they could furnish. He
longed for the time of his trial to come. He knew from what he had heard
of the experiences of others, that he might be called for trial any day,
or that he might languish in jail for months, forgotten and neglected.
Every day when he asked the jailer who brought their food, "Have I not
been called for trial?" and received the response, "Not to-day," his
heart sank lower.

One day when he had only five francs left in his purse, and had
refrained from ordering any wine, much to Tappeur's disgust, the jailer
came to inform him that he was to come forth for trial.

"Good luck attend you, citizen actor," said Petitsou, with some show of
friendship, as Gaillard prepared to leave them, smiling.

"As we must lose you in one way or another," called out Tappeur after
him as he disappeared down the corridor, "let us hope that the national
razor will not bungle when it shaves you, my brave."

Gaillard's spirits rose as he came up to the light of day. In a few
hours he would know what his destiny would be, and the fresh air gave
him renewed courage to meet it. His wish to learn just what fate had
overtaken Tournay gave him an additional interest in life.

Passing through the main corridor he heard his name called, and looking
toward the corridor of the upper tier he saw the face of his friend.

It was only an instant, and then Gaillard passed out with others to the
street. At first Tournay's heart throbbed with apprehension at the sight
of his friend. He had feared all along that had Gaillard been at liberty
he would have received some message from him, or other evidence of his
existence, and now his fears were confirmed. Yet somehow the very sight
of Gaillard's cheerful face, smiling up at him, reassured him.

"Am called for trial," the actor's lips framed. "And you?" Tournay made
a negative gesture.

"Paper destroyed," Gaillard next signaled with his lips, but he dared
not make the words too plain for fear of detection, and the message was
lost on Tournay. Then they saw each other no longer.

It was into a small court room that Gaillard saw himself conducted. He
looked round with surprise. The trials were usually attended by large
and interested crowds of people.

"I am evidently considered of small importance, and so am disposed of by
an inferior court," thought he. "So much the better."

The case being tried at the moment was one of petty larceny. "The other
courts must be doing an enormous business, to oblige them to turn some
of us over to these little criminal courts," continued Gaillard musingly
as the affair in question was disposed of and he was called.

"Read the act of accusation," said the judge, "and hurry the affair. I
wish to go to dinner."

"Don't let me detain you," thought Gaillard. Then he put his hands to
his head to ascertain if his ears were in their proper place, for he
could not understand a word of the accusation as read by the clerk. He
heard a jumble about "coat," "personal assault," "refused payment," then
looked in bewilderment at the judge and prosecuting attorney, till from
them his eyes wandered about the dingy court room. All at once the sight
of a face in the witness box caused a light to flash through his brain,
and elucidate the whole matter. He recognized his tailor, who sat with
vindictive eyes, holding over his arm the identical coat that had been
the cause of the dispute on the very day of his arrest.

Gaillard could barely repress his merriment. The rancor of the little
tailor had followed him to prison, and dragged him out to answer a
complaint of assault and intent to defraud.

"I wonder," thought Gaillard, "if I am convicted and sentenced for this
crime, and subsequently condemned to the guillotine, which penalty I
shall have to pay first?"

"Have you any counsel, prisoner?" demanded the judge.

"I will plead my own case," replied Gaillard cheerfully.

"Call the complainant and witness."

After a long recital on the part of the tailor of the history of the
coat, and the treatment he had received at the hands of the brutal
prisoner, during which the judge yawned, indicating his desire to get
out to dinner, Gaillard took the stand.

"My sole defense," said he smilingly, "is that the tailor wittingly,
maliciously, and falsely, endeavored to palm off upon me, a poor actor,
a garment never made for me."

"How will you prove it?" demanded the judge.

"By simply trying on the coat," answered Gaillard. "If you decide it was
made for me, I will abandon my defense."

"Let the prisoner have the garment," ordered the judge.

Gaillard slowly proceeded to divest himself of his own coat and don the
offending garment which the tailor now presented to him reluctantly.

It had fitted him badly on the first occasion he had tried it on, and
now, by a slight contortion of his supple body, the actor made the
misfit ridiculously apparent.

The court officers grinned, even the judge could not repress a smile,
and the tailor looked foolish.

"That is quite sufficient," said the justice. "How much did the tailor
want you to pay for this grotesque garment?"

"Two hundred francs the bill calls for."

"Two hundred francs?" ejaculated the judge.

"In gold coin," emphasized Gaillard.

"It is very expensive material," explained the tailor ruefully.

"Down how many flights of stairs does the complaint state the prisoner
kicked the tailor?" asked the judge.

"Only one short one," volunteered Gaillard, grinning at the discomfited
tailor.

"Only one short one?" repeated the judge. "You were very moderate; such
an absurd garment would have justified three flights."

There was a laugh in the court room. The judge tapped for order.

"The prisoner is discharged," he said.

Gaillard rose and looked for the guards who had escorted him from the
Luxembourg, thankful for the brief respite he had had from the tedium of
confinement.

"You are a free man, Citizen Gaillard," said the judge, waving his hand
toward the open door.

"Do you mean I can leave the court room by that door?" asked Gaillard,
his heart rising up in his throat.

"Certainly; I dismiss the complaint."

"Thank you, your honor," said Gaillard, stepping quickly through the
doorway into the street.

"Your honor!" gasped a court attendant hurriedly appearing at the
judge's desk.

"I have no time to listen to anything further now. I am off to dinner,"
said the judge snappishly.

"But does your honor know? Is your honor aware that the prisoner was a
suspect from the Luxembourg, brought here by me for trial on this charge
of assault, to be returned after"--

"Bring him back at once!" yelled the judge. "You idiot, why didn't you
say so before?"

"But, your honor, I"--

"After him, constables; be quick, he cannot have gone fifty yards."

Half a dozen men rushed into the street and looked in all directions.
But Gaillard was not to be seen.



CHAPTER XX

UNCLE MICHELET


One April day a wave of excitement swept through the entire prison. It
was repeated in every cell and whispered in every ear.

"The lion has been taken in the mesh! The great Danton is a prisoner in
the Luxembourg!"

At first Tournay could not believe the report. It seemed as if those
giant arms need but to be extended to break the bonds that held them,
and allow their owner to walk out into the air a free man.

Yet it was indeed true, and one day, for a few moments only, Tournay had
an opportunity to see and converse with the fallen chieftain as he stood
in the door of his cell, talking in a loud voice to all who were near
enough to hear him.

As Danton saw Colonel Tournay he ceased speaking and held out his hand.
In his eyes there was a peculiar look which the latter understood.

"You see, it has come at last even to me," said Danton quietly.

"Ah, why did you not crush the snake before it entwined you with its
coils?" asked Tournay sadly.

"I did not think he would dare do it," replied Danton. "Robespierre is
rushing to his ruin. What will they do without me? They are all mad."

"You should have distrusted their madness, even if you did not fear it,"
was the rejoinder.

"The end is near," answered Danton. "It is fate. Yet if I could leave my
brains to Robespierre and my legs to Couthon, the Revolution might still
limp along for a short time," and he laughed roughly. "Good-by,
Tournay," he said in a tone of kindliness. "You are a brave man and a
true Republican; such men as you might have saved the Republic, but it
was not to be." He entered his cell, and Tournay never saw him again.

The next day Danton was taken to the conciergerie and to his trial, and
the day following to the guillotine. The lion head was parted from the
giant trunk, and the Revolution swept on.

The weeks dragged on monotonously to Colonel Tournay and St. Hilaire in
the Luxembourg. The trees in the gardens beyond their prison walls had
put forth their leaves, and the song of birds was borne sometimes even
into the recesses of their cell.

"Why are we left to rot here in this stifling place?" exclaimed Colonel
Tournay for the thousandth time. "Why are we not even called for trial?
Has Robespierre forgotten our existence?"

"Let us hope that he has," rejoined St. Hilaire. "As long as we are
overlooked we shall get into no worse trouble. We are not so very
uncomfortable here," and St. Hilaire sprang upon the table to put his
nose out between the window bars, like a fox in a cage, to get what air
there was stirring and to look at the little patch of blue sky.

Tournay smiled sadly. He envied St. Hilaire his cheerfulness and
adaptability, while he felt his own spirit breaking under the long
confinement.

He sat down upon the edge of the bed and wondered what had happened in
the world since he had been cut off from it. His thoughts were
frequently of Gaillard, and he wished he could learn something about his
friend. As he was sitting thus, oppressed by the warmth of a June
afternoon, the turnkey entered the cell.

"There is an old man come to see you," he said, addressing Tournay.
"Your uncle from the provinces, I believe. You may see him outside here
in the corridor."

"I wonder who this visitor may be," thought Tournay as he followed the
turnkey. "Had I not received word of my poor father's death two months
ago I should expect to find him."

An old man stood leaning on his cane at the end of the corridor. He
seemed quite feeble, and the jailer, moved to compassion by his
infirmity, placed a stool for him to sit upon.

"My nephew!" exclaimed the old man in tremulous accents as Tournay made
his appearance.

Apparently the old man had made some mistake. To Colonel Tournay's eyes
he was an entire stranger; but being aware that the slightest suspicion
aroused in the mind of the prison authorities sometimes led to very
serious consequences, he determined to wait until the turnkey was out of
hearing before undeceiving the mild-eyed old gentleman.

"My uncle," he answered, taking the venerable citizen by the
outstretched hand, "how did your old legs manage to"--

The septuagenarian squeezed the colonel's hand until the fingers
cracked.

"My old legs would have brought me here long before," said the voice of
Gaillard in guarded tones, "but it took me two weeks to get this
disguise!"

"Gaillard! In heaven's name can it be you?"

"'Tis I! I may have aged since we last met, my colonel, but my heart is
as young as ever."

"My dear Gaillard, how did you manage to leave this prison? What are you
doing? Is this not dangerous?" asked Tournay, putting the questions in
rapid succession.

"Gaillard's liberty would not be worth a brass button if he should come
here," replied the actor, "but old Michelet has nothing to fear. I have
been playing hide and seek with the police for the past fortnight. I am
now living at 15 Rue des Mathurins."

Even Tournay, who knew his friend so well, started.

"It is a very long story, and I can only give you an outline of it,"
said Gaillard, seating himself on the stool and leaning heavily on his
cane, while he turned his face so that he could see from one corner of
his eye every motion the turnkey might make.

"I escaped from my dungeon below the ground; I will tell you how when we
have more leisure. The first thing I thought of, when I was once out in
the free air, was a bath. I wanted to drown out the recollection of
assassins and dirty straw, vile air and counterfeiters with whom I had
been on such intimate terms for so many weeks.

"I was afraid to go to any bath houses lest I should be seen and
recognized; besides, I had no money, so I finally concluded to try the
river. I therefore skulked in unfrequented byways until nightfall, when
I went swimming in the Seine by starlight, and I can assure you I never
before appreciated the kindly properties of water to such an extent. My
next desire, after I had slept in the arches of the bridge St. Michel
and broken my fast with a crisp roll, was to see you."

"My dear old uncle!" exclaimed Tournay aloud, placing his hand
affectionately on Gaillard's shoulder.

"I knew that I should be safe if I could procure a good disguise, but
that it would be folly to attempt it without one," continued Gaillard.
"The want of money was still an obstacle. 'Among the costumes in my
chest at home,' thought I, 'is material to disguise a whole race of
Gaillards.' Ah, but how to reach them? That was the matter that required
careful study. Those annoying little red seals that the government
places on the doors of all arrested persons are terribly dangerous to
meddle with. Yet within were clothing and disguises, and a very little
sum of money stowed away for an emergency. Meanwhile, in the evening, I
promenaded down the Rue des Mathurins to look the ground over. There,
planted in front of the house, staring up at the windows of our
apartment, was a great hulking gendarme.

"That night I slept again under the St. Michel bridge,--commodious and
airy enough, but a little damp in the morning hours. Before daylight I
was up and off to the Rue des Mathurins, drawn like a criminal to the
scene of his misdeeds, to inspect the enemy unseen by him.

"There is a certain mouselike gratification in watching from afar the
cat, which, with claws extended, is lying in wait, ready to pounce upon
you as soon as you show your nose." And Gaillard stopped to take a pinch
of snuff and blink at the light with a pair of mild blue eyes. Then,
after applying a colored handkerchief to his nose, he resumed his
narrative.

"At all hours of the day, late at night, or early in the morning, there
was always some officer of police staring persistently at my windows as
if he expected me, furnished with a pair of wings, to come flying in or
out of a fourth story. 'Not yet, my fine fellow,' said I, and vanished
around the corner.

"One night it rained dismally; a cold mist was rising from the river.
The St. Michel bridge had little attraction as a bedroom for me at that
moment, I can assure you. Muffling myself in my cloak, I directed my
steps toward my old abode, hoping that owing to the inclemency of the
weather the officers of the law might be less vigilant. For I had
resolved, the opportunity offering, to make an attempt to enter my own
domicile that very night. Imagine my disgust when, upon arriving, I saw
two gendarmes sheltered in the entrance of the house opposite. Both of
them were obtrusively wide-awake and alert.

"I do not know whether one of them noticed me, lurking by the corner,
but he immediately started to walk in my direction, and not wishing to
run any chances I darted into an alley blacker than a whole calendar of
nights, scaled a wall, and found myself in the narrow court which flanks
our own building. Here I resolved to wait until I could safely venture
out upon the street once more.

"The rain had almost ceased, but I could still hear the gurgle of the
water coming down the spout from the roof. You know that water spout, my
little colonel? It is made to carry off the water from three houses, is
unusually large, and is held firmly in place a few inches from the house
wall by iron braces at intervals of five to six feet. I placed my hand
on one of these braces, and instantly the thought flashed through my
brain, 'It can be done.'"

"You are not going to tell me that you attempted to climb up by the
water pipe?" demanded Tournay incredulously.

"I divested myself of my cloak, coat, and waistcoat, removed my heavy,
rain-soaked shoes, and began the ascent as bravely as any seaman
ordered to the foretop," replied Gaillard.

"I could reach the brace above while standing on the one beneath, and
partly using my knees and partly drawing myself up by the arms, I made
quicker progress than I had deemed possible. In fact, I went up so
vigorously that on reaching the third story I struck my knee against a
piece of loose stucco which was clinging to the wall, waiting for the
first strong wind to blow it to the ground.

"Crash! the plaster fell to the courtyard pavement, where it was
shivered into a thousand fragments.

"The blow on my kneecap made me shiver with pain, and I rested on the
brace just outside the window of the little soubrette, clinging tightly
with both hands to the spout.

"'Thank heaven that it was the stucco that fell, not I,' I whispered
devoutly, just as a window opened on the floor above, and our old
neighbor Avarie appeared. He is always on the lookout for robbers, and
keeps at his bedside a big blunderbuss, with a muzzle like a
speaking-trumpet.

"'Thieves,' I heard him mutter. I kept perfectly quiet, not giving vent
even to a breath.

"'Who's there?'

"I clung close to the shelter of my friendly water pipe.

"'Speak, or I'll fire!'

"I knew he could not see me, and if he did fire his old cannon, I felt
sure that it would explode and blow him into atoms; but the noise would
alarm the neighborhood, and I had a vision of a score of lights
flashing; night-capped heads appearing in all the surrounding windows;
gendarmes running up with their lanterns, and poor Gaillard, clinging
like a frightened cat to the water spout.

"That gave me an idea.

"'Miauw!' answered I plaintively.

"'It's a cat!' exclaimed old Avarie in disgust.

"'Mew--mew--mew,' cried I.

"'What is it?' said a woman's voice, evidently his wife's.

"'Nothing but a cat,' growled Avarie. 'But I think I will let drive at
her just because she disturbed my sleep.'

"I stopped my mewing on the instant.

"'Don't,' pleaded the woman, 'the gun may kick.'

"'Bah, do you think I can't handle a gun?' And I heard a click.

"'Good-by to thee, old Avarie,' I said under my breath.

"'Don't be a fool, husband, and awake the whole neighborhood just for a
cat!' exclaimed his wife.

"Almost at my window another window was thrown open and the little
soubrette's head appeared. She is very fond of cats.

"'Here puss, puss, puss,' she cried.

"'Is that your cat, citizeness?' asked old Avarie.

"'It must be; he has stayed out all night, the naughty fellow. Kitty,
kitty, poor kitty, come in out of the wet.'

"My teeth were chattering with cold and fatigue and that was just what I
most desired, but I did not dare to risk it.

"'You ought to keep the animal at home, and not let him out to disturb
everybody's sleep,' called out the testy old man as he closed his window
with a bang.

"Luckily for me the little soubrette's attention was all directed toward
the roof of the lower extension on the left where her pet evidently had
a habit of straying. She did not see me, crouched behind the pipe so
near as to almost be able to touch her by putting out one hand. By the
way, she looked very pretty in her little white nightcap edged with
lace. I was not very sorry, however, to see her close the window and to
be left alone with my water spout. A few minutes later I had pushed open
the window of my kitchen and wriggled into the room.

"I dared not strike a light for fear of its reflection on the wall
opposite, and groped my way about the room in the dark. My heart leaped
with joy when I had assured myself that no seal had been placed on the
windows nor upon any of the inside doors; the one seal on the outer door
evidently having been deemed sufficient. The dust was an inch thick over
everything, and I moved about in ghostly stillness, struggling to
repress a sneeze. Nothing appeared to have been touched since the night
of my enforced departure.

"I hugged myself with a childish glee at being alone in my little home
in the dead of night. The thought of the gendarmes outside in the rain
made my sides ache with suppressed laughter.

"First, I unearthed my little economies of last winter. Thirteen francs,
five sous. 'Gaillard you're a prodigal fellow,' I said to myself as I
dropped them into my pouch, 'but it is better than nothing.' Then I
collected a few necessities. My beautiful wig of silver hair, and a
suitable dress to go with it. I handled lovingly a few other costumes,
but had the strength of mind to return them to the chest. I should like
to have appeared before you as the 'Spanish outlaw' but it would have
been too dangerous. The character of the English 'milord' would have
been congenial but equally hazardous. So I sensibly adhered to my sober
selection, and tied up all my effects in a neat bundle.

"When all was completed I took one last, longing survey of my rooms,
went to the casement, and, dropping the bundle, held my breath. Thud! it
reached the bottom and lay there innocently in the court. Not a sound
was heard. Old Citizen Avarie, in the adjoining apartment, was snoring
in a way that would put his blunderbuss to shame, and the little
citizeness below had evidently retired into the recess of her
lace-trimmed nightcap to dream of her missing pet.

"Sliding silently from the window I found the iron brace with my toes,
and grasped the clammy water pipe with both hands. I could not close
the casement. 'Never mind, they will think it was the wind that opened
it,' I said, and I descended to the ground with an agility born of
practice.

"In the early morning hours I retired to my bridge, put on my silver wig
and old man's dress, sunk my other clothes to the river bottom, and
appeared in the light of day as an old man.

"I now walk the streets in safety under the very noses of my old
enemies, the police; I come to you and I ask, 'How do you like your old
uncle?'"

"You deceived me completely, my Gaillard," Tournay confessed; "but tell
me this. You said you were still residing at 15 Rue des Mathurins. May I
ask in what capacity? As cat?"

"Having little money, I must earn some more in order to live. I went to
my dear friend, the theatre director, just as I am, and asked him to
employ me about the theatre in any capacity. He did not recognize me,
and putting his hand in his pocket, brought out a piece of forty sous."

"'Sorry, my poor fellow, but I have no place for you. Take this.'"

"I would trust my manager with my life, so I leaned forward to his ear.
'I am Gaillard, hunted, proscribed, but always your old friend Gaillard.
Call me Citizen Michelet.' He gave me a look for which I could have
taken him to my heart, there in his bureau, and hugged him.

"'Citizen Michelet,' he said, 'there is a place of a doorkeeper which
you can have. The pay is small, fifteen francs the week, but it may
suffice your needs.' I knew it was five francs more than old Gaspard
received,--the doorkeeper who drank himself to death,--and I took the
place gladly. When one is old, my nephew, one does not despise even
fifteen francs," and Gaillard looked pathetically into Tournay's face.
"Now I sit every evening at the stage door of the theatre and see the
familiar faces pass in and out. They do not recognize me; but they are
beginning to address kindly nods and occasional words to old Michelet.

"I found a vacant room to let on the ground floor of No. 15 Rue des
Mathurins, so I took the lodging and live there quietly. I am on the
best of terms with the gendarmes, and I talk with them out of my window,
where we exchange pinches of snuff and other like civilities."

"My dear friend"--began Tournay.

"You might as well call me uncle," interrupted Gaillard, "to accustom
yourself to it, for under this guise I shall visit you again."

"My dear _uncle_, it is like a draught of wine to a thirsty man to hear
you talk. It is like a ray of sunshine to see your wrinkled old face."

"I hope to be the ray of sunshine to light you out of this prison," said
Gaillard.

"I'm afraid that will be a difficult matter," replied Tournay. "I am not
so clever as you in wearing disguises."

"You will wear no disguise," answered Gaillard. "Are you in a cell by
yourself?" he asked in the next breath.

"No, strange to say I have a companion, Citizen St. Hilaire."

"That is not so bad; only we shall have to include him in our plans,"
replied Gaillard. "You can trust him?"

"Implicitly."

"When I lean forward over my stick," said Gaillard, "run your hand
stealthily up the back of my head under my long hair. Now."

Tournay did as he was bid.

"Do you feel it?"

"I feel something hard, like a little file."

"Good! You could not expect a chest of tools; the jailer searched me
thoroughly. Untie that little file from the hair. Can you do it?"

"I think so."

"I tied it quite firmly for fear it would fall out. Do not be afraid of
pulling my hair, but do not pull the wig off. You may take both
hands,--the turnkey is not paying any attention,--as if you were
arranging your old uncle's coat collar."

"I'll have it in a moment. There!"

"Slip this up your sleeve, my colonel. Now a few questions and remarks.
How many bars has your window?"

"Four."

"How long will it take you to file them all?"

Tournay considered. "We could only work in any safety in the middle of
the night, perhaps four hours in the twenty-four."

"How long do you think it will take you to cut through the four bars?"

Tournay thought for a moment. "We can work only at intervals in the
dead of night," he replied, "so it may take several days."

"Good! In four days I will bring you a rope."

"In God's name, Gaillard, how can you manage to bring a rope into this
place?"

"I am not certain of that point yet, but I shall manage it," was the
cool rejoinder.

"My dear Gaillard, I believe you. If you were to promise me to bring a
spire of Notre Dame wrapped up in gold paper I should expect to see it
at the appointed hour. With a rope in our possession and the bars cut,
we can get down the forty feet to the yard beneath. But there is the
sentry, and the difficulty of escape from the yard!"

"I will take care of the sentry and the escape," replied Gaillard, "and
in four days I shall be here again. Meanwhile cut through the bars so
that you can push them out of place at any moment. Attention; here comes
the turnkey.

"Good-by, my nephew. Be of good cheer. A good patriot need have no
fear," said Gaillard in a quavering voice.

"Good-by, my uncle," rejoined Tournay as he went back to his cell. "I
shall see you then next week at the same hour," he called out through
the bars of the door.

"Yes."

"Well, then, good-by again. Mind the step. Be careful lest my uncle
trip, citizen turnkey; he is old and rather venturesome for one of his
years."



CHAPTER XXI

CITIZENESS PRIVAT


"Agatha," said Mademoiselle de Rochefort, "I am going back to Paris."

Agatha turned and looked at her mistress in the greatest surprise.

"Do I understand you, mademoiselle, or am I dreaming? It is impossible
that you could have said"--

"I am going back to Paris."

Edmé repeated the words quietly, but there was a decision in her manner
which Agatha understood full well. She gave a gasp of consternation and
sank into a chair, fixing her wide-open eyes upon Edmé's face, while she
waited to hear more.

Edmé was seated in her bedroom in the Castle of Hagenhof. It was
evening, and two candles, one upon the dressing-table, the other upon a
stand at Agatha's side, gave to the room a mild half-light. The curtains
were not yet drawn, and through the large casement the stars gleamed
softly.

"During the five months we have lived in absolute quiet and security
here at Hagenhof," Edmé continued, looking out of the window at the
forest of pine trees that stretched away from the castle like a sea of
ink, "we have been completely shut off from the world outside, hearing
almost nothing of the events taking place there."

"That was your wish, was it not?" asked Agatha as Edmé paused.

Mademoiselle de Rochefort did not make any direct reply, but continued
speaking as if she was answering her own thoughts, rather than
conversing with her maid.

"There was a great battle fought. It was a full month afterward that I
heard of it and of the glory won by Colonel Tournay. The Republicans
were victorious. Had they been defeated, the restoration of the Monarchy
would have been one step nearer. But the allies were defeated, their
finest troops were sent flying back before the raw recruits. And I! Did
I mourn the defeat of our allies as much as I rejoiced in Colonel
Tournay's triumph? _The hero of Landau!_ That is what he was called."

Then, turning toward Agatha, she exclaimed: "How do you think they have
rewarded him in France? They have thrown this hero into prison. They
have kept him there for months. And I heard of it only to-night from the
officers who returned with Colonel von Waldenmeer yesterday. They spoke
of affairs in France. They said that the Republic is approaching its
final doom. The leaders are now at discord. The terrible Danton has been
sent to the guillotine. They said that the officers of the army are
being suspected; mentioned Colonel Tournay's arrest, and then casually
passed on to other topics. I heard no more. I could not listen after
that, and came up here as soon as I could withdraw from the table.
Agatha, I am going back to France."

"Why are you going?" asked Agatha gently, fearing to antagonize her
mistress in her present mood.

Again Edmé looked out of the window at the swaying tops of the mournful
pines. "I cannot stay here," she answered fiercely. "The melancholy of
the place is killing me."

"Do not be a child, mademoiselle," said Agatha in the tone of authority
she sometimes employed in reasoning with her beloved mistress. "If you
are not happy here, we will leave. Perhaps we can go to Berlin, or to
London. But never to France!"

"Twice has he risked his life for me," said Edmé, again speaking to
herself. "I owe so much to him, and have repaid him nothing."

"All that is true," persisted the cool-headed Agatha. "He aided you
because he had the power; if you could serve him, it would be different.
But you can do nothing. If you go to Paris, you will be arrested and
guillotined. That is all. No, my dear mistress, you must not go."

"I shall go," answered Edmé firmly. "If I am apprehended, so much the
worse."

"You will only place yourself in peril," cried Agatha. "You must not
go!"

"When Colonel Tournay parted from me," said Edmé impressively, "he swore
that we should some day meet again. He would keep his word if it were
possible. Fate has decreed that he shall not come to me; she decrees,
instead, that I shall go to him."

"Mademoiselle," cried Agatha in a horrified tone, "what are you saying?
Think of your rank, think of your family, your pride of birth!"

"My rank!" laughed Edmé scornfully. "Did that avail me when I crossed
the river Loire? My pride of birth! Did that protect and bring me safely
out of France? A brave and loyal man was my sole protection. He is now
in the greatest danger. I am going to him."

There was a ring in her voice as she spoke that seemed to bid defiance
to the long line of ancestry behind her.

"Now that you know that I am not to be swayed from my determination,
will you go with me or remain here?"

"I shall go with you, mademoiselle."

"We must leave here clandestinely, Agatha. I little thought, when the
kindly Grafin von Waldenmeer took me under her roof, I should leave it
like this."

"We shall have to travel through France in the disguise of peasants,
mademoiselle," said Agatha.

"We have had some experience in that disguise, Agatha. You know how well
I shall be able to play my part."

From Hagenhof, starting at dead of night, the two women traveled to
Paris. It took them three weeks to make the journey that they had once
made in five days. But they were obliged to travel slowly, as became
two women of their class.

On the morning of the twentieth day they found themselves in the Rue
Vaugirard in Paris, almost under the very shadow of the Luxembourg.
Agatha stopped before the doorway of a small house in the window of
which a placard announced that lodgings were to let within.

"This is what we want, mademoiselle," said the girl. "I will knock
here."

A woman answered the summons. She was about forty years old, with
stooping shoulders, and hands gnarled and twisted by hard work. Her skin
was dark, but an unhealthy pallor was upon her face, which, thin and
worn, was lightened by a pair of brilliant eyes.

"Can we obtain lodging here, good citizeness?" inquired Agatha. The
woman did not reply at once, being busy looking at them closely with her
bright eyes.

"Have you any lodgings to let?" said Agatha once more.

"Perhaps," was the reply.

"Perhaps," repeated Edmé somewhat impatiently. "Do you not know?"

"I am Citizeness Privat," the woman answered. "There are lodgings to let
in this house, most assuredly, and I have charge of the renting of them;
but I act for another, and he," with emphasis on the pronoun, "insists
that I shall only take those who can furnish references. Can you do so?"

"Let us come inside and we will see what can be done," said Agatha,
pushing forward. The woman stepped back, and Edmé followed Agatha into
the house. Agatha closed the door before speaking.

"Citizeness Privat," she said, "we are two women from the country, who
have come to Paris for the first time. We know no one here, and can give
you no references except money. Will that not satisfy you?" And Agatha
drew a purse from her pocket.

"It will satisfy me, but not him who employs me. If I disobey him I may
lose this place which is my only shelter." Edmé caught a glimpse of a
neat sitting-room through a half-open door. The cool and quiet of the
house were doubly attractive after the noise and heat of the city
streets.

"We must stay here," she whispered to Agatha. The latter opened her
purse.

"We will pay you well," she said persuasively. The citizeness shook her
head mournfully, and put one hand upon the handle of the door.

"Stay one moment, I implore you!" exclaimed Edmé impulsively. "Listen to
what I have to say."

The citizeness turned her strange eyes upon Edmé. The latter started as
she beheld the expression on the pale face.

"Agatha! look!" Edmé cried out in alarm, and the next instant the
Citizeness Privat had fallen to the floor. Quickly Edmé bent over her.
"She has fainted. How cold her hands are! Look at her face. It is
ghastly. It cannot be that she is dead, Agatha?" Edmé continued in a
tone of awe.

Agatha took one hand and began to chafe it to restore the circulation
while Edmé rubbed the other. "She is breathing," said Agatha. "Perhaps
with your assistance, mademoiselle, we can lift and carry her into one
of the rooms."

Between them the Citizeness Privat was carried gently into her room and
placed upon a bed. To their intense relief, the woman gave a sigh, and
opened her eyes as she sank back on the pillows.

"Are you in great suffering, poor creature?" asked Edmé, compassionately
surveying the pale features. Citizeness Privat signed that she was not
in any pain, and after a few moments, during which her breath came
regularly, she said faintly:--

"I shall be better soon; I am used to these attacks of sudden giddiness.
My greatest fear is that they may seize me some day while I am in the
streets. For that reason I dread to go out alone."

"Let us remove her clothing and put her in the bed where she will be
more comfortable," suggested Mademoiselle de Rochefort, and in spite of
the feeble remonstrances of the sick woman they soon had her comfortably
installed between the sheets.

"You are very good," she murmured.

As Agatha removed the gown a card fell from the pocket to the floor.

"I shall be unable to attend to my task this evening," sighed the woman
Privat, as if the fluttering pasteboard recalled to mind some urgent
duty. "I can ill afford to let the work go either. It helps so much
towards my support, but to-day it will be impossible."

Edmé picked up the card, and in doing so glanced at it casually, then
read it with a start:--

     FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY TRIBUNAL.

     Permit the Citizeness Jeanne Privat to enter the various rooms
     of the tribunal when engaged upon her routine duties.

The Citizeness Privat smiled faintly. "I see you wonder what I have to
do with the tribunal," she said; "I merely go there in the afternoon at
dark and clean up the rooms. There are many of them, and as I am the
only person employed to look after them, they get into a dreadful state
of disorder and dirt." Here the citizeness was taken with a fit of
coughing.

Edmé thrust the card mechanically into her pocket, and ran to fetch a
glass of water.

"You are very good to me," said she faintly as soon as she could speak.
"I turned you away," a slight flush coming to her cheek. "Believe me, it
was not my heart that spoke when I told you that I could not let you
have the lodging; I was merely obeying the commands of the owner, who
allows me my bare rent for my services. He is very strict, but at the
risk of incurring his displeasure, I shall refuse to let you go after
this kindness."

"Do not fear; do not trouble about that," replied Mademoiselle de
Rochefort quietly, "but tell me more about your work in the tribunal. Is
it that which has worn you so?"

"No, it is not so wearing, only I am far from strong, and sometimes I
get so fatigued. My brother, who is a turnkey in the conciergerie,
obtained this employment for me, as it was thought I could do it; but I
fear I shall have to give it up."

Edmé smoothed the counterpane. "Do not worry," she said gently, "but go
to sleep now. We will remain here until you are better."

The citizeness smiled faintly, her lips moved as if in apology; then she
fell into a quiet sleep.

Agatha turned to her mistress.

"Go into the next room, mademoiselle, and rest there. I will watch over
this sick woman."

"I cannot rest, dear Agatha; I have something else to do, but you must
stay here until I return."

"Where are you going?"

"To the Luxembourg."

"Not now, mademoiselle; wait--I will accompany you."

"No, Agatha, I prefer to go alone; you must remain here until I come
back," commanded Edmé.

Agatha knew it would be useless for her to remonstrate further, so she
resumed her place by the bedside, and with the greatest anxiety saw her
mistress leave the house, and, passing by the window, disappear up the
street.



CHAPTER XXII

CITIZENESS PRIVAT'S CARD


"How does one obtain admission to visit a prisoner, citizen doorkeeper?"

"How does one obtain permission?" repeated the keeper without looking up
from the work with which he was occupied. "One waits in that room," and
he gave a wave of the pen, "until the proper hour, then if one passes
satisfactorily under the inspection of the chief prison-keeper and
everything appears to be quite regular, one is allowed to see and
converse with the prisoner for a short time."

"I wish to see some one here. Pray tell me where I shall find the chief
keeper?"

"I am he," replied the keeper, pausing as he dipped his pen in the ink,
and looking over the top of his desk saw a woman neatly but simply
dressed, as became a citizeness of the Republic. The outlines of her
features were partly hidden by the hood of a gray cloak drawn up about
her head, but the shadows cast by this garment were not deep enough to
hide altogether the beauty of the oval face beneath it.

"Whom do you wish to see?" he asked, evidently satisfied with his
inspection, for he dipped his pen in the ink-bottle and resumed his
work of ruling perpendicular lines in a ledger.

"I wish to see the prisoner, Robert Tournay."

The jailer put down his ruler. "That is impossible; the prisoner Tournay
is not here."

"Not here! Then he has been set at liberty!" The cry of joy that sprang
to her lips checked itself, frozen by the quick negative gesture on the
keeper's part. She placed one hand upon the iron rail before her and
closed her fingers tightly around it. "He is not--Do not tell me he is
dead!" she whispered, looking up at the inexpressive face with a
pleading expression in her eyes, as if the jailer were the arbiter of
Tournay's fate.

"Transferred to the conciergerie. You may see for yourself, citizeness,"
and he held up the book and pointed with his forefinger to the notation
upon the neatly ruled page, "'Trans. to C.' That means that Robert
Tournay, former colonel in the army of the Republic, was yesterday
transferred to the prison of the conciergerie."

Edmé's heart grew cold. She had no means of knowing the full purport of
the change, but she felt that it boded nothing but ill to Robert
Tournay.

"Can you tell me why this removal was made?" she asked, although fearing
to hear the answer.

"To facilitate his trial. As every one knows the Revolutionary Tribunal
is in the same building with the conciergerie. A prisoner may be brought
from his cell in the prison into the tribunal chamber, be tried,
sentenced, and returned to his dungeon without once being obliged to go
outside. He only passes out into the streets on his way to the
guillotine."

"Has the trial already taken place? Can I see him if I go there at
once?" she demanded hurriedly.

As the jailer saw the young woman's evident distress his voice softened
a little as he made reply: "That you may be prepared for another
disappointment, I tell you now, that in order to visit him in the
conciergerie, you will have to be furnished with a written permit from
some member of the committee. Robert Tournay is confined 'in secret.'"

"Thank you, citizen jailer," was the faint reply. As Edmé turned and
left the prison lodge, the custodian of the Luxembourg bent over his
work again. The book was already filled with lists of names, written
evenly in long columns. This book was the record of all the prisoners of
the Luxembourg. When one left the prison his departure was duly noted in
the space opposite his name. His transfer to another jail was indicated
by the abbreviation "trans." If he was summoned before the tribunal and
acquitted, this fact was chronicled by the letters "acq." If he was
sentenced to death by the guillotine, the jailer marked him with a
little black cross "X." He had once been a schoolmaster, and it was his
pride to keep his prison records with neatness and accuracy.

"Nevertheless, I am going to the conciergerie," said Edmé to herself as
she passed along the Rue Vaugirard; "to the conciergerie," she
repeated. She stopped abruptly in the street as the remembrance of the
Citizeness Privat came to her mind. Putting her hand into her pocket,
she drew out the card. "'Permit the Citizeness Privat to enter the rooms
of the tribunal.' I will be Madame Privat to-night" was Edmé's
resolution. "Once in the tribunal chamber, I shall at least be very near
the prison."

It was late in the afternoon when she reached the Quai de l'Horloge that
skirted the frowning walls of the formidable prison. She passed the iron
grating of the yard, and looking in, wondered why some sparrows which
were twittering and fighting on the pavement beneath an unhealthy
looking tree should remain for a moment in a prison yard when they had
the whole outside world to fly in. Her pace, which had been a rapid one
all the way from the Luxembourg, slackened as she approached the main
entrance, and her fingers closed tightly on the card in her pocket,
while the heart beneath the gray cloak beat rapidly.

She did not know where to find the tribunal chamber. She had never been
in that part of Paris before. She only knew that somewhere in that pile
of gray stone were the old Parliament rooms, at present converted into
the tribunal chambers of the Republic. Once in those rooms she would be
under the same roof with Robert Tournay. Passing along the prison wall,
she turned up the Rue Barillerie, and there saw the words "Revolutionary
Tribunal," in large letters over a doorway. Here was the place to begin
the rôle of the Citizeness Privat.

The June evening was warm, and the air in the street fetid, as if it
were poisoned by the prison atmosphere; yet with a quick movement of the
hand she pulled the hood closer about her face, and rapidly ascended the
stone staircase.

A porter sitting by the doorway looked at her with indifferent gaze, but
said nothing as she showed him the permit. She passed into the large
hall with a strange feeling, as if she were no longer Edmé de Rochefort.

From the information she had received Edmé knew that there was some
means of communication between this hall and the prison. This
communication she must discover, but she resolved to set about the task
coolly and carefully in order that she might not arouse suspicion in the
minds of any chance observer.

She imagined that she heard footsteps in a corridor on the other side of
the chamber, and this reminded her forcibly that she must play the part
of the Citizeness Privat. She gave a glance around the room, wondering
how the worthy citizeness did her work. The room certainly was dirty and
needed a good deal of cleaning. Bits of paper littered the floor and
were scattered about upon the desks. Upon a set of shelves, some books
and pamphlets were buried so deeply in dust that Edmé began to think the
Citizeness Privat had been somewhat lax in the performance of her duty.
After a short investigation she discovered a broom in an ante-room; and
armed with this she returned to the hall and began to sweep into a heap
the scraps of paper that littered the floor. This work soon began to
fatigue her, and it also rolled up billows of dust which settled down
over chairs and tables. She placed the broom in a corner, and looked
about for some easier work which would serve her turn as well.

She espied a green cloth protruding from the edge of a table drawer.
Opening the drawer she put in her hand and was surprised to find that
the innocent cloth encased a large pistol. She removed the weapon and
returned it to the drawer, while with the green case as a dust-cloth she
made an attack upon the shelves of books with such violence and success
as to cause her to draw back quickly with a sneeze. She stopped, and,
with the green dust-cloth poised in air, listened attentively. No sound
was heard. Cautiously approaching the door she looked up and down the
passageway.

At the further end of this corridor she could see a small iron-barred
door. This, she rightly conjectured, led to the conciergerie, and
through it passed the prisoners when they were brought in for trial. She
determined to pass into the prison through this door, and went toward it
with a firm step. Taking hold of the bars with both hands, she pressed
her face against the ironwork.

"What do you want here?" demanded a voice, and Edmé saw in the sombre
half light the figure of a sentry. He stood so near the door upon the
other side that by stretching her hand through the bars she could have
touched him.

"I wish to enter here," Edmé replied.

"One does not enter here, citizeness. Go around to the main entrance on
the Quai."

"It is so far," she demurred pleadingly. "I have been doing my work here
in the tribunal chambers, and now wish to have a few words of
conversation with the turnkey Privat."

"Who are you?"

"I--I am Jeanne Privat, his sister."

"Well--such being the case, I will let you come through, but you must be
sure to come out this way, citizeness. If you were seen going out of the
lower entrance, not having entered there, it might get both of us in
trouble. And you might lose your place as well as I."

As he spoke he opened the lower half of an iron wicket. "Duck your head
a little, citizeness, and enter quickly."

Edmé did not need a second bidding; the gate closed with a snap, and she
was inside the conciergerie.

"Privat is in the second corridor. Go to the right and then turn to the
left," said the warder. "There he is now, just at the corner," he added
hastily. "Hey, Privat," and he gave a prolonged, low whistle, "here is
your sister, come to see you."

François Privat was slow of speech as well as of brain, so he merely
stood gaping with amazement at sight of the young woman who claimed him
as a brother, and who bore not the slightest resemblance to his sister
Jeanne. Edmé stepped quickly forward toward the turnkey, saying in a low
voice as she approached him:--

"I bring _a message_ from your sister; the good sentry should have told
you." Then in the same breath, she went on hurriedly to say: "The poor
woman was taken quite ill this afternoon, so ill that she had to be put
to bed. I came to do her work in the tribunal chambers, but thought you
should be told of your sister's illness, so asked the sentry to let me
speak to you."

In her trepidation, she hardly knew what words came to her lips.

There was silence; then after Privat had gotten the information into his
head, and had digested it, he said slowly:--

"Tell Jeanne Privat that I shall come to see her--let me see--day after
to-morrow--no--the day after that, Thursday, my first free time."

Edmé looked up into his face. He was very tall and of a ruddy
complexion, fully fifteen years younger than his sister.

"Is that all your message?" she inquired, in order to gain time for
thought.

"At four o'clock in the afternoon, if you like, but she knows the time
well enough--from four to six."

Then without showing any further interest in the subject, the
imperturbable Privat took up his bunch of keys and began to polish one
of them upon his coatsleeve.

There was a pause.

Edmé summoned all her courage and spoke with as much composure as she
could assume, although she felt that her voice trembled:--

"Citizen Privat, I have an urgent request to make you."

Privat blinked at her out of his stupid eyes.

"But I am prepared to pay for it."

A sign of animation seemed to come into the turnkey's face, but he did
not move nor seek to question her.

"What I am about to ask may be very difficult for you to do, and that is
why I am prepared to pay you _well_." She dwelt upon the last words,
seeming to guess that she had struck the right note.

"How much are you prepared to pay?" he asked in his slow way.

Edmé drew a purse from the folds of her gown, and opening it disclosed a
number of shining gold pieces. Privat's eyes were animated now.

"All that!" he exclaimed. "What do you want me to do for it? It must be
something dangerous. I--I am not a brave man."

"It is merely," continued Edmé, holding the open purse in her hand, "to
procure me speech with a prisoner."

"What prisoner?"

"Colonel Robert Tournay."

"But it is impossible; he is in secret confinement."

"I know he is, but what I ask is not impossible. There are five hundred
francs here; five hundred francs, all for you, if you will but bring me
to the cell of Robert Tournay."

"I cannot do that; I have not the key."

"You know who has the key. Surely some of this gold will enable you to
get it. I leave the means with you."

Privat's mind seemed to be going through the process which served him
for thought.

"At the further end of the south corridor," he finally said, motioning
with a key, "in half an hour, the prisoner Tournay will be allowed to
walk for exercise. The south corridor is separated from this one by a
grated door. I will see that you get through that door. That is all I
can do."

Edmé pressed the purse into his huge palm, which closed upon it
greedily.

"Shall I come with you now?" she asked, her pulse beating high between
expectation, hope, and fear.

"No, wait here in the shadow until I come to fetch you to him. I shall
also come to tell you when you must leave the south corridor. You will
have to do so quickly and go back the same way you came. If you are
discovered here, I shall get into trouble. You understand?"

"I understand," she answered.



CHAPTER XXIII

TOURNAY'S VISITOR


For three days Tournay and St. Hilaire worked away persistently at the
bars of their window. They only dared work between the hours of one and
four in the morning. Not only secrecy but great ingenuity was called
for, as it was necessary that the bars should preserve in the daytime
their usual appearance of solidity.

To do this, all the filings were kept, and at the termination of each
night's work, this dust, moistened by saliva into a paste, was smeared
into the fissure they had made. Their intention was to cut each bar
nearly through, leaving it standing, but so weakened that it could be
torn out by a sudden wrench.

On the morning which terminated their third night's labor, just as the
first gray streak in the east announced the early coming of the long,
hot summer day, the third bar had been cut halfway through. The two
prisoners looked into each other's eyes. Both realized that they must
work rapidly in order to complete their task in time.

"At all hazards we must begin earlier to-night," whispered St. Hilaire
significantly. Tournay nodded. "There is still a good deal of work to
be done, although a thin man might squeeze through," he said.

"Not a man of your breadth, colonel," replied St. Hilaire, carefully
rubbing the dampened filings into the crevice. "We shall have to cut
through all of them, and even then it will be a narrow passageway for
your shoulders."

"Now for a little rest," he continued, descending from the table as
quietly as a cat, and putting it in another part of the cell.

Tired out by their work and the attendant excitement, the two men threw
themselves, fully dressed, upon their beds and slept until late in the
morning. Their slumber might have continued until past noon had they not
been rather unceremoniously awakened by the appearance of the turnkey
and a couple of gendarmes by their bedside.

"What is wanted?" exclaimed Tournay sleepily.

"You are to be transferred to the conciergerie, citizen colonel, that is
all," was the reply, although the tone implied a deeper meaning.

Tournay sprang from the bed, wide enough awake now, and with a sickening
feeling at his heart. He looked at St. Hilaire, who was lying upon his
own pallet outwardly indifferent to the announcement, but whose fingers
silently stole under the mattress and closed upon the file that had been
placed there the night before. St. Hilaire continued to lie there
motionless, feigning sleep; but his alert brain was busy with the
problem as to where it would be possible for him to deftly and
successfully hide the useful little tool in case the guards had also
come to search their cell.

"Are you ready, citizen colonel?"

Tournay gave a quick glance at their window. St. Hilaire rose to a
sitting posture.

"Citizen colonel," he said, "will you take my hand at parting?"

Tournay stepped to his bedside. Outwardly calm, the two prisoners
clasped hands. Tournay felt the hard substance of steel against his
palm.

Giving no sign of his surprise, he shook his head sadly. "It is
useless," he said.

"Good-by, citizen colonel," said St. Hilaire carelessly, as one might
bid adieu to a chance acquaintance. "I am thinner than you, and I may
grow still more so if they keep me here many days longer." He gave an
imperceptible glance of the eye in the direction of the window.

The colonel turned away while the file slid up his coat sleeve.

"I am ready, citizen officers," he said.

The two gendarmes preceded him into the corridor. As he stepped over the
threshold, Gendarme Pierre caught him quickly by the wrist and the next
instant had the file in his own possession.

It was done so adroitly and quickly that Tournay could have offered no
resistance even had he been so inclined. The other gendarme was not even
aware of what took place.

"I like a clever trick," said Pierre with a chuckle.

"You are quite a magician," was Tournay's rejoinder.

The tall gendarme gave his grim chuckle. "I am called Pierre the
prestidigitateur," he said, "though you are yourself fairly adept at
palming. What have you been doing with this little plaything?" he
continued, as they walked down the corridor.

"You mean 'What did I intend to do with it?' do you not?"

The gendarme examined the file carefully.

"No, I mean what have you been using it on," he said.

Tournay was silent.

"Oh, you need not hesitate to speak; it will be found out."

Tournay shrugged his shoulders, and made no reply.

"Well, you are right," said the gendarme. "It is for us to find out."
And he relapsed into a silence that was not broken until they reached
the conciergerie.

"You will hardly escape from this place though you had a whole workshop
of tools," he said grimly at parting.

Tournay realized the truth of this statement, for he was now in the most
dreaded of all the prisons of Paris, and he knew well what his transfer
foreshadowed.

Tournay had no certain means of knowing whether their attempt to cut
their way out of the Luxembourg had been discovered; and he still
cherished the slight hope that St. Hilaire might be able to escape from
the Luxembourg with the assistance of Gaillard.

Had they both escaped, St. Hilaire and he had formed a daring plan to
rescue the Republic from the hands of those who were destroying it. And
now, even though it was frustrated, he could not help going over all the
details in his mind, although the thought of their complete failure
added to his misery.

The news of the arrest of General Hoche had reached Tournay's ears some
time before, and although it had caused him great pain to learn of the
misfortune that had befallen his chief, he felt that the event would
embitter the army, and that they would the more readily give their
support to any plan that would of necessity liberate Hoche.

This plan had been made for Tournay to reach the army and enlist the
officers in his support; then return to Paris with a sufficient force at
his back to destroy the tyrants and overawe that part of the Commune
that still idolized them. That would give an opportunity for the cooler
and more moderate heads in the convention to come to the front, restore
order, and form a stable government based upon the constitution.

St. Hilaire, meanwhile, was to remain in hiding; but the first approach
of the national troops and the first blast of the counter-revolution was
to be the signal for him to appear in the faubourgs, supported by all
the followers he could muster, armed with all the eloquence he could
command, to move the people to action, and fan to white heat the flame
of opposition to the Terrorists which was already smouldering on every
side.

But now all the fabric of the carefully spun scheme had been blown
roughly aside by one puff of adverse wind.

Once in the conciergerie, a prisoner was not kept in uncertainty for any
length of time. The next day after his transfer Tournay was summoned for
trial. At first he attempted to defend himself with all the eloquence
which the justice of his case called forth. All the fire of his nature
was aroused, and as he spoke the attention of the crowded court room was
held as if by a spell. Murmurs of applause rose from the multitude, even
among those who had come in the hope of seeing him judged guilty.

But upon his judges he made no visible effect. They refused to call his
witnesses. They suppressed the applause, and cutting short his defense
hastened to conclude his trial. Tournay saw the futility of his defense.
He read the verdict in the eyes of the judges, and sat down.

After the verdict had been given he was taken back to the conciergerie,
"sentenced to die within eight and forty hours."

"Oh, for a month of freedom!" he cried inwardly, as he reëntered the
prison. "For one short month of liberty! After that time had passed I
would submit to any death uncomplainingly."

Withdrawing to the further end of the corridor where he was permitted
to walk for a short time, he sat down by a rough table where some of the
lighter-hearted prisoners had, in earlier days, beguiled the time at
cards. Here he rested his head upon his arm and sat motionless.

Then his thoughts returned to Edmé, or rather continued to dwell upon
her, for no matter what he did or spoke or thought, no matter how
absorbing the occupation of the hour, she was always in his mind, the
consciousness of her presence was ever in his heart.

"Oh, for one little month of liberty," he cried aloud, "to make one
attempt to rescue France, and to see you, Edmé, once again!" He rose
from his seat with a gesture of despair, and turning, saw her standing
there before him. He stood in silence, looking at her as if she were the
creation of his fancy, stepped for a moment from the shadow of the gray
walls to melt into nothingness, should he, by speaking, break the spell.

She came toward him, putting her finger to her lips as a sign of
caution. "Speak low," she whispered, "lest they hear you!"

"Mademoiselle de Rochefort," he replied in a low voice, "is this really
you? In God's name tell me how you come to be here?"

"I have come to you," she answered simply, putting her hands in his.
"When I heard that you had been arrested and put in prison, I knew that
I should come and find you. You see all France was not wide enough to
keep me from you."

"Then you are not a prisoner?" he exclaimed joyfully.

"No, I came in of my own free will. No one suspects who I am."

"Merciful God, do you know the risk you run? Why have you done this?"

"Have you not risked your life more than once for my sake? Did you think
that Edmé de Rochefort would do less for you?"

"Edmé!"

For a moment the prison walls vanished. His shattered plans were
forgotten. The redemption of the Republic became as nothing; he only
knew that Edmé de Rochefort had proved beyond all human doubt her love
for him, and that it was her loyal, loving heart he could feel
throbbing, as he pressed her to his breast.

Only for a moment, then the full realization of the terrible risk she
ran smote him with redoubled force. He turned pale. She had never seen
him so deadly white before, and it frightened her.

"Hush," he whispered before she could speak, and stepping cautiously to
the grated door he peered out between the bars. As far as the elbow of
the corridor, he could see no one. With a sigh of relief he came back to
her. His fears for her safety restored the activity of his mind.

"It is dangerous for you to go about the city. The merest accident, the
slightest inquiry in regard to you might lead to your detection."

"I will be very careful," she replied submissively.

"Ah, Edmé," he said, "who am I to deserve such a love as yours? The
thought of the risk you incur almost drives me mad. The knowledge of
your love will make my last hours the happiest of my life."

"Do not speak of dying, Robert," she said. "There must still be hope.
They dare not condemn you."

The words, "You do not know," sprang to his lips, but the look upon her
face told him that she was as yet in ignorance of his sentence. He
lacked the courage to tell her.

"It must come, Edmé; we should not be blind to that. I would gladly
live, if only long enough to see France freed from the talons that rend
it, and the true Republic rise from under the tyranny that is crushing
it to death. I would gladly live for your love, a love I never dared to
hope for either on earth or in heaven. Surely I ought to be the happiest
of men to have tasted such bliss even for a moment; and to die with the
firm belief that we shall meet beyond the grave."

She did not answer. The quick heaving of her bosom and the quiet sobbing
she struggled to suppress went to his heart.

"Do not grieve for me so much," he whispered, drawing her to him; "after
all, it will only be for a little while."

"For you who go the time may seem short," she answered mournfully; "but
each year that I live without you will seem an eternity. I cannot bear
it."

"Courage, dear one, I beseech you; do not grieve for me. Why, I might
have met death any day within the past years. I have come to regard it
with indifference. Not that I despise life," he added quickly. "Life
with you would be more than heaven, but the very nature of a soldier's
life makes him look upon his own sudden death as almost a probability.
It is but a pang, and all is over."

"I will not grieve for you, Robert," she replied with firmness, "not
while there is something to be done. Something that I can do. They shall
not murder you."

"What are you going to do?" he asked quickly, fearing that some rash
undertaking had suggested itself to her mind.

"This Robespierre rules through the fear he has inspired, but he is
hated," replied Edmé. "The people accept his decrees like sheep, but
they obey sullenly. They do not criticise him, but that bodes him the
greater ill. It needs but one blast to make the whole nation turn
against him. There must be men in the convention who are ready to rebel
against him," she continued, talking rapidly. "I shall go to them."

"No, Edmé, you shall not. It would be"--

"Listen to what I have to say," she said, interrupting him with an
imperative gesture. "I shall find them out; I shall go to their houses.
It needs but a little fire; I will kindle it. I will plead with them. If
they have any regard for their Republic they will listen to me. Your
name, Robert, shall not be mentioned, but it will be my love for you
that shall speak to them. In the name of the Republic I shall plead with
them, but it will be only to save you. If they have any courage or
manhood left, they will accept now."

Robert Tournay looked at her with wonder and admiration as, with a flush
of excitement on her cheek, she outlined clearly and rapidly a plan
strikingly similar to that evolved by St. Hilaire and himself,--similar,
but more daring, more impossible; one that could not fail to be
disastrous to her, whatever the ultimate result.

For a moment he feared to speak, knowing the inflexibility of her will.
"I pray you, Edmé, abandon your design. It will only drag you into the
net and will not avail me."

"Robert, my mind is fixed; my action may result in saving you, but if
not, your fate shall be mine also."

"Edmé! Do not speak thus. The thought of you standing on that scaffold,
the terrible knife menacing your beautiful neck, will drive me mad. Oh,
the horror of it!" and he put his hand before his eyes and trembled.

"Promise me that you will not do this," he continued pleadingly.
"Robespierre's power will come to an end, but the time is not yet ripe.
Do not try to save my life. Do not even try to see me again." He took
her head between his hands. "Let this be our last adieu," he pleaded.
"Listen! the turnkey is advancing down the passageway. I touch your
lips; the memory of it shall dwell in my soul forever."

She threw her arms about his neck for a moment, then before the heavy
turnkey entered the inclosure she had passed quickly along the dark
corridor through the wicket gate into the Tribunal Hall.

The chamber was dimly lighted by two smoky oil lamps, one on each side
of the room; but they gave out enough light to enable her to see the way
between the desks and chairs toward the door through which she had first
entered from the street.

Edmé turned the handle of the door but could not open it. It had been
locked on the outside. She ran to one of the front windows. By the faint
light in the Rue Barillerie, she could discern an occasional passer-by.
With an effort she raised the heavy sash and leaned out. It was between
eight and nine o'clock, and the small street was very quiet. The few
pedestrians were already out of hearing, and had they been nearer she
would have feared to call out to them. She looked down at the pavement.
The height was twenty feet; she closed the window with a shudder.
Looking about the room she saw, what had before escaped her notice, a
ray of light coming through the crack of a door into an adjoining room.

A number of voices in conversation was audible. She resolved to play
again the part of Citizeness Privat. Whoever might be there, when he
learned that she had been accidentally locked in while at work, would
show her the way out.

The door opened wider, and a man came forth. Edmé, who had hastily taken
up the same broom she had before used, pretended to be at work, while
she summoned her self-possession. The man gave her no more than a casual
glance as he went to a table, took out from a drawer a bundle of papers,
and proceeded to look them over.

Edmé looked at him closely, sweeping all the while. Her first
apprehension was quieted when she saw he was a very young man with rosy
cheeks and a pen behind his ear. He was evidently one of the government
clerks, staying late at the office to finish some piece of work.

She breathed more freely every moment notwithstanding the amount of dust
she raised. The clerk put the bundle of papers under his arm with a
gesture of annoyance, and went back to the other room.

Edmé waited a few minutes, put the broom under her arm, and approached
the door which the clerk had left ajar. She could not help starting as
she read the large letters on the panel of the door. The room which
contained the apple-faced and harmless looking little scribe was
designated "Chamber of Death Warrants."

"Here's a pretty state of affairs, Clément," she heard a voice exclaim
in a tone of annoyance. "The list of warrants for 'La Force' to-morrow
consists of thirty-seven names while I have only thirty-six documents."

"Count them again, Hanneton; you know at school you were always slow at
figures."

"I have compared the warrants with the list of names twice most
carefully. I assure you one warrant is missing. See for yourself,
'_Bonnefoi, Charles de, ex-noble_' is on the list, but there is not a
single Bonnefoi among to-morrow's pile of warrants."

"Have you looked through those of day after to-morrow?"

"I have, both of the day after to-morrow and the day following that. In
fact, I have gone over all the warrants for all the prisoners, but still
no _Bonnefoi, Charles de, ex-noble_."

"Lucky for Bonnefoi!"

"But unlucky for me. I shall be discharged if I let these go out this
way."

"I tell you what to do," said Clément, "take one from the day after
to-morrow. They are in too great a hurry in the office these days to
compare the lists; they just see if the number tallies, and send off the
warrants to the keepers of the various prisons."

"But if I do that I shall still be one short, day after to-morrow."

"No you will not," replied the facile Clément; "you just take one from
the day following that, and so on and so forth. You merely keep the
thing going. Your lists and warrants will agree as to number every day.
No question arises, and the only result is that some fellow gets shoved
along under the national razor just twenty-four hours earlier than he
would have, had not some one,--I won't say named Hanneton,--but some one
who shall be nameless, made a little blunder."

"I rather dislike to do such a thing, Clément."

"Oh, Hanneton, my boy, I always said you were slow. What's twenty-four
hours to a man who has got to die anyway? and then think of Bonnefoi;
he'll be overlooked for a long time. Some of those fellows among the
aristocracy have been in prison two or three years already. They get to
like it and lead quite a jolly life there. I am told they have fine
times in some of the prisons. Bonnefoi will be wondering why they don't
come to shave him, but he won't say anything. Bonnefoi won't peep. You
can count on his silence."

"But my friend Clément, it will be discovered some day."

"Well, I can't look ahead so far as that. If you are found out you can
say you made a mistake. They can't any more than discharge a man for
making a mistake."

"I'll do it, Clément. Here goes--good luck to Bonnefoi."

"And good luck to the fellow you shove ahead in his place; we'll drink
an extra glass to him when we finish work to-night. Let's see what may
his name be."

"'_Tournay, Robert, former Colonel!_' Hello, what's that?" cried
Clément, interrupting him.

"I did not hear anything," replied Hanneton.

"The sound seemed to come from the next room."

"Oh, it's only that woman who is cleaning the place. She has knocked
over a table or a chair. Come. Let's go out and get something to eat.
I'm famished. We can return later, and finish our work."



CHAPTER XXIV

TWO WOMEN


The revelation that Tournay was condemned, the awful knowledge that he
would be executed on the morrow, conveyed to her thus suddenly, made the
room reel before Edmé's eyes. In her dizziness she fell against one of
the tables and held to it for support.

In the quiet that followed the departure of the clerks she pressed her
head and tried to think. At first her benumbed brain refused to work;
then as the full significance of the clerk's action came back to her,
when she realized just what he had done and what she in her turn might
do, she stood erect, alert, and courageous.

The warrant for Robert's death; could she get possession of it? With a
beating heart she glided into the chamber of death warrants.

A lamp was burning in the room, and there in plain view upon the table
were three packets of black-covered papers. She bent over them hastily
and at once took up the file marked: "Warrants of the eighth Thermidor."
With nervous fingers she ran them through, looking at each name until
she came to that of "Tournay, Robert, ex-colonel." At sight of the name
she gave a half-suppressed cry, and took it quietly from the others.
"They shall not send you to the guillotine to-morrow, Robert," she
breathed. Her first thought was how to make way with the fatal paper.
She looked round the room; it had one window and two doors. The window
looked out upon the street. One doorway led back into the tribunal
chamber. Through the other, a small one, the two clerks must have passed
out. She hastened towards it, praying fervently that they had omitted to
fasten it. Vain prayer, the clerks had not been remiss in their duty
here. It was locked. Yet it was not a strong barrier. A few blows struck
with some heavy object might break it through; or better still there was
a pistol in the drawer of one of the desks; with that she could blow the
lock to atoms. Either method would make a noise, but she must take the
risk.

Just as these thoughts flashed through her mind, she saw to her
consternation the door-handle turn, and heard the grating of a key on
the outside.

"The employees returning," she thought, and had just presence of mind
enough to pass her left hand, which still clutched the death warrant,
behind her back, when the door opened, and she was face to face with a
woman.

"Hello!" said the latter, "I expected to find Clément and Hanneton here.
Who are you?"

"I--I am,--I came in the place of Madame--of Citizeness Privat."

"You seem a little put out, citizeness, at the sight of La Liberté. You
have never seen me before? That's why, eh? Tell me, now, what are you
doing here?"

"I am doing the work of Citizeness Privat, who is ill," replied Edmé,
recovering her self-possession.

"Hum," said La Liberté with a slight sniff, as she closed the door and
passed toward the centre of the room. Edmé slowly revolved on her heel,
keeping her face toward La Liberté, and her left hand behind her back.

"What are you trying to hide there?" demanded La Liberté quickly, whose
bright brown eyes took in every motion of Edmé.

"I have nothing to hide."

La Liberté's glance went from Edmé to the warrants on the table, and
then back to Edmé's face again.

"You are hiding something behind your back," persisted La Liberté,
trying to obtain a peep at it by making a circle around Edmé. Edmé
continued to turn, always keeping her face toward La Liberté.

The latter stopped. "I will see what you have there," she declared with
a toss of her head, her curiosity aroused to the burning point.

"You shall not. It does not concern you," was the firm reply.

For an instant each looked into the other's eyes in silence. Both
breathed defiance; both were equally determined.

Then with a tigerlike spring La Liberté dashed forward, seized Edmé
about the waist with one arm, while she endeavored to secure the
parchment with her other hand. Edmé quickly passed the document into her
right hand, bringing it forward high above her head. With the same
cat-like agility, La Liberté sprang for it on the other side and managed
to get hold of it by one corner. There was a short struggle; a tearing
of paper, and each held a piece of the document in her hand.

"A warrant!" exclaimed La Liberté, darting back a few paces and shaking
out the piece of paper in her hand. "You have been tampering with
these," she added quickly, putting one hand upon the pile of documents
on the table.

Edmé made no reply.

"Why did you take it?" inquired La Liberté, taking her portion of paper
near the light to examine it, while she kept one eye fixed upon her late
antagonist, in fear of a sudden attack.

The warrant had been divided nearly down the centre; but the last name
of the condemned man was upon the piece held by La Liberté.

"Tournay!" she cried out in surprise. "Robert Tournay! What object have
you in destroying this warrant?"

"I have not destroyed it," replied Edmé, making the greatest effort to
maintain an outward calm. "It was you who tore it."

"Don't try any of those tricks with me," snapped La Liberté. "Come, what
was your object in taking this warrant? It is a dangerous thing to
tamper with those documents."

"I shall not answer any of your questions," was Edmé's rejoinder.

For a space of ten seconds the two women stood again confronting each
other, as if each waited for the other to move. La Liberté's eyes looked
fixedly at Edmé, as if they would read her through and through.

"You are not what you pretend to be," she said finally; "you are no
woman of the people." Then, suddenly flinging aside the torn paper, she
rushed forward and seized Edmé's arm.

"I know who you are now!" she exclaimed excitedly. "You are an
aristocrat! Don't deny it!" she continued passionately. "I came from La
Thierry. I was a young girl when I left there, but my memory serves me
well. Your name is Edmé de Rochefort. You are an aristocrat, and you
love the republican colonel! You destroyed this warrant. You risked your
life in the attempt to prolong his."

"Whoever I may be, whatever I attempted to do, you tore that paper. It
was you who destroyed it," said Edmé as she wrenched herself free from
the woman's grasp.

The only answer of La Liberté was a loud and scornful laugh. She
approached Edmé again with a malignant glitter in her eyes; but Edmé
held her ground and confronted her bravely.

"So you are Edmé de Rochefort," repeated La Liberté slowly. "I remember
having seen you years ago when I was a girl of fifteen, at my father's
mill near the village of La Thierry. You were a pale-faced girl then.
You didn't wear coarse clothes then! You drove in your carriage, and
didn't look at such as me; but I saw you, and hated you for being so
proud. Then there was a certain marquis." A bright spot appeared on
Edmé's cheek, but she did not speak.

"He came to pay his court to you, but he made love to me. He never even
made a pretense of loving you. But he cared for me in his cold, selfish
way. He took me to Paris, gave me everything money could buy, for a
while. Then he left me, and went back to you. I hated you for that. You
did not care for him. You did not marry him. That made no difference to
me. Then there was another man. He was not for you. He was of my class,
not yours. You had no right to his love. He never loved me, I know. I am
too proud to say he loved me when it was not so. But he was kind to me.
He was noble and generous, and I loved him. You had no right to him. I
hate you for that more than all." Her passion wrought upon her so that
her once pretty face was something fearful to behold. Edmé expected at
each breath she would spring forward and tear her like a tiger cat.

"I care not for your hatred," Edmé retorted calmly. "I never willfully
wronged you. Your hatred cannot harm me."

"No?" demanded the frenzied La Liberté. "It can restore this paper. I
can denounce you. I can send you with your lover to the guillotine."

"That does not terrify me," replied Edmé. "You can send the woman you
hate and the man you profess to love into another world together. That
is all you can do. I am above your hatred."

La Liberté started to speak, then checked herself.

"You say you love him. Love," repeated Edmé in a tone of deep disdain.
"You dare to call that love which would destroy its object? Such as you
are not capable of love."

"If it were not that _you_ loved him, I would let them cut me into
pieces for his sake," retorted La Liberté fiercely.

"You say that you love him, and you are willing to send him to the
guillotine," repeated Edmé.

"If it were not that it would be giving him to you, I would give my life
a thousand times to save him," was the answer.

Edmé caught La Liberté by the arm.

"You have it in your power to cause my arrest. If you will not use that
power, if you will give me only twenty-four hours, I may be able to save
Robert Tournay's life. At the expiration of that time, whether I succeed
or fail, I will surrender myself. I will denounce myself before the
Committee of Public Safety."

La Liberté looked into Edmé's face searchingly but made no reply.

"You understand what I propose," Edmé continued in a cool, firm voice.
"If you agree to it you can accomplish what you desire; the rescue of
Robert Tournay and my death."

"Bah," said La Liberté with a shrug; "you are very heroic, but, Robert
Tournay once out of danger, you would not give yourself up to the
committee. In your place, I should not do it, and I will not trust you."

"I give you my promise to appear before Robespierre himself."

"Your promise," repeated La Liberté, "you ask me to accept your simple
word?"

"The word of a de Rochefort," said Edmé with quiet dignity.

"The word of an aristocrat," continued La Liberté slowly. "You
aristocrats vaunt your devotion to honor."

"And will you not trust it when Colonel Tournay's life is at stake?"
asked Edmé.

"Yes, I will," La Liberté burst forth in fierce energy. "I _will_ trust
your word, and test your honor."

"Then for twenty-four hours you will let me go free? You will not have
me watched nor interfered with in any way?"

"I give you _my_ word," said La Liberté, drawing herself up, "and my
word is as good as that of the proudest aristocrat."

Then changing her manner she asked quickly: "How do you propose to save
Robert Tournay? What can you do?"

Edmé had no intention of imparting her plan to La Liberté, yet she did
not wish to antagonize her by refusing to confide in her.

"There is not time to go into the details of it now. First help me to
get away from here. Those clerks may return."

"I will prevent that," said La Liberté quickly. "I know where they sup.
I will go there and delay their return. They are convivial youngsters
and never refuse a glass or two. In the meantime you must see to it that
those three files of warrants do not retain the slightest appearance of
having been handled. Be sure that every object in the room is just as
you found it."

By this time La Liberté was outside the door. Looking back into the
room, she said: "When you have done that, go down this staircase, cross
the street, and wait for me in the shadow of the building opposite. I
will then conduct you to my house," and La Liberté's feet sprang nimbly
down the stairs.

Quickly Edmé picked up the pieces of torn warrant, intending to take
them away and burn them. Then she turned her attention to the documents
on the table, and in a few minutes had them arranged just as she found
them. She placed the chairs in a natural position before the table, and
stepped back for a final survey to assure herself that she had not left
a trace which might arouse the suspicion of the clerks.

No, there was nothing that Hanneton or even Clément would be likely to
notice. She had been none too rapid in the arrangement of these details.
The door of the adjoining chamber was unlocked and some one entered.

Edmé could tell by the footfalls that the person was traversing the room
with measured tread. Then came the sound of a chair being drawn up to a
desk. Then a dry cough echoed through the deserted hall as a man cleared
his throat.

Edmé gave a glance toward the door that led down the staircase taken by
La Liberté. It stood invitingly open, but to gain it she would have to
pass the door that communicated with the tribunal. This also was open.
She started on tiptoe across the floor.

The words "Bring me a light here, will you?" fell upon her ears in a
harsh tone of authority. She started at this sudden command. She had
made no noise, yet the mysterious personage seemed to be aware of her
presence.

"In the next room there, whoever you are, bring in more light; this lamp
burns villainously!"

Edmé hesitated no longer but caught up the lamp from the table and
entered the tribunal chamber. As she obediently placed the light upon
the desk the man who was writing there looked up with impatient gesture.
Although she had never seen him before, she had heard him described many
times, and she knew that he was Robespierre.

"Well!" he exclaimed, "who are you?"

"I--I am here in place of the Citizeness Privat."

"The Citizeness Privat?"

"Yes, she cleans up the rooms, and being ill"--

"Cleans!" repeated Robespierre with a laugh, blowing the dust from the
top of the table, "Is that what you call it? This Privat is like all the
rest, willing to take the nation's pay and give nothing in return. And
you are also like the rest, eh?"

"I do not know what you mean. I am doing her work as well as I can. With
your permission I will hasten to complete my task," replied Edmé.

In spite of her abhorrence of him she could not help looking at him
intently, her eyes expressing the horror which she felt. To her, he was
the embodiment of all that was evil, the very spirit of the Revolution.
As her glance rested upon the white waistcoat, fitting close to his
meagre figure, and as she thought of the cruel heart that beat beneath
it, the vision of Charlotte Corday and the vile Marat flashed before her
eyes with startling vividness.

What if heaven had decreed that she should be the means of ridding the
world of this monster? What if the opportunity was about to present
itself? She pushed the thought away from her, with the inward
supplication, "God keep me from doing it."

Robespierre noticed the look of horror on her face, and attributed it to
the fear his presence inspired. His small eyes blinked complacently.

"Stay," he said; "you have nothing to fear if you are a good patriotic
citizeness. And you may be pardoned if you neglect your work for a few
minutes to converse with Robespierre."

There was an insinuating softness in his tone as he spoke that made her
nerves creep and increased her loathing for him. He sat leaning back
negligently in his chair, and she stood looking down upon him like some
superb creature from another world.

"By the power of beauty," he exclaimed suddenly, "you are a glorious
woman! I have always said that only among women of the people is true
beauty to be found."

She neither moved nor spoke, but stood still as a statue.

He leaned forward in his chair. "You shall lay aside your broom and
dust-rags. I would see more of you. I have it. You shall be the Goddess
of Beauty at our next great fête. In that rôle Robespierre himself will
render you homage." Rising, he took one of her hands in his.

She shuddered. It was as if a snake had coiled itself about her fingers.
The contact with her soft hand sent just a drop of blood to his sallow
cheek.

"What sayst thou, O glorious creature? Wilt thou be a goddess of beauty
and sit enthroned upon the Champ de Mars, dressed in radiant clothing,
instead of these poor garments?" He spoke in low tones meant to be
tender.

Again the vision of Charlotte Corday flashed before her.

"No, no!" she cried out, more in answer to the thought that terrified
her than to his question.

"Fear nothing, fair one," he said soothingly. "Robespierre is only
terrible to the guilty; to the good he is always magnanimous and kind.
Some say that I abuse my power, but that is false. True, I condemn many,
but 'tis done with justice; and I also pardon many. Should I receive no
credit for my clemency?" he continued, as if he were arguing with some
unseen personage.

He released her hand and leaned his elbow on the desk. Her hand fell
cold and numb to her side, but the spell in which he had held her was
broken. A sudden daring resolve entered her head.

"I have been told that you were a cruel monster, who condemned for the
pleasure of condemning; who did not know the meaning of clemency," she
said, "and therefore I am afraid of you."

"They have maligned me," he answered.

"Will you prove it by granting me a pardon, one that I can use as I may
wish?"

Robespierre became alert on the instant.

"You would set some man at liberty?"

"Yes."

"Your lover, is it not?"

"I pray you, do not ask me."

"Do not ask you!" repeated Robespierre. "And yet you ask me to pardon
him. Why should I do it?"

"To prove that you know what clemency is."

"I would rather show it in some other way. I should be a fool to set
your lover at liberty, so that you both might laugh at me."

"I have not said that it was my lover."

"No, but I say so."

"You said a moment ago that you knew what mercy was, yet you cannot
understand my feeling at the thought that he must die."

Robespierre took up a pen from the table and poised it over a sheet of
paper. The pleading look in the beautiful eyes gave him great enjoyment,
and he took a keen relish in prolonging it.

"A few words from my pen," he said tantalizingly, "would set the man at
liberty. How would you reward me if I wrote them for you?"

"Oh, I pray you to do so," she cried out, throwing herself at his feet.
"I pray you to write them. If you have the power, use it for mercy."

Robespierre gazed deep into the eyes which looked up at him imploringly.

"Who are you?" he demanded with the energy of sudden passion. "You are
no woman of the common people. Who are you?"

"One who would have you do a noble action," she answered. "One who is
pleading with you for your own soul's sake."

"Whoever you may be, you have bewitched me. Promise you will come hence
with me, and I will write the release."

"Write it," she whispered faintly.

Robespierre dashed off a few hurried lines.

"What is the fellow's name?" he asked.

"Sign the paper," she murmured, dropping her eyes. "I implore you, do
not ask me his name. Let me fill that in."

"I will free no man from prison unless I know his name," replied
Robespierre.

"I will never tell you that," she replied, rising to her feet and going
to the other side of the desk, "never."

"What foolish nonsense," he complained, signing his name. "Now," he
continued, shaking the sand box over the wet ink, "tell me his name, and
I will send this pardon to the conciergerie at once. See, I have written
'immediate release' upon it. You have only to tell me his name. Do you
still hesitate?"

There was a sudden rattle in the drawer on Edmé's side of the desk.
Leaning forward, she brought one hand down upon the paper, while with
the other she pointed a pistol at Robespierre's head.

He turned deadly white and drew back in his chair.

"Would you murder me?" he gasped out.

[Illustration: "WOULD YOU MURDER ME?"]

"If you make one movement," she replied, "Marat's fate will be yours."
He cringed further away from the muzzle of the weapon that stared him in
the face. With one hand she folded up the document and put it in the
bosom of her dress, all the while keeping the pistol aimed steadily at
him.

"Now," she continued coolly, "you have the key of the door. Make no
movement," she added quickly, bringing the pistol still nearer him, "but
tell me where to find it."

"It is in the door now," he snarled.

She came cautiously around the corner of the desk, still keeping the
weapon leveled at his head.

He rose to his feet and sprang toward her. The pistol snapped. He caught
her by the wrist. Then pinning both her arms to her side with his arms
about her waist he breathed in her ear:--

"You cannot fire a pistol that is not loaded, though you _did_ startle
me. Now give me that paper."

Edmé did not speak, but struggled desperately to break from his grasp.
She determined that he might kill her before she would give back the
paper. So fiercely did she struggle that he had to exert all his
strength to hold her.

"I'll have that paper again if I have to strangle you to get it!" he
muttered through his teeth. He succeeded in holding down both arms with
one of his, leaving his left arm free.

Before he could make use of it, he felt himself seized from behind. His
nerves, strained by his previous fright, gave way completely at this
unexpected attack. Uttering a cry, he released his hold completely.

"Save yourself; I will not hold you to your promise!" cried a voice.
Edmé waited to hear nothing more, but darted swiftly from the room,
leaving the baffled Robespierre confronted by La Liberté.

For a moment he stood still, his surprise rendering him incapable of
speech or action. La Liberté walked jauntily to the door through which
Edmé had just vanished, locked it, and stuck the key in her belt beside
the knife she always wore there.

"Do you know what you are doing, you mad creature?" cried Robespierre,
running to the door and putting his hand upon the latch. "Unlock this
door at once."

"Wait a moment; I have something to say to you," was La Liberté's
rejoinder.

"Give me that key instantly, do you hear?" he yelled, stamping his foot
upon the floor. "You do not know what you are doing."

"I know," said La Liberté, nodding her head. "I have seen and heard
everything; I have been watching you from the door of the back
staircase."

"The back staircase!" exclaimed Robespierre, starting toward it.

"You need not trouble to go to it. I locked that door when I came in."

Robespierre came toward her, furious with passion. "I will have none of
your escapades," he said fiercely; "give me that key or I will"--

"Keep off! keep off!" cried out La Liberté, bounding lightly out of his
reach with a little mocking laugh. "Don't catch me about the waist; I
carry my sting there."

"You wasp! I will crush you!" he cried out, foaming with rage.

"Better take care how you handle wasps," was her rejoinder as she
perched herself upon the edge of a desk and shook her brown curls
defiantly at him.

"Come, Liberté," he said, trying a coaxing tone, although his anger
almost choked him; "I know you will open the door at once when I tell
you that woman has obtained from me by a skillful ruse a pardon in
blank. I don't know whose name will be filled in. Perhaps some great
enemy of the Republic will be set at liberty, unless I can send word at
once to the conciergerie and forestall it."

"I know who will be liberated," sang La Liberté, swinging her feet.

"You do!" vociferated Robespierre in genuine astonishment. "Is this a
plot? Are you concerned in it?" And he came toward her, his small eyes
winking rapidly.

"You don't get it yet," laughed La Liberté, sliding over to the other
side of the desk. "I am concerned in enough of a plot to keep you from
sending to the scaffold a man to whom I've taken a fancy. I do not very
often take a particular interest in any one person, but when I do, it is
lasting." And she regarded him airily from her point of vantage.

"I'll send you to the guillotine," hissed Robespierre between his teeth,
striking his clenched fist upon the desk in front of him. "I'll have you
arrested to-night. I'll bear with you no longer. I have permitted you to
swagger around in public, to come into the Jacobin Club and flourish
your pistols, because it amused the populace, and I laughed with them at
your antics; but now you have overstepped the line. This meddling with
national affairs will cost you your life."

For a moment La Liberté confronted him from behind her barricade, her
eyes darting fire.

"How dare you threaten me!" she cried shrilly.

"You have conspired against the Republic; you shall pay for it," he
repeated, his fingers working convulsively as if he would like to lay
hands upon her.

"My name is La Liberté," she said proudly, drawing herself up. "I am a
child of the Revolution. I have drunk of her blood. Do you think,
Robespierre, to terrify me with your shining toy, the guillotine? Bah! I
snap my fingers at it;" and speaking thus, she advanced toward him, one
hand resting on the dagger at her hip. He fell back before her, step by
step, until they reached the door. Voices were heard outside and some
one tried to enter.

"Break the door down, whoever you are!" cried Robespierre. "Kick the
panel in; throw your whole weight against it."

"We are Hanneton and Clément, clerks; we found the rear doorway
locked"--

"Break in, I say!" called out Robespierre impatiently.

The hall reverberated with the noise of an attack made by Hanneton's
heavy shoes and Clément's shoulder.

La Liberté inserted the key in the lock. "I might as well open it now,"
she said, throwing back the door.

The two clerks stood on the threshold in open-mouthed surprise.

La Liberté passed them like a fawn and sped swiftly down the staircase.

"We were merely returning to finish up a little work," stammered
Clément, who was the first to recover the use of his tongue; "but if we
intrude"--

"Come in," interrupted Robespierre quickly. "I have an errand of
importance for you." Seating himself at a table, he dashed off two short
notes. The clerks exchanged glances from time to time.

"Here!" said Robespierre looking at Clément, and sealing the letters as
he spoke. "You look the less stupid. Take this at once to the keeper of
the conciergerie, then report to me in person at my house. You other
fellow, take this to Commandant Henriot. You will find him either at the
Hôtel de Ville or at the Jacobin Club. Tell him to report to me in
person. Now go, both of you."

The two clerks did not wait to be twice bidden, and Robespierre followed
them from the room.

An hour later the commandant stood before the president of the committee
in his own house.

"Well," asked Robespierre, "have you executed the warrant?"

"The Citizeness Liberté has been incarcerated in the Luxembourg prison,"
was the reply.

Robespierre's eyes blinked rapidly. "She is a child of the Revolution,"
he repeated softly, "and does not fear my toy."

Upon Henriot's heels entered Clément. Robespierre turned to him eagerly.

"Fifteen minutes before I reached the conciergerie, a prisoner, named
Robert Tournay, was liberated on a release signed by you, citizen
president. It was delivered by a woman," was the brief report.

An oath sprang to Robespierre's lips. "Tournay!" he cried out. "So it
was Tournay whom that woman has freed. The man is dangerous," he
continued, speaking to himself. "He should have perished long ago had I
not wished to get at Hoche through him. But he shall not escape me; nor
shall the woman."

"Henriot," he exclaimed in his next breath, "order every route leading
out of the city guarded. Lodge information at every section for the
arrest of Robert Tournay, and of one other, a woman."

"Yes, citizen president, and who"--

"Wait, I will write her description for you," cried Robespierre. "There
it is. Now be prompt, my patriot. We can still recapture our prisoner,
and then"--He did not complete the sentence, but his teeth came together
with a snap, and he drew his thin lips over them tightly.



CHAPTER XXV

NO. 7 RUE D'ARCIS


The order signed by Robespierre for the immediate release of a prisoner
had not been questioned by the keeper of the conciergerie, and within a
few minutes from the time when Edmé presented the document with a heart
fluctuating between the wildest hope and the greatest fear, Colonel
Tournay walked out of the prison a free man.

The sudden manner of his release, the fact that it had been effected by
Edmé's own daring and sagacity, and that he owed his life to her whom he
loved, made his brain reel. Then the recognition of the danger that
still menaced him, and above all the woman who was by his side, brought
him back to himself, and he was again cool, alert, and determined as she
had always known him. Drawing her arm through his and walking rapidly in
the shadows of Rue Barillerie, he said quickly:--

"The pursuit will be instant. Robespierre will ransack all Paris to find
us. But I know a hiding-place. Come quickly."

She looked up at him. "I feel perfectly safe now," she said, and
together they hurried onward.

Suddenly she stopped. "But how about Agatha!" she exclaimed, as the
thought of her faithful companion came to her mind for the time.

"Agatha! Where is she?" asked Tournay almost impatiently, chafing at a
moment's delay.

"At the Citizeness Privat's in the Rue Vaugirard. They will surely find
and arrest her. Robert, we must not let them."

"The delay may mean the difference between life and death," replied
Tournay, turning in the direction of the Rue Vaugirard; "but we must not
let Agatha fall into Robespierre's clutches."

In a few minutes they passed up the Rue Vaugirard. "Which is the house?"
asked Tournay anxiously.

"There; the small one with the blinds drawn down. Agatha will be
anxiously waiting for me, I know. There she is now in the doorway. She
sees us! Agatha, quick! Never mind your hat or cloak. Ask no questions.
Now Robert, take us where you will."

Passing Edmé's arm through his own, and with Agatha on the other side,
Tournay conducted the two women rapidly down the street.

At the same moment gendarmes were running in all directions carrying
Robespierre's orders.

Two of them hastened to the house of Citizeness Privat. They found her
in bed. Awakened from her sleep, she could only give meagre information
about her lodgers. There were two of them; one, she thought, was still
in the room across the hall. A tall gendarme opened the door and walked
in without ceremony. He found the room empty, although a few articles
of feminine apparel indicated that it had been occupied recently.

"Hem!" sniffed the tall gendarme, "women!" Then he called in his
companions, and they proceeded to examine everything in the hope of
finding a clue.

At that moment Robert Tournay, Edmé, and Agatha were approaching the Rue
d'Arcis.

"It is only a step from here," said Tournay encouragingly as they
crossed the bridge St. Michel. "Once there we cannot be safer anywhere
in Paris. I know of the place from a fellow prisoner in the Luxembourg."

They passed through a narrow passageway and underneath some houses, and
emerged into the Rue d'Arcis. Crossing the street, and looking carefully
in both directions to see if they were unobserved, Tournay struck seven
quick low notes with the knocker on the door. They waited in silence for
some time; then Tournay repeated the knocking a little louder than
before. They waited again and listened intently. Edmé's teeth began to
chatter with nervous excitement, and Tournay looked once more
apprehensively up and down the street.

"Who knocks?" was the question breathed gently through a small aperture
in the door.

"From Raphael," whispered Tournay, "open quickly."

"Enter."

The door swung inward on its hinges, and the three fugitives hastened to
accept the hospitality offered them.

It was an old man who answered their summons and who closed the door
carefully after them. He now stood before them shading with his palm a
candle, which the draft, blowing through the large empty corridors,
threatened to extinguish altogether. The dancing flame threw grotesque
shadows on the wall. As the light played upon the features of the old
man, first touching his white beard and then shining upon his serene
brow, Edmé thought she looked upon a face familiar to her in the past,
but, no sign of recognition appearing in the eyes that met her gaze, she
attributed it to fancy.

"Your name is Beaurepaire?" inquired Tournay.

"That is my name," was the old man's answer.

In a few words Colonel Tournay told of his acquaintance with St.
Hilaire, and explained how, had their plan of escape succeeded, they
would have come there together. Unfortunately he alone had escaped,--and
now came to ask that he and his two companions might remain there in
hiding for a few days.

"You came from Raphael," replied Beaurepaire with the dignity of an
earlier time. "The length of your stay is to be determined by your own
desire."

He led the way along the corridor, down a short flight of steps, through
a covered passageway, into what appeared to be an adjoining house;
Tournay asked no questions, but, with Edmé and Agatha, followed
blindly.

Their aged conductor ushered them into a large room, which had formerly
been a handsome salon; but the few articles of furniture still remaining
in it were decrepit and dusty. The once polished floor was sadly marred,
and appeared to have remained unswept for years. The room was wainscoted
in dark wood to the height of six feet, and upon the wall above it hung
portraits of ladies and gentlemen of the house of St. Hilaire. Here they
had hung for years before the Revolution, dusty and forgotten.

At the end and along one side of the room ran a gallery which was
reached by a short straight flight of stairs, and around this gallery
from floor to ceiling were shelves of books.

Beaurepaire mounted the stairs, and looking among the books as if
searching for a certain volume, pushed back part of a bookcase and
revealed a door. He motioned them to ascend.

"In here," he said, pointing to a small room with low-studded ceiling,
"the two ladies can retire. It is the only room in the house suitable
for their comfort. You, sir," he continued, looking at Colonel Tournay,
"will have to lie here upon the gallery floor. There is only a rug to
soften the oak boards, but you are, I see, a soldier. To-morrow I will
see what can be done to make the place more habitable."

Edmé and Agatha passed through the aperture in the wall, the venerable
Beaurepaire bowing low before them.

"At daylight I will bring you some food; until then I wish you good
repose." He withdrew, and Colonel Tournay was left to stretch himself
out upon the gallery floor to get what sleep he could.

It was daylight when he opened his eyes, and looking through the
balustrade to the room below, saw a loaf of bread, some grapes, and a
steaming pitcher of hot milk set on a large mahogany table which stood
against the wall. He had evidently been awakened by the entrance of his
host, for the figure of Beaurepaire was standing with his back to him,
looking out of the window into the courtyard. The colonel kicked aside
the rugs which had served him for a bed, and rising to his feet, started
to descend.

The figure at the window turned at the sound of the tread upon the
stairs, and Tournay stopped short with one hand on the rail. "He has
shaved off his flowing beard overnight," was his astonished thought.
Then the next instant he recognized that it was not Beaurepaire, but
Father Ambrose, the old priest of La Thierry, who stood before him.

The latter approached with his usual dignity.

"Father Ambrose," exclaimed Tournay in surprise, "how can this be? Who,
then, is this Beaurepaire?"

"He is my brother. I have lived here for more than six months. I saw you
when you came last night, but waited until now before making myself
known. Inform me, my good sir, how fares it with Mademoiselle de
Rochefort?"

"You shall see her presently. She and Agatha are in the chamber behind
the secret panel. They are doubtless much fatigued from the excitement
of yesterday, and we would better let them sleep as long as they can. In
the meantime I will eat some of this food, for I am desperately hungry."

"Do so, my son," replied the priest. "I would eat with you, but for the
fact that I never break my fast before noon."

Tournay helped himself to a generous slice of bread and a bunch of
grapes.

"Tell me," he asked, as he began on the luscious fruit, "how do you
obtain the necessities of life? Do you dare venture out to buy them?"

"I have not set my foot outside the door since I first entered. All the
communication with the outside world has been held by my brother, who
has managed to keep free from suspicion, and who goes and comes in his
quiet way as the occasion arises."

A knock upon the door brought Tournay to his feet. He stopped with the
pitcher of milk in one hand and looked at Father Ambrose.

"There is no cause for alarm," said the priest; "it is my brother's
knock;" and going to the door he drew back the bolt.

Tournay set down the milk jug untasted, with an exclamation of surprise,
as he saw Gaillard burst into the room, followed by the old man
Beaurepaire. The actor, no longer dressed in the disguise of an old man,
was greatly excited.

"Great news, my colonel!" he exclaimed without stopping to explain how
he had found his way there. "Robespierre has been arrested by the
convention."

Tournay sprang forward and grasped his friend by both shoulders. "At
last they have done it!" he cried excitedly. "Gaillard, tell me about
it. How was it brought about?"

"Embrace me again, my colonel," exclaimed Gaillard, throwing his arms
about Tournay and talking all the time. "It was this way: I heard the
cry in the streets that the convention had risen almost to a man and
arrested Robespierre and a few of his nearest satellites. At once I ran
to the conciergerie to try and see you. Everything was in confusion. The
news of Robespierre's arrest had just reached there. 'Can I see Colonel
Tournay?' I demanded of the jailer.

"'He is not here,' he answered, turning from me to a dozen other excited
questioners.

"'He has not been sent to the guillotine?' I cried, with my heart in my
mouth.

"'No; liberated by Robespierre's order last night.'

"'What!' I shouted, thinking the man mad.

"'The order was countermanded fifteen minutes after the citizen colonel
had left the prison,' cried the warden in reply. 'Don't ask me any more
questions. My head is in a whirl; I cannot think.'

"I, myself, was so excited I could not think; but when I collected my
few senses I recollected that St. Hilaire had told you of a place of
refuge in case of emergency. 'My little colonel is there,' I said to
myself, and flew here on the wind. Everywhere along the way people were
congratulating one another. The greatest excitement prevailed. No notice
was taken of an old man of eighty running like a lad of sixteen. When I
reached your door I took off my wig and beard and put them in my pocket.
Ah, my colonel, we shall wear our own faces; we shall speak our own
minds, now that the tyrant himself is in the toils."

"Will they be able to keep him there?" asked Father Ambrose; "he will
not yield without a struggle. The Jacobins may try to arouse the masses
to rescue him."

"The populace is seething with excitement," said Gaillard. "Some
quarters of the town are for the fallen tyrant; others are against him.
In the Faubourg St. Antoine, the stronghold of the Jacobins, Robespierre
is openly denounced by some, yet his adherents are still strong there
and are arming themselves. The convention stands firm as a rock. 'Down
with the tyrant!' is the cry."

"There is work for us," exclaimed Tournay. "Father Ambrose," he
continued, turning to the priest, "I must go out at once. I leave you to
tell the news to Mademoiselle de Rochefort. Tell her to remain here in
the strictest seclusion until I return and assure her that we can leave
here in safety. I leave her in your keeping, Father Ambrose. Now,
Gaillard, let us go."

In the streets, Tournay found that his friend had not exaggerated the
popular excitement. As they walked along both he and Gaillard kept
their ears alert to hear everything that was said.

Suddenly a noise caused them to stop and look into each other's faces
with consternation.

"The tumbrils!" exclaimed Gaillard, in answer to Tournay's look.

"That looks bad for our party," said Tournay. "One would expect the
executions to cease, or at least be suspended, on the day of
Robespierre's arrest."

"There is no one to give a coherent order," replied Gaillard. "Some of
the prison governors do not know which way to turn, or whom to obey. The
same with the police. They need a leader."

As he spoke they turned into the Rue Vaugirard and saw coming toward
them down the street two death carts, escorted by a dozen gendarmes. The
street was choked with a howling mass of people, and from their shouts
it was manifest that some were demanding that the carts be sent back,
while others were equally vociferous in urging them on. Meanwhile, the
gendarmes stolidly made their way through the crowd as best they could.

Many of the occupants of the tumbrils leaned supplicatingly over the
sides of the carts and implored the people to save them.

The crowd finally became so large as to impede the further progress of
the carts.

"My God!" cried Tournay, grasping Gaillard by the arm. "There is St.
Hilaire."

In the second cart stood the Citizen St. Hilaire. He held himself erect
and stood motionless, his arms, like those of the rest of the
prisoners, tightly pinioned behind him. But it could be seen that he was
addressing the populace and exciting their sympathy. By his side was
Madame d'Arlincourt, her large blue eyes fixed intently upon St.
Hilaire; she seemed unmindful of the scene around her, and to be already
in another world.

In the rear of the cart, dressed in white, was La Liberté. Her face was
flushed and animated, and she was talking loudly and rapidly to the
crowd which followed the tumbril.

Tournay sprang to the head of the procession. He still wore his uniform,
and the crowd made way for him.

"Why did you take these tumbrils out to-day?" he demanded of the
gendarmes. "Do you not know that Robespierre is in prison and the
executions are to be stopped?"

"I have my orders from the keeper of the Luxembourg. I am to take these
tumbrils to the Place de la Révolution," replied the officer; then
addressing the crowd, he cried, "Make way there, citizens, make way
there and let us proceed!"

"No, no!" cried a great number of voices, while others cried out, "Yes,
make way!" But all still blocked the passage of the carts.

"The keeper of the Luxembourg had no authority to order the execution of
these prisoners to-day. Take them at once back to the prison," ordered
Tournay.

"Where is your authority? Show it to me and I will obey you," replied
the police officer.

"This is not a day on which we present written authority," answered
Tournay. "I tell you I have the right to order you back to the prison.
It is the will of the convention."

"I take my orders from the Commune," replied the gendarme stubbornly. "I
must go forward."

Gaillard had meantime worked his way to Tournay's shoulder, and the
latter said a few words in his ear. Gaillard plunged into the crowd and
was off like a shot in the direction of the convention.

"Citizens, let us pass!" cried the gendarmes impatiently.

"Citizens," Tournay cried out in a loud voice, "it is the will of the
convention that no executions take place to-day. These carts must not
go. I call upon you to help me." As he spoke he ran to the horses'
heads. The crowd swept the gendarmes to one side, and in a moment's time
the tumbrils were turned about.

Then a clatter of hoofs was heard, accompanied by angry shouts, and the
crowd broke and scattered in all directions, as Commandant Henriot,
followed by a troop of mounted police, rode through them.

"What is the meaning of this?" he roared out.

"Where shall we go, back to the Luxembourg or forward to the Place de la
Révolution?" cried out the bewildered gendarmes who guarded the
tumbrils.

"To the guillotine, of course, always the guillotine," answered Henriot.
"About, face! Citizens, disperse!"

The crowd had closed up and were muttering their disapproval, many even
going so far as to flourish weapons.

"Citizens," cried Tournay fearlessly, "this man Henriot has been
indicted by the convention. He should now be a prisoner with
Robespierre."

"Charge the crowd!" yelled Henriot to his lieutenant. "I will deal with
this fellow; I know him. His name is Tournay." And he rode his horse at
the colonel.

The latter sprang to one side, and seizing a sword from a gendarme,
parried the trust of Henriot's weapon. Catching the horse by the bridle,
he struck an upward blow at the commandant. The animal plunged forward
and Tournay was thrown to the pavement, while the crowd fled before the
charge of the mounted troops.

Before Henriot could wheel his charger, Tournay was on his feet, and
realizing the impossibility of rallying any forces to contend with
Henriot's, he took the first corner and made the best of his way up a
narrow and deserted street.

He was somewhat shaken and bruised from his encounter, and stopping to
recover breath for the first time, he noticed that the blood was flowing
freely from a cut over the forehead which he had received during the
short mêlée.

As he stanched the wound with his handkerchief, he heard footsteps
behind him, and turning, saw a man dressed in the uniform of his own
regiment running toward him. Wiping the blood from his eyes, he
recognized Captain Dessarts who had served with him for the past year.

"You are wounded, colonel!" exclaimed Dessarts, taking the hand which
Tournay stretched out to him. "Can I assist you?"

"It is only a scalp wound, but it bleeds villainously. You can tie this
handkerchief about my head if you will."

"I tried to help you rally the crowd, my colonel, but it was hopeless.
Yet with a few good soldiers behind his back, one could easily have
cleared the streets of those hulking gendarmes. Do I hurt you?" he
continued as he tied the knot.

"No," answered Tournay. "Tie it quickly and then come with me."

"I must go to the barracks, Colonel Tournay," replied Dessarts. "Your
old regiment has been disbanded. I am here with my company, ordered to
join another regiment and proceed to the Vendée."

"Where are your men quartered?" asked Tournay excitedly.

"Two streets above here."

"Will they obey you absolutely?"

"To the last man, my colonel."

"Will you follow me without a question?"

"To the death, my colonel."

"Come then, and bring me to your men at once. Every instant is worth a
life. Let us run."



CHAPTER XXVI

THE END OF THE TERROR


Surrounded by Henriot's mounted guards, the tumbrils lumbered slowly to
the Place de la Révolution. There a large crowd had assembled to witness
the daily tribute to the guillotine.

"You shall not be disappointed, my patriots!" cried Henriot.

They answered him with a cheer. The crowd here was in sympathy with him,
and he felt grimly cheerful.

"My friends, you will cheer again when you learn that one hour ago
Robespierre was set free by me. The convention is trembling. The Commune
triumphs."

Again the crowd cheered.

Henriot rode up to the guillotine.

"Sanson," he cried out to the executioner, "here is your daily
allowance. We have kept you waiting, but you can now use dispatch."

The occupants in the tumbrils had seen their last hope of deliverance
vanish in the Rue Vaugirard. They were fully prepared for death. One
after another they mounted the fatal scaffold and were led to the
guillotine.

Some went bravely forward to meet their fate. Others almost fainted and
were nearly dead from fear by the time they reached the hands of Sanson.

La Liberté came forward with a firm step. As she did so, the crowd set
up a deafening shout. It was a shout of genuine astonishment at the
sight of this well-known figure, though mingled with it were cries of
satisfaction from those who had been jealous of her popularity. Some
thought it was a new escapade on her part, and they applauded it all the
louder because of its daring nature.

Even the red-handed Sanson opened his huge bull's-mouth with surprise as
she appeared before him.

"Bon jour, Sanson," said she airily; "you did not look for me to-day, I
imagine. Do not touch me," she exclaimed as he stretched out his large
hand towards her. "I have sent too many along this road, not to know the
way myself, alone." Then walking down until she stood under the very
shadow of the knife she looked out over the sea of faces.

The mighty yell was repeated.

The pallor of approaching death was on her face, but unflinchingly she
met the gaze of thousands, while with a toss of her chestnut curls she
surveyed them proudly, taking the shouts as a tribute to herself.

Suddenly her face became animated and the color rushed back to her
cheeks.

"Well done, my compatriot!" she exclaimed aloud; she no longer saw the
crowd at her feet, but stood transfixed, her gaze on the further corner
of the square.

There Robert Tournay, at the head of some of his own men, charged upon
Henriot's troops. Steel clashed upon steel, and Tournay's men pressed
on.

"Bravely struck, my compatriot. Well parried, my compatriot. That was
worthy of my brave colonel. One little moment, Sanson," she pleaded as
the burly executioner caught her by the arm.

"You have had twice the allotted time already," he objected; "you are
keeping the others waiting."

"One more look, Sanson, just one! Ah, well done, my brave."

"En avant," said the ruthless Sanson.

"Good-by, compatriot," murmured La Liberté, a tear glistening in her
eye. The knife descended, and La Liberté was no more.

"Another!" said the insatiable executioner, extending his huge hands
towards the cart.

St. Hilaire looked into Madame d'Arlincourt's face. Their eyes met full.

"Madame," he said, "in such a case as this you will pardon me if I
precede you," and stepping in front of her he walked quietly up the
scaffold.

Meantime Colonel Tournay, with Captain Dessarts at his shoulder and a
company of his own troops behind him, had dashed out of a side street
into the Place de la Révolution.

Tournay, with the ends of the blood-stained kerchief flapping on his
forehead, and the sword wrested from the gendarme waving in his hand,
urged his men forward.

Commandant Henriot, his forces augmented by a company of civic guards,
charged upon them. The commandant's men outnumbered those led by the
colonel, two to one, but in the shock that followed the tried veterans
held together like a granite wall, and broke through Henriot's troops,
hurling them in disorder to the right and left of the square.

Tournay saw the white-clad figure of La Liberté disappear under the
glittering knife. He saw St. Hilaire standing on the scaffold with head
turned toward Madame d'Arlincourt.

"Soldiers, on to the guillotine!" cried the colonel, dashing forward at
full speed.

The populace, who, between the blood of the executions and the battle
going on in the square, were mad with excitement, pressed forward, and
circled about the scaffold, angrily menacing the approaching troops, who
seemed about to put an end to their entertainment.

"Sweep them away!" cried Tournay ruthlessly, his eye still upon the
scaffold where St. Hilaire stood. "Use the bayonet!"

Meanwhile Henriot, by desperate efforts, had rallied his own troopers at
the other side of the square, while his civic guards, having no further
stomach for the fray, had fled incontinently.

"Colonel, they are about to attack us in the rear," said Dessarts
warningly.

Tournay wheeled his men about as the enemy rode at them for a second
time. Henriot, with his brandy-swollen face purple with excitement, was
reeling drunk in his saddle, yet he plunged forward with the desperate
courage of a baited bull.

"Down with the traitor!" he yelled. "The Commune must triumph;
Robespierre is free, and the Republic lives."

With the answering cry of "Long live the Republic!" Tournay's men braced
themselves firmly together.

"Fire!" commanded the colonel. A deadly volley poured into the
commandant's forces.

"Charge!"

Henriot's troops were dashed back, scattered in all directions, and
their drunken commander, putting spurs to his horse, fled cursing from
the scene.

The populace, now thoroughly dismayed and frightened, parted on all
sides before the soldiers. Tournay ran to the guillotine. He leaped up
the steps of the scaffold.

"In the name of the convention, halt!" he cried.

"I know nothing about the convention," protested Sanson, laying his hand
upon St. Hilaire's shoulder. "This man is sent to me to be
guillotined--and"--

Tournay threw the executioner from the platform to the ground below, and
cutting the cords that bound St. Hilaire set his arms at liberty.

Captain Dessarts formed his men around the scaffold to prevent
interference on the part of the crowd. St. Hilaire took Tournay by the
hand.

"You have come in time, colonel, to do me a great service," he said.
"Now give me a weapon, and let me take part in any further fight."

Tournay gave him a pistol. St. Hilaire went to the side of Madame
d'Arlincourt. The crowd began again to surge around the soldiers
threateningly.

"Let the guillotine go on!" "Let the executioner finish his work!" were
the cries from all sides.

"Citizens," yelled Sanson, who had risen to his feet and was now rubbing
his bruised sides, "you are a thousand. They are only a few soldiers.
Take back the prisoners and I will execute them."

"Make ready--aim," was Colonel Tournay's quick command. The muskets
clicked; the crowd fell back. "Fix bayonets, forward march." And through
the press Colonel Tournay bore those whom he had saved from the
guillotine.

No organized attempt was made to attack them, and the party proceeded to
the Rue d'Arcis unmolested. Here Tournay turned to his captain.

"Dessarts, leave a file of men here and take the others back to their
barracks for repose, but hold them subject to immediate orders."

"Very good, my colonel," and the soldiers were marched away.

Madame d'Arlincourt showed signs of succumbing to the effects of the
terrible strain to which she had been subjected, and St. Hilaire,
supporting her gently, hastened to the door of his former servant.

In another instant they were all inside.

They passed through the corridor and entered the wainscoted salon. As
they did so the bookcase above moved gently. Edmé entered through the
secret door and stood for an instant surrounded by a frame of dusty
books, looking down upon them.

In her plain gown of homespun, with her skin browned by exposure to the
air, and cheeks which had the glow of health in them despite the
hardship she had undergone, Edmé de Rochefort was a different picture
from that of the girl of five years before. Yet it was not the present
Edmé that suffered by comparison.

With a cry of joy she hastened down the stairs. "I have been told the
glorious news," she cried. "Have you returned to tell me it is all true?
But you are wounded!" she exclaimed in the same breath, with a cry of
alarm.

"'Tis nothing," Tournay replied, folding her in his arms. "I do not even
feel it."

"Is all the danger over?" she asked anxiously, looking up in his face.

"Not all over," he answered caressingly. "The result hangs in the
balance, but we shall win, we shall surely win. At present we have need
of a little food and repose. St. Hilaire and myself must go out again
shortly. Has Gaillard come with a message? I expected him from the
convention," he continued, addressing Beaurepaire.

"He has not returned," was the answer.

Edmé turned to assist Agatha in caring for Madame d'Arlincourt, while
old Beaurepaire busied himself in setting forth some food upon the
table.

At this moment Gaillard burst into the room, followed by Father Ambrose.

"I bring glorious news!" cried the actor excitedly. "Robespierre, at one
time released by the aid of Henriot, has been rearrested. He has
attempted suicide. Henriot, St. Just, Couthon, are also arrested. They
will all be sent to the guillotine. The convention triumphs. The Commune
is defeated. The Reign of Terror is at an end."

The news was received with a great shout of joy. "Listen," called out
Gaillard, "and you will learn what the people think."

The booming of guns and the ringing of bells throughout the city
verified his statement.

"We have won!" said Colonel Tournay.

"Let us celebrate the victory by this feast that Beaurepaire has
provided!" exclaimed St. Hilaire.

Tournay drew Edmé into the recess of one of the large windows. The sound
of a whole city rejoicing at the abolition of the Reign of Terror filled
the air. In the room at the back the voices of Gaillard and St. Hilaire
were heard in joyful conversation.

For a moment they stood in silence. She looked into his eyes and read
the question there.

[Illustration: A MOMENT THEY STOOD IN SILENCE]

"Yes," her eyes answered.

"In order to save your life," he said, "Father Ambrose once stated that
you and I were man and wife. It was a subterfuge, and had no other
meaning. We now stand before him once again; will you let him marry us
now?"

"Yes, Robert."

With a look of pride and happiness upon his face Tournay faced about and
addressed the company.

"There can be no more fitting time than this," he said, "to present to
you my bride," and he looked proudly down at Edmé who still had her arm
through his.

"Father Ambrose," Tournay went on, "will you marry us now?"

The priest, who had evidently had a premonition of the event, was all
prepared; and in the wainscoted salon, with the portraits of the old
régime looking down upon them from the walls, Robert Tournay, a colonel
of the Republic, and Edmé de Rochefort, of the ancient Régime of France,
were made man and wife.

"Let us drink a toast to them!" cried St. Hilaire as the happy party
gathered about the table after the ceremony. "Long life and happiness to
Colonel Robert Tournay and his bride!"

Beaurepaire filled their glasses with some rare old Burgundy, which he
drew from some hidden stores in the cellar, and the toast was drunk with
enthusiasm.

St. Hilaire's eyes met Madame d'Arlincourt's, and the look that was
interchanged foretold their future.

Tournay stood in silence for a moment, and when he did speak there was a
note in his voice which showed how deep was his emotion. "I will give
you a toast. Let us drink to the new France; for after all," he
continued, looking from one to the other, "we are all Frenchmen. The
fate of France must be our fate. With her we must stand or fall. A new
France has now risen from the ashes of the old. To her we turn with new
hope."

"Long live the Republic!" cried Gaillard.

Tournay, St. Hilaire, and Gaillard touched glasses and looked into one
another's eyes. They understood one another as brave men do.

"Nations may rise or they may crumble into dust," said Colonel Tournay,
"but Justice and Liberty are eternal. They will live always in the
hearts of men."

"And Love also," whispered Edmé in his ear.

"Yes, truly, and Love also, sweetheart."





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