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Title: Red Caps and Lilies
Author: Adams, Katharine
Language: English
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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.

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                          RED CAPS AND LILIES



                           BY KATHARINE ADAMS

    MEHITABLE: The story of a school in Paris
    THE SILVER TARN: Mehitable in school in England
    TOTO AND THE GIFT: A French girl comes to New York
    MIDSUMMER: American young people in Sweden
    MIDWINTER: Another mystery story of Sweden today
    WISP: A girl of Dublin
    RED CAPS AND LILIES: Boys and girls during the French Revolution
    THISTLE INN: How two girls helped Bonnie Prince Charlie
    BLACKTHORN: A romance of Elizabethan England and Ireland



               [Illustration: At The Old Green Mill-Inn]

                          Red Caps and Lilies


                           BY KATHARINE ADAMS



                            _Illustrated by_
                             JAY VAN EVEREN



                                New York
                         THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

                                  1943



                            COPYRIGHT, 1924,
                       BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

          All rights reserved—no part of this book may be
          reproduced in any form without permission in writing
          from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes
          to quote brief passages in connection with a review
          written for inclusion in magazine or newspaper.

            Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1924.
      Reprinted January, 1925; April, 1926; June, 1927; May, 1928.

                       Reissued November, 1932.
                       Reprinted September, 1934.
                       January, 1936.
                       February, 1937.
                       February, 1938.
                       December, 1938.
                       February, 1940.
                       October, 1941.
                       July, 1943.



              _Printed in the United States of America by_
                 THE FERRIS PRINTING COMPANY, NEW YORK



                          _FOR ROSE FILLMORE_



                                CONTENTS

            CHAPTER                                        PAGE
                 I. IN THE SCHOOLROOM                         1
                II. MARIE JOSEPHINE’S SECRET                 11
               III. THE BAL MASQUÉ                           22
                IV. JEAN                                     39
                 V. INSIDE THE COACH                         52
                VI. AUGUST TENTH, 1792                       64
               VII. AT LES VIGNES                            79
              VIII. HUMPHREY TRAIL                          101
                IX. DIAN                                    113
                 X. IN THE SNOWSTORM                        124
                XI. “THA MUST NOT CRY OUT, LASS”            137
               XII. DIAN MAKES A FRIEND                     148
              XIII. PIGEON VALLEY AGAIN                     159
               XIV. WHAT LISLE PUT IN THE CAKE              173
                XV. “SHE IS LIKE OUR LITTLE MADEMOISELLE”   193
               XVI. MARIE JOSEPHINE IS READY                201
              XVII. AT THE OLD GREEN MILL-INN               217
             XVIII. VIVI SEES THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GATES   232
               XIX. IN THE BAKERY SHOP AND OUT OF IT        245
                XX. LISLE SEEKS ADVENTURE                   256
               XXI. IN THE HIDDEN CELLAR                    268
              XXII. CHAMPAR TO THE RESCUE                   288
             XXIII. IN GREAT-AUNT HORTENSE’S HOUSE          302
              XXIV. THROUGH THE GATES                       318
               XXV. OUT OF THE MIST                         339



                             ILLUSTRATIONS

                AT THE OLD GREEN MILL-INN  _Frontispiece_
                                                     PAGE
                MARIE JOSEPHINE                         2
                FLAMBEAU                               16
                LISLE                                  28
                JEAN                                   40
                LE PONT                                62
                HUMPHREY TRAIL                         74
                CÉCILE                                 82
                BERTRAN                                98
                PINCE NEZ                             118
                GRIGGE                                126
                DIAN                                  150
                VIVI                                  194



                          RED CAPS AND LILIES



                               CHAPTER I

                           IN THE SCHOOLROOM


“Flambeau!”

The sound was illusive. Flambeau listened with every bit of him, his
taut, strong body alert with eagerness. The call might have come from
the landing outside the small salon of Madame la Comtesse, but it had
sounded higher up; the schoolroom, perhaps, or the nurseries beyond.
Flambeau gained the top of a high staircase with a few leaping bounds,
ran down a corridor, turned a corner, and almost knocked down his own
Marie Josephine, who had been calling him. He leaped upon her in
welcome.

“I’ve been out on the balcony, Flambeau. I called you from there, for I
thought you might be in the garden.”

A voice from a half-open door near them called sharply, “Marie
Josephine, come in and close the door.”

Marie Josephine walked slowly toward a flicker of light reflected on the
wall opposite the schoolroom door, and went inside, closing the door
after her. Flambeau had come in with her and he walked somewhat
disdainfully toward a table which was drawn close to a dancing fire in a
deep, old-fashioned fireplace. The table was covered with bits of
brocade, satin, and gold lace. Two girls sat one on each side of it, and
a short, fat maid sat cross-legged on a stool at their feet, bending
over a piece of sewing in her lap. When Marie Josephine and the dog came
into the room, the maid stood up and made a curtsy.

“Will you sit in your favorite big chair by the fire, Little
Mademoiselle?” she asked.

Marie Josephine shook her head for reply, watching the swift darting of
the maid’s needle as she sat down again and went on with her work. Then
she glanced at her cousin Hortense, who held a piece of ermine up before
her.

“It will do for the edging of the mantle, will it not, Proté?” Hortense
asked the maid. Without waiting for an answer, she went on speaking. “I
hoped that Tante would allow us to sew the ruby in the crown, but she
would not consent!” As she spoke, Hortense looked at Denise, Marie
Josephine’s sister, who sat opposite her.

Denise tossed her red-brown curls out of her eyes and pouted. The pout
made her look younger than her fourteen and a half years.

“You’ve made this one crookedly. You must do another one at once,
Proté,” she said, handing the maid a small black object.

“Yes, Mademoiselle,” Proté answered. [Illustration: Marie Josephine]
“Fasten this cord, please, Proté. It does not seem to be right the way I
have done it!” Hortense held out another black object to the little
maid, who took it smilingly, with a little bow which made her black
hair, gathered into a huge knob at the back of her neck, stand out like
a big black bun.

Marie Josephine still stood by the fire, Flambeau beside her. She looked
at her brother as he spoke.

“Proté cannot do everything at once,” he said. He sat in the deep shadow
of the window seat at the far end of the room, his hands clasped about
his knees.

Denise smiled at him over her shoulder as she answered: “You know
nothing about these things, Lisle. You have nothing to do about them,
but sit and look on. All that concerns you regarding them is that you
are to wear the robe and crown at the De Soignés’ ball!”

“Ball! You speak as though you were going to a ball. You are only two
years older than Rosanne and I. There is no reason why we should not
have been invited. I should think they would be ashamed to leave Rosanne
out of it all!” exclaimed Marie Josephine.

“Little Mademoiselle would like, perhaps, to make a bow for her hair? A
rosette of this rose brocade and a bit of the gold tinsel would become
her,” suggested Proté, tying a neat knot in a corner of the piece of
black cardboard which Hortense had handed her.

Marie Josephine shook her head. “No, Proté,” she answered.

Flambeau came up to Denise and nosed at the bits of ribbon in her lap.
Denise gave his head a pat.

“Would you not like Flambeau to have a big rose bow? Greyhounds always
look better with bows,” she said.

Marie Josephine shook her head listlessly, but did not speak. A big rose
bow would be charming for Flambeau, a puffy one under his right ear. She
was not invited to the De Soigné party, therefore she would not appear
to be interested in any of the glittering array on the table. She caught
her brother’s eyes. His head was thrown back against the dark,
carved-oak window settle. He was looking straight at Marie Josephine,
and she saw that he was smiling. She frowned at him with her straight
black brows, and he frowned back with his straight fair ones. Marie
Josephine’s frown was in earnest, but her brother’s was in fun.

“What a thundercloud! What a dragon! What an ogress! What a——”

Marie Josephine stopped her brother’s words with a stamp of her foot.
“You are not to say that, Lisle!” she exclaimed passionately.

“Don’t tease her, my cousin. How can you do it?” reproved Hortense,
rising as she spoke and going over to the fireplace. She laid both hands
on the carved, gilded mantelpiece and stood looking down at the dancing
swirl of blue and gold. Suddenly she put her face in her hands.

Marie Josephine went up to her and touched her arm, forgetting her own
trouble for the moment. “What is it, Hortense? Why are you sad?” she
asked.

Hortense raised her face and smiled. “I’m not sad, chérie; not this
afternoon. It is only that now everything seems grey and dreadful, and
Tante is unhappy because so many of her friends have gone away, and
because of everything.”

“You’ll have the party,” Marie Josephine answered bitterly.

Her cousin put her arm about her for a moment and gave her a little hug.
“You want to go so badly. I do wish you could; but even if Madame de
Soigné had asked you, Tante would never have allowed you to go. Twelve
and a half doesn’t sound much younger than fourteen and a half, but it
is, you know,” she said.

“I’m always treated like a baby,” Marie Josephine replied. There was a
good deal of truth in her words. She was small and quiet and shy. She
would not be thirteen until November and that was three months away.

Lisle came up to the fire, stepping over Flambeau, who had settled
himself in the heat of the blaze, and pinched Marie Josephine’s ear.

Proté came up to him with a collar of fluted gold tinsel and ermine.
“Will you allow me to see if it fits properly, Monsieur Lisle?” she
asked, putting her funny, plump face on one side as she examined her
handiwork.

“No, I’ll not be bothered with frills to-day.” Lisle frowned this time
in earnest, rubbing his shoulders restlessly against the side of the
mantel and looking out of the window where dark trees tossed against a
grey, stormy sky.

Hortense and Denise both spoke at once. “Lisle!” they exclaimed. Denise
jumped up and came over to him, dragging a piece of blue velvet after
her and unmindful of the fact that a piece of black cardboard was
sticking to her chin. They all burst out laughing as she clasped her
hands together and burst into a torrent of words.

“Lisle, you’re not going to be obstinate. You are going to be the Sun
King at the ball, aren’t you?” she pleaded.

Lisle shrugged his shoulders, saying teasingly: “We shall see. I’ll not
go with you if you do not clean your face. A nice, grown-up duchess you
will make, with paste and black paper on your chin. I for one think it’s
all nonsense. It’s stupid of the De Soigné to have a party now.”

Lisle was tall, and he held his blond head high, which made him look
even taller and older than he was. He would not be sixteen until the
following winter. He had a very fair face with a pointed nose and blue
eyes which had a straight unwinking way of looking at one. His cousin
Hortense, who had lived in his family since her infancy, was almost as
tall as he, but she was dark, like Marie Josephine. Strangers always
took them for sisters.

“I think it’s splendid of the De Soigné to have the party!” Denise
danced mockingly in front of her brother as she spoke. He had consented
to allow Proté to try on the collar, but he stood frowning over her
shoulder as she surveyed the effect.

Some one came in quickly from the nurseries beyond. It was a short,
sharp-nosed woman in a black silk dress with wide, flowing sleeves and a
fichu of lace at the neck. This was Madame le Pont, the governess.

“There you are, chérie. I have been uneasy because I could not find you.
Surely you have not been in the garden unattended!”

“I wasn’t in the garden. I was out on the balcony listening,” Marie
Josephine answered.

“Listening! What do you mean?” the governess asked her.

“The noises of Paris, Madame. There are so many noises now. Flambeau was
restless last night. He heard them, too!”

There was a low rap on the door. It opened and a servant came in. He
walked noiselessly about the room, a taper in his hand, and a moment
later lights flickered and then shone bravely from the many candles in
bronze sockets on the tapestried walls. The servant made a bright bit of
color himself as he moved about in his trousers of crimson velvet.

“Madame la Comtesse wishes the young ladies, Mademoiselle Hortense and
Mademoiselle Denise, to accompany her in an hour’s time to the house of
Madame la Comtesse de Soigné,” he announced.

Denise gave a little laugh of pleasure and danced the whole length of
the room and back again. Then she caught Flambeau’s forepaws and tried
to make him dance too, but the dog had such a bored expression that
Denise only laughed again and dropped his paws.

“It is only Marie Josephine that you love, is it not, Flambeau?” she
exclaimed, and then went on eagerly: “We shall enjoy talking about the
ball with the dear De Soigné. Proté, I wish to wear my white cloak in
spite of the storm.”

“I am tired of the very name of this ball!” Lisle walked over to the
door as he spoke, but turned as Denise answered him.

“We are happy about it because we have had no fun in such a long time,
now that everything is so different. Maman will not allow us to go out
except in our own garden and to the De Soigné. It is only because they
live in the next square that we may go there at all,” she said.

“Maman is foolish!” Lisle exclaimed, and the governess admonished him.

“Monsieur Lisle!”

“It is true, Madame le Pont. There is no real danger, not here in Paris.
It is 1792, not the dark ages. Help will come from the royalists in
Europe. It is only a question of being patient. It is not really a
revolution, you know!”

Marie Josephine watched her brother with admiration as he spoke. How
tall and brave and confident he was!

The governess smiled sadly but she was cheerful enough when she spoke.

“Come at once, Mesdemoiselles,” she said briskly. “Proté, tell Felice
that the young ladies wish their coiffures done at once, and see to
their mantles and hats yourself.” Then she turned to Lisle, who still
stood lounging against the door.

“What will you do while they are away, Monsieur Lisle?” she asked.

Lisle smiled in his quiet, teasing way.

“I’m going to ride with my tutor, Madame,” he answered.

Madame le Pont threw up her hands. “Please do not do it when it so
worries Madame your mother. It makes her afraid when you are so
reckless!” she exclaimed.

“You are never to say that my mother is afraid, if you please, Madame,”
Lisle said and, as he spoke, he opened the door and went out.

Madame le Pont went over to the table and stood fingering the bits of
gold lace there. Marie Josephine watched her. Why had she not been told
that she could go with Hortense and Denise? Rosanne de Soigné was her
greatest chum. They could have sat quietly in a corner and talked. Marie
Josephine turned toward the nurseries and then looked back at the
governess, who still stood by the table.

“Le Pont is worrying. She is uneasy like maman. This is a bad time.
Grandfather said that it would come. He said to me: 'Little Marie
Josephine, I can almost see the black clouds, they are so thick ahead of
us. But when they come I shall not be here, and I am the only one that
seems to know they are drifting toward us!’”

The governess looked up and when she looked at Marie Josephine it was as
though she had for the moment forgotten her.

“Little one, what will you do while I am away this afternoon? Proté will
amuse you if you like. Perhaps you will work for a little while on the
tapestry for your great-aunt?”

Marie Josephine shook her head vigorously. She stood thinking for a
moment and then smiled up at the governess.

“I won’t be lonely, Madame. I don’t mind them at all. They may have as
many parties as they like. They may go out for goûter every afternoon.
It is nothing to me. I do not care!” She spoke earnestly but she knew
she was not speaking the truth and the governess knew it also.

“But what will you do, then, all the rest of the afternoon?” Madame le
Pont insisted.

“I’ll be thinking of grandfather,” Marie Josephine answered.



                              CHAPTER II

                        MARIE JOSEPHINE’S SECRET


Lisle put his head inside the schoolroom door before starting downstairs
for his ride. Marie Josephine and Flambeau were standing by the window,
and he crossed over to them, his jeweled riding crop and his gloves in
his hand. His bright hair was tied at the back of his neck with a crisp,
black ribbon. Marie Josephine turned toward him when she heard his
footsteps.

“I’ve been watching from the window. Le Pont is walking with maman in
front and the girls are behind them, with Neville following. Why does
not Georges go with them? Does he not always accompany maman?”

“Georges has gone. He left our household early this morning. He is all
for the people and has no longer any use for our kind. He is wise to go,
for his neck is safer away from us than with us!” Lisle laughed down at
her as he spoke.

Marie Josephine put her arm about Flambeau’s neck and looked at her
brother.

“I don’t quite know what you mean, Lisle,” she said.

“I mean that Georges would rather be where he can talk with people in
the streets and make trouble,” Lisle answered, but he looked almost as
puzzled as his sister. He was fifteen and the head of his house, but he
had never been taught to think things out for himself. He had hardly
ever been alone in all his life, for when he rode or walked a tutor had
always been with him. He had fenced and danced and shot, had studied
about the old kings and the exploits of his own ancestors, but, like
Marie Josephine, he only vaguely understood what really was going on in
Paris.

“I want to go to Pigeon Valley, Lisle. I don’t like the sounds at
night,” Marie Josephine said. She wanted to ask about the blue velvet
and ermine and the crown but she could not make up her mind to do it.

Lisle pulled her cherry-colored rosette. He had come back because he had
teased her. She knew this and she suddenly put her head down on his arm.

“I wish I could go to the bal masqué, Lisle. It’s going to be so
wonderful,” she whispered.

“It is silly nonsense; that’s what it is! Madame de Soigné is giving the
party for Cécile and Bertran. The fat Bertran needs a good caning
instead of a bal masqué. He knows I know he cheated at fencing last
week. It is a foolish time to have a soirée when everything in the city
is upside down!” Lisle answered her.

“Maman said to Le Pont, 'There is no longer any pleasure for us now that
the king and queen are in such danger, but let the children enjoy
themselves while they may.’ I did not overhear her. She said it before
us all here in the schoolroom.”

“Yes, maman fears always for the queen. Well, I must be off. Monsieur
Laurent is waiting.” He lifted Marie Josephine’s chin and looked at her.
“You are an odd little mortal. You are like grandfather.” Then he
crossed the room and, looking back at her from the doorway, said:

“I’ll tell you all about the silly party after it is over.”

“The same night—as soon as you come home, no matter how late it is?”
she called across the room excitedly.

Lisle nodded. It was a long room and she looked such a little figure
sitting there on the broad window sill. He was right. She was like their
grandfather.

She listened until his footsteps had died away. Proté was in the
housekeeper’s room having a good gossip. She and Flambeau were alone.

She settled back in the corner of the window sill, Flambeau at her feet.
She liked being there alone, and she felt sleepy and comfortable. She
was thinking of her grandfather and of the spring afternoon two years
before when they had had the adventure. She had often sat with him while
he read or wrote and on that particular day she had found him looking at
her in his sad, wistful way. The others had gone for a drive with Madame
le Pont. The servants, except for the footmen on duty in the lower hall,
were in their own part of the house, so they were quite alone. She had
been sitting in the chair with the fawn and tiger coat of arms of the
Saint Frères emblazoned in gold at the top of it.

“You have l’esprit, little Marie,” he had said. “You are the one who
will think and understand and you are the one of this generation who
will know how to help. I have a secret to tell you and something to show
you. Promise me first that you will keep this afternoon locked up in
your heart. Do not breathe of it to any soul unless the time should come
when by so doing you feel that you will be of service to those you hold
dear. Do you understand?” Grandfather had risen and come over to her as
he spoke. “Do you understand, my child, that, after I am gone, except
for one other, you are the only one who will know of what I am to show
you and tell you?”

“Who is the other one, grandfather?” she had asked, all afire with eager
interest.

Grandfather had shaken his head. “Do not concern yourself with that,
little one. Be grateful that from them all I have chosen you. I am
taking you down into the heart of the earth, Marie. I am going to tell
you the legend of your house.”

Flambeau barked suddenly and fiercely, his feet on the window seat, his
eager eyes intent on something which had caught his interest in the
garden below. His bark brought Marie Josephine back to the present with
a start. She jumped to her feet.

“Come, Flambeau, we’ll go down to the cellar,” she said. She ran across
the room and the dog followed her with graceful bounds. When they
reached the staircase, Marie Josephine leaned over the banister and
listened, and Flambeau stopped and listened too. At the top of the first
flight of stairs they both stopped and listened again. There was not a
sound in the great house.

The next staircase was steep and they had to be cautious. Marie
Josephine felt along the side of the rough stone wall as they walked,
and she placed one foot before the other very carefully on the uneven
hollows of the stone steps. It was a long way down to the cellars. They
stopped to rest several times and welcomed the flare of a taper set in
the wall at the bottom of the stairs. A damp, musty odor greeted them
and a gusty wind blew about them.

All along one side of the cellar were shelves on which were jars of the
good fig jam made by Mother Barbette at Les Vignes, the Saint Frères’
summer home in Pigeon Valley. Barrels of apples and potatoes stood in
dusky corners. Marie Josephine went over to the shelves and sniffed at
the jam. Then she spoke to Flambeau.

“I want to see Mother Barbette, Flambeau. I want to see Jean and Dian
and Pince Nez, the crow. I want our home, Les Vignes. The lilies will be
in bloom all along the south terrace.”

She sat down on the lowest step of the cellar stairs and put her chin on
her hand, shaking her dark ringlets away from her face. A rat scudded
all the way along a rafter above her head, making a queer, squeaking
noise as he did so. Marie Josephine had seen him before, or at any rate
one of his kind. He was a part of the expedition and the fun. She liked
sitting there in the gloom, with Flambeau’s head against her knee, the
silence of the house above her, and below her the secret! The cellars
had been just as dusky and mysterious two years ago as they were to-day.
Flambeau’s feet had scraped the same way against the stone floor. The
only difference was that she was now almost thirteen and that
grandfather had died!

She stood up and went quickly across to a far corner of the cellar,
Flambeau following her. She knelt down near a pile of sacks filled with
potatoes, and felt along the cold floor. Still leaning on the floor with
one hand, she gave Flambeau’s head a little pat with the other.

“You are not to be afraid, you know, Flambeau. No Saint Frère is ever
afraid. Grandfather said so; and you are one of the family you know,
Flambeau!”

She felt carefully along the floor. She knew well that it was the
seventh stone square from the corner that she wanted, and she found it
easily, in spite of the shadowy, uncertain light from the torch by the
stairs. Then she spoke again to Flambeau. [Illustration: Flambeau] “This
is the stone. It will open, you know. It always does, even though it
never seems as though it really could. No one knows about it but you and
me and the other one.”

She put her head sideways so that it rested for a moment on Flambeau’s
upturned face, and she felt the eager response of a warm, rough tongue.
Then she leaned over again, putting her palm on the center of the
seventh stone, and pressing down upon it. At the same time she laid her
other hand on the upper left side of the stone and pushed away from
herself, and slowly and noiselessly it slid aside, disclosing a long,
steep, ladderlike flight of stairs, leading down into what might have
been the innermost depths of the earth!

Marie Josephine reached down to the right into the dark, yawning, square
hole and lifted out a small iron lanthorn which rested on a ledge just
underneath the stone panel. Then she struck the flint against the
tinder, opened the lanthorn’s squeaky little lid, and lit the wick. A
bright blue flame shot up at once, and, when she had shut the wee door,
settled to a steady flame. She turned around and began to descend
backward, resting the lanthorn on each step as she went down. When she
had gone down several steps, she called softly to the dog, and he
followed, facing her, putting one strong, slender foot in front of the
other, with slow, unerring precision.

It was a long, slow descent, and as they went farther and farther into
the musty gloom, a chill closeness enveloped them. Finally they reached
the last step and found themselves on another stone floor, more uneven
than the floor above, one that seemed to hold the echoes of the ages.

It was a large room into which they had come and there was the grey
glimmer of rooms beyond. The walls were rough hewn, and trickles of
water faintly edged their way through the massive stones. There was an
astonishing air of homelikeness about the strange place. A huge red rug
hung against one side of the wall, and above a great carved chest at the
other end was a tapestry of the crusaders. The rug, though old, was
still in good condition. It had been hung there by a Saint Frère just
three generations back, but the tapestry had been there much longer, so
long that it seemed a part of the ancient place. Near the ladderlike
stairs was a long stone shelf and it shone and gleamed in the light from
the lanthorn.

Marie Josephine sat down on the chest and leaned her head against the
rough wall. The whole adventure of coming to the secret cellar was
enthralling, but the most wonderful part of it was sitting there and
thinking of Lisle Saint Frère, her oldest ancestor, he who had laid the
first stone of this ancient place and whose one thought had been always
to help others and to serve the right. As she sat there she felt the
tears smarting in her eyes. She was thinking of her grandfather too. She
fancied that she could see him walking up and down, a slight figure in
his black velvet breeches and long coat, the brilliants shining on his
pointed shoes, his delicate hands clasped together, the soft frills of
lace falling over them. Yet it was not so much of him that she was
thinking as of what he had said to her:

“It all began so long ago. This house is not like other houses, Marie.
You know that well; all of you do. It is not just an old house like that
of your Great-aunt Hortense, or of the De Soignés, or of others of our
friends. This house is ancient, Marie. It is medieval! It was standing
here when Lisle Saint Frère, your oldest ancestor, was brought home
mortally wounded, and that is farther back than even your fancy can take
you, little one—almost as long ago as the time of Charlemagne and the
Song of Roland! It was built in the time of knights at arms. It was the
idea of that first Lisle Saint Frère, and it was he who laid its first
stone, he who became the bravest knight of his time in all France. He
was the best one of us that ever lived. There has never been another who
was so good.”

“Except you, grandfather,” she had said stoutly, and as she sat there in
the dim stillness, she remembered that his face had lightened at her
words. But he had answered her earnestly:

“I am poor indeed in the little I have done for my brother man, Marie. I
have dreamed—just dreamed. I have wanted to help, but I have not known
how. In each generation one of us has wanted to help, has been weighed
down by the misery of those upon our lands. There is a time coming, mark
me well, Marie, when the old days shall be at an end, when new ways of
freedom shall sweep the old régime away. You will live to see that day.
Be strong, Marie. There is not a young lamb at Pigeon Valley that you do
not love. There is not a human being whom you could not love. You will
see beyond the tinsel and the satin. You are the truest descendant of
Lisle Saint Frère.”

She had protested, “Lisle is the truest, grandfather!”

He had answered: “Lisle is too proud. I have brought you to this secret
cellar which has sheltered your ancestors in peril. No one has ever
known of it except one of our family in every generation and one other
who is outside the family. Keep it a secret unless the time should come
when by disclosing it you can help some one in need. Meanwhile, be glad
that you are the one of this generation to know!”

She began to be sleepy as she sat on the chest, thinking of all that her
grandfather had told her, wondering who the “other one” could be. She
jumped up, called Flambeau, and slowly and carefully they made their way
up the steep, ladderlike stairs. A grey gleam of light greeted them
through the open secret panel. Flambeau scrambled up on to the cellar
floor after Marie Josephine and watched her, his nose quivering with
interest, as she shut the panel.

She knelt there for a minute thinking of the old green lanthorn which
she had put out and so carefully placed on its ledge under the secret
stone, of the hidden room itself, and of the Lisle Saint Frère who had
helped to build it with his own mailed hands. Last of all she thought of
her grandfather and of the honor he had done her in letting her be the
Saint Frère of her generation to know the secret. Then, suddenly, she
remembered that her dancing master was to come at five. She brushed the
cobwebs from her wide skirts and climbed up from the sombre cellar to
the stately spaciousness of her home.



                              CHAPTER III

                             THE BAL MASQUÉ


“You need not worry at all, Proté. No one will know. It will be quite
easy. Gonfleur is waiting at the door. You have said yourself that
Mademoiselle Marie Josephine should not miss the fun.”

A small figure in a white cloak was following the little maid up a
stairway leading from a side garden door of the Saint Frère house as she
spoke.

“Mademoiselle may not be asleep. She often lies awake these nights. It
is indeed a shame that she should not have gone with the others. But
you, Mademoiselle, will they miss you?”

They were outside the nursery door as Rosanne de Soigné answered. She
looked up at Proté and spoke indignantly.

“They think that I am asleep in bed with some silly bonbons under my
pillow. It is the same with me as with Marie Josephine; they treat me as
though I were a child. To-night I have an idea! You will hear me tell
Mademoiselle!”

Proté opened the door leading to a small room off the day nursery which
was Marie Josephine’s own apartment. She was not asleep, and as they
came into the room she sat up in bed and said:

“What is it, Proté? What has happened?”

“Nothing has happened, Mademoiselle, except that your friend,
Mademoiselle Rosanne de Soigné, has come to see you,” Proté replied,
lighting a candle as she spoke.

Rosanne came up to the bed and, before Marie Josephine, in her
bewilderment, could speak, said eagerly:

“You are to come with me, Marie Josephine. Proté is to dress you at
once. You shall not be left out of the ball. Listen! I know a place
where we can see it all, watch the dancing, and hear the music! Gonfleur
is to bring us goûter when the others are having theirs. It will be the
greatest fun!”

Marie Josephine was so surprised for a moment that she could not speak.

“Hurry, for we must not miss any of it. Proté has your stockings. Let
her put them on,” urged Rosanne.

Marie Josephine stuck out her foot obediently, and Proté, kneeling
beside her, pulled on the stockings, muttering to herself distressfully:

“This is dreadful. What if Madame la Comtesse should know! May the good
saints protect me if Madame should find us out!”

When Proté said this, Marie Josephine seemed to wake up to the situation
and, leaning over, patted the round knob at the back of the little
maid’s head.

“You are a foolish girl, Proté. Have you not raged to me and to Monsieur
Lisle because I was not invited? You even spoke to Le Pont. I heard you
say to her, 'They must have been selfish indeed to have so forgotten the
Little Mademoiselle!’”

While Marie Josephine was speaking, Proté was putting on her little
silken undergarments, fastening the tapes which tied them with nervous
fingers. Then she slipped a light silk frock over her head and put a
blue cape about her shoulders.

“Come, Mesdemoiselles, I will escort you to Gonfleur. I shall be waiting
for you at the garden door when the clock strikes ten, Little
Mademoiselle. You must be in bed and asleep before Madame la Comtesse
and the others return,” admonished Proté.

They had come out to the upper landing and they stood for a moment
looking down into the great hall below. A man servant in red and white
livery was passing through the hall. He stooped and extinguished the
candles, until at last only a tall one in a high, golden candlestick on
a marble table near the door was left burning.

“We must go down the other way. It would not do for the servants to
know. One cannot be too careful in these bad times,” whispered Proté as
they walked down a long hall, lit dimly by flaring candles in bronze
sockets.

There was a light patter of steps behind them and turning they saw that
Flambeau was following them. Proté shook her stubby finger at him,
whispering in a hissing sort of way that made her voice sound almost
like a whistle in the gusty corridor.

“Ah, the bad dog! You are to go back at once to Mademoiselle’s room. You
are not to follow!”

Marie Josephine and Rosanne giggled, and Flambeau came forward slowly,
in spite of Proté’s upraised hand and threatening looks.

“You know that he will come, as he goes everywhere with us. There is no
use to urge him to go back.” Rosanne pulled impatiently at Proté’s arm
as she spoke. The little maid only raised her hands as though in
despair, and the four of them started to descend the steep flight of
stairs. The two girls were both laughing softly with excitement, holding
each other’s hands and looking back at Flambeau.

Marie Josephine knew this staircase well, but she said nothing. No one
must know that she had ever been down these stairs before, because they
were a part of grandfather’s secret.

An old man was waiting for them at the door leading into the garden. It
was Gonfleur, the servant who had come with Rosanne. He held a lighted
lanthorn in one hand and when he saw Proté and the children, he started
to shuffle slowly along the path ahead of them, holding the lanthorn
carefully so that they could see their way.

“We are both fools, you an old one and I a young one, Gonfleur. See that
you return with Mademoiselle Marie Josephine at ten exactly, or it will
be the worse for you!” Proté called after him in her funny, hissing way.

Gonfleur made no reply and, holding open the heavy garden door, let his
two charges through and then followed them. They found themselves on the
walk outside, the sultry dampness of an August night all about them. The
roar of the city could be heard in the distance and from the corner came
the sound of rough laughter and harsh voices. They turned away in the
opposite direction from the voices and, as it was only a very little way
to the iron door leading to the back entrance to the De Soigné mansion,
they found themselves shut away from the street soon again, almost
before they knew it.

It had been exciting to them both, that little walk through the night.
Neither of them had ever been out this way before. Marie Josephine had
never seen the city after sundown but once, and that was when, because
of some trouble with their horses, they had been delayed in coming back
from Pigeon Valley, where they spent their summers, and their coach had
not entered Paris until evening. That had been the summer before.

When once they were inside the little door leading to the vast back
quarters of the great mansion, there was no longer any need of
Gonfleur’s lanthorn to light them, for all the way up the winding stairs
were flaring torches. At the foot of the stairs the old servant bowed
and left them. Rosanne called after him.

“You are not to forget to come with the sweets, Gonfleur!”

“I will remember, of a surety, Mademoiselle.”

They were so far from the region of the bal masqué that only the
faintest sound of music came to them. Rosanne took her friend’s hand and
they climbed up the steep stairs side by side. Marie Josephine knew
where they were going or at least she guessed. It was the place above
all others where she liked best to play. It was a little square balcony
in the wall at the very tiptop of the house and one could reach it by
this back flight of stairs. The two children had discovered it some
years ago and, on the rare occasions when they were left to themselves,
they had climbed up to it and looked down into the vastness of the great
hall below.

The music of a minuet was being played as the two settled themselves in
a corner of the balcony and looked down. The minuet music was very
pretty, and the sight upon which they gazed was pretty, too.

“It is like maman’s picture of which she is so fond—the picture where
all the people are dancing. It is by Monsieur Watteau. Grandfather told
me so,” whispered Marie Josephine.

“There is no need at all for whispering,” Rosanne answered in natural
tones. “No one could hear us if we were to shout ever so loud!”

They sat close together because they felt a little cold. Drifts of chill
air came in from behind them. It seemed as though even in mid-summer
there was always a breath of dampness at the De Soignés’.

Below them the many-colored throng moved through the dainty measures of
the dance. The sound of laughter and young voices blended with the sweet
strains of the music. It seemed like fairyland to the two who looked
down on it.

“We can only guess who they are until they take off their masks, but I
think that fat one in the red mantle is my cousin Bertran du Monde,”
Rosanne said, leaning far over and peering around the corner, as she
tried to follow the figure of a boy in red.

Marie Josephine looked too.

“Yes, that is Bertran. What a fat, funny boy he is! Do you remember how
he teased us the afternoon that he came to tea with us all in our
schoolroom? He is a stupid boy. You do not mind my saying that even if
he is your cousin, do you?” Marie Josephine laughed mischievously as she
spoke.

Rosanne laughed happily.

“No, it is true. He is a stupid, fat boy, and he is often very rude.
See, is that not your cousin Hortense, the tall girl dancing with——?”

Marie Josephine interrupted her.

“It’s Lisle, Hortense and Lisle. She is almost as tall as he is and she
is only fifteen. She looks so very grown-up. How happy I should be if I
could dance the minuet with Lisle! He always thinks me such a baby!”
[Illustration: Lisle] There was a little choke in Marie Josephine’s
voice as she said this, and she looked down very wistfully at the fun
going on in the great banquet hall.

“The fruit and bonbons and the eau sucré are in the small room at the
right. They will be going in there very soon after dancing for
refreshment. Gonfleur has promised to bring us sweets and he will not
forget. He is very good.” Rosanne lowered her voice a little though
there was really no need. The music had stopped and gay, chattering
groups walked slowly about or went on, as Rosanne had prophesied, to the
room beyond.

Marie Josephine did not answer. She was deep in thought, her chin wedged
in between the carved wooden spokes of the tiny balcony. How wonderful
to be down there in the midst of all the glitter of lights and jewels,
gold lace and flowers, and to have Lisle for her partner, Lisle in his
blue velvet and brilliants!

Rosanne’s quick eyes looked here and there. Her one desire was to
discover her friends and cousins among the gay throng below. She agreed
with Marie Josephine that they had found Bertran, but was not so sure
about his sister Cécile.

“Cécile would not let me see her beforehand. She did not come in with
the others when they bade me good night. She knows about the balcony. I
told her I’d be here and she thought it the greatest fun. She said she
would do her best to see me and let me see her. She said she would come
right underneath me if she could and that she would look up. Then I
could tell that it was she. You see I don’t know what her costume is at
all.” As she spoke, Rosanne moved a little so that Flambeau could wedge
himself in next to her.

“Did you tell Cécile that you were coming with Gonfleur to get me?”
whispered Marie Josephine. She could not help whispering; it made it all
seem more exciting.

Rosanne shook her head. “No, I didn’t dare to do that. She would have
been worried. Oh, she would have begged me not to go. Why, no one would
think of such a thing, Marie Josephine; no one would ever believe I’d go
out alone with just a servant at night!”

“It was a splendid thing to do, and I’ll not forget it,” answered Marie
Josephine warmly. Then, with Flambeau’s head upon her knee, she sat
quietly looking down. The music of a gavotte had begun and it was like a
ripple of laughter. It made Marie Josephine think of Pigeon Valley and
her home, Les Vignes.

They had always spent their summers at Les Vignes until this year. Marie
Josephine had often heard the governess say: “We must thank God for Les
Vignes, children. It is a refuge from all trouble.” Marie Josephine knew
that there had been fighting in the streets, and that many of their
friends had left France. Her maman no longer went out to grand soirées.
There was sadness and restlessness everywhere.

“But I am happy to-night. Everyone is happy,” she thought. She had often
heard Hortense and Denise anticipating the wonder of their first ball.
They would wear the family jewels. It would be the grandest affair!
Well, they had three years to wait. This was small in comparison to what
that gala ball would be! This was just a handful of boys and girls in
costumes made up for the moment by governesses and servants. There were
bad times in the city. The people had imprisoned the king, Louis XVI,
and the queen, Marie Antoinette, in the Tuileries palace.

“Things are always happening, but to-night they are happy things,” Marie
Josephine said to Rosanne, and by way of answer, her friend said
excitedly:

“There is Cécile, all in white! She’s holding out her silver wand as she
dances. See! She’s looking up at us and smiling, though she cannot see
us. It is too dark up here, and we are too far away.”

“I love Cécile better than any one except maman and Lisle and
grandfather and Dian and you,” Marie Josephine answered solemnly.

“Not better than your own sister!” exclaimed Rosanne in shocked tones.

Marie Josephine nodded. “Yes, better than Denise. Cécile is like a
maiden in a fairy tale, Denise isn’t.”

“Listen. Is that not Gonfleur coming up the stairs? He is bringing the
goûter,” said Rosanne.

The girls peered down through the little door at the back of the balcony
and after a moment Gonfleur turned a bend and came toward them.

“How fast he is climbing! I did not know his malady, the rheumatism,
would permit him to go so fast!” exclaimed Marie Josephine.

When he came a little nearer Rosanne called softly to him:

“Good Gonfleur, you have come with sweets for us. You do well to hurry!”

The old man puffed for a moment as he reached the top step. Then he
picked up Marie Josephine’s cloak from the back of the chair and began
to put it around her.

“You are to come at once, Mademoiselle—at once, if you please, at
once,” he muttered as he tied the ribbons at her throat with trembling
fingers.

“What are you doing, Gonfleur? Mademoiselle Saint Frère is not to go
home until we have had the sweets. Where are they? Do not hurry so!”
Rosanne put her hand on Gonfleur’s arm and shook it. “Do not say that it
has been discovered that she came here to-night,” she went on.

Gonfleur shook his head. “There is need of haste. The Little
Mademoiselle cannot stay longer. No, she is not found out. It is not
that. Would to the kind God is was only that, Mademoiselle. It is not a
good night to be out.” Gonfleur stood shaking his head, still trembling
as he answered.

“Not a good night. What can you mean! It is a beautiful night. Do you
not see how splendid it is downstairs and how happy we all are?” Rosanne
frowned and spoke impatiently, holding on to Marie Josephine’s cape.
“You shall not take her away so soon. She shall have the sweets and
fruit before she goes.”

“It is not happy outside, Mademoiselle Rosanne,” Gonfleur answered. Then
turning to Marie Josephine, he said: “We will go back as we came,
Mademoiselle. It is only a step to your portal where Proté will be
waiting, but we must not delay. I entreat you, Mademoiselle, not to
delay.”

Gonfleur spoke so earnestly and seemed so uneasy that the two girls were
impressed. There seemed nothing else to do but for Marie Josephine to go
with him at once. The two friends kissed each other on each cheek and
then, her hand in Gonfleur’s and with Flambeau at her heels, Marie
Josephine went down the long, steep stairs. On the first landing she
turned and looked back at Rosanne, who stood in the dusk of the red
velvet lined balcony looking down at her, her fair hair falling about
her shoulders. Marie Josephine waved her hand and Rosanne waved back.

Gonfleur’s lanthorn was already lit, and it stood on an iron ledge by
the door leading from the foot of the stairs to the courtyard of the
great house. The court was deserted and they crossed it quickly,
Gonfleur holding his charge’s hand firmly, and not once letting it go
except for the moment when he unlocked the door leading from the court
to the street. Marie Josephine was indignant with him for hurrying her
away in such a fashion in the midst of the fun and before the sweets
were served. She would have insisted on staying and would have told
Gonfleur to wait until it was her pleasure to go, if her own position
had not been an uncertain one. She had never done anything so daring
before.

Gonfleur shut the door quickly behind them and they turned to the left,
crossed the street, and found themselves at the side portal of the Saint
Frère house before they knew it. As they stood for a moment in front of
the door while Gonfleur fumbled with the lock in his near-sighted way,
the loud clatter of horses’ hoofs rang out sharply in the confused night
air. Marie Josephine looked back over her shoulder as they turned into
the garden. She saw a squad of mounted soldiers rush by at full speed
and disappear in a flash down a side street to the right.

Gonfleur muttered to himself as he pushed her gently along the garden
path. Proté was waiting at the door and Marie Josephine was glad to see
her. Proté took her hand and squeezed it and Marie Josephine squeezed
back.

“Put Mademoiselle to bed at once. There is rough work to-night. Hear
that!” They stood still and listened. There was a dull, heavy booming
sound. Proté raised her hands.

“Cannon; and it’s the Tuileries. Neville told me a half hour ago that
there were wild doings to-night. I’ll take care of Mademoiselle, never
fear. Now get you home, Gonfleur. The others will be coming when they
know there’s trouble.” As she spoke Proté shut the door and bolted it.
Then she and Marie Josephine and Flambeau climbed the stairs as quickly
as they could.

Proté’s fingers flew in undressing Marie Josephine and very soon she was
tucked in her big bed. She lay awake a little while thinking of the
music and the dancing and how lovely Rosanne’s cousin Cécile had looked
in her white and silver frock and with her hair powdered.

“She seemed really grown-up, not pretending like Hortense and Denise,
yet she is only fifteen. I saw the party anyway. What would Lisle and
the girls say if they knew! I am nearly thirteen and they treat me like
a baby. I am not a baby. I think more than Denise and I read many books
that she does not know about at all, and I know about things too,
battles and poems and old, old days that grandfather told me about. I’m
not young at all, really I——” She was asleep!

When she awoke it was still dark. Flambeau’s cold nose was touching her
arm and Lisle was sitting on the edge of her bed. In her astonishment
she sat up and stared at him. He had thrown back the blue velvet,
ermine-trimmed mantle that he had worn at the ball, and had unsheathed
his jeweled sword. It glowed like a live thing on the whiteness of the
satin counterpane. In the light from a flaring socket just outside the
open door, his white face, fair hair, and the gleaming crystals on his
costume shone in the summer darkness.

Marie Josephine touched his arm. “Lisle, why are you here?” she asked.
“Isn’t it the middle of the night?” She shook the curls from her eyes,
shivering a little in the midnight cold.

“I was just sitting here. I’m sorry you woke up, but now that you are
awake I will tell you something. You are to leave for Pigeon Valley at
six in the morning, you and Hortense and Denise, and of course Madame le
Pont and Proté,” Lisle said.

“And Flambeau?”

Lisle shrugged his shoulders. “The dog goes everywhere with you. Bertran
du Monde is going too, and his servant. They will ride by the coach.
Bertran will be staying at Les Vignes with you.”

“Bertran du Monde! But he is not your great friend. You will not want
him as a companion. Why does he go?” Marie Josephine was bewildered and
not yet quite awake. It all seemed like a dream to her.

“I am not going with you.”

What was it Lisle was saying? His sister grabbed his arm and shook it.

“Don’t tease me. You always go to Les Vignes,” she said, but she felt
that he meant what he had said and knew in her heart that he was not
teasing.

“I am telling you the truth. You are going at six just as I have said. A
rider has gone ahead to-night to prepare the servants at Les Vignes. You
are to be quiet and obedient and are not to sulk.” Lisle spoke sternly
but he did not frighten his sister at all. She put her arm about his
shoulders and laid her face close to his. He did not return her caress,
but sat looking straight in front of him. Marie Josephine sat back
against her pillows, winking her eyes rapidly to keep the tears back.
When she had put her cheek close to her brother’s she had felt something
wet. It had been a tear. She must never let him know. He would never
forgive her if he found it out.

“When are you coming?” she asked a little timidly.

“I don’t know. I shall not leave maman.”

“You mean because of all the noise and shooting and trouble and keeping
the king and queen in prison,” asked Marie Josephine.

Lisle nodded. “Maman will not go. She says it would be disloyal. She is
right. If it is disloyal for her, it is disloyal for me. But we will
talk no more to-night. Then there is Great-aunt Hortense—we cannot
leave her. You are to get up at once when Proté calls you, take your
petit déjeuner, and then say good-by to maman. You are to shed no tears.
Now lie down and go to sleep. I will tuck you up!”

Marie Josephine lay down, shutting her eyes obediently, though the tears
forced themselves from under her lashes.

Lisle leaned over and kissed her.

“Always remember that you are a Saint Frère, Marie Josephine,” he said.



                              CHAPTER IV

                                  JEAN


“Jean!”

Mother Barbette listened. It was the third time she had called within
five minutes. First it had been “Petit Jean,” then “Jean,” and the third
time there was a note in her voice which meant, “If you know what’s best
for you, you’d better come at once. I know you’re hiding somewhere. The
branches of the pear tree by the old well make good switches!”

She waited, listening. There was no answer except the sleepy twitter of
meadow larks in the field beyond. Mother Barbette shaded her eyes from
the hot noon sunshine and looked off across the deep green of grass and
trees. The grass had been freshly cut and mounds of it lay about the
cottage dooryard. Its sweet, warm scent was everywhere.

“You are somewhere about, of that I’m sure, and now I’m going to find
out!” Mother Barbette’s black eyes twinkled mischievously as she spoke.
“When I went up to the big house with the eggs I heard such a piece of
news!” she called out.

A green mound moved suddenly in a jerking way, and the next second a
dark head and two bright black eyes peered out. Then a brown hand
appeared, closing quickly and just missing an elusive yellow butterfly.
Then the whole of the boy came into view. He was covered with grass from
head to foot. It stuck to his frayed, yellow trousers and had crept down
the collar of his black blouse. It tickled his nose, and he blinked his
eyes for it was even wound into his eyelashes. He had swallowed some of
it, and when he saw his mother’s surprised face, he began to laugh, and
then to choke, and she had to slap him on the shoulders before he could
stop. As soon as he could speak, he said eagerly:

“Tell me at once, Petite Mère, tell me what you heard.” He caught at her
apron and pulled it. “Was there news of Paris, of the young ladies and
Monsieur Lisle?”

“Maybe it was that!” Mother Barbette chuckled as she spoke.

“You are teasing me, Petite Mère. Tell me, is the family coming?”

Jean tugged at the blue apron. He was small for his thirteen years, and
had a quaint, babylike face.

“Some of them are coming!” His mother was teasing now.

Jean frowned but he smiled almost at the same time, so that a dimple
showed in his thin cheek.

“You know it is of Mademoiselle Marie Josephine I would hear. Tell me,
is she coming?” he asked breathlessly. [Illustration: Jean] His mother
nodded, and he began to jump up and down, up and down, until he could
not jump any more. Then he threw himself down upon the mound of grass
from which he had emerged and flung his broad, torn straw hat up in the
air, shouting as loud as he could shout, which was very loud indeed. His
mother put both her hands over her ears.

“Hush, you are like a wild animal to-day. Little Mademoiselle will not
wish to speak with you if you are rough. Come, I’ve no time to stand
idle here. There is so much to do, the apartments to make ready. It is
different indeed from the old days, for only the governess and one maid,
the little, fat Proté, are to accompany the young ladies. None of the
other servants of the Paris household are to come. There will only be
the cook and scullery servants, an upstairs maid or two, and two men
servants at Les Vignes—no state, no ceremony, no gaiety of any kind.
The messenger who brought the news says that some of the Paris servants
have left, and others are going. He says that they are storming the
Tuileries palace—the people I mean, thousands of them. Madame la
Comtesse became alarmed at the sound of battle and the cannonading, and
late last night she sent a rider here. He arrived at mid-afternoon, and
would only stay for a glass of wine and a bite of bread. He said he must
make haste back again.” As Mother Barbette talked, she went inside her
cottage door and Jean followed her, giving whoops of delight as he did
so. His mother looked at him gravely.

“You need not make so much noise, my child. It is because of bad times
that the young demoiselles are coming. We are so out of the way here in
Pigeon Valley, without so much as an inn or a shop. Jacques, the rider,
says we may be thankful that we are away from the towns. We are better
off, he says, just to be here by ourselves in the valley, but we are bad
enough off, some of us!” Mother Barbette sighed as she went over to her
white wood table which, having been freshly scrubbed, shone in the late
sunshine. “Jacques told many things and I know he spoke the truth, but
it is hard to believe them.” She wrapped two loaves of bread, which
stood on the table, in a clean towel which she took from a table drawer.

Jean was impressed by his mother’s tones, and followed her over to the
table.

“What did he say, Petite Mère?” he asked.

“Many things which you must not hear, or you will be having bad dreams
as you did after eating so much of the cherry tart that the kind
Nannette at the big house made for me on my birthday. Run now with this
bread to your cousins.” Mother Barbette sighed as she handed the bundle
to Jean, who put out his under lip sulkily.

“They had bread on Monday. Grigge is a horrid boy. I do not like any of
them,” he objected. Nevertheless he took the bundle and started slowly
toward the door. He knew that it would not do to trifle with his mother
that day, but there was nothing he disliked more than a visit to his
cousins, who lived in a straggling settlement of poor hovels near the
entrance to Les Vignes.

“Do not grumble or complain or you will have a good taste of the
pear-tree switch. Your cousins, have nothing, and never have had
anything. You should not be selfish just because you have food every
day, and goat’s milk too. It is only because of the kindness of the old
Comte Saint Frère, who left in his will the word that you and I were to
have our maintenance here in the cottage, that we are not begging for
our food in the town squares. You know that well. It is not Madame la
Comtesse who cares where we are or what we do. Run now, and take shame
to yourself for your greediness!”

Mother Barbette was very uneasy and this made her tongue sharper than
usual. She stood at the door watching Jean. He was all she had in the
world, and when he looked at her with his merry, naughty, black eyes she
seemed to see the young Jean Barbette who had wooed and married her, and
who had died some few years back defending the old Comte Saint Frère
from an attack by a stag when on a hunt. The fine old comte had never
starved the peasants working for him, or laughed at their misery. The
young Comte Lisle, too, had something gallant and lovable about him, in
spite of the proud way he held his head. Mother Barbette sighed again,
but soon she remembered that she had no time to stand and dream, and
immediately began to busy herself about the cottage, humming the while.
After giving a stir to the soup in the iron stock pot which hung over a
low fire in her wide, stone fireplace, she went out, not even closing
the cottage door after her. A loud caw greeted her as she stood for a
moment drinking in the clear air. It was sunset time, and the sky showed
salmon pink through the waving greenness of the trees. Mother Barbette
turned and saw a black crow sitting on the stone window ledge.

“You need not caw to me, Pince Nez. You need not say you are sorry
because you stole my thimble and tape last night and went off and hid
them somewhere. Pince Nez! What a silly name even if Little Mademoiselle
did give it to you!” Madame Barbette smiled as she hurried down the path
and then, to her right, up the driveway to the great house, which loomed
grimly against the sunset-tinted sky. The gamekeeper’s lodge was near
the house, and so it was only a walk of a few minutes. There had not
been another gamekeeper since her Jean had been killed, for the old
comte had died and the young Comte Lisle was too young for hunting.
Louise Barbette, with her boy, lived on at the lodge, making a scanty
living for both of them by sewing when she could get any to do, and by
weeding her tiny garden, which furnished all the food they had, except
for the poor flour which made the thin, dark loaves of bread which she
had sent by Jean to their poorer relatives.

Jean ran across the field and into the wood beyond. Every now and then
he would give a clear, high call and then he would stop and listen. Once
there was an answering call and then he laughed and his thin little face
with its funny dimple wrinkled with delight.

“I’m happy and that’s why the lark answered. They never do if I’m
cross,” he thought, and began to sing: “Tra la la, tra la la! They’ll be
here the day after to-morrow. I shall hide behind the poplar trees by
the gate and see them drive in!”

The way was long through the wood, which was part of the Saint Frère
demesne, but it was beautiful and the air was cool and fragrant. After a
while Jean began to run. It was fun to run in and out of the sweet
greenness, always following the path which ended finally at a low stone
paling. Jean could see, not far off, the towering arch of the great
entrance way to the vast estate. He was never allowed to go in and out
that way. He climbed the paling and ran across a field until he came to
a dusty highway. He shuffled along the road, enjoying the thick clouds
of dust that he raised about him. Little Mademoiselle would be coming in
two days! He was on his way to his cousins—that was the only bit of
blackness on his horizon. His cousins lived in one of a row of poor
hovels situated some little way back from the roadside. Women sat in the
rude doorways, glad of a breath of the fresh air. They were gaunt,
sad-looking women, old long before their time because of years of heavy
work in the fields, little food, and no rest at all. Children swarmed
about the doorways and in the rough-looking stubble field beyond.

Jean stopped before the next to the last hut, where a lanky boy in
ragged clothes stood slouching against the doorway. He had a long, ugly
face and he was so thin that he seemed nothing but bones and eyes. He
snatched one of the loaves of bread from under Jean’s arm and began
eating it, tearing at the end of it with his teeth. The second loaf and
the towel fell to the ground as Jean caught the other end of the loaf
that Grigge was devouring and pulled at it with all his might.

“You shall not eat it all up. The others shall have their share,” he
cried. But Grigge, who, in spite of his thinness, was stronger than
Jean, being two years his senior and used to rough work, pulled himself
away, bread and all, and went inside the hut. Jean turned around only to
find his two younger cousins and the children next door fighting for the
second loaf. He knew that there was nothing he could do to separate them
or reason with them and so, having brought the bread, he could only
leave them to fight it out. There were a dozen children now fighting for
the loaf. Jean watched them for a moment and then turned back toward
home. A voice called to him from the doorway in mocking tones. It was
Grigge. He spoke between mouthfuls.

“You think you are very fine because you live with the gentry. You think
you are a prince because you live within the gates!”

Jean turned and shook his fists at him and then ran on. He was in no
mood for a fight with his cousin just then. Little rosy clouds floated
in the sky, the air was full of the scent of the warm earth and cool
wind. Jean began to run. He ran on faster and faster. He liked to think
that he was flying. He was going home to a bowl of hot soup and the
comfort of his mother’s presence.

As he ran through the wood, Jean began to feel very sorry indeed for his
cousins. His mother was right. They had never had anything. He was sorry
that he had not wanted to take them the bread. His mother’s cottage came
into view as he reached the clearing in the wood. Mother Barbette was
sitting on the doorstep knitting and the white deal table was drawn
close to the door. When he came up to her he threw both arms around her
and gave her a hug.

“I am a good boy. I know I am, Petite Mère, because the lark answered
when I called. It never does if I am naughty.”

“Your soup is keeping hot over the fire. Dish it out carefully into your
own blue bowl. There is a piece of bread on the table. You may eat it
with your soup here at the table by the door. The night is so fine that
I could not stay inside.”

“I would rather sit on the doorstep beside you, Petite Mère,” Jean
answered, bringing his porringer of soup, and sitting down at his
mother’s feet.

He did not talk at all until he had finished his soup and bread, for he
was very hungry. When he was finished he went in and peered inside the
stock pot, but there was no more soup.

“I am still hungry, Petite Mère. I want more bread,” he complained,
coming to the door.

“You cannot have any more bread to-day. You have had enough. Perhaps
when the Little Mademoiselle comes she will give you a piece of white
bread and fig jam,” returned his mother.

Jean’s face brightened and he leaned against his mother’s shoulder.

“You will make the jam for the big house again this year. Little
Mademoiselle and I will watch and taste and then take some bread and jam
to the woods for a picnic. We shall go to our favorite spot near the
sundial. I love it best of all, Petite Mère. It is all dark and woodsy
and then there is suddenly the open clearing and the sundial!” Jean
began to hop about the low-ceilinged room, from one end to the other. He
would have liked to have jumped up on Mother Barbette’s treasure, her
four-poster bed, but he did not dare to do so.

“You are so young, Jean. Will you ever grow up? Ah, I cannot credit what
Jacques told us, but it must be true. Those brave fellows from Provence
marched all the way to Paris! Jacques left while they were storming the
king’s palace! What times! What days!” Mother Barbette shook her head
over her knitting. Then she remarked to Jean, “Your cousins were
thankful for the bread, I’ll wager!”

Jean nodded vigorously.

“They were as hungry as Wolf, the lodgekeeper’s dog, after he was lost
for four days. They tore the bread to bits and all the other children
came. They were fighting over one loaf when I came away.”

Mother Barbette dropped her knitting in her lap and bowed her head.

“Grigge was the worst of them all, Petite Mère. He snatched a whole loaf
for himself and he taunted me again. Grigge is not my friend.”

“He is always hungry, poor Grigge. He works all day at the olive mill
for so little a pittance; it is no wonder that they starve.” Mother
Barbette sighed as she spoke and Jean patted her cheek.

“You are not to do that again, Petite Mère. You should smile because
Little Mademoiselle is coming! I am going to find Dian and tell him the
good news!” Jean made a dash at Pince Nez who had alighted on the back
of Mother Barbette’s chair. Then he ran with a whoop down the little
box-bordered path, through a hedgelike opening into the forest, on
through piney sweetness, through deep, dark arches of mingling boughs,
on and on, until he came to a great sweep of sloping meadows.

Jean saw the grey, moving mass of a flock of sheep in the distance, and
he did not stop running until he had come up to them. Some one was
walking beside them, a tall man in a grey smock, his long, red locks
falling about his shoulders.

“Dian, Dian, they are coming to Les Vignes, the Little Mademoiselle and
the other young ladies!” Jean cried.

The shepherd smiled a slow, quiet smile.

“Yes, I know that they are coming. I saw Jacques the runner. They are
coming, but the young Comte Lisle remains in Paris with his mother,” he
said.

Jean skipped along beside the shepherd. They were great friends and it
was always easy for him to talk to Dian.

“I was very naughty to-day. I did not want to take the bread to Grigge
and the others. I do not like Grigge. Why do you take your time to teach
him to read and write, Dian? He is not at all a nice boy. He is like a
wolf.”

The shepherd had reached the sheepfold door, and he stood with both
hands against it, ready to push it open. He paused at Jean’s words,
uttering no reproach, but looking off across the field to where a
delicate mist mingled with the startling beauty of the sunset sky. Jean
stood watching him digging his bare toes into the soft earth.

“Grigge will learn,” was Dian’s answer as he went inside the sheepfold.



                               CHAPTER V

                            INSIDE THE COACH


The coach was so heavy that as it rolled along the quiet country road it
made a noise like thunder. The coach was gilded and on the panels were
hand-painted pictures of cupids dancing. There had always been two men
up on the high seat behind and two in front. Now there was only one man
who was driving, and he was not really a coachman at all, but Neville, a
footman of the Saint Frères’. He wore a dark livery and he was very
intent on his driving.

Marie Josephine leaned way out of the window and looked at him. Then she
sat back on the blue velvet cushions of the coach so hard that she
bounced up and down.

“Neville looks so funny, so solemn and frowning!” She laughed as she
spoke, but there was a little catch in her voice. They had always been
taught to hide their feelings with a smile, and Marie Josephine knew
that her grandfather would have been glad to hear her laugh. It had all
been so strange and different early yesterday morning. Proté had brought
her her chocolate and petit pain and she had had her breakfast before
she had been dressed. When she had come down to the great entrance hall
her mother had been there, waiting. Lisle was there, too, and Hortense
and Denise and Madame le Pont. The governess and the girls were ready
for departure in their mantles and traveling hats. Maman had seemed
different, though she wore, as usual, the mourning for grandfather, the
diamond brooch that fastened her lace fichu, and her hair powdered and
dressed high, like the queen’s. Maman had been different in spite of all
these familiar things. She had held Marie Josephine’s hand as she had
talked to the governess, giving directions in her quick, commanding way.

“There is, of course, not the slightest danger to the children. You will
not have the least inconvenience, except that you will not have proper
service, but I don’t trust the other men servants. There may come a time
later on when it will not be so easy to get away. They may guard the
gates if things get worse. I am glad to see you starting for Les
Vignes.”

While maman had been speaking the steady roar of cannonading never
stopped. It had followed them a long way out of the city. They had even
heard its faint ghostly murmur when they were lunching at an inn. Marie
Josephine had not remembered all that her mother had said, but she had
sensed suddenly that there was danger. She had thought over again and
again of her mother’s remark: “There may come a time later on when it
will not be so easy to get away. They may guard the gates if things get
worse.” Maman had, as always, thought of her as being young and
unheeding, but she had been listening closely. The others had been
talking amongst themselves and had not heard. Over and over the words
came back to her: “There may come a time later on when it will not be so
easy to get away.”

Cécile du Monde was the only one who smiled when Marie Josephine spoke
of Neville. She sat between Hortense and Denise, opposite Marie
Josephine and the governess. It had been decided at the last moment that
she was to come. She and her brother were distant connections of the De
Soignés’ and the Marquis de Soigné had charge of their estates, which
were far away in the southwest of France. They were orphans and spent
most of their time with their Paris relatives. Madame de Soigné had
refused to allow her own child to leave her at the hurried conference in
the middle of the night, after the bal masqué was hastily broken up. The
sound of cannonading was heard, and alarming reports came in from all
sides. It was like the Comtesse Saint Frère to act quickly. She had
decided at once that the children, with the exception of Lisle, who
refused to leave her, were to start at once for Pigeon Valley and had
offered its hospitality to her friends. Madame de Soigné had accepted
first for Bertran, who was a troublesome, spoiled boy, of whom she was
glad to be rid in the midst of such an anxious time. Then after a talk
with Cécile, who felt that she should go with her brother who was
younger than she, it had been arranged that they should both accompany
the Saint Frère children. As Lisle had told Marie Josephine it would be,
Bertran rode with his servant. The sound of their horses’ hoofs could be
heard faintly in the still midday air.

Proté sat on a stool at Marie Josephine’s feet although there was plenty
of room for her in the seats of the great, roomy coach. Ever since Marie
Josephine could remember Proté had sat on the stool at her feet and held
her treasures for her as she grew tired of them. Once it had been a
large, gilded, blue glass vase, another time a miniature of her
great-grandfather, and once a red silk shawl which she had held in her
arms pretending it was a baby, cooing to it and singing to it. But all
that had been, of course, when she was very young. The wooden Austrian
doll, called Trudle, which her uncle had brought her from his
journeyings, had always accompanied her until this summer. Madame de
Pont, even in the midst of her worry, noticed Trudle’s absence and said:

“Where, chérie, is the little friend Trudle?”

Marie Josephine shrugged her shoulders.

“You are like the others, Madame. You think of me always as a baby, just
a baby. Dolls, dolls—why I am done with them!” This time they all
laughed, even Proté, who would not have dared to do so had they been
accompanied by Madame Saint Frère! She knew well that Trudle was safe in
the packing box, on top of the coach!

Flambeau rested his nose on the ledge of the coach window and looked out
yearningly at a fragrant stretch of green meadow. His eyes followed the
sudden flight of birds from the branch of a great poplar as they
thundered by it.

At lunch time a very small inn seemed to grow suddenly out of the ground
as they turned a bend in the road. It was painted green and seemed a
part of the rich August countryside. Neville stopped the horses, climbed
down from the box, and bowing, held his hat in his hand, as he spoke to
Madame le Pont:

“If it is your pleasure, Madame, I think you and the young ladies can
find refreshment here. There is a sign which says that meals are
served.”

Madame and the girls looked out and exclaimed in astonishment:

“The old mill!”

Neville had opened the coach door while he was speaking and Flambeau and
Marie Josephine jumped out. The others followed after a moment, and they
all stood in a group looking across at the odd-shaped, mill-like
structure that stood a little way back from the road, with its sign,
“Food for Travelers,” swaying in the light summer breeze. A year ago it
had been just an old mill, grey and gaunt in the midst of its green
setting of great oaks. The governess turned to Neville uncertainly.

“You are sure that it is wise to come here? It seems odd finding the old
mill so unexpectedly!”

“Let us stay for déjeuner. Oh, it’s a dear place, as quaint as can be!”
put in Denise, and Neville answered:

“I think it is wiser than to go to a village inn. I am taking the long
route to avoid the villages. That was the order of Madame la Comtesse.
There is no real danger, of course, in the villages, but just now Madame
felt justly that one cannot be over careful.”

Madame le Pont nodded in assent. “We will remain here for déjeuner,
Neville.”

A tall, dark young woman served them with good soup, an excellent
omelette, and some grapes, at a table covered with a clean, white cloth,
on the greensward facing the forest. She stayed by while they ate,
asking with a curtsy every now and then, if there was anything more that
they wished, or anything special that she could procure for them. She
was particularly kind to Flambeau, cutting his meat nicely and putting
it in a blue saucer by the lunch table. Marie Josephine was so pleased
at this that she went up to the woman after they had finished lunch and
said:

“Flambeau wants to thank you for his déjeuner. He is very tired of the
journey and will be glad when we are home at Les Vignes.”

The young woman, who had said her name was Paulette, smiled kindly and
seemed interested.

“Pigeon Valley is indeed beautiful, Little Mademoiselle. The other young
ladies, are they your sisters?”

“A sister and a cousin and a friend.” Marie Josephine smiled happily at
the dark woman who was patting Flambeau’s head.

Just at that moment Bertran du Monde came galloping up to the queer
mill-inn, with his servant riding behind him.

“The young gentleman would be your brother I suppose, little lady?” the
woman asked as she turned toward the inn.

“That boy is not my brother. My brother is in Paris with maman,” Marie
Josephine answered a little indignantly, but the woman was walking away
and did not seem to have heard her. Marie Josephine was not used to
speaking to strangers, but the dark young woman had been very kind to
Flambeau.

Bertran was very hungry and he was cross because he had to wait for his
omelette. He was a very fat boy indeed, but he rode well and was not in
the least tired. When Madame le Pont suggested his coming into the coach
for a while and letting his servant lead his horse, he said, “Ride in
the stuffy coach and hear the girls chattering! No, I will not, Madame!”

They left him sitting at the table, waited on by his servant. A stone in
his horse’s shoe had been the cause of their arriving after the others.
It was thought best for the coach to start on as it could not make such
good time, and so they waved their hands at Bertran and rumbled on
toward the forest. Two people in the coach did not wave. They were
Madame le Pont and Marie Josephine. The latter was more than ever out of
sorts with Bertran. It had come over her suddenly that it was indeed
Bertran and not Lisle who was with them. So, when he had answered Madame
about the coach, she had said to him, “It is not you we want in the
coach, Bertran. It is some one else.” He had answered, sitting down at
his déjeuner as he spoke:

“Is that so, Mademoiselle Spitfire! Well, I shall do as I like. When I
wish to ride inside I shall do so, and when I don’t, I won’t!” Then he
had gone on calmly with his omelette.

They thundered into the forest and its spicy fragrance greeted them. The
air was cool there, and the dim wood paths seemed like fairy paths to
Marie Josephine. It was so peaceful that it made them all think of
Pigeon Valley. They grew more cheerful right away, and even Madame le
Pont remarked that it was delightful to think of seeing Les Vignes
again. She had purchased some fruit at the inn and Denise held a bunch
of amber-colored grapes high above Cécile’s head and said, “Bite one!”
Madame le Pont remarked, “That is not the way a young lady conducts
herself!” but she did not seem to be really shocked at all.

Hortense yawned and put her head back on the cushions, her curls falling
about her shoulders.

“You look like a little girl to-day, Hortense. I thought you looked such
a very grand young lady when you danced the minuet with Lisle the night
before last.” They were still driving through the woods and every now
and then a startled bird would make a great stir in the trees or
underbrush as they dashed along. Marie Josephine did not realize what
she had said at first, but when they all turned and looked at her and
Denise exclaimed: “When you saw her dancing with Lisle! What do you
mean, Marie Josephine? You were not at the ball!” she knew how stupid
she had been and the telltale color flew to her cheeks.

“How could you have seen me dance at the ball when you were fast asleep
in bed?” put in Hortense.

Cécile looked straight at Marie Josephine and suddenly she guessed. She
knew that Rosanne had been hiding in the balcony. There was a twinkle in
her blue eyes as she looked at Marie Josephine, but she would not have
told her suspicions for anything in the world.

“You are blushing. You have done something very naughty. I am sure of
it!” Denise said this with a relish. She was tired, and she had always
had a habit of keeping persistently at a subject. She and Marie
Josephine did not get on very well.

“Tell me what you meant when you said that about Hortense dancing at the
ball, Marie Josephine,” she persisted.

Marie Josephine’s eyes began to twinkle, too. She settled back
comfortably against the pillows and called Flambeau’s attention to some
black baby pigs which a woman in a scarlet petticoat was feeding at a
moss-covered wooden trough. Denise kept her eyes on Marie Josephine, who
held Flambeau’s paws as the dog looked interestedly at the pigs. Marie
Josephine knew that Proté, who still sat on the little stool at her
feet, was shaking in her shoes. It would be fun to tell in spite of the
consequences, if it were not for Proté and for Rosanne!

“You dare not look me in the eyes and say that you did not go to the
ball,” persisted Denise, who was becoming more and more interested and
excited. She had not at first really believed that her sister had gone
to the ball and had kept on the subject because she felt in a teasing
mood, but Marie Josephine’s telltale color betrayed her and Proté’s look
of horror confirmed her suspicions.

“Proté helped you, I know she did. Tell me, Proté, did you not aid
Mademoiselle to go to the De Soignés’ to see the ball?”

Denise, to do her justice, would not have kept up with the subject had
their mother, the comtesse, been with them, but none of them were very
much in awe of Madame le Pont. There was no need for Marie Josephine to
reply for Proté clasped her hands and exclaimed:

“Heaven be with us! I meant no harm. It was so wrong for Little
Mademoiselle to have none of the pleasure!”

All eyes were turned toward Madame le Pont who, to their unbounded
surprise, did not seem in any way as horrified as they had expected! She
looked at Marie Josephine and then at the others and said:

“After all, now that so many things are happening, what does it matter!”

Could it be true! Their governess saying, “What does it matter!” Madame
le Pont, who, in spite of her being more indulgent than the governesses
of their friends, had always been so fond of the conventions! She did
not even seem to realize what Marie Josephine had done, and she said
nothing at all to Proté, who sat looking the picture of fright and
despair! Denise was so surprised at the attitude of the governess that
she whispered to Cécile under cover of the rumbling of the coach:

“Le Pont is in a dream, surely, but I am glad. I was excited and didn’t
realize what a scrape they would be in!” [Illustration: Le Pont] Years
later Marie Josephine remembered the incident; in fact she never really
forgot it. There were times when she could shut her eyes and see, in
that uncanny way in which we do see long-ago things, the old coach, the
faded coat of arms that had not been regilded that summer, the old blue
lining, the warm August sun streaming in, bringing with it the odor of
freshly cut hay and oats, thin rows of poplars rising against the
startling blue of the sky, and the peasant women bending over their work
in the field beyond. She could see Denise’s astonished gaze, from under
her lace hood. She always remembered the words and the whole incident
because it was the beginning of the great change. Madame le Pont was
right. Things that had mattered so much were beginning to be not so
important. There would be a time when they would not matter at all.



                              CHAPTER VI

                           AUGUST TENTH, 1792


Lisle and his mother had finished their déjeuner in the great dining
room of the Paris house. The tall, gilded clock in the entrance hall had
just struck twelve. All through the meal the cannons in the Carrousel,
the inner court of the Tuileries palace, less than a mile away, had
thundered outside. The glass chandelier above the table had shaken until
its chains, jangling together, made a sound like music in the dim, vast
room. The amber-colored velvet curtains at the windows were drawn
closely together and the room was lighted by four candles in gold
candlesticks on the table.

Lisle piled his nutshells in a heap on his plate. He had something to
tell his mother and he did not know how to go about it. There was a dish
of fruit on the table, as well as a carved bowl full of nuts and a
carafe of wine and one of water, and even a bowl of flowers, a few red
roses which Henri had picked that morning from the vine by the coach
house. The comtesse leaned forward and picked one from the white bowl
and held it to her face. Then she said what she had been thinking all
through the meal:

“Nothing would matter if only you had gone with the others, Lisle. Why
did I let you stay!”

“Because you knew that I would not go!” Lisle answered.

She looked at him and he returned her look steadily.

“I’m not a child any longer. I’m fifteen and a half and the head of the
house,” he went on. “I’ve stayed to see Paris now. I want to see what
happens.”

The comtesse put both hands over her eyes and sat that way for a moment.
It was as though she would shut out all the confusion and worry of the
past weeks and months, especially of the last two days.

Within twenty-four hours five of the men servants had left without a
word. Some of them left because they were frightened, for it was
beginning to be thought not so good a thing to be a servant in a great
house. It was not the loss of her servants that mattered so much. It was
the fact that they were her enemies, and that, with the exception of
those who had gone to Pigeon Valley, there was only one remaining whom
she could trust—and that was Henri, one of the footmen.

“Pardon, Madame, you asked for fresh news from the Tuileries. It is
going hard with the Swiss guards. They made a brave stand but they are
losing badly, Madame. They cannot resist the people, above all the
Marseillais!”

It was Henri who spoke. They had not heard him cross the great room.

“The Marseillais are fighting well?” It was Lisle who put the question.

“Like tigers, Monsieur Lisle,” the servant answered. He was a little,
dark man. His voice shook as he spoke and his face was white above his
red and gold livery.

“The royal family—they are safe?” Madame Saint Frère twisted her
lace-bordered handkerchief between her long, white hands as she asked
the question, but her voice did not tremble.

“Henri cannot know what is going on inside the palace or the Carrousel,
maman. He can only glean wild rumors from the crowds in the side
streets,” Lisle said a little contemptuously.

“Pardon, Monsieur Lisle, but a runner came through and shouted news at
the Town Hall. The royal family have taken refuge in the riding school
with the National Assembly. They went through the gardens.”

Henri waited, and, as the two did not question him again, he left the
room as quietly as he had entered it.

The comtesse reread a note that lay beside her plate. It was from
Monsieur Laurent, Lisle’s tutor, and it stated in polite terms that he
had left that morning for England, having had a sudden opportunity to
get away. His departure seemed unbearable to the comtesse. Now that
Laurent had gone, there were no other men that she could count on at
all. She had a brother who was an invalid and some cousins who were
preparing to fight with the Royalists but they were not in Paris at the
moment. The Comte de Soigné was away fighting. It seemed as though every
kind of protection had left her. Things were happening so suddenly, one
after another, and although one could not believe that there could be
any real danger for any of her family, she would have given much, as she
said, to have had her only son safe at Pigeon Valley.

“Promise me, Lisle, that you will not go out into the garden,” she said.

“I cannot promise that, maman. I’ll not be cooped up in the house. You
are fretting about that stupid Laurent. I for one am glad he is gone. I
never want to see his smirking face again.” Lisle leaned forward and
spoke earnestly. “You must trust yourself to me, maman. I told you the
girls should be sent at once to the country, and you see that I was
right. Whatever happens at the Tuileries, it is only a question of time
until the Austrian army comes and our own royalist armies are ready.”
Lisle looked so earnestly at his mother and spoke so confidently that
the comtesse smiled in spite of herself and returned his look with one
of pride.

“Maman, I don’t trust Henri,” Lisle continued, speaking softly. “He does
not really mean us harm, I think, but he is from Provence and the
Marseillais are from Provence. They are proving themselves to be brave
soldiers. Henri, once he is in the crowd, will be heart and soul with
them. You will see!”

As Lisle spoke the tapestry at the far door swayed back and Henri came
into the room.

“Madame la Comtesse de Soigné is here to see Madame,” he said.

Lisle walked with his mother to the salon door, but did not go inside.
As Henri opened the door, Lisle saw his mother’s friend cross the room
and come toward her. Rosanne stood near the door and made a curtsy as
his mother entered. Lisle waited until Henri had left the hall and then
went through the marble vestibule, opened the great, grilled door, which
was the front entrance, and went outside. Gonfleur was waiting by the
door. Lisle went up to the old man.

“Gonfleur,” he said to him, “you are the only one I can trust. There is
not one of our servants who is true to us, now that Neville has gone.”

Gonfleur bowed and answered: “I am only an old man, Monsieur Lisle, but
there is nothing I would not do for the family. Madame de Soigné knows
that well. She is in trouble, is Madame la Comtesse.” He did not say
more, so Lisle turned away and went inside to the great drawing-room.
His mother and Madame de Soigné were sitting on a velvet chaise longue
at one end of the room and talking earnestly. Long mirrors reached to
the ceiling on each side of the room. The rose carpet was of velvet and
sank under Lisle’s feet as he crossed over to his mother. There were
gilded tables and chairs and carved cabinets filled with jeweled
trinkets. The hangings at the long windows were of rose brocade.

Lisle came up to the chaise longue and bowed ceremoniously to the
comtesse and to Rosanne, who stood close to her mother. Madame de Soigné
was to leave Paris at once, they told him. She had just had word that
her husband, who was with the Royalists, had been wounded and she could
not stay away from him another hour. Gonfleur would accompany her and
Madame Saint Frère was to keep Rosanne safe with her. The Comte de
Soigné was in a hospital near Valmy.

“It would have been well, Madame, had you allowed Rosanne to accompany
my sisters and the others to Les Vignes.” Lisle spoke coldly; but when
the comtesse answered, with tears in her eyes, that she had not dreamed
of all that twenty-four hours would bring forth, he said simply, “I will
care for Rosanne as though she were my little sister.” Then he went out
of the room.

There was no one in the great hall, and going into an anteroom he took
down his black velvet cape and cap and went out through the great
entrance door, closing it after him. He ran quickly down the marble
steps, and, after standing a moment uncertainly on the corner, turned to
the right and walked toward the Champs Élysées.

It was a strange walk, the first one he had ever taken alone in the
city. He had always been accompanied by his tutor or a servant. Boys of
noble birth did not go out unattended. It was the strangest day that he
had ever known. A wild exhileration seized him and he began to run. He
had felt this way before when he had ridden to the hounds, when he had
run at top speed across the fields at Les Vignes, but to-day it was as
though he had never really known emotion. The thunder of the cannonading
at the Tuileries pounded through the great avenue. As he came nearer a
black sea of people loomed before him. The deafening roar of the guns,
the screams of the wounded, the wild shouting from thousands of throats
mingled, making a hurricane of sound. He stopped suddenly, a little
bewildered, and seeing there would be no chance of going farther on the
avenue he turned off and round down a side street, slackening his steps
as he came to the rue Royale.

Here the noise was greater, but although the street was filled with
people, some leaning out of the windows of shops, others shouting from
the roof tops, he was able to make his way for some rods. No one noticed
him. He was only a drop in a mighty ocean, only one among millions that
tenth day of August, 1792!

There was a noisy crowd of excited onlookers on top of a coach just
beside him and the owner of the coach, a prosperous spinner, who had
drunk deeply of Rhenish wine, was the noisiest of them all. He caught
sight of Lisle, who was wedged in between a group of taller people, and
cried out to him:

“Come up and see the show, my fine fellow!”

It was the first time that any one in all the wild city had spoken to
him. He jumped up on to the coach and stood there with the spinner and
his family. The next instant he forgot everything but the sight before
his eyes.

There was a group of people close to the cart. One could hear their
rough voices and harsh cries above the seething roar of the battle in
the great square beyond. Their scarlet caps gleamed in the relentless
August sunshine. They held on to the sides of the cart, screaming, “Vive
la nation!” and throwing their arms about each other in a sort of
frenzy. It was such as they who were to make a part of the mob that was
soon to govern Paris.

Far at the end of the Place du Carrousel grenadiers, pikemen, and
gendarmes lay dead and dying. Floating mists of smoke drifted with the
sudden, freakish changing of the wind, and through it all the battle cry
of “Death or Liberty” floated back to the watching thousands in the
Champs Élysées gardens and in the surrounding streets.

“The Marseillais have the Cour Royale!” was the word passed from lip to
lip, and then the cry of “Vive la Nation” swelled like the storm tide of
a sea.

“The Swiss have given way! The Swiss can no longer stand!”

This last cry roused Lisle as he stood on the spinner’s cart, and the
meaning of it caught his heart. The gallant Swiss guard who had fought,
like the brave fellows that they were, to guard the palace and the royal
family—the Swiss were vanquished!

“The men of the Faubourg de Gloire have the Cour des Princes! Hurrah for
the Faubourg de Gloire!” Again a mighty roar shook the very roofs of the
houses.

Another court of the palace had fallen!

The sun caught the bronze of the cannons in the square and they flashed
like scarlet fire through the iron-grey smoke clouds.

“The men of the Faubourg Saint-Marceau have taken over the Cour des
Suisses!”

The last court of the Tuileries was in the hands of the people.

Lisle stood still in the sunshine watching the end of all that had made
up his life. He was too young and inexperienced to realize very much
beyond the things that he had always known, quiet cherishing of old
traditions handed down, riches, beauty, unthinking narrowness. His king
and queen were in hiding in the back confines of the Tuileries. The
great palace itself was given over to the people who had taken it with
bayonet and gun. The roar of the cannons and of the thousands of voices
meant a good-by to the old ways. Lisle stood there like a statue, his
hands clenched at his sides, tears stinging his eyelids, his gold hair
ablaze in the sun. Then, suddenly, almost without knowing it, he raised
his voice and cried with all his might:

“God save King Louis!”

He had hardly cried the last word before he was seized from the cart and
half dragged, half carried at a swift pace down a side street off the
rue Royale, opposite which the cart had been standing. His captor turned
a corner swiftly, and then another, and puffing and gasping for breath,
he finally pushed Lisle under a gabled doorway where they could not be
seen from the street. Lisle’s blue eyes flashed fire into quiet brown
ones. His captor was a short, fat man in a snuff-colored cloak and wide
hat. He had a round, kindly face and, in spite of the situation, he was
smiling.

“Take your hand off me. You are not to touch me!”

Lisle was so angry that he spoke with difficulty and his companion was
so blown that he could only puff and pant. He looked furtively around
the arched doorway of the deserted shop.

“I was quick and no one shall say tha’ Humphrey Trail canna run when the
devil is close,” he said, as though to himself. Still holding Lisle
firmly by the arm, he turned and smiled at him again, in no way
disturbed by the boy’s haughty face and flashing eyes.

“Not so fast, my young gentleman, not so fast.” As he spoke Humphrey
Trail pushed Lisle back a little farther into the shadow. His hold was
gentle but firm. “Tha hast a rare bright face. I’d not thought tha’d
sell tha life so easy there on the cart. Hast tha no sense that tha
calls 'Long live the king’ with them beside tha that would cut tha
throat?”

Lisle tugged at Humphrey’s arm with both hands. He was still so angry
that he could scarcely speak. After a moment he called out again, “God
save King Louis,” and smiled mockingly at Humphrey Trail.

His captor seemed in no way put out by the cry, for the side street was
deserted and there was no one to see or hear them.

“Tha would do well to stop tha foolishness and listen to sense. Tha
cannot help tha king by tha shouting. Hark to me, lad, and ponder well
what I say. This is the greatest day that France has ever known. Mark
me, lad, this is a day of brave deeds and clean fighting. Days will come
so black that the country will never lose its shame o’ them; but to-day
the Marseillais have fought for the love o’ nation, and they have fought
well.” Humphrey still held Lisle as he spoke but loosened his grasp when
Lisle said:

“There is no need to hold me, for I shall not run away from you. There
is no harm in you, except that you are meddlesome. You say the
Marseillais fought bravely. Well, the Swiss guards fought better! Even
our servant, Henri, who is from Provence, spoke of their bravery!” There
was a choke in Lisle’s voice, though he tried to swallow it. It did not
escape Humphrey Trail. [Illustration: Humphrey Trail] “Not so fast
again, young lad. I but meddled, as tha calls it, to save tha life!” he
said, and, meeting Lisle’s flashing eyes with his kindly ones, he
smiled.

Lisle held out his hand. “I believe you, Humphrey Trail, and I thank
you. Know that I am grateful.”

Humphrey shook Lisle’s hand warmly.

“Th’art no fool that tha remembered my name from my sayin’ it that once.
Tha speaks English as well and maybe better than I who was born on a
Yorkshire moor,” he said.

Lisle looked at him curiously. “You come from England—from Yorkshire!
Why are you here?”

“I’d many a bit o’ gold coin saved from my shearin’ and sheep sellin’. I
wanted to see things about the world, to go to foreign parts where there
wasn’t just milkin’ and farmin’. I wanted to see a bit o’ life, and I am
seein’ it and likely to see more.” Humphrey laughed as he spoke and
Lisle laughed, too. All anger toward his rescuer had gone, although he
still resented being thought stupid for having shouted for the king, and
being carried off by this funny, fat farmer in such an unceremonious
way.

Humphrey Trail caught hold of his arm and said:

“Haste tha home, young lad. Keep within tha doors for a spell o’ days
till things settle a bit. If it please tha, I’ll see tha to tha door!”

“Thank you, Humphrey Trail, I have no fear of being on the streets. I
can go my way quite well alone. I cannot promise you to stay within
doors but, though I shall always shout for my king, I will not forget
your advice entirely.” Lisle held out his hand and the farmer shook it
again warmly, saying:

“Good-by to thee, lad.”

He watched Lisle as he walked on down the narrow street and he muttered
to himself, “Th’ lad, th’ proud, odd lad!”

Toward the end of the narrow lanelike street Lisle paused, hesitated,
turned back a step or two, paused again, and then went straight on
without looking back. Humphrey noticed the action. The boy had something
he wanted to say to him.

“Th’ lad would ask a favor o’ me but his pride put it by him. He wants a
friend and there maybe is no one else.” As this thought came to him,
Humphrey Trail threw the cape of his coat about his shoulder and walked
rapidly in the direction Lisle had taken. He never lost sight of him.
Lisle walked straight ahead and did not once look back. He had lost his
velvet cap in the affair of the cart and he walked on hatless, unafraid,
his hair, a sweep of blazing gold, tied at the back of his neck with a
flaring black bow. Humphrey’s heart almost failed him as he watched
Lisle. It was well indeed for the boy that this tenth of August was not
a day for any one person. It was a day of great issues and the time had
not yet come for individuals! It was a day of wild excitement, of
gallantry and courage! Humphrey Trail had spoken rightly when he had
said that it would be the bravest and the best day of all. Those who
guarded the Royal family in the Tuileries had fought like the chivalrous
knights that they were. There were never more valorous soldiers than the
red-coated Swiss guards who held their places for the king until they
could no longer stand. On the other side, there were never cleaner,
braver men than those gay, unfearing men of the Marseillais battalion,
who had marched for weeks, through every kind of weather, to fight for
liberty in Paris, and who died singing their beloved Marseillaise with
their last breath,

“L’amour sacrée de la patrie!”

Lisle reached his home in safety and, turning in at the iron gates, ran
up the marble steps and pulled a silk rope at the side of the grilled
iron door. He heard the bell clang through the great house. The door was
opened at once by Henri, who gazed at him with a white face and gasped
out:

“Monsieur Lisle, Madame, your mother, is beside herself in fear for
you!”

When Humphrey saw the great doors close after Lisle he turned and walked
rapidly away. He knew where the lad lived and he would not forget the
house.

Lisle was met at the door of the first salon by his mother, who caught
him by both shoulders, raising a pale, frightened face to his.

“You have been out alone in all this rabble, you who are only a child.”
She caught her breath with a sob as she spoke.

“I have been out, but I am not a child, maman, and I have made a friend
all by myself, without any help from the family.” Lisle smiled at his
mother. “I have made a friend in Paris to-day, and his name is such an
odd one, maman. It is Humphrey Trail!”



                              CHAPTER VII

                             AT LES VIGNES


“Mother Barbette is making fig jam and Nannette has given me some
croissants. Jean and I will take a little bowl of the jam with us and we
will have a picnic in the woods!”

Marie Josephine announced this from the foot of the wide granite steps
leading to the terrace at Les Vignes. Hortense sat under a
wide-spreading oak tree at the right of the steps. She was doing a piece
of tapestry for a fire screen, weaving the glowing colors, crimson,
orange, and blue, in and out, and every now and then holding her work in
front of her, surveying it critically.

“You are such a baby, Marie Josephine, thinking always of silly plays
with that infant, Jean. Why do you not bring your embroidery and sit
here with Cécile and me under the tree. You promised maman that you
would finish the shawl of Great-aunt Hortense so that she could have it
when the cold days come. Her house at Saint Germain is so chilly!”
Hortense shook out her silks as she spoke, holding them so that the
sunlight flickered through them.

“Bother Great-aunt Hortense! She always fusses and frets about something
and maman is so in awe of her. We treat her as though she were the
queen. I hate sewing when the sun shines like this. I don’t like it any
time. I tried to embroider one rainy day when Jean and I listened to one
of Dian’s stories in Mother Barbette’s cottage but I could only think of
the story!”

Cécile du Monde, who came walking slowly along a garden path, laughed at
Marie Josephine’s last words, but Hortense frowned.

“You are too old to be so silly. You’ll be thirteen in November. We may
have to stay here at Les Vignes for a year or even longer before we can
go back to Paris. I should think you would want to begin to learn to be
a young lady, Marie Josephine!”

“Name of a name, Hortense, do not preach so much!” Marie Josephine
returned crossly, but smiled the next moment at her cousin’s horrified
expression.

“That is dreadful. You are talking like a peasant. It is because you go
so much to Mother Barbette’s cottage. She is a good woman but it will
not do for you to pick up expressions of the people!” Hortense frowned
again and turning to Cécile, who came and stood at the back of her
chair, she said to her: “I wish that Le Pont had some authority over
Marie Josephine. She has none at all!”

“Bother!” put in Marie Josephine. “Come, Flambeau!” she called as the
dog bounded toward her up the terrace steps. She patted his head while
she looked across at her cousin.

“You are not really a prig, Hortense, but you do sound like one
sometimes. None of us are as nice as Mother Barbette and we never can
be—none of us, except Lisle,” she said.

Cécile held a great sheaf of white and gold lilies in her arms. Their
sweetness blew about the girls in the gentle wind. It was hot, with a
hazy, sleepy heat of mid-September. It was a little over a month since
they had come to Les Vignes.

“Don’t squabble, girls. See these beauties. I am going to give some to
old Martin for the supper table to-night. It is so warm we could almost
have supper out of doors,” Cécile said, sitting down on a low chair
beside Hortense.

“Why do you say almost, Cécile! Of course, we shall have supper outside
to-night, of course we shall! There comes Le Pont now. I’m going to run
and ask her. She must say 'Yes,’ for it will be a wonderful evening!”

Marie Josephine called this over her shoulder as she ran to meet the
governess who was coming toward them down the terrace steps. She caught
Madame le Pont’s hands in both of hers and swung them back and forth,
and the kindly, worried face of the little woman brightened.

“It is the most beautiful day in all the world, Le Pont. It is a fairy
day. Jean says that the birds and flowers talk to him right here in the
Les Vignes woods when it is like this!”

“You are happy. That is well, little one. Yes, it is like the long ago
days at Fontainebleau that I remember so well. We used to hunt in the
forest.” Madame le Pont sighed as she spoke and, taking Marie
Josephine’s hand, walked with her toward the others.

“Cheer up, Le Pont dear, and do say that we may have supper on the
terrace, for we have set our hearts on it, all of us, even old lady
Hortense!” coaxed Marie Josephine as Hortense and Cécile rose to give
the governess a chair.

“Sit here please, Madame. I will walk a little way with Marie Josephine,
who is going to Madame Barbette’s cottage,” said Cécile, putting her arm
about Marie Josephine and holding the lilies across her shoulder with
her other hand. “Wait for me one moment while I give these lilies to
Martin, chérie. May I tell him, Madame, that we may have supper on the
terrace?” Cécile turned toward Madame le Pont as she spoke.

The governess nodded, smiling a little sadly.

“Yes, of course, if it pleases you, children, and if the night air is
not too chill,” she answered as she sat down in Cécile’s chair beside
Hortense, her satin bag of work in her hand.

“Tell Martin to put on the candelabra with the gold shade!” Marie
Josephine called after Cécile as she went up the terrace steps, and her
friend looked back over her shoulder, smiling assent. [Illustration:
Cécile] A few minutes later the two girls were walking through the
forest in the demesne at Les Vignes, their arms about each other. They
wore long, full summer dresses of fine, sprigged Indian muslin, which
blew about them in the soft breeze. Cécile had on a garden hat, which
she had tied under her chin with a pink bow, but Marie Josephine swung
her hat back and forth by its black velvet streamers. She would not have
gone so far as to carry one if she had not known that Hortense and the
governess would have been shocked at her going about without a hat.

“I think that Neville will come to-night, Marie Josephine, perhaps by
sundown. Think of it, news of them all, news of Lisle!” Cécile bowed her
head suddenly, almost as though she were praying.

“We will be so glad to see Neville that we will not know what to do. If
I see him coming down the drive, I shall run and run until I come up to
him. He will have messages from maman and Lisle and Rosanne. Perhaps he
will bring word that they are on the way to us!” Marie Josephine put out
her hand to pat Flambeau, who was walking beside them.

“It is a fortnight since he went. He should have returned before this.
It is not more than a good two days’ ride with a fast horse and Neville
rides well. I hope so much that he comes to-night, Marie Josephine.
Chérie, we left in the midst of so much and we have heard nothing since.
I wish that we were not so far away from everything,” Cécile answered.

“You are worrying, Cécile, and you are not to do that. Try and be like
Bertran and Denise, who ride and dance and never seem to give a thought
to Paris. We are better off than if we were near a town. Jacques, the
runner, told Mother Barbette so. He said we were well out of all the
jamboree, but—oh, I know what you mean, chérie; we want news of Lisle!”

Cécile stopped in the middle of the pathway and kissed Marie Josephine
on each cheek.

“I’ll go back now and sit with the others under the oak tree. Sometimes
I am envious of little Jean because he has you for a comrade more than
I.” Cécile was smiling as she spoke, but Marie Josephine felt that she
was in earnest.

“If only you would come with us sometimes to the woods. We know of so
many pretty places and we have such jolly times,” she said.

Cécile turned and waved as she started back down the forest path and
Marie Josephine, after waving in return, ran on through the dark
archways of the trees. When she came to a clearing in the wood she saw
Mother Barbette’s little red cottage with the smoke rising in zigzag
fashion from its chimney. She ran up the one-stone doorstep into the
low, dark room. There by her deal table was Mother Barbette and there,
close beside her, licking a big iron spoon, was Jean. A row of jars
stood on the table and Mother Barbette was covering them neatly with
white paper when Marie Josephine ran up to her.

“I tried not to make any noise so that you would be surprised,” she
cried, throwing both arms around Mother Barbette and kissing her rosy
cheek.

“Little Mademoiselle, you are welcome. I have a nice little jar of jam
for you and Jean, and, if I mistake not, the kind Nannette has given you
some of her bread to eat with it!” Madame Barbette beamed on Marie
Josephine as she spoke, wiping her hands on her clean white apron.

Jean put the spoon in the empty stock pot in which the jam had been
cooked and which was still hanging on the iron crane. Then he ran over
to his little bed of oat straw in a far corner of the room and drew out
something from under the pillow. He wore his black smock which did not
show the dirt and his black locks flapped about his face. He was full of
delight at the thought of a long afternoon in the woods with his Little
Mademoiselle.

Jean chatted happily as he walked beside his friend through the dark
wood aisles. Now and again the sun would shine down in startling, golden
showers of shifting light. It was harvest time and the scent of newly
cut wheat blended with the spicy fragrance of the forest. As they walked
they crushed wild thyme and lavender under their feet and the sweetness
of the flowers was all about them. Jean kept glancing at Marie Josephine
a little timidly. She did not seem quite the same and he could not make
it out. He knew that she never ceased to think of her brother Lisle in
Paris and that she was wildly impatient for the coming of Neville with
news. They were to have had such a delightful afternoon in the woods,
but she did not say anything when he skipped beside her, talking of what
they would do. They had talked over all that had happened while she had
been away, of the firelight stories Dian had told him and his mother, of
the Paris peddler who had stayed three days in Mother Barbette’s cottage
during a heavy snowstorm and who had told them all the news of the city.
Jean had taken Marie Josephine to see the oven he had built for her in
one of their favorite nooks and they had roasted potatoes in it. She had
seemed to love it all just as usual, this dear country of Les Vignes,
but to-day she was different.

It was an afternoon of bronze leaves and sunshine, of the noisy
drowsiness of wood creatures, and of the brooding splendor of September.
When Marie Josephine looked back at it she always thought of sunshine
between black clouds.

“Shall we not have our bread and jam by the sundial, Little
Mademoiselle?” Jean asked her as they turned down a path strewn with
brown and gold pine needles.

“Yes, that will be splendid,” she answered, and then turning, called
over her shoulder: “Flambeau, where are you? We are going to the place
you love the best of all, the sundial!” She swung her hat by its
ribbons, throwing it up in the air and catching it now and then. She had
gathered her curls together into a dark coil, which bobbed over her
shoulders as she walked.

“Dian is going to show us the three baby lambs to-morrow. Do you love
Dian, Little Mademoiselle?” Jean asked, leaping along beside her, for
she had begun to run.

She nodded and when she sank down at last on a bank of moss she smiled
and nodded again.

“I love Dian because grandfather thought so much of him. He once said,
'Some people in this world are different and Dian is one of them!’ That
is the reason that we love to hear his stories!”

They sat facing the sundial. There was no place that they loved so well
as this quiet nook in the heart of a dense wood. No one really knew
exactly how the sundial came to be there. The story was that an ancestor
had wished to be alone with time and had had this place made for
himself, where he used to spend long hours writing who knows what,
perhaps verses, soliloquies, essays. At any rate, the sundial still
stood in the heart of the wood and the gardener kept the brush from
growing too close to it.

“You have not told me one fairy story since you came this time,” Jean
reproached his friend as he opened the little green basket and brought
out the jam and the croissants.

“I told you of the noises of Paris and how I lay awake and listened to
them, of how Rosanne and I went to the fancy dress ball and hid in the
balcony and watched the others dance. I told you about the funny café in
the old green mill and the dark woman who made us the omelette. Why do
you want fairy stories when real things are so wonderful!”

Jean looked so meek and contrite as he sat there on the moss bank like a
little brown gnome, that Marie Josephine laughed out loud. Jean was her
good comrade and dear friend, but she loved to tease him.

“Let us talk about Neville while we eat the croissants and jam. I can
just picture him riding in through the gates. You and I will run to meet
him, Jean. He will be covered with dust because he has ridden so fast.
He will have a big packet of letters in his pocket for us all and he
will bring news of maman and Lisle. Oh, perhaps he will bring word that
they are coming soon.” Marie Josephine clasped her hands together in her
earnestness. Then she took a bite of the croissants and jam and said
something to Jean which so surprised him that he sat bolt upright on the
moss and stared at her.

“I wish you weren’t such a very little boy, Jean. I wish you were old
enough to plan and do things, and that you knew about something besides
squirrels and jam and playing in the woods!”

Jean’s eyes snapped and his lips trembled.

“I am not a baby, Little Mademoiselle, truly I’m not,” he answered, but,
as though in contradiction of his words, two big tears rolled down his
cheeks.

Marie Josephine jumped up and came and sat down beside him, leaning back
so that her hand rested on the grey stone base of the sundial. A field
rabbit popped out from a clump of hedges near them, twinkled his ears,
and vanished into the underbrush. Jean smiled through his tears, and
wiped his eyes with his jacket.

“I didn’t mean to be unkind. You can’t help being young, of course, only
you don’t seem to wake up.” Marie Josephine leaned toward him eagerly as
she spoke. “I can’t express what I mean. They all think I’m a baby, too,
at Les Vignes—Le Pont and Hortense, all of them except Cécile—but I
think more than they do and I know things that they don’t know, things
about which grandfather thought and told me. You and I have always been
such friends and I know I can tell you anything. There is something that
I may have to do sometime—— Oh, I don’t know, probably not, but if I
should do this thing, you are the only one who will know!”

Jean’s tears disappeared. He smiled at his friend, and nodded his head
vigorously when she asked, “You’ll stand by me and keep my secret if I
tell you what I may do, won’t you?”

“You may trust me always, Little Mademoiselle. We are, as you say, great
friends. We have had many good times together,” he went on wistfully.
“You do not forget me even in the great city.”

“Of course I do not, stupide! What if one day we should have an
adventure, you and I! What if we should be in great peril and have all
sorts of thrilling escapes!”

“They did in the old days,” put in Jean eagerly. “They were always being
rescued. You know how it is in some of Dian’s stories!”

Marie Josephine stood up.

“It must be time to go and meet Dian. We never want to miss that. See
how the shadows have lengthened. Come, Jean!”

Jean picked up the little green basket and they went on through a long,
straight wood path, looking back every now and then at the grey sundial
in its patch of light.

“The sundial looks lonely, does it not? It has no friends but us!” Jean
exclaimed, waving his hand at it.

“You are a dear, funny boy, Jean, my little brother. Come, let’s run!”
As she spoke Marie Josephine caught hold of Jean’s hand and they fairly
flew along the path, out into the great, wide, sweeping meadows. They
ran on down a long lane, past the great barns, pausing at the last one
to gaze inside where the sun sifting in on the grain made a glowing
picture of grey and gold. They watched the great sieves, hung between
poles, bending backward and forward, winnowing the grain from the chaff.
Then they went on more slowly down the lane and, turning to the right,
they saw suddenly the vast countryside and in the distance a slowly
moving grey mass which was really the sheep coming home from pasture.
They waved their hands at a tall figure walking with the sheep and ran
toward it, through the fields. The air was luminous. There were flecks
of gold in the sky. It was like flying through space, this running
across the meadows to meet Dian and his sheep.

“Isn’t it good, Dian! Isn’t this a fairy evening?” Marie Josephine
called happily as they came up to the shepherd. Dian answered with a
slow smile:

“It is good indeed, Little Mademoiselle. There is nothing in the wide
world so good as a meadow at sunset.” Indeed, as he walked through the
tufted meadow grass in his grey smock, his tall figure outlined against
the gleaming stacks of wheat, he himself seemed a part of the radiant
evening.

Flambeau walked gingerly over the uneven ground, his eyes and ears alert
for field rabbits. Jean and Marie Josephine walked one on each side of
the shepherd.

“Jean and I had our goûter by the sundial. I’ve been talking to him
about growing up. He is so young! He thinks of nothing but the woods and
birds. He knows nothing of all that is happening in the world!” As Marie
Josephine spoke, Dian turned toward her, smiling his slow, sweet smile.

“It is well that he does not know too much. This is good for him to
know, just this,” the shepherd said, as he looked about him at the
pasture lands with the grey sheepfold beyond, the deepening rose of the
sky, and the zigzagging grey mass of sheep before them.

“It is good, Dian,” Marie Josephine laughed up at him. “I am so happy
now, and this afternoon I was so sad.”

They had come to the sheepfold paling and Jean ran forward to help Dian
open the great door. Vif, the sheep dog, ran around and around barking
his orders vigorously and scolding the lagging ones who wanted just one
more nibble of the sweet grass before being closed in for the night.

“The cigales have stopped buzzing, so that means summer is gone, doesn’t
it, Dian?” asked Jean as they pushed back the gate together.

“Yes, and it means that the green crickets will be here soon, harvest
will be over, and winter will come.” As he spoke the shepherd looked off
at the horizon, and a look not so much of sadness as of great
seriousness came into his face.

“I must run back, for it is time for Proté to dress me for supper. We
are going to have it outdoors to-night as a treat.” Marie Josephine
looked wistfully at Jean as she spoke. She would have so enjoyed his
company at the evening meal under the stars, out on the wide terrace,
but Jean did not seem to be at all envious of the outdoor supper at Les
Vignes.

“You are to come to see us to-night, Dian. You shall have some of the
new fig jam,” Jean called over his shoulder to the shepherd. Then as he
went on through the wood with Marie Josephine he said happily:

“Mother will set the little table out under the big pine by the red well
if I ask her to!”

“You will have a picnic, too, and I would rather go to it than to ours.
Good-bye, Jean, until to-morrow.” Marie Josephine was off like a flash
toward the great house which loomed before them as they made a sudden
turning in the wood path.

She ran in at the stone lion-guarded entrance door, up a great flight of
stone stairs, and into a big room on the right at the top of the stairs.
Proté stood by the window looking out, but on seeing her little charge
she came forward hurriedly.

“Martin says supper must be early because of the nights getting cold. It
was Madame le Pont’s order. You must wear something warm over your
frock. That was her order, too.” While she spoke Proté brushed out Marie
Josephine’s curls in front of a long, gilded mirror which hung back of
the dressing table. There were two silver candleholders which held
lighted candles, one on each side of the glass. Marie Josephine smiled
at Proté’s face in the mirror.

“I’ll wear Great-aunt Hortense’s shawl, you know the one she gave me to
keep until I’m grown-up. Let’s talk about the bal masqué, Proté. Wasn’t
it splendid of Rosanne to come for me that way with Gonfleur! I want to
see Rosanne. I’ve so many things to tell her!”

“It may be, Little Mademoiselle, that she will have a great many things
to tell you!” Proté’s round face looked solemn as she spoke. Marie
Josephine looked at her more seriously in the looking-glass.

“Yes,” she answered slowly. “Yes, of course, I suppose she will. She is
in Paris. Doesn’t it seem strange, Proté, when it’s so sweet and quiet
here in Pigeon Valley, to think of Paris?”

Proté shrugged her shoulders and raised both hands, hairbrush and all.

“It is best not to think of it at all,” she said.

“I must think of it, Proté. Maman is there and Lisle. Do you think
Neville will come in a few days, Proté? Do say that you do!”

“God grant it, Little Mademoiselle!” Proté answered.

They all smiled at Marie Josephine when she appeared ready for the
outdoor supper with Great-aunt Hortense’s shawl over her white dress. It
was a scarlet crêpe shawl, heavily embroidered in white fleur de lys,
and it was so long that it almost completely covered her. She threw one
end of it around her shoulder and walked majestically down the terrace
steps.

“You did that well, Marie Josephine. It was quite like mother’s Spanish
friend at the opera,” Bertran du Monde said to her, taking her arm and
bowing mockingly as they went toward the supper table. This was unusual
praise from Bertran, who generally quarreled with her.

“You think you can make me believe that you were ever allowed to go to
your aunt’s box at the opera at night!” returned Marie Josephine. It was
something she had wanted so very much to do herself.

“I have been several times. Is that not so, Cécile?” Bertran answered,
appealing to his sister, who had just come up to them with Madame le
Pont and Hortense.

Cécile nodded smilingly.

It was a merry supper party, for somehow everyone seemed to be in good
humor. Bertran pretended to be quite overcome at being the only
gentleman among so many grand ladies. He sat at the foot of the table
and Hortense at the head. She was lovely in rose-dotted silk, her wide
skirts fluttering about her in the light wind, a fichu of thread lace
fastened at her breast. Cécile was lovely, too, in her pale green, her
golden hair dressed high as she had worn it at the bal masqué. Denise
and Marie Josephine sat one on each side of the governess, both in white
except for the gorgeous red of Marie’s shawl. Bertran had changed from
his riding clothes into blue velvet trunks and waistcoat. His stiff
black hair was fastened with a huge black velvet bow. The buckles on his
velvet slippers sparkled like diamonds. They all laughed at him because
he had put a black patch over his left eyebrow in imitation of a
grown-up man-about-town. His face was so round and fat and he looked so
young that such a very grown-up affair as a patch amused them all,
especially Marie Josephine.

“We all know you are fourteen and that you will not be a Grand Seigneur
for a great many years.” Marie Josephine smiled sweetly across at
Bertran as she spoke and emphasized _great_.

“Is that so, Mademoiselle Spitfire,” Bertran answered, helping himself
to salad as old Martin passed it to him. He spoke good-naturedly.

There was a wide silver candelabra in the center of the table, covered
with a gold-colored silk shade. The delicate dishes and the silver
flashed in the soft light. Above them the stars twinkled a good evening
and a big, round September moon looked down.

“Is there no news of Neville, Martin?” Madame le Pont asked the old
butler as he removed the cloth and put some silver dishes of nuts and a
green bowl full of purple grapes on the table.

“No news, Madame, but it is early yet to-night,” Martin answered.

“I would not worry so much, Madame. It is bad traveling now and you know
Neville may not have been able to get fresh mounts,” Bertran said to the
governess with his most grown-up air.

“Do let us talk of something else. I’m so tired of having some one ask
every five minutes if there is news of Neville,” Denise said.

Madame le Pont broke a bunch of grapes on her plate and ate one slowly.
“We must hope for the best,” she said and they all laughed.

“You always say that Le Pont, darling, you know.” Marie Josephine put
her hand caressingly on the governess’s arm as she spoke.

“I threw pennies to the hovel children outside the gates as Denise and I
rode through the demesne. It was fun to see them grabbing in the dust
for them. One of them, a tall, lanky boy, fairly wallowed in dust! I
tell you, Madame, I laughed to see them, and wished I had more pennies
for them,” Bertran said to the governess.

“There is no town where they can buy things, but when the bailiff comes
to oversee, he will give them bread if they have money, poor things,”
Madame le Pont answered.

Marie Josephine sat silently looking up at the stars for a moment. It
was Grigge of whom Bertran had spoken, Grigge who was Jean’s cousin.

Martin had poured some sparkling yellow wine into the tall, thin glasses
and Bertran stood up suddenly.

“To His Majesty, King Louis of France,” he said.

The others rose to their feet and said, “His Majesty the King.” Then
they drank a little of the wine and sat down again.

They did not see that some one was coming slowly from the dark shrubbery
at the side of the terrace. Martin saw him first and dropped a dish of
apricots. Then the children and Madame le Pont all saw him at once, as
he came up to the table. He was a bearded man in ragged clothes, a red
cap on his head. They all sat perfectly still watching him, not one of
them cried out. It was Bertran who spoke first. He stood up and faced
the man.

“Who are you and what do you want?”

The man did not answer and Bertran said:

“Leave the presence of the ladies at once or I shall call the men on the
place.” Bertran was frightened, but did his best to make his voice manly
and convincing.

Suddenly Marie Josephine jumped up from the table, and ran up to the
stranger.

“Why, don’t you know him? It’s Neville!” she cried. There was a half sob
in her voice. Neville had come back. How was it that the others had not
recognized him? She had known him by his eyes at once.

He spoke and then they all knew him. Bowing to the governess, he said:

“Your pardon, Madame, but unless I came in this disguise there was no
way for me to come at all. I did not change before seeing you because it
is best that you note well my disguise so that you will all know me
again.”

His voice trembled and he sank on to a chair which old Martin pushed
forward.

“Martin, bread and hot soup at once! The man is famished and exhausted.
Bertran, pour some wine. There, that is well.” The governess came to
Neville’s side and held the wine to his lips. [Illustration: Bertran]
Martin went for food and the others, filled with concern and interest,
came up close to Neville.

When he could speak, Neville looked at Madame le Pont and said faintly:

“I would see you alone, Madame!”

Then it seemed as though they all spoke at once, crowding up to his
chair.

“No, no, Neville, tell us also. Tell us all there is to know!”

“Tell us that maman and Lisle are well and safe.” Marie Josephine put
her arm on Neville’s ragged coat as she spoke.

“Safe,” he answered. “Safe enough so far and there seems to be no real
danger for them yet, but the city—ah, Madame, the city!”

“Yes, yes, tell us. What of the city?” It was the governess who spoke.

“Marat has control of everything. They have taken twenty thousand stand
of arms from the homes of royalists and most of the royalists who could
escape have done so, but now the city gates are closely guarded. The
comtesse and Monsieur Lisle will not leave because, for one reason, your
great-aunt, the Marquise du Ganne, is old and ailing. She cannot escape,
and they could not leave her in the city as it is now. More than that,
we see no way for them to escape, even if it should be that Madame du
Ganne should not live!”

Neville fumbled in his pocket.

“I have a letter to you all from Madame la Comtesse and there is a note
for Little Mademoiselle from Monsieur Lisle. It was not really safe to
bring them but I took the risk.”

He brought out the two notes, handing one to Madame le Pont and the
other to Marie Josephine, who caught it and held it close to her heart,
the red shawl falling to the ground at her feet unheeded. She opened it
and read:

TO MY SISTER MARIE JOSEPHINE: Maman and I are deeply interested in the
progress of our royalist armies and the good news that Austria has
promised aid. This troublesome time is but for the moment. We are very
comfortable with Henri to take care of us. How is Flambeau? My respects
to Madame and the girls and greetings to Dian. See to it that you are
patient and unafraid.

                            My love to you,

                                    Lisle Georges Montfleur Saint Frère.

_Postscript._ Tell Dian I will have some stories to match his one day.

As Marie Josephine stood there under the stars, the letter clasped in
her hands, the words that her mother had spoken on the morning that they
had left for Les Vignes came back to her: “There may come a time later
on when it will not be so easy to get away!”



                             CHAPTER VIII

                             HUMPHREY TRAIL


“Minuit!”

A little girl peered through the gloom of a dark alley, toward the rue
Saint Antoine. Her thin, eager face looked anxious and her black eyes
darted here and there in search of him who until very recently had been
her best friend in all the world, Minuit, an alley cat!

“It’s time to go to bed, ma mie. Come to Vivi,” she called again and
suddenly from out of the greyness of the deserted alley, a gaunt, long
shape appeared. It was Minuit and when he saw Vivi he ran up to her with
a welcoming meow. She stooped and gathered him into her arms, hugging
him close to her.

“I’ve been alone all day, for the fat, funny man told me I’d best stay
inside to-day. He will be coming soon with my supper.” While she was
speaking she was making her way back to an open door through which a
faint light was gleaming. She was so used to being alone with Minuit
that she found it natural to talk to him as though he were a person.

A jangle of rough voices came down the alley from the shoemaker’s shop
on the corner of the rue Saint Antoine. Vivi was not at all frightened
of the voices or their owners, for she knew them. They had been friends
of her father and he would have been with them, talking far into the
night, had he not been killed the summer before by some pieces of lumber
from the big pavilion falling on him. The pavilion had been erected
after the storming of the Tuileries and he had been one of hundreds who
had offered to help put it up. He was a licorice water seller by
profession and all that he had left Vivi of worldly goods was his tin
tray and the cups dangling from it. She hoped to make some sous in the
spring selling the cooling drink in the streets. Now that the cold
weather had come, no one was thirsty enough to drink licorice water, and
if it had not been for the fat, foreign stranger, who had taken the room
above her and who never failed to bring her something to eat when he
came in at night, she would have had to go down the alley to beg a bit
of bread from the shoemaker.

She went through the open door, climbed a short flight of rickety
stairs, and opened a door at the right of the first landing. The room
she entered was small and bare. There was a cot in one corner covered
with a piece of sacking, a deal table close to a tiny, rude fireplace,
and a chair. Some pieces of a broken box lay on the floor near the
fireplace. Vivi went over to the cot and put Minuit down on it. Then she
went over to the cupboard and threw open its rickety door. There was
nothing at all to eat in the cupboard and Vivi made a face at it. She
had never heard of Mother Hubbard, but she must have felt very much like
her as she saw the bare boards and heard Minuit’s entreating meow.

“Never mind, Minuit, the fat man will bring us something to eat. Let us
go to sleep under the sacking until he comes.” She picked Minuit up in
her arms as she spoke and going to the cot, curled up on it under the
sacking. Before she knew it, she and her purring friend were fast
asleep.

Vivi was awakened by a loud scrambling of rats. She could hear them
fighting and chasing each other through the wall as she sat up on the
cot and rubbed her eyes. She jumped up and, drawing the cot close to the
dusty window with its small jagged corner of broken glass, leaned
forward so that she could see down the alley as far as the rue Saint
Antoine at the end of it. She did not have to wait very long before she
saw a short, stout figure in a long cloak and wide hat coming toward her
through the dusk.

It was the figure of Humphrey Trail, or “the fat, funny man,” as Vivi
spoke of him to Minuit. He gave a little knock on the door and came in,
bringing a rush of cold wind with him. He had a bundle in his arms and
going over to the table he put it down, yawned, and looked at Vivi. She
came slowly toward him, trying not to look too eagerly at the table. Her
rough black hair flapped about her face as she pulled up a chair for
him. When he had sat down in it, she jumped up on the table beside him.

“I told Minuit you would bring something,” she said, smiling at him. He
smiled back at her, opening the bundle which was done up in brown paper.

“Food we shall have, tha and I and tha friend th’ cat,” said Humphrey,
tearing off the paper and bringing forth its contents, a loaf of bread
and a hunk of cheese. He felt in his pocket and drawing out his big
jackknife, cut a generous slice of the bread and a good supply of
cheese. He put the cheese astride the bread and handed it to his little
friend with a bow.

Vivi nodded her gratitude. She was too busy taking big bites out of the
bread and cheese to thank Humphrey in words. He was well pleased at her
enjoyment of the simple meal and took his own share with a relish.
Minuit was not forgotten either and ate his portion greedily. Humphrey
spoke to him apologetically.

“Tha shall have tha dish o’ milk one day when milk is easier got,
beastie,” he said. Minuit, who had not tasted milk since the days of his
infancy, did not seem to be at all put out because of the present lack
of the beverage. He jumped up on to the table beside Vivi and began to
lick his paws. Humphrey Trail balanced himself uncomfortably on the
rickety chair as he ate his supper. He had had only a bowl of hot soup
in a small café on the rue Royale at noon, and he was as hungry as his
two companions. As he ate he thought deeply and hardly heeded Vivi when
she went over to the cot. His French was so limited that they could only
hold brief conversations.

Minuit gave Humphrey’s arm a soft bump with his head to remind him that
he was holding an uneaten bit of cheese in his hand. Humphrey gave him
the cheese, accompanied by a pat on the head. Then he relapsed into
thoughtfulness again. He sat a long time at the deal table with his
plump, round face propped up on his two hands. He was thinking of Lisle
Saint Frère and of the great house where he lived and of all that had
passed since he had snatched the boy from the spinner’s cart, when he
had called out, “God save King Louis!” What awful things had happened in
Paris since that night of the tenth of August when the gallant
Marseillais had stormed the Tuileries and awakened Paris to action! Ah,
that had been a great day for the people! They were worth-while men,
those Marseillais who had cheered their long march across France with
their own songs, who had come in their simplicity and valor to avenge
their wrongs, to start a new era of liberty for the people, but who had
not known, alas! that innocent people would so cruelly suffer, that
Paris would go mad.

He had made his decision to remain in Paris on that August night, as he
paced up and down his room at the Croix d’Or. He would stay on, even if
his staying might mean his death. His heart bled for the people of
France who had been starved and taxed and unjustly treated for centuries
and he had rejoiced when he heard the new song of liberty shouted in the
streets:

                     “Allons enfants de la patrie,
                     Le jour de gloire est arrive!”

Humphrey would have answered, if any one had asked him, that he had
remained in France to “see the fun,” but this was not so. There was
Vivi, who depended on him for her daily bread, and there was some one
else who might need his help also. He knew in his own mind that it was
greatly because of this some one else that he had decided to stay. The
some one else was Lisle.

Humphrey roused himself and got up, wrapped the bread and cheese
carefully in brown paper, and, going over to the cupboard, put them on a
shelf. It made him happy to supply food for little Vivi. He had come
across her in a strange way. He had witnessed the accident at the
pavilion which had caused the death of her father. The poor man had been
selling his licorice water when the timbers from the pavilion fell on
him. While some one went to get a cart in which to take him to a
hospital, Humphrey held the man in his arms and spoke to him in his poor
French. Afterward he had visited him at the hospital, and just before
the man died, promised to look after his little girl. Humphrey had
picked up the man’s tray and tin cups and given them to Vivi. He moved
into the attic room above hers, so as to be able to look after her. His
good action proved a safeguard to himself, for all foreigners at inns
were being questioned and put under suspicion, and his days at the Croix
d’Or would have been numbered had he remained.

Humphrey had sat down again at the table and he remained there for a
long time, deep in thought. Suddenly he was startled by sounds of wild
laughter and shouting from the rue Saint Antoine, as groups of citizens
danced by. They were shouting a new and terrible song:

                        “Dansons la Carmagnole,
                        Vive le son du canon!”

Humphrey stood up, wrapped his snuff-colored cloak about him, and
picking up his wide hat, went out, closing the door softly behind him.
He made his way through the alley to the noisy rue Saint Antoine and
went on swiftly through the dark, wintry streets. Everywhere were
hurrying masses of people. Snatches of the “Ça Ira,” the favorite song
of the crowds, could be heard on all sides and wild, dark faces under
scarlet caps peered out of the gloom. He turned in at a brightly lighted
shop on the rue Royale. It was the bakery shop where he had bought for
Vivi the first cake that she had ever eaten. Now he wanted to buy her
another.

On the first days of his visit to the great city, Humphrey had come to
this bakery several times, in order to indulge in his love for sweets.
It had once been very fashionable. Less than a year before, it had been
filled with smart lackeys, who carried charming boxes of maroons or
candied grapes to their ladies’ sedan chairs. Now no such finery was
seen. Instead the shop was patronized by honest farmer people from the
country and rich merchants of the city who were heart and soul in
sympathy with the revolution, never dreaming that their turn to suffer
was coming soon.

The baker woman still sold her neat rows of cherry tarts. On the wooden
gallery above, talkative groups drank their eau citron and enjoyed the
good cakes. Humphrey eyed the pile of puffy brioche set out on a tray
next to a gleaming pile of fruit confits, and he wondered what to buy
for Vivi. He felt guilty in buying anything but bread, but he could not
resist the pleasure he would be giving Vivi, who had never had any
sweets in all her life. Humphrey admired Vivi because she had been so
brave when her father died, and because she could smile when she was
hungry!

As he stood there undecided, the shop door opened with a clang, and
turning his head, Humphrey saw a boy enter and stand near him at the
counter. After a moment, he realized that it was Lisle. He wore a shabby
black suit which had evidently belonged to a groom, his locks were tied
back with a bit of black tape, and the cap which he held in his hands
was a dismal, ragged one. He was evidently attempting a disguise, but it
was a poor one, and when Humphrey heard him ask the woman for the cakes,
his heart sank. Lisle’s attempt to change his voice was more futile than
his attempt to change his garb.

“I want a cake for a little girl, citizen, something simple but very
good,” Lisle said to the bakery woman.

“You want a cake, do you!” she waved her hand above a tray of cream
pastries, surrounded by green “cauliflowers” of almond flavor. Her black
eyes took in his appearance as she cried her wares. “Here are tartlets,
choufleur. Choose what you will!”

Humphrey felt an odd mixture of emotion as he stood there with his back
to Lisle. Lisle was a large part of his adventure, and his chief reason
for staying on in Paris. He had never forgotten the sight of the boy on
top of the spinner’s cart, waving his cap and shouting for the king. He
had been sent to be his friend. The little incident that occurred when
he had let Lisle go his way, after he had rescued him, had made him sure
of it. He had watched Lisle and seen him stop and start back, then pause
uncertainly and go on again. Something in the action touched Humphrey’s
big heart. The boy had needed his counsel, but his pride and
independence had forbidden his asking it. Since then Humphrey had gone
each night and stood for an hour in the shadow of the wall at the side
of the great house of the Saint Frères.

“What cakes will you choose? My time is not forever at your disposal,”
the bakery woman said impatiently.

Lisle regarded the cakes soberly.

“I want something simple for a little girl,” he repeated.

“I have just the thing, a plain sponge with white icing. You shall see.”

The woman moved away to reach the cakes at the back of a shelf just
behind her. Lisle turned round and, seeing Humphrey Trail, at once gave
him a smile of greeting. Humphrey made no sign of recognition. The woman
returned with the cakes saying:

“They are three sous apiece. How many?”

Lisle answered, “I wish to have three.” He put his hand in the pocket of
his rough over-jacket and, drawing forth some coins, counted out the
desired amount and handed it to the woman. When she had given him the
small package he went out. Without waiting to buy his cake, Humphrey
Trail followed him.

Humphrey was angry as he walked out of the bakery shop. They were a
little in awe of him at home in the farmlands when his easy-going temper
was aroused. He came up to Lisle and spoke to him without ceremony.

“Th’ art mad, lad, I tell thee, to buy cakes at a shop where spies eat
and there are eyes in every corner. Th’ art a poor fool at play actin’
with tha soft speech and ways. Get tha home and, for tha mother’s sake,
stay within tha house!”

They had walked slowly along the crowded rue Royale. Lisle turned and
looked at his companion and suddenly he smiled.

“I like you, Humphrey Trail,” he said.

Humphrey felt his temper cooling, and as they turned into a quieter
street he slackened his pace. Nothing could have happened more timely
than Humphrey’s losing his temper. Had there been any vestige of
suspicion as to Humphrey’s sincerity in Lisle’s mind, it vanished
forever with his honest scolding.

“I like tha well myself, lad, but see that tha ken sense with tha manly
ways,” Humphrey said in answer.

“It is the first time I have been there, Humphrey Trail. Our friend,
Rosanne de Soigné, is staying with my mother and me. I was buying cakes
for her.”

“Th’ little girl can do well without sweets these sad days if it will
save her life,” he answered. As he spoke a deep sense of responsibility
fell on him and then he felt a warm glow of thankfulness that the boy
trusted him and was confiding in him.

They had reached the Saint Frère house and Lisle turned and held out his
hand.

“I have been glad of your company, Humphrey Trail. I know you are
honest, and just now there is no one else in all Paris whom I can
trust.”

“Tha can trust me, lad, that tha can. Can tha remember the name of my
lodging? Listen well. It is in the Impasse Forné, just off the rue Saint
Antoine, the fourth turn to the right from the corner where the women
are making waste for the guns. Tha cannot fail to find it and any
message sent there will reach me. I shall not be far and I shall be
ready to serve tha well.”

Humphrey shook Lisle’s hand warmly there in the shadow of the great
house.

“In all Paris, you are my only friend, Humphrey Trail,” Lisle answered.



                              CHAPTER IX

                                  DIAN


Dian the shepherd was always welcome at Mother Barbette’s fire. He sat
before it on a chilly December afternoon, warming his hands at a
piled-up heap of briskly-burning fagots. Jean had gathered them during
the autumn months, and they were stacked in neat piles in the back of
the room. Rows of onions were strung on lines along the ceiling, and
there were bowls of good fig jam on a shelf by the door. Mother Barbette
was prepared for what she felt would be a hard winter.

She was making a stew for supper and she was wishing that it might have
been a good one. She peered into the stock pot above the fire and
sighed. It was not a savory mixture that met her eyes. The stew was made
mostly of hot water and pieces of bread, to which she had added a cup of
milk, some salt, and a bit of garlic. She had eaten the stew all her
life, but always before she had had a piece of veal or pork to add to
it.

Dian the shepherd sniffed the stew delightedly.

“It’s good to know that there will soon be food,” he said. He often
shared the Barbettes’ supper and sometimes brought them meat which he
obtained from a near-by farmer in exchange for some of the cheese for
which he himself was famous. He never ate meat but seemed content always
with a cup of milk and a piece of bread.

“You are always of good heart and seem content with anything that comes
your way, Dian.” Mother Barbette poured some soup into a blue bowl as
she spoke and handed it to the shepherd. He took it, bowing his head
over it and closing his eyes for a moment. Then he ate it slowly, the
firelight playing on his long, straggling, red locks and work-worn hands
and lighting up his earnest, bronzed face.

“There’s a quietness about you, Dian. You are one of few words, but, if
I mistake not, you think more than the most of us,” Mother Barbette
continued. She sat down on a stool by the fire and began to mend Jean’s
little coat.

“There will be snow soon,” the shepherd gave answer. He ate his stew
slowly, for he was thinking deeply. He did not notice that Jean had come
into the room until the boy came close to the fire. Then he made room
for him on the settle.

“Tell us a good tale, please, Dian,” pleaded Jean, snuggling up to the
shepherd, for the cold wind blew through the little house and, even by
the fire, it searched out one’s toes and ears.

Mother Barbette eyed her son severely.

“There is never a moment of the day that you think of aught but to amuse
yourself. You can do little more than read and write, and you can thank
Dian that you accomplish even that much.” Mother Barbette spoke with
feeling. It seemed as though Jean would never grow up, he was so merry
of heart and so untouched by trouble. Her heart was sad enough, for she
knew that, since Neville had come back two months previous, there had
been no message from Madame Saint Frère and Lisle. They were hoping
daily for the coming of another messenger. Dian had spoken of snow. That
would mean bad traveling! Mother Barbette sighed as she patched the
little coat. She knew that, though there were stores in the cellars at
Les Vignes, there was very little ready money.

There was a sudden rap on the door. An instant later it opened, and in
ran Marie Josephine. Mother Barbette rose to her feet and came toward
the child, a look of concern on her broad face.

“Little Mademoiselle, what is it? You have come alone through the wood!”
she exclaimed.

Dian stood up, and Jean jumped about the room in sheer delight, for
Marie Josephine laughed as she gave Mother Barbette a hug.

“I came for some fun,” she said, “and because I was tired of them all,
even of Cécile, that is, not of her, but of her long face. You are not
to scold me, dear Mother Barbette, because I ran alone through the
woods.” She danced over to Dian and went on speaking eagerly. “I am glad
that you are here, Dian. Jean and I were saying only the other day that
it was so long since you had told us a story, not since we went last to
meet you when you came home from the pasture. I will sit on one side of
you and Jean on the other, and if we are very good, will you not tell us
something?”

Dian smiled a slow smile that lighted up his face and sat down again on
the settle. Marie Josephine and Jean snuggled down on each side of him,
and Mother Barbette went over to her stool, took up the coat and her
needle and darning cotton, and smiled across at them. The Little
Mademoiselle could only stay with them a short time, for she would soon
be missed at Les Vignes, but it was a blessing to have her there with
them. Mother Barbette’s kind heart swelled with love for the two
playmates sitting beside the good shepherd. She had been right when she
had said that Dian was a man of few words, but one who thought a great
deal. Many of his thoughts he told to the children when they walked back
with him to the sheepfold. Marie Josephine often thought of these walks
with Dian during the long, sedate months in Paris in the winter.
Sometimes she could almost smell the sweetness of the tufted meadow and
hear the evening call of the larks.

Dian sat quietly in the firelight, his black, smocklike apron falling
about his knees.

“You would have a tale, would you, Little Mademoiselle, you and Jean?
Then it shall be as you will. I will tell you of what I was thinking as
I walked back from the hill crest to-night and while I was fastening the
sheepfold gate.” He paused a moment and, as he sat gazing into the
flames, there was a look of great earnestness in his eyes, and of great
sadness, too.

“Yes, yes! tell us, good Dian, tell us. We love your stories, Jean and
I. We often talk of them together and we never forget any of them—'The
Purple Sun’ and 'The Grey Hill’ and 'The Waterfall That Sang’—we love
every one of them.”

Marie Josephine sat back contentedly. Nothing could happen to Lisle,
nothing in the world. They would all be together in the spring. She knew
that the governess and the older girls talked together very seriously
when she was not present. Even her beloved Cécile seemed grave and
preoccupied, and she felt that she did not confide in her any more.
Denise and Bertran still rode gaily through the demesne and danced in
the great drawing-room at Les Vignes in the evening. She was more and
more with Jean. She knew that Lisle would be disgusted with her if she
moped about, so she tried to be as happy as she could. She was really
happy this cold November night, enjoying the little adventure of having
run away to the cottage.

“I hope they will worry and fuss about me,” she thought to herself,
which was of course very naughty of her. Then she closed her eyes there
in the soft firelight and listened to Dian’s story.

“This isn’t a real story, Little Mademoiselle; it is only a fancy of
mine. I was thinking to-night, as I walked home in the sunset, of a
young lad of noble birth, who lived many years ago, here in France, in
the time of the long-ago King Louis XI. It was the time of knights in
armor and of deep dungeons. It was a time like the present, when every
man’s hand was raised against his brother. All the long way home it
seemed as though this young lad walked beside me. He was clothed in blue
and silver and his hair was like the corn when it is ripe. There was a
falcon on his wrist because he was one of the king’s pages of the hunt.
Many a night he had held a torchlight for the king and had shouted,
'Hallali!’ when the greedy pack caught the poor stag. He was a gallant
youth and a brave one, though he was so young that he had never seen
sixteen years. He loved to run with his fellow pages through the forest
at dawn and to throw the javelin with them at sunset. He was also a true
and loyal knight. One day, because he loved his king, he was carried
away to a dungeon and no one knew where he had gone.”

Dian stopped speaking and sat looking into the dying fire, his hands
spread out upon his knees. Jean ran over to a wooden box by the door and
came back with his arms filled with fagots. He threw them on the fire
and the sudden burst of flames made the pewter utensils above the mantel
shine like diamonds and brought out the crimson gleam of the woven rug
that covered Mother Barbette’s four-poster bed. Pince Nez, the crow, who
had been asleep with his head cocked on one side, woke suddenly and gave
a solemn croak. When he croaked Mother Barbette gave a little start and
sat up. She had been fast asleep and had not heard more than a word or
two of what Dian had been saying. [Illustration: Pince Nez] Jean ran
back to the settle after he had put on the wood and sat down in his
place by the shepherd’s side. He smiled across at Marie Josephine with
his merry black eyes. “We like the story, do we not, Little
Mademoiselle?” he asked her. She sat looking down at her hands which
were folded in her lap. She did not answer him or look up at him, for
there were tears in her eyes and she did not want any one to see them.
While Dian had been talking she had been thinking with all her might.
She had begun to suspect that he was speaking of Lisle, and as he went
on she became sure of it.

“There was a cowherd on the lands where the young page lived,” Dian went
on. “This cowherd was sorely grieved at the trouble that had come to his
master. He thought of the page night and day. He wished more than he had
ever wished anything that he might find a way to rescue him, and he
whispered the wish as a prayer to the sun and the stars.”

A knock broke in on the quiet earnestness of the shepherd’s voice and
the next instant the door opened and Neville came inside. He was
wind-blown and breathless.

“You are here, Little Mademoiselle, and that is well. The young ladies
and Madame le Pont were uneasy about you. Madame le Pont requested me to
say that you were to come at once.”

The shepherd stood up and reached for his cloak from the back of the
settle. He was a taller man than Neville and had the look of one who had
lived always in the open, close to the secrets of beasts and birds.
Neville wore again his wig and his familiar house uniform of red and
gold. It did not seem possible that he could ever have worn the queer,
shabby disguise in which he had come back from Paris. He looked very
pale and ill. No one but the shepherd knew of the dire peril through
which the faithful man had passed in order to return with the message
from the comtesse and to protect the little group at Les Vignes. Dian
knew, and there was something he had to say to him, so he put on his
cloak and went with them.

The wind shrieked eerily as Marie Josephine walked through the forest,
with Neville and Dian on each side of her. Mother Barbette had wrapped
her cloak about her and pulled the cape up over her curls. She walked
quietly, holding Dian’s hand so that he might steady her steps over the
fallen branches of trees or the sudden twists of roots here and there.
Neville’s lanthorn cast a dancing light ahead of them.

Marie Josephine was thinking deeply. Could it be that she was the same
laughing, mischievous girl who had run away after dinner, leaving the
others in the great firelit drawing-room? She had tried to be happy
because she could not believe that anything could happen to those she
loved. Now, suddenly, she was awake, and because it was her nature to do
things thoroughly she was very much awake indeed. She knew, as she
walked back under the moonless sky toward Les Vignes, where the lights
shone faintly, that she would never be the same little girl again. Dian
had been speaking of Lisle. He had not said so, but she knew it. Dian
felt that Lisle was in danger. There was no use in being happy or
playing in the woods with Jean any longer. She must be awake. It might
be that there was something she could do!

She heard the clock strike eleven that night, and then twelve. She had
lain awake for three hours listening to the thin branches of walnut
trees swishing and flapping against her windows. When the clock struck
twelve she sat up in bed and listened. She had opened the window a
little way because she loved to feel the sweet, chill wind. She heard
voices quite distinctly by the side of the house. Some one spoke in a
low tone, and a voice answered that she knew right away was Dian’s.

“It is right that I should be the one to go. I have left a message for
the governess. Tell her not to fear. I shall reach them sometime
safely.” Whether because the wind changed freakishly, or because the
voices had gone on down the driveway, Marie Josephine did not hear
another word. She jumped out of bed and ran to the window and, kneeling,
peered out. There was no one about, and she did not hear anything now,
except the moan of the forest and the wail of the wind.

She turned her head as she knelt against the window casement and there,
coming toward her, was Cécile. How it happened Marie Josephine did not
quite know, but the next moment she was sobbing with Cécile’s arms about
her. Before she realized it she was in bed, tucked up warmly, with
Cécile close beside her. She told Cécile of Dian’s story and then of the
words she had just overheard, and she knew that Cécile was very excited
though she spoke quietly.

“Do you think it can be that Dian has gone to-night to Paris? Do you
think that is what I overheard, Cécile?” Marie Josephine asked her
friend, who answered steadily:

“I think that Dian has gone, and we must pray that he can help them.”

Cécile’s long braid of fair hair fell across her shoulders over her
velvet robe. She put her face down on the pillow beside Marie Josephine
and they both lay looking out at the late moon which showed fleetingly
through white clouds.

“I thought you had deserted me for your little friend Jean. You seemed
happy, just playing with him, and I was glad for you, but I have missed
your company so much of late,” Cécile said softly.

“I thought you’d rather be with the others, and that you look upon me as
a baby, the way the rest do,” Marie Josephine answered with a sob,
putting her arms around Cécile.

“No, Marie, I sometimes think of you as being the oldest of us all, and
the wisest. You think and dream when we are only sitting by and sewing.
Perhaps it is because you are so close to the wild wood things—perhaps
that is what makes you wise,” Cécile said.

“I’m not wise, but Dian is. He will take care of Lisle, I know he will.”
Marie Josephine smiled confidently in the dark as she spoke.

She lay awake beside Cécile for a long time, Great-aunt Hortense’s
tapestry covering them both. Dian was on his way through the wind-swept
night. Cécile, too, was awake. She was thinking of Lisle in his blue
velvet and diamonds and his jeweled sword, of the minuet which they had
danced together at the bal masqué on that last strange, happy evening.
Dian was on his way to help; for that she was thankful. Had she known of
Humphrey Trail, in the dingy Paris alley room, she would have been more
thankful still. Had she known of some of the plans in the mind of the
friend who lay beside her in the great four-poster bed, she would have
been astounded and alarmed!



                               CHAPTER X

                            IN THE SNOWSTORM


Dian heard the great clock on the stairs at Les Vignes boom out the
twelve strokes of midnight as he said the few hasty words of farewell to
Neville. He saw with satisfaction that the moon was out and that the
wind was changing. He walked down the great driveway which led through
the demesne. It was a good mile to the gates, but with his long, easy
strides he covered the ground with amazing quickness. At the left was
the dark outline of the wood and behind lay the wide terraces, grey and
bare this late November night.

Dian turned to his left at the far end of the driveway and entered a
narrow path bordered on each side by slim poplar trees, then he climbed
through a narrow opening in a low hedge and found himself on the
highroad. He walked quickly along until he came to the row of straggling
huts to which Jean had brought the loaves of bread on the August night
when he had tried to keep his cousin Grigge from taking one whole loaf
for himself.

He knocked softly on the door of one of the huts and waited, listening.
After a moment he heard a sound from within and then the door opened
slightly and a gaunt, thin face showed itself. It was the face of
Grigge, and when he saw the shepherd standing there, he came outside,
closing the door softly behind him. He had on the same old, shabby work
clothes that he had worn all day, having lain down for the night on his
heap of straw without removing them, glad of the little warmth they
afforded him.

“Dian!” he exclaimed softly. “Dian! Where are you going?”

The shepherd put his sack on the ground and, feeling in the inside
pocket of his cloak, brought out a goatskin purse and handed it to the
boy, who took it wonderingly.

“I am going on something of a journey, Grigge, and I am leaving my sheep
in your care. I am trusting them to you and I know that in spite of your
wild ways, lad, you will keep them faithfully for me. Let them pasture
until the snow comes and then be on guard for the wolves. Here is a bit
of money, only a bit. Mother Barbette will give you bread when she has
it to give, but there will not be overmuch for her and Jean. Farmer
Lessoir will sell you flour, such as it is. You must see to it that your
mother and the young children have their share.”

Dian put his hand kindly on Grigge’s shoulder, and he saw that the color
had come into the boy’s cheeks at his words. Grigge caught hold of the
edge of the shepherd’s cloak and looked up at him imploringly, for it
seemed as though he could not bear to say good-by to the one person in
all the world whom he loved and trusted.

“Oh, do not go away and leave me, Dian. It is awful to think of the
winter’s coming. What shall I do without you, Dian! No one will have
aught to do with me but you.” Grigge turned up the frayed collar of his
poor jacket as he spoke, for the chill air swirled about him
unmercifully.

“You are to be a man while I am away. Try to be brave and to add a
little comfort to the lives of your poor mother and your brothers and
sisters. Go to your aunt for counsel. She is a good woman and means well
by you all.” Dian lifted his sack as he spoke and threw it over his
shoulder.

“I’m not welcome there. I’ll have naught to do with them,” Grigge
answered sullenly, but realizing that his friend was about to depart he
caught his cloak again. “I’ll do well by the sheep, and I’ll try to
think of the others when the hunger is tearing at my heart. Will you not
tell me where you are going and why you leave this way in the stillness
of the night?”

Dian shook his head. “That I cannot do, Grigge, but if the good God will
it, I shall come back again. Remember all I have said and guard my sheep
well, for they are dear indeed to me. Hold your courage through the
winter. Who knows what good may come by spring!” He touched the boy’s
shoulder in farewell and was off down the wide road. [Illustration:
Grigge] Grigge gazed after him, his hands clasped together, a sob
catching his throat. It seemed as though all that he knew of kindliness
and comradeship was going farther and farther from him down the
wind-swept road. He had never known anything in his life but discomfort.
He had always been hungry and in winter he had always been cold. He was
rough and selfish and sullen and he knew it and most of the time did not
care. But as he stood there that night by the low door of his wretched
home, Grigge determined to be different! He went inside, and the wind
slammed the door behind him before he could catch it. The noise awoke
his little sister Letta, who whined, “It is cold; it is cold.”

“You are no colder than the rest of us,” Grigge answered roughly, but,
after hesitating a moment, he put the piece of shawl over her and then
tumbled down on to his mound of straw by the door.

Dian hardly heeded the weather as he quickly covered the ground. His
thoughts were with the lad he had left and the sad lot of the people who
lived at the very gates of a great house. He felt sad at heart, but said
to himself, as he had often done before, “There is no use in your
grieving for them, for that will not help them, and to help them is your
dearest wish.” Grigge was only one of thousands of young lads who were
made old and bitter by lack of food and the injustice that bound their
lives. Dian knew little of the great conflict that was raging in Paris
or of the armies massing throughout the land. He knew that the people,
who for centuries had been overtaxed and overburdened by the arrogance
and indifference of the nobility, had at last risen in revolt, but he
did not know that they were being governed by bad, unscrupulous men and
that there was no longer either law or order or justice in Paris or in
other parts of France. He had thought that it was right for him to go to
Paris, having had a feeling, for many days past, that the young Comte
Lisle, whom he loved, was in danger. So he had made his simple
preparations, telling only Neville, whom he knew to be faithful, where
he was going.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The evening on which Dian told the children, in Mother Barbette’s
cottage, about the young page in blue and silver was a wintry one in
Paris. The snow had begun to fall, slanting mistlike through dreary
alleyways. Although it was only a slight scurry and melted almost as
soon as it touched the ground, it covered, for a little while, much of
the soot and grime, making a fairy tracery about the roofs of the old
houses. The sleet blew in a rakish, zigzag way across the alley where
Vivi lived and far down the dim street beyond it. Curving northward, it
swirled past close-shut shop windows and gaunt, noisy tenements, until
it reached the great square in the middle of which stood the guillotine!

Then, in a sort of frenzy, it rioted down a wide avenue, spending itself
at last against the windows of a house, close shut behind iron gates, in
a quiet corner of Paris.

Lisle Saint Frère and Rosanne de Soigné were spending the evening in the
great drawing-room in front of the fire. Rosanne knelt by the dying
flames, peering at some nuts which she was roasting in a bed of coals.
Her fair hair fell about her shoulders, and she had on the same white
frock which she had worn on the night that she and Marie Josephine hid
in the balcony. She shivered in spite of the fact that she wore a little
velvet jacket over her frock.

“One of them is almost ready to pop. That’s yours. Wouldn’t it be a
jolly thing if we could roast one for Marie Josephine?” As she spoke
Rosanne leaned forward and picked out the nut with a pair of long bronze
tongs and laid it on the iron fender to cool. She had stayed with Lisle
and his mother ever since her mother had gone to nurse her father.
Events had crowded thick and fast after the departure of the others for
Pigeon Valley. Madame de Soigné had had just time to get away before the
gates were closely guarded, and her departure had been made possible
only because of an excellent disguise. There had been no word from her,
and Lisle and his mother did what they could to keep Rosanne from
feeling the anxiety which they themselves experienced. She never left
the house and they told her nothing of what happened in the city. She
was used to believing what she was told, but she thought a great deal
about it all, and she was more troubled than they knew.

“Do you think we shall be going to Pigeon Valley soon, Lisle?” she asked
suddenly.

Lisle shook his head, eating the nut gingerly, for it was still hot. He
and Rosanne had not known each other very well in the old days, but they
had become fairly well acquainted in the three months that they had been
together. Lisle did not find Rosanne half as interesting as the little
sister whom he missed so much, but he liked her, and he had a protecting
feeling for her. She was his responsibility, just as his mother was, and
he wanted to do his best for both of them. This was what made things so
hard for him, having to be careful for their sakes. What adventures he
could have if he were alone!

The days had been dull enough, in spite of all the happenings in the
city, and time dragged heavily. They had had no word from Neville since
he had left for Pigeon Valley, and the longing to hear from, the others
at Les Vignes seemed sometimes more than they could bear, but each hid
his emotion from the other. They had been taught to do this always, and
now their training was making it easier for them to seem cheerful.

“Do you think we can go to Pigeon Valley in the spring, Lisle? Please
answer me,” Rosanne persisted. When Lisle still did not reply, she went
on, trying to hide the tremble in her voice: “It is just as Marie
Josephine said. You think that you are so very grown-up. You will not
tell me of all you fear. I know that we are in great trouble. I’ve
thought more about it since yesterday morning when Madame Saint Frère
went to your Great-aunt Hortense, who is so very ill. There were tears
in your mother’s eyes. I saw them. She is only to be away for a few
days, and yet she did not like to leave us. Tell me, Lisle, please tell
me all about it. I know it is a revolution and that I may not go out on
the street to walk or ride and that the servants have left us and dear
maman has not sent me any word since she went to papa. Tell me, Lisle,
is it all so dreadful?”

Rosanne came and stood looking up at Lisle, her brown eyes eagerly
watching his blue ones as he answered her.

“It’s a bad time,” he said slowly. “It can’t last much longer. Yes, it
is a revolution and there is danger for some people, but we are safe
enough. There is no reason why we should fear.” Lisle was glad that
Rosanne had spoken. It made them seem more like comrades and he found
that it was a relief to talk over the situation. He saw that she was
missing his mother and he felt vaguely that he must try to divert her.
He, too, missed his mother, but of course he would not admit it even to
himself. The comtesse had shown a softer side than any he had ever seen
before during the past months that they had been alone. The three had
sat for long hours by the fire and she had told of the gay, careless
times when she had been a girl, when there had been nothing but gay
balls and gilded sedan chairs, laughter and satins to make up her days.
Now all her friends were gone, many being imprisoned in the Abbaye or
other prisons of Paris, some having escaped to England, some to
different parts of France, all because they and their ancestors had
oppressed the people.

Rosanne was right when she said that Lisle’s mother had not wanted to
leave them even for a few days. Great-aunt Hortense was ill and she had
sent her servant with a note begging her great-niece to come to her
bedside. She lived only a few squares away.

“Don’t worry, mother, we shall do quite well, Rosanne and I. Henri will
look after us as to food, and you’ll find us roasting nuts by the fire
when you come back. I shall take good care of Rosanne,” Lisle had
assured his mother.

The comtesse had put both her slender hands on his shoulders as she
answered him. “And of yourself, my son, my only son, my beloved,” she
had said. Lisle and Rosanne had thought often, since she left, of her
emotion.

“Teach me the gavotte steps again, Lisle. I shall soon be able to dance
quite well.” Rosanne held out her hand as she spoke. “I can hum the
melody again like this. Let us see if we can do it all the way through!”

Lisle thought it a rather silly thing to do, but he was uneasy about
Rosanne’s missing his mother, and he felt that it was his duty to keep
her cheerful. He found that he enjoyed the dance, for he directed his
companion in the different measures and he liked telling people how to
do things.

“You bow so beautifully, Lisle. You are just like the cavaliers on
Monsieur Watteau’s fans,” Rosanne exclaimed admiringly, as they reached
the end of a measure.

“You will soon do very well if you will keep your mind on it,” Lisle
answered as they hummed the bewitching melody of the last measure and
took their positions to begin.

Rosanne colored with pleasure. She would never have dreamed six months
before that she would be dancing with Lisle Saint Frère. She thought of
the August night when she and Marie Josephine had watched him from the
balcony as he danced with her cousin Cécile. What would Lisle think if
he knew what a very naughty thing they had done? Sometime it would be
fun to tell him!

As he danced, Lisle thought of something else his mother had said: “I
would have so little fear if I were leaving you with Neville. We can
trust him always, but we do not know, even though he has seemed
faithful, whether or not we can always trust Henri.” Lisle had said
nothing then to his mother. Much as he would have liked to have
reassured her, he did not trust Henri and never could pretend that he
did.

There was yet another thing that Lisle was thinking about. It made him
say to himself sternly: “You should be ashamed to let yourself fancy
such things. It is not fit that one who soon will go out to fight for
the king and queen should have silly fancies.” This is what Lisle called
his fancy. He had gone several times to the bakery where he had seen
Humphrey Trail, and twice of late he thought that on his return he was
being followed! He liked going to the bakery. He would sit at one of the
glass tables enjoying his eau sucré and a méringue and watching the
well-to-do merchants’ wives, who for the time being had nothing to fear,
come and go. No one had seemed to notice him particularly. The bakery
woman had looked at him a little curiously as she did up her crisp cakes
in neat boxes. He always wore the shabby old groom’s suit and he never
spoke, except to give his order and to buy the cakes for Rosanne.

Lisle had thought often of Humphrey Trail since the night that the
farmer had given him the Saint Antoine address. The man had meant well.
Of that Lisle was sure. There was comfort also in the thought that he
could find Humphrey if he should need him. Nevertheless, he had not
heeded Humphrey’s warning. He had continued to go to the bakery. It had
been one of his few pleasures during those strange weeks so suddenly
different from anything he had ever known. Never before had he eaten in
a cake shop or bought things for himself. Everything was changing. Six
months more and there would be no shop. The shoppers themselves would be
hiding for their lives.

“Henri will be back soon with the meat, and then let us have supper in
here by the fire,” suggested Rosanne as they stopped to rest from their
dancing.

The fire had died down, and Lisle saw that there was no wood left in the
wood box of hammered silver on the stone hearth. It was very cold and he
noticed, now that they had ceased dancing, that Rosanne was shivering.
Where was Henri? Why was he not taking care of them?

“I shall go out into the halls and call for Henri, and if I do not find
him, I shall go to the cellars for some wood. Stay here by the little
bit of fire that is left. I shall only be gone a few minutes,” Lisle
said to Rosanne, and leaving her he went out into the great marble hall.
He went over to the entrance door and, opening it, looked out at the
fast falling snow. As he did so, he thought he saw something dark in the
shadow of one of the lower doors, but when he peered again through the
darkness and the sleet, there was nothing.

He closed the door and walked down the hall. He could hear Rosanne
singing to herself in the drawing-room:

             “La petite Jeannette avait un poupée mignonne,
                Tra la la la, Tra la la la,
             Elle chantait pour elle une joli chanson,
                Tra la la la, Tra la la la.”

He called “Henri,” but there was no reply, and so he walked on down the
hall, through a long corridor as Marie Josephine had done when she had
gone to the secret cellar. He turned a corner, went down another
corridor, opened a door, and descended a steep flight of stairs. He knew
that they must have wood to last them until Henri should come in with
their supper. He saw that the small door at the end of the cellar that
led to the basement was open, a blast of cold wind drifting in. He
stooped and picked up as much wood as he could carry. Then he stood up,
holding the sticks against the dark velvet of his tunic. At that moment
some one caught him firmly about the waist. The wood fell with a thump
to the stone floor as his arms were tied quickly and skillfully behind
him. He was lifted across some one’s shoulders, and a moment later felt
the rush of cold wind in his face. Then his captor began to run with
him, swiftly, through the fast falling snow!



                              CHAPTER XI

                      “THA MUST NOT CRY OUT, LASS”


Humphrey Trail called himself all sorts of names as he stood in the
shadow near the side entrance to the Saint Frère house that night. The
sleet was changing into snow which gave no evidence of abating. Humphrey
tied his scarf closer about his throat and shifted from one fat leg to
the other. What a goose he was to come every evening and stand in the
shadow of such a gloomy, proud-looking house just because he was
interested in being of service to the proud boy who lived within it, and
who, perhaps, did not care a ha’penny whether he stood there in the
sleet and wind or not!

It was a fortnight since Humphrey had seen Lisle in the bakery shop and
had given him the Saint Antoine address. He had not seen him since and
he could only comfort himself with the thought that the boy knew where
to find him. It was hard for Humphrey, as he knew so little of all that
was going on and did not dare to ask questions of any one. Once he had
seen the servant Henri coming out of the bakery shop with a package, but
he had felt it wiser not to speak with him. Lisle had said that they did
not know whether or not they could trust Henri. Humphrey’s heart warmed
as he remembered how the lad had confided in him that night outside the
bakery shop. It comforted him as he stood there in the storm. He had
changed his position so that instead of facing the side of the house, he
faced the front. It was not wise as a rule to do this, or so he had
felt, because the position was too public and open, even in the
darkness, but to-night the blizzardy snow made it safe enough.

Poor Humphrey, how his heart thumped when suddenly voices caught his
ear! He had no time to be alarmed for himself or to do more than stand
close to the wall when these words reached him: “The door by the
basement steps.” Then followed a sentence or two which Humphrey could
not understand. Then he heard the words, “The girl!”

Two figures made their way down the side street, away from the house.
Humphrey watched them until they were out of sight. Then, looking back
at the great mansion, he saw that the entrance door was being opened by
some one who seemed to find the process difficult, and the next moment a
little girl peered out into the storm. She glanced up and down the
street, trying, evidently in vain, to distinguish something besides the
swirling snow. Then she went inside, and the heavy door closed behind
her.

Humphrey at all times found it difficult to think quickly, but he knew
that he must do so this one time. He could only surmise, from the few
words which he had overheard, that Lisle had been seen in the cellar, or
was to be decoyed there. The incident of the little girl’s coming to the
door, as though in search of some one, convinced him that she was
looking for Lisle. He thought he had recognized Henri in one of the men
who had passed by him, but he was not sure. He wondered why they had
gone away from the house, instead of entering it. He was thankful that
they had not done so, but the fact was borne in upon him that Lisle had
been abducted either by the men whom he had seen or by their
accomplices. He felt fairly sure that they would return for Rosanne and,
as he walked rapidly around the side of the house, he tried to think
what it was best to do.

He found to his relief that the cellar door was open, and he slipped
inside and made his way to the staircase, stumbling over the wood that
Lisle had dropped. He climbed the stairs cautiously and passed quickly
down the long corridors, pausing when he came to the great entrance
hall. A door at one side stood open, and he could see a spacious,
candle-lit room beyond. It was the salon, and as he entered it he saw
the little girl standing by the fireplace. As he started to cross the
room, he spoke so as not to startle her too much.

“Tha has nought to fear, little lady. 'Tis Humphrey Trail, and Monsieur
Lisle has spoken of tha to me!” he said.

It was wise of Humphrey to speak so to Rosanne, for, instead of fear,
she felt relief at once, and ran across the room to meet him, saying
eagerly: “Where is Lisle? Yes, he spoke of you last night. He said he
trusted you out of all Paris. He went to the cellar for wood quite
awhile ago. He said to stay here, and I did for such a long time. Then I
went to the hall and called him. He did not come, so I opened the front
door and looked out. Where is Lisle, Humphrey Trail?” Rosanne’s voice
broke as she put this question to the farmer, and she had to try very
hard not to cry.

Humphrey beamed upon her, and there was something so reassuring in his
smile that Rosanne smiled, too, through her tears. “Tha’ll be a brave
lass for his sake and the sake of those tha hold dear. I’ll give my life
to find tha lad, but now tha must come with me as quick as ever tha can.
Tha must trust Humphrey Trail. If th’art not a brave girl, I canna help
tha!”

While he was speaking Humphrey had gathered up a heavy, velvet drapery
which lay across the inlaid mother-of-pearl table near the fireplace,
and before Rosanne could think he had wrapped it around her. “The cold
is bitter. I’ll hold tha close,” he said.

He lifted Rosanne in his arms and glanced back at the shadowy doorway.
She put both her arms around him and looked up at him, her bewildered
brown eyes shining bravely.

“I’m not afraid, Humphrey Trail, and I do trust you. You’ll take me to
Lisle, won’t you? You’ll promise to find Lisle for me!” she said. He
nodded and whispered:

“I’ll try!”

He moved cautiously across the room and when he reached the hall he
paused, putting up his hand to warn Rosanne not to speak. He thought
that he had heard a sound. As he stood there, holding Rosanne closely
wrapped in the blue velvet table cover, he saw the front door open
slowly, and he knew that those who had taken Lisle away had come back
for Rosanne. He knew, too, that a great deal depended on her, and he
spoke quietly in her ear.

“Tha has nought to fear. I know well how to take tha away but tha must
not cry out, lass, not for a’ the world!” Rosanne nodded her head for
answer, and Humphrey crept with her along the hall, keeping in the
shadow until he came to the turn which took them down the long corridor.
He began to run when he had turned the corner, and he did not stop until
he reached the top of the cellar stairs. He knew that the men would find
out at once that Rosanne was not in the salon and would begin to hunt
for her. They might think that she had gone to the cellar to look for
Lisle, knowing that he had gone there for wood, and they would follow.
He was right.

It was necessary to take the steep stairs carefully, for it was very
dark, and there were deep, worn places, like holes, in the stone steps.
He nearly fell once, and had to stop to steady himself for a moment and
to get his breath before he could go on. When he reached the bottom of
the stairs, he listened intently but heard no sound except the scurry of
rats in the wall near them; so, lifting Rosanne to his shoulder and
wrapping the table cover more closely about her, he went swiftly across
the cellar and through the half-open door, out into the winter night.

He kept well in the shadow of the great house until he came to the side
street, and then he started to run. As we know, he was short and fat,
and Rosanne was not a very light weight. He kept up a sort of jogging
trot, and, finally, feeling sure now that no one was pursuing them, he
began to walk. The snow was so dense that he had little fear of being
noticed by passers-by, and every now and then he stopped to rest. Once
when he stopped Rosanne’s voice reached him from under the velvet
mantle.

“I can walk quite well in spite of the storm, Humphrey Trail,” she said,
but he answered:

“T’is wiser this way, lass. Th’art indeed a brave enough lass.”

Humphrey’s heart was sorely troubled. There was only one place that he
could take Rosanne, and that was to his lodgings in the alley! He felt
very helpless as they came into the rue Saint Antoine. The street seemed
dreary and dingy, even through the lovely falling snow. He had come to
Paris for the first holiday in all his work-a-day farmer’s life and one
after another adventures had come to him, and with them the need to
think and plan.

There was no time just then to think or plan, at least not until they
were safe indoors. Humphrey, in spite of the storm, turned the right
number of corners and reached the alley in safety. Once inside the door
of his poor abode he placed Rosanne gently on her feet.

“Listen, little lady. This is but a poor place I bring tha to, poor
indeed and cold, but it is safe and if tha can be brave and bear with
it, tha will be helping me to find Master Lisle.” Humphrey spoke very
earnestly, and Rosanne, although she could not see his face in the
darkness of the chill hall, knew that he was waiting anxiously for her
answer.

“I shall try to be brave so that you can find Lisle, Humphrey Trail,”
she answered, and, putting her hand in his broad hard one, mounted the
rickety staircase with him.

Humphrey opened the door on the first landing and called “Vivi.” A voice
answered eagerly:

“Yes, yes!”

Humphrey came into the room with Rosanne’s hand in his. He closed the
door and walked with Rosanne over to the window where Vivi was standing
with Minuit in her arms. The two girls stared at each other. Vivi looked
the longest, but it was not because she was any more surprised than
Rosanne; it was only because Rosanne had been taught that it was not
right to show one’s surprise too much, or to stare too openly at any
one.

“Who is that?” Vivi asked, pointing at Rosanne over the dark curve of
Minuit’s lean body.

Before he could answer Rosanne looked up at Humphrey and exclaimed:

“She’s a little like Marie Josephine! It’s odd, but she is!”

When Rosanne said this Humphrey felt a sudden great relief. Little Vivi
would help him. He had not thought of that before. The two girls would
help each other, each in her own way, lonely Vivi and lonely Rosanne,
and in his big heart Humphrey vowed that he would take care of both of
them.

“This is a new friend for you and Minuit, Vivi,” he answered. “She is
cold and tired and she is lonely, too. Sit close by her here on the cot
while I make up the fire. You should not have let it go out for I left
you plenty of wood!”

Vivi and Rosanne sat down on the cot, glancing shyly at each other.
Minuit sat on Vivi’s knee and looked distrustfully at Rosanne, who
stroked his bony back timidly.

Humphrey went over to the rude fireplace, and after some puffing of his
fat cheeks, and shoving of paper here and there, started a good blaze.
When the wood was burning nicely he put a very small shovelful of coal
on top of it. Then he came back and spoke to the two children on the
cot.

“Listen well to what I say, please, tha in particular, Miss Rosanne, as,
perhaps, I’d best be calling tha. Vivi does not understand much that I
say. I am going abroad now for food. I may be back within a half hour.
Th’art to bolt the door after me when I go, and th’art not to let any
one in but me. Tha will know me because I’ll say 'Buns’ very loud
outside the door. Tell Vivi what I have said to thee. Tell her she must
na open to any one!”

Rosanne promised. “I’ll not let any one in who does not say 'Buns,’” she
assured him, and again, to his relief, he saw that she was smiling. He
went out and waited on the top stair until he heard the bolt turn.

Because of the unusual and exciting turn of events, Humphrey for once
had not brought food to Vivi. He would buy the food now and go back with
it to the girls. Then he would go up to his own room and think. He must
have an hour to think, to consider, to plan. Rosanne de Soigné would be
safe enough that night with Vivi, and they both would be warm and fed.
He thought Rosanne might be safe there for some time. The next all
important problem was Lisle Saint Frère, the boy with the proud face,
who had told him that he trusted him out of all Paris! To find out who
were his captors, to find where they had hidden him, to rescue him, and
to bring him to safety—these were the things above all others that he
must do. He would think out what was the best thing to do during the
snowy night, while the rats scudded back and forth in the walls of the
dark alley and the two girls slept cuddled close together in the room
below, covered with the blue velvet table cover and the piece of torn
sacking.

Rosanne would wake in the morning to find herself in the cold gloom of a
poor tenement, but that night she had been too dazed and tired to take
stock of her surroundings. She had eaten the bread which Humphrey had
brought, and with it a piece of cheese. She had sat close to the fire
with Vivi, and she had seen Vivi looking at her with the big, astonished
black eyes that somehow were like Marie Josephine’s. The whole event of
the evening had taken place so suddenly and unexpectedly. She and Lisle
had been cosily roasting chestnuts by the fire one moment, and the next
moment, so it seemed, he was gone, and Humphrey Trail had come and
carried her off! It all seemed like a dream to her that evening, and she
felt as though she would wake up at any moment. The dirty, dark room and
the quiet, staring little girl did not seem real. But she liked Vivi and
after the two girls had smiled at each other, they felt somehow like
friends. Rosanne was very glad indeed that Vivi was there. She put her
arm around Vivi, who sleepily did the same. Then she fell asleep and
dreamt that she was running along the south terrace at Les Vignes with
Marie Josephine and that the lilies were in bloom all along the way.



                              CHAPTER XII

                          DIAN MAKES A FRIEND


Dian had reached the gates of Paris and passed through. Though he did
not in any way realize it, it was a remarkable thing that he had done.
There had been a slight scrimmage among a flock of sheep at the west
barrier when he came up to it, and much shouting and bad language had
ensued. The guards at the gates were stupid, bad-tempered men, and they
berated the market farmers loudly. Dian had called out to the flock in
the tones so well known by his own sheep at home in Pigeon Valley. He
knew well that the sheep would listen to him, and in an instant it
seemed as though all the wild disorder among them had never been. They
passed through the gates, and Dian went with them. There was no one in
the motley crowd who did not think that he was their shepherd except the
men who owned them, and they were glad enough to be out of the brawl! It
had been easy enough to get into Paris, and Dian, with his simple faith,
felt that when the right time came it would be easy to get out again.

His journey had not been difficult for he was used to every kind of
weather and he loved the wind and the snow. He rested whenever he was
tired, and he never minded sleeping in the corner of a barn, with his
warm cloak wrapped snugly about him. He had brought food in his wallet,
and whenever he had thought it wise, he had asked for a glass of warm
milk. He walked with long strides, knowing well how to save himself
unnecessary fatigue, and he thought not at all about his own welfare. He
had never been in a city before in all his life, and had never seen
large numbers of people together, and as he stood quietly on a street
corner watching the wild tide of life that swept past him, he wondered
greatly.

He had a hard task before him. He was thinking how best to perform it,
as he stood in the shadow of a gabled shop door on this dark, brooding
day. It was less than a week since Lisle had been carried away from his
home and Humphrey Trail had brought Rosanne to be a friend to Vivi. To
find Lisle’s home was Dian’s task, and he wanted to do it without asking
questions of any one. He took out a faded, leather wallet from an inner
pocket of the smock which he wore under his cloak. Standing so that the
light fell upon the wallet, he took from it a long folded piece of thin
paper, which he opened and examined. It was the plan of a street and a
house. He stood for a long time there in the shadow looking at it
closely. It was traced in black ink delicately but distinctly. After he
had looked at it for some time, he folded it up and put it back in the
wallet, and then put the wallet in the inner pocket of his smock again.

Some one bumped against him in passing. It was a farmer’s lad with a
sack of potatoes over his shoulder. They were close to the gates and the
market carts were drawn up in rows near by, looking ghostly in the cold
morning fog. The boy had an honest face, and Dian was moved to speak to
him.

“It is a bleak winter day,” he volunteered, and the boy answered
snappily:

“There’s no sense in bringing in produce these mornings. Wait till
spring, I tell the master. Then there will be lettuces and cucumbers,
something worth while; though there won’t be so many to enjoy them as
last spring, I’m thinking.” The boy spoke significantly, meaning that
many of the rich aristocrats, who had enjoyed the market dainties, were
now in prison or had already been executed.

“Have you served many of the great houses with your master’s produce?”
Dian asked the boy.

“Bless you, of a surety! There are none of the big houses that I do not
know. All of Saint Germain has tasted our lettuces and our young
carrots. But that’s all passed now; their day is gone. You look as
though you knew a farm well yourself, and as though you did not feel too
well acquainted with the city.” He eyed Dian frankly, but not
impudently, as he spoke. [Illustration: Dian] “Yes, I am new to the city
and I confess that I would be glad of company. Would you not like to
stroll about for a while? This does not seem to be a cheerful part of
town. Let us take a look elsewhere.”

Dian had the rare gift of reading faces. He had felt, when he first saw
the farmer’s boy, that he was to be trusted and that he was merry and
honest of heart. He was very well content when the boy replied that he
would like to go about for a while, and he did not have to report to his
master until late afternoon. The two started off together, keeping along
the quieter streets, and walking rapidly until they came to the great
square facing the one-time Tuileries palace.

As they stood there in the great square, they could see the black,
sinister guillotine in the distance. Dian shut his eyes and stood for a
few moments with his head bowed over his clasped hands. He was giving
thanks for the long, warm summer days, the comfort of the stars at
night, and the confidence of his sheep as he led them home at sundown.
The noise of the city was all about him. Wild voices were singing the
“Ça Ira,” the song of the revolution, rough, ragged groups of men and
women in scarlet caps jostled past him. There were sounds of pounding
and hammering everywhere, and he could hear the clanging of anvils from
near-by forges. All over the city, these forges had sprung up over
night, to make weapons for the people.

They walked the great length of the square and, except for a curious
glance or so at Dian because of his red locks and his great stature, no
one noticed them at all. They kept in the midst of the crowd going up
the rue Saint Honoré. The tri-color ribbons and the gay red caps of the
half-starved crowds made splashes of brilliance through the greyness.
The farm boy touched Dian’s arm.

“Listen,” he said and his voice sank almost to a whisper. “Listen! I
hear the roar of the tumbrils. They are coming this way. They almost
always do. I have seen them before.” He caught Dian’s arm as he spoke,
and Dian could feel him trembling.

The shepherd laid his hand on the lad’s arm. “Let us come away from all
this. I do not want to see them. I cannot help them by seeing them.”

“Do you want to help them?” the boy asked.

“I want to help everyone,” Dian answered.

They walked down a side street, away from the rue Saint Honoré, but the
roar of the tumbrils followed them for a long time. Dian was sad at
heart. He knew too well that for long centuries the people of France had
been kept down and abused and embittered by the tyranny and injustice of
the nobles, but he knew also that every day many innocent people were
going to their death in the great square, that the revolution no longer
had any dignity, no longer was a striving for justice and equal rights
for all. It had grown to be a nightmare of wild, undisciplined horror.
Dian was in earnest when he said that he wanted to help everyone—Grigge
as well as Lisle. He wanted it more than anything else in all the world.

As they walked, the boy told Dian that his name was Raoul, and that he
came into the city once a week with his master. He said that they always
stayed over night, at lodgings above a seed shop near the west barrier,
and returned to the country the following day. They walked on until they
came in sight of the Bois, a dark blur against the winter sky. The Bois
is a wood in the heart of Paris. It had the same charm and mystery about
it then that it has to-day. Dian stood looking at it, thinking of what
Neville had told him of the gay coaching parties and promenades and
daily drives in their gilded coaches of the Saint Frères and other
families of the nobility. They were all gone now, these same families,
hiding for their lives.

Dian knew the Saint Frère house as soon as he saw it, not so much by the
plan he had, which would help him more in finding his way about inside,
as by an engraving which he had seen in the study of the old Comte Saint
Frère at Les Vignes. It was not difficult to distinguish it from the
other great houses near it. There was something medieval and different
about it. Indeed, there was no house in all of Paris quite so old.

He did not speak of the house to Raoul, as they passed by it. They had a
modest meal of coffee and bread for a few sous at a stand near the
farmer boy’s lodgings. Then Dian went with him as far as the seed shop
and there they bid each other good-by. Raoul said that he was glad to
have met him, for he was timid about going alone in the streets while
the city was in such a turmoil, and it was good to have the company of
one who, like himself, knew the country and farm ways. Dian answered
that he would know how to find him at his lodgings. The boy assured him
that he could always be found there on Thursdays, unless the weather was
so bad that his master gave up coming into Paris.

As he walked away from the seed shop, Dian felt deeply grateful that he
had become acquainted with the farmer’s boy, Raoul. He would be coming
and going out of Paris every week. That in itself was something to
remember. It was growing dark, and the shepherd walked slowly back by
the way which he had taken earlier in the day with Raoul, past the Bois
to the Saint Frère house. A small part of his task had already been
accomplished. He had found the Saint Frère house. The next thing was to
enter it. This would be an easy enough task if the comtesse were at
home, but something told Dian that she was not.

It was so dark by the time he reached its gates that he could see the
house only vaguely. A fine sleet was falling, and there was something
sad about the aspect of the whole place. Dian walked up the marble steps
to the great iron door and pulled the silken cord. He heard a loud clang
echoing through the great house, but, although he waited for a long
time, no one opened the door. He went around to the side of the house
which opened directly on to the dark, narrow side street which Marie
Josephine had traversed with Gonfleur the night of the bal masqué. After
groping about for a while in the dark, Dian found the door leading into
the cellar. It was half open. He went inside, stepped over the logs of
wood lying on the floor, crept up the steep, dark stairs, and found
himself facing a long corridor.

Dian always remembered that walk through the great, silent house. There
was no sound anywhere at all, and there was no sign of any human being.
The drawing-rooms, the great halls, and the wide stairways seemed never
to have known the touch of human footsteps. In one of the smaller rooms,
on a pillow of a velvet couch, he saw some needlework and a pair of
scissors lying beside it. It looked as though the sewing had been
carelessly thrown down, as indeed it had been when Great-aunt Hortense’s
servant had come for the comtesse.

Dian stood still in the center of the drawing-room and pondered. He
looked at the inlaid mother-of-pearl table from which Humphrey had
snatched the blue velvet covering to put about Rosanne, and at the wide
hearth where Lisle and Rosanne had toasted the nuts that night a week
ago, when so much had happened. Dian could not know of all this, but he
worked things out in his mind. The house had not been taken over by the
Republican soldiers. Of that he was convinced. Neville had told him of
much that was happening, and he knew that he would have found some sign
of occupation either by the mob or official authority.

He went on up to the floor above and came to a large room which he was
sure must have belonged to the comtesse, for in it were a gilded bed
with a blue brocade coverlet, and a tall dressing table with blue
draperies and gold toilet articles. There was a little room off this
which interested Dian and he stayed in it for some time. Dian had not
wanted to go through the house, but he knew that he must do everything
in his power to find Lisle and his mother and the little girl who had
always been the Little Mademoiselle’s best friend. That was why the
little room off the comtesse’s big one interested him so much. There was
a sleeping couch, and close by it a table. On the table were arranged
some books, and propped against the books was a water-color painting of
a dog. In spite of the wobbly legs and ungainly shape, Dian realized
that it was meant to be a likeness of Flambeau. He picked it up and read
what was written on it:

“Flambeau wishes to give you his best felicitations for your birthday.
Your friend, Marie Josephine.”

The date was that of a year or more before. It evidently had been one of
Rosanne’s greatest treasures. She had brought it with her when she had
had to leave her own home so suddenly for the Saint Frère home. As Dian
looked at the painting, he felt the same sadness of heart that he had
felt when Grigge had begged him not to go away. It was because he had
such deep and tender pity for any one in distress.

He passed on to the servants’ part of the house. Everywhere he saw
evidence of careless, hasty departure. There was one room that seemed
different from the others; it gave the air of being occupied. Dian knew
at once that it belonged to Henri, the one servant who had stayed, and
he whom Neville did not trust. The door of the room was open, and Dian
went inside. Henri probably still lived here, and at any moment he might
return.

Dian went on down through the vast house, feeling his way in the
darkness, until he came to the long corridor on the lower floor. He took
a candle from one of many in a bronze candelabra on the hall table, and
then, with his sack over his shoulder, made his way to the top of the
cellar stairs. Here he lit his candle with flint and tinder which he had
found in a box on the drawing-room floor. Then he climbed down, down,
until he came to the dim cellar. He knelt on the floor and pressed the
little square stone—the seventh—that was wedged in between the other
stones. The stone slid aside and, as the space opened to receive him, he
descended slowly into the heart of the ancient house, into the
furthermost depths of its hidden fastness. Before descending, he touched
the stone and it slipped back into place. He had faith that it would
open as easily again at his touch. He had searched for no lodging in
Paris that day because he knew that he would lodge deep underground. He
was “the other one” who knew of the hidden cellar!



                             CHAPTER XIII

                          PIGEON VALLEY AGAIN


“Jean, you must not be sulky. I have told you before that you are a
great baby. I only played and pretended to be happy. I shall never be so
stupid again.”

Marie Josephine and Jean were swinging on the gates of Les Vignes,
enjoying the keen rush of air about their faces as they swung back and
forth. It was a week since Dian had left in the night and they missed
him sadly.

“It doesn’t matter whether we miss Dian or not, if only he can be of
comfort to maman and Lisle,” Marie Josephine went on. “I heard the man
talking to Nannette. You know, the man who brought the news about the
king. They have killed the king and the man said that they would kill
the poor queen. Lisle will run away and fight for the queen, even if he
is only fifteen. I know he will. Lisle, Lisle, I want to see you so
much!”

“You are not the same since Dian left. You will not play, and you look
as though you were thinking all the time,” said Jean, biting into a
wizened apple.

“I am thinking, Jean. When Neville came back that night that we had
supper on the terrace, he brought us no good news. I have not been happy
since.”

Jean jumped down from the gate, and held it so that it stopped swinging
back and forth. He looked up at Marie Josephine.

“What is your thought, Little Mademoiselle? Tell me what it is; please
tell little Jean!” He looked so young as he stood there. Marie Josephine
gave her head an impatient shake, so that the blue hood of her cape fell
back on her shoulders.

“Your cousin Grigge is coming this way, Jean,” she said.

Grigge came up to them along the bleak, frozen road. He would have
passed them by with a sort of half nod to Marie Josephine and a scowl
for Jean, had not Marie Josephine called out to him:

“Will you not come and speak with us, Grigge? We have been talking of
Dian the shepherd, and we wish that we could see him.”

Grigge had never spoken with the Little Mademoiselle before although he
had seen her every summer, and she had always given him a pleasant
greeting. He was so eager for news of Dian, that he came up to them at
once.

“You have heard from him, Mademoiselle! Tell me that you have had word!”
He came close to the gates and looked up eagerly at Marie Josephine.

She shook her head. “There is no news of him, but he has only been away
a week. We are sure that he is happy, wherever he is. Nothing but good
could happen to Dian.”

Grigge clasped his hands together in his eagerness.

“No, no, you are right. Nothing could happen. He will come back,” he
exclaimed.

Marie Josephine nodded emphatically.

“Jean and I will walk with him across the meadows at sunset, and he will
have so many wonderful things to tell us about his adventures!”

Grigge looked at her wonderingly, at the fineness of her blue cape, the
delicate contour of her face, her carefully brushed curls, her straight
black velvet frock. He had never been close up to any one like her
before. She was so unlike anything in his own life that she might have
come from another world. When she told him that no news had come from
Dian, his face fell. All the week he had felt a weight of loneliness
upon him. He had taken faithful care of the sheep and he had been proud
of the task, but the one person who made life bearable for him had gone
away.

Marie Josephine looked at Grigge with interest. What a pale, thin boy he
was, and what big eyes he had! She felt a lump in her throat as she
looked at him. Marie Josephine was beginning to wake up. She was
beginning to realize that there was something in the world besides the
house in Paris and Les Vignes, governesses and bals masqués. She was
seeing Grigge for the first time, not just as a poor, ragged lad living
in one of the hovels at the very gates of her home, but as some one who
was unhappy and worried and in need of comfort, as she was herself.
Feeling this way about Grigge was so new to her that she did not know
what to make of it.

“Do you miss Dian so much?” she asked him.

He nodded, his face working as though he would cry.

“He has gone to help my brother. He told Jean and me a story about a
prince. It came to him suddenly, and he told it to us. He called Lisle
his prince, and he said he felt that he was in trouble.” Marie
Josephine’s voice shook, and the tears sprang into her eyes in spite of
herself.

Grigge sneered in the way he so often did when he spoke to his cousin
Jean. He was hungry and cold. The wind whistled through his tattered
coat. So that was it! Dian had gone away to help some one who had never
done anything for him, who probably did not need him at all!

“Why should he go to your brother? What has he ever done for him? What
have any of you ever done for us? You have done nothing but starve us!
My father had to spend his nights beating the swamps so that the frogs
would not disturb your people’s sleep!”

Grigge spoke so fast that he jumbled all his words together. His eyes
snapped oddly in his gaunt face. He had not meant to burst out in that
way. The words seemed to come almost without his knowing it. It was a
bitter, dark winter. They had nothing and, he felt sure, never would
have anything but bitter want. He felt jealous, too, when he saw his
cousin Jean. He always had been jealous because Jean lived within the
gates, and had better food than he.

Marie Josephine’s eyes were full upon him. They were filled with
astonishment, but not anger. She was too interested to be angry.

“Dian maybe is risking his life! There are terrible times in Paris. We
heard from the peddler that they have killed the king. Your brother is
not worth as much as Dian’s staff!” Grigge went on excitedly.

Jean flung himself from the gate and pitched into Grigge before either
he or Marie Josephine could think. He had been swinging back and forth
and listening, and when Grigge said that Lisle was not worth as much as
Dian’s staff, he was ready to spring! The two boys rolled over and over
on the hard ground. Jean knew that he was getting the worst of it, but
he did not mind. He was fighting for the Little Mademoiselle, and he
gloried in it. Let her say again that he was only a baby, and that he
would never grow up! She would see that he could avenge her! She would
see that no one could insult her brother in his presence, even if he
were only little Jean!

Marie Josephine’s voice rang out sharply in the clear, frosty air.

“Stop! Do you hear me? I say you are to stop. Do not dare to hurt little
Jean, Grigge!”

Grigge had Jean upon the ground and was pounding him with his fists.

Marie Josephine ran over to the two boys.

“It would break Dian’s heart to see you,” she cried. Grigge immediately
left off pounding and stood up, and after a moment Jean followed his
example. Grigge looked sullen and sheepish, but Jean’s little face
glowed. Marie Josephine had given him a look of approval.

They stood there, the three of them, in the pale wintry sunshine. Marie
Josephine looked straight into Grigge’s eyes. She held her blue cloak
about her shoulders, her curls blew in the wind, and on her white,
earnest face was a look that had never been there before.

“I didn’t know, Grigge. I am just waking up to—oh, so many things! You
are not the only one who has trouble now, remember that. We must all try
to help each other.” As she spoke, she turned away toward the gates, but
Grigge’s voice followed her.

“I’m sorry, Mademoiselle,” he cried.

Late the next afternoon Marie Josephine sought Jean at the cottage. He
was alone, sitting on the settle by the fire, and he was just finishing
his early supper of onion soup. Mother Barbette had gone to the hovel to
take some soup to Grigge’s youngest sister, who was ailing.

Marie Josephine shut the door behind her and came over and sat on the
settle, well pleased to find that Jean was alone.

“It is soon time for me to be dressed for our supper, so I can only stay
for a very little while. I have been thinking some more, Jean, and I am
going to tell you what I have planned to do.” She looked at him very
earnestly as she spoke. “I think I shall tell you—if only I can be
quite, quite sure that I can trust you. Now do not frown. You might
forget and let a word slip. Will you promise me that you will never,
never let any one know what I am going to tell you?” She put both hands
on his shoulders as she spoke and her eyes shone with eagerness.

Jean nodded vigorously. He would not mention what he had done, not he.
She had seen him pitch into Grigge, a big boy, who was known to be a
fighter. She knew that he was not so young as she had thought. He could
keep his own counsel too.

“I’ll never tell, never, never, never,” he assured her.

She went over to the door, opened it, and looked out to make sure that
no one was coming. A shriek from above the door made her jump, but it
was only Pince Nez the crow.

Marie Josephine walked over to the fire and poked one of the logs with
her little bronze shoe. There was some snow on the shoe and it fell into
the logs with a sizzling sound.

“It is like this, Jean,” she said. “I’ve thought about it so many times,
lying awake at night, and even when sitting with the others around the
drawing-room fire after our supper, while Hortense and Le Pont worked
over their tapestries and Cécile read aloud. Oh, Jean, I was only
thirteen last week, but I feel older than any of them now. It makes me
so sad when I see Le Pont doing the tapestry lilies on the screen that
she has been working on for four years in the summers at Les Vignes, and
remember how different it all was when she began it.” Marie Josephine
choked back a sob.

“Yes, but tell me what it is that you are thinking about,” insisted
Jean, as Pince Nez lighted suddenly on his shoulder and gave his ear a
friendly little peck. “You are thinking of Madame your mother and of
Monsieur Lisle, is it not so?” As he said this, he came over to the fire
and stood beside her, frowning.

“I do not know whether to tell you or not——” Marie Josephine began,
but she was interrupted by Jean’s angry words:

“You are going to say again that I am a baby and I will not bear it. Did
I not fight my cousin Grigge for the sake of you all, this very day?”
Jean gulped down a sob and wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his black
smock.

Marie Josephine patted his shoulder reassuringly.

“You were splendid, a real friend. I was proud of you. Yes, I am going
to tell you. I have a plan which I must carry out.” She sat down on the
settle, holding the sides of her cape with both hands, and looked across
at him. “When the spring comes, Jean,” she went on, “I am going to”—her
voice sank to a whisper—“Paris.”

Jean’s face went blank with astonishment. “You do not mean it! Why you
would never be allowed, never in the world. They would never let you
go!” he exclaimed.

“Don’t be stupid, Jean. They will know nothing about it. It is a
secret.”

“It is not safe to go! You could not do it! You are only a little girl.
It would be bad enough for me, who am a boy.” Jean enjoyed saying this
very much and he felt suddenly the older and more experienced of the
two. He had felt so ever since his fight with Grigge in the morning.

“I tell you that I will go. You cannot understand, for I can tell you
only a little of why I am going,” she answered, frowning at him with her
straight, black eyebrows which were so like the old comte’s.

“It is not safe to go. The peddler, who told us of the king’s death,
said it was not safe. He said to go to Paris was to endanger one’s
life!” protested Jean, his eyes growing bigger and bigger with
excitement.

“The peddler said many things that were not true. Le Pont is sure that
he could not have spoken the truth. No one would hurt me. I am not
afraid,” she answered stoutly. “Maman and Lisle are in Paris. Have you
forgotten Dian’s story about the prince in the dungeon. He has gone to
help them, and so must I.”

“What could you do for them?” Jean was so deeply interested that he
spoke loudly, and Marie Josephine held up her hand warningly.

“You must be silent about all this; it is to be a great secret between
us.” She shook her finger at Pince Nez, who had perched himself on the
top of Mother Barbette’s four-poster bed. “You are not to tell either,
you naughty creature. I do not trust you. I think you are a witch in
disguise!”

This seemed so funny to Jean that he fairly doubled up with laughter,
rocking back and forth and chuckling loudly. He was so excited that it
made him laugh all the harder and his mother, who at this moment opened
the door, stood and gazed at him in astonishment.

“Why, you silly cabbage, you laugh like a clown. He is indeed a foolish
feather head, is he not, Little Mademoiselle?” Mother Barbette put her
arm tenderly about Marie Josephine and she hid her face on the broad,
kind shoulder.

“It is so dark and cold. Will summer ever come?” she said. Mother
Barbette gave a reassuring little laugh.

“Surely summer is coming, Little Mademoiselle, and with it the
sunshine”—and her voice faltered a little as she went on—“and the dear
ones who are away!”

Something in Mother Barbette’s words comforted Marie Josephine. She gave
her a hug and said: “I love you, Mother Barbette. I must run back now,
for, as it is, I know that I shall be well scolded by Le Pont for being
out after dark.”

“Jean shall go with you through the wood, though there is never any fear
for any one in our woods at Les Vignes, thank the kind God,” said Mother
Barbette fervently. She stood in the low-arched doorway of the cottage
watching the two children as they made their way toward their favorite
wood path which led to the great house on the terrace.

The two friends ran a little of the way and then suddenly Jean stopped
in the middle of the path and caught Marie Josephine’s cloak in both his
hands. A wild rabbit scudded through the snow, popping behind a
glistening, frost-tinted bush. Jean called after it, and then turned
back to look at his friend.

“Listen, Little Mademoiselle. Don’t you know what I must do? When you go
away to Paris in the spring I must go with you.” He, too, lowered his
voice to a whisper, and he looked back over his shoulder, as though he
feared that his mother might be right behind them, listening.

Marie Josephine took him by the shoulders and gave him a little shake.
“You will not go. Not for anything in the world would I let you go. Do
you think I would be such an ungrateful girl as that to Mother Barbette?
You are never to speak of it again—never!” Marie Josephine was so
excited that she had to take a deep breath before she could go on. “Oh,
if only you could! But we must never, never talk of it again!” Her eyes
glowed as she spoke, and there was a glad, warm feeling in her heart. It
was good to have a friend like Jean, even though he seemed so young for
twelve and a half and knew so little of the world beyond Les Vignes!

They reached the wide sweep of terrace and she turned to him quickly. “I
must run, for I am sure they will be angry because it is dark. Le Pont
has grown so fussy and afraid. She cries a great deal, too. Thank you
for saying you would go with me. It can never, never be done. It would
be unfair and dishonorable of me to let you go. A Saint Frère could not
do such a thing—— But it would have been fun!”

She was off, running across the terrace like a wild rabbit. The
governess was standing at the top of the veranda steps. Marie Josephine
could see that she was frowning.

“You make it so much harder for me these days, Marie Josephine,” she
said, holding her dark satin cloak close about her. The wind swept
across the porch, making the dry, frozen lily stalks at the side of the
house crackle oddly. “I am never at ease about you. You never seem to be
in the house. To-morrow you will stay inside all day, and you will do
extra lessons. You are disobedient and thoughtless!” After she had
spoken Madame le Pont went into the house.

Bertran did most of the talking at supper. He tried to make Marie
Josephine quarrel with him, but she did not seem to mind his teasing as
she generally did. She despised Bertran. He was fourteen and yet he did
nothing but ride and dance. Ah, if only he were a brave knight who could
go to Paris and help Lisle! There was instead only little Jean. Her
heart warmed toward Jean as she sat next to Cécile in the long
drawing-room after supper. She watched Neville as he went about lighting
the candles. He was dressed in the scarlet and white livery of the old
Paris days and his white wig was tied back with a black ribbon. She had
asked him again and again to tell her all that he knew. He had assured
her, with all honesty, that he had left her mother and Lisle safe and
well at the Paris house, and that there was no need for her to be
alarmed. But she knew that he did not believe that they were not in
danger, and she guessed that he was thankful that Dian had gone to them.

Marie Josephine put her head against Cécile’s shoulder and looked into
the fire with half-closed eyes. Denise was singing at the old spinnet
and Bertran was trying to join in, but his voice sounded as though any
moment it would crack. It was an old country song and there was
something plaintive and charming about it.

                “Bergère legère, je crains tes appas,
                Mon ame s’enflame, mais tu n’aimes pas!”

Le Pont thought of her only as a naughty little girl. Dear Cécile, her
heart was sad; yet she could do nothing but work on her tapestry and
pray for her loved ones who were in peril. But she, Marie Josephine, was
going away alone to a great city, into the heart of a revolution! She
was going in the spring!



                              CHAPTER XIV

                       WHAT LISLE PUT IN THE CAKE


“Tell me some more, please. See, I will blow the fire and make a blaze.”
Vivi spoke pleadingly, as she picked up some pieces of a broken basket
and put them on the low fire in the tiny, rusty grate.

“You tell me something, Vivi. I’ve talked and talked, and now I want to
know about you. Have you always lived here in the alley? Let’s sit close
together to keep warm, and let’s talk.”

Rosanne drew the velvet table cover close about them and they hitched
the cot as near the fire as they could without getting up.

Vivi shook her head.

“What is there for me to tell, Mademoiselle? It is you who have done
everything. I have done nothing. I have lived with my father always,
here in the alley. Winter and summer I have lived here. In the summer I
go out and play in the streets. There is always some fun about the
gates. We used to catch rides on the market carts, and that was the most
fun of all. Sometimes we would ride way out into the country. But those
times are over, for now no one may go in and out of the city without a
pass, and there is always shouting and fighting around the gates.”

It was a fortnight since Humphrey Trail had brought Rosanne to Vivi.
Their acquaintance had progressed by leaps and bounds. Shut in from the
winter cold and terrors of the city, it was small wonder that they were
drawn together. The days had been long, the only excitement being the
arrival of Humphrey with food and good cheer. But he always had to shake
his head when Rosanne asked for news of Lisle. He did not let her see
how he himself was worried to distraction over the boy; instead he
always had a word of encouragement. They would have a clue soon. He was
probably safe enough. Yet all the while, night and day, he was going
over in his mind the few things that he knew about Lisle. Where was he?
How to find him? These were the grave questions always before Humphrey
Trail!

This particular February night he was feeling discouraged, and for that
reason pretended to be more than usually cheerful before the two girls.
He found them sitting on the cot close to the fire and spoke to them
merrily.

“What would tha say to a bit o’ sweet cake! Humphrey Trail will bring
tha some. Tha shall see!”

Vivi smiled delightedly.

“A real cake from a bakery shop; one with cherries,” she pleaded.

“Bring news of Lisle, Humphrey Trail,” Rosanne said. Her brown eyes
looked very big in her small, white face.

Above all things he must see that the little girl kept her cheer and
courage. “Tha’ll be running races with him some day in the land o’
Yorkshire,” he said as he threw his cloak over his shoulder and went
out.

He stood uncertainly for some moments on the corner of the rue Saint
Antoine in a swirl of snow. Sounds of rough, brawling voices came down
the dark street. The snow was black with the ashes and smoke from
near-by forges where guns were being made for the army. Humphrey stepped
inside a small café at the end of the street and, seating himself at a
rude table near the door, ordered a glass of hot ale. He had never
attempted any disguise. He was just an honest farmer and taken for such
by any one who took the trouble to notice him. Few would have thought
him to be other than French until they heard him speak. There were many
out-of-towners in the city at that time, market farmers, well-to-do
villagers, all eager to join in the talk and wrangle of the day, each
with his own especial plan or grievance, all ardent Republicans.

Humphrey listened to a group who sat near him, rough, unkempt men of the
Saint Antoine district. He had made it a practice, during the last
fortnight, of dropping in here and there and listening to the talk going
on around him. He sipped his hot ale, listening intently, but his
knowledge of French was so meager that he could only catch a word here
and there.

“They think they’re mighty fine, those aristos living snugly in their
grand houses in the country. They think their fields and cattle and
their hired slaves will save them. Well, they’ll sing another song soon.
They’ll not stay long in hiding. They’ll be hunted out, root and branch,
all of them!”

Loud laughter and applause greeted the end of this harangue. After
putting down the coins to pay for his drink, Humphrey went out into the
wintry night. He had heard something which gave him food for thought,
and he felt that it would ease his mind to walk about the city. He was
restless, but his discouragement had given place to alertness. There was
so much to do that he had not a moment for brooding. For a week or more
he had been wondering how it was with Lisle’s family at Pigeon Valley.
The day after Lisle’s disappearance he had gone to the Marquise du
Ganne’s house. Rosanne knew the house well, having gone there on state
occasions with Marie Josephine. She was able to give Humphrey a fair
idea of how to find it. She told him that the coat of arms on the door
was different from that of the Saint Frères’. It was a shield with two
swords crossed in the middle. He had found the house, but he had found,
also, two soldiers of the Republic stationed in front of it. He had
stopped and spoken to them.

“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, citizen,” he had said, and they had
answered, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, citizen.”

“You have a chilly day for doing naught but standing still,” he went on.
They had laughed at his attempt to speak their Paris French, and one of
them had replied:

“We are watching a nest to see that the birds do not fly away, citizen.”

Then he had gone on as unconcernedly as he could. So Lisle’s mother and
his Great-aunt Hortense were prisoners, too!

Humphrey was thinking over this occurrence of a fortnight ago, as he
walked toward the Place de la Bastille. He had gone back twice since to
a vantage point where he could see the Du Ganne house without being
observed himself. Both times he had seen the soldiers. He was thankful
that Rosanne was safe for the present, at least. He was slowly trying to
prepare a way of escape when the time should come that he could get
away, but he knew that unless he could take the children, Lisle and
Rosanne, with him, he would never go. He would not go alone.

The skipper of the schooner _Sandlass_, Anastasius Grubb, was a
Yorkshire friend of his. He had made the voyage across from England with
his crony, and he had waved him a smiling good-by from the shore. But
that was some time ago now and Anastasius was as far away and
unattainable as the stars, or so it seemed to Humphrey on that raw
February night!

He walked on toward the rue Saint Honoré, drawing up the wide collar of
his coat as the stinging wind blew about him. At last he turned in at
the gilded door of the bakery at 126 rue Saint Honoré. Its blue and
silver sign was flapping in the wind.

When he came inside he saw the bakery woman talking across the counter
with a boy who carried a basket of vegetables.

“Tell your master that I say he is getting almost too fine for his old
friends, judging by the cake he has ordered for next week!” the woman
was saying, and the boy answered:

“It’s not for himself. It’s for the seed merchant where we stay when we
come in with produce. Some of his friends are coming together next week
for a dispute and supper!”

The bakery woman shrugged her shoulders.

“That’s all they do, waste good time chattering like a set of magpies.
Well, they’ll have the cake, never fear! Now you can go to the back and
take a cup of coffee and a croissant, if you’ve a mind to. Only do get
that big basket out of the way, and quickly, too. You’re right in front
of a customer.”

The boy went through the shop to the back where he found himself in the
midst of general confusion.

Humphrey selected a good-sized sponge cake topped with almond icing. It
was expensive and he counted out his coins ruefully. He did not have a
great deal of money and he knew that he must save enough for bribes, if
need be. He took the package of cake from the woman, who gave him only a
passing look, and went out.

Raoul, the farmer’s boy, helped himself to a steaming cup of coffee from
a tall, white jug on the table in the back room and selected a nicely
browned croissant from the plate beside the jug. Then he shoved his
basket over to one side and looked about for a place to rest and eat. He
had been on his feet all day, and he was glad of the prospect of a bite
to eat and, perhaps, a nap. Beyond the pantry room, at one side, were
the kitchens, from which issued a savory odor of baking and the jangle
of many voices; on the other side, at the back, was something that
looked like a storeroom. On going into the storeroom, Raoul found that
it was filled with old boxes, bundles of paper, a broken chair or two,
and some tubs.

He sat down on a dingy settle without a back, in a dim corner of this
junk room. At the other end of the room was a short stairway leading to
a narrow gallery. The remains of an old bureau and some more boxes were
heaped up on the little gallery. Raoul sipped his hot, sweet coffee and
munched his croissant. The warmth from the baking kitchens and the quiet
after his busy day made him drowsy, and soon he was fast asleep.

He woke suddenly and sat up. The bakery woman was climbing the stairway,
carrying a tray. When she reached the gallery she put the tray down on
the floor in front of a door which faced her. Taking some keys from her
waist she unlocked the door and then picked up the tray. At that moment,
through the half-open door, Raoul caught sight of a boy, who sat facing
him on a window ledge in a corner of the room.

Raoul rubbed his eyes. He was not one to fancy things. Surely he was
awake and not dreaming! He had seen a boy sitting on a window ledge in
an otherwise unused room back of the storeroom. He had seen him
distinctly. The light from a window behind had shone upon the boy’s fair
hair. He saw the bakery woman unlock the door upon going in, and he knew
she had locked it again when she went inside. He had heard the lock
click. The boy in the room must be a prisoner!

Raoul picked up his basket of vegetables and went quickly out, unnoticed
by the bustling groups in the kitchens and pantry.

After she had bolted the door, the woman crossed the room, and, putting
the tray down on the window sill beside her prisoner, surveyed him, her
hands on her hips. Lisle returned her gaze unconcernedly.

“A nice, grateful kind of boy you are, to be sure! Here I leave my
patrons and my shop to come up here with good, fresh milk brought
straight from the country by a market gardener, and crisp cakes baked in
my own oven this very day, and never so much as a 'Thank you’ from you
for all my pains. Name of a name, but you’re a proud one!”

Lisle did not show any emotion at the bakery woman’s words, and that is
what she could not understand. He had been snatched away from his own
home, this young aristocrat, at night in the midst of a storm, and was a
prisoner here in this little room at the back of her bakery shop, held
under lock and key, his destination unknown. For all he knew, he might
be delivered up at any moment to the Revolutionary Tribunal, which made
short work of aristocrats, old or young. Yet he could look at her
unconcernedly with his cold blue eyes. Well, she had had nothing to do
with the whole business, except that it was her task to feed the
prisoner. She was not without a heart, and she saw that the food was
good. She had no use for aristocrats, old or young—let them have their
just deserts!—but she could not see the sense of keeping the boy shut
up. Her husband did not confide his plans to her, but she guessed that
there was money in his scheme, money or official position in one of the
sections. These sections had sprung up all over the city, and each one
hoped, in time, to make the laws of the country. No doubt her husband
was keeping the lad until the right moment for handing him over to the
Revolutionary Tribunal. He would be a ripe plum to present. That was
their game. She was sure of it!

The prisoner was speaking to her.

“I wish to ask you a question. Could you tell me if there is any other
prisoner in this place beside myself?”

Lisle asked the question simply enough, but he listened eagerly for the
woman’s answer. His unwinking gaze held her eyes as she replied:

“There is no one else. Do you think I make a jail out of my good bakery?
No! I’ve plenty to do to feed the gay birds who come flocking in these
days. They think they’re all very fine, good Republicans they call
themselves, but to my mind their heads are not any too safe on their
shoulders. Each one has his turn these days, and the mob is none too
fond of fine clothes!” She walked toward the door as she spoke, and as
she opened it, she said over her shoulder:

“You’ll do well to eat the cakes. They’re madeleines, you know, the kind
you bought when you used to come to the bakery.”

He smiled as he answered her. “I’ll eat them, every one,” he said.

He sat for a long time on the window sill, his hands clasped about his
knees, thinking. He still wore the blue velvet suit in which he had been
dressed on the night of his abduction. The woman brushed it for him each
night. The fresh linen that she brought him each day was coarse. She did
not ask him to wear the shabby trunks and smock which her husband had
given her for him; but there was a streak of romance in her, and she
admitted to herself that she liked to see the boy sitting there on the
sill, in his velvet suit, and with the flare of ribbon at the back of
his neck. He was different from any one that had ever been in her life,
like some one in a book of fairy tales.

Lisle was thinking deeply, while he drank the glass of milk and ate the
cakes. He went over in his mind the events of a fortnight ago—his
sudden, unbelievable capture, the rush through the fury of the storm,
then warmth, the smell of baking, this room, and the bakery woman! He
had never seen his captors. They had left him blindfolded inside the
room, and the woman had come in shortly afterward!

He knew that the bakery woman was kind and he was grateful to her. He
knew that as a prisoner he might have had to suffer physically in ways
that he would have found it hard to bear. Here there was no filth or
misery. There was good food and a comfortable bed. There was even a
little mouse who came out and wabbled its nose at him now and then. He
particularly enjoyed this because he had read stories in which prisoners
made friends with mice and rats. It made his captivity more interesting
to him. He felt certain that the bakery woman would not lift a finger to
help him to escape, and he was right. She was not of the stuff of which
heroines are made. She would not do anything to change the peaceful,
even course of her bakery existence. No, he must not look to her for
more than everyday comfort! Where, then, could he look?

He thought constantly of Rosanne, more so than of his mother, for he
knew where his mother was, or, at least, where she was supposed to be,
while of Rosanne he knew nothing at all, except that he had left her
singing in the salon when he went to the cellar for the wood. More than
anything else he longed to know that she was safe. He did not dare to
mention her to the bakery woman, because he did not want to call
attention to her at all. There was nothing then that he could do, but
wait.

He asked the bakery woman for ink and a pen soon after his coming. She
had protested at first, but had finally brought him a dish of ink and a
long, fine quill pen. She herself used such articles only for her
accounts, writing not being one of her best accomplishments. Lisle had
explained to her why he wanted them.

“There is nothing to do, don’t you see? Nothing. I have no books, and
you have none to give me. All prisoners have written accounts of their
life in prison. It is always done, and it will give me something to
think about!” he had said to her, and she had brought what he wanted,
when she had come up again with his food. He had begun a sort of diary,
and once when the mouse came out from his hole and winked at him while
he was writing, he felt as though he might be a part of an old novel. He
was a prisoner writing his diary, and his one friend was a mouse!

These were his happier moments. There were other times when he realized
his dire position so vividly that it seemed as though he must pound and
tear at the door until somehow he smashed it open, but he knew that it
would never give way. He knew that his mother had gone to Great-aunt
Hortense. More than that he could not know, and he dared not think too
much about his people. When he thought of Pigeon Valley, he found that
it was Dian who stood out among all others.

Meanwhile, Dian had walked the city from one end to another, making
friends as was his wont. He became acquainted with the market gardener
and went about with him to meetings of the different sections. Now and
then he spoke at the meetings. When he spoke, the wrangling generally
ceased for a moment, and the people listened—but only for a moment.
They had no use for the message of love that he had to give. Yet they
showed no animosity when his gentle, earnest face was seen among the
crowds and at public meetings. He never once lost faith in his belief
that the right way would be shown him. He was grateful that he had met
Raoul and his master, for being with them meant being with the people,
mingling with them freely. He had never gone through the Saint Frère
house again, as he did not wish to run the risk of meeting Henri. Each
night he slept in the hidden cellar and it was there that he thought
everything out. As he paced up and down the rough, uneven floor, Dian
thought that he would give up all that the future held for him of peace
and quiet days to have Lisle walking beside him.

When the bakery woman came in to see Lisle the next afternoon she
brought with her the cake she had baked for the seed shopman’s party.
The boy, Raoul, was to come for it at four o’clock. Her man was going to
the supper. There was to be roasted suckling pig. Indeed, it was to be a
fine affair and much discussion was to take place.

“They’ll talk, but they won’t get anywhere; they never do,” sniffed the
woman as she set the cake down on the table. It was already placed in
its wide green box, and it was surrounded by soft pink paper.

It was a superb, a fantastic cake—four tiers of golden fluff, with
glimpses of cream and marrons between layers and a gauze covering of
spun sugar holding it all in place. It was topped with a glittering
icing. The icing was festooned with candied apricots and cherries, in
the midst of which stood a little spun-sugar figure wearing a tiny
scarlet cap decorated with a tri-color rosette, the emblem of the
revolution!

The bakery woman was proud of her cake and she did not attempt to
conceal her pride. She pushed one side of the fine paper away so that
Lisle could see it in all its glory. Lisle was glad to show his
gratitude to the bakery woman for her kindness, by expressing an
interest in her cake. He was quick to see beauty and cleverness, and he
looked at the cake with appreciation. “Magnificent!” he exclaimed.
Something in his sincere admiration, contrasting with the dire peril of
his situation, touched the bakery woman so much that the tears came to
her eyes. She turned away, saying, “I’ll see if I can make your cot more
comfortable.”

She crossed the room, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand as she
went.

It was then that the thought came to Lisle, and he knew that he must act
quickly. He picked up the quill pen and wrote these words on a scrap of
paper:

“I am Lisle Saint Frère, and I am a prisoner in the bakery shop at 128
rue Saint Honoré.”

He folded the paper and thrust it far back in the corner of the box,
almost under the cake. While he did this he watched the bakery woman,
whose back was toward him, as she smoothed the blankets of his cot. When
she turned around, he was sitting as usual on the window seat. As she
came up to him, he nodded toward the cake.

“You are a genius. I have never seen a cake like it, even at my mother’s
soirées!” he said.

“It is a cake! Sacré bleu, it is a cake!” the bakery woman exclaimed.

“It might be for a banquet of the gods!” said Lisle, leaning forward and
giving it another look. As he did so, the picture of past days in the
schoolroom at home rose before him—Le Pont reading about Olympus, Marie
Josephine pulling Denise’s hair when the governess was not looking,
Hortense’s bored expression as she unwillingly took notes for a
composition they were to write on the “Iliad.” A feeling of hopelessness
came over him, but he smiled one of his rare smiles as he spoke to the
woman. She put the green cover on the box and fastened the paper all
about it with a gilt cord.

“There are no gods now but liberty and fraternity, they say, but I say
there’s too much lawlessness, too much fighting and drinking, when every
one needs a sober head. That’s what I say!” The woman shrugged her
shoulders, lifted the box and walked toward the door. “This cake is
going to them that have never tasted anything like it before. No one
needs to say, because I’ve risen in the world I forget them that
hasn’t.” As she said this, the bakery woman went out and closed the
door.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The seed shopman, whose name was Soufflot, surveyed his room with pride.
It was the storeroom of the seed shop. All along the center of the room
were two rows of rude benches put together to make one long table. The
walls were festooned from one end to the other with tri-color rosettes
and streamers. At the far end of the room was a great banner upon which
were the words “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death” in bright red,
white, and blue letters.

The seed shopman had little enough to offer in the way of refreshment,
his own nourishment consisting of black bread and lentil soup; but he
was fortunate in having friends from the country. Raoul’s master had
brought a couple of suckling pigs and had ordered a superb cake from the
famous bakery on the rue Saint Honoré!

There were rows of tin plates along each side of the improvised table,
and jugs of thin red wine were placed at intervals down the middle. From
an inner room came the smell of sizzling, roasted pig. The cake sat in
the center of the table. It was of so regal an aspect that it seemed to
have no part with its surroundings.

A clock somewhere near the West Barricade struck nine. It was time for
the guests to arrive. Just then, the market gardener, who had
contributed largely to the feast, entered the room, Raoul at his heels.
Towering behind them, his grey cloak wrapt close about him, hatless, and
with the breath of fields and woods that seemed always to hover
mysteriously about him, was Dian!

“I’ve brought in a man from the farmlands. He met up with the boy,
Raoul. He’s a shepherd and he’s new to the city. He went to a sitting of
the convention last night and spoke some good words, but those fools
wouldn’t listen to him,” said the market gardener. Having donated the
pigs and potatoes and the cake for the feast, he felt at liberty to
bring in whom he pleased to partake of it.

Soufflot gave Dian a hearty welcome. His greeting was interrupted by the
loud trampling of feet and the jangle of rough voices on the stairs, and
the next moment the party arrived!

It was a noisy meal after the first hunger had been appeased. The
guests, whose food consisted daily of black bread and garlic washed down
with poor wine, ate enormously, declaring that they never knew that
roasted pig could taste so good.

When at last they had had enough of the pig, they sat back and began to
talk.

“The aristocrats are going, going, going! The guillotine is doing good
work. But we must find them all, we must not let any escape! Some of
them are getting away in spite of us, but, for the most part, they’re
safe under lock and key or, better still, minus their thinking caps!”

There was a loud laugh at the end of the seed shopman’s remark, followed
by a moment’s hush as Soufflot’s wife lifted the great cake and began to
pass it around the table. It was so magnificent, as Lisle had said, that
it fairly took one’s breath away. Most of the guests—tailors,
blacksmiths, and tanners from the Saint Antoine district—were in awe of
it, but after one taste they fell to with ardor. It was good! Ah, but it
was delicious, that cake from the bakery on the rue Saint Honoré!

It was slow work passing it about the table, for it was heavy to carry.
As Soufflot’s wife had no china dish to put it on, she had left it in
its green box. Raoul regarded it yearningly. Would it ever reach him! He
had thought often of the boy in the room above the junk room at the back
of the bakery, but he had not spoken of him to any one. He knew that it
was best to keep a quiet tongue in one’s head and he had no desire at
all to get himself into trouble. It was no concern of his! He eyed the
cake gloatingly, and turning to Dian, who sat next to him, he exclaimed:
“How big it is! Madame Soufflot cuts big wedges for everyone but still
it seems immense!”

His turn had come and he eyed his portion delightedly. He lifted the big
piece in both hands and delved into it, smearing his round face with
cream.

Dian took the rusty, uneven knife and lifted out his slice as Soufflot’s
wife passed it to him. Then she went on to the next man. Dian took his
cake in his hand, and, as he did so, he saw a stiff piece of paper stuck
tight to the melting sugar. It was heavy and firm like writing paper,
otherwise it would have turned to a pulp, as the softer paper about the
cake had done. Dian unfolded it without thinking and saw the writing on
it. He glanced about him. Everyone was deep in his cake and the
discussion.

He read the words written upon it.

“I am Lisle Saint Frère, and I am a prisoner in the bakery shop at 128
rue Saint Honoré.”

He crushed the paper between his fingers, grinding it to bits with his
nails. Then he sat silently in the midst of the hubbub going on about
him, his head bowed over his clasped hands and in his heart a prayer of
gratitude.



                              CHAPTER XV

                 “SHE IS LIKE OUR LITTLE MADEMOISELLE”


It was the first of March and there was a hint of spring about in spite
of the bleakness of the streets and the chilliness of the air, a faint
suggestion of warm winds coming, of new budding snowdrops and wood
violets. Humphrey Trail was homesick. He wanted to see the first film of
green over his Yorkshire moors, to hear the call of mating birds, and
feel the busy, stealthy stir of wild things in the bracken and across
the downs.

During the few weeks of winter that Rosanne had been with her, little
Vivi had been content to stay inside; but now that the ice was melting
and the robins were singing in the Bois, Vivi wanted to be out in the
Paris that she knew, even in the midst of its terror. There was nothing
for her to fear. Humphrey knew that he had no right to keep her a
prisoner, and as they walked toward the West Barricade, he felt heavy at
heart. They had left Rosanne locked up in the little room with Minuit to
keep her company. There was nothing new for him to work upon, no hint of
Lisle’s whereabouts. Always the soldiers stood guarding the house of
Lisle’s Great-aunt Hortense, the Marquise du Ganne.

Vivi chatted happily, holding his big hand confidently.

“Very soon now I’ll be selling licorice water near the gates. People
will be very thirsty soon, and many can not afford the wine. I shall
make a little trade every day.”

It was early afternoon, and the sun shone bravely. Groups of men
sauntered about, talking loudly, and soldiers of the Republic stood on
guard close to the gates. Children, black with soot and raggedly clad,
ran about, happy to get a breath of air after hours of work in a near-by
forge, where they helped their mothers make waste for the guns. They
danced about in the sunlight, twisting in and out in the dance that held
all the mobs of Paris in its sway. As they danced, they sang in their
high, weak voices:

                        “Dansons la Carmagnole,
                        Vive le son du canon!”

Vivi knew some of these children. She ran up to them and soon was
dancing with them, glad of the fresh air and the sun and to be out in
the open again. Humphrey Trail spoke to one of the soldiers who was
standing near the gates.

“A good day for the people, this. Long live the Republic!” he said.

The soldier gave a loud laugh. [Illustration: Vivi] “You might be one of
the five hundred from Provence by the way you speak. Sapristi! I swear I
can not understand but a quarter of their jabber. Look out there, you
young brat, you’re always bumping that basket around.” The soldier said
this last to a boy, who, running and carrying his basket at the same
time, flopped over on the ground, his head falling against the side of
the basket and his whole face convulsed with laughter. It was Raoul, and
as he was so often about the gate he knew all the soldiers and he was
not in the least afraid of this one.

“What a funny man! Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I had a bet with Guy Soufflot
that I would run into him and knock him over, just for the fun of seeing
him tumble about like a rubber ball. What a funny man!” Raoul laughed up
at Humphrey Trail as he spoke.

“Is th’ so, my young lad, is th’ so? I’ll teach tha better manners with
a good stout stick, an’ tha do not stay tha chatter!” exclaimed Humphrey
Trail, justly indignant at Raoul’s impudence. In his excitement he spoke
in English entirely, so the boy, who did not understand a word of what
he said, only laughed the harder.

“Oh, the funny fat man, and his funny way of speaking. Come here and
listen to him!” he called to the Soufflot boy, who came running up to
him. Raoul had arisen to his feet, putting his hand over his face as he
rocked with laughter.

Humphrey made a dive at him and, catching him firmly by the arm, shook
him until every tooth in his head rattled like a castanet.

“I’ll teach tha to know respect for tha elders,” Humphrey cried. At that
moment some one spoke close beside him and, turning, he saw so strange a
person that involuntarily he took his hands from Raoul’s shoulders and
stared. The newcomer, a tall man, stood bare-headed in the sunshine, his
red hair falling about his grave, beautiful face. It was Dian!

“Whatever the lad has done he is sorry for it, and he meant no harm. I
can answer for him, I know him,” said Dian. As he spoke he turned his
clear eyes full upon Raoul, who looked sheepish and embarrassed.

“He’s such a funny man,” he said half apologetically, reaching down and
picking up his vegetable basket, a smile still lurking about his mouth.

“You have taunted him about his looks in a public place, and he does not
know enough of your own tongue to answer you in kind,” Dian said
quietly. Then he turned and looked Humphrey Trail full in the face, and
it seemed as though at once, without any need of word or explanation,
the two were friends. Dian’s smile was good to see as he held out his
hand and took Humphrey Trail’s broad one.

“You are a stranger, I see from your speech, and, if I mistake not, you
are English. You have come to our country at a sad time.” Dian spoke
slowly and Humphrey understood all that he said and answered warmly,
though he still glowered over his shoulder at Raoul, who was walking off
with Guy Soufflot. He continued to grin as he moved on, but he did not
call out again. Humphrey and Dian were left together there, in that
momentarily quiet corner of the West Barricade.

“I came to see a strange country last summer. I’d saved a bit o’ gold,
and I wanted a sight o’ the world. Tha comes from the farmlands thaself,
an’ I mistake not.” As Humphrey answered Dian he felt his temper cool
rapidly. He looked at Dian’s bronzed face and grave blue eyes, and he
felt a strong desire to confide in him, to tell him the whole story, of
how he had remained in Paris to help Lisle, had rescued Rosanne, and was
now in a vortex of worry as to what to do next. What he did say was: “I
stayed because I thought I might help. There was a lad whom I thought
needed me; and so he did, but I wasn’t about the while he needed me the
most!” Something of poor Humphrey’s discouragement sounded in his voice.

“There is a lad who needs me also,” Dian answered in his rich, sweet
voice, his eyes shining with a deep gratitude. It was several days ago
that he had found the note in the cake at the seed shopman’s supper, and
he had known only thankfulness since. He had not gone into the bakery
shop, though he had been near it often. He thought it best not to
attract attention to himself there, and he waited for the moment when he
should be able to get word to Lisle in some way. Dian was not so amazed
or bewildered at the wonderful way in which the message of Lisle’s
whereabouts had come to him as another might have been. He had known so
many things in his life to happen in just that way, and he trusted
always.

Vivi came running up to them and took Humphrey’s hand. She wore a ragged
jacket over her drab dress, and her black, untidy hair flapped about her
dark, eager little face. Dian smiled at her, and she smiled back at him,
as all children did.

“She is like some one that I know well,” he said to Humphrey Trail.

“Now that is rare strange, for some one else has said the same,”
Humphrey answered as the three made their way slowly from the west gate
toward the city.

Vivi was excited. She had played and danced and eaten a good piece of
bread and garlic which one of the soldiers had given her. When Humphrey
said with his few, slowly-chosen French words that some one else had
said she was like a friend, she cried out unthinkingly:

“Yes, yes, the little lady said so. She called out when you carried her
in that night, 'She’s a little like Marie Josephine!’”

Dian stood still in the street, his hand on Humphrey’s arm.

“Marie Josephine!” he repeated. “Marie Josephine! Are you speaking of
the Little Mademoiselle? I am shepherd to the Little Mademoiselle.”

“The Little Mademoiselle!” Humphrey stared and stared at Dian, and so
did Vivi. Rosanne had spoken of a shepherd.

“The Little Mademoiselle!” This time it was Vivi who exclaimed, gazing
up at Dian with her great black eyes.

“Yes,” he said gently. “You are like some one we call the Little
Mademoiselle, some one who is a long way from here.”

Humphrey Trail turned so pale that his face looked not unlike the first
glimpse of a full moon. Dian saw this and spoke to him with concern.

“There is something that has surprised you, and your worry has upset
you!”

“Aye, I am fair flashed! Maybe it’s just the worry and the crowds.” He
hesitated, and in that moment the angels must have been very near! Dared
he take this stranger to the alley? Was he in some way a part of it all?
Could it be, by the wildest chance, that the Little Mademoiselle was——
But no—Humphrey Trail caught Dian’s arm and shook it. “As there is a
God above, tell me I can trust tha,” he said, and the shepherd answered
him at once:

“You can trust me. It was meant to be so.”

They walked through the rue Saint Antoine in silence, Humphrey Trail
holding fast to Vivi’s hand on one side, Dian’s long, slow stride
keeping pace with their short, quick ones. They turned into the dark,
dank alley. Humphrey opened the door which sagged on its hinges. They
mounted the rickety stairs, waited while Humphrey unlocked the door, and
then went inside, Vivi running ahead.

Rosanne was standing by the fire which was smouldering sulkily in the
rusty grate. She turned at the sound of the unlocking of the door, and
was facing them when they entered. She saw Dian before the other two,
because he so towered above them. For a moment she stood still as a
statue. Then with a cry that was like a sob she ran across the room to
him.



                              CHAPTER XVI

                        MARIE JOSEPHINE IS READY


Spring had come early in Paris. It was a fortnight since Dian had gone
to the alley and found Rosanne, since the wonderful evening when they
had sat by the poor little fire of broken boxes and talked and talked.
There they were in the heart of a city that had gone mad, one of them in
hiding to save her life, all of them in gravest danger if once their
real purpose were known, but all of them so happy.

When it was time for the two girls to go to sleep on their cot, Humphrey
and Dian went up to the room above and sat, one on each side of the
table, pondering what it was best to do.

“Th’ lad is there in the bakery shop. Tha found his poor note in th’
cake. The Lord is good. What a way! Odds me, what a way!” Humphrey
muttered to himself. His heart was full, but some of his burden had
rolled away. This quiet shepherd of the valley was at hand to help. He
knew where Lisle was imprisoned and they could take counsel together.

Dian knew no English, and Humphrey’s French, as we know, was limited;
but they managed to converse, and from the first they understood each
other.

“I have a friend of many a year who would be fair willin’ to help us
with a boat. He’s a skipper of his own vessel, the _Sandlass_. They’ve
made young master Lisle’s mother prisoner in her aunt’s house. It is not
safe for any of the family to be in Paris,” said Humphrey.

“It is not safe for any of the family to be in France, not for any of
them.” Dian repeated the last words slowly, adding, “It soon may be
unsafe in Pigeon Valley!” He was silent for a few minutes, and a deep
gravity touched his face, an earnestness that was like a prayer. Then,
as he looked across at Humphrey and saw the misery on his round face, he
smiled his slow smile.

“You have done well and you speak words of comfort. Tell me the name of
your friend who owns the boat and write him a letter,” he said.

Humphrey Trail looked at Dian in amazement.

“His name is Anastasius Grubb. But what good will that do? Tha knows
well there is no way to send a letter through the gates, or to be sure
it will reach my friend!” he exclaimed.

“I’ll see that the letter goes through the gates safely, and that it is
given to the driver of the coach which goes nearest to the valley. I can
trust him to give it into the hands of some one who will put it in the
hands of your friend the skipper!”

“Tha can do this? Tha can trust the letter to go through?”

“Yes, trust,” Dian nodded as he spoke.

That was the conversation that Humphrey Trail and Dian held in the
rat-haunted room in the alley.

                  *       *       *       *       *

A fortnight later the first breath of spring that they had felt there in
the sunshine by the West Barricade had deepened into joyousness in
Pigeon Valley. A faint flare of green touched the tops of trees in the
forest, and a gleam of mauve and gold showed the early budding of
violets and crocuses. There was a happy carnival of song birds early
every morning. The sun was warm at noontime, and the nights were softly
luminous.

There was spring everywhere, except in the hearts of the family at Les
Vignes. There had been no arrival of the messenger for whom they had
waited throughout the long winter. The comtesse had sent them no word,
and that meant that she had not been able to do so. There had been
rumors now and then, even direct news, of the horrors of Paris, brought
by traveling peddlers, but there had been no news from Dian at all.

It was of this that Marie Josephine was thinking as she put Great-aunt
Hortense’s shawl around her, and walked down the staircase at Les
Vignes. It had been the hardest thing to bear, not hearing from Dian.
She had felt so sure that he would find a way to help.

There was a look on Marie Josephine’s face which had never been there
before, a seriousness in her eyes and about her mouth, a look of high
purpose and of dignity. Madame le Pont noticed it as she came into the
salon. They were all sitting about a fire of crisply burning logs, for
the spring nights were cold.

“What is it, Marie Josephine?” she asked, and as she spoke the governess
rose from her chair and came up to her.

“What do you mean, Le Pont dear? What is what?” Marie Josephine said
gently, and she put her arm around Madame Le Pont’s waist and placed her
cheek close to hers for a moment. There was something so wistful in the
action that the governess felt sudden tears springing to her eyes.

“You are different in some way, chérie. You seem so—what shall I
say—so very much a woman to-night.” Madame le Pont smiled as she spoke,
for she knew that her remark would please her pupil greatly. She was
surprised at Marie Josephine’s reply.

“I was just thinking about that to-night—being a woman, I mean. I was
wondering how it might have been”—her voice trembled a little as she
spoke—“if we’d just gone on as we were, here and in Paris; if there
hadn’t been a revolution, and just the same everyday things had
continued to happen. I was wondering what kind of a ball I should have
attended for my first one, and if I should have been a belle!”

“You would have been as lovely as your Great-aunt Hortense when she was
belle of Versailles,” put in Cécile from her seat by the fire.

“You mean she will be. You speak as though all this were going on
forever, Cécile,” said Hortense, fastening back a long curl with her
tortoise-shell comb.

“Let’s dance, Spitfire,” suggested Bertran, sliding across the room to
her.

Marie Josephine nodded. “Yes, I would like to dance. Will you play for
us, Cécile?”

Cécile stood up and went over to the spinnet.

“I’d love to play. See if you can do a gavotte to the shepherd song I
was trying yesterday. Do open the jalousie, Bertran, the moon is trying
to shine in,” she said, seating herself at the old spinnet which had
helped them all to while away the long evenings during the winter.
Cécile needed all her courage these days, for the governess talked more
freely to her than to the others, and she knew that things were coming
to a serious pass at Les Vignes. The men on the place were leaving for
the army. Most of them had already gone. There would be no one to till
the ground. There was no one on whom they could rely, now that Dian had
gone, except Neville, and his only idea of helping was to go again to
Paris. Dian had gone and they had had no word. Neville must not leave
them.

Marie Josephine enjoyed her dance with Bertran. She wore the soft white
silk brocade gown that had been made for her thirteenth birthday, and,
like Hortense, she had fastened her curls with a comb, a large gilt one
of her mother’s which she had borrowed. When they finished, Marie
Josephine made Bertran a deep curtsy. She waited until the others were
talking and then slipped out of the room. She drew the thick red silk
shawl closely about her as she stepped out on to the terrace.

The moon was almost full, and its light seemed to bring out each leaf
and twig of the great oak at the foot of the terrace steps with
startling distinctness. As she stood there in the radiance of the moon,
she thought she saw something move under the tree. Some one shrank back
into the shadow and moved quickly into the deep underbrush. Marie
Josephine waited. She knew that, if it really were any one, after he had
gone through the shrubbery, she would see him cross the clearing that
led to the forest. In a few moments she saw a woman pass rapidly through
the clearing, making for the wood and going in the direction of the
gates. The moonlight had fallen full upon her and there was something
vaguely familiar about her figure. Marie Josephine stood looking after
her. Why was that figure so familiar? Who could it be? Why had she been
hiding there in the shadow as though she were spying?

Marie Josephine’s mind was so full of another thought that she did not
dwell long on the apparition of the woman, whoever she might be, for
more than a minute. Then she ran down the terrace steps and disappeared
in the direction of Mother Barbette’s cottage. As she had guessed,
Mother Barbette herself was not in the cottage. She had gone to one of
the hovels to nurse a boy who had hurt his leg. Marie Josephine called
softly:

“Jean!”

Jean was sitting on the stone doorstep, but she had not seen him in the
shadow of the moon and tree branches. He jumped up and came running to
her.

“I’ve only come for a minute, Jean. Let’s sit on the doorstep. Isn’t the
moonlight wonderful? We’ve had so much fun in the moonlight every
summer, haven’t we? We’ve been comrades, Jean, great friends!” Marie
Josephine put out the back of her hand as she spoke, and Pince Nez, the
crow, lighted on it with a croak.

“Pince Nez will be two years old in June. Do you remember when Dian
rescued him and brought him to the sheepfold? I can just see him now,
lying on the shelf with his funny beak open.” Marie Josephine stroked
the crow gently, and Pince Nez winked impudently.

Jean was sitting in the shadow, and as Marie Josephine went on speaking,
his eyes grew rounder and rounder!

“We must always remember what friends we have been and be happy about
it. You will grow to be a fine man, Jean. I am sure of that. You must
always help Grigge. Dian would wish you to.” Marie Josephine paused and
sat silently looking off at the black outline of the wood.

Suddenly Jean jumped up and stood in front of her.

“Tell me, Little Mademoiselle, tell me what you are thinking about.”

“I am thinking how I love Pigeon Valley, Jean.” She jumped up also and
put her hand on his arm. “I—oh, that’s all!”

Jean spoke again, softly and quickly.

“You are thinking of the plan, I know you are. You are going to do
that—no, I won’t say it, but no one can hear us.” He lowered his voice
to a whisper. “You are going to run away to Paris. I know you are!”

They walked on through the wood path, and when they came to the sundial,
she turned and faced him.

“You are always making up mysteries, you funny boy,” she said. “I must
run, for it’s past my bedtime. Good night, Jean!” she cried over her
shoulder. As she ran toward the house the hot tears chased down her
cheeks. It was the hardest thing she had ever experienced, not telling
Jean what she was going to do that very night!

Cécile and Denise were sitting in front of a log fire in Cécile’s
bedroom when Marie Josephine came in to say good night. Cécile was
talking in her gentle way and she looked up smilingly when Marie
Josephine came in.

“I was telling Denise that we must make the best of this wonderful
spring weather, and we’ve been planning a picnic. What do you say to a
lunch out of doors in the birch woods soon, and a violet picking
expedition afterward?”

Marie Josephine nodded. Her tongue was dry, and for the moment she found
it easier to nod than to speak. She had wiped away her tears from her
face, but she felt them in her heart.

Denise yawned and stood up.

“I for one am sleepy. Bertran and I had a splendid ride. It is stupid of
Le Pont, though, not to let us go out of the demesne just because that
bailiff person said it was not safe. Why, our roads about Les Vignes are
the safest in the whole world! Good night; and let us each one dream of
the true loves we are going to have!” Denise laughed gaily and twirled
around on her blue satin bedroom slippers, their crystal buckles
sparkling in the firelight.

When she had gone, Marie Josephine sat down on the floor in front of the
fire.

“You look so perfectly dear to-night with your hair caught up that way,
Marie Josephine. I can shut my eyes and see you as you’ll be four years
from now. The red shawl becomes you, too. Just wait, you’ll have your
true loves, I’m sure of that!” Cécile said, leaning back against the
dark brocaded velvet chair.

Marie Josephine turned toward her eagerly. “Do you really think so,
Cécile? Ah, tell me,” as she went on speaking she came close up to
Cécile’s chair, kneeling with both hands on the arm of it, “Cécile, you
will always love me. You’ll always trust me, won’t you?” There was
something so intense in the look she gave her friend that Cécile leaned
forward and gazed at her.

“Why yes, yes, of course. What is it, Marie Josephine!” she exclaimed.

“I—oh, nothing—that is, let me just give you a big hug.” Marie
Josephine put both arms about her friend and hugged her. Then she jumped
up quickly.

“Proté will be tired waiting up for me. Good night, Cécile!” She ran
over to the door, then turned and waved her hand toward Cécile, who
waved back. Then she went to her own room.

Proté tucked the bedclothes neatly about her when she said good night.
She was one of those who could not think of Marie Josephine’s ever
growing up, and she spoke authoritatively as she blew out the candle.

“You must be careful about the chill night air, Little Mademoiselle. It
is not good, you know. Keep well covered, and do not, I beg of you, go
over to the window to see the moon!” Proté’s round face was serious. She
felt a great responsibility toward all the children, especially the
youngest one, the Little Mademoiselle.

“Come here a minute, you funny Proté. Now bend over and I’ll squeeze you
tight. Proté, look at Trudle. Hasn’t she a smug face? Never let them
know that she sleeps with me. Can’t you fairly see their horror! 'She is
nearly fourteen and she sleeps with her doll!’ Proté chérie, you are a
dear and I love you. Here’s one more squeeze! Good night.”

Proté returned her charge’s embrace fervently, and then went over to the
doorway. As she went out she looked back at the little figure in the
great bed.

“Good night, Little Mademoiselle. God guard you!” she said.

Marie Josephine lay very still, the wooden-faced doll beside her. She
heard a clock strike ten and then eleven, and after waiting a few
moments, jumped lightly out of bed, and going over to the door, bolted
it. Then, aided only by the moonlight streaming in through the wide
casement near her bed, she went over to a cupboard and, standing on a
chair, reached back as far as she could and lifted out a box. She jumped
down and went over to the bed with the box and opened it. She drew out a
shabby, rather soiled, black calico apron. She began to dress herself
rapidly, discarding her lace-trimmed petticoat and putting on plain
garments such as a peasant child would wear. Over them she put the
black, smocklike apron. She went over to the dressing table, and opening
a drawer, fished about until she found a pair of scissors. Then she
began to clip her hair. It fell in soft, warm waves on to her shoulders
and thence to the floor. When she had finished, she looked into the
glass and by the light of the moon was able to see herself plainly.

She saw a pale little girl with big, black eyes, whose ragged,
unkempt-looking black locks flapped about her face! She smiled into the
glass and the forlorn, black-clad figure smiled back at her. Then she
put on a warm, worn jacket with a torn sleeve, tucked a black
handkerchief about her neck and tossed back her uneven wisps of black
hair. She took a bundle from the box on the bed and, after one glance
about the room, unbolted the door and went out, closing it softly behind
her.

She crept along the hall until she came to Madame Le Pont’s room. She
stopped by the closed door and wrapped a note about the knob. After
waiting a moment and listening, she went back to her own door. There was
a whine and a scratch on the other side. It was Flambeau, who had slept
soundly while she was dressing, but who had awakened and missed her.

“Listen, Flambeau,” she breathed through the keyhole. “I’d love to take
you with me, doggie, but I’m going where you couldn’t go. I want you and
Jean to go along more than, more than——” Her voice trailed into a soft
sob. This would never do. She turned away and ran silently and swiftly
through the great house, unlocked a small door leading on to a little
balcony over the rose garden, and jumped lightly down a distance of a
few feet on to the soft new grass of the east terrace.

Then she was off like the wind, her bundle under her arm. She looked
back once at the great house, so silver white under the moon. She
entered the wood, so fresh and wild and sweet, on this early spring
night. Startled wild things in the bushes stirred and scampered at her
approach. She must do one thing—she must have one last look at Mother
Barbette’s cottage. She stopped running as she caught sight of it
through the budding trees. There it was, so warm and snug and red with
its straight, quaint stone chimney, its neat stone doorstep. Marie
Josephine looked and looked at it as though she could never look long
enough or hard enough. Then she turned and walked slowly away. As she
entered the wood path again, she thought she saw something moving in the
shadow. She had thought the same thing on her way to the cottage. She
could not be frightened in her own woods of Les Vignes, but she started
to run, and ran on and on, taking the cut through the hedge near the
gates as Dian had done, and, like him, going to the huts. She did not
knock as he had done, but put her mouth close to the keyhole.

“Grigge!” she called, very softly. Almost before she knew it the door
opened and Grigge’s gaunt, long face peered through the opening. When he
saw Marie Josephine he came out and closed the door. He did not
recognize her at first, and when she spoke his astonishment was so great
that he rubbed his eyes with his jacket sleeve and stared at her
open-mouthed.

“Listen, Grigge, I have only time to speak a word with you. I am going
to find Dian, and to help him and the others, if I can. I want you to
know. And, Grigge,” she came a step closer and looked up at him
earnestly, “I feel that you can do so much here among the people. For
Dian’s sake, help us now. I know that everyone is leaving us, and that
there is wild talking in the barns and through the fields. Grigge, I
know that you have nothing to be grateful for to us, but will you not
help us now? Stay and care for Dian’s sheep. Do not join the wild crowds
in the townships.” She touched his arm in farewell and was off, flying
down the road as though her feet had wings.

Grigge stood looking after her, so dazed that he could not credit his
senses. He had come out half asleep and found a shock-haired peasant
girl at his door who had spoken to him with the voice of the Little
Mademoiselle! What was it she had said? Do not join the wild crowds in
the townships! Little she knew of those crowds, or of anything but ease
and luxury. She was right, he had nothing to be grateful for to a Saint
Frère. He hated them root and branch. He stood looking after Marie
Josephine as she sped away along the moonlit road, as though he could
not believe his eyes. Where was she going, and what did it mean? Then
some of her words came back to him: “Stay and care for Dian’s sheep!” He
went into the close hovel and threw himself down on his oat-straw
shakedown.

Marie Josephine ran and ran until she could run no more. At last she
sank down in the shadow of a newly-budded oak, breathing hard, her
bundle at her side. As she sat there she heard a sound which surprised
her, a sound of swiftly running steps which might almost have been an
echo of her own! She shrank back farther in the shadow. Some one was
running toward her through a dark side path of a meadow close to the
road. She stood up, took a step forward, and cried, “Jean!”

He sank down under the tree and for several seconds could do nothing but
pant painfully. At last he took one deep, long breath and spoke.

“I almost lost you. You led me such a dance! You ran as though you had
lightning in your shoes. I even called to you and begged you to wait,
but you did not hear!”

Marie Josephine was so glad to see him that she could not speak. Finally
she said:

“You came; but how did you know?”

“I just thought it was to-night from the way you spoke when we sat there
on the doorstep. I knew that, because of Petite Mère, you would never
let me come with you, but I’ve come, I’ve come. I’ve never been anywhere
at all, and now I’m going with you. I’m going to take care of you! We’ve
come a long way and we can’t go back! I watched for you by the terrace.
I crept out when I heard Petite Mère snoring. Then when I saw you, I
followed you. I hid behind the hedge while you talked with Grigge. Name
of a name, but he was dumb with surprise. I ran near you along the
meadow, but you went so fast and I stumbled twice and fell. I’m going
with you. You can’t stop me. I’m going all the way!”

Marie Josephine jumped up and took his hand. She was so glad that he had
come that the tears brimmed over and rolled down her cheeks.

“It’s naughty, it’s awful—it’s wonderful! Oh, I’m so glad you’ve come.
We must not waste another second here. We must not rest at all until
daylight.”

They started to walk at a swift pace, holding hands, the bundle flopping
over Jean’s shoulder. All about them was the sweetness and mystery of
the night, and before them, the lure of adventure!



                             CHAPTER XVII

                       AT THE OLD GREEN MILL-INN


“It’s the old mill. We’ve walked all night and we’ve only come to the
mill!”

Marie Josephine stood still in the middle of the road. They had come out
from the cool shade of the forest road and the early morning sunshine
greeted them. The sky was faintly blue and everywhere there was the
sleepy twitter of birds.

They had walked steadily all night, except for occasional rests by the
wayside.

“We might have our déjeuner here, some hot coffee and a petit pain. We
can rest while we eat it,” suggested Marie Josephine, and Jean assented
eagerly. He was too excited as yet to be really tired, it was all so
utterly new to him. He had never been as far as the forest by the old
mill in all his life. He kept thinking over and over:

“Petite Mère will soon be waking and she’ll find that I’m gone!”

As they came up to the mill-inn, a woman stood in the doorway. When she
saw her, Marie Josephine stopped, hesitated, and would have turned away
but the woman said sharply:

“What do you want, you two little tramps?”

Marie Josephine answered, “We’re not tramps, but we’re very hungry and
want some breakfast. We can pay for it.”

“You’re not to say that she is a tramp,” put in Jean indignantly,
nodding toward Marie Josephine. The woman paid no attention to him. She
was looking steadily at Marie Josephine, and as she looked, Marie
Josephine could feel the color come into her cheeks. Could it be that
the inn woman recognized her as the young Mademoiselle who had eaten
déjeuner there the summer before? There was something about the woman
which was familiar, something more than the remembrance of the summer
before. Marie Josephine caught her breath. She suddenly remembered the
figure she had seen under the oak tree after dinner the night before.
She caught Jean’s hand and started to turn away, but at that moment the
woman gave an exclamation and looked off toward the forest path. The
children followed her glance. There, coming toward them, running
lightly, and clearing a big mud puddle in the middle of the road with a
bound, was Flambeau!

He leaped upon Marie Josephine, fairly devouring her with kisses. There
was no use in pretending, Flambeau had given them away! He gave short,
staccato barks of joy, turning to jump on Jean, licking his face and
hands, and then turning again to his little mistress.

The inn woman looked from one to the other of them keenly, her face now
alive with interest. She stared at Marie Josephine as hard as she could.
Then she exclaimed:

“The dog seems to know you well. I have seen him before and, if I’m not
mistaken, I’ve seen you, too.” As she spoke, she pushed Marie Josephine
gently toward the door, looking over her shoulder at Jean. “You can come
in. I’ll have some coffee and a bit of bread for you soon. You can rest
awhile, for you both looked fagged out.”

Marie Josephine, though she was almost inside the door, tried to pull
herself away from the woman.

“No, Jean, we’ll go on, we don’t want breakfast here,” she said, but the
woman had stretched out her arm and pulled Jean in, too.

“Don’t be stupid. Of course you must have food, or you’ll not be able to
take the rest of your journey, wherever it is you’re going.” The woman
spoke kindly and shut the door after them. Flambeau had been the first
to enter the mill-inn, and he bounded across the oddly-shaped room,
still barking his delight.

“Well, what do you think of this for a good resting place? See, there’s
a window cut in the side over there so you can see the forest.” The
woman was standing in front of the door, and as Marie Josephine and Jean
followed the direction of her finger, and looked out at the road leading
to the forest path, she quietly and quickly turned the key in the lock
and put it in her pocket.

“Now I’ll tell you what you can do. Go up those stairs and you’ll find a
nice little room at the top. It has tables and chairs just like this
one, and there’s a fireplace there. I built a bit of fire early, for the
mill gets damp even on spring nights. You both go up there and rest, and
I’ll bring your coffee up to you. I’ll bring a bone and some milk for
the dog, too,” she said. Marie Josephine’s heart beat fast as she
listened. Did the woman remember how she had fed Flambeau the summer
before? Could it be that she was the person underneath the oak? This
dark woman at the inn had been spying on them at Les Vignes!

Marie Josephine followed Jean up the funny winding stairs. They found
the room at the top. There were tables and chairs in it, just as the
woman had said. They went over to a table near the small fire. There
were white muslin curtains at the single window and a pot of geraniums
stood on the sill. It was a neat, cheerful room, and if she had not been
anxious, Marie Josephine would have loved it, for the fact that the
familiar, old olive mill, which she had always known, had been turned
into an inn interested her very much. As it was, she turned to Jean as
soon as they had shut the door, and catching him firmly by the arm,
whispered fiercely:

“It’s not safe here. She’s a spy. I saw her under our oak tree last
night. I saw her going through the wood. There’s a dark cloak on the
chair by the door downstairs. She wore it last night and she hasn’t been
back very long, even though she did have four hours’ start of us. She
knows who I am. Flambeau gave us away. She remembers him from last
summer when we stopped here for déjeuner. Hush! I hear her!” Marie
Josephine ran across the room and, when the door opened, she was looking
out of the window. The side of the mill was painted green and there was
an eave’s trough along it. An apple tree showing faintly pink and white
swayed in the early morning breeze, its branches making a tapping sound
as they flapped against the rough wall of the mill.

The woman Paulette came across to the fire and put down a tray.

“I had a sip of coffee early myself and so I just warmed some up for the
two of you. It’s cold in the morning around here, even if spring has
come,” she said. “Draw up to the table now and make yourselves at home.
The brown bread will be to your taste, and there’s honey in the blue
dish. Here’s milk for the dog.” The woman took a tin dish off the tray
and, bending over, called, “Come, doggie,” as she put it on the floor.

Marie Josephine went over to the table and sat down, and Jean followed
her example. He was astonished at what his friend had told him. Suddenly
he felt so tired after walking all night that he was not a bit like his
usual bright, eager self.

“It does look good. There’s nothing I like better than bread and honey!”
Marie Josephine exclaimed, pouring coffee from a brown jug into one of
the two white cups and handing the cup to Jean. As she spoke she smiled
a little wanly at the woman. She had spoken as cheerfully as she could
and she hoped that she had not let the woman see that she suspected her.

Paulette eyed them both shrewdly.

“I’ll just go down and leave you to a quiet meal. There may be a coach
party in for lunch, for even though it is out of the regular beat we get
them sometimes.” She crossed the room and went out as she spoke. As she
pushed the blue dish of honey toward Jean, Marie Josephine felt her
heart sink and for a moment the lump in her throat was so big she could
not swallow. She had heard the woman’s key click in the lock!

Jean took a huge slice of bread and honey in his two hands and bit a big
half moon in it. He was so hungry that it didn’t seem to him as though
anything else mattered very much for the moment, but when he saw Marie
Josephine’s face he put down the bread and looked at her.

“It isn’t so bad here, Little Mademoiselle. The woman seems kind enough.
You couldn’t have seen her at Les Vignes,” he protested.

Marie Josephine ate a slice of bread and drank some coffee before she
replied. “We must keep up our strength,” she said. In spite of the peril
of the situation she almost had a thrill at the thought that here indeed
was an adventure, one that held all sorts of possibilities. She turned
to Jean and her eyes were as big as saucers as she said to him:

“How many times must I tell you not to call me the Little Mademoiselle?
You are to say Jo. I’ve reminded you twice already. You must remember,
Jean. We are locked in here and we are prisoners. Don’t you understand?”

Jean jumped up and ran over to the door and tried it. It would not open.
They were locked in!

“She recognized me, but not for certain until Flambeau came. Oh, how did
he get out!” Flambeau left his dish of milk and came up to Marie
Josephine at the sound of his name, and she put her face against his
back. “Flambeau, why did you come? You’ve caused all the trouble. What
shall we do with you?”

Jean was now fully awake to the situation and, although he was
frightened, he was excited and alert. He nodded at Marie Josephine.

“It’s come, hasn’t it? You know we’ve always wanted an adventure! What
would they say if they knew at Les Vignes, Lit—” Jean caught himself
just in time, “Jo.”

Marie Josephine had jumped up from the table while Jean was speaking.
She clasped her hands together and put her face down on them, and the
tears trickled through her fingers.

“We must get away, we must. Why, they will discover that we’ve gone very
soon now. It must be nearly seven. They will be sending Neville to find
us, and his horse is fleet.” She caught her breath with a sob as she
spoke.

“It’s a long ride, and if we do get away I’m not afraid that Neville
will find us, for we are small and can hide easy, Jo,” Jean said, and
Marie Josephine smiled faintly. She had no pocket handkerchief and so
rubbed her sleeve across her eyes.

“How stupid I am to cry. We must do something at once, Jean. We—but
what can we do?”

Jean ran over to the window and looked out. He tugged at the knob, for
the window shut like a small door. Marie Josephine came up to him and
when he tired of tugging at it she tried to move it. It was a little
swollen by recent dampness, but after Jean tugged the second time it
gave, swung open, and the fresh morning air greeted them. Something else
greeted them, too. It was the sweet pink and whiteness of the apple
tree. Jean leaned way out on the window ledge and looked around, his
eyes shining excitedly. Then he turned and faced Marie Josephine.

“It’s risky, but I think there’s a chance that we can reach the tree.
The eave’s trough, don’t you see, holding on to the roof where it curves
down!” he said.

She leaned way over and peered up at the low roof and then down at the
eave’s trough. It curved down and ran straight across the side of the
mill, just below them. There was not a moment to lose, for the woman
would be coming back soon for the tray.

“We can try. But Flambeau! We can’t leave him. Could he, do you
think—would he follow us?”

Jean nodded. “I believe he would, and there’s no other way. Yes, I know
he would, for he’s always followed us everywhere. I’ll go first, then
you, and you’ll see that he’ll come. He can balance well. And oh, yes,
don’t you remember the time he walked the ledge of the summer house when
we were playing ship?” Jean whispered eagerly but softly.

Marie Josephine nodded. “You go and I’ll follow,” she whispered back.

Jean turned toward the table. “The bread, Jo! You said you had money for
food, and we need the bread.”

Marie Josephine felt in her pocket and drew out a bag. In it were some
coins and she put one on the table. Then she handed the loaf to Jean and
he put it inside his blouse, buttoning his jacket over it. He jumped up
on the sill and, turning carefully, reached up and caught the
overhanging ledge of the roof. Then he cautiously put one foot along the
ledge, drawing the other up to it, and in that way made slow but sure
progress toward the welcoming branches of the tree.

Marie Josephine listened carefully, her eyes on Jean. When Jean was safe
she turned and put her hand on Flambeau’s head.

“You’re to follow, Flambeau, and you’re not to be afraid. You must
follow,” she whispered. Then she jumped up on to the window sill,
turned, and grasped the ledge of the roof as Jean had done. She heard
the swish of the tree as he caught the branches, but she dared not look
around. She did not dare to think of the woman Paulette, and she tried,
for the moment, not to think of Flambeau, but that was not so easy, for
there was an appealing squeal from the window sill. Then horrors! A
sharp bark!

Marie Josephine called softly, “Flambeau, come!” She held on to the
ledge and looked back, and, to her joy, saw the dog put his slender feet
on to the trough and gingerly step forward. “Come, Flambeau, good
doggie, pet, come!” she called again softly. Then she turned, caught at
the branches, held them with every bit of strength in her body, swayed
with them, dipping down through their leafy sweetness, loosening her
hold the instant her feet touched the ground. She swayed and staggered,
half fell over, but was up in an instant, and with Jean looked upward at
Flambeau. He had reached the edge of the trough, and was looking down.
Soon they saw that he had spied what they had not seen, a broad, thick
branch some four feet below the trough. He leaped down, scrambled among
the smaller branches for a moment, then jumped safely to the ground and
ran with bounds after the two friends who seemed to scarcely touch their
feet to the earth as they sped down the road, away from the forest, the
old mill-inn, and the dark woman, Paulette!

They often wondered afterward how they had ever run so fast after their
night of travel. Fear seemed to race behind them, and they were sure
they heard the woman running and calling, but they never looked back to
see. At last they could not run any longer. They came to a crossroad and
sat down near the edge of the road, panting and exhausted. There was no
one in sight and they rested for some little time before they could talk
at all. Then Jean said, “There must be quicksilver in your feet, Jo,”
and they both laughed.

Jean laughed the most, throwing back his head and shouting. He was so
tired and excited that he could not seem to stop. “You look so awful,
Jo. You are so untidy and dirty and ugly,” he said.

“It’s good that I do look just this way, for no one will know me. Poor
Flambeau, see how tired he is. If only he hadn’t come. But wasn’t he
wonderful there at the inn?”

There was the sound of wheels coming the other way, and they looked up
and saw that a coach was approaching. Flambeau ran toward it, and as he
came up to it, started to bark. The driver of the coach stopped and
looked at him, and then at Marie Josephine and Jean.

“You both look fagged out. If you’re going my way I’ll give you a lift,”
he said.

They came up to the side of the coach, and as they stood there it seemed
as though everything went round and round before Marie Josephine’s eyes.

“We are tired, and so is Flambeau,” she said faintly. Then she scrambled
up somehow into the back of the coach, and Jean followed her.

“We are going to Melon and beyond toward Paris. I have cousins near
Melon,” Jean said to the man, and this was true.

There was only one other passenger in the cart, a fat market woman who
kept muttering to herself, and every now and then leaning over a wooden
box at her feet and saying, “Hush your gab. You’ll squawk all the way to
Paris, I know you will.” The very disagreeable noise of imprisoned hens
answered her. Marie Josephine remembered feeling sorry for the hens, and
then she knew nothing more, for she fell into the deepest sleep she had
ever known.

She woke suddenly, sat bolt upright, and rubbed her eyes. When she had
fallen asleep she had felt the sun on her face, but as she woke the soft
glimmer of stars greeted her. Jean was awake. He sat up beside the
driver of the coach, talking busily. It was Flambeau’s caress which had
roused her. He was lying close beside her. The hens were quiet and the
woman was asleep. The kind man who drove the coach was smoking a pipe.
Outside in the dusk the good-night call of birds came to them drowsily.

“You have to be very still when you catch them or you will frighten them
away,” Jean was saying. “I always let them go. They are such dear little
things I always free them after just a little while.” He seemed to be
having the best kind of a time sitting up there by the driver. Marie
Josephine hoped he would be very careful what he said, he was such a
little chatterbox.

It had been so strange waking that way in the coach, for she had been
dreaming of Lisle and had seen his face so vividly in her dream. He had
on the velvet robes of the “Sun King,” and the jewels in his sword had
sparkled as they had done on the night that he had sat beside her on the
bed and told her that she was going to Les Vignes. What would he say if
he could see her now? He would not even know that this funny, dirty girl
was his little sister, Marie Josephine!

She had become used to the idea that she was going to run away to Paris.
But in spite of her imagination she had somehow never quite been able to
visualize it. Now it was a reality! She thought so much of the hidden
cellar and of all that grandfather had told her that spring day so long
ago.

“It is to be your secret unless by disclosing it you can save a life,”
he had said. Paris, and all that was happening there, seemed like a bad
dream. She had never really believed that anything could happen to her
mother and Lisle. She often thought of the “other one” who knew of the
cellar, and wondered if that person was helping, too. The waiting at Les
Vignes for news of maman and Lisle had been more than she could bear.

The cart stopped with a jerk, and the driver turned his head.

“Are you awake back there in the cart? Do you hear me, girl?” he asked.
“We’re almost at Melon. Are you going on to your cousins, or what will
you do?”

Marie Josephine was alert in a moment. They must make the best of the
darkness and of their long rest. She judged that Jean had told the
driver to ask her, not knowing himself what she wanted to do.

“We’ll go on, thank you kindly. Come, Jean,” she replied, climbing down
the side of the cart. Jean jumped off the driver’s seat and waved his
cap up at him.

“That was a good ride and I slept enough to last a week when those old
hens got quiet!” He laughed up at the driver as he spoke.

Suddenly a voice called through the darkness, “Are you Champar, the
driver to the Calais road?” The next moment a boy with a round, honest
face came up to the cart.

“That’s me,” the coach driver answered.

“Well, do you go near Pigeon Valley?” the boy asked.

“Not often, about once a month. I take in that way on my next route, and
then go straight on toward Calais, but I have to détour so much now it’s
the hardest trip I have. I have to keep out of the way of cannon, my
boy, and the army, and maybe fighting!” The driver spoke importantly.

“Well, anyway you don’t have any of that as far as Pigeon Valley.” The
boy came close to the cart and spoke in a low tone. Marie Josephine
could not hear. Evidently the man made some emphatic statement and the
boy replied in a louder tone, “Never mind, if you don’t go straight
there with the coach.” Then he handed the driver something white which
looked like a letter. Marie Josephine heard him say:

“I’ll see that he gets it safely.” With that, Champar, the coach driver,
whipped up his horses, waved his whip at them all, and drove on.



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                 VIVI SEES THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GATES


Raoul kicked one leg against the other. He was ill at ease, as any one
could have seen had they taken the trouble to watch him. Soufflot, the
seed shopman, seated on an overturned box in the market gardener’s room,
was holding forth as usual to some of his cronies. Dian sat apart from
the others, his hands folded on his knees. Raoul came up to him, and
stood before him, looking up at him. He had gone with his master to the
country the day after he had made fun of Humphrey at the West Barricade,
more than a fortnight ago now, and so he had not seen Dian since.

“Good day, master shepherd. It’s a long time since we’ve walked out
together, but now that you’re acquainted with the city perhaps you’ll
not want my company.” He hesitated a moment and then he colored all over
his honest face as he went on, “I’m none too proud of taunting the funny
fat man at the West Barricade.”

Dian smiled. “It was not a thing of which to be proud, that I’m bound to
say. One can go far if one has Humphrey Trail for a friend. The best
thing for you to do, if you are sorry, is to tell him so. Mayhap you’ll
be able to do something to atone for it one day! As for a walk, I’ll be
glad to go out with you. There’s too much talking here, words that do
nothing and mean less.” As he spoke, Dian rose to his great height and
put his cloak about his shoulders. He crossed the room and had his hand
on the knob of the door when something that Soufflot said made him
pause.

“We can take what we want, that’s what we can do. There was plenty of
grab awhile ago, but things are getting soft. I say let’s pillage!”

“There’s plenty of plunder about. Last week the jewels from a rue Royale
shop were scattered from one end of the street to the other. The
aristocrats and the anti-patriots are filling every jail in the city. We
are taking over the best houses now for official headquarters.”

“What houses?” It was Dian who asked the question.

“I’ve a list.” Soufflot’s friend, a blacksmith of the Saint Antoine
district, drew a paper from his pocket as he replied. He was thought
well of in his district as a zealous patriot, and he enjoyed the
importance. “We were each given one of these lists at the meeting of our
section last night. I was sorry not to see you there, farmer,” he said,
looking across at Dian, who still stood by the door. “Let’s see,” he
went on, “they still have a number of decisions to make as to houses for
official headquarters. There are any number whose former occupants have
gone—so!” As he spoke the blacksmith dashed his hand across his throat,
making a grating click with his tongue against his teeth.

The seed shopman laughed and so did the market gardener. The blacksmith
pondered over his list.

“The hotel of the De Roumande family near the corner of the square by
the Pont-Saint Michel. The hotel of the Framandes at 80 Champs Élysées,
all the hotels of aristocrats within two blocks of the Place de la
Concorde. The hotel of the Marquise du Ganne at 90 rue du Paradis.” The
blacksmith chuckled. “The old bird croaked out some little time ago. Our
authorities took care of the interment; and we’ve taken care of the
niece, too; the proud Comtesse Saint Frère. She’s there safe as can be!”

Dian opened the door and went out, followed by Raoul. They walked away
from the gates toward the city. Dian was silent, thinking how best to
take the direction of the house of the Marquise du Ganne without
arousing Raoul’s suspicions. He felt thankful enough when the boy spoke.

“I would like to see some of these houses of the aristocrats. They say
any citizen may go in. Let’s go to the Framande house. I used to keep
the cooks there in stitches of laughter, turning somersaults all up and
down the kitchens when I brought the fresh produce in.”

Dian nodded assent. “Well enough then, if you like. I, too, would not
mind a glimpse at some of them. You know the way, so I’ll follow your
lead,” he said.

They walked up the great wide avenue, turning on to it from the rue
Royale. Raoul looked back over his shoulder. At the end of the avenue
the great giant guillotine showed black against a blue spring sky.

“I’ll tell you something I saw, Shepherd, if you’ll keep a quiet tongue
in your head. There is a boy shut up in the bakery shop, the big, smart
one on the rue Saint Honoré. I saw him quite by accident. I’ve not told
any one. He’s an aristocrat, I’m sure; he had on a velvet suit.”

Raoul then told Dian everything he knew as they walked toward the
Framande house. It was natural enough that the shepherd should question
him, and he found out that, as far as Raoul could tell, the prisoner had
looked well, had been dressed in his usual way, and had had a tray of
milk and cakes carried up to him by a woman whom Raoul declared to be
kind.

“He could have worse than her looking after him, whoever he is. She’s
given me many a cup of hot coffee and a cake on cold days. She’s good
enough; but the boy’s in bad hands if he’s a prisoner of her husband!
He’ll have him up before the Tribunal for trial when the time is ripe.
You mark my words, he’s going to get some sort of plum for himself out
of this pudding!” Dian listened to Raoul in silence, making no comment
except to ask a few questions. Since he had found the note in the cake
he had waited quietly for the next development. He trusted that he would
be shown the right way and he had spoken confidently to Humphrey Trail
when that impetuous soul longed for action.

He was thinking of Humphrey and of Rosanne as he walked with Raoul along
the Champs Élysées. He saw Humphrey every day and he knew that Rosanne
was safe with Vivi, but he realized, as did also the Yorkshire man, that
Rosanne must not remain longer in the alley. Vivi was out now playing
about the gates and plying her father’s trade of selling licorice water.
She was the best little soul in the world, and she loved Rosanne, but
she was very young and she had never learned to keep things to herself.
She might, without meaning to, say something which would cause suspicion
and bring an investigating body of citizen soldiers to the alley. There
was only one place where Rosanne could be safe until the opportunity
came to take her out of Paris, and that was in the hidden cellar.

They found a noisy mob about the Framande house and sights that were bad
to see, for the crowds were out looting and robbing and killing. They
turned away, glad to be on a quiet street, and walked on in silence a
few minutes. Then Dian said:

“There were other houses. There was one on the rue du Paradis, the Du
Ganne place, was it not? Let us see what is going on there.”

Raoul nodded. “I know that one well, too. The old lady used to give
great parties. She’s dead now, and her niece is prisoner there. I’d like
to have a look at her!”

The house of the Marquise du Ganne was gloomy and big and forbidding. At
the wide entrance door they were challenged by a soldier in the uniform
of the Republic, who called:

“Who goes there? Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death!”

Dian and Raoul answered: “Friends. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or
Death!” and went inside.

In the center of a long hall some men in uniform sat writing at a table.
Citizens of Paris, some rough and ragged, walked about, but, for the
most part, the place was quiet. One of the men glanced up from his
writing and, when he saw Dian, nodded and beckoned to him. Dian went
over to the table, recognizing him as one of the men who had attended
Soufflot’s supper.

“Could you do me the favor of glancing at this, Shepherd? They say you
know how to write and read well, and that”—the man peered up at Dian as
he spoke—“that seems a passing strange thing for a shepherd.”

“The evenings are long in the country districts, citizen. I have worked
through them until late into the night to glean the little knowledge I
possess. But what is it I can do for you?” Dian replied.

“Just take a look at this notice I’ve written out and see if it’s
readable to your eyes. Marat can’t do much more than write his name, so
why should I care about doing any better?” As he spoke the official
handed the sheet to Dian, who bent over it.

“There are some words I could change for you, and with your permission
I’ll do it,” Dian said. The man consented and Dian sat down at the table
and, painstakingly and slowly, corrected the garbled writing. Then he
read it out to the official, who nodded with approval.

“You’ve done that well. You are clever, I see,” he commented, taking the
paper from Dian and leaning back in his chair and yawning.

Dian was silent for a minute. He wanted to ask if there was any
possibility of going through the house, hoping to get a word with the
comtesse as he went through. He did not know just how to word his
request without arousing suspicion. Raoul helped him out. He ran up to
the table just then.

“Oh, citizen Parnette, do let us see the prisoner. Just one look is all
I want,” he begged.

Citizen Parnette frowned. What an impudent youngster this messenger boy
of his friend, the market gardener, was, to be sure!

“It’s not done, as a rule. They’d be up there, every last one of them,
if they knew we had an aristocrat in keeping. Well, it won’t be for long
now. She will go to La Force I daresay. You can have a look for
friendship’s sake, but keep a quiet tongue about it. Go up the back
stairway and straight down a hall. She’s in a room at the left and you
can see her because the upper corner of the door is broken through. The
mob did that when we first took the house over. She was in the west wing
then, but we moved her to the other side.” The official bent over his
writing, and Dian and Raoul went on through the long hall to the back of
the house.

“Go on ahead of me, my lad. I’ll warrant you’ll take the steps three at
a time, and I would take my leisure,” Dian said to Raoul as they came to
the foot of a long flight of stairs. How often had the old comte spoken
to him of this house of his aunt’s where he had spent so many days of
his youth!

Raoul ran on up the steps three at a time, just as Dian had said he
would. When he was well on in front, Dian took a small notebook and a
piece of charcoal from the inner pocket of his cloak and, placing the
book against the tapestry wall at the side of the stairs, wrote these
words:

“Tear this after reading. Lisle is imprisoned in the bakery shop at rue
Saint Honoré. I shall find a way to save him and to save you.
Mademoiselle de Soigné is safe with friends. Keep up your courage.
Dian.”

Then he went on up the stairs and down the hall. Raoul was already
looking through the small, shattered paling at the side of the heavy,
nail-studded door. There was a red brocaded curtain in front of the
door. Raoul looked back over his shoulder.

“My, she’s grand and solemn looking. She’s sitting by the window!” He
moved away so that Dian could peer through. The shepherd hesitated. It
was not to his liking, this looking in on a woman, but he wanted to see
what the room was like and to pass his note to the comtesse. He put his
eyes to the opening and saw the comtesse sitting, as Raoul had said, by
the narrow window, dressed in her black frock, her hands folded in her
lap.

Raoul had roamed on down the hall, peering in at doors and shuffling his
feet along the velvet carpet as he went.

Dian said softly, “Come to the door, Madame.”

The comtesse heard him, gave a start, and then came quickly across the
room, both hands at her heart. She saw his face and recognized him at
once. There was no time for more than a word. He dropped the note at her
feet, whispering, “Be ready when I come.” Then he turned away and joined
Raoul, who was already shuffling toward him.

They walked back toward the West Barricade together, and, as they
walked, Raoul asked inquisitively: “Why do you not take us to your
lodgings? Where is it that you stay?”

“I am lodging with friends. It is a dark, cold place, and there are rats
about; but, because it is my friend’s house I am well pleased at being
there. Listen to me well, Raoul! Would you like to prove yourself a lad
to be trusted? You say you are sorry for hurting the honest farmer,
Humphrey Trail. Would you like to do him a service?”

“Maybe,” answered Raoul in his teasing way; but Dian knew that he was
teasing.

“See, Raoul, I am treating you as a man. I am trusting you. Does that
mean something to you?”

Raoul nodded. “Yes, Master Shepherd, I like you. I would serve you,” he
answered simply.

“Then listen well. I would ask you to take a letter to Champar, the
cross-eyed coach driver on the Amiens road. The crossroad where he turns
toward Melon is only a few miles from your master’s farm. You are simply
to hand him the letter and say nothing.” Dian looked down earnestly at
Raoul’s simple, round face.

“You may trust me right well, Shepherd,” Raoul said. “I’ll see that
Champar gets the letter safe enough.”

They had reached the gates, and they stood for a while watching the
carts go through. Suddenly they saw Vivi. She carried a tray from which
dangled a row of tin cups, and on the top of which was balanced a tall
pewter jug.

“Licorice water, licorice water! Who’s thirsty?” she called out at
intervals, and she did quite a thriving trade as she went about among
the people.

“Hi there, girl, another cup for me. Sacré, it’s a poor drink, but I
don’t see any wine kegs about, and it’s thirsty work seeing that no
aristocrats get through the gates,” said a soldier coming up to her.

Vivi grinned at him from under her straggling black locks as she poured
some of the sweet grey mixture into one of the cups. She liked to have
adventures so that she could tell Rosanne about them at night. She meant
to stop at a little shop she knew on the rue Saint Antoine and buy a bit
of sweet cake as a treat for Rosanne’s supper. Now that she had a few
pennies to spend she liked to buy some little thing to cheer her friend,
for whom the days dragged slowly.

“Let me go through the gates, Georges Fardou, just for fun,” she
pleaded.

The soldier in charge gave a good-natured laugh and looked down at her.

“That’s so, you’re poor old one-legged Ranboeau’s brat. That was a bad
deal your father got when the lumber fell. Let you through the gates, is
it? What would you do on the other side?” he asked.

“Pick some flowers and come right back,” answered Vivi, hitching up the
tray which was held about her neck by a leather strap.

The soldier in charge laughed and turned to another.

“She wants to pick some flowers on the other side of the gates. Well, go
through and see how many you’ll find!” He held open the gate far enough
for Vivi to step through, and they all laughed at her as she looked
about curiously.

“It’s a great sight, isn’t it? No one was curious until they had to stay
this side, but since the gates have been locked you’d think they thought
the fields of paradise were just near by,” laughed Georges Fardou.

There were no flowers, only a long stretch of road, the vanishing bulk
of a market cart in the distance, and the vivid spring sky above. Vivi
looked about her and then, putting her tray down, began to dance and
sing:

                        “Dansons la Carmagnole,
                        Vive le son du canon!”

The soldiers looked on, calling out approvingly:

“That’s good. She might be a sans-culotte herself! Give us the 'Ça Ira,’
too!”

Vivi danced and sang with all her might, enjoying the attention she got
very much. When Fardou called her, she picked up her tray and came
inside the gates, making a bow to the guard, who bowed mockingly in
return.

“Thank you, citizeness, for the entertainment. We shall see you one day
at the Comédie Française, I daresay,” he remarked.

“Thank you, Georges Fardou, for letting me outside the gates. It is not
so nice there as I thought.” She swung her leather strap over her
shoulder and went on crying her wares: “Licorice water, who wants
licorice water!”

Dian left Raoul and went to Humphrey Trail’s room in the alley. He had
not expected to find Humphrey in, but was only too glad to see his broad
kindly face looking around the corner of the door as he came up the
stairs.

“I’ve seen Madame Saint Frère,” Dian said as soon as he came into the
room. Then he proceeded to tell Humphrey all about the morning.
Humphrey’s face shone.

“Tha has done well and there’s now a bit o’ light ahead. Th’ young lad,
to think, he is in the bakery shop. How shall we save th’ lad?” Humphrey
wrung his fat hands together as he spoke.

“We shall do it, Humphrey Trail, and, if I have done well, you have done
better, for though I have dreams and the hope that they will come true,
you have already saved a little girl.” Dian smiled his slow smile and
Humphrey Trail answered him:

“Tha has something more than I ha’! Tha has trust!” As he spoke Humphrey
sighed, longing for the confidence which made Dian so sure that Lisle
would be rescued. He thought of the letter which Dian was holding until
he found the right messenger to deliver it to Champar, the trusted coach
driver, who would, in turn, give it into the hands of Grigge, who lived
at the gates of the Saint Frère demesne.



                              CHAPTER XIX

                    IN THE BAKERY SHOP AND OUT OF IT


The baker from the rue Saint Honoré was so cross that he glowered at his
wife when she handed him a cup of steaming, nicely sweetened coffee and
a plate of cream buns. He was worried, which was one reason for his
being cross. He snapped out these words as he took a long drink of the
good coffee:

“There’s no telling what will be standing from one day to the next.
They’re looting and burning everything that takes their fancy! They’ve
got the idea this place is too aristocratic. They know it used to be
serving royalty. You mark my words, they’ll get us yet!” The baker put
his head in his hands with a gesture of despair.

He meant the mobs which went from one end of the city to the other,
plundering and stealing and destroying everything upon which they could
lay their hands. They were mad with hunger, many of them, and there was
no one to guide them; rather were they encouraged in their lawlessness
by the very men who should have curbed them, and they lost all semblance
of civilized beings.

“You’re as bad as any of them, keeping that boy a prisoner upstairs. Why
don’t you put on a uniform and go out with our brave soldiers and fight
for liberty in a clean way, instead of staying at home and turning
coward and villain!” exclaimed the bakery woman with sudden courage.

“I’ll ask you to keep a civil tongue in your head and I’ll have no more
of your spoiling of that boy. What he needs is a little wholesome
discipline, with his proud face and haughty ways. I couldn’t get a word
out of him when I went up there last night; but I’ll try something more
persuasive than words if he doesn’t look out. I’ll not put up with his
impudence, and I’m going to find out if he knows anything of where the
girl might be. I’m going to find out now!”

The baker finished his coffee with one long gulp and rose from his chair
in the outer kitchen. It was evening, and because of the bad times in
that quarter they were closing early. He went through the storeroom, up
the stairs to the room where Lisle was. He unlocked the door and went
in, closing the door behind him.

Lisle was standing by the table. As the baker came up to him he pushed
aside the paper and pen he had been using.

“I’ve come for a word with you and you’ll do well to answer me straight.
Where do you think the girl may be?”

The baker came close up to Lisle and regarded him severely. Lisle
returned his look steadily.

“What girl?” he asked.

“You know well enough what girl. You left her there in the room of your
house when you went to the cellar for wood. She wasn’t to be found when
we looked for her. She wasn’t anywhere about. You’ll have to say where
you think she may be, and you’ll have to say it quick!”

Lisle smiled, leaning back against the side of the table and looking the
baker over impudently.

“You don’t look as stupid as you sound,” he said.

“Is that so, you young high and mighty. I’ll find a way to take you down
a peg. I’ll have none of your impertinence. You’ll give me civil words
and you’ll give me a straight answer or I’ll give you something you’ll
not relish, that I can tell you. Where is the De Soigné child?”

“I don’t know where she is. I haven’t any idea, but I’m glad she’s safe
from you. Who knows, perhaps some one has come to her aid. That’s what
I’m hoping.” As Lisle spoke, Humphrey Trail’s honest face came into his
mind, and with it a certain confidence. Often during these past weeks he
had thought of Humphrey, and gone over in his mind their last meeting.
His pride had not let him take Humphrey’s advice and he had kept on with
his visits to the bakery shop. He would have given a great deal to have
seen Humphrey just at that minute. There was only one other person whom
he would rather have seen, and that was Dian, the shepherd.

“There’s one thing I know,” cried the baker, “and that is you need a
good taste of a whip. And, as sure as my name’s Charles Tortot, you’ll
get it this very night. I’ll see to it that you shed some big tears
before you’re many hours older, my fine fellow!” The baker was so angry
that he stuttered as he spoke, and his temper was not improved by
Lisle’s next remark.

“You couldn’t make me cry and you know it. I’m not afraid of you, and I
think you know that, too,” he said. He was still leaning back against
the table, his hands on the side of it. The baker glared at him but he
had to admit to himself that his prisoner certainly did not look
frightened, no matter how he may have felt. The baker looked at him for
a moment, at his blue velvet suit, the freshly washed lace frills at his
wrists, his white face and blue eyes, and the bright gold of his hair,
tied back with its flare of ribbon. A silly whim of his wife’s and one
that he should put a stop to. He stood there frowning at Lisle in the
dusky twilight, and Lisle’s proud eyes frowned back at him.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Dian came in through the alley and climbed the rickety stairs to the
room on the first landing. He had seen Raoul go through the gates an
hour before, and knew that with him had gone the letters, one to Champar
himself, and one for him to deliver to Grigge in Pigeon Valley. He was
thinking of Lisle as he climbed the stairs, trying to plan out the best
way to get a message to him.

He knocked on the door and said, “This is Dian,” and Vivi opened it for
him, smiling a welcome.

“Dian, stay and talk with us. I have told Vivi everything I know and she
has told me so many funny things about her life, but we’re tired now.”
Rosanne came running across the room as she spoke, and, catching hold of
the shepherd’s hand, drew him over by the window. He noted that she was
pale, and for a moment his heart sank. Like Humphrey, he felt a
responsibility for them all, but, unlike him, was able, after a moment,
to banish his forebodings.

“You will have many adventures to talk over with your friends when you
are an old, old woman, Mademoiselle,” he said to her smilingly.

“See what we have for supper! Humphrey brought us garlic and some fresh
lettuce,” Rosanne went on, trying to be cheerful, and receiving a reward
in Dian’s pleased smile.

They had put an overturned box by the one small window and had spread
their supper on it. The lettuce and garlic reposed in a tin plate in the
center of the improvised table, and a loaf of bread lay on a clean piece
of paper at one side. Next to the plate of lettuce was a small glass
filled with a few early violets. Dian came up to the table and stood
looking down at it and at Rosanne. He touched one of the violets with
his finger.

“A farmer woman gave them to me. She was sitting in her cart near the
west gate. I told her that I had some young friends who would love
them,” he said.

“Dian, they are like those at Pigeon Valley. Dian, think of it—Pigeon
Valley. I was telling Vivi just now about the lilies on the south
terrace at Les Vignes, clusters, crowds of them, white and gold. They’ll
bloom in June, Dian!” Two tears rolled down Rosanne’s face, but she
smiled through them. “I want to see Marie Josephine more than ever
to-night. I——”

Dian put his hand gently on her shoulder.

“You are brave,” he said, and then turning toward Vivi he added: “Vivi
is brave, too. She is helping us all the time.”

It was the best thing in the world he could have said, for Rosanne
forgot herself at once and thought of Vivi.

“Yes, she is the best friend. She is so good to me. When she comes in
she has always something for me, and when I am restless she dances for
me, and then I dance for her. She has learned to do the minuet with me
nicely, but she likes her own dances better.”

Vivi followed Dian to the door when he went out, and as he opened it
Minuit came in, rubbing herself against him as she passed him.

Dian walked toward the city. The sky was bright with stars. He thought
of the stars as they shone on the meadows of Les Vignes.

When he came to the corner leading into the rue Saint Honoré, he stood
still. There was the way of the Champs Élysées, in the evening always
the more quiet of the avenues. The tumbrils, which passed there all day,
stopped at sundown when the guillotine finished its day’s work, and the
crowds gathered along the rue Royale or about the Place de la Bastille,
or down the length of the rue Saint Honoré.

Dian hesitated. He felt so tired of crowds, even of the thought of them,
and, like Rosanne, he wanted Pigeon Valley. Still he hesitated. Years
before, one wild, cold night, he had been a good distance from Les
Vignes and had been coming home late. There had been two roads. One he
knew well, for it led straight across the fields to his sheepfold door;
the other was over rough stubble, hard and uneven from the early frost.
One was easy going and he knew every inch of it, the other was uphill
and a long way around. He took the difficult road, and halfway to Les
Vignes he had come across one of his lambs, half dead with cold. It had
strayed from the others and lay helpless and bleating on the stark
hillside. He had lifted it and carried it home under his cloak, warmed
and comforted. Something had told him to take the harder path, and the
same trust had led him through it. He turned toward the rue Saint Honoré
and as soon as he was halfway down the street he found himself one of a
wild mob. All about him hoarse voices were screaming. He was carried
along with the pressing crowd.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The baker was angry at Lisle, but he was curious, too. He had never seen
any one like him. He had threatened to whip him and yet Lisle had still
dared to defy him about the girl, and had spoken with an amazing
impudence. Tortot went toward the door.

“We’ll see if I can’t rid you of some of that impertinence, my fine
fellow,” he snarled.

While the baker had been speaking, there was a strange roaring sound
somewhere in the distance, and when he finished it seemed to be very
near. He paused uncertainly and his face showed white in the growing
dusk. He ran over to the door and opened it, and as he did so there was
a frightful crashing sound of breaking glass, mad shouting, then another
crash, and the sound of a door being broken down.

Tortot stood as one dazed, but even in his fright and bewilderment he
had presence of mind enough to put himself in front of the door as Lisle
made a rush for it. The baker’s broad bulk completely barred the way and
he was quick enough to prevent Lisle from ducking under his arm. There
was the sound of tables and chairs being overthrown, more shouting, and
then the bakery woman’s voice calling lustily:

“Charles, Charles, they are destroying us!”

It was only for a couple of minutes that Lisle and the baker struggled
in the doorway. Then there was a burst of sound from the kitchens, the
crash of pewter and iron cooking pans and tins being thrown down, voices
harshly singing the “Ça Ira,” and the next instant a tall figure, with
ragged red locks about his shoulders, swung himself up the stairway,
knocked the baker down with one fierce thrust of his arm, and catching
Lisle about the waist, threw him up over his shoulder.

He was down again like a flash, through the storeroom to the bakery shop
where confusion reigned. Cakes were scattered broadcast, and broken
china dishes lay in scattered heaps on the floor and counter. Dian with
one quick, strong gesture had flung his cloak about Lisle as he ran with
him down the stairway. Holding him close in his arms he ran on through
the shop, out into the freedom of the streets!

Dian ran steadily and easily. He was used to long stretches of
countryside, but he was not used to the tortuous, winding streets of
Paris. He knew that some of those in the shop must have seen him, but as
he had completely covered Lisle with his cloak he hoped that, had any
one given him a thought, it would be only to surmise that he had run off
with some especially choice piece of loot.

He turned in and out of several narrow, twisted streets, and at last
stopped for a moment in the shadow of a doorway. He listened but could
hear nothing but the usual roar of the city all about them. Then he put
Lisle gently to the ground, throwing the cloak back so that he could see
his face in the dim light.

“It’s Dian, Little Master,” he said.

Lisle, having been for several weeks confined in one small room with
little fresh air, and having nothing to eat for the last two days, or at
any rate, only enough to appease the bakery woman who had been concerned
at his indisposition, was dazed and weak. He had been threatened one
moment by the baker, and the next moment grabbed by some one, covered
with a cloak, and run with at a tremendous pace, and now in a doorway in
the heart of Paris, Dian was holding him, speaking in quiet, familiar
tones.

Lisle put his head down in the hollow of his arm and stood very still
for a moment.

“We’re going home, Little Master. We’ll be there soon,” Dian said again,
and Lisle turned toward him as children and animals always did.

“Yes, home,” he said weakly, but when Dian offered to carry him, he
shook his head.

“It’s better so, Little Master, for dressed as you are you will not be
safe in the streets. It’s near now, and soon you’ll be safe and quiet.”
Dian lifted him as he spoke and walked quickly with his long, easy
strides until he came to the Saint Frère house. He went in through the
cellar window, turned and drew Lisle in after him, then listened
intently. There was no sound anywhere. Then he struck the flint and
tinder which he kept on a shelf near the window and lit a lanthorn which
he also kept on the shelf. It was the same green lanthorn which Marie
Josephine had lit when she went down to the secret cellar.

Then Dian spoke to Lisle.

“Little Master, I am taking you where you will be safe. It is a place
that Monsieur your grandfather loved, and it was built by the Lisle
Saint Frère whom you have always loved to think about. Come with me, and
mind your steps well, for we are going down a secret stairway into a
hidden room.” As he spoke, Dian led Lisle across the cellar, and
stooping at the seventh stone, pressed it and it opened.

Down, down into the gloom below them, the last Lisle Saint Frère
followed Dian the shepherd, down to the cellar built by the first Lisle
Saint Frère, deep in the heart of the earth!



                              CHAPTER XX

                         LISLE SEEKS ADVENTURE


Light from the green lanthorn and from two candles on the shelf
flickered on the tapestry in the hidden cellar, bringing out unexpected
gleams of rose and blue in its faded grey weaving. At one end of the
long, strange room was a heap of rugs and velvet draperies and some
blankets and there was a big tiger skin on the rough stone floor.

A table covered with a crimson brocaded cloth stood near the chest. Dian
had found some boards in the upper cellar and had thrown them down the
secret slide. With these he had made the table and he was now making a
sort of bed. He was stooping over his work, his red locks falling about
his shoulders, his chisel and wooden nails beside him on the floor.
Lisle sat on the chest watching him, his hands clasped about his knees.
It was five days since Dian had rescued him from the baker’s shop. At
first he had not been able to take an interest in anything except the
facts that the shepherd had told him that first day, when they were safe
in the hidden cellar, that his mother was a prisoner in the house of his
Great-aunt Hortense, that the old lady herself had died, and that
Rosanne was safe with Humphrey Trail, who had rescued her the night that
Lisle had been abducted.

Lisle had slept in a sort of stupor all the next day, rousing only to
take the soup or milk which Dian fed him. He had muttered about a cake
with spun sugar, and a mouse. Toward evening he had become himself
again, eager to hear all that Dian had to tell him, and plying the
shepherd with questions. Les Vignes—was all going well there? Marie
Josephine, was she happy? Had they endured the winter without
discomfort? Dian had answered all as best he could. He had told of
Neville’s arrival in disguise and of the expected arrival of a messenger
from the comtesse who never came. He told of the long winter evenings
around Mother Barbette’s fire, and of how it had come to him, as he
crossed the meadow one night, that he should go to Paris. He did not
dwell too much on the danger they all were in, but Lisle seemed to grasp
it.

“You see, I’ve known the danger all winter, Dian. I’ve known it was
there since the Tuileries were taken. I’ve known it all along since
then. We must not stay here in this hidden room. We must be up and out!”
he had said impulsively.

That was the night after the rescue, and now the fifth day had come.
Dian left him at intervals, bringing back food for them both. He shook
his head when Lisle spoke of wanting to accompany him.

“You shouldn’t run all the danger yourself, Dian. You risked your life
for me. Don’t you see I’m strong now and ready to help? It’s my place to
help you, to save mother and get her and Rosanne out of Paris. That was
what was so awful about being in the baker’s shop, not doing anything,
not being able to help,” he said, but Dian only shook his head as he
rose from his work.

“It’s lonely for you here and it’s dark and gloomy, too, but you are
safe here and that is what counts the most. Never fear but your time
will come to help. You’re helping now just by staying here. Your mother
will be saved and she and Mademoiselle de Soigné will get safe out of
Paris,” Dian answered.

“How do you know? How can you tell, Dian?” Lisle jumped up and came and
stood in front of the shepherd, who looked up from his work.

“I can not tell you how I know, Little Master. I knew that I or the good
Humphrey would find you,” and then Dian told again about discovering the
note in the cake at the spinner’s supper. Lisle loved to hear the story.

“It was wonderful,” he said slowly as Dian finished speaking and went on
with his work. Then Lisle hesitated. It was not easy for him to show
emotion or sentiment of any kind. He put his hand on Dian’s shoulder as
he bent over the boards with his saw. “There is no one like you, Dian,”
he said.

The shepherd had waited for questions about the hidden cellar. It had
amazed him that Lisle had not seemed to be surprised about it, but he
was soon to know why. Lisle walked up and down for a time after he spoke
to Dian. He rubbed his hand along the rough stone wall, lifted a corner
of the tapestry curtain, and said:

“It is very old, isn’t it, Dian?”

“Very old, Little Master,” Dian replied.

“Did my grandfather know about it?” was Lisle’s next question.

“He knew and he told me,” came the shepherd’s answer.

“Why did he not tell me, too?” demanded Lisle, and as he spoke he came
back to the chest and sat down, looking eagerly across at Dian, his
light brows drawn together in the frown that with him generally meant
trouble.

Dian stood up, straightening his great height. Then he walked slowly up
and down the room, his hands locked in front of him, thinking deeply.
When at last he answered Lisle he spoke slowly. “It is hard to tell you
why, and I do not really know myself, except that it was always the
Little Mademoiselle whom your grandfather thought the most about, and it
was to her that he told the secret of the cellar. It is no longer a
secret, and the time has come when it may shelter you all.”

Lisle was standing in front of him, his eyes flashing blue fire.

“He told Marie Josephine, that baby, told her instead of me who am head
of my house, now that he has gone. What can you mean, Dian, when you say
that grandfather told Marie Josephine?”

Dian was reaching for his cloak which hung on a nail at one side of the
secret stairs as he answered quietly:

“The Comte Saint Frère thought that it was for the best. He said that
the Little Mademoiselle was the one of you who thought the most, the one
who cared for everyone and everything.” Dian turned and faced Lisle as
he went on, speaking tenderly. “It was not indeed that you were not his
dear beloved grandson. He had many hopes and dreams for you, only the
Little Mademoiselle dreamed, too. She was different.”

As he spoke, Dian climbed the first step of the stairs. “I’ll be gone
but a short time and we’ll have a good talk about it all when I come
back,” he said, and then he climbed up the stairs, opened the secret
panel, and, after sliding it back in place, went out through the cellar
into the soft spring dusk. He was sad at heart, for he knew that Lisle
was wounded in his pride, and that he was angry. It would not make
things easier to have him so. He knew that it would be as well to leave
him alone for a time, and he felt that it was the hour for him to pay a
visit to Vivi and Rosanne. More and more the conviction grew upon him
that Rosanne’s situation was now becoming perilous, and that he must
soon, at all costs, see that she was safely hidden in the secret cellar,
until such time as he could effect an escape for the comtesse.

He had seen Humphrey and had told him of Lisle’s escape and of his being
safe in the hidden cellar. He knew that he had done well in telling
Humphrey of the cellar, and one of the things he had decided to do next
was to show it to him and to tell him of the secret panel and how to
open it. Humphrey did not seem to realize his own danger, but Dian felt
that it was there. Humphrey was an alien enemy of the Republic. His
safety so far had lain largely in the fact of his being so typically a
farmer.

Surveillance was growing daily more strict. At any time both Humphrey
and Rosanne might be discovered. Dian was thinking of all this as he
walked through the crowded, unruly city, amid the sound of hammers on
anvils and the rumble of tumbrils carrying poor victims to the
guillotine.

As he walked, his cloak thrown across his shoulders, his long even
strides taking him over the ground in good time, he was thinking deeply,
but he was in no way discouraged. He was right when he said to Lisle
that he had deep faith in the safety of them all, but it was something
that he could not put into words, something deep within him which spoke
to him of good, and which gave him confidence. He turned to it as simply
as a child, and it had never failed him. He had thought a great deal
about Vivi while he had been in the hidden cellar the last few days. He
knew that there was very much that he could do for her, poor little
ignorant child, so kind of thought and action, so ready to do as they
asked her, keeping their secret for them. There was a life of sunshine
for Vivi, away from the dirty alley and the rough madness of Paris, of
that Dian was sure, and for that he would work.

He walked to the west gate and stood in the dusk, exchanging greetings
with the soldiers on guard and with various vendors of hot soup, eau
sucré, and coffee. Then he went on toward the Saint Antoine district,
finding himself at last in the dingy alley where lived three people in
whom he was deeply interested and whom he loved.

Rosanne overwhelmed him with questions. Her joy in the thought of
Lisle’s safety made her almost like the happy girl who used to ride up
and down the long driveway at Les Vignes.

“If only you could stay and tell us all about the hidden cellar!” she
said as Dian came in bringing something almost like sunshine with him.

Humphrey Trail was as interested as Rosanne. His honest face glowed with
pleasure when Dian said:

“The Little Master talked and talked of you, Humphrey. As soon as he
knew about his mother and Mademoiselle he began to talk of you.
'Humphrey Trail is my friend. He saved Rosanne and he gave me good
counsel which I was too proud to take. Dian, I want to show that I am
his friend, too,’ he said.”

                  *       *       *       *       *

Dian took a piece of paper from his pocket and read what was written on
it.

It was a copy of the note to Grigge which Raoul had taken through the
gates. It read:

“When this reaches you, aid Champar to do all that may be needful for
the family at Les Vignes. Go with Champar in the coach to Calais, and
give this note which is inclosed to one Anastasius Grubb, who is skipper
of a fishing smack called the _Sandlass_. He is thick set, and has a
black beard, and has a scar over his left eye. Deliver the note into his
hands and into no other’s. I trust you. I know that you will be guided.
Consult Champar the coach driver in case of danger. Dian.”

What would those who trusted him say if they knew that he had sent this
important note to the miserable boy who lived in a hovel at the gates of
Les Vignes? Dian, in his wisdom, knew that he had done well. He had
spent many a night in Pigeon Valley, when his eyes were blurred with
weariness, teaching Grigge to read and write. He had kept up the boy’s
courage when he had been in despair, and had given him a hold on life.
He had strengthened his love for young and helpless animals. He trusted
him now to do this one great service.

“The little Vivi is late. It is best that I go and find her,” Dian said,
and as he spoke, he tore up the copy of the letter, and threw it into
the fire. Then he went out, leaving Humphrey and Rosanne to their simple
supper of bread and greens. Dian wanted a word alone with Vivi.

He went to the West Barricade and stood watching the carts go through.
He knew several of the soldiers who stood about and he nodded to Georges
Fardou, who was on guard at the gate, and with whom he often had a word.
He was about to turn away when two figures came flying through the
gates, a girl and a boy! They stood still for a second, as though dazed.
The next instant they threw themselves upon Dian.

Fardou gave a gruff laugh, exclaiming, “Look here, young Vivi. There
will be no more of this going in and out of the gates. You and your
young tramp of a friend can keep inside. You’d never have gotten through
to-day if I’d been on guard.”

Dian never knew how he passed the next few minutes. His Little
Mademoiselle, the wildest, dirtiest little vagabond imaginable, was
hugging him, whispering through soft sobs, “Dian, Dian, Dian.” Jean
Barbette, a dusty, smutty-nosed boy, if ever there was one, held tight
to his hand, fairly jumping for joy. Dian felt his heart give a great
leap when he heard the guard call out “Vivi.” He himself had thought at
first that Marie Josephine was Vivi. There was safety in this, beyond
words to measure!

He took them each by the hand, saying over his shoulder to Fardou, “I’ll
see that they stay where they belong!”

He walked with them quickly down a side street toward the alley.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Lisle had sat still on the chest for some time after Dian left him. He
looked at the quiet dusk of the old place, at the flicker of light from
the green lanthorn, at the weird figures on the tapestry. He was angry,
for his pride had been hurt, his sorest point. Grandfather had told
Marie Josephine about the cellar instead of him, had told a mere child
who could know little or nothing of what it meant.

He would show them that he was no child to be kept in hiding! Dian had
said that it was necessary that he stay in the cellar for the present,
and had taken it for granted that he would do so, but he had not given
Dian his word that he would stay. As he climbed up the secret stairs he
was glad that this was so. He had watched Dian open the panel and when
he reached the top of the stairs he did as the shepherd had done, and to
his joy the panel slipped out easily. What would Marie Josephine say if
she could see him now!

He slipped the panel back in place, and stood for a moment in the dim
cellar, the musty scent of apples and onions all about him. He thought
of the night when he had come down for wood, leaving Rosanne singing in
the salon, and of all that he had been through since then. He turned
back toward the secret panel, hesitated, then ran quickly up the dark
stairway to the floor above.

He was in his own house! He was master of that house! It had belonged to
his forefathers and now it was his own, but as he went into the great,
silent hall, he knew that he was not quite as he had been that night of
the blizzard when he had toasted nuts with Rosanne. He had known grave
danger and he had met with kindness. He had a feeling of gratitude for
the bakery woman. He was sorry that all the pride and delight she had in
her cakes had ended in the shattering of her shop. He felt an intense
relief and thankfulness that Rosanne was not in danger and he wanted to
get her safely out of Paris. Above all, he wanted to set his mother
free. That was one of his plans, to go to Great-aunt Hortense’s house in
some disguise. He was full of plans and longing for action, but out of
all that he had learned these last weeks, he had not lost his pride. He
had not been content to wait for Dian’s own good time. He had chosen a
time himself.

As he stood there in the dark hall, he thought he saw something move,
and then decided that it was only the swaying of the velvet curtain
leading into the salon. He put one foot on the stairs leading to the
floor above and then paused, listening. He heard footsteps; they came
from the direction of the cellars. He was not mistaken. It must be Dian
who had come back through the cellar window.

The hot blood mounted to Lisle’s face. Dian had found that he was gone
and was coming to look for him. He turned and looked back, and at that
moment saw the tall figure of the shepherd in the half light. He was
just about to speak to him when some one crouching by the velvet curtain
jumped forward, and pointed a gun at Dian’s head.

Lisle ran out of the shadow and threw himself in front of the shepherd,
both arms outstretched. The gun fell to the floor with a crash and its
owner began to sob. It was Henri!



                              CHAPTER XXI

                          IN THE HIDDEN CELLAR


The three of them stood there in the great, dark entrance hall, Henri
trying to speak through his sobs.

“You, Monsieur Lisle! You are safe. I can not believe my eyes. I am
glad, glad! You can not know—I was tempted. I was weak. They talked me
over, Tortot and his friend, and they promised me a big reward, but I
have known nothing but misery. Monsieur Lisle, you must believe me. I
have known only horror since I helped them plan to take you away, and
since the imprisonment of Madame, your mother, at the home of your
aunt.” Henri clasped his hands in his earnestness. “I am in despair. I
have known bad hours in this house. They have turned against me, Tortot
and the others. They say that I am working against them. I thought just
now that one of them had come to kill me. I promise now to do all I can
to help you and yours.”

Lisle’s face showed no signs of softening as he stood there facing
Henri. He was full of excitement. He had come from the hidden cellar,
and had found adventure before he reached the second story. He had no
pity for Henri.

“You saw to it that my mother was made a prisoner, and yet you dare to
whine before me,” he exclaimed.

Dian had stood silent during the words between Henri and Lisle. He saw
what Lisle did not see, that Henri’s repentance was real, and that, in
spite of his weakness and cowardice, Henri wanted now, most earnestly,
to atone! It was a blessed thing for them all, that Dian knew this to be
true. Henri was one of the people and he knew Paris well. Henri turned
to Dian.

“Tell the young master that it is so. Do not be mad enough to refuse my
aid. I have joined up with a battalion and am leaving the city shortly.
I did not mean them any real harm, only I was afraid——”

“You need not give your cowardice as an excuse. It is you and those like
you who are making this revolution a thing for fiends. It is you and
your kind who are taking all the beauty from the thought of brotherhood.
The Saint Frères have not shown you any kindness, you will say, and that
may be true; but they trusted you, a woman and two children, alone and
unprotected. They never did anything to deserve such rank disloyalty.”
Dian spoke very sternly and turned in the next breath and addressed
himself to Lisle. “You, too, are untrustworthy and disloyal,” he said,
and looked straight into Lisle’s eyes. Lisle’s eyes answered his, a
world of grieved astonishment in their depths.

Dian turned again to Henri.

“Prove your words by some deed that will show you to be less a coward. I
trust you now. I am taking this boy where he will be kept in safety.
You, in the meantime, can try to find some way to undo your evil work. I
can come and go by way of the broken window in the cellar. You know it
well. I can receive a message from you if you have anything of import to
tell me.”

Henri came nearer to Dian as he spoke, looking at him in a way he had
never looked at any human being before. It was as though he were seeing
himself for the first time. He put out both his hands toward Dian.

“You trust me?” he faltered.

Dian nodded. Then he turned and drew Lisle close to him. He knew that he
had spoken harshly. He had meant to do so.

“He saved your life, for I might have killed you!” Henri said to Dian
and the shepherd answered:

“He is like that first Lisle Saint Frère, his long-ago ancestor.”

Dian turned away after he had said these words. Then looking back at
Henri, he went on, “Leave any message for me, here in this hall, under
the carpet by the stairs.” He went on down the hall, Lisle beside him.
When they reached the cellar stairs he looked back. There was no sign or
sound of any one. Henri was not following, not spying.

When they reached the first cellar, they stood for a moment by the jam
shelf where the swinging lanthorn cast its light upon them. Lisle caught
hold of Dian’s arm and looked up at him.

“You said I was like the first Lisle Saint Frère. You said it after I
had disobeyed you. I’m sorry that I left the cellar when you trusted me
to stay,” he said.

Dian held him at arm’s length, smiling the smile that seemed to
transfigure him, bringing a radiance to his face.

“Yes, you did wrong. We all do. It is true that you are like the first
Lisle. Listen, my child, there are great things for you to know. Awake
to them! Think of the protection that has been with you and yours. You
will see.” As he spoke, Dian went to the panel, and kneeling, opened it.
It slid back and they descended backward into the depths.

As Lisle reached the last step, his first impression was of light, and
when he turned around, a blaze of candle radiance greeted him. He put
his hand to his forehead, leaning back for a moment against the rough
wall.

The lighted cellar seemed unreal and so did the two figures who stood by
the old, carved chest. One of the figures, with an odd cry that was half
a laugh, half a sob, sprang forward and caught him about the neck. She
was a wild-looking, dark child with rough black locks which flapped
against his face as she clung to him, but in spite of her rags and the
strangeness of her appearance, he knew, when she called his name, that
it was Marie Josephine!

He was bewildered and it was not to be wondered at. After weeks of
inaction in the bakery shop, the sudden wild rescue, the hidden cellar,
leaving it, the episode with Henri in the hall, and now, wonder of
wonders his sister, Marie Josephine! He felt her arms clinging to him
and looking over her shoulder he saw—could he believe his
senses?—little Jean Barbette, covered with dust and smiling out of his
black eyes!

“It is Jean!” he gasped.

Jean was so delighted at Lisle’s surprise, that he began to hop about on
one foot. “Yes, I came! I came all the way from Pigeon Valley to Paris!
I’m going to tell Petite Mère all about it!” Jean’s eyes seemed fairly
to blaze in his excitement.

“Let us go over to the chest and sit down!” said Lisle, who was trying
not to show his emotion and his unbounded surprise, but he failed in
this, for they could all see that he was fairly dazed. He sat down on
the chest with Marie Josephine beside him, and in spite of her dust and
grime, he kept his arm close about her. Then he beckoned to Jean. “Come
and sit on the other side, won’t you, Jean?” he said.

Dian had gone over to the heap of rugs, and coming back with a soft
brown one, put it on the floor in front of the chest. Jean sat down on
it with his legs crosswise.

“You sit down between us on the chest, Dian,” suggested Marie Josephine
excitedly. “We can talk and talk but I don’t know where to begin. There
are so many things I want to tell and to hear about!”

It was true. It was all so strange and unreal, the journey, their coming
through the gates meeting Dian, then the alley, an odd dark room, a
funny fat man, whose name was Humphrey Trail and who was Lisle’s friend,
and with him Rosanne! Then the walk through the noisy streets with Dian
to her own home, to the secret cellar!

Marie Josephine had to be the one to talk first. She talked so fast and
said so much that her words fairly tumbled over themselves, but her
hearers were so interested that they did not miss one of them! Jean sat
listening as eagerly as any one, nodding his head vigorously every now
and then, and blushing at Marie Josephine’s praise of him. They drank in
all she had to tell them of that spring night less than a week ago when
she had dressed herself in the disguise which she had been all winter in
procuring, and which she told them would furnish a story all of itself.
She told of the pitiful whine of Flambeau when she had come away and
left him, of the last glimpse of Mother Barbette’s cottage, and then of
her words to Grigge. She told of the run through the sweet, night air of
their dear Pigeon Valley, and finally of finding Jean just behind her!

When she reached this stage in her narrative she stopped for sheer lack
of breath and Dian stood up, saying:

“You both need food, Little Mademoiselle. I shall prepare it.”

At these words of Dian’s Jean cried, “Bravo!”

Marie Josephine gave a happy little laugh. “Yes, we do, and I’ll stop
talking altogether for a few minutes.” She turned toward her brother as
she spoke. He was sitting with his head thrown back against the grey
stone wall, his hands at his sides. He wore one of the dark velvet suits
which brought back memories of the schoolroom. Dian had found it
upstairs and had brought it down to him. Marie Josephine had only been
told that Lisle was safe in the hidden cellar. She knew nothing of the
baker shop. As she turned to look at him, he smiled back at her, the
first time since he had smiled at the bakery woman over the cake. He was
so astounded at what she had done, that he could scarcely believe it was
not all a dream. What was it Dian had said there by the panel, that
wonderful smile on his face?—“think of the protection that has been
with you.” Marie Josephine and Jean had come safely through to the heart
of Paris. His sister was sitting there beside him in a disguise which
she had thought of and carried out herself. She had known high
adventure, and she told it all simply as an interesting story, without a
trace of vainglory.

“Why did you come, Marie Josephine? Was it because of the hidden
cellar?” Lisle asked her, and Dian, as he bent over his cooking in a far
corner of the room, listened for her reply. He had built a small fire in
a rough hollow of the floor and he was brewing chocolate. The fire made
some smoke but not enough to cause discomfort, drifting off into the dim
recesses of the alcoves beyond.

“I came because of knowing about it, partly because of that and partly
because grandfather had told me that I was to tell about it if it were
to save a life. I thought and thought about it all winter. It seemed as
though the spring would never come. I knew no one would dream of letting
me come, of course, and I didn’t tell any one but Jean about what I was
going to do. If you want me to I’ll go right on telling some more while
we have the chocolate. There is so much to tell!”

Dian took off the red, brocaded cloth and brought out a white one from a
shelf in a sort of small cavern in the wall. He spread it on the table.
Marie Josephine jumped up, breaking off with, “I’ll set the table. I can
talk while I’m doing it. Bring the silver, and the horn drinking cups,
Jean. They’re there on the shelf. You see,” she looked across and smiled
at Jean as she spoke, “I—I’ve been here in the hidden cellar before!”

Lisle was still sitting with his head thrown back against the stone
wall, and as Marie Josephine looked over at him, a drinking cup in one
hand and a silver spoon in the other, she noticed suddenly that his face
was very white there in the candlelight and that there was something
different about it. It was always like him to keep things to himself.
She came across to him slowly.

“You have been always in my thoughts, and that is why I came—because of
maman and of you. She is safe at Great-aunt Hortense’s house and Dian
will take care of us, but there is something that makes you different.
What is it?”

Dian brought a loaf of bread on a blue plate and put it on the table. He
had already placed a dish of cheese by the jug of chocolate. Then
lifting the table, he brought it up close to the chest.

“Come and eat and drink. That is the best for now. There is much to tell
on each side, for you are not the only one who has had adventures,
Little Mademoiselle,” he said.

“Yes, yes, I know; Rosanne. I am thinking all the time about it, how
Humphrey Trail carried her through the snowstorm to that funny dark
alley room.” She looked across uncertainly at Lisle. “There is something
I do not know, something you have not told me,” she said slowly.

Lisle stood up and caught her about the waist.

“Come,” he said, “you are the worst little beggar as to looks I’ve ever
beheld, isn’t she, Dian? But we’d rather have her just as she is than
the greatest beauty in Paris as it was in the good old days!” He bowed
before her as he spoke and, to his surprise, she started the first steps
of the minuet. How she blessed those hours after dinner, practicing with
Bertran! She hummed the melody as she danced and she forgot everything,
even the hot chocolate for the moment. It was Lisle, with his same old
half-laughing, half-serious way. She was dancing with him in the secret
cellar and, of all the strange happenings of the past week, this seemed
the strangest and in all ways the most wonderful.

“Sometime I’ll tell you about a mouse,” he said as they went through the
graceful measures.

“A mouse! What do you mean?” she questioned merrily, smiling over her
shoulder at Dian and Jean.

“And a cake!” he went on.

“A cake! What do you mean?” she exclaimed again.

“Come, please, and have the very nice chocolate,” pleaded Jean, and they
both came running up to the table.

It was a strange supper there in the deep dim cavern in the heart of the
earth. Lisle and Jean brought the bed up to the table, and they sat down
on it, opposite Dian and Marie Josephine. The hot chocolate in the old
horn drinking cups was delicious, and it seemed to the two wayfarers
that they had never tasted anything so good as the bread and cheese.

“Tell me what you mean by a mouse and a cake, Lisle,” Marie Josephine
demanded, but her brother shook his head.

“I’m too hungry just now, and I want to know what happened when you
found that Jean had followed you. That’s where you left off in your
story,” he said.

Dian had told Marie Josephine that the good Yorkshire farmer had saved
Rosanne from men who had tried to abduct her. He had told her at once
that Lisle was safe in the hidden cellar and that her mother was in the
house of Great-aunt Hortense, but more than this she did not know. She
had taken for granted, in her fatigue and excitement, that her mother
was quite safe, being in the house of her great-aunt, and as Lisle sat
before her alive and well she could not but see that it was all right
with him.

“When I knew that Jean had really come, had followed me all the way, I
was so glad! I can’t tell you how I felt, but it was like flying. We ran
on and on through the woods, and we did not seem to be tired at all. We
would rest now and then, and once I told a story, but I didn’t dare to
stay still for very long, for fear Jean would fall asleep.”

Jean blushed at this, and Marie Josephine added hastily:

“It was hard for me to keep awake, too, for everything was asleep, even
the owls, I think. It was wonderful, wasn’t it, Jean, there in the still
night? I’d always wanted to be out in the woods in the middle of the
night, not just evening. When early morning came we were at the edge of
the forest, and we went right up to the old green mill-inn!” Marie
Josephine leaned forward eagerly as she went on, one hand stretched
across the table: “The minute I saw the dark woman, I recognized her as
the one who waited on us at lunch last summer, but of course I wasn’t a
bit frightened because she thought we were just little tramp children.
She was just going to tell us to be off when—what do you think?” She
paused impressively.

“What!” exclaimed Lisle.

He was listening eagerly, a bit of color in his cheeks. Dian watched
him, wondering if the first Lisle Saint Frère had been like him. Dian,
too, was listening with all his heart to everything that Marie Josephine
was saying.

“Why, all of a sudden, who should appear at the edge of the forest and
come running to us but Flambeau!”

They all laughed at this statement, but their laughter sounded so odd,
echoing through the long, low hollows and arches of the ancient place
that they stopped almost as soon as they began, and Marie Josephine went
on with her story. She told how the woman suddenly became very friendly
and ushered them inside, how she became suspicious of the woman, and how
Jean tried the door and found it bolted.

“I couldn’t be really sure it was the same woman I’d seen under our oak
at Les Vignes, but I was almost sure, and I knew when we found that we
were locked in.” They listened breathlessly while she told of the eave’s
trough and their escape.

“You talk for a while, Jean. Tell them the rest. Jean was so splendid.
It was all his idea about the trough and the tree.” Marie Josephine sat
back and rubbed her eyes, which smarted a little from the smoke of the
fast-dying fire.

Dian sat with his hands on his knees, his face almost stern in its
earnestness. The woman from the green mill had been spying. He had
always felt that it was a strange place, and so had Neville, though they
had had no real reason to suspect it. He hoped with all his heart that
the adventure of the green mill had been only an episode in the
children’s strange journey, and that there would not be anything further
to fear from that direction.

Jean told of the happy meeting with the man who drove the coach.

“There isn’t much to tell about it, for we went right to sleep and slept
all day. The driver was a very nice man, and when I woke up I went and
sat on the box with him, and we talked about all that’s going on. He
told me his brother was fighting with the army of the Revolution. He was
a kind man even if he was cross-eyed.”

“What was his name?” It was Dian who spoke.

Jean shook his head, and so did Marie Josephine.

“I ought to remember but I don’t. A farm boy came up to the cart and
gave him a letter to deliver on his way back, just as we were getting
out of the cart. The boy spoke his name but I’ve forgotten it,” answered
Jean.

A cross-eyed coach driver on the Calais road, a farm boy with a note for
him to deliver on his way back. Dian bowed his head over his hands and
sat quietly. As Jean went on Dian knew what he had so longed to know,
that the note for Grigge had fallen safely into the hands of Champar the
coach driver, who was his friend.

“He asked him if he went near Pigeon Valley, and the driver said, 'Yes,
sometimes in good weather,’ and that he was going that way on his route
back,” Jean said, thus giving Dian the knowledge he so longed to
possess.

“Do go on and tell how we walked all night because we had slept all
day,” put in Marie Josephine impatiently.

“You tell, Little Mademoiselle,” said Jean.

“It was the best time of all, I think, for though we were thrilled the
first night we were—well, not frightened, but sort of not used to it
all. We’d had a splendid rest all day and we were so excited. It was
such a warm night, and the wild lavender was so sweet that the whole
wood smelt of it. It was splendid out on the highroad, too, and we never
met anything to frighten us. We had the food we’d both brought, and we
ate it at dawn under a big flowering hawthorn tree. We kept on walking,
and we didn’t know how tired we were, until all of a sudden we couldn’t
go another step. We went to sleep in a sort of summer house in the
garden of an empty house. No one saw us, and in the afternoon we started
on.” Marie Josephine hesitated, and then said honestly:

“We were all tired out by that time and I was very cross.”

“It was my fault because I was homesick,” put in Jean.

“It wasn’t your fault any more than mine, for we were both homesick and
Flambeau was a great worry.”

“Where is Flambeau?” asked Lisle.

“We’ve left him with some people in a farmhouse. We knew we simply
couldn’t come through the gates with him,” answered his sister.

“The Little Mademoiselle was very good to me when I was homesick on the
third day. It was while the sun was going down, and we were sitting on a
mound near a river where we could see it. It made me think of how we
used to watch it sinking behind the woods when we used to come across
the meadow with Dian and the sheep, and—and—I cried.” Poor Jean
blushed as he admitted the last.

“So did I almost. There were tears in my eyes, and some you didn’t see
slid right down my cheeks, Jean. It was glorious, sitting there by the
river, watching the sun say good-by to it, making it all gold and pink.
I told Jean about the 'Song of Roland’ and we pretended to listen for
his horn echoing down from the hills, just the way it must have sounded
to the soldiers long ago when Roland blew the last blast as he was dying
in the hills. The next day we had a long ride in a farmer’s cart. He was
a fierce man with bristling moustaches even though he was a farmer. He
said he hoped the guillotine would put an end to every aristo in the
country. That ride helped a good deal, and when the farmer asked if we
were hungry and we said we were, he gave us some young radishes and a
half loaf of bread.” Marie Josephine stopped for a moment to draw a long
breath, and then said regretfully: “We didn’t really have any exciting
adventure except the one of the old green mill. We just trudged along
and everyone took us for poor tramp children, though they all stared and
asked questions about Flambeau. That was one reason why we left him with
some nice children who lived in a house near Melon. They promised to
take good care of him until we came for him, and to keep him locked up
until we were out of sight so he could not follow us. I knew that
Flambeau would make it much harder for us when we came to Paris, he
looks so——”

“Such an aristo,” suggested Lisle.

They all laughed.

“That’s it,” assented his sister. “He’s such an aristo.”

Dian stood up suddenly, and going over to the stairs, listened. Then he
started back a little, putting his hand out warningly toward the
children. The next instant a breathless voice came down to them:

“Tha said well when tha said the sliding was not large; an’ I live to
reach the cellar I shall never come back again!”

They all ran eagerly to the foot of the stairs. There, coming down
backward, was Humphrey Trail and in front of him, moving cautiously, her
hand on his shoulders, was Rosanne. Dian was up the stairs and had shut
the panel in a second. Then he waited a few minutes, listening. When he
returned Humphrey was surrounded by the children. Jean sat on his knee,
Marie Josephine stood on one side, Rosanne next her, the two friends
holding hands, and in front of him stood Lisle. Lisle was speaking and
Marie Josephine was more surprised at his words than at the arrival of
the farmer and Rosanne.

“Humphrey Trail, I am glad to see you. Humphrey Trail, you were right
and I was wrong. I did not take your warning. I kept on going to the
baker’s shop until it became my prison. I brought Rosanne into awful
danger and you rescued her. Humphrey, I—” He looked about the dim, bare
place, weird in the uncertain light of the fast melting candles. “You
are welcome here,” he ended simply.

Marie Josephine never knew, she said afterward, whether she was really
awake, it all seemed so fantastic, the half-dark cellar, all of them
there together, Lisle talking about a prison in a bakery shop, and a
note in a cake which Dian found at a spinner’s supper. She heard over
again of Humphrey’s wrapping Rosanne in the blue velvet mantle, of his
vain search for Lisle, of his meeting at the gates with Dian, of Vivi.

They talked on, as Dian went through the dim, rocky alcoves beyond,
making beds out of rugs and blankets and lighting candles, the striking
of the flint and tinder making an odd sound in the stillness.

Vivi had come in late that evening and had brought disquieting news.
This Humphrey told Dian in an aside. She had spent a good part of the
day roaming about, and had gone to the house of the Marquise du Ganne.
With other curious children of the street, she had looked through the
broken door at the comtesse. She had heard that there were other
prisoners hidden in the house and that in the course of a few days they
were to be taken to the prison of La Force. She had heard, too, among
the crowd that there was to be a general search for missing aristocrats
through the Saint Antoine district. She had come in tired and excited,
after Humphrey had searched for her in vain and had returned to the
alley, and she had told him all she knew. What he had not understood,
Rosanne had explained in English. They had thought it best that Vivi
should not know who they were, as much for her own safety as for theirs;
so, when they left, Humphrey put a mound of coins on the table and said
to her: “Th’art faithful. We ha’ trust in tha. I shall come back,” but
he did not tell her where they were all going.

Rosanne had put her arms around her friend and cried, and when Humphrey
carried her out of the door, she had said earnestly:

“I, too, shall see you again. We are friends, Vivi.”

It was a grave risk that Humphrey ran, for there was no friendly
snowstorm to cover their getting away, but the alley had been deserted
and he had concealed Rosanne completely with his cloak.

“Dian, I wish we had brought Vivi with us. I think all the time of
Vivi,” Rosanne said as he came up to her, a pillow for her bed and Marie
Josephine’s in his hands.

The shepherd smiled.

“You need not be afraid for the little Vivi, Mademoiselle. She is safe
in the only home she has ever known, and there are bright days ahead for
her. She is better off now than she knows. Have no thought for her but
one of love.” He paused a moment. “The good God who sent us Vivi loves
her, Mademoiselle,” he said.

Marie Josephine was half asleep, her funny, tangled shock of hair on
Rosanne’s shoulder, but her eyes, when she looked up at Dian, were
bright with excitement.

“I may go to maman to-morrow, promise me, Dian. I told you in the alley
room that I would be patient about not seeing her to-night, but
to-morrow early I must go straight to her and to Great-aunt Hortense. It
will be quite safe for me in the streets in my disguise.” She caught his
arm and looked up at him as she spoke.

Dian looked down at Marie Josephine and said to her simply:

“There is real work for you to do to-morrow. You have come just in time,
and you have not come in vain, Little Mademoiselle. I hope that you will
see your mother to-morrow.”



                             CHAPTER XXII

                         CHAMPAR TO THE RESCUE


Grigge unfastened the sheepfold gate and then turned and faced Neville,
who stood beside him.

“You’d better stop worrying about those who are away, and keep your
worry for those at home,” he said.

“What do you mean by that, Grigge? There’s no danger to Les Vignes. The
trouble is all the other way,” Neville answered, leaning back against
the grey paling. He was tired out and covered with mud. He had just
returned from a vain attempt to find the runaways, and he was not eager
to face either the governess or Mother Barbette.

“Things happen quickly these days. You can’t tell what may happen next.
Your fine friends up at the house are none too safe. There were five
fires not so very far from here only last week. One of the houses burned
was the home of a friend of the old man’s.” By “the old man,” Grigge
meant Marie Josephine’s grandfather.

Neville’s face was white in the dancing sunshine. He was not able to
deny the truth of what Grigge said, and he was thinking of the two lost
children. He did not know what to do.

“Dian should never have gone away. It would be better, a thousand times
better, to have Dian with us,” he said.

Grigge nodded. Here was one point on which he thoroughly agreed with
Neville.

“That’s true! He shouldn’t have wasted his time looking out for those
that don’t deserve it. He’s worth all of them put together!” he said.
Then he suddenly thought of the fight he had had with Jean, and of how
the Little Mademoiselle had cried out, “What would Dian say!” As he
stood there kicking his heels against the wooden gate, Grigge knew that
he cared more about what Dian would say than about anything else in the
world, for Dian had helped him to keep his hold on life, and to fight
despair. He had taught him to love the sun and the stars, the flowers
and the young animals. It was easier to love these than to love people.

“I rode like the wind and may have passed them by. I dared not ask
questions. I had a cup of coffee at that old green mill-inn and I don’t
like it. The woman who waited on me asked questions. I put her off, you
can be sure of that. She knows about what is going on here. She knows
the Du Mondes are here, and that old Martin and I are the only men left
to guard the place. When I rode away she called after me: 'You must be
lonely out Pigeon Valley way, you and old Martin. You’ve a pretty flock
to look out for!’” Neville stopped short and looked keenly at Grigge,
who returned the look doggedly. “If I thought you’d done anything
tricky, you young good-for-nothing!” he exclaimed, eyeing Grigge
suspiciously. Grigge said nothing, though he stuck his tongue out at him
impudently.

Neville turned away. He was angry at himself for having told Grigge,
whom he heartily disliked, anything about his worries. The boy’s voice
followed him: “You’d better keep your wits here at home. Things are
happening fast these days. One day here, and the next gone.”

When Neville left him, Grigge slouched back against the gate, his hands
in the pockets of his brown shepherd’s smock. He looked less badly
nourished than in the wintertime. His gaunt face was faintly brown from
long days in the spring meadows with his flock. There was little that he
really knew about what was going on in the country, but he did know that
there was turmoil in the towns nearest them and that Les Vignes was in
danger. Neville was like the aristocrats, for he did not see danger
until it was fairly upon him. Grigge gleaned every bit of information
that he could from passing peddlers, from farm men who came by, from
everyone who had anything to tell. There was no danger for himself or
his family, the rude huts along the back road would be as safe as could
be, but the great house on the terrace was in grave peril, and those who
lived in it would not believe it!

Grigge turned on his heel and went out toward the highroad. As he
reached the opening in the hedge, he looked through and fairly gasped in
astonishment. The coach for Calais stood near the gates! Grigge ducked
through the hedge and came up to it. The driver saw him and jumped down
from his high seat. The two stood facing each other, the cross-eyed
driver and Grigge. There was no one else around.

“I want to see a boy named Grigge Barbette on urgent business!” said the
coach driver at last.

“I’m Grigge Barbette!” exclaimed Grigge, and he was so excited that he
caught hold of the man’s arm. “What do you mean? Have you a message for
me?” he asked.

The coach driver eyed him sharply.

“How am I to know that you really are Grigge Barbette?” he said.

Grigge nodded toward the row of huts in the distance.

“Any one there will tell you,” he answered.

The man looked at him a moment longer. Then he put his hand in an inside
pocket and drew out a folded piece of paper sealed with a red seal.

“This is for you,” said Champar. “There’s no one I’d take all this fuss
for but Dian the shepherd. He knows, and I know, and the Lord above
knows I’d not be here on earth to-day but for him!”

Grigge tore open the note and read it. His long face turned ashy white
as he read. When he finished he looked up in a sort of daze at the coach
driver, who said:

“I’m here and I’ll do what’s best. I wonder if they know up there at the
house that it may not be standing to-morrow night! I don’t care much
whether it is or not myself, or wouldn’t if Dian didn’t set such store
by it. Well, I’ll do what I can. That’s what he wrote in the note. 'Do
what you can. Get the family at Les Vignes to some hiding place near
Calais if there is danger.’”

Champar looked at Grigge, who returned his look almost unseeingly.

“You mean there really is danger here?”

The driver laughed gruffly as he replied:

“Sans-culottes from Saulieu are out on the warpath. They’ve been joined
by former olive mill workers down that way. They burned down the château
of the Comte d’Veraux night before last. They have this place in mind.
The people do not love Les Vignes. Your own cousins are with the
rabble!”

Grigge stood with the note in his hand, looking up at Champar.

“He says to consult with you in case of danger,” he gasped. It was more
than for a moment he could sense or understand. Here was word from Dian.
He was trusted to fulfill a mission—trusted! Dian had chosen him. He
had written, “I trust you!” Whatever he did he would do like Champar,
for Dian’s sake!

Why should he save the inhabitants at Les Vignes? There was nothing that
they had ever done for him. Days of vengeance were at hand! He stood
still in the roadway, the letter clasped tight in his hand.

“You understand that if they are to get away it must be at once. I can
take them some of the way at no great risk to myself. I will take them
to a barn near Calais. The shepherd, in his note to me, says they must
go there. He trusted these letters to that farmer boy, Raoul. Well, the
shepherd is not afraid to trust! Come, we must go up to the house. A
coach driver has the chance to learn many things, and I know the rabble
have shouted the name Saint Frère and Les Vignes. I know they will
come!” As he spoke, the coach driver took Grigge’s arm.

Grigge never, as long as he lived, forgot those few minutes there in the
dusky twilight. He often lived them over in the after years. He was
fighting with himself. At last he said, “I must go, too, for I have a
mission to look after in Calais. Come, we will go to them.”

The coach driver talked very fast as they went through the woods. They
must have some sort of a disguise, all of them. They could wear the
servants’ clothes, and have, at least, the look of decent farmer people.
They must be made to understand that they must come with them in order
to save their lives, and that they must do as they are told. This
pleased Grigge very much! At least he would show them that they were
entirely at the mercy of himself and the driver! They would do as they
were told!

They found everyone out on the terrace, and when Grigge and the driver
approached, Bertran and Denise ran to meet them.

“Tell us the news!” they cried.

Cécile and Hortense, each with an arm about the governess, came slowly
down the terrace steps. Their eyes were red with crying. It was nearly a
week since the children had gone, and there had been no word of them.

The coach driver did not bow, for he was a good republican at heart, and
in those days of the revolution bowing had gone out of fashion. He was
doing this for the sake of a friend who had done much for him, and he
wanted them to understand this.

“Citizeness, you and your charges are in grave danger. I hope you
deserve the good chance for your life which I am giving you. I have a
note from Dian, the shepherd, who is in Paris——”

Madame Le Pont gave an exclamation, and Denise ran up to the driver and
caught his hand.

“Tell me, did he speak of maman and Lisle, and have you heard news of my
little sister?” she cried. Her hair fell in disorder about her
tear-stained face and her lips trembled.

The driver shook his head. “I don’t know what you mean. I only know what
I’m to do, and that is in case of danger, to take you as near to Calais
as I dare; and that will be a good ways from the Calais gates, I can
tell you. I think something of my own head and have no wish to have it
chopped off by Madame La Guillotine. Well, there’s danger right enough.
You must come with us at once. Have you wits enough about you to rig
yourselves up in plain, decent, sensible farmer clothes? I often take
farmer folks into the towns. Hurry! You’ve no time to lose. They are
burning houses all along the line and yours is on the list!”

While the driver had been speaking they had all gathered about him, too
amazed to utter a sound. When the governess started to protest, the
driver put up his hand.

“You are stupid, citizeness, and by your stupidity may loose your own
life and the lives of those in your care. Get yourselves dressed at
once. My coach is in the highroad. We must start within an hour. Every
rod nearer to Calais means safety for you, and just that much farther
away from some of your enemies.”

“I’ll ride my horse,” said Bertran a little stupidly. He was dazed by
all that the man had said.

“You’ll do it if you want to lose your fine, black head, but not
otherwise, my young popinjay,” answered the driver calmly.

Cécile came up to him and spoke to him gently, her eyes looking straight
into his as she held out her hand.

“In spite of all you say, you are saving our lives,” she said. “May I
see the note from Dian? I know his writing. We must be very sure, you
understand, at a time like this!”

The driver put his hand inside his belt and drew out his note from Dian.
Cécile read it and then addressed Madame le Pont.

“It is from Dian. He says that we are in danger and in an emergency this
man is to help us. We are to go to some hiding place near Calais and
wait there for help.” Cécile’s voice shook with excitement, in spite of
her outward calmness.

The driver turned to Grigge.

“The boy here will see to you after that. I have to go straight to
Calais and dare not be late. All you can expect from me is the use of my
coach as far as I think it best to take you without too much risk to
myself. I’ll tell the shepherd where you are, or get word to him safely,
but be sure to understand that it’s for his sake I’m doing this, and not
yours!”

There was no time to lose, the driver had said. It seemed as though the
minutes had wings. They planned, discussed, rummaged in the servants’
old apartments, found suitable clothes, and put them on. Then they
packed special valuables which Neville buried in the ground. At last
they were ready to start. First they went through the woods to Mother
Barbette’s cottage. They had sent Grigge and the driver to beg her to go
with them, but she insisted that nothing could induce her to do so. She
would wait there for her naughty, darling Jean. The driver told her she
was right. “Nothing can happen to you if you go to your cousins in the
hovel,” he told her.

Mother Barbette wept bitterly as she saw them coming toward her through
the clearing in the woods. They did not seem at all funny to her in
their disguise, though at another time she would have had a hearty laugh
at Bertran in his farmer boy’s smock, his hair flapping about his face,
and at the dignified Hortense in faded grey homespun, her hair in stiff
braids on each side of her ears. It was no time for laughter. They were
all tense and white. The governess put her head on Mother Barbette’s
shoulder with a sob as she said good-by.

“We will surely find the children and bring them safely back with us
when we come,” she said brokenly.

“They are safe. I’m sure of it, and I don’t worry half as much as you
think I do, Madame. I know them both so well. They are so smart. I know
my Jean will come back to me, and I think that Dian will bring him,”
answered the simple soul bravely, though the tears ran down her cheeks.

“Dear Mother Barbette, this isn’t good-by. It’s just au revoir. We will
not rest until we find Marie Josephine and Jean.” As she spoke, Cécile
put her arms around Mother Barbette and kissed her.

The driver, who was really a kind-hearted soul, cleared his throat.

“The moon’s up and it’s time to start. No more of this good-by business,
or it’ll be good-by for good,” he said, as they all stood at the cottage
door, the pine-filled air from the forest blowing about them.

Grigge spoke to his aunt.

“You’d best go to the hut and stay if there’s trouble. You’ll be safe
enough there,” he said, and he did not sneer as was his wont. There was
a dignity about him that none of them had seen before. He was risking
his life for people whom he despised, and he was doing it for the sake
of a friend. Perhaps, sometime, he would do the like for sheer love of
his brother man. At any rate, he had taken the first step in that
direction.

They were off at last, all of them in the great roomy coach, Bertran and
Grigge sitting beside the driver. The horses, after a good rest and
feed, went like the wind itself! It seemed as though they knew that
danger lay behind!

The girls and the governess were tired and bewildered and heartsick.
They could think of nothing but Marie Josephine. Finally, after they had
thought and said all that they could about the runaways, Denise
remarked:

“It’s so wonderful to think they dared to go to Paris. The road is
direct enough and Marie Josephine knows it well by coach, but little
Jean knows nothing.”

“I teased him once because he had never been anywhere, and he said some
day he was going to visit his cousins near Melon,” said Bertran.

The driver turned and looked at him. “Melon—let me see—Melon. Why, I
took in two children the other day. They seemed dead beat out, and slept
all day in the back of the coach. The boy told me, in the evening, that
he had cousins near Melon!”

The exclamations and the questions were so numerous that Champar was
sorry he had spoken.

“Stop and tell us at once. We must know about the children going to
Melon,” they begged, but he paid not the slightest attention to their
entreaties and only urged the horses to go faster. He intended driving
all night, and it was not until he stopped to rest the horses before
they took a hill, that he spoke again at all.

“Now just you listen to me, citizeness, and you young people. You’ve got
yourselves to think about and you’re not going to help the young brats
who’ve run away by getting your heads snapped off by the guillotine,
which,” he went on, speaking impressively and with something of a
relish, “is what is happening to most of your acquaintances, and serves
them right, too, some of them. Now, maybe the two I picked up were the
parties you’re talking about. The boy certainly did look a great deal
like the woman you went to say good-by to at the cottage. A fine woman,”
he went on meditatively, “a good, honest, sensible woman. Well, I’ll
tell you what I think, and you needn’t have any fits about it. I think
them two parties is just as lively to-day as you are yourselves. I think
they’re in Paris, and I’ll get word to the shepherd about them, too!”
After he had delivered this long speech, the driver picked up his whip
to go on when the governess spoke again.

“Above everything we must find the little girl and boy, you know,” she
said, holding her odd striped shawl drawn tightly about her shoulders.
Her face looked wan and pinched under her dark bonnet.

“Above everything, citizeness, you ought to want to save the necks of
these children even though you may not care a fig about your own,”
Champar replied. Then he began to sing a gruff doggerel, drowning
entirely Madame le Pont’s fervent reply.

Toward dawn they slept for a few hours. In the morning they stopped
under a blooming apple tree and ate some food. Champar seemed pleased
with the progress they were making and condescended to sing them a song
or two. People passed by in farmer carts and waved a greeting. No one
thought it at all strange to see a farmer’s family having a picnic under
an apple tree.

They were off again, their coach making a cloud of dust behind them. All
that day Champar and Grigge talked earnestly together, ignoring Bertran
who sat beside them, and whom Grigge snubbed at every occasion. It was
decided that they were to stay in a barn, back of a small farmhouse,
which had met with a fire the year before, and which belonged to an
uncle of Champar’s. The coach driver would leave food with them on his
way back from Calais, and would report to Dian as to their whereabouts.
That was all that he could do, and it was a risk at any cost, though the
barn was in a lonely bit of country near the sea, and quite the other
way from the main road to Calais.

It was midnight before they saw the lights of Calais and the first grey
outline of the sea. Champar knew his way well for he had often visited
his uncle. Sure enough there was the barn, grey, and deserted by
everything but rats! Champar and Grigge and Bertran carried in the rugs
and blankets and enough food to last overnight. Then Grigge turned to
them all.

“There is a mission I have to do. I will come again,” he said.

There was a moment’s silence as they watched the two climb up on the
coach. Grigge turned and spoke to them again. “You are to stay here
until I come,” he said.

“We trust you, Grigge.” It was Cécile who spoke, her lovely face very
white in the starlight.

They called their thanks after the coach driver. Champar’s cross-eye
leered at them over his shoulder. He waved his hand.

“Keep to yourselves, and keep an eye on that fat boy or he will give you
all away!” he called.



                             CHAPTER XXIII

                     IN GREAT-AUNT HORTENSE’S HOUSE


“Was it while the bakery man was saying that he would make you cry that
you heard the noise first, or just before?”

“Lisle said it was while the man was speaking that he heard the noise
first. You’re so excited, Marie Josephine, you don’t listen to
anything.” As she spoke, Rosanne took a sip of the tea which Humphrey
had just brewed for them. “It’s so bitter, Humphrey,” she said to him
over her shoulder.

The two girls sat on each side of Lisle on the chest. It was the next
day after they had come to the cellar, and to Rosanne it was most
bewildering to be there in the dusk of the old place with her dear Marie
Josephine by her side.

Humphrey came up to them with a steaming jug.

“Never tha mind if it’s bitter, lass, take th’ tea and let it warm tha
well.” As he spoke Humphrey peered at Rosanne anxiously, his round face
full of concern. He had rescued her himself and had had her in his care
all these long weeks. Her face seemed very white in the grey shadows of
the hidden cellar. Marie Josephine and Lisle held out their horn
drinking cups for more tea, and then Humphrey filled a cup for himself.
He was a little worried about his homespun traveling bag which he had
brought with him to Paris, and which Dian was to bring when he came back
from a visit to the alley.

“Sit here, Humphrey Trail; there’s room.” Lisle shoved along the wide
chest as he spoke and the farmer sat down beside him. He had never heard
so much talk going on at one time before in his life. It had seemed,
since he had arrived the night before, that everyone wanted to speak at
the same time, and that each one said the same things and asked the same
questions over and over. Marie Josephine was saying for the third time,
“I’m going to see maman at Great-aunt Hortense’s to-day!” Well, that was
a task that had been left for Dian, telling Marie Josephine that her
mother was a prisoner and that her aunt had died. Part of the telling
Lisle did at once.

“Great-aunt Hortense died some weeks ago, Marie Josephine,” he said.

She looked at him, her black eyes wide with astonishment. He was growing
more used to her wild, unkempt appearance, but he still grinned every
time he looked at her.

“Poor Great-aunt Hortense! How she must miss everything! She did so love
to be in it all, never wanted to be left out of anything, even our
children’s parties! Great-aunt Hortense gone—why—it makes everything
seem different!”

“Everything is different.” As he spoke, Lisle stood up and went over to
Humphrey, who had put the cover on his precious little tin of tea. “I
must talk with you, Humphrey Trail.” he said, and drew the farmer along
to the far end of the room. “It’s no use,” he went on, speaking in low
tones, a precaution entirely unnecessary, for the two girls were deep in
the account of their various adventures. “I simply must get into a
disguise and go out on to the streets. I can’t stay here any longer,
when my mother is a prisoner!”

Humphrey answered him: “Tha went out once almost to tha death. Th’art a
brave lad but tha needs caution. Ha’ patience now until th’ shepherd can
best find a way for us all to help. He found tha when I was fair
distracted.”

Lisle put a hand on each of Humphrey’s shoulders and smiled across at
him.

“Humphrey Trail, Humphrey Trail!” he exclaimed. “I am glad I have you
for a friend. What can we ever do for you, after all you have done for
us!”

Humphrey’s answer surprised him beyond measure.

“Be grateful for tha life and make thaself content soon with the simple
ways of the farm in Yorkshire!”

Lisle still stood with his hands on Humphrey’s shoulders, and as the
farmer spoke he realized suddenly their immediate peril. They were to
leave not only Paris but France, too, and Humphrey Trail was offering
them all he had to give in the way of hospitality in England!

Lisle looked across at the girls, and then back at Humphrey.

“You mean we are to go to England. There is so much to think about and
to plan. I wish we three, you, Dian, and I, could be alone so that we
could plan what’s best to do,” he said.

It was just at that moment that the shepherd appeared, coming down the
secret stairs backward. Marie Josephine and Rosanne jumped off the chest
and ran up to him. He stood in their midst with his hands at his sides,
looking about at all of them, and for the first time since they had
known him, all of them felt that he, for the moment, was fighting
something that was trying to overpower him, and that this something was
fear! It was gone almost as it came, his face cleared, and he smiled,
putting his hand on Marie Josephine’s shoulder.

“There is work for you, Little Mademoiselle,” he said.

Lisle had come up to them.

“Let there be work for me, too, Dian,” he said.

Dian nodded. “Yes, work for each one of us so that we may go safely out
of this mad city, and that you who are in danger may find refuge in
England.” As he spoke he took Marie Josephine’s hand and went on
speaking, this time addressing himself directly to Humphrey:

“The servant Henri was genuine in his repentance. He has offered
practical help in one direction. I will return with the Little
Mademoiselle later in the day.”

Lisle broke in impatiently: “What can Marie Josephine do that I cannot
do if I’m disguised properly? Why should she take the risk while I am
here?” he protested.

Dian answered him quietly: “The Little Mademoiselle will be safe. You
came between me and a gunshot last night. Help me once again by staying
here until I am ready.”

He lifted Marie Josephine on to the first rung of the tall ladder stairs
and then started up after her. The others watched them from below.

When they had closed the secret panel, Dian stood looking down at Marie
Josephine, a world of compassion in his eyes.

“Little Mademoiselle, you are like your grandfather. Remember him
to-day, for there is much for you to do. Your mother is a prisoner in
the house of your Great-aunt Hortense who died some weeks ago. She is in
peril, but you can save her!”

Dian had spoken the hard words quietly. It was better to say them all at
once, and not wait until the time came to act. Her eyes met his bravely
and her answer was characteristic.

“Lisle wants to be the one, poor Lisle!” she said.

“He cannot help at the moment. Now I will tell you how you can aid in
saving your mother. We have all told you, indeed you know, that you came
so easily through the city gates because you are, in your disguise, very
much like the little Vivi, who is Mademoiselle de Soigné’s friend. Vivi
goes about the city everywhere. She is known by soldiers, doormen,
street people, and their children. She sells licorice water, as did her
father, and she is popular among the crowds. One of the men on guard at
the west gate is her especial friend, and Little Mademoiselle, when you
and Jean came through the gates he thought you were Vivi and one of her
chums. If you will go to the house of the Marquise du Ganne with Vivi’s
licorice water tray, and sell your wares among the crowds who daily
throng the lower halls, you can help to save your mother!”

Dian sat down on an overturned barrel, and Marie Josephine placed
herself on the lowest step of the cellar stairs.

“Maman,” she murmured faintly. “I want to see maman.” Tears brimmed in
her eyes and fell silently on to her shabby jacket. She brushed them
away with the back of her hand, and in spite of his pity and love for
her, Dian smiled. It was so like her unconsciously to act her part. He
waited with his usual patience until she was quiet, then he said:

“Have we not always felt that things would come right if we did not let
in fear. All is going well for us, and we can look beyond to-day as we
did the time we watched the storm from the terrace and you were the
first to see a gleam of gold through the black clouds! Do not fear for
your mother, only have faith. Now listen well. Henri is not bad, only
weak, and he wants to make amends. He is now a soldier of the army of
the revolution, and he leaves with his regiment at three o’clock to-day.
He has been on guard all the morning in the hall of your great-aunt’s
house. Food is always brought to your mother at noon. Henri says that
she is then left entirely to herself until night. He has been on guard
during the week, and, as he has served in your great-aunt’s house, he
knows every corner of it.” Dian paused a moment and then went on slowly:
“He knows of a small door on the first floor which leads into the
garden, and he has given me the key to this door. People are not
supposed to go to the upper floor where your mother is imprisoned, but
little Vivi has been there several times. You know the house, and the
way to go down the back stairs. You are Vivi from now on. She is safe at
home, gladly staying inside in order to help her friends. I will tell
you more as we walk along. Are you ready and willing to go?”

“Yes, as quickly as ever we can.” She jumped to her feet and followed
him up the cellar stairs. It all seemed too unreal and strange to be
true, as they walked through the silent house and out of the door into
the garden, just as she and Rosanne had walked with Gonfleur that long
ago—oh, so very long ago it seemed—the night of the bal masqué!

She and Dian mingled with the crowds going up the Champs Élysées,
turning off on the street that led to the house of the Marquise du
Ganne. They walked slowly. No one noticed them, and, except for an
occasional greeting, no one spoke to them. Dian had often walked about
with Vivi, and he was known to be a peasant from Brittany, which was his
original home.

They could see the dark blur of the Bois against the soft spring sky,
and Dian welcomed the thought that came to him. He had something to say
to Marie Josephine that was going to be difficult, and he felt that it
would be easier for her to hear it in the sweet spring woods than on the
crowded street, so he suggested that they go on to the Bois and rest,
before they went to Great-aunt Hortense’s house.

“There is more that I have to tell you, Little Mademoiselle,” he said.

They sat down under a great elm, the tender green tracery of leaves
above them, the peace of sunshine and warm earth all about them. Dian
turned toward Marie Josephine, his face alight with earnestness.

“Little Mademoiselle, you are ready to do brave things, but I am asking
you now to do one that will be bravest of all. Champar, the coach
driver, who is my friend, is risking much to save you all.” Dian looked
off at the still, dim vistas of the wood as he spoke. The noise of the
city, the harsh yelling and the rumble of carts, came to them clearly
from the near-by street. Dian put it so, saying that Champar was doing
all this for them out of the kindness of his heart. He did not say that
he had done the coach driver a service once which was so great that it
had meant life itself to him.

“Tell me what it is, Dian. I don’t know if I am brave. I’m not sure. But
for maman I could do it. Shall we not go soon to Great-aunt Hortense’s
house so that I can see maman?” said Marie Josephine. She could think of
nothing else but that she was to see her mother and aid in saving her.
She tried to realize that her great-aunt’s house was really her mother’s
prison, but it only seemed like a bad dream. She could not believe that
the dim, stately house, where they had so often gone for chocolate on
winter afternoons, could now be a place from which to flee, an enemy’s
stronghold.

She looked confidently at Dian, and the trust that had always come to
her when with him, steadied her now.

“Tell me, Dian, what is it I shall do?”

“A week from to-day, if all goes well, you and the others will be with
your mother in, or rather near, Calais. Your sister, the governess, the
Du Monde and Proté are there now. I saw Champar this morning and he told
me where to find them. I hope that a fishing schooner will take you all
to England. I spoke to your mother through the door for a moment this
morning. She has been told that her children are to join her in Calais,
and she thinks that you are already on your way. Henri has given her
that impression. He has given her, for a disguise, the clothes of his
sister who was to have gone to a cousin in the country, and for whom he
has procured a passport. She is not able to leave, and your mother will
go in her stead. Her passport is in order. When she leaves you at the
garden gate she is to go at once to the Place de la Bastille and has
orders what else to do. Little Mademoiselle, this is hard—she must not
know that it is her own Marie Josephine who is saving her! Safety for
you all lies in her not knowing this, for she would not leave the city
if she thought that one of you were here!”

Marie Josephine thought of all that Dian had said, a little later, as
she sat on a secluded bench in the great entrance hall of Great-aunt
Hortense’s house. All about her were emblems of the revolution. She
would have laughed out loud at the thought of Great-aunt Hortense’s
horror if she had not been too excited and tremulous to laugh at
anything. A tri-color banner was draped over the entrance to the grand
salon. At the carved oak table in the center of the hall sat three men
wearing red caps, and all down the dusky corridors other red caps bobbed
up and down as citizens walked to and fro debating and wrangling. From
an anteroom, a cold, gilded apartment, came a jangle of voices. A
meeting of one of the sections was taking place there. All through the
city were clubs or sections, each composed of men with different ideas
from the others, no two ever agreeing on anything except to advocate
bloodshed and to show no mercy.

Marie had put her tray with its jug of licorice water and its jangling
cups on the floor beside her. Vivi had left it for her at the stand of a
nut seller near the Marquise du Ganne’s house. All sorts of booths and
stands had sprung up overnight in the once fashionable parts of Paris.

Dian would be waiting for Madame Saint Frère, in her disguise as Henri’s
sister, in the Place de la Bastille. Henri had already been gone some
hours with his regiment. Marie Josephine was to seize her opportunity to
slide through the shadowy halls, up the back stairs to the room at the
end of the hall. Her heart beat so fast that it seemed as though some
one must hear it. She saw that it was not going to be an easy thing to
slip away, and she made up her mind that she must not, under any
circumstance, let any chance go by. Some men came up to her and demanded
a drink. She stooped over for her tray and stood up.

She did not feel as though it were herself at all who poured the
sickish-looking, grey mixture into the tin cups and received in exchange
coins which she put in the pocket of her torn skirt. She was careful not
to speak any more than she could help, for fear that her voice would
betray her. She could look like Vivi, and instinct seemed to tell her
how to be like her, but she was afraid of her voice.

As she walked about among the crowd, through the old familiar halls,
selling her wares, she remembered what Dian had said: “Have no fear.
Fear is nothing and it cannot talk to you or keep you from doing what is
right. It has no power!” She remembered something else that he had said:
“You are so changed. It will be easy, indeed, for your mother not to
think of you at all, except as a part of her rescue. Shake your hair
well over your face and do not look directly at her more than you can
help. Remember she thinks that you are near Calais!”

Dian had given her the two keys. She could feel them jingling together
in her inner pocket. She wanted to put her tray down somewhere so that
she could slip away more easily at the right moment. She waited until
there was a lull in the demand for licorice water, then quietly slipped
over to a corner and ducked her head from under the leather strap which
held the tray about her neck. As she put the tray down on the floor and
turned away some one called to her. It was Georges Fardou, the man who
had let Vivi through the gates to “Pick a flower.” He looked like a big,
shadowy giant as he stood there in the dark hall.

“Come, give us a dance like the one at the West Barricade. The 'Ça Ira,’
or anything that’s full of go!” he called with a laugh.

The “Ça Ira.” She had heard it sung in the streets that very morning as
she had come through the rue Royale with Dian. She had seen it danced,
too, a wild, strange weaving in and out of dreadful people. She had shut
her eyes at Dian’s bidding and held tight to his hand, and he had talked
to her in his quiet way of Pigeon Valley, as they walked through the
city.

“I’ll do another one to-day,” she heard herself saying, and it seemed as
though she spoke harshly without trying, her mouth was so dry.

She began to dance, holding her tattered skirts about her, swaying back
and forth in the dim, close air. She had danced this way so many times
before at Les Vignes, up and down the veranda and through the tall rows
of white lilies along the south terrace. She tried to think of these
happy times as she danced in and out of the arched doorways and about
the big table in the center of the hall. Applause greeted her as she
stopped, and also a harsh voice from the anteroom door.

“Have the brat clear out, and keep some sort of quiet about here while
the section’s in session,” said the voice from the doorway, and then its
owner disappeared.

For a moment her heart stood still, but after a laugh or two, the small
crowd that had stood watching her disappeared, Vivi’s friend among them.
At the first moment that she felt that she was unobserved, she crept
through the back of the entrance hall into a corridor beyond it, paused,
listened, then crept stealthily up the narrow winding stairs.

She knew the room. One time when they had been staying with her
great-aunt for several weeks, she had spent an afternoon there with
Proté, dear Proté!

She stood in the shadow close against the wall, looking down the
corridor. All was quiet. She put the key in the lock and tried it. It
gave easily and she stepped inside, then shrank back against the door,
putting her hand over her mouth to smother the little cry of surprise
that had almost escaped her. She had thought to find maman, and in her
place there was a thin, wispy-haired woman in a snuff-colored cape and
close-fitting drab bonnet, with a greasy face and half-shut eyes. It was
maman! As she stood there by the door Marie Josephine remembered
something Great-aunt Hortense had said: “There never was any one like
your mother, Marie, for play-acting. Ah, you children can’t believe it,
but it’s true. The queen has begged her to join them at Versailles! She
could do her beloved Molière characters best of all.”

“Come, you’re sure you were not watched, little girl?” maman was saying.

Marie Josephine nodded.

“Then come at once—the back stairs—you know the garden door? I’ve
never been that way myself. Quick, child!”

The voice was the same!

“You’d best talk like a woman of the people, citizeness, otherwise you
are splendid in your disguise!” Marie Josephine clasped her hands
together suddenly, looking up for a second into maman’s eyes.

“Yes, yes, I know. I will remember, but be quick, child.” Maman put her
hand on the door, and Marie Josephine stepped back into the hall,
keeping close to the wall. There was only silence, except for the voices
from the halls below.

Marie Josephine never forgot the breathless flight through the familiar
back halls of the great house. In spite of the tense excitement she
thought how funny it was that she knew the halls so well, and maman knew
them not at all! Roaming about houses had always been one of Marie
Josephine’s chief delights!

She tried to remember what Dian had told her: “Do not let fear keep you
from doing what is right. Fear has no power.” She said this over and
over under her breath as they went out the side door into the garden,
and found themselves facing the grey wall that surrounded it. There were
voices near by. She fumbled with the lock. It was rusty, and the garden
door was a little swollen from recent spring rains. It did not give.

“Hurry, child!” Maman’s voice sounded in her ears. She stood quietly
with the key in her hands for a moment, trying to still the agony of
fear that seemed to beat about her. “Fear has no power,” Dian had said.
She felt a sudden freedom. She was doing right. She put the key in the
lock again and turned it quickly. The door caught, moved a breath, then
caught again. At last it gave! They were outside in a deserted long,
grey street. Maman turned to her, and even in that moment of still great
danger, put her arm around her.

“You have done me good service, little one. I have children whom I shall
see very soon. They are safe out of Paris, a son and two daughters.
You—there is something about you a little like one of them. God bless
you.”

They had been given their directions. Maman was off, walking quickly in
the direction of the Place de la Bastille, not daring to run. Marie
Josephine watched her until she had almost disappeared.

“There is something about you a little like one of them!”

The words stayed with her as she ran on toward the rue Royale. When she
reached the crowded streets she slackened her steps. She was to go at
once to the Saint Frère house and to wait there with the others for
Dian.



                             CHAPTER XXIV

                           THROUGH THE GATES


Raoul woke up feeling very ill the morning of the day that Marie
Josephine went to the house of Great-aunt Hortense and let her mother
through the garden door. He had eaten heartily of pig’s feet and apricot
preserve, presents to the seed shopman and his family from the market
gardener’s wife.

Late that same afternoon Dian visited him in his stuffy room at the top
of the seed shop. He found him cross and unhappy. His head ached and he
could not stop thinking about the pig’s feet and the apricot preserve,
much as he tried to do so. He did not have a great many things besides
food to think about, and felt at a loss. He cheered up on seeing his
shepherd friend, and when Dian rose to take his leave, said he felt
better. Dian went out and came back again with some grapes. He placed
them in a cracked dish on a table near the oat-straw shakedown where
Raoul was lying.

“You will be glad of their refreshment in the morning, though you make a
face at them now,” he said, smiling. Then he sat down again on a stool
near the rough bed.

“My master’s friend who knows of medicine saw me, and he says I’ll not
be able to leave the city for some days; I have fever,” Raoul said,
giving his hard pillow an impatient poke. Dian took the pillow and shook
it up, and lifted Raoul so that he rested more comfortably. Then he sat
quietly beside him, thinking deeply.

“Will your master drive out the cart himself, then?” he asked the boy.

Raoul shook his head vigorously.

“Not him! He’s deep in talking, talking all the time, going to section
meetings, and quarreling with everybody. Tortot the baker won’t speak to
him or to the seed shopman. He’s just about distracted since they broke
down his shop and played such havoc with his goods. He hasn’t dared to
open up the shop since because of the mob.” Raoul raised his head from
the pillow and spoke confidentially to Dian. “He doesn’t say anything
about the boy that disappeared from the shop that night. He knows he’d
get himself into a good measure of trouble over hiding an aristocrat
that way. They’d say in the convention he was trying to help him get
away, instead of holding him until the right time to get rid of him. Oh,
you can wager he’ll keep still enough about that. I don’t care what they
do. I’m going to stay home when once I get there. I hate this old place
and everybody here but you!” At this last remark Raoul became so upset
that he threw the pillow to the other end of the room. He seemed to feel
better after he had done so, for he grinned at Dian.

The door opened just then and the market gardener came in, a
prosperous-looking, red-faced man in grey breeches and dark-brown
waistcoat decorated with the tri-colored rosette.

“A fine boy, a fine boy. He would do well to eat only black bread and
garlic for a time. He’s been living too high, that’s what’s the matter
with him!” he exclaimed in his bluff way, standing over the cot and
looking good-naturedly down at Raoul.

Dian stood, and, leaning over, laid his hands on Raoul’s shoulder.

“I will see you again before very long, perhaps at your home in the
country that you love. Sometime I will show you my flock of sheep, and
you will meet the little Jean of whom I have told you,” he said. Then he
turned to the market gardener. “I know a boy who will drive your cart
to-morrow, if you like. He lives in a cellar, and is in dire straits. He
will be only too glad of earning even a few coins, for he has a journey
before him, and a mother and sisters dependent upon him. I’d like to do
him the good turn.”

Now Dian was a prime favorite with the market gardener, who was
constantly wrangling with the men he knew in the city, though he cared
not a fig for any of them except the seed shopman. He admired Dian’s
bulk and his free, fearless ways. “There’s a man for you,” he would say.
“There’s a man of France, with a broad back and broad ways. There’s a
man!” He greeted Dian’s suggestion cordially.

“Bring on your boy. I want one I can trust, and these Paris brats are as
sly as their fathers. I, for one, will be glad to get away from the
whole dirty, quarrelsome lot of them,” he said. There was an answering
mutter of agreement from the bed.

“He is a friend of the little Vivi, and a worthy lad. Where will I find
the cart? I will myself see that the lad is started in good time and
order,” said Dian.

“It will stand, as always, at the end of the row by the West Barricade,
and I will see that it is ready. You can tell him the road and the way,
as you know the country about, but it would be well for me to have a
word with him. You say he knows the road? He’s not one of the city
brats?” As the market gardener asked this last question, he took out his
long pipe and lit it. Settling back on the stool that Dian had vacated,
he drew a long puff from it, unconscious of the wry face that Raoul made
as the tobacco smoke filled the room.

“He knows all the country near you, for he comes from the road east of
Calais, and has been back and forth in summer weather many times,” Dian
answered. Then he opened the door and went out, saying over his shoulder
as he did so:

“The lad and I will be at the West Barricade to-morrow at sundown, or
just before the gates close. You never go until then, I take it?”

“No, we hold on for the trade until dusk. I’ll be there by the cart.
Raoul here will be his own man in a few days, and will, I hope, have
learned his lesson about going slow with pigs’ feet,” answered Raoul’s
master.

“Give my regards to the funny fat man in the brown cloak,” called Raoul,
and Dian could hear him laughing, weak as he was, as he went down the
seed shop stairs.

Dian knew that all had gone well with Marie Josephine, for he had stayed
about the house and halls, and had known when she had gone up the back
stairs, though no one else had seen the little grey figure slip away. He
had gone out and waited, fighting the fear that almost choked him as the
minutes seemed to fly by, and the door in the garden wall did not open.
Then he had seen them come out and go their different ways, as they had
been told to do, and so, instead of going in again to the house, to give
his life if need be for them, he had gone on to the seed shop and there,
as always, he had found a way.

He felt a sense of relief in the knowledge that Henri had gone with his
regiment that morning, for though he was grateful that the man had waked
up to his real self, putting his cowardice aside and doing a last act of
helpfulness in aiding the comtesse to escape, still the knowledge of the
hidden cellar was not for him. Dian, when he reached the Saint Frère
house, walked up and down the upper cellar for some time, his hands
clasped before him, his face lifted to the dark, dusty rafters. He felt
that the old comte was very near to him, not a wraith of his person, but
the loving earnestness of his spirit. He was doing the best he knew how,
this shepherd, in his own simple way. To him it meant only trusting in
the power of good to stand by them.

As soon as he had opened the slide he heard Marie Josephine’s voice
calling softly to him. The lanthorn had made a scraping noise against
the stone wall as he lifted it. Faint as it was, she had heard it, for
she had been sitting on the lowest rung of the stairs, listening for
him, ever since she had returned, breathless and half bewildered, from
the house of Great-aunt Hortense.

She stood before him with clasped hands as he emerged from the gloom of
the stairs.

“Maman is safe? Tell me, Dian!” She caught his sleeve and held on to it
as they walked toward the others. Rosanne was sleeping in the alcove
near the chest. Lisle was walking up and down in the room beyond,
Humphrey Trail beside him, both talking earnestly. Jean, who was now
very much awake, ran up to Dian and took hold of the other side of his
coat.

“She is out of Paris. She reached the Place de la Bastille and went off
in the coach as Henri’s sister. The passport was in order. I watched her
go through the gates in a public coach. I saw you open the garden gate.
You did not come in vain to Paris, Little Mademoiselle!” the shepherd
answered her, and his words of praise, as well as the welcome news of
her mother’s safety, brought sudden tears to her eyes.

“I do not feel little any more, Dian. I have grown up these last days,”
she said, turning to meet Rosanne, who had wakened, and who, with the
others, came crowding up to them. Lisle and Marie Josephine held each
other’s hands, and Marie Josephine hid her face in his sleeve. Their
mother was safe out of Paris. Dian had seen her drive out of the gates
in a coach. Very simply Marie Josephine told them what she had done as
they all stood about her, tense and eager.

“You danced for those men there in the hall—you! They thought you were
Vivi!” Lisle could not believe it. His sister, Marie Josephine!

He stood very still while she told them of going up to her mother,
slipping through the dusk when no one saw her, and finding a strange
woman of the people who was maman and yet was not! “Maman was so
wonderful. I told her that she must try to speak like the people. I
said, 'Citizeness, you will do well to remember that you must have the
speech of the people at the gates.’ The key would not turn in the lock
at first—I mean in the garden door lock—but it did at last and we got
safely outside. Maman did not know me, of course. Maman thinks that we
are waiting for her near Calais, but just as she said good-by
she—she—said, 'There is something about you a little like—like one of
them ch—children——’” Marie Josephine drew this last out in a long
sob, putting her face down in the hollow of her arm.

How they comforted her, one and all. Humphrey told stories of his
Yorkshire farm, until he had to clear his throat again and again, and
they begged him to go on even when he said he simply could not say
another word. He held Jean on his knee and sang a funny Yorkshire song
to him. The time flew by with happy talk as they roasted apples over the
little fire, no one objecting in the least to the smoke.

Dian sat back in a far corner, his hands clasped on his knee, his eyes
closed. The hidden cellar had performed its task, had justified itself.
It had saved the lives of two of the Saint Frères, and of their friends.
It had proved itself to be a stronghold, a refuge, even a home. It had
opened its dark arms to receive the last Lisle Saint Frère, protecting
him from those who would have had his head on the guillotine block. It
had opened those same arms for the little girl who knew and loved it,
and who had been the one of her generation chosen to know of it.
To-morrow was in God’s hands. Dian was not afraid. He was glad for many
things. He was glad to hear children’s laughter, glad that the comtesse
was through the gates and that Marie Josephine had been the one to aid
her, glad of the friendship of honest Humphrey Trail, and that there
would be a safe refuge for them all with Humphrey in England.

He stood up, his great height bringing him almost to a level with the
rough stone ceiling, and, coming over to them, answered their welcoming
call of “Dian, come and stay with us,” with a smile that had in it
something of sadness. Then he went over to the chest and, standing by
it, beckoned them to come to him. They came, all of them, and looked at
him in wonder as he stood there lost in thought.

Suddenly he turned toward Lisle, who stood beside him, and he touched
him lightly on the shoulder. It was as though he was knighting him for
something.

“You are the last of these Saint Frères who have been such a brave race
of men. You have the name of the first one of them of whom there is
record, and of whom there is much to remember. He helped to build this
hidden place with his own hands. He said that one member of the family
in each generation should know of this cellar and, knowing, should bear
in mind always that it was built with a prayer, and that the prayer was
to remember one’s brother, to turn away from tyranny and the lust of
power. That was what the first Lisle Saint Frère wanted of those of his
own blood who were to come after him.” Dian looked at Lisle as he spoke.
“Your grandfather was the one who came nearest to the first Lisle’s
wish. Of that I am sure,” he said simply.

Then Lisle did a strange thing, so unlike him that those about him could
not believe their eyes. He clasped his hands as though in prayer and
stood silent for a moment, and it was as though he neither saw nor was
aware of those about him.

“Help me to be like the first Lisle,” he prayed.

“Dian—see Dian’s face!” whispered Rosanne to Marie Josephine, and they
both turned and looked up at the shepherd. There was a light on his
face, and in his eyes a depth of happiness.

Dian took a key from his inner pocket, and stooping over, unlocked the
chest. Then he turned and looked again at Lisle.

“I believe that you will be like the first Lisle and that you will have
knowledge beyond his to work out a way of helping the people, and all
those that need you,” he said. Then he leaned over, and, reaching down
into the depths of the chest, drew out a tray. It was made of iron and
it exactly fitted the chest. On it were bags, some of goatskin, some of
raw hides, several of velvet, and one of leather.

He touched them softly with his hands, tenderly, broodingly, the way a
miser might have touched his wealth, after the visit of an angel who had
awakened him to the glories of giving, instead of keeping.

“There is gold here, old money, some of which is valueless but for the
spirit in which it was given. The one of each generation who has known
of the secret cellar has put something here, has given of his store,” he
said.

“I haven’t anything to give,” said Marie Josephine, a quiver in her
voice.

“You offered your life, but the sacrifice was not needed,” the shepherd
answered her.

“I am the last Lisle now and I have nothing to give,” Lisle said in the
humble way which was new to him.

“You would have given your life a hundred times over, had there been a
way. You have given a prayer that is better than all this,” Dian
answered him.

“Whom does it belong to?” asked Jean, who was delighted with the rows of
little bags inside the odd old chest.

Dian put his hand again on Lisle’s shoulder.

“It belongs to this Lisle,” he said. Then he reached down and picked up
a dark-stained piece of paper. There were letters on the paper, burnt
into the parchment with the sharp end of a stick. They were so curiously
worded that Lisle had to study them, when Dian handed him the paper,
before he could make them out. They were in French, but of the old
language. After a moment of silence Lisle read very slowly:

“In the hour of need thou shall of this treasure give to the creatures
who have the sorest want. Keep to thine own that for thy bread. Give of
the rest, not to thyself, but to thy brother!”

There was silence there in the depths of the earth after Lisle had read
from the parchment. It seemed to stay with them all the evening. It
seemed almost as though it spoke to them. “Give of the rest, not to
thyself, but to thy brother.”

Long ago Dian had gone over the bags with the old comte. He and Lisle
now put away, in the bottom of the chest, the quaint old coins in their
faded bags, handling them tenderly as though they loved them. They
decided to take two bags of the more modern money with them.

“Remember that I leave you at the boat, and that you must find out, with
Humphrey’s aid, whether the English government can change this for you.
It may be worthless now, except for its value in gold,” Dian said to
Lisle.

They locked the chest and laid the two bags of money on the shelf next
to the horn drinking cups. It was late and Jean was beginning to yawn.

Humphrey went about through the narrow alcove-like rooms beyond, putting
a rug here and a pillow there, intent on everyone’s comfort and glad
indeed to have something to do, for he was sorely troubled. It was all
very well to spend one’s time over an old chest, and he had been as
interested as the others; but to-morrow they were to make a run for
their lives! He knew that Dian had some plan, and that there had been no
chance to tell him. He was relieved beyond words when the shepherd
called them all together.

Years afterward Humphrey used to recall that night to himself as he sat
in a corner of his own fire-side, his pipe between his lips. Neighbors
happening in would have to speak to him several times before he would be
aware of their presence. “Ah—yes—welcome in. I was thinking back a
long way, a long way,” he would say. Dian in their midst telling them
about “to-morrow!”

It was very simple. Dian and Humphrey had passports, being citizens, one
of France, the other one of England. There had been no trouble about
them. Dian’s parents, who were not living, were known to have been good,
honest citizens in their day, who had been oppressed by the aristocrats.
He himself was a shepherd. Humphrey was a farmer who had been in France
on a holiday. They would pass out at the gates after the children had
gone through.

And how was that to be done? The little Vivi again. Georges Fardou, her
friend, was on guard at sundown. That Dian knew well. He was always
there when the carts went out. A boy, a friend of Vivi’s, would drive a
vegetable cart, the market gardener would be there himself to see that
all was in order. He would explain to the gatemen that the lad was
taking Raoul’s place and was quite to be trusted. The lad would be
Lisle!

The children, Rosanne and Jean and Marie Josephine, were to run about
with Vivi. She was Georges Fardou’s friend and he never resisted her
appeals. He would let them run through and play on the other side for a
while. They would be met by Champar, who had fleet horses ready. They
must not fear. That was as definite a plan as they could agree upon.

All knew that there was a great risk, but there was little fear in the
hearts of any of them that night in the cellar. They sat about on one of
the big rugs and ate their late supper of bread and cheese and
chocolate. Then they went to their various cosy beds of shawls and rugs,
and slept soundly until morning.

It was while Humphrey was frying the bacon for breakfast, assisted by
Marie Josephine, who stood by the frying pan and turned the slices with
a one-pronged fork when they began to brown nicely, that Lisle spoke
with Dian.

“I am glad that I shall not be with the others going through the gates,
for some one might recognize me and suspect them all. I am so much
taller than the others, too big to be a playmate for Vivi. Tell me,
Dian, what will become of her. I do not like to leave her unbefriended.
There must be something we can do for her.”

Dian was glad to hear Lisle say this, and his face bore a very earnest
look as he answered: “You are right to ask for her, and I have told
Mademoiselle de Soigné and the Little Mademoiselle that she is safe. I
will tell you more than this. I could not go away from Paris leaving
Vivi alone and unprotected, to starve. She has been our friend, loyal
always. I shall take care of her in the country where she will be happy
as the sunshine. I hope that Mother Barbette will open her heart to her,
finding in her the little girl she has always wanted for her own. It was
easy to procure a passport for Vivi, and she leaves the gates to-morrow
at twelve——”

“But you said—I don’t understand—— How can Marie Josephine be taken
for her if she has already gone?” Lisle looked up, deeply puzzled.

“Do you not see? Her friend, Georges Fardou, will not be there at noon.
He comes on duty always at five. He will know nothing of Vivi’s having
left and will play the game of letting her through the gates as usual.
What we must hope—aye, and pray—is that he will let her little
comrades through also!”

Lisle smiled. “You are you, Dian. Next you will tell me that the others
at Pigeon Valley are safe!”

“That I can tell you now. Listen well. They are safe enough in a
deserted barn near Calais. Champar, the cross-eyed coach driver, took
them there. I was saving this to tell you at the last before we leave,
in order to give you all, especially Mademoiselle de Soigné, good
courage.”

“Cécile du Monde in a deserted barn!” Lisle threw back his head in the
old way. Then he laughed. “We are all a set of vagabonds. Eh bien! so
much the better. Rosanne,” he called to her over his shoulder, “we are
tramps, all of us. Dian has more news. Cécile and Bertran and that funny
Proté and Madame le Pont and Hortense are safe, hiding in a barn——”

“I know,” she interrupted. “Marie Josephine told me last night before we
went to sleep. She said we must be quiet about it and not talk too much,
because there was so much to plan. She told me that I must not speak at
all by the gates or afterward, for fear I would give myself away, but
I’ve remembered ever so many things that Vivi used to say, and when I’m
dressed in tatters I think I can talk like her.” Rosanne smiled
cheerfully as she spoke, but her smile faded a little, later in the day,
when all her long, soft, golden hair was sheared and fell in a
glittering heap on the chest. She did not cry, but there was a quiver
about her mouth. Dian picked the hair up and wrapped it in a piece of
satin that had covered one of the pillows they had brought down.

“It will not be safe to take it with us; but remember, Mademoiselle,
nothing can happen to the hidden cellar. Some day we will come here to
the chest and find it and give it to your mother in memory of the old
days in France, which will be dear to her,” he said, laying the bright
bundle in a corner of the chest.

They all laughed at each other, for they were the sorriest sights
imaginable. Vivi lived in one of the worst alleys in Paris, and her
friends were the most unkempt of all the children who played about the
gates. Rosanne’s hair they discolored with a dark fluid, and they rubbed
dye into her delicate face and arms and hands. She wore a tattered
dress, which had a berry stain down the front, and no stockings under
her broken shoes. They had not dared to let her go barefooted because of
her feet betraying her. Marie Josephine was Vivi, in the torn dirty
dress that had stood the journey from Pigeon Valley, her uncombed hair
flapping about her face and eyes. She was tanned like a veritable gypsy,
and there was no need of any more disguise for her. She was the street
gamin to perfection, and she had the gift of knowing how to play a part.
She had confidence, too. The experience at the house of Great-aunt
Hortense had given it to her. She was full of fire and courage and the
love of adventure. She was ready!

“The last of the Saint Frères! Oh, you funny boy!” She danced about her
brother mockingly. “What an honest country lad you look, to be sure,
does he not, Humphrey Trail?” she cried laughingly.

“He does look out of his usual way, but tha knows he is the same. I’m
fashed to see how any one else could tell him to be the proud lad he
is,” Humphrey answered slowly, surveying Lisle soberly.

Lisle gave him a quick smile. “Humphrey Trail, the only friend I had in
Paris the day the Tuileries was sacked,” he said, and a look of
friendship passed between the two.

Dian regarded Lisle gravely and then nodded. Yes, he would do. His hair
was cut short and dyed also, and he wore a homespun suit and rough,
awkward shoes. His coarse shirt was open at his throat, which showed
brown enough from the dye, and his eyebrows were ruffed up and there was
a splash of cherry juice across one of them. He was to be eating
cherries as he drove through with the cart. He stood before them, a far
different figure from the Lisle Saint Frère who had danced the minuet at
the De Soigné ball.

“Well, it’s time to start. We are ready, all of us.” Dian spoke in his
usual simple, direct way and they followed him without a word. Marie
Josephine was the last to climb the ladder stairs. She looked back at
the quiet, tender gloom of the old place. “Good-by,” she whispered.
“Sometime we are coming back, all of us!”

They each knew what to do and there was no need for discussion. Dian and
Humphrey, accompanied by Lisle, went on ahead, and the two little girls
with Jean followed at a distance but kept near enough so as not to lose
sight of them. In any case they were to find their way to the West
Barricade.

It was dusk when they reached the gates, and the first pink glow of a
spring sunset showed above the tall, gaunt forge that was busy near by
making guns for the army of the revolution.

The market gardener stood by the empty cart and hailed Dian and Humphrey
cheerfully. Then he looked Lisle over from head to foot. Lisle was
eating cherries unconcernedly and only gave a sheepish side nod to the
market gardener as he looked him over.

“He seems fond of cherries, that lad of yours,” he said to Dian. “Bien!
I must go to a meeting. See that you hurry on. As it is you’ll not be at
my farm before night. The shepherd here says you know the way. Here’s
your pay. Good-day, citizens,”—and the stout, fussy man hurried away to
wrangle at a meeting until well into the morning.

Lisle jumped on to the cart and took the reins.

“Remember, Champar is to be waiting a few rods from the gates. Leave the
horse and cart under a tree by the first turn. Champar will see that
they reach the market gardener’s. He has told his cousin to fetch them
there. Drive as quickly as you can. Don’t talk with the soldier at the
gates unless you are forced to.” Dian spoke quickly in a low tone. Lisle
nodded, took the reins, and drove toward the Barricade. A soldier
stopped him, but he had been told that another lad would drive through
with the cart and he knew the cart well. It had red wheels, and he and
Raoul had often joked about it.

“You’ll be where your friend is if you eat many of those this time of
year, young citizen,” the man said.

Lisle made a face, but said nothing, holding out some cherries to the
man, who accepted two or three. It was Vivi’s friend, Georges Fardou,
who came on duty at half past five.

He waved his hand. “Go on with you,” he said, and Lisle drove through.

“So, citizens, you are leaving the gay city—what?” Georges Fardou
examined the passports of Humphrey and Dian critically, holding his
lanthorn close up to them, for it was dark under the frowning shadow of
the walls. He had had many a friendly chat with both of them at odd
times, there at the gates, and had often sat next to Dian at meetings of
the sections.

“Yes, and the children would come just a pace with us. It’s a good hour
before the gates close, and they’ve followed us about all day,” Dian
said simply, nodding toward a group of three laughing children, a boy
and two girls, who were throwing mud at each other, and every now and
then at passers-by.

“Vivi and I are good comrades, I was with the poor father when he died,”
Humphrey said, not as though he were pleading for her to go through, but
just stating a fact in his quiet way.

Georges nodded. “That was a bad thing. I’d like to see all of the
aristos get the hit he got, poor devil. Well, many a one is getting hit
at the back of the neck, good luck to the guillotine!” He glanced at the
children who had come up to them. “It’s too late for you brats to go
through the gates, and it’s against orders,” he said.

Then out of her eagerness and her love for those dear to her who were in
peril, Marie Josephine spoke, and her very earnestness gave her courage.
It was so dark there in the shadow of the wall that only her eager eyes
seemed to show in her dark face as she looked up at the guard.

“I may not see the shepherd again. He has been kinder to me than any one
since my father died, him and Humphrey, the funny farmer man,” Marie
Josephine spoke in a hoarse, almost harsh voice.

Georges Fardou shook his head. “It’s too late,” he said again.

“Please—Georges Fardou.” There was a world of pleading in her voice,
and a tear was zigzagging down her cheek as she looked up pleadingly at
Georges Fardou.

“Bien! Out with the lot of you, but mind you’re not late coming back. It
will be closing time within the hour.” He unlocked the gates again as he
had done for Lisle and the cart. “Good-by, citizens, and a good
journey,” he called to Dian and Humphrey as they went through. “When you
come back you’ll find Antoinette has gone the way of Louis. Long live
the Republic!”

Then he closed the gates after them.



                              CHAPTER XXV

                            OUT OF THE MIST


Grigge gave the note to Anastasius Grubb and watched him as he read it.
He was not thinking so much about the note, or what Anastasius would do,
as he was about the man himself, for he was the oddest man that he had
ever seen; his beard was so rich and full and brown, his voice so deep,
so like a bellows, and his eyebrows so thick and frowning. After he had
read the note he looked Grigge over as though he thought he was rather
curious also. Then he destroyed the note. It was the one that Humphrey
had written, and that Dian had sent, with his own, to Grigge, first by
Raoul and then by Champar. Champar had gone back to Paris. Grigge was
watching for him every day now, and he knew that the little party of
fugitives in the forsaken barn near the city were watching, too.

Anastasius knew some French, having picked it up while carrying on his
trade back and forth, and he used it now on Grigge.

“I’ll be waiting every night with a rowboat by the willow woods three
miles south of the light-house station. I’ll keep hidden, and I’ll see
that the schooner doesn’t bring suspicion on itself. Tell them I’ll be
waiting. I’d do that and more for Humphrey Trail. We’ve played together
as lads and, please Heaven, we’ll continue friends this many a year to
come.” Anastasius relapsed into English at the last, but Grigge
understood about the willow woods and the boat. He thought of Dian and
that he would soon be seeing him and he smiled. That made him look so
different that the skipper exclaimed:

“Th’art na so ugly when tha smiles; that th’art not!”

Then Grigge left him and went back through long circuitous ways through
the country roads to the barn. He walked slowly and with the satisfied
air of one who has at last accomplished something of moment. He had
waited patiently day after day near the docks at Calais for a glimpse of
the skipper of the _Sandlass_. Champar had been gone over a week and
still there was no sign of this Anastasius Grubb, who alone, of all the
owners of fishing crafts in and around the harbor, could take safely to
England the little band of people who were at his mercy in Champar’s
uncle’s barn, near the coast.

Grigge shuffled along in the dust that reminded him of the highway in
Pigeon Valley. He thought of the croak of the frogs at night in the
brook that ran along the back of the meadow behind the huts. He thought
of the black bread that he had always eaten, and of the low-ceilinged,
one-roomed hut that was his home. He had never meant anything to these
people who awaited him in the lonely barn. Not one of them at Les
Vignes, except the Little Mademoiselle, had ever given him more than a
passing nod. All that he had done for them was because of Dian, but he
had expected to taunt them with it, to humiliate them as they had so
often, perhaps unthinkingly, humiliated him. He had thought that it
would be fun to tease them, to tell them that the plan had fallen
through and that there would be no possibility of the others reaching
them; but he had not done any of these things, and as he walked along
the quiet road that lovely May night, he felt closer to the sheltering
greenness and the peaceful, drifting wind than he had ever felt before.

When he came within the region of the barn he dropped to his knees and
crawled slowly through the dark underbrush. It would never do for a late
passer-by on the road to Calais to see him going to the barn, which was
so unusually isolated, half hidden by brush and trees. It was a
remarkable hiding place.

Cécile met him, having slid back the door when she heard his faint rap.
The main part of the barn was lighted by three lanthorns which hung from
the ceiling, but the light was dim, and there was a thick blanket hung
across the one window, so that no glimmer could reach the fields beyond.

“I delivered the letter. He’s to wait every night by the willow woods.
He says this Humphrey Trail’s his best friend. He’s safe. He won’t
desert you.” There was a kinder tone in Grigge’s voice, for something in
the eager way they listened to him touched him.

Madame le Pont said, “Thank God.”

Cécile shut her eyes for a moment and then she said:

“They will come. I know they are safe. We had word that they were going
to try to get through. That blessed cross-eyed Champar sent the message
to us.” Cécile turned and put her arms about Denise who had come close
to her. “We’ll see them, chérie, soon,” she whispered. Denise could only
sob on Cécile’s shoulder. She at last was learning what it was to be in
a revolution.

Hortense touched Grigge’s arm. “There is some supper here for you, an
omelette that I’m cooking. It’s made with two of the eggs you brought us
yesterday. Proté has taught me to cook it, and I want you to say it’s
good!” She spoke in a friendly way, and nothing could have showed
plainer than her manner how they were all learning to know one another
and to help. It was necessary that they keep occupied, and Hortense and
Proté had many a laugh over the former’s attempt at cooking. Bertran was
the greatest problem, for he was determined to go out, and they trembled
that he would in some way, in spite of his disguise, make trouble by
causing suspicion. The days had gone by and they had not seen a living
soul but themselves. Grigge had gone away every morning and stayed away
all day, searching for Anastasius Grubb, whom at last he had found, and
who had promised them his aid when the dear ones from Paris should come.

And the wayfarers—they who had come through the gates of Paris, through
danger so great that it had seemed a simple thing to take one’s chance
at once and without question when it came one’s way—where were they?
They were thundering through the countryside, sometimes on the main
highroad, but mostly through back lanes and untraveled pasture roads.
The cart bumped about so much that their very heads whirled and they had
to hold on just as hard as they could. They became so exhausted that
they fell asleep in spite of themselves and their excitement. They ate
what was given them by Champar and Dian, swallowing their food with dry
lips and throats. Always there was the dread of meeting advancing
outposts of the army. Once they had to hide, coach and all, for a day
and part of a night in a copse in the woods.

One morning Champar turned to them, his eye cocked severely.

“If no one asks me once to-day if we’ll see the others surely, and if
they really are safe in the barn, and if I am sure that Grigge was able
to find Anastasius Grubb, I’ll tell you all something!”

They were all growing used to Champar, and Marie Josephine and Rosanne
answered at once, “Tell us, Champar, hurry, tell us!” Lisle and Dian
were walking beside the cart, and they came close to the side of it when
Champar spoke, but he calmly urged his horse on and seemed suddenly lost
in thought.

“What is it, Champar? Tell us!” Lisle put his hand on the side of the
coach and looked up at the driver. Lisle was pale and tired and covered
with dust. He had driven all night, so that Dian and Champar, who had
had the brunt of the journey, could rest. “Shall we see our mother? Tell
us, Champar.” Lisle’s lips quivered ever so slightly as he spoke. “Tell
us,” he repeated, and there was the old imperious ring in his voice as
he spoke.

So Champar told them. At noon they would meet the cart that had taken
their mother out of Paris. It would be waiting for them at a farmhouse
he knew well. It had had a day’s start and was lightly loaded and there
had been no reason for making détours as their mother’s passport was en
règle and no one would suspect Henri Berier’s sister of being an
aristocrat! They would see their mother by noon that day!

Marie Josephine and Rosanne jumped out at the next hill and walked up it
together. Toward the top they were joined by Lisle. Marie Josephine
picked a bunch of wild lilies, putting them in the buttonhole of her
jacket. Jean was on the box talking to Champar as on that night that
Champar had given the two runaways a lift. Now and then the driver put
his hands over his ears as Jean plied him with questions.

“It’s been so wonderful! Sometimes it seems like a terrible, interesting
dream—but we won’t see Dian after we go to England.” Marie Josephine
turned her face away from the others toward a sweep of golden wild
lilies which gleamed like flakes of racing sunshine through the wood on
their right. She did not want them to see her tears. They fell unseen on
the lilies she had gathered.

“Maman! Maman! Maman!” The next moment she was screaming in an agony of
joy, all her acting forgotten, all her poise and self-control lost. The
coach had stopped by a lane which led from a farmhouse, and there stood
a dark-eyed, slovenly woman in a faded homespun dress—her maman!

Lisle and Marie Josephine sat on each side of the comtesse inside the
coach, Jean and Dian sat on the wide seat in front with Champar, who was
so ashamed of the tear that splashed over his big nose that he swore
under his breath and was cross to the horses. Maman could only hold
Marie Josephine in her arms; nothing seemed to matter except that and
the touch of Lisle’s hand on hers.

“My little dear one, my pigeon, my chérie,” she murmured over and over
to Marie Josephine, holding her close to her fast-beating heart.
“Darling, you came! It was you, my own little baby. I said there was
something—do you remember, chérie, how I told you, there by the garden
door, that there was something about you that reminded me of—of——?”
Maman’s head went down over Marie Josephine’s shock of tangled locks,
and she sobbed for a moment. Then she became more like her quiet,
self-contained self.

It all seemed a dream, the sweet afternoon air, the haze of heat, the
scent of the field lilies and early poppies. It was all a dream to Marie
Josephine, for she was very tired, but she felt her mother’s arms about
her and heard her mother’s endearing words, which sounded sweeter than
any she had ever heard before. They had always been there, locked deep
in the comtesse’s heart, but she had never known how much she wanted to
say them until it was, as she had thought, too late.

They told her of Denise and the others, but they were too tired, all of
them, to do more than that. There would be many a long winter evening in
England when they could tell each other’s adventures. Now they must keep
their thoughts on the barn, on the others, and on the blessed fishing
schooner which would mean life for them.

Dian sat with his eyes closed, unmindful of Jean’s chatter with Champar.
Vivi was safe. She had gone through with her own passport the morning
before, fortunately unknown to her friend who had night duty at the
gate, and who had so unsuspectedly let the other Vivi and her friends
through the gates. He would see that the others were safe, and then he
would take Vivi and Jean back to his own Pigeon Valley, to the comfort
and welcoming blessing of Mother Barbette and the quiet protection of
the little low-roofed house in the wood of the Les Vignes demesne. He
felt sure that the little house was there, safe among its ferns and
flowers, whatever may have happened to the big one. Grigge! He had great
hopes and plans for Grigge!

He walked up the next hill with Lisle.

“You and Humphrey for friends! Maman safe! Dian, what have any of us
done to deserve it? Dian, it isn’t for always; France is my home. Dian,
I’m not forgetting that I am the last one of the Saint Frères. Whatever
happens, you’ll take some of the gold for—no, you’ll never want it, but
for Grigge. Tell me, Dian, is that a way of helping a little?” Lisle
looked up almost entreatingly into the shepherd’s face.

“That is one way. Making Grigge your friend is a better one,” Dian
answered him.

“Grigge my friend? Yes, I see that that can be,” Lisle answered.

They had reached a lane and Champar stopped his horses.

“It was out here, wasn’t it, my young citizeness, that you shoved your
dog off on some farm children? What’s that!”

Something was dashing toward them down the fern-scented lane, something
long and slender and grey. It was Flambeau!

They drove on, encumbered by a dog who leaped from one to the other of
them in wild delight, barking so sharply that Champar swore out loud,
declaring he was tired of the whole lot of them, at the same time
winking back a tear and urging the horses on furiously.

“We should not take Flambeau, but, yes, we must, for he is a part of
us,” exclaimed the comtesse as the dog’s warm tongue licked her face. He
saw through the disguise of each one of them, as though his very love
for them would not let him be deceived.

“I would never, never have left you, Flambeau, angel, if I hadn’t been a
tramp girl, dearie. You are so—so——” Marie Josephine murmured.

“Such an aristo,” said Rosanne with a little choke, and just then Madame
Saint Frère drew her close to her other side, and, putting an arm around
each girl, she said: “Rosanne will see her mother one day. When last we
heard from her she was safe in the hospital with your father. She begged
us to see you safely out of the country and wrote that she and your
father would join us when they could.”

“Dian will care for them both, and will see that they come to us,”
answered Marie Josephine, and her mother looked at the shepherd, who sat
beside Champar, with a world of confidence and gratitude in her eyes.

The lights of Calais glowed faintly through a sea mist. Champar drove
very slowly. He knew the way, but the mist was thick and seemed to
frighten the horses. They were near the gates that led to his uncle’s
barn. It was almost time for them to alight and to walk through the
field. A voice reached them suddenly, a breathless, hoarse voice which
seemed to come out of the very heart of the grey night.

“Champar, quick! Listen! There isn’t a moment to lose. We’re discovered,
suspected! It was that fool of a Bertran. He met a citizen who
discovered he was disguised. He was followed. Then the man ran toward
the town. They’ve all left the barn and gone to the willow wood. Grubb’s
anchored near the shore there. Hurry! The mist will hide the cart.
That’s it, jump. I’ll catch you, Little Mademoiselle. This way. Don’t
let the dog bark. Yes, this way, this way——”

They were off through the mist, Grigge leading. The ground was soggy,
and once Rosanne fell, but Dian caught her up and carried her. They did
not speak at all, and through the silence Dian thought he heard the
sound of horses’ hoofs on the highroad.

They were making slow progress. Once Flambeau barked.

“Take care, maman, see, this way. I’ll guide you.” Lisle took his
mother’s arm, as he whispered this. He held fast to Marie Josephine’s
arm with his other hand, and every time she tried to get away from him,
he whispered authoritatively, “You are to stay right here beside me!”
His desire to protect his family was so great that it made him fierce.
When Marie Josephine fell against a boulder, he caught her up and
carried her toward a faint, flickering white spot, which was the light
at the bow of Anastasius Grubb’s rowboat.

Grubb’s deep voice boomed softly through the still air.

“They’re coming. One of my men from the schooner has been on the ground,
listening. It means hurry. He’s heard horses’ hoofs. Here you, boy, I’ll
take the little girl. Humphrey, you—Good! That’s it. You help the
woman, and you, shepherd, take the boy Grigge and get away as quick as
you can, or your lives will not be worth a ha’penny.”

The water splashed about them as they waded to the rowboat, which was
resting in shallow water. Strong arms caught them, and in little more
than a breath they were seated close together, Denise with her mother’s
arms about her, Hortense and Marie Josephine and Cécile huddled together
in a tense embrace. The schooner waited for them just beyond, through
the mist.

There had been no time to say good-by. Marie Josephine dashed the tears
from her eyes, leaning forward.

“Dian,” she called softly. “Dian, Dian, Dian!” Then she took the faded
gold flower, which she had gathered on the hill road a few hours before,
from the belt of her dirty smock and threw it toward the shore. It fell
at Dian’s feet, where he stood with Jean and Grigge close beside him.

“You will come back, all of you, Little Mademoiselle,” he said. In his
eyes was the light which they all knew so well; not even the mist could
hide it. He stooped and picked up the flower. It was a lily of France.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Transcriber’s notes

1. Silently corrected obvious typographical errors; retained
   non-standard spellings and dialect, especially French expressions.

2. Italic text in the original is delimited by _underscores_.





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