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the time rejoicing at Renée's good fortune. quite blue when they were marched back What a thing it was for a man to be well to their quarters, and the officers felt born and rich! I was neither.
bluer still. It is a very terrible thing to It was in May, 1830, that with a part begin a campaign in bad spirits. Soldiers of my regiment—the Misers—I was or- are apt to die when they are in bad spirits. dered to embark on board the Diadème, Some of us remembered what the Emperor ship of the line, at Toulon. There were had said concerning the Duc's wife-she in round numbers thirty-five thousand “ the only man in the family”—but men engaged in that first great African we dared not speak of this, for any menexpedition. I remember that everything tion of the Emperor always affected the was done to inspire us with enthusiasm, army deeply, and the authorities, very but it was not in the Bourbons to inspire properly, ordered us to keep silent on the soldiers. And when the poor old Duc subject of Napoleon. The Bourbons were d'Angoulême came down to review us— in a bad way with the army after the such a melancholy, cadaverous, croaking, Revolution. They might forbid us to talk tongue-tied, lantern-jawed, megrim-haunt- of Napoleon, but we only thought of him ed creature never was seen the men the more- —and we forced them to bring laughed at him, and the officers swore at his ashes back to us before many years. him, under the rose. It was frightfully We were to embark on May 11th, and depressing when he undertook to make us ten days beforehand two of our sub-lieua speech. There was Marshal Marmont tenants were obliged to be sent to the hos-I happened to see him in the Duc's pital-one to have his leg cut off, the other suite when that speech was made—and I raving with fever. Two more had to be thought the old soldier would have died drafted into our battalion immediately, and of disgust. The Duc told us that none one was the Marquis de Ravenel, from a of us would come back, advised us to crack lancers regiment. Although myself settle our worldly affairs, and make our only a few grades ahead of him in rank, I peace with Heaven. The men looked happened to be the senior officer present
when he reported. The others all had He spoke in a low voice, and I, stagwives and families to say farewell to—I, gered for a moment, replied in the same alas ! had no one.
low tone : He was as handsome, as dashing, as “M. le Marquis, return to your quarters ever. How admirably would he suit with and consider yourself under arrest.' Renée Dufour! We had a very pleasant As quick as a flash he raised his sword, conversation, and the next morning, when and gave me a swinging blow over my the battalion was about to be paraded be- head with the hilt, and I knew no more. fore me, I admired him more than ever. I did not know anything for several days. The men were drawn up under some trees When I recovered consciousness I was in on the edge of the town—we were en- a hospital ward, and Duval-Choisy was camped instead of being in barracks—and sitting by me. I said to him, with an effort: they certainly appeared very well. I was “Do you think de Ravenel will be shot?" about to compliment de Ravenel upon the “ He is shot already," answered Duvalsmart appearance of his men, when, as he Choisy, bluntly, “and by his own pistol, approached, I saw that he was pale with too—that is to say, it is so given out—but rage—he looked as he did that day, so let me tell you, my dear Lièvre, although many years before, when I had seen him de Ravenel's body and the smoking pistol raving with the groom in the high-road. were smuggled out, I have grave doubts And this is what he said to me—his su- whether he is not just as much alive as perior officer :
His family are powerful at “ So you are the man for whom Renée court, and royalists are not shot nowaDufour refuses to marry me. You, a beg- days—there are not enough of them to gar, a vulgarian, fit only to associate with be rashly disposed of. So don't trouble her footman.”
yourself about de Ravenel."
you or I.
“I thank you all. I thank the curé and Lieutenant
I found that the general opinion was the same as Duval-Choisy's. The offence was so flagrant that it could not be passed over; striking an officer is punishable with death, and the sentence is generally carried out in our army.
De Ravenel's fam- if she were insane enough to wish to marry ily had got to him at once; and before me, her family would be justified in prethe court-martial could be notified, here venting it. I had nothing ; I could give
I I had come the story of his suicide. There her nothing. No. The story of her prefwere many suspicious circumstances about erence for me, which had maddened de the prompt removal of the body; the mili- Ravenel, was mere idle gossip, because I tary authorities were strangely reticent ; had got the priest for her father when and I had a hint given me from a high she asked me. She had probably never quarter that I need not suffer my mind to thought of me again. be agitated about de Ravenel's tragic At last, on a June evening, we sighted fate.
Algiers, and next morning the debarkaI recovered rapidly, and was ready to tion began. Everybody knows what folleave with my battalion, on May 11th. I lowed. We beat the Algerians and the had heard no word of Renée Dufour in Kabyles and all the other tribesmen in all that time. I had some hours of madness the pitched battles when they dared to before leaving, when I felt like writing her face us, but they kept up a harassing a letter, bidding her farewell, but some guerilla warfare which was infuriating. instinct of manliness stopped me. Even We had to build a chain of block-houses along all the territory outside the city of parture for France there would be an Algiers to protect our outposts and the outbreak from those who remained befew people who dwelt there.
hind. Expeditions were organized against The first year or two was exciting the Kabyles and Bedouins to counteract enough. Many of us got promotion—I this and give the men something to talk got my captaincy—but after that, there about—but soldiers, unluckily, can think was a time of stagnation. There were —and when they saw that we could not troubles in France and the troops were keep what we took, that we were not nuwithdrawn, leaving only a handful in merous enough to make a strong demonAfrica. I had done my share in the cam- stration against the tribesmen, that bepaign, and after that the homesickness yond our line of block-houses we were which seizes every Frenchman away from powerless, and, above all, the occasional France seized me. We were quite idle, finding of a soldier with his head cut off, the authorities being content that we it was hard upon them. They would should simply hold what we had got-and talk about the Emperor then ; there was to be idle in Africa, as it was then, was no stopping them. For my own part, I very dreadful.
The officers who had stood the ordeal fairly well. I tried to friends at home got ordered back, but I, put Renée out of my head—and how well with a few other Misers, remained on the I succeeded may be imagined when I say plain around Algiers.
that I never looked at those great, brillThe men suffered more, of course, than iant, golden stars of the African nights, the officers. From some of the best dis- which seem so large and so near, without ciplined regiments in France they grew thinking of her, and wondering if she to be among the worst. At every de- were still alive, and if she were married
and this dreamer was a battered, middle- arabe. But I swore to myself that I would aged Captain of the line ! And this not go back to the Bureau arabe. The lasted for thirteen years. Yes, I was
Commandant did not urge me. He evithirteen years in Africa. Of course I dently thought that a slight experience of
a might have gone back to France many Fort Mastagnan would bring me to terms; times, but, unluckily, I learned Arabic, so he let me go. Within a week I was with many of its dialects, very well. It ready to start. It was a weary journey. has always been my perverse fortune to My first sight of Mastagnan was not as get in trouble, not through my faults- melancholy as one might suppose; for diswhich are numerous enough, and all well ciplinaires are soldiers after all, and have grown for their age—but by my few good the same childish light-heartedness of other qualities. The authorities put me into soldiers. It was about five o'clock in the the Bureau arabe. I, a soldier, was made afternoon, and although it was in the rainy a clerk. In vain I swore I would resign, season, the sun shone every day at that I would leave the army, I would turn hour. The fort was perched upon a plaMahometan, but it was no use. After teau, with great mountain-peaks towering my time the officers were astute enough over it, and the sun glinted upon the silvery never to acknowledge how much Arabic mountain-torrents that foamed down the they really knew ; but I, in an insane mo- face of the rocks. ment, had boasted of mine, and I had My ragamuffins were drawn up to rethirteen years in which to repent of it. ceive their new Commandant, and although Algiers in the 30's was a dreary place, not very smart looking-except one man half desert, half Paris, French African, who was orderly to the former Commandthe Arab slipper-maker next door to the ant—they were not very bad looking. The French milliner-a boulevard on the edge officer whom I was to relieve recommendof the desert. I think I grew morose in ed his orderly to me. the thirteen years when I was a French “A very sharp fellow — calls himself grand-vizier. As chief of the bureau, I Laurent—has a life-sentence for striking had the privilege of ordering Arabian an officer, but I think he expects it to be heads to be cut off. I did not avail my- commuted very soon. I can't make him self of the privilege, but sometimes longed out; I am afraid he is a gentleman ; he rather to cut some other heads off. I writes a better hand than I do, and exgrew to be “old Lièvre ” among the cept for his damned superiority in everyyoung sub-lieutenants. I kept away thing, has not a fault.” from the quarters where the French ladies “ I will take him," said I. with their smart gowns were to be found. The first time my orderly and I came The ugly ones I did not like, and the face to face I saw he was the Marquis de attractive ones always reminded me of Ravenel, and he saw that I was Captain Renée ; so I avoided women altogether. Lièvre, and each knew the other recog
At last this slavery to a bureau became nized him. But never saw I such coolintolerable. One day I determined to be ness and self-possession as Laurent's. He free. I went to head-quarters and an- had, at last, learned self-control. nounced that I would like to be relieved wink betrayed him, and I, scorning to be from the Burean arabe. The Command- outdone by my orderly, was as cool as he. ant smiled, and made out my orders at This, then, explained the mystery. By once. I was to proceed to Fort Mastag- some sort of juggling his family had saved nan, nearly two hundred miles from Al- his life, and had got him off to Africa, osgiers, and take command of the little fort, tensibly for life. They had probably been with a garrison of—what do you think? working all the time for the commutation One hundred and fifty disciplinaires. of his sentence, the restoration of his civil
To command a mud fort, two hundred rights, and he would return to France miles in the interior, with a garrison of a something of a hero, to be rehabilitated hundred and fifty rapscallions under pun- with title, money, and everything. ishment! Of course the Commandant ex- suppose the impulse to kill me should pected me to beg off at once, and to go come upon him ? Well, he had plenty of back to doing a clerk's work in the Bureau chances. We got on from the start