“You will take her?” exclaimed Anne.
“Of course I will. Perhaps that is what I was sent here for. I will ask her of my aunt, and I think she will let me have her. You will keep her secret, Anne.”
“Indeed I will.”
Madame de Bellaise granted Suzanne to her niece without difficulty, evidently guessing the truth, but knowing the peril of the situation too well to make any inquiry. Perhaps she was disappointed that her endeavours to win the girl to her Church had been ineffectual, but to have any connection with one ‘relapsed’ was so exceedingly perilous that she preferred to ignore the whole subject, and merely let it be known that Suzanne was to accompany Mademoiselle Darpent, and this was only disclosed to the household on the very last morning, after the passports had been procured and the mails packed, and she hushed any remark of the two English girls in such a decided manner as quite startled them by the manifest need of caution.
“We should have come to that if King James were still allowed to have his own way,” said Naomi.
“Oh no! we are too English,” said Anne.
“Our generation might not see it,” said Naomi; “but who can be safe when a Popish king can override law? Oh, I shall breathe more freely when I am on the other side of the Channel. My aunt is much too good for this place, and they don’t approve of her, and keep her down.”
“But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again! I’ll cross it, though it blast me.”
Floods of tears were shed at the departure of the two young officers of sixteen and seventeen. The sobs of the household made the English party feel very glad when it was over and the cavalcade was in motion. A cavalcade it was, for each gentleman rode and so did his body-servant, and each horse had a mounted groom. The two young officers had besides each two chargers, requiring a groom and horse boy, and each conducted half a dozen fresh troopers to join the army. A coach was the regulation mode of travelling for ladies, but both the English girls had remonstrated so strongly that Madame de Bellaise had consented to their riding, though she took them and Suzanne the first day’s journey well beyond the ken of the Parisians in her own carriage, as far as Senlis, where there was a fresh parting with the two lads, fewer tears, and more counsel and encouragement, with many fond messages to her son, many to her sister in England, and with affectionate words to her niece a whisper to her to remember that she would not be in a Protestant country till she reached Holland or England.