Jacques Bonneval eBook

Anne Manning
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 94 pages of information about Jacques Bonneval.
its way into the room, which had no one in it but my uncle, my aunt, and me.  She seemed to have crawled with difficulty to the foot of his bed, and there sunk and fallen asleep I went out on the landing—­candles were burning in their sockets with a vile smell—­the house was full of vile smells and of confusion and disorder—­the house-door stood ajar—­one or two dragoons lay sleeping heavily on the ground.  I went up again to tell my aunt, and found her straightening my uncle like a corpse.  At the same moment a dragoon came up behind me.  He was going to recommence the disturbance, when I pointed to the bed, and said, sternly, “See what you have done.  You may now go away satisfied with having made this lately peaceful family completely wretched.  God grant you forgiveness ere you are laid out like those cold remains.”

The dragoon looked confounded.  He muttered something, turned on his heel, said something to his companions below, and we presently saw them run out of the house.  I went and shut the door.  On returning I saw my uncle was not dead.  Their thinking him so was a mercy, since it gave him a little respite.  He was too weak to be moved, but he begged me to return home and tell what had happened to my parents:  adding, as I left him, “Do not make the affair worse than it is.”  I thought it would be difficult to do that.

CHAPTER V.

The passport.

When I reached home it was some hours after sunrise.  The dragoons, just recalled from the Spanish frontier, where they were no longer wanted, were spreading themselves over the country with the express commission to harass the Huguenot inhabitants as much as possible, short of death, but had not yet reached Nismes.

I entered my father’s house.  Contrary to custom, he was not at the factory, but awaiting my return.  He rose when I appeared, and stood silently looking at me, while my mother put her hands on my shoulders, and looked piteously in my face.

“Son, thou hast been out all night.”

“At my uncle’s, mother.  He was ill in bed; the dragoons were there; and my aunt begged me to stay as a safeguard.”

“You did quite right to comply, my boy,” said my father, heartily.  “I trust the dragoons did not misuse thy good uncle.”

“I know not what you call misusing,” replied I, “if beating their drums round his bed all night did not deserve that term.  They almost killed him with their clamor—­ate everything in the house—­called for more—­reviled my aunt—­scrambled for her money—­broke open the cellar, and drank every drop it contained.”

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Jacques Bonneval from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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