In the house, the two men bound their captive securely, first removing his coat. Then they seated him on the couch, and placed a mirror in front of him.
“You need not be alarmed, citizen,” said the man in the top-boots. “No harm shall come to you. We are only going to copy your face—because of its beauty, you know!”
The young man also seated himself in front of the mirror, and proceeded, with various brushes and colors, to paint his cheeks and nose a copper hue, exactly like that of the coachman’s reflection in the glass. Then he exchanged his own peruke and hat for the shabby ones of the coachman. Lastly, he flung around his shoulders the mantle with its seven collars, and the resemblance was complete.
“And now,” observed the giant, addressing the captive, “you can rest without the least fear. At the latest, to-morrow about this time your coach, your horses, your mantle, and whatever else belongs to you will be returned. For the use of the things we have borrowed from you we shall leave in the pocket of your coat twenty francs for every hour, and an extra twenty francs as a pourboire; don’t forget to look for it! To-morrow at eleven o’clock a girl will fetch milk; she will release you, and you can tell her what a singular dream you had! If you can’t go to sleep, just repeat the multiplication table. I always do when I can’t sleep, and I never have to go beyond seven times seven. Good night, citizen!”
The door of the adjoining room opened, and the woman appeared, leading by the hand a pretty little boy.
“We are ready,” she announced.
The two men thrust pistols into their pockets. Then the woman and the little boy entered the coach, the two men took seats on the box, and the coach rolled away.
At ten o’clock the next morning the old gentleman paid a visit to his little guest. This time the child was really asleep, and opened her eyes only when the curtains were drawn back and the light from the window fell on her face.
“How kind of you to waken me, monsieur!” she said, smiling; she was in a good humor, as children are who have slept well. “I have slept splendidly. This bed is as good as my own at home. And how delightful not to hear my governess scolding! You never scold, do you, monsieur? I deserve to be scolded, though, for I was very naughty last night, and you were so kind to me—gave me such nice egg-punch; see, there is a glass of it left over; it will do for my breakfast. I love cold punch, so you need not trouble to bring me any chocolate.” With these words, the little maid sprang nimbly from the bed, ran with the naivete of an eight-year-old child to the table, where she settled herself in the corner of the sofa, drew her bare feet up under her, and proceeded to breakfast on the left-over punch and biscuits.
“There! that was a good breakfast,” she said, after she had finished her meal. “Oh, I almost forgot. Has mama sent for me?”