“I was thinking how the snow has left the hills of Perigny. I can see my uncle puttering in the gardens at the chateau. Do you remember the lilacs which grew by the western gates? They will soon be filling the park with fragrance. Monsieur will forgive me for recalling?”
“Yes; for I was there in my dreams, lad. I was fishing for those yellow perch by the poplars, and you were baiting my hooks.”
“Was I, Monsieur?” joyfully. “My mother used to tell me that it was a sign of good luck to dream of fishing. Was the water clear?”
“As clear as Monsieur le Cure’s emerald. Do you remember how he used to twist it round and round when he visited the chateau? It was a fine ring. The Duchesse d’Aiguillon gave it to him, so he used to tell us. ’Twas she who founded the Hotel Dieu at Quebec, where we are going.”
“Yes; and in the month of May, which is but a few days off, we used to ride into Cevennes to the mines of porphyry and marbles which . . . which . . .” Breton stopped, embarrassed.
“Which I used to own,” completed the Chevalier. “They were quarries, lad, not mines. ‘Golden days, that turn to silver, then to lead,’ writes Victor. Eh, well! Do you know how much longer we are to remain upon this abominable sea? This must be something like the eighteenth of April.”
“The voyage has been unusually prosperous, Captain Bouchard says. We sight Acadia in less than twenty days. It will be colder then, for huge icebergs come floating about in the water. We shall undoubtedly reach Quebec by June. The captain says that it is all nonsense about pirates. They never come so far north as this. I wonder if roses grow in this new country? I shall miss the lattice-covered summer-house.”
“There will be roses, Breton, but the thorns will be large and fierce. A month and a half before we reach our destination! It is very long.”
“You see, Monsieur, we sail up a river toward the inland seas. If we might sail as we sail here, it would take but a dozen days to pass Acadia. But they tell me that this river is a strange one. Many rocks infest it, and islands grow up or disappear in a night.”
The Chevalier fingered the quilt and said nothing. By and by his eyes closed, and Breton, thinking his master had fallen asleep, again picked up his book. But he could not concentrate his thought upon it. He was continually flying over the sea to old Martin’s daughter, to the grey chateau nestling in the green hills. He was not destined long to dream. There was a rap on the door, and Brother Jacques entered.
“My son,” he said to Breton, “leave us.”
TEN THOUSAND LIVRES IN A POCKET
The Chevalier, who had merely closed his eyes, opened them and looked up inquiringly. “Breton,” he said, “return in half an hour.” Breton laid aside his book and departed. “Now, my father and my brother,” began the Chevalier lightly, “what is it you have to say to me the importance of which necessitates the exclusion of my servant?”