Our separation took place when I left the American army to fight under the command of the French general. Arthur was an American; and, moreover, he was only waiting for the end of the war to retire from the service, and settle in Boston with Dr. Cooper, who loved him as his son, and who had undertaken to get him appointed principal librarian to the library of the Philadelphia Society. This was all the reward Arthur desired for his labours.
The events which filled my last years in America belong to history. It was with a truly personal delight that I hailed the peace which proclaimed the United States a free nation. I had begun to chafe at my long absence from France; my passion had been growing ever greater, and left no room for the intoxication of military glory. Before my departure I went to take leave of Arthur. Then I sailed with the worthy Marcasse, divided between sorrow at parting from my only friend, and joy at the prospect of once more seeing my only love. The squadron to which my ship belonged experienced many vicissitudes during the passage, and several times I gave up all hope of ever kneeling before Edmee under the great oaks of Sainte-Severe. At last, after a final storm off the coast of France, I set foot on the shores of Brittany, and fell into the arms of my poor sergeant, who had borne our common misfortunes, if not with greater physical courage, at least with a calmer spirit, and we mingled our tears.
We set out from Brest without sending any letter to announce our coming.
When we arrived near Varenne we alighted from the post-chaise and, ordering the driver to proceed by the longest road to Saint-Severe, took a short cut through the woods. As soon as I saw the trees in the park raising their venerable heads above the copses like a solemn phalanx of druids in the middle of a prostrate multitude, my heart began to beat so violently that I was forced to stop.
“Well,” said Marcasse, turning round with an almost stern expression, as if he would have reproached me for my weakness.