“That is true; I was holding a council of officers.”
“Will your honor give any orders respecting this gentleman?”
“Yes, let him be brought here.”
“Must we take any precautions?”
“Such as what?”
“Blinding his eyes, for instance?”
“To what purpose? He can only see what I desire should be seen; that is to say, that I have around me eleven thousand brave men, who ask no better than to have their throats cut in honor of the parliament of Scotland and England.”
“And this man, my lord?” said Spithead, pointing to the fisherman, who, during this conversation, had remained standing and motionless, like a man who sees but does not understand.
“Ah, that is true,” said Monk. Then turning towards the fisherman, — “I shall see you again, my brave fellow,” said he; “I have selected a lodging for you. Digby, take him to it. Fear nothing; your money shall be sent to you presently.”
“Thank you, my lord,” said the fisherman, and after having bowed, he left the tent, accompanied by Digby. Before he had gone a hundred paces he found his companions, who were whispering with a volubility which did not appear exempt from uneasiness, but he made them a sign which seemed to reassure them. “Hola, you fellows!” said the patron, “come this way. His lordship, General Monk, has the generosity to pay us for our fish, and the goodness to give us hospitality for to-night.”
The fishermen gathered round their leader, and, conducted by Digby, the little troop proceeded towards the canteens, the post, as may be remembered, which had been assigned them. As they went along in the dark, the fishermen passed close to the guards who were conducting the French gentleman to General Monk. This gentleman was on horseback and enveloped in a large cloak, which prevented the patron from seeing him, however great his curiosity might be. As to the gentleman, ignorant that he was elbowing compatriots, he did not pay any attention to the little troop.
The aid-de-camp settled his guests in a tolerably comfortable tent, from which was dislodged an Irish canteen woman, who went, with her six children, to sleep where she could. A large fire was burning in front of this tent, and threw its purple light over the grassy pools of the marsh, rippled by a fresh breeze. The arrangements made, the aid-de-camp wished the fishermen good-night, calling to their notice that they might see from the door of the tent the masts of their bark, which was tossing gently on the Tweed, a proof that it had not yet sunk. The sight of this appeared to delight the leader of the fishermen infinitely.