“At first the general would not receive me.”
“He took you for a spy?”
“Yes, my lord; but I wrote him a letter.”
“He read it, and received me, my lord.”
“Did that letter thoroughly explain my position and my views?”
“Oh, yes!” said Parry, with a sad smile; “it painted your very thoughts faithfully.”
“Well — then, Parry.”
“Then the general sent me back the letter by an aide-de-camp, informing me that if I were found the next day within the circumscription of his command, he would have me arrested.”
“Arrested!” murmured the young man. “What! arrest you, my most faithful servant?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“And notwithstanding you had signed the name Parry?”
“To all my letters, my lord; and the aide-de-camp had known me at St. James’s and at Whitehall, too,” added the old man with a sigh.
The young man leaned forward, thoughtful and sad.
“Ay, that’s what he did before his people,” said he, endeavoring to cheat himself with hopes. “But, privately — between you and him — what did he do? Answer!”
“Alas! my lord, he sent to me four cavaliers, who gave me the horse with which you just now saw me come back. These cavaliers conducted me, in great haste, to the little port of Tenby, threw me, rather than embarked me, into a little fishing-boat, about to sail for Brittany, and here I am.”
“Oh!” sighed the young man, clasping his neck convulsively with his hand, and with a sob. “Parry, is that all? — is that all?”
“Yes, my lord; that is all.”
After this brief reply ensued a long interval of silence, broken only by the convulsive beating of the heel of the young man on the floor.
The old man endeavored to change the conversation; it was leading to thoughts much too sinister.
“My lord,” said he, “what is the meaning of all the noise which preceded me? What are these people crying ‘Vive le Roi!’ for? What king do they mean? and what are all these lights for?”
“Ah! Parry,” replied the young man ironically, “don’t you know that this is the King of France visiting his good city of Blois? All these trumpets are his, all those gilded housings are his, all those gentlemen wear swords that are his. His mother precedes him in a carriage magnificently encrusted with silver and gold. Happy mother! His minister heaps up millions, and conducts him to a rich bride. Then all these people rejoice; they love their king, they hail him with their acclamations, and they cry, ‘Vive le Roi! Vive le Roi!’”
“Well, well, my lord,” said Parry, more uneasy at the turn the conversation had taken than at the other.
“You know,” resumed the unknown, “that my mother and my sister, whilst all this is going on in honor of the King of France, have neither money nor bread; you know that I myself shall be poor and degraded within a fortnight, when all Europe will become acquainted with what you have told me. Parry, are there not examples in which a man of my condition should himself — "