The king, as we have said, was riding with his head cast down, his arms inert, leaving his horse to go what pace he liked, whilst Parry, behind him, the better to imbibe the genial influence of the sun, had taken off his hat, and was looking about right and left. His eyes encountered those of the old man leaning against the gate; the latter, as if struck by some strange spectacle, uttered an exclamation, and made one step towards the two travelers. From Parry his eyes immediately turned towards the king, upon whom they rested for an instant. This examination, however rapid, was instantly reflected in a visible manner upon the features of the tall old man. For scarcely had he recognized the younger of the travelers — and we said recognized, for nothing but a perfect recognition could have explained such an act — scarcely, we say, had he recognized the younger of the two travelers, than he clapped his hands together, with respectful surprise, and, raising his hat from his head, bowed so profoundly that it might have been said he was kneeling. This demonstration, however absent, or rather, however absorbed was the king in his reflections, attracted his attention instantly; and checking his horse and turning towards Parry, he exclaimed, “Good God, Parry, who is that man who salutes me in such a marked manner? Can he know me, think you?”
Parry, much agitated and very pale, had already turned his horse towards the gate. “Ah, sire!” said he, stopping suddenly at five or six paces’ distance from the still bending old man: “sire, I am seized with astonishment, for I think I recognize that brave man. Yes, it must be he! Will your majesty permit me to speak to him?”
“Can it be you, Monsieur Grimaud?” asked Parry.
“Yes, it is I,” replied the tall old man, drawing himself up, but without losing his respectful demeanor.
“Sire,” then said Parry, “I was not deceived. This good man is the servant of the Comte de la Fere, and the Comte de la Fere, if you remember, is the worthy gentleman of whom I have so often spoken to your majesty that the remembrance of him must remain, not only in your mind, but in your heart.”
“He who assisted my father at his last moments?” asked Charles, evidently affected at the remembrance.
“The same, sire.”
“Alas!” said Charles; and then addressing Grimaud, whose penetrating and intelligent eyes seemed to search and divine his thoughts. — “My friend,” said he, “does your master, Monsieur le Comte de la Fere, live in this neighborhood?”
“There,” replied Grimaud, pointing with his outstretched arm to the white-and-red house behind the gate.
“And is Monsieur le Comte de la Fere at home at present?”
“At the back, under the chestnut trees.”