“Only sometimes, there will be a little singe,” said Rose, smiling.
“Hah! when the iron is too hot. Zounds! I may bring it as near my cheek as I please; my skin is so tough that I don’t feel the heat,” said Dagobert, with imperturbable gravity.
“We are only jesting, good Dagobert!”
“Then, children, if you think that I know my trade as a washerwoman, let me continue to have your custom: it is cheaper; and, on a journey, poor people like us should save where we can, for we must, at all events, keep enough to reach Paris. Once there, our papers and the medal you wear will do the rest—I hope so, at least.”
“This medal is sacred to us; mother gave it to us on her death-bed.”
“Therefore, take great care that you do not lose it: see, from time to time, that you have it safe.”
“Here it is,” said Blanche, as she drew from her bosom a small bronze medal, which she wore suspended from her neck by a chain of the same material. The medal bore on its faces the following inscriptions:
L. C. D. J.
Pray for me!
February the, 13th, 1682.
Rue Saint Francois, No. 3,
In a century and a half
you will be.
February the 13th, 1832.
—— Pray for me!
“What does it mean, Dagobert?” resumed Blanche, as she examined the mournful inscriptions. “Mother was not able to tell us.”
“We will discuss all that this evening; at the place where we sleep,” answered Dagobert. “It grows late, let us be moving. Put up the medal carefully, and away!—We have yet nearly an hour’s march to arrive at quarters. Come, my poor pets, once more look at the mound where your brave father fell—and then—to horse! to horse!”
The orphans gave a last pious glance at the spot which had recalled to their guide such painful recollections, and, with his aid, remounted Jovial.
This venerable animal had not for one moment dreamed of moving; but, with the consummate forethought of a veteran, he had made the best use of his time, by taking from that foreign soil a large contribution of green and tender grass, before the somewhat envious eyes of Spoil-sport, who had comfortably established himself in the meadow, with his snout protruding between his fore-paws. On the signal of departure, the dog resumed his post behind his master, and Dagobert, trying the ground with the end of his long staff, led the horse carefully along by the bridle, for the meadow was growing more and more marshy; indeed, after advancing a few steps, he was obliged to turn off to the left, in order to regain the high-road.
On reaching Mockern, Dagobert asked for the least expensive inn, and was told there was only one in the village—the White Falcon.
“Let us go then to the White Falcon,” observed the soldier.