Dagobert was unable to proceed. Rose uttered a piercing cry, and pointed in terror to the window.
Upon the cry of the young girl, Dagobert rose abruptly.
“What is the matter, Rose?”
“There—there!” she said, pointing to the window. “I thought I saw a hand move the pelisse.”
She had not concluded these words before Dagobert rushed to the window and opened it, tearing down the mantle, which had been suspended from the fastening.
It was still dark night, and the wind was blowing hard. The soldier listened, but could hear nothing.
Returning to fetch the lamp from the table, he shaded the flame with his hand, and strove to throw the light outside. Still he saw nothing. Persuaded that a gust of wind had disturbed and shaken the pelisse: and that Rose had been deceived by her own fears he again shut the window.
“Be satisfied, children! The wind is very high; it is that which lifted the corner of the pelisse.”
“Yet methought I saw plainly the fingers which had hold of it,” said Rose, still trembling.
“I was looking at Dagobert,” said Blanche, “and I saw nothing.”
“There was nothing to see, my children; the thing is clear enough. The window is at least eight feet above the ground; none but a giant could reach it without a ladder. Now, had any one used a ladder, there would not have been time to remove it; for, as soon as Rose cried out, I ran to the window, and, when I held out the light, I could see nothing.”
“I must have been deceived,” said Rose.
“You may be sure, sister, it was only the wind,” added Blanche.
“Then I beg pardon for having disturbed you, my good Dagobert.”
“Never mind!” replied the soldier musingly, “I am only sorry that Spoil sport is not come back. He would have watched the window, and that would have quite tranquillized you. But he no doubt scented the stable of his comrade, Jovial, and will have called in to bid him good-night on the road. I have half a mind to go and fetch him.”
“Oh, no, Dagobert! do not leave us alone,” cried the maidens; “we are too much afraid.”
“Well, the dog is not likely to remain away much longer, and I am sure we shall soon hear him scratching at the door, so we will continue our story,” said Dagobert, as he again seated himself near the head of the bed, but this time with his face towards the window.
“Now the general was prisoner at Warsaw,” continued he, “and in love with your mother, whom they wished to marry to another. In 1814, we learned the finish of the war, the banishment of the Emperor to the Isle of Elba, and the return of the Bourbons. In concert with the Prussians and Russians, who had brought them back, they had exiled the Emperor. Learning all this, your mother said