Another growl of artillery was not heard, and it was time for the warriors to forget the wounded in the exigencies of the present. An attack was made on both gates at once, and the commandant being engaged at his own post, Berenger had to make the utmost of his brief experience, backed by the counsel of a tough old sergeant; and great was his sense of exhilaration, and absolute enjoyment in this full and worthy taxing of every power of mind or body. The cry among the enemy, ‘Aime at the black plume,’ attested his prominence; but he black plum was still unscathed when spring twilight fell. The din began to subside; recalls were sounded by the besiegers; and Berenger heard his own exploit bawled in the ear of the deaf commandant, who was advancing over the bridge. The old captain complimented him, told him that he should be well reported of to M. le Duc and Sieur la Noue, and invited him to supper and bed in his own quarters. The supper Berenger accepted, so soon as he should know how it was with his brother; but as to bed, he intended to watch his brother, and visit his post form time to time.
The captain entered by the main door of the chapel, where ten or twelve wounded were now lying, tended by peasant women. Berenger merely passed through, seeing as he went the black hood busy over a freshly-brought-in-patient. He found a door which admitted him through the rough screen of boards to the choir where he had been in the earlier part of the day. The moonlight came through the shivered eastern windows, but a canvas curtain had been hung so as to shelter Philip’s vaulted recess from the cold draught, and the bed itself, with a chair beside it, looked neat, clean, and comfortable. Philip himself was cheery; he said the bullet had made a mere flesh-wound, and had passed out on the other side, and the Lady of Hope, as they called he, was just such another as Aunt Cecily, and had made him very comfortable, with clean linen, good cool drinks, and the tenderest hand. But he was very sleepy, so sleepy that he hardly cared to hear of the combat, only he roused himself for a moment to say, ‘Brother, I have seen Dolly.’
‘Our sister Dolly.’
’Ah, Phil! many a strange visitor has come to me in the Walnut Chamber at home.’
‘I tell you I was in my perfect senses,’ returned Philip; ’there she was, just as when we left her. And, what was stranger still, she talked French.’
‘Sleep and see her again,’ laughed Berenger.
CHAPTER XLII. THE SILVER BULLET
I am all wonder, O my son, my soul
Is stunned within me; powers to speak to him
Or to interrogate him have I none,
Or even to look on him.—Cowper’s ODYSSEY