was done with so much ardour, it seemed scarce possible
that any should behold with indifference ; and the initials
would at least suggest to her my noble birth. I thought
A TALE OF A LION RAMPANT IB
it better to suggest : I felt that mystery was my stock-in-
trade ; the contrast between my rank and manners, be-
tween my speech and my clothing, and the fact that she
could only think of me by a combination of letters, must
all tend to increase her interest and engage her heart.
This done, there was nothing left for me but to wait and
to hope. And there is nothing further from my character :
in love and in war, I am all for the forward movement ;
and these days of waiting made my purgatory. It is a fact
that I loved her a great deal better at the end of them, for
love comes, like bread, from a perpetual rehandling. And
besides, I was fallen into a panic of fear. How, if she
came no more, how was I to continue to endure my empty
days ? how was I to fall back and find my interest in the
major's lessons, the lieutenant's chess, in a twopenny sale
in the market, or a halfpenny addition to the prison fare ?
Days went by, and weeks ; I had not the courage to cal-
culate, and to-day I have not the courage to remember ;
but at last she was there. At last I saw her approach me
in the company of a boy about her own age, and whom I
divined at once to be her brother.
I rose and bowed in silence.
^'^This is my brother, Mr. Ronald Gilchrist," said she.
" I have told him of your sufferings. He is so sorry for
^' It is more than I have the right to ask," I replied ;
^^but among gentlefolk these generous sentiments are nat-
ural. If your brother and I were to meet in the field, we
should meet like tigers ; but when he sees me here dis-
armed and helpless, he forgets his animosity." (At which,
as I had ventured to expect, this beardless champion
coloured to the ears for pleasure.) '^ Ah, my dear young
lady," I continued, " there are many of your countrymen
^languishing in my country even as I do here. I can but
14 ST. lYES â–
hope there is found some French lady to convey to each of
them the priceless consolation of her sympathy. You have
given me alms ; and more than alms â€” hope ; and while
you were absent I was not forgetful. Suffer me to be able
to tell myself that I have at least tried to make a return ;
and for the prisoner's sake deign to accept this trifle/'
So saying, I offered her my lion, which she took, looked
at in some embarrassment, and then, catching sight of the
dedication, broke out with a cry.
^' Why, how did you know my name ? " she exclaimed.
" When names are so appropriate, they should be easily
guessed," said I, bowing. ^' But indeed there was no magic
in the matter. A lady called you by name on the day I
found your handkerchief, and I was quick to remark and
^*^It is very, very beautiful," said slie^ "and I shall be
always proud of the inscription. Come, Eonald, we must
be going." She bowed to me as a lady bows to her equal,
and passed on (I could have sworn) â€¢^vith a heightened
I- was overjoyed : my innocent ruse had succeeded ; she
had taken my gift without a hint of payment, and she
would scarce sleep in peace till she had made it up to me.
No greenhorn in matters of the heart, I was besides aware
that I had now a resident ambassador at the court of my
lady. The lion might be ill chiselled ; it was mine. My
hands had made and held it ; my knife â€” or, to speak more
by the mark, my rusty nail â€” had traced those letters ; and
simple as the words were, they would keep repeating to her
that I was grateful and that I found her fair. The boy
had looked like a gawky, and blushed at a compliment ; I
could see besides that he regarded me with considerable
suspicion ; yet he made so manly a figure of a lad, that I
could not withhold from him my sympathy. And as for
A TALE OF A LION EAMPANT 15
the impulse that had made her bring and introduce him, I
could not sufficientl}^ admire it. It seemed to me finer
than wit, and more tender than a caress. It said (plain as
language), " I do not and I cannot know you. Here is
my brother â€” you can know him ; this is the way to meâ€”
A TALE OF A PAIR OF SCISSOES
I WAS stiU plunged in these thoughts when the beU was
runor that discharored our visitors into the street. Our lit-
tie market was no sooner closed than we were summoned
to the distribution and received our rations^ which we were
then allowed to eat according to fancy in any part of our
I have said the conduct of some of our visitors was un-
bearably offensive ; it was possibly more so than they
dreamed â€” as the sight-seers at a menagerie may offend in
a thousand ways, and quite without meaning it, the noble
and unfortunate animals behind the bars ; and there is no
doubt but some of my compatriots were susceptible beyond
reason. Some of these old whiskerandos, originally peas-
ants, trained since boyhood in victorious armies, and accus-
tomed to move among subject and trembling populations,
could ill brook their change of circumstance. There was
one man of the name of Goguelat, a brute of the first
water, who had enjoyed no touch of civilisation beyond the
military discipline, and had risen by an extreme heroism
of bravery to a grade for which he was otherwise unfitted
â€”that of marechal des logis in the 22nd of the line. In
so far as a brute can be a good soldier, he was a good sol-
dier ; the cross was on his breast, and gallantly earned ;
but in all things outside his line of duty the man was no
other than a brawling, bruising, ignorant pillar of low pot-
A TALE OF A PAIR OF SCISSORS 17
houses. As a gentleman by birth and a soholar by taste
and education. I was the type of all that he least under-
s:ood and most detested : and the mere view of our yisitors
would leave him daily in a transport of annoyance, which
he would make haste to wreak on the nearest "dctim. and
too often on myself.
It was so now. Our rations were scarce served out, and
I had just withdrawn into a comer of the yard, when I
perceived him drawing near. He wore an air of hateful
mirth ; a set of young fools, among whom he passed for a
wit, followed him with looks of expectation : and I saw I
was about to be the object of some of his insuSerable pleas-
antries. He took a place beside me, spread out his rations,
drank to me derisively from his measure of prison beer, and
began. What he said it would be impossible to print : bu*
his admirers, who believed their wit to have surpassed him-
self, actually rolled among the gravel. For my pan, I
thought at first I should have died. I had not dreamed
the wretch w;is so observant ; but hate sharpens the ears,
and he had counted our interviews and actuaDj knew
Flora by her name. Gradually my coolness returned to
me. accompanied by a volume of living anger that surprised
' * Are you nearly done ? " I asked. * * Because if yon are.
I am about to say a word or two myself."
-Oh, fair plav ! " said he. ** Tnm about I The Mar-
quis of Carabas to the tribune."
'â€¢ Very well," said I. â€¢â€¢ I have to inform you that I am
a gentleman. You do not know what that means, hey ?
Well, I will tell you. It is a comical sort of animal :
springs from another strange set of creatures they call an-
cestors : and in common with toads and other vermin, has
a thing that he calls feelings. The lion is a gentleman :
he will not touch carrion. I am a gentleman, and I can-
18 ST. IVES
not bear to soil my fingers with such a lump of dirt. Sit
still, Philippe Goguelat I sit still and do not say a word, or
I shall know you are a coward ; the eyes of our guards
are upon us. Here is your health ! " said I, and pledged
him in the prison beer. " You have chosen to speak in a
certain way of a young child," I continued, '^^wlio might
be your daughter, and who was giving alms to me and some
others of us mendicants. If the Emperor" â€” saluting-^*^' if
my Emperor could hear you, he would pluck off the cross
from your gross body. I cannot do that ; I cannot take
away what his Majesty has given ; but one thing I promise
you â€” I promise you, Goguelat, you shall be dead to-night."
I had borne so much from him in the past, I believe he
thought there was no end to my forbearance, and he was at
first amazed. But I have the j^leasure to think that some
of my expressions had pierced through his thick hide ; and
besides, the brute was truly a hero of valour, and loved
fighting for itself. Whatever the cause, at least, he had
soon pulled himself together, and took the thing (to do
him justice) handsomely.
" And I promise you, by the devil's horns, that you shall
have the chance ! " said he, and pledged me again ; and
again I did him scrupulous honour.
The news of this defiance spread from prisoner to pris-
oner with the speed of wings ; every face was seen to be il-
luminated like those of the spectators at a horse-race ; and
indeed you must first have tasted the active life of a sol-
dier, and then mouldered for a while in the tedium of a jail,
in order to understand, perhaps even to excuse, the delight
of our companions.^ Goguelat and I slept in the same
squad, which greatly simplified the business ; and a com-
mittee of honour was accordingly formed of our shed-mates.
They chose for president a sergeant-major in the 4th
Dragoons, a greybeard of the army, an excellent military
A TALE OF A PAIR OF SCISSORS 19
subject, and a good man. He took the most serious view
of his functions, visited us both, and reported our replies
to the committee. Mine was of a decent firmness. I told
him the young lady of whom Goguelat had spoken had on
several occasions given me alms. I reminded him that, if
we were now reduced to hold out our hands and sell pill-
boxes for charity, it was something very new for soldiers of
the Empire. We had all seen bandits standing at a corner
of a wood truckling for copper halfpence, and after their
benefactors were gone spitting out injuries and curses.
'^But," said I, ^^I trust that none of us will fall so low.
As a Frenchman and a soldier, I owe that young child grati-
tude, and am bound to protect her character, and to sup-
port that of the army. You are my elder and my superior :
tell me if I am not right."
He was a quiet-mannered old fellow, and patted me with
three fingers on the back. " C'est Men, mon enfanty" says
he, and returned to his committee.
Goguelat was no more accommodating than myself. " I
do not like apologies nor those that make them," was his
only answer. And there remained nothing but to arrange
the details of the meeting. So far as regards place and
time, we had no choice ; we must settle the dispute at
night, in the dark, after a round had passed by, and in the
open middle of the shed under which we slept. The ques-
tion of arms was more obscure. We had a good many
tools, indeed, which we employed in the manufacture of our
toys ; but they were none of them suited for a single com-
bat between civilised men, and, being nondescript, it was
found extremely hard to equalise the chances of the com-
batants. At length a pair of scissors was unscrewed ; and
a couple of tough wands being found in a corner of the
courtyard, one blade of the scissors was lashed solidly to each
with resined twine â€” the twine coming I know not whence.
20 ST. IVES
but the resin from the green pillars of the shed, which still
sweated from the axe. It was a strange thing to feel in
one's hand this weapon, which was no heavier than a rid-
ing-rod, and which it was difficult to suppose would prove
more dangerous. A general oath was administered and
taken, that no one should interfere in the duel nor (sup-
2:>ose it to result seriously) betray the name of the survivor.
And with that, all being then ready, we composed ourselves
to await the moment.
The evening fell cloudy ; not a star was to be seen when
the first round of the night passed through our shed and
wound off along the ramjoarts ; and as we took our places,
we could still hear, over the murmurs of the surrounding
city, the sentries challenging its further passage. Leclos,
the sergeant-major, set us in our stations, engaged our
wands, and left us. To avoid blood-stained clothing, my
adversary and I had stripped to the shoes ; and the chill of
the night enveloped our bodies like a wet sheet. The man
was better at fencing than myself ; he was vastly taller than
I, being of a stature almost gigantic, and proportionately
strong. In the inky blackness of the shed, it was impos-
sible to see his eyes ; and from the suppleness of the wands,
I did not like to trust to a parade. I made up my mind
accordingly to profit, if I might, by my defect ; and as
soon as the signal should be given, to throw myself down
and lunge at the same moment. It was to play my life
upon one card : should I not mortally wound him, no de-
fence would be left me ; what was yet more appalling, I
thus ran the risk of bringing my own face against his
scissor with the double force of our assaults, and my face
and eyes are not that part of me that I would the most
^' AUez ! " said the sergeant-major.
Both lunged in the same moment with an equal fury,
A TALE OF A PAIR OF SCISSORS 21
and but for my manoeuvre both had certainly been spitted.
As it was, he did no more than strike my shoukler, while
my scissor plunged below the girdle into a mortal par^. ;
and that great bulk of a man, falling from his whole
height, knocked me immediately senseless.
When I came to myself, I was laid in my own sleeping-
place, and could make out in the darkness the outline of
perhaps a dozen heads crowded around me. I sat up.
"â€¢ What is it ?^^ I exclaimed.
" Hush ! " said the sergeant-major. '" Blessed be God,
all is well.'^ I felt him clasp my hand, and there were
tears in his voice. '^ ^Tis but a scratch, my child ; here is
papa, who is taking good care of you. Your shoulder is
bound up ; we have dressed you in your clothes again, and
it will all be well.''
At this I began to remember. " And Goguelat ? " I
'' He cannot bear to be moved ; he has his bellyful ; 'tis
a bad business," said the sergeant-major.
The idea of having killed a man with such an instru-
ment as half a pair of scissors seemed to turn my stomach.
I am sure I might have killed a dozen Avith a firelock, a
sabre, a bayonet, or any accepted weapon, and been visited
by no such sickness of remorse. And to this feeling every
unusual circumstance of our rencounter, the darkness in
which we had fought, our nakedness, even the resin on
the twine, appeared to contribute. I ran to my fallen
adversary, kneeled by him, and could only sob his name.
He bade me compose myself. " You have given me the
key of the fields, comrade," said he. " 8a7is rancune I "
At this my horror redoubled. Here had we two expa-
triated Frenchmen engaged in an ill-regulated combat like
the battles of beasts. Here was he, who had been all his
life so great a ruffian, dying in a foreign land of this igno-
22 ST. IVES
ble injnr}^, and meeting death with something of the spirit
of a Bayard. I insisted that the guards shonkl be sum-
moned and a doctor brought. " It may still be possible
to save him/*' I cried.
The sergeant-major reminded me of our engagement.
" If you had been wounded/' said he, "^ you must have
lain there till the patrol came by and found you. It hap-
pens to be Goguelat â€” and so must he ! Come, child, time
to go to by-by." And as I still resisted, " Champdivers I "
he said, ^^tliis is weakness. You pain me.'^
*^ Ay, off to your beds with you ! " said Goguelat, and
named us in a company with one of his jovial gross
Accordingly the squad lay down in the dark and simu-
lated, what they certainly were far from experiencing,
sleep. It was not yet late. The city, from far below and
all around us, sent ujo a sound of wheels and feet and
lively voices. Yet awhile, and the curtain of the cloud
was rent across, and in the space of sky between the eaves
of the shed and the irregular outline of the ramparts a
multitude of stars appeared. Meantime, in the midst of
ns lay Goguelat, and could not always withhold himself
We heard the round far off ; heard it draw slowly nearer.
Last of all, it turned the corner and moved into our field
of vision : two file of men and a corporal with a lantern,
which he swung to and fro, so as to cast its light in the
recesses of the yards and sheds.
'' Hullo I " cried the corporal, pausing as he came by
He stooped with his lantern. All our hearts were fly-
"What deviFs work is this ?" he cried, and with a star-
tling voice summoned the guard.
A TALE OF A PAIR OF SCISSORS 23
We were all afoot upon the instant ; more lanterns and
soldiers crowded in front of the shed ; an officer elbowed
his way in. In the midst was the big naked body, soiled
with blood. Some one had covered him with his blanket ;
but as he lay there in agony, he had partly thrown it off.
" This is murder ! '' cried the officer. " You wild
beasts, you will hear of this to-morrow.^'
As Goguelat was raised and laid upon a stretcher, he
cried to us a cheerful and blasphemous farewell.
MAJOR CHEVENIX COMES INTO THE STORY, AI^D GOGUBÂ«
LAT GOES OUT
There was never any talk of a recovery, and no time
was lost in getting the man^s deposition. He gave but the
one account of it : that he had committed suicide because
he was sick of seeing so many Englishmen. The doctor
vowed it was impossible, the nature and direction of the
wound forbidding it. Goguelat rej)lied that he was more
ingenious than the other thought for, and had propped up
the weapon in the ground and fallen on the point â€” " just
like Nebuchadnezzar,^^ he added, winking to the assistants.
The doctor, who was a little, spruce, ruddy man of an im-
patient temper, pished and pshawed and swore over his
patient. "^ Nothing to be made of him ! " he cried. " A
perfect heathen. If we could only find the weapon I "
But the weapon had ceased to exist. A little resined twine
was perhaps blowing about in the castle gutters ; some bits
of broken stick may have trailed in corners ; and behold,
in the pleasant air of the morning, a dandy prisoner trim-
ming his nails with a pair of scissors !
Finding the wounded man so firm, you may be sure the
authorities did not leave the rest of us in peace. No stone
was left unturned. We were had in again and again to be
examined, now singly, now in twos and threes. We were
threatened with all sorts of impossible severities and
tempted with all manner of improbable rewards. I supÂ»
MAJOR CHEVENIX COMES INTO THE STORY 25
pose I was five times interrogated, and came off from each
with flying colours. I am like old Souvaroff, I cannot
understand a soldier being taken aback by any question ;
he should answer as he marches on the fire with an instant
briskness and gaiety. I may have been short of bread,
gold or grace ; I was never yet found wanting in an an-
swer. My comrades, if they were not all so ready, were
none of them less staunch ; and I may say here at once
that the inquiry came to nothing at the time, and the
death of Goguelat remained a mystery of the prison.
Such were the veterans of France ! And yet I should be
disingenuous if I did not own this was a case apart ; in
ordinary circumstances, some one might have stumbled or
been intimidated into an admission ; and what bound us
together with a closeness beyond that of mere comrades
was a secret to which we were all committed and a design
in which all were equally engaged. 'No need to inquire as
to its nature : there is only one desire, and only one kind
of design, that blooms in prisons. And the fact that our
tunnel was near done supported and inspired us.
I came off in public, as I have said, with flying colours ;
the sittings of the court of inquiry died away like a tune
that no one listens to ; and yet I was unmasked â€” I, whom
my very adversary defended, as good as confessed, as good
as told the nature of the quarrel, and by so doing prepared
for myself in the future a most anxious, disagreeable ad-
venture. It was the third morning after the duel, and
Goguelat was still in life, when the time came round for
me to give Major Ohevenix a lesson. I was fond of this
occupation ; not that he paid me much â€” no more, indeed,
than eighteenpence a month, the customary figure, being a
miser in the grain ; but because I liked his breakfasts and
(to some extent) himself. At least, he was a man of edu-
cation ; and of the others with whom I had any opportunity
26 ST. IVES
of speech, those that would not have held a hook uj^side-
down would have torn the pages out for pipelights. For I
must repeat again that our body of prisoners was excep-
tional ; there was in Edinburgh Castle none of that educa-
tional busyness that distinguished some of the other prisons,
so that men entered them unable to read, and left them fit
for high employments. Chevenix Avas handsome, and sur-
prisingly young to be a major : six feet in his stockings,
well set up, with regular features and very clear grey eyes.
It was impossible to pick a fault in him, and yet the sum-
total was displeasing. Perhaps he was too clean ; he
seemed to bear about with him the smell of soap. Cleanli-
ness is good, but I cannot bear a man's nails to seem ja-
panned. And certainly he was too self-possessed and cold.
There was none of the fire of youth, none of the swiftness
of the soldier, in this young officer. His kindness was cold,
and cruel cold ; his deliberation exasperating. And per-
haps it was from this character, which is very much the
opposite of my own, that even in these days, when he was
of service to me, I approached him with suspicion and re-
I looked over his exercise in the usual form, and marked
''Il'm. Six,'' says he, looking at the paper. ''Very
annoying ! I can never get it right."
" Oh, but you make excellent progress ! " I said. I would
not discourage him, you understand, but he was congeni-
tally unable to learn French. Some fire, I think, is need-
ful, and he had quenched his fire in soapsuds.
He put the exercise down, leaned his chin upon his
hand, and looked at me with clear, severe eyes.
'' I think we must have a little talk," said he.
" I am entirely at your disposition," I replied ; but I
quaked, for I knew what subject to expect.
MAJOR CHEVENIX COMES INTO THE STORY 27
" You have been some time giving me these lessons," he
went on, ^^and I am tempted to think rather well of you.
I believe 3^ou are a gentleman."
" I have that honour, sir," said I.
"^ You have seen me for the same period. I do not know
how I strike you ; but perhaps you will be prepared to be-
lieve that I also am a man of honour," said he.
" I require no assurances ; the thing is manifest," and I
" Very well, then,'^ said he. ^^ What about this Gogue-
lat ? "
^^ You heard me yesterday before the court," I began.
^' I was awakened only "
''Oh yes ; I 'heard you yesterday before the court,' no
doubt," he interrupted, " and I remember perfectly that
you were 'awakened only.' I could repeat the most of it
by rote, indeed. But do you suppose that I believed you
for a moment ?"
" Neither would you believe me if I were to repeat it
here," said I.
" I may be wrong â€” we shall soon see," says he ; " but
my impression is that you will not 'repeat it here.' My
impression is that you have come into this room, and that
you will tell me something before you go out."
I shrugged my shoulders.
" Let me explain," he continued. " Your evidence, of
course, is nonsense. I put it by, and the court put it by."
"My compliments and thanks !" said I.
" You must know â€” that's the short and the long," he
proceeded. "All of you in Shed B are bound to know.
And I w^ant to ask you where is the common sense of keep-
ing up this farce, and maintaining this cock-and-bull story
between friends. Come, come, my good fellow, own your-
self beaten, and laugh at it yourself."
28 ST. IVES
'â€¢ Well, I hear j'on go ahead," said I. ^' Yon put 3'onr
heart iu it."
He crossed his legs slowly. '' I can very well under-
stand," he began, " that precautions have had to be taken.
I daresay an oath was administered. I can comprehend
that perfectly." (He was watching me all the time with
his cold, bright eyes.) ''And I can comprehend that,
about an affair of honour, you would be very particular to