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on one side, and the walls which enclosed it on the
right and lefU The door of the gallery was open, and
Roland reached the choir without difficulty. He found
himself face to face with the monument of Philibert le
Beau. At the prince's head was a great square stone. It
was the one by means of which the descent was made
into the subterranean passage.

Roland knew this passage, for when he came to the
atone he knelt down, feeling with his hand for the plaoe
where the pavements joined. He found it, stood up
again, put the crowbar into the groove, and raised the
stone. With one hand he held it above his head, while
he descended into the vault. Th^i he slowly let it fall
back again.

It seemed as if this nocturnal visitor was voluntarily
separating himself from the world of the living and going
down into that of the dead. And what would have
fleemed strangest of all to any one who could have seen
into the shadows, was the coolness of this man, who was
going through the midst of the dead in order to discover
the living ; and who, in spite of the obscurity, the soli-
tude, and the silence of the place, did not shudder even
when he came in contact with the funeral marbles. He
felt his way through the midst of the tombs until he found
the gate which led into the subterranean passage. He ex-
amined the lock. It was simply latched. He put the
extremity of his crowbar between the latch and the
staple, and pushed lightly. The gate opened. He drew
the door towards him, but without shutting it, in order to


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BEC0NN0rrBI19G. 245

be able to Tetraoe his steps, and stood the cixxwbar Ib the
comer. Then he listened intently ; his pupils dilated, and
every sense was strained by the desire to hear, the need
of breathing, and the impossibility of se^g. He ad-
vanced slowly, holding a loaded pistol in one hand, and
feeling with the other along the side of the wall. A few
drops of icy water filtering through the vaulted roof of the
passage and falling upon his hands and shoulders told him
that he was passing beneath the Eeyssouse. At the end
of a quarter of an hour he found the door which led from
the subterranean passage into the quarry. He stopped
for a moment ; he breathed more freely, aad he seemed
to hear far-off noises, and to see upon the pillars of stons
which sustained the vault a reflection of moving lights.

One would have thought, seeing only the form of this
dark watcher, that he hesitated ; but if one could have
seen his face, it would have been evident that the re-
pression on it was one of hope. He started again, diredr
ing his steps towards the lights which he thought he had
seen, and the noises he thought he had heard. As he a|>-
proached, the sounds reached him more distinctly, and
the light appeared brighter. It was evident that the
quarry was inhabited. But by whom 1 He did not know
yet, but he was about to find out. He was not more than
ten feet from the granite clearing which we saw at our
first descent into the cave of Ceyzeriat. He clung against
the wall, advancing imperceptibly. In the midst of the
darkness he looked like a living bas-relief. At last his
head passed beyond the corner, and his eyes fell upoii
what might be called the camp of the eompanions of
Jehu. There were ten or twelve men taking supper.

Roland felt a wild wish to throw himself into the midst
of these men, and fight them single-handed, to the death.
But he restrained this insane desire, drawing back his


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head as slowly as he had put it forward, and with a light
in his eyes and joy in his heart, without having been
heard or suspected, he retraced his steps, taking again the
road which he had just travelled.

Thus all was clear to Roland, — the abandonment of
the monastery of Seillon, the disappearance of M. de
ValensoUe, the pretended poachers placed in the neigh
borhood of the entrance to the cave of Ceyzeriat. This
time he would take his vengeance, — take it terribly,
mortally. Even as he suspected that he had been spared,
he would give the order to spare these. Only, they
had spared him for life ; but he would spare them for

When Roland was half way back he thought he heard
a noise behind him. He turned around and seemed to see
the flashing of a light. He hastened his steps. When
he was once past the gate he could not lose his way. He
would be no longer in the quarry with its thousand turns,
but in a narrow passage, straight, and leading to the
burial vault. At the end of ten minutes he passed once
more under the river, and a few minutes afterwards he
touched the gate with the end of his fingers. He took
up the crowbar where he had left it, entered the
vault, drew the gate after him, shut it softly and noise-
lessly, and, guided by the tombs, found the staircase,
pushed up the stone with his head, and was once more
on a level with the living. There, it was comparatively
light. He left the choir, shut the door of the quarry in
order to leave it in the same state in which he had found
it, climbed up the slope, crossed the platform, and got
down again upon the other side. He had kept the key ;
he opened the door, and found himself outside.

The captain of police was waiting for him. He talked
for a few minutes with him, and then they both went out


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together. They returned to Bourg by a roundabout way
in order not to be seen, going through the Rue de la
Revolution, the Rue de la Libert^, and the Rue d'Espagne.
Then Roland concealed himself in one of the angles of
the Rue du GrefTe, and waited.

The captain of police continued on his way alone. He
went to the Rue des Ursules, which has for the last seven
years been called the Rue des Casernes. It was there that
the chief of brigade of the dragoons lodged, and he had
just gone to bed as the captain entered his room. The
latter said a few words to him in a low tone, and the chief
of brigade hastily dressed himself and went out. As the
two men appeared once more upon the square, a shadow
detached itself from the wall and approached them. This
shadow was Roland. The three men conferred together
for ten minutes, — Roland giving his orders, and the two
others listening and approving. Then they separated.
The chief of brigade went back to his own house, and
Roland and the captain of police, by a roundabout way,
regained the road to Pont-d'Ain.

Roland left the brigadier of police at his barracks, and
continued on his way. Twenty minutes later, in order
not to awaken Amelie, instead of ringing the bell he
knocked upon Michel's shutters. Michel opened the
shutters, and with a single bound Roland, devoured with
that fever which seized upon him when he thought or
even dreamed of danger, leaped into the pavilion.

He would not have awakened Amelie, however, even if
he had rung at the gate, for Amelie was not asleep.
Charlotte, who had also just come from the town under
the pretext of going to see her father, but in reality to
take a letter to Morgan, had found him and brought back
his reply to her mistress. Amelie read his reply. It was
as follows : —


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Mt Lgyb^ — Yes, all goes well as far as you are ccmcemed,
for 70a are an angel. Bat I fear that everything is going badly
on my part, for I am a demon. It is absolutely necessary that
I should see you, press you in my arms, hold you to my heart.
I do not know what presentiment has seized me, but I am sad
enough, to-day.

Send Charlotte to-morrow to make sure that Sir John has
indeed gone away; then, when you are certain of his departure,
make the accustomed signaL

Do not be frightened ; do not speak to me of ike snow, nor
tell me that they will see my footsteps. It is not I this time
who will go to you ; it is you who will come to me. Do you
understand ? You can walk in the park, and no one will track
your footsteps. Put on your warmest shawl and your thickest
furs ; and then, in the boat under the willow-trees, we will
pass an hour in an exchange of rdles. Usually, I tell you my
fears and you tell me your hopes ; to-morrow, my adored
Am^lie, you will tell me your hopes, and then I will tell you
my fears. As soon as you have put the signal, come down. I
will wait for you at Montagnac, and to go from there to the
Beyssouse will only take me five minutes.

Au revoir, my dear Am61ie ! If you had not met me, you
might have been the happiest of the happy. Fate has cast me
in your path, and, I am afraid, has made a martyr of you.

Your Charles.

Come to-morrow, will you not, — unless some superhuman
obstacle should prevent.


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HOW morgan's presentimbnts were realized.

Often nothing can be calmer and more serene than the
hours which precede a great tempest. The day was quiet
and beautiful, — one of those fine days in February, when,
in spite of the stinging cold of the atmosphere and tha
white shroud which covers the earth, the sun smiles upon
men and gives promise of Spring.

Sir John came to pay his farewell visit to Am^lie at
noon. He believed he had Am^lie's promise, and that
was enough for him. He was impatient, to be sure ; but
Amelie, in allowing his addresses, although she had put
off the day of their union to some time in the future,
filled the measure of his hopes to the brim. He de-
pended, moreover, upon the First Consul's wishes and
upon Roland's friendship. He was tlierefore returning to
Paris to pay his court to Mme. de Montrevel, since he
could not be with Amelie.

A quarter of an hour after Sir John had left the Ch&teau
of NoireS'Fontaines, Charlotte also took the road to Bourg.
About four o'clock she came to report to Amelie that she
had seen with her own eyes Sir John getting into the
carriage at the door of the H6tel de France, on his way
to Macon. Amelie might therefore be perfectly at ease
on that score. She had tried to inspire in Morgan a tran-
quillity which she did not feel herself. From the day on
which Charlotte had told her of Roland's presence at
Bourg, she, like Morgan, had had a presentiment that


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something terrible was about to occur. She knew all the
details of what had happened at the monastery of Seillon.
She knew that her brother and her lover were engaged
in a terrible struggle, and although, thanks to the safe-
conduct given by the chief of the companions of Jehu,
she did not tremble for the life of her brother, slie feared
for that of her lover. Moreover, she had heard of the
stopping of the mail-coach from Chamb^ry and the death
of the general of brigade of Macon. She knew that her
brother had been saved, and that he had disappeared.
She had^received no letter from him. This disappearance'
and this silence, for her who knew Roland well, was worse
than open and declared war. As for Morgan, she had not
seen him since the scene which we have related, in which
she had promised to send arms to him, wherever he should
be, if he were condemned to death. Therefore Am^lie
looked forward with as much impatience as Morgan him-
self to this interview which he had demanded.

As soon as she thought that Michel and his son had
gone to bed, Am^lie put the lighted candles in the four
windows, which were to serve as a signal for Morgan.
Then, as her lover had advised, she wrapped herself in a
cashmere brought by her brother from the battlefield of
the Pyramids, which he had himself taken from the head
of a bey, who had been killed by him. She threw over her
cashmere a fur cloak, left Charlotte to see what would
happen while she was gone, and hoping that nothing would
happen, she opened the park gate and went towards the
river. During the day she had been as far as the Reys-
souse two or three times, in order to make a sufl&cient
number of footsteps so that those which were made by
her at night would not be noticed. She therefore de-
scended, if not tranquilly, at least boldly, the slope which
led to the Reyssouse ; and when she reached the border of


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morgan's presentiments realized. 249

the river she looked for the boat moored under the willow-
trees. A man was waiting there ; it was Morgan. With
two strokes of his oars he reached a place where she could
descend. She threw herself forward, and he caught her
in his arms.

The first thing the young girl saw was the joyous gleam
which seemed to illuminate the face of her lover. " Oh,"
she cried, " you have something delightful to tell me I "

" Why do you think so, dear love ] " asked Morgan,
with his gentlest smile.

" There is in your face, my beloved Charles, something
more than the happiness of seeing me again."

" You are right," said Morgan, unfastening the boat's
chain from the trunk of the willow-tree and letting the
blades of the oars fall into the water. Then taking Amelie
in his arms he said : " You are right, Amfelie, and my pre-
sentiments have deceived me. Oh, blind and feeble that
we are ! It is at the very moment when we are about to
touch happiness that we despair and doubt."

" Ah, speak, speak ! " said Amelie, " what has happened 1 "

" Do you remember, my Am61ie, what you replied in
our last interview when I spoke to you of flying, and
feared that you disliked the plan 1 "

" Yes, I remember. I told you, Charles, that I was
yours ; that if I had such a dislike I would overcome it."

" I told you then that I had engagements which would
prevent me from going away; that even as they were
bound to me I was bound to them ; that there was a man
to whom we all owed absolute obedience, and that this
man was the future king of France, Louis XVIII."

" Yes, you told me all that."

"Well, we are released from our oath of obedience,
Amelie, — not only by King Louis XVIII., but by our
general, Georges Cadoudal."


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^' Oh, my love ! then you will become again a man
like all other men, — greater than all other men ! ''

" I shall become a simple outlaw, Am^lie. There is
nothing to be hoped for, for us, from the Vendeean or
Breton amnesty."

"And why not T'

*' We are not soldiers, my beloved ; we are not even
rebels. We are companions of Jehu."

Amelie uttered a sigh.

" We are bandits, brigands, robbers of mail-coaches,"
went on Morgan, with visible meaning.

"Silence!" said Amelie, putting her hand upon her
lover's mouth, — " silence ! do not let us speak of this.
Tell me why your king releases you from your engage-
ments, and why your general dismisses you."

" The First Consul has been wanting to see Cadoudal.
At first he sent your brother to him to make proposals to
him. Cadoudal refused to enter into any arrangements ;
but, like us, he has since received from Louis XVIII. the
order to cease hostilities. At the same time with this order
there came a new message from the First Consul. This
message was a safe conduct for the Vendeean general, and
an invitation to come to Paris. In fact, it was like a
treaty between two powers. Cadoudal accepted, and must
now be on the road to Paris ; and therefore if there is not
peace, there is at least a truce."

« Oh, what joy, Charles ! "

** Do not rejoice too much, my love."

"And why noti"

" Because that order to cease hostilities came ^- do you
know whyl"


" Well, M. Fouch^ is a very wise man ; and he knew
that, not being able to conquer us, he would be obliged


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fo dislionor bs. He has organized fialse eompamone of
Jehu, whom he has let loose in Maine and Anjou, and
who are not contented with taking government money^
but who rob travellers, who enter chateaux and farm-
houses by night, who put the feet of the proprietors of
these farms and chateaux against burning coals, and draw
from them by torture the secret of the place where their
money is concealed; while these men, these miserable
fellows, these bandits, these torturers, take our name, and
it is reported that they fight for the same pHnciple, — with
the result that M. Fouch^'s police puts us not only be-
yond the law, but beyond honor also."


" This is what I had to tell you, my dear Am^lie, be-
fore proposing to you for a second time to fly together. In
the eyes of France, in the eyes of the foreigner, in the
eyes of the very prince whom we have served and for
whom we have risked the scaffold, we shall be in the
future — nay, we probably are already — miserable ban-
dits worthy only of the guillotine.*'

" Yes ; but to me, my beloved Charles, you are a de-
moted man, a man of convictions, a determined Eoyalist,
who has continued to fight after everybody else put down
arms. To me you are the loyal Baron of Saint-Hermine ;
or to me, if you like it better so,' you are the noble, cour-
ageous, and invincible Morgan."

" Ah, that is what I wanted to know, my beloved !
Then you will not hesitate an instant, in spite of the in-
famous cloud which they are trying to raise between us
and honor) You will not hesitate, then, I will not say
to give yourself to me, since you have done that already,
but to be my wife 1 "

'* What are you saying 1 Not an instant ! not a second !
It would be the joy of my soul, the happiness of my life !


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Tour wife ? • I am your wife before God. God will fulfil
all my desires on the day when he permits me to be your
wife before men."

Morgan fell on his knees. " Well," be said, " at your
feet, Am^lie, with clasped hands and the most supplicating
voice of my heart, I come to say to you : Am^lie, will
you fly 1 Am(51ie, will you leave France 1 Amelie, will
you be my wife 1 **

Amelie sat upright, and put her hands to her forehead,
as if the violence of the blood which was flowing to her
brain would cause it to burst.

Morgan seized her hands, and looked at her uneasily.
" Do you hesitate 1 " he asked, in a dull, trembling,
broken voice.

" No ! no ! not a second ! " cried Amelie, resolutely.
" I am yours in the past, in the future, in everything and
everywhere. But the blow is all the more violent from
being unexpected."

" Reflect well, Amelie, what I propose to you I I ask
you to abandon your country and your family, — all that
is dearest and most sacred to you. In following me you
will leave the chateau where you were born, the mother
who cared for you in your infancy, the brother who loves
you, and who when he knows that you are the wife of an
outlaw will perhaps hate you, and will certainly scorn you."

As he spoke thus, Morgan looked anxiously and ques-
tioningly at Ara6lie's face. That face gradually lighted
with a sweet smile, and as it turned from heaven to earth
bent over the still kneeling man.

" Oh, Charles ! '' said the young girl, in a voice aa sweet
as the murmur of the river which ran clear and limpid
beneath her feet, — " the love which comes directly from
God must be a very powerful thing, since, in spite of the
terrible words which you have just pronounced, I say to


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you without fear, without hesitation, almost without re-
gret : Charles^ here I am ! Charles, I am yours ! Charles,
when shall we go 1 *'

" Am^lie, our destinies are not such that we can stop
and discuss them. If you go, if you are to follow me, it
must he this instant. To-morrow we must he on the
other side of the frontier."

*' And our means of flight ? "

" At Montagnac I have two horses already saddled, —
one for you, Am^lie, and one for me. I have letters of
credit tp the amount of two hundred thousand francs upon
London or Vienna. We will go wherever you wish."

"Where you are, Charles, I shall he. What matters
the country or the city to me 1 "

" Then come."

" Is it too much to ask for five minutes, Charles 1 "

" Where are you going 1 "

" I want to say farewell to many things. I want to
bring away your dear letters. I want to take the ivory
cross of my first communion, and some cherished souve-
nirs of childhood, which will be in that strange land all
that will remain to me of my mother, my family, and
France. I will take them and come back again."



" I do not want to leave you ; it seems to me that if I
leave you for a moment, just as we are about to be re-
united, it will be to lose you forever. Amelie, may I come
with you ] "

" Oh, come ! what matters it if they see your steps
now 1 We shall be far from here by daylight. Come ! "

The young man leaped from the boat, and gave bis
hand to Amelie; then he put his arm around her, and
they both went towards the house.


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Upon the doorstep Charles stopped. " Go/' he said ;
" the religion of your souvenirs shall he respected. Al-
though I understand it, I should interfere with it. I wiU
wait for you here. I will guard you from here. When I
have only to extend my hand to take hold of you I am sure
that you will not escape. Go, Am^lie, but return quickly.'^

Am^lie replied by putting up her lips for the young
man to kiss. Then she rapidly mounted the steps, went
to her room, took a little box of carved oak bound with
iron in which she kept her treasures, together with Charles's
letters, from the first to the last ; unfastened from a mirror
a white ivory cross which hung there, and put at her belt
a watch which her father had given her. Then she went
into her mother's room, knelt beside the bed, and kissed
the pillow which Mme. de Montrevel's head had touched.
Then she went and knelt before the Christ watching over
the foot of her bed, and began a prayer which she dared
not finish : she suddenly stopped. She thought that
Charles had called her. .She listened, and heard for the
second time her name pronounced with an accent of an-
guish for which she could not account to herself. She
trembled, stood up, and rapidly descended the stairs.
Charles was still in the same place, but leaning forward
and listening intently. He seemed to be waiting with
anxiety for some far-oflf voice.

*^ What is it 1" asked Am^lie, seizing the young man's

" Listen ! listen ! '' he said.

Ami^lie listened in her turn. She seemed to hear suc-
cessive reports like the firing of musketry. It came from
the direction of Ceyzeriat.

" Oh," cried Morgan, " I was right to doubt my hap-
piness up to the last moment! My friends are attacked,
Am^lie. Adieu 1 adieu 1"


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" What do you roean ? '* cried Ara^lie, growing pale ;
*' are you going to leave me 1 "

The noise of the musketry became more distinct.

"Do you not hear? They are fighting, and I am not
there to fight with them ! "

Am^lie, the daughter and the sister of a soldier, under-
stood, and did not attempt to resist. " Go," she said,
letting her arms fall, " you are right ; we are lost ! "

The young man uttered a cry of agony, seized her for
a second time, and strained her to his breast as if he would
have stifled her ; then, clearing the steps at a bound, and
darting in the direction of the firing with the rapidity of
a doe pursued by the hunters, he cried : " Here I am, my
friends ! here I am ! " And he disappeared like a shadow
beneath the great trees of the park.

Am^lie fell on her knees, with her arms outstretched
towards him, but without the strength to call him back ;
or, if she did call, it was in a voice so feeble that Morgan
did not reply, and did not slacken his pace to answer her.


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Roland's revenge.

It is easy to guess what had passed. Eoland had lost
no time with the captain of police and the colonel of
dragoons. They on their side had not forgotten that they
wanted to take their revenge. Roland had shown the
captain of police the sahterranean passage which led from
the chnrch of Brou to the cave of Ceyzeriat. At nine
o'clock in the evening the captain and eighteen men who
were under his command were to enter the church, go
down through the burial vault of the dukes of Savoy,
and close with their bayonets all communication between
the quarry and the subterranean passage. Roland, at the
head of twenty dragoons, was to surround the woods, and
approach in a semi-circle, in such a way that the two wings
of the semi-circle should come together at the cave of
Ceyzeriat. He was to make the first movement on his
side at nine o'clock, in order to coincide with that of the

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Online LibraryAlexandre DumasThe companions of Jehu → online text (page 17 of 24)