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312 T hat evening, at eight o’clock, Jean Labrouk was buried. A shell had burst not a dozen paces from his own door, within the consecrated ground of the cathedral, and in a hole it had made he was laid, the only mourners his wife and his grandfather, and two soldiers of his company sent by General Bougainville to bury him. I watched the ceremony from my loft, which had one small dormer window. It was dark, but burning buildings in the Lower Town made all light about the place. I could hear the grandfather mumbling and talking to the body as it was lowered into the ground. While yet the priest was hastily reading prayers, a dusty horseman came riding to the grave and dismounted. “Jean,” he said, looking at the grave, “Jean Labrouk, a man dies well that dies with his gaiters on, aho! . . . What have you said for Jean Labrouk, m’sieu’?” he added to the priest. The priest stared at him, as though he had presumed. “Well?” said Gabord. “Well?” The priest answered nothing, but prepared to go, whispering a word of comfort to the poor wife. Gabord looked at the soldiers, looked at the wife, at the priest, then spread out his legs and stuck his hands down into his pockets, while his horse rubbed its nose against his Chapter XXVI The Secret of the Tapestry 313 shoulder. He fixed his eyes on the grave, and nodded once or twice musingly. “Well,” he said at last, as if he had found a perfect virtue, and the one or only thing that might be said, “well, he never eat his words, that Jean!” A moment afterwards he came into the house with Babette, leaving one of the soldiers holding his horse. After the old man had gone, I heard him say, “Were you at mass to-day? And did you see all?” When she had answered yes, he continued: “It was a mating as birds mate, but mating was it, and holy fathers and Master Devil Doltaire can’t change it till cock-pheasant Moray come rocketing to ’s grave. They would have hanged me for my part in it, but I repent not, for they have wickedly hunted this little lady.” “I weep with her,” said Jean’s wife. “Ay, ay, weep on, Babette,” he answered. “Has she asked help of you?” said the wife. “Truly; but I know not what she says, for I read not, but I know her pecking. Here it is. But you must be secret.” Looking through a crack in the floor, I could plainly see them. She took the letter from him and read aloud: “If Gabord the soldier have a good heart still, as ever he had in the past, he will again help a poor, friendless woman. She needs him, for all are against her. Will he leave her alone among her enemies? Will he not aid her to fly? At eight o’clock to-morrow night she will be taken to the Convent of the Ursulines, to be there shut in. Will he not come to her before that time?” For a moment after the reading there was silence, and I could see the woman looking at him curiously. “What will you do?” she asked. “My faith, there’s nut to crack, for I have little time. This letter but reached me, with the news of Jean, two hours ago, and I know not what to do, but, as I stand scratching my head, here comes word from 314 General Montcalm that I must ride to Master Devil Doltaire with a letter, and I must find him wherever he may be, and give it straight. So forth I come; and I must be at my post again by morn, said the General.” “It is now nine o’clock, and she will be in the convent,” said the woman tentatively. “Aho!” he answered, “and none can enter there but Governor, if holy Mother say no. So now goes Master Devil there? ‘Gabord,’ quoth he, ‘you shall come with me to the convent at ten o’clock, bringing three stout soldiers of the garrison. Here’s an order on Monsieur Ramesay the commandant. Choose you the men, and fail me not, or you shall swing aloft, dear Gabord.’ Sweet lovers of hell, but Master Devil shall have swinging too one day.” He put his thumb to his nose, and spread his fingers out. Presently he seemed to...


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