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soon stopped, and a young man who was in it called out in a cheerful tone,–
“ Holla! my friends, are you tired? Will you have a lift?”
His manner restored my mother, who was terrified at the idea of being retaken, while my father, struck by the speaker's open countenance, frankly accepted the offer.
No sooner were they seated than the driver, with the lightheartedness of his nation, began singing and chattering as if he had known them all his life.
He told his own history, and asked theirs. My father informed him that he had married contrary to the wishes of my mother's friends, who had treated her very harshly, and that he was hastening to convey her to his own; that they were dreadfully afraid of being pursued and separated, “which," added my father, “ will break our hearts. I trust you thus far with our little history, as you appear much more likely to befriend than to betray us.”
" You are right, my friend,” said their new companion; “I have also a charming little
wife, from whom I would not be separated for worlds; and yet," added he,“ if it had not been for this handsome leg,” displaying at the same time a club foot, “I should long before now have been torn from her to serve the cause of the people.”
He added that he resided in what had been the porter's lodge to a grand chateau, once belonging to a nobleman who had been guillotined for his loyalty, but now the property of a man who had formerly been his confidential steward.
The wretch, he said, was a bitter democrat till he obtained all he wanted, and now he was the most cruel and domineering of masters.
“Alas,” exclaimed the young man,“ how often have we sighed for our last generous lord. Fools that we were to fancy there could be such a thing as equality.”
Conversing thus together, they found themselves, at the end of an hour, at the mouth of the lane which led to the abode of the honest and light-hearted Jules.
Night was beginning to close in, and my
poor parents were inwardly dreading the idea of passing it in the open air, when their companion, most probably guessing their feelings, offered the shelter of his roof for the night, assuring them there was not the slightest chance of any one knowing that they were there.
This offer was too delightful to be refused, and after another quarter of an hour's drive, they entered a long avenue, at the end of which was the lodge.
Jules desired them to remain quietly in the cart, while he went in to ascertain if the coast were clear. In a few minutes he returned, and conducted them into the house, where they were received with the greatest cordiality by his wife and mother. Jules had not exaggerated the beauty of the former. She was, indeed, one of the prettiest, as well as kindest of women. His mother too, seemed as eager as his wife in shewing every attention to their tired and persecuted guests.
As soon as Jules returned into the house, they all partook of an excellent supper, and afterwards the kind Louise, taking my mother up stairs, insisted (after hearing her adventures) upon her and my father remaining at the lodge for some days, for rest and refreshment.
During four days' stay with these kind people, nothing occurred worth recording.
The fifth day, as Jules was going as usual to a neighbouring town to dispose of the fruit and vegetables of the chateau garden, my father determined to intrude no longer on his generous friends, and therefore availed himself of the shelter of his cart, which Jules, finding him resolved on starting, offered to his guests.
As it was indifferent to which market he went, Jules determined upon going to a town which lay on my father's route.
It was proposed that my parents should be concealed at the bottom of the cart till they were safe beyond the precincts of the chateau.
They took a very affecting leave of the gentle Louise, who loaded the basket of my mother with as much provision as she could carry.
No inducements could prevail on these generous creatures to accept of the least remuneration, and very painful was the last farewell. · Jules drove them to within less than a quarter of a mile of the market-town, when he was obliged to bid them adieu, first, however, directing them to take a path through some fields which would bring them again into the high road, and he farther told them of a cottage where a sister of his lived, who would receive and shelter them for the night.
Wishing them God speed, he drove off, and they never saw that generous friend again.
The cottage at which it was intended they should pass the night was ten miles off, but refreshed as they were, they performed the journey without difficulty, and without interruption.
Another quiet night's rest was a great point gained, and they started early and in good spirits the following morning to pursue their route.
For several days nothing worth mentioning occurred, though they were often compelled to pass the nights in out-houses and barns, and once in the porch of a deserted church.
They had now accomplished, since they left the fortress, nearly a hundred miles, but had almost as much more to pass over before they could reach the long-wished-for coast.