I kissed her hand again. We had always been the best of friends.
“But let me present to you,” she went on, “our good friend, who must also be yours: Mr. George Anderson;” and observing for the first time a tall, broad-shouldered, ruddy man, who stood a little to one side of the fireplace, I bowed to him very courteously. Our eyes met. I felt for him a prompt friendliness, and as if moved by one impulse we clasped hands.
“With all my heart,” said I, being then in cordial mood, and eager to love one loved of these my friends.
“And mine,” he said, in a quiet, grave voice, “if it please you, monsieur.”
“Yet,” I laughed, “if you are English, Monsieur Anderson, we must officially 佛山桑拿体验 be enemies. I trust our difference may be in all love.”
“Yes,” said Madame, with a dry little biting 28accent which she much affected, “yes, indeed, in all love, my dear Paul. Monsieur Anderson is English—and he is the betrothed husband of our Yvonne,” she added, watching me keenly.
It seemed to me as if there had been a sudden roaring noise and then these last dreadful words coming coldly upon a great silence. At that moment everything stamped itself ineffaceably on my brain. I see myself grasp the back of a chair, that I may stand with the more irreproachable steadiness. I see Madame’s curious scrutiny. I see Yvonne’s eyes, which had swiftly sought my face as the words were spoken, change and warm to mine for the least fraction of a second. I see all this now, and her slim form unspeakably graceful against the dark 佛山南海桑拿论坛交流 wainscoting of the chimney side. Then it all seemed to swim, and I knew that it was with great effort of will I steadied myself; and at last I perceived that Yvonne was holding both Anderson and her father in rapt attention by a sort of radiance of light speech and dainty gesture. I dimly came to understand that Yvonne had seen in my face something which she had not looked to see there, and, moved to compassion, had come to my aid and covered up my hurt. In a moment more I was master of myself, but I knew that Madame’s eyes had never left me. She liked me more than a little; but a certain mirthful malice, which she had retained from the old 29gay days in France, made her cruel whensoever one afforded her the spectacle of a tragedy.
All this takes long in the telling; but it was perhaps not above a minute ere I was able to perceive that Mademoiselle’s diversion had been upon the theme of one’s duty to one’s enemies. What she had said I knew not, nor know I to this day; but I will wager it was both witty and wise. I only know that at this point a direct appeal was made to me.
“You, monsieur,” said Anderson, in his measured tones, “will surely grant that it is always virtuous, and often possible, to love one’s enemies.”
“But never prudent!” interjected De Lamourie, whose bitter experiences in Paris colored his conclusions.
“Your testimony, monsieur, as that of one who has sent so many of them to Paradise, is much to be desired upon this subject,” exclaimed Yvonne, in a tone of challenge, at the same time flashing over me a look which worked upon me like a wizard’s spell, making me straightway strong and ready.
“Well may we love them!” I cried, with an air of sober mockery. “Our enemies are our opportunities; and without our opportunities, where are we?”
“All our life is our opportunity, and if we be brave and faithful to church and king we are 30made great by it,” exclaimed a harsh, intense voice behind us.
I noted a look of something like consternation on De Lamourie’s face, and a mocking defiance in the eyes of Yvonne. We turned about hastily to greet the new-comer. I knew at once, by hearsay, that dark-robed figure—the high, narrow, tonsured head—the long nose with its aggressively bulbous tip—the thin lips with their crafty smile—the dogged and indomitable jaw. It was La Garne, the Black Abbé, master of the Micmac tribes, and terror of the English in Acadie. He was a devoted servant to the flag I served, the lilied banner of France; but I dreaded and detested him, for I held that he brought dishonour on the French cause, as well as on his priestly office, by his devious methods, his treacheries, and his cruelties. War, I cannot but think, becomes a gross and hideous thing whensoever it is suffered to slip out of the control of gentlemen, who alone know how to maintain its courtesies.
Chapter V The Black Abbé Defers
“You are welcome, father,” began Monsieur de Lamourie, advancing to meet the visitor, “to my humble”—But the harsh voice cut him short.
“Lie not to me, Giles de Lamourie,” said the grim priest, extending a long left hand as if in anathema. “Well do I know my face is not welcome in this house!”
De Lamourie drew himself up haughtily, and Madame interrupted.
“Good father,” said she most sweetly, but with an edge to her voice, “do you not take something the advantage of your gown? Might I not be so bold as to entreat a more courteous deliverance of your commands?”
“What have I to do with forms and courtesies, woman?” he answered—and ignored Yvonne’s laughing acquiescence of “What, indeed, monsieur?” “I come to admonish you back to your duty; and to warn you, if you heed not. I learn 32that you are about to go 佛山桑拿按摩888 to Halifax, Giles de Lamourie, and there forswear France, bowing your neck to the English robber. Is this true?”
“I am about to swear allegiance to England, Father La Garne,” said De Lamourie coldly.
The priest’s pale eyes narrowed.
“There is yet time to change your mind,” said he, in a voice grown suddenly smooth. “Give me your word that you will remain faithful to France and the bolt which even now hangs over your recreant head shall never fall!”
I looked about me in deep astonishment. Yvonne’s face was splendid in its impatient scorn. Madame looked solicitous, but composed. Anderson smiled coolly. But De Lamourie was hot with indignation.
“It was not to be dictated to by every tonsured meddler that I came to Acadie,” he cried, rashly laying himself open.
“I have heard as much,” said the priest dryly. “But enough of 佛山桑拿按摩视频 this talk,” he went on, his voice again vibrating. “You, George Anderson, seducer of these people from their king, look to yourself! Your threshold is red. As for this house”—and he looked around with slow and solemn menace—“as for this house, it shall not see to-morrow’s sun!”
Hitherto I had been silent, as became a mere new-come guest; but this was too much for me.
33“Ay, but it shall!” said I bluntly, stepping forward.
La Garne looked at me with
unaffected surprise and contempt.
“And pray, sir, who may you be to speak so confidently?” he asked.
“I am an officer of the king, Sir Abbé,” I answered, “and a messenger of the governor of New France, and a man of my word. Your quarrel here I do not very well understand, but I beg you to understand that this house is the house of my friends. I know you, Sir Abbé,—I have heard 佛山桑拿按摩论坛交流区 rumour of your work at Beaubassin, Baie Verte, and Gros Ile. I tell you, I will not suffer you to lift your hand against this house!”
“Truly, monsieur, you speak large,” sneered the priest. “But you may, perchance, have authority. I seem to have seen your face before. Your name?”
“Paul Grande,” said I, bowing.
La Garne’s face changed. He looked at me curiously, and then, with a sort of bitter tolerance, shrugged his shoulders.
“You have been to Monsieur le Commandant Vergor, at Beauséjour?”
“And to Vaurin, at Piziquid?” he went on thoughtfully.
I fancied that a shade of suspicion passed over 34the faces of my hosts; and Yvonne’s face paled slightly; but I replied:
“I have just come from Piziquid.”
“Your authority is sufficient, then, monsieur,” said he. “The messenger of the governor to Vaurin doubtless 佛山飞机桑拿0757 knows his business, and it is unnecessary for me to interfere.”
I bowed my thanks, holding courtesy to be in place, since I had gained my point.