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Chicot the Jester

Chapter 22
HOW M. AND MADAME DE ST. LUC MET WITH A TRAVELING COMPANION.
The next morning, about the time when Gorenflot woke from his nap, warmly rolled in
his frock, our reader, if he had been traveling on the road from Paris to Angers, might
have seen a gentleman and his page, riding quietly side by side. These cavaliers had
arrived at Chartres the evening before, with foaming horses, one of which had fallen
with fatigue, as they stopped. They entered the inn, and half an hour after set out on
fresh horses. Once in the country, still bare and cold, the taller of the two approached
the other, and said, as he opened his arms: "Dear little wife, embrace me, for now we
are safe."
Then Madame de St. Luc, leaning forward and opening her thick cloak, placed her arms
round the young man's neck and gave him the long and tender kiss which he had asked
for. They stayed the night in the little village of Courville four leagues only from
Chartres, but which from its isolation seemed to them a secure retreat; and it was on the
following morning that they were, as we said, pursuing their way. This day, as they were
more easy in their minds, they traveled no longer like fugitives, but like schoolboys
seeking for moss, for the first few early flowers, enjoying the sunshine and amused at
everything."
"Morbleu!" cried St. Luc, at last, "how delightful it is to be free. Have you ever been free,
Jeanne?"
"I?" cried she, laughing, "never; it is the first time I ever felt so. My father was
suspicious, and my mother lazy. I never went out without a governess and two lackeys,
so that I do not remember having run on the grass, since, when a laughing child, I ran in
the woods of Méridor with my dear Diana, challenging her to race, and rushing through
the branches. But you, dear St. Luc; you were free, at least?"
"I, free?"
"Doubtless, a man."
"Never. Brought up with the Duc d'Anjou, taken by him to Poland, brought back to Paris,
condemned never to leave him by the perpetual rule of etiquette; pursued, if I tried to go
away, by that doleful voice, crying, 'St. Luc, my friend, I am ennuyé, come and amuse
me.' Free, with that stiff corset which strangled me, and that great ruff which scratched
my neck! No, I have never been free till now, and I enjoy it."
"If they should catch us, and send us to the Bastile?"
"If they only put us there together, we can bear it."
 
 
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