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The Companions of Jehu

32. White And Blue
Roland entered, as we have said, behind Georges, and as he entered cast a
glance of careless curiosity around him. That glance sufficed to show him that
they were alone.
"Are these your quarters, general?" asked Roland with a smile, turning the soles
of his boots to the blaze.
"Yes, colonel."
"They are singularly guarded."
Georges smiled in turn.
"Do you say that because you found the road open from La Roche-Bernard
here?" he asked.
"I did not meet a soul."
"That does not prove that the road was not guarded."
"Unless by the owls, who seemed to fly from tree to tree, and accompanied me
all the way, general. In that case, I withdraw my assertion."
"Exactly," replied Cadoudal. "Those owls were my sentinels, sentinels with good
eyes, inasmuch as they have this advantage over the eyes of men, they can see
in the dark."
"It is not the less true that I was fortunate in having inquired my way at La Roche-
Bernard; for I didn't meet even a cat who could have told me where to find you."
"But if you had raised your voice at any spot on the road and asked: 'Where shall
I find Georges Cadoudal?' a voice would have answered: 'At the village of
Muzillac, fourth house to the right.' You saw no one, colonel; but at that very
moment fifteen hundred men, or thereabout, knew that Colonel Roland, the First
Consul's aide-de-camp, was on his way to a conference with the son of the miller
of Leguerno."
"But if they knew that I was a colonel in the Republican service and aide-de-
camp to the First Consul, how came they to let me pass?"
"Because they were ordered to do so."
"Then you knew that I was coming?"
"I not only knew that you were coming, but also why you have come."
Roland looked at him fixedly.
"Then it is useless for me to tell you; and you will answer me even though I say
nothing?"
"You are about right."
"The deuce! I should like to have a proof of this superiority of your police over
ours."
"I will supply it, colonel."
"I shall receive it with much satisfaction, especially before this excellent fire,
which also seems to have been expecting me."
"You say truer than you know, colonel; and it is not the fire only that is striving to
welcome you warmly."
"Yes, but it does not tell me, any more than you have done, the object of my
mission."
 
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