The Companions of Jehu
39. The Grotto Of Ceyzeriat
The two young men plunged into the shadow of the trees. Morgan guided his
companion, less familiar than he with the windings of the park, until they reached
the exact spot where he was in the habit of scaling the wall. It took but an instant
for both of them to accomplish that feat. The next moment they were on the
banks of the Reissouse.
A boat was fastened to the foot of a willow; they jumped into it, and three strokes
of the oar brought them to the other side. There a path led along the bank of the
river to a little wood which extends from Ceyzeriat to Etrez, a distance of about
nine miles, and thus forms, on the other side of the river, a pendant to the forest
On reaching the edge of the wood they stopped. Until then they had been
walking as rapidly as it was possible to do without running, and neither of them
had uttered a word. The whole way was deserted; it was probable, in fact certain,
that no one had seen them. They could breathe freely.
"Where are the Companions?" asked Morgan.
"In the grotto," replied Montbar.
"Why don't we go there at once?"
"Because we shall find one of them at the foot of that beech, who will tell us if we
can go further without danger."
A shadow came from behind the tree.
"Here I am," it said.
"Ah! there you are," exclaimed the two young men.
"Anything new?" inquired Montbar.
"Nothing; they are waiting for you to come to a decision."
"In that case, let us hurry."
The three young men continued on their way. After going about three hundred
yards, Montbar stopped again, and said softly: "Armand!"
The dry leaves rustled at the call, and a fourth shadow stepped from behind a
clump of trees, and approached his companions.
"Anything new?" asked Montbar.
"Yes; a messenger from Cadoudal."
"The same one who came before?"
"Where is he?"
"With the brothers, in the grotto."
Montbar rushed on ahead; the path had grown so narrow that the four young
men could only walk in single file. It rose for about five hundred paces with an
easy but winding slope. Coming to an opening, Montbar stopped and gave, three
times, the same owl's cry with which he had called Morgan. A single hoot
answered him; then a man slid down from the branches of a bushy oak. It was