The Companions of Jehu
3. The Englishman
Roland remained motionless, not only as long as he could see the carriage, but
long after it had disappeared. Then, shaking his head as if to dispel the cloud
which darkened his brow, he re-entered the inn and asked for a room.
"Show the gentleman to number three," said the landlord to a chambermaid.
The chambermaid took a key hanging from a large black wooden tablet on which
were arranged the numbers in white in two rows, and signed to the young
traveller to follow her.
"Send up some paper, and a pen and ink," Roland said to the landlord, "and if M.
de Barjols should ask where I am tell him the number of my room."
The landlord promised to obey Roland's injunctions and the latter followed the girl
upstairs whistling the Marseillaise. Five minutes later he was seated at a table
with the desired paper, pen and ink before him preparing to write. But just as he
was beginning the first line some one knocked, three times at the door.
"Come in," said he, twirling his chair on one of its hind legs so as to face his
visitor, whom he supposed to be either, M. de Barjols or one of his friends.
The door opened with a steady mechanical motion and the Englishman appeared
upon the threshold.
"Ah!" exclaimed Roland, enchanted with this visit, in view of his general's
recommendation; "is it you?"
"Yes," said the Englishman, "it is I."
"You are welcome."
"Oh! if I am welcome, so much the better! I was not sure that I ought to come."
"On account of Aboukir."
Roland began to laugh.
"There are two battles of Aboukir," said he; "one which we lost; the other we
"I referred to the one you lost."
"Good!" said Roland, "we fight, kill, and exterminate each other on the battlefield,
but that does not prevent us from clasping hands on neutral ground. So I repeat,
you are most welcome, especially if you will tell me why you have come."
"Thank you; but, in the first place, read that." And the Englishman drew a paper
from his pocket.
"What is that?" asked Roland.
"What have I to do with your passport?" asked Roland, "I am not a gendarme."
"No, but I have come to offer you my services. Perhaps you will not accept them
if you do not know who I am."
"Your services, sir?"
"Yes; but read that first."
In the name of the French Republic--The Executive Directory hereby orders that
Sir John Tanlay, Esq., be permitted to travel freely throughout the territory of the