The Companions of Jehu
9. Romeo And Juliet
Under the possibility of immediate departure, Morgan's horse, after being
washed, rubbed down and dried, had been fed a double ration of oats and been
resaddled and bridled. The young man had only to ask for it and spring upon its
back. He was no sooner in the saddle than the gate opened as if by magic; the
horse neighed and darted out swiftly, having forgotten its first trip, and ready for
At the gate of the Chartreuse, Morgan paused an instant, undecided whether to
turn to the right or left. He finally turned to the right, followed the road which leads
from Bourg to Seillon for a few moments, wheeled rapidly a second time to the
right, cut across country, plunged into an angle of the forest which was on his
way, reappeared before long on the other side, reached the main road to Pont-
d'Ain, followed it for about a mile and a half, and halted near a group of houses
now called the Maison des Gardes. One of these houses bore for sign a cluster
of holly, which indicated one of those wayside halting places where the
pedestrians quench their thirst, and rest for an instant to recover strength before
continuing the long fatiguing voyage of life. Morgan stopped at the door, drew a
pistol from its holster and rapped with the butt end as he had done at the
Chartreuse. Only as, in all probability, the good folks at the humble tavern were
far from being conspirators, the traveller was kept waiting longer than he had
been at the monastery. At last he heard the echo of the stable boy's clumsy
sabots. The gate creaked, but the worthy man who opened it no sooner
perceived the horseman with his drawn pistol than he instinctively tried to, close it
"It is I, Patout," said the young man; "don't be afraid."
"Ah! sure enough," said the peasant, "it is really you, Monsieur Charles. I'm not
afraid now; but you know, as the curé used to tell us, in the days when there was
a good God, 'Caution is the mother of safety.'"
"Yes, Patout, yes," said the young man, slipping a piece of silver into the stable
boy's hand, "but be easy; the good God will return, and M. le Curé also."
"Oh, as for that," said the good man, "it is easy to see that there is no one left on
high by the way things go. Will this last much longer, M. Charles?"
"Patout, I promise, in my honor, to do my best to be rid of all that annoys you. I
am no less impatient than you; so I'll ask you not to go to bed, my good Patout."
"Ah! You know well, monsieur, that when you come I don't often go to bed. As for
the horse--Goodness! You change them every day? The time before last it was a
chestnut, the last time a dapple-gray, now a black one."
"Yes, I'm somewhat capricious by nature. As to the horse, as you say, my dear
Patout, he wants nothing. You need only remove his bridle; leave him saddled.
Oh, wait; put this pistol back in the holsters and take care of these other two for
me." And the young man removed the two from his belt and handed them to the
"Well," exclaimed the latter, laughing, "any more barkers?"
"You know, Patout, they say the roads are unsafe."