Won by the Sword by G. A. Henty
Chapter VI: A Change of Scene
Hector gained great credit from the report of the manner in which the force had been enabled to draw off without loss from the enemy's guns, owing to his forethought in bringing with him the means of spiking them, and also for his success in checking the advance of the enemy along the ramparts.
"You see, messieurs," Turenne said to the members of his staff, who, with the exception of Hector, were together on the day after his return to Susa, "how important it is for officers, before setting out on an expedition, to think seriously over every contingency that may happen. Now the vast proportion of officers consider that all the thinking has to be done by the general, and that they only have to obey orders. No doubt that is essential, but there may be numerous little matters in which an officer may render great service. This young captain of ours did not content himself with leading the company to which I appointed him through the gateway. Before leaving Susa he must have thought over every incident likely to occur. As the leading company he would know that it would be his business to clear the ramparts, to check any parties of the enemy coming along that way, and it would be only natural for him to determine to use the enemy's cannon to keep them at bay.
"This would probably have occurred to most officers placed as he was. But he did not stop there -- he must have thought over the events that would probably follow the entry. He knew, of course, that our feint at the other end of the town would draw off the greater portion of the garrison, but would be sure also that as soon as the attack began, and it became evident that our real object was to revictual the citadel, they would come pouring back again. He would have said to himself, 'We shall be able to keep them at bay until our work is done, then we shall have to fall back. What then? The enemy will mount the ramparts, and while their main force pours out in pursuit, their guns on the walls will play havoc with us. To prevent this I must silence them before my company retires.'
"It is all very simple when we look at it after it is done, and yet probably it did not occur to a single officer of that force except to Captain Campbell. I admit that it did not occur to myself. Had it done so, I should have ordered that some of the artillerymen should carry spikes and hammers, and that upon entering the town they should immediately take steps, by rendering the guns harmless, to enable the force to draw off without heavy loss. In the same way he showed a cool and calculating brain when he carried out that most dangerous service of bearing the news that we should speedily bring aid to the citadel. It is difficult to imagine a better laid plan. He thought of everything -- of his disguise, of the manner in which it would alone be possible to approach closely to the wall.
"I think that few of us would have thought of making our way up through a house a hundred yards away, working along the roofs and descending into the lane by the wall itself. I asked him how he got the rope down which it was necessary for him to use four or five times afterwards, and he showed me the plan by which he contrived to free the hook; it was most ingenious. It did not seem to me that it would have acted as he told me, and I asked him to have another one made so that I might understand how it was worked, for such a contrivance would be extremely useful in escalades, when the troops, after descending into a deep fosse, need the rope for climbing a wall or bastion. There it is, gentlemen, and as you see, by pulling this thin cord the hook is lifted from its hold, and the slightest shake will bring it down.
"The contrivance is an excellent one. The line he took was well chosen. He accomplished the most dangerous part first, and made his way out by the side where the watch was most likely to be careless, as anyone leaving or entering the town there would have to swim the river. The feat shows that he has not only abundance of courage of the very highest order, but that he has a head to plan and leaves nothing to chance. You will see, gentlemen, that if this young officer lives he is likely to gain the highest rank and position. Already I have every reason to congratulate myself upon having, almost as it were by chance, taken him under my protection."
The winter passed quietly, but as soon as spring set in and the roads were sufficiently good for the passage of wagons, d'Harcourt prepared to attempt to raise the siege of Casale, before which Leganez with twenty thousand men had intrenched himself. The roads were still, however, far too heavy for cannon, and as the garrison were becoming hardly pressed he left his guns behind him and started at the end of April with seven thousand foot and three thousand horse. The position occupied by the Spaniards was a strong one, and their general did not for a moment think that the French, with a force half the strength of his own, would venture to attack him. D'Harcourt, however, resolved upon doing so. He divided his force into three parts; two of these were composed of French soldiers, the third comprised the forces of the Duchess of Savoy. The attack was successful on all sides -- although d'Harcourt for a time could make no way, and Turenne was repulsed three times before he entered the intrenchments -- the Spaniards were completely defeated, and lost their guns, ammunition, and baggage, three thousand killed, two thousand prisoners, and great numbers were drowned in endeavouring to cross the river.
A council of war was held, and Turenne's advice that Turin should be besieged was after much debate accepted, although it seemed a desperate enterprise for an army of ten thousand men to besiege a town garrisoned by twelve thousand, while the Spaniards, after recovering from their defeat and drawing men from their various garrisons, could march to relieve the town with eighteen thousand men. No time was lost in carrying Turenne's advice into effect. The army marched upon Turin, seized the positions round the town, threw up lines facing the city to prevent sorties being made by the enemy, and surrounded themselves by similar lines to enable them to resist attack by the Spaniards, who were not long in approaching them. Thus there were now four bodies of combatants -- the garrison of the citadel, which was surrounded and besieged by that of the town; the town was besieged by Turenne, and he himself was surrounded by the Spaniards. Each relied rather upon starving the others out than upon storming their positions, but Leganez managed to send a messenger into Turin telling Prince Thomas that he intended to attack the French and calling upon him to fall upon them with his troops at the same time.
In pursuance of this design he retired some distance up the Po, and proceeded to cross the river at Moncalieri. D'Harcourt despatched Turenne to oppose the passage, but before he could arrive there some five thousand men had crossed the bridge. Without hesitating a moment, although his force was a much smaller one than that of the Spaniards, Turenne attacked them at once, carried the intrenchments they had begun to throw up, killed a large number, and drove the rest into the river, where hundreds were drowned. Then he set fire to the bridge, which was of wood, and intrenched himself on the banks of the river, occupied all the fords higher up, and completely checked any advance of the Spaniards in that direction. He was, however, wounded in the shoulder, and was obliged to leave the army and to be carried to Pinerolo. While he was away Leganez attacked the French line from without, and Prince Thomas from within, and the former succeeded in passing twelve hundred horse and one thousand foot into the town.
The French were now closely beleaguered, and began to suffer severely from famine. In the meantime fresh troops had arrived from France, and although not yet recovered from his wounds, Turenne took the command, and escorted a great convoy of provisions into the camp in spite of the enemy's efforts to prevent him. The townspeople were suffering even more severely. Sorties were made in great force, but were always repulsed, as were the attacks made by Leganez, and on the 17th of September the garrison surrendered, being allowed to march out with their arms. The Count d'Harcourt returned to France, and Turenne again assumed the command of the army for the winter.
Hector conducted himself to the satisfaction of his general throughout the campaign, but was severely wounded in the last sortie made by the besieged, having been thrown down in a charge of Prince Thomas's cavalry and trampled upon by the horses, and being taken up for dead when the enemy fell back.
Directly he heard the news Turenne sent his surgeon to examine him. He reported that he still breathed, but that several of his ribs and his left arm were broken. He mended but slowly, and Turenne, a month after the surrender of the town, came in one day to see him, and said, "The surgeon tells me that it will be some months before you are fit for service again, and that you will need a period of perfect rest to recover your health. There is a convoy of invalids returning to France tomorrow, and I think it were best that you should accompany them. There is no rest to be obtained here, and I know that you will be fretting at being unable to ride, and at your forced inactivity. I shall give orders that you are conveyed in a horse litter to Sedan, where my brother, the Duc de Bouillon, will gladly entertain you for my sake, and you must remain there until entirely restored to strength.
"I do not think that there will be much doing on this side of the Alps in the next campaign. Unhappily France has troubles of her own, and will find it difficult to spare more troops in this direction, and without reinforcements we can but act on the defensive. Though we may capture a few towns, there is small chance of any great operations. Indeed, methinks that it is by no means unlikely that Prince Thomas, seeing that his effort to rule Savoy in place of his sister-in-law, the duchess, is likely to end in discredit and loss to himself, will before long open negotiations with her. Therefore you will be losing nothing by going. It is to the duchess that I shall commend you rather than to my brother, who is unfortunately occupied by public matters, and is at present almost at war with Richelieu.
"He is a man of noble impulses, generous in the extreme, and the soul of honour, but he knows not how to conceal his feelings; and in these days no man, even the most powerful, can venture to rail in public against one who has offended him, when that man happens to be the cardinal. I love my brother dearly, but I have mixed myself up in no way with his affairs. I am an officer of the king, and as such I stand aloof from all parties in the state. The cardinal is his minister; doubtless he has his faults, but he is the greatest man in France, and the wisest. He lives and works for the country. It may be true that he is ambitious for himself, but the glory of France is his chief care. It is for that purpose that we have entered upon this war, for he sees that if Germany becomes united under an emperor who is by blood a Spaniard, France must eventually be crushed, and Spain become absolutely predominant in Europe. If he is opposed, Richelieu strikes hard, because he deems those who oppose him as not only his own enemies but as enemies of France.
"As a prince of the church it must have been bitter for him to have to ally himself with the Protestant princes of Germany, with Protestant Holland, and Protestant England, but he has done so. It is true that he has captured La Rochelle, and broken the power of the Huguenot lords of the south, but these new alliances show that he is ready to sacrifice his own prejudices for the good of France when France is endangered, and that it is on account of the danger of civil broils to the country, rather than from a hatred of the Huguenots, that he warred against them. Here am I, whom he deigns to honour with his patronage, a Huguenot; my brother, Bouillon, was also a Huguenot, and strangely enough the quarrel between him and the cardinal did not break out until my brother had changed his religion.
"He was more rigorously brought up than I was, and was taught to look upon the Catholics with abhorrence; but he married, not from policy but from love, a Catholic lady, who is in all respects worthy of him, for she is as high spirited and as generous as he is, and at the same time is gentle, loving, and patient. Though deeply pious, she is free from bigotry, and it was because my brother came to see that the tales he had been taught of the bigotry and superstition of the Catholics were untrue, at least in many instances, that he revolted against the intolerance of the doctrines in which he had been brought up, renounced them, and became an adherent of his wife's religion.
"Nigh four years ago the Duke of Soissons, a prince of the blood, incurred the enmity of Richelieu by refusing, with scorn, his proposal that he should marry the Countess of Cobalet, Richelieu's niece. The refusal, and still more the language in which he refused, excited the deep enmity of the cardinal. Soissons had joined the party against him, but as usual Richelieu had the king's ear. Soissons was ordered to leave the court, and went to Sedan, where he was heartily received by my brother, who had a warm affection for him. Bouillon wrote to the king hoping that he would not be displeased at his offering a retreat to a prince of the blood, and the king wrote permitting the count to stay at Sedan. After a time Richelieu again endeavoured to bring about the marriage upon which he had set his heart, but was again refused, and, being greatly exasperated, insisted on Bouillon obliging the count to leave Sedan. My brother naturally replied that the king having at first approved of his receiving Soissons, he could not violate the laws of hospitality to a prince of the blood.
"Richelieu then persuaded the king to refuse further payments to the garrisons at Sedan, although the latter had confirmed the agreement entered into by his father, whereupon my brother openly declared against Richelieu, and still further excited the cardinal's anger by furnishing an asylum to the Archbishop of Rheims, second son of Charles of Lorraine, who had also quarrelled with Richelieu. So matters stand at present. What will come of it, I know not. I doubt not that the cardinal's hostility to Bouillon does not arise solely from the Soissons affair, which but serves him as a pretext. You see his object for the past four years has been to strengthen France by extending her frontiers to the east by the conquest of Lorraine. He has already carried them to the Upper Rhine, and by obtaining from the Duke of Savoy Pinerolo and its dependencies has brought them up to the foot of the Alps.
"But my brother's dukedom stands in the way of his grand project, for it is a gate through which an enemy from beyond the Rhine might invade France; and, moreover, the close family relationship between us and the Prince of Holland would add to the danger should Holland, at present our ally, fall out with France. Thus the possession of Bouillon's dukedom, or at any rate its military occupation for a time, is a consideration of vital importance to the kingdom. Such, you see, is the situation. Were I not an officer in the French army doubtless my feelings would be on the side of my brother. As it is, I am a faithful servant of the king and his minister, and should deem it the height of dishonour were I to use my influence against what I perceive is the cause of France. I tell you this in order that you may understand the various matters which might surprise you at Sedan.
"You go there as a patient to be nursed by the duchess, my sister-in-law, and having no influence, and at present not even the strength to use your sword, there is little fear that any will seek to involve you in these party turmoils. I shall write to my brother that you are a soldier of France and that you have done her good service, that you are a protege of mine, and being of Scottish blood belong to no party save my party, and that I entreat that he will not allow anyone to set you against the cardinal, or to try and attach you to any party, for that I want you back again with me as soon as you are thoroughly cured."
Hector would much rather have remained to be cured in Italy, but he did not think of raising the slightest objection to Turenne's plans for him, and the next day he started for Sedan, taking, of course, Paolo with him. The convoy traveled by easy stages over the passes into France, and then, escorted by a sergeant and eight troopers, Hector was carried north to Sedan. Though still very weak, he was able to alight at the entrance of the duke's residence, and sent in Turenne's letters to him and the duchess. Three minutes later the duke himself came down.
"Captain Campbell," he said heartily, "my brother has done well in sending you here to be taken care of and nursed. In his letters to me he has spoken of you more than once, especially with reference to the manner in which you carried a message for him to the citadel of Turin. I shall be glad to do anything that I can for so brave a young officer, but I fear that for the present you will have to be under the charge of the duchess rather than mine."
The duke was a tall, handsome man with a frank and open face, a merry laugh, and a ready jest. He was extremely popular, not only in his own dominions, but among the Parisians. His fault was that he was led too easily. Himself the soul of honour, he believed others to be equally honourable, and so suffered himself to become mixed up in plots and conspiracies, and to be drawn on into an enterprise wholly foreign to his nature.
"I will take you at once to the duchess, but I see that you are quite unfit to walk. Sit down, I beg you, until I get a chair for you."
Three or four minutes later four lackeys came with a carrying chair, and Hector was taken upstairs to the duchess's apartments.
"This is the gentleman of whom Turenne has written to me, and doubtless, as I see by that letter upon the table, to you also. He has been a good deal damaged, having been ridden over by a squadron of Prince Thomas's horsemen, and needs quiet and rest."
"Turenne has told me all about it," the duchess said. "I welcome you very heartily, monsieur. My brother says that he has great affection for you, and believes you will some day become a master in the art of war. He says you have rendered him most valuable services, which is strange indeed, seeing that you are as yet very young."
"I was sixteen the other day, madam."
"Only sixteen, and already a captain!" she exclaimed.
"I was made a captain nine months ago," he said, "for a little service that I performed to his satisfaction."
"Turenne would not have promoted you unless it had been an important service, I am sure," she said with a smile. "He does great things himself, and expects great things from others."
"It was the affair of carrying the message to the garrison of the citadel of Turin urging them to hold out, as he would come to their relief soon," the duke said. "Do you not remember that he wrote us an account of it?"
"I remember it perfectly. Turenne said a young officer, but I did not imagine that it could have been but a lad. However, Captain Campbell, I will not detain you here talking, or you will begin by considering me to be a very bad nurse. Directly I received the letter I ordered a chamber to be prepared for you. By this time all will be in readiness, and a lackey ready to disrobe you and assist you to bed."
"I do not need," he began, but she held up her finger.
"Please to remember, sir, that I am head nurse here. You will go to bed at once, and will take a light repast and a glass of generous wine. After that our surgeon will examine you, and remove your bandages, which have been, I doubt not, somewhat disarranged on your journey; then he will say whether it will be advisable that you should keep your bed for a time, which will, I think, be far the best for you, for you will be much more comfortable so than on a couch, which, however good to be sat upon by those in health, affords but poor comfort to an invalid. Have you brought a servant with you?"
"Yes, madam. He is a very faithful lad, and accompanied me on that enterprise that you have been speaking of. He is a merry fellow, and has proved himself a good and careful nurse. He sat up with me for many nights when I was first hurt, and has ever since slept on the floor in my room."
"I will give him in charge of my majordomo, who will see that he is well taken care of, and we can have a pallet laid for him at night on the floor of your room."
She herself led the way to a very comfortable apartment where a fire was burning on the hearth; a lackey was already in waiting, and after a few kind words she left him.
"I have fallen into good hands indeed," Hector said to himself. "What would Sergeant MacIntosh say if he knew that I was lodged in a ducal palace, and that the duke and duchess had both spoken to me and seen after my comfort as if I had been a relation of their own?"
In spite of the care and attention that he received, Hector's recovery was slow, and even when spring came the surgeon said that he was unfit for severe work. However, the letters that he received from time to time from de Lisle and Chavigny consoled him, for not only had the winter passed without any incident save the capture of three or four towns by Turenne, but it was not at all likely that any events of great importance would take place. All accounts represented the Spaniards as being engaged in adding to the strength of three or four towns in the duchy of Milan, so that evidently they intended to stand upon the defensive.
The palace of Sedan was the centre of a formidable conspiracy against Richelieu. Messengers came and went, and Bouillon, Soissons, and the Archbishop of Rheims were constantly closeted together. They had various allies at court, and believed that they should be able to overthrow the minister who had so long ruled over France in the name of the king.
As Hector was now able to move about, and was acquainted with all the members of the duke's household, he learned much of what was going on; and from a conversation that he accidentally overheard, he could see that the position was an extremely serious one, as a treaty had been signed with Ferdinand, son of the King of Spain, and the Archduke Leopold-William, son of the Emperor of Austria, by which each agreed to assist the duke and his friends with a large sum of money for raising soldiers, and with seven thousand men. In order to justify themselves, the heads of the movement issued a manifesto, in which they styled themselves Princes of Peace. In this they rehearsed the cardinal's various acts of tyranny and cruelty towards his rivals, the arbitrary manner in which he carried on the government, and declared that they were leagued solely to overthrow the power that overshadowed that of the king, plunged France into wars, and scourged the people with heavy taxation.
As soon as this manifesto was published in Sedan, Hector went to the duke.
"My lord duke," he said, "I cannot sufficiently thank you for the hospitality and kindness with which you and the duchess have treated me. Nevertheless, I must ask you to allow me to leave at once."
"Why this sudden determination, Captain Campbell?"
"If, sir, I were but a private person I should have no hesitation, after the kindness that you have shown me, in requesting you to give me employment in the force that you are raising; but I am an officer of the king, and what is of far greater importance at the present moment, an aide-de-camp of the Viscount Turenne, your brother. Were it reported that I was with your army, or even indeed that I was here, the cardinal would at once conclude that I was representing the viscount, and was perhaps the intermediary through whom communications between you and your brother were being carried on. Therefore I should not only compromise myself, which is of no importance, but I might excite suspicion in Richelieu's mind against your brother, which might result in his recall from the position in which he has so distinguished himself, and grievously injure his prospects. The viscount himself warned me against mixing myself with any party, saying that a soldier should hold himself free from all entanglement, bent only on serving, to the utmost of his power, the king and France."
"You are right," the duke said heartily. "Turenne has no grievances against king or cardinal, and has acted wisely in holding himself aloof from any party; and badly as I am affected towards Richelieu, I will own that he has never allowed my brother's relationship towards me to prevent his employing him in posts of honour. I have never sought to influence him in the slightest, and am far too proud of the credit and honour he has gained to do aught that would in any way cause a breach between him and the cardinal. What you have said is very right and true. Doubtless Richelieu has spies in this town, as he has elsewhere, and may have learned that a young officer on my brother's staff was brought here last autumn grievously wounded. But it is certainly well that now, as the time for action is at hand, you should retire. You are not thinking, I hope, of returning at once, for it was but a day or two ago that the surgeon assured me that it would need another three or four months of quiet before you would be fit to resume your duties."
"I feel that myself, my lord, and moreover I think that it would be as well that I should not join the viscount at present, for it might well be supposed that I was the bearer of some important news from you to him; therefore I propose to go to Geneva, and remain there until I have completely recruited my strength. In the Swiss republic I should pass unnoticed, even by the cardinal's agents. And the fact that, although being but a comparatively short distance from Piedmont, I abstained from joining the general, would, if they inquired, show that I could not have been entrusted with any private communication from you to him."
"It could not be better," the duke said. "When you leave here you should no longer wear that military scarf. Of course, when you enter Switzerland there is no reason why you should disguise the fact that you are a French officer, and having been severely wounded, have come there to repair your health. Doubtless many others have done so; and, dressed as a private person, you would excite no attention. But the Swiss, who strive to hold themselves neutral and to avoid giving offence, might raise objections to a French officer wearing military attire staying among them."
That evening Hector bade his adieu to the duchess and to the friends he had made during his stay, and the next morning, attended by Paolo, he started for Geneva.
"I am glad indeed that we are off, master," the latter said. "In truth, had I stayed here much longer I should have become useless from fat and idleness, for I have had nothing whatever to do but to eat and sleep."
"I am glad to be off, too, Paolo. I am convinced myself, in spite of what the surgeon says, that actual exercise will do more for me than the doctor's potions and rich food. I am stiff still, but it is from doing nothing, and were it not that coming from here my presence might be inconvenient for Turenne, I would journey straight to his camp. You saw the prince's manifesto?"
Paolo nodded. "I did, master. Not being able to read or write, I could make nothing of it myself, but a burgher coming along read it aloud, and it made me shake in my shoes with fright. I made my way as quickly as I could from so dangerous a spot, for it seemed nothing short of treason to have heard such words read against the cardinal."
"I fear that the duke has made a terrible mistake, Paolo. Hitherto all who have ventured to measure their strength with the cardinal have been worsted, and many have lost everything and are now fugitives from France. Some have lost their lives as well as honours and estates. Bouillon is an independent prince, and so was Lorraine, and although the latter could put ten men in the field to every one the duke could muster, he has been driven from his principality. Soissons could not help him except with his name, nor can the Archbishop of Rheims. Not a few of the great nobles would join the duke did they think that he had a prospect of success. None have so far done so, though possibly some have given him secret pledges, which will count for nothing unless it seems that he is likely to triumph.
"It is rumoured, as you know, that he has made an alliance with Spain and Austria. Both will use him as an arm against France, but will throw him over and leave him to his fate whenever it suits them. Moreover, their alliance would assuredly deter any, who might otherwise range themselves with him, from taking up arms. No Huguenot would fight by the side of a Spaniard; and although the Guises and the Catholic nobles allied themselves with Spain against Henri of Navarre, it was in a matter in which they deemed their religion in danger, while this is but a quarrel between Bouillon and the cardinal; and with Spain fighting against France in the Netherlands, they would not risk their lands and titles. Bouillon had better have stood alone than have called in the Spaniards and Austrians. We know whose doing that is, the Archbishop of Rheims, who is a Guise, and, methinks, from what I have seen of him, a crafty one.
"I am sure that neither the duke nor Soissons would, unless won over by the archbishop, have ever consented to such a plan, for both are honourable gentlemen, and Soissons at least is a Frenchman, which can hardly be said of Bouillon, whose ancestors have been independent princes here for centuries. However, I fear that he will rue the day he championed the cause of Soissons. It was no affair of his, and it is carrying hospitality too far to endanger life and kingdom rather than tell two guests that they must seek a refuge elsewhere. All Europe was open to them. As a Guise the archbishop would have been welcome wherever Spain had power. With Spain, Italy, and Austria open to him, why should he thus bring danger and misfortune upon the petty dukedom of Sedan? The same may be said of Soissons; however reluctant Bouillon might be to part with so dear a friend, Soissons himself should have insisted upon going and taking up his abode elsewhere. Could he still have brought a large force into the field, and have thus risked as much as Bouillon, the case would be different, but his estates are confiscated, or, at any rate, he has no longer power to summon his vassals to the field, and he therefore risks nothing in case of defeat, while Bouillon is risking everything."
"I daresay that that is all true, master, though in faith I know nothing about the matter. For myself, it seems to me that when one is a noble, and has everything that a man can want, he must be a fool to mix himself up in troubles. I know that if the King of France were to give me a big estate, and anyone came to me and asked me to take part in a plot, I would, if I had the power of life and death, have him hung up over the gate of my castle."
"That would be a short way, no doubt, Paolo, but it might not keep you out of trouble," Hector said, smiling. "If the person who came to you were also a noble, his family and friends would rise in arms to avenge his death, and instead of avoiding trouble you would bring it at once upon your head."
"I suppose that would be so, master," Paolo said thoughtfully; "so I think that it would be best for me that the king should not take it into his head to give me that estate. And so we are going to Geneva, master?"
"That pleases me not," the other one said, "for I have heard of it as a terribly serious place, where a man dares not so much as smile, and where he has to listen to sermons and exhortations lasting half a day. My father was a Huguenot, and I suppose that I am, too, though I never inquired very closely into the matter; but as for exhortations of four hours in length, methinks I would rather swim those moats again, master, and to go all day without smiling would be a worse penance than the strictest father confessor could lay upon me."
"I own that I am somewhat of your opinion, Paolo. My father brought me up a Protestant like yourself, and when I was quite young I had a very dreary time of it while he was away, living as I did in the house of a Huguenot pastor. After that I attended the Protestant services in the barracks, for all the officers and almost all the men are Protestants, and, of course, were allowed to have their own services; but the minister, who was a Scotchman, knew better than to make his discourses too lengthy; for if he did, there was a shuffling of jackboots on the stone floor and a clanking of sabres that warned him that the patience of the soldiers was exhausted. In our own glen my father has told me that the ministers are as long winded as those of Geneva; but, as he said, soldiers are a restless people, and it is one thing for men who regard their Sunday gathering as the chief event in the week to listen to lengthy discourses, but quite another for soldiers, either in the field or a city like Paris, to do so. However, if we do not find Geneva to our taste, there is no reason why we should tarry there, as Zurich lies on the other end of the lake, and Zurich is Catholic, or at any rate largely so, and Calvinist doctrines have never flourished there. But, on the other hand, the sympathies of Geneva have generally been with France, while those of Zurich are with Austria; therefore I think that if we like not Geneva we will go to Lyons, where, as an officer of Viscount Turenne's, I am sure to be well received."
"Why not go there at once, master?"
"Because I think that the fresh air of the lake will brace me up, and maybe if I find the people too sober minded for me we will go up into the mountains and lodge there in some quiet village. I think that would suit both of us."
"It would suit me assuredly," Paolo said joyfully. "I love the mountains."
Such was indeed the course eventually taken. The strict Calvinism of Geneva suited neither of them; and after a fortnight's stay there they went up among the hills, and in the clear brisk air Hector found his blood begin to run more rapidly through his veins, and his strength and energy fast returning. Sometimes he rode, but soon found more pleasure in climbing the hills around on foot, for the mountain paths were so rough that it was seldom indeed that his horse could break into a trot.