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to visit a lady of their acquaintance, and did not dine at home; we then asked for Monsieur N. and were informed that he was expected to dinner every moment. After we had waited half an hour he made his appearance; but his manner was totally changed, and he looked very serious. We wondered what this could mean; we could account for the change of behaviour in the ladies, but in Monsieur N. it was both strange and mortifying: he saluted us very coldly. Before we sat down to dinner he gave us three letters of recommendation for America. We thanked him, and proceeded to partake of the soup and the first course, during which not a word passed; at length I broke silence and said: "Excuse me, Monsieur N. if I presume too far; but as we have experienced so many good offices at your hands we have learned to love you as a father, and seeing that you are not in your wonted spirits to-day, we can do no less than enquire the reason. Should we have given you any offence by inadvertently committing some fault, be pleased to let us know it, for be assured if we have done any thing of the kind it has been wholly against our will." Monsieur N. maintaining his reserve, replied: "You ought to know that better than I, since you have not behaved well to the ladies; you must be aware that they avoid your presence." I answered very seriously: "It is surprising to me that a man of your experience and knowledge of the world should be disposed to find fault with our conduct in that particular; you ought rather to commend it, for we are men of honour; I make no further observation, as I think I have said enough." Monsieur N. addressing himself to me said: "I do not speak so much in reference to you, as to your companion, who has gained the affections of the young lady, and has promised her marriage, having even pretended to write home on the subject; and now," turning to my companion, "when the young lady has condescended to bestow her affections upon you; and on your promises has reposed her hopes of happiness, you leave her, when you might obtain an appointment in Brest; nay, I would have procured that for you, (as I am satisfied with the respectability of your family,) if it had not been your wish to return home. If, however, you have taken your resolution in order that you might not be separated from your friend, I promise you that ere a month be elapsed he also shall be advantageously provided for." My companion replied: "Do you think that I have made such promises? Do me the favour to tell me," he added, "whether it was your lady or her sister who complained of me to you?" Monsieur N. replied: "My wife complained to me on behalf of her sister of your unhandsome procedure toward her." My companion rejoined: "It grieves me to leave you in hostility against me, after having received so many favours from you and from your lady, but I can assure you on my word of honour that I never promised marriage to your sister-in-law. Monsieur N. was disposed to credit his wife rather than my friend, and was not aware that, in trying to accommodate matters for the sister-in-law he was acting as a mediator for his good lady, to induce me to remain in Brest, which, though he knew it not, would have been highly satisfactory to them both. I laughed within myself on perceiving the shrewdness of the lady in making use of her husband to effect a reconciliation with her lover, while Monsieur N. having the principal actress of the theatre for his chère amie, believed all
that his wife told him, without caring for his family. Seeing that our host was wedded to his opinion, we rose when dinner was over, thanked him for all his good offices towards us, begged him to excuse these few little bickerings, and again assured him of our good faith. Monsieur N. coldly saw us to the door, and we took leave of him.
We went home to prepare every thing for our departure, and then procured a conveyance for Quiberon, wishing to travel by short stages. Next morning we witnessed the march of the battalion, which consisted of about five hundred men, many of them wearing the military dress belonging to the regiments they had quitted, and many dressed in plain clothes, some of whom seemed decently clad, while others were in the greatest wretchedness, but all of them thought that by going to America they would make their fortune. Before they began their march the roll was called, and as we stood near enough, we heard the serjeant-major pronounce the names, and among the rest our own, to which we did not answer; he reported to the commandant that we were missing; and that officer replied that we should join at Belleisle. "I do not understand," said I to my companion," why the general has inserted our names among those of the soldiers." My companion replied that it was because we were not organized, but that at Belleisle we should be properly distinguished. "Heaven grant it may be so!" I answered.
An hour after the march of the battalion, we set out in a carriage drawn by a single horse, and soon passed the men on the road; they looked like a body of prisoners, being all of them unarmed. As we had not chosen to accept billets for the route, we were obliged to take up our quarters at the inns, which we found as bad as possible.
On reaching Quiberon our hearts failed us at the sight of it, the streets were in such a miserable condition. Our conductor took us to an inn where the very appearance of the landlady inspired us with disgust. We enquired of a tolerably well-dressed person if it would be possible to meet with a passage that very day for Belleisle, and he told us that the mail would arrive in half an hour, and we might cross over in the boat that waited to convey it. The conductor took us down to the harbour, put our luggage on board, and advised us to embark, as we must have seen enough of this pleasant town of Quiberon. Ere the half hour had expired we weighed anchor with a favourable wind. In two hours we reached the harbour of Belleisle, which, though small, was in very good order. We saw numbers of inhabitants, whose curiosity brought them to look at the passengers that daily arrived by the mail-boat. The harbour is lined with houses, some whitewashed and others coloured, and we had soon occasion to admire the cleanliness of the islanders, who were all of them very well dressed.
Next day the battalion arrived and was quartered in barracks. I and my companion went to pay a visit to General Vrillar, governor of the island, who received us very kindly; we exhibited to him all our papers, in order that we might be known, being fearful that he might otherwise have taken us for two adventurers. We told him that General Bonté had promised us a passage as commissaries of provisions without requiring us to enlist, and had told us that in America we should be at liberty to leave the regiment. The governor began to
laugh, and looking at the muster-roll which he had received previously to the arrival of the battalion, said: "My children, you are enrolled as soldiers, and I am surprised that you did not come along with the battalion. I cannot consider you otherwise than as conscript soldiers; and as you are enlisted I shall have to oblige you to go and live in the barracks." We stood motionless with astonishment and unable to speak; at length, when he had done, I exclaimed: "Surely, Governor, you must be mistaken! We are free; we never did enlist; and in case you are not willing to grant us this passage, we will go to the next sea-port, and embark at our own expense. We can well afford to pay our passage. General Bonté has deceived us; I hope your Excellency will take our case into consideration. We have authentic documents regarding our condition in life, which will show that we are not persons whom despair has driven to embark for America." The Governor did not resent the warmth with which I spoke, and which made me forget that I was in his presence; on the contrary, he said, in a mild tone: "Calm yourself; I am aware that if what you say be true, you are in a terrible predicament: but what can I possibly do? the roll has been sent to me with your names inscribed, as having enlisted." The Governor, in the same quiet tone, assured us he was extremely sorry that his colleague had deceived us; but we must have patience, and take up our abode at the barracks, assuming the garb of soldiers. I then said very firmly: "You are well aware, Governor, that there is a decree of Louis XVIII. ordering all foreigners to their respective homes; I, therefore, being an Italian, demand that this decree be enforced; and as for my companion, who is a Frenchman, I beg that your excelleney will be pleased to write to General Bonté for an explanation. The Governor replied: "At this moment I cannot decide upon the affair; I have many things to attend to; come to me at this time to-morrow."
In the morning we again called on the Governor, who addressed us very kindly; he said: "My friends, it will be impossible for both of you to depart; you, as an Italian, have my permission, conformably to his Majesty's decree, to quit the island; but as for Janet, (my companion,) he, as a Frenchman, must remain and go to the barracks. Meantime, I shall write to General Bonté, at Brest, for an explanation on this affair." My companion hastily exclaimed: "How! am I then to be a soldier? My father paid eight thousand francs in the time of Napoleon, to procure me a substitute; I have repeatedly refused an officer's commission, and now I must be a conscript amidst a herd of rabble, who have enlisted for the purpose of making their escape from France!" The Governor replied: "It is needless for you to say more; I comprehend all that you would express, but if you were the son of a French prince, it would be all the same; I find you on the roll, and I cannot let you go." Seeing that the Governor was a worthy man, but was unwilling to take upon himself an affair which would probably end in nothing, I turned to my companion and said: "Well, I will not leave Belleisle; you will go to the barrack; we shall see each other daily, and in the mean time, I again request that your Excellency will do us the favour to write speedily to Brest, that the truth may be established, and my friend set at liberty." The Governor promised to write as soon as possible; we thanked him for
the interest he manifested in the affair, and came away. My friend took me under his arm, and without exchanging a word, we proceeded to the inn. He called for his trunks, locked them, and delivering the keys to me, said: "I go for a soldier, do not forget your friend, or ever think of abandoning him." I assured him that I would never leave the island without him. He proposed that I should write to Monsieur N. but I represented that this would be only giving him an opportunity to laugh at us, since what had happened was through our own fault, and we had left him in disgust. We decided on writing an indignant letter to General Bonté, which, when finished, we instantly dispatched by the post, and then went to the barracks. My companion proceeded to present himself to the sergeant-major, who inscribed his name in his book, and then consigned him to a sergeant of the first company.
I called frequently on the Governor to enquire if he had any news for me; but his answer was always in the negative. One day when I visited him, he desired me to sit down, and asked me whether, while I was at Brest, I had ever any words with the General. I said, no; my only surmise was respecting the jealousy of the wife of Monsieur N. "Well then," said the General," that is probably the point, and it was to revenge himself on you for having supplanted him, and for having paid your court to the lady, that he sends no answer to my letters; I assure you that I cannot precure your friend's release, though it really gave me great pain, on inspecting the battalion the other day, to see him under arms. But as I have your situation at heart, and am much attached to your nation, I will confide to you a secret. There will probably be a change of the government very soon; in which case, if no explanation be sent, and you still remain on this island, I shall be unable to let you go, and be obliged to place you on the footing of your companion; therefore I warn you, that it will be better for you to be going now, and wait for him elsewhere. If you still wish to remain here you may; but mind, you are not to complain of me for what may possibly happen." I thanked the Governor for his confidence, but said that I should be better satisfied in being compelled to become a soldier, than in being chargeable with ingratitude towards my friend.
Having become acquainted with some of the people of the town, who are very fond of foreigners, they invited me to several of their parties, in one of which I was introduced to the commandant of the battalion, M. Henault. He was a man about fiveand-thirty years of age, and as he spoke a little Italian, he invited me to his house. After three or four visits I told him our story and desired him to have some consideration for my companion, by exempting him from attending drill more than once a day. The commandant, after venting many imprecations on the General, promised me that he would do all that lay in his power, and would immediately give orders for my friend to attend drill only once a day. One morning, having risen earlier than usual, on hearing a noise in the street, I dressed myself in haste, and going to the public square, saw a number of people looking towards the citadel, and on raising my eyes I beheld the tri-coloured flag waving in the wind. Some gentlemen, already apprised of the news, joyfully informed me that Napoleon was returned, and had delivered them from the yoke of the Bour
hens; "Now," added they," our isle will once more flourish and be gay.” They hurried me almost by force into the coffee-house; but I saw, to my sorrow, that this was the change predicted by the General. An hour after I was sent for by the Governor, who, looking stedfastly on me, said: "Did I not tell you there would be a change of the government? Read that." He put into my hands a letter from General Bonté, in which that officer declared that we were enlisted, and that we were merely private soldiers; that through compassion he had allowed us to travel apart from the battalion, but that we were to be treated as other conscripts, no regard being had to what we might allege. Much surprise was expressed that the governor should have thought the general disposed to give appointments to strangers. The reader may imagine the effect produced on me by this letter; I looked at the Governor without being able to utter a word. He said to me: "If you had gone away all would have been well; but now I must oblige you to serve: I am fully convinced of the truth of what you have told me; but these are critical times, and it is incumbent on me to do as I am ordered." I asked him to allow me a day for the purpose of placing in security all my own luggage and that of my friend. This the Governor granted me, and added: "I apprised you of all this." I bowed and came away without uttering another word. I went to call upon the commandant, and informed him that it was requisite for me to put on regimentals.
Next day, having placed in the care of a merchant all our luggage and money, I put on my worst suit of clothes, knowing, that according to usage it must become the perquisite of the storekeeper, whom I had seen appropriate a new suit belonging to my friend, when he assumed the military garb. I laughed at this officer's disappointment, and going to the barracks, hired a man to polish my arms, and desired the sergeant-major to enter me in the same company with my
As I had been sub-lieutenant in the National Guard at Rome, I had some notion of military duties, and was pretty well skilled in the manual exercise, having made it my particular study at a time of life when what we learn makes a lasting impression on the memory. When the drum beat at two o'clock, I put on my belts, shouldered my musket, and took my station in the ranks like an old soldier. The sergeant-major asked me if I had served, and I told him I had. On going to drill, they made me lay aside the musket, that I might practice the marching step; I performed it like a soldier who had seen ten years of service. The sergeant then ordered me to take up the musket, and put me through the manual exercise, in which I proved myself perfect. I was ordered to prime and load in twelve times-in four times-and at discretion; all this I performed with promptitude, exactness, and activity. While the sergeant was thus examining me the commandant happened to pass by; he stopt on seeing me manœuvre, and when I had done, enquired whether I had served. I replied in the affirmative; and taking from my pocket-book a brevet of Murat, King of Naples, I presented it, saying to him in Italian: "I never told you that I had been a soldier, because I thought it needless; but as I am now in a state to require your protection for the purpose of exempting me from drill, I request that favour if you think me tolerably well trained." The commandant, having read the