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risk my men's skin as well as my own. bound the thief, and threw him like a log You will not, therefore, be surprised, if the at the foot of a tree. affair fails through any fault of yours, that “A mere measure of precaution, mon my. first ball will be for you."
garçon," whispered Vasseur; "it is for As long as they kept the road to Meri- your interest. If this coup does not turn ville, the track that led to the great forest, out well, your comrades will never suspect the hussars and gendarmes were able to the man they find here tied round like a ride two and two, in spite of the dim star- sausage.” light; but Vasseur allowed no“éclaireurs," Two winding paths led down to the for fear of giving a premature alarm. As abyss. At the opposite side of the gorge to his own troop being surprised he felt no were thick trees, and not the shadow even fear. Arrived at the thicker part of the of a rabbit run. forest, each horseman dismounted, and with “A regular mouse-trap," whispered Vas. left hand on his pistol, and musketoon slung seur to the brigadier. “ The fools have on his back, led his horse through the un- forgotten to guard the heights, but for that derwood the best r y he could. After they could have carbonadoed us. Take about a hundred yaras the path began to half the men and wheel to the right. I'll grow rocky, and to ascend, with trees and move on the left, and then fall together on thickets here and there, and precipices these rascals. No fire-arms. The sabre opening on either side. Vasseur went first, only. Leave up here six steady men, with holding Le Borgne de Jouy with an iron muskets ready for the fugitives.” grip under the left arm. After a quarter of He then sent on his hussars; when he an hour of this dangerous climb, Le Borgne judged they had reached the required de Jouy pointed out a path, and said, in a point, he dashed on at a gallop, followed low voice :
by his gendarmes. In a moment they “Regardez ! there is the Devil's Leap." were on them.
Le Bean François, recogThe road that showed by the pale star- nisable at once by his great height, was light was narrow, steep, and suspended first on his feet, pistol in either hand. The between two yawning precipices. The ready finger was on the triggers, when he stumble of a horse, a cry of pain, a whistle heard the gallop of the hussars. Seeing at of treason, and all would perish. Two or once that they were surrounded, he threw three determined men well posted there away his arms, crying, “I surrender.” Le could have kept all the hosts of Charle- Gros Normand had already covered a gen. magne at bay. Vasseur, at a glance, com- darme, when Le Beau François cried, " Pa prehended the situation. He returned to de betises !” and kicked him and the musket the brigadier of hussars, who followed his into the fire. In a moment the gendarmes steps, and said:
and hussars had their hands on the rascals' “ One by one every man and every throats and cords round their hands. The horse follow where I tread. If the chaf- whole covey was caught at the one drag feurs attack let every man make his horse of the net. Day by day strings of sham lie down, and throw himself on the ground.” beggars, sham pedlars, deserters, and
The road luckily soon became sandy ; jugglers were hurried to the prisons of the horses' hoofs could not be heard. In Chartres. A celebrated receiver named ten minutes Le Sant du Diable was passed, Mongendre and his son were captured in and not a horse had slipped. The path a hut in the very heart of the forest of now widened into a narrow plateau, com- Orléans by six determined gendarmes, who manding a gorge that seemed fathomless. had disguised themselves as wood-cutters. A hundred feet below, a little to the left, Bit by bit, crime after crime of these asLe Borgne de Jouy pointed to a faint red sassins, who had for so many years devasglare. It was the chauffeurs' camp, and tated central France, came to the light. It Vasseur could have thrown a stone down was discovered that the chauffeurs formed into the bivouac fire. By the dim light a secret brotherhood, and that any disVasseur's eyes sparkled to see a great num- closure of their plans was usually followed ber of men stretched out with their feet by the murder of the informer. On one towards the fire.
occasion a boy-thief, Le Petit Garçon " Eh bien,” said Le Borgne de Jouy, a’Etrechy, had been beaten to death for “ have I kept my word ?”
imprudently talking of a robbery.
Le That moment Vasseur's hand closed Beau François sentenced him to death, and upon the spy's mouth, while at a pre- as he was dying, Sans Pouce trampled on arranged signal two men garotted and his head with his huge iron-shod sabots.
The body was not even buried. In 1791, Elouis, the reviver of chauffage, Le Gros Charles de Paris, Vincent le Tonnelier, and Beauceron, one of theassassins at Millouard, Beauceron le Blouse, bludgeoned to death the sanguinary Quatre Sous, and Léjeune, a comrade for having helped an innkeeper the brigands' curé, had already perished against the gang: Franche Montagne, either by fever or the guillotine. The about the same time, was burnt to death twenty-three condemned members of the for some petty reason, and his ears cut Orgères band perished with brutal courage off and nailed to an adjoining tree, as a on a scaffold in the market-place of Charwarning to his brothers. La Belle Nanette tres. had a narrow escape, and La Dubarry, The stragglers of the Orgères band another lady of the gang, was nearly joined the Vendéans, or escaped to the beaten to death for threatening, in à Lyonnais, Ardeches, or the Cevennes. Three moment of passion, to denounce the savage were shot in attacking a diligence filled Sans Pouce as a deserter. It was also with disguised gendarmes, and four more found that Bean François, Sans Pouce, condemned to death at Bourg. On the Beor, Marabon, and Charles de Paris, had day of the execution to se four ruffians, in been aided by two servants in a robbery some way or other getting rid of their at Levés, in May, 1795, when the farmer irons, and obtaining cutlasses, defied the and his wife were strangled and robbed. gendarmes. Two of the wretches were Twenty-seven days Vasseur scoured the shot dead, and two who were wounded dangerous country, without taking off his were led bleeding to death, and shouted clothes or laying down his sword. Every blasphemies and ça ira till the axe fell. day he effected some fresh captures. In On the return of Napoleon from Egypt the three prisons of Chartres there were in October, 1799, Fouché, who was then crowded nearly seven hundred chauffeurs, head of the police, crushed the last cubs till dysentery broke out and thinned the of the wolf's brood. In forty-seven deblack ranks. While awaiting his trial, Le partments three hundred brigands were Beau François escaped from the infirmary, arrested, and a great number destroyed. into which he had got by shamming a In the Deux Sevres ten armed brigands fever. A sick man escaped with him, but were guillotined. The leader of these was was recaptured the next day, half dead, Le Grand Gars. The most ferocious of his under a tree. A quarter of an hour after acolytes was one Girodet. This Girodet, his escape, Le Bean François robbed a whom we leave under a wayside tree with poor gardener of Chartres of three crowns his skull cloven and his brutal face looking twenty sous, and some bread.
ferocious even in death, was our old friend Nearly two years after their first arrest of Orgères, the chauffeur captain, Le Beau the chauffeurs were solemnly tried at François. Chartres, one hundred and ninety - four witnesses being examined, the chauffeurs loudly protesting against any mere igno
CASTAWAY. rant labourers being retained on the jury, BY THE AUTHOR OF "BLACK SHEEP," "WRECKED IN and demanding lawyers and educated men.
BOOK III. Twenty of the men, and three of the miserable women, were condemned to CHAPTER XI. QUO FATA DUCUNT. death. When the sentence was pro
The first bell had rung, and the huge nounced, the chauffeurs seeing a movement locomotive, just filled, was leisurely backing among the gendarmes, imagined they from the water-tank towards the train to were to be instantly shot where they sat, which it was to be coupled, as Philip Vane and leaping up in frenzy they tried to entered the Springside station. He found break through the bayonets, but were soon his knees trembling under him as he alighted overpowered. Le Borgne de Mans, Rouge from the fly which had picked him up on d'Auneau, Chat Gauthier, Sans Pouce, and the Wheatcroft road, and felt that he Le Gros Normand were among these dregs. should require all the nerve at his comThe
spy of Vasseur, Germain Bouscant, mand to face the blaze of light and the alias Le Borgne de Jouy, was condemned bustling crowd spread over the platform. to twenty-four years in irons. Hosts of He had his return-ticket in his pocket, so others were sentenced to various terms in that there was no occasion for him to enter the galleys, where they spent the rest of the booking-office; but on his arrival he their miserable lives. The old man, Père had left his travelling-coat and rugs in the
PORT,” &c. &c.
cloak-room, and he deliberated for an in- pulling his travelling-cap over his eyes, stant whether it would not be better to tried to compose himself to sleep. leave them there, rather than undergo the Throughout that journey, however, there scrutiny of the porter. Suddenly, how was no sleep for Philip Vane. The whirlover, it flashed upon him that he could not ing of the wheels beat into his brain, the recal the contents of his coat-pockets, and scream of the engine sent his heart leaping that there might be therein some card or in his breast, the
light from the small stamemorandum, some envelope of a letter, tions flashing through the windows as the which might lead to its recognition as his train dashed by them, startled him so, that property, and be brought in as testimony he clutched the elbows of the seat convul. of the fact that he had been in Springside sively, and leaned eagerly forward, in his on that fearful night. He must fetch them endeavour to trace any sign of the diminu. at all risks; and his brandy-flask, which he tion of their speed. No, onward and still had emptied in the fly, must be refilled at onward they went. He remembered having the refreshment-stand.
ascertained that they only halted once-at The cloak-room, he was glad to find, was Swindon-on the entire journey; but what at the other end of the platform, away from if the discovery bad been made? What the bustle and the glare. He went there, if Madge had denounced him as the asand found it occupied by two men: one a sailant? Would not the news be flashed clerk, seated at a high desk at the far end, along the line, and the train be stopped at entering in a huge ledger the names of the some intermediate station in order that he articles which the other man, a porter, might be arrested? Arrested! Let him called out as he sorted them away. The fancy himself in that position, and think clerk was working under a shaded lamp, calmly through the case in all its bearings, and in comparative darkness ; but two in order to decide what course he should flaming gas-jets lighted the other portion pursue. of the room, one of them immediately When the old man recovered from his above the large, square, open window at fit he would be able to describe the details which Philip Vane stood, and handed in of the assault made upon him, and to dehis ticket.
clare by whom and for what reason he had “Coat and rug, sir?” said the man, in been attacked. Then would come out the his broad Somersetshire accent. “There story of the forgery, and then— Philip you are, sir.” And he placed the articles on Vane trembled from head to foot, as he the broad ledge before him. “Beg your thought of the punishment which the dispardon, sir,” he added, pointing down to covery of his commission of that crime Philip's hand, outstretched to take them, would inevitably bring upon him. Before “cut your knuckles, I think, sir ?”
his mental vision at that moment rose the Philip glanced down at his hand, and figure of his wife, and he ground his heel saw that the back was stained and rough upon the carriage floor and cursed aloud. with blood; he was fully alive to the It was to her he owed all his ill-luck in danger of showing the smallest sign of life.. If he had not married her he would trepidation at that moment, so holding his have been free to marry Mrs. Bendixen, hand towards the gaslight, he examined it and Delabole would have had no power to coolly, and said, in as careless a tone as he compel him to commit the forgery; if he could assume,“ So I have; I could not get had not married her there would have been down the fly window just now, so broke it no reason for him to undertake that journey with my fist; but I had no idea my hand was to Springside, and he would not have been cut."
brought into collision with that old man, “ Bad thing them splinters of glass whom he had been compelled in self-defence under flesh, sir," said the porter; “better to strike. He had struck the old man, and let me wipe it for you with this damp the blood was still upon his hand. He cloth.”
moistened his handkerchief, and as he en“No, thanks,” said Philip; “there is deavoured to rub off the dull red mark, the second bell ringing, and I am off by there rose, even in his hardened heart, a this train-much obliged.” And with a feeling of shame at having struck one so friendly nod to the porter, he took up his old and evidently so ill. “I could not help coat and rug and hurried away. The it,” he muttered between his teeth, “he whee were just beginning to move as he held me like a vice. A man with all that jumped into an empty first-class carriage, strength left in him won't take long in reand, wrapping himself in his rugs and covering. It was a mercy that he fainted,
and so set me free. Call in the aid of all,” replied the man. Egg-shells and the police; a forger and a scoundrel, eh ? cards seem about the materials which comThat meant Irving's business, plainly. mercial houses are made of now-a-days, But how did he learn that? Asprey's let alone companies limited, which are orders, as to the old man's letters and a pleasant combination of cobwebs and telegrams being kept back, must have feathers. Two more suspensions announced been disobeyed. Who could have done this morning in the papers, sir. Consols that? My charming wife again, I firmly fell three-quarters, and a general feeling of believe. What could she be doing in that uneasiness prevalent. That'll touch us at house? I noticed she had no bonnet on, Manchester, that will. Know anything of and seemed quite at home. If she had Manchester, sir ?” anything to do with it, this infernal ill-luck Philip Vane answered shortly that he would be fully accounted for. One week knew nothing of Manchester, and the more would have done it: would have seen commercial gentleman, thus snubbed, beme married and rich, and well out of the took himself once more to his newspaper, reach of the police with whom the old man and when he had sucked it completely dry threatened me, and whom he will certainly of all commercial information, he drew set on my track so soon as he recovers. forth a fat black-leather pocket-book, by What's this? slackening speed now, without making entries in which, and reading over a doubt!” And he rose to his feet and peered the entries already made, he beguiled the anxiously out of the window, as the train time until the end of the journey. Meanran from the outer darkness in amongst while, Philip Vane had again settled himblocks of stationary carriages, past solitary self into his corner, and was deep in conengines with the outlines of the stokers templation. The recurrence of the panic standing black and weird against the glow in the City, of which he had just heard, ing fires, and finally came to a standstill was another item against him. He had alongside the platform at Swindon. a vague idea of borrowing money from
Philip Vane started as the door was an- Delabole on the strength of his approachlocked and thrown open, but the porter ing marriage, and escaping with it to Spain only made the customary announcement or some other place little infested by of the ten minutes' wait, and passed on. Britons, where he could lie perdu until he Vane looked round, observing but few had a chance of making his way to South passengers, who, for the most part, were America. There might be some difficulty hurrying to the refreshment-room. He in this now, for in this panic Delabole followed them, drank two small glasses of might be hard hit, even though he saw brandy at the counter, and had his flask from the newspaper, which he picked up filled again. Then he returned to the car and glanced through, that Terra del Fuegos riage. As he was entering he felt him. remained at the price at which he had left self touched on the shoulder, and, turning them. round, found at his elbow a guard, who As they sped on, innumerable projects demanded his ticket. They would not stop arose in Philip Vane's mind, were thought until they reached Paddington, the guard over, put aside for further cogitation, or said, and the gentleman would not be dis- summarily dismissed : prominent among all turbed again.
the others came the idea that even when he Another passenger was seated in the was denounced as a forger, and when the compartment, a middle-aged man, with fact of his former marriage was blazed a seal-skin cap and a fur rug. He had abroad--two things certain to happen within already hooked a reading-lamp into the the next few days, perhaps within the next lining of the carriage behind him, and was few hours — even then Mrs. Bendixen deep in the folds of an evening paper. So might not desert him. She could not intent was he in his occupation, that he be his wife, it is true, but she loved him merely looked up for an instant as Philip passionately, with a warmth and devotion entered, but shortly after the train had unknown to paler, colder natures, with a started he dropped the paper on to his knees hangry fervour which might prompt her and emitted a long whistle.
to forgive the deception he had practised “Do you take
any interest in the City, on her, and to fly with him to some place sir ?” he asked, looking across at his com- where they could live together beyond the panion.
reach of any of their former acquaintances. “No-why ?” was the curt reply. Or-for the brandy which Philip Vane had “ Because they are going it there, that's | swallowed bad but had the effect of clear
ing his brain and steadying his nerve, and membered. It is comparatively early, not he calculated his chances with as much cool- yet eleven o'clock, and being a bright night ness and judgment as though another's fate the streets are filled with people returning and not his own were trembling in the from the more sober entertainments, or the balance-or supposing that Mrs. Bendixen votaries of Saint Monday, who have been in the contest between her position and her keeping their accustomed holiday. When nature were to give way to the former, she these latter gather together in little chatwould still have her money, money over tering knots, as they do at almost every which certain letters addressed by her to street corner where there is a public-house, him, and carefully retained, would give him Philip Vane looks out of the cab window considerable control.
at them, wondering what they are talking Yes, that was how it must be managed; about; whether perchance the news of the the game of respectability was played out, assault had already reached town, and the news of the forgery and of his intended whether he might be the subject of their bigamy would be promulgated at once, conversation. Some of the small shops, at and there was nothing left for him but once news-venders and tobacconists, which flight. He would have time enough after are still open, have the placard-bill of his arrival in town to get together his the contents of the evening papers exhimost valuable articles of property, and to bited at their doors, and Philip scans these start by an early train or boat to such desti- eagerly, but finds in them no cause for nation as he might fix upon without his fear. As he nears his home in the more flying visit to London being heard of, and aristocratic part of the town, he leaves all while his servants and people at the office the noise and bustle behind him, and when would imagine that he was still absent the cab stopped as directed at the corner on a business tour, on which he was known of the street, there was no one within sight. to have started. He would not see Dela Philip alighted, and taking his rugs in his bole, he would not see any one; the cause hand hurried to the Albany. He thought of his flight would soon be perfectly ap- it would be useless to attempt to shirk the parent, and his enemies might then do inspection of the gate-porter, but to his their worst. He had sufficient money to delight that functionary had temporarily take him to a place of safety, and then he yielded up his post to a deputy, who, unwould work the oracle with Mrs. Bendixen. excited by the novelty of his position, had Properly managed, his fate would not be dropped off to sleep, so that Philip passed such a hard one after all. But what a dif- by him and gained his chambers unobference one week, even'a few days, might served. As he opened the door with his have made! Had Asprey's calculations been latch-key, he recollected that he had given fulfilled ; had Sir Geoffry died at the time his servant a holiday, and he knew that the doctor predicted, the forgery would he was not likely to come across any one not have been discovered; Madge could else, for the men holding chambers in the have been brought to terms; and as Mrs. same block were all out of town, and their Bendixen's husband, he, Philip Vane, housekeepers were only visible in the early would have had wealth and position, which morning. were to him the only two things worth Now then to work. In the outer hall living for! As that bitterest thought of all were two or three trunks piled on each “ what might have been” crossed Philip other. He selected the largest of these, Vane's mind, he stamped his foot with and dragged it into the middle of the rage, thereby awaking the commercial gen- sitting-room ; then he paused, undecided as tleman, who, struggling into a sitting pos- to how he should commence his work of ture, and wiping the steam from the carriage selection. The rooms had been furnished window, muttered, “ London at last !” and by a fashionable upholsterer, who had been proceeded to pick up his newspaper and told to spare no expense, and, as is usual get his travelling-rugs together.
with such people, had rendered them very London! Now Philip Vane must have handsome and eminently uninhabitable : his wits about him, and be ready to carry wood of the finest grain, velvet of the into execution all that he has determined softest texture, gilding of the brightest on. The porter who bustles about to get sheen, were there in abundance, but could him a cab, eyes him, as he fancies, sus- not be taken away. They had cost much piciously, and he bids the cabman set him money and must be left behind. At one down somewhat short of his own house, time, he had a notion of dismantling the in order that the address may not be re- shelves of the clocks, and the china orna