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Great was the surprise of everybody at the chateau when, soon after these interviews, Monsieur de Beaujardin gave orders that horses should be got ready by daybreak on the following morning, as he was about to make a journey.

Fortunately they were alone, as the baroness had again gone over to Beaujardin that morning, and many a plan was discussed and abandoned by turns as their vague hopes of finding some way out of the difficulty alternated with the fears to which Isidore's account of the interview with his father, of the warning received in Paris, and of the meeting with old Perigord, could not but give rise.

But the marquis was prepared to pay almost any sum for the accomplishment of his object, and with the help of Jean Perigord the innkeeper he at last prevailed on a certain Maitre Duboscq to undertake the task, and endeavour at least to land the marquis as near Quebec as possible. This being settled, M. de Beaujardin proceeded home to take leave of his wife and inform her of his purpose.

She might have doubted even her own ability to detach the marquis from the enemy's ranks but for one little circumstance, which was this. On hearing Isidore's account of the scene at the Chateau de Beaujardin, and the incident of the charred scrap of paper, Clotilde had gone and examined the stove in the apartment occupied by Isidore during his recent visit.

"He has become much too grand a personage at court to care about such insignificant creatures as you or I. Why, I am told he is quite the right-hand man of the king's minister, and that he is likely enough some day to rise to be one of the first officers of state; but then he has no money, and as I have not a farthing, perhaps it is no wonder that mamma is in such terrible fear of our meeting, even for one evening, at Beaujardin."

"It is useless," said she; "nay, I will go further," she continued with a sigh, "I am afraid that there is more beneath this letter than we can fathom. It is not what my mother would write if this were all she meant. I will take Marguerite's place and go to Beaujardin." "You!" exclaimed Isidore and Marguerite in a breath. "What will be the good of that?"

One of them is Boulanger, and in the man now seated beside him, notwithstanding his mean attire and his careworn look, the honest woodman had been at no loss to recognise his visitor of the previous autumn, Isidore de Beaujardin.

"Sir," said he, "His Majesty has done me the honour to issue a lettre de cachet against me, and not for all the world would I place such a friend as you have been in a false position, by asking at your hands what, as the king's lieutenant here, you have scarcely a right to accord to me." "I accept the reason, and I honour you for it, de Beaujardin," said Montcalm, grasping his hand.

With your permission I will relieve you of my presence, and will desire Jasmin to order our horses that I may return at once to Beaujardin." Without giving Madame de Valricour time for any further comment, Isidore then bowed to her and withdrew.

That was the question. Jasmin bowed, and answered with some common-place remark, expressing his obligations to madame for her good opinion. "Monsieur de Beaujardin gives handsome wages, no doubt," was her next remark, "and you would not care to leave his service, I suppose?"