"I wish now that I hadn't shown it to him," said the commandant of Fort Pero d'Anhaya, the district judge, the chief of the public works, the receiver of taxes, the collector of revenues, the postmaster, the poor exile prematurely aged by the African sun, the sorry "hero on the outposts of civilization."
To his extreme disgust, he learned that Denonville had sent a Canadian officer by secret paths to Fort Frontenac, with orders to Valrenne, the commandant, to blow it up, and return with his garrison to Montreal. Frontenac had built the fort, had given it his own name, and had cherished it with a paternal fondness, reinforced by strong hopes of making money out of it.
In spite of the powerful political influence which the Cuban seemed to wield, his departure had been fraught with suspicion. The Military Governor, a gigantic coal-black negro, had at first refused to grant permission for Polliovo to visit the Citadel; the Commandant of Marines had given him a warning which was almost an ultimatum.
She did not fly into a rage and did not say a word, but she looked at her tormentor with latent hatred in her dark eyes. They sat down to dinner. The commandant seemed delighted; he made Pamela sit on his right, and Blondina on his left, and said, as he unfolded his table napkin: "That was a delightful idea of yours, captain."
It may have been unconscious, but we preferred to believe that the commandant had chuckled as he dictated it. A sort of afterthought, as much as to say to his pilots, "Well, you young bucks, you would-be airmen: thought it would be all sport, eh? You might have known. It's your own fault. Now go out and attack those balloons.
If there is a fellow in laager who is not amenable to orders, one of those malcontents who desires to have everything his own way and there generally is one of these cherubs in every large gathering of men all the world over the commandant first calls him up and warns him that he is making himself a pest to the whole commando, and exhorts him to mend his manners.
An Italian deserter from the other side brought the news. The two generals were unwounded, I hope?" "Yes, colonel, and our losses were altogether slight." The commandant opened the despatch. He looked a little surprised at its contents. "So you are going to endeavour to pass a message into the citadel. It is a difficult undertaking. The enemy's watch is a very vigilant one.
The commandant and his officers laughed among themselves at that inoffensive courage, and as the people in the whole country round showed themselves obliging and compliant towards them, they willingly tolerated their silent patriotism. Only little Baron Wilhelm would have liked to have forced them to ring the bells.
One concession, however, the vrouw had won from the commandant, who, knowing what was about to happen to me, had not, I suppose, the heart to refuse. It was that my wife and she might visit me and give me food on the stipulation that they both left the house where I was confined by ten o'clock that night.
At eight o'clock A.M. they were still going on, the mob seeming to be animated by the spirit of Trestaillons, for while the soldiers were occupied in a distant quarter of the town a score of men broke into the house of a certain Scipion Chabrier, who had remained hidden from his enemies for a long time, but who had lately returned home on the strength of the proclamations published by General Lagarde when he assumed the position of commandant of the town.