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His whole thoughts so far had been directed solely to his career as a soldier. He had hoped that some day he might win a colonelcy; more than that he had never thought of. High commands in France were matters of birth, interest, and connection. Gassion, who had just earned his marshal's baton, was the sole exception to the rule.

The forces of King Jerome and Prince Poniatowski remained in the rear. Desertion and fatigue were already decimating the soldiers. The King of Westphalia, placed under Marshal Davout's orders, had with difficulty accepted that secondary position. Difficulties having arisen, the prince returned towards Germany, and thus lessened the marshal's success at Mohilew.

Some were aware of the trick that had been played upon him: others were not; but the poor little man's credulity was so great, that it was impossible to undeceive him; and he went from house to house bewailing his fate, and followed by the complaisant marshal's officer.

His officers crowded round him and vowed to die in his defence. But resistance was out of the question; a strong body of Dutch cavalry came up; and the Brigadier who commanded them demanded the Marshal's sword. The Marshal uttered indignant exclamations: "This is an infamous breach of faith. Look at the terms of the capitulation. What have I done to deserve such an affront?

But I will show you a shift worth two of watching outside the door of the marshal's hotel for tidings of the maids. I will go where the marshal goes, and see all he sees. And then, when the time comes, why, I will rescue them single-handed and thereafter make up my mind which of them I shall marry, whether Sholto's sweetheart or the Fair Maid of Galloway herself."

We shall describe hereafter the meaning and object of these odious reports, which, joined with so many other fatal injuries, had filled up the measure of the marshal's indignation.

Like several other persons, I had a sad curiosity to see the marshal's body in this condition. It was frightful. The trunk, which had been covered by the solution, was greatly swollen; while on the contrary, the head, which had been left outside the bath, had shrunk remarkably, and the muscles of the face had contracted in the most hideous manner, the wide-open eyes starting out of their sockets.

Fortunately no one was hit by this fire, but the marshal's horse was killed, as was that of M. Duplessis and a number of others.

I have thirty thousand francs a year in the five per cents, and my landed property, which is entailed, brings me in forty thousand more. If, as I am led to suppose, Monsieur de Soulanges gets a marshal's baton, I am on the high-road with my title of Comte de Brambourg, to becoming general and peer of France. That will be the proper end of an aide-de-camp of the Dauphin."

None of the principals, few of the attendant vultures, had left Ascalon. The sheriff had returned from his excursion after cattle thieves, and, contrary to the expectation of anybody, had brought one lean and hungry, hound-faced man with him and locked him up in jail. But the sheriff was taking no part in the new city marshal's campaign in the town, certainly not to help him.