Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/144

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96
THE CEVENNES

hunchback named Pannard, who endeavoured to get into conversation with him and learn where he intended to pass the night on his way home to Pradelles. He curtly informed him that he would sleep at the house of a friend at Mayres.

Hugon was on his way home when he was passed by Pannard riding a mountain pony, and going the same way as himself. In fact, the hunchback was on the road to Peyrabeille to announce to the Martins that some good game was coming to their net. After sleeping at Mayres, Hugon pursued his journey on the following morning, and halted at the inn of the Martins to breakfast, but saw none there save the women. When about to leave, Marie Martin strongly advised him to take a short cut which she pointed out, and which would save him over a mile. Without suspicion he followed her directions, and had gone some way, when out of the bushes leaped Pierre Martin and Jean Rochette, armed with picks; and the former with his weapon dealt a blow at Hugon that cut his head open and wounded his back, but happily failed to stun him or split his skull. The farmer at once whirled his cudgel and struck Martin under the knee with such force as to bring him to the ground. Rochette, who was behind, yelled to his master, "Strike on! strike on!" But Pierre was unable to rise for a moment, and Hugon took to his heels and ran before Jean could deal him another blow. Pierre got up now, and he and Rochette pursued the farmer, who fled and did not draw breath till he reached the high road on which were passengers, and where he felt himself safe. He also breathed not a word of his adventure and escape till the Martins were under lock and key. Not long after this Pannard was arrested on a