Page:Ninety-three.djvu/16

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12
NINETY-THREE.

She still looked at him, evidently without understanding.

The sergeant asked once more: "What is your country? "

"I do not know," she said.

"What, you don't know your own country."

"Ah! my country, yes, indeed."

"Well, what is your country?"

The woman answered: " It is the farm of Siscoignard, in the parish of Azé."

It was the sergeant's turn to be amazed. He remained lost in thought for a moment, then replied,—

"What did you say?"

"Siscoignard."

"But that is not a country."

"It is my country."

And, after a moment of reflection, the woman added,—"I understand, sir. You are from France. I am from Brittany."

"Well?"

"It is not the same country."

"But it is the same fatherland!" exclaimed the sergeant.

The woman merely replied,—

"I am from Siscoignard!"

"Have it Siscoignard, then," replied the sergeant.

"Does your family belong there?"

"Yes."

"What do they do?"

"They are all dead. I have no relatives now."

The sergeant, who was clever with his tongue, continued to question her.

"People have parents, you devil, or have had them! Who are you? Speak!"

The woman heard in amazement this ou on en a eu, which sounded more like the cry of a wild-beast than human speech.

The vivandière felt the need of coming to her aid. She renewed her caresses to the nursing child, and patted the cheeks of the other two.

"What do you call the baby? " she asked; "I see it is a girl,"

The mother answered: "Georgette."