Page:Ninety-three.djvu/17

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13
NINETY-THREE

"And the oldest? he is a man, the scamp."

"René-Jean."

"And the younger one? He is a man, too, and a chubby-faced fellow besides."

"Gros-Alain," said the mother.

"They are pretty little things," said the vivandière; you seem to be somebody."

Meanwhile, the sergeant persisted in talking.

"Tell me, madame. Have you a house?"

"I had one."

"Where was it?"

"At Azé."

"Why are you not in your house?"

"Because it is burned."

"Who burned it?"

"I don't know. There was a battle."

"Where did you come from?"

"From there."

"Where are you going?"

"I don't know."

"Come to the point. Who are you?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know who you are?"

"We are people who have escaped."

"To what party do you belong?"

"I don't know."

"Do you belong to the Blues? Do you belong to the Whites? Whom are you with?"

"I am with my children."

Here was a pause. The vivandière said,—

"I never had any children. I didn't have time."

The sergeant began again,—

"But your parents. Come, madame, tell us about your parents. My name is Radoub; I am a sergeant, I belong in rue du Gherche-Midi; my father and mother belonged there, too. I can tell you about my parents. Tell us about yours. Tell us who your parents were."

"They were the Fléchards."

"Yes; the Fléchards are the Fléchards, as the Radoubs are the Radoubs. But people have some occupation. What was the occupation of your parents? What did they do? What did they make? What did they fledge these Fledghards of yours?"