Page:Ninety-three.djvu/20

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16
NINETY-THREE.

"Silence in the ranks," cried the sergeant.

"We'll be silent, sergeant," continued the grenadier, "but that won't prevent its being a pity for a pretty woman like that to run the risk of having her neck broken for the handsome eyes of a priest."

"Grenadier," said the sergeant, "we are not in the Club des Piques at Paris. None of your eloquence."

And he turned towards the woman.

"And your husband, madame? What is he doing? What has he become?"

"He hasn't become anything, because he has been killed."

"Where?"

"In the hedge."

"When?"

"Three days ago."

"Who killed him?"

"I don't know."

"What, you don't know who killed your husband?"

"No."

"Was it a Blue? Was it a White?"

"It was a bullet."

"And three days ago?"

"Yes."

"From which direction?"

"From Ernée. My husband fell. There!"

"And since your husband is dead, what are you going to do?"

"I am carrying away my children."

"Where are you carrying them?"

"Straight ahead."

"Where do you sleep?"

"On the ground."

"What do you get to eat?"

"Nothing."

The sergeant made up the military face of touching his nose with his moustache.

"Nothing."

"That is to say wild plums, mulberries in the brambles, if there are any left from last year, myrtle seeds, fern shoots."

"Yes. As much as to say nothing."