Page:Ninety-three.djvu/208

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204
NINETY-THREE.

He was one of those who do not believe in luck and he was lucky. He had found Gauvain again. He had left him a child, and found him a man; he found him great, terrible, fearless. He found him in the midst of triumph, and triumph for the people. Gauvain was the point of support to the Revolution in Vendée and it was he, Cimourdain, who had given this column to the Republic. This victorious man was his pupil. "What he saw radiating from this young form, destined perhaps for the Republican pantheon, was his own thoughts,—Cimourdain's ; his disciple, the child of his mind, was from this time forth a hero, and after a little would be a glory; it seemed to Cimourdain that he saw his own soul made into a genius; it was like Chiron seeing Achilles in battle. Mysterious relation between the priest and the centaur, for the priest is only a man to the waist.

All the dangers of this adventure, together with his sleeplessness after his wound, filled Cimourdain with a sort of mysterious intoxication. A young destiny was arising magnificently, and what added to his deep joy was the fact that he had full power over this life; another success like the one he had just seen, and Cimourdain would have to say but a word for the Republican to trust him with an army. Nothing dazzles like the astonishment at seeing everything succeed.

It was the time when each man had his own military dream, each wished to make a general: Danton wished to make a general of Westermann; Marat, of Rossignol; Hebert, of Ronsiu; Robespierre wanted to get rid of them all.

Why not Gauvain? said Cimourdain to himself; and he went on dreaming. The unbounded was before him; he passed from one hypothesis to another; all obstacles vanished; when one has once set his foot on this ladder he does not stop, it is an endless climb, one leaves man to reach the stars. A great general is only a chief of armies; a great captain is at the same time a chief of ideas; Cimourdain imagined Gauvain a great captain. It seemed to him, for dreams move swiftly, that he saw Gauvain on the ocean, repelling the English; on the Rhine, punishing the kings of the North; among the Pyrenees, repulsing the Spanish; in the Alps, making a signal for Rome to rise. There were in Cimourdain two men, a tender man and a