Page:Ninety-three.djvu/217

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213
NINETY-THREE.

everywhere fixed on them, was the fact that these two men, so absolutely opposed to each other, were, at the same time closely united. These two antagonists were two friends. Never were two hearts bound together by a deeper and more profound sympathy; the cruel one had saved the life of the merciful one, and his face bore a scar in consequence. These two were the incarnation, one of death, the other of life; one was the principle of terror; the other the principle of peace; and they loved each other. Strange problem Let one imagine Orestes compassionate, and Pylades merciless. Let one imagine Ahriman the brother of Ormuzd.

Let us add that the one called "cruel" was at the same time the most brotherly of men; he dressed the wounded, cared for the sick, spent his days and nights in the hospitals, was affected at the sight of barefooted children, had nothing of his own, gave all to the poor. When there was fighting, he was in the midst of it: he marched at the head of the columns, and in the thickest of the battle, armed, for he had a sabre and two pistols in his belt, and unarmed, for he had never been seen to draw his sabre or touch his pistols. He faced the shots, and gave none in return. They said he had been a priest.

One of these men was Gauvain, the other was Cimourdain.

There was friendship between these two men, but hatred between the two principles; it was like one soul cut in two, and divided; Gauvain really had received a half of Cimourdain's soul, but the gentle half. It seemed as if Gauvain had received the white rays, and Cimourdain had kept for himself what might be called the black rays. This caused an intimate discord. It was impossible for this secret war not to burst forth. One morning the battle began.

Cimourdain said to Gauvain,—

"Where are we ?"

Gauvain replied,—

"You know as well as I do. I have scattered Lantenac's bands. He has only a few men with him. He is driven back into the forest of Fougères. In a week he will be surrounded."

"And in two weeks?"

"He will be captured."