He had let Gauvain begin the siege on the opposite side. La Tourgue had its savage side, the tower, and its civilized side, the library. Cimourdain had allowed Gauvain to make a breach only on the savage side.
Moreover, this old dwelling, attacked by a Gauvain, defended by a Gauvain, was returning, in the midst of the French Revolution, to its feudal customs. Wars between relatives make up the entire history of the Middle Ages; the Eteocles and Polynices are Gothic as well as Greek, and Hamlet does at Elsinore what Orestes did in Argos.
A SCHEME FOR ESCAPE.
The whole night was spent on both sides in making preparations.
As soon as the ominous conference just heard, was ended, Gauvain's first care was to call his lieutenant.
Guéchamp, whom it is necessary to know somewhat, was a man of secondary abilities, honest, fearless, ordinary, a better soldier than leader, strictly intelligent to the point where it was his duty to understand no further, never compassionate, inaccessible to corruption of any sort, to venality which corrupts conscience, as well as to pity which corrupts justice. Over his soul and his heart he had these two shades, discipline and order, as a horse has blinders over his two eyes, and he walked straight before him in the space which they left free to him. His gait was unswerving, but his path was narrow.
Moreover, he was a man to be depended upon; stern in command, unflinching in obedience.
Gauvain immediately addressed Guéchamp,—
"Guéchamp, a ladder."
"Commandant, we have none."
"We must have one."
"No, for rescue."
Guéchamp reflected and replied,—