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25
NINETY-THREE

garb to his cabin, which was the captain's stateroom. Just as he was about to enter it, lowering his voice, he said to them,—

"You know, gentlemen, the important secret. Be silent till the moment the explosion occurs. You two are the only ones here who know my name."

"We will carry it to the grave," replied Boisberthelot. "As for me," replied the old man, "if I were to die, I would not utter it."

And he entered his cabin.




CHAPTER III.

NOBLE AND PLEBEIAN IN ALLIANCE.

The commander and the second officer went up on deck again and began to talk together, walking side by side. They were evidently speaking about their passenger, and this is very nearly the conversation that the wind scattered in the darkness.

Boisberthelot muttered low in la Vieuville's ear,—

"We shall see if he is a leader."

La Vieuville replied: "At any rate, he is a prince."

"Almost."

"A nobleman in France, but a prince in Brittany."

"Like the la Trémoilles, and like the Rohans."

"To whom he is related."

Boisberthelot continued: "In France and in the king's coaches, he is a marquis, as I am a count and as you are a chevalier."

"The coaches are far off!" exclaimed la Vieuville. "We are more likely to ride in a tumbril."

A silence ensued.

Boisberthelot went on,—

"For want of a French prince, they take a Breton prince."

"For want of a thrush—no, for want of an eagle—they take a crow."

"I should prefer a vulture," said Boisberthelot.