THE GENERAL'S CLOAK.
It was indeed a question of duty.
Duty rose forbidding, before Cimourdain; terrible before Gauvain.
Plain, before one; complex, varied, tortuous, before the other.
The hour of midnight struck, then one o'clock in the morning.
Without being aware of it, Gauvain had imperceptibly approached the entrance of the breach.
The fire now only threw a diffused reflection and was dying out.
The plateau, on the other side of the tower, was lighted with the reflection, and became visible occasionally, and then was eclipsed as the smoke covered the fire. This blaze, flaring up suddenly and then cut off by sudden darkness, robbed objects of their proportions, and gave the sentinels in the camp the appearance of ghosts. Gauvain, as he meditated, vaguely watched the flames and smoke come and go. This appearance and disappearance of light before his eyes was strangely analogous to the appearance and disappearance of truth in his mind.
Suddenly, between two clouds of smoke, a flame from the dying bed of coals vividly lighted up the top of the plateau and brought out the crimson form of a wagon. Gauvain looked at this wagon; it was surrounded by horsemen wearing military caps. It seemed to him that it was the wagon which Guéchamp's spyglass had brought into sight on the horizon, some hours before, just as the sun was setting. Some men were on the wagon, and seemed busy unloading it. What they were taking from the wagon seemed heavy, and occasionaiiy gave out a