"Death doesn't concern me. He who takes his first step may be wearing his last shoes."
"You are a brave man."
"And if I am asked the name of monseigneur?"
"It must not be known yet. Say that you do not know it and that will be the truth."
"Where shall I see monseigneur again?"
"Where I shall be."
"How shall I know it?"
"Because everybody will know it. Before the end of a week, I shall be talked about. I shall make examples; I shall avenge the king and religion, and you will know that it is I of whom they are talking."
"Have no fear."
"Start now. God be with you. Go."
"I will do all that you have told me. I will go. I will speak the word. I will obey. I will command."
"And if I succeed—"
"I will make you chevalier de Saint-Louis."
"Like my brother; and if do not succeed, you will have me shot?"
"Like your brother."
The old man bowed his head and seemed lost in deep reverie. When he raised his eyes, he was alone. Halmalo was only a black speck on the horizon.
The sun had just set. The gulls and the hooded seamews were flocking in from the sea outside.
That sort of restlessness just before night was felt in the air; the tree-frogs croaked, the kingfishers flew up whistling from the pools of water, the gulls, the rooks, the carabins, made their evening commotion; the birds on the shore called to each other; but not a human sound. It was a profound solitude. Not a sail in the bay, not a peasant on the land. As far as the eye could reach, a desert expanse. The great sand-thistles rustled. The white sky of twilight cast a broad pale gleam over the beach. The ponds in the distance, scattered over the dark plain, looked like sheets of pewter spread out on the ground. The wind blew from the sea.