Page:Yule Logs.djvu/130

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114
"A FRENCHMAN'S GRATITUDE"

got wind of the affair—I believe the lay-sister betrayed us—and while making off, we were attacked by four of his servants. I had just time to tell Beatrice to fly up the road, conceal herself, and await events, whilst I covered her retreat. Happily my assailants—probably acting on their master's orders—were so intent upon killing me, that they did not attempt to follow her. You, mon ami, came to my aid, and the fellows ran off, leaving one of their number with my sword through his heart. To get rid of you, I pretended the rascal was only wounded, and sent you off for assistance. The moment you had gone, I picked the dead body up, carried it a few yards, and threw it in a ditch. Then I rejoined Beatrice, and we hastened to the boat which was awaiting us. In the end we got safely to Cairo, and were married by my good uncle's chaplain. Through my uncle's influence, I was appointed an officer in the Vizier's service, and am now in high favour. Voila tout!"

· · · · · · ·

My story is finished. We were carried prisoners to Cairo, but, thanks to the influence of M. Drovetti, were allowed to take up our quarters with Eugene de Vignes and his charming wife; thus escaping the hardships and indignities which, as we afterwards learned, many of our fellow-prisoners suffered.

In due course we were exchanged, and rejoined our regiment. Many years have passed since then. My brother-in-law, Charles Holroyd, is a general and a K.C.B.; I have long ago left the army, and settled down to a country life; but we still retain a vivid recollection of the "Disaster of El Hamet," and tell our children the story of "a Frenchman's Gratitude."