Page:Memoirs of Vidocq, Volume 1.djvu/31

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8

MEMOIRS OF VIDOCQ.

only echoes in the sea-ports. I endeavoured to rise, and my hand touched a heap of cordage against which I was leaning. Did I dream, then, or had I dreamt the previous evening? I felt about, I got up, and when on my feet I found that I did not dream, and what was worse, that I was not one of the small number of those personages whom fortune favours whilst sleeping. I was half naked, and except two crowns and six livres, which I found in one of my breeches pockets, I was pennyless. It was then but too clear to me, as the broker had said, "my business had soon been done." I was greatly enraged, but what did that avail me? I was even unable to point out the spot where I had been thus plundered. I made up my mind and returned to the inn, where I had some clothes which remedied the deficiencies of my attire. I had no occasion to tell my misfortune to the landlord. "Ah, ah!" said he to me, as far off as he could see me, "here comes another. Do you know, young man, that you have got off well? You return with all your limbs, which is lucky when one gets into such a hornet's nest; you now know what a land shark is; they were certainly beautiful syrens! All pirates are not on the sea, you observe, nor all the sharks within it; I will wager that they have not left you a farthing." I drew my two crowns from my pocket to show them to the inn-keeper. "That will be," said he, "just enough to pay your bill," which he then presented. I paid it and took leave of him, without however quitting the city.

Assuredly, my voyage to America was deferred till the Greek calends, and the old continent was to be my lot; I was about to be reduced to the level of the lowest degrees of degraded civilization, and my future lot was the more uncertain and disquieting, as I had no present resources. At home I never wanted bread; and this inspired regret for my paternal roof; the oven, said I to myself, was always heated for me as well as for others. After these regrets, I ran over mentally