Page:Memoirs of Vidocq, Volume 1.djvu/38

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15
MEMOIRS OF VIDOCQ.

is there?" cried a hoarse voice. "Father Godard with his pack," answered my guide; and the door immediately opening, we found ourselves in the midst of a crowd of pedlars, tinkers, quack-doctors, umbrella-venders, showmen, &c. who hailed my new master, and ordered a plate to be brought for him. I thought they would do me equal honor, and I was about to seat myself at table, when the host, striking me familiarly on the shoulder, asked me if I was not the mountebank of father Godard. "Who do you call a mountebank?" said I with astonishment. "The merry-andrew, then." I confess that, despite of the recent reminiscences of the menagerie, and the Theatre of Amusing Varieties, I felt mortified at such an appellation. But I had a devil of an appetite, and as I thought that supper would follow the interrogatory, and that, after all, my situation with father Godard had not been accurately defined, I consented to pass for his mountebank. On my answering, the host led me at once to a neighbouring spot, a sort of barn, where a dozen of fellows were smoking, drinking, and playing at cards. He said that they would send me in something to eat. Soon afterwards, a stout wench brought me in a mess in a wooden bowl, on which I feed with the utmost avidity. A loin of mutton was swimming in a sea of pot liquor with stringy turnips: I cleared the whole up in a twinkling. This done, I laid myself down with the other packmen's valets, on some piles of straw, which we shared with a camel, two muzzled bears, and a crowd of learned dogs. The vicinity of such bed-fellows was not the most pleasing; but it was necessary to put up with it. I did not close my eyes, whilst all the others snored away most gloriously.

Father Godard paid for all, and however bad were the beds and the fare, as we drew near Arras, it was necessary that I should not quit him. At length we reached Lille, which we entered on a market day. By way of losing no time, father Godard went straight to the principal square, and desired me to arrange his table,