Page:Memoirs of Vidocq, Volume 1.djvu/53

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vestre-Capelle, near Bailleul, where we quartered. Cæsar had been fencing-master in his own regiment, and my prowess with the advanced guard of Kinski's cuirassiers was well known. We resolved to teach the practice as well as the theory of fencing to the officers of the battalion, who were much pleased at such an arrangement. Our lessons produced us some money, but not enough for our wants, or if you please, the desires of men of our abilities. It was particularly in good living that we were found wanting. What increased our regrets and appetites was, that the mayor with whom we lodged (my comrade and I) kept an excellent table. We sought in vain the means of increasing our supplies; an old domineering servant, named Sixca always defeated our intentions, and disturbed our gastronomic plans. We were disheartened and starving.

At length Cæsar found out the secret of breaking the charm which kept us from the table of the municipal functionary. At his suggestion, the drum-major came one morning to beat the morning call under the mayor's windows. Judge of the disturbance. It may be surmised that the old Mægara did not fail to request an intervention in putting a stop to this uproar. Cæsar promised with a mild air to use all his influence to put a stop to the noise, and then ran to beg the drum-major to renew the cause of complaint; and the next morning there was a row sufficient to awaken the dead from the adjacent church-yard; and at length, not to do things by halves, he sent the drum-major to practice with his boys at the back of the house; a pupil of the abbé Sicard could not have endured it. The old woman came to us, and invited the cunning Cæsar and me very graciously; but that was not enough. The drummers continued their concert, which only concluded when their respectable chief was admitted, as well as ourselves, to the municipal banquet. From that time no more drums were heard at St Sylvestre-Capelle, except when detachments