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A Roving Commission by G. A. Henty

Madame Duchesne was still pale


"But,

monsieur, I have done next to nothing. I shot some negroes who had not a chance of getting at me, and I helped Dinah to carry madame down. We owe our safety to Dinah, who was splendid in her devotion, making journeys backwards and forwards, to say nothing of giving us the warning that enabled us all to escape in time."

"Dinah was splendid!" Monsieur Duchesne admitted. "But I can do nothing for her. I have told her that she shall have a house and plenty to live on all her days, but she will not leave us. I have made out her papers of freedom, but she says, 'What use are these? I have been your servant all my life, and should be no different whether I was what you call a free woman or not.' What pleased her most was that I have given freedom to her grandson who brought the message down here, and am going to employ him in my stable, and that she has received a new black silk gown. She has got it on in honour of your visit, and if it had been a royal robe she could not be more proud of it."

They had by this time arrived at the door, and Monsieur Duchesne led Nat to the drawing-room, where his wife was lying on a sofa, and Myra standing beside her. The yellow dye had now nearly worn off their faces. Madame Duchesne was still pale, but she looked bright and happy. Nat went up to her and took her hand.

"I am truly glad to see you up again," he said.

"It

has all ended well," she replied with tears in her eyes. "It seems like a bad dream to me, especially that journey. How good and kind you were! and I know now how terribly you must have suffered."

"It hurt a bit at the time, madame, but one gets accustomed to being hurt, and it all went on so well that it was not worth grumbling about."

"Ah, you look more yourself now, Myra!" and he held out his hand to her.

"Embrace him, my dear, for me and for yourself. Twice has he saved your life, and has been more than a brother to you."

Myra threw her arms round Nat's neck and kissed him heartily twice, while her eyes were full of tears. "I have not hurt you, I hope," she said as he drew back.

"Not a bit, and I should not have minded if you had," Nat said. Then he sat down, and they talked quietly for some time. "I am going out to-morrow again," Monsieur Duchesne said, "it is the duty of every white to join in punishing these ungrateful fiends. I hear that they have been beaten badly near Port-au-Prince. Some of the negroes are, we find, remaining quietly on the plantations, and these, unless they have murdered their masters, will be spared. No quarter will be given to those taken in arms. At any rate we shall clear all of them out of the plains near the bay, and drive them into the mountains, where we cannot hope to subdue them till a large number of troops arrive from home."


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