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A Roving Commission by G. A. Henty

While Myra chatted with Monsieur Laurent


"No,

I hardly think so, mademoiselle. All the gentlemen in the town who could get away rode out with the troops, and the rest of the whites are patrolling the streets armed, lest the negroes employed in the work of the port should rise during the absence of the troops. Why do you ask, mademoiselle?"

"Because Monsieur Glover had a rib broken by a pistol-ball the day before yesterday, and I am sure it hurts him very much to carry my mother."

The young man leapt from his horse.

"Monsieur," he exclaimed, "pray take my horse. I will assist in carrying Madame Duchesne."

"I do not like"--Nat began, but his remonstrance was unheeded.

"But I insist, monsieur. Please take the reins. You can walk by the side of the horse or mount him, whichever you think will be the more easy for you."

So saying, he gently possessed himself of the handles of the litter, placed the sash over his shoulders, and started. It was indeed an immense relief to Nat. The rough work of the preceding day had caused the ends of the bone to grate, and had set up a great deal of inflammation. He had been suffering acutely since he started, in spite of the support of the bandage, and he had more than once thought that he would be obliged to ask Myra to take his place. He did not attempt to mount in the young Frenchman's

saddle, for he thought that the motion of the horse would be worse for him than walking; he therefore took the reins in his hand, and walked at the horse's head behind the litter. The pain was less now that he was relieved of the load, but he still suffered a great deal, and he kept in the rear behind the others, while Myra chatted with Monsieur Laurent, learning from him what had happened in the town, and giving him a sketch of their adventures. As they passed the house of Madame Duchesne's sister, the invalid said that she would be taken in there, as she had heard from Monsieur Laurent that their own house was partially unroofed. Myra ran in to see her aunt, who came out with her at once.

"Ah, my dear sister," she cried, "how we have suffered! We had no hope that you had escaped until your husband brought us the joyful news three days ago that you were still in safety. Come in, come in! I am more glad than ever that our house escaped without much damage from the storm."

Although the house was intact, the garden was a wreck. The drive up to the house was blocked by fallen trees, most of the plants seemed to have been torn up by the roots and blown away, the lawn was strewn with huge branches.

Two of the house servants had now come out and relieved those carrying the litter.

"Ah, Monsieur Glover," continued Madame Duchesne's sister, "once again you have saved my niece; my sister also this time! Of course you will come in too."

"Thanks, madame, but if you will allow me I will go straight on board my ship. I am wounded, though in no way seriously. Still, I shall require some medical care, for I have a rib broken, and the journey down has not improved it."

"In that case I will not press you, monsieur. Dr. Lepel has gone out with the column, and may not be back for some days."


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