The supper which was served

2017-09-12 23:19
So, early one morning Louis started away, the gayest of his company, his little Spanish steed were evidently the present dwelling-places of these robbers, or cotereaux, as they were called. There were several classes of highwaymen, or brigands, in France at this time, and of these the cotereaux were, probably, the most numerous.

There were fires built in various places about the open space in which the huts had been erected, and there were a good many men around the fires. A smell of cooking meat made Louis feel sure that supper would soon be ready, and this was a comforting thing to him, for he was very hungry. to him was of plain food, but he had enough, and the bed he slept on, at the back part of the Captain's hut, was nothing but a lot of dry leaves and twigs, with a coarse cloth thrown over it; but Louis was very tired, and it was not long before he was sound asleep.

He was much troubled, of course, at the thought of going to bed in this way, in the midst of a band of robbers, but he was not afraid that they would do him any injury, for he had heard enough about these cotereaux to know that they took prisoners almost always for the purpose of making money out of them, and not to do them useless harm. If he had been an older and a deeper thinker, he would, probably, have thought of the harm which might be done to him in case no money could be made by overtaken. He expected to be pursued, for he knew the knight and his men would not allow him to go off by himself if it could be prevented.

So he galloped on, his falcon tightly grasping the saddle-bow, and he himself turning around every few minutes, to see if he were followed. But he saw no horsemen riding after him. The knight's men had straggled a good deal after they had turned into the new road, and Louis was not missed for an hour or two. Then, when his absence was discovered, the knight sent three men after him, with instructions to bring him back, or to escort him to Viteau, in case they found him near that place. It was supposed, of course, that he had slipped away, so as to get home as soon as possible.

The men did not like the job at all, for they feared they would not be able to return until after dark to the chateau where their party was to spend the night, and they did not fancy traveling at night for the sake of a boy they knew very slightly, and cared very little about. So, after riding five or six miles, they agreed to halt until nearly night, and ride back to their party at the top of their speed, and report that they had overtaken Louis, and had accompanied him to a spot within sight of his mother's chateau. This story was believed by the knight from the south, who had no very clear idea as to the distance of Viteau from the forks of the road; and no further thought was given to the young page.