Now listen very attentively, all of you, continued Chauvelin, impressively, and addressing the soldiers collectively, for after this we may not be able to exchange another word, so remember every syllable I utter, as if your very lives depended on your memory. Perhaps they do, he added drily.
We listen, citoyen, said Desgas, and a soldier of the Republic never forgets an order.
You, who have crept up to the hut, will try to peep inside. If an Englishman is there with those traitors, a man who is tall above the average, or who stoops as if he would disguise his height, then give a sharp, quick whistle as a signal to your comrades. All of you, he added, once more speaking to the soldiers collectively, then quickly surround and rush into the hut, and each seize one of the men there, before they have time to draw their firearms; if any of them struggle, shoot at their legs or arms, but on no account kill the tall man. Do you understand?
We understand, citoyen.
The man who is tall above the average is probably also strong above the average; it will take four or five of you at least to overpower him.
There was a little pause, then Chauvelin continued,
If the royalist traitors are still alone, which is more than likely to be the case, then warn your comrades who are lying in wait there, and all of you creep and take cover behind the rocks and boulders round the hut, and wait there, in dead silence, until the tall Englishman arrives; then only rush the hut, when he is safely within its doors. But remember that you must be as silent as the wolf is at night, when he prowls around the pens. I do not wish those royalists to be on the alertthe firing of a pistol, a shriek or call on their part would be sufficient, perhaps, to warn the tall personage to keep clear of the cliffs, and of the hut, and, he added emphatically, it is the tall Englishman whom it is your duty to capture to-night.
You shall be implicitly obeyed, citoyen.
Then get along as noiselessly as possible, and I will follow you.
What about the Jew, citoyen? asked Desgas, as silently like noiseless shadows, one by one the soldiers began to creep along the rough and narrow footpath.
Ah, yes; I had forgotten the Jew, said Chauvelin, and, turning towards the Jew, he called him peremptorily.
Here, you Aaron, Moses, Abraham, or whatever your confounded name may be, he said to the old man, who had quietly stood beside his lean nag, as far away from the soldiers as possible.
Benjamin Rosenbaum, so it please your Honour, he replied humbly.
It does not please me to hear your voice, but it does please me to give you certain orders, which you will find it wise to obey.
So please your Honour
Hold your confounded tongue. You shall stay here, do you hear? with your horse and cart until our return. You are on no account to utter the faintest sound, or to even breathe louder than you can help; nor are you, on any consideration whatever, to leave your post, until I give you orders to do so. Do you understand?
But your Honour protested the Jew pitiably.
There is no question of but or of any argument, said Chauvelin, in a tone that made the timid old man tremble from head to foot. If, when I return, I do not find you here, I most solemnly assure you that,
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