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A FRENCH VOLUNTEER


they heard my story, and all were interested in it. It was quite a picture: I felt like Telemachus relating his adventures in the cave of Calypso, but with the difference that there was nothing fabulous in my story. All the neighbours, men as well as women, masters as well as servants, had tears in their eyes, for at that time French people had not learned,—as they did later, in the school of the Revolution,—how to harden their hearts to distress.

All approved of my foresight in not presenting myself to my father until he had been prepared for my coming, and the master of the house undertook that duty. A welcome proposal was also made to me the same evening. I learned that England was at war with her American colonies; I heard also that the Marquis de la Fayette, who belonged to our province, had already made himself talked about, and it was suggested that it would be a good thing for me to join him and fight under his orders. I snapped at the idea enthusiastically, and my ambassador went to arrange the matter with my father.