total destruction of the Seamew, blown up by a red-hot shot, which fell in her powder magazine.
At the surrender I caught my old commander's eye. He motioned me to draw nearer. I obeyed most reluctantly, for I expected a stern rebuke from the rugged soldier who never forgave the slightest deviation from his orders. Instead, Bienville overwhelmed me with praise. He grasped my hand, and spoke loud enough for all the troops to hear:
"Before our assembled armies I am proud to acknowledge your share in France's triumph this day; proud and grateful for your fidelity at Versailles and Paris. Your example of loyalty and courage is one worthy to be emulated by all the sons of France. The King shall have your name for further recognition."
This was a great deal for Bienville to say, especially at such a time. My own lips were dumb.
"Take your proper place, sir."
And mechanically I walked to the head of my cheering guards. I was amazed. And Serigny? Had he made up his mind to overlook my defection? Had the Governor forgiven my failure to return in Le Dauphin? Surely not. The noble voice of Bienville broke into my puzzled thought:
"Captain de Mouret, you will receive the surrender of Don Alphonso, our knightly and courteous foe."
It thrilled me with pride that I should receive so famous a sword, for knightlier foeman than Alphonso never trod a deck nor tossed his gauntlet in the lists. I stepped forward to the Spanish lines where their van-