On the third day towards the evening he was carried home covered with bruises. He had been in the guard-room with the soldiers, and some quarrel having arisen he had got a severe beating. He was in a pitiable state; all over blood and with three teeth missing. He told me the story with tears, and begged me to take vengeance on his foes.
I sent my doctor to General Bekw----, who said that all he could do was to give the poor man a bed in the hospital. Baturi had no bones broken, and in a few days was quite well, so I sent him on to Brunswick with a passport from General Salomon. The loss of his teeth secured him from the conscription; this, at any rate, was a good thing.
The treatment of the young doctor was even more successful than he had anticipated, for in a month I was perfectly well again, though terribly thin. The worthy people of the house must have taken an idea of me not in the least like myself; I was thought to be the most patient of men, and the sister and her young lady friends must have considered me as modesty personified; but these virtues only resulted from my illness and my great depression. If you want to discover the character of a man, view him in health and freedom; a captive and in sickness he is no longer the same man.
I gave a beautiful dress to the sister, and twenty louis to the doctor, and both seemed to me extremely satisfied.
On the eve of my departure I received a letter from Madame du Rumain, who had heard I was in want from my friend Baletti, and sent me a bill of exchange on Amsterdam for six hundred florins. She said I could repay her at my convenience, but she died before I was able to discharge the debt.
Having made up my mind to go to Brunswick, I could not resist the temptation to pass through Hanover, for whenever I thought of Gabrielle I loved her still. I did not wish to stop any length of time, for I was poor and I had to be careful of my health. I only wished to pay her a flying visit on the estate which her mother had at Stocken, as she had told me. I may also say that curiosity was a motive for this visit.
I had decided to start at day-break in my new carriage, but the fates had ordained it otherwise.
The English general wrote me a note asking me to sup with him, telling me that some Italians would be present, and this decided me to stay on, but I had to promise the doctor to observe strict temperance.
My surprise may be imagined when I saw the Redegonde and her abominable mother. The mother did not recognize me at first, but Redegonde knew me directly, and said,--
"Good Heavens! how thin you have become!"
I complimented her on her beauty, and indeed she had improved wonderfully.
"I have just recovered from a dangerous illness," said I, "and I am starting for Brunswick at day-break tomorrow."
"So are we," she exclaimed, looking at her mother.
The general, delighted to find that we knew each other, said we could travel together.
"Hardly, I think," I replied, "unless the lady-mother has changed her principles since I knew her."
"I am always the same," she said, dryly enough; but I only replied with a glance of contempt.
The general held a bank at faro at a small table. There were several other ladies and some officers, and the stakes were small. He offered me a place, but I excused myself, saying that I never played while on a journey.
At the end of the deal the general returned to the charge, and said,--
"Really, chevalier, this maxim of yours is anti-social; you must play."
So saying he drew several English bank notes from his pocket-book, telling me they were the same I had given him in London six months ago.
"Take your revenge," he added; "there are four hundred pounds here."
"I don't want to lose as much as that," I replied, "but I will risk fifty pounds to amuse you."
With this I took out the bill of exchange that Madame du Rumain had sent me.
The general went on dealing, and at the third deal I found I was fifty guineas to the good, and with that I was satisfied.