It is of no importance, the name of the little provincial city where Captain Mercadier—twenty-six years of service, twenty-two campaigns, and three wounds—installed himself when he was retired on a pension.
Two more geese, strolling in the grass across the bottom of the page. It was quite like all those other little villages which solicit without obtaining it a branch of the railway; just as if it were not the sole dissipation of the natives to go every day, at the same hour, to the Place de la Fontaine to see the diligence come in at full gallop, with its gay cracking of the whips and clang of bells.
It was a place of three thousand inhabitants—ambitiously denominated souls in the statistical tables—and was exceedingly proud of its title of chief city of the canton. It had ramparts planted with trees, a pretty river with good fishing, a church of the charming epoch of the flamboyant Gothic, disgraced by a frightful station of the cross, brought directly from the quarter of Saint Sulpice. Every Monday its market was gay with great red and blue umbrellas, and countrymen filled its streets in carts and carriages. But for the rest of the week it retired with delight into that silence and solitude which made it so dear to its rustic population. Its streets were paved with cobble-stones; through the windows of the ground-floor one could see samplers and wax-flowers under glass domes, and, through the gates of the gardens, statuettes of Napoleon in shell-work. The principal inn was naturally called the Shield of France; and the town-clerk made rhymed acrostics for the ladies of society.