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“ How have you been occupied all this forenoon?” inquired Monsieur Le Blanc of his son Philip, as the latter came running into the garden of the Hotel de l'Europe, at Boulogne, after an absence of some hours.
“I have been playing at soldiers, sir."
“ So I supposed. I approve of your taking healthful exercise, and do not object to your acquiring a knowledge of military evolutions, but I fear you now give them too much of your attention.”
“ Can you deem, sir," replied Philip, “too much time likely to be spent on a pursuit so ennobling as arms? Think, sir, to what it leads—to greatness, renown, and glory."
“Do not suffer yourself to be led away by high-sounding names : your sport of playing at soldiers is growing into a passion. When we first came here to pass a few weeks, at the close of the summer, you were delighted to join me in my walks; but now you are frequently away half the day.”
Monsieur Le Blanc had some cause for complaint. Having established himself at the hotel which has been mentioned, he loved to repose himself in the picturesque grounds which ascend in the rear far far above the lofty edifice to which they are attached. Six or seven slopes, or stages, of wellplanted gardens, connected by flights of stone steps, rise one above the other in succession till they reach the level of the noble heights beyond. Here, from an arbour which crowns the summit, he commanded a boundless view of the ocean. Philip had, on their arrival, delighted to gaze on it for hours together. But his habits were now changed; and he loved to traverse the wide-spreading fields that border the road which passes along the lofty ridge behind the hotel; and frequently his rambles extended to Bonaparte's column. To him it was deeply interesting to stand on that spot, from which Napoleon had proudly threatened that his conquering legions should cross the sea, to chastise the arrogance of haughty England. Sometimes he passed, by a circuitous route, to the upper town, and made his way to the noble and commodious square called Les Tintilleries. There he witnessed the exercises of the military; and Pierre Marcel, Louis de Clermont, and several other youths—whose parents, like Monsieur Le Blanc, had sought Boulogne for a little relaxation from the cares of business—engaged him day after day in the manner described.
He was, however, unconscious of deserving reproof. “Indeed, sir,” said he, “I would not waste my hours: the object I have in view is a noble one. I hope and trust you will not blame me when I say, I covet to stand forth the avenger of my country's wrongs, to tread the tented field, and march to battle with “ Young France."
“Very serious consideration, Philip, ought to precede such a decision,” Monsieur Le Blanc gravely answered.