A Husband In Hiding

By Alardin.

_Of a poor, simple peasant married to a nice, pleasant woman, who did

much as she liked, and who in order that she might be alone with her

lover, shut up her husband in the pigeon-house in the manner you will


In a pretty, little town near here, but which I will not name, there

recently occurred an incident which will furnish a short story. There

ived there a good, simple, unlettered peasant, married to a nice,

pleasant woman, and as long as he had plenty to eat and drink he cared

for little else. He was accustomed to often go into the country to

a house he had there, and stay, three, or four days--sometimes more,

sometimes less, as suited his pleasure, and left his wife to enjoy

herself in the town, which she did, for, in order that she might not be

frightened, she had always a man to take her husband's place, and look

after the workshop and see that the tools did not rust. Her method was

to wait until her husband was out of sight, and not until she was quite

sure that he would not return did she send for his deputy, in order that

she might not be surprised.

But she could not always manage so well as not to be surprised, for once

when her husband had remained away two or three days, and on the fourth

day she had waited as long as possible until the gates of the town were

closed; thinking he would not come that day, she closed the doors and

the windows as on the other days, brought her lover into the house, and

they began to drink and enjoy themselves.

They were scarcely seated at the table, when her husband came and

thundered at the door, which he was much surprised to find closed.

When the good woman heard it, she hid her lover under the bed; then went

to the door and demanded who knocked?

"Open the door," replied her husband.

"Ah, husband, is that you?" she said. "I was going to send a message to

you to-morrow morning to tell you not to come back."

"Why; what is the matter?" asked her husband.

"What is the matter? God in heaven!" she replied. "The sergeants were

here two hours and a half, waiting to take you to prison."

"To prison!" said he; "Why to prison? Have I done anything wrong? To

whom do I owe any money? Who brings any charge against me?"

"I know nothing about it," said the cunning wench, "but they evidently

wanted to do you harm."

"But did they not tell you," asked her husband, "why they wanted me?"

"No," she replied; "nothing, except that if they laid hands on you, you

would not get out of prison for a long time."

"Thank God they haven't caught me yet. Good bye, I am going back."

"Where are you going?" she asked--though she was glad to get rid of him.

"Whence I came," he replied.

"I will come with you," she said.

"No, don't. Stay and take care of the house, and do not tell anyone that

I have been here."

"Since you will return to the country," she said, "make haste and get

away before they close the gates: it is already late."

"If they should be shut, the gate-keeper will do anything for me and he

will open them again."

With these words he left, and when he came to the gate, he found it

closed, and, beg and pray as he might, the gate-keeper would not open it

for him.

He was very annoyed that he should have to return to his house, for he

feared the sergeants; nevertheless, he was obliged to go back, or sleep

in the streets.

He went back, and knocked at the door, and the woman who had again sat

down with her lover, was much surprised, but she jumped up, and ran to

the door, and called out,

"My husband has not come back; you are wasting your time."

"Open the door, my dear," said the good man. "I am here."

"Alas! alas! the gate was closed: I feared as much," she said. "You will

certainly be arrested; I see no hope for escape, for the sergeants told

me, I now remember, that they would return to-night."

"Oh, well," he said, "there is no need of a long sermon. Let us consider

what is to be done."

"You must hide somewhere in the house," she said, "and I do not know of

any place where you would be safe."

"Should I be safe," he asked, "in our pigeon house? Who would look for

me there?"

She was, of course, highly delighted at the suggestion, but pretended

not to be, and said; "It is not a very nice place; it stinks too much."

"I don't mind that," he said. "I would rather be there an hour or two,

and be safe, than be in a better place and be caught."

"Oh, well, if you are brave enough to go there, I am of your opinion

that it would be a good hiding-place."

The poor man ascended into the pigeon-house, which fastened outside,

and was locked in, and told his wife that if the sergeants did not come

soon, that she was to let him out.

She left him to coo with the pigeons all night, which he did not much

like, and he was afraid to speak or call, for fear of the sergeants.

At daybreak, which was the time when her lover left the house, the good

woman came and called her husband and opened the door; and he asked her

why she had left him so long along with the pigeons. And she, having

prepared her reply, said that the sergeants had watched round their

house all night, and spoken to her several times, and had only just

gone, but they said that they would come back at a time when they were

likely to find him.

The poor fellow, much wondering what the sergeants could want with him,

left at once, and returned to the country, vowing that he would not

come back for a long time. God knows how pleased the wench was at

this, though she pretended to be grieved. And by this means she enjoyed

herself more than ever, for she had no longer any dread of her husband's