Early in the morning, nearly the whole of Captain Michol's force, some armed with lances, some with bows and arrows, and others with long knives, or swords of various descriptions, set out, on foot, for a march through the forests. Louis went with them, closely accompanied by Jasto, who never lost sight of him.
On the way, the good-humored robber, who seemed to be of a better class than most of his companions, using more correct language, and behaving himself better in every way, informed Louis of the object of the expedition. About eight or ten miles to the east of the camp of the cotereaux there was a chateau, almost as strongly fortified as a castle, the owner of which possessed a great number of hogs. These animals, until within a few days previous, had been confined within close bounds, for fear that they should be stolen. But as no evil-disposed persons had been seen for a long time in the neighborhood, the whole herd had been let out into the adjacent woods, where they would thrive much better, during the hot weather, than in their former quarters.
Michol had been informed that these hogs were ranging through the woods, under the charge of two or three men, and he was now going to try to capture as many of them as possible. He took his large force, not because he expected any opposition from the keepers of the hogs, but because a great many men would be needed to surround and capture the animals, many of which would be lost itself through the forest.
As they walked along, Louis thought that it was a great pity that the first foray he ever set out upon should be an expedition, in time of peace, to steal pigs; but he considered it wise not to say what was in his mind, for it was the business of these men to steal pigs, or anything else they could lay their hands on,—even boys and borrowed jennets,—and they might not fancy his finding fault with them. He was not afraid of Jasto, with whom he had become very friendly and communicative; but many of the other men looked like fellows whom it would not be at all pleasant to offend. So he went along with the company, and made no objections until he had walked five or six miles through the forest, when he informed Jasto that he was getting very tired, and that he hoped they would soon come to the end of their journey, so that he could sit down and rest.