An hour later, indeed, the whole Catholic force, horse and foot, were seen to march away by the road along which they had come. As soon as they did so, a trumpet summoned the defenders from the walls and house. The women and children also poured out into the courtyard and, the minister taking his place by the side of the countess on the steps of the chateau, a solemn service of thanksgiving to God, for their preservation from the danger that had threatened them, was held. It was now five o'clock, and the short winter day was nearly over. Many of the tenants would have started off to their farms, but Francois begged them to remain until next morning. "The smoke told you what to expect," he said. "You will find nothing but the ruins of your houses and, in this weather, it would be madness to take your wives and families out. In the morning you can go and view your homes. If there are still any sheds standing, that you can turn into houses for the time, you can come back for your wives and families. If not, they must remain here till you can get up shelter for them. In this bitter cold weather, you could not think of rebuilding your houses regularly; nor would it be any use to do so, until we get to the end of these troubles. But you can fell and saw wood, and erect cottages that will suffice for present use, and serve as sheds when better times return.