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The Light That Lures by Percy Brebner

Part 3 out of 6

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as he made his way toward the more central part of the city, taking care
to appear as little of a stranger as possible. Was Lucien Bruslart to be
trusted? This was the question he asked himself over and over again,
finding no satisfactory answer. The reason which lay behind such a
question could not be ignored. Any helpless woman would have appealed
to him, he told himself, but the whole truth refused to be confined in
such an argument. Jeanne St. Clair meant something more to him than
this, but in this direction he refused to question himself further,
except to condemn himself. Was he not viewing Lucien Bruslart through
smoked glasses as it were?--an easy fault under the circumstances.
Jeanne loved this man. No greater proof was needed than her journey to
Paris for his sake. Barrington had done her a service for which he had
been amply thanked. To-night Bruslart would inform him that Jeanne was
safe, and thank him again for what he had done. There was an end of the
business; and since his enthusiasm to help the people had somewhat
evaporated--Jeanne's influence again, doubtless--why should he not
return home? France held no place for him. It would be better not to see
Jeanne again, more honorable, easier for him.

At a corner he stopped. Others had done the same. Coming up the street
was a ragged, shouting mob. There were some armed with pikes who had
made a vain attempt to keep the march orderly; others, flourishing
sticks, danced and sang as they came; others, barely clad, ran to and
fro like men half drunk, yelling ribald insults now at those who passed
by, now at the world at large. Women with draggled skirts and dirty and
disordered hair were in the crowd, shrieking joyous profanity, striking
and fighting one another in their mad excitement. There were children,
too, almost naked girls and boys, as ready with oath and obscenity as
their elders, fair young faces and forms, some of them, debauched out of
all that was childlike. Every fetid alley and filthy court near which
this procession had passed had vomited its scum to swell the crowd. In
the center of it rocked and swayed a coach. Hands were plenty to help
the frightened horses, hands to push, hands to grip the spokes and make
the wheels turn faster. The driver had no driving to do, so roared a
song. The inmate of the coach might be dumb with fear, half dead with
it, yet if he shrieked with terror, the cry of no single throat could
rise above all this babel of sound.

"Way! Way for the cursed aristocrat!"

Children and women ran past Barrington shouting. One woman touched him
with a long-nailed, dirty, scraggy hand.

"An aristocrat, citizen. Another head for La Guillotine," she cried, and
then danced a step or two, laughing.

Barrington stood on tiptoe endeavoring to see the miserable passenger of
the coach, but in vain. The men with pikes surrounded the vehicle, or
the poor wretch's journey might have ended at the first lamp.

"It's a woman," said some one near him.

"Ay! a cursed aristocrat!" shouted a boy who heard. "Get in and ride
with her," and the urchin sped onwards, shouting horrible suggestions.

"A woman!" Barrington muttered, and his frame stiffened as a man's will
do when he thinks of action.

"Don't be a fool," said a voice in his ear, and a hand was laid upon his

He turned to face a man who looked at him fixedly, continued to look at
him until the crowd had passed, and others who had stopped to watch the
procession had passed on about their business.

"You would have thrown your life away had I not stopped you," said the

"Perhaps. I hardly know."

"Yet it is not so rare a sight."

"At least I have not grown used to it," Barrington answered.

"That is difficult," said the man. "I have seen more of it than you, but
I have learned to hide my feelings. The first time I was like you. Even
now I clinch my teeth and remain inactive with difficulty. This tends to
make us conspicuous, citizen. We must be either victims or executioners
to be in the fashion. Some of us have friends, perhaps, who may easily
chance to be victims."


"I have," said the man. "It is pleasant to meet one who has a kindred

"I cannot claim so much as that," said Barrington.

"That sudden stiffening of yours told its tale," and the man smiled a
little. "Had I not been convinced I hardly dared have said so much."

"Doubtless there was some danger," laughed Barrington, "but at least I
am not a spy or an informer. The thought of a woman in such a crowd hurt
me, citizen."

"Some time we might be of service to each other," the man returned. "It
is good to have a friend one can trust in these days. Unless I am much
mistaken, I can be of service to you. My way is the same as yours if you
will allow it. There is a shop yonder where the wine is good and where,
until that shouting crowd comes home again, we shall attract no notice."

How could this man be of service to him? For a moment he hesitated,
scenting danger, but the next he had turned to walk with his new
companion. He looked honest and might tell him something of value.

They entered the wine shop which was empty, and were served.

"Have you a toast, monsieur?"

"To the safety of that woman," said Barrington.

"I drink it. To the safety of a woman."

Barrington did not notice the slight difference in the toast; the words
were hurriedly spoken and in a low tone.

"Do you know, monsieur, that only this morning an emigre returned to
Paris disguised as a market woman?"

"What folly!" Barrington said. "Does she chance to be the friend you are
interested in?"

"My friend is an emigre, therefore I am a little sorry for this one,"
was the answer. "I hear that careful search is being made for her. Such
a search can hardly fail to be successful."

"She may have good friends."

"She has, I understand. One, at least, the man who helped her into

"He had better have helped her to keep out of it," Barrington returned,
"and yet, she may have come with some high purpose and he has served her
cleverly. Is it dangerous to drink to his good health, monsieur? for I
like a man who is a man even though he be my enemy."

"There is no danger, I think," and the man drank. "She has another
friend, too, one Lucien Bruslart."

"I have heard of him," said Barrington, quickly, "but surely he is of
the people. I think I have heard him praised as an honest patriot."

"He is, yet he was an aristocrat."

"You speak as though you had little faith in him."

"No, no, you judge too hastily. I am of the people, yet, as you may
have gathered, not wholly with the people. I take it that such is
monsieur's position, too. Personally, I have not much faith in an
aristocrat turned patriot, that is all."

"Nor I, monsieur; still, I know nothing of this Monsieur Bruslart, so
can venture no opinion."

"You are a stranger in Paris?"


"Pardon, monsieur, I am not inquisitive. I only wish to prove myself
friendly. Paris is somewhat dangerous for strangers."

"Even for those who take no interest in one side or the other?" asked

"Most assuredly, for such men are likely to be on private business, and
private business smacks of secrecy, and those who govern dislike all
secrets except their own."

"I am not afraid. It is a habit rather than a virtue."

"I saw your fearlessness. It impressed me," the man answered, earnestly.
"I saw also that others had noted you as well. It would perhaps be wise
to remember that besides hunting for the woman who has come back to
Paris, they are hunting for the man who helped her so successfully.
Perhaps some of the men who were at the barriers this morning may
remember him."

"What more probable?" said Barrington. "It may be that this man was not
such a friend to the woman as we have imagined. He may have had sinister
designs in bringing her into Paris."

The man put down his glass rather sharply. The idea evidently produced
some effect upon him.

"I cannot believe that," he said.

"I do not like to think so," Barrington returned.

For a few moments they looked squarely into each other's faces. Then the
man laid his hand upon the table, palm uppermost.

"Ah! It is certain we are kindred spirits, monsieur. We may have our own
secrets, our interests may perhaps have points of antagonism, but we are
both fearless. You are a man after my own heart. Will you take my hand?"

Barrington grasped his hand across the little table.

"Should we ever be enemies, let us remember this wine shop and this hand
clasp. The recollection may help us both. For you there is danger,
coming perhaps from the very quarter where you least expect it. I may be
useful to you then. In the Rue Valette there is a baker's shop; if you
inquire there for one, Raymond Latour, you shall find a welcome," and
before Barrington could make any answer, he passed out into the street.

The man knew him, that was evident, knew that he had helped mademoiselle
into Paris. Was he a friend or an enemy? He had warned him of danger,
and his parting words had had something of the nature of a compact in
them. What could bind this man to him in any way unless the emigre he
was interested in was Mademoiselle St. Clair? Surely that was where the
truth lay. To this man Latour she stood for something.

Barrington remained in the wine shop for some little time, carefully
examining every point of his adventure. Certainly his movements would be
watched; certainly this Raymond Latour might be useful to him. When he
went into the street presently he looked carelessly to right and left,
wondering which of the people in sight was bent on following him.

"Whatever their reward is to be they shall do something to earn it," he
murmured, smiling, and turning into a side street he did his best to
escape watchful eyes.

At the hour appointed he was at Monsieur Bruslart's door. The servant
asked him several questions before he admitted that his master was in.
Monsieur Bruslart was cautious. Was it possible that mademoiselle was
still in the house? If Barrington forgot her danger for a moment as he
thought of the delight it would be to him to see her again, was he very

The servant announced him.

Pale, dishevelled, trembling with excitement, Bruslart met him. A
nervous hand gripped his arm.

"Monsieur' Barrington, you--"

"What is it? In Heaven's name what is it?"

"While I was gone, they came. Look at the room, still dirty with them,
still reeking of them. They took her. Jeanne is a prisoner, and I--I am
almost mad."

Barrington gasped as a man who receives a heavy blow. His hand fell on a
chair-back to steady himself. He saw nothing but that filthy crowd, and
that coach swaying in the midst of it. Jeanne was the woman within, and
he had made no effort to save her.



The two men stared at each other with unseeing eyes, neither conscious,
it would seem, of the other's presence. The circumstances called for
prompt action, for swift decision, for keen and subtle energy, yet they
were silent, helpless, looking into vacancy, and seeing visions.

Suddenly Lucien sat down and let his head fall upon his arms thrown out
across the table, a personification of despair which might take the
heart out of any observer. The action served, however, to bring.
Barrington back into the present, to conserve his energies, to make him
a man of action again. His frame stiffened, much as it had done that
afternoon when the crowd with the coach in its midst had passed him.
Then came the memory of the restraining hand laid on his arm. It
acquired a new significance.

"Tell me the whole story," he said. "There is no time to lose."

"I was a fool. Lafayette was right. I ought never to have brought her
here," wailed Bruslart, utter despair in his voice; and then, after a
moment's pause, he went on with desperate energy as though he had a
difficult confession to make and must tell it in a rush of words, or be
afraid to tell it at all. "It took me more than two hours to arrange
with my friend. He was out when I got there and I had to wait, then he
was a long time discussing the best means of securing mademoiselle's
safety, and how she could most easily be taken to his house unseen.
Nearer four hours had passed than two when I returned to find Jeanne

"Your friend had fooled you, keeping you out of the way."

"No, no. He did not know where Jeanne was. Some one must have seen her,
recognized her when you came in at the barrier this morning perchance,
followed her and betrayed her. They did not come asking for her,
searching for her, but knowing that she was here. When the door was
opened they rushed in, thrusting my servant aside, asking no questions.
The reek of them is still in the room. What shall I do?"

Bruslart let his head again fall on his outstretched arms and sobs shook
him. Such grief in a man is difficult to witness and remain unmoved, yet
no expression of pity came into Barrington's face. He was a man of a
different fiber altogether; his emotions were seldom shown, and deep
though they really were, he passed for a hard man. Even in anger he was
calm, calculating, a set face masking the truth; and in such a crisis as
this, after the first staggering blow of it, his whole force was
concentrated on action. Misery for what had happened was so much energy
wasted, there was something to do and every faculty became focused upon
the best means of doing it.

Barrington went to the table and laid his hand firmly on Bruslart's

"This is no time for grieving over what cannot be undone; our business
is to act. Let me understand the position, for I swear to you that I am
ready to do all that a man can do. Since mademoiselle was taken in your
house you are in danger, I suppose. They will remember that you are an
aristocrat, too, and easily forget that you wear the outward signs of a

"Mademoiselle seems to have thought of that, and let them believe that
she had rushed to my house for safety without my knowledge."

"It was like her," said Barrington. "She will be brave, no matter how
sorely she is tried. To-day, monsieur, I saw a coach surrounded by a
yelling crowd. It was a new sight to me and I stood to see it pass. It
contained an aristocrat, a woman, they said, but I could not see the
prisoner. The time corresponds; it may have been Mademoiselle St.

"Ah! If you had only known!"

"Indeed, monsieur, the fact that the prisoner was a woman, made me
foolish enough to think of rushing into that filthy crowd single handed;
had I imagined it was mademoiselle I certainly should have done so. And
what could I have done, one man against a multitude? I should have been
killed, and mademoiselle might have been torn to pieces by the fiends
who surrounded her. They were in the mood for such work. Fortunately, a
man beside me, seeing the intention in my face, laid a restraining hand
upon me."

"Was he a friend?" Bruslart asked.

"Indeed, I think he proved himself one though he was a stranger. His
name was Latour, he told me."

Barrington mentioned the name with set purpose. Over the wine the
stranger had certainly expressed distrust of Lucien Bruslart, an
aristocrat turned patriot. The question of Bruslart's honesty had been
in Barrington's mind all day. It would be worth noting what effect the
name had upon his companion.

"Latour? Raymond Latour?" said Bruslart, starting to his feet, more
alert than he had yet been since Barrington had entered the room.

"The same. What do you know of him?"

"No more than all Paris knows, monsieur, but it is enough. He is a red
republican, a leading man among the Jacobins, hand in glove with all who
hate aristocrats. We need look no further for Jeanne's betrayer."

"I am not so certain of his hatred against all aristocrats," said
Barrington, slowly.

"He has a tongue that would persuade the devil himself to believe in
him," said Bruslart.

"And I do not think he knew who was in the coach," Barrington went on.
"I have a reason for saying so, and I may find out the truth presently."

"You are a stranger in Paris, you cannot hope to be a match for Raymond

"At least there is work for me to do in this matter, and I shall not run
needlessly into danger. Freedom is precious to us both, monsieur, at the
present time, since we must use it to help mademoiselle. You pose as a
leader of the people, therefore some authority you must have; tell me,
what power have you to open the door of mademoiselle's prison?"

"Alas, none."

"Think, think. Patriotism, wrong headed though it may be, will clothe
its enthusiasts with a kind of honor which cannot be bribed, but how
many real patriots are there in Paris? Are the ragged and filthy men and
women of the streets patriots? I warrant a fistful of gold thrown by the
man they cursed would bring him a very hurricane of blessings."

"You do not understand the people, monsieur," answered Bruslart. "They
would scramble for your gold and cry for more, but they would still
curse you. The mob is king."

"There is the individual, monsieur," said Barrington. "Try a golden key
on his cupidity. I do not mean on a man who is swaggering with new
authority, but some jailer in the prison."

"It might be done," said Bruslart.

"It can. It must. You may use me as you will," Barrington returned. "I
am ready to take any risk."

"Mademoiselle would certainly approve your loyalty."

"I feel that I am responsible for bringing her to Paris," Barrington
answered. "I would risk my life to carry her safely back to Beauvais."

Bruslart looked at him keenly for a moment, then held out his hand.

"Monsieur, I am ungenerous, if not in words in my thoughts. It is not to
be supposed that I should be the only man to be attracted by
Mademoiselle St. Clair, yet I am a little jealous. You have had an
opportunity of helping her that has not been given to me. You have been
able to prove yourself in her eyes; I have not. Has not my folly been
her ruin?"

"You have the opportunity now," said Barrington, whose hand was still
clasped in Lucien's.

"You do not understand my meaning."

"Only that we pledge ourselves to release mademoiselle."

"And the real strength underlying this resolve? Is it not that we both
love her?"

Barrington drew back a little, and felt the color tingle in his face.
Since the moment he had first seen her this woman had hardly been absent
from his thoughts, yet from the first he had known that she was pledged
to another man, and therefore she was sacred. Deep down in his nature,
set there perchance by some long-forgotten ancestor, cavalier in spirit,
yet with puritan tendencies in thought, there was a stronger sense of
right and wrong than is given to most men perhaps. As well might he
allow himself to love another's wife, as to think of love for another
man's promised wife. The standard of morality had been easy to keep,
since, until now, love for neither wife nor maid had tempted him; but
during the last two or three days the fierce testing fires had burned
within him. It had been easy to think evil of the man who stood before
him, easy to hope that there might be evil in him, so that Jeanne St.
Clair being free because of this evil, he might have the right to win
her if he could. Lucien Bruslart's quiet statement came like an
accusation; it showed him in a moment that in one sense at any rate he
had fallen before the temptation, for if he had not allowed himself to
think of love, he had yielded to the mean wish that her lover might
prove unworthy. It helped him also to rise superior to the temptation.

"I may have had ungenerous thoughts, too," he said, "but they have

"And only love remains," Bruslart returned, the slight rise in his tone
making the words a question rather than a statement.

"Your love, monsieur, my admiration and respect. These I certainly have
for the lady who is to be your wife. Your love will hardly grudge me

"I believe I might have found a dangerous rival, were you not a man of
honor," said Bruslart. "We understand each other better than we did this
morning. Heavens! what a wealth of hours seem to have passed since
then. We fight together for mademoiselle's safety. I will go at once to
the Abbaye, that is the prison you think they were going to. And you,
monsieur, what will you do?"

"I shall set my servant to watch Latour, and there are one or two others
in this city whose movements will interest me."

"You must be careful of Latour."

"He will be wise to be careful of me too. There is some aristocrat
Raymond Latour would do all in his power to help. That is a secret we
may use against him if necessary."

"Did he tell you that?"

"We became friends over a bottle of wine."

"Ah, men boast and tell lies over their wine," Bruslart answered, "and
for his own ends Latour can lie very convincingly. Will you come to me
here to-morrow night? I may have accomplished something by then."

They left the house together, but parted in the street, Barrington
returning to the house of Monsieur Fargeau to plan with Seth the close
watching of Latour's movements, Bruslart going in the direction of the
prison of the Abbaye.

Bruslart's pace was rapid for a short distance, then he went more slowly
and thoughtfully; but there was no relapse into the despair in which
Barrington had found him that evening. Contact with a strong man, and
the compact made with him, had apparently restored his nerves, and no
one knew better than he did how necessary it was to have every faculty
in working order at the present moment. He had told Barrington that he
was in no danger from the fact of mademoiselle having been arrested in
his apartments, and if this were not quite true, he felt certain that he
could evade the danger by presenting a bold front to it. The desire to
convince himself that this was possible became stronger as he proceeded
slowly, and opportunity to put his conviction to the test might easily
be found.

"There would be no one at the prison to-night on whom I could make any
useful impression," he said to himself. "I shall gain more by swaggering
to the crowd."

He quickened his pace, but not in the direction of the prison. He turned
into a side street, at the corner of which was a broken lamp bracket
used for hanging a man not a week ago. He glanced up at it as he passed,
recognizing perhaps that he was as a skater on thin ice, his safety
entirely dependent upon his agility, as he made his way to the flare of
light which came from a wine shop.

The place was full and noisy, but there was a sudden silence as he
entered. He was well-known here, and every pair of eyes was fixed upon
him keenly. That he bore the scrutiny without flinching proved him to be
no coward. The attitude of the crowd in the wine shop was not
reassuring. His task was to be more difficult than he imagined, and he
rose to the occasion. With a careless nod intended to comprehend every
one in the room, and as though he perceived nothing extraordinary in the
manner of his reception, he crossed the room to a man who had suspended
his game of cards to stare at him.

"Good evening, Citizen Sabatier; you can tell me something. Was that
aristocrat taken to the Abbaye this afternoon or where?"

"To the Abbaye."

"I was going to the prison to ask, then thought I might save myself a
journey by coming here on my way. Wine, landlord--the best, and in these
days the best is bad. You were not at the taking of this aristocrat,
Sabatier?" and as he asked the question Bruslart seated himself.

"No. I had other business."

"It is a pity. Had you been there the affair would have been conducted
with more order."

"I was there, Citizen Bruslart," said a man, thrusting forward his head
truculently. "What is there to complain of?"

Bruslart looked at him, then leaned toward Sabatier and said in an
audible aside--

"A new friend? I do not seem to remember him."

"Citizen Boissin, a worthy man," said Sabatier, shortly. He knew that
the men in the wine shop were likely to follow his lead, and he was at a
loss to know how to treat Lucien Bruslart to-night.

"Ay, Boissin, that's my name, and he asks you what you have to complain

"Much, very much, citizen. It is not enough that a cursed aristocrat
uses my lodgings as a shelter while I am away from home, but a crowd of
unauthorized persons invade it and break a cabinet for which I have a
great affection. Maybe, since you were there, Citizen Boissin, you can
tell me who broke my cabinet."

"Curse your cabinet!"

"Curse you for coming to my lodgings without an invitation," said
Bruslart, quietly.

There was a shuffling of feet, a promise of quick and dangerous
excitement, but Sabatier did not move, and Bruslart's eyes, as he
quietly sipped his wine, looked over the rim of the glass at Boissin,
who seemed confused and unable to bluster. There was a long pause which
was broken by a man seated at another table.

"The breakage need not trouble you, Citizen Bruslart, your trouble will
come when you have to explain how the aristocrat came to be in your

"Whether she entered by the door, or climbed in at the window, I cannot
say, since I was not at home," said Bruslart, with a smile. "My servant
must answer that question. What I want to know is, who is this

In a moment every eye was turned upon him. Jacques Sabatier smiled.

"I was going to the prison to ask that question," Bruslart went on. "She
is a woman, that I have heard of, but no more. I am interested enough to
wonder whether she was an acquaintance of mine in the past."

"An acquaintance!" and there was a chorus of laughter.

"It was Mademoiselle St. Clair," said Boissin.

Lucien Bruslart did not start at the mention of the name, not an eye
fixed upon him could detect the slightest trembling in his hand as he
raised the glass to his lips and slowly drank the wine which was in it.
He knew perfectly well what a false move, or an ill-considered word,
might mean to him. There was not a man in that company who did not hate
the name of aristocrat, yet after their fashion, many of them had ties
which they held sacred. The same man who could spend hours rejoicing in
the bloodthirsty work of the guillotine would return home to kiss his
wife, and play innocently with his children. Bruslart knew that to pity
the aristocrat might be hardly more dangerous than to abuse the woman.

"Mademoiselle St. Clair. In the past she was more than an
acquaintance," he said.

"She is your lover," said half a dozen voices together.

"She was," corrected Bruslart, quietly, "and therefore a little
sentiment enters into the affair. I could almost wish it had been some
other woman. That is natural, I think."

"Ay; and it explains why she took shelter in your lodgings," said

"True, it does; and, so far as I remember, it is the only personal
matter I have against her. I do not recall any other injury she has done
me. I am afraid, citizens, she has some case against me, for I grew
tired of her long ago."

"She does not believe that, nor do I, for that matter," said Boissin.

"What you believe is a matter of indifference to me, citizen," returned
Bruslart, "and as for the woman--well, she is in the Abbaye. Not every
man gets rid of his tiresome lovers as easily as I am likely to do. More
wine, landlord. We'll drink long life to liberty and death to all
aristocrats. And, Citizen Boissin, we must understand each other and
become better friends. I accused you of entering my lodgings without
invitation, now I invite you. Come when you will, you shall be welcome.
And, in the meanwhile, if there is any good patriot here who is a
carpenter, and can spare time for a job, there is money to be earned. He
shall mend my cabinet."



The arrest of an aristocrat, or of some poor wretch who had no claim to
the title, but served just as well for a victim, was a common enough
occurrence. In the first panic there had been a rush for safety across
the frontier, but there were many who remained, either not foreseeing
how grave the danger would become, or bravely determining to face the
trouble. Some, like Monsieur de Lafayette, true patriots at heart, had
attempted to direct the trouble, and being caught in its cyclonic fury
were at grips with death and disaster; some, like Lucien Bruslart,
having themselves or their friends to serve, openly threw in their lot
with the people, playing the while a double game which kept them walking
on the extreme edge of a precipice; and there were others who, finding
their bravery and honesty of no avail, realizing that it was now too
late to escape out of the country, hid themselves in humble lodgings, or
were concealed in the homes of faithful servants. There were patriots
who were ready to howl death to all aristocrats, and yet gave shelter to
some particular aristocrat who had treated them well in the past.
Kindnesses little heeded at the time saved many a man in his hour of

To Richard Barrington that slowly moving coach, surrounded by a filthy,
yelling mob, was a new and appalling thing; to Raymond Latour it was a
very ordinary matter, a necessary evil that France might be thoroughly
purged from its iniquity. When he laid his hand upon Barrington's arm,
he had no idea who the prisoner in the coach was. Had he known, he might
still have put out a restraining hand, realizing that to throw two lives
away uselessly was folly, but in the wine shop afterward he would have
treated his companion differently.

That morning he had waited patiently for the coming of Mademoiselle St.
Clair. He had made a last inspection of the rooms he had hired,
satisfying himself that there was nothing left undone which it was in
his power to do for her. Then he had gone to his own room and tried to
read during the interval of waiting. His patience was strained to the
limit when, at noon, Mercier and Dubois arrived alone. He had expected
them long before. The delay had almost prepared him to hear that his
plans had been frustrated, yet the two men who had entered, afraid of
his anger, were surprised at the calmness with which he listened to
their story.

It was not all the truth. Mercier said nothing of the amount of wine he
had drunk, nothing of his boasting. He described the men at the Lion
d'Or as truculent, easily ready to take offense, difficult to persuade.

"They began by rejoicing that a market woman was on her way to Paris to
give evidence against an aristocrat," Mercier said, "and then the devil
prompted some man to speculate whether she might not be an aristocrat in
disguise. They were for making certain, and if she were an aristocrat
they would have hanged her in the inn yard. I had to threaten to shoot
the first man who attempted to mount the stairs."

"And even then they only waited to get the better of us," said Dubois.

"They left the inn sulkily at last," Mercier went on, "but all night we
kept guard upon the stairs, wasting precious hours as it happened."

"Go on," said Latour, quietly.

"Soon after dawn we were startled by a groan from the end of a passage,
and we went to find a man lying there half dead. He had been badly
handled, near where he lay was a door opening onto stairs which went
down to the kitchens and the back entrance to the house. We went to
mademoiselle's room and found that she had gone. How it had been
accomplished neither Dubois nor I could tell, but we were both convinced
that some of the men had stolen back after leaving the inn and had taken
mademoiselle away, telling her some plausible tale to keep her silent.
We roused the sleeping inn and searched it from cellar to garret. From
the man lying in the passage we could get no coherent words, though we
wasted good brandy on him. We went to the village, and were not
satisfied until we had roused every man who had been at the Lion d'Or
that night. More hours wasted. Then we went back to the inn and found
the man revived somewhat. He declared that as he came to the top of the
stairs a man and a woman met him. Before he could utter a cry the man
seized him by the throat; he was choked and remembered nothing more. It
was natural that our suspicions should turn to this fellow Barrington
whom we had so easily outwitted at Beauvais. On this theory we asked
ourselves which way he would be likely to take mademoiselle. It did not
seem possible that they could enter Paris. We were at a loss what to
do, and indeed wasted more time in searching the country in the
neighborhood of the Lion d'Or for traces of the fugitives."

"You have certainly wasted much time," said Latour. "Tell me, what is
this man Barrington like." He had already had a description from Jacques
Sabatier, but a word-picture from another source might make the man
clearer to him. Mercier's description was even better than Sabatier's.

"Did you tell this story of the Lion d'Or at the barrier?"

"No," Mercier answered. It was evidently the answer Latour wished to
receive, and in a sense it was true. Mercier had not proclaimed at the
barrier that he had been outwitted, and no one knew what business had
taken him from Paris; but he had said that he believed an emigre in the
disguise of a market woman had entered the city that morning. "What
emigre?" he was asked. "Mademoiselle St. Clair," he had answered. The
guard said nothing, no more inclined to confess to carelessness than
Mercier was, and Mercier and Dubois had ridden on convinced that
mademoiselle was not in Paris. At the barrier his remarks might have
been taken for badinage, a sneer at the vigilance which was kept, had
not the entrance of the quarreling market woman been remembered.

"If she is in Paris, we shall find her," said Latour.

"It is more likely she had ridden back to Beauvais," said Dubois. "If
she is wise that is the way she has taken."

"Women in love are not always wise," said Latour.

"I am afraid, citizen, this unfortunate business has interfered with
your plans. I am sorry. We had managed the whole affair so
excellently." Mercier was so relieved to find Latour so calm that he was
inclined to swagger.

"Most excellently," was the answer. "I am as far from having
mademoiselle in my power as I was when you started."


"Is there need to say more?" Latour asked sharply. "I shall have other
work for you presently; see that it is accomplished better. Did you meet
Jacques Sabatier on the road this morning?"

"No, citizen. We have not seen him since he met us at the tavern
yesterday and rode to Paris for your instructions. This morning we left
the road several times to make sure the fugitives were not hidden in
some shed or hollow. If he travelled to the Lion d'Or that is how we
must have missed him."

"Come to me to-night at nine," he said, dismissing them. His anger was
great, but it did not suit him to say more.

This was all Latour knew when he chanced upon Richard Barrington in the
afternoon. He was thinking of mademoiselle when the noise of the
approaching crowd reached him, and then he noticed the tall, strongly
knit figure of the man just before him. A second glance convinced him
that this was the American; therefore mademoiselle was in Paris. This
was the man who had brought all his scheming to naught; his enemy, a
daring and dangerous foe. He noted the expression on Barrington's face
as the crowd went by, saw the intention in his eyes. In another moment
his enemy might be destroyed, gashed with pikes, trampled under foot,
yet Latour put out his hand and stopped him. Why? Latour could not see
even his enemy throw his life away so uselessly. He hardly gave a
thought to the wretched prisoner in the coach, but his interest was keen
in the man who went with him to the wine shop. It was no mere phrase
when he said he was a man after his own heart, he meant it. Their paths
in life might be antagonistic, their ideals diametrically opposed, yet
in both men there was purpose and determination, a struggle towards
great achievement, a definite end to strive after. Circumstances might
make them the deadliest of foes, but there was a strong and natural
desire for friendship as they clasped hands.

"I could love that man," Latour mused as he went towards the Rue Valette
afterwards. "Yet I must spy upon him and deceive him if I can.
Mademoiselle is in Paris and he knows where she is hidden. He is
Bruslart's friend, and Bruslart I hate."

He climbed the stairs to his room to find Sabatier waiting for him on
the landing.

"I have heard," said Latour, unlocking his door and entering the room
with his visitor, "I have heard the whole story. The fools have been
outwitted. I have just left this man Barrington."

"Citizen, I do not think you have heard the whole story."

Latour turned quickly. Something in the man's tone startled him.

"Mademoiselle was taken to the Abbaye prison this afternoon," said

A cry, a little cry almost like the whine of a small animal suddenly
hurt, escaped from Latour's lips. His strength seemed to go out of him,
and he sank into a chair by the table, his face pale, his hands

"Tell me," he said, his voice a whisper.

"I cannot say how suspicion first arose, but some one at the barrier
must have started it. Whether it was a guess, or whether some one
recalled her face some time after she had been allowed to pass, I do not
know, nor does it matter much. It got wind that Mademoiselle St. Clair
had entered Paris, and where in Paris would she be most likely to
go?--to Citizen Bruslart's. A crowd was quickly on its way there.
Bruslart was away from home, but they would go in, and there they found
her. Not an hour ago they were shouting round her as they took her to
the Abbaye."

"There is wine in that cupboard, Sabatier--thanks. This news has taken
the nerve out of me. Bruslart must have known she was in his house.
Barrington would leave her there."

"I am not so sure of that," said Sabatier. "I do not know how much this
Barrington suspects, but I do not think he is a man to make so obvious a
mistake. I give him credit for more cunning, and with reason, I think."

"And Bruslart must have known the danger," said Latour.

"He may not, if he supposed mademoiselle had managed to get into Paris
unseen. I cannot understand Citizen Bruslart."

"Dieu! Did he betray her himself, Sabatier?"

"I do not know. If I could see any object in his doing so I might
suspect him."

"The Abbaye," Latour muttered, getting up and pacing the room. "The
Abbaye. We must get her out, Sabatier. She would never be acquitted. Had
she remained in Paris, the good she has done to the poor might have been
remembered in her favor, but an emigre, her great name and all that it
stands for--. No, she is as surely doomed as any prisoner who has
entered the Abbaye. I have business at the prison to-night, Sabatier. I
may learn something of her."

"Wait, citizen. To-morrow will do. You will not be careful enough

Latour paused by the table, a little astonished perhaps at the concern
in his companion's voice. Sabatier was to be trusted as a man who served
well for payment, but his hands had been red often, and it was strange
to hear anything like sentiment from his lips.

"One would think you had some real affection for me," said Latour.

Sabatier swaggered to hide such weakness. "I am a man, citizen, who
fears nothing. I can recognize another man who fears God or man as
little as I do."

"The wine has cured me," said Latour. "I shall do my business, nothing
more. I am not a fool. There will be no need of carefulness. Sabatier,
to-morrow you must find out what Citizen Bruslart does. His movements
may be interesting."

"And this man Barrington?"

"Leave him to me," answered Latour.

No man knew better when to wait and when to act than Raymond Latour, and
few men had a keener perception of possibilities, of chances which were
worth taking, of risks it was unwise to run. He appreciated his own
power and influence to the very turn of a hair in the balance, and
although to his companions he might exaggerate or underrate that
influence to suit the occasion, he never made the fatal mistake of
deceiving himself in the matter. Under ordinary circumstances, had his
interest been aroused in a prisoner, he would have gone openly to those
in authority and put the case before them, with every confidence not
only of being listened to, but of getting his request granted. He had a
strong following and was too powerful to offend. But for such a prisoner
as Mademoiselle St. Clair, he knew that he dare not plead. The strongest
man in Paris would be howled down by the mob if he attempted to procure
her acquittal. She was closely connected with the best hated families of
France, she stood not for herself but for what she represented, and the
mob had assisted at no capture that pleased it more. This knowledge had
for a moment robbed Latour of his nerve and courage. Strong man and
self-contained as he was, he had not been able to control himself and
hide his fear from Jacques Sabatier; yet now, as he passed quickly
through the streets in the direction of the Abbaye prison, his step was
firm, his face resolute, his course of action determined upon.

For an hour he talked with two friends of his who were in charge of this
prison of the Abbaye, laughed and rejoiced with them at the arrest of
such an important emigre that day; and then, at their prophecy that she
would not be long in their keeping, that the tribunal would see to it
that she went speedily upon her last journey to the Place de la
Revolution, Latour ventured a protest--the first move in his scheme. It
was so definite a protest that his companions were astonished.

"What! Does a woman appeal to you? Are you losing your hatred for

"The woman appeals to me in a curious way," Latour answered. "After all,
what is she? A little fish out of a great shoal. I would net in the
shoal. It is not difficult with this little fish for bait. Do you not
see how it is? This little fish is precious to the shoal, and lost, the
shoal, or part of it, at any rate, will turn to find her. So long as it
is known that she lives, there will be other emigres stealing into Paris
to look for Mademoiselle St. Clair."

"You are right. Delay will be wise," was the answer.

"Urge it, then," said Latour, with gleaming, sinister eyes. "Urge it.
You are the keepers of prisoners and should know best when to spare and
when to kill. It is not my business, and I have a name for gentleness in
some matters, a reputation which it suits me to preserve, but I am
bloodthirsty enough to give you good advice."

Latour knew how swift revolutionary justice was sometimes. It might be
only a matter of hours between mademoiselle and the guillotine. He had
counseled delay, confident that these men would counsel it in their
turn, and take to themselves the credit for so excellent an idea.

He had other business as he passed along the corridor of the prison, a
jest with the red-capped turnkey concerning the pretty birds he tended
so lovingly.

"Some of them sing even, citizen," answered the man, with a great,
coarse laugh. "Shall I show you some of my pets? You may not have
another opportunity."

"I do not understand birds."

"Will you not look at the new one caught only to-day?"

"Ah, the aristocrat! I had forgotten her. Where is she caged?"

"Yonder, a small cage, and with three others not of her breed. She does
not sing, citizen, she scolds. I tell you she has some strange oaths and
curses at her tongue tip, and mingles them curiously with prayers for

Latour laughed. He must show no anger at this man's humor, and he had
nothing to suggest which might secure mademoiselle greater comfort.

He glanced along the corridor in the direction the man had pointed. A
few yards of passage and a locked door were all that separated him from
the woman he would help. The temptation to look upon her for a moment
was great, the thought that by a glance he might convey a message of
assurance to her seemed to offer an excuse, but he resisted the

"I shall see enough of your birds when you send them on their last
flight," he said, carelessly. "I hoped to see Mathon--where is he?"

"Drinking in the nearest wine shop, citizen, I'll wager, since he is off

"It is a bad habit for turnkeys to drink," said Latour, severely, and
the red-capped bully felt a sudden qualm of nervousness in his frame as
he remembered how powerful this man was.

"Mathon is a good fellow. I spoke in jest, not to do him harm. When he
has the keys in his keeping he does not drink, citizen."

"I am glad to hear that," answered Latour, as he passed on.

He found the turnkey Mathon in a neighboring wine shop, and called him
out. The order was peremptory, and the man came quickly. Mathon had a
history. He had been lackey to a nobleman, and while shouting with
patriots in the beginning of the trouble, had helped his old master and
his master's friends. Since then he had mended his ways and become a
true patriot, with no desire to help a living soul but himself, with no
sentiment and no fear in him except for one man--Raymond Latour. Latour
knew the truth about him, was the only man who did, and held the proof,
therefore Mathon was bound to serve him. He came quickly out of the wine
shop and followed Latour into a side street.

"You know the room where this aristocrat was placed to-day?"

"Yes, citizen."

"She is not likely to be moved from there?"

"No, citizen, not until--not until she is condemned."

"When will you be in charge of the keys of her prison?"

"Not for a week, citizen."

"A week!"

"My turn for that part of the prison comes in a week, and she may not be
there then. If you would speak with her, I might manage it before then."

"I do not want speech with her," Latour returned.

Mathon looked at him sharply.

"More than speech," said Latour. "In a week I will see you again. You
shall run small risk, I will see to that."

Mathon nodded, he could not refuse his help, though his throat grew dry,
and the collar of his shirt seemed to tighten as he thought of what the
consequences might be. He hastened back to the wine shop and Latour
returned to the Rue Valette slowly, thinking of a week hence.

He hardly noticed those who passed him on the way, and was certainly
quite unconscious of the figure which followed him like a shadow.



Raymond Latour was a busy man, he seldom missed attending the meetings
of the Convention, and was assiduous in his work upon the various
committees of public instruction, domains, liquidation and finance. It
was therefore past noon on the following day when Sabatier found him and
related what had occurred at the wine shop on the previous evening.

"Citizen Bruslart is no coward," concluded Sabatier, as though he
considered even grudging praise from a man like himself conferred
distinction upon the recipient. "When he entered, every patriot there
was ready to fly at his throat, yet before the evening was ended he was
a hero."

"He must still be watched," said Latour. "I have always told you that he
was clever."

"He would be safer arrested, citizen. Indeed, is it not almost certain
that he will be since this aristocrat was found in his apartment?"

"He has wasted no time," Latour answered. "Quite early this morning he
saw certain members of the Convention and explained matters. It was the
same story as he told in the wine shop, and he was believed."

"Do you believe him?" Sabatier asked.

The smile upon Latour's face suggested that he had no great faith in
any one, that it was a sign of weakness to trust any man fully, and
folly to express an opinion on such a subject.

"For all his professions of innocence a word would suffice to have him
arrested," said Sabatier.

"It is the very last word I want spoken," Latour answered. "As you know,
I have a personal interest in this affair. Citizen Bruslart is one of
the cards in the game I play. Such a card in the hand is not to be
carelessly thrown away, for there will surely come a time when it will
be played with effect. Until then, Sabatier, make it your business to
believe in Citizen Bruslart's patriotism, discourage as much as you can
any questioning of it among those with whom you come in contact. Twice
already to-day I have been loud in his praises. For the present he is
safe, and we can watch him easily."

Perhaps Latour trusted Sabatier more fully than he did any of the others
who served him, and there were many. He was farseeing enough to
understand that popularity only was not sufficient security, that with
the conflicting and changing interests which ruled Paris and the
country, the friends of to-day might easily become the enemies of
to-morrow. It was necessary to obtain some stronger hold upon the fickle
populace, a security which was rooted in fear and ignorance of the
extent of his power and knowledge. He had been careful, therefore, that
the interests of those who served him should not be identical, that
their individual importance should lie in different directions, in
various quarters of the city and among different sections of the
revolutionists whose aims and views were in many ways opposed to one
another. The result was that Latour's power was appreciated on all
sides, yet only imperfectly understood, and in the Convention he passed
for something of an enigma, yet a man who was far safer as a friend than
as an enemy. These confederates of his had one thing in common, however;
all of them were beholden to Raymond Latour. He held some secret
concerning each one of them; their lives, or at least their well-being,
were in his hands; no one of them had his full confidence, and they
could not afford either to deceive or betray him. His position was as
secure as any man's in Paris. That he had enemies he knew, but they dare
not strike; that he was watched he did not doubt, but the fact did not
trouble him. Yet, at this juncture of his schemes, the espionage of one
person who dogged his footsteps might have made him apprehensive had he
known of it.

Seth, a hunter and trapper by nature, the son and grandson of men who
for their own safety had to be trained in the subtle methods of the
Indian, who himself had had no small experience in this respect, and
easily followed a trail which was no trail to ordinary eyes, found
little difficulty in watching Latour's movements. Barrington had taken
Seth to the Rue Valette last night, and from the shadow on the opposite
side of the street had pointed out Latour to him. Seth had followed
Latour to the Abbaye prison, had seen him call Mathon from the
neighboring wine shop, and before he slept Barrington had received the
information. That Latour should go so promptly to this particular prison
was at least surprising. He might have business there which had nothing
to do with Jeanne St. Clair, he might still be in ignorance of the
identity of the occupant of that coach, but Barrington could not believe
this to be the case. He was much rather inclined to think with Lucien
Bruslart that Latour had had a part in her betrayal.

One thing was certain, he must make use of the friendship Latour had
offered him. There was danger in it no doubt, but Mademoiselle St.
Clair's life was at stake, so the danger counted for nothing. Moreover,
Barrington had papers in his possession to prove what his object was in
coming to France, and he had already thrown out the suggestion to Latour
that his reason in smuggling mademoiselle into Paris might have been a
sinister one; and since Latour must have enemies, there would at least
be some who would believe Barrington's statement that this deputy was
ready to plot on behalf of an aristocrat, that over his wine he had
confessed it. The struggle with Raymond Latour might be a more equal one
than it appeared on a first consideration.

Next morning he told Seth his plans. "First I shall see Monsieur
Bruslart early this afternoon as arranged. Unless he should have had
some extraordinary success last night, which is hardly to be expected, I
shall then go and see Latour."

"It may be only to walk into a den of lions," said Seth.

"Probably, but I am not altogether without means of taming them--and you
know, Seth, where I have gone. If I am missing, it will be your task to
find where I am, and if necessary, you must go to the Marquis de
Lafayette and tell him."

"You will have also told Monsieur Bruslart."

"I am not sure," Barrington answered. "It will depend on circumstances."

"I should be inclined to let circumstances prevent it," said Seth. "I
have not much faith in the help of a man who is so sure of his own
cleverness that he takes the woman he loves to the very place where a
child might know she would be in the greatest danger."

"I cannot understand that, I must confess, Seth."

"Well, Master Richard, I've always found it a good rule to have as
little as possible to do with people you don't understand."

It was wise advice, perhaps, but the fact that Barrington had accused
himself of entertaining a selfish hope that Lucien Bruslart was not a
worthy man inclined him to believe in him, to trust him. He had, indeed,
greater reason to do so now that grave suspicion was attached to Latour.

There was nothing of the despair of last night in Bruslart's manner
to-day when Barrington saw him. It had not been replaced by confidence,
but a dogged purpose was in his face, and a calm calculation in his

"I have done something but not much," he said. "After leaving you last
evening, I fell in with a lot of patriots and I was quickly aware that I
was in greater danger than I had imagined. I had to think of myself, for
once my word is discredited, all my power to help mademoiselle is gone."

"Have you succeeded in re-establishing your credit?"

"I think so. I understand the mob and played to it. I had to lie of
course, lies are the chief currency in Paris to-day. I knew nothing of
mademoiselle's coming, I said; I did not even know the name of the
aristocrat who had been arrested in my apartment, and naturally, as a
true patriot I rejoiced at her arrest. I was considered a very fine
fellow before the evening was out."

"But mademoiselle was not helped much," said Barrington.

"Not at all. I could not move on her behalf until this morning. First I
have ascertained that her imprisonment in the Abbaye is so far
fortunate, since it means that there is no desire to bring her to trial
hurriedly. This gives us time. Then I have interviewed one or two
members of the Convention. I need not tell you, Monsieur Barrington,
that most of these men who are striving for individual power are afraid
of one another. Each one wants staunch supporters and is ready to pay
any price for them. It is worth while obtaining my support, so these men
listened earnestly to me. They are inclined to help me."

"How?" asked Barrington.

"It is too early to decide, but I am hoping that we shall be able to
show that mademoiselle was in Paris for a legitimate purpose, to help
the distress in the city, for example; something, at any rate, to make
the mob shout for her release. That way her prison doors would be
quickly opened. The respite might be short lived, but it would be long
enough. Then would come your part of the work, to see her safely back to

"And what further steps can you take towards this end?"

"Careful ones," Bruslart answered. "First gain the interest of other
members of the Convention; secondly, let the reason for mademoiselle's
return gradually be known among the poor in the Faubourg St. Antoine,
and elsewhere. I can drop a spark or two in different directions, and
the mob is tow. The fire will spread."

"But if it does not?" asked Barrington.

"You are depressing, monsieur."

"I want to act."

"It must be with caution," said Bruslart, "and with deceit. We can make
no appeal to justice, because justice does not exist in Paris."

"I have nothing to say against your plans," Barrington returned. "I am
only wondering whether we cannot work in another direction as well, so
that if one way fail we may have the other to fall back on."

"You are still thinking of the power of gold."

"It seldom fails with such men as seem to be the rulers in Paris," said

"Perhaps not, but it would fail now. Power is more to these men than
gold. The one can be used and gloried in, evidence of the other would
only make the mob suspicious. Is there any other way you can suggest?"

Barrington was thoughtful for a moment, making up his mind whether he
should tell Lucien Bruslart of Latour's movements.

"No," he said slowly, "I have no other suggestion to make."

"I have every hope of success," said Bruslart, "but I am going to appear
discourteous, Monsieur Barrington. It is necessary that I shall be
considered a patriot of patriots, nothing must jeopardize such a
character at the present time. Now it is more than probable that there
are men in Paris who saw you at the barriers with mademoiselle, it would
be dangerous to my character if you were seen visiting me."

"I understand."

"And you forgive the seeming discourtesy?"

"There is nothing to forgive. The idea crossed my mind on the way here,
and I was cautious."

"Close to the Place du Carrousal," said Bruslart, "in a side street,
there is a wine shop, an iron sign representing three barrels hangs over
the door; if you could pass there every afternoon at four, I could find
you when I was ready for your help."

Barrington promised to make a habit of passing this place at four in the
afternoon and took his leave. He had hoped that Bruslart would have
accomplished more, but it was something that he had done so much. It was
absurd to feel any disappointment, in so short a time what more could he
have done? Yet Barrington walked rapidly and in the direction of the Rue
Valette. Bruslart had said nothing to alter his determination to see
Raymond Latour.

He saw nothing of Seth in the street, and hardly expected to find Latour
at home, but no sooner had he knocked than the door was opened and
Latour welcomed him. He locked the door again when Barrington had

"I am fond of study," he said, pointing to some open books on the table.

"And I disturb you?"

"No. I think I have almost been expecting you."

Barrington did not answer. It was necessary that he should get the
measure of this man, understand the working of his mind, see the
thoughts which were concealed behind his words. Barrington was as alert
as though rapiers were in their hands, and only the death of one of them
could satisfy the quarrel.

"Is it necessary for me to tell you that I guessed who you were
yesterday?" said Latour.

"No, I knew that."

"It was not until I returned here that I knew who was in that coach.
That is why I have been expecting you."

Barrington sat down, and with his elbows on the table supported his
chin in his hands. In this position he looked fixedly at his companion,
and neither of them spoke for a few moments. Then Latour sat down on the
opposite side of the table.

"I see how it is, Monsieur Barrington, you do not believe me. I am not
surprised. I am sufficiently well known in Paris for you to have
discovered, if you have taken the slightest trouble to inquire, that I
am a red republican, anathema to those who desire milder methods, a
bloodhound where aristocrats are concerned. Still, I did not know who
was in that coach any more than you did."

"If you had known?" asked Barrington.

"I should still have put out my hand to preserve your life."

"Are you quite sure of that?"

"Quite sure."

"You would not have rushed with me into that crowd, thinking of nothing
but the woman in the coach."

"What should make you think so?"

"You forget perhaps that you told me there was a woman, an aristocrat,
for whom you would do much," said Barrington.

"I do not forget, but the will to do much does not mean the will to die
for her."

"No? I think it did," Barrington returned. "I judged by the man's face,
not his words."

Latour smiled, as he closed the books upon the table and put them

"You may be right," he said; "the temptation has not yet come to me. The
other idea that is in your mind is wrong. Mademoiselle St. Clair is not
the woman I am interested in."

"Then we start on level ground," said Barrington, "the ground which was
of your own suggesting--friendship. I do not believe my face is a
telltale one, but would you feel confident that I would do you a service
if I could?"


"Then, Monsieur Latour, what are you going to do to help me to save
Mademoiselle St. Clair?"

"The question is not unexpected," said Latour, after a pause. "I might
easily answer it with the bare statement that I could do nothing. It
would be true enough, for, in one sense, I am powerless; my conscience
would be clear because I should be acting up to my principles. But let
us consider the question for a moment. You are acting for Citizen Lucien

"He does not know that I am here."

"I quite appreciate that you are not a man to trust any one implicitly
on so short an acquaintance, but you know perfectly well that to rescue
Mademoiselle St. Clair is to save her for Lucien Bruslart."

"And if it be so?"

"The enterprise does not much appeal to me," said Latour. "Let me be
more explicit than I was yesterday. I know Bruslart, not the man only
but the very soul of the man. It is black, monsieur, black as hell.
Mademoiselle had far better look through the little window than trust
such a man. The guillotine does its work quickly, but the misery of a
woman who trusts Lucien Bruslart must be the affair of a lifetime."

"If she is saved, is it so certain that it will be for Citizen
Bruslart?" Barrington asked.



The week of waiting passed slowly for Raymond Latour. He knew the risk
he was running, but never for an instant was he tempted to turn from his
purpose. His whole being was centered upon the enterprise; the saving of
this woman was an essential thing, and every other consideration of
country or self must give way to it. He was quite willing to sacrifice
himself if necessary, but at the same time he intended to guard against
such a necessity as much as possible. He worked with cunning and
calculation, going over every point in his scheme and eliminating as far
as possible every element of chance. The unlikely things which might
happen were considered, and provided for. Only two persons had any part
in the scheme, Jacques Sabatier and Mathon, the jailer; each had his own
particular work in it, had received definite and minute instructions,
yet neither of them knew the whole plot. Latour did not take them
entirely into his confidence; he did not ask their advice, he only told
them how to act.

The week was as any other week to Jacques Sabatier. Uplifted somewhat by
Latour's confidence in him, his swaggering gait was perhaps a little
more pronounced, but he was untouched by apprehension, not so much
because he was a fearless man--like all swaggerers adverse
circumstances would probably find him at heart a coward--but because he
had implicit faith in Raymond Latour. The man he served was not only
powerful and courageous; he was lucky, which counted for much. What he
had set his heart upon that he obtained. It was a creed in which
Sabatier had absolute faith, and the passing week was merely an interval
which must elapse before success.

Mathon the jailer had not this sublime faith, and his fearfulness was
perhaps natural. As a jailer he was in close touch with facts and knew
by experience how unstable in these days was any man's power. A week had
often served to change a master whose anger was dangerous into a
prisoner whose name might at any moment be upon the list of those
destined forthwith to feed the guillotine. He had not been brought so
constantly in touch with Latour that he could appreciate him as a lucky
man, and he contemplated his part in the enterprise with misgiving.

The plot was to be carried out on the second night upon which Mathon was
on duty. This was the first precaution. Were he a party to
mademoiselle's escape it would be argued that he would have seized the
first opportunity; that he had not done so would go some way to prove
his innocence. On this evening, too, Mathon was particularly loud in his
hatred of all prisoners, of one emigre prisoner in particular, and his
manners were brutal. There would be many witnesses able to prove this.
In one small room at the end of a corridor he was particularly brutal.
He made the mere unlocking of the door a nerve-racking sound, and
stamped in swearing under his breath. Three women drew back into a
corner, trembling. They were women of a coarse bourgeois type, their
chief crime misfortune. They knew only imperfectly of what they were
accused, why they were there, but they had few friends to spare a
thought for them and expected each day to be their last. Sometimes they
were afraid and tearful, at other times careless, loose, and
blasphemous, despair making them unnatural, and in this mood it pleased
them to curse their fellow prisoner, also a woman, and an aristocrat.

Mathon laughed as they shrank from him.

"Disappointed again," he said. "You are not called to-night. You will
have another pleasant dream about it. Perhaps to-morrow your turn will
come. It's time. This fine apartment is wanted for better people."

Then he turned and walked towards the fourth prisoner. If she were
afraid she succeeded in hiding the fact. She was standing by the window
and she did not move.

"As for you, your time is short," said the jailer, and then coming quite
close to her he dropped his voice. "Listen, and don't show astonishment.
You will be released probably. When the time comes, ask no questions,
don't speak, do as you are told." Then he swore loudly again and,
jingling his keys, went out and locked the door.

He swore partly to keep his own courage at the proper pitch, for the
dismal corridors of the Abbaye were depressing to-night. Approaching
footsteps startled Mathon, and the sudden salutation of a comrade turned
him pale. The night was oppressive, yet he found it cold enough to make
him shiver.

Presently there came heavy footsteps, and two of those dreaded officers
of the Convention, men whose hours were occupied in spreading terror and
in feeding the guillotine, stood before him.

"Jailer Mathon?"


"You have in your charge an emigre, Jeanne St. Clair. She is to be
removed forthwith to the Conciergerie. There is the order."

Mathon took up a lantern and by the dim light read the paper handed to
him. It was all in order, the full name of the emigre duly inserted, the
genuine signature of the governor of the prison at the foot of the
document. The jailer looked from the paper into the face of the man who
had handed it to him.

"Do they set over prisoners fools who cannot read?" asked the man.

"No; the paper is in order," Mathon answered.

"Obey it then. Fetch out the emigre."

Mathon folded up the paper and placed it in his pocket.

"It is down this passage," and his keys jingled. His fingers trembled a
little as the men followed him. A few yards from the door the men

"Bring her quickly. We have other work to do to-night more important
than this."

Mathon unlocked the door and entered the room.

"Jeanne St. Clair, your turn has come."

The woman moved slowly.

"Quickly," said Mathon. "Your head's still in its place. Wrap the hood
of your cloak well round it. There's no need to feel cold before the
time. Don't speak," he added in a whisper.

They went out together, Mathon locking the door again.

"This is the prisoner."

The officers without a word placed themselves on either side of her, and
they went quickly along the corridor leaving the jailer alone, one hand
holding his keys, the other pressed to his pocket to make sure that the
order he had obeyed still rested there.

A _berlin_ stood in the little square before the prison, the driver half
asleep. He had no imagination, this driver, and this square was to him
as any other in Paris. Yet on another night, not long since, how
different it had been! Then a mob filled it, filled it to overflowing, a
mob mad with lust of blood and murder, armed with sabers, pikes and
hatchets, any weapon that came to hand. Within the prison sat a sudden
jury, a mockery of Justice; without stood Fate. A brief questioning, the
veriest caricature of a trial, and prisoners were escorted to the doors,
but no farther. The rest of the journey they must go alone. A lane
opened before them, all must traverse it, old and young, man or woman.
It was a short journey, and amid frenzied shrieks they fell under the
sabers and the pikes. There was no mercy, only red death and horror.
Rain had fallen in Paris since then, yet surely there must still be
blood in the gutters of this square. The driver could not tell where he
had been that night, not here certainly, but wherever it was he was
minding his own business. He had enough to do to live from day to day,
and had no use for a long memory. He had carried people, men and women,
from one prison to another before this, and took no special interest in
this job. The revolution mattered little to him if he could get
sufficient for his wants. He had a room high up in the Faubourg St.
Antoine, with a wife and child in it, and cared little what heads fell
daily in the Place de la Revolution. He woke from his reverie at the
sound of footsteps. A woman was helped into the coach quickly, a man
following her and closing the door sharply behind him. A second man
climbed to the box beside the driver.

"To the Conciergerie," he said.

The woman in the coach did not speak, but leaned back in the corner. The
man was also silent until they had driven away from the square.

"Listen to me, mademoiselle," he said presently. "We are driving in the
direction of the Conciergerie, but the way will be altered in a few
minutes. My comrade will arrange that. Keep your cloak well round you
and do not speak. You and I will have to walk presently to a safe
retreat already prepared. You must do exactly as you are told or we may
fail. Your escape may be discovered at any moment."

The woman did not answer. She had no idea who her companion was, had
perhaps a doubt in her mind concerning him, but she determined to obey;
indeed, what else could she do?

The man beside the driver was silent, and sat in a somewhat bent
attitude as though he were desirous of attracting no attention, yet his
eyes were keen as the coach went forward at a jogging pace, and if any
passer-by seemed to show any interest in the conveyance he was quick to
note the fact.

"Take the next turning to the left," he said suddenly.

"That is not the way," returned the driver.

"It's my way. We might fall in with a crowd."


"To the left," said the man. "I will direct you."

The coach turned into the street indicated, and afterward round this
corner and that at the bidding of the man on the box until the driver
was utterly confused.

"I'm lost, citizen," he said; "and what's more I believe you are, too."

"You'll see directly. Sharp round to the right here."

The driver turned.

"Why, it's as I said, you've lost yourself. This is a blind alley."

Indeed it was, a narrow lane between high walls, a place where refuse
collected and was allowed to remain undisturbed, a place upon which
looked no prying window and which echoed to no footfall.

The driver had turned to jeer at his companion when he found himself
seized in a grip there was no fighting against. He tried to call out,
but succeeded in giving only a whispered respiration, and then a heavy
blow robbed him of his senses.

The coach door opened. The man inside got out quickly and helped the
woman to descend.

"Keep silent, mademoiselle; it is all arranged," he whispered, and in a
few moments he had divested himself of his coat and hat, of everything
which marked him as an officer of the Convention, and even of the shaggy
hair which hung about his eyes and neck, and threw all this disguise
into the coach. He was another man altogether. "Come; we must walk. The
worst danger is past."

The man who had sat on the box was bending over the coachman. He said
nothing, did not even look up as the two went swiftly down the alley.
When they had gone he, too, divested himself of everything that proved
him an officer of the Convention and of the wig which had concealed his
identity. These he put into the coach. Then he lifted the unconscious
driver from the ground and put him into the coach also, closing the door
upon him. The horse had not attempted to move. He was a tired, worn-out
beast, glad to rest when and where he could. He was unlikely to move
until his master roused to make him, and the dawn might be no longer
young when that happened, unless some stray pedestrian should chance
down that deserted way.

For an hour that evening Raymond Latour plied his friends and fellow
patriots with wine. So glorious an hour seemed of long duration. In case
of accident there would be a score of good witnesses to swear that their
friend the deputy had been drinking with them all the evening. Under the
influence of wine and loud patriotism the flight of time is of no

It was close on midnight when Latour entered the alley by the baker's
shop in the Rue Valette, walking slowly. Seated at the top of the stairs
he found Sabatier.

"Yes, and asleep probably," said Sabatier, answering the question in his

"It was well done," said Latour. "Come to me early to-morrow. This man
Barrington may be suspected and must be warned."

"And Bruslart?"

"Yes, to-morrow we must think of him, too. Good night, citizen."

Sabatier went down the stairs, and Latour entered his room.

Midnight! Was she yet asleep? Sabatier had told her nothing except that
she was safe, and that the man who had planned her rescue would come to
her and explain everything. She would think it was Lucien Bruslart. Who
would be so likely to run such risk for her sake? Only one other man
might occur to her, the man who had already done so much to help
her--Richard Barrington. Would she be likely to sleep easily to-night?
No. Surely she was wide awake, waiting and watching.

Raymond Latour went quietly up the next flight of stairs to the room
above his own which he had furnished and made ready with such infinite
trouble. She was not so safe in these rooms as she would have been had
he succeeded in bringing her there in the first instance, straight from
the Lion d'Or as he had intended. Bruslart could not have suspected him
then as he must certainly do now; but Bruslart could only work in
secret, he dare not speak openly, and Barrington was powerless. To-night
Latour would say little. He would look upon her for a moment, be assured
that she had everything for her comfort, proclaim himself only as one of
those who had had a part in her rescue, and receive some thanks. This
would be enough for to-night.

The key was in the lock on the outside of the door. Latour knocked
before turning it.


"Come in."

The answer was faint. She was in the inner room. Even when told to
enter, Latour hesitated. This was a crisis in his life, fully understood
and appreciated. Here was the accomplishment of something he had labored
for; it was natural to hesitate. Then he turned the key and went in.

The room was in darkness, but the light of a candle came from the inner
room, and the next moment the door opened wide and a woman stood there,
a beautiful woman, dark in hair and eyes, with figure as lissom as a
young animal, poised just now half expectantly, half in fear.

A sharp exclamation came from Latour's lips as he leaned forward to
look at her.

"Monsieur, I--" and then a flush of anger came into her face. "Am I
still to be insulted?"

"In the devil's name, woman, who are you?"

Latour had crossed the space between them in a hasty stride or two, and
his fingers were tightly round the woman's wrist.

"What right--"

"Who are you? Answer."

For a moment longer she was defiant, even made a feeble struggle to free
herself, but the man's eyes were upon her and she was compelled to look
into them. Anger blazed in them, anger was in every line of his set
face. She had seen this man before, knew he was Raymond Latour, knew his
power, and she was afraid.

"I am Pauline Vaison," she said in a low tone.



Terribly leaden-footed had this week of waiting been to Richard
Barrington. He had not seen Lucien Bruslart, although each afternoon he
had passed the wine shop with the sign of the three barrels. He had
nothing to occupy him, and for most of the day he remained within doors.
He shrank from witnessing the squalor and savagery which might at any
moment be met in the streets; he could not bear the sight or the sound
of those slowly rolling tumbrils carrying their wretched victims to the
guillotine, and he would not go in the direction of the Place de la
Revolution even when there was no yelling crowd there, when the scaffold
was untenanted and the great knife still. Another consideration kept him
indoors. His constant presence in the streets might serve to make his
face and figure familiar, and this would be a disadvantage if he were
presently to help Mademoiselle St. Clair to escape from Paris.

In the house of Monsieur Fargeau life ran a smooth and even course, if
not entirely ignorant of the revolution, at least having no personal
concern with it. The shouting mob did not penetrate into this quiet
corner of the city. Monsieur Fargeau knew nothing of politics, and was
ignorant of the very names of many of those members of the Convention
who were filling distant parts of Europe with horror and loathing. Some
people had lost their lives, he was aware of that; possibly they had
only met with their deserts, he did not know. The times were hard, but
he was prepared for a rainy day, and could afford to wait until business
improved again. To do the Marquis de Lafayette a service he had let
rooms to two Americans, who paid him well, who said pleasant things to
his wife and children when they met them on the stairs, and beyond this
he thought or cared little about them. He knew nothing of their reason
for being in Paris, and had no idea that he was harboring dangerous
characters. Both Barrington and Seth had been careful to leave and
return to their lodgings cautiously, and by a roundabout route, and were
convinced that if they were watched they had succeeded in baffling the
spies in discovering their hiding place. Barrington was therefore rather
startled one afternoon when, as he returned from his daily walk past the
wine shop, a man suddenly came from a doorway and spoke his name in a
low tone.

"It is Monsieur Barrington?"


"You may remember me, monsieur. I am a servant to Monsieur de

"Yes, I thought I recognized your face. You have a message for me?"

"My master has left Paris, monsieur. There was a rumor that he was in
the city, and he was in danger of arrest. He has rejoined the army in
the North, but it may not be possible for him to stay there. If not, he
will ride across the Belgian frontier."

"It is bad news?" said Barrington.

"Yes, monsieur, and I was to say to you that you would do well to leave
Paris at the first opportunity. There is no place for an honest man
to-day in France. My master told me to say that."

This news added to Barrington's feeling of impotence, and was
depressing. Had his days been full of active danger it would not have
had such an effect upon him. Naturally disposed to see the silver lining
of every cloud, he was unable to detect it now. Instead, his mind was
full of questions. Was Bruslart honest? Was he leaving no stone unturned
to release Mademoiselle St. Clair? Had Raymond Latour lied to him? Was
this week of waiting merely a pretext in order that he might have time
to render the prisoner's acquittal absolutely impossible?"

"I'd trust this man Latour before I would Bruslart," Seth said, when
Barrington appealed to him, but in such a tone that he did not appear
really to trust either of them.

"And at the end of this week what are we to do if mademoiselle is still
a prisoner?"

"Master Richard, we're just men, ordinary men, and we cannot do the
impossible. We shall have done all that it is in our power to do, and a
ride toward the sea and a ship bound for Virginia would be the best
thing for us."

"You would leave a defenseless woman in the hands of her enemies?"
Barrington asked.

"It seems to me she must remain there whether we stay or go. I'm looking
at the matter as it is, and I see no opening for a romantic side to it,"
Seth answered. "You cannot do battle with a whole city, that would mean
death and nothing accomplished; you cannot go to these ruffians and
demand her release, that would mean death, yours and hers, in the
shortest time possible. No, unless this man Latour keeps his word, I
see naught for us but a return to Virginia as quickly as may be."

"You would never spend another night of sound sleep, Seth."

"I should, Master Richard. I should just forget this time as though it
had never been, wipe the marks of it off the slate. He's a wise man who
does that with some of the episodes of his life."

"I am a fool with a long memory," said Barrington.

"Ay, but you will grow older, Master Richard; and life is less romantic
as we grow older."

So from Seth there was not much consolation to be had, only sound common
sense, which was not altogether palatable just now as Barrington counted
the days. Latour had been very indefinite. He had said a week, and on
waking one morning Barrington's first thought was that the week ended
to-morrow. It was a proof of his trust in Latour, half unconscious
though such trust might be, that he had not expected to hear anything
until the week had passed. He judged Latour by himself.

Seth went out in the morning as usual, looking as true and
uncompromising a patriot as any he was likely to encounter in the
street. He rather prided himself on the way he played his part, and wore
the tri-color cockade with an air of conviction. Grim of feature, he
looked like a man of blood, a disciple of rioting, and he had more than
once noticed that certain people who wished to pass unobserved shrank
from him, which pleased him greatly. Early in the afternoon he returned
hurriedly. It was so unlike him to come up the stairs hastily, two at a
time, that Barrington opened the door to meet him.

"Shut it, Master Richard," he said, as he entered the room.

"What has happened?"

"The unexpected. Mademoiselle escaped from the Abbaye Prison last

"You are sure! You have seen Latour?"

"Sure! The news is all over Paris. The mob is furious. There are cries
for a general massacre of prisoners, as happened a little while since,
so that no others may escape. There is talk of a house-to-house search,
and there are more ruffians in the streets to-day than I have seen at

"Is there any mention of Latour, any suspicion of him?"

"I heard none, but they talk of--"

"Bruslart!" ejaculated Barrington.

"No, of a scurvy devil of a royalist who helped mademoiselle into

"Of me? By name?"

"I did not hear your name spoken, but it is you they mean. They are
looking in every direction for mademoiselle, but they are keeping their
eyes open for you, too. There'll be some who will remember seeing you at
the barrier the other day. Yours is a figure not easily to be forgotten.
Keep within doors, Master Richard, until it is safe for us to sneak

"You know that is impossible."

"Mademoiselle has escaped," said Seth. "It is now your turn to seek

"With her escape my part commences," said Barrington, with a laugh that
had happiness in it. "It is for me to take her back to Beauvais or
elsewhere to safety."

"It is madness to think of it," said Seth. "To be in your company would
increase her danger. Think of her, Master Richard, think of her. Your
lust for romantic adventure makes you selfish. For days to come you are
a marked man. In the streets, at any moment, you may be recognized. Even
in this quiet corner of the city you are hardly safe. They'll trap you
if they can and only a miracle can prevent them."

"I have given a promise, Seth."

"Break it, if not for your own sake, for the woman's. You risk bringing
her to ruin. I came back here to-day more cautiously than I have ever
done. One moment of carelessness and you are lost. If this man Latour
must be seen, let me go to him. No one is likely to recognize me. No one
turns to look after me as I pass. I am insignificant, of no account. Let
me go."

"Seth, you have not told me everything," he said, suddenly. "There is
something you are keeping back. What is it?"

Seth was by the window looking down into the quiet street as though he
expected to see danger enter it at any moment.

"What is it?" Barrington repeated.

"I'd give half my remaining years if my conscience would bid me lie to
you," Seth answered, fiercely. "I've prayed, yes, I prayed as I hurried
through the streets that your mother's spirit might be allowed to
whisper to me and bid me deceive you."

"Come, Seth, tell me everything," and Barrington let his hand fall
affectionately on the man's shoulder. "Could conscience persuade you to
barter half your years, it would be but a device of the devil to lead us
into greater difficulty."

"I was recognized to-day. That swaggerer Sabatier touched me in the
street, and with a word of caution bid me walk beside him as though we
were boon companions. He was a messenger from Raymond Latour."

"Yes, what did he say?"

"He told me that mademoiselle had escaped, news I had heard already, and
he bid me tell you from Latour to go to-night, as soon as it began to
grow dusk, to the Rue Charonne, to a tavern there called the Chat Rouge.
You are to ask for the tavern keeper and say to him 'La vie est ici.' He
will understand and bring you to Latour and mademoiselle. Plans are laid
for your escape."

"Is that all, Seth?"

"And enough, surely. It comes from Sabatier, and we know something of
him. It is a trap baited too openly. You will not go, Master Richard."

"Not go! Why, this is the very kind of message I have waited for, but I
did not expect it until to-morrow."

"And I go with you."

Barrington was thoughtful for a moment.

"No. We will exercise every caution. Should escape from Paris seem
possible at once, I can send for you or tell you when and where to join
me; if I walk into a trap, you will still be at liberty to work for my

Seth knew from past experience that all argument was useless, and
listened attentively to his master's instructions.

"If you do not see me, or hear from me within three days, you must act
as you think best, Seth. Whatever my danger I shall have absolute
confidence in you. Mademoiselle once in safety, you shall have your
desire; we will ride toward the sea and a homeward-bound ship."

Twilight was gathering over Paris when Richard Barrington left the house
of Monsieur Fargeau and went in the direction of the Rue Charonne. The
wine shops were full to overflowing; small crowds were at street
corners, filthy men and women ripe for any outrage. The names of
unpopular deputies were freely and loudly cursed; the most unlikely
revolutionists were openly accused of having sympathy with aristocrats.
Some ragged miscreant, whose only popularity rested on some recent
brutality, was declared capable of governing better than most of the
present deputies, and the mob was more out of hand than it had been for
weeks. At the call of some loud-mouthed patriot, or on the instigation
of some screaming virago, a small body of dancing, swearing patriots
would move away bent on mischief which would probably end in bloodshed.
A street, more or less tranquil the moment before, would suddenly become
a miniature battlefield, an opinion dividing patriots into factions
which began to fight savagely. Anything might happen to-night, another
prison might be stormed as the Bastille was, another tenth of August
insurrection, another horror equalling the September massacres, anything
was possible. Only a leader a little bolder than the rest was wanting,
and all attempt at law and order would be trampled to nothing in a
moment by a myriad of feet.

Barrington proceeded carefully with watchful eyes, yet boldly enough not
to draw attention to himself. If a street was in possession of the mob
he avoided it, nor did he pass in the light which came from noisy wine
shops, but he did not make the mistake of avoiding those who approached
him. His route to the Rue Charonne was therefore a circuitous one, but
he came presently to a street which led directly into it, which seemed
quieter than many he had passed through, and he took it.

He had traversed three-parts of its length in safety when from two side
streets crowds came simultaneously. To hurry might raise suspicion, to
turn back most certainly would; so Barrington kept on, not increasing
his pace, but with his eyes and ears keenly alive. His steady pace
exactly brought him into the midst of those who were at the heads of
these two crowds, and he was ready to receive and return any salutation
or coarse pleasantry which might be offered to him, when he found
himself carried in a rush to one side of the street. Between these two
crowds there was some quarrel, possibly no more than an hour old, and
men and women flew at one another in a fury. Being at the edge of the
fight Barrington had no great difficulty in extricating himself, and no
need to defend himself beyond an arm flung out to avoid the blow from a
stick. So fully were they engaged in their fight that they were unlikely
to take much notice of him, and he was congratulating himself on his
escape when one out of the many faces about him suddenly seemed to stand
out distinct from all the rest. Barrington did not know the face, had
never seen the man before that he was aware of, but it fascinated him.
He was obliged to stare back into the eyes fixed upon him, and knew
instinctively that he was in peril.

"An aristocrat!"

The exclamation burst out like the report of a pistol.

"The American!"

The noise of the fight sank in a kind of sob as the roar of a breaking
wave sinks with an angry swish back into silence; and as there is a
pause before the next wave is flung upward to break and roar, so was
there a pause now. Then came the yell of fury, faction quarrel
forgotten. They were all of one mind in a moment.

"An aristocrat! The American! The American!"

In the moment of pause Barrington had thrust aside a man who seemed to
bar his way, and had started to run. He was a score of yards to the
good; with fortune on his side he would turn into the Rue Charonne well
ahead of all but two of his pursuers; an open doorway, an alley, some
hiding-place might present itself. Escape was not probable, but there
was a chance, that bare chance which keeps the courage steady.

[Illustration: Escape was not probable, but there was a chance.]

As he rushed into the Rue Charonne, the yelling chorus behind him, a new
difficulty faced him. Just before him was the Chat Rouge, the one place
in all Paris that must not attract the attention of the mob to-night. An
archway was beside him and he turned into it.

"The American! The American!"

The bloodhounds were in the street. Would they miss this archway? It was

"Quick!" said a voice in his ear as he was dragged back against the
wall. "There is straw below. Jump!"

The crowd was rushing past the archway, but some stopped to examine it
as Barrington jumped down, falling on his hands and knees onto a bed of

"The American!"

"This way. He must have gone this way!"

The babel of voices was loud for a moment, then something silenced it,
and there was the swift sound of a bolt shot home carefully.



It was doubtful whether any man, woman or child, not even excepting
Richard Barrington himself, had any clear idea of Seth's character, or

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