Page:Yule Logs.djvu/271

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255
THE KING OF SPAIN'S WILL

straw clean and fresh; while, as the glimmer of the lamp proclaimed, they had been properly groomed and attended to. Everything was very well. Wherefore, giving my own mare the piece of sugar I had brought for her, I made for the door again, observing that Le Marcieu's red roan, a wiry but serviceable beast, was in a stall nearer to the entrance.

Then suddenly, as I raised the lantern to give a second glance at it, to my astonishment I saw the singing-girl, Damaris, dart out swiftly from near that stall and endeavour to push by me and escape through the door; which, however, I easily prevented her from doing, since I seized her at once by the arm and held her, while I exclaimed, "Not so fast, mademoiselle, not so fast. What are you doing here?—you, who are at the ‘Red Glove’ and have no business whatever in these stables."


CHAPTER III

"WHEN THE STEED HAS FLOWN"

At first she struggled a little, then all of a sudden she took a different tack, and exclaimed, "How dare you touch me, fellow. You—a common mousquetaire—to lay your hands on me! You! you! Let go—or——"

However, I had let go of her by now through astonishment at her impertinence. A common mousquetaire, indeed!—a common mousquetaire!—when, in all our regiment, there was scarce a trooper riding who was not of gentle blood—to say nothing of the officers.

"I may be ‘a common mousquetaire,’" I replied, as calmly as I could, "yet, all the same, commit no rudeness to a wandering ballad-singer whom I find in the stable where our horses are; and——"

"Why!" she exclaimed, with a look (I could see it by