Page:Yule Logs.djvu/274

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258
THE KING OF SPAIN'S WILL

night, Blue Eyes; adieu—sweetheart;" and again she laughed as she disappeared.

Now, all this had taken some little time, as you may well suppose, so that the great clock of the Cathedral of St. Etienne was striking ten as I re-entered the inn and went on to the large guests'-room, or salle. It was empty at this time of all the sojourners in the house, except the captain, Pontgibaud, who was sitting in front of the huge fire, into which he stared meditatively while he drank some wine from a glass at his elbow.

"All well with the horses?" he asked, as I went up to him. "I thought you were never coming back." Then, without waiting for any explanation from me as to my absence, he said, "We go towards the Pyrenees, by Foix, to-morrow, thereby to intercept Alberoni if we can. That fellow, that mouchard, Marcieu, says he is due to cross into France from Aragon. Meanwhile—" but there he paused, saying no more. Instead, he gazed into the embers of the fire; then suddenly, a moment or so after, spoke again. "Adrian," he said, "it is fitting I should tell you what Marcieu knows, or rather suspects, from information he has received from Dubois, who himself has received it from Madrid. Camier has been informed; so must you be."

"What is it now?" I asked, my anxiety aroused.

"This. Alberoni, as Marcieu says, has all the old Spanish aristocracy on his side, simply because the King, Philippe, is a Frenchman. They are helping him—especially the ladies. Now, it is thought one of them has carried off the will of the late King Charles, and not Alberoni himself."

"Who is she?"

"He, Marcieu, will not tell, though he knows her rank and title. But—" and now Pontgibaud looked round the room, which was, as I have said, quite empty but for us, then lowered his voice ere he replied—"but—he is going