Page:Yule Logs.djvu/95

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79
"A FRENCHMAN'S GRATITUDE"

down the road; but not a sign of any sort of habitation could I discover.

I retraced my steps, and on reaching the spot where the encounter took place, found, to my astonishment, that both De Vignes and the wounded robber had disappeared —not a trace of them was to be seen! I waited about a few minutes, and then hastened to my quarters.

Charles Holroyd had not gone to bed when I returned, and to him I related my adventure.

"It is a queer business," he remarked; "seems to me that our French friend sent you on a fool's errand, with the express intention of getting rid of you."

"I believe he did," I answered. " hall I make an official report of the affair?"

"We will see what the colonel says, Tom," was his reply.

On the following morning there was a terrible hue and cry, for the daughter of Prince T—— was missing from the convent, and one of his Highness's servants had been found dead in a ditch hard by the convent walls, with a sword-thrust through his heart.

"There can be no doubt the young woman has gone off with De Vignes," said my captain when we heard the news. "They were probably watched and surprised by the prince's servants. You say you heard a woman scream?"

"I am certain of that."

"Just so," continued Holroyd; "I see the whole thing! She got away, and her lover covered her retreat; then you came to the rescue, and his assailants having fled, De Vignes wanted to rejoin the girl without your knowledge; so he sent you off on pretence of seeking aid for the wounded man, and, as soon as he had got rid of you, bolted himself. Tom, we will hold our tongues about this affair."

That Holroyd was right in his conjectures was pretty