Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/265

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quished admiral tendered me the insignia of his command, when on a sudden thought I put back the proffered sword, assuring him so noble a soldier ought never to stand disarmed, and no hand but his should touch that valiant blade. My delighted lads cheered again like mad, and Bienville himself seemed much pleased at my courtesy.

"Bravo! Placide," he exclaimed, clapping his hands, his rugged face aglow with martial joy. His countenance changed, however, when his eye fell upon the cringing figure of Matamora, the commandant of perfidious memory.

"You, too, Matamora? What, not yet killed! Hast saved thy precious skin again? More's the pity. And do you think to merit the respect accorded manhood and good faith? By the name of honour, no. Here boy," and he beckoned to the negro slave who stood at his elbow, "do you take yon dishonoured weapon and break it before the troops."

And Matamora, full glad to escape with life and limb, willingly yielded up his sword to the black who snapped it under his foot, obedient to Bienville's nod, then cast the tainted pieces from him.

Upon the long march to Biloxi, de la Mora was the life of the command, and drew to our camp fire every straggler who could make a fair excuse to come. He knew good songs, and he sang them well; he knew good cheer, and he kept us all in radiant spirits. All, save myself. I was bitterly dejected.