Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/295

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"Yes, sire, he but lately went the path towards the Bay."

"How long since?"

"A bare quarter of an hour. He was dressed for the forest and went alone."

During this while I, Placide de Mouret, stranger and outcast, sat upon a grassy hillock awaiting Pachaco with his boat. The echoes of my horn had died away in the night, and soon after I caught the sound of running feet, and heard a man's voice calling my name as he ran. To my utter astonishment it was the Chevalier, breathless from his speed.

"Is it you—Captain de Mouret?"

"It is—Chevalier," I replied, uncertain at the first who the man could be.

Seeing him in such a state of mind I knew the struggle had come. There be times in every man's life when he recks lightly of consequences, and this was not my night for caring. I had, in a measure, run away thus far from him, and he, not content with this, had pursued me past the limit of forbearance. So anticipating his own action, I began carefully to take off my own coat, and remembered with pleasure that it was not a slight rapier which now hung confidently by my side.

"No, Captain, not that. I have sought you this time in peace. See, I have no weapons."

Suiting the gesture to the speech, he flung wide his arms, and showed himself unprepared for battle.

"Captain, you and I have fought side by side. You are a man of courage, and if you have injured me you