Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/79

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59
AT THE AUSTRIAN ARMS

I soon found there was nothing to be gained from the fellow, and becoming convinced of his steadfastness was willing he should keep the coin as earnest money for future services. De Greville not coming in, I grew restive, and concluded I would stroll about the city. Claude, for so the landlord styled himself, directed me to the principal thoroughfare, and I thought by walking straight along one street I could easily return. There was nothing unusual in the neighbouring buildings to make a landmark of, so I chose a great round tower not far away, and carefully laid my bearings from that.

The landlord watched me taking my observations and felt sure I would shortly return; the more so that my few articles of apparel and necessity were left stowed in the corner by his hearth. These I had purposely so arranged that I could detect any meddling. Throwing my cloak about me I took the way he indicated, and soon passed into a wider and more handsome street, which I came afterward to know. Walking idly on, without thought of distance or direction, I tired after a while, and began to think of getting back to the inn fireside. I retraced my steps perfectly, I thought, and if my calculations were right should have stood where the broad, well-lighted street I had traversed corners on Rue St. Denis. But the locality was entirely strange, and I had lost sight of the great tower which I thought would guide me home, when a squad of the watch halted me and questioned my errand.

"I am a gentleman, and officer of the King," I replied with such an air they passed on.