that has been able to make all this noise, then you and the halter may have her. How many men has she?"
"I counted but eighteen, but she may have had two or three pickets out."
"Is that all? It won't be a mouthful for my force. Is it true that she is only a girl?"
"Yes; she is not more than seventeen."
"It passes belief! Is she robust, or slender?"
The officer pondered a moment or two, then he said:
"Was she preparing to break camp?"
"Not when I had my last glimpse of her."
"What was she doing?"
"She was talking quietly with an officer."
"Quietly? Not giving orders?"
"No, talking as quietly as we are now."
"That is good. She is feeling a false security. She would have been restless and fussy else—it is the way of her sex when danger is about. As she was making no preparation to break camp,—"
"She certainly was not when I saw her last."
"—and was chatting quietly and at her ease, it means that this weather is not to her taste. Night-marching in sleet and wind is not for chits of seventeen. No; she will stay where she is. She has my thanks. We will camp, ourselves; here is as good a place as any. Let us get about it."
"If you command it—certainly. But she has two knights with her. They might force her to march, particularly if the weather should improve."
I was scared, and impatient to be getting out of this peril, and it distressed and worried me to have Joan apparently set herself to work to make delay and increase the danger—still, I thought she probably knew better than I what to do. The officer said—
"Well, in that case we are here to block the way."
"Yes, if they come this way. But if they should send out spies, and find out enough to make them want to try for the