Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/64

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and whenever the red flag of the pestilence was hoisted over another, and yet another door, they clapt their hands and shouted through the streets, in bitter mockery: 'Behold a new triumph for the Lady Eleanore!'

One day, in the midst of these dismal times, a wild figure approached the portal of the Province House, and folding his arms, stood contemplating the scarlet banner, which a passing breeze shook fitfully, as if to fling abroad the contagion that it typified. At length, climbing one of the pillars by means of the iron balustrade, he took down the flag, and entered the mansion, waving it above his head. At the foot of the staircase he met the Governor, booted and spurred, with his cloak drawn around him, evidently on the point of setting forth upon a journey.

'Wretched lunatic, what do you seek here?' exclaimed Shute, extending his cane to guard himself from contact. 'There is nothing here but Death. Back—or you will meet him!'

'Death will not touch me, the banner-bearer of the pestilence!' cried Jervase Helwyse, shaking the red flag aloft. 'Death, and the Pestilence, who wears the aspect of the Lady Eleanore, will walk through the streets to-night, and I must march before them with this banner!'

'Why do I waste words on the fellow?' muttered the Governor, drawing his cloak across his mouth. 'What matters his miserable life, when none of us are sure of twelve hours' breath? On, fool, to your own destruction!'

He made way for Jervase Helwyse, who imme-