Page:Yule Logs.djvu/263

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she went on, "would you like a love song made in Touraine, or to see a trick or two? Or I have a snake in a box that can do quaint things. Shall I go fetch it—it will dance if I pipe——"

"To confusion with your snake!" exclaimed the waiting man, "we want no snakes here. Snakes, indeed——!"

"Well, then, a love song. This pretty boy," and here she was forward enough to fix her eyes most boldly on me, "looks as if he would like a love song. How blue his eyes are!"

Alas! they are somewhat dim and old now, but then, because I was young and foolish, and because my eyes were blue, I felt flattered at this wandering creature's remark. However, without waiting for an answer, she went on.

"Come, we will have a trick first. Now," she said, pulling out three of the balls from her bag, "you hold that ball, mon enfant—thus," and she put one red one—the only red one—into my hand. "You have it?"

"Yes," I said, "I have it;" and, because it was as big as a good-sized apple, I closed my two hands over it.

"You are sure?"


"Show it then." Whereon I opened my hands again, and, lo! it was a gilt ball and not a red one that was in them.

"Show that trick to me," said a voice at my back, even as De Pontgibaud and Camier burst out a-laughing, and so, too, did some of the people in the great hall who were supping, while I felt like a fool. "Show that trick to me." And, looking round, I saw that it was the Chevalier de Marcieu who had spoken; the man to whom the Regent had sent me, and who had ridden from Paris with us as a sort of civilian director, or guide; the man from whom we were to take our orders when acting as guard to Alberoni when he passed this way, presuming that we