Page:Yule Logs.djvu/271

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straw clean and fresh; while, as the glimmer of the lamp proclaimed, they had been properly groomed and attended to. Everything was very well. Wherefore, giving my own mare the piece of sugar I had brought for her, I made for the door again, observing that Le Marcieu's red roan, a wiry but serviceable beast, was in a stall nearer to the entrance.

Then suddenly, as I raised the lantern to give a second glance at it, to my astonishment I saw the singing-girl, Damaris, dart out swiftly from near that stall and endeavour to push by me and escape through the door; which, however, I easily prevented her from doing, since I seized her at once by the arm and held her, while I exclaimed, "Not so fast, mademoiselle, not so fast. What are you doing here?—you, who are at the ‘Red Glove’ and have no business whatever in these stables."



At first she struggled a little, then all of a sudden she took a different tack, and exclaimed, "How dare you touch me, fellow. You—a common mousquetaire—to lay your hands on me! You! you! Let go—or——"

However, I had let go of her by now through astonishment at her impertinence. A common mousquetaire, indeed!—a common mousquetaire!—when, in all our regiment, there was scarce a trooper riding who was not of gentle blood—to say nothing of the officers.

"I may be ‘a common mousquetaire,’" I replied, as calmly as I could, "yet, all the same, commit no rudeness to a wandering ballad-singer whom I find in the stable where our horses are; and——"

"Why!" she exclaimed, with a look (I could see it by