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sible laugh. “Let us reconcile up as Wilma fetched an empty all over a bout at ombre." jug from their midst in order to
He suddenly bethought him- the replenishing of it, saw the self, and repeated his proposal girl's strange eyes fixed upon in French. The soldier threw him in curious stare. She his sword into the air, recovered looked away immediately ; but it by the hilt, and returned it to he rose, took the jug from her its sheath.
with a "permettez-moi, mam'“At bottle or pasteboard !” selle," and followed her to the he cried : “c'la m'est égal —I rear of the premises, am a match for the devil !” The lip of the dog-man lifted.
He seemed, at least, a match The priest caught his hand in a for these commoner spirits. warning clinch,
. Luck stood at his shoulder, as “ Between Angelus and An. was befitting when a beau sab- gelus, Wolfzahn," he muttered, reur of Murat staked against a “What does he with the girl, clown and a Friar-Rush.
then, my father?" The three played and drank 66 What does he? The wine and wrangled up to midday of consumes his nerve. He is a man the blessed bright morn. of gingerbread. Let him be.” soul came in to disturb them. “How came we to miss him The neighbourhood, it appeared, down there? Between Angelus was depopulated by conscription and Angelus, say'st thou ? So! -stunned by fear. Only the girl I will whet my tooth. But moved staidly in the background beware, my father! the dark in of the reeking kitchen, quite these days is an early guest. silent over her simple duties, How came we to miss him—him even when from time to time and his fat gold pieces ?” she brought a fresh bottle to the “ Hush ! Der Herr Jesus retable and came under fire of the compenses otherwise the agents reckless trooper's badinage. of His vengeance. Little Wolf
The play waxed fast and zahn, the gold shall pay for furious. Oaths and execrations, masses to his soul-his, and the flying from fecund lips, seemed others. Not here, before the to swarm obscenely under the girl! The devil, I think, has very rafters overhead. The commerce with her nowadays. monk, educated perhaps to the Often I see him peep from the rich vocabulary of anathema, windows of her eyes. Between was peculiarly apt at fulminat- Angelus and Angelus: one snap ing expletive. He bawled and of thy tooth - and there are .
— he cursed from the conscious twenty fresh indulgences to quit standpoint of privilege. He thee of thy purgatory. never damned but to hell, or “But, here, in the forest ! failed to translate his most Ah, mein Vater ! when will thy consuming maledictions for the indulgences quit me of this in soldier's benefit.
the forest ?” Now it chanced that once The strange creature gave a during the morning Corporal sort of sob, a bay, and buried Lacoste, happening to glance his face in his hands,
In the meanwhile Corporal foot on the first step, and spoke Lacoste followed Wilma to the back into his very ear, “ Hüten cellar. She neither invited nor Sie sich vor dem Wehrwolf !” repulsed him. She went down “Wilma !” howled her father a flight of humid steps, through from above. a square aperture in the floor, Corporal Lacoste reeled back into a little musty cavern, the to his cards, with an obfuscated walls of which seemed all eyes. impression that something of These were the “ kicks of moment had been spoken to bottles whose long snouts were him. His soul, pregnantly enthrust into wooden racks. Else- gaged in hatching wind-eggs, where a cask or two lolled on squatted in a little private darkits belly, its tap run into purple house of cunning, from which like a drowsy drunken nose; it looked forth as full of selfand the tracks of snails went importance as a monkey in a all over the ceiling.
cage. The girl struck light from a Now, again, play being reflint, kindled a greasy dip, and, sumed, the fetid air of the kitholding it in her hand, turned chen blattered with oaths. suddenly round on her escort. was as if, approaching a dungHer face was alive with some hill, the returned gambler had secret emotion. The soldier, in disturbed a settled cloud of flies. whose brain a wanton fever Howl, and uproar, and the flared, swayed himself steady, jangle of unbridled tongues ! endeavouring to return her A knife was drawn; the soldier gaze.
staggered to his feet, and his “Ludwig !” she whispered chair crashed on the floor. At hurriedly — “my Ludwig that the moment a timepiece tinkled went with Wimpffen's dragoons out midday from some attic to defend the pass,—my Lud- above. The priest flung up wigchen that would have taken his arm and yelled, “Angelus, me out of hell. When I caught Angelus, ye swine of the Gadthy face against the light, ach, arenes!" mein Gott! I could have cried He fell upon his knees. “Anin pain. Thou art so like him.” gelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ,”
She held the candle nearer he began to gabble. the fuddled stupid eyes.
Her “Et concepit de Spiritu own glittered to them like Sancto,” responded the peasant, sparks through a curtain of who, at the word, had pulled smoke. She drew back with from his breast a little leaden a quick hopeless movement. image of St Christopher carry
“But I forget,” she mur- ing a baby Christ, and prosmured. Thou canst not un- trated himself before it. derstand -nor would, nor would, But as to Corporal Lacoste, though we spoke in one lan- it was for him to drop upon the
floor and asleep simultaneously. She filled the jug, and went hastily past him. Then, at a Something - it might have thought, she turned, with her been a savagely restrained kick
-aroused the slumbering man. “It is the will of God that He started up, sitting, and beat shall be wrought at the hands away a red-hot film of cobwebs of His agents." that seemed to stretch and Meaning thyself, my faflicker before his eyes. Slowly ther?” at first, then by sickening leaps, “Surely, and Wolfzahn here. consciousness returned to him. Arise, and we will put thee He looked vacantly from point on thy road." to point of the frowsy kitchen. “Thou wear'st His livery, Wilma sat knitting as though at least. Corne et tonnerre ! it she had never moved; the dog- is true a priest must not be like peasant crouched on the judged out of his own mouth. hearth, his red eyes glinting To refute the devil one must back the ember - glow; and speak the devil's tongue. And, whenever he yawned a little after all, thy face rounds as singing whine issued from his jovial as an English rennet.” throat. The priest, his hands “Hasten !" cried the peasant as heretofore vanished up the from the door, to which he had meeting cuffs of his cassock, run. “I can hear far off the his cowl pulled forward over dusk striking amongst the trees his
eyes, stood a yard with- like a wood-reeve.” drawn from and looking down “A moment, Wolfzahn !” ex
At the sound of claimed the priest. “One partthe first word between them ing dram of brandy for a lock the creature before the fire to the stomach !” flashed alert.
As Corporal Lacoste took his “ The noon draws on,' said petit-verre from Wilma he was the monk. “If you wish to troubled by a desperately elutrack your comrades in safety sive thought of some confidence you must be out of the forest that had passed between him before dusk.”
and her. Then he remembered The trooper got to his feet. that they had no word in comHe was steady enough on them
It could not be. As for It was his head that any temptation to gallantry, seemed to roll and totter. the nausea following debauch
“I have delayed too long had robbed him of all inclinaalready,” he cried peevishly. tion to it. “ What does the sword of But glancing back once, Corporal Lacoste in this ig- when he had swaggered from noble den ? To death or vic- the house into the shuddering tory, my father—if I but knew chillness of the snow without, the way!"
it startled him to see, as he The monk whistled to the thought, the white face of the man on the hearth.
girl pressed against the lattice. “Up!” he cried; "he would The sight, the shadow, gave have us show him the
him a momentary thrill of to victory or death. The issue uneasiness - something like a is his."
strange swerve of the heart He turned to the soldier. that was surely inexplicable
The priest stood stricken, army.
petrified, where he had halted After the turn of noon a som- at the top of the glen, in a breness of cloud had usurped wedge of white slanting mist. the happy throne of morning. The wondering trooper hurried The forest had fallen into to join him. deathly silence. The trees were “ Mon Dieu Jésus !” cried the ranked stiffly, each seeming to latter, dumfounded ; “is it that edge into each in terror of some way we must go ?” nameless oppression. From the The gorge was dotted with hollows came trooping grey
unclean. spectres of mist that climbed Wherever a shapeless bulge of the branches to overlook the cloth, a hooped flank of man or travellers, or peered stealthily charger projected, there a bloody from behind enormous trunks. snout burrowed and tore, spatNot a voice, not a sound but tering the white with red. the squeaking crunch of the Corporal Lacoste drew and wayfarers' feet as they trod whirled aloft his sabre. the beds of snow that had “Forward, comrades !” he silted through the openings in shouted. “It is the sword of the roof above, broke the vast Corporal Lacoste !” quiet.
He was a man again—a beau This was a matter of concern sabreur of the wild Murat in to the swashbuckler Corporal, face of immediate danger. He who rose many times from the ran down into the glen alone deep waters of his dejection to and slashed at the first brute clutch at some straw of comfort he reached. It fled screaming, in the shape of a monosyllabica near - severed ear flapping utterance by one or other of his against its jaw as it galloped. guides. It was of no use. The He paused a moment, turned, straw would sink with him, and beckoned to the two above leaving him again submerged. him. They were drawn to
Suddenly light grew upon gether, and the priest, it apthem — light wan and grudg- peared, was frantically beating ing, but still beacon of back the other from descending. hope. At the same moment “Canaille!” hissed Corporal their ears were aware of a long Lacoste between his teeth, and quarrelling moan a diffuse
he faced about once more to his liquid snarl uttered and echoed business of aggression. from a score of points on the The alarm was gone abroad. ground below them on their The beasts, converging from left. The peasant, who led, their isolated positions, were sprang at the instant behind a forming into a compact body. tree, from the covert of which To the tactician, the moment he looked forth and down into of rally offers as full opportuna narrow sloping defile—that ity for assault as the moment very riven
in which the of retreat. Either is the twiwounded soldier had spent the light of disorder. Corporal night,
Lacoste snatched a flung cloak
from the ground, wrapped it He ran the sword back into about his left arm, and with its scabbard with a clank.
screaming huée ! charged “En avant !” he cried disdown upon the foe.
dainfully, and swaggered off At the very outset the wings down the defile. of the dastard troop folded back Perhaps for a mile they probefore the furious onrush, leav- ceeded in this order, the beau ing the formation a wedge. sabreur indulging his fancy The point of this the soldier with a priest and a peasant crumpled up, thrusting and for lackeys. Now and again threshing His blade flung he would turn and cry “Which aloft a spray of crimson ; the way?”—but, for the rest, he
, whole hotch-potch of writhing condescended to no familiarity shapes seemed to boil into with cravens. hideous jangle; he shrieked By-and-by the dead air lightagain and again as he drove ened, the trees thinning so as to his way into it. Then in a make but a ragged canopy of moment the pass
the snow overhead. Then the The pack, recoiling upon its toiling monk quavered out a rear to escape the swingeing “halt !” to him that strode in flail, fell into demoralisation, front. showed its panic tail, and went “Monsieur," he panted, “it off in a wind of uproar down necessitates that we part at the the glen.
cross-track.” The instant they were van- “How, then !” exclaimed Cor: ished, the monk and his com- poral Lacoste, facing about. panion descended from their The two men advanced. The coign of “reserve." The sol- peasant passed the trooper a dier held out his dripping half-dozen paces, and wheeled weapon mutely, and with a round softly. They were all by stare of scorn.
then come into a little
dell, “It is, in truth, a blade drowsy with snow, into which worthy of the arm that wields the fog drooped from above, like it," cried the priest cringingly. smoke in the down-draught of a His
voice shook. He kept chimney. Not a twig of all the glancing furtively at the peas- laden bushes stirred. The very ant by his side. This man's eyes heart of nature, frozen and conhad a strange glare in them, stricted, had ceased of its audible and his mouth was dribbling, beating Corporal Lacoste cleansed his
The priest pulled his cowl sword scrupulously on the cloak farther over his eyes. he had appropriated.
"My God, the cold !” he “ Dishonouring blood,” he said, muttered. Then he appeared “for the imbruing of a noble to shudder himself into fury. weapon! But corne et ton- “Have we not brought you nerre !-a king must take trib- far enough? Thither goes the ute of chief and villain alike. road to St Pölten and Wien. At least, now, the stain is wiped Mein Gott, the assurance, the away.”