Seats Of The Mighty by Gilbert Parker
X. An Officer of Marines
What was my dismay to know that I was to be taken back again to my dungeon, and not lodged in the common jail, as I had hoped and Alixe had hinted! When I saw whither my footsteps were directed I said nothing, nor did Gabord speak at all. We marched back through a railing crowd as we had come, all silent and gloomy. I felt a chill at my heart when the citadel loomed up again out of the November shadow, and I half paused as I entered the gates. "Forward!" said Gabord mechanically, and I moved on into the yard, into the prison, through the dull corridors, the soldiers' heels clanking and resounding behind, down into the bowels of the earth, where the air was moist and warm, and then into my dungeon home! I stepped inside, and Gabord ordered the ropes off my person somewhat roughly, watched the soldiers till they were well away, and then leaned against the wall, waiting for me to speak. I had no impulse to smile, but I knew how I could most touch him, and so I said lightly, "You've got dickey-bird home again."
He answered nothing and turned towards the door, leaving the torch stuck in the wall. But he suddenly stopped short, and suddenly thrust out to me a tiny piece of paper.
"A hand touched mine as I went through the Chateau," said he, "and when out I came, look you, this here! I can't see to read. What does it say?" he added, with a shrewd attempt at innocence.
I opened the little paper, held it towards the torch, and read:
"Because of the storm there is no sleeping. Is there not the watcher aloft? Shall the sparrow fall unheeded? The wicked shall be confounded."
It was Alixe's writing. She had hazarded this in the hands of my jailer as her only hope, and, knowing that he might not serve her, had put her message in vague sentences which I readily interpreted. I read the words aloud to him, and he laughed, and remarked, "'Tis a foolish thing that--The Scarlet Woman, mast like."
"Most like," I answered quietly; "yet what should she be doing there at the Chateau?"
"The mad go everywhere," he answered, "even to the intendance!"
With that he left me, going, as he said, "to fetch crumbs and wine." Exhausted with the day's business, I threw myself upon my couch, drew my cloak over me, composed myself, and in a few minutes was sound asleep. I waked to find Gabord in the dungeon, setting out food upon a board supported by two stools.
"'Tis custom to feed your dickey-bird ere you fetch him to the pot." he said, and drew the cork from a bottle of wine.
He watched me as I ate and talked, but he spoke little. When I had finished, he fetched a packet of tobacco from his pocket. I offered him money, but he refused it, and I did not press him, for he said the food and wine were not of his buying. Presently he left, and came back with pens, ink, paper, and candles, which be laid out on my couch without words.
After a little he came again, and laid a book on the improvised table before me. It was an English Bible. Opening it, I found inscribed on the fly-leaf, Charles Wainfleet, Chaplain to the British Army. Gabord explained that this chaplain had been in the citadel for some weeks; that he had often inquired about me; that he had been brought from the Ohio; and had known of me, having tended the lieutenant of my Virginian infantry in his last hours. Gabord thought I should now begin to make my peace with Heaven, and so had asked for the chaplain's Bible, which was freely given. I bade him thank the chaplain for me, and opening the book, I found a leaf turned down at the words,
"In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast."
When I was left alone, I sat down to write diligently that history of myself which I had composed and fixed in my memory during the year of my housing in this dungeon. The words came from my pen freely, and hour after hour through many days, while no single word reached me from the outside world, I wrote on; carefully revising, but changing little from that which I had taken so long to record in my mind. I would not even yet think that they would hang me; and if they did, what good could brooding do? When the last word of the memoirs (I may call them so), addressed to Alixe, had been written, I turned my thoughts to other friends.
The day preceding that fixed for my execution came, yet there was no sign from friend or enemy without. At ten o'clock of that day Chaplain Wainfleet was admitted to me in the presence of Gabord and a soldier. I found great pleasure in his company, brief as his visit was; and after I had given him messages to bear for me to old friends, if we never met again and he were set free, he left me, benignly commending me to Heaven. There was the question of my other letters. I had but one desire--Voban again, unless at my request the Seigneur Duvarney would come, and they would let him come. If it were certain that I was to go to the scaffold, then I should not hesitate to tell him my relations with his daughter, that he might comfort her when, being gone from the world myself, my love could do her no harm. I could not think that he would hold against me the duel with his son, and I felt sure he would come to me if he could.
But why should I not try for both Voban and the Seigneur? So I spoke to Gabord.
"Voban! Voban!" said he. "Does dickey-bird play at peacock still? Well, thou shalt see Voban. Thou shalt go trimmed to heaven--aho!"
Presently I asked him if he would bear a message to the Governor, asking permission for the Seigneur Duvarney to visit me, if he were so inclined. At his request I wrote my petition out, and he carried it away with him, saying that I should have Voban that evening.
I waited hour after hour, but no one came. As near as I could judge it was now evening. It seemed strange to think that, twenty feet above me, the world was all white with snow; the sound of sleigh-bells and church-bells, and the cries of snowshoers ringing on the clear, sharp air. I pictured the streets of Quebec alive with people: the young seigneur set off with furs and silken sash and sword or pistols; the long-haired, black-eyed woodsman in his embroidered moccasins and leggings with flying thrums; the peasant farmer slapping his hands cheerfully in the lighted market-place; the petty noble, with his demoiselle, hovering in the precincts of the Chateau St. Louis and the intendance. Up there were light, freedom, and the inspiriting frost; down here in my dungeon, the blades of corn, which, dying, yet never died, told the story of a choking air, wherein the body and soul of a man droop and take long to die. This was the night before Christmas Eve, when in England and Virginia they would be preparing for feasting and thanksgiving.
The memories of past years crowded on me. I thought of feastings and spendthrift rejoicings in Glasgow and Virginia. All at once the carnal man in me rose up and damned these lying foes of mine. Resignation went whistling down the wind. Hang me! Hang me! No, by the God that gave me breath! I sat back and laughed--laughed at my own insipid virtue, by which, to keep faith with the fanatical follower of Prince Charlie, I had refused my liberty; cut myself off from the useful services of my King; wasted good years of my life, trusting to pressure and help to come from England, which never came; twisted the rope for my own neck to keep honour with the dishonourable Doltaire, who himself had set the noose swinging; and, inexpressible misery! involved in my shame and peril a young blithe spirit, breathing a miasma upon the health of a tender life. Every rebellious atom in my blood sprang to indignant action. I swore that if they fetched me to the gallows to celebrate their Noel, other lives than mine should go to keep me company on the dark trail. To die like a rat in a trap, oiled for the burning, and lighted by the torch of hatred! No, I would die fighting, if I must die.
I drew from its hiding-place the knife I had secreted the day I was brought into that dungeon--a little weapon, but it would serve for the first blow. At whom? Gabord? It all flashed through my mind how I might do it when he came in again: bury this blade in his neck or heart--it was long enough for the work; then, when he was dead, change my clothes for his, take his weapons, and run my chances to get free of the citadel. Free? Where should I go in the dead of winter? Who would hide me, shelter me? I could not make my way to an English settlement. Ill clad, exposed to the merciless climate, and the end death. But that was freedom--freedom! I could feel my body dilating with the thought, as I paced my dungeon like an ill-tempered beast. But kill Gabord, who had put himself in danger to serve me, who himself had kept the chains from off my ankles and body, whose own life depended upon my security--"Come, come, Robert Moray," said I, "what relish have you for that? That's an ill game for a gentleman. Alixe Duvarney would rather see you dead than get your freedom over the body of this man."
That was an hour of storm. I am glad that I conquered the baser part of me; for, almost before I had grown calm again, the bolts of the dungeon doors shot back, and presently Gabord stepped inside, followed by a muffled figure.
"Voban the barber," said Gabord in a strange voice, and stepping again outside, he closed the door, but did not shoot the bolts.
I stood as one in a dream. Voban the barber? In spite of cap and great fur coat, I saw the outline of a figure that no barber ever had in this world. I saw two eyes shining like lights set in a rosy sky. A moment of doubt, of impossible speculation, of delicious suspense, and then the coat of Voban the barber opened, dropped away from the lithe, graceful figure of a young officer of marines, the cap flew off, and in an instant the dear head, the blushing, shining face of Alixe was on my breast.
In that moment, stolen from the calendar of hate, I ran into the haven where true hearts cast anchor and bless God that they have seen upon the heights, to guide them, the lights of home. The moment flashed by and was gone, but the light it made went not with it.
When I drew her blushing face up, and stood her off from me that I might look at her again, the colour flew back and forth on her cheek, as you may see the fire flutter in an uncut ruby when you turn it in the sun. Modestly drawing the cloak she wore more closely about her, she hastened to tell me how it was she came in such a guise; but I made her pause for a moment while I gave her a seat and sat down beside her. Then by the light of the flickering torch and flaring candles I watched her feelings play upon her face as the warm light of autumn shifts upon the glories of ripe fruits. Her happiness was tempered by the sadness of our position, and my heart smote me that I had made her suffer, had brought care to her young life. I could see that in the year she had grown older, yet her beauty seemed enhanced by that and by the trouble she had endured. I shall let her tell her story here unbroken by my questions and those interruptions which Gabord made, bidding her to make haste. She spoke without faltering, save here and there; but even then I could see her brave spirit quelling the riot of her emotions, shutting down the sluice-gate of tears.
"I knew," she said, her hand clasped in mine, "that Gabord was the only person like to be admitted to you, and so for days, living in fear lest the worst should happen, I have prepared for this chance. I have grown so in height that I knew an old uniform of my brothers would fit me, and I had it ready--small sword and all," she added, with a sad sort of humour, touching the weapon at her side. "You must know that we have for the winter a house here upon the ramparts near the Chateau. It was my mother's doings, that my sister Georgette and I might have no great journeyings in the cold to the festivities hereabouts. So I, being a favourite with the Governor, ran in and out of the Chateau at my will; of which my mother was proud, and she allowed me much liberty, for to be a favourite of the Governor is an honour. I knew how things were going, and what the chances were of the sentence being carried out on you. Sometimes I thought my heart would burst with the anxiety of it all, but I would not let that show to the world. If you could but have seen me smile at the Governor and Monsieur Doltaire--nay, do not press my hand so, Robert; you know well you have no need to fear monsieur--while I learned secrets of state, among them news of you. Three nights ago Monsieur Doltaire was talking with me at a ball--ah, those feastings while you were lying in a dungeon, and I shutting up my love and your danger close in my heart, even from those who loved me best! Well, suddenly he said, 'I think I will not have our English captain shifted to a better world.'
"My heart stood still; I felt an ache across my breast so that I could hardly breathe. 'Why will you not?' said I; 'was not the sentence just?' He paused a minute, and then replied, 'All sentences are just when an enemy is dangerous.' Then said I as in surprise, 'Why, was he no spy, after all?' He sat back, and laughed a little. 'A spy according to the letter of the law, but you have heard of secret history--eh?' I tried to seem puzzled, for I had a thought there was something private between you and him which has to do with your fate. So I said, as if bewildered, 'You mean there is evidence which was not shown at the trial?' He answered slowly, 'Evidence that would bear upon the morals, not the law of the case.' Then said I, 'Has it to do with you, monsieur?' 'It has to do with France,' he replied. 'And so you will not have his death?' I asked. 'Bigot wishes it,' he replied, 'for no other reason than that Madame Cournal has spoken nice words for the good-looking captain, and because that unsuccessful duel gave Vaudreuil an advantage over himself. Vaudreuil wishes it because he thinks it will sound well in France, and also because he really believes the man a spy. The Council do not care much; they follow the Governor and Bigot, and both being agreed, their verdict is unanimous.' He paused, then added, 'And the Seigneur Duvarney--and his daughter--wish it because of a notable injury to one of their name.' At that I cautiously replied, 'No, my father does not wish it, for my brother gave the offense, and Captain Moray saved his life, as you know. I do not wish it, Monsieur Doltaire, because hanging is a shameful death, and he is a gentle man, not a ruffian. Let him be shot like a gentleman. How will it sound at the Court of France that, on insufficient evidence, as you admit, an English gentleman was hanged for a spy? Would not the King say (for he is a gentleman), Why was not this shown me before the man's death? Is it not a matter upon which a country would feel as gentlemen feel?'
"I knew it the right thing to say at the moment, and it seemed the only way to aid you, though I intended, if the worst came to the worst, to go myself to the Governor at the last and plead for your life, at least for a reprieve. But it had suddenly flashed upon me that a reference to France was the thing, since the Articles of War which you are accused of dishonouring were signed by officers from France and England.
"Presently he turned to me with a look of curiosity, and another sort of look also that made me tremble, and said, 'Now, there you have put your finger on the point--my point, the choice weapon I had reserved to prick the little bubble of Bigot's hate and the Governor's conceit, if I so chose, even at the last. And here is a girl, a young girl just freed from pinafores, who teaches them the law of nations! If it pleased me I should not speak, for Vaudreuil's and Bigot's affairs are none of mine; but, in truth, why should you kill your enemy? It is the sport to keep him living; you can get no change for your money from a dead man. He has had one cheerful year; why not another, and another, and another? And so watch him fretting to the slow-coming end, while now and again you give him a taste of hope, to drop him back again into the pit which has no sides for climbing.' He paused a minute, and then added, 'A year ago I thought he had touched you, this Britisher, with his raw humour and manners; but, my faith, how swiftly does a woman's fancy veer!' At that I said calmly to him, 'You must remember that then he was not thought so base.' 'Yes, yes,' he replied; 'and a woman loves to pity the captive, whatever his fault, if he be presentable and of some notice or talent. And Moray has gifts,' he went on. I appeared all at once to be offended. 'Veering, indeed! a woman's fancy! I think you might judge women better. You come from high places, Monsieur Doltaire, and they say this and that of your great talents and of your power at Versailles, but what proof have we had of it? You set a girl down with a fine patronage, and you hint at weapons to cut off my cousin the Governor and the Intendant from their purposes; but how do we know you can use them, that you have power with either the unnoticeable woman or the great men?' I knew very well it was a bold move. He suddenly turned to me, in his cruel eyes a glittering kind of light, and said, 'I suggest no more than I can do with those "great men"; and as for the woman, the slave can not be patron--I am the slave. I thought not of power before; but now that I do, I will live up to my thinking. I seem idle, I am not; purposeless, I am not; a gamester, I am none. I am a sportsman, and I will not leave the field till all the hunt be over. I seem a trifler, yet I have persistency. I am no romanticist, I have no great admiration for myself, and yet when I set out to hunt a woman honestly, be sure I shall never back to kennel till she is mine or I am done for utterly. Not by worth nor by deserving, but by unending patience and diligence--that shall be my motto. I shall devote to the chase every art that I have learned or known by nature. So there you have me, mademoiselle. Since you have brought me to the point, I will unfurl my flag.... I am--your--hunter,' he went on, speaking with slow, painful emphasis, 'and I shall make you mine. You fight against me, but it is no use.' I got to my feet, and said with coolness, though I was sick at heart and trembling, 'You are frank. You have made two resolves. I shall give weight to one as you fulfill the other'; and, smiling at him, I moved away towards my mother.
"Masterful as he is, I felt that this would touch his vanity. There lay my great chance with him. If he had guessed the truth of what's between us, be sure, Robert, your life were not worth one hour beyond to-morrow's sunrise. You must know how I loathe deceitfulness, but when one weak girl is matched against powerful and evil men, what can she do? My conscience does not chide me, for I know my cause is just. Robert, look me in the eyes.... There, like that.... Now tell me. You are innocent of the dishonourable thing, are you not? I believe with all my soul, but that I may say from your own lips that you are no spy, tell me so."
When I had said as she had wished, assuring her she should know all, carrying proofs away with her, and that hidden evidence of which Doltaire had spoken, she went on:
"'You put me to the test,' said monsieur. 'Doing one, it will be proof that I shall do the other.' He fixed his eyes upon me with such a look that my whole nature shrank from him, as if the next instant his hateful hands were to be placed on me. Oh, Robert, I know how perilous was the part I played, but I dared it for your sake. For a whole year I have dissembled to every one save to that poor mad soul Mathilde, who reads my heart in her wild way, to Voban, and to the rough soldier outside your dungeon. But they will not betray me. God has given us these rough but honest friends.
"Well, monsieur left me that night, and I have not seen him since, nor can I tell where he is, for no one knows, and I dare not ask too much. I did believe he would achieve his boast as to saving your life, and so, all yesterday and to-day, I have waited with most anxious heart; but not one word! Yet there was that in all he said which made me sure he meant to save you, and I believe he will. Yet think: if anything happened to him! You know what wild doings go on at Bigot's chateau out at Charlesbourg; or, again, in the storm of yesterday he may have been lost. You see, there are the hundred chances; so I determined not to trust wholly to him. There was one other way--to seek the Governor myself, open my heart to him, and beg for a reprieve. To-night at nine o'clock--it is now six, Robert--we go to the Chateau St. Louis, my mother and my father and I, to sup with the Governor. Oh, think what I must endure, to face them with this awful shadow on me! If no word come of the reprieve before that hour, I shall make my own appeal to the Governor. It may ruin me, but it may save you; and that done, what should I care for the rest? Your life is more to me than all the world beside." Here she put both hands upon my shoulders and looked me in the eyes.
I did not answer yet, but took her hands in mine, and she continued: "An hour past, I told my mother I should go to see my dear friend Lucie Lotbiniere. Then I stole up to my room, put on my brother's uniform, and came down to meet Voban near the citadel, as we had arranged. I knew he was to have an order from the Governor to visit you. He was waiting, and to my great joy he put the order in my hands. I took his coat and wig and cap, a poor disguise, and came straight to the citadel, handing the order to the soldiers at the gate. They gave it back without a word, and passed me on. I thought this strange, and looked at the paper by the light of the torches. What was my surprise to see that Voban's name had been left out! It but gave permission to the bearer. That would serve with the common soldier, but I knew well it would not with Gabord or with the commandant of the citadel. All at once I saw the great risk I was running, the danger to us both. Still I would not turn back. But how good fortune serves us when we least look for it! At the commandant's very door was Gabord. I did not think to deceive him. It was my purpose from the first to throw myself upon his mercy. So there, that moment, I thrust the order into his hand. He read it, looked a moment, half fiercely and half kindly, at me, then turned and took the order to the commandant. Presently he came out, and said to me, 'Come, m'sieu', and see you clip the gentleman dainty fine for his sunrise travel. He'll get no care 'twixt posting-house and end of journey, m'sieu'.' This he said before two soldiers, speaking with harshness and a brutal humour. But inside the citadel he changed at once, and, taking from my head this cap and wig, he said quite gently, yet I could see he was angry, too, 'This is a mad doing, young lady.' He said no more, and led me straight to you. If I had told him I was coming, I know he would have stayed me. But at the dangerous moment he had not heart to drive me back.... And that is all my story, Robert."
As I have said, this tale was broken often by little questionings and exclamations, and was not told in one long narrative as I have written it here. When she had done I sat silent and overcome for a moment. There was one thing now troubling me sorely, even in the painful joy of having her here close by me. She had risked all to save my life--reputation, friends, even myself, the one solace in her possible misery. Was it not my duty to agree to Doltaire's terms, for her sake, if there was yet a chance to do so? I had made a solemn promise to Sir John Godric that those letters, if they ever left my hands, should go to the lady who had written them; and to save my own life I would not have broken faith with my benefactor. But had I the right to add to the misery of this sweet, brave spirit? Suppose it was but for a year or two: had I the right to give her sorrow for that time, if I could prevent it, even at the cost of honour with the dead? Was it not my duty to act, and at once? Time was short.
While in a swift moment I was debating, Gabord opened the door, and said, "Come, end it, end it. Gabord has a head to save!" I begged him for one minute more, and then giving Alixe the packet which held my story, I told her hastily the matter between Doltaire and myself, and said that now, rather than give her sorrow, I was prepared to break my word with Sir John Godric. She heard me through with flashing eyes, and I could see her bosom heave. When I had done, she looked me straight in the eyes.
"Is all that here?" she said, holding up the packet.
"All," I answered.
"And you would not break your word to save your own life?"
I shook my head in negation.
"Now I know that you are truly honourable," she answered, "and you shall not break your promise for me. No, no, you shall not; you shall not stir. Tell me that you will not send word to Monsieur Doltaire--tell me!"
When, after some struggle, I had consented, she said, "But I may act. I am not bound to secrecy. I have given no word or bond. I will go to the Governor with my love, and I do not fear the end. They will put me in a convent, and I shall see you no more, but I shall have saved you."
In vain I begged her not to do so; her purpose was strong, and I could only get her promise that she would not act till midnight. This was hardly achieved when Gabord entered quickly, saying, "The Seigneur Duvarney! On with your coat, wig, and cap! Quick, mademoiselle!"
Swiftly the disguise was put on, and I clasped her to my breast with a joyful agony, while Gabord hastily put out the candles and torch, and drew Alixe behind the dungeon door. Then standing himself in the doorway, he loudly commended me to sleep sound and be ready for travel in the morning. Taking the hint, I threw myself upon my couch, and composed myself. An instant afterwards the Seigneur appeared with a soldier, and Gabord met him cheerfully, looked at the order from the Governor, and motioned the Seigneur in and the soldier away. As Duvarney stepped inside, Gabord followed, holding up a torch. I rose to meet my visitor, and as I took his hand I saw Gabord catch Alixe by the sleeve and hurry her out with a whispered word, swinging the door behind her as she passed. Then he stuck the torch in the wall, went out, shut and bolted the dungeon door, and left us two alone.
I was glad that Alixe's safety had been assured, and my greeting of her father was cordial. But he was more reserved than I had ever known him. The duel with his son, which had sent the youth to France and left him with a wound which would trouble him for many a day, weighed heavily against me. Again, I think that he guessed my love for Alixe, and resented it with all his might. What Frenchman would care to have his daughter lose her heart to one accused of a wretched crime, condemned to death, an enemy of his country, and a Protestant? I was sure that should he guess at the exact relations between us, Alixe would be sent behind the tall doors of a convent, where I should knock in vain.
"You must not think, Moray," said he, "that I have been indifferent to your fate, but you can not guess how strong the feeling is against you, how obdurate is the Governor, who, if he should appear lax in dealing with you, would give a weapon into Bigot's hands which might ruin him in France one day. I have but this moment come from the Governor, and there seems no way to move him."
I saw that he was troubled greatly, and I felt his helplessness. He went on: "There is but one man who could bend the Governor, but he, alas! is no friend of yours. And what way there is to move him I know not; he has no wish, I fancy, but that you shall go to your fate."
"You mean Monsieur Doltaire?" said I quietly.
"Doltaire," he answered. "I have tried to find him, for he is the secret agent of La Pompadour, and if I had one plausible reason to weigh with him--- But I have none, unless you can give it. There are vague hints of things between you and him, and I have come to ask if you can put any fact, any argument, in my hands that would aid me with him. I would go far to serve you."
"Think not, I pray you," returned I, "that there is any debt unsatisfied between us."
He waved his hand in a melancholy way. "Indeed, I wish to serve you for the sake of past friendship between us, not only for that debt's sake."
"In spite of my quarrel with your son?" asked I.
"In spite of that, indeed," he said slowly, "though a great wedge was driven between us there."
"I am truly sorry for it," said I, with some pride. "The blame was in no sense mine. I was struck across the face; I humbled myself, remembering you, but he would have me out yes or no."
"Upon a wager!" he urged, somewhat coldly.
"With the Intendant, monsieur," I replied, "not with your son."
"I can not understand the matter," was his gloomy answer.
"I beg you not to try," I rejoined; "it is too late for explanations, and I have nothing to tell you of myself and Monsieur Doltaire. Only, whatever comes, remember I have begged nothing of you, have desired nothing but justice--that only. I shall make no further move; the axe shall fall if it must. I have nothing now to do but set my house in order, and live the hours between this and sunrise with what quiet I may. I am ready for either freedom or death. Life is not so incomparable a thing that I can not give it up without pother."
He looked at me a moment steadily. "You and I are standing far off from each other," he remarked. "I will say one last thing to you, though you seem to wish me gone and your own grave closing in. I was asked by the Governor to tell you that if you would put him in the way of knowing the affairs of your provinces from the letters you have received, together with estimate of forces and plans of your forts, as you have known them, he will spare you. I only tell you this because you close all other ways to me."
"I carry," said I, with a sharp burst of anger, "the scars of wounds an insolent youth gave me. I wish now that I had killed the son of the man who dares bring me such a message."
For a moment I had forgotten Alixe, everything, in the wildness of my anger. I choked with rage; I could have struck him.
"I mean nothing against you," he urged, with great ruefulness. "I suggest nothing. I bring the Governor's message, that is all. And let me say," he added, "that I have not thought you a spy, nor ever shall think so."
I was trembling with anger still, and I was glad that at the moment Gabord opened the door, and stood waiting.
"You will not part with me in peace, then?" asked the Seigneur slowly.
"I will remember the gentleman who gave a captive hospitality," I answered. "I am too near death to let a late injury outweigh an old friendship. I am ashamed, but not only for myself. Let us part in peace--ay, let us part in peace," I added with feeling, for the thought of Alixe came rushing over me, and this was her father!
"Good-by, Moray," he responded gravely. "You are a soldier, and brave; if the worst comes, I know how you will meet it. Let us waive all bitter thoughts between us. Good-by."
We shook hands then, without a word, and in a moment the dungeon door closed behind him, and I was alone; and for a moment my heart was heavy beyond telling, and a terrible darkness settled on my spirit. I sat on my couch and buried my head in my hands.