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THE BLACK WOLF'S BREED

gratify my curiosity. You know I admit my curiosity, sometimes. These men are not alone in their thirst for excitement. It is so tiresome at court, ever the same thing day after day."

We had now come into a fairly wide, well-lighted hall, and an obsequious attendant showed us up a stair, and opening a door, pointed out the place she asked for. Imagine my utter astonishment when we stood together within the gaming room at Bertrand's. What an infernal fool I had been to be tempted back into this very place of all others. I thought at once it was some cowardly trick of Yvard's. I seized the woman by the arm, for I supposed her then but another decoy; there was no telling how far this Spanish intrigue had gone or what high personages Madame du Maine might be able to enlist in furtherance of her schemes. I seized her firmly, and had taken one step back towards the door again, when her cold ringing voice undeceived me.

"What means my lord; I thought him a gentleman. Shall I appeal for protection to these low men here?"

There was such a truth in her low tones that I cast her free, and in some measure explained my thought.

"Well, well, we'll not quarrel here," and looking about her with eager curiosity, she chose a table where fewest players sat, and thitherwards we went. This table was placed rather apart from the others, against a pillar, and no gamesters sat on the side next the wall. It left but scant space to sit between. There we took our places, and the lady tumbled out a purse well filled with gold pieces, handed some to me and bade me play.