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IN THE HOUSE OF BERTRAND

and that the reasons which enforced quiet upon me were also powerful to him.

He was worse off though than I, for he had doubtless heard me blunder into the wall, and thought one of the marshal's men had followed him. This idea suggested he would probably then lay perfectly still and wait for the man to recover and go out. Or, the thought made me shiver—he might steal up and finish me with the dagger. As quietly as I could I loosened my own knife in its sheath and got it well in hand. In spite of all the caution I used, the sheath rattled against a buckle. I knew my position was betrayed. I thought then to reach a corner where I could the better protect myself against a stealthy attack.

Immediately overhead an almost indistinguishable blur marked a high, square window, some seven feet from the floor. There was but one. In all probability the door lay directly opposite. That being true, the natural inclination of a man flying down the hall in the direction we came would be to go further to the right. Reasoning in this wise, hoping to avoid a struggle with Broussard in the dark, I edged my way along the wall toward the left. Inch by inch I went, holding my sword extended at arm's length in front of me, and lifting each foot carefully to avoid the scraping. Every few feet I made a complete sweep in all directions with my blade, to guard against approach. Proceeding in this way, I felt my sword's point at length touch something—something soft. Before I had time to wonder what it was, the sharp hiss of a blade cut close to my