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THE DAWN AND THE DUSK

safe keeping for the King. The lie, ah, well, I'll pardon that for the while. You can not leave here, and I have ample time for avenging my honour after I have had the pleasure of your delightful conversation."

He leaned morosely against the wall, staring at me, as I went on.

"Now listen to me quietly. You have those dispatches upon your person. I want them, and by all the gods I will have them. If I have to kill you for them, then so much the worse for you. Now listen. Give me those dispatches. We will then get out of here together, and once outside, I will give you full four and twenty hours. That time elapsed, I will turn the dispatches over to the authorities. If you can escape with your miserable life so be it. Do you agree?"

"I have no dispatches," he sullenly replied, "and who are you to dare charge me with treason?"

There was no ring of real resentment in his tones, though he strove manfully to simulate offended and indignant innocence. It was necessary to keep him in ignorance for a while, because I feared he might set upon me, and being really an excellent swordsman, the issue of conflict would be doubtful. But the weightier reason lay in the fact that the clash of steel might draw down upon us the occupants of the house. Here I was in a much worse plight than he, though he knew it not. For whether those occupants were the friends of Broussard or the Marshal's men, the result would be equally fatal to me. A man must think quickly under such straits,