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THE BLACK WOLF'S BREED

room. There was a certain air of resentment in his manner, as if he would call her to account, and I heartily wished myself otherwhere. Perhaps it was all for the best; my presence prevented, for the time, explanations, and I fancied the woman was grateful for the respite. Her lassitude, and effort to overcome it, smote me to the quick, and right willingly I would have aided her had I but the power. To Jerome she spoke:

"You heard—all?"

He nodded.

"And saw?" Less resolutely this question came. The words conveyed the wish, unexpressed, that he had not heard. To me she gave no thought. Again Jerome nodded, and looked away.

"It is the penalty and the price of power. Oh, Jerome, how fervently I have prayed that this all had not been," she went on oblivious of my presence.

Jerome's resentment faded away at her mute appeal for sympathy, and I am very sure he would not have me chronicle all that then occurred. Suffice it, that I employed myself by the window, some minutes perhaps, until a hasty rap on the door, and the maid bore a message which she delivered to her mistress in secret.

"Bid him come in at once if it please him."

"He is already here, madame," the girl replied.

We had barely time to gain our former hiding place before a man richly dressed, and limping, entered; the same I had seen in the gardens of Versailles. I was now intensely interested in this little drama, which, as it