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NEW HOPES

With the Black Coffin and the Black Slabs I have come to cover you.
When darkness comes your spirit shall grow less and dwindle away never to reappear. Listen."

And they did listen; yea, attentively did they hearken, for a great pall of silence lowered upon them, so new, so strange to them was the song.

When I had quite finished, the soft, Indian words dropping as the splash of unknown, unseen waters, Madame besought me with earnestness to tell her more, and the others crowded round to hear. I do not know what evil genius of folly prompted the childish deed, but feeling safe in having found what we wanted, and moved more than I would admit by the now admiring eyes of the girl, I gathered up half a dozen daggers from the gentlemen who stood about. Selecting those whose weight and balance commended themselves most to my purpose, I cleared a small space, and having sent a serving man for a pack of cards, chose a five spot and pinned it to a tree. Standing back some ten to fifteen paces, I cast the four knives at the corner pips in quick succession, piercing them truly, then paused a minute and cast the fifth knife at the centre, striking accurately between the other four. It was an act of idle vanity, yet I hated for Jerome to taunt me on the way home.

By these petty means I gained a cheap applause from the belles and gallants at Sceaux, and Jerome opened not his lips to jibe me, as I feared, but like the rest, applauded.

I had now quite regained my courage, but for the