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THE BLACK WOLF'S BREED

Placide, I meant it not; I'm not myself; forgive me, comrade; pity her and pity me."

I vaguely wondered what there could be in the packet to cause him so sincere an apprehension. But I must think of my people and be strong. I denied him once for all. He sprang at me with the fury of a demon. Being the cooler and stronger, I threw him off easily and reached the door as he came again with his sword. It was a delicate predicament. I could easily kill him. Wild with a lover's fear, he left his front open to my blade, but I'd had enough of death. He paused to shove a table from his path, which gave me time to open and slip through the door.

In a moment he rushed out behind me, pale and panting. The corridor, deserted, echoed to our flying steps. I ran on ahead making my way toward the horses. Meeting people outside, we had to slacken our gait, smile, and conceal the realities of the situation, the necessity for which he apprehended as quickly as I.

Four horses stood ready, and choosing the one I thought best fitted for a hard chase—it was evident we could not afford to fight it out at Sceaux—and to fight seemed now his purpose—I vaulted lightly into the saddle, and before Jerome could hinder, had jumped the low wall and taken the direct road to Paris.

Practiced horseman as Jerome was, it took him no time to follow, and his grooms joined in the chase.

On, on, we sped. Trees, fences, walls and people all melted into one motley and indistinguishable stream. In the open road we strung out, according to the speed