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Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/238

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response he turned and fled down the slope, away in the twilight beneath the trees.

"Dost hear the clanking arms, the rolling drums of war? List unto the shouts, the cries within. Dost not know it is the day after the feast of the most Blessed Saint Bartholomew?"

The man's wild earnestness fixed a spell upon me, and to the end of his narrative I listened until the tale was done. I can not hope to set down here as I heard it what the madman said, nor to have my lines breathe forth the vigour of his speech. Carried beyond mortal energy by his frenzy, overmastered by some mysterious Power of which we men know naught, he threw into his strange, weird story a life and action which entered my very soul. And as he spoke he seemed to live through the scenes that he so vividly described. It was as though some grim drama were being enacted for my enlightenment. So well as I can tell it, the tale ran thus:

On yestermorn my wife, my daughter and little boy, committed to the charge of old Gaston, had driven into Rouen to spend the day. I rode along after them to learn the news from Paris. We of the Reformed Faith hoped for great things from the meeting of our leaders with the Duke of Guise and the Queen Mother, for King Charles seemed kindly disposed toward us. But, God of Mercy! what scenes there were in Rouen; everywhere was slaughter, everywhere was murder. I found my carriage overturned in the streets, covering the dead and mutilated bodies of wife and daughter; the babe,