Open main menu

Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/239

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
213
THE CASTLE OF CARTILLON

unhurt and unnoticed in the carriage, had escaped. Throughout the city were prowling bands wearing the white cross in their caps, the white sash on their arms, which designated the followers of Guise, and with cries of "Death to the Huguenots" and "No quarter to the enemies of Holy Church," they slew without mercy. I had now no idea but to put my boy in a place of safety, and with him before me rode straight for the nearest gate. I passed unmolested through the streets, and by avoiding the public places, drawing out of the way of murdering bands, thought to evade them and reach the river gate south of town. My whole soul revolted at leaving the bodies of wife and daughter in Rouen, but the living child must be considered before the dead. At the turn from out the obscure Rue St. Croix into the open square at Vieux Marche I heard a shout, "Here he is, this way," and saw a man at arms stationed in the square beckoning to his comrades who came clattering down the Rue de Crosne. This blocked the path along which I intended to leave the town.

Riding at their head I recognized my old time enemy, my half brother, Pedro Ortez, a man of whose prowess and cruelty terrible stories were told.

Right willingly would I have paused to give him fight, but for the babe. The fellow who had raised the cry now threw himself full in my way with the evident purpose of engaging me until the others came up. I made straight at him, but he stood his ground bravely, and encumbered as I was with the child, he succeeded in wounding me twice before I could pierce him through