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Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/241

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fight was brief and decisive. Two of them, one being Maurice my most trusted man at arms, were thrown violently to the courtyard below. Of the others some were killed, some overpowered and carried below again.

All of this took only an instant, for it appeared but the end of a desperate encounter which had been raging elsewhere. The time, however, was long enough for me to see that those of the larger party wore the white sash and cross which distinguished my assailants in Rouen.

"God in heaven, what murder's work have we at Cartillon?" I cried aloud in my misery. Then one who could answer came running toward me from the castle, gashed, with snapped sword in hand.

"Oh, master, master, the Catholics, the Catholics," was all he could speak out before he fell a senseless mass at my horse's feet.

Cartillon was not now a refuge.

Immediately the distant sound of hoof beats came loud and louder yet, from the direction of Rouen. Ortez was coming.

"Quick, Gaston, we must fly."

My overtaxed horse failed me now. Pulling the rein he only sank slowly to his knees, and after a few spasmodic twitches, stiffened out forever upon the rocky road. I stood erect a moment, child in arms, irresolute. There was short shrift to think. My blood rebelled at flight.

"Here, Gaston, take the boy; hide in the wood. Carry him to the Abbot of Vaux, and conjure the good priest, by our fathers' love and ours, to save my baby."