Open main menu

Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/247

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

white Cross of Christ in his cap, the white scarf of Guise upon his arm, drunk and eager for blood.

"Henri Francois Placide d'Artin, what hast thou to say why we shall not declare thy blood attainted, thy name dishonoured, thy estate forfeited, why we shall not hang thee for a Huguenot dog, traitor to King and church? Speak."

All the defiance of my race burned fearless in my eyes; I felt my face flush an instant at the shame of such a death, but replied as steadily as might be:

"Not a word to you, thou infamous one, thou base-born coward, murderer of the helpless; not to you!"

The cool, polite manner of Ortez fell from him like a mask. He seized the cord with his own hand, jerking me prone upon the floor and commenced to drag me from the hall. A dozen willing hands lent aid. I clutched instinctively at everything which came in my way, being torn from each hold by the ruthless villains at the rope.

Desperate, I grasped the leg of a trooper, but a savage kick in the face wrenched him free, and down the stair they started for the open court. At the end of the cord came tumbling, rolling, bumping down the stone steps this almost senseless heap which was yet a man.

Arrived beside the well, whose great overhanging sweep offered a convenient scaffold, Ortez paused to look at his victim. My breath came slow, I could hardly hear their words.

"Think you his senses will return?"