way, for I have long wished to speak with you; especially do I wish it on this night—on this night. Sit down."
Mechanically I obeyed, for I could see there was something of more than usual import on his mind. The Indians had withdrawn, and the master, pacing uncertainly about the room, paused and regarded me intently, as if he almost regretted his invitation to stay. After several efforts he abruptly began:
"I fear I have not very long to live, and dread to meet death, leaving a solemn duty unperformed. It is of this I would speak."
I listened in silence. He spoke hurriedly as though he doubted his resolution to tell it all.
"You, and every one in these colonies, know me only as Colonel d'Ortez, the Huguenot refugee. So I have been known by the whites ever since I came here to escape persecution at home, and to get forever beyond the sound of a name which has become hateful to me—my own.
"The Counts d'Artin have been a proud race in France for centuries, yet I, the last d'Artin, find the name too great a burden to bear with me in shameful silence to my grave. See this," and he took from his throat a pearl-studded locket, swung by a substantial golden chain, which he opened and handed to me. Inside were the arms of a noble family exquisitely blazoned upon a silver shield.
"What is it; what device is there?"
I knew something of heraldry and read aloud without