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Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/29

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hesitation the bearings upon the shield, prominent among which were three wolves' heads, chevroned, supported by two black wolves, rampant, the coronet and motto "Praeclare factum."

"Aye," he mused half coherently, "the wolf; 'tis the crest of the d'Artins, quartered with those of many of the most ancient houses of France. So do those arms appear to men. But see."

He took the locket quickly from me and with a swift forceful movement turned the plate in its place, exposing the reverse side.

"What is this? Look!"

I glanced at it and started, looking inquiringly into my old friend's face. He avoided my eye.

I saw now upon the plate the same arms, the same quarterings, but over all there ran diagonally across the scutcheon a flaming bar of red which blazed evilly upon the silver ground. I understood.

"What is it?" he demanded impatiently. I still could find no word to answer.

"Speak out boy, what is it?"

"The same, but here, overall, is the bendlet sinister." I scarcely dared to look up into his face.

"Aye," he replied, his countenance livid with shame. "It is the bar sinister, the badge of dishonor. So do those proud arms appear in the sight of God, and so shall they be seen of men. And for generations each Lord of Cartillon has added to that crimson stripe the indelible stain of cowardice."

The master, his features working convulsively with