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"Come in, Captain. I regret that I can not give you a more sincere welcome."

Truly, there was nothing in the aspect of the room to cause alarm. Two ladies were inside, one at either end of a simple working table—Agnes and another lady, about her own figure, whom I did not know. The elder woman looked straight in my face with an anxious air.

The Chevalier did not formally present me. Agnes drooped her head somewhat, and never raised her eyes at my entrance. It was a most awkward situation. As to what de la Mora contemplated I could not venture the wildest guess; certainly no violence in the presence of this other lady who looked so cool while yet so pale.

"Captain de Mouret, as you hope for your soul's salvation, I conjure you to tell me the whole truth. I do solemnly promise you, upon a soldier's honour, at the very worst which may come, I will only leave this colony, and will not injure any one."

I had seen de la Mora on many a field, but never did he look stronger or nobler than on that night. His voice sounded full and clear despite the intensity of his suffering.

"Captain de Mouret, you are a soldier, a brave one, as my own eyes have witnessed, reputed a man of untarnished honour. Will you truly answer me one question upon the sacred Blood of Christ?"

His earnestness appealed to every better instinct of my nature, so I replied to him:

"I will."

"Have I your oath?"