Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/54

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"Thou bearest the rank of captain?"

"Aye, comrade, in the service of the King in his province of Louisiana. I pray you direct me to the apartments of M. de Serigny, I would have speech with him."

He was a manly young lad, of soldierly bearing, too, despite his effeminate dress; he turned and himself guided me through the many intricate halls and passages until we reached a door which he pointed out as Serigny's, where, with polite speeches, he left me alone.

Monsieur was out, at what business the servant did not know, but would return at two of the clock. In the meantime I sought to amuse myself strolling about the place. I knew I could find my way along the bayou paths of Louisiana the darkest night God ever sent, for there at least I would have through the trees the glimmer of a friendly star to guide me. But here in the King's palace of Versailles, with the winding passages running hither and yonder, each as like the other as twin gauntlets, I lost myself hopelessly.

Clanking about alone over the tiles in great deserted corridors I grew almost frightened at my own noise until I passed out into an immense gallery, gaily decorated, and thronged with the ladies and gentlemen of the court. I could not make much sense of it all except it seemed greatly painted up, especially overhead, and nearly every figure bore the face of the King.

From the windows I could see a strange forest where every tree grew in the shape of some odd beast or bird,