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THE BLACK WOLF'S BREED

of water. It all made so much noise I scarcely heard a voice behind me say:

"I'll lay a golden Louis his coat is of as queer a cut as his nether garment—whatever its outlandish name maybe."

"Done," said another voice.

I gave no heed, thinking they meant not me, until a dapper little chap, all plumed and belaced, stepped in front of me with a most lordly air.

"Hey, friend, who is thy tailor?" and behind me rang out the merry laugh at such a famous jest.

I turned and there being a party of fine ladies at my back full gladly would I have retired, had not the young braggart swaggered to my front again and persisted:

"Friend, let us see the cut of thy coat."

We men of the forest accustomed to the rough ways of a camp, and looking not for insult, are slow to anger, so I only asked as politely as might be, because of the ladies:

"And wherefore?"

"Because I say so, sir," he replied, most arrogantly and stamping his foot, "cast off thy cloak that we may see."

I still stood undecided, scarce knowing what to think, and being ignorant of fashions at court. De Brienne—for that was his name—mistaking my hesitation, advanced and laying his hand upon my cloak would have torn it off, had I not brushed him aside so vigorously he stumbled and fell to the ground.

I had no thought of using strength sufficient to throw