Open main menu

Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/58

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
38
THE BLACK WOLF'S BREED

young coxcomb of Orleans," he continued, addressing that dissolute Prince: "How dare you, sir, lead such a throng of revellers into the King's own gardens? Is not your own house of debauchery sufficient for Your Grace? Have a care, young sir, I am yet the King, and thou mayest never be the Regent."

The Duke simulated his profound regret, but when Louis' back was turned made a most unprincely and most uncourtly grimace at his royal uncle, which set them all a-laughing. Whereat all these noble lords and ladies made great pretense of gravity, and ostentatiously held their handkerchiefs before their mouths to hide their mirth.

Already these satellites began to desert the sinking to attach their fortunes to those of the rising sun. I marvelled at this, for the name of Louis had been held in almost Godlike reverence by us in the colonies. Meanwhile he had turned to me:

"Well said, young man; thou hast a loyal tongue."

"And a loyal master, sire," for it needed not the mention of his name to tell me I faced the King. That face, stamped on his every golden namesake, had been familiar to me since the earliest days of my childhood.

"Thy name, sir?"

Kingly still, though a little bent, for he was now well past sixty, Louis stood in his high-heeled shoes tapping the ground impatiently with a long cane, his flowing coat fluttering in the wind. For a period I completely lost my tongue, could see nothing but the blazing cross of the Holy Ghost, the red order of St. Louis, upon the