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THE BLACK WOLF'S BREED

that and the other, through many narrow and tortuous byways and alleys, until I realized I was hopelessly lost. With my fair guide in front and my good sword by my side, lightly I recked of streets or houses. Yet I dared not forget I was on an errand for the Governor and must not expose myself to bootless peril.

At last, and somewhat to my relief, she stopped before a great oaken iron-studded gate, possibly of five good paces width, in one corner of which was cut a smaller door so low a man must stoop to pass. Upon this smaller door she rapped and stood in the attitude of waiting.

I had a moment now to look about me. It was in a quarter of the town that was forbidding. Here were two huge, dismal, gray-stone mansions, separated by a court-yard of probably forty paces across; a high wall fronted the street, flanked by a tower on either side the gate. On top, this wall was defended by bits of broken glass and spikes of steel, stuck into the masonry while it was yet soft. More than this the flickering brazier would not permit me to see. All of this I took in at a glance; across the street the murkiness of the night shut out my view. She rapped again, impatiently, but in the same manner as before. A trifling space thereafter the smaller door was opened, whoever was inside having first peeped out through a round hole, which closed itself with a shutter no bigger than his eye.

The lady looked first to me, then stepped inside and stood back as if she bade me enter.

This was an adventure I had not bargained for.