him. And further, I stumbled on the very place which of all others I desired to find. Truly the chance was odd.
The two gentlemen upon the stair had not yet staunched their merriment, while these thoughts coming so unexpectedly had swept from me every recollection of the fight.
"Thou art not of Paris?" the spokesman asked again.
I heard him as a man hears something afar off, for my foot resting upon the package which had been dropped, sent my mind a wandering again. Could it be that this was a paper of importance, or possibly the very one I desired? Why not? I resolved to possess it at every hazard. Yet were I to stoop and pick it up now, and they saw me, I knew of no means by which I might leave the place in safety. So I carelessly shoved it with my foot farther into the shadow of the step. I answered the question asked me so long before.
"No, my lord, the city is a strange one to me."
"Of what place, did you say?"
Now I had purposely refrained from saying, and did not know what reply to give. I hated to appear boorish, besides it would not serve my purpose. My father being of Normandy, I deemed I would have nearly the accent of those people, so I made a venture to say:
"Of Normandy, sir," in such a way he did not pursue the subject further.
"We thought you no Parisian, or this lady would not have made so easy a conquest," and they laughed again.
"Do you play?" he queried.