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AT THE AUSTRIAN ARMS

Yvard leaned forward, the edge of the table pressing against his breast, and in so doing noticed the absence of the paper which he had forgotten in the fight. His face changed instantly, the drunken leer vanished. At first there was merely a puzzled expression, as of an intense effort to remember. He looked swiftly at me. I gave no sign. The two men were gone. His anxiety convinced me of the importance of the papers. He thought for a moment, then excused himself and went out the way we came. As he passed through the room, I saw him stoop and whisper a word to one of the men at the dice table. In a minute the fellow shifted his seat, and though he continued to play, he had taken a position where, as I imagined, he could watch me that I did not leave. I became uneasy now, for I could not tell how many there were, and my principal thought was how to get out of the house. Assuredly not by the way I entered.

Looking about more carefully to note the different means of egress, my attention was attracted by a carven shield above the main door. The arms were the same as those graven on the locket shown me by Colonel d'Ortez the night I left Biloxi. There, standing out boldly above the door, was the same sable wolf, the crest of the d'Artins. For a moment his story filled my mind again but I had no time then for such reflections, and dismissed them to a future period of leisure. The question how to leave the house on that particular night gave me infinitely more concern than the idle speculation as to who had probably owned it long years before.