Page:Harris Dickson--The black wolf's breed.djvu/93

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A NEW FRIEND

I reached across the table, filled the glasses for myself and Florine, raising mine high as if I would propose a toast. I tapped her banteringly on the cheek, for the benefit of him who watched, and said in a low tone, trying to maintain my nonchalant manner.

"Listen to me a minute, and I beseech you smile, do not look so serious. You brought me here, and now I trust you to get me out alive. Is there any other way than that I came?"

She looked about her apprehensively, so I cautioned her again.

"For heaven's sake smile; I am closely watched, and you must laugh and be merry as if I drank with you and made love."

She comprehended, and well did she play her part. The tones of her voice were light and playful; she lifted the glass to her lips, tasting as a connoisseur, and said between her sips:

"Yes, Monsieur, there is—another way leading out—on an alley—in the rear."

"How do you reach it?"

"The door behind the table—where they play for highest stakes—leads to the passage. Do but cast—your eyes that way—and you will see."

"Then let us—"

"Wait, Monsieur, not yet. If Monsieur would go and seat himself at that table, as if he desired to play, I will slip around and make ready the door for him. Monsieur was kind to me, and Florine is grateful. Even we women here respect a gentleman."