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334 I knew it was Doltaire’s life or mine, and I shrank from desecrating this holy place; but our bitter case would warrant this, and more. As I came quickly through the hall, and round the corner where stood Gabord, I saw a soldier talking with the Mother Superior. “He is not dead?” I heard her say. “No, holy Mother,” was the answer, “but sorely wounded. He was testing the fire-organs for the rafts, and one exploded too soon.” At that moment the Mother turned to me, and seemed startled by my look. “What is it?” she whispered. “He would carry her off,” I replied. “He shall never do so,” was her quick answer. “Her father, the good Seigneur, has been wounded, and she must go to him.” “I will take her,” said I at once, and I moved to open the door. At that moment I caught Gabord’s eye. There I read what made me pause. If I declared myself now Gabord’s life would pay for his friendship to me—even if I killed Doltaire; for the matter would be open to all then just the same. I could not do that, for the man had done me kindnesses dangerous to himself. Besides, he was a true soldier, and disgrace itself would be to him as bad as the drum-head court-martial. I made up my mind to another course even as the perturbed “aho” which followed our glance fell from his puffing lips. Chapter XXVII A Side-Wind of Revenge 335 “But no, holy Mother,” said I, and I whispered in her ear. She opened the door and went in, leaving it ajar. I could hear only a confused murmur of voices, through which ran twice, “No, no, monsieur,” in Alixe’s soft, clear voice. I could scarcely restrain myself, and I am sure I should have gone in, in spite of all, had it not been for Gabord, who withstood me. He was right, and as I turned away I heard Alixe cry, “My father, my poor father!” Then came Doltaire’s voice, cold and angry: “Good Mother, this is a trick.” “Your Excellency should be a better judge of trickery,” she replied quietly. “Will not your Excellency leave an unhappy lady to the Church’s care?” “If the Seigneur is hurt, I will take mademoiselle to him,” was his instant reply. “It may not be, your Excellency,” she said. “I will furnish her with other escort.” “And I, as Governor of this province, as commander-in-chief of the army, say that only with my escort shall the lady reach her father.” At this Alixe spoke: “Dear Mère St. George, do not fear for me; God will protect me—” “And I also, mademoiselle, with my life,” interposed Doltaire. “God will protect me,” Alixe repeated; “I have no fear.” “I will send two of our Sisters with mademoiselle to nurse the poor Seigneur,” said Mère St. George. I am sure Doltaire saw the move. “A great kindness, holy Mother,” he said politely, “and I will see they are well cared for. We will set forth at once. The Seigneur shall be brought to the Intendance, and he and his daughter shall have quarters there.” He stepped towards the door where we were. I fell back into position as he came. “Gabord,” said he, “send your trusted fellow here to the General’s camp, and have him fetch to the Intendance the 336 Seigneur Duvarney, who has been wounded. Alive or dead, he must be brought,” he added in a lower voice. Then he turned back into the room. As he did so Gabord looked at me inquiringly. “If you go, you put your neck into the gin,” said he; “some one in camp will know you.” “I will not leave my wife,” I answered in a whisper. Thus were all plans altered on the instant. Gabord went to the outer door and called another soldier, to whom he gave this commission. A few moments afterwards, Alixe, Doltaire, and the Sisters of Mercy were at the door ready to start. Doltaire turned and bowed with a well-assumed reverence to the Mother Superior. “To-night’s affairs here are sacred to ourselves, Mère St. George,” he said. She bowed, but made no reply. Alixe turned and kissed her hand. But as we stepped forth, the Mother said suddenly, pointing to me, “Let the soldier come back in an hour, and...


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