List Of Contents | Contents of St. Martin's Summer, by Rafael Sabatini
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Gaubert shrugged his shoulders.  "What could I do against four?
Besides, the crowd was interfering already, and it seemed best to
me to come for help.  These soldiers, now - "

"Aye," cut in Tressan, and he turned about and called the sergeant.
"This becomes my affair."  And he announced his quality to Monsieur
Gaubert.  "I am the Lord Seneschal of Dauphiny."

"I am fortunate in finding you," returned Gaubert, and bowed.  "I
could place the matter in no better hand."

But Tressan, without heeding him, was already ordering the sergeant
to ride hard with his troopers for the Champs aux Capuchins.
Rabecque, however, thrust himself suddenly forward.

"Not so, Monsieur le Seneschal," he interposed in fresh alarm, and
mindful of his charge.  "These men are here to guard Mademoiselle
de La Vauvraye.  Let them remain.  I will go to Monsieur de Garnache."

The Seneschal stared at him with contemptuously pouting underlip.
"You will go?" said he.  "And what can you do alone?  Who are you?"
he asked.

"I am Monsieur de Garnache's servant."

"A lackey?  Ah!"  And Tressan turned aside and resumed his orders
as if Rabecque did not exist or had never spoken.  "To the Champs
aux Capuchins!" said he.  "At the gallop, Pommier!  I will send
others after you."

The sergeant rose in his stirrups and growled an order.  The
troopers wheeled about; another order, and they were off, their
cantering hoofs thundering down the narrow street.

Rabecque clutched at the Lord Seneschal's arm.

"Stop them, monsieur!" he almost screamed in his excitement.  "Stop
them!  There is some snare, some trick in this."

"Stop them?" quoth the Seneschal.  "Are you mad?"  He shook off
Rabecque's detaining hand, and left him, to cross the street again
with ponderous and sluggish haste, no doubt to carry out his
purpose of sending more troopers to the scene of the disturbance.

Rabecque swore angrily and bitterly, and his vexation had two
entirely separate sources.  On the one hand his anxiety and affection
for his master urged him to run at once to his assistance, whilst
Tressan's removal of the troopers rendered it impossible for him to
leave Mademoiselle de La Vauvraye unguarded - though what he should
do with her if Garnache came not back at all, he did not at this
stage pause to consider.  On the other hand, an instinctive and
growing suspicion of this Monsieur Gaubert - who was now entering
the inn - inspired him with the opinion that the fat Seneschal had
been duped by a wild tale to send the troopers from the spot where
they might presently become very necessary.

Full of fears, anxiety, and mistrust, it was a very dispirited
Rabecque that now slowly followed Monsieur Gaubert into the inn.
But as he set his foot across the threshold of the common-room, a
sight met his eyes that brought him to a momentary standstill,
and turned to certainty all his rising suspicions.  He found it
tenanted by a half-dozen fellows of very rude aspect, all armed
and bearing an odd resemblance in air and accoutrements to the
braves he had seen at Condillac the day before.  As to how they
came there, he could only surmise that they had entered through
the stable-yard, as otherwise he must have observed their approach.
They were grouped now at the other end of the long, low chamber,
by the door leading to the interior of the inn.  A few paces
distant the landlord watched them with uneasy eyes.

But what dismayed Garnache's servant most of all was to see the
man who called himself Gaubert standing in talk with a slender,
handsome youth, magnificently arrayed, in whom he recognized
Marius de Condillac.

Rabecque checked in his advance, and caught in that moment from
Marius the words: "Let her be told that it is Monsieur de Garnache
wishes her to descend."

At that Rabecque stepped towards them, very purposeful of mien.
Gaubert turned at his approach, and smiled.  Marius looked up
quickly; then made a sign to the men.  Instantly two of them went
out by the door they guarded, and ere it swung back again Rabecque
saw that they were making for the stairs.  The remaining four
ranged themselves shoulder to shoulder across the doorway, plainly
with intent to bar the way.  Gaubert, followed immediately by
Marius, stepped aside and approached the landlord with arms akimbo
and a truculent smile on his pale hawk face.  What he and Marius
said, Rabecque could not make out, but he distinctly heard the
landlord's answer delivered with a respectful bow to Marius:

"Bien, Monsieur de Condillac.  I would not interfere in your
concerns - not for the world.  I will be blind and deaf."

Marius acknowledged the servile protestation by a sneer, and
Rabecque, stirring at last, went forward boldly towards the doorway
and its ugly, human barrier.

"By your leave, sirs," said he - and he made to thrust one of them

"You cannot pass this way, sir," he was answered, respectfully but

Rabecque stood still, clenching and unclenching his hands and
quivering with anger.  It was in that moment that he most fervently
cursed Tressan and his stupid meddling.  Had the troopers still
been there, they could have made short work of these tatter-demalions.
As it was, and with Monsieur de Garnache dead, or at least absent,
everything seemed at an end.  He might have contended that, his
master being slain, it was no great matter what he did, for in the
end the Condillacs must surely have their way with Mademoiselle de
La Vauvraye.  But he never paused to think of that just then.  His
sense of trust was strong; his duty to his master plain.  He stepped
back, and drew his sword.

"Let me pass!" he roared.  But at the same instant there came the
soft slither of another weapon drawn, and Rabecque was forced to
turn to meet the onslaught of Monsieur Gaubert.

"You dirty traitor," cried the angry lackey, and that was all they
left him breath to say.  Strong arms gripped him from behind.  The
sword was wrenched from his hand.  He was flung down heavily, and
pinned prone in a corner by one of those bullies who knelt on his
spine.  And then the door opened again, and poor Rabecque groaned
in impotent anguish to behold Mademoiselle de La Vauvraye pause
white-faced and wide-eyed on, the threshold at sight of Monsieur
de Condillac bowing low before her.

She stood there a moment between the two ruffians who had been
sent to fetch her, and her eyes travelling round that room
discovered Rabecque in his undignified and half; strangled

"Where . . . Where is Monsieur de Garnache?" she faltered.

"He is where all those who cross the will of Condillac must sooner
or later find themselves," said Marius airily.  "He is . . .
disposed of."

"Do you mean that he is dead?" she cried.

"I think it very probable by now," he smiled.  "So you see,
mademoiselle, since the guardian the Queen appointed you has . . .
deserted you, you would do well to return to my mother's roof.  Let
me assure you that we shall very gladly welcome your return.  We
blame none but Garnache for your departure, and he has paid for
the brutality of his abduction of you."

She turned in despair from that mocking gentleman, and attempted
to make appeal to the landlord, as though he could help her who
could not help himself.

"Monsieur l'Hote - " she began, but Marius cut in sharply.

"Take her out that way," he said, and pointed back down the passage
by the stairs.  "To the coach.  Make haste."

She sought to resist them now; but they dragged her back, and there
was a rush of the others following through the doorway, the rear
being brought up by Gaubert.

"Follow presently," was his parting command to the man who still
knelt upon Rabecque, and with that he vanished too.

Their steps died away in the passage; a door banged in the distance.
There followed a silence, disturbed only by the sound of Rabecque's
laboured breathing; then came a stir outside the door of the inn;
some one shouted an order.  There was a movement of hoofs, a creak
and crunch of wheels, and presently the rumble of a heavy carriage
being driven rapidly away.  But too well did Rabecque surmise what
had taken place.

The ruffian released him at last, and, leaping to his feet, was gone
before Rabecque could rise.  Once up, however, the lackey darted to
the door.  In the distance he saw his late assailant running hard;
the coach had disappeared.  He turned, and his smouldering eye fell
upon the landlord.

"O pig!" he apostrophized him, snarling at him to vent some of his
pent-up rage.  "O cowardly pig."

"What would you?" expostulated the frightened taverner.  "They had
cut my throat if I resisted them."

Rabecque poured abuse upon him, until for very lack of words he was
forced to cease, then, with a final bark of contempt, he went to
recover his sword, which had been flung into a corner of the room.
He was stooping in the act, when a quick step rang behind him on the
threshold, an angry voice harsh and metallic pronounced his name:


The sword clattered from Rabecque's hand suddenly gone nerveless -
nerveless with sheer joy, all else forgotten in the perception that
there, safe and sound, stood his beloved master.

"Monsieur!" he cried, and the tears welled up to the rough servant's
eyes.  "Monsieur!" he cried again, and then with the tears streaming
down his cheeks, sallow and wrinkled as parchment, "Oh, thank God!"
he blubbered.  "Thank God!"

"For what?" asked Garnache, coming forward, a scowl like a
thunder-cloud upon his brow.  "Where is the coach, where the troopers?
Where is mademoiselle?  Answer me!"

He caught Rabecque's wrist in a grip that threatened to snap it.
His face was livid, his eyes aflame.

"They - they -"stammered Rabecque.  He had not the courage to tell
the thing that had happened.  He feared Garnache would strike him

And then out of his terror he gathered an odd daring.  He spoke to
Garnache as never he had dreamt to speak to him, and it may well be
that by his tone and by what he said he saved his life just then.

"You fool," he cried to him.  "I told you to be on your guard.  I
warned you to go warily.  But you would not heed me.  You know
better than Rabecque.  You would have your way.  You must go
a-brawling.  And they duped you, they fooled you to the very top
of their bent, monsieur."

Garnache dropped the servant's hand and stood back a pace.  That
counter-blast of passion and that plain speaking from a quarter so
unexpected served, in part at least, to sober him.  He understood
the thing that had happened, the thing that already he suspected
must have happened; but he understood too that he alone was to blame
for it - he and his cursed temper.

"Who - who fooled me?" he stammered.

"Gaubert - the fellow that calls himself Gaubert.  He and his
friends.  They fooled you away.  Then Gaubert returned with a tale
that you had been killed and that there was a disturbance in the
Champs aux Capuchins.  Monsieur de Tressan was here, as ill-luck
would have it, and Gaubert implored him to send soldiers thither
to quell the riot.  He dispatched the escort.  I sought in vain to
stay them.  He would not listen to me.  The troopers went, and then
Monsieur Gaubert entered the inn, to join Monsieur de Condillac and
six of his braves who were waiting there.  They overpowered me, and
carried mademoiselle off in the coach.  I did what I could, but - "

"How long have they been gone?" Garnache interrupted him to inquire.

"But few minutes before you came."

"It would be, then, the coach that passed me near the Porte de
Savoie.  We must go after them, Rabecque.  I made a short cut across
the graveyard of Saint Francis, or I must have met the escort.  Oh,
perdition!" he cried, smiting his clenched right hand into his open
left.  "To have so much good work undone by a moment's unguardedness."
Then abruptly he turned on his heels.  "I am going to Monsieur de
Tressan," said he over his shoulder, and went out.

As he reached the threshold of the porch, the escort rode up the
street, returned at last.  At sight of him the sergeant broke into
a cry of surprise.

"At least you are safe, monsieur," he said.  "We had heard that
you were dead, and I feared it must be so, for all that the rest of
the story that was told us was clearly part of a very foolish jest."

"Jest?  It was no jest, Vertudieu!" said Garnache grimly.  "You had
best return to the Palais Seneschal.  I have no further need of an
escort," he added bitterly.  "I shall require a larger force."

And he stepped out into the rain, which had begun again a few
minutes earlier, and was now falling m a steady downpour.



Straight across the Palais Seneschal went Garnache.  And sorely
though his temper might already have been tried that day,
tempestuously though it had been vented, there were fresh trials
in store for him, fresh storms for Tressan.

"May I ask, Monsieur le Seneschal," he demanded arrogantly, "to what
end it was that you permitted yourself to order from its post the
escort you had placed under my command?"

"To what end?" returned the Seneschal, between sorrow and
indignation.  "Why, to the end that it might succour you if still
in time.  I had heard that if not dead already, you were in danger
of your life."

The answer was one that disarmed Garnache, in spite of his mistrust
of Tressan, and followed as it now was by the Seneschal's profuse
expressions of joy at seeing Garnache safe and well, it left him
clearly unable to pursue the subject of his grievance in this
particular connection.  Instead, he passed on to entertain Tressan
with the recital of the thing that had been done; and in reciting
it his anger revived again, nor did the outward signs of sympathetic
perturbation which the Seneschal thought it judicious to display do
aught to mollify his feelings.

"And now, monsieur," he concluded, "there remains but one course to
be pursued - to return in force, and compel them at the sword-point
to surrender me mademoiselle.  That accomplished, I shall arrest the
Dowager and her son and every jackanapes within that castle.  Her
men can lie in Grenoble gaol to be dealt with by yourself for
supporting her in an attempt to resist the Queen's authority.  Madame
and her son shall go with me to Paris to answer there for their

The Seneschal looked grave.  He thoughtfully combed his beard with
his forefinger, and his little eyes peered a shade fearfully at
Garnache through his horn-rimmed spectacles - Garnache had found
him at his never-failing pretence of work.

"Why, yes," he agreed, speaking slowly, "that way lies your duty."

"I rejoice, monsieur, to hear you say so.  For I shall need your aid."

"My aid?" The Seneschal's face assumed a startled look.

"I shall require of you the necessary force to reduce that garrison."

The Seneschal blew out his cheeks almost to bursting point, then
wagged his head and smiled wistfully.

"And where," he asked, "am I to find such a force?"

"You have upwards of ten score men in quarters at Grenoble."

"If I had those men - which I have not - what, think you, could

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