List Of Contents | Contents of St. Martin's Summer, by Rafael Sabatini
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Marius cast his hat and cloak on the chair where Garnache's had been
left.  The Parisian's hat and cloak, he naturally assumed to belong
to his brother.  The smashed flagon and the mess of wine upon the
floor he scarce observed, setting it down to some clumsiness, either
his brother's or a servant's.  They both drank, Marius in silence,
the captain with a toast.

"Your good return, Monsieur le Marquis," said he, and Florimond
thanked him by an inclination of the head.  Then, turning to Marius:

"And so," he said, "you have a garrison at Condillac.  What the
devil has been taking place there?  I have had some odd news of you.
It would almost seem as if you were setting up as rebels in our
quiet little corner of Dauphiny."

Marius shrugged his shoulders; his face suggested that he was

"Madame the Queen-Regent has seen fit to interfere in our concerns.
We Condillacs do not lightly brook interference."

Florimond showed his teeth in a pleasant smile.

"That is true, that is very true, Pardieu!  But what warranted this
action of Her Majesty's?"

Marius felt that the time for deeds was come.  This fatuous
conversation was but a futile waste of time.  He set down his glass,
and sitting back in his chair he fixed his sullen black eyes full
upon his half-brother's smiling brown ones.

"I think we have exchanged compliments enough," said he, and Fortunio
wagged his head approvingly.  There were too many men in the
courtyard for his liking, and the more time they waited, the more
likely were they to suffer interruption.  Their aim must be to get
the thing done quickly, and then quickly to depart before an alarm
could be raised.  "Our trouble at Condillac concerns Mademoiselle de
La Vauvraye."

Florimond started forward, with a ready assumption of lover-like

"No harm has come to her?" he cried.  "Tell me that no harm has come
to her."

"Reassure yourself," answered Marius, with a sneer, a greyness that
was of jealous rage overspreading his face.  "No harm has come to
her whatever.  The trouble was that I sought to wed her, and she,
because she is betrothed to you, would have none of me.  So we
brought her to Condillac, hoping always to persuade her.  You will
remember that she was under my mother's tutelage.  The girl, however,
could not be constrained.  She suborned one of our men to bear a
letter to Paris for her, and in answer to it the Queen sent a
hot-headed, rash blunderer down to Dauphiny to procure her
liberation.  He lies now at the bottom of the moat of Condillac."

Florimond's face had assumed a look of horror and indignation.

"Do you dare tell me this?" he cried.

"Dare?" answered Marius, with an ugly laugh.  "Men enough have died
over this affair already.  That fellow Garnache left some bodies on
our hands last night before he set out for another world himself.
You little dream how far my daring goes in this matter.  I'll add
as many more as need be to the death roll that we have already,
before you set foot in Condillac."

"Ah!" said Florimond, as one upon whose mind a light breaks suddenly.
"So, that is the business on which you come to me.  I doubted your
brotherliness, I must confess, my dear Marius.  But tell me, brother
mine, what of our father's wishes in this matter?  Have you no
respect for those?"

"What respect had you?" flashed back Marius, his voice now raised
in anger.  "Was it like a lover to remain away for three years - to
let all that time go by without ever a word from you to your
betrothed?  What have you done to make good your claim to her?"

"Nothing, I confess; yet - "

"Well, you shall do something now," exclaimed Marius, rising.  "I
am here to afford you the opportunity.  If you would still win
Mademoiselle de La Vauvraye, you shall win her from me - at point
of sword.  Fortunio, see to the door."

"Wait, Marius!" cried Florimond, and he looked genuinely aghast.
"Do not forget that we are brothers, men of the same blood; that
my father was your father."

"I choose to remember rather that we are rivals," answered Marius,
and he drew his rapier.  Fortunio turned the key in the lock.
Florimond gave his brother a long searching look, then with a sigh
he picked up his sword where it lay ready to his hand and
thoughtfully unsheathed it.  Holding the hilt in one hand and the
blade in the other he stood, bending the weapon like a whip, whilst
again he searchingly regarded his brother.

"Hear me a moment," said he.  "If you will force this unnatural
quarrel upon me, at least let the thing be decently done.  Not here,
not in these cramped quarters, but out in the open let our meeting
take place.  If the captain, there, will act for you, I'll find a
friend to do me the like service."

"We settle this matter here and now," Marius answered him, in a tone
of calm finality.

"But if I were to kill you - " Florimond began.

"Reassure yourself," said Marius with an ugly smile.

"Very well, then; either alternative will suit the case I wish to
put.  If you were to kill me - it may be ranked as murder.  The
irregularity of it could not be overlooked."

"The captain, here, will act for both of us."

"I am entirely at your service, gentlemen," replied Fortunio
pleasantly, bowing to each in turn.

Florimond considered him.  "I do not like his looks," he objected.
"He may be the friend of your bosom, Marius; you may have no secrets
from him; but for my part, frankly, I should prefer the presence of
some friend of my own to keep his blade engaged."

The Marquis's manner was affable in the extreme.  Now that it was
settled that they must fight, he appeared to have cast aside all
scruples based upon their consanguinity, and he discussed the affair
with the greatest bonhomie, as though he were disposing of a matter
of how they should sit down to table.

It gave them pause.  The change was too abrupt.  They did not like
it.  It was as the calm that screens some surprise.  Yet it was
impossible he should have been forewarned; impossible he could have
had word of how they proposed to deal with him.

Marius shrugged his shoulders.

"There is reason in what you say," he acknowledged; "but I am in
haste.  I cannot wait while you go in search of a friend."

"Why then," he answered, with a careless laugh, "I must raise one
from the dead."

Both stared at him.  Was he mad?  Had the fever touched his brain?
Was that healthy colour but the brand of a malady that rendered
him delirious?

"Dieu!  How you stare!" he continued, laughing in their faces.
"You shall see something to compensate you for your journey,
messieurs.  I have learnt some odd tricks in Italy; they are a
curious people beyond the Alps.  What did you say was the name of
the man the Queen had sent from Paris?  - he who lies at the
bottom of the moat of Condillac?"

"Let there be an end to this jesting," growled Marius.  "On guard,
Monsieur le Marquis!"

"Patience! patience!" Florimond implored him.  "You shall have your
way with me, I promise you.  But of your charity, messieurs, tell
me first the name of that man."

"It was Garnache," said Fortunio, "and if the information will serve
you, it was I who slew him."

"You?" cried Florimond.  "Tell me of it, I beg you."

"Do you fool us?" questioned Marius in a rage that overmastered his
astonishment, his growing suspicion that here all was not quite as
it seemed.

"Fool you?  But no.  I do but wish to show you something that I
learned in Italy.  Tell me how you slew him, Monsieur le Capitaine."

"I think we are wasting time," said the captain, angry too.  He felt
that this smiling gentleman was deriding the pair of them; it crossed
his mind that for some purpose of his own the Marquis was seeking to
gain time.  He drew his sword.

Florimond saw the act, watched it, and his eyes twinkled.  Suddenly
Marius's sword shot out at him.  He leapt back beyond the table, and
threw himself on guard, his lips still wreathed in their mysterious

"The time has come, messieurs," said he.  "I should have preferred
to know more of how you slew that Monsieur de Garnache; but since you
deny me the information, I shall do my best without it.  I'll try to
conjure up his ghost, to keep you entertained, Monsieur le Capitaine."
And then, raising his voice, his sword, engaging now his brother's:

"Ola, Monsieur de Garnache!" he cried.  "To me!"

And then it seemed to those assassins that the Marquis had been
neither mad nor boastful when he had spoken of strange things he
had learned beyond the Alps, or else it was they themselves were
turned light-headed, for the doors of a cupboard at the far end of
the room flew open suddenly, and from between them stepped the
stalwart figure of Martin de Garnache, a grim smile lifting the
corners of his mustachios, a naked sword in his hand flashing back
the sunlight that flooded through the window.

They paused, aghast, and they turned ashen; and then in the mind of
each arose the same explanation of this phenomenon.  This Garnache
wore the appearance of the man who had announced himself by that
name when he came to Condillac a fortnight ago.  Then, the sallow,
black-haired knave who had last night proclaimed himself as Garnache
in disguise was some impostor.  That was the conclusion they promptly
arrived at, and however greatly they might be dismayed by the
appearance of this ally of Florimond's, yet the conclusion heartened
them anew.  But scarce had they arrived at it when Monsieur de
Garnache's crisp voice came swiftly to dispel it.

"Monsieur le Capitaine," it said, and Fortunio shivered at the sound,
for it was the voice he had heard but a few hours ago, "I welcome
the opportunity of resuming our last night's interrupted sword-play."
And he advanced deliberately.

Marius's sword had fallen away from his brother's, and the two
combatants stood pausing.  Fortunio without more ado made for the
door.  But Garnache crossed the intervening space in a bound.

"Turn!" he cried.  "Turn, or I'll put my sword through your back.
The door shall serve you presently, but it is odds that it will
need a couple of men to bear you through it.  Look to your dirty



A couple of hours after the engagement in the Marquis de Condillac's
apartments at the Sanglier Noir at La Rochette, Monsieur de Garnache,
attended only by Rabecque, rode briskly into France once more and
made for the little town of Cheylas, which is on the road that leads
down to the valley of the Isere and to Condillac.  But not as far as
the township did he journey.  On a hill, the slopes all cultivated
into an opulent vineyard, some two miles east of Cheylas, stood the
low, square grey building of the Convent of Saint Francis.  Thither
did Monsieur de Garnache bend his horse's steps.  Up the long white
road that crept zigzag through the Franciscans' vineyards rode the
Parisian and his servant under the welcome sunshine of that November

Garnache's face was gloomy and his eyes sad, for his thoughts were
all of Valerie, and he was prey to a hundred anxieties regarding

They gained the heights at last, and Rabecque got down to beat with
his whip upon the convent gates.

A lay-brother came to open, and in reply to Garnache's request that
he might have a word with the Father Abbot, invited him to enter.

Through the cloisters about the great quadrangle, where a couple of
monks, their habits girt high as their knees, were busy at gardeners'
work, Garnache followed his conductor, and up the steps to the
Abbot's chamber.

The master of the Convent' of Saint Francis of Cheylas a tall, lean
man with an ascetic face, prominent cheekbones, and a nose not
unlike Garnache's own - the nose of a man of action rather than of
prayer - bowed gravely to this stalwart stranger, and in courteous
accents begged to be informed in what he might serve him.

Hat in hand, Garnache took a step forward in that bare, scantily
furnished little room, permeated by the faint, waxlike odour that
is peculiar to the abode of conventuals.  Without hesitation he
stated the reason of his visit.

"Father," said he, "a son of the house of Condillac met his end
this morning at La Rochette."

The monk's eyes seemed to quicken, as though his interest in the
outer world had suddenly revived.

"It is the Hand of God," he cried.  "Their evil ways have provoked
at last the anger of Heaven.  How did this unfortunate meet his

Garnache shrugged his shoulders.

"De mortuis nil nisi bonum," said he.  His air was grave, his blue
eyes solemn, and the Abbot had little cause to suspect the
closeness with which that pair of eyes was watching him.  He coloured
faintly at the implied rebuke, but he inclined his head as if
submissive to the correction, and waited for the other to proceed.

"There is the need, Father, to give his body burial," said Garnache

But at that the monk raised his head, and a deeper flush the flush
of anger - spread now upon his sallow cheeks.  Garnache observed it,
and was glad.

"Why do you come to me?" he asked.

"Why?" echoed Garnache, and there was hesitancy now in his voice.
"Is not the burial of the dead enjoined by Mother Church?  Is it
not a part of your sacred office?"

"You ask me this as you would challenge my reply," said the monk,
shaking his head.  "It is as you say, but it is not within our
office to bury the impious dead, nor those who in life were
excommunicate and died without repentance."

"How can you assume he died without repentance?"

"I do not; but I assume he died without absolution, for there is no
priest who, knowing his name, would dare to shrive him, and if one
should do it in ignorance of his name and excommunication, why then
it is not done at all.  Bid others bury this son of the house of
Condillac; it matters no more by what hands or in what ground he be
buried than if he were the horse he rode or the hound that followed

"The Church is very harsh, Father," said Garnache sternly.

"The Church is very just," the priest answered him, more sternly
still, a holy wrath kindling his sombre eyes.

"He was in life a powerful noble," said Garnache thoughtfully.  "It
is but fitting that, being dead, honour and reverence should be
shown his body."

"Then let those who have themselves been honoured by the Condillacs
honour this dead Condillac now.  The Church is not of that number,
monsieur.  Since the late Marquis's death the house of Condillac
has been in rebellion against us; our priests have been maltreated,
our authority flouted; they paid no tithes, approached no sacraments.
Weary of their ungodliness the Church placed its ban upon them under
this ban it seems they die.  My heart grieves for them; but - "

He spread his hands, long and almost transparent in their leanness,
and on his face a cloud of sorrow rested.

"Nevertheless, Father," said Garnache, "twenty brothers of Saint
Francis shall bear the body home to Condillac, and you yourself
shall head this grim procession."

"I?"  The monk shrank back before him, and his figure seemed to grow
taller.  "Who are you, sir, that say to me what I shall do, the

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