List Of Contents | Contents of St. Martin's Summer, by Rafael Sabatini
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here increases my danger and shortens my temper.  If you think to
temporize in the hope of gaining an opportunity of turning the
tables upon me, you must be mad to dream that I shall permit it.
Monsieur, you will at once order those men to leave the courtyard
by that doorway, or I give you my word of honour that I shall run
you through as you stand."

"That would be to destroy yourself," said Marius with an attempted
note of confidence.

"I should be no less destroyed by delay," answered Garnache; and
added more sharply, "Give the word, monsieur, or I will make an

>From the movement behind him Marius guessed almost by instinct that
Garnache had drawn back for a lunge.  At his side Valerie looked
over her shoulder, with eyes that were startled but unafraid.  For
a second Marius considered whether he might not attempt to elude
Garnache by a wild and sudden dash towards his men.  But the
consequences of failure were too fearful.

He shrugged his shoulders, and gave the order.  The men hesitated
a moment, then shuffled away in the direction indicated.  But they
went slowly, with much half-whispered, sullen conferring and many
a backward glance at Marius and those with him.

"Bid them go faster," snapped Garnache.  Marius obeyed him, and the
men obeyed Marius, and vanished into the gloom of the archway.  After
all, thought Monsieur de Condillac, they need go no farther than that
doorway; they must have appreciated the situation by now; and he was
confident they would have the sense to hold themselves in readiness
for a rush in the moment of Garnache's mounting.

But Garnache's next order shattered that last hope.

"Rebecque," said he, without turning his head, "go and lock them in."
Before bidding the men go that way, he had satisfied himself that
there was a key on the outside of the door.  "Monsieur de Condillac,"
he resumed to Marius, "you will order your men in no way to hinder
my servant.  I shall act upon any menace of danger to my lackey
precisely as I should were I, myself, in danger."

Marius's heart sank within him, as sinks a stone through water.  He
realized, as his mother had realized a little while before, that in
Garnache they had an opponent who took no chances.  In a voice thick
with the torturing rage of impotence he gave the order upon which
the grim Parisian insisted.  There followed a silence broken by the
fall of Rabecque's heavily shod feet upon the stones of the yard,
as he crossed it to do his master's bidding.  The door creaked on
its hinges; the key grated screaming in its lock, and Rabecque
returned to Garnache's side even as Garnache tapped Marius on the

"This way, Monsieur de Condillac, if you please," said he, and as
Marius turned at last to face him, he stood aside and waved his
left hand towards the door through which they had lately emerged.
A moment stood the youth facing his stern conqueror; his hands were
clenched until the knuckles showed white; his face was a dull
crimson.  Vainly he sought for words in which to vent some of the
malicious chagrin that filled his soul almost to bursting-point.
Then, despairing, with a shrug and an inarticulate mutter, he flung
past the Parisian, obeying him as the cur obeys, with pendant tail
and teeth-revealing snarl.

Garnache closed the door upon him with a bang, and smiled quietly
as he turned to Valerie.

"I think we have won through, mademoiselle," said he, with pardonable
vanity.  "The rest is easy, though you may be subjected to some
slight discomfort between this and Grenoble."

She smiled back at him, a pale, timid smile, like a gleam of sunshine
from a wintry sky.  "That matters nothing," she assured him, and
strove to make her voice sound brave.

There was need for speed, and compliments were set aside by Garnache,
who, at his best, was not felicitous with them.  Valerie felt herself
caught by the wrist, a trifle roughly she remembered afterwards, and
hurried across the cobbles to the tethered horses, with which
Rabecque was already busy.  She saw Garnache raise his foot to the
stirrup and hoist himself to the saddle.  Then he held down a hand
to her, bade her set her foot on his, and called with an oath
to Rabecque to lend her his assistance.  A moment later she was
perched in front of Garnache, almost on the withers of his horse.
The cobbles rattled under its hooves, the timbers of the drawbridge
sent up a booming sound, they were across - out of Condillac - and
speeding at a gallop down the white road that led to the river; after
them pounded Rabecque, bumping horribly in his saddle, and attempting
wildly, and with awful objurgations, to find his stirrups.

They crossed the bridge that spans the Isere and took the road to
Grenoble at a sharp pace, with scarce a backward glance at the grey
towers of Condillac.  Valerie experienced an overwhelming inclination
to weep and laugh, to cry and sing at one and the same time; but
whether this odd emotion sprang from the happenings in which she had
had her part, or from the exhilaration of that mad ride, she could
not tell.  No doubt it sprang from both, owing a part to each.  She
controlled herself, however.  A shy, upward glance at the stern, set
face of the man whose arm encircled and held her fast had a curiously
sobering effect upon her.  Their eyes met, and he smiled a friendly,
reassuring smile, such as a father might have bestowed upon a

"I do not think that they will charge me with blundering this time,"
he said.

"Charge you with blundering?" she echoed; and the inflection of the
pronoun might have flattered him had he not reflected that it was
impossible she could have understood his allusion.  And now she
bethought her that she had not thanked him - and the debt was a
heavy one.  He had come to her aid in an hour when hope seemed dead.
He had come single-handed - save for his man Rabecque; and in a
manner that was worthy of being made the subject of an epic, he had
carried her out of Condillac, away from the terrible Dowager and her
cut-throats.  The thought of them sent a shiver through her.

"Do you feel the cold?" he asked concernedly; and that the wind
might cut her less, he slackened speed.

"No, no," she cried, her alarm waking again at the thought of the
folk of Condillac.  "Make haste!  Go on, go on!  Mon Dieu! if they
should overtake us!"

He looked over his shoulder.  The road ran straight for over a
half-mile behind them, and not a living thing showed upon it.

"You need have no alarm," he smiled.  "We are not pursued.  They
must have realized the futility of attempting to overtake us.
Courage, mademoiselle.  We shall be in Grenoble presently, and once
there, you will have nothing more to fear."

"You are sure of that?" she asked, and there was doubt in her voice.

He smiled reassuringly again.  "The Lord Seneschal shall supply us
with an escort," he promised confidently.

"Still," she said, "we shall not stay there, I hope, monsieur."

"No longer than may be necessary to procure a coach for you."

"I am glad of that," said she.  "I shall know no peace until Grenoble
is a good ten leagues behind us.  The Marquise and her son are too
powerful there."

"Yet their might shall not prevail against the Queen's," he made
reply.  And as now they rode amain she fell to thanking him, shyly
at first, then, as she gathered confidence in her subject, with a
greater fervour.  But he interrupted her ere she had gone far,
"Mademoiselle de La Vauvraye," said he, "you overstate the matter."
His tone was chilling almost; and she felt as she had been rebuked.
"I am no more than the emissary of Her Majesty - it is to her that
your thanks are due."

"Ah, but, monsieur," she returned to the assault, "I owe some thanks
to you as well.  What other in your place would have done what you
have done?"

"I know not that, nor do I greatly care," said he, and laughed, but
with a laugh that jarred on her.  "That which I did I must have
done, no matter whom it was a question of saving.  I am but an
instrument in this matter, mademoiselle."

His thought was to do no more than belittle the service he had
rendered her, to stem her flow of gratitude, since, indeed, he felt,
as he said, that it was to the Queen-Regent her thanks were due.
All unwitting was it - out of his ignorance of the ways of thought
of a sex with which he held the view that it is an ill thing to
meddle - that he wounded her by his disclaimer, in which her
sensitive maiden fancy imagined a something that was almost

They rode in silence for a little spell, broken at last by Garnache
in expression of the thoughts that had come to him as a consequence
of what she had said.

"On this same subject of thanks," said he - and as she raised her
eyes again she found him smiling almost tenderly - "if any are due
between us they are surely due from me to you."

"From you to me?" she asked in wonder.

"Assuredly," said he.  "Had you not come between me and the Dowager's
assassins there had been an end to me in the hall of Condillac."

Her hazel eyes were very round for a moment, then they narrowed, and
little humorous lines formed at the corners of her lips.

"Monsieur de Garnache," said she, with a mock coldness that was a
faint echo of his own recent manner, "you overstate the case.  That
which I did I must have done, no matter whom it was a question of
saving.  I was but an instrument in this matter, monsieur."

His brows went up.  He stared at her a moment, gathering instruction
from the shy mockery of her glance.  Then he laughed with genuine

"True," he said.  "An instrument you were; but an instrument of
Heaven, whereas in me you but behold the instrument of an earthly
power.  We are not quite quits, you see."

But she felt, at least, that she was quits with him in the matter
of his repudiation of her own thanks, and the feeling bridged the
unfriendly gap that she had felt was opening out between them; and
for no reason in the world that she could think of, she was glad
that this was so.



Night had fallen and it had begun to rain when Garnache and Valerie
reached Grenoble.  They entered the town afoot, the Parisian not
desiring to attract attention by being seen in the streets with a
lady on the withers of his horse.

With thought for her comfort, Monsieur de Garnache had divested
himself of his heavy horseman's cloak and insisted upon her assuming
it, so setting it about her that her head was covered as by a wimple.
Thus was she protected not only from the rain, but from the gaze of
the inquisitive.

They made their way in the drizzle, through the greasy, slippery
streets ashine with the lights that fell from door and window,
Rabecque following closely with the horses.  Garnache made straight
for his inn - the Auberge du Veau qui Tete - which enjoyed the
advantage of facing the Palais Seneschal.

The ostler took charge of the nags, and the landlord conducted them
to a room above-stairs, which he placed at mademoiselle's disposal.
That done, Garnache left Rabecque on guard, and proceeded to make
the necessary arrangements for the journey that lay before them.  He
began by what he conceived to be the more urgent measure, and
stepping across to the Palais Seneschal, he demanded to see Monsieur
de Tressan at once.

Ushered into the Lord Seneschal's presence, he startled that obese
gentleman by the announcement that he had returned from Condillac
with Mademoiselle de La Vauvraye, and that he would require an
escort to accompany them to Paris.

"For I am by no means minded to be exposed to such measures as the
tigress of Condillac and her cub may take to recover their victim,"
he explained with a grim smile.

The Seneschal combed his beard and screwed up his pale eyes until
they vanished in the cushions of his cheeks.  He was lost in
amazement.  He could only imagine that the Queen's emissary had been
duped more successfully this time.

"I am to gather, then," said he, dissembling what was passing
through his mind, "that you delivered the lady by force or strategy."

"By both, monsieur," was the short answer.

Tressan continued to comb his beard, and pondered the situation.
If things were so, indeed, they could not have fallen out more to
his taste.  He had had no hand in it, one way or the other.  He had
run with the hare and hunted with the hounds, and neither party
could charge him with any lack of loyalty.  His admiration and
respect for Monsieur de Garnache grew enormously.  When the rash
Parisian had left him that afternoon for the purpose of carrying his
message himself to Condillac, Tressan had entertained little hope
of ever again seeing him alive.  Yet there he stood, as calm and
composed as ever, announcing that singlehanded he had carried out
what another might well have hesitated to attempt with a regiment
at his heels.

Tressan's curiosity urged him to beg for the details of this marvel,
and Garnache entertained him with a brief recital of what had taken
place, whereat, realizing that Garnache had indeed outwitted them,
the Seneschal's wonder increased.

"But we are not out of the quagmire yet," cried Garnache; "and that
is why I want an escort."

Tressan became uneasy.  "How many men shall you require?" he asked,
thinking that the Parisian would demand at least the half of a

"A half-dozen and a sergeant to command them."

Tressan's uneasiness was dissipated, and he found himself despising
Garnache more for his rashness in being content with so small a
number than he respected him for the boldness and courage he had so
lately displayed.  It was not for him to suggest that the force
might prove insufficient; rather was it for him to be thankful that
Garnache had not asked for more.  An escort Tressan dared not refuse
him, and yet refuse it him he must have done - or broken with the
Condillacs - had he asked for a greater number.  But six men!  Pooh!
they would be of little account.  So he very readily consented,
inquiring how soon Garnache would require them.

"At once," was the Parisian's answer.  "I leave Grenoble to-night.
I hope to set out in an hour's time.  Meanwhile I'll have the
troopers form a guard of honour.  I am lodged over the way."

Tressan, but too glad to be quit of him, rose there and then to give
the necessary orders, and within ten minutes Garnache was back at
the Sucking Calf with six troopers and a sergeant, who had left their
horses in the Seneschal's stables until the time for setting out.
Meanwhile Garnache placed them on duty in the common-room of the inn.

He called for refreshment for them, and bade them remain there at
the orders of his man Rabecque.  His reason for this step was that
it became necessary that he should absent himself for a while to
find a carriage suitable for the journey; for as the Sucking Calf
was not a post-house he must seek one elsewhere - at the Auberge
de France, in fact, which was situate on the eastern side of the
town by the Porte de Savoie - and he was not minded to leave the
person of Valerie unguarded during his absence.  The half-dozen

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