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THE BURT TNGTON FREE PRESS t THURSDAY, MAY 11, 1905.
By FREDERIC S. ISHAM,
Author of "The Stroller"
Copyright, 1905. by the no WEN-MERRILL COMPANY
llMSKLFI" laughed the min
strel. "Did I not tell you I
should become a Spanish
troubadour?" Then, reach
ing out his hand, he added seriously:
"Right pleased am I to moet you. But
bow came you here?"
"I have fled from the keep of the old
castle, where I lay charged with her
tsy," answered the Jester, returning
the hearty grip.
"The keep!" exclaimed Calllette In
surprise. "You are fortunate not to
have been brought to trial," he added
thoughtfully. "Few get through that
seine, and hit holiness the pope, I un
derstand, bns ordered the meshes made
They had paused on the brow of a
kill commanding the view of road and
tavern. Dazed, the young girl had lis
tened to the greeting between the two
men. This ragged, beard grown trou
badour, the graceful, elegant Cntllette
of Francis' court? It seemed incredi
ble. At the same time through her
mind passed the memory of the plal
ant's reiterated exclamation in pris
on, "Calllette In Spain!" words she
bad attributed to fever, not Imagining
they had auy foundation in fact
But now this unexpected encounter
abruptly dispelled her first supposition
and opened a new field for speculation.
Certainly had ho been on a mission of
some kind somewhere, but what his
errand she could not divine.
But if she was surprised at Calllette's
unexpected presence and disguise, that
counterfeit troubadour had been no less
amased to see her, the Joculatrix of
the princess, in the mean garb of a
wsyslde mlnistrnlissa, wandering over
the country like one horn to the no
madic existence. That she had a na
ture ns free as air and the spirit of a
gypsy he well believed, but that she
would forego the security of the royal
household for the discomforts and dan
gers of a vagrant life he could not rec
oncile to that other part of her char
acter which he knew must shrink from
the actualities of the straggler's lot.
"Have you left the court, mistress?"
be now asked abruptly.
"Yes," she answered curtly.
The constraint that ensued between
them was broken by a new aspect of
the now distant conflagration. Bo-
A quick effort on the fool's pari.
fore the tavern, now burning on nil
aides, could be distinguished n number
f figures frantically running hither
and thither, while above the crockllng
of the flames and the clamorous cries
of the birds was heard the voire nf
the proprietor alternately pleading
With the knaves to save the tavern and
execrating him who had applied the
"Cap de Dleu, the landlord will snare
bo more travelers," said Calllette. "My
borse bad become road worn and per
force I had tarried there sufficient
while to know the company and tho
host. When yon walked in with this
fair maid I could hardly believe my
eyes. 'Twas a nice trap, and the land
lord an unctuous fellow for a villain.
iAstured that you could not go out as
you came, I e'en prepared a less con
"rentionsl means of exit."
He bad acarcely finished this expla
nation when, with a shower of sparks
and a mighty crash, the heavy roof fell.
"It Is over," murmured Calllette, and.
as they touched their horses, leaving
the smoldering ruins behind them, he
added: "But how came the scamp
Student to serve you? I was watching
Closely and listening, too, so caught
bow 'twas done.
"I spared his life once," answered the
"And be remembered? 'TIs passing
trange from such n rogue. A clever
evice to warn you In Latin that bis
friends intended to kill onn or both of
ou for the Jeweled sword."
"Why," spoke up the young girl, her
attention sharply arrested, "was it not
a mere discussion of some kind? And
"A pretense on the rogue's part to
avert the suspicion of the master of
the boar. I could but marvel" to the
Jester "at your forbearance."
"I fear me Jacqueline had the right
la a poor opinion of ber squire," re
piled the duke'a fool. "Nor do I blame
ber," be laughed, "In esteeming a stout
bolt more protection than a craven
But the girl did not answer. Through
her brala fashed the recollection of ber
celd disdain, her scornful words, her
prompt dismissal of the Jester at her
door. Weighing what she bad said and
Hone with what be had said and done,
be turned to him quickly, Impulsively.
Through the semldarkness she saw the
smile around his mouth nnd the qui!!
kblcal look with which he was regard'
"dog ber, wheruuoon her courage fail
ed. Sho bit Iter Hp and romnlned silent.
They had now passed the brow of the
hill; on eacli side of the highway the
forests parted wider and wider, and
the thoroughfare was bathed In a
As they rodo along on thla clearly il
lumined highway Calllctto glanced In
terrogatively at the plalsant. The out
cotno of his Journey should he speak
now or later, when they were alone?
The answer of the duke's fool to hla
companion's glauco was a direct In
quiry. "You found the emperor?" he said.
"Yes, and presented your message
with some misgiving."
"And did he treat it with tho scant
consideration you expected?"
"On the contrary, his majesty read it
not once, but twice, and changed col
or." "And then?"
"Whatever magic your letter con
tained," replied Calllette, "it seemed
convincing to Charles. 'My brother
Francis must be strangely credulous
to be so cozened by an impostor,'
quoth he, with a gleam of humor in bis
"Impostor!" It was the young girl
who tpoke. Interrupting in her sur
prise' the troubadour's story.
"You did not know, mistress," said
"No." she answered nud listened the
"When 1 left, two messages the em
peror gave me," wont on tho other,
"one for the king, the other for you."
And, taking from his doublet n docu
ment weighted with u ponderous disk,
the speaker handed it to the duke's
fool, who .silently thrust it in his
breast. "Moreover, unexpectedly, but
ns good fortune would have it, his
majesty was even then completing
preparations for n Journey through
France to the Netherlands, owing to
unlooked for troubles In that part of
his domains, and had already dis
patched his envoys to the king. Charles
assured me that he would still further
hasten his Intended visit to the Low
Countries and come at once. Mcnu-
hlle his communication to the king,"
tapping his breast, "will at least delay
tbu nuptials, ami. with the promise of
the emperor's immediate arrival, the
marriage cannot occur."
"It has occurred." said the jester.
The other uttered a quick exclama
tion. "Then have I failed In my er
rand." he muttered blankly. "But the
king! Had he no suspicion':''
"It was through the Countess
d'Etnmpes the monarch was led to
change the time for the festivities,"
poke up Jacqueline involuntarily.
"She!" exclaimed the poet, with a
gesture of half aversion For some
time they went on without . further
words. Then suddenly Calllette drew
"This news makes it the more neces
sary I should hasten to the king," he
said. "The emperor's message Fran
cis should receive it at once. Here,
therefore must 1 leave you; or why do
you not return with me?" uddresslng
tho jester. "Tho letter from Charles
will exonerate you, and Francis will re
ward you In proportion to the Injuries
you have suffered. What say you,
"That I will never go back," she an
swered briefly and looked away
Calllette's perplexity was relieved by
the plalsant. "Farewell, if you must
leave," said the hitter. "We meet
again, I trust."
"The fates willing," returned the
poet. "Farewell, and good fortune go
with you both." And, wheeling abrupt
ly, he rode slowly back. The Jester
and tho girl watched him disappear
over the road they had come.
"A true friend," said the plalsant ns
Calllette vanished In the gloom.
"You regret not returning with him,
perhaps?" she observed quickly. "Hon
ors and offices of preferment are not
"I want none of them from Francis,"
he returned as they started slowly on
Their horses crept along; tho girl
bent forward wearily heretofore the ex
citement and danger had sustalued her,
but now the reaction from all she had
endured bore down upon her. She
thought of calling to the fool, of crav
Ing the rest she so needed, but n feel
lug of pride or constraint held her
silent. Before her the shadows danced
illusively, the film of brightness Chang
cd nnd shifted, then all glimmering
and partial shade were swallowed up
in a black chasm.
Riding near, the jester observed ber
form sway from side to side nnd spur
red forward. Iu a moment be bad
clasped ber waist, theu lifted her from
the saddle and held her before him.
"Jacqueline!" be cried.
She offered no resistance. Her head
remained motionless on his breaat. Bed'
ulously ho bent over her. The warm
breath reassured him; tired nature had
Gathering the young form gently to
him, the Jester rodo slowly on, and
the horse of his companion followed
So he went, he knew not how long
listening to ber breathing that came
full and deep, half fearing, half won
dcring at that relaxation. For tho first
time ho forgot about the emperor and
his purpose, tho free baron and the de'
sires of sweet avengemcnt. He thought
only of ber be held; how courageous yet
alone sho was in the world; how she
had planned the service which won ber
the right to his protection; her flight
from Frauds but wbero? To whom
could she go? To whom could she
turn? Unconscious sho lay lu bis
arms In that doep sleep or heavy In
ertla following exhaustion, her pale
face against his shoulder, aud as tbe
young plalsant bent over her his heart
thrilled with protecting tenderness.
And, but for him, whom else had
he? This young girl, had sho not be
come his burden of responsibility, his
moral obligation? For tho first time
ho seemed to realize how the fine ten
drils of her nature had touched hla;
touched nnd clung, ever so gently, but
He saw her, too, secretly and silent
ly cherishing ft new faith In her bos
om nmld n throng, lax nnd Infirm of
purpose, nnd wonderment gavo way to
another emotion ns his mind leaped
from that past, with Its covert, Inner
life, to the untrammeled moment when
she had thrown off the mask in the sol
itude of the forest.
Afnr the boll of some wanderer from
the herd tinkled drowsily, arousing him
from his reverie. The horses were as
cending. Tho road emerged into n
plain set with bracken nnd gone,
with here nnd there n single tree whose
Inclining trunk told of storms braved
for many seasons. Near the highway,
la the shadow of n poplar, stood a
shepherd's hut nppnrcntly deserted and
Isolated from humankind. The fool
reined tho horse, which for some time
had been moving painfully, and nt that
abrupt cessation of motion tho jestrcss
looked up with a start.
Meeting his eyes, at first she did not
Withdraw her own. Questlontngly her
bewildered gaze encountered his. Then
with a quick movement she released
herself from his arm and sprang to
the ground. He, too, Immediately dis
mounted. She felt very wide awake
now, as though the sudden conscious
ness of that encircling grasp or some
thing In his glance before she slipped
from him had startled nway the torpor
"You fainted, or fell asleep, mistress,"
bo said quietly.
"Yes, 1 remember, In the gorge."
"It was Impossible to stop there, so I
rodo on. But here In this shepherd's
but we may find shelter."
And, turning tbe horses, be would
have led them to the door, but the ani
mals held back, then stood stock still.
Striding to the hut, the Jester stepped
In, but quickly sprang to one side, nnd
ns he did so some creature shot out of
the door and disappeared in the gloom.
"A wolf!" exclaimed the plalsant.
Entering the hut once more, he
struck a light. In a comer lny furze
He forgot he yet held her hand.
and firewood, nnd from this store be
drew, heaping the combustible mate
rial on the henrth until a cheering
blaze fairly illumined tho worn and di
lapidated interior. Near the fireplace
were n pot and kettle, whoso rusted
appearance bespoke long disuse, but a
trencher and porridge spoon on a stool
near by seemed waiting the coming of
the master. A couch of straw had been
the lonely shepherd s bed and later tho
lodgment of his enemy, tho wolf.
"Here you may rest, Jacqueline,
without fear of being disturbed again
this night," lie said.
She sank wearily upon tho straw,
then gavo him her hand gratefully.
Her face looked rosy in the reflection
from the hearth. A comforting sense
of warmth crept over her as she lay In
front of the blaze. Her eyes were lan
guorous with tho luxury of the heat
after a chilling ride. Drawing the
cloak to her chin, she smiled faintly.
Was It at his solicitude? Ho noticed
how her hnlr swept from the saddle
pillowing ber head to the earth, and,
sitting there on tbe stool, wondering
perhaps at Its abundance, or half
dreaming, he forgot ho yet held her
bond. Gently she withdrew It, and he
"Why did you not tell me It was not
a discussion with the scamp student?"
she asked. "Why did you let me im
agine that you" Her eyes said tho
rest. "Yoi should not have permitted
me to- to think it," she reiterated.
He was silent. She closed her eyes,
but In n moment her lashes uplifted.
"And I should not have thought It,"
"Jncquellno!" he cried, starting up.
Bho did not answer Indeed, seemed
sleeping her face turned from him.
Through the open doorway a streak
of red In the east heralded tbe coming
glory of the morn. "Peep, peep," twit
tered n bird on tbe roof of the hovel.
From the poplar It was answered by a
more melodious phrase, a song of wel
come to tho radiant dawn. A moment
tho jester listened, his head raised to
the growing splendor of the heaven,
then threw himself on tbe earthen floor
of the hut and was at once overcome
HE slanting rays of the sink
lng sun shot athwart the val
ley, glanced from the tile
roofa of tbe homes of the
peasantry and illumined tbe lofty
towers of a great manorial chateau.
Into the little town at tho foot of
tho big house rodo shortly beforo
nightfall the Jester and bis companion.
During the day tbe young girl hbd
seemed diffident and constrained. Bho
who bad boon all vivacity and life, on
a sudden kept silence, or when she did
speak ber tongue bad lost Its sharp
ness. His first greeting that morning bad
been a swift, almost questioning, glanco
before which sho had looked away.
In her face was the freshness of dawn,
tho grace of springtide. Overhead,
sang a lark; at tneir reet a brook whis
pered; around thfttu solitude, vast, in
finite. Ho spoko and sho answered;
her reserve bocame infectious; they nto
their oaten cukes and drank tljelr wine,
each strongly conscious of tho presence
of tho other, Then he rose, saddled
their horses nnd assisted her to mount.
So they rode, pausing betimes to rest,
nnd even then she had little to say
save onco when they stopped at a rus
tic bridge which spanned n strenm.
"Who is It that has wedded the prin
cess?" For n moment he did not nnswer,
then briefly related the story.
"And why did you not tell mo this
before V" she asked when ho had fin
ished. "Would you have credited me then?"
he replied, with a smile.
Quickly she looked at him. Was
there that In her eyes which to him
fobbed memory ot Its sting? At their
feet the water leaped and laugheM,
curled around the stones and rnn on
with dancing bubbles. Perhaps he re
turned her glance too readily; perhaps
the recollection of the ride the night
before recurred ovcrvlvldly to her, for
she gar.ed suddenly away, and he won
dered In what direction her thoughts
tended, when she said with some re
serve: "Shall we go on?"
They had not long left tho brook nnd
the bridge when from nfor they caught
sight of the regal chateau and the
clustering progeny of red roofed houses
at Its base. At once they drew rein.
"Shall we enter the town, or avoid It
by riding over the mend?" said the
"What danger would there be in, go
ing on?" she asked. "Whom might
Thoughtfully he regarded the shin
ing towers of the royal residence. "No
one, I think," he at length replied, nnd
they went on.
Around the town rnn n great wall,
with watchtowers and a deep moat,
but no person questioned their right to
the freedom of the place, a sleepy sol
dier at the gate merely glancing Indif
ferently at them as they passed be
neath the heavy archway. Gabled
houses with a tendency to incline
from the perpendicular overlooked the
winding street; dull, round panes of
glass stared nt them fraught with
mystery and the possibility of spying
eyes behind, but the thoroughfare in
that vicinity appeared deserted save
for an old woman seated In a doorway.
Before this grundam, whose lacklus
ter eyes were fastened steadfastly be
fore her, the fool paused and asked
the direction ot the inn.
"Follow your nose. If nature gave
you a straight one," cried n jeering
voice from the other stdo of the thor
oughfare. "If it be crooked, a blind
man nnd n dog were a better guide."
The speaker, a squat, misshapen fig
ure, had emerged from a passage turn
ing Into the street and now stood,
twirling a fool's head on a stick nnd
gazing impudently at the newcoau-is.
"Ha, ha!" laughed the oddity who
hod volunteered this malapert response
to the jester's Inquiry. "Yonder sign
post," pointing ro the aged dame, "has
lost its fingers, or, rather. Its eurs. Bet
ter trust to your nose."
"Triboulet!" exclaimed Jacqueline.
"Is it you, ladybird?" said the sur
prised dwarf, recognizing in turn the
mold. "And with the plalsant," star
ing hard at tho fool. Then a cunning
look gradually replaced tho wonder de
picted on his feai res. "You arc flee
ing from the coiut, I toward it," ho
remarked jncotcl' .
"Whut mean you, fool?" demanded
the horseman sternly.
"That I have run away from the
duke, fool." answered the hunchback.
"The foreign lord dated to beat me
Triboulet- wl o have only been beaten
by the king. Sooner or later must 1
have fled in any event, for what is
Triboulet -without the court or the
court without Triboulet?" his indigna
tion merging nto arrogant vainglory.
"When dirt ou leave the duke?" ask
ed the other slowly.
"Several duys ago," replied the
dwarf, guzlii',' narrowly at his ques
tioner. "Down the road. Ho should
be far away by this time."
Suspiciously the duke's jester regard
ed tho hunchback and then glanced du
biously toward the gate through which
they had entered tbe town. He had
experienced Tviboulet's duplicity nnd
malice, yet iu this instonce was dis
posed to give credence to ills story, bo
cause he doubted not that Iouis oi
Hochfels would make nil haste out of
Francis' kingdom. Nor did it appeal
unreasonable that Triboulet should
pine for the excitement of his formei
life, tho pleasures nnd gnyety which
prevailed nt Fools' hall. If the bunch
back's information were true they need
now have little fear of overtaking the:
freo baron nnd his following, as not
far beypnd the chateau town tho main
road broke Into two parts, tho one con
tinuing southward and tho other
branching off to the east.
Whilo the horsemnu was thus re
flecting, Triboulet, llko an Imp, began
to danco before them.
"A good joke, my master and mis
tress In motley," be cried. "The king
was weak enough to exchange hla
dwarf for a demoiselle. Tbe latter has
fled; the monarch has neither one nor
the other, therefore is be himself the
fool. And thou, mistress, art nlso
worthy of tbe madcap bells," be added,
his distorted face upturned to the Jos
tress. "How so?" she asked, not concealing
tho repugnance he inspired.
"Because you prefer a fool's cap to a
king's crown," ho answered, looking
significantly nt her companion, "where
in you but followed the royal prefer
ence for head coverings. Ho, boh I
saw which way the Wind blew; how
tbe monarch's eyes kindled when they
rested on you; how tbe wings of Mme.
d'Etampes' coif fluttered llko an angry
"Silence, rogue!" commanded the
duke's fool, wheeling bis borso toward
"And then for ber to turn from a
throne room to a dungeon!" went on
Triboulet satirically as he retreated.
"As Bruaquet .wrote, 'twas
"Morbleu! A -merry monarch and a
A jtstrtts fair, I won!"
But ere the hunchback could finish
this scurrileuw doggerel of tho court,
over which doubtless many loose wit
lings bad laughed, tbe girl's couipau
Ion placed bis baud;, on bis sword and
started toward the 'dwarf. Tbe words
died on Trlboulet's lips. Hastily bo
dodged Into a narrow space between
two houses, where be was safo from
pursuit. Jacqueline's face had become
flushed. Her llpf veni compressed.
The countenance of' the duke's pluUaat
scorned puler than its wont.
"Little monster!" be muttered,
But tbe hunchback In his retreat was
now regarding neither tho horseman
nor tho young girl. His glittering eyes,
os If fascinated, rested on tho weapon
of the plalsant.
"What a flno blade you've got there!"
he said curiously. "Much bettor than
a wooden sword. Jeweled, too, by the
holy bngplpc! And a coat of arms"
more excitedly "yes, the cont of nrms
of the great constnblc of Dubrols! As
proud a sword as that of the king.
Where did you get It?" And in bis
sudden Interest the dwarf half ven
tured from his place of refuge.
"Answer htm not!" said the girl
"Was It you, mistress, gave It him?"
he asked, with n sudden sharp look.
Her contemptuous gaze was her only
"By tho dust of kings, when last I
saw It, tho haughty constable himself
It wbh who woro it," continued Tri
boulet. "Aye, when he defied Francis
to his face. I can see him now, a rich
urcoat over his gilded armor, tho
queen mother gazing at him with all
her soul in her eyes, the brilliant com
pany startled, even the king overawed.
'Twos I broko the spell, while the
monarch nnd tho court were silent, not
daring to speak."
"You!" From the yrimig womnn's
eyes flashed n flame of deepest ha
tred. The hunchback shrank back, then
laughed. "I, Triboulet!" he boasted.
"'Hn,' said I, 'he's greater thnn tbe
king!' whereupon Francis frowned,
started and answered the constable, re
fusing bis claim. Not long thereafter
the constable died in Spain, nnd I com
pleted tho jest. 'So,' said I, 'he is less
than n man.' And the king, who re
"Let us go," said the jestress, very
Silently the plalsant obeyed, and Tri
boulet once more ventured forth.
"Momus go with you!" he called out
More quickly they rode on. Furtive
ly, with suppressed rage In his heart,
the duke's fool regarded his com
panion. Her face was cold and set,
and as his glance rested on Its pale,
pure outline, beneath his breath he
cursed Brusquet, Triboulet nnd all
their kind. He understood now too
well the secret of her flight. What
he had heretofore been fairly assured
of was unmistakably confirmed. The
sight of the tnvern which they come
suddenly upon and the appearance of
the innkeeper interrupted this dark
trend of thought, and, springing from
his borse, the jester helped the girl to
The house, being situated in the im
mediate proximity of the grand cha
teau, received a certain patronage from
noble lords and ladles. This trade had
given the proprietor such an opinion of
his hostelry thut common folks were
not wont to bo overwhelmed with wel
come. In tho present instance the man
showed n disposition to scrutinize too
closely the modest attire of the new
comers and tbe plain housings of tbelr
chargers, when the curt volco of tho
Jester recalled him sharply from this
With a shade less of disrespect the
proprietor bade thciri follow him.
Booms were given them, and in the
larger of the two chambers the plal
sant, desiring to avoid publicity of the
dining and tap room, ordered their sup
per to be serwd.
During the repast tbe girl scarcely
spoke; the capon she hardly touched;
the claret she merely sipped. Once
when she held the glass to her lips he
noticed her hand trembled just n lit
tle, and then when she set down tho
goblet how It closed, almost fiercely.
"Oh," she said nt lenath, as though
giving utterance to some thought which,
pent up, sho could no longer control,
"the Irony, tho tragedy, of it'"
"What, Jacqueline?" he asked gen
tly, although he felt the blood surging
in his head.
"Morblou! A merry monarch"
she began, and broke off abruptly, ris
ing to her feet, with a gesture of aver
sion, nnd moving restlessly across tho
room. "After ult these years! After
all that had gone, before!"
For some time ho sat with bis sword
across bis knees, thinking deeply. Sho
went to the window nud looked out.
When she spoke again her voice had
regained its self command.
"A dark night," she said mechanical
"Jacqueline," ho asked, glancing up
from the blade, "why in tho crypt that
day wo escaped did you pause at that
Quickly she turned, gazing at him
from the half darkness in which sho
"Did you see to whom the monumeut
was erected?" she asked In a low
"To the wife of the constable. But
what was Anne, duchess of Dubrols,
"Sho was the last lady of tho cas
tle," said the girl softly.
"And how wok it, mistress, tbe cas
tle was confiscated by tho king?" ho
continued nfter o pause.
"Shall I tell you the 6tory?" she
asked, her voice hardening.
"If you will," ho answered.
"Trlboulet's description of the scene
where the constuble braved the king,
Insisting on his rights, was true," she
"But why had tho noblo wearer of
this sword been deprived of his feudal
ity and tenure?"
"Because ho was strong and great,
and tbe king feared him; because ho
was noble and handsome, and the
queen regonr ioved him. It was not
her hand only Louise of Savoy, Fran
cis mother, offered, hut the throne."
Quickly she crossed tho room and
leaned upon the table. In tbo glimmer
of the candles her faco was soft and
tender. He thought be had never seen
a sweeter or more womanly expres
sion. "But be refused It," she continued,
"for he loved only the memory of his
wife, Lady Anne, sho a perfect being;
the other what?"
On ber features sbono n fine con
tempt. "Then followed tbe endless persecu
tion and spite of a woman scorned,"
she continued rapidly. "One by one bis
honors were wrested from him. He
who had borne tbe flag triumphantly
through Italy was deprived of tho gov
ernment of Milan and replaced by a
brother of Mme. de Chateaubriant,
then favorite of tho king. His castle,
lands, were confiscated, until, driven to
despair, hn fled and allied himself
with tho emperor. 'Traitor' they call
ed him -he, a Bayard!"
A moment she stood, an exalted look
on her features tall, erect then step
ped toward him and took tho sword.
With n bright and radiant glanco sho
surveyed It, pressed the hilt to her Hps
nnd with both hands held It to her
bosom. As If fascinated, the fool
watched her. Her countenance was
upturned; a moment, nnd It fell; n
dark shadow crossed It; beneath her
lashes ber eyes were like night.
"But he failed because Charles, the
emperor, failed him," sho said almost
mechanically, "and, broken In spirit,
met his death miserably In exile. Yet
his nuso was Just. His memory Is
clearer than that of n conqueror. She,
tho queen mother, Is dead. God alono
may deal with her."
More composed, she resumed her
place in tho choir on the other side of
the table, the sword across her arm.
"And how camo you, mistress," he
asked, regarding her closely, "In tho
pleasure palace built by Francis?"
"When the castlo was taken, all who
had not fled were n gamekeeper and
his little girl -myself. The Intter"
Ironlcally -"pleased some of tho court
ladles. They commended her wit, nnd
gradually was she advanced to the
high position she occupied when you
arrived," with a strange glanco across
the board ot her listener.
"And the gamekeeper your father
"The constable had no rhlldren?"
"Yes, n girl who. It Is believed, died
with him In Spain."
The entrnnce of tho servant to re
move the dishes Interrupted their
further conversation. As the door
opened from below come the voices
of newcomers, tbe impatient call of
tipplers for ale. tbe rattle of dishes iu
tho kitchen. Wrapped In the recollec
tions the conversation had evoked, to
Jacqueline the din passed unnoticed,
and when the rosy cheeked lass hod
gone it was the jester who first spoke.
"What a commentary on the mockery
of fate that tho sword of such a man.
po illustrious, so unfortunate, should
be Intrusted to n fool!"
"Why," she sold, looking ot him, her
arms on' the table, "you drew it brave
ly, and once more bravely kept it
His face flushed. Sho half smiled,
then placed the blade on the board be
"There it is."
Above tho sword he reached over, os
if to place bis hand on hers, but sho
She pressed the hilt to her Up.
quickly rose. Absently he returned the
weapon to his girdle.
"How tired I feel!" she said.
Immediately he got up. "You are
worn out from tho Journey," ho ob
But he knew it was not tho Journey
that had most affected her.
"I will leave you," he went on.
"Have you everything you need?"
"Everything," she answered careless
ly. He walked to the door. The light
was on his face; hers retuaiued shaded.
"Good night," she sold.
"Good night, Jacqueline, duchess of
Dubrols," he answered, and, turning,
disappeared down tho corridor.
ROM one of tho watchtowers
of the town rang the clear
note of a trumpet, a tribute ot
melody, occasioned by the
awakening in tbe east. As the last
finrlnn tones re-echoed over the sleep
ing vlllago a crimson rim appeared
above tho horizon, nnd soon tho entire
wheel of the chariot of the sun god
rolled up out of tbe Illimitable abyss
and began its dally race across tbe sky.
About tbe same time the sleepy
guard at the town gate was relieved
by an equally drowsy appearing troop
er. Hero nnd there windows were
(lung open, and around the well In tb
small public square the maids began
to congregate. In the taproom of thf
tnvern tho landlord moved about, set
tine to rights the tables nnd chairs ot
spriukliug fresh snnd on the door. The
host had but opened the front door
permitting the fresh, invigorating all
from without to enter, when the duke'i
plalsant, his cloak over his arm, do
scended tho stulrs and, addressing the
landlord, asked when he and his com
paulon could be provided with break
"Breakfast'" grumbled the proprle
tor. "The maids are hardly up, aud
the fires must yet be started. It will
be an hour or more before you can be
served. You ride forth eorly,"
Tho plalsant made no reply ns he
strode to the door and looked out,
noted sundry signs of awakeuiug life
down tho narrow street aud then re
turned to tho taproom.
"You had a noisy company hero last
night, landlord," he vouchsafed, glanc
ing around the room and recalling the
laughter and shouts bo had heard be
low until a late hour.
"Noisy company!" retorted tho Inn
keeper. "A goodly company thut ate
and drank freely. Distinguished com
pany that paid freely; tbe king's own
guards, who aro acting as escort to
Robert, tbe duke of Frledwald, and bit
bride, tbe princess. Noisy company,
"The duke Is here also?"
"Yes; at the chateau. The princess
had become weary of travel; besides,
had sprained her ankle, I bcurtl, aud
would hnvo It the cavalcade should
tarry a few days. They e'en stopped
nt my door," ho went on ostentatious
ly, "und called for a glass of wine for
the princess. 'TIs true she took It with
n frown, but the hardships of Journey,
lng do not agree with grand folks."
, These last words the Jester, absorbed
in thought, did not hear. With his
back to tho man, he stood gazing
through tho high window, apparently
ncross tho street. But between the two
houses on the other side of tho thor
oughfare was a considerable open
space, nnd through this, far nwny on
tho mount, could be seen tho chateau.
"And yet It was a handsome caval
cade," continued tho proprietor, bis
predilection for pomp overcoming his
churlishness; "the princess on a steed
with velvet housings, set with precious
stones; her Indies attired In eastern
silks; behind, tho men of arms-Frun-els'
troops in rich armor, tho duke's
soldiers more simply arrayed. At the
head of tho procession rode"
"Have tho horses brought out at
Thus brusquely Interrupted, the Inn
keeper stared blankly ot bis guest,
who hail left the window and now
stood in the center of the room con
fronting him. "And the breakfast?"
asked the man.
r i. .... ..i .1 .. i i i
i jin,r- i.utiiiKt-i Hi, IllllKI llliu UQ
not want if," was the curt response.
Hastily making his way to the room
of the young girl, the Jester knocked
on the door.
"Are you awoke, .Incquellne?"
"Yes," answered a voice from within.
"We must ride forth as" soon ns pos
sible. The duke is ot the chateau."
"At the chateau!" she exclaimed in
surprise. Then after a pause. "And
Triboulet saw us. He will tell that you
are here. I will come down at oucc.
Wait," she added, as an afterthought
Ho heard her step to the window.
"I think tho gates of the chateau ar
open," she said. "I am not sure; It la
"Do you sec any one on the rood
"No," came the answer.
"Nor could I. But perhaps they have
Again the Jester returned to the tap
room, where ho found the landlord pol
ishing the pewter tankards.
"The horses?" said the fool sharply.
"Tho stable boy will bring them to
the door," was the response, and tho
innkeeper held a pot In the air nnd
leisurely surveyed the shining surface.
Deliberately the man replaced the re
ceptacle on tho table and, pressing hla
thumbs together, began slowly to cal
culate, "Bottle of wine. 10 sous; capon,
20 sous; two rooms" - when the jester
took from his coat tho purse tho young
girl had glvcu bim, and, selecting a
coin, threw it on tbe board. At th
sight of the purse and its golden con
tents tho countenance of the proprietoi
mollified. His price forthwith varied
with his changed estimate of his
guest's condition. "Two rooms, 00
sous; fodder, 40 sous," bo went on.
"That would make"
"Keep tho coin," said the plalsant,
"and have the stable boy make haste."
WJth new alacrity the innkeeper
thrust tbe pistole into a leathern pouch
he carried at his girdle. A guest who
paid so well could afford to be eccen
tric, and if be aud the young lady
chose to travel without breakfast it
was obviously not for tbe purpose of
economy. Therefore, exclaiming some
thing about "a lazy rascal that needed
stirring up," the now interested land
lord was about to go to the bam him
self when, with u loud clattering, i
party of horsemen rode up to the tn
ern. Tho door burst open, nnd Tri
boulet, followed by n tall, rugged look
ing man and a party of troopers, en
tered the hall.
Swiftly the Jester glanced around
him. The room had no other door than
that before which the troopers were
crowded, lie was fairly caught in a
trap. Remorsefully his thoughts flew
to the young girl aud the trust she
iiad imposed In him. How had he re
warded that confidence? By a temerity
which madelhls treachery on the part
of tho hunchback possible. Even now
before him stood Triboulet, bowing
"I trust you are well?" jeered tho
dwarf, and. with a light, dancing step,
began to survey tbe other from side
"i fruit you arc irdlf " Jeered the Iar.
to side. "And the lady-is she also
Well this mcrnlng? How pleased you
both were to see me yesterday!" as
suming an Insolent, albeit watchful,
pv. "So you believed I had run away
from the duke? As if he could get on
without mo. What would bo a honey
moon without Triboulet!"
"Knough of this buffoonery!" said tk
decisive voice, and the dwarf drew
back, not without u grimace, to make
room for a person of soldierly mleu
who now pushed his way to the front.
Over bis doublet this gentleman wore
a somewhat frayed but embroidered
cloak; bis brood hot was fringed with
gold that bad lost its luster; hi coun
tenance, deeply burned, seemed that
of au old campaigner. He regarded
the fool courteously, yet haughtily.
"Your sword, sir!" he commanded
In the'tone of one accustomed to belli
"To whom should I give it?" asked
the duke's Jester.
"To the Vlcomto do tiruise, cow