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- The Trail of the Sword, Volume 1. - 9/9 -

Jessica would have torn her frock for a bandage, but Perrot said in his broken English: "No, pardon. Not so. The cloak la-bas."

She ran and brought it to him. As she did so Perrot glanced down at her feet, and then, with a touch of humour, said: "Pardon, but you have lost your slipper, ma'm'selle?"

He foresaw the little comedy, which he could enjoy even in such painful circumstances.

"It must have dropped off," said Jessica, blushing. "But it does not matter."

Iberville blushed too, but a smile also flitted across his lips. "If you will but put your hand into my waistcoat here," he said to her, "you will find it." Timidly she did as she was bid, drew forth the slipper, and put it on.

"You see," said Iberville, still faint from loss of blood, "a Frenchman can fight and hunt too--hunt the slipper."

Suddenly a look of pain crossed her face.

"Mr. Gering, you--you did not kill him?" she asked. "Oh no, mademoiselle," said Iberville; "you stopped the game again."

Presently he told her what had happened, and how Gering was rousing the town. Then he insisted upon getting on his feet, that they might make their way to the governor's house. Stanchly he struggled on, his weight upon Perrot, till presently he leaned a hand also on Jessica's shoulder- she had insisted. On the way, Perrot told how it was he chanced to be there. A band of coureurs du bois, bound for Quebec, had come upon old Le Moyne and himself in the woods. Le Moyne had gone on with these men, while Perrot pushed on to New York, arriving at the very moment of the kidnapping. He heard the cry and made towards it. He had met Gering, and the rest they knew.

Certain things did not happen. The governor of New York did not at once engage in an expedition to the Spaniards' country. A brave pursuit was made, but Bucklaw went uncaptured. Iberville and Gering did not make a third attempt to fight; Perrot prevented that. Iberville left, however, with a knowledge of three things: that he was the first Frenchman from Quebec who had been, or was likely to be, popular in New York; that Jessica Leveret had shown a tender gratitude towards him--naive, candid-- which set him dreaming gaily of the future; that Gering and he, in spite of outward courtesy, were still enemies; for Gering could not forget that, in the rescue of Jessica, Iberville had done the work while he merely played the crier.

"We shall meet again, monsieur," said Iberville at last; "at least, I hope so."

"I shall be glad," answered Gering mechanically. "But 'tis like I shall come to you before you come to me," added Iberville, with meaning. Jessica was standing not far away, and Gering did not instantly reply. In the pause, Iberville said: "Au revoir! A la bonne heure!" and walked away. Presently he turned with a little ironical laugh and waved his hand at Gering; and laugh and gesture rankled in Gering for many a day.


Love, too, is a game, and needs playing To die without whining

The Trail of the Sword, Volume 1. - 9/9

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