Parabere broke the spell. "We are late!" he said in a ringing voice, which startled the governor as if it had been the voice of doom. "But we could not have found you better prepared, it seems. Do you always sup as late as this?"
For a moment the villain could not speak, but leaned against the doorpost, with his cheeks gone white and his jaw fallen, the most pitiable spectacle to be conceived. I affected to see nothing, however, but went by him easily, and into the room, drawing off my gauntlets as entered. The dicers, from their seats beside a table on the hearth, gazed at me, turned to stone. I took up a glass, filled it, and drank it off. "Now I am better!" I said. "But this is not the warmest of welcomes, M. de Bareilles."
He muttered something, looking fearfully from one to another of us; and, his hand shaking, filled a glass and pledged me. The wine gave him courage and impudence: he began to speak; and though his hurried sentences and excited manner must have betrayed him to the least suspicious, we pretended to see nothing, but rather to congratulate ourselves on his late hours and timely preparations. And certainly nothing could have seemed more cheerful in comparison with the squalid inn and miry road from which we came than this smiling feast; if death had not seemed to my eyes to lurk behind it.
"I thought it likely that you would lie at Saury," he said, with a ghastly smile.
"And yet made this preparation for us?" I answered politely, yet letting a little of my real mind be seen. "Well, as a fact, M. Bareilles, save for one thing we should have lain there."
"And that thing?" he asked, his tongue almost failing him as he put the question.
"The fact that you have a villain in your company," I answered.
"A villain, M. le Capitaine Martin," I continued sternly. "You sent him out this morning against the Great Band; instead, he took it upon him to lay a plot for me, from which I have only narrowly escaped."
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