"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."
"Yes, M. de Bareilles, Martin!" I answered roundly, fixing him with my eyes; while Parabere went quietly to the door, and stood by it. "If I am not mistaken, I hear him at this moment dismounting below. Let us understand one another therefore, I propose to sup with you, but I shall not sit down until he hangs."
It would be useless for me to attempt to paint the mixture of horror, perplexity, and shame which distorted Bareilles' countenance as I spoke these words. While Parabere's attitude and my demeanour gave him clearly to understand that we suspected the truth, if we did not know it, our coolness and the very nature of my demand imposed upon his fears and led him to believe that we had a regiment at our call. He knew, too, that that which might be done in a ruined hamlet might not be done in the square at Gueret; and his knees trembled under him. He muttered that he did not understand; that we must be mistaken. What evidence had we?
"The best!" I answered grimly. "If you wish to hear it, I will send for it; but witnesses have sometimes loose tongues, Bareilles, and he may not stop at the Capitaine Martin."
He started and glared at me. From me his eyes passed to Parabere; then he shuddered, and looked down at the table. As he leaned against it, I heard the glasses tinkling softly. At last he muttered that the man must have a trial.
I shrugged my shoulders, and would have answered that that was his business; but at the moment a heavy step rang on the stone steps, the door was flung hastily open, and a dark-complexioned man came in with his hat on. The stranger was splashed to the chin, and his face wore an expression of savage annoyance; but this gave place the instant he saw us to one of intense surprise, while the words he had had on his lips died away, and he stood nonplussed. I turned to M. de Bareilles.
"Who is this?" I said harshly.
"One of my lieutenants," he answered in a stifled tone.
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