“There was one obstacle which proved too great for him—Mrs.

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Diego sulkily held up his hand, and I saw a cut, ugly but of no importance.

“There was one obstacle which proved too great for him—Mrs.

"Pooh!" I said; "it is nothing. Get some plaister. Here, you," I continued wrathfully, turning to Maignan, "since you have done the mischief, booby, you must repair it. Get some plaister, do you hear? He cannot play in that state."

“There was one obstacle which proved too great for him—Mrs.

Diego muttered something, and Maignan that he had not got any; but before I could answer that he must get some, La Trape thrust his may to the front, and producing a small piece from his pocket, proceeded with a droll air of extreme carefulness to treat the hand. The other knaves fell into the joke, and the Spaniard had no option but to submit; though his scowling face showed that he bore Maignan no good-will, and that but for my presence he might not have been so complaisant. La Trape was bringing his surgery to an end by demanding a fee, in the most comical manner possible, when the King returned to our part of the court. "What is it?" he said. "Is anything the matter?"

“There was one obstacle which proved too great for him—Mrs.

"No, sire," I said. "My man has cut his hand a little, but it is nothing."

"Can he play?" Henry asked with his accustomed good-nature.

"Oh, yes, sire," I answered. "I have bound it up with a strip of plaister from the case in your Majesty's closet."

And he had not. But it was small wonder that the King asked; small wonder, for the man's face had changed in the last ten seconds to a strange leaden colour; a terror like that of a wild beast that sees itself trapped had leapt into his eyes. He shot a furtive glance round him, and I saw him slide his hand behind him. But I was prepared for that, and as the King moved off a space I slipped to the man's side, as if to give him some directions about his game.

"Listen," I said, in a voice heard only by him; "take the dressing off your hand, and I have you broken on the wheel. You understand? Now play."

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