should say I want your opinion--on a difficult question--suppose a man was to--suppose two men--suppose there were two men, A and B--' `suppose! suppose!' contemptuously muttered the magician, `and suppose these men, good father, that is A, was to bring B a letter, then we'll suppose A read the letter, that is B, and then B tried--I mean A tried--to poison B--I mean A--and then suppose'--`My son,' here interposed the old man, `is this a general case you are putting? Methinks you state it in a marvellously confused manner.' `Of course it's a general case,' savagely answered Blowski, `and if you'd just listen instead of interrupting, methinks you'd understand it better!' `Proceed, my son,' mildly replied the other.

`And then suppose A--that is B--threw A out of the window--or rather,' he added in conclusion, being himself by this time a little confused, `or rather I should have said the other way.' The old man rubbed his beard, and mused for some time: `Aye, aye,' he said at length, `I see, A--B--so so--B poisons A--' `No! no!' cried the signor, `B tries to poison A, he didn't really do it, I changed the--I mean,' he hastily added, turning crimson as he spoke, `you're to suppose that he doesn't really do it.' `Aye!' continued the magician, `it's all clear now--B--A--to be sure--but what has all this to do with your cut face?' he suddenly asked. `Nothing whatever,' stammered Blowski, `I've told you once that I cut my face by a fall from my horse--' `Ah! well! let's see,' repeated the other in a low voice, `tripped up in the dark--fell from his horse--hm! hm!--yes, my lad, you're in for it--I should say,' he continued in a louder voice, `it were better--but troth I know not yet what the question is.' `Why, what had B better do,' said the signor. `But who is B?' inquired the magician, `standeth B for Blowski?' `No,' was the reply, `I meant A.' `Oh!' returned he, `now I perceive--but verily I must have time to consider it, so adieu, fair sir,' and, opening the door he abruptly showed his visitor out: `And now,' said he to himself, `for the mixture--let me see--three drops of--yes, yes, my lad, you're in for it.'


IT had struck twelve o'clock two minutes and a quarter. The Baron's footman hastily seized a large goblet, and gasped with terror as he filled it with hot, spiced wine. `'Tis past the hour, 'tis past,' he groaned in anguish, `and surely I shall now get the red hot poker the Baron hath so often promised me, oh! woe is me! would that I had prepared the Baron's lunch before!' and, without pausing a second he grasped in one hand the steaming goblet and flew along the lofty passages with the speed of a race horse. In less time than we take to relate it he reached the Baron's apartment, opened the door, and--remained standing on tiptoe, not daring to move one way or the other, petrified with utter astonishment. `Now then! donkey!' roared the Baron, `why stand you there staring your eyes out like a great toad in a fit of apoplexy?' (the Baron was remarkably choice in his similes:) `what's the matter with you? speak out! can't you?'

The unfortunate domestic made a desperate effort to speak, and managed at length to get out the words `Noble Sir!' `Very good! that's a very good beginning!' said the Baron in a rather pacified tone for he liked being called "noble", `go ahead! don't be all day about it!' `Noble Sir!' stammered the alarmed man, `where-- where--ever--is--the stranger?' `Gone!' said the Baron sternly and emphatically, pointing unconsciously his thumb over his right shoulder, `gone! he had other visits to pay, so he condescended to go and pay them--but where's my wine? he abruptly asked, and his attendant was only too glad to place the goblet in his hands, and get out of the room.

The Baron drained the goblet at a draught, and then walked to the window: his late victim was no longer to be seen, but the Baron, gazing on the spot where he had fallen muttered to himself with a stern smile, `Methinks I see a dint in the ground.' At that moment a mysterious looking figure passed by, and the Baron, as he looked after him, could not help thinking `I wonder who that is!' Long time he gazed after his retreating footsteps, and still the only thought which rose to his mind was `I do wonder who that is!'


DOWN went the western sun, and darkness was already stealing over the earth when for the second time that day the trumpet which hung at the Baron's gate was blown. Once more did the weary domestic

  By PanEris using Melati.

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