with an audacity that seemed half to hide his treachery, struck at me, in the sight of all my friends, on the terrace at Tarlenheim.
Suddenly the dukes window grew bright. The shutters were not closed, and the interior became partially visible to me as I cautiously raised myself till I stood on tiptoe. Thus placed, my range of sight embraced a yard or more inside the window, while the radius of light did not reach me. The window was flung open and someone looked out. I marked Antoinette de Maubans graceful figure, and, though her face was in shadow, the fine outline of her head was revealed against the light behind. I longed to cry softly, Remember! but I dared notand happily, for a moment later a man came up and stood by her. He tried to put his arm round her waist, but with a swift motion she sprang away and leant against the shutter, her profile towards me. I made out who the newcomer was: it was young Rupert. A low laugh from him made me sure, as he leant forward, stretching out his hand towards her.
Gently, gently! I murmured. Youre too soon, my boy!
His head was close to hers. I suppose he whispered to her, for I saw her point to the moat, and I heard her say, in slow and distinct tones:
I had rather throw myself out of this window!
He came close up to the window and looked out.
It looks cold, said he. Come, Antoinette, are you serious?
She made no answer so far as I heard; and he smiting his hand petulantly on the window-sill, went on, in the voice of some spoilt child:
Hang Black Michael! Isnt the princess enough for him? Is he to have everything? What the devil do you see in Black Michael?
If I told him what you say she began.
Well, tell him, said Rupert, carelessly; and, catching her off her guard, he sprang forward and kissed her, laughing, and crying, Theres something to tell him!
If I had kept my revolver with me, I should have been very sorely tempted. Being spared the temptation, I merely added this new score to his account.
Though, faith, said Rupert, its little he cares. Hes mad about the princess, you know. He talks of nothing but cutting the play-actors throat.
Didnt he, indeed?
And if I do it for him, what do you think hes promised me?
The unhappy woman raised her hands above her head, in prayer or in despair.
But I detest waiting, said Rupert; and I saw that he was about to lay his hand on her again, when there was a noise of a door in the room opening, and a harsh voice cried:
What are you doing here, sir?
Rupert turned his back to the window, bowed low, and said, in his loud, merry tones: Apologizing for your absence, sir. Could I leave the lady alone?
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