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A Set of Six

The pretty maid tried to close the door. Lieut. D'Hubert, opposing this move with gentle
firmness, stepped into the ante-room, jingling his spurs.
"Come, my dear! You don't mean to say he has not been home since six o'clock this
morning?"
Saying these words, Lieut. D'Hubert opened without ceremony the door of a room so
comfortably and neatly ordered that only from internal evidence in the shape of boots,
uniforms, and military accoutrements did he acquire the conviction that it was Lieut.
Feraud's room. And he saw also that Lieut. Feraud was not at home. The truthful maid
had followed him, and raised her candid eyes to his face.
"H'm!" said Lieut. D'Hubert, greatly disappointed, for he had already visited all the
haunts where a lieutenant of hussars could be found of a fine afternoon. "So he's out?
And do you happen to know, my dear, why he went out at six this morning?"
"No," she answered, readily. "He came home late last night, and snored. I heard him
when I got up at five. Then he dressed himself in his oldest uniform and went out.
Service, I suppose."
"Service? Not a bit of it!" cried Lieut. D'Hubert. "Learn, my angel, that he went out thus
early to fight a duel with a civilian."
She heard this news without a quiver of her dark eyelashes. It was very obvious that the
actions of Lieut. Feraud were generally above criticism. She only looked up for a moment
in mute surprise, and Lieut. D'Hubert concluded from this absence of emotion that she
must have seen Lieut. Feraud since the morning. He looked around the room.
"Come!" he insisted, with confidential familiarity. "He's perhaps somewhere in the house
now?"
She shook her head.
"So much the worse for him!" continued Lieut. D'Hubert, in a tone of anxious conviction.
"But he has been home this morning."
This time the pretty maid nodded slightly.
"He has!" cried Lieut. D'Hubert. "And went out again? What for? Couldn't he keep
quietly indoors! What a lunatic! My dear girl--"
Lieut. D'Hubert's natural kindness of disposition and strong sense of comradeship helped
his powers of observation. He changed his tone to a most insinuating softness, and,
gazing at the hussar's breeches hanging over the arm of the girl, he appealed to the
interest she took in Lieut. Feraud's comfort and happiness. He was pressing and
persuasive. He used his eyes, which were kind and fine, with excellent effect. His anxiety
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