Bardelys the Magnificent
5. The Vicomte De Lavedan
When next I awakened, it was to find myself abed in an elegant apartment,
spacious and sunlit, that was utterly strange to me. For some seconds I was
content to lie and take no count of my whereabouts. My eyes travelled idly over
the handsome furnishings of that choicely appointed chamber, and rested at last
upon the lean, crooked figure of a man whose back was towards me and who
was busy with some phials at a table not far distant. Then recollection awakened
also in me, and I set my wits to work to grapple with my surroundings. I looked
through the open window, but from my position on the bed no more was visible
than the blue sky and a faint haze of distant hills.
I taxed my memory, and the events of yesternight recurred to me. I remembered
the girl, the balcony, and my flight ending in my giddiness and my fall. Had they
brought me into that same chateau, or - Or what? No other possibility came to
suggest itself, and, seeing scant need to tax my brains with speculation, since
there was one there of whom I might ask the question--
"Hola, my master!" I called to him, and as I did so I essayed to move. The act
wrung a sharp cry of pain from me. My left shoulder was numb and sore, but in
my right foot that sudden movement had roused a sharper pang.
At my cry that little wizened old man swung suddenly round. He had the face of a
bird of prey, yellow as a louis d'or with a great hooked nose, and a pair of beady
black eyes that observed me solemnly. The mouth alone was the redeeming
feature in a countenance that had otherwise been evil; it was instinct with good-
humour. But I had small leisure to observe him then, for simultaneously with his
turning there had been another movement at my bedside, which drew my eyes
elsewhere. A gentleman, richly dressed, and of an imposing height, approached
"You are awake, monsieur?" he said in a half interrogative tone.
"Will you do me the favour to tell me where I am, monsieur?" quoth I.
"You do not know? You are at Lavedan. I am the Vicomte de Lavedan --at your
Although it was no more than I might have expected, yet a dull wonder filled me,
to which presently I gave expression by asking stupidly--
"At Lavedan? But how came I hither?"