Bardelys the Magnificent
10. The Risen Dead
It was close upon ten o'clock as we rode into the yard of the imposing Hotel de la
Couronne at Grenade.
Castelroux engaged a private room on the first floor - a handsome chamber
overlooking the courtyard - and in answer to the inquiries that I made I was
informed by the landlord that Monsieur de Marsac was not yet arrived.
"My assignation was 'before noon,' Monsieur de Castelroux," said I. "With your
permission, I would wait until noon."
He made no difficulty. Two hours were of no account. We had all risen very early,
and he was, himself, he said, entitled to some rest.
Whilst I stood by the window it came to pass than a very tall, indifferently
apparelled gentleman issued from the hostelry and halted for some moments in
conversation with the ostler below. He walked with an enfeebled step, and
leaned heavily for support upon a stout cane. As he turned to reenter the inn I
had a glimpse of a face woefully pale, about which, as about the man's whole
figure, there was a something that was familiar - a something that puzzled me,
and on which my mind was still dwelling when presently I sat down to breakfast
It may have been a half-hour later, and, our meal being at an end, we were sitting
talking - I growing impatient the while that this Monsieur de Marsac should keep
me waiting so - when of a sudden the rattle of hoofs drew me once more to the
window. A gentleman, riding very recklessly, had just dashed through the porte-
cochere, and was in the act of pulling up his horse. He was a lean, active man,
very richly dressed, and with a face that by its swarthiness of skin and the sable
hue of beard and hair looked almost black.
"Ah, you are there!" he cried, with something between a snarl and a laugh, and
addressing somebody within the shelter of the porch. "Par la mort Dieu, I had
hardly looked to find you!"
From the recess of the doorway I heard a gasp of amazement and a cry of
"Marsac! You here?"
So this was the gentleman I was to see! A stable boy had taken his reins, and he
leapt nimbly to the ground. Into my range of vision hobbled now the enfeebled
gentleman whom earlier I had noticed.