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and human, so independent of the transitory formulas and

2023-12-01 21:53:26 source:A Spring Dream Netauthor: art click:431Second-rate

A man covered with wounds, and with the blood streaming from him, was lying across the doorway. It was my Uncle Laurence. He had been mortally wounded at the siege of Roche-Mauprat, and had come to die under our eyes. With him was his brother Leonard, who had just fired his last pistol shot at random, luckily without hitting any one. Patience's first impulse was to prepare to defend himself. On recognising Marcasse, however, the fugitives, far from showing themselves hostile, asked for shelter and help. As their situation was so desperate no one thought that assistance should be refused. The police were pursuing them. Roche-Mauprat was in flames; Louis and Peter had died fighting; Antony, John, and Walter had fled in another direction, and, perhaps, were already prisoners. No words would paint the horror of Laurence's last moments. His agony was brief but terrible. His blasphemy made the cure turn pale. Scarce had the door been shut and the dying man laid on the floor than the horrible death- rattle was heard. Leonard, who knew of no remedy but brandy, snatched Marcasse's flask out of my hand (not without swearing and scornfully reproaching me for my flight), forced open his brother's clinched teeth with the blade of his hunting-knife, and, in spite of our warning, poured half the flask down his throat. The wretched man bounded into the air, brandished his arms in desperate convulsions, drew himself up to his full height, and fell back stone dead upon the blood-stained floor. There was no time to offer up a prayer over the body, for the door resounded under the furious blows of our assailants.

and human, so independent of the transitory formulas and

"Open in the King's name!" cried several voices; "open to the police!"

and human, so independent of the transitory formulas and

"Help! help! cried Leonard, seizing his knife and rushing towards the door. "Peasants, prove yourselves nobles! And you, Bernard, atone for your fault; wash out your shame; do not let a Mauprat fall into the hands of the gendarmes alive!"

and human, so independent of the transitory formulas and

Urged on by native courage and by pride, I was about to follow his example, when Patience rushed at him, and exerting his herculean strength, threw him to the ground. Putting one knee on his chest, he called to Marcasse to open the door. This was done before I could take my uncle's part against his terrible assailant. Six gendarmes at once rushed into the tower and, with their guns pointed, bade us move at our peril.

"Stay, gentlemen," said Patience, "don't harm any one. This is your prisoner. Had I been alone with him, I should either have defended him or helped him to escape; but there are honest people here who ought not to suffer for a knave; and I did not wish to expose them to a fight. Here is the Mauprat. Your duty, as you know, is to deliver him safe and sound into the hands of justice. This other is dead."

"Monsieur, surrender!" said the sergeant of the gendarmes, laying his hand on Leonard.

"Never shall a Mauprat drag his name into the dock of a police court," replied Leonard, with a sullen expression. "I surrender, but you will get nothing but my skin."

And he allowed himself to be placed in a chair without making any resistance.

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