To help you and your friends to steal." "No," said Denis gravely; "you don't know that, for it is not true. I did tell Leoni " "Ugh!" ejaculated Carrbroke. "That man's horrid eyes!" "Yes," said Denis, with a peculiar smile; "that man's horrid eyes thoughtlessly, I suppose, of the secret way, when I believed my duty called; perhaps you would have done the same.
"Don't look like that," cried Carrbroke, laughing. "I said smuggle; I didn't say steal. I thought you might feel as if you'd like to have one of these charms which hold such magic power." "I am not afraid of being poisoned," said Denis huskily. "Here, come away from this; show me something else." "Oh, haven't you seen enough? But I say, is this better or worse than Fontainebleau?"
Master Leoni, when I fence with him and he gives me a lesson, makes me feel as if there were magic in his blade which sends a strange aching pain all up the muscles of my arm." "Yes," cried Carrbroke, "that's something like what I feel. I say, he's your friend, isn't he?" "Well, hardly a friend. I feel more afraid of him than anything."
"When we are searching for that vile culprit whom I believed to be still in the place, and who has not passed the guards at either end of these galleries? That boy Carrbroke: he told us that no one had passed by him." "Yes, your Majesty; but still I do not understand your drift." "Man, have you no brains to think? Is there not another way from here?"
"Permit!" cried the King. "I shall be glad to have our young friend's company glad indeed." And as he spoke Sir John gazed musingly at the sparkling ring which his guest wore, one which flashed in the light of the candles as Francis made a gesture with his hand. A few minutes later Ned Carrbroke glanced at his father, and then rose from his chair, making a sign to Denis as he did so.
"Yes," said Carrbroke eagerly, "that's how I feel well, not afraid," he continued hastily, and flushing up; "but you won't mind my speaking out? You and I seem to have so taken to one another." "Well, yes," said Denis, "we do seem to like one another a bit." "Then you won't mind my speaking out quite plainly?" continued Carrbroke. "Not I. What is it?" "Only this.
At last he stopped in front of a beautiful Italian cabinet which differed from ordinary pieces of furniture, being made to stand four-square in the centre of the apartment, each side being richly ornamented with carving and delicate inlaid work which covered the doors and drawers. "I wish I had the keys of that," said Carrbroke. "Why? What's inside?"
"Why, he's splendid," cried Carrbroke one day, "only I don't like him. He puts me out of heart. I used to think that I was a good fencer, but when I cross swords with him I feel quite a baby. You are lucky to have some one like that to give you lessons. Why, you must be splendid yourself." Denis laughed merrily. "Why," he said, "I always feel worse than you.
And the two proceeded on their way, turning the corner of the long gallery, passing from gloom to silvery light, and again into the dusk, as they walked beneath the windows, while at the angle the lustrous splendour was shed through red glass, falling brilliantly on the King's plumed hat, his sword and royal star, as the pair disappeared. Carrbroke turned and looked after the retreating figures.
We will be our own guard, and find out the truth ourselves." The King and the chamberlain had not gone many yards along the gallery when they they came to a halt, for a figure barred the way. "Who goes there?" came from out of the gloom. "Pst!" said the King. "Young Carrbroke. England!" he cried.