The window was large enough to pass his body through if it were not for those bars. He shook them and hung his weight upon them, but they were as thick as his thumb and firmly welded. Then, getting some strong hold for his other foot, he supported himself by one hand while he picked with his knife at the setting of the iron. It was cement, as smooth as glass and as hard as marble. His knife turned when he tried to loosen it. But there was still the stone. It was sandstone, not so very hard. If he could cut grooves in it, he might be able to draw out bars, cement, and all. He sprang down to the floor again, and was thinking how he should best set to work, when a groan drew his attention to his companion.
“You seem sick, friend,” said he.
“Sick in mind,” moaned the other. “Oh, the cursed fool that I have been! It maddens me!”
“Something on your mind?” said Amos Green, sitting down upon his billets of wood. “What was it, then?”
The guardsman made a movement of impatience. “What was it? How can you ask me, when you know as well as I do the wretched failure of my mission. It was the king’s wish that the archbishop should marry them. The king’s wish is the law. It must be the archbishop or none. He should have been at the palace by now. Ah, my God! I can see the king’s cabinet, I can see him waiting, I can see madame waiting, I can hear them speak of the unhappy De Catinat—” He buried his face in his hands once more.
“I see all that,” said the American stolidly, “and I see something more.”
“I see the archbishop tying them up together.”
“The archbishop! You are raving.”
“Maybe. But I see him.”
“He could not be at the palace.”
“On the contrary, he reached the palace about half an hour ago.”
De Catinat sprang to his feet. “At the palace!” he screamed. “Then who gave him the message?”
“I did,” said Amos Green.
A NIGHT OF SURPRISES.
If the American had expected to surprise or delight his companion by this curt announcement he was woefully disappointed, for De Catinat approached him with a face which was full of sympathy and trouble, and laid his hand caressingly upon his shoulder.
“My dear friend,” said he, “I have been selfish and thoughtless. I have made too much of my own little troubles and too little of what you have gone through for me. That fall from your horse has shaken you more than you think. Lie down upon this straw, and see if a little sleep may not—”
“I tell you that the bishop is there!” cried Amos Green impatiently.
“Quite so. There is water in this jug, and if I dip my scarf into it and tie it round your brow—”
“Man alive! Don’t you hear me! The bishop is there.”