“Where are the boys?” asked my Gouverneur Faulkner.
“Hid in the bushes. I’ve got the man tied back in the still room. I ’low he ain’t no revenue but they ’low different. Come back and see if you kin make out his gibberish.”
“Come on, Robert,” said my Gouverneur Faulkner to me as he followed the wild Jim into the hut and back into a room that was as a cave cut into the rock. And I, Robert Carruthers, followed him—to my death.
Seated upon a rude bench in that cave room, bound with a rope of great size, disheveled and soiled, but with all of the nobility of his great estate in his grave face, was my adored friend, Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles! As we entered he rose beside the bench and in that rising displayed a chain by which one of his feet was made fast to the rock of the wall.
“Good morning, sir,” said my Gouverneur Faulkner, as if greeting a gentleman upon the street of that city of Hayesville.
“Also a good morning, sir,” made reply my poor Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles. And he stood with a fine and great courtesy waiting for my Gouverneur Faulkner to state to him what his visit could portend, as would he have done in his regimental room at Tour.
And as he stood, for that very long minute, there expired the last moments of the life of Robert Carruthers. A stream of light fell from the little window high in the rock upon his luckless head as he stood as if frozen into a statue of great fear. And as he so stood, the eyes of the Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles, fell upon him and he started forward as far as the length of the chain by which he was bound would allow him and from there held out his hand to the frozen boy standing in the stream of light from high heaven.
“My most beautiful lady Roberta, do I find that it is you who have come to my rescue?” he questioned. “I lost you, mon enfant, in that great New York.”
“My beloved Capitaine, how is it that I find you thus?” I exclaimed as I went to within his reach and allowed that he take my two hands in his poor shackled ones and put warm kisses of greeting upon them.
And it was while I was shedding tears of pity for the imprisonment of that great man of France in that mountain hut in America, as he kissed my hands, that I raised my eyes to encounter a cold lightning as of a flash on steel, from under the black brows of my Gouverneur Faulkner of the State of Harpeth, that again froze the blood in my heart.
“You?” he asked of me in a voice that was of the same coldness and sharpness as that steel, and his beautiful mouth was set into one straight line as he flung into my face that one word.
ALL IS LOST
And to that word of challenge I made no answer, but I raised my head and looked into his eyes with a dignity that came to me as my right from suffering. So regarding each other, we stood for a very short minute in which the Capitaine, the Count de Lasselles, raised his head from his kisses of salutation upon my hands.