Plaisance was standing at its doors, trembling still at that fearsome cry, and wondering if it was, perchance, the last trump.
At sight of the panting figure coming up from the Coupee, it scuttled and banged the doors tight. “Open! Open, you fools!” cried the Senechal, and flung himself against the first door, while those inside, under the sure belief that they were keeping out the devil, heaped themselves against it to prevent him.
“Dolts! Idiots! Fools!” he cried. “It’s me—the Senechal. I want your help!” and at that a man peeped out from the next door to make sure this was not just another wile of the devil.
“A lantern! Quick!” ordered the Senechal. “And a blanket and a rope—and get ready a bed for a wounded man. Come you with me and help!”
“Mais, mon Gyu——!” began the man.
“We’ve killed the devil, and the Doctor’s down there with him——”
“But we don’t want him here, M. le Senechal,” quavered a woman’s voice, in terror.
“Fools! It’s Mr. Gard that is hurt. The devil’s down in Coupee Bay, and we’ve killed him for you.”
“Ah then, Gyu marchi! Here’s a blanket—and the lantern—rope’s in barn. You get a bed ready,” to the woman, and they went off towards the Coupee.
And mighty glad the Doctor was to see them coming. He had begun to fear the Senechal had lost his head and made a bolt for home.
He had been sitting under the bank of the cutting as the surest way of keeping out of one or other of the black gulfs. But the interval had given him time to recover himself, and he jumped up at once, all ready for business, and hailed them.
“Down this side, I think,” he said, and they swung the lantern over the Grande Greve slope below the bit of crumbly pathway.
“Le velas!” said Thomas Carre, and handed the lantern to the Senechal, and let himself heavily over the side, and groped his way down to the motionless form among the bramble bushes.
“Pardie, he is dead, I do think!” as he bent over it.
“Let’s see!” said the Doctor’s quick voice at his elbow. “Hand down the light;” and the Senechal waited above in grievous anxiety.
“Not dead,” said the Doctor at last. “Stunned and badly knocked about. He’ll come round. Now, how are we to get him up?”
“Here’s a blanket—and a rope.”
“Good! The blanket!... So!... Now—gently, my man!... Got it, Senechal? Right! Ease him down on to the path. That’s right! Give me a hand, will you? My legs aren’t as limber as they used to be. Now we’ll get him on to a bed and see what the damage is;” and they set off slowly for Plaisance.
“My God, Senechal! That passed belief! To think of our never thinking of that infernal brute!” said the Doctor, as they stumbled slowly along in the joggling light.
“He was possessed of the devil, without a doubt. That last scream of his when he got my two bullets—”