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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 428 pages of information about The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

“No,” she faltered with a weakening accent, seeking a last resistance.  “Besides, your secretary might be there, that Spaniard who lives with you.  How ashamed I would be to meet him again!”

Julio laughed. . . .  Argensola!  How could that comrade who knew all about their past be an obstacle?  If they should happen to meet him in the house, he would be sure to leave immediately.  More than once, he had had to go out so as not to be in the way.  His discretion was such that he had foreseen events.  Probably he had already left, conjecturing that a near visit would be the most logical thing.  His chum would simply go wandering through the streets in search of news.

Marguerite was silent, as though yielding on seeing her pretexts exhausted.  Desnoyers was silent, too, construing her stillness as assent.  They had left the garden and she was looking around uneasily, terrified to find herself in the open street beside her lover, and seeking a hiding-place.  Suddenly she saw before her the little red door of an automobile, opened by the hand of her adorer.

“Get in,” ordered Julio.

And she climbed in hastily, anxious to hide herself as soon as possible.  The vehicle started at great speed.  Marguerite immediately pulled down the shade of the window on her side, but, before she had finished and could turn her head, she felt a hungry mouth kissing the nape of her neck.

“No, not here,” she said in a pleading tone.  “Let us be sensible!”

And while he, rebellious at these exhortations, persisted in his advances, the voice of Marguerite again sounded above the noise of the rattling machinery of the automobile as it bounded over the pavement.

“Do you really believe that there will be no war?  Do you believe that we will be able to marry? . . .  Tell me again.  I want you to encourage me . . .  I need to hear it from your lips.”

CHAPTER II

MADARIAGA, THE CENTAUR

In 1870 Marcelo Desnoyers was nineteen years old.  He was born in the suburbs of Paris, an only child; his father, interested in little building speculations, maintained his family in modest comfort.  The mason wished to make an architect of his son, and Marcelo was in the midst of his preparatory studies when his father suddenly died, leaving his affairs greatly involved.  In a few months, he and his mother descended the slopes of ruin, and were obliged to give up their snug, middle-class quarters and live like laborers.

When the fourteen-year-old boy had to choose a trade, he learned wood carving.  This craft was an art related to the tastes awakened in Marcelo by his abandoned studies.  His mother retired to the country, living with some relatives while the lad advanced rapidly in the shops, aiding his master in all the important orders which he received from the provinces.  The first news of the war with Prussia surprised him in Marseilles, working on the decorations of a theatre.

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