“Stand where you are,” he shouted, and the people who watched saw the glitter of the setting sun upon the pistol in his hand. Sabatini looked up.
“Isaac Lalonde,” he called out, “you know who I am?”
“I know who you are,” they heard him growl,—“Count Sabatini, Marquis de Lossa, Chevalier de St. Jerome, Knight of the Holy Roman Empire, aristocrat, blood-sucker of the people.”
Sabatini shrugged his shoulders slightly.
“As to that,” he answered firmly, “one may have opinions. My hand at least is free from bloodshed. You are there with nothing but death before you. I am here to ask a question.”
“Ask it, then,” the man at the window muttered. “Can’t you see that the time is short?”
“Is it true, this message which you sent me by that young man? Is it my daughter, the child of Cecile, whom you have kept from me all these years?”
Isaac leaned further forward out of the window. Every one in the crowd could see him now. There were a few who began to shout. Every one save Sabatini himself seemed conscious of his danger. Sabatini, heedless or unconscious of it, stood with one foot upon the curbstone, his face upturned to the man with whom he was talking.
“Ay, it is true!” Isaac shouted. “She is your daughter, child of the wife whom you hid away, ashamed of her because she came from the people and you were an aristocrat. She is your child, but you will never see her!”
Then those who watched had their fill of tragedy. They saw the puff of smoke, the sharp, discordant report, the murderous face of the man who leaned downward. They saw Sabatini throw up his hands to heaven and fall, a crumpled heap, into the gutter. Isaac, with the pistol to his own forehead, overbalanced himself in the act of pulling the trigger, and came crashing down, a corpse, on to the pavement. The crowd broke loose, but Arnold was the first to raise Sabatini. A shadow of the old smile parted his whitening lips. He opened his eyes.
“It’s a rotten death, boy,” he whispered hoarsely; “a cur’s bullet, that. Look after her for me. I’d rather—I’d rather hear the drums beating.”
Arnold gripped him by the shoulders.
“Hold on to yourself, man!” he gasped. “There’s a doctor coming—he’s here already. Hold on to yourself, for all our sakes! We want you—Ruth will want you!”
Sabatini smiled very faintly. He was barely conscious.
“I’d rather have heard the drums,” he muttered again.
MR. WEATHERLEY RETURNS