“You are no true Wolf,” answered the smith, redoubling his efforts; “the true Wolves are honest fellows, and do not come ten against one.”
“True or false, I will break your teeth.”
“And I your paw,” said the smith, giving so violent a wrench to the leg of the quarryman, that the latter uttered a cry of acute pain, and, with the rage of a wild beast, butting suddenly forward with his head, succeeded in biting Agricola in the side of the neck.
The pang of this bite forced Agricola to make a movement, which enabled the quarryman to disengage his leg. Then, with a superhuman effort, he threw himself with his whole weight on Agricola, and brought him to the ground, falling himself upon him.
At this juncture, Angela’s mother, leaning from one of the windows of the Common Dwelling-house, exclaimed in a heart-rending voice: “Help, Agricola!—they are killing my child!”
“Let me go—and on, my honor—I will fight you tomorrow, or when you will,” said Agricola, panting for breath.
“No warmed-up food for me; I eat all hot,” answered the quarryman, seizing the smith by the throat, whilst he tried to place one of his knees upon his chest.
“Help!—they are killing my child!” cried Angela’s mother, in a voice of despair.
“Mercy! I ask mercy! Let me go!"’ said Agricola, making the most violent efforts to escape.
“I am too hungry,” answered the quarryman.
Exasperated by the terror which Angela’s danger occasioned him, Agricola redoubled his efforts, when the quarryman suddenly felt his thigh seized by the sharp teeth of a dog, and at the same instant received from a vigorous hand three or four heavy blows with a stick upon his head. He relaxed his grasp, and fell stunned upon his hand and knee, whilst he mechanically raised his other arm to parry the blows, which ceased as soon as Agricola was delivered.
“Father, you have saved me!” cried the smith, springing up. “If only I am in time to rescue Angela!”
“Run!—never mind me!” answered Dagobert; and Agricola rushed into the house.
Dogabert, accompanied by Spoil-sport, had come, as we have already said, to bring Marshal Simon’s daughters to their grandfather. Arriving in the midst of the tumult, the soldier had collected a few workmen to defend the entrance of the chamber, to which the marshal’s father had been carried in a dying state. It was from this post that the soldier had seen Agricola’s danger. Soon after, the rush of the conflict separated Dagobert from the quarryman, who remained for some moments insensible. Arrived in two bounds at the Common Dwelling-house, Agricola succeeded in forcing his way through the men who defended the staircase, and rushed into the corridor that led to Angela’s chamber. At the moment he reached it, the unfortunate girl was mechanically guarding her face with both hands against Ciboule, who, furious as the hyena over its prey, was trying to scratch and disfigure her.