Philip Quentin took the forlorn, even distressed, message from the hands of Lady Saxondale, kissed it devoutly, and placed it in his pocket.
“Philip is too ill to go out on this desperate chase,” cried Lady Saxondale.
“Ill! I’ll die if I am not gone from here in five minutes! Great Lord, Bob, those fools have been an hour getting the horses!” groaned Quentin, pacing back and forth like a caged animal.
“Don’t get excited, Phil; keep your head. You’re not fit to be running about in a business like this, but all Christendom couldn’t stop you. It may be a wild goose chase, after all,” said Lord Bob.
“She’s been carried back to the accursed villain who employs Courant, and I’ll die before I’ll let him have her. Oh, what fools we’ve been!”
“Here’s a puzzler, old man,” said Dickey. “Why was not Ugo here to help Courant if he knew anything about the fellow’s actions? By cracky, I don’t believe Ugo knows anything about the Frenchman’s find.”
“He owns Courant, body and soul!”
“That jacky is out for the hundred thousand francs, and he’s working on his own hook this time, my boy. He’s after the reward, and he’s the only one that has been keen enough to find us out. Mark me, he is working alone.
“Sure, he is,” added Turk. “He’s got no pardners in th’ job, er he’d a’ had em along to-night. S’pose he’d run into a gang like this alone if he had anybody t’ fall back on? Not on your life. We’re a mighty tough gang, an’ he takes no chances with us if he’s workin’ fer anybody else.”
“We’re not a tough gang!” wailed Lady Jane, in tears. “Oh, what will become of us!”
“The Lord only knows, if we fail to get both Dorothy and Courant,” said Quentin, in real anguish.
“They may be in Luxemburg by this time,” said Saxondale. “Gad, this is working in the dark!”
“That road down there don’t go t’ Luxemburg direct, m’ lord,” quickly interposed Turk. “It goes off into th’ hills, don’t you remember? An’ then out th’ valley some place ‘way to th’ north. If he’d been goin’ to th’ city he’d ‘a’ taken th’ road back here an’ kep’ from goin’ down th’ hill.”
“You’re right, Turk,” exclaimed Lord Bob. “He has gone up the valley, headed for one of the little towns, and will steer clear of the Luxemburg officers for fear they may demand a part of the reward.”
“God, Saxondale, are those horses never coming?” fumed Quentin. “I won’t wait!” and he was off like a madman through the gate and down the steep. Behind him tore Turk, the faithful.
THE GAME OF THE PRIEST
When Turk pitched over the crouching form of the priest and into the dark chasm beyond Dorothy for the first time began to appreciate the character of her cowled rescuer. Panting and terrified, she looked into his hideously exultant face as he rose and peered over the ledge after the luckless pursuer. It was not the face of a holy man of God, but that of a creature who could laugh in the taking of a human life.