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devil as now, when, pressing his knee firmer on the writhing figure beneath him, and setting his teeth-more in wrath than in pain-he drew the dagger slowly out of the wound. Not much blood followed; for it was chiefly a cordage of muscles that the steel had penetrated; and the limb, for the moment at least, was not disabled; for the page was caught up like an infant in the other's mighty grasp, and as the Free Companion strode towards the oriel window, he muttered aloud
"Thou gay hornet, we will be troubled no more with thy stinging, and thou shalt have thy lesson for once and aye."
And all this while Bertha de La Roche D'Agon bore herself thus: she frowned slightly at the first rustle of the arras-partly, perhaps, chafing at the untimely intrusion; partly vexed at her own imprudence in having forgotten to draw the bolt of the masked door-but she never shrieked, or trembled, or shrank during the brief struggle-only her lips parted eagerly, and the pupils of her great hazel eyes dilated, like those of some beautiful tigress, who, from under the shadow of a date-palm, watches the yellow sand flying up round the death-duel that is to decide which of the two tawny rivals shall be her mate. Neither did she disturb the indolent grace of her attitude-much less interfere by word or gesture-though she guessed at Brakespeare's fell purpose before he tore open the casement with his left hand.
And René D'Andelot guessed at his doom. He had looked forth from that window often enough to have measured the depth of the hideous chasm: he could remember, too, what a shapeless, battered corpse was lifted from the boulders, when Charlot was seized with a dizzy fit, and fell where the gorge was shallower than here. As he lay pressed back against the window-ledge, his face was lashed by the driving rain; and, glancing sidelong, he caught glimpses of the black billows of tossing pine-boughs, tossed hither and thither by the raving wind. No marvel that he struggled with a strength and obstinacy surprising in one so delicate of frame-striving to strangle his enemytwining his slender fingers round his adversary's throat, and twisting them in his doublet-collar when his grasp was loosened. Even the spasms of despair could not struggle long against such awful odds of weight and strength: in a few seconds, Brakespeare had wrenched himself loose; and one long swing of his brawny arms launched the unhappy page sheer into the air, like a stone from a petrary.
Up to this instant, Réné D'Andelot had fought as mute as a wild cat; but now there went up through the darkness a single long shriek
7 Page 498. IN A VERY FEW SECONDS, BRAKESPEARE HAD WRENCHED HIMSELF LOOSE, AND ONE LONG SWING OF HIS BRAWNY ARMS LAUNCHED THE UNHAPPY PAGE SHEER INTO THE AIR
rising high above the howling of the wind, the booming of the pines, and the roar of the mountain stream, swollen to a torrent nowstartling the freebooters, still deep in carouse, though they were little apt to disquiet themselves at sound of distress or pain. And then the voice of the storm broke out more savagely than ever, like that of a wild beast rejoicing over a dainty morsel just cast into its den.
Even Ralph Brakespeare's blood-heated by divers evil passions— was chilled and checked as he listened; but it rose again quickly to fever heat as he closed the casement, and turned inwards again towards the estrade, where Bertha de La Roche D'Agon lay.
She did not attempt to upbraid him, or affect regret for the deed just wrought; but rather seemed anxious to make herself accessary thereto; for her tongue neither spared endearments, nor her eyes promises, as she bound his arm with her own waist-scarf. Then the intercepted caress was renewed, and followed by many another; and then-on those two fell the rosy cloud, the uttermost skirts whereof are dark with sin. Soon the green wound began to tingle; but the knight felt it no more, than did Lancelot the smart of his gashed hand, after the grating was once wrenched away that barred him from Queen Guenever's bower.
Then, and for many a day after, his better angel gave place to Belial: yet Ralph did experience one brief pang of remorse and shame, when he marked the fragment of a thin gold chain hanging to his doublet collar, and wist that Marguerite de Hacquemont's cross was either lost in the black ravine, or locked in the stiffened fingers of the murdered man.
BY HENRY SEDLEY,
Editor of the "New York Round Table."
WHEN two such authorities as Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli have so lately taken upon themselves the office of expounding the functions and eulogizing the performances of the British press, it may appear presumptuous in an obscure and comparatively ill-instructed foreigner to advance any opinions on the subject; yet since, as the former gentleman with alliterative emphasis observes, "the press, which was formerly the privilege of the educated class, has become the patrimony of the people," and since there will be no attempt in this paper to controvert Mr. Disraeli's statement that the press of his country, “for energy, general intelligence, information, and moral feeling, cannot be excelled," even an imperfect survey taken by a bird of passage, and from an American point of view, may be indulgently received. The fact that these two distinguished statesmen and rivals are found almost at the same moment competing with each other in pointed laudation of the merits and unreserved acknowledgment of the power of the press, is in itself a remarkably significant one, and, in its obvious connection with recent political developments, is scarcely more interesting to observers on the eastern side of the Atlantic than the other.
It seems to be generally agreed-in America the proposition is axiomatic-that the more democratic a country becomes, the stronger must be its newspaper press. In other words, the wider the distribution of political power, the greater the influence of an engine whose force is exerted upon an increasing number of individuals. From this flows the corollary that the largest circulation must carry the most weight; that national convictions are no longer to be established by percolation, as it were, from an audience "fit, though few;" and that the journal which hits the taste or prejudices of the majority must henceforward and naturally be a greater power in the state than the one which appeals to a smaller and more fastidious clientage. This conclusion, which can scarcely be gratifying to most educated Englishmen, seems, however, to be implicitly accepted by the two eminent publicists quoted above, and-be it said with much deference and every willingness to submit to correction-the progressive tone of London journalism during the past ten years appears to me to substantiate and confirm it. When a stranger ventures to offer opinions