off, but after stumbling a few steps he fell in a heap in the shadow.
This settled the matter. The others, seeing their leader hit, waited for no more, but fled. There was no pursuit. For a few brief seconds we heard the patter of running feet, and then all was still.
We stood, all three staring at each other, and then the fair-haired man held out his hand, saying simply: "I thank you, monsieur!"
I met his grasp, expressing at the same time my concern for his wound.
"It is not much, I think--all due to a weak parry on my part." And he strove with a gold-laced handkerchief to staunch the blood that was flowing somewhat freely. I was about to offer what help I could when the jester cut in.
"Faith of a fool!" he said, sheathing his dagger, "my gossip here is apt to make light of these scratches; but I would give my cap and bells now for a little salve."
"If you will come into my house, messieurs--'tis but a step--we will see to the hurt."
I almost repented of my o