Falconnet was for having us make the duel à outrance. But that's beside the mark. Having served me then, he makes the point that I shall serve him now."
"'Tis a common courtesy, and you could not well refuse. I love you none the less for paying your debts; even to such a villain as this volunteer captain."
"True, 'tis a debt, as you say; but I like little enough the manner of its paying. How came you to quarrel with him, Jack?"
Now even so blunt a soldier as I have ever been may have some prickings of delicacy where the truth might breed gossip--gossip about a tale which I had said should die with Richard Coverdale and be buried in his grave. So I evaded the question, clumsily enough, as has ever been my hap in fencing with words.
"The cause was not wanting. If any ask, you may say he trod upon my foot in passing."
"And for that you struck him? Heavens, man! you hold your life carelessly. Do you happen to know that this volunteer capt