, and be a man. You are young; I forgive you. This shall be between you and me only," the young prince continued, his eyes softening as the other's head drooped, "and you need think no more of it until the day when I shall say to you, 'Now, M. de Lanthenon, for France and for Henry, strike!'"
He rose as the last word passed his lips, and held out his hand. The vicomte fell on one knee, and kissed it reverently, then sprang to his feet again. "Sire," he said, standing erect, his eyes shining, "you have punished me heavily, more heavily than was needful. There is only one way in which I can show my gratitude, and that is by ridding you of a servant who can never again look your enemies in the face."
"What new folly is this?" said Henry sternly. "Do you not understand that I have forgiven you?"
"Therefore I cannot give up Lusigny, and I must acquit myself of my debt to the Captain of Créance in the only way which remains," replied the young man, firmly. "Death is not so hard that I wo