Barlasch of the Guard
Desiree hurried downstairs. In the entrance-hall, a broad-built little man stood awaiting her. He was stout and red, with hair all ragged at the temples, almost white. His eyes were lost behind shaggy eyebrows. His face was made broader by little whiskers stopping short at the level of his ear. He had a snuff-blown complexion, and in the wrinkles of his face the dust of a dozen campaigns seemed to have accumulated.
"Barlasch," he said curtly, holding out a long strip of blue paper. "Of the Guard. Once a sergeant. Italy, Egypt, the Danube."
He frowned at Desiree while she read the paper in the dim light that filtered through the twisted bars of the fanlight above the door.
Then he turned to the servant who stood, comely and breathless, looking him up and down.
"Papa Barlasch," he added for her edification, and he drew down his left eyebrow with a jerk, so that it almost touched his cheek. His right eye, grey and