He stepped briskly to the coarse and grease-stained table, about which the company was standing, and his black eyes ran swiftly over the faces that confronted him.
"Sirs," he said at last, "I am here. My horse went lame a half-league beyond Sant' Angelo, and I was constrained to end the journey on foot."
"Your Excellency will be tired," cried Fabrizio, with that ready solicitude which is ever at the orders of the great. "A cup of Puglia wine, my lord. Here, Fanfulla," he called, to the young nobleman who had acted as usher. But the new-comer silenced him and put the matter aside with a gesture.
"Let that wait. Time imports as you little dream. It may well be, illustrious sirs, that had I not come thus I had not come at all."
"How?" cried one, expressing the wonder that rose in every mind, even as on every countenance some consternation showed. "Are we betrayed?"