The Red Mask
I followed them at a distance of some eight yards, as I had been ordered, marvelling as I went what could be the Cardinal's plan of action.
We elbowed our way through a noisy dirty rabble, whom a dozen of the King's Guards could scarcely keep from obstructing the side entrance--used only by privileged individuals--in their curiosity to see the fanciful costumes of the maskers.
It was close upon midnight when we entered the ball-room. His Majesty, I learnt, had already withdrawn, feeling slightly indisposed; therefore I concluded that if there was any serious conspiracy afoot, the blow--which otherwise might have been restrained by the King's presence--could not be long in falling.
Scarcely had we advanced a dozen paces, when my attention was drawn to a tall, thin man, of good bearing, dressed after the