I looked and looked at the dwarfed figure of... Tcheriapin!
"Our just deserts," said Mr. Moly-neux, his mouth full of dust and philosophy.
Sir Hugh Guilford's horse fell with him, being literally ridden over, and the baronet's leg was pinned under the saddle. In less than ten minutes from the first attack on M. Beaucaire, the attacking party had fled in disorder, and the patrician non-combatants, choking with expletives, consumed with wrath, were prisoners, disarmed by the Frenchman's lackeys.
Guilford's discomfiture had freed the doors of the coach; so it was that when M. Beaucaire, struggling to rise, assisted by his servants, threw out one hand to balance himself, he found it seized between two small, cold palms, and he looked into two warm, dilating eyes, that were doubly beautiful because of the fright and rage that found room in them, too.
M. le Duc Chateaurien sprang to his feet without the aid of his lackeys, and bowed low before Lady Mary.
"I make ten thousan' apology to be' the cause of a such melee in your presence," he said; and then, turning to Francois, he spoke in French: "Ah, thou scoundrel! A little, and it had been too late."
Francois knelt in the dust before him. "Pardon!" he said. "Monseigneur commanded us to follow far in the rear, to remain unobserved. The wind malignantly blew against monseigneur's voice."
"See what it might have cost, my children," said his master, pointing to the ropes with which they would have bound him and to the whip lying beside them. A shudder passed over the lackey's frame; the utter horror in his face echoed in the eyes of his fellows.
"Oh, monseigneur!" Francois sprang back, and tossed his arms to heaven.