As we entered, the glazed eyes of the man opened widely
The Frenchman's assailants were masked, but they were not highwaymen. "Barber! Barber!" they shouted hoarsely, and closed in on him in a circle.
"See how he use his steel!" laughed M. Beaucaire, as his point passed through a tawdry waistcoat. For a moment he cut through the ring and cleared a space about him, and Lady Mary saw his face shining in the moonlight. "Canaille!" he hissed, as his horse sank beneath him; and, though guarding his head from the rain of blows from above, he managed to drag headlong from his saddle the man who had hamstrung the poor brute. The fellow came suddenly to the ground, and lay there.
"Is it not a compliment," said a heavy voice, "to bring six large men to subdue monsieur?"
"Oh, you are there, my frien'! In the rear - a little in the rear, I think. Ha, ha!"
The Frenchman's play with his weapon was a revelation of skill, the more extraordinary as he held in his hand only a light dress sword. But the ring closed about him, and his keen defense could not avail him for more than a few moments. Lady Mary's outriders, the gallants of her escort, rode up close to the coach and encircled it, not interfering.
"Sir Hugh Guilford!" cried Lady Mary wildly, "if you will not help him, give me your sword!" She would have leaped to the ground, but Sir Hugh held the door.
"Sit quiet, madam," he said to her; then, to the man on the box, "Drive on."
"If he does, I'll kill him!" she said fiercely. "Ah, what cowards! Will you see the Duke murdered?"