The Grey Cloak (Chapter 25)

 
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Chapter 25 : Page 1 of 12

"Tell Monsieur le Comte for me that I am sleeping and may not be
disturbed!"

All through the long night the marquis's thin, piercing voice rang in
the Chevalier's ears, and rang with sinister tone. He could find no
ease upon his pillow, and he stole quietly forth into the night. He
wandered about the upper town, round the cathedral, past the Ursulines,
under the frowning walls of the citadel, followed his shadow in the
moonlight and went before it. Those grim words had severed the last
delicate thread which bound father and son. To have humiliated
himself! To have left open in his armor a place for such a thrust! He
had gone with charity and forgiveness, to be repulsed! He had held
forth his hand, to find the other's withdrawn!

"Tell Monsieur le Comte for me that I am sleeping and may not be
disturbed!"

Mockery! And yet this same father had taken up the sword to drive it
through a man who had laughed. Only God knew; for neither the son
understood the father nor the father the son. Well, so be it. He was
now without weight upon his shoulders; he was conscience free; he had
paid his obligations, obligations far beyond his allotted part. It was
inevitable that their paths should separate. There had been too many
words; there was still too much pride.

"Tell Monsieur le Comte for me that I am sleeping and may not be
disturbed!"

He had stood there in the corridor and writhed as this blade entered
his soul and turned and turned. Rage and chagrin had choked him,
leaving him utterly speechless. So be it. Forevermore it was to be
the house divided. . . . It was after two o'clock when the Chevalier
went back to his bed. The poet was in slumber, and his face looked
careworn in repose.

 
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