It was deep silent night when Horvendile came into the room where Ettarre slept. "Out, Out!" cried Horvendile. "Let us have more light here, so that men may see the beauty men die for!" He went with a torch from lamp to lamp, kindling them all.

Ettarre stood between the bed-curtains, which were green hangings worked with birds and beasts of the field, each in his proper colors. The girl was robed in white; and upon her breast gleamed the broken sigil of Scoteia, that famed talisman which never left her person. She wore a scarlet girdle about her middle, and her loosened yellow hair fell heavy about her. Her fine proud face questioneed the clerk in silence, without any trace of fear.

"We must wait now," says Horvendile, "wait patiently for that which is to follow. For while the folk of Storisende slept-- while your fair, favored lover slept, Ettarre, and your stout brothers Emmerick and Perion slept, and all persons who are your ser vitors and well-wishers slept --I, I, the puppet-shifter, have admitted Maugis d'Aigrenont and his men into this castle. They are at work now, hammer-and-tongs, to decide who shall be master of Storisende and you."

Her first speech you would have found odd at such a time. "But, oh, it was not you who betrayed us, Horvendile-- not you whom Guiron trusted!"

"You forget," he returned, "that I, who am without any hope to win you, must attempt to view the squabbling of your other lovers without bias. It is the custom of ominpotence to so that, Ettarre. I have given Maugis d'Aigremont an equal chance with Sir Guiron. It is the custom of omnipotence to so that also, Ettarre. You will remember the tale was trite even in Job's far time that the sweetmeats of life do not invariably fall to immaculate people."

Then, as if on a sudden, Dame Ettarre seemed to understand that the clerk's brain had been turned through his hopeless love for her. She wondered, dizzily, how she could have stayed blind to his insanity this long, recollecting the inconsequence of his a cts and speeches in the past; but matters of heavier urgency were at hand. Here, with this apparent madman, she was on perilous ground; but now had arisen a hidous contention without; and the shrieks there, and the clash of metal there, spoke with rud e eloquence of company even less desirable.

"Heaven will defend the right!" Ettarre said bravely.

Horvendile replied: "I am not sure that Heaven has any finger in this pie. An arras hides all. It will lift presently, and either Good or Evil, either Guiron or Maugis, will come through that arras as your master. I am not certain as yet which one I sh all permit to enter; and the matter rests with me, Ettarre."

"Heaven will defend the right!" Ettarre said bravely.

And at that the arras quivered and heaved, so that its heavy embroideries were converted into a welter of shimmering gold, bright in the glare of many lamps, sparkling like the ocean's waters at sunset; and Horvendile and Ettarre saw nothing else there f or a breathless moment, which seemed to last for a great while. Then, parting, the arras yielded up Maugis d'Aigremont.

Horvendile chuckled.

Chapter Six