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filled an empty cup with it and drank, then passed it to Peter, while
the host looked at them sourly.
Then, as though by an afterthought, Castell rose and politely presented
the jug of wine and the two filled mugs to the men who were sitting at a
table close by, saying that it was a pity that they should not have the
benefit of such fine liquor. One of these fellows, as it chanced, was
their own guide, who had come in from tending the mules. They took the
mugs readily enough, and two of them tossed off their contents, whereon,
with a smothered oath, the landlord snatched away the jug and
vanished with it.
Castell and Peter went on with their meal, for they saw their neighbours
eating of the same dish, as did the landlord also, who had returned,
and, it seemed to Peter, was watching the two men who had drunk the
wine with an anxious eye. Presently one of these rose from the table
and, going to a bench on the other side of the room, flung himself down
upon it and became quite silent, while their one-eyed guide stretched
out his arms and fell face forward so that his head rested on an empty
plate, where he remained apparently insensible. The host sprang up and
stood irresolute, and Castell, rising, said that evidently the poor lad
was sleepy after his long ride, and as they were the same, would he be
so courteous as to show them to their room?
He assented readily, indeed it was clear that he wished to be rid of
them, for the other men were staring at the guide and their companion,
and muttering amongst themselves.
"This way, Senors," he said, and led them to the end of the place where
a broad step-ladder stood. Going up it, a lamp in his hand, he opened a
trap-door and called to them to follow him, which Castell did. Peter,
however, first turned and said good-night to the company who were
watching them; at the same moment, as though by accident or
thoughtlessly, half drawing his sword from its scabbard. Then he too
went up the ladder, and found himself with the others in an attic.
It was a bare place, the only furniture in it being two chairs and two
rough wooden bedsteads without heads to them, mere trestles indeed, that
stood about three feet apart against a boarded partition which appeared
to divide this room from some other attic beyond. Also, there was a hole
in the wall immediately beneath the eaves of the house that served the
purpose of a window, over which a sack was nailed. "We are poor folk,"
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