"It's death!" exclaimed one of the knights, "he will kill the youth yet, Beauchamp."
"'S blood, Beauchamp," he continued, turning to one of his companions, "an' were he set down in court I wager our gracious Queen would he hard put to it to tell him from the young Prince Edward.
Beauchamp and Greystoke laughed aloud at the discomfiture of Paul of Merely, but the latter's face hardened in anger, and without further words he strode forward with outstretched hand to tear open the boy's leathern jerkin, but met with the gleaming point of a sword and a quick sharp, "En garde!" from the boy.
The loud laughter of Beauchamp and Greystoke soon subsided to grim smiles, and presently they looked on with startled faces in which fear and apprehension were dominant.
He would not call upon his friends for aid, but presently, to his relief, Beauchamp sprang between them with drawn sword, crying "Enough, gentlemen, enough!
But the boy's only response was, "En garde, cochon," and Beauchamp found himself taking the center of the stage in the place of his friend.
Paul of Merely and Beauchamp were wounded in a dozen places when Greystoke rushed to their aid, and then it was that a little, wiry, gray man leaped agilely from the kitchen doorway, and with drawn sword took his place beside the boy.
The old man engaged Greystoke now, and the boy turned his undivided attention to Beauchamp. Both these men were considered excellent swordsmen, but when Beauchamp heard again the little gray man's "a mort, mon fils," he shuddered, and the little hairs at the nape of his neck rose up, and his spine froze, for he knew that he had heard the sentence of death passed upon him; for no mortal had yet lived who could vanquish such a swordsman as he who now faced him.
As Beauchamp pitched forward across a bench, dead, the little old man led Greystoke to where the boy awaited him.
"Well, you must allow it is the best thing for the stomach; but I hear Beauchamp in the next room; you can dispute together, and that will pass away the time."
"He is quite right," returned Beauchamp; "for I criticise him without knowing what he does.
"Why do you not join our party, my dear Beauchamp? With your talents you would make your fortune in three or four years."
The suggestion that a distinction be made between career consuls representing major world powers and honorary part-time consuls who were local residents did not give rise to any objections either, except that when the exact criteria were drawn up, Lord Beauchamp
made sure that they were formulated in such a way as to include his friend the American Consul, who was not a career consul, in the first category:(46) `It might ...