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Exmaple in this ebook continue from Vol.2 CHAPTER I. HOSTILITIES—A LOVE LETTER. Boiling with rage at Louis's insulting defiance, Ronald returned to his quarters in the Alcanzar, determined at day-break to summon him forth, to fight or apologize. He often repeated the words, "Her heart has never wandered from you." Ah! if this should indeed be the case, and that Alice loved him after all! But from Louis, his honour demanded a full explanation and ample apology, either of which he feared the proud spirit of the other would never stoop to grant. Yet, to level a deadly weapon against the brother of Alice,—against him to whom he had been a constant friend and companion in childhood and maturer youth, and perhaps by a single shot to destroy him, the hopes and the peace of his amiable father and sister, he felt that should this happen, he never could forgive himself. But there was no alternative: it was death or dishonour. Two ways lay before him,—to fight or not to fight; and his sense of injured honour made him, without hesitation, choose the first, and he waited in no ordinary anxiety for the dawn, when Alister Macdonald, who was absent on duty, would return to the quarters of the regiment. Next morning, when the grey daylight was beginning faintly to show the dark courts and gloomy arcades of the Alcanzar, he sprung from his couch, which had been nothing else than his cloak laid on the polished floor tiles; and undergoing a hasty toilette, he was about to set forth in search of Macdonald, when Lieutenant Chisholm, one of the officers, entered. "What! up already, Stuart?" said he; "I hope you are not on any duty?" "No. Why?" "Because Lisle has asked me to wait upon you." "Upon me?" asked Ronald, with a frown of surprise. "Upon me, Chisholm?" "Yes: of course you will remember what occurred in the cathedral last night?" "How could I ever forget? Mr. Lisle, under its roof, insulted me most grossly," replied Ronald, his lips growing white with anger. "I was just about to seek Macdonald to give him a message, but Mr. Lisle has anticipated me." "For Heaven's sake, Stuart, let us endeavour to settle this matter amicably! Think of the remorse which an honourable survivor must always feel. A hundred men slain in action are nothing to one life lost in a duel." "Address these words to your principal,—they are lost on me; but you are an excellent fellow, Chisholm!" "It is long since we have had an affair of this sort among us, and Cameron is quite averse to this mode of settling disputes." "I shall not consult his opinion, or that of any other man, in defence of my own honour," said Ronald haughtily. "As you please," replied the other, with an air of pique. "Lisle and you have long been on very distant terms, and the officers have always predicted that the matter would terminate in this way." "Curse their impertinent curiosity! And so Lisle calls me out in consequence of the high words we exchanged in the cathedral last night?" "That is one reason—the least one, I believe. He mentioned that his sister, Miss Lisle—" "Stay, Chisholm! I will hear no more of this," cried Stuart; then suddenly changing his mind added, "Ah! well; his sister—Miss Alice Lisle. Go on." "Faith, Stuart, you seem confoundedly confused. Do settle this matter in peace. Lisle has told me the story, in confidence, and I think you have been to blame,—indeed you have. Send Lisle an apology, for I assure you he is boiling with passion, and will not yield a hair's breadth." To be continue in this ebook...