still directing them from behind with his voice.
They passed through the gate like apparitions, without the guards thinking of detaining them, and reached the open country.
All this time the soldiers were calling out, “Stop! stop!” and the sergeant, who began to see that he was the victim of an artifice, was almost in a frenzy of despair. Whilst all this was going on, a cavalier in full gallop was seen approaching. It was Mordaunt with the order in his hand.
“The prisoners!” he exclaimed, jumping off his horse.
The sergeant had not the courage to reply; he showed him the open door, the empty room. Mordaunt darted to the steps, understood all, uttered a cry, as if his very heart was pierced, and fell fainting on the stone steps.