"Messieurs," said the Count of Monte Fato, entering, "please accept my deepest apologies for suffering you to anticipate me in coming here, when I should rather have transported myself to you; but I feared that introducing myself earlier would have been indiscreet, and that you would have died, if you are not of tougher material than you seem."
"Arafrantz and I owe you a thousand thanks, monsieur le comte," replied Réginard. "You have veritably rescued us from a black pit, where Orcs prowl and wolves howl, and we were in the middle of inventing the most fantastic avian vehicles when your gracious invitation reached us."
"Eh, mon Érou, messieurs!" responded the Count, making a sign for his guests to be seated on one of the elegant mithril divans. "It's the fault of that long-haired imbecile of an Orlando if I left you so long in distress! He never said a word to me about your embarrassment, to me who, as solitary as Gandault in prison – or more so, for at least he had a moth to keep him company – wished for nothing more than to make the acquaintance of my neighbours. As soon as I learned of the extremes to which your misfortune had driven you in your search for aerial transport, you see with what eagerness I seized the opportunity to offer my compliments."