Cool grey eyes summed up the situation ahead in one glance. A tall man in black evening dress stood in the narrow street, fending off what looked like two – no three, footpads. His drawn sword was keeping them at bay for the present, but for how much longer? Even as he stood there, two of the footpads started working together to engage the sword with their sticks, while the third angled in to strike a blow at their victim. The watcher could hear the tall man gasping for air as his sword flashed furiously, trying to defend himself from three sides at once.
Rather reluctantly, the watcher realised he would have to go to the aid of the man under attack. Moving quickly once he had reached that decision, he drew a small silver pistol from his right hand coat pocket and levelled it carefully at the nearest assailant. The sudden explosion startled all four men and the nearest footpad clapped a hand to his arm, blood spurting between his fingers. Four heads swivelled wildly seeking to discover the source of the attack and he shouted excitedly, “Quick after them, Jack, we’ll see some sport tonight!” In a flash, the would-be robbers deserted their prey and fled down the street.
The watcher waited a minute then stepped out of the shadows and towards the other man who stood still, holding his sword and breathing heavily.