by George Barr McCutcheon
STRANGERS IN A
VII. THE LADY IN
ABDUCTION OF A
IX. THE EXPLOIT
OF LORRY AND
XI. LOVE IN A
XII. A WAR AND
XIII. UNDER MOON
XIV. THE EPISODE
OF THE THRONE
XVI. A CLASH AND
XVII. IN THE
XIX. THE SOLDIER
XXI. FROM A
XXIV. OFF TO THE
XXV. "BECAUSE I
XXVII. ON THE
XXVIII. THE MAID
I. MR. GRENFALL LORRY SEEKS ADVENTURE
Mr. Grenfall Lorry boarded the east-bound express at Denver with
all the air of a martyr. He had traveled pretty much all over the
world, and he was not without resources, but the prospect of a
twenty-five hundred mile journey alone filled him with dismay. The
country he knew; the scenery had long since lost its attractions for
him; countless newsboys bad failed to tempt him with the literature
they thrust in his face, and as for his fellow-passengers—well, he
preferred to be alone. And so it was that he gloomily motioned the
porter to his boxes and mounted the steps with weariness.
As it happened, Mr. Grenfall Lorry did not have a dull moment
after the train started.
He stumbled on a figure that leaned toward the window in the dark
passageway. With reluctant civility he apologized; a lady stood up
to let him pass, and for an instant in the half light their eyes met,
and that is why the miles rushed by with incredible speed.
Mr. Lorry had been dawdling away the months in Mexico and
California. For years he had felt, together with many other people,
that a sea-voyage was the essential beginning of every journey; he had
started round the world soon after leaving Cambridge; he had fished
through Norway and hunted in India, and shot everything from grouse on
the Scottish moors to the rapids above Assouan. He had run in and out
of countless towns and countries on the coast of South America; he had
done Russia and the Rhone valley and Brittany and Damascus; he had
seen them all —but not until then did it occur to him that there
might be something of interest nearer home. True he had thought of
joining some Englishmen on a hunting tour in the Rockies, but that
had fallen through. When the idea of Mexico did occur to him he gave
orders to pack his things, purchased interminable green tickets, dined
unusually well at his club, and was off in no time to the unknown
There was a theory in his family that it would have been a
decenter thing for him to stop running about and settle down to work.
But his thoughtful father had given him a wealthy mother, and as
earning a living was not a necessity, he failed to see why it was a
duty. "Work is becoming to some men," he once declared, "like
whiskers or red ties, but it does not follow that all men can stand
it." After that the family found him "hopeless," and the argument
He was just under thirty years, as good-looking as most men, with
no one dependent upon him and an income that had withstood both the
Maison Doree and a dahabeah on the Nile. He never tired of seeing
things and peoples and places. "There's game to be found anywhere,"
he said, "only it's sometimes out of season. If I had my way—and
millions—I should run a newspaper. Then all the excitements would
come to me. As it is—I'm poor, and so I have to go all over the
world after them."
This agreeable theory of life had worked well; he was a little
bored at times—not because he had seen too much, but because there
were not more things left to see. He had managed somehow to keep his
enthusiasms through everything—and they made life worth living. He
felt too a certain elation—like a spirited horse—at turning toward
home, but Washington had not much to offer him, and the thrill did not
last. His big bag and his hatbox—pasted over with foolish labels
from continental hotels —were piled in the corner of his compartment,
and he settled back in his seat with a pleasurable sense of
expectancy. The presence in the next room of a very smart appearing
young woman was prominent in his consciousness. It gave him an
uneasiness which was the beginning of delight. He had seen her for
only a second in the passageway, but that second had made him hold
himself a little straighter. "Why is it," he wondered, "that some
girls make you stand like a footman the moment you see them?"
Grenfall had been in love too many times to think of marriage; his
habit of mind was still general, and he classified women broadly. At
the same time he had a feeling that in this case generalities did not
apply well; there was something about the girl that made him hesitate
at labelling her "Class A, or B, or Z." What it was he did not know,
but—unaccountably-she filled him with an affected formality He felt
like bowing to her with a grand air and much dignity. And yet he
realized that his successes had come from confidence.
At luncheon he saw her in the dining car. Her companions were
elderly persons—presumably her parents. They talked mostly in
French—occasionally using a German word or phrase. The old
gentleman was stately and austere—with an air of deference to the
young woman which Grenfall did not understand. His appearance was
very striking; his face pale and heavily lined; moustache and imperial
gray; the eyebrows large and bushy, and the jaw and chin square and
firm. The white-haired lady carried her head high with unmistakable
gentility. They were all dressed in traveling suits which suggested
something foreign, but not Vienna nor Paris; smart, but far from
Lorry watched the trio with great interest. Twice during luncheon
the young woman glanced toward him carelessly and left an annoying
impression that she had not seen him. As they left the table and
passed into the observation car, he stared at her with some defiance.
But she was smiling, and her dimples showed, and Grenfall was
ashamed. For some moments he sat gazing from the car
window—forgetting his luncheon-dreaming.
When he got back to his compartment he rang vigorously for the
porter. A coin was carelessly displayed in his fingers. "Do you
suppose you could find out who has the next compartment, porter?"
"I don't know their name, sub, but they's goin' to New York jis as
fas' as they can git thuh. I ain' ax um no questions, 'cause thuh's
somethin' 'bout um makes me feel's if I ain' got no right to look at
The porter thought a moment.
"I don' believe it'll do yuh any good, suh, to try to shine up to
tha' young lady. She ain' the sawt, I can tell yuh that. I done see
too many guhls in ma time—"
"What are you talking about? I'm not trying to shine up to her. I
only want to know who she is—just out of curiosity." Grenfall's face
was a trifle red.
"Beg pahdon, suh; but I kind o' thought you was like orh' gent'men
when they see a han'some woman. Allus wants to fin' out somethin'
'bout huh, suh, yuh know. 'Scuse me foh misjedgin' yuh, suh. Th'
lady in question is a foh'ner—she lives across th' ocean, 's fuh as I
can fin' out. They's in a hurry to git home foh some reason, 'cause
they ain' goin' to stop this side o' New York, 'cept to change cahs."
"Where do they change cars?"
"St. Louis—goin' by way of Cincinnati an' Washin'ton."
Grenfall's ticket carried him by way of Chicago. He caught
himself wondering if he could exchange his ticket in St. Louis.
"Traveling with her father and mother, I suppose?"
"No, suh; they's huh uncle and aunt. I heah huh call 'em uncle
an' aunt. Th' ole gent'man is Uncle Caspar. I don' know what they
talk 'bout. It's mostly some foh'en language. Th' young lady allus
speaks Amehican to me, but th' old folks cain't talk it ver' well.
They all been to Frisco, an' the hired he'p they's got with 'em say
they been to Mexico, too. Th' young lady's got good Amehican dollahs,
don' care wha' she's been. She allus smiles when she ask me to do
anythin', an' I wouldn' care if she nevah tipped me, 's long as she
"Servants with them, you say?"
"Yas, suh; man an' woman, nex' section t'other side the ole folks.
Cain't say mor'n fifteen words in Amehican. Th' woman is huh maid,
an' the man he's th' genial hustler fer th' hull pahty."
"And you don't know her name?"
"No, sun, an' I cain't ver' well fin' out."
"In what part of Europe does she live?"
"Australia, I think, suh."
"You mean Austria."
"Do I? 'Scuse ma ig'nance. I was jis' guessin' at it anyhow; one
place's as good as 'nother ovah thuh, I reckon."
"Have you one of those dollars she gave you?"
"Yes, sub. Heh's a coin that ain' Amehican, but she says it's
wuth seventy cents in our money. It's a foh'en piece. She tell me
to keep it till I went ovah to huh country; then I could have a high
time with it—that's what she says—'a high time'—an' smiled kind o"
"Let me see that coin," said Lorry, eagerly taking the silver
piece from the porter's hand. "I never saw one like it before.
Greek, it looks to me, but I can't make a thing out of these letters.
She gave it to you?"
"Yas, suh—las' evenin'. A high time on seventy cents! That's
reediculous, ain't it?" demanded the porter scornfully.
"I'll give you a dollar for it. You can have a higher time on
The odd little coin changed owners immediately, and the new
possessor dropped it into his pocket with the inward conviction that
he was the silliest fool in existence. After the porter's departure
he took the coin from his pocket, and, with his back to the door, his
face to the window, studied its lettering.
During the afternoon he strolled about the train, his hand
constantly jingling the coins. He passed her compartment several
times, yet refrained from looking in. But he wondered if she saw him
At one little station a group of Indian bear hunters created
considerable interest among the passengers. Grenfall was down at the
station platform at once, looking over a great stack of game. As he
left the car he met Uncle Caspar, who was hurrying toward his niece's
section. A few moments later she came down the steps, followed by the
dignified old gentleman. Grenfall tingled with a strange delight as
she moved quite close to his side in her desire to see. Once he
glanced at her face; there was a pretty look of fear in her eyes as
she surveyed the massive bears and the stark, stiff antelopes. But
she laughed as she turned away with her uncle.
Grenfall was smoking his cigarette and vigorously jingling the
coins in his pocket when the train pulled out. Then he swung on the
car steps and found himself at her feet. She was standing at the top,
where she had lingered a moment. There was an expression of anxiety,
in her eyes as he looked up into them, followed instantly by one of
relief. Then she passed into the car. She had seen him swing upon
the moving steps and had feared for his safety—had shown in her
glorious face that she was glad he did not fall beneath the wheels.
Doubtless she would have been as solicitous had he been the porter or
the brakeman, he reasoned, but that she had noticed him at all pleased
At Abilene he bought the Kansas City newspapers. After breakfast
he found a seat in the observation car and settled himself to read.
Presently some one took a seat behind him. He did not look back, but
unconcernedly cast his eyes upon the broad mirror in the opposite car
wall. Instantly he forgot his paper. She was sitting within five
feet of him, a book in her lap, her gaze bent briefly on the flitting
buildings outside. He studied the reflection furtively until she took
up the book and began to read. Up to this time he had wondered why
some nonsensical idiot had wasted looking-glasses on the walls of a
now he was thinking of him as a far-sighted man.
The first page of his paper was fairly alive with fresh and
important dispatches, chiefly foreign. At length, after allowing
himself to become really interested in a Paris dispatch of some
international consequence, he turned his eyes again to the mirror.
She was leaning slightly forward, holding the open book in her lap,
but reading, with straining eyes, an article in the paper he held.
He calmly turned to the next page and looked leisurely over it.
Another glance, quickly taken, showed to him a disappointed frown on
the pretty face and a reluctant resumption of novel reading. A few
moments later he turned back to the first page, holding the paper in
such a position that she could not see, and, full of curiosity, read
every line of the foreign news, wondering what had interested her.
Under ordinary circumstances Lorry would have offered her the
paper, and thought nothing more of it. With her, however, there was
an air that made him hesitate. He felt strangely awkward and
inexperienced beside her; precedents did not seem to count. He
arose, tossed the paper over the back of the chair as if casting it
aside forever, and strolled to the opposite window and looked out for
a few moments, jingling his coins carelessly. The jingle of the
pieces suggested something else to him. His paper still hung
invitingly, upside down, as he had left it, on the chair, and the lady
was poring over her novel. As he passed her he drew his right hand
from his pocket and a piece of money dropped to the floor at her feet.
Then began an embarrassed search for the coin—in the wrong
direction, of course. He knew precisely where it had rolled, but
purposely looked under the seats on the other side of the car. She
drew her skirts aside and assisted in the search. Four different
times he saw the little piece of money, but did not pick it up.
Finally, laughing awkwardly, he began to search on her side of the
car. Whereupon she rose and gave him more room. She became
interested in the search and bent over to scan the dark corners with
eager eyes. Their heads were very close together more than once. At
last she uttered an exclamation, and her hand went to the floor in
triumph. They arose together, flushed and smiling. She had the coin
in her hand.
"I have it," she said, gaily, a delicious foreign tinge to the
"I thank you—" he began, holding out his hand as if in a dream of
ecstacy, but her eyes had fallen momentarily on the object of their
"Oh!" she exclaimed, the prettiest surprise in the world coming
into her face. It was a coin from her faraway homeland, and she was
betrayed into the involuntary exclamation. Instantly, however, she
regained her composure and dropped the piece into his outstretched
hand, a proud flush mounting to her cheek, a look of cold reserve to
her eyes. He had, hoped she would offer some comment on what she must
have considered a strange coincidence, but he was disappointed. He
wondered if she even heard him say:
"I am sorry to have troubled you."
She had resumed her seat, and, to him, there seemed a thousand
miles between them. Feeling decidedly uncomfortable and not a little
abashed, he left her and strode to the door. Again a mirror gave him
a thrill. This time it was the glass in the car's end. He had taken
but a half dozen steps when the brown head was turned slyly and a pair
of interested eyes looked after him. She did not know that he could
see her, so he had the satisfaction of observing that pretty, puzzled
face plainly until he passed through the door.
Grenfall had formed many chance acquaintances during his travels,
sometimes taking risks and liberties that were refreshingly bold. He
had seldom been repulsed, strange to say, and as he went to his
section dizzily, he thought of the good fortune that had been his in
other attempts, and asked himself why it had not occurred to him to
make the same advances in the present instance. Somehow she was
different. There was that strange dignity, that pure beauty, that
imperial manner, all combining to forbid the faintest thought of
He was more than astonished at himself for having tricked her a
few moments before into a perfectly natural departure from
indifference. She had been so reserved and so natural that he looked
back and asked himself what had happened to flatter his vanity except
a passing show of interest. With this, he smiled and recalled similar
opportunities in days gone by, all of which had been turned to
advantage and had resulted in amusing pastimes. And here was a pretty
girl with an air of mystery about her, worthy of his best efforts, but
toward whom he had not dared to turn a frivolous eye.
He took out the coin and leaned back in his chair, wondering where
it came from. "In any case," he thought, "it'll make a good
pocket-piece and some day I'll find some idiot who knows more about
geography than I do." Mr. Lorry's own ideas of geography were jumbled
and vague—as if he had got them by studying the labels on his
hat-box. He knew the places he had been to, and he recognized a new
country by the annoyances of the customs house, but beyond this his
ignorance was complete. The coin, so far as he knew, might have come
from any one of a hundred small principalities scattered about the
continent. Yet it bothered him a little that he could not tell which
one. He was more than curious about a very beautiful young woman—in
fact, he was, undeniably interested in her. He pleasantly called
himself an "ass" to have his head turned by a pretty face, a foreign
accent and an insignificant coin, and yet he was fascinated.
Before the train reached St. Louis he made up his mind to change
cars there and go to Washington with her. It also occurred to him
that he might go on to New York if the spell lasted. During the day
he telegraphed ahead for accommodations; and when the flyer arrived in
St. Louis that evening he hurriedly attended to the transferring and
rechecking of his baggage, bought a new ticket, and dined. At eight
he was in the station, and at 8:15 he passed her in the aisle. She
was standing in her stateroom door, directing her maid. He saw a look
of surprise flit across her face as he passed. He slept soundly that
night, and dreamed that he was crossing the ocean with her.
At breakfast he saw her, but if she saw him it was when he was not
looking at her. Once he caught Uncle Caspar staring at him through
his monocle, which dropped instantly from his eye in the manner that
is always self-explanatory. She had evidently called the uncle's
attention to him, but was herself looking sedately from the window
when Lorry unfortunately spoiled the scrutiny. His spirits took a
furious bound with the realization that she had deigned to honor him
by recognition, if only to call attention to him because he possessed
a certain coin.
Once the old gentleman asked him the time of day and set his watch
according to the reply. In Ohio the manservant scowled at him because
he involuntarily stared after his mistress as she paced the platform
while the train waited at a station. Again, in Ohio, they met in the
vestibule, and he was compelled to step aside to allow her to pass.
He did not feel particularly jubilant over this meeting; she did not
even glance at him.
Lorry realized that his opportunities were fast disappearing, and
that he did not seem to be any nearer meeting her than when they
started. He had hoped to get Uncle Caspar into a conversation and
then use him, but Uncle Caspar was as distant as an iceberg. "If there
should be a wreck," Grenfall caught himself thinking, "then my chance
would come; but I don't see how Providence is going to help me in any
Near the close of the day, after they left St. Louis, the train
began to wind through the foothills of the Alleghenies. Bellaire,
Grafton and other towns were left behind, and they were soon whirling
up the steep mountain, higher and higher, through tunnel after tunnel,
nearer and nearer to Washington every minute. As they were pulling
out of a little mining town built on the mountain side, a sudden jar
stopped the train. There was some little excitement and a scramble
for information. Some part of the engine was disabled, and it would
be necessary to replace, it before the "run" could proceed.
Lorry strolled up to the crowd of passengers who were watching the
engineer and fireman at work. A clear, musical voice, almost in his
ear, startled him, for he knew to whom it belonged. She addressed the
conductor, who, impatient and annoyed, stood immediately behind him.
"How long are we to be delayed?" she asked. Just two minutes
before this same conductor had responded most ungraciously to a
simple question Lorry had asked and had gone so far as to instruct
another inquisitive traveler to go to a warmer climate because he
persisted in asking for information which could not be given except by
a clairvoyant. But now he answered in most affable tones: "We'll be
here for thirty minutes, at least, Miss—perhaps longer." She walked
away, after thanking him, and Grenfall looked at his watch.
Off the main street of the town ran little lanes leading to the
mines below. They all ended at the edge of a steep declivity. There
was a drop of almost four hundred feet straight into the valley below.
Along the sides of this valley were the entrances to the mines.
Above, on the ledge, was the machinery for lifting the ore to the
high ground on which stood the town and railroad yards.
Down one of these streets walked the young lady, curiously
interested in all about her. She seemed glad to escape from the
train and its people, and she hurried along, the fresh spring wind
blowing her hair from beneath her cap, the ends of her long coat
Lorry stood on the platform watching her; then he lighted a
cigarette and followed. He had a vague feeling that she ought not to
be alone with all the workmen. She started to come back before he
reached her, however, and he turned again toward the station. Then he
heard a sudden whistle, and a minute later from the end of the street
he saw the train pulling out. Lorry had rather distinguished himself
in college as a runner, and instinctively he dashed up the street,
reaching the tracks just in time to catch the railing of the last
coach. But there he stopped and stood with thumping heart while the
coaches slid smoothly up the track, leaving him behind. He remembered
he was not the only one left, and he panted and smiled. It occurred
to him—when it was too late—that he might have got on the train and
pulled the rope or called the conductor, but that was out of the
question now. After all, it might not be such a merry game to stay in
that filthy little town; it did not follow that she would prove
A few moments later she appeared—wholly unconscious of what had
happened. A glance down the track and her face was the picture of
Then she saw him coming toward her with long strides, flushed and
excited. Regardless of appearances, conditions or consequences, she
hurried to meet him.
"Where is the train?" she gasped, as the distance between them
grew short, her blue eyes seeking his beseechingly, her hands
"It has gone."
"Gone? And we—we are left?"
He nodded, delighted by the word "we."
"The conductor said thirty minutes; it has been but twenty," she
cried, half tearfully, half angrily, looking at her watch. "Oh, what
shall I do?" she went on, distractedly. He had enjoyed the sweet,
despairing tones, but this last wail called for manly and instant
"Can we catch the train? We must! I will give one thousand
dollars. I must catch it." She had placed her gloved hand against a
telegraph pole to steady her trembling, but her face was resolute,
She was ordering him to obey as she would have commanded a slave.
In her voice there was authority, in her eye there was fear. She
could control the one but not the other.
"We cannot catch the flyer. I want to catch it as much as you
and"—here he straightened himself—"I would add a thousand to
yours." He hesitated a moment-thinking. "There is but one way, and
no time to lose."
With this he turned and ran rapidly toward the little depot and
II. TWO STRANGERS IN A COACH
Lorry wasted very little time. He dashed into the depot and up to
the operator's window.
"What's the nearest station east of here?"
"P——," leisurely answered the agent, in some surprise.
"How far is it?"
"Telegraph ahead and hold the train that just left here."
"The train don't stop there."
"It's got to stop there—or there'll be more trouble than this
road has had since it began business. The conductor pulled out and
left two of his passengers—gave out wrong information, and he'll have
to hold his train there or bring her back here. If you don't send
that order I'll report you as well as the conductor." Grenfall's
manner was commanding. The agent's impression was that he was
important that he had a right to give orders. But he hesitated.
"There's no way for you but to get to P—— anyway," he said,
while turning the matter over in his mind.
"You stop that train! I'll get there inside of twenty minutes.
Now, be quick! Wire them to hold her—or there'll be an order from
headquarters for some ninety-day lay-offs." The agent stared at him;
then turned to his instrument, and the message went forward. Lorry
rushed out. On the platform he nearly ran over the hurrying figure in
the tan coat.
"Pardon me. I'll explain things in a minute," he gasped, and
dashed away. Her troubled eyes blinked with astonishment.
At the end of the platform stood a mountain coach, along the sides
of which was printed in yellow letters: "Happy Springs." The driver
was climbing up to his seat and the cumbersome trap was empty.
"Want to make ten dollars?" cried Grenfall.
"What say?" demanded the driver, half falling to the ground.
"Get me to P—— inside of twenty minutes, and I'll give you ten
dollars. Hurry up! Answer!"
"Yes, but, you see, I'm hired to—"
"Oh, that's all right! You'll never make money easier. Can you
get us there in twenty minutes?"
"It's four mile, pardner, and not very good road, either. Pile
in, and we'll make it er kill old Hip and Jim. Miss the train?"
"Get yourself ready for a race with an express train and don't ask
questions. Kill 'em both if you have to. I'll be back in a second!"
Back to the station he tore. She was standing near the door,
looking up the track miserably. Already night was falling. Men were
lighting the switch lanterns and the mountains were turning into great
"Come quickly; I have a wagon out here."
Resistlessly she was hurried along and fairly shoved through the
open door of the odd-looking coach. He was beside her on the seat in
an instant, and her bewildered ears heard him say:
"Drive like the very deuce!" Then the door slammed, the driver
clattered up to his seat, and the horses were off with a rush.
"Where are we going?" she demanded, sitting very straight and
"After that train—I'll tell you all about it when I get my
breath. This is to be the quickest escape from a dilemma on
record—providing it is an escape." By this time they were bumping
along the flinty road at a lively rate, jolting about on the seat in a
most disconcerting manner. After a few long, deep breaths he told her
how the ride in the Springs hack had been conceived and of the
arrangement he had made with the despatcher. He furthermore acquainted
her with the cause of his being left when he might have caught the
"Just as I reached the track, out of breath but rejoicing, I
remembered having seen you on that side street, and knew that you
would be left. It would have been heartless to leave you here
without protection, so I felt it my duty to let the train go and help
you out of a very ugly predicament."
"How can I ever repay you?" she murmured. "It was so good and so
thoughtful of you. Oh, I should have died had I been left here
alone. Do you not think my uncle will miss me and have the train
sent back?" she went on sagely.
"That's so!" he exclaimed, somewhat disconcerted. "But I don't
know, either. He may not miss you for a long time, thinking you are
in some other car, you know. That could easily happen," triumphantly.
"Can this man get us to the next station in time?" she questioned,
looking at the black mountains and the dense foliage. It was now quite
"If he doesn't bump us to death before we get half way there. He's
driving like the wind."
"You must let me pay half his bill," she said, decidedly, from the
dark corner in which she was huddling.
He could find no response to this peremptory request.
"The road is growing rougher. If you will allow me to make a
suggestion, I think you will see its wisdom. You can escape a great
deal of ugly jostling if you will take hold of my arm and cling to it
tightly. I will brace myself with this strap. I am sure it will save
you many hard bumps."
Without a word she moved to his side and wound her strong little
arm about his big one.
"I had thought of that," she said, simply. "Thank you." Then,
after a moment, while his heart thumped madly: "Had it occurred to
you that after you ran so hard you might have climbed aboard the train
and ordered the conductor to stop it for me?"
"I—I never thought of that?" he cried, confusedly.
"Please do not think me ungrateful. You have been very good to
me, a stranger. One often thinks afterward of things one might have
done, don't you know? You did the noblest when you inconvenienced
yourself for me. What trouble I have made for you." She said this so
prettily that he came gaily from the despondency into which her
shrewdness, bordering on criticism, had thrown him. He knew perfectly
well that she was questioning his judgment and presence of mind, and,
the more he thought of it, the more transparent became the absurdity
of his action.
"It has been no trouble," he floundered "An adventure like this is
worth no end of—er—inconvenience, as you call it. I'm sure I must
have lost my head completely, and I am ashamed of myself. How much
anxiety I could have saved you had I been possessed of an ounce of
"Hush! I will not allow you to say that. You would have me
appear ungrateful when I certainly am not. Ach, how he is driving!
Do you think it dangerous?" she cried, as the hack gave two or three
wild lurches, throwing him into the corner, and the girl half upon
"Not in the least," he gasped, the breath knocked out of his body.
Just the same, he was very much alarmed. It was as dark as pitch
outside and in, and he could not help wondering how near the edge of
the mountain side they were running. A false move of the flying
horses and they might go rolling to the bottom of the ravine, hundreds
of feet below. Still, he must not let her see his apprehension.
"This fellow is considered the best driver in the mountains," he
prevaricated. Just then he remembered having detected liquor on the
man's breath as he closed the door behind him. Perhaps he was
"Do you know him?" questioned the clear voice, her lips close to
his ear, her warm body pressing against his.
"Perfectly. He is no other than Lighthorse Jerry, the king of
stage drivers." In the darkness he smiled to himself maliciously.
"Oh, then we need feel no alarm," she said, reassured, not knowing
that Jerry existed only in the yellow-backed novel her informant had
read when a boy.
There was such a roaring and clattering that conversation became
almost impossible. When either spoke it was with the mouth close to
the ear of the other. At such times Grenfall could feel her breath on
his cheek, Her sweet voice went tingling to his toes with every word
she uttered. He was in a daze, out of which sung the mad wish that he
might clasp her in his arms, kiss her, and then go tumbling down the
mountain. She trembled in the next fierce lurches, but gave forth no
complaint. He knew that she was in terror but too brave to murmur.
Unable to resist, he released the strap to which he had clung so
grimly, and placed his strong, firm hand encouragingly over the
little one that gripped his arm with the clutch of death. It was
very dark and very lonely, too!
"Oh!" she cried, as his hand clasped hers. "You must hold to the
"It is broken!" he lied, gladly, "There is no danger. See! My
hand does not tremble, does it? Be calm! It cannot be much
"Will it not be dreadful if the conductor refuses to stop?" she
cried, her hand resting calmly beneath its protector. He detected a
tone of security in her voice.
"But he will stop! Your uncle will see to that, even if the
"My uncle will kill him if he does not stop or come back for me,"
she said, complacently.
"I was mot wrong," thought Grenfall; "he looks like a duelist. Who
the devil are they, anyhow?" Then aloud: "At this rate we'd be able
to beat the train to Washington in a straight-away race. Isn't it a
delightfully wild ride?"
"I have acquired a great deal of knowledge in America, but this is
the first time I have heard your definition of delight. I agree that
it is wild."
For some moments there was silence in the noisy conveyance.
Outside, the crack of the driver's whip, his hoarse cries, and the
nerve-destroying crash of the wheels produced impressions of a mighty
storm rather than of peace and pleasure.
"I am curious to know where you obtained the coin you lost in the
car yesterday," she said at last, as if relieving her mind of a
question that had been long subdued.
"The one you so kindly found for me?" he asked, procrastinatingly.
"Yes. They are certainly rare in this country."
"I never saw a coin like it until after I had seen you," he
confessed. He felt her arm press his a, little tighter, and there
was a quick movement of her head which told him, dark as it was, that
she was trying to see his face and that her blue eyes were wide with
something more than terror.
"I do not understand," she exclaimed.
"I obtained the coin from a sleeping-car porter who said some one
gave it to him and told him to have a 'high time' with it," he
explained in her ear.
"He evidently did not care for the 'high time,'" she said, after a
moment. He would have given a fortune for one glimpse of her face at
"I think he said it would be necessary to go to Europe in order to
follow the injunction of the donor. As I am more likely to go to
Europe than he, I relieved him of the necessity and bought his right
to a 'high time.'"
There was a long pause, during which she attempted to withdraw
herself from his side, her little fingers struggling timidly beneath
the big ones.
"Are you a collector of coins?" she asked at length, a perceptible
coldness in her voice.
"No. I am considered a dispenser of coins. Still, I rather like
the idea of possessing this queer bit of money as a pocket-piece. I
intend to keep it forever, and let it descend as an heirloom to the
generations that follow me," he said, laughingly. "Why are you so
curious about it?"
"Because it comes from the city and country in which I live," she
responded. "If you were in a land far from your own would you not be
interested in anything—even a coin—that reminded you of home?"
"Especially if I had not seen one of its kind since leaving home,"
he replied, insinuatingly.
"Oh, but I have seen many like it. In my purse there are several
at this minute."
"Isn't it strange that this particular coin should have reminded
you of home?"
"You have no right to question me, sir," she said, coldly, drawing
away, only to be lurched back again. In spite of herself she laughed
"I beg your pardon," he said, tantalizingly.
"When did he give it you?"
"The porter, sir."
"You have no right to question me," he said.
"Oh!" she gasped. "I did not mean to be inquisitive."
"But I grant the right. He gave it me inside of two hours after I
first entered the car."
"How do you know I got on at Denver?'
"Why, you passed me in the aisle with your luggage. Don't you
Did he remember! His heart almost turned over with the joy of
knowing that she had really noticed and remembered him. Involuntarily
his glad fingers closed down upon the gloved hand that lay beneath
"I believe I do remember, now that you speak of it," he said, in a
stifled voice. "You were standing at a window?"
"Yes; and I saw you kissing those ladies goodby, too. Was one of
them your wife, or were they all your sisters? I have wondered."
"They—they were—cousins," he informed her, confusedly, recalling
an incident that had been forgotten. He had kissed Mary Lyons and
Edna Burrage—but their brothers were present. "A foolish habit,
"I do not know. I have no grown cousins," she replied, demurely.
"You Americans have such funny customs, though. Where I live, no
gentleman would think of pressing a lady's hand until it pained her.
Is it necessary?" In the question there was a quiet dignity, half
submerged in scorn, so pointed, so unmistakable that he flushed,
turned cold with mortification, and hastily removed the amorous
"I crave your pardon. It is such a strain to hold myself and you
against the rolling of this wagon that I unconsciously gripped your
hand harder than I knew. You—you will not misunderstand my motive?"
he begged, fearful lest he had offended her by his ruthlessness.
"I could not misunderstand something that does not exist," she
said, simply, proudly.
"By Jove, she's beyond comparison!" he thought.
"You have explained, and I am sorry I spoke as I did. I shall not
again forget how much I owe you."
"Your indebtedness, if there be one, does not deprive you of the
liberty to speak to me as you will. You could not say anything
unjust without asking my forgiveness, and when you do that you more
than pay the debt. It is worth a great deal to me to hear you say
that you owe something to me, for I am only too glad to be your
creditor. If there is a debt, you shall never pay it; it is too
pleasant an account to be settled with 'you're welcome.' If you insist
that you owe much to me, I shall refuse to cancel the debt, and allow
it to draw interest forever."
"What a financier!" she cried. "That jest yeas worthy of a
courtier's deepest flattery. Let me say that I am proud to owe my
gratitude to you. You will not permit it to grow less."
"That was either irony or the prettiest speech a woman ever
uttered," he said, warmly. "I also am curious about something. You
were reading over my shoulder in the observation car—" "I was not!"
she exclaimed, indignantly. "How did you know that?" she
inconsistently went on.
"You forget the mirror in the opposite side of the car."
"Ach, now I am offended."
"With a poor old mirror? For shame! Yet, in the name of our
American glass industry, I ask your forgiveness. It shall not happen
again. You will admit that you were trying to read over my shoulder.
Thanks for that immutable nod. Well, I am curious to know what you
were so eager to read."
"Since you presume to believe the mirror instead of me, I will
tell you. There was a despatch on the first page that interested me
"I believe I thought as much at the time. Oh, confound this
road!" For half a mile or more the road had been fairly level, but,
as the ejaculation indicates, a rough place had been reached. He was
flung back in the corner violently, his head coming in contact with a
sharp projection of some kind. The pain was almost unbearable, but it
was eased by the fact that she had involuntarily thrown her arm across
his chest, her hand grasping his shoulder spasmodically.
"Oh, we shall be killed!" she half shrieked. "Can you not stop
him? This is madness—madness!"
"Pray be calm! I was to blame, for I had become careless. He is
earning his money, that's all. It was not stipulated in the contract
that he was to consider the comfort of his passengers." Grenfall could
feel himself turn pale as something warm began to trickle down his
neck. "Now tell me which despatch it was. I read all of them."
"You did? Of what interest could they have been?"
"Curiosity does not recognize reason."
"You read every one of them?"
"Then I shall grant you the right to guess which interested me the
most. You Americans delight in puzzles, I am told."
"Now, that is unfair."
"So it is. Did you read the despatch from Constantinople?" Her
arm fell to her side suddenly as if she had just realized its
"The one that told of the French ambassador's visit to the
"Concerning the small matter of a loan of some millions—yes.
Well, that was of interest to me inasmuch as the loan, if made, will
affect my country."
"Will you tell me what country you are from?"
"I am from Graustark."
"Yes; but I don't remember where that is."
"Is it possible that your American schools do not teach geography?
Ours tell us where the United States are located."
"I confess ignorance," he admitted.
"Then I shall insist that you study a map. Graustark is small,
but I am as proud of it as you are of this great broad country that
reaches from ocean to ocean. I can scarcely wait until I again see
our dear crags and valleys, our rivers and ever-blue skies, our plains
and our towns. I wonder if you worship your country as I love mine."
"From the tenor of your remarks, I judge that you have been away
from home for a long time," he volunteered.
"We have seen something of Asia, Australia, Mexico and the United
States since we left Edelweiss, six months ago. Now we are going
home—home!" She uttered the word so lovingly, so longingly, so
tenderly, that he envied the homeland.
There was a long break in the conversation, both evidently wrapped
in thought which could not be disturbed by the whirl of the coach. He
was wondering how he could give her up, now that she had been tossed
into his keeping so strangely. She was asking herself over and over
again how so thrilling an adventure would end.
They were sore and fatigued with the strain on nerve and flesh. It
was an experience never to be forgotten, this romantic race over the
wild mountain road, the result still in doubt. Ten minutes
ago—strangers; now—friends at least, neither knowing the other. She
was admiring him for his generalship, his wonderful energy; he was
blessing the fate that had come to his rescue when hope was almost
dead. He could scarcely realize that he was awake. Could it be
anything but a vivid fancy from which he was to awaken and find
himself alone in his berth, the buzzing, clacking carwheels piercing
his ears with sounds so unlike those that had been whispered into them
by a voice, sweet and maddening, from out the darkness of a dreamland
"Surely we must be almost at the end of this awful ride," she
moaned, yielding completely to the long suppressed alarm. "Every
bone in my body aches. What shall we do if they have not held the
"Send for an undertaker," he replied grimly, seeing policy in
jest. They were now ascending an incline, bumping over boulders,
hurtling through treacherous ruts and water-washed holes, rolling,
swinging, jerking, crashing. "You have been brave all along; don't
give up now. It is almost over. You'll soon be with your friends."
"How can I thank you"' she cried, gripping his arm once more.
Again his hand dropped upon hers and closed gently.
"I wish that I could do a thousand times as much for you," he
said, thrillingly, her disheveled hair touching his face so close
were his lips. "Ah, the lights of the town!" he cried an instant
He held her so that she could peer through the rattling glass
window. Close at hand, higher up the steep, many lights were
twinkling ling against tile blackness,
Almost before they realized how near they were to the lights, the
horses began to slacken their speed, a moment later coming to a
standstill. The awful ride was over.
"The train! the train!" she cried, in ecstacy. "Here, on the
other side. Thank heaven!"
He could not speak for the joyful pride that distended his heart
almost to bursting. The coach door flew open, and Light-horse Jerry
"Here y'are! I made her!"
"I should say you did!" exclaimed Grenfall, climbing out and
drawing her after him gently. "Here's your ten."
"I must send you something, too, my good fellow," cried the lady.
"What is your address—quick?"
"William Perkins, O——, West Virginny, ma'am."
Lorry was dragging her toward the cars as the driver completed the
sentence. Several persons were running down the platform, dimly
lighted from the string of car windows She found time to pant as they
"He was not Light-horse Jerry, at all!"
III. MISS GUGGENSLOCKER
He laughed, looking down into her serious upturned face. A brief
smile of understanding flitted across her lips as she broke away from
him and threw herself into the arms of tall, excited Uncle Caspar.
The conductor, several trainmen and a few eager passengers came up,
the former crusty and snappish.
"Well, get aboard!" he growled. "We can't wait all night."
The young lady looked up quickly, her sensitive face cringing
beneath the rough command. Lorry stepped instantly to the
conductor's side, shook his finger vigorously under his nose, and
exclaimed in no uncertain tones:
"Now, that's enough from you! If I hear another word out of you,
I'll make you sweat blood before tomorrow morning. Understand, my
"Aw, who are you?" demanded the conductor, belligerently.
"You'll learn that soon enough. After this you'll have sense
enough to find out whom you are talking to before you open that mouth
of yours. Not another word!" Mr. Grenfall Lorry was not president of
the road, nor was he in any way connected with it, but his well
assumed air of authority caused the trainman's ire to dissolve at
"Excuse me, sir. I've been worried to death on this run. I meant
no offence. That old gentleman has threatened to kill me. Just now he
took out his watch and said if I did not run back for his niece in two
minutes he'd call me out and run me through. I've been nearly crazy
here. For the life of me, I don't see how you happened to be—"
"Oh, that's all right. Let's be off," cried Lorry, who had fallen
some distance behind his late companion and her uncle. Hurrying after
them, he reached her side in time to assist her in mounting the car
"Thank you," smiling down upon him bewitchingly. At the top of
the steps she was met by her aunt, behind whom stood the anxious
man-servant and the maid. Into the coach she was drawn by the
relieved old lady, who was critically inspecting her personal
appearance when Lorry and the foreigner entered.
"Ach, it was so wild and exhilarating, Aunt Yvonne," the girl was
saying, her eyes sparkling. She stood straight and firm, her chin in
the air, her hands in those of her aunt. The little traveling cap was
on the side of her head, her hair was loose and very much awry,
strands straying here, curls blowing there in utter confusion. Lorry
fairly gasped with admiration for the loveliness that would not be
"We came like the wind! I shall never, never forge: it," she
"But how could you have remained there, child? Tell me how it
happened. We have been frantic," said her aunt, half in English,
half in German.
"Not now, dear Aunt Yvonne. See my hair! What a fright I must
be! Fortunate man, your hair cannot be so unruly as mine. Oh!" The
exclamation was one of alarm. In an instant she was at his side,
peering with terrified eyes at the bloodstains on his neck and face.
"It is blood! You are hurt! Uncle Caspar, Hedrick —quick! Attend
him! Come to my room at once. You are suffering. Minna, find
She dragged him to the door of her section before he could
interpose a remonstrance.
"It is nothing—a mere scratch. Bumped my head against the side
of the coach. Please don't worry about it; I can care for myself.
Really, it doesn't—"
"But it does! It has bled terribly. Sit there! Now, Hedrick,
Hedrick rushed off and was back in a moment with a basin of water,
a sponge and a towel, and before Grenfall fully knew what was
happening, the man-servant was bathing his head, the others looking on
anxiously, the young lady apprehensively, her hands clasped before her
as she bent over to inspect the wound above his ear.
"It is quite an ugly cut," said Uncle Caspar, critically. "Does
it pain you, sir?"
"Oh, not a great deal," answered Lorry, closing his eyes
comfortably. It was all very pleasant, he thought.
"Should it not have stitches, Uncle Caspar?" asked the sweet,
"I think not. The flow is staunched. If the gentleman will allow
Hedrick to trim the hair away for a plaster and then bandage it I
think the wound will give him no trouble." The old man spoke slowly
and in very good English.
"Really, Uncle, is it not serious?"
"No, no," interposed Grenfall Lorry. "I knew it was a trifle. You
cannot break an American's head. Let me go to my own section and I'll
be ready to present myself, as good as new, in ten minutes."
"You must let Hedrick bandage your head," she insisted. "Go with
Grenfall arose and started toward his section, followed by
"I trust you were not hurt during that reckless ride," he said,
more as a question, stopping in the aisle to look back at her.
"I should have been a mass of bruises, gashes and lumps had it not
been for one thing," she said, a faint flush coming to her cheek,
although her eyes looked unfalteringly into his. "Will you join us in
the dining car? I will have a place prepared for you at our table."
"Thank you. You are very good. I shall join you as soon as I am
"We are to be honored, sir," said the old gentleman, but in such a
way that Grenfall had a distinct feeling that it was he who was to be
honored. Aunt Yvonne smiled graciously, and he took his departure.
While Hedrick was dressing the jagged little cut, Grenfall
complacently surveyed the patient in the mirror opposite, and said to
himself a hundred times: "You lucky dog! It was worth forty gashes
like this. By Jove, she's divine!"
In a fever of eager haste he bathed and attired himself for
dinner, the imperturbable Hedrick assisting. One query filled the
American's mind: "I wonder if I am to sit beside her." And then: "I
have sat beside her! There can never again be such delight!"
It was seven o'clock before his rather unusual toilet was
completed. "See if they have gone to the diner, Hedrick," he said to
the man-servant, who departed ceremoniously.
"I don't know why he should be so damned polite," observed Lorry,
gazing wonderingly after him. "I'm not a king. That reminds me. I
must introduce myself. She doesn't know me from Adam."
Hedrick returned and announced that they had just gone to the
dining car and were awaiting him there. He hurried to the diner and
made his way to their table. Uncle Caspar and his niece were facing
him as he came up between the tables, and he saw, with no little
regret, that he was to sit beside the aunt—directly opposite the
girl, however. She smiled up at him as he stood before them, bowing.
He saw the expression of inquiry in those deep, liquid eyes of violet
as their gaze wandered over his hair.
"Your head? I see no bandage," she said, reproachfully.
"There is a small plaster and that is all. Only heroes may have
dangerous wounds," he said, laughingly.
"Is heroism in America measured by the number of stitches or the
size of the plaster?" she asked, pointedly. "In my country it is a
joy, and not a calamity. Wounds are the misfortune of valor. Pray, be
seated, Mr. Lorry is it not?" she said, pronouncing it quaintly.
He sat down rather suddenly on hearing her utter his name. How
had she learned it? Not a soul on the train knew it, he was sure.
"I am Caspar Guggenslocker. Permit me, Mr. Lorry, to present my
wife and my niece, Miss Guggenslocker," said the uncle, more
gracefully than he had ever heard such a thing uttered before.
In a daze, stunned by the name,—Guggenslocker, mystified over
their acquaintance with his own when he had been foiled at every fair
attempt to learn theirs, Lorry could only mumble his acknowledgments.
In all his life he had never lost command of himself as at this
moment. Guggenslocker! He could feel the dank sweat of
disappointment starting on his brow. A butcher,—a beer maker,—a
cobbler,—a gardener,—all synonyms of Guggenslocker. A sausage
manufacturer's niece—Miss Guggenslocker! He tried to glance
unconcernedly at her as he took up his napkin, but his eyes wavered
helplessly. She was looking serenely at him, yet he fancied he saw a
shadow of mockery in her blue eyes.
"If you were a novel writer, Mr. Lorry, what manner of heroine
would you choose?" she asked, with a smile so tantalizing that he
understood instinctively why she was reviving a topic once abandoned.
His confusion was increased. Her uncle and aunt were regarding him
calmly,—expectantly, he imagined.
"I—I have no ambition to be a novel writer," he said, "so I have
not made a study of heroines."
"But you would have an ideal," she persisted.
"I'm sure I—I don't—that is, she would not necessarily be a
heroine. Unless, of course, it would require heroism to pose as an
ideal for such a prosaic fellow as I."
"To begin with, you would call her Clarabel Montrose or something
equally as impossible. You know the name of a heroine in a novel
must be euphonious. That is an exacting rule. "It was an open
taunt, and he could see that she was enjoying his discomfiture. It
aroused his indignation and his wits.
"I would first give my hero a distinguished name. No matter what
the heroine's name might be—pretty or otherwise—I could easily
change it to his in the last chapter." She flushed beneath his now
bright, keen eyes and the ready, though unexpected retort. Uncle
Caspar placed his napkin to his lips and coughed. Aunt Yvonne
studiously inspected her bill of fare. "No matter what you call a
rose, it is always sweet," he added, meaningly.
At this she laughed good-naturedly. He marveled at her white
teeth and red lips. A rose, after all. Guggenslocker, rose; rose,
not Guggenslocker. No, no! A rose only! He fancied he caught a sly
look of triumph in her uncle's swift glance toward her. But Uncle
Caspar was not a rose—he was Guggenslocker. Guggenslocker—butcher!
Still, he did not look the part—no, indeed. That extraordinary man
a butcher, a gardener, a—and Aunt Yvonne? Yet they were
"Here is the waiter," the girl observed, to his relief. "I am
famished after my pleasant drive. It was so bracing, was it not Mr.
"Give me a mountain ride always as an appetizer," he said,
obligingly, and so ended the jest about a name.
The orders for the dinner were given and the quartette sat back in
their chairs to await the coming of the soup. Grenfall was still
wondering how she had learned his name, and was on the point of asking
several times during the conventional discussion of the weather, the
train and the mountains. He considerately refrained, however,
unwilling to embarrass her.
"Aunt Yvonne tells me she never expected to see me alive after the
station agent telegraphed that we were coming overland in that awful
old carriage. The agent at P—— says it is a dangerous road, at the
very edge of the mountain. He also increased the composure of my
uncle and aunt by telling them that a wagon rolled off yesterday,
killing a man, two women and two horses. Dear Aunt Yvonne, how
troubled you must have been."
"I'll confess there were times when I thought we were rolling down
the mountain," said Lorry, with a relieved shake of the head.
"Sometimes I thought we were soaring through space, whether upward
or downwards I could not tell. We never failed to come to earth,
though, did we?" she laughingly asked.
"Emphatically! Earth and a little grief," he said, putting his
hand to his head.
"Does it pain you?" she asked, quickly.
'Not in the least. I was merely feeling to see if the cut were
still there. Mr—Mr. Guggenslocker, did the conductor object to
holding the train?" he asked, remembering what the conductor had told
him of the old gentleman's actions.
"At first, but I soon convinced him that it should be held," said
the other, quietly.
"My husband spoke very harshly to the poor man," added Aunt
Yvonne. "But, I am afraid, Caspar, he did not understand a word you
said. You were very much excited." The sweet old lady's attempts at
English were much more laborious than her husband's.
"If he did not understand my English, he was very good at
guessing," said her husband, grimly.
"He told me you had threatened to call him out," ventured the
"Call him out? Ach, a railroad conductor!" exclaimed Uncle
Caspar, in fine scorn.
"Caspar, I heard you say that you would call him out," interposed
his wife, with reproving eyes.
"Ach, God! God! I have made a mistake! I see it all! It was
the other word I meant—down not out! I intended to call him down,
as you Americans say. I hope he will not think I challenged him." He
was very much perturbed.
"I think he was afraid you would," said Lorry.
"He should have no fear. I could not meet a railroad conductor.
Will you please tell him I could not so condescend? Besides, dueling
is murder in your country, I am told."
"It usually is, sir. Much more so than in Europe." The others
looked at him inquiringly. "I mean that in America when two men pull
their revolvers and go to shooting at each other, some one is
killed—frequently both. In Europe, as I understand it, a scratch
with a sword ends the combat."
"You have been misinformed," exclaimed Uncle Caspar, his eyebrows
"Why, Uncle Caspar has fought more duels than he can count," cried
the girl, proudly.
"And has he slain his man every time?" asked Grenfall, smilingly,
glancing from one to the other. Aunt Yvonne shot a reproving look at
the girl, whose face paled instantly, her eyes going quickly in
affright to the face of her uncle.
"God!" Lorry heard the old gentleman mutter. He was looking at
his bill of fare, but his eyes were fixed and staring. The card was
crumpling between the long, bony fingers. The American realized that
a forbidden topic had been touched upon.
"He has fought and he has slain," he thought as quick as a flash,
"He is no butcher, no gardener, no cobbler. That's certain!"
"Tell us, Uncle Caspar, what you said to the conductor," cried the
young lady, nervously.
"Tell them, Caspar, how alarmed we were," added soft-voiced Aunt
Yvonne. Grenfall was a silent, interested spectator. He somehow
felt as if a scene from some tragedy had been reproduced in that
briefest of moments. Calmly and composedly, a half smile now in his
face, the soldierly Caspar narrated the story of the train's run from
one station to the other.
"We did not miss you until we had almost reached the other
station. Then your Aunt Yvonne asked me where you had gone. I told
her I had not seen you, but went into the coach ahead to search. You
were not there. Then I went on to the dining car. Ach, you were not
there. In alarm I returned to our car. Your aunt and I looked
everywhere. You were not anywhere. I shall never forget your aunt's
face when she sank into a chair, nor shall I feel again so near like
dying as when she suggested that you might have fallen from the train.
I sent Hedrick ahead to summon the conductor, but he had hardly left
us when the engine whistled sharply and the train began to slow up in
a jerky fashion. We were very pale as we looked at each other, for
something told us that the stop was unusual. I rushed to the
platform meeting Hedrick, who was as much alarmed as I. He said the
train had been flagged, and that there must be something wrong. Your
aunt came out and told me that she had made a strange discovery."
Grenfall observed that he was addressing himself exclusively to
the young lady.
"She had found that the gentleman in the next section was also
missing. While we were standing there in doubt and perplexity, the
train came to a standstill, and soon there was shouting on the
outside. I climbed down from the car and saw that we were at a little
station. The conductor came running toward me excitedly.
"'Is the young lady in the car?' he asked.
"'No. For Heaven's sake, what have you heard?'I cried.
"'Then she has been left at O——,' he exclaimed, and used some
very extraordinary American words.
"I then informed him that he should run back for you, first
learning that you were alive and well. He said he would be damned if
he would—pardon the word, ladies. He was very angry, and said he
would give orders to go ahead, but I told him I would demand
restitution of his government. He laughed in my face, and then I
became shamelessly angry. I said to him:
"'Sir, I shall call you down—not out, as you have said—and I
shall run you through the mill.'
"That was good American talk, sir, was it not, Mr. Lorry? I
wanted him to understand me, so I tried to use your very best
language. Some gentlemen who are traveling on this train and some
very excellent ladies also joined in the demand that the train be
held. His despatch from O—— said that you, Mr. Lorry, insisted on
having it held for twenty minutes. The conductor insulted you, sir,
by saying that you had more—ah, what is it? —gall than any idiot he
had ever seen. When he said that, although I did not fully understand
that it was a reflection on you, so ignorant am I of your language, I
took occasion to tell him that you were a gentleman and a friend of
mine. He asked me your name, but, as I did not know it, I could only
tell him that he would learn it soon enough. Then he said something
which has puzzled me ever since. He told me to close my face. What
did he mean by that, Mr. Lorry?"
"Well, Mr. Guggenslocker, that means, in refined American, 'stop
talking,'" said Lorry, controlling a desire to shout.
"Ach, that accounts for his surprise when I talked louder and
faster than ever. I did not know what he meant. He said positively
he would not wait, but just then a second message came from the other
station. I did not know what it was then, but a gentleman told me
that it instructed him to hold the train if he wanted to hold his job.
Job is situation, is it not? Well, when he read that message he said
he would wait just twenty minutes. I asked him to tell me how you were
coming to us, but he refused to answer. Your aunt and I went at once
to the telegraph man and implored him to tell us the truth, and he
said you were coming in a carriage over a very dangerous road.
Imagine our feelings when he said some people had been killed
yesterday on that very road.
"He said you would have to drive like the—the very devil if you
got here in twenty minutes."
"We did, Uncle Caspar," interrupted Miss Guggenslocker, naively.
"Our driver followed Mr. Lorry's instructions."
Mr. Grenfall Lorry blushed and laughed awkwardly. He had been
admiring her eager face and expressive eyes during Uncle Caspar's
recital. How sweet her voice when it pronounced his name, how
charming the foreign flavor to the words.
"He would not have understood if I had said other things," he
"When your aunt and I returned to the train we saw the conductor
holding his watch. He said to me: 'In just three minutes we pull
out. If they are not here by that time they can get on the best they
know how. I've done all I can: I did not say a word, but went to my
section and had Hedrick get out my pistols. If the train left before
you arrived it would be without its conductor. In the meantime, your
Aunt Yvonne was pleading with the wretch. I hastened back to his side
with my pistols in my pocket. It was then that I told him to start
his train if he dared. That man will never know how close he was to
death. One minute passed, and he coolly announced that but one minute
was left. I had made up my mind to give him one of my pistols when
the time was up, and to tell him to defend himself. It was not to be
a duel, for there was nothing regular about it. It was only a
question as to whether the train should move. Then came the sound of
carriage wheels and galloping horses. Almost before we knew it you
were with us. I am so happy that you were not a minute later."
There was something so cool and grim in the quiet voice, something
so determined in those brilliant eyes, that Grenfall felt like looking
up the conductor to congratulate him. The dinner was served, and
while it was being discussed his fair companion of the drive
graphically described the experience of twenty strange minutes in a
shackle-down mountain coach. He was surprised to find that she
omitted no part, not even the hand clasp or the manner in which she
clung to him. His ears burned as he listened to this frank
confession, for he expected to hear words of disapproval from the
uncle and aunt. His astonishment was increased by their utter
disregard of these rather peculiar details. It was then that he
realized how trusting she had been, how serenely unconscious of his
tender and sudden passion. And had she told her relatives that she
had kissed him, he firmly believed they would have smiled approvingly.
Somehow the real flavor of romance was stricken from the ride by her
candid admissions. What he had considered a romantic treasure was
being calmly robbed of its glitter, leaving for his memory the blurr
of an adventure in which he had played the part of a gallant
gentleman and she a grateful lady. He was beginning to feel ashamed
of the conceit that had misled him. Down in his heart he was saying:
"I might have known it. I did know it. She is not like other women."
The perfect confidence that dwelt in the rapt faces of the others
forced into his wondering mind the impression that this girl could do
"And, Aunt Yvonne," she said, in conclusion, "the luck which you
say is mine as birthright asserted itself. I escaped unhurt, while
Mr. Lorry alone possesses the pain and unpleasantness of our ride."
"I possess neither," he objected. "The pain that you refer to is
"The pain that a man endures for a woman should always be a
pleasure," said Uncle Caspar smilingly.
"But it could not be a pleasure to him unless the woman considered
it a pain," reasoned Miss Guggenslocker. "He could not feel happy if
she did not respect the pain."
"And encourage it," supplemented Lorry, drily. "If you do not
remind me occasionally that I am hurt, Miss Guggenslocker, I am
liable to forget it." To himself he added: "I'll never learn how to
say it in one breath."
"If I were not so soon to part from you I should be your
physician, and, like all physicians, prolong your ailment
interminably," she said, prettily.
"To my deepest satisfaction," he said, warmly, not lightly. There
was nothing further from his mind than servile flattery, as his
rejoinder might imply. "Alas!" he went on, "we no sooner meet than we
part. May I ask when you are to sail?"
"On Thursday," replied Mr. Guggenslocker.
"On the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse," added his niece, a faraway
look coming into her eyes.
"We are to stop off one day, to-morrow, in Washington," said Aunt
Yvonne, and the jump that Lorry's heart gave was so mighty that he
was afraid they could see it in his face.
"My uncle has some business to transact in your city, Mr. Lorry.
We are to spend tomorrow there and Wednesday in New York. Then we
sail. Ach, how I long for Thursday!" His heart sank like lead to the
depths from which it had sprung. It required no effort on his part to
see that he was alone in his infatuation. Thursday was more to her
than his existence; she could forget him and think of Thursday, and
when she thought of Thursday, the future, he was but a thing of the
past, not even of the present.
"Have you always lived in Washington, Mr. Lorry?" asked Mrs.
"All my life," he replied wishing at that moment that he was
homeless and free to choose for himself.
"You Americans live in one city and then in another," she said.
"Now, in our country generation after generation lives and dies in
one town. We are not migratory."
"Mr. Lorry has offended us by not knowing where Graustark is
located on the map," cried the young lady, and he could see the flash
of resentment in her eyes.
"Why, my dear sir, Graustark is in—"began Uncle Caspar, but she
checked him instantly.
"Uncle Caspar, you are not to tell him. I have recommended that
he study geography and discover us for himself. He should be ashamed
of his ignorance."
He was not ashamed, but he mentally vowed that before he was a day
older he would find Graustark on the map and would stock his negligent
brain with all that history and the encyclopedia had to say of the
unknown land. Her uncle laughed, and, to Lorry's disappointment,
obeyed the young lady's command.
"Shall I study the map of Europe, Asia or Africa?" asked he, and
"Study the map of the world," said Miss Guggenslocker, proudly.
"Edelweiss is the capital?"
"Yes, our home city,—the queen of the crags," cried she. "You
should see Edelweiss, Mr. Lorry. It is of the mountain, the plain
and the sky. There are homes in the valley, homes on the mountain
side and homes in the clouds."
"And yours? From what you say it must be above the clouds—in
"We are farthest from the clouds, for we live in the green valley,
shaded by the white topped mountains. We may, in Edelweiss, have what
climate we will. Doctors do not send us on long journeys for our
health. They tell us to move up or down the mountain. We have balmy
spring, glorious summer, refreshing autumn and chilly winter, just as
"Ideal! I think you must be pretty well toward the south. You
could not have July and January if you were far north."
"True; yet we have January in July. Study your map. We are
discernible to the naked eye," she said, half ironically.
"I care not if there are but three inhabitants Graustark, all
told, it is certainly worthy of a position on any map," said Lorry,
gallantly; and his listeners applauded with patriotic appreciation.
"By the way, Mr. Gug—Guggenslocker, you say the conductor asked you
for my name and you did not know it. May I ask how you learned it
later on?" His curiosity got the better of him, and his courage was
increased by the champagne the old gentleman had ordered.
"I did not know your name until my niece told it to me after your
arrival in the carriage," said Uncle Caspar.
"I don't remember giving it to Miss Guggenslocker at any time,"
"You were not my informant," she said, demurely.
"Surely you did not guess it."
"Oh, no, indeed. I am no mind reader."
"My own name was the last thing you could have read in my mind, in
that event, for I have not thought of it in three days."
She was sitting with her elbows on the table, her chin in her
hands, a dreamy look in her blue eyes.
"You say you obtained that coin from the porter on the Denver
"Within two hours after I got aboard."
"Well, that coin purchased your name for me," she said, calmly,
candidly. He gasped.
"You—you don't mean that you—" he stammered.
"You see, Mr. Lorry, I wanted to know the name of a man who came
nearest my ideal of what an American should be. As soon as I saw you
I knew that you were the American as I had grown to know him through
the books,—big, strong, bold and comely. That is why I bought your
name of the porter. I shall always say that I know the name of an
ideal American,—Grenfall Lorry."
The ideal American was not unmoved. He was in a fever of fear and
happiness,—fear because he thought she was jesting, happiness because
he hoped she was not. He laughed awkwardly, absolutely unable to
express himself in words. Her frank statement staggered him almost
beyond the power of recovery.
There was joy in the knowledge that she had been attracted to him
at first sight, but there was bitterness in the thought that he had
come to her notice as a sort of specimen, the name of which she had
sought as a botanist would look for the name of an unknown flower.
"I—I am honored," he at last managed to say, his eyes gleaming
with embarrassment. "I trust you have not found your first judgment
a faulty one." He felt very foolish after this flat remark.
"I have remembered your name," she said, graciously. His heart
"There are a great many better Americans than I," he said. "You
forget our president and our statesmen."
"I thought they were mere politicians."
Grenfall Lorry, idealized, retired to his berth that night, his
head whirling with the emotions inspired by this strange, beautiful
woman. How lovely, how charming, how naive, how queenly, how
indifferent, how warm, how cold—how everything that puzzled him was
she. His last waking thought was:
"Guggenslocker! An angel with a name like that!"
IV. THE INVITATION EXTENDED
They were called by the porter early the next morning. The train
was pulling into Washington, five hours late. Grenfall wondered, as
he dressed, whether fortune would permit him to see much of her during
her brief day in the capital. He dreamed of a drive over the avenues,
a trip to the monument, a visit to the halls of congress, an
inspection of public buildings, a dinner at his mother's home,
luncheon at the Ebbitt, and other attentions which might give to him
every moment of her day in Washington. But even as he dreamed, he was
certain that his hopes could not be gratified.
After the train had come to a standstill he could hear the rustle
of her garments in the next compartment. Then he heard her sweep
into the passage, greet her uncle and aunt, utter a few commands to
the maid, and, while he was adjusting his collar and necktie, pass
from the car. No man ever made quicker time in dressing than did
Lorry. She could hardly have believed him ideal had she seen his
scowling face or heard the words that hissed through his impatient
"She'll get away, and that'll be the end of it," he growled,
seizing his traps and rushing from the train two minutes after her
departure. The porter attempted to relieve him of his bags on the
platform, but he brushed him aside and was off toward the station.
"Nice time for you, to call a man, you idiot," was his parting
shot for the porter, forgetting of course, that the foreigners had
been called at the same time. With eyes intent on the crowd ahead, he
plunged along, seeing nobody in his disappointed flight. "I'll never
forgive myself if I miss her," he was wailing to himself. She was not
to be seen in the waiting. rooms, so he rushed to the sidewalk.
"Go to the devil—yes, here! Take these traps and these checks
and rush my stuff to No.—-, W—- Avenue. Trunks just in on B.O.,"
he cried, tossing his burdens to a transfer man and giving him the
checks so quickly that the fellow's sleepy eyes opened wider than they
had been for a month. Relieved of his impedimenta, he returned to the
"Good morning, Mr. Lorry. Are you in too much of a hurry to see
your friends?" cried a clear, musical voice, and he stopped as if
shot. The anxious frown flew from his brow and was succeeded
instantaneously by a glad smile. He wheeled and beheld her, with
Aunt Yvonne, standing near the main entrance to the station. "Why,
good morning," he exclaimed, extending his hand gladly. To his
amazement she drew herself up haughtily and ignored the proffered
hand. Only for a brief second did this strange and uncalled—for
hauteur obtain. A bright smile swept over her face, and her repentant
fingers sought his timidly, even awkwardly. Something told him that
she was not accustomed to handshaking; that same something impelled
him to bend low and touch the gloved fingers with his lips. He
straightened, with face flushed, half fearful lest his act had been
observed by curious loungers, and he had taken a liberty in a public
place which could not be condoned. But she smiled serenely,
approvingly. There was not the faintest sign of embarrassment or
confusion in the lovely face. Any other girl in the world, he
thought, would have jerked her hand away and giggled furiously. Aunt
Yvonne inclined her head slightly, but did not proffer her hand. He
wisely refrained from extending his own. "I thought you had left the
station," he said.
"We are waiting for Uncle Caspar, who is giving Hedrick
instructions. Hedrick, you know, is to go on to New York with our
boxes. He will have them aboard ship when we arrive there. All that
we have with us is hand luggage. We leave Washington to-night."
"I had hoped you might stay over for a few days."
"It is urgent business that compels us to leave so hastily, Mr.
Lorry. Of all the cities in the world, I have most desired to see
the capital of your country. Perhaps I may return some day. But do
not let us detain you, if you are in a hurry."
He started, looked guilty, stammered something about baggage, said
he would return in a moment, and rushed aimlessly away, his ears
"I'm all kinds of a fool," he muttered, as he raced around the
baggage-room and then back to where he had left the two ladies. Mr.
Guggenslocker had joined them and they were preparing to depart. Miss
Guggenslocker's face expressed pleasure at seeing him.
"We thought you would never return, so long were you gone," she
cried, gaily. He had been gone just two minutes by the watch! The
old gentleman greeted him warmly, and Lorry asked them to what hotel
they were going. On being informed that they expected to spend the
day at the Ebbitt, he volunteered to accompany them, saying that he
intended to breakfast there. Quicker than a flash a glance,
unfathomable as it was brief, passed between the three, not quickly
enough, however, to escape his keen, watchful eyes, on the alert since
the beginning of his acquaintance with them, in conjunction with his
ears, to catch something that might satisfy, in a measure, his burning
curiosity. What was the meaning of that glance? It half angered him,
for in it he thought he could distinguish annoyance, apprehension,
dismay or something equally disquieting. Before he could stiffen his
long frame and give vent to the dignified reconsideration that flew to
his mind, the young lady dispelled all pain and displeasure, sending
him into raptures, by saying:
"How good of you! We shall be so delighted to have you breakfast
with us, Mr. Lorry, if it is convenient for you. You can talk to us
of your wonderful city. Now, say that you will be good to us; stay
your hunger and neglect your personal affairs long enough to give us
these early morning hours. I am sure we cannot trouble you much
He expostulated gallantly and delightedly, and then hurried forth
to call a cab. At eight o'clock he breakfasted with them, his
infatuation growing deeper and stronger as he sat for the hour
beneath the spell of those eyes, the glorious face, the sweet,
imperial air that was a part of her, strange and unaffected. As they
were leaving the dining-room he asked her if she would not drive with
His ardent gallantry met with a surprising rebuke. The
conversation up to that moment had been bright and cheery, her face
had been the constant reflector of his own good spirits, and he had
every reason in the world to feel that his suggestion would be
received with pleasure. It was a shock to him, therefore, to see the
friendly smile fade from her eyes and a disdainful gleam succeed it.
Her voice, a moment ago sweet and affable, changed its tone instantly
to one so proud and arrogant that he could scarcely believe his ears.
"I shall be engaged during the entire day, Mr. Lorry," she said,
slowly, looking him fairly in the eyes with cruel positiveness. Those
eyes of his were wide with surprise and the glowing gleam of injured
pride. His lips closed tightly; little red spots flew to his cheeks
and then disappeared, leaving his face white and cold; his heart
throbbed painfully with the mingled emotions of shame and anger. For
a moment he dared not speak.
"I have reason to feel thankful that you are to be engaged," he
said at last, calmly, without taking his eyes from hers. "I am
forced to believe, much to my regret, that I have offended when I
intended to please. You will pardon my temerity."
There was no mistaking the resentment in his voice or the glitter
in his eyes. Impulsively her little hand was stretched forth,
falling upon his arm, while into her eyes came again the soft glow
and to her lips the most pathetic, appealing smile, the forerunner of
a pretty plea for forgiveness. The change startled and puzzled him
more than ever. In one moment she was unreasonably rude and
imperious, in the next gracious and imploring.
"Forgive me," she cried, the blue eyes battling bravely against
the steel in the grey ones above. "I was so uncivil! Perhaps I
cannot make you understand why I spoke as I did, but, let me say, I
richly deserved the rebuke. Pray forgive me and forget that I have
been disagreeable. Do not ask me to tell you why I was so rude to you
just now, but overlook my unkind treatment of your invitation.
Please, Mr. Lorry, I beg of you—I beg for the first time in my life.
You have been so good to me; be good to me still."
His wrath melted away like snow before the sunshine. How could he
resist such an appeal? "I beg for the first time in my life," whirled
in his brain. What did she mean by that?
"I absolve the penitent," he said, gravely.
"I thank you. You are still my ideal American—courteous, bold
and gentle. I do not wonder that Americans can be masterful men. And
now I thank you for your invitation, and ask you to let me withdraw my
implied refusal. If you will take me for the drive, I shall be
delighted and more than grateful."
"You make me happy again," he said, softly, as they drew near the
elder members of the party, who had paused to wait for them. "I
shall ask your uncle and aunt to accompany us."
"Uncle Caspar will be busy all day, but I am sure my aunt will be
charmed. Aunt Yvonne, Mr. Lorry has asked us to drive with him over
the city, and I have accepted for you. When are we to start, Mr.
Mr. and Mrs. Guggenslocker stared in a bewildered sort of manner
at their niece. Then Aunt Yvonne turned questioning eyes toward her
husband, who promptly bowed low before the tall American and said:
"Your kind offices shall never be forgotten, sir. When are the
ladies to be ready?"
Lorry was weighing in his mind the advisability of asking them to
dine in the evening with his mother, but two objections presented
themselves readily. First, he was afraid of this perverse maid;
second, he had not seen his mother. In fact, he did not know that
she was in town.
"At two o'clock, I fancy. That will give us the afternoon. You
leave at nine to-night, do you not?"
"Yes. And will you dine with us this evening?" Her invitation
was so unexpected, in view of all that had happened, that he looked
askance. "Ach, you must not treat my invitation as I did yours!" she
cried, merrily, although he could detect the blush that returns with
the recollection of a reprimand. "You should profit by what I have
been taught." The girl abruptly threw her arm about her aunt and
cried, as she drew away in the direction of her room: "At two, then,
and at dinner this evening. I bid you good morning, Mr. Lorry."
The young man, delighted with the turn of affairs, but dismayed by
what seemed a summary dismissal, bowed low. He waited until the
strange trio entered the elevator and then sauntered downstairs, his
hands in his pockets, his heart as light as air. Unconsciously he
jingled the coins. A broad smile came over his face as he drew forth
a certain piece. Holding it between his thumb and forefinger he said:
"You are what it cost her to learn my name, are you? Well, my
good fellow, you may be very small, but you bought something that
looks better than Guggenslocker on a hotel register. Your mistress
is an odd bit of humanity, a most whimsical bit, I must say. First,
she's no and then she's yes. You're lucky, my coin, to have fallen
into the custody of one who will not give you over to the mercy of
strangers for the sake of a whim. You are now retired on a pension,
well deserved after valiant service in the cause of a most capricious
In an hour he was at home and relating to his mother the story of
his wanderings, neglecting, for reasons best known to himself, the
events which occurred after Denver had been left behind, except for a
casual allusion to "a party of foreigners." At one o'clock,
faultlessly attired, he descended to the brougham, telling Mrs. Lorry
that he had invited some strangers to see the city. On the way
downtown he remembered that he was in business, the law business—and
that it would be well to drop in and let his uncle know he was in the
city. On second thought, however, he concluded it was too near two
o'clock to waste any time on business, so the office did not know that
he was in town until the next day, and then to no great extent.
For several hours he reveled in her society, sitting beside her in
that roomy brougham, Aunt Yvonne opposite, explaining to her the many
places of interest as they passed. They entered the Capitol; they saw
the White House, and, as they were driving back to the hotel, passed
the President of the United States.
Miss Guggenslocker, when informed that the President's carriage
was approaching, relaxed gracefully from the stately reserve that had
been puzzling him, and revealed an eager curiosity. Her eyes fastened
themselves upon the President, Lorry finding entertainment in the
changes that came over her unconscious face. Instead of noting the
veneration he had expected, he was astonished and somewhat provoked to
see a slight curl of disgust at the corners of her mouth, a pronounced
disappointment in her eyes. Her face expressed ridicule, pure and
simple, and, he was shocked to observe, the exposure was unconscious,
"You do not like our ruler?" he said, as the carriage whirled by.
He was returning his hat to his head as he spoke.
"I cannot say. I do not know him," she replied, a tinge of
sarcasm in her voice. "You Americans have one consolation; when you
tire of a ruler you can put another in his place. Is it not wise to
do so quite often?"
"I don't think wise is the word. Expedient is better. I am to
infer that you have no politics."
"One house has ruled our land for centuries. Since I came to your
land I have not once seen a man wave his hat with mad adulation and
cry from his heart: 'Long live the President!' For centuries, in my
country, every child has been born with the words: 'Long live the
Prince!' in his heart, and he learns to say them next after the dear
parental words are mastered. 'Long live the Prince!' 'Long live the
Princess!' are tributes of love and honor that greet our rulers from
birth to death. We are not fickle, and we have no politics."
"Do your rulers hear tin horns, brass bands, campaign yells,
firecrackers and stump speeches every four years? Do they know what
it means to be the voluntary choice of a whole nation? Do they know
what it is to rule because they have won the right and not because
they were born to it? Has there ever been a homage-surfeited ruler in
your land who has known the joy that comes with the knowledge that he
has earned the right to be cheered from one end of the country to the
other? Is there not a difference between your hereditary 'Long live
the Prince' and our wild, enthusiastic, spontaneous 'Hurrah for
Cleveland!' Miss Guggenslocker? All men are equal at the beginning in
our land. The man who wins the highest gift that can be bestowed by
seventy millions of people is the man who had brains and not title as
a birthright." He was a bit exasperated.
"There! I have displeased you again. You must pardon my
antiquated ideas. We, as true and loyal subjects of a good
sovereign, cannot forget that our rulers are born, not made. Perhaps
we are afflicted at times with brainless monarchs and are to be
pitied. You are generous in your selection of potentates, be
generous, then, with me, a benighted royalist, who craves leniency of
one who may some day be President of the United States."
"Granted, without discussion. As possible, though not probable,
President of the United States, I am magnanimous to an unfortunate
who can never hope to be princess, no matter how well she might grace
the gilded throne."
She greeted this glowing remark with a smile so intoxicating that
he felt himself the most favored of men. He saw that smile in his
mind's eye for months afterward, that maddening sparkle of joy, which
flashed from her eyes to the very bottom of his heart, there to
snuggle forever with Memory's most priceless treasures. Their dinner
was but one more phase of this fascinating dream. More than once he
feared that he was about to awake to find bleak unhappiness where
exquisite joy had reigned so gloriously. As it drew to an end a sense
of depression came over him. An hour at most was all that he could
have with her. Nine o'clock was drawing nigh with its regrets, its
longings, its desolation. He determined to retain the pleasures of
the present until, amid the clanging of bells and the roll of car
wheels, the dismal future began. His intention to accompany them to
the station was expressed as they were leaving the table. She had
begun to say good-by to him when he interrupted, self-consciousness
forcing the words hurriedly and disjointedly from his lips:
"You will let me go to the station with you. I shall—er—deem it
She raised her eyebrows slightly, but thanked him and said she
would consider it an honor. His face grew hot and his heart cold
with the fancy that there was in her eyes a gleam which said: "I pity
you, poor fellow."
Notwithstanding his strange misgiving and the fact that his pride
had sustained quite a perceptible shock, he drove with them to the
station. They went to the sleeping car a few minutes before the time
set for the train's departure, and stood at the bottom of the steps,
uttering the good-bys, the God-speeds and the sincere hope that they
might meet again. Then came the sharp activity of the trainmen, the
hurry of belated passengers. He glanced soberly at his watch.
"It is nine o'clock. Perhaps you would better get aboard," he
said, and proceeded to assist Aunt Yvonne up the steps. She turned
and pressed his hand gently before passing into the car.
"Adieu, good friend. You have made it so very pleasant for us,"
she said, earnestly.
The tall, soldierly old gentleman was waiting to assist his niece
into the coach.
"Go first, Uncle Caspar," the girl made Lorry happy by saying. "I
can easily come up unaided."
"Or I can assist her," Lorry hastened to add, giving her a
grateful look which she could not misunderstand. The uncle shook
hands warmly with the young man and passed up the steps. She was
following when Lorry cried,
"Will you not allow me?"
She laughingly turned to him from the steps and stretched forth
"And now it is good-by forever. I am so sorry that I have not
seen more of you," she said. He took her hand and held it tightly
for a moment.
"I shall never forget the past few days," he said, a thrill in his
voice. "You have put something into my life that can never be taken
away. You will forget me before you are out of Washington, but I—I
shall always see you as you are now."
She drew her hand away gently, but did not take her eyes from his
"You are mistaken. Why should I forget you—ever? Are you not
the ideal American whose name I bought? I shall always remember you
as I saw you—at Denver."
"Not as I have been since?" he cried.
"Have you changed since first I saw you?" she asked, quaintly.
"I have, indeed, for you saw me before I saw you. I am glad I
have not changed for the worse in your eyes."
"As I first knew you with my eyes I will say that they are
trustworthy," she said tantalizingly.
"I do not mean that I have changed externally."
"In any other case my eyes would not serve," she cried, with mock
disappointment. "Still," she added, sweepingly, "you are my ideal
American. Good-by! The man has called 'all aboard!'"
"Good-by!" he cried, swinging up on the narrow step beside her.
Again he clasped her hand as she drew back in surprise. "You are
going out of my land, but not out of my mind. If you wish your eyes
to see the change in me, you have only to look at them in a mirror.
They are the change—they themselves! Goodby! I hope that I may see
She hesitated an instant, her eyes wavering beneath his. The
train was moving slowly now.
"I pray that we may meet," she said, softly, at last,—so softly
that he barely heard the words. Had she uttered no sound he could
have been sure of her response, for it was in her telltale eyes. His
blood leaped madly. "You will be hurt if you wait till the train is
running at full speed," she cried, suddenly returning to the abandoned
merry mood. She pushed him gently in her excitement. "Don't you see
how rapidly we are moving? Please go!" There was a terror in her eyes
that pleased him.
"Good-by, then," he cried.
"Adieu, my American," she cried quickly.
As he swung out, ready to drop to the ground, she said, her eyes
sparkling with something that suggested mischief, her face more
bewitching than ever under the flicker of the great arc lights:
"You must come to Edelweiss to see me. I shall expect you!" He
thought there was a challenge in the tones. Or was it mockery?
"I will, by heaven, I will!" he exclaimed.
A startled expression flashed across her face, and her lips parted
as if in protestation. As she leaned forward, holding stoutly to the
hand-rail, there was no smile on her countenance.
A white hand fluttered before his eyes, and she was gone. He
stood, hat in hand, watching the two red lights at the end of the
train until they were lost in the night.
V. SENTIMENTAL EXCHANGE
If Lorry slept that night he was not aware of it. The next
morning, after he had breakfasted with his mother, he tried in vain
to recall a minute of the time between midnight and eight a.m. in
which he did not think of the young woman who had flown away with his
tranquillity. All night long he tossed and thought. He counted ten
thousand black sheep jumping over a pasture fence, but, after the task
was done and the sheep had scattered, he was as far from sleep as
ever. Her face was everywhere. Her voice filled his ear with music
never-ceasing, but it was not the lulling music that invites
drowsiness. He heard the clock strike the hours from one to eight,
when he arose, thoroughly disgusted with himself. Everything seemed
to taste bitter or to look blue. That breakfast was a great strain
on his natural politeness. He worshipped his mother, but in several
instances that morning he caught himself just in time to prevent the
utterance of some sharp rejoinder to her pleasant, motherly queries.
Twice she was compelled to repeat questions, his mind being so far
away that he heard nothing save words that another woman had uttered,
say twenty-four hours before. His eyes were red, and there was a
heavy droop to the lids; his tones were drawling and his voice
strangely without warmth; his face was white and tired.
"You are not well, Grenfall," his mother said, peering anxiously
into his eyes. "The trip has done you up. Now, you must take a
good, long rest and recover from your vacation."
He smiled grimly.
"A man never needs a rest so much as he does at the end of his
vacation, eh, mother? Well, work will be restful. I shall go to the
office this morning and do three days' work before night. That will
prove to you that I am perfectly well."
He made a pretence of reading the morning paper. There was
nothing to interest him on' those cold, commonplace pages, not one
thing—but wait! A thought struck him suddenly, and for ten minutes
he searched the columns assiduously, even nervously. Then he threw
down the paper with a sigh of relief.
There was nothing to indicate that her train had been wrecked. She
had undoubtedly reached New York in safety. He looked at his watch.
She was probably enjoying her breakfast at that very moment. Perhaps
she was thinking of him and—perhaps not. The memory of that last
tender hand clasp and the soft glow in her eyes stood like a wall
between the fear that she had forgotten and the certainty that she
remembered. Had not this memory kept him awake? That and the final,
mysterious emotion which had shown itself in her face as he had last
looked upon it? A thousand times had he pondered over that startled
look and the signs of agitation. Was it fear? Was it dismay? Was it
renunciation? Whatever it was, it sorely disturbed him; it had
partly undone the charm of the moment before—the charm that could
not and would not be gainsaid.
True to his intention, he went to the office early, virtuously
inclined to work. His uncle greeted him warmly and a long conference
over business affairs followed. To Lorry's annoyance and discomfiture
he found himself frequently inattentive. Several important cases were
pending, and in a day or two they were to go into court with a damage
suit of more than ordinary consequence. Lorry, senior, could not
repress his gratification over the return of his clever, active nephew
at such an opportune time. He had felt himself unable to handle the
case alone; the endurance of a young and vigorous mind was required
for the coming battle in chancery.
They lunched together, the elder eager and confidential, the other
respectful and—absent-minded. In the afternoon the junior went over
the case, and renewed search for authorities and opinions, fully
determined to be constant in spite of his inclination to be fickle.
Late in the day he petulantly threw aside the books, curtly informed
his astonished uncle that he was not feeling well, and left the
office. Until dinner time he played billiards atrociously at his
club; at dinner his mother sharply reproved him for flagrant
inattentions; after dinner he smoked and wondered despondently.
To-morrow she was to sail! If he could but see her once more!
At 7:30 his mother found him in the library, searching diligently
through the volume of the encyclopedia that contained the G's. When
she asked what he was looking for he laughed idiotically, and, in
confusion, informed her that he was trying to find the name of the
most important city in Indiana. She was glancing at the books in the
case when she was startled by hearing him utter an exclamation and
then lean to his feet.
"Half-past seven! I can make it!"
"What is the matter, Gren dear?"
"Oh!" he ejaculated, bringing himself up with a start. "I
forgot—er—yes, mother, I'll just have time to catch the train, you
know. Will you kindly have Mary clean up this muss of books and so
forth? I'm off, you see, to New York—for a day only, mother,—back
tomorrow! Important business—just remembered it, you know,—ahem!
Good-by, mother! Good-by!" he had kissed her and was in the hall
before she fairly understood what he was talking about. Then she ran
after him, gaining the hallway in time to see him pass through the
street door, his hat on the side of his head, his overcoat fluttering
furiously as he shoved his arms into the sleeves. The door slammed,
and he was off to New York.
The train was ready to pull out when he reached the station, and
it was only by a hard run that he caught the last platform, panting
but happy. just twenty-four hours before she had left Washington, and
it was right here that she had smiled and said she would expect him to
come to Edelweiss. He had had no time to secure a berth in the
sleeper, but was fortunately able to get one after taking the train.
Grenfall went to sleep feeling both disappointed and disgusted.
Disappointed because of his submission to sentiment; disgusted
because of the man who occupied the next section. A man who is in
love and in doubt has no patience with the prosaic wretch who can
sleep so audibly.
After a hasty breakfast in New York he telephoned to the steamship
company's pier and asked the time of sailing for the Kaiser Wilhelm.
On being informed that the ship was to cast off at her usual hour, he
straightway called a cab and was soon bowling along toward the busy
waterway. Directly he sat bolt upright, rigid and startled to find
himself more awakened to the realization of his absurd action. Again
it entered his infatuated head that he was performing the veriest
schoolboy trick in rushing to a steamship pier in the hope of catching
a final, and at best, unsatisfactory glimpse of a young woman who had
appealed to his sensitive admiration. A love-sick boy could be
excused for such a display of imbecility, but a man—a man of the
"The idea of chasing down to the water's edge to see that girl is
enough to make you ashamed of yourself for life, Grenfall Lorry," he
apostrophized. "It's worse than any lovesick fool ever dreamed of
doing. I am blushing, I'll be bound. The idiocy, the rank idiocy of
the thing! And suppose she should see me staring at her out there on
the pier? What would she think of me? I'll not go another foot! I
won't be a fool!"
He was excited and self-conscious and thoroughly ashamed of the
trip into which his impetuous adoration had driven him. Just as he
was tugging at the door in the effort to open it that he might order
the driver to take him back to the hotel, a sly tempter whispered
something in his ear; his fancy was caught, and he listened:
"Why not go down to the pier and look over the passenger list,
just to see if she has been booked safely? That would be perfectly
proper and sensible, and besides it will be a satisfaction to know
that she gets off all right. Certainly! There's nothing foolish in
that . . . . Especially as I am right on the way there . . . . And
as I have come so far . . . there's no sense in going back without
seeing whether she has secured passage . . . . I can find out in a
minute and then go home. There won't be anything wrong in that. And
then I may have a glimpse of her before the ship leaves the pier. She
must not see me, of course. Never! She'd laugh at me! How I'd hate
to see her laughing at me!" Then, sinking back again with a smile of
justification on his face, he muttered: "We won't turn back; we'll go
right ahead. We'll be a kind of a fool, but not so foolish as to
allow her to see us and recognize us as one."
Before long they arrived at the wharf, and he hurried to the
office near by. The clerk permitted him to look over the list. First
he ran through the first-class passengers, and was surprised to find
that there was no such name as Guggenslocker in the list. Then he
went over the second class, but still no Guggenslocker.
"Hasn't Mr. Guggenslocker taken passage?" he demanded, unwilling
to believe his eyes.
"Not on the Kaiser Wilhelm, sir."
"Then, by George, they'll miss the boat!" Lorry exclaimed. "Maybe
they'll be here in a few minutes."
"They can't get anything but steerage now, sir. Everything else
"Are you sure they haven't taken passage?" asked the bewildered
"You can see for yourself," answered the young man, curtly. Lorry
was again in a perspiration, this time the result of a vague, growing
suspicion that had forced itself into his mind. He wandered aimlessly
away, his brain a chaos of speculation. The suspicion to which he had
given countenance grew, and as it enlarged he suffered torment untold.
Gradually he came to the conclusion that she had fooled him, had lied
to him. She did not intend to sail on the Wilhelm, at all. It was
all very clear to him now, that strangeness in her manner, those odd
occasional smiles What was she? An adventuress! That sweet-faced
girl a little ordinary coquette, a liar? He turned cold with the
thought. Nor was she alone in her duplicity. Had not her uncle and
aunt been as ready to deceive him? Were they trying to throw him off
their track for some subtle purpose? Had they done something for
which they were compelled to fly the country as quickly as possible?
No! Not that! They certainly were not fleeing from justice. But
why were they not on board the Kaiser Wilhelm?
Suddenly he started as if he had been struck, and an involuntary
exclamation of pain and horror escaped his lips. Perhaps something
unforeseen had happened—an accident—illness—even death!
The clanging of bells broke upon his ears and he knew that the
great ship was about to depart. Mechanically, disconsolately he
walked out and paced the broad, crowded wharf. All was excitement.
There was the rush of people, the shouts, the cheers, the puffing of
tugs, the churning of water, and the Kaiser Wilhelm was off on its
long voyage. Half-heartedly, miserably and in a dazed condition he
found a place in the front row along the rail. There were tears in
his eyes, tears of anger, shame and mortification. She had played
Moodily he watched the crowd of voyagers hanging over the rails of
the moving leviathan of the deep. A faint smile of irony came to his
lips. This was the boat on which his heart was to have been freighted
from native shores. The craft was sailing, but it was not carrying
the cargo that he had, in very good faith, consigned to Graustark.
His heart was certainly not on board the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.
Gloomily his disappointed eyes swept along the rail of the big
steamer, half interested in spite of themselves. Twice they passed a
certain point on the forward deck, unconscious of a force that was
attracting them in that direction. The third time he allowed them to
settle for an instant on the group of faces and figures and then stray
off to other parts of the ship. Some strange power drew them again to
the forward deck, and this time he was startled into an intent stare.
Could he believe those eyes? Surely that was her figure at the
rail—there between the two young women who were waving their
handkerchiefs so frantically. His heart began to jump up and down,
wildly, doubtingly, impatiently. Why could not that face be turned
toward the wharf as the others were? There was the blue coat but not
the blue cap. A jaunty sailor hat sat where the never-to-be-forgotten
cap had perched. The change was slight, but it was sufficient to
throw him into the most feverish state of uncertainty. An insane
desire to shout a command to this strange young woman came over him.
The ship was slowly opening a gap between herself and the wharf,
and he knew that in a few moments recognition would be impossible.
Just as he was losing hope and was ready to groan with despair, the
face beneath the sailor hat was turned squarely in his direction. A
glaze obscured his eyes, a numbness attacked his brain. It was Miss
Why was her name omitted from the passenger list? That question
was the first to whirl through his addled brain. He forgot the
questionings, forgot everything a moment later, for, to his amazement
and delight and discomfiture, he saw that she was peering intently at
him. A pair of big glasses was leveled at him for a second and then
lowered. He plainly saw the smile on her face, and the fluttering
cambric in her hand. She had seen him, after all,—had caught him in
a silly exhibition of weakness. Her last impression of him, then, was
to be one of which he could not feel proud. While his heart burned
with shame, it could not have been suspected from the appearance of
his face. His eyes were dancing, his mouth was wide open with joy,
his lips were quivering with a suppressed shout, his cheeks were
flushed and his whole aspect bespoke ecstacy. He waved his hat and
then his handkerchief, obtaining from her vigorous and unrestrained
signs of approbation. Her face was wreathed in smiles as she leaned
far over the rail, the picture of animated pleasure.
Making sure that her uncle and aunt were not visible, he boldly
placed his fingers to his lips and wafted a kiss out over the water!
"Now she'll crush me," he cried to himself, regretting the rash
act and praying that she had not observed it.
Her handkerchief ceased fluttering in an instant, and, with
sinking heart, he realized that she had observed. There was a moment
of indecision on the part of the fair one going out to sea, and then
the little finger tips of both hands went to her lips and his kiss
came back to him!
The people near him were surprised to hear a wild yell from his
lips and then to see him wave his hat so madly that there was some
danger of its being knocked to pieces against the railing or upon the
persons of those who stood too close to escape the whirling
consequences. So unexpected had been her reception of what he
considered a calamitous indiscretion that he was to be pardoned for
the ebullition of relief and joy that followed. Had she drawn a
revolver and fired angrily at him he could not have been more
astounded. But, to actually throw a kiss to him—to meet his
imprudence in the same spirit that had inspired it! Too much to
believe! In the midst of his elation, however, there came a reminder
that she did not expect to see him again, that she was playing with
him, that it was a merry jest and not a heartache that filled her
bosom at the parting.
While he was still waving his handkerchief, debating savagely and
joyously the wisdom of the act, she became a part of the distant
color scheme; the blue figure faded and blended into the general tone
and could no longer be distinguished. She was gone, but she had
tossed him a kiss from lips that he should always see. As he turned
away from the water he found himself wondering if there had been tears
in her eyes, but the probability was so remote that he laughed
foolishly and aloud A couple of girls heard the laugh and giggled in
sympathy, but he turned a scowling face upon them and disappeared in
Uppermost in his bewildered mind was the question: Why is she not
in the passenger list? Acting on a sudden impulse, he again sought
out the clerk in charge and made a most thorough inspection. There
was no Guggenslocker among the names. As a last resort h asked:
"They could not have sailed under an assumed name, could they?"
"I can't say as to that. Where are they going?"
But the young man shook his head slowly, Lorry's shaking in
"Are you sure that you saw the young lady on board?"
"Well, rather!" exclaimed Lorry, emphatically.
"I was going to say there are a lot of Italian and German singers
on the ship, and you might have been mistaken. But since you are so
positive, it seems very strange that your friends are not on the
So Lorry went away discouraged and with a vague fear that she
might have been a prima donna whose real name was Guggenslocker but
whose stage name was something more euphonious. He instantly put away
the thought and the fear. She was certainly not an opera
singer—impossible! He drove back to his hotel, and made preparations
for his return to Washington. Glancing casually over the register he
came to the name that had been haunting him —Guggenslocker! There
were the names, "Caspar Guggenslocker and four, Graustark." Without
hesitation he began to question the clerk.
"They sailed on the Kaiser Wilhelm to-day;" said that worthy.
"That's all I know about them. They came yesterday and left to.
Mr. Grenfall Lorry returned to Washington as in a dream—a fairy
dream. The air of mystery that had grown from the first was now an
impenetrable wall, the top of which his curiosity could not scale.
Even his fancy, his imagination, served him not. There was but one
point on which he was satisfied: he was in love. His own condition
was no mystery.
Several weeks later he went to New York to question the Captain of
the Wilhelm, hoping to clear away the clouds satisfactorily. To his
amazement, the captain said there had been no Guggenslockers on board
nor had there been persons answering the description, so far as he
Through the long hot summer he worked, and worried, and wondered.
In the first, he did little that was satisfactory to himself or to
his uncle; in the second, he did so much that he was advised by his
physician to take a rest; in the last, he indulged himself so
extensively that it had become unbearable. He must know all about
her? But how?
The early months of autumn found him pale and tired and
indifferent alike to work and play. Ha found no pleasure in the
society that had known him as a lion. Women bored him; men annoyed
him; the play suffocated him; the tiresome club was ruining his
temper; the whole world was going wrong. The doctor told him he was
approaching nervous prostration; his mother's anxious eyes could no
longer be denied, so he realized grimly that there was but one course
left open to him.
He suggested it to the doctor, to his mother and to his uncle, and
they agreed with him. It involved Europe.
Having fully decided again to cross the sea, his spirits revived.
He became more cheerful, took an interest in things that were going
on, and, by the time the Kaiser Wilhelm sailed in September, was the
picture of health and life.
He was off for Edelweiss—to the strange Miss Guggenslocker who
had thrown him a kiss from the deck that sailing-day.
Two weeks later Grenfall Lorry was landed and enjoying the
sensations, the delights of that wonderful world called by the name
of Paris. The second day after his arrival he met a Harvard man of
his time on the street. Harry Anguish had been a pseudo art student
for two years. When at college he was a hail-fellow-well-met, a
leader in athletics and in matters upon which faculties frown. He and
Lorry were warm friends, although utterly unlike in temperament; to
know either of these men was to like him; between the two one found
all that was admirable and interesting in man. The faults and virtues
of each were along such different lines that they balanced perfectly
when lumped upon the scale of personal estimation. Their unexpected
meeting in Paris, was as exhilarating pleasure to both, and for the
next week or so they were inseparable. Together they sipped absinthe
at the cafes and strolled into the theaters, the opera, the dance
halls and the homes of some of Anguish's friends, French and
Lorry did not speak to his friend of Graustark until nearly two
weeks after his arrival in the city. He had discussed with himself
the advisability of revealing his plans to Anguish, fearing the
latter's ridicule with all the cowardice of a man who knows that
scoffing is, in a large measure, justifiable. Growing impatient to
begin the search for the unheard-of country, its capital and at least
one of its inhabitants, he was at last compelled to inform Anguish, to
a certain extent, of his plans for the future. He began by telling
him of his intention to take a run over toward Vienna, Buda-Pesth and
some of the Eastern cities, expecting to be gone a couple of months.
To his surprise and consternation, Anguish enthusiastically
volunteered to take the trip with him, having had the same project in
view for nearly a year.
There was nothing left for Lorry but to make a clean breast of it,
which he did shamefacedly, expecting the laughter and raillery of his
light-hearted friend as payment for his confidence. Instead, however,
Anguish, who possessed a lively and romantic nature, was charmed by
the story and proclaimed it to be the most delightful adventure that
had ever happened outside of a story-book.
"Tell me all about her," he urged, his eyes sparkling with boyish
enthusiasm. And Lorry proceeded to give him a personal description
of the mysterious beauty, introducing him, in the same manner, to the
distinguished uncle and aunt, adding all those details which had
confounded and upset him during his own investigations.
"This is rich!" exclaimed Anguish. "Beats any novel written, I
declare. Begad, old man, I don't blame you for hunting down this
wonderful bit of femininity. With a curiosity and an admiration that
had been sharpened so keenly as yours, I'd go to the end of the world
myself to have them satisfied."
"I may be able to satisfy but one—curiosity. And maybe not that.
But who knows of Graustark?"
"Don't give up before you've tried. If these people live in such a
place, why, it is to be found, of course. Any railroad guide-book
can locate this land of mystery. There are so many infernal little
kingdoms and principalities over here that it would take a lifetime to
get 'em all straightened out in one's head. To-morrow morning we will
go to one of the big railway-stations and make inquiries. We'll
locate Graustark and then we'll go over and pluck the flower that
grows there. All you need, my boy, is a manager. I'll do the
arranging, and your little act will be the plucking."
"Easier said than done."
"She threw a kiss to you, didn't she?"
"Certainly, but, confound it, that was because she never expected
to see me again."
"Same reason why you threw a kiss to her, I suppose?"
"I know why; I wasn't accountable."
"Well, if she did it any more wittingly than you did, she is
accountable, and I'd hunt her up and demand an explanation."
Lorry laughed at his apparent fervor, but was glad that he had
confided in his energetic countryman. Two heads were better than
one, and he was forced to admit to himself that he rather liked the
idea of company in the undertaking. Not that he expected to encounter
any particular difficulty, but that he saw a strange loneliness ahead.
Therefore he welcomed his friend's avowed intention to accompany him
to Edelweiss as a relief instead of an annoyance. Until late in the
night they discussed the coming trip, Anguish finally startling him
with a question, just as he was stretching himself preparatory to the
walk to his hotel.
"What are you going to do with her after you find her, Gren, old
Grenfall's brow puckered and he brought himself up with a jerk,
puzzled uncertainty expressing itself in his posture as well as in
"I'll think about that after I have found her," he replied.
"Think you'll marry her?" persisted the other.
"How do I knew?" exclaimed the woman hunter, savagely.
"Oh, of course you don't know—how could you?" apologized Anguish.
"Maybe she won't have you—maybe she is married—all sorts of
contingencies, you know. But, if you'll pardon my inquisitiveness,
I'd like to ask why you are making this wild goose chase half around
the world? just to have another look at her?"
"You asked me if I thought—" Here he stopped.
"I take it for granted, then, that you'd like to. Well, I'm glad
that I've got something definite on which to base operations. The one
object of our endeavors, from now on, is to exchange Guggenslocker for
Lorry—certainly no robbery. A charity, I should say. Good-night!
See you in the morning."
The next morning the two friends took a cab to several railway
stations and inquired about Graustark and Edelweiss.
"She was stringing you, old man," said Anguish, after they had
turned away from the third station. He spoke commiseratingly, as he
really felt sorry.
"No!" exclaimed Lorry. "She told me the truth. There is a
Graustark and she lives there. I'll stake my life on those eyes of
"Are you sure she said it was in Europe?" asked Harry, looking up
and down the street as if he would not have been surprised to see her
in Paris. In his heart he believed that she and her precious
relatives had deceived old Gren. Perhaps their home was in Paris,
and nowhere else. But for Lorry's positiveness he would have laughed
heartily at the other's simple credulity, or branded him a dolt, the
victim of some merry actress's whim. Still, he was forced to admit,
he was not in a position to see matters as they appeared, and was
charitable enough to bide his time and to humor the faith that was
leading them from place to place in the effort to find a land that
they knew nothing about. Lorry seemed so sure, so positive, that he
was loath to see his dream dispelled, his ideal shattered. There was
certainly no Graustark; neither had the Guggenslockers sailed on the
Wilhelm, all apparent evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Lorry
had been in a delirium and had imagined he saw her on the ship. If
there, why was not her name in the list? But that problem tortured
the sanguine searcher himself.
At last, in despair, after a fruitless search of two days, Lorry
was willing to submit. With the perverseness common to half-defeated
fighters, Anguish at once protested, forgetting that he had sought to
dissuade his friend the day before.
"We'll go to the library of Paris and take a look through the
books and maps," he said. "Or, better still, let us go to the post
office. There! Why have we not thought of that? What there is of
Graustark they'll know in the postal service."
Together they visited the chief post office, where, after being
directed to various deputies and clerks, they at length found the
department in which the information was obtainable. Inside of five
minutes they were in possession of facts that vindicated Miss
Guggenslocker, lifted Lorry to the seventh heaven, and put Mr. Anguish
into an agony of impatience. Graustark was a small principality away
off to the east, and Edelweiss was a city of some seventy-five
thousand inhabitants, according to the postal guide-book.
The Americans could learn no more there, so they went to
Baedecker's office. Here they found a great map, and, after a
diligent and almost microscopic search, succeeded in discovering the
principality of Graustark. Then they looked at each other in dismay.
"It's a devil of a distance to that little red blot on the map,"
mused Lorry, pulling his nose reflectively. "What an outlandish
place for a girl like her to live in," he continued. "And that
sweet-faced old lady and noble Uncle Caspar! Ye gods! one would
think barbarians existed there and not such people as the
Guggenslockers, refined, cultivated smart, rich. I'm more interested
than ever in the place."
"So am I! I'm willing and ready to make the trip, old man, if you
are still of a mind. It's a lark, and, besides, she may not be the
only pretty and gracious girl there. We've had bard work to find it
on the map, let's not stop till we see Edelweiss on the earth itself."
They made hasty preparations for the journey. Anguish, romantic
and full of adventure, advised the purchase of a pair of pistols and
a knife apiece, maintaining that, as they were going into an unknown
and mountainous region, they should be prepared for brigands and other
elements of danger. Lorry pooh-poohed the suggestion of brigands, but
indulged his mood by buying some ugly-looking revolvers and inviting
the prospect of something really thrilling in the way of an adventure.
With their traps they were soon whirling through France, bound for a
certain great city, on the road to Edelweiss, one filled with
excitement, eagerness and boyish zeal, the other harrassed by the
sombre fear that a grave disappointment was in store for him. Through
the glamour and the picturesqueness of the adventure there always
crept the unconquerable feeling that he was on a fool's errand, that
he was committing a deed so weak and brainless that it was sure to
make him a veritable laughing-stock when it became known. After all,
who was Miss Guggenslocker—brewer, baker, gardener or sausage-maker.
Traveling, of course, was pleasant at this time of the year, and
the two Americans saw much that interested them along the way. Their
French, especially Anguish's, was of great value to them, for they
found occasion to use it at all times and in all places. Both spoke
German fairly well, and took every opportunity to brush up in that
language, Lorry remembering that the Guggenslockers used many
expressions that showed a preference for the Teutonic. The blithe
Anguish, confident and in high feather, was heart and soul in the odd
expedition of love, and talked incessantly of their reception by the
far-away hostess, their impressions and the final result. His camera
and sketching materials were packed away with his traps. It was his
avowed intention to immortalize the trip by means of plate, palate and
At the end of two days they reached a certain large city,—the
first change, and then seven hundred miles to another. The distance
from this point to the capital of Graustark was two hundred miles or
more, chiefly through mountainous lands. Somewhat elated by the
cheerful information there received, they resumed the journey to
Edelweiss, the city of vale, slope and park,—summer, fall and winter.
Changing cars at the end of the second day out, they sat back in the
dusty seats of their carriage and sighed with relief.
"Unless we jump the track, this train will land us in the city we
are looking for," said Anguish, stretching out his legs comfortably.
"I'll admit it has been a tiresome journey, and I'll be glad when we
can step into a decent hotel, have a rub, and feel like white men once
more. I am beginning to feel like these dirty Slavs and Huns we saw
'way back there."
"There's one thing certain," said Lorry, looking out of the
window. "The people and the habitations are different and the whole
world seems changed since we left that station. Look at those fellows
on horseback over there."
"What did I tell you about brigands and robbers!" exclaimed
Anguish. "If those fellows are not bandits I'll lose faith in every
novel I ever read."
The train rolled slowly past three mounted men whose steeds stood
like statues upon a little knoll to the right of the track, men and
beasts engaged in silent contemplation of the cars. The men,
picturesquely attired and looking fierce, carrying long rifles,
certainly bore an aspect that suggested the brigand. When the guard
entered the carriage Anguish asked in German for some information
concerning the riders.
"Dey're frontier police-guards," responded the man in English,
smiling at their astonishment. Both Americans arose and shook hands
"By George, it's good to hear a man talk white man's language,"
"How do you come to be holding a job on this road? An
Englishman?" demanded Lorry. He looked anything but English.
"I'm not an Englishman," said the guard, flushing slightly. "My
name's Sitzky, and I'm an American, sir."
"An American!" exclaimed Lorry. Sitzky grew loquacious.
"Sure! I used to be a sailor on a United States man-o'war. A
couple of years ago I got into trouble down at Constantinople and had
to get out of de service. After dat I drifted up dis way and went to
railroadin'." He hadn't exactly the manner of a man-of. warsman.
"How long have you been on this road?" asked Grenfall.
"'Bout a year, I should t'ink. Been on dis branch only two
"Are you pretty well acquainted in Edelweiss?''
"Oh, I run in dere every other day—in an' out ag'in. It's a fine
place,—purtiest you ever saw in your life. The town runs right up
the mountain to the tip-top where the monks are—clear up in d'
clouds. Dey say it snows up dere almost all d' time."
Later on, from the loquacious guard, the two Americans learned
quite a good bit about the country and city to which they were going.
His knowledge was somewhat limited along certain lines, but quite
clear as to others.
'Dis Graustark, 's fer as I know, is eeder a sort o' state or
somet'ing belongin' to de Umpire, governed by it's own rulers.
Edelweiss is de capital, d' big guns of d' land lives dere. I've
walked out and saw d' castle where d' Princess and d' royalty hangs
out. D' people speak a language of deir own, and I can't get next to
a t'ink dey say. But once in a while you find some guy dat talks
French or German. Dey've got a little standin' army of two t'ree
t'ousand men an' dey've got de hottest uniforms you ever did see—red
an' black an' gold. I don't see why d' United Rates can't get up
somethin' foxy fer her soldiers to wear. Had a war over here not long
ago, I understand—somethin' like ten or fifteen years ago. Dere's
another little country up north of Graustark, and dey got in a wrangle
'bout somethin', and dey tell me in Edelweiss dat for 'bout a year dey
fought like Sam Patch."
"Which was victorious?" demanded Lorry, deeply interested.
"I'm not sure. To hear d' Edelweiss people talk you'd t'ink dey
licked d' daylights out of d' other slobs, but somehow I got next to
d' fact dat dem other fellows captured de city an' went after a
slashin' big war indemnity. I don't know much 'bout it, an' maybe I'm
clear off but I t'ink d' Graustark army was trashed. Every t'ing is
prosperous now, dough, an' you'd never know dere'd been a war. It's
d'most peaceable town I ever saw."
"Did you ever hear of the Guggenslockers?" asked the irrepressible
Anguish, and Lorry felt like kicking him.
"In Edelweiss? Never did. Friends of yours?"
"Acquaintances," interposed Lorry, hastily, frowning at Anguish.
"You won't have any trouble findin' 'em if dere anybody at all,"
said Sitzky, easily. "D' hotel people ought to be able to tell you
all 'bout 'em."
"By the way, what is the best hotel there?" asked Anguish.
"Dere's d' Burnowentz, one block north of d' depot." The travelers
looked at one another and smiled, Sitzky observing the action. "Oh,"
he said, pleasantly, "dere's a swell joint uptown called d' Regengetz.
It's too steep fer me, but maybe you gents can stand it. It you'll
hang around d' depot fer a little while after we get in I'll steer you
"We'll make it worth your while, Sitzky," said Lorry.
"Never mind dat, now. Americans ought to stick together, no
matter where dey are. We'll have a drink an' 'at's all, just to show
we're fellow countrymen."
"We'll have several drinks, and we'll eat and drink tonight at the
'swell joint' you talk about," said Anguish.
"We may drink dere, but I'll not eat dere. Dey wouldn't let a
railroad guard inside de feedin' pen. Why, nothin' but royal guys
eat dere when dey're down town shoppin' or exposin' demselves to
True to his word, when they reached Edelweiss late that afternoon
Sitzky, their friend of uncertain origin, hurriedly finished his work
and joined the travelers in the station. Lorry and Anguish were
deeply interested in all they saw, the strange people, the queer
buildings, the odd costumes and the air of antiquity that prevailed.
Once upon the narrow, clean street they saw that Edelweiss was truly
a city of the mountain-side. They had expected something wonderful,
but were not prepared for what they found. The city actually ran up
into the clouds. There was something so grand, so improbable, so
unusual in the spectacle confronting them that they stared like
children, aghast and stupefied. Each had the startling impression
that a great human-dotted mountain was falling over upon his head; it
was impossible to subdue the sensation of dizziness that the toppling
"I know how you feel," observed Sitzky, laughing. "I was just d'
same at first. Tomorrow you walk a little ways up d' side of d'
mountain an' you'll see how much of d' city dere is on level ground
down here. Dem buildings up dere ain't more'n one-fiftieth part of
d'town. Dey're mostly summer homes. It gets hot as blazes down here
in d' valley in d' middle of d' summer and d' rich ones move up d'
"How in thunder do people get up to those houses?" demanded
"Mules," answered Sitzky, specifically. "Say! See dat little old
feller comin' on horseback—wid d' white uniform? Well, dat's de
chief of police, an' d' fellers behind him are police guards. 'At's
old Dangloss himself. He's a peach, dey say."
A short, grizzly-faced man, attired in a white uniform with red
trimmings, followed by three men similarly garbed, rode by, going in
the direction of the passenger station. Dangloss, as Sitzky had
called him, was quite small in stature, rather stout, gray-bearded and
eagle-nosed. His face was keen and red, and not at all the kind to
invite familiarity. As he passed them the railroad guard of American
citizenship touched his cap and the two travelers bowed, whereupon the
chief of police gave them a most profound salutation, fairly sweeping
his saddleskirts with his white cap.
"Polite old codger," observed Anguish.
"His company manners. Just let him get you in d' sweatbox, if you
t'ink he's polite."
"Ever been there?"
"Well," a little confusedly, "I pasted a Graustark baggage-smasher
down in d' yards two weeks ago, an' dey had me up. I proved d' feller
insulted a lady, an' old Dangloss let me off, sayin' I'd ought to have
a medal. Dese guys are great on gallantry when ladies is concerned.
If it hadn't been fer dat, I'd be in d' lock-up now. An' say, you
ought to see d' lock-up! It's a tower, wid dungeons an' all dat sort
of t'ing. A man couldn't no more get out 'n' he could fly up to d'
monastery. Dey're great on law an' order here, too. D' Princess has
issued strictest kind of rules an' everybody has to live up to 'em
like as if dey was real gospel. I t'ought I'd put you next, gents,
so's you wouldn't be doin' anyt'ing crooked here."
"Thanks," said Lorry, drily. "We shall try to conduct ourselves
discreetly in the city."
Probably a quarter mile farther down the narrow, level street they
came to the bazaars, the gaudy stores, and then the hotel. It was
truly a hostelry to inspire respect and admiration in the mind of such
as Sitzky, for it was huge and well equipped with the modern
appointments. As soon as the two Americans had been given their
rooms, they sent for their luggage. Then they went out to the broad
piazza, with its columns and marble balustrades, and looked for
Sitzky, remembering their invitation to drink. The guard had refused
to enter the hotel with them, urging them to allow him to remain on
the piazza. He was not there when they returned, but they soon saw
him. On the sidewalk he was arguing with a white-uniformed police
guard, and they realized that he had been ejected from sacred
They promptly rescued him from the officer, who bowed and strode
away as soon as they interceded.
"Dese fellers is slick enough to see you are swells and I'm not,"
said Sitzky, not a bit annoyed by his encounter. "I'll bet my head
'at inside ten minutes old Dangloss will know who you are, where you
come from an' what you're doin' here."
"I'll bet fifty heads he won't find out what we're doing here,"
grinned Anguish, looking at Lorry. "Well, let's hunt up the thirst
They found the little apartment in which drinks were served at
tables, and before they said good-by to Sitzky in front of the hotel,
a half hour later, that worthy was in exceeding good humor and very
much flushed in the face. He said he would be back in two days, and
if they needed him for any purpose whatever, they could reach him by a
note at the railway station."
"Funny how you run across an American in every nook and corner of
the world," mused Lorry, as they watched the stocky ex-man-o'warsman
stroll off towards his hotel.
"If we can run across the Guggenslockers as easily, we'll be in
luck. When shall we begin the hunt? Tonight?"
"We can make a few inquiries concerning them. They certainly are
people of importance here."
"I don't see the name on any of the brewery signs around town,"
observed Anguish, consolingly. "There's evidently no Guggenslocker
They strolled through the streets near the hotel until after six
o'clock, wondering at the quaint architecture, the pretty gardens and
the pastoral atmosphere that enveloped the city. Everybody was busy,
contented, quiet and happy. There was no bustle or strife, no rush,
no beggars. At six they saw hundreds of workingmen on the streets,
going to their homes; shops were closed and there came to their ears
the distant boom of cannon, evidently fired from different points of
the compass and from the highland as well as the lowland.
"The toy army is shooting off the good-night guns," speculated
Anguish. "I suppose everybody goes to bed now.
"Or to dinner," substituted Lorry, and they returned to the
Regengetx. The dining hall was spacious and beautiful, a mixture of
the oriental and the mediaeval. It rapidly filled.
"Who the dickens can all these people be? They look well,"
Anguish whispered, as if he feared their nearest neighbors might
understand his English.
"They are unquestionably of the class in which we must expect to
find the Guggenslockers."
Before the meal was over the two strangers saw that they were
attracting a great deal of attention from the other guests of the
house. The women, as well as the men, were eyeing them and
commenting quite freely, it was easy to see. These two handsome,
smooth-faced young Americans were as men from another world, so
utterly unlike their companions were they in personal appearance.
They were taller, broader and more powerfully built than the
swarthy-faced men about them, and it was no wonder that the women
allowed admiration to show in their eyes. Toward the end of the
dinner several officers came in, and the Americans took particular
pains to study them. They were cleanly-built fellows, about medium
height, wiry and active. As a class, the men appeared to average five
feet seven inches in height, some a little taller, some a little
shorter. The two strangers were over six feet tall, broad-shouldered
and athletic. They looked like giants among these Graustark men.
"They're not very big, but they look as if they'd be nasty in a
scrap," observed Anguish, unconsciously throwing out his chest.
"Strong as wildcats, I'll wager. The women are perfect, though.
Have you ever seen a smarter set of women, Harry?"
"Never, never! A paradise of pretty women. I believe I'll take
out naturalization papers."
When the two strangers left the dining-room they were conscious
that every eye in the place was upon them. They drew themselves to
their full height and strode between the tables toward the door,
feeling that as they were on exhibition they ought to appear to the
best advantage. During the evening they heard frequent allusions to
"the Americans," but could not understand what was said. The hotel
men were more than obsequious; the military men and citizens were
exceedingly deferential; the women who strolled on the piazza or in
the great garden back of the hotel were discreetly curious.
"We seem to be the whole show here, Gren," said Anguish, as they
sat down at one of the tables in the garden.
"I guess Americans are rare."
"I've found one fellow who can speak German and French, and not
one, except our guard who can talk English. That clerk talks German
fairly well. I never heard such a language as these other people use.
Say, old man, we'd better make inquiry about our friends to-night.
That clerk probably won't be on duty to-morrow."
"We'll ask him before we go to bed," agreed Lorry, and upon
leaving the brilliantly lighted garden they sought the landlord and
asked if he could tell them where Caspar Guggenslocker lived. He
looked politely incredulous and thoughtful, and then, with profound
regret, assured them he had never heard the name. He said he had
lived in Edelweiss all his life, and knew everybody of consequence in
"Surely there must be such people here," cried Lorry, almost
appealingly. He felt disheartened and cheated. Anguish was biting
"Oh, possibly among the poorer classes. If I were you, sir, I
should call on Captain Dangloss, the Chief of Police. He knows every
soul in Edelweiss. I am positive I have never heard the name. You
will find the Captain at the Tower to-morrow morning."
The two Americans went to bed, one so dismayed by his
disappointment that he could not sleep for hours.
VII. THE LADY IN THE CARRIAGE
They slept rather late in the morning, first because they were
very much fatigued after their long journey, second for the reason
that they had been unable to woo slumber until long past midnight.
Anguish stretched himself lazily in bed when he heard Lorry's voice
from the adjoining room.
"I suppose we are to consult the police in order to get a clue to
your charmer," he yawned. "Nice friends you pickup on railway
journeys. I'd be ashamed."
"Well, Harry, I'll confess I'm disgusted. This has been the most
idiotic thing I've ever done, and if you say the word we'll get out of
here on the first train—freight or passenger. The
Guggenslockers—pigs!" Mr. Lorry was savage.
"Not a bit of it, my boy, not a bit of it. We'll make a
house-to-house canvass if the police fail us. Cheer up, cheer up!"
"You go to thunder!"
"Hold on! Don't talk like that, or I'll go back on you in a
minute. I'm here because I choose to be, and I've more heart in the
chase at this minute than you have. I've not lost hope, We'll find
the Guggenslockers if we have to hire detectives to trace 'em from the
United States to their very doorstep. We're going to see the police
After breakfast they did go to see the Baron Dangloss. After some
inquiry they found the gloomy, foreboding prison, and Mr. Anguish
boldly pounded on the huge gates. A little shutter flew open, and a
man's face appeared. Evidently he asked what was wanted, but he might
as, well have demanded their lives, so far were they from
understanding his query.
"Baron Dangloss?" asked Anguish, promptly. The man asked
something else, but as the Americans shook their heads deprecatingly,
he withdrew his face and presently swung open the gates. They entered
and he closed the doors behind them, locking them in. Then he
directed them across the court to an open door in the aged mass of
gray stone. As they strode away from the guard Lorry created
consternation by demanding:
"How are we to talk to the Chief if he doesn't understand us or we
him? We should lave brought an interpreter."
"I forgot about the confounded language. But if he's real he can
talk Irish." Lorry told him he wasn't funny.
"Is this His Excellency, Baron Dangloss?" asked Anguish, stepping
into a small room and stopping suddenly in the presence of the short,
fierce man they had seen the day before. The American spoke in
"It is, gentlemen. Of what service can I be to Messieurs Lorry
and Anguish?" responded the grim little Chief, politely rising from
beside his desk. The visitors looked at one another in surprise.
"If he knows our names on such short notice, he'll certainly know
the Guggenslockers," said Anguish to his friend, in English.
"Ah, you are looking for some one named Guggenslocker?" asked the
Chief, smiling broadly and speaking excellent English. "You must not
be surprised, gentlemen. I speak many languages. I heard last night
that you were inquiring about one Caspar Guggenslocker, and I have
racked my brain, searched my books, questioned my officers, and I am
sorry to inform you that there is no such person in Edelweiss."
"I was so well assured of it, Baron Dangloss," Lorry said.
"The name is totally unknown to me, sir. May I ask why you are
searching for him?"
"Certainly. I met Mr. Guggenslocker, his wife and his niece last
spring in the United States. They invited me to come and see them if
I ever happened to be in this part of the world. As my friend and I
were near here I undertook to avail myself of their invitation."
"And they said they lived in Edelweiss, Graustark?"
"They did, and I'll humbly confess I did not know much of the
principality of Graustark."
"That is certainly complimentary, but, then, we are a little out
of the beaten path, so it is pardonable. I was at first under the
impression that you were American detectives with extradition papers
for criminals bearing the name you mention."
"Oh!" gasped Anguish. "We couldn't find ourselves if we should be
The grizzly-bearded Captain laughed lightly with them, and then
asked Lorry if he would object to giving him the full story of his
acquaintanceship with the alleged Graustarkians. The bewildered and
disheartened American promptly told all he knew about them, omitting
certain tender details, of course. As he proceeded the Chief grew
more and more interested, and, when at last Lorry came to the
description of the strange trio, he gave a sudden start, exposed a
queer little smile for a second or so, and then was as sphynxlike as
before. The ever-vigilant Anguish observed the involuntary start and
smile, quick as the Chief had been to recover himself, and felt a
thrill of triumph. To his anger and impatience, however, the old
officer calmly shook his head at the end of the narrative, and
announced that he was as much in the dark as ever.
"Well, we'll search awhile for ourselves," declared Anguish,
stubbornly, not at all satisfied.
"You will be wasting your time," said the Chief, meaningly.
"We've plenty to waste," retorted the other.
After a few moments they departed, Baron Dangloss accompanying
them to the gate and assuring them that he and his men always would
be at their command. His nation admired the American people, he
"That old codger knows our people, and I'll bet a thousand on it,"
said Harry, angrily, when they had gone some little distance down the
street. Then he told of the queer exposure Dangloss had unwittingly
made. Lorry, more excited than he cared to show, agreed that there
was something very suspicious about this new discovery.
They walked about the quaint town for an hour or two, examining
the buildings, the people and the soldiery with deep interest. From
the head of the main street,—Castle Avenue,—they could plainly see
the royal palace, nearly a mile away. Its towers and turrets, gray
and gaunt, ran up among the green tree-tops and were outlined plainly
against the yellow hills. Countless houses studded the steep mountain
slope, and many people were discerned walking and riding along the
narrow, ledge-like streets which wound toward the summit, far up in
the clouds. Clearly and distinctly could be seen the grim monastery,
perched at the very pinnacle of the mountain, several miles away. Up
there it looked bleak and cold and uninviting, in great contrast to
the loveliness and warmth of the valley. Down below the grass was
moist and soft, trees were approaching the stage where yellow and red
tints mingle with the rich green, flowers were blooming, the land was
redolent of the sweet fragrance of autumn, the atmosphere warm, clear
and invigorating. It was paradise surmounted by desolation, drear and
Wherever the tall, distinguished Americans walked they formed the
center of observation, and were the cause of comment that bore
unmistakable signs of admiration. They bowed pleasantly to many of
those who passed them, and received in return gracious and profound
recognition. Military men saluted courteously; the women stared
modestly and prettily—perhaps covetously; the merchants and citizens
in general bowed and smiled a welcome that could not have been
heartier. The strangers remarked the absence of vehicles on the main
streets. There were pack mules and horses, human carriers—both male
and female—but during the entire morning they saw not more than six
or eight carriages. Vehicles were used solely by the quality and as a
means of transportation for their persons only. Everybody, with the
few exceptions mentioned, walked or rode horseback. The two friends
were delighted with the place, and Anguish advocated a sojourn of
several weeks, even though they did not find the Guggenslockers, his
object being to secure photographs and sketches of the picturesque
people and the strange scenery, and to idle away some hours upon the
glittering boulevards. Grenfall, since he was in the project so
deeply, was so nearly reconciled as to be exhilarated by the plan.
They decided to visit the royal grounds in the afternoon, providing
there was no prohibition, reserving a ride up the hill for the next
day. A gendarme who spoke German fairly well told them that they
could enter the palace park if they obtained a signed order from the
chief steward, who might be found at any time in his home near the
They were strolling leisurely toward the hotel, for the moment
forgetting their quest in this strange, sunny land, when they espied
a carriage, the most conspicuous of any they had seen. The white
horses were gaily caparisoned, the driver and the footman beside him
wore rich uniforms, the vehicle itself gleamed and glistened with gold
and silver trimmings. A short distance behind rode two young
soldiers, swords to their shoulders, scabbards clanking against their
stirrups. Each was attired in the tight red trousers, shiny boots,
close-fitting black coat with gilt trimmings, and the red cap which
the Americans had noted before because of its brilliancy. People
along the street were bowing deeply to the occupants, two ladies.
"Harry! Look!" exclaimed Lorry, clutching his friend's arm like a
vise. "There in the carriage—on this side!" His voice was hoarse
"Miss Gug—Guggenslocker?" cried Anguish.
"Yes! Yes!" They had stopped and Lorry was grasping a garden
wall with one hand.
"Then it's funny nobody knows the name here. She seems to be
someone of consequence. Good heaven, I don't blame you! She's the
By this time the carriage was almost opposite and within forty
feet of where they stood. The ladies, Miss Guggenslocker's companion
as young and almost as beautiful as herself had not observed the
agitated two, but Lorry's face was beaming, his hat was off, and he
was ready to spring to the carriage side at a moment's warning. Then
the young girl at the side of the woman whose beauty had drawn a man
half around the world saw the tall strangers, and called her
companion's attention to them. Once more Grenfall Lorry and Miss
Guggenslocker were looking into each other's eyes.
The lady started violently, her eyes grew wide, her lips parted,
and her body was bent forward eagerly, a little gloved hand grasping
the side of the open carriage. Her "ideal American" was bowing low,
as was the tall fellow at his side. When he looked up again his eyes
were glowing, his handsome face was flushed, and he saw her smile,
blush furiously and incline her head gravely. The carriage had swept
past, but she turned her head, and he detected an appealing glance in
her eyes, a perplexed wrinkle across her brow, both of which were
swept away an instant later by the most bewitching of smiles. Again
her head was inclined, this time a trifle more energetically, and
then the maddening face was turned from him. The equipage rolled
onward, and there was no effort on her part to check its progress.
The men were left standing alone and disappointed on the streets of
Edelweiss, the object of their search slipping away as soon as she had
been found. Her companion was amazed by the little scene, it was
evident, judging by the eager look on her face as she turned with a
question in her eyes.
"Turned down!" exclaimed the irrepressible Anguish, dolefully.
"That's pretty shabby treatment, old man. But she's quite worth the
"I'll not go back to America without her. Do you hear that, Harry
Anguish?" He was excited and trembling. "But why didn't she stop?"
he went on, dismally.
"Oh, you dear old fool!" said Anguish.
The two stood looking after the carriage until it turned into a
side street, half way down the shady stretch toward the castle. They
saw her companion glance back, but could not tell whether she did or
not. Lorry looked uneasily at Anguish, and the latter read his
"You are wondering about the Guggenslocker name, eh? I'll tell
you what I've worked out during the past two minutes. Her name is no
more Guggenslocker than mine is. She and the uncle used that name as
a blind. Mark my words, she's quality over here; that's all there is
about it. Now, we must find out just who she really is. Here comes a
smart-looking soldier chap. Let's ask him, providing we can make him
A young soldier approached, leisurely twirling a cane, for he was
without his side arms. Anguish accosted him in French and then in
German. He understood the latter and was very polite.
"Who was the young lady in the carriage that just passed?" asked
The face of the soldier flushed and then grew pale with anger.
"Hold on! I beg pardon, but we are strangers and don't quite
understand your ways. I can't see anything improper in asking such a
question," said Anguish, attempting to detain him. The young man
struck his hand from his arm and his eyes fairly blazed.
"You must learn our ways. We never pass comment on a lady. If
you do so in your land, I am sorry for your ladies. I refuse to be
questioned by you. Stand aside, fellow!"
Anguish stood aside in astonishment, and they watched the wrathful
gallant strut down the street, his back as stiff as a board.
"Damned touchy!" growled Anguish.
"You remember what Sitzky said about their respect for the weaker
sex. I guess we'd better keep off that tack or we'll hatch up a duel
or two. They seem to be fire-eaters. We must content ourselves witch
searching out her home and without assistance, too. I've cooled off a
bit, Harry, and, now that I've seen her, I'm willing to go slowly and
deliberately. Let's take our time and be perfectly cool. I am
beginning to agree with your incog. proposition. It's all clearing up
in my mind now. We'll go back to the hotel and get ready for the
visit to the palace grounds."
"Don't you intend to hunt her up? 'Gad, I wouldn't miss a minute
if I had a chance to be with a girl like that! And the other was no
scarecrow. She is rather a beauty, too. Greatest town for pretty
women I ever struck. Vienna is out of it entirely."
They strolled on to the hotel, discussing the encounter in all its
exhilarating details. Scarcely had they seated themselves on the
piazza, after partaking of a light luncheon, when a man came galloping
up to the walk in front of the hotel. Throwing his bridle rein to a
guard, he hastened to the piazza. His attire was that of a groom and
something about him reminded them of the footman who sat beside the
driver of the carriage they had seen a short time before. He came
straight to where the Americans sat smoking and, bowing low, held
before them an envelope. The address was "Grenfall Lorry Esq.," but
the man was in doubt as to which was he.
Lorry grasped the envelope, tore it open, and drew forth a
daintily written note. It read:
"My Dear Mr. Lorry:
"I was very much surprised to see you this morning—I may add that
I was delighted. If you will accompany this messenger when he calls
for you at three o'clock tomorrow afternoon, he will conduct you to my
home, where I shall truly be charmed to see you again. Will you bring
Lorry could have embraced the messenger. There was a suspicion of
breathlessness in his voice when he tried to say calmly to Harry:
"An invitation for to-morrow."
"I knew it would come that way."
"Also wants you to come."
"Sha'n't I be in the way?"
"Not at all, my boy. I'll accept for you. After this fellow
goes, I'll let you read the note. Wait until I write an answer."
Motioning for the man to remain, he hastened to his room, pulled
out some stationery, and feverishly wrote:
"My Dear Miss Guggenslocker:
"I shall be delighted to accompany your messenger to-morrow, and
my friend, Mr, Harry Anguish, will be with me. I have come half way
across the continent to see you, and I shall be repaid if I am with
you but for a moment. You will pardon me if I say that your name has
caused me despair. No one seems to have heard it here, and I was
beginning to lose hope. You may expect me at three, and I thank you
for the pleasure you bestow.
This note, part of which had been written with misgiving, he gave
to the messenger, who rode away quickly.
"She didn't wait long to write to you, I notice. Is it possible
she is suffering from the effects of those three days on the other
side of the Atlantic? Come to think of it, she blushed when she saw
you this morning," said Anguish. Lorry handed him her note, which he
read and then solemnly shook hands with its recipient.
"Congratulations. I am a very farsighted young man, having lived in
VIII. THE ABDUCTION OF A PRINCESSD
That afternoon they went to the palace grounds and inquired for
the chief steward. After a few moments they were shown to his office
in a small dwelling house just inside the gates. The steward was a
red-faced little man, pleasant and accommodating. He could speak
German—in fact, he was a German by birth—and they had no difficulty
in presenting their request. Mr. Fraasch—Jacob Fraasch—was at first
dubious, but their frank, eager faces soon gained for them his consent
to see that part of the great park open to the public. Beyond certain
lines they were not to trespass. Anguish asked how they could be
expected to distinguish these lines, being unacquainted, and the
steward grimly informed them that the members of the royal guard would
establish the lines so plainly that it would be quite clear.
He then wrote for them a pass to the grounds of the royal palace
of Graustark, affixing his seal. In giving this last to them he
found occasion to say that the princess had instructed him to extend
every courtesy possible to an American citizen. It was then that
Anguish asked if he might be permitted to use his camera. There was
an instant and emphatic refusal, and they were told that the pass
would be rescinded if they did not leave the camera outside the gates.
Reluctantly Anguish deposited his luckless box in the steward's
office, and they passed into the broad avenue which led towards the
A guard, who served also as a guide, stepped to their side before
they had taken ten paces. Where he came from they never knew, so
instantaneous was his appearance. He remained with them during the
two hours spent in the wonderful park.
The palace stood in the northwestern part of the grounds, possibly
a half mile from the base of the mountain. Its front faced the
mountain side. The visitors were not permitted to go closer than a
quarter of a mile from the structure, but attained a position from
which it could be seen in all its massive, ancient splendor. Anguish,
who had studied churches and old structures, painted the castles on
the Rhine, and was something of a connoisseur in architecture, was of
the opinion that it had been standing for more than five hundred
years. It was a vast, mediaeval mass of stone, covered with moss and
ivy, with towers, turrets and battlements. There had been a moat in
bygone days, but modern ideas had transformed the waterway into solid,
level ground. This they learned afterwards. Broad avenues
approached in several directions, the castle standing at the far side
of a wide circle or parade ground. The open space before the
balconies was fully three hundred yards square, and was paved. From
each side stretched the velvety green with its fountains, its trees,
its arbors, its flowers, its grottos and its red-legged soldiers.
The park was probably a mile square, and was surrounded by a high
wall, on the top of which were little guard-houses and several masked
cannon. In all their travels the Americans had not seen a more
delightful bit of artifice, and they wandered about with a serene
content that would have appealed to anyone but their voiceless guide.
He led them about the place, allowing them to form their own
conclusions, draw their own inferences and make their own
calculations. His only acts were to salute the guards who passed and
to present arms when he had conducted his charges to the edge of
forbidden territory. When they had completed their tour of inspection
their guide rapidly led the way to the wall that encircled the
grounds, reaching it at a point not far from the castle itself. Here
was situated another large gate, through which they did not pass.
Instead, they ascended some steps and came out upon the high wall.
The top of this wall was several feet wide, and walking was
comparatively safe. They soon understood the guide's design. The
object was to walk along this wall until they reached the main gate.
Why this peculiar course was to be taken they could not imagine at
first. Anguish's fertile brain came to the rescue. He saw a number
of women in a distant part of the grounds, and, remembering their
guide's haste in conducting them to the wall, rightly conjectured that
it was against custom for visitors to meet and gaze upon members of
the royal household. The men and women, none of whom could be plainly
distinguished from the far-away wall, were undoubtedly a part of the
castle's family, and were not to be subjected to the curious gaze of
sightseers. Perhaps Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Graustark,
was among them.
They reached the main gate and descended, Anguish securing his
camera, after which they thanked the steward and turned to fee the
guide. But he had disappeared as if the ground had swallowed him.
"Well, it's a fair Versailles," observed Anguish, as they walked
down the street, glancing back at the frowning wall.
"It all goes to make me wonder why in the name of heaven we have
never heard of this land of Graustark," said Lorry, still thinking of
the castle's grandeur.
"My boy, there are lots of things we don't know. We're too busy.
Don't you remember that but one-half the world knows how the other
half lives? I'll wager there are not twenty-five people in the United
States who know there is such a country as Graustark."
"I don't believe that a single soul over there has heard of the
place," vouchsafed Lorry, very truthfully.
"I'll accept the amendment," said Anguish. Then he proceeded to
take a snap-shot of the castle from the middle of the street. He also
secured a number of views of the mountain side, of some odd little
dwelling houses, and two or three interesting exposures of red-robed
children. Everybody, from the children up, wore loose robes, some
red, some black, some blue, but all in solid colors. Beneath these
robes were baggy trousers and blouses among the men, short skirts
among the women. All wore low boots and a sort of turban. These
costumes, of course, were confined to the native civilians. At the
hotel the garb of the aristocrats was vastly different. The women
were gowned after the latest Viennese patterns, and the men, except
those of the army, wore clothes almost as smart as those which covered
the Americans. Miss Guggenslocker—or whatever her name might
be—and her carriage companion were as exquisitely gowned as any
women to be seen on the boulevards or in Hyde Park of an afternoon.
It was late in the afternoon when they returned to the hotel.
After dinner, during which they were again objects of interest, they
strolled off towards the castle, smoking their cigars and enjoying the
glorious air. Being a stranger in a strange land, Lorry acted on the
romantic painter's advice and also stuck a revolver in his pocket. He
laughed at the suggestion tha there might be use for the weapon in
such a quiet, model, well-regulated town, but Anguish insisted:
"I've seen a lot of these fellows around town who look like
genuine brigands and cutthroats, and I think it just as well that we
be prepared," asserted he, positively, and his friend gratified what
he called a whim.
At ten o'clock the slender moon dropped behind the mountain, and
the valley, which had been touched with its tender light, gradually
took on the somberness and stillness of a star-lit night. The town
slumbered at eleven, and there were few lights to be seen in the
streets or in the houses. Here and there strolled the white-uniformed
police guards; occasionally soldiers hurried barracksward; now and
then belated citizens moved through the dense shadows on the
sidewalks, but the Americans saw still life in its reality. Returning
from their stroll beside the castle-walls, far to the west of where
they had entered the grounds that afternoon, they paused in the
middle of Castle Avenue, near the main gate, and looked down the
dark, deserted street, Far away could be seen the faint glare from
their hotel; one or two street-lamps burned in the business part of
the city; aside from these evidences of life there was nothing but
darkness, silence, peacefulness about them everywhere.
"Think of Paris or New York at eleven o'clock," said Lorry, a
trifle awed by the solitude of the sleeping city.
"It's as dead as a piece of prairie-land," said his friend. "'Gad,
it makes me sleepy to look down that street. It's a mile to the
hotel, too, Lorry. We'd better move along."
"Let's lie down near the hedge, smoke another cigar and wait till
midnight. It is too glorious a night to be lost in sleep," urged
Lorry, whose heart was light over the joys of the day to come. "I can
dream just as well here, looking at that dark old castle with its one
little tower-light, as I could if I tried to sleep in a hard bed down
at the hotel."
Anguish, who was more or less of a dreamer himself, consented,
and, after lighting fresh cigars, they threw themselves on the soft,
dry grass near the tall hedge that fenced the avenue as it neared the
castle grounds. For half an hour they talked by fits and starts; long
silences were common, broken only by brief phrases which seemed so to
disturb the one to whom they were addressed that he answered gruffly
and not at all politely. Their, cigars, burnt to mere stubs, were
thrown away, and still the waking dreamers stretched themselves in the
almost impenetrable shade of the hedge, one thinking of the face he
had seen, the other picturing in his artist eye the painting he had
vowed to create from the moon-lit castle of an hour ago.
"Some one coming," murmured the painter, half rising to his elbow
"Soldiers," said the other briefly. "They'll not disturb us."
"They'll not even see us, I should say. It's as dark as Egypt
under this hedge. They'll pass if we keep quiet."
The figures of two men could be seen approaching from the city,
dim and ghostly in the semi-blackness of the night. Like two thieves
the Americans waited for them to pass. To their exceeding
discomfiture, however, the pedestrians halted directly in front of
their resting place and seated themselves leisurely upon a broad, flat
stone at the roadside. It was too dark to see if they were soldiers,
notwithstanding the fact that they were less than fifteen feet away.
"He should be here at twelve," said one of the new comers in a low
voice and in fairly good English. The other merely grunted. There was
a silence of some duration, broken by the first speaker.
"If this job fails and you are caught it will mean years of
"But in that case we are to have ten thousand gavvos apiece for
each year we lie in prison. It's fair pay—not only for our failure,
but for our silence," said the other, whose English was more difficult
Anguish's fingers gripped Lorry's leg, but there was no sound from
either of the thoroughly aroused dreamers. "A plot, as I live,"
thought each, with a thrill.
"We must be careful to speak only in English. There are not
twenty people in Edelweiss who understand it, but the night has ears.
It is the only safe tongue. Geddos speaks it well. He should be
here." It was the first speaker who uttered these words, little
knowing that he had listeners other than the man to whom he spoke.
A dark figure shot across the roadway, and, almost before the
Americans were aware of it, the party numbered three.
"Ah, Geddos, you are punctual."
"I have found it ever a virtue." responded the newcomer.
"Have you secured your men?"
"I have, your—"
"Sh! Call me Michael, on your life! They are ready and willing
to undertake the venture?"
"Yes, but they do not understand the true conditions. I have told
them that we are to rob the castle and carry the booty to Ganlook
"They do not know the real object of the raid, then. That is as I
desired. Are they trusty and experienced men?"
"The best—or the worst—that I could find in Vienna. Not one
understands our language, and they are so ignorant of our town that
they are entirely dependent on me. They know nothing whatever of the
Princess, Michael, and will do only as they are told, realizing that
if caught they will be guillotined. I have told them it is the royal
palace we are to rifle. Ostrom, here, and I are the only ones, except
yourself and the men who will aid us inside the castle, who know the
"It cannot fail, unless those inside prove false or unworthy,"
said the hoarse-voiced Ostrom. Anguish's fingers were gripping
Lorry's leg so fiercely that the blood was ready to burst out, but he
did not feel the pain. Here, then, was some gigantic plot in which
the person of the Princess herself was to be considered. Was it an
"You have five of these Viennese?"
"Yes. Two to stand beneath the window to receive the booty as we
lower it to the ground, one to stand guard at the west gate and two to
attend the carriage and horses in the ravine beyond the castle."
"When did these men arrive?"
"This morning. I kept them in my sister's home until an hour ago.
They are now in the ravine, awaiting Ostrom and myself. Are you sure,
Michael, that the guards and the cook have been made to understand
every detail? The faintest slip will mean ruin."
"They are to be trusted fully. Their pay is to be high enough to
make it an object to be infallible. The guard, Dushan, will leave the
gate unwatched, and you will chloroform him—with his consent, of
course. You will enter, as I have explained before, crawl along in
the dark shadow of the wall until you reach the arbor that leads to
the kitchen and scullery. Here another guard, Rabbo—known to Ostrom
as a comrade in Her Royal Highness's service not more than a year
ago—will be encountered. He will be bound and gagged without the
least noise or struggle. Just as the clock strikes two the cook will
walk past the scullery window, in the basement, thrice, carrying a
lighted candle. You will see this light through the window, and will
know that all is well inside the castle. Ostrom, you will then lead
the two Viennese to a place directly beneath the third window in the
Princess's sleeping apartment. There are several clumps of shrubbery
there, and under these they will hide, protected from the gaze of any
watchman who is not with us. You and Geddos will be admitted to the
scullery by the cook, who will conduct you to the hall leading to Her
Highness's bed-room. The man who guards her door is called Dannox.
He will not be at his post, but will accompany you when you leave
the castle. You will understand how carefully you must enter her
room and how deeply she must be chloroformed. In the adjoining room
her lady-in-waiting, the Countess Dagmar, sleeps. If her door is ajar,
you are to creep in and chloroform her, leaving her undisturbed. Then
the Princess is to be wrapped in the cloth you take with you and
lowered from the window to the men below. They are to remain in
hiding until you have left the castle and have reached their side. It
will not be difficult, if caution is observed, for you to get outside
of the wall and to the carriage in the ravine. I have given you this
plan of action before, I know, but I desire to impress it firmly upon
your minds. There must not be the slightest deviation. The
precision of clock-work is necessary."
The man named Michael hissed the foregoing into the ears of his
companions, the palsied Americans hearing every word distinctly. They
scarcely breathed, so tremendous was the restraint imposed upon their
nerves. A crime so huge, so daring as the abduction of a Princess,
the actual invasion of a castle to commit the theft of a human being
just as an ordinary burglar would steal in and make way with the
contents of a silver chest, was beyond their power of comprehension.
"We understand fully how it is to be done, and we shall get her to
Ganlook on time," said Geddos, confidently.
"Not a hair of her head must be harmed," cautioned the
arch-conspirator. "In four days I shall meet you at Ganlook. You
will keep her in close confinement until you hear from me. Have you
the guard's uniforms that you are to wear to-night?"
"They are with the carriage in the ravine; Ostrom and I will don
them before going to the castle. In case we are seen they will throw
observers off the track long enough for us to secure a good start in
"Remember, there is to be no failure. This may mean death to you;
certainly a long prison term if you are apprehended. I know it is a
daring deed, but it is just of the kind that succeeds. Who would
dream that mortal man could find the courage to steal a princess of
the realm from her bed and spirit her away from under the very noses
of her vaunted guardsmen? It is the bold, the impossible plan that
"We cannot fail if your men on the inside do their work well,"
said Geddos, repeating what Ostrom had said. "All depends on their
"They will not be found wanting. Your cut-throats must be sent on
to Caias with the empty carriage after you have reached Ganlook in
safety. You will need them no more. Ostrom will pay them, and they
are to leave the country as quickly as possible. At Caias they will be
able to join a pack-train that will carry them to the Great Northern
Railroad. From there they will have no trouble in reaching Vienna.
You will explain to them, Geddos. All we need them for, as you know,
is to prove by their mere presence in case of capture that the attempt
was no more than a case of burglary conceived by a band of Viennese
robbers. There will be no danger of capture if you once get her
outside the walls. You can be half way to Ganlook before she is
missed from the castle. Nor can she be found at Ganlook if you follow
the instructions I gave last night. It is now nearly one o'clock,
and in half an hour the night will be as dark as Erebus. Go, men; you
have no more time to lose, for this must be accomplished slowly,
carefully, deliberately. There must be no haste until you are ready
for the race to Ganlook. Go, but for God's sake, do not harm her!
And do not fail!"
"Failure means more to us than to you, Michael," half whispered
the hoarse Ostrom.
"Failure means everything to me! I must have her!"
Already the two hirelings were moving off toward the road that ran
west of the castle grounds. Michael watched them for a moment and
then started swiftly in the direction of the city. The watchers had
not been able to distinguish the faces of the conspirators, but they
could never forget the calm, cold voice of Michael, with its quaint,
"What shall we do?" whispered Anguish when the men were out of
"God knows!" answered Lorry. "This is the most damnable thing I
ever heard of. Are we dreaming? Did we really see and hear those
men?" He had risen to his feet, his companion sitting weakly before
"There's no question about it! It's a case of abduction, and we
have it in our power to spoil the whole job. By Gad, but this is
luck, Gren!" Anguish was quivering with excitement as he rose to his
feet. "Shall we notify old Dangloss or alarm the steward? There's no
time to be lost if we want to trap these fellows. The chief devil is
bound to escape, for we can't get him and the others, too, and they
won't peach on him. Come, we must be lively! What are you standing
there for? Damn it, the trap must be set!"
"Wait! Why not do the whole job ourselves?"
"How-what do you mean?"
"Why should we alarm anybody? We know the plans as well as these
scoundrels themselves. Why not follow them right into the castle,
capture them red-handed, and then do the alarming? I'm in for saving
the Princess of Graustark with our own hands and right under the noses
of her vaunted guardsmen, as Michael says." Lorry was thrilled by the
spirit of adventure. His hand gripped his friend's arm and his face
was close to his ear. "It is the grandest opportunity two human
beings ever had to distinguish themselves!"
"Great heaven, man! We can't do such a thing!" gasped Anguish.
"It's the easiest thing in the world. Besides, if we fail, we
have nothing to lose. If we succeed, see what we've done! Don't
hesitate, old man! Come on! Come on! We'll take 'em ourselves, as
sure as fate. Have you no nerve? What kind of an American are you?
This chance won't come in ten lifetimes! Good God, man, are we not
equal to those two scoundrels?"
"Two? There are at least ten of them!"
"You fool! The three guards are disposed of in advance, two of
the Viennese are left with the horses, two are chucked off under the
princess' window, and one stands at the gate. We can slug the man at
the gate, the fellows under the window are harmless, and that leaves
but our two friends and the cook. We have every advantage in the
world. Can't you see?"
"You are right! Come on! I'll risk it with you. We will save
the Princess of Graustark!"
"Don't you see it will be just as easy for us to enter the castle
as for these robbers? The way will be clear, and will be kept clear.
Jove, man, we need not be more than thirty seconds behind them. Is
your pistol all right?"
By this time the two men were speeding along the grassy stretch
toward the road that ran beside the wall. They looked to their
pistols, and placed them carefully in outside coat pockets.
"We must throw away these heavy canes," whispered the painter to
his friend, who was a pace or so ahead.
"Keep it! We'll need one of them to crack that fellow's head at
the gate. 'Gad, it's dark along here!"
"How the devil are we to know where to go?"
"We'll stop when we come to the gate where we climbed up the wall
to-day. That is the only entrance I saw along the west wall, and it
is near the castle. Just as soon as the gang enters that gate we'll
crawl up and get rid of the fellow who stands watch." It was so dark
that they could barely see the roadway, and they found it necessary to
cease talking as they slunk along beside the wall. Occasionally they
paused to listen, fearing that they might draw too close upon the men
who had gone before. At last they came to a big gate and halted.
"Is this the gate?" whispered Anguish.
"Sh! Yes, I'm quite sure. We are undoubtedly near the castle,
judging by the distance we have come. Let us cross the road and lie
directly opposite. Be careful!"
Like panthers they stole across the road and down a short, grassy
embankment. At Anguish's suggestion Lorry wrapped his handkerchief
tightly about the heavy end of his cane, preparing in that way to
deaden the sound of the blow that was to fall upon the Vienna man's
head. Then they threw aside their hats, buttoned their coats tightly,
and sank down to wait, with bounding hearts and tingling nerves, the
arrival of the abductors, mutely praying that they were at the right
IX. THE EXPLOIT OF LORRY AND ANGUISH
During the half hour spent in the grassy ditch or gutter, they
spoke not more than half a dozen times and in the faintest of
whispers. They could hear the guard pacing the driveway inside the
ponderous gate, but aside from his footsteps no sound was
distinguishable. A sense of oppression came over the two watchers as
the minutes grew longer and more deathlike in their stillness. Each
found himself wondering why the leaves did not stir in the trees, why
there were no nightbirds, no crickets, no croaking frogs, no sign of
life save that steady, clocklike tread inside the wall. So dark was
it that the wall itself was but a deeper shadow against the almost
opaque blackness beyond. No night, it seemed to them, had ever been
so dark, so still. After the oppression came the strange feeling of
dread, the result of an enforced contemplation of the affair in which
they were to take a hand, ignorant of everything except the general
They knew nothing of the surroundings. If they failed, there was
the danger of being shot by the guards before an explanation could be
made. If they succeeded, it must be through sheer good fortune and
not through prowess of mind or muscle. Once inside the castle, how
could they hope to follow the abductors at a safe distance and still
avoid the danger of being lost or of running into trusty guards? The
longer they lay there the more hazardous became the part they had so
recklessly ventured to play. In the heart of each there surged a
growing desire to abandon the plan, yet neither could bring himself to
the point of proposing the retreat from the inspired undertaking.
Both knew the sensible, judicious act would be to alarm the guards
and thus avoid all possible chance of a fiasco. With misgivings and
doubts in their hearts the two self-appointed guardians of the
Princess lay there upon the grass, afraid to give up the project, yet
fearing the outcome.
"The dickens will be to pay, Lorry, if they dispose of this guard
on the inside and lock the gate. Then how are we to follow?"
Lorry was thoughtful for a while. He felt the chill of
discouragement in his heart.
"In that case we must lie outside and wait till they come out with
the Princess. Then make a sudden assault and rescue her. In the
darkness we can make them think there are a dozen rescuers," he
whispered at length. After a while Anguish asked another appalling
question, the outgrowth of brain-racking study:
"Suppose these fellows, who will be in guards' uniform, should
turn about and capture us. What then? We are strangers, and our
story would not be believed. They could slip away in the excitement
and leave us in a very awkward position."
"Harry, if we are going to hatch up all sorts of possibilities,
let's give up the thing right now. I have thought of a thousand
contingencies, and I realize how desperate the job is to be. We must
either cast discretion to the winds or we must retreat. Which shall we
"Cast aside discretion and hang our fears," said the other, once
more inspired. "We'll take chances and hope for the best. If we see
we are going to fail we can then call for the guards. The grounds are
doubtless full of soldiers. The only part I'm worried about is the
groping through that strange, dark castle."
"We must do some calculating and we must stick close together. By
watching where they station the two Viennese we can figure about what
direction we must take to get to the Princess's room. Sh! Isn't that
some one approaching?"
They strained their ears for a moment and then involuntarily,
spasmodically shook hands, each heaving the deep breath of
excitement. The stealthy rustle of moving bodies was heard, faint,
but positive. It was a moment of suspense that would have strained
the nerve of a stone image. Where were the abductors? On which side
of the road and from what direction did they come? Oh, for the eyes of
There was a slight shuffling of feet near the gate, a suppressed
"Sh?" and then deathly silence. The gate opened, a faint creaking
attesting the fact, followed by the heavy breathing of men, the noise
of subdued activity, the scent of chloroform. Some whispering, and
then the creaking of the gate.
"They've gone," whispered Anguish. Lorry's form arose to a
crouching posture and a moment later he was crossing the road with
the tread of a cat, his cane gripped firmly in his hard. Anguish
followed with drawn revolver. So still was their approach that they
were upon the figure of a man before they were aware of the fact. In
the darkness the foremost American saw the outline of a human figure
bending over a long object on the ground. He could smell chloroform
strongly, and grasped the situation. The Viennese was administering
the drug, his companions having left that duty for him to perform. No
doubt the treacherous guardsman was lying calmly on his back, bound
and gagged, welcoming unconsciousness with a smile of security.
As soon as Lorry gained his bearings fully he prepared to fell the
wretch who was to stand watch. Anguish heard his friend's figure
suddenly shoot to an erect position. A whirring sound as of disturbed
air and then a dull thud. Something rolled over on the ground, and
all was still. He was at Lorry's side in an instant.
"I hope I haven't killed him," whispered, Lorry. "Quick! Here is
his bottle of ether. Hold it beneath his nose. I am going to pile
the body of this guard crosswise on top of him. He will not be able
to arise if he should recover consciousness."
All this was done in a moment's time, and the two trackers were
headed for the entrance.
The gate was ajar two or three feet. With turbulent hearts, they
"Keep along the wall," whispered Lorry, "and trust to luck. The
castle is to the left."
Without hesitation they crept over the noiseless grass, close
beside the wall. Directly they heard sounds near at hand. The
abductors were binding and chloroforming the guard at the arbor.
After waiting for some moments they heard the party glide away in the
darkness, and followed. The body of the guard was lying just outside
the mouth of the arbor, and the odor of chloroform was almost
overpowering. Once inside the long arbor, the Americans moved slowly
and with greater caution. There was a dim light in a basement window
ahead. Toward the front of the castle and in the second story a faint
glow came from another window. They guessed it to be from the
Princess' room or from that of the countess.
At last they saw four figures steal past the dim basement light.
One of them halted near the window, and three crept away in the
darkness. Presently one of them returned, and all activity was at an
end for the time being. How near it was to two o'clock the watchers
could not tell. They only knew that they were within twenty-five feet
of Geddos and Ostrom, and that they would not have long to wait.
Soon a bright little blaze of light crossed the basement opening.
Then it returned, crossing a second time, and a third. All was still
again. The soft shuffle of a foot, the rustle of arbor vines, and the
form of a man crawled up to the window. With inconceivable stealth
and carefulness it glided through the aperture, followed by a
Lorry and Anguish were at the opening a second or two later, lying
flat on their stomachs and listening for sounds from within. The dim
light was still there, the window was open, and there was a sound of
whispering. Lorry raised his head and peered through, taking
calculations while the light made it possible. He saw an open door on
the opposite side of the low room, with steps beyond, leading upward.
Between the window and the door there were no obstacles. Up those
steps he saw three men creep, the leader carrying the dim light. The
door was left open, doubtless to afford unimpeded exit from the
building in case of emergency. Harry Anguish touched Lorry's arm.
"I took the two pistols from that Vienna man out there. We may
need them. Here is one for yourself. Go first, Lorry," he
Lorry stuck the revolver in his coat pocket and gently slid
through the window to the floor below. His friend followed, and they
paused to listen. Taking Anguish by the hand the other led the way
straight to the spot where he remembered seeing the door.
Boldly the two men began the breathless ascent of the stone steps.
The top was reached, and far ahead, down a narrow hall, they saw the
three men and the dim light moving. Two of them wore uniforms of
guards. Keeping close to the wall their followers crept after them.
Up another flight of steps they went, and then through a spacious
hall. The Americans had no time and no desire to inspect their
surroundings. The wide doors at the far side of the room opened
softly, and here the trio paused. Down a great marble hallway a dim
red light shed its soft glow. It came from the lamp at the foot of
the broad staircase.
The cook pointed to the steps, and then gave his thumb a jerk
toward the left. Without the least sign of fear Geddos and Ostrom
glided into the hall and made for the staircase. The watchers could
not but feel a thrill of admiration for these daring wretches. But
now a new danger confronted them. The cook remained standing in the
doorway, watching his fellows in crime! How were they to pass him?
There was no time to be lost. The abductors were creeping up the
steps already, and the cook must be disposed of. He had blown out
the light which he carried, and was now a very dim shadow. Lorry
glided forward and in an instant stood before the amazed fellow,
jamming a pistol into his face.
"A sound and you die!" he hissed.
"Don't move!" came another whisper, and a second revolver touched
his ear. The cook, perhaps, did not know their language, but he
certainly understood its meaning. He trembled, and would have fallen
to the floor had not the strong hand of Lorry pinned him to the wall.
The hand was on his throat, too.
"Chloroform him, Harry, and don't let him make a sound!" whispered
the owner of the hand. Anguish's twitching fingers succeeded those of
his friend on the cook's throat, his pistol was returned to his
pocket, and the little bottle came again into use.
"I'll go ahead. Follow me as soon as you have finished this
fellow. Be careful, and turn to the left when you come to the top."
Lorry was off across the marble floor, headed for the stairway,
and Anguish was left in charge of the cook, of whom he was to make
short work. Now came the desperate, uncertain part of the
transaction. Suppose he were to meet the two conspirators at the
head of the stairs, or in the hall, or that the other traitor,
Dannox, should appear to frustrate all. It was the most trying
moment in the whole life of the reckless Lorry.
When near the top of the steps he hugged the high balustrade and
cautiously peered ahead. He found himself looking down a long hall,
at the far end of which, to his right, a dim light was burning. There
was no sound and there was no sign of the two men, either to the right
or to the left. His heart felt like lead! They evidently had entered
the Princess's room! How was he to find that room? Slowly he
wriggled across the broad, dark hall, straightening up in the shadow
of a great post. From this point he edged along the wall for a
distance of ten or twelve feet to the left. A sound came from farther
down the hall, and he imagined he heard some one approaching.
His hand came in contact with a heavy hanging or tapestry, and he
quickly squirmed behind its folds, finding himself against a door
which moved as his body touched it. He felt it swing open slightly
and drew back, intending to return to the hall, uncertain and very
much undecided as to the course to pursue. His revolver was in his
hand. Just as he was about to pull aside the curtain a man glided
past, quickly followed by another. Providence had kept him from
running squarely into them. They were going toward the left, and he
realized that they were now approaching the Princess's room. How he
came to be ahead of them he could not imagine. Strange trembling
seized his legs, so great was the relief after the narrow escape.
Again he felt the door move slightly as he pressed against it. The
necessity for a partial recovery of his composure before the next and
most important step, impelled him softly to enter the room for an
Holding to the door he stood inside and drew himself to his full
height, taking a long and tremulous breath. There was no light in
the room, but through the door crack to his left came a dim, broad
streak. He now knew where he was. This room was next to that in
which the Princess slept, for had he not seen the light from her
window? Perhaps he was now in the room of the Countess Dagniar. Next
door! Next door! Even now the daring Geddos and Ostrom were crawling
towards the bed of the ruler of Graustark, not twenty feet away. His
first impulse was to cross and open the door leading to the next room,
surmising that it would be unlocked, but he remembered Anguish, who
was doubtless, by this time, stealing up the stairs. They must not be
separated, for it would require two steady, cool heads to deal with
the villains. It was not one man's work. As he turned to leave the
room he thought how wonderfully well they had succeeded in the
delicate enterprise so far.
His knees struck the door, and there was a dull thump, not loud in
reality, but like the report of a gun to him. A sudden rustle in the
darkness of the room and then a sleepy voice, soft and quick, as of a
woman awakening with a start.
"Who is it?"
His heart ceased beating, his body grew stiff and immovable. Again
the voice, a touch of alarm in it now:
"Is that you, Donnox?"
She spoke in German, and the voice came from somewhere in front
and to his right. He could not answer, could not move. The
paralysis of indecision was upon him.
"How is it that the outer door is open?"
This time there was something like a reprimand in the tones, still
low. He almost could see the wide-open, searching eyes.
There could be no further hesitation. Something must be done and
instantly. He gently closed the door before answering the third
question. In his nervousness he spoke in English, advancing to the
middle of the room. Impossible to see the woman to whom he hissed
this alarming threat-he only could speculate as to its effect:
"If you utter a sound, madam, I shall kill you. Be calm, and
allow me to explain. my presence here!"
He expected her to shriek, forgetting that she might not
understand his words. Instead there was a deathly silence. Had she
swooned? His heart was leaping with hope. But she spoke softly
again, tremulously, and in English:
"You will find my jewels on the dressing table. Take them and go
You will not hurt me?"
"I am not here to do you injury, but to serve your Princess,
"whispered the man. "For God's sake, do not make an outcry. You
will ruin everything. Will you let me explain?"
"Go! Go! Take anything! I can be calm no longer. Oh, how can I
expect mercy at your hands!" Her tones were rising to a wail of
"Sh! Do you want to die?" he hissed, striding to the canopy bed,
discernible as his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness. "I will
kill you if you utter a sound, so help me God!"
"Oh!" she moaned.
"Listen! You must aid me! Do you hear?"
Another heart-breaking moan. "I am here to save the Princess.
There is a plot to abduct her to-night. Already there are men in the
castle, perhaps in her room. You must tell me where she sleeps.
There is no time to be lost. I am no thief, before God! I am telling
you the truth. Do not be alarmed, I implore you. Trust me, madam, and
you will not regret it. Where does the Princess sleep?" He jerked
out these eager, pleading words quickly, breathlessly.
"How am I to trust you?" came back a whisper from the bed.
"Here is a revolver! Take it and kill me if I attempt the
slightest injury. Where are you?" He felt along the bed with his
"Keep away! Please! Please!" she sobbed.
"Take the pistol! Be calm, and in heaven's name help me to save
her. Those wretches may have killed her already!"
The revolver dropped upon the clothes. He was bending eagerly
over, holding the curtains back.
"My friend is in the hall. We have traced the men to the
Princess's door, I think. My God, be quick! Do you wish to see her
stolen from under your eyes?"
"You are now in the Princess's room," answered the voice from the
bed, calmer and with some alacrity. "Is this true that you tell me?"
"As God is my witness! And you—you—are you the Princess?"
gasped the man, drawing back.
"I am. Where is Dannox?" She was sitting bolt upright in the
bed, the pistol in her trembling fingers.
"He is one of the conspirators. One of the cooks and two other
guards are in the plot. Can you trust me enough to leave your bed
and hide in another part of the room? The scoundrels have mistaken
the door, but they may be here at any moment. You must be quick! I
will protect you—I swear it! Come, your Highness! Hide!"
Something in the fierce, anxious whisper gave her confidence. The
miracle had been wrought! He had composed this woman under the most
trying circumstances that could have teen imagined. She slipped from
the bed and threw a long, loose silken gown about her.
"Who are you?" she asked, touching his arm.
"I am a foreigner—an American—Grenfall Lorry! Hurry!" he
She did not move for a moment, but he distinctly heard her catch
"Am I dreaming?" she murmured, faintly. Her fingers now clutched
his arm tightly.
"I should say not! I don't like to order you around, your
"Come—-come to the light!" she interrupted, excitedly. "Over
Noiselessly she drew him across the room until the light fell
across his face. It was not a bright light, but what she saw
satisfied her. He could not see her face, for she stood outside the
strip of dusky yellow.
"Two men lie beneath your window, and two are coming to this room.
Where shall I go? Come, be quick, madam! Do you want to be carted
off to Ganlook? Then don't stand there like a—like a —pardon me, I
won't say it".
"I trust you fully. Shall I alarm the guard?" she whispered,
recovering her self-possession.
"By no means. I want to catch those devils myself. Afterwards we
can alarm the guards!"
"An ideal American!" she surprised him by saying. "Follow me!"
She led him to the doorway. "Stand here, and I will call the
Countess. At this side, where it is dark."
She opened the door gently and stood in the light for a second. He
saw before him a graceful figure in trailing white, and then he saw
her face. She was Miss Guggenslocker!
"My God!" he hoarsely gasped, staggering toward her. "You! You!
"Yes, I am the Princess," she whispered, smiling as she glided
away from his side. His eyes went round in his head, his legs seemed
to be anywhere but beneath him, he felt as though he were rushing
toward the ceiling. For the moment he was actually unconscious. Then
his senses rushed back, recalling his mission and his danger.
"She is sleeping so soundly that I fear to awaken her," whispered
a soft voice at his back, and he turned.. The Princess was standing
in the doorway.
"Then pray stand back where you will be out of danger. They will
be here in a moment, unless they have been frightened away."
"You shall not expose yourself," she said, positively. "Why
should you risk your life now? You have accomplished your object.
You have saved the Princess!"
"Ah—yes, the Princess!" he said. "And I am sorry you are the
Princess," he added, in her ear.
"Sh!" she whispered, softly.
The door through which he had first come was softly opened, and
they were conscious that some one was entering. Lorry and the
Princess stood in the dark shadow of a curtain, she close behind his
stalwart figure. He could hear his own heart and hers beating, could
feel the warmth of her body, although it did not touch his. His heart
beat with the pride of possession, of power, with the knowledge that
he had but to stretch out his hand and touch the one woman in all the
Across the dim belt of light from the open doorway in which they
stood, crawled the dark figure of a man. Her hand unconsciously
touched his back as if seeking reassurance.
He shivered beneath its gentle weight. Another form followed the
first, pausing in the light to look toward their doorway. The
abductor was doubtless remembering the instructions to chloroform the
Countess. Then came the odor of chloroform. Oh, if Anguish were only
The second figure was lost in the darkness and a faint glow of
light came from the canopied bed in the corner The chloroformer
holding the curtains had turned his screen-lantern, toward the pillow
in order to apply the dampened cloth. Now was the time to act!
Pushing the Princess behind the curtain and in the shelter of the
door-post, Lorry leaped toward the center of the room, a pistol in
each hand. Before him crouched the astonished desperadoes.
"If you move you are dead men!" said he, in slow decided tones.
"Here, Harry!" he shouted. "Scoundrels, you are trapped! Throw up
Suddenly the room was a blaze of light; flashing candles, lamps,
sprung into life from the walls, while a great chandelier above his
head dazzled him with its unexpected glare.
"Hell!" he shouted, half throwing his hands to his eyes.
Something rushed upon him from behind; there was a scream and then
a stinging blow across the head and neck. As he sank helplessly,
angrily, to his knees he heard the Princess wail:
"Dannox! Do not strike again! You have killed him!"
As he rolled to the floor he saw the two forms near the bed moving
about like shadows: two red objects that resembled dancing telegraph
poles leaped past him from he knew not where, and then there was a
shout, the report of a pistol, a horrid yell. Something heavy crashed
down beside him and writhed. His eyes were closing, his senses were
going, he was numb and sleepy. Away off in the distance he heard Harry
"That settles you, damn you!"
Some one lifted his head from the carpet and a woman's voice was
crying something unintelligible. He was conscious of an effort on
his part to prevent the blood from streaming over her gown—a last bit
of gallantry. The sound of rushing feet, shouts, firearms—oblivion!
. . . . . . . . . . .
When Lorry regained consciousness, he blinked in abject amazement.
There was a dull, whirring sound in his ears, and his eyes had a
glaze over them that was slow in wearing off. There were persons in
the room. He could see them moving about and could hear them talking.
As his eyes tried to take in the strange surroundings, a hand was
lifted from his forehead and a soft, dream-like voice said:
"He is recovering, Mr. Anguish. See, his eyes are open! Do you
know me, Mr. Lorry?"
The unsteady eyes wandered until they fell upon the face near his
pillow. A brighter gleam came into them, and there was a ray of
returning intelligence. He tried to speak, but could only move his
lips. As he remembered her, she was in white, and he was puzzled now
to see her in a garment of some dark material, suggestive of the night
or the green of a shady hillside. There was the odor of roses and
violets and carnations. Then he looked for the fatal, fearful,
glaring chandelier. It was gone. The room was becoming lighter and
lighter as his eyes grew stronger, but it was through a window near
where he lay. So it was daylight! Where was he?
"How do you feel, old man?" asked a familiar voice. A man sat
down beside him on the couch or bed, and a big hand grasped his own.
Still he could not answer.
"Doctor," cried the voice near his head, "you really think it is
"I am quite sure," answered a man's voice from somewhere out in
the light. "It is a bad cut, and he is just recovering from the
effect of the ether. Had the blow not been a glancing one his skull
would have been crushed. He will be perfectly conscious in a short
time. There is no concussion, your Highness."
"I am so happy to hear you say that," said the soft voice. Lorry's
eyes sought hers and thanked her. A lump came into his throat as he
looked up into the tender, anxious blue eyes. A thrill came over him.
Princess or not, he loved her—he loved her! "You were very
brave—oh, so brave!" she whispered in his ear, her hand touching his
hair caressingly. "My American!"
He tried to reach the hand before it faded, but he was too weak.
She glided away, and he closed his eyes again as if in pain.
"Look up, old man; you're all right," said Anguish. "Smell this
handkerchief. It will make you feel better." A moist cloth was held
beneath his nose, and a strong, pungent odor darted through his
nostrils. In a moment he tried to raise himself to his elbow. The
world was clearing up.
"Lie still a bit, Lorry. Don't be too hasty. The doctor says you
"Where am I, Harry?" asked the wounded man, weakly.
"In the castle. I'll tell you all about it presently."
"Am I in her room?"
"No, but she is in yours. You are across the hall in"—here he
whispered—"Uncle Caspar's room. Caspar is a Count."
"And she is the Princess—truly?"
"What misery—what misery!" half moaned the other.
"Bosh! Be a man! Don't talk so loud, either! There are a
half-dozen in the room."
Lorry remained perfectly quiet for ten minutes, his staring eyes
fixed on the ceiling. He was thinking of the abyss he had reached
and could not cross.
"What time is it?" he asked at last, turning his eyes toward his
"It's just seven o'clock. You have been unconscious or under the
influence of ether for over four hours. That guard hit you a fearful
"I heard a shot—a lot of them. Was any one killed? Did those
"Killed! There have been eight executions besides the one I
attended to. Lord, they don't wait long here before handing out
"Tell me all that happened. Was she hurt?"
"I should say not! Say, Gren, I have killed a man. Dannox got my
bullet right in the head and he never knew what hit him. Ghastly,
isn't it? I feel beastly queer. It was he who turned on the lights
and went at you with a club. I heard you call, and was in the door
just as he hit you. His finish came inside of a second. You and he
spoiled the handsomest rug I ever saw."
"Not in her estimation. I'll wager she has it framed, blood and
all. The stains will always be there as a reminder of your bravery,
and that's what she says she's bound to keep. She was very much
excited and alarmed about you until the room filled with men and then
she remembered how she was attired. I never saw anything so pretty as
her embarrassment when the Countess and her aunt led her into the next
room. These people are going out, so I'll tell you what happened
after you left me with the cook. He was a long time falling under the
influence, and I had barely reached the top of the stairs when I saw
Dannox rush down the hall. Then you called, and I knew the jig was on
in full blast. The door was open, and I saw him strike you. I shot
him, but she was at your side before I could get to you. The other
fellows who were in the room succeeded in escaping while I was bending
over you, but neither of them shot at me. They were too badly
frightened. I had sense enough left to follow and shoot a couple of
times as they tore down the stairs. One of them stumbled and rolled
all the way to the bottom. He was unconscious and bleeding when I
reached his side. The other fellow flew toward the dining-hall, where
he was nabbed by two white uniformed men and throttled. Other men in
white—they were regular police officers—pounced upon me, and I was a
prisoner. By George, I was knocked off my feet the next minute to see
old Dangloss himself come puffing and blowing into the hall, redder
and fiercer than ever. 'Now I know what you want in Edelweiss!' he
shrieked, and it took me three minutes to convince him of his error.
Then he and some of the men went up to the Princess' room, while I
quickly led the way to the big gate and directed a half-dozen officers
toward the ravine. By this, time the grounds were alive with guards.
They came up finally with the two fellows who had been stationed
beneath the window and who were unable to find the gate. When I got
back to where you were the room was full of terrified men and women,
half dressed. I was still dazed over the sudden appearance of the
police, but managed to tell my story in full to Dangloss and Count
Halfont—that's Uncle Caspar—and then the chief told me how he and
his men happened to be there. In the meantime, the castle physician
was attending to you. Dannox had been carried away. I never talked
to a more interested audience in my life! There was the Princess at
my elbow and the Countess—pretty as a picture—back of her, all eyes,
both of 'em; and there was the old gray-haired lady, the Countess
Halfont, and a half-dozen shivering maids, with men galore, Dangloss
and the Count and a lot of servants,—a great and increasing crowd.
The captain of the guards, a young fellow named Quinnox, as I heard
him called, came in, worried and humiliated. I fancy he was afraid
he'd lose his job. You see, it was this way: Old Dangloss has had a
man watching us all day. Think of it! Shadowing us like a couple of
thieves. This fellow traced us to the castle gate and then ran back
for reinforcements, confident that we were there to rob. In twenty
minutes he had a squad of officers at the gate, the chief trailing
along behind. They found the pile of tools we had left there, and
later the other chap in the arbor. A couple of guards came charging
up to learn the cause of the commotion, and the whole crew sailed into
the castle, arriving just in time. Well, just as soon as I had told
them the full story of the plot, old Caspar, the chief and the captain
held a short consultation, the result of which I can tell in mighty
few words. At six o'clock they took the whole gang of prisoners down
in the ravine and shot them. The mounted guards are still looking for
the two Viennese who were left with the carriage. They escaped.
About an hour after you were hurt you were carried over here and laid
on this couch. I want to tell you, Mr. Lorry, you are the most
interesting object that ever found its way into a royal household.
They have been hanging over you as if you were a new-born baby, and
everybody's charmed because you are a boy and are going to live. As
an adventure this has been a record-breaker, my son! We are cocks of
Lorry was smiling faintly over his enthusiasm.
"You are the real hero, Harry, You saved my life and probably
hers. I'll not allow you or anybody to give me the glory," he said.
pressing the other's hand.
"Oh, that's nonsense! Anybody could have rushed in as I did. I
was only capping the climax you had prepared—merely a timely
arrival, as the novels say. There is a little of the credit due me,
of course, and I'll take it gracefully, but I only come in as an
accessory, a sort of bushwhacker who had only to do the shoot,
slap-bang work and close the act. You did the hero's work. But what
do you think of the way they hand out justice over here? All but two
of 'em dead!"
"Whose plan was it to kill those men?" cried Lorry, suddenly
"Everybody's, I fancy. They didn't consult me, though, come to
think of it. Ah, here is Her Royal Highness!"
The Princess and Aunt Yvonne were at his side again, while Count
Caspar was coming rapidly toward them.
"You must not sit up, Mr. Lorry," began the Princess, but he was
"Did they make a confession, Harry?"
"I don't know. Did they, Unc—Count Halfont? Did they confess?
Great heavens, I never thought of that before."
"What was there to confess?" asked the Count, taking Lorry's hand
kindly. "They were caught in the act. My dear sir, they were not
"I thought your police chief was such a shrewd man," cried Lorry,
"What's that?" asked a gruff voice, and Baron Dangloss was a
member of the party, red and panting.
"Don't you know you should not have killed those men?" demanded
Lorry. They surveyed him in amazement, except Anguish, who had
buried his face in his hands dejectedly.
"And, sir, I'd like to know why not?" blustered Dangloss.
"And, sir, I'd like to know, since you have shot the only beings
on earth who knew the man that hired them, how in the name of your
alleged justice you are going to apprehend him?" said Lorry, sinking
back to his pillow, exhausted.
No reserve could hide the consternation, embarrassment and shame
that overwhelmed a very worthy but very impetuous nobleman, Baron
Jasto Dangloss, chief of police in Edelweiss. He could only sputter
his excuses and withdraw, swearing to catch the arch-conspirator or
to die in the attempt. Not a soul in the castle, not a being in all
Graustark could offer the faintest clew to the identity of the man or
explain his motive. No one knew a Michael, who might have been
inadvertently addressed as "your" possible "Highness." The greatest
wonder reigned; vexation, uneasiness and perplexity existed
Standing there with her head on her aunt's shoulder, her face
grave and troubled, the Princess asked:
"Why should they seek to abduct me? Was it to imprison or to kill
me? Oh, Aunt Yvonne, have I not been good to my people? God knows I
have done all that I can. I could have done no more. Is it a
conspiracy to force me from the throne? Who can be so cruel?"
And no one could answer. They could simply offer words of comfort
and promises of protection. Later in the day gruff Dangloss marched
in and apologized to the Americans for his suspicions concerning them,
imploring their assistance in running down the chief villain. And as
the hours went by Count Halfont font came in and, sitting beside
Grenfall, begged his pardon and asked him to forget the deception that
had been practiced in the United States. He explained the necessity
for traveling incognito at that time. After which the Count entered a
plea for Her Royal Highness, who had expressed contrition and wished
to be absolved.
XI. LOVE IN A CASTLE
As the day wore on Lorry grew irritable and restless. He could
not bring himself into full touch with the situation, notwithstanding
Harry's frequent and graphic recollections of incidents that had
occurred and that had led to their present condition. Their luncheon
was served in the Count's room, as it was inadvisable for the injured
man to go to the dining-hall until he was stronger. The court
physician assured him that he would be incapacitated for several days,
but that in a very short time his wound would lose the power to annoy
him in the least. The Count and Countess Halfont, Anguish and others
came to cheer him and to make his surroundings endurable. Still he
was dissatisfied, even unhappy.
The cause of his uneasiness and depression was revealed only by
the manner in which it was removed. He was lying stretched out on
the couch, staring from the window, his head aching; his heart full of
a longing that knows but one solace. Anguish had gone out in the
grounds after assuring himself that his charge was asleep, so there
was no one in the room when he awakened from a sickening dream to
shudder alone over its memory. A cool breeze from an open window
fanned his head kindly; a bright sun gleamed across the trees, turning
them into gold and purple and red and green; a quiet repose was in all
that touched him outwardly; inwardly there was burning turmoil. He
turned on his side and curiously felt the bandages about his head.
They were tight and smooth, and he knew they were perfectly white.
How lonely those bandages made him feel, away off there in Graustark!
The door to his room opened softly, but he did not turn, thinking
it was Anguish—always Anguish—and not the one he most desired to—
"Her Royal Highness," announced a maid, and then—
"May I come in?" asked a voice that went to his troubled soul like
a cooling draught to the fevered throat. He turned toward her
instantly, all the irritation, all the uneasiness, all the loneliness
vanishing like mist before the sun. Behind her was a lady-in-waiting.
"I cannot deny the request of a princess," he responded, smiling
gaily. He held forth his hand toward her, half fearing she would not
The Princess Yetive came straight to his couch and laid her hand
in his. He drew it to his lips and then released it lingeringly. She
stood before him, looking down with an anxiety in her eyes that would
have repaid him had death been there to claim his next breath.
"Are you better?" she asked, with her pretty accent. "I have been
so troubled about you."
"I thought you had forgotten me," he said, with childish
"Forgotten you!" she cried, quick to resent the imputation. "Let
me tell you, then, what I have been doing while forgetting. I have
sent to the Regengetz for your luggage and your friend's. You will
find it much more comfortable here. You are to make this house your
home as long as you are in Edelweiss. That is how I have been
"Forgive me!" he cried, his eyes gleaming. "I have been so lonely
that I imagined all sorts of things. But, your Highness, you must not
expect us to remain here after I am able to leave. That would be
"I will not allow you to say it!" she objected, decisively. "You
are the guest of honor in Graustark. Have you not preserved its
ruler? Was it an imposition to risk your life to save one in whom
you had but passing interest, even though she were a poor princess?
No, my American, this castle is yours, in all rejoicing, for had you
not come within its doors to-day would have found it in mournful
terror. Besides, Mr. Anguish has said he will stay a year if we
"That's like Harry," laughed Lorry. "But I am afraid you are
glorifying two rattlebrained chaps who should be in a home for
imbeciles instead of in the castle their audacity might have
blighted. Our rashness was only surpassed by our phenomenal good
luck. By chance it turned out well; there were ten thousand chances
of ignominious failure. Had we failed would we have been guests of
honor? No! We would have been stoned from Graustark. You don't know
how thin the thread was that held your fate. It makes me shudder to
think of the crime our act might have been. Ah, had I but known you
were the Princess, no chances should have been taken," he said,
"And a romance spoiled," she laughed.
"So you are a princess,—a real princess," he went on, as if he
had not heard her. "I knew it. Something told me you were not an
"Oh, but I am a very ordinary woman," she remonstrated. "You do
not know how easy it is to be a princess and a mere woman at the same
time. I have a heart, a head. I breathe and eat and drink and sleep
and love. Is it not that way with other women?"
"You breathe and eat and drink and sleep and love in a different
world, though, your Highness."
"Ach! my little maid, Therese, sleeps as soundly, eats as
heartily and loves as warmly as I, so a fig for your argument."
"You may breathe the same air, but would you love the same man
that your maid might love?"
"Is a man the only excuse for love? she asked. "If so, then I
must say that I breathe and eat and drink and sleep—and that is
"Pardon me, but some day you will find that love is a man, and"
—here he laughed—"you will neither breathe, nor eat, nor sleep
except with him in your heart. Even a princess is mot proof against
"Is a man proof against a princess?' she asked, as she leaned
against the casement.
"It depends on the"—he paused "the princess, I should say."
"Alas! There is one more fresh responsibility acquired. It seems
to me that everything depends on the princess," she said, merrily.
"Not entirely," he said, quickly. "A great deal—a very great
deal—depends on circumstances. For instance, when you were Miss
Guggenslocker it wouldn't have been necessary for the man to be a
prince, you know."
"But I was Miss Guggenslocker because a man was unnecessary," she
said, so gravely that he smiled. "I was without a title because it
was more womanly than to be a 'freak,' as I should have been had every
man, woman and child looked upon me as a princess. I did not travel
through your land for the purpose of exhibiting myself, but to learn
"I remember it cost you a certain coin to learn one thing," he
"It was money well spent, as subsequent events have proved. I
shall never regret the spending of that half gavvo. Was it not the
means of bringing you to Edelweiss?"
"Well, it was largely responsible, but I am inclined to believe
that a certain desire on my part would have found a way without the
assistance of the coin. You don't know how persistent an American can
"Would you have persisted had you known I was a princess?" she
"Well, I can hardly tell about that, but you must remember I
didn't know who or what you were."
"Would you have come to Graustark had you known I was its
"I'll admit I came because you were Miss Guggenslocker."
"A mere woman."
"I will not consent to the word 'mere.' What would you think of a
man who came half-way across the earth for the sake of a mere woman?"
"I should say he had a great deal of curiosity," she responded,
"And not much sense. There is but one woman a man would do so
much for, and she could not be a mere woman in his eyes." Lorry's
face was white and his eyes gleamed as he hurled this bold conclusion
"Especially when he learns that she is a princess!" said she, her
voice so cold and repellent that his eyes closed, involuntarily, as
if an unexpected horror had come before them. "You must not tell me
that you came to see me.
"But I did come to see you and not Her Royal Highness the Princess
Yetive of Graustark stark. How was I to know?" he cried impulsively.
"But you are no longer ignorant," she said, looking from the
"I thought you said you were a mere woman!"
"I am—and that is the trouble!" she said, slowly turning her eyes
back to him. Then she abruptly sank to the window seat near his head.
"That is the trouble, I say. A woman is a woman, although she be a
princess. Don't you understand why you must not say such things to
"Because you are a princess," he said, bitterly.
"No; because I am a woman. As a woman I want to hear them, as, a
princess I cannot. Now, have I made you understand? Have I been
bold enough?" Her face was burning.
"You—you don't mean that you—" he half whispered, drawing
himself toward her, his face glowing.
"Ach! What have I said?"
"You have said enough to drive me mad with desire for more," he
cried, seizing her hand, which she withdrew instantly, rising to her
"I have only said that I wanted to hear you say you had come to
see me. Is not that something for a woman's vanity to value? I am
sorry you have presumed to misunderstand me." She was cold again, but
he was not to be baffled.
"Then be a woman and forget that you are a princess until I tell
you why I came," he cried.
"I cannot! I mean, I will not listen to you," she said, glancing
about helplessly, yet standing still within the danger circle.
"I came because I have thought of you and dreamed of you since the
day you sailed from New York. God, can I ever forget that day!"
"Please do not recall—" she began, blushing and turning to the
"The kiss you threw to me? Were you a princess then?" She did
not answer, and he paused for a moment, a thought striking him which
at first he did not dare to voice. Then he blurted it out. "If you do
not want to hear me say these things, why do you stand there?"
"Oh," she faltered.
"Don't leave me now. I want to say what I came over here to say,
and then you can go back to your throne and your royal reserve, and I
can go back to the land from which you drew me. I came because I love
you. Is not that enough to drag a man to the end of the world? I
came to marry you if I could, for you were Miss Guggenslocker to me.
Then you were within my reach, but not now! I can only love a
princess!" He stopped because she had dropped to the couch beside
him, her serious face turned appealingly to his, her fingers clasping
his hands fiercely.
"I forbid you to continue—I forbid you! Do you hear? I, too,
have thought and dreamed of you, and I have prayed that you might
come. But you must not tell me that you love me-you shall not!"
"I only want to know that you love me," he whispered.
"Do you think I can tell you the truth?" she cried. "I do not
Before he had fairly grasped the importance of the contradictory
sentences, she left his side and stood in the window, her breast
heaving and her face flaming.
"Then I am to believe you do," he groaned, after a moment. "I
find a princes and lose a woman!"
"I did not intend that you should have said what you have, or that
I should have told you what I have. I knew you loved me or you would
not have come to me," she said, softly.
"You would have been selfish enough to enjoy that knowledge
without giving joy in return. I see. What else could you have done?
A princess! Oh, I would to God you were Miss Guggenslocker, the
woman I sought!"
"Amen to that!" she said. "Can I trust you never to renew this
subject? We have each learned what had better been left unknown. You
understand my position. Surely you will be good enough to look upon
me ever afterward as a princess and forget that I have been a woman
unwittingly. I ask you, for your sake and my own, to refrain from a
renewal of this unhappy subject. You can see how hopeless it is for
both of us. I have said much to you that I trust you will cherish as
coming from a woman who could not have helped herself and who has
given to you the power to undo her with a single word. I know you
will always be the brave, true man my heart has told me you are. You
will let the beginning be the end?"
The appeal was so earnest, so noble that honor swelled in his
heart and came from his lips in this promise:
"You may trust me, your Highness. Your secret is worth a
thousand-fold more than mine. It is sacred with me. The joy of my
life has ended, but the happiness of knowing the truth will never die.
I shall remember that you love me—yes, I know you do,—and I shall
never forget to love you. I will not promise that I shall never speak
of it again to you. As I lie here, there comes to me a courage I did
not know I could feel."
"No, no!" she cried, vehemently.
"Forgive me! You can at least let me say that as long as I live I
may cherish and encourage the little hope that all is not dead. Your
Highness, let me say that my family never knows when it is defeated,
either in love or in war."
"The walls which surround the heart of a princess are black and
grim, impenetrable when she defends it, my boasting American," she
said, smiling sadly.
"Yet some prince of the realm will batter down the wall and win at
a single blow that which a mere man could not conquer in ten
lifetimes. Such is the world."
"The prince may batter down and seize, but he can never conquer.
But enough of this! I am the Princess of Graustark; you are my
friend, Grenfall Lorry, and there is only a dear friendship between
us," she cried, resuming her merry humor so easily that he started
with surprise and not a little displeasure.
"And a throne," he added, smiling, how ever.
"And a promise," she reminded him.
"From which I trust I may some day be released," said he, sinking
back, afflicted with a discouragement and a determination of equal
power. He could see hope and hopelessness ahead.
"No; by life! It may be sooner than you think!"
"You are forgetting your promise already."
"Your Highness's pardon," he begged.
They laughed, but their hearts were sad, this luckless American
and hapless sovereign who would, if she could, be a woman.
"It is now three o'clock—the hour when you were to have called to
see me," she said, again sitting unconcernedly before him in the
window seat. She was not afraid of him. She was a princess.
"I misunderstood you, your highness. I remembered the engagement,
but it seems I was mistaken as to the time. I came at three in the
"And found me at home!"
"In an impregnable castle, with ogres all about."
XII. A WAR AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
Lorry was removed to another room before dinner, as she had
After they had dined the two strangers were left alone for several
hours. Anguish regaled his friend with an enthusiastic dissertation
on the charms of the Countess Dagmar, lady-in-waiting to the Princess.
In conclusion he said glowingly, his cigar having been out for half
an hour or more because his energy had been spent in another
"You haven't seen much of her, Lorry, but I tell you she is rare.
And she's not betrothed to any of these confounded counts or dukes
either. They all adore her but she's not committed."
"How do you know all this?" demanded Lorry, who but half heard
through his dreams.
"Asked her, of course. How in thunder do you suppose?"
"And you've known her but a day? Well, you are progressive."
"Oh, perfectly natural conversation, you know," explained Anguish,
composedly. "She began it by asking me if I were married, and I said
I wasn't even engaged. Then I asked her if she were married. You
see, from the title, you can't tell whether a countess is married or
single. She said she wasn't, and I promptly and very properly
expressed my amazement. By Jove, she has a will and a mind of her
own, that young woman has. She's not going to marry until she finds a
man of the right sort —which is refreshing. I like to hear a girl
talk like that, especially a pretty girl who can deal in princes,
counts and all kinds of nobility when it comes to a matrimonial trade.
By Jove, I'm sorry for the Princess, though."
"Sorry for the Princess? Why?" asked the other, alert at once.
"Oh, just because it's not in her power to be so independent. The
Countess says she cries every night when she thinks of what the poor
girl has to contend with."
"Tell me about it."
"I don't know anything to tell. I'm not interested in the
Princess, and I didn't have the nerve to ask many questions. I do
know, however, that she is going to have an unpleasant matrimonial
alliance forced upon her in some way." "That is usual.
"That's what I gather from the Countess. Maybe you can pump the
Countess and get all you want to know in connection with the matter.
It's a pretty serious state of affairs, I should say, or she wouldn't
be weeping through sympathy."
Lorry recalled a part of the afternoon's sweetly dangerous
conversation and the perspiration stood cold and damp on his brow.
"Well, old man, you've chased Miss Guggenslocker to earth only to
find her an impossibility. Pretty hopeless for you, Lorry, but don't
let it break you up completely. We can go back home after a while and
you will forget her. A countess, of course, is different."
"Harry, I know it is downright madness for me to act like this,"
said Lorry, his jaws set and his hands clenched as he raised himself
to his elbow. "You don't know how much I love her."
"Your nerve is to be admired, but—well, I'm sorry for you."
"Thanks for your sympathy. I suppose I'll need it," and he sank
back gloomily. Anguish was right—absurdly right.
There was a rap at the door and Anguish hastened to open it. A
servant presented Count Halfort's compliments and begged leave to
"Shall we see the old boy?" asked Harry.
"Yes, yes," responded the other. The servant understood the sign
made by Anguish and disappeared. "Diplomatic call, I suspect."
"He is the prime minister, I understand. Well, we'll diplome with
him until bed-time, if he cares to stay. I'm getting rather
accustomed to the nobility. They are not so bad, after all. Friendly
and all that—Ah, good evening, your excellency! We are honored."
The Count had entered the room and was advancing toward the couch,
tall, easy and the personification of cordiality.
"I could not retire until I had satisfied myself as to Mr. Lorry's
condition and his comfort," said he, in his broken English. He seated
himself near the couch and bent sharp, anxious eyes on the recumbent
"Oh, he's all right," volunteered Anguish, readily. "Be able to
go into battle again tomorrow."
"That is the way with you aggressive Americans. I am told. They
never give up until they are dead," said the Count, courteously.
"Your head is better?"
"It does not pain me as it did, and I'm sure I'll be able to get
out to-morrow. Thank you very much for your interest," said Lorry.
"May I inquire after the health of the Countess Halfont? The
excitement of last night has not had an unpleasant effect, I hope."
"She is with the Princess, and both are quite well. Since our
war, gentlemen, Graustark women have nothing to acquire in the way of
courage and endurance. You, of course, know nothing of the horrors of
"But we would be thankful for the story of it, your excellency.
War is a hobby of mine. I read every war scare that gets into
print," said Anguish, eagerly.
"We, of Graustark, at present have every reason to recall the last
war and bitterly to lament its ending. The war occurred just fifteen
years ago—but will the recital tire you, Mr. Lorry? I came to spend a
few moments socially and not to go into history. At any other time I
"It will please and not tire me. I am deeply interested. Pray go
on," Lorry hastened to say, for he was interested more than the Count
"Fifteen years ago Prince Ganlook, of this principality,—the
father of our princess,—became incensed over the depredations of the
Axphain soldiers who patrolled our border on the north. He demanded
restitution for the devastation they had created, but was refused.
Graustark is a province comprising some eight hundred square miles of
the best land in this part of the world. Our neighbor is smaller in
area and population. Our army was better equipped but not so hardy.
For several months the fighting in the north was in our favor, but
the result was that our forces were finally driven back to Edelweiss,
hacked and battered by the fierce thousands that came over the border.
The nation was staggered by the shock, for such an outcome had not
been considered possible. We had been too confident. Our soldiers
were sick and worn by six months of hard fighting, and the men of
Edelweiss—the merchants, the laborers and the nobility itself—flew
to arms in defense of the city. For over a month we fought, hundreds
of our best and bravest citizens going down to death. They at last
began a bombardment of the city. To-day you can see they marks on
nearly every house in Edelweiss. Hundreds of graves in the valley to
the south attest the terrors of that siege. The castle was stormed,
and Prince Ganlook, with many of the chief men of the land, met death.
The prince was killed in front of the castle gates, from which he had
sallied in a last, brave attempt to beat off the conquerors. A bronze
statue now marks the spot on which he fell. The Princess, his wife,
was my sister, and as I held the portfolio of finance, it was through
me that the city surrendered, bringing the siege to an end. Fifteen
years ago this autumn—the twentieth of November, to be explicit—the
treaty of peace was signed in Sofia. We were compelled to cede a
portion of territory in the far northeast, valuable for its mines.
Indemnity was agreed upon by the peace commissioners, amounting to
20,000,000 gavvos, or nearly $30,000,000 in your money. In fifteen
years this money was to be paid, with interest. On the twentieth of
November, this year, the people of Graustark must pay 25,000,000
gavvos. The time is at hand, and that is why we recall the war so
vividly. It means the bankruptcy of the nation, gentlemen."
Neither of his listeners spoke for some moments. Then Lorry broke
"You mean that the money cannot be raised?" he asked.
"It is not in our treasury. Our people have been taxed so sorely
in rebuilding their homes and in recuperating from the effect of that
dreadful invasion that they have been unable to pay the levies. You
must remember that we are a small nation and of limited resources.
Your nation could secure $30,000,000 in one hour for the mere asking.
To us it is like a death blow. I am not betraying a state secret in
telling you of the sore straits in which we are placed, for every man
in the nation has been made cognizant of the true conditions. We are
all facing it together." There was something so quietly heroic in his
manner that both men felt pity. Anguish, looking at the military
figure, asked: "You fought through the war, your excellency?"
"I resigned as minister, sir, to go to the front. I was in the
first battle and I was in the last," he said, simply.
"And the Princess,—the present ruler, I mean,—was a mere child
at that time. When did she succeed to the throne?" asked Lorry.
"Oh, the great world does not remember our little history! Within
a year after the death of Prince Ganlook, his wife, my sister, passed
away, dying of a broken heart. Her daughter, their only child, was,
according to our custom, crowned at once. She has reigned for fourteen
years, and wisely since assuming full power. For three years she has
been ruler de facto. She has been frugal, and has done all in her
power to meet the shadow that is descending."
"And what is the alternative in case the indemnity is not paid?"
asked Lorry, breathlessly, for he saw something bright in the
"The cession of all that part of Graustark lying north of
Edelweiss, including fourteen towns, all of our mines and our most
productive farming and grazing lands. In that event Graustark will be
no larger than one of the good-sized farms in your western country.
There will be nothing left for Her Royal Highness to rule save a
tract so small that the word principality will be a travesty and a
jest. This city and twenty-five miles to the south, a strip about one
hundred fifty miles long. Think of it! Twenty-five by one hundred
fifty miles, and yet called a principality! Once the proudest and
most prosperous state in the east, considering its size, reduced to
that! Ach, gentlemen —gentlemen! I cannot think of it without
tearing out a heart-string and suffering such pains as mortal man has
never endured. I lived in Graustark's days of wealth, power and
supremacy; God has condemned me to live in the days of her
dependency, weakness and poverty. Let us talk no more of this
His hearers pitied the frank, proud old man from the bottoms of
their hearts. He had told them the story with the candor and
simplicity of a child, admitting weakness and despondency. Still he
sat erect and defiant, his face white and drawn, his figure suggesting
the famous picture of the stag at bay.
"Willingly, your excellency, since it is distasteful to you. I
hope, however, you will permit me to ask how much you are short of
the amount," said Lorry, considerately yet curiously.
"Our minister of finance, Gaspon, will be able to produce fifteen
million gavvos at the stated time—far from enough. This amount has
been sucked from the people from excessive levy, and has been hoarded
for the dreaded day. Try as we would, it has been impossible to raise
the full amount. The people have been bled and have responded nobly,
sacrificing everything to meet the treaty terms honorably, but the
strain has been too great. Our army has cost us large sums. We have
strengthened our defenses, and could, should we go to war, defeat
Axphain. But we have our treaty to honor; we could not take up arms
to save ourselves from that honest bond. Our levies have barely
brought the amount necessary to, maintain an army large enough to
inspire respect among those who are ready to leap upon us the instant
we show the least sign of distress. There are about us powers that
have held aloof from war with us simply because we have awed them with
our show of force. It has been our safeguard, and there is not a
citizen of Graustark who objects to the manner in which state affairs
are conducted. They know that our army is an economy at any price.
Until last spring we were confident that we could raise the full
amount due Axphain, but the people in the rural districts were unable
to meet the levies on account of the panic that came at a most
unfortunate time. That is why we were hurrying home from your
country, Mr. Lorry. Gaspon had cabled the Princess that affairs were
in a hopeless condition, begging her to come home and do what she
could in a final appeal to the people, knowing the love they had for
her. She came, and has seen these loyal subjects offer their lives
for her and for Graustark, but utterly unable to give what they have
not—money. She asked them if she should disband the army, and there
was a negative wail from one end of the land to the other. Then the
army agreed to serve on half pay until all was tided over. Public
officers are giving their services free, and many of our wealthy
people have advanced loans on bonds, worthless as they may seem, and
still we have not the required amount."
"Cannot the loan be extended a few years?" asked Lorry, angry with
the ruler in the north, taking the woes of Graustark as much to heart
as if they were his own.
"Not one day! Not in London, Paris, nor Berlin."
Lorry lay back and allowed Anguish to lead the conversation into
other channels. The Count remained for half an hour, saying as he
left that the Princess and his wife had expressed a desire to be
remembered to their guests.
"Her Royal Highness spent the evening with the ministers of
finance and war, and her poor head, I doubt not, is racking from the
effects of the consultation. These are weighty matters for a girl to
have on her hands," solemnly stated the Count, pausing for an instant
at the door of the apartment.
After he had closed it the Americans looked long and thoughtfully
at each other, each feeling a respect for the grim old gentleman that
they had never felt for man before.
"So they are in a devil of a shape," mused Anguish. "I tell you,
Gren, I never knew anything that made me feel so badly as does the
trouble that hangs over that girl and her people. A week ago I
wouldn't have cared a rap for Graustark, but to-night I feel like
weeping for her."
"There seems to be no help for her, either," said Lorry,
"Graustark, you mean?"
"No—I mean yes, of course,—who else?" demanded the other, who
certainly had not meant Graustark.
"I believe, confound your selfish soul. you'd like to see the
nation, the crown and everything else taken away from this helpless,
harrassed child. Then you'd have a chance," exclaimed Anguish, pacing
the floor, half angrily, half encouragingly.
"Don't say that, Harry, don't say that. Don't accuse me of it,
for I'll confess I had in my heart that meanest of longings—the
selfish, base, heartless hope that you have guessed. It hurts me to
be accused of it though, so don't do it again, old man. I'll put away
the miserable hope, if I can, and I'll pray God that she may find a
way out of the difficulty."
They went to sleep that night, Anguish at once, Lorry not for
hours, harboring a determination to learn more about the condition of
affairs touching the people of Graustark and the heart of their
XIII. UNDER MOON AND MONASTERY
For two days Lorry lived through intermittent stages of delight
and despondency. His recovery from the effects of the blow
administered by Dannox was naturally rapid, his strong young
constitution coming to the rescue bravely. He saw much of the
Princess, more of the Countess Dagmar, and made the acquaintance of
many lords and ladies for whom he cared but little except when they
chose to talk of their girlish ruler. The atmosphere of the castle
was laden with a depression that could not be overcome by an
assimilated gaiety. There was the presence of a shadow that grew
darker and nearer as the days went by, and there were anxious hearts
under the brave, proud spirits of those who held the destiny of
Graustark in their hands.
The princess could not bide the trouble that had sprung up in her
eyes. Her laugh, her gay conversation, her rare composure and gentle
hauteur were powerless to drive away the haunted, worried gleam in
those expressive eyes of blue. Lorry had it on his tongue's end a
dozen times during the next day or so after the count's narrative to
question her about the condition of affairs as they appeared to her.
He wondered whether she, little more than a girl, could see and
understand the enormity of the situation that confronted her and her
people. A strange, tender fear prevented him from speaking to her of
the thing which was oppressing her life. Not that he expected a
rebuff from her, but that he could not endure the thought of hearing
her brave, calm recital of the merciless story. He knew that she
could narrate it all to him more plainly than had her uncle.
Something told him that she was fully aware of the real and
underlying conditions. He could see, in his imagination, the proud,
resigned face and manner of this perplexed Princess, as she would
have talked to him of her woes, and he could also picture the
telltale eyes and the troubled expression that would not be
The Countess Dagmar, when not monopolized by the very progressive,
or aggressive Anguish, unfolded to Lorry certain pages in the personal
history of the Princess, and he, of course, encouraged her
confidential humor, although there was nothing encouraging in it for
Down by the great fountain, while the soldiers were on parade, the
fair but volatile Countess unfolded to Lorry a story that wrenched his
heart so savagely that anger, resentment, helplessness and love oozed
forth and enveloped him in a multitude of emotions that would not
disperse. To have gone to the Princess and laid down his life to save
her would have given him pleasure, but he had promised something to
her that could not be forgotten in a day. In his swelling heart he
prayed for the time to come when he could take her in his arms, cancel
his promise and defy the troubles that opposed her.
"She will not mind my telling you, because she considers you the
very best of men, Mr. Lorry," said the Countess, who had learned her
English under the Princess Yetive's tutor. The demure, sympathetic
little Countess, her face glowing with excitement and indignation,
could not resist the desire to pour into the ears of this strong and
resourceful man the secrets of the Princess, as if trusting to him,
the child of a powerful race, to provide relief. It was the old story
of the weak appealing to the strong.
It seems, according to the very truthful account given by the
lady, that the Princess had it in her power to save Graustark from
disgrace and practical destruction. The Prince of Axphain's son,
Lorenz, was deeply enamoured of her, infatuated by her marvelous
beauty and accomplishments. He had persuaded his father to consider a
matrimonial alliance with her to be one of great value to Axphain.
The old prince, therefore, some months before the arrival of the
Americans in Graustark, sent to the Princess a substitute ultimatum,
couched in terms so polite and conciliatory that there could be no
mistaking his sincerity. He agreed to give Graustark a new lease of
life, as it were, by extending the fifteen years, or, in other words,
to grant the conquered an additional ten years in which to pay off the
obligations imposed by the treaty. He furthermore offered a
considerable reduction in the rate of interest for the next ten
years. But he had a condition attached to this good and gracious
proposition; the marriage of Graustark's sovereign. His ambassador
set forth the advantages of such an alliance, and departed with a
message that the matter should have most serious consideration.
The old Prince's proposition was a blow to the Princess, who was
placed in a trying position. By sacrificing herself she could save
her country, but in so doing her life was to be plunged into
interminable darkness. She did not love, nor did she respect Lorenz,
who was not favorably supplied with civilized intelligence. The
proposition was laid before the cabinet and the nobility by the
Princess herself, who said that she would be guided by any decision
they might reach. The counsellors, to a man, refused to sacrifice
their girlish ruler, and the people vociferously ratified the
resolution. But the Princess would not allow them to send an answer
to Axphain until she could see a way clear to save her people in some
other manner. An embassy was sent to the Prince of Dawsbergen. His
domain touched Graustark on the south, and he ruled a wild, turbulent
class of mountaineers and herdsmen. This embassy sought to secure an
endorsement of the loan from Prince Gabriel sufficient to meet the
coming crisis. Gabriel, himself smitten by the charms of the
Princess, at once offered himself in marriage, agreeing to advance,
in case she accepted him, twenty million gavvos, at a rather high rate
of interest, for fifteen years. His love for her was so great that he
would pawn the entire principality for an answer that would make him
the happiest man on earth. Now, the troubled Princess abhorred
Gabriel. Of the two, Lorenz was much to be preferred. Gabriel flew
into a rage upon the receipt of this rebuff, and openly avowed his
intention to make her suffer. His infatuation became a mania, and, up
to the very day on which the Countess told the story, he persisted in
his appeals to the Princess. In person he had gone to her to plead
his suit, on his knees, grovelling at her feet. He went so far as to
exclaim madly in the presence of the alarmed but relentless object of
his love that he would win her or turn the whole earth into everything
So it was that the Princess of Graustark, erstwhile Miss
Guggenslocker, was being dragged through the most unhappy affairs
that ever beset a sovereign. Within a month she was to sign away
two-thirds of her domain, transforming multitudes of her beloved and
loving people into subjects of the hated Axphain, or to sell herself,
body and soul, to a loathsome bidder in the guise of a suitor. And,
with all this confronting her, she had come to the realization of a
truth so sad and distracting; that it was breaking her tortured heart.
She was in love—but with no royal prince! Of this, however, the
Countess knew nothing, so Lorry had one great secret to cherish alone.
"Has she chosen the course she will pursue?" asked Lorry, as the
Countess concluded her story. Isis face was turned away.
"She cannot decide. We have wept together over this dreadful,
this horrible thing. You do not know what it means to all of us, Mr.
Lorry. We love her, and there is not one in our land who would
sacrifice her to save this territory. As for Gabriel, Graustark would
kill her before she should go to him. Still she cannot let herself
sacrifice those northern subjects when by a single act she can save
them. You see, the Princess has not forgotten that her father brought
this war upon the people, and she feels it her duty to pay the penalty
of his error, whatever the cost."
"Is there no other to whom she can turnno other course?" asked
"There is none who would assist us, bankrupt as we are. There is
a question I want to ask, Mr. Lorry. Please look at me—do not stare
at the fountain all the time. Why have you come to Edelweiss?" She
asked the question so boldly that his startled embarrassment was an
unspoken confession. He calmed himself and hesitated long before
answering, weighing his reply. She sat close beside him, her clear
gray eyes reading him like a book.
"I came to see a Miss Guggenslocker," he answered at last.
"For what purpose? There must have been an urgent cause to bring
you so far. You are not an American banker?"
"I had intended to ask her to be my wife," he said, knowing that
secrecy was useless and seeing a faint hope.
"You did not find Miss Guggenslocker."
"No. I have not found her."
"And are you going home disappointed, Mr, Lorry, because she is
"I leave the answer to your tender imagination."
There was a long pause.
"May I ask when you expect to leave Graustark?" she asked,
"Why do you wish to know?" he asked in turn.
"Because I know how hopeless your quest has been. You have found
Miss Guggenslocker, but she is held behind a wall so strong and
impregnable that you cannot reach her with the question you came to
ask. You have come to that wall, and now you must turn back. I have
asked, how soon?"
"Not until your Princess bids me take up my load and go. You see,
my lady, I love to sit beneath the shadow of the wall you describe.
It will require a royal edict to compel me to abandon my position."
"You cannot expect the Princess to drive you from her country,
—you who have done so much for her. You must go, Mr. Lorry, without
"Yes, for your presence outside that wall may make the
imprisonment all the more unendurable for the one your love cannot
reach. Do you understand me?"
"Has the one behind the wall instructed you to say this to me?" he
"She has not. I do not know her heart, but I am a woman and have
a woman's foresight. If you wish to be kind and good to her, go!"
"I cannot!" he exclaimed, his pent feelings bursting forth. "I
"You will not be so selfish and so cruel as to increase the horror
of the wreck that is sure to come," she said, drawing back.
"You know, Countess, of the life-saving crews who draw from the
wrecks of ships lives that were hopelessly lost? There is to be a
wreck here; is there to be a life-saver? When the night is darkest,
the sea wildest, when hope is gone, is not that the time when rescue
is most precious? Tell me, you who know all there is of this
"I cannot command you to leave Edelweiss; I can only tell you that
you will have something to answer for if you stay," said the Countess.
"Will you help me if I show to you that I can reach the wreck and
save the one who clings to it despairingly?" he asked, smiling,
suddenly calm and confident.
"Willingly, for I love the one who is going down in the sea. I
have spoken to you seriously, though, and I trust you will not
misunderstand me. I like you and I like Mr. Anguish. You could stay
here forever so far as I am concerned."
He thought long and intently over what she had said as he smoked
his cigar on the great balcony that night. In his heart he knew he
was adding horror, but that persistent hope of the life-saver came up
fresh and strong to combat the argument. He saw, in one moment, the
vast chasm between the man and the princess; in the next, he laughed
at the puny space.
Down on the promenade he could see the figures of men and women
strolling in the moonlight. To his ears came the occasional laugh of
a man, the silvery gurgle of a woman. The royal military band was
playing in the stand near the edge of the great circle. There was
gaiety, comfort, charm and security about everything that came to his
eyes and ears. Was it possible that this peace, unruffled, was so
near its end?
He smiled as he neard Harry Anguish laugh gaily in his good old
way, his ringing tones mingling with a woman's. There was no trouble
in the hearts of the Countess and his blithe comrade. Behind him rose
the grim castle walls, from the windows of which, here and there,
gleamed the lights of the night. Where was she? He had seen her in
the afternoon and had talked with her, had walked with her. Their
conversation had been bright, but of the commonplace kind. She had
said nothing to indicate that she remembered the hour spent beside his
couch a day or so before; he had uttered none of the words that
struggled to rush from his lips, the questions, the pleadings, the
vows. Where was she now? Not in that gay crowd below, for he had
scanned every figure with the hawk's eve. Closeted again, no doubt,
with her ministers, wearying her tired brain, her brave heart into
fatigue without rest.
Her court still trembled with the excitement of the daring attempt
of the abductors and their swift punishment. Functionaries flocked to
Edelweiss to inquire after the welfare of the Princess, and
indignation was at the highest pitch. There were theories innumerable
as to the identity of the arch-conspirator. Baron Dangloss was at sea
completely. He cursed himself and everybody else for the hasty and
ill-timed execution of the hirelings. It was quite evident that the
buzzing wonder and intense feeling of the people had for the moment
driven out all thought of the coming day of judgment and its bitter
atonement for all Graustark. To-day the castle was full of the
nobility, drawn to its walls by the news that had startled them
beyond all expression. The police were at work, the military
trembled with rage, the people clamored for the apprehension of the
man who had been the instigator of this audacity. The general belief
was that some brigand chief from the south had planned the great theft
for the purpose of securing a fabulous ransom. Grenfall Lorry had an
astonishing theory in his mind, and the more he thought it over the
more firmly it was imbedded.
The warm, blue coils from the cigar wafted away into the night,
carrying with them a myriad of tangled thoughts,—of her, of Axphain,
of the abductor, of himself, of everything. A light step on the stone
floor of the shadowy balcony attracted his attention. He turned his
head and saw the Princess Yetive. She was walking slowly toward the
balustrade, not aware of his presence. There was no covering for the
dark hair, no wrap about the white shoulders. She wore an exquisite
gown of white, shimmering with the reflections from the moon that
scaled the mountain top. She stood at the balustrade, her hands
clasping a bouquet of red roses, her chin lifted, her eyes gazing
toward the mountain's crest, the prettiest picture he had ever seen.
The strange dizziness of love overpowered him. His hungry eyes
glanced upward towards the sky which she was blessing with her gaze,
and beheld another picture, gloomy, grim, cheerless.
Against the moonlit screen of the universe clung the black tower
of that faraway monastery in the clouds, the home of the monks of
Saint Valentine. Out of the world, above the world, a part of the
sky itself, it stood like the spectre of a sentinel whose ghostly
guardian. ship appalled and yet soothed.
He could not, would not move. To have done so meant the
desecration of a picture so delicate that a breath upon its surface
would have swept it forever from the vision. How long he revelled in
the glory of the picture he knew not, for it was as if he looked from
a dream. At last he saw her look down upon the roses, lift them
slowly and drop them over the rail. They fell to the ground below.
He thought he understood; the gift of a prince despised.
They were not twenty feet apart. He advanced to her side, his hat
in one hand, his stick—the one that felled the Viennese—trembling in
"I did not know you were here," she exclaimed, in half frightened
amazement. "I left my ladies inside."
He was standing beside her, looking down into the eyes.
"And I am richer because of your ignorance," he said, softly. "I
have seen a picture that shall never leave my memory—never! Its
beauty enthralled, enraptured. Then I saw the drama of the roses.
Ah, your Highness, the crown is not always a mask."
"The roses were—were of no consequence," she faltered.
"I have heard how you stand between two suitors and that wretched
treaty. My heart has ached to tell you how I pity you."
"It is not pity I need, but courage. Pity will not aid me in my
duty, Mr. Lorry. It stands plainly before me, this duty, but I have
not the courage to take it up and place it about my neck forever."
"You do not, cannot love this Lorenz?" he asked.
"Love him!" she cried. "Ach, I forget! You do not know him. Yet
I shall doubtless be his wife." There was an eternity of despair in
that low, steady voice.
"You shall not! I swear you shall not!"
"Oh, he is a prince! I must accept the offer that means salvation
to Graustark. Why do you make it harder with torture which you think
is kindness? Listen to me. Next week I am to give my answer. He
will be here, in this castle. My father brought this calamity upon
Graustark; I must lift it from the people. What has my happiness to
do with it?"
Her sudden strength silenced him, crushed him with the real
awakening of helplessness. He stood beside her, looking up at the
cold monastery, strangely conscious that she was gazing toward the
same dizzy height.
"It looks so peaceful up there," she said at last.
"But so cold and cheerless," he added, drearily. There was
another long silence in which two hearts communed through the medium
of that faraway sentinel. "They have not discovered a clue to the
chief abductor, have they?" he asked, in an effort to return to his
"Baron Dangloss believes he has a clue—a meager and
unsatisfactory one, he admits—and to-day sent officers to Ganlook to
investigate the actions of a strange man who was there last week, a
man who styled himself the Count of Arabazon, and who claimed to be of
Vienna. Some Austrians had been hunting stags and bears in the north,
however, and it is possible he is one of them." She spoke slowly, her
eyes still bent on the home of the monks.
"Your highness, I have a theory, a bold and perhaps a criminal
theory, but you will allow me to tell you why I am possessed of it.
I am aware that there is a Prince Gabriel. It is my opinion that no
Viennese is guilty, nor are the brigands to be accused of this
masterpiece in crime. Have you thought how far a man may go to obtain
his heart's desire?"
She looked at him instantly, her eyes wide with growing
comprehension, the solution to the mystery darting into her mind like
"You mean—" she began, stopping as if afraid to voice the
"That Prince Gabriel is the man who bought your guards and hired
Geddos and Ostrom to carry you to the place where he could own you,
whether you would or no," said Lorry.
"But he could never have forced me to marry him, and I should,
sooner or later, have exposed him," she whispered, argumentatively.
"He could not expect me to be silent and submit to a marriage under
such circumstances. He knows that I would denounce him, even at the
"You do not appreciate my estimate of that gentleman."
"What is to become of me!" she almost sobbed, in an anguish of
fear. "I see now—I see plainly! It was Gabriel, and he would have
done as you say." A shudder ran through her figure and he tenderly
whispered in her ear:
"The danger is past. He can do no more, your Highness. Were I
positive that he is the man—and I believe he is—I would hunt him
down this night."
Her eyes closed happily under his gaze, her hand dropped timidly
from his arm and a sweet sense of security filled her soul.
"I am not afraid," she murmured.
"Because I am here?" he asked, bending nearer.
"Because God can bless with the same hand that punishes," she
answered, enigmatically, lifting her lashes again and looking into
his eyes with a love at last unmasked. "He gives me a man to love and
denies me happiness. He makes of me a woman, but He does not unmake
me a princess. Through you, He thwarts a villain; through you, He
crushes the innocent. More than ever, I thank you for coming into my
life. You and you alone, guided by the God who loves and despises me,
saved me from Gabriel."
"I only ask—" he began, eagerly, but she interrupted.
"You should not ask anything, for I have said I cannot pay. I owe
to you all I have, but cannot pay the debt."
"I shall not again forget," he murmured.
"To-morrow, if you like, I will take you over the castle and let
you see the squalor in which I exist,—my throne room, my chapel, my
banquet hall, my ball room, my conservatory, my sepulchre. You may say
it is wealth, but I shall call it poverty," she said, after they had
watched the black monastery cut a square corner from the moon's
"To-morrow, if you will be so kind."
"Perhaps I may be poorer after I have saved Graustark," she said.
"I would to God I could save you from that!" he said.
"I would to God you could," she said. Her manner changed
suddenly. She laughed gaily, turning a light face to his. "I hear
your friend's laugh out there in the darkness. It is delightfully
XIV. THE EPISODE OF THE THRONE ROOM
"This is the throne room. Allode!"
The Princess Yetive paused before two massive doors. It was the
next afternoon, and she had already shown him the palace of a
queen—the hovel of a pauper!
Through the afternoon not one word other than those which might
have passed between good friends escaped the lips of either. He was
all interest, she all graciousness. Allode, the sturdy guard, swung
open the doors, drew the curtain, and stood aside for them to pass.
Into the quiet hall she led him, a princess in a gown of gray, a
courtier in tweeds. Inside the doors he paused.
"And I thought you were Miss Guggenslocker," he said. She laughed
with the glee of a child who has charmed and delighted through
"Am I not a feeble mite to sit on that throne and rule all that
comes within its reach?" She directed his attention to the throne at
the opposite end of the hall. "From its seat I calmly instruct
gray-haired statesmen, weigh their wisdom and pass upon it as if I
were Demosthenes, challenge the evils that may drive monarchs mad, and
wonder if my crown is on straight."
"Let me be ambassador from the United States and kneel at the
throne, your Highness."
"I could not engage in a jest with the crown my ancestors wore,
Mr. Lorry. It is sacred, thou thoughtless American. Come, we will
draw nearer that you may see the beauty of the workmanship in that
great old chair."
They stood at the base of the low, velveted stage on which stood
the chair, with its high back, its massive arms and legs ashimmer in
the light from the lofty windows. It was of gold, inlaid with
precious stones—diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and other
wondrous jewels—a relic of ancient Graustark.
"I never sit in the center. Always at one side or the other,
usually leaning my elbow on the arm. You see, the discussions are
generally so long and dreary that I become fatigued. One time,—I am
ashamed to confess it, I went to sleep on the throne. That was long
ago. I manage to keep awake very well of late. Do you like my throne
"And to think that it is yours!"
"It is this room that gives me the right to be hailed with 'Long
live the Princess!' Not with campaign yells and 'Hurrah for Yetive!'
How does that sound? 'Hurrah for Yetive!'" She was laughing
"Don't say it! It sounds sacrilegious—revolting!"
"For over three years—since I was eighteen—I have been supreme
in that chair. During the years of my reign prior to that time I sat
there with my Uncle Caspar standing beside me. How often I begged him
to sit down with me! There was so much room and he certainly must
have grown tired of standing. One time I cried because he frowned at
me when I persisted in the presence of a great assemblage of nobles
from Dawsbergen. It seems that it was a most important audience that
I was granting, but I thought more of my uncle's tired old legs. I
remember saying, through my sobs of mortification, that I would have
him beheaded. You are to guess whether that startling threat created
consternation or mirth."
"What a whimsical little princess you must have been, weeping and
pouting and going to sleep," he laughed. "And how sedate and wise
you have become."
"Thank you. How very nice you are. I knave felt all along that
some one would discern my effort to be dignified and sedate. They say
I am wise and good and gracious, but that is to be expected. They
said that of sovereigns as far back as the deluge, I've heard. Would
you really like to see me in that old chair?" she asked.
"Ah, you are still a woman," he said, smiling at her pretty
vanity. "Nothing could impress me more pleasantly."
She stepped carelessly and impulsively upon the royal platform,
leaned against the arm of the throne, and with the charming blush of
consciousness turned to him with the quickness of a guilty conscience,
eager to hear his praise but fearful lest he secretly condemned her
conceit. His eyes were burning with the admiration that knows no
defining, and his breath came quick and sharp through parted lips. He
involuntarily placed a foot upon the bottom step as if to spring to
"You must not come up here!" she cried, shrinking back, her hands
extended in fluttering remonstrance. "I cannot permit that, at all!"
"I beg your pardon," he cried, "That is all the humble plebeian
can say. That I may be more completely under this fairy spell, pray
cast about yourself the robe of rank and take up the sceptre. Perhaps
I may fall upon my face."
"And hurt your head all over again," she said, laughing nervously.
She hesitated for a moment, a perplexed frown crossing her brow.
Then she jerked a rich robe from the back of the throne and placed it
about her shoulders as only a woman can. Taking up the scepter she
stood before the great chair, and, with a smile on her lips, held it
above his head, saying softly:
"Graustark welcomes the American prince."
He sank to his knee before the real princess, kissed the hem of
her robe and arose with face pallid. The chasm was now endless in
its immensity. The princess gingerly seated herself on the throne,
placed her elbow on the broad arm, her white chin in her hand, and
tranquilly surveyed the voiceless American prince.
"You have not said, 'Thank you,'" she said, finally, her eyes
wavering beneath his steady gaze.
"I am only thinking how easy it would be to cross the gulf that
lies between us. With two movements of my body I can place it before
you, with a third I can be sitting at your side. It is not so
difficult after all," he said, hungrily eyeing the broad chair.
"No man, unless a prince, ever sat upon this throne," she said.
"You have called me a prince."
"Oh, I jested," she cried quickly, comprehending his intention. "I
The command came too late, for he was beside her on the throne of
Graustark! She sat perfectly rigid for a moment, intense fear in her
"Do you know what you have done?" she whispered, miserably.
"Usurped the throne," he replied, assuming an ease and complacence
he did not feel. Truly he was guilty of unprecedented presumption.
"You have desecrated—desecrated! Do you hear?" she went on,
paying no attention to his remark.
"Peccavl. Ah, Your Highness, I delight in my sin. For once I am
a power; I speak from the throne. You will not have me abdicate in
the zenith of my glory? Be kind, most gracious one. Besides, did you
not once cry because your uncle refused to sit with you? Had he been
the possessor of a dangerous wound, as I am, and had he found himself
so weak that he could stand no longer, I am sure he would have done as
I have—sat down in preference to falling limp at your feet. You do
not know how badly I am wounded," he pleaded, with the subtlest double
"Why should you wound me?" she asked, plaintively. "You have no
right to treat the throne I occupy as a subject for pranks and
indignities. I did not believe you could be so—forgetful." There
was a proud and pitiful resentment in her voice that brought him to
his senses at once. He had defiled her throne. In shame and
humiliation he cried:
"I am a fool—an ingrate, You have been too gentle with me. For
this despicable act of mine I cannot ask pardon and it would be
beneath you to grant it. I have hurt you, and I can never atone. I
forgot how sacred is your throne. Let me depart in disgrace." He
stood erect as if to forsake the throne he had stained, but she,
swayed by a complete reversal of feeling, timidly, pleadingly touched
"Stay! It is my throne, after all. I shall divide it, as well as
the sin, with you. Sit down again, I beg of you. For a brief spell I
would rule beside a man who is fit to be a king but who is a
desecrator. There can be no harm and no one shall be the wiser for
this sentimental departure from royal custom. We are children,
With an exclamation of delight, he resumed his position beside
her. His hand trembled as he took up hers to carry it to his lips.
"We are children—playing with fire," he murmured, this ingrate, this
She allowed her hand to lie limply in his, her head sinking to the
back of the chair. When her hand was near his feverish lips, cool and
white and trusting, he checked the upward progress. Slowly he raised
his eyes to study her face, finding that hers were closed, the
semblance of a smile touching her lips as if they were in a happy
The lips! The lips! The lips! The madness of love rushed into
his heart; the expectant hand was forgotten; his every hope and every
desire measured themselves against his discretion as he looked upon
the tempting face. Could he kiss those lips but once his life would
With a start she opened her eyes, doubtless at the command of the
masterful ones above. The eyes of blue met the eyes of gray in a
short, sharp struggle, and the blue went down in surrender. His lips
triumphed slowly, drawing closer and closer as if restrained and
impelled by the same emotion—arrogant love.
"Open your eyes, darling," he whispered, and she obeyed. Then
their lips met—her first kiss of love!
She trembled from head to foot, perfectly powerless beneath the
spell. Again he kissed a princess on her throne. At this second
kiss her eyes grew wide with terror, and she sprang from his side,
standing before him like one bereft of reason.
"Oh, my God! What have you done?" she wailed. He staggered to
his feet, dizzy with joy.
"Ha!" cried a gruff voice from the doorway, and the guilty ones
whirled to look upon the witness to their blissful crime. Inside the
curtains, with carbine leveled at the head of the American, stood
Allode, the guard, his face distorted by rage. The Princess screamed
and leaped between Lorry and the threatening carbine.
"Allode!" she cried, in frantic terror.
He angrily cried out something in his native tongue and she
breathlessly, imploringly replied. Lorry did not understand their
words, but be knew that she had saved him from death at the hand of
her loyal, erring guard. Allode lowered his gun, bowed low and turned
his back upon the throne.
"He—he would have killed you," she said, tremulously, her face
the picture of combined agony and relief. She remembered the
blighting kisses and then the averted disaster.
"You—what did you say to him?" he asked.
"I—I—oh, I will not tell you," she cried.
"I beg of you!"
"I told him that he was to—was to put down his gun."
"I know that, but why?" he persisted.
"I—Ach, to save you, stupid!"
"How did you explain the—the—" He hesitated, generously.
"I told him that I had not been—that I had not been—"
"That I had not been—offended!" she gasped, standing stiff and
straight, with eyes glued upon the obedient guard.
"You were not?" he rapturously cried.
"I said it only to save your life!" she cried, turning fiercely
upon him. "I shall never forgive you! Never! You must go—you must
leave here at once! Do you hear? I cannot have you near me now—I
cannot see you again. Ach, God! What have I given you the right to
say of me?"
"Stop! It is as sacred as—"
"Yes, yes—I understand! I trust you, but you must go! Find some
excuse to give your friend and go to-day! Go now!" she cried,
intensely, first putting her hands to her temples, then to her eyes.
Without waiting to hear his remonstrance, if indeed he had the
power to utter one, she glided swiftly toward the curtains, allowing
him to follow at his will. Dazed and crushed at the sudden end to
everything, he dragged his footsteps after. At the door she spoke in
low, imperative tones to the motionless Allode, who dropped to his
knees and muttered a reverential response. As Lorry passed beneath
the hand that held the curtain aside, he glanced at the face of the
man who had been witness to their weakness. He was looking straight
ahead, and, from his expression, it could not have been detected that
he knew there was a man on earth save himself. In the hall she turned
to him, her face cold and pale.
"I have faithful guards about me now. Allode has said he did not
see you in the throne room. He will die before he will say
otherwise," she said, her lips trembling with shame.
"By your command?"
"By my request. I do not command my men to lie."
Side by side they passed down the quiet hall, silent, thoughtful,
the strain of death upon their hearts.
"I shall obey the only command you have given, then. This day I
leave the castle. You will let me come again—to see you? There can
be no harm—"
"No! You must leave Graustark at once!" she interrupted, the
"I refuse to go! I shall remain in Edelweiss, near you, just so
long as I feel that I may be of service to you."
"I cannot drive you out as I would a thief," she said, pointedly.
At the top of the broad staircase he held out his hand and
"Good-by, your Highness!"
"Good-by," she said, simply, placing her hand in his after a
moment's hesitation. Then she left him.
An hour later the two Americans, one strangely subdued, the other
curious, excited and impatient, stood before the castle waiting for
the carriage. Count Halfont was with them, begging them to remain, as
he could see no reason for the sudden leave-taking. Lorry assured him
that they had trespassed long enough on the Court's hospitality, and
that he would feel much more comfortable at the hotel. Anguish looked
narrowly at his friend's face, but said nothing. He was beginning to
"Let us walk to the gates. The Count will oblige us by
instructing the coachman to follow," said Lorry, eager to be off.
"Allow me to join you in the walk, gentlemen," said Count Caspar,
immediately instructing a lackey to send the carriage after them. He
and Lorry walked on together, Anguish lingering behind, having caught
sight of the Countess Dagmar. That charming and unconventional piece
of nobility promptly followed the prime minister's example and
escorted the remaining guest to the gate.
Far down the walk Lorry turned for a last glance at the castle
from which love had banished him. Yetive was standing on the
balcony, looking not at the monastery but at the exile.
She remained there long after the carriage had passed her gates,
bearing the Americans swiftly over the white Castle Avenue, and there
were tears in her eyes.
XV. THE BETROTHAL
Harry Anguish was a discreet, forbearing fellow. He did not
demand a full explanation of his friend. There was enough natural
wit in his merry head to see that in connection with their departure
there was something that would not admit of discussion, even by
confidential friends. He shrewdly formed his own conclusions and held
his peace. Nor did he betray surprise when Lorry informed him, in
answer to a question, that he intended to remain in Edelweiss for some
time, adding that he could not expect him to do likewise if he
preferred to return to Paris. But Mr. Anguish preferred to remain in
Edelweiss. Had not the Countess Dagmar told him she would always be
happy to see him at the castle, and had he any reason to renounce its
walls? And so it was that they tarried together.
Lorry loitered aimlessly, moodily about the town, spending gloomy
days and wretched nights. He reasoned that it were wisdom to fly,
but a force stronger than reason held him in Edelweiss. He ventured
several times to the castle wall, but turned back resolutely. There
was hope in his breast that she might send for him; there was, at
least, the possibility of seeing her should she ride through the
streets. Anguish, on the other hand, visited the castle daily. He
spent hours with the pretty Countess, undismayed by the noble moths
that fluttered about her flame, and he was ever persistent,
light-hearted and gay. He brought to Lorry's ears all that he could
learn of the Princess. Several times he had seen her and had spoken
with her. She inquired casually after the health of his friend, but
nothing more. From the Countess he ascertained that Her Highness was
sleeping soundly, eating heartily and apparently enjoying the best of
spirits—information decidedly irritating to the one who received it
They had been at the hotel for over a week when one afternoon
Anguish rushed into the room, out of breath and scarcely able to
control his excitement.
"What's up?" cried Lorry. "Has the Countess sacked you?"
"Not on your coin! But something is up, and I am its discoverer.
You remember what you said about suspecting Prince Gabriel of being
the chief rascal in the abduction job? Well, my boy, I am now willing
to stake my life that he is the man." The news-bearer sat down on the
edge of the bed and drew the first long breath he had had in a long
"Why do you think so?" demanded the other, all interest.
"Heard him talking just now. I didn't know who the fellow was at
first, but he was talking to some strange-looking soldiers as I
passed. As soon as I heard his voice I knew he was Michael. There
isn't any question about it, Lorry. I am positive. He did not
observe me, but I suppose by this time he has learned that his little
job was frustrated by two Americans who heard the plot near the castle
gates. He has nerve to come here, hasn't he?"
"If he is guilty, yes. Still, he may feel secure because he is a
powerful prince and able to resent any accusation with a show of
force. Where is he now?"
"I left him there. Come on! We'll go down and you can see for
They hurried to the corridor, which was swarming with men in
strange uniforms. There were a few Graustark officers, but the
majority of the buzzing conversationalists were dressed in a rich
"Who are these strangers?" asked Lorry.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you. Prince Lorenz is also here, and these
gray fellows are a part of his retinue. Lorenz has gone on to the
castle. What's the matter?" Lorry had turned pale and was reaching
for the wall with unsteady hand.
"He has come for his answer," he said, slowly, painfully.
"That's right! I hadn't thought of that. I hope she turns him
down. But there's Gabriel over yonder. See those three fellows in
blue? The middle one is the prince."
Near the door leading to the piazza stood several men, gray and
blue. The man designated as Gabriel was in the center, talking gaily
and somewhat loudly, puffing at a cigarette between sentences. He was
not tall, but he was strongly and compactly built. His hair and
cropped beard were as black as coal, his eyes wide, black and lined,
It was a pleasure-worn face, and Lorry shuddered as he thought of the
Princess in the power of this evil-looking wretch. They leisurely
made their way to a spot near the talkers. There was no mistaking the
voice. Prince Gabriel and Michael were one and the same, beyond all
doubt. But how to prove it to the satisfaction of others?
Skepticism would follow any attempt to proclaim the prince guilty
because his voice sounded like that of the chief conspirator. In a
matter where whole nations were concerned the gravest importance would
be attached to the accusation of a ruler. Satisfying themselves as to
the identity of that peculiar voice, the friends passed through to the
"What's to be done?" asked Anguish, boiling over with excitement.
"We must go to Baron Dangloss, tell him of our positive discovery,
and then consult Count Halfont."
"And Her Royal Highness, of course."
"Yes, I suppose so," said Lorry, flicking the ashes from his cigar
with a finger that was now steady. He was serving the Princess again.
They hurried to the Tower, and were soon in the presence of the
fierce little chief of police. Lorry had spent many hours with
Dangloss of late, and they had become friends. His grim old face
blanched perceptibly as he heard the assertions of the young men. He
shook his head despairingly.
"It may be as you say, gentlemen, but I am afraid we can do
nothing. To charge a prince with such a crime and on such evidence
would be madness. I am of your belief, however. Prince Gabriel is
the man I have suspected. Now I am convinced. Before we can do
anything in such a grave matter it will be necessary to consult the
Princess and her ministers. In case we conclude to accuse the Prince
of Dawsbergen, it must be after careful and judicious thought. There
are many things to consider, gentlemen. For my part, I would be
overjoyed to seize the villain and to serve him as we did his tools,
but my hands are tied, you see. I would suggest that you go at once
to the Princess and Count Halfont, tell them of your suspicions—"
"Not suspicions, my lord,—facts," interrupted Anguish.
"Well, then, facts, and ascertain how they feel about taking up a
proposition that may mean war. May I ask you to come at once to me
with their answer. It is possible that they will call for a
consultation with the ministers, nobles and high officers. Still, I
fear they will be unwilling to risk much on the rather flimsy proof
you can give. Gabriel is powerful and we do not seek a war with him.
There is another foe for whom we are quietly whetting our swords."
The significant remark caused both listeners to prick up their ears.
But he disappointed, their curiosity, and they were left to speculate
as to whom the other foe might be. Did he mean that Graustark was
secretly, slyly making ready to resist, treaty or no treaty?
It required prolonged urging on the part of Anguish to persuade
Lorry to accompany him to the castle, but, when once determined to go
before the Princess with their tale, he was eager, impatient to cross
the distance that lay between the hotel and the forbidden grounds.
They walked rapidly down Castle Avenue and were soon at the gates.
The guard knew them, and they were admitted without a word. As they
hurried through the park they saw many strange men in gray, gaudy
uniforms, and it occurred to Lorry that their visit, no matter how
great its importance, was ill-timed. Prince Lorenz was holding the
center of the stage.
Anguish, with his customary impulsiveness, overruled Lorry's
objections, and they proceeded toward the entrance. The guards of
the Princess saluted profoundly, while the minions of Lorenz stared
with ill-bred wonder upon these two tall men from another world. It
could be seen that the castle was astir with excitement, subdued and
pregnant with thriving hopes and fears. The nobility of Graustark was
there; the visitors of Axphain were being entertained.
At the castle doors the two met their first obstacle, but they had
anticipated its presence Two guards halted them peremptorily.
"We must see Her Royal Highness," said Anguish, but the men could
not understand him. They stoically stood their ground, shaking their
"Let us find some one who can understand us," advised Lorry, and
in a few moments they presented themselves before the guards,
accompanied by a young nobleman with whom they had acquaintance. He
succeeded in advancing them to the reception hall inside the doors and
found for them a servant who would carry a message to the Princess if
it were possible to gain her presence. The nobleman doubted very
much, however, if the missive hastily written by Lorry could find its
way to her, as she had never been so occupied as now.
Lorry, in his brief note, prayed for a short audience for himself
and Mr. Anguish, requesting that Count Halfont be present. He
informed her that his mission was of the most imperative nature and
that it related to a discovery made concerning the Prince who had
tried to abduct her. In conclusion, he wrote that Baron Dangloss had
required him to lay certain facts before her and that he had come with
no intention to annoy her.
While they sat in the waiting room they saw, through the glass
doors, dozens of richly attired men and women in the hall beyond.
They were conversing animatedly, Graustark men and women with
dejected faces, Axphainians with exultation glowing in every glance.
Lorry's heart sank within him. It seemed hours before the servant
returned to bid them follow him. Then his blood leaped madly through
veins that had been chilled and lifeless. He was to see Her again!
Their guide conducted them to a small anteroom, where he left
them. A few moments later the door opened and there swept quickly
into the room—the Countess Dagmar, not the Princess. Her face was
drawn with the trouble and sorrow she was trying so hard to conceal.
Both men were on their feet in an instant, advancing to meet her.
"The Princess? Is she ill?" demanded Lorry.
"Not ill, but mad, I fear," answered she, giving a hand to each.
"Mr. Lorry, she bids me say to you that she cannot see you. She
appreciates the importance of your mission and thanks you for the
interest you have taken.
"Also, she authorizes me to assure you that nothing can be done at
present regarding the business on which you come."
"She refuses to see us," said he, slowly, his face whiter than
"Nay; she begs that you will excuses her. Her Highness is sorely
worn and distressed today, and I fear cannot endure all that is
happening. She is apparently calm and composed, but I, who know her
so well, can see the strain beneath."
"Surely she must see the urgency of quick action in this matter of
ours," cried Anguish half angrily. "We are not dogs to be kicked out
of the castle. We have a right to be treated fairly—"
"We cannot censure the Princess, Harry," said Lorry, calmly. "We
have come because we would befriend her, and she sees fit to reject
our good offices. There is but one thing left for us to do—depart as
"But I don't like it a little bit," growled the other.
"If you only knew, Mr. Anguish, you would not be so harsh and
unjust," remonstrated the lady, warmly. Turning to Lorry she said:
"She asked me to hand you this and to bid you retain it as a token of
her undying esteem."
She handed him a small, exquisite miniature of the Princess,
framed in gold inlaid with rubies. He took it dumbly in his fingers,
but dared not look at the portrait it contained. With what might have
seemed disrespect he dropped the treasure into his coat pocket.
"Tell her I shall always retain it as a token' of her—esteem," he
said. "And now may I ask whether she handed my note to her uncle, the
The Countess blushed in a most unaccountable manner.
"Not while I was with her," she said, recovering the presence of
mind she apparently had lost.
"She destroyed it, I presume," said he, laughing harshly.
"I saw her place it in her bosom, sir, and with the right hand,"
cried the Countess, as if betraying a state secret.
"In her—you are telling me the truth?" cried he, his face
"Now, see here, Lorry, don't begin to question the Countess's
word. I won't stand for that, "interposed Anguish, good-humoredly.
"I should be more than base to say falsely that she had done
anything so absurd," said the Countess, indignantly.
"Where is she now?" asked Lorry.
"In her boudoir. The Prince Lorenz is with her—alone."
"What!" he cried, jealousy darting into his existence. He had
never known jealousy before.
"They are betrothed," said she, with an effort. There was a dead
silence, broken by Lorry's deep groan as he turned and walked blindly
to the opposite side of the room. He stopped in front of a huge
painting and stared at it, but did not see a line or a tint.
"You don't mean to say she has accepted?" half whispered Anguish.
"Thank God, you are only a Countess," he said, tenderly.
"Why—why—what difference can it make! I mean, why do you say
that?" she stammered, crimson to her hair.
"Because you won't have to sell yourself at a sacrifice," he said,
foolishly. Lorry came back to them at this juncture, outwardly calm
"Tell us about it, pray. We had guessed as much."
"Out there are his people,—the wretches!" she cried,
vindictively, her pretty face in a helpless frown. "To-day was the
day, you know, on which he was to have his answer. He came and knelt
in the audience chamber. All Graustark had implored her to refuse the
hated offer, but she bade him rise, and there, before us all; promised
to become his bride.
"The greatest sorrow Graustark has ever known grows out of that
decision. She is determined to save for us what her father's folly
lost. To do this she becomes the bride of a vile wretch, a man who
soils her pure nature when he thinks of her. Oh, we sought to
dissuade her,—we begged, we entreated, but without avail. She will
not sacrifice one foot of Graustark to save herself. See the
triumphant smiles on their faces—the brutes!" She pointed maliciously
to the chattering visitors in the hall. "Already they think the castle
theirs. The union of Graustark and Axphain! Just what they most
desired, but we could not make her see it so."
"Is the day set?" asked Lorry, bravely, after a moments silent
inspection of the dark-browed victors.
"Yes, and there is to be no delay. The marriage contract has
already been signed. The date is November 20th, the day on which we
are to account to Bolaroz for our war debt.
"The old Prince's wedding gift to Graustark is to be a document
favoring us with a ten years' extension," she said, scornfully.
"And where is she to live?"
"Here, of course. She is Graustark's ruler, and here she insists
on abiding. Just contemplate our court! Over-run with those Axphain
dogs! Ah, she has wounded Graustark more than she has helped her."
There was nothing more to be said or done, so, after a few
moments, the Americans took their departure. The Countess bade them
farewell, saying that she must return to the Princess.
"I'll see you to-morrow," said Anguish, with rare assurance and
the air of an old and indispensable friend.
"And you, Mr. Lorry?" she said, curiously.
"I am very much occupied," he mumbled.
"You do wrong in seeking to deceive me," she whispered, as Anguish
passed through the door ahead of them. "I know why you do not come."
"Has she told you?"
"I have guessed. Would that it could have been you and not the
"One cannot be a man and a prince at the same time, I fancy," he
"Nor can one be a princess and a woman." Lorry recalled the
conversation in the sickroom two weeks before and smiled ironically.
The friendly girl left them at the door and they passed out of the
"I shall leave Edelweiss to-morrow," said one, more to himself
than to his companion, as they crossed the parade. The other gave a
start and did not look pleased. Then he instinctively glanced toward
"The Princess is at her window," he cried, clutching Lorry's arm
and pointing back. But the other refused to turn, walking on
blindly. "You ought not to have acted like that, Gren," said
Anguish, a few moments later. "She saw me call your attention to
her, and she saw you refuse to look back. I don't think that you
should have hurt her." Lorry did not respond, and there was no word
between them until they were outside the castle gates.
"You may leave to-morrow, Lorry, if you like, but I'm going to
stay a while," said Harry, a trifle confusedly.
"Haven't you had enough of the place?"
"I don't care a whoop for the place. You see, it's this way: I'm
just as hard hit as you, and it is not a Princess that I have to
"You mean that you are in love with the Countess?"
"I'm sorry for you."
"Think she'll turn me down?"
"Unless you buy a title of one of these miserable counts or
"Oh, I'm not so sure about that. These counts and dukes come over
and marry our American girls. I don't see why I can't step in and
pick out a nice little Countess if I want to."
"She is not as avaricious as the counts and dukes, I'll wager. She
cares nothing fer your money."
"Well, she's as poor as a church mouse," said the other, doggedly.
"The Countess poor? How do you know?'
"I asked her one day and she told me all about it," said Anguish.
XVI. A CLASH AND ITS RESULT
"I feel like spending the rest of my days in that monastery up
there," said Lorry, after dinner that evening. They were strolling
about the town. One was determined to leave the city, the other firm
in his resolve to stay. The latter won the day when he shrewdly, if
explosively, reminded the former that it was their duty as men to stay
and protect the Princess from the machinations of Gabriel, that knave
of purgatory. Lorry, at last recognizing the hopelessness of his
suit, was ready to throw down his arms and abandon the field to
superior odds. His presumption in aspiring for the hand of a Princess
began to touch his sense of humor, and he laughed, not very merrily,
it is true, but long and loudly, at his folly. At first he cursed the
world and every one in it, giving up in despair, but later he cursed
only himself. Yet, as he despaired and scoffed, he felt within
himself an ever-present hope that luck might turn the tide of battle.
This puny ray grew perceptibly when Anguish brought him to feel
that she needed his protection from the man who had once sought to
despoil and who might reasonably be expected to persevere. He agreed
to linger in Edelweiss, knowing that each day would add pain to the
torture he was already suffering, his sole object being, he convinced
himself, to frustrate Gabriel's evil plans.
Returning late in the evening from their stroll, they entered a
cafe celebrated in Edelweiss. In all his life Lorry had never known
the loneliness that makes death welcome. To-night he felt that he
could not live, so maddening was the certainty that he could never
regain joy. His heart bled with the longing to be near her who dwelt
inside those castle walls. He scoffed and grieved, but grieved the
The cafe was crowded with men and women. In a far corner sat a
party of Axphain nobles, their Prince, a most democratic fellow, at
the head of a long table. There were songs, jests and boisterous
laughter. The celebration grew wilder, and Lorry and Anguish crossed
the room, and, taking seats at a table, ordered wine and cigars, both
eager for a closer view of the Prince. How Lorry loathed him!
Lorenz was a good-looking young fellow, little more than a boy.
His smooth face was flushed, and there was about him an air of
dissipation that suggested depravity in its advanced stage. The face
that might have been handsome was the reflection of a roue, dashing,
devilish. He was fair-haired and tall, taller than his companions by
half a head. With reckless abandon he drank and sang and jested,
arrogant in his flighty merriment. His cohorts were not far behind
him in riotous wit.
At length one of the revelers, speaking in German, called on
Lorenz for a toast to the Princess Yetive, his promised bride.
Without a moment's hesitation the Prince sprang to his feet, held his
glass aloft, and cried:
"Here's to the fairest of the fair, sweet Yetive, so hard to win,
too good to lose. She loves me, God bless her heart! And I love
her, God bless my heart, too! For each kiss from her wondrous lips I
shall credit myself with one thousand gavvos. That is the price of a
"I'll give two thousand!" roared one of the nobles, and there was
a laugh in which the Prince joined.
"Nay! I'll not sell them now. In after years, when she has grown
old and her lips are parched and dry from the sippings I have had,
I'll sell them all at a bargain. Alas, she has not yet kissed me!"
Lorry's heart bounded with joy, though his hands were clenched in
"She will kiss me to-morrow. To-morrow I shall taste what no
other man has touched, what all men have coveted. And I'll be
generous, gentlemen. She is so fair that your foul mouths would
blight with but one caress upon her tender lips, and yet you shall
not, be deprived of bliss. I shall kiss her thrice for each of you.
Let me count: thrice eleven is thirty-three. Aye, thirty-three of my
kisses shall be wasted for the sake of my friends, lucky dogs! Drink
to my Princess!"
"Bravo!" cried the others, and the glasses were raised to lip.
A chair was overturned. The form of a man landed suddenly at the
side of the Prince and a rough hand dashed the glass from his
fingers, the contents flying over his immaculate English evening
"Don't you dare to drink that toast!" cried a voice in his
astonished ear, a voice speaking in excited German. He whirled and
saw a scowling face beside his own, a pair of gray eyes that flashed
"What do you mean?" he demanded, anger replacing amazement. The
other members of his party stood as if spell-bound.
"I mean that you speak of the Princess of Graustark. Do you
understand that, you miserable cur?"
"Oh!" screamed, the Prince, convulsed with rage, starting back and
instinctively reaching for the sword he did not carry. "You shall pay
for this! I will teach you to interfere—"
"I'll insult you more decidedly just to avoid misapprehension,"
snarled Lorry, swinging his big fist squarely upon the mouth of the
Prince. His Royal Highness landed under a table ten feet away.
Instantly the cafe was in an uproar. The stupefied Axphainians
regained their senses and a general assault was made upon the
hotheaded American. He knocked another down, Harry Anguish coming to
his assistance with several savage blows, after which the Graustark
spectators and the waiters interfered. It was all over in an instant,
yet a sensation that would live in the gossip of generations had been
created. A Prince of the realm had been brutally assaulted! Holding
his jaw, Lorenz picked himself from the floor, several of his friends
running to his aid. There was blood on his lips and chin; it trickled
to his shirt front. For some moments he stood panting, glaring at
Lorry's mocking face.
"I am Lorenz of Axphain, sir," he said at last, his voice
quivering with suppressed anger.
"It shall be a pleasure to kill you, Lorenz," observed his
adversary, displaying his ignorance of lese-majeste.
Anguish, pale and very much concerned, dragged him away, the
Prince leaving the cafe ahead of them, followed by his chattering,
cursing companions. Prince Gabriel was standing near the door as they
passed out. He looked at the Americans sharply, and Anguish detected
something like triumphant joy in his eyes.
"Good Lord, Lorry; this means a duel! Don't you know that?" cried
he, as they started upstairs.
"Of course, I do. And I'm going to kill that villain, too,"
exclaimed Lorry, loud enough to be heard from one end of the room to
"This is horrible, horrible! Let me square it up some way if—"
began the alarmed Anguish.
"Square it up! Look here, Harry Anguish, I am the one who will do
the squaring. If he wants a duel he can have it at any old time and
in any style he desires."
"He may kill you!"
"Not while a just God rules over our destinies. I'll take my
chances with pistols, and now let me tell you one thing, my boy:
he'll never live to touch his lips to hers, nor will there be a royal
wedding. She cannot marry a dead man." He was beside himself with
excitement and it was fully half an hour before Anguish could bring
him to a sensible discussion of the affair. Gradually he became cool,
and, the fever once gone, he did not lose his head again.
"Choose pistols at ten paces and at eight tomorrow," he said,
nonchalantly, as a rap at the door of their apartment announced the
arrival of the Prince's friend.
Anguish admitted two well-dressed, black-bearded men, both of whom
had sat at the Prince's table in the cafe. They introduced themselves
as the Duke of Mizrox and Colonel Attobawn. Their visit was brief,
formal and conclusive.
"We understand that you are persons of rank in your own America?"
said the Duke of Mizrox, after a few moments.
"We are sons of business men," responded Mr. Anguish.
"Oh, well, I hardly know. But his Highness is very willing to
waive his rank, and to grant you a meeting."
"I'm delighted by his Highness' condescension, which I perfectly
understand," observed Mr. Anguish. "Now, what have we to settle,
"The detail of weapons."
When Anguish announced that his principal chose pistols a strange
gleam crept into the eyes of the Axphainians, and they seemed
satisfied. Colonel Attobawn acted as interpreter during this short
but very important interview which was carried on in the Axphain
language. Lorry sat on the window-sill, steadfastly gazing into the
night. The visitors departed soon, and it was understood that Prince
Lorenz would condescend to meet Mr. Lorry at eight o'clock on the next
morning in the valley beyond the castle, two miles from town. There
was no law prohibiting duels in Graustark.
"Well, you're in for it, old man," said Anguish, gloomily, his
chin in his hands as he fastened melancholy eyes upon his friend.
"Don't worry about me, Harry. There's only one way for this thing
to end. His Royal Highness is doomed." Lorry spoke with the
earnestness and conviction of one who is permitted to see into the
Calmly he prepared to write some letters, not to say farewell, but
to explain to certain persons the cause of the duel and to say that he
gloried in the good fortune which had presented itself. One of these
letters was addressed to his mother, another to the father of Prince
Lorenz, and the last to the Princess of Graustark. To the latter he
wrote much that did not appear in the epistles directed to the others.
Anguish had been in his room more than an hour, and had frequently
called to his friend and begged him to secure what rest he could in
order that their nerves might be steady in the morning. But it was
not until after midnight that the duellist sealed the envelopes,
directed them and knocked at his second's door to say:
"I shall entrust these letters to you, Harry. You must see that
they start on their way tomorrow."
Then he went to bed and to sleep.
At six his second, who had slept but little, called him. They
dressed hurriedly and prepared for the ride to the valley. Their own
new English bull-dog revolvers were to serve as weapons in the coming
combat, and a carriage was to be in waiting for them in a side street
at seven o'clock.
Before leaving their room they heard evidences of commotion in the
hotel, and were apprehensive lest the inmates had learned of the duel
and were making ready to follow the fighters to the appointed spot.
There was a confusion of voices, the sound of rushing feet, the
banging of doors, the noise increasing as the two men stepped into the
open hall. They were amazed to see half-dressed men and women
standing or running about the halls, intense excitement in their faces
and in their actions. White uniformed policemen were flocking into
the corridors; soldiers, coatless and hatless, fresh from their beds,
came dashing upon the scene. There were excited cries, angry shouts
and, snore mystifying than all, horrified looks and whispers.
"What has happened?" asked Lorry, stopping near the door.
"It can't be a fire. Look! The door to that room down there
seems to be the center of attraction. Hold on! Don't go over there,
Lorry. There may be something to unnerve you, and that must not
happen now. Let us go down this stairway—it leads to a side
entrance, I think. "They were half way down the stairs when the
thunder of rushing feet in the hall above came to their ears, causing
them to hesitate between curiosity and good judgment. "They are coming
"Hear them howl! What the devil can be the cause of all this
rumpus?" cried the other.
At that instant a half dozen police-guards appeared at the head of
the stairs. Upon seeing the Americans they stopped and turned as if
to oppose a foe approaching from the opposite direction. Baron
Dangloss separated himself from the white coats above and called to
the men below. In alarm they started for the street door. He was
with them in an instant, his usually red face changing from white to
purple, his anxious eyes darting first toward the group above and then
toward .the bewildered Americans.
"What's the matter?" demanded Lorry.
"There! See!" cried Dangloss, and even as he spoke a conflict
began at the head of the stairs, the police, augmented by a few
soldiers, struggling against a howling, enraged mass of Axphainians.
Dangloss dragged his reluctant charges through a small door, and they
found themselves in the baggage-room of the hotel. Despite their
queries he offered no explanation, but rushed them along, passing out
of the opposite door, down a short stairway and into a side street. A
half dozen police-guards were awaiting them, and before they could
catch the faintest idea of what it all meant, they were running with
the officers through an alley, as if pursued by demons.
"Now, what in thunder does this mean?" panted Lorry, attempting to
slacken the pace. He and Anguish were just beginning to regain their
"Do not stop! Do not stop!" wheezed Dangloss. "You must get to a
place of safety. We cannot prevent something dreadful happening if
you are caught!"
"If we are caught!" cried Anguish. "Why, what have we done?"
"Unhand me, Baron Dangloss! This is an outrage!" shouted Lorry.
"For God's sake, be calm! We are befriending you. When we reach
the Tower, where you will be safe, I shall explain," gasped the
panting Chief of Police. A few moments later they were inside the
prison gates, angry, impatient, fatigued.
"Is this a plan to prevent the duel?" demanded Lorry, turning upon
the chief, who had dropped limply into a chair and was mopping his
brow. When he could find his breath enough to answer, Dangloss did
so, and he might as well have thrown a bombshell at their feet.
"There'll be no duel. Prince Lorenz is dead!"
"Dead!" gasped the others.
"Found dead in his bed, stabbed to the heart!" exclaimed the
"We have saved you from his friends, gentlemen, but I must say
that you are still in a tight place."
He then related to them the whole story. Just before six o'clock
Mizrox had gone to the Prince's room to prepare him for the duel. The
door was closed but unlocked, as he found after repeated knockings.
Lorenz was lying on the bed, undressed and covered with blood. The
horrified duke made a hasty examination and found that he was dead. A
dagger had been driven to his heart as he slept. The hotel was
aroused, the police called, and the excitement was at its highest
pitch when the two friends came from their room a few minutes after
"But what have we to do with this dreadful affair? Why are we
rushed off here like criminals?" asked Lorry, a feeling of cruel
gladness growing out of the knowledge that Lorenz was dead and that
the Princess was freed from her compact.
"My friend," said Dangloss, slowly, "yon are accused of the
Lorry was too much stunned to be angry, too weak to protest. For
some moments after the blow fell he and Anguish were speechless. Then
came the protestations, the rage and the threats, through all of which
Dangloss sat calmly. Finally he sought to quiet them, partially
"Mr. Lorry, the evidence is very strong against you, but you shall
not be unjustly treated. You are not a prisoner as yet. In Graustark
a man who is accused of murder, and who was not seen by any one to
commit the crime, cannot be legally arrested until an accuser shall go
before the Princess, who is also High Priestess, and swear on his life
that he knows the guilty man. The man who so accuses agrees to forfeit
his own life in case the other is proved innocent. If you are to be
charged with the murder of the Prince, some one must go before the
Princess and take oath—his life against yours. I am holding you
here, sir, because it is the only place in which you are safe.
Lorenz's friends would have torn you to pieces had we not found you
first. You are not prisoners, and you may depart if you think it
"But, my God, how can they accuse me? I knew nothing of the
murder until I reached this place," cried Lorry, stopping short in
his restless walk before the little Baron.
"So you say, but—"
"If you accuse me, damn you, I'll kill you!" whispered Lorry,
holding himself tense. Anguish caught and held him.
"Be calm, sir," cautioned Dangloss. "I may have my views, but I am
not willing to take oath before Her Royal Highness. Listen You were
heard to say you would kill him; you began the fight; you were the
aggressor, and there is no one else on earth, it is said, who could
have wished to murder him. The man who did the stabbing entered the
room through the hall door and left by the same. There are drops of
blood in the carpet, leading direct to your door. On your knob are
the prints of bloody fingers where you—or some one else—placed his
hand in opening the door. It was this discovery, made by me and my
men, that fully convinced the enraged friends of the dead Prince that
you were guilty. When we opened the door you were gone. Then came the
search, the fight at the head of the stairs, and the race to the
prison. The reason I saved you from that mob should be plain to you.
I love my Princess, and I do not forget that you risked your
life—each of you—to protect her. I have done all that I can,
gentlemen, to protect you in return. It means death to you if you
fall into the hands of his followers just now. A few hours will cool
them off, no doubt, but now—now it would be madness to face them. I
know not what they have done to my men at the hotel—perhaps
There was anxiety in Dangloss's voice and there was honesty in his
keen old eyes. His charges now saw the situation clearly and
apologized warmly for the words they had uttered under the pressure
of somewhat extenuating circumstances. They expressed a willingness
to remain in the prison until the excitement abated or until some one
swore his life against the supposed murderer. They were virtually
prisoners, and they knew it well. Furthermore, they could see that
Baron Dangloss believed Lorry guilty of the murder; protestations of
innocence had been politely received and politely disregarded.
"Do you expect one of his friends to take the oath?" asked Lorry.
"Yes; it is sure to come."
"But you will not do so yourself?"
"I thank you, captain, for I see that you believe me guilty."
"I do not say you are guilty, remember, but I will say that if you
did murder Prince Lorenz you have made the people of Graustark rejoice
from the bottoms of their hearts, and you will be eulogized from one
end of the land to the other."
"Hanged and eulogized," said Lorry, grimly.
XVII. IN THE TOWER
The two captives who were not prisoners were so dazed by the
unexpected events of the morning that they did not realize the vast
seriousness of the situation for hours. Then it dawned upon them that
appearances were really against them, and that they were alone in a
land far beyond the reach of help from home. One circumstance puzzled
them with its damning mystery: how came the blood stains upon the
door-knob? Dangloss courteously discussed this strange and
unfortunate feature with them, but with ill-concealed skepticism. It
was evident that his mind was clear in regard to the whole affair.
Anguish was of the opinion that the real murderer had stained the
knob intentionally, aiming to cast suspicion on the man who had been
challenged. The assassin had an object in leaving those convicting
finger-marks where they would do the most damage. He either desired
the arrest and death of the American or hoped that his own guilt would
escape attention through the misleading evidence. Lorry held, from
his deductions, that the crime had been committed by a fanatic who
loved his sovereign too devotedly to see her wedded to Lorenz. Then
why should he wantonly cast guilt upon the man who had been her
protector, objected Dangloss.
The police guards came in from the hotel about ten o'clock,
bearing marks of an ugly conflict with the Axphainians. They
reported that the avengers had been quelled for the time being, but
that a deputation had already started for the castle to lay the matter
before the Princess. Officers had searched the rooms of the Americans
for blood stains, but had found no sign of them.
"Did you find bloody water in which hands had been washed?" asked
"No," responded one of the guards. "There was nothing to be found
in the bowls and jars except soapy water. There is not a blood stain
in the room, Captain."
"That shakes your theory a little, eh?" cried Anguish,
triumphantly. "Examine Mr. Lorry's hands and see if there is blood
upon them." Lorry's hands were white and uncontaminated. Dangloss
wore a pucker on his blow.
Shortly afterward a crowd of Axphain men came to the prison gates
and demanded the person of Grenfall Lorry, departing after an ugly
show of rage. Curious Edelweiss citizens stood afar off, watching the
walls and windows eagerly.
"This may cost Edelweiss a great deal of trouble, gentlemen, but
there is more happiness here this morning than the city has known in
months. Everybody believes you killed him, Mr. Lorry, but they all
love you for the deed," said Dangloss, returning at noon from a visit
to the hotel and a ride through the streets. "The Prince's friends
have been at the castle since nine o'clock, and I am of the opinion
that they are having a hard time with the High Priestess."
"God bless her!" cried Lorry.
"The town is crazy with excitement. Messengers have been sent to
old Prince Bolaroz to inform him of the murder and to urge him to
hasten hither, where he may fully enjoy the vengeance that is to be
wreaked upon his son's slayer. I have not seen a wilder time in
Edelweiss since the close of the siege, fifteen years ago. By my
soul, you are in a bad box, sir. They are lurking in every part of
town to kill you if you attempt to leave the Tower before the Princess
signs an order to restrain you legally. Your life, outside these
walls, would not be worth a snap of the fingers."
Captain Quinnox, of the Princess's bodyguard, accompanied by a
half dozen of his men, rode up to the prison gates about two o'clock
and was promptly admitted. The young captain was in sore distress.
"The Duke of Mizrox has sworn that you are the murderer, Mr.
Lorry, and stakes his life," said he, after greetings. "Her highness
has just placed in my hands an order for your arrest as the assassin
of Prince Lorenz."
Lorry turned as pale as death. "You—you don't mean to say that
she has signed a warrant—that she believes me guilty," he cried,
"She has signed the warrant, but very much against her
inclination. Count Halfont informed me that she pleaded and argued
with the Duke for hours, seeking to avert the act which is bound to
give pain to all of us. He was obdurate, and threatened to carry
complaint to Bolaroz, who would instantly demand satisfaction. As the
Duke is willing to die if you are proved innocent, there was no other
course left for her than to dictate and sign this royal decree.
Captain Dangloss, I am instructed to give you these papers. One is
the warrant for Mr. Lorry's arrest, the other orders you to assume
charge of him and to place him in confinement until the day of trial."
While Quinnox was making this statement the accused stood with
bowed head and throbless heart. He did not see the captain's hand
tremble as he passed the documents to Dangloss, nor did he hear the
unhappy sigh that came from the latter's lips. Anguish, fiery and
impulsive, was not to be subdued.
"Is there no warrant for my arrest?" he demanded.
"There is not. You are at liberty to go, sir," responded Quinnox.
"I'd like to know why there isn't. I am just as guilty as Lorry."
"The Duke charges the crime to but one of you. Baron Dangloss,
will you read the warrant?"
The old chief read the decree of the Princess slowly and
impressively. It was as follows:
"Jacot, Duke of Mizrox, before his God and on his life, swears
that Grenfall Lorry did foully, maliciously and designedly slay
Lorenz, Prince of Axphain, on the 20th day of October, in the year of
our Lord 189-, and in the city of Edelweiss, Graustark. It is
therefore my decree that Grenfall Lorry be declared murderer of
Lorenz, Prince of Axphain, until he be proved innocent, in which
instance, his accuser, Jacot, Duke of Mizrox, shall forfeit his life,
according to the law of this land providing penalty for false witness,
and by which he, himself, has sworn to abide faithfully.
There was silence for some moments, broken by the dreary tones of
"What chance have I to prove my innocence?" he asked, hopelessly.
"The same opportunity that he has to prove your guilt. The Duke
must, according to our law, prove you guilty beyond all doubt," spoke
the young captain.
"When am I to be tried?"
"Here is my order from the Princess," said Dangloss, glancing over
the other paper. "It says that I am to confine you securely and to
produce you before the tribunal on the 26th day of October."
"A week! That is a long time," said Lorry. "May I have
permission to see the signature affixed to those papers?" Dangloss
handed them to him. He glanced at the name he loved, written by the
hand he had kissed, now signing away his life, perhaps. A mist came
over his eyes and a strange joy filled his soul. The hand that signed
the name had trembled in doing so, had trembled pitifully. The heart
had not guided the fingers. "I am your prisoner, Captain Dangloss. Do
with me as you will," he said, simply.
"I regret that I am obliged to place you in a cell, sir, and under
guard. Believe me, I am sorry this happened. I am your friend," said
the old man, gloomily.
"And I," cried Quinnox.
"But what is to become of me?" cried poor Anguish, half in tears.
"I won't leave you, Gren. It's an infernal outrage!"
"Be cool, Harry, and it will come out right. He has no proof, you
know," said the other, wringing his friend's hand.
"But I'll have to stay here, too. If I go outside these walls,
I'll be killed like a dog," protested Harry.
"You are to have a guard of six men while you are in Edelweiss,
Mr. Anguish. Those are the instructions of the Princess. I do not
believe the scoundrels—I mean the Axphain nobles—will molest you if
you do not cross them, When you are ready to go to your hotel, I will
Half an hour later Larry was in a cell from which there could be
no escape, while Anguish was riding toward the hotel, surrounded by
Graustark soldiers. He had sworn to his friend that he would unearth
the murderer if it lay within the power of man. Captain Dangloss
heard the oath and smiled sadly.
At the castle there was depression and relief, grief and joy. The
royal family, the nobility, even the servants, soldiers and
attendants, rejoiced in the stroke that had saved the Princess from a
fate worse than death. Her preserver's misfortune was deplored
deeply; expressions of sympathy were whispered among them all, high
and low. The Axphainians were detested—the Prince most of all—and
the crime had come as a joy instead of a shock. There were, of
course, serious complications for the future, involving ugly
conditions that were bound to force themselves upon the land. The
dead man's father would demand the life of his murderer. If not
Lorry, who? Graustark would certainly be asked to produce the man who
killed the heir to the throne of Axphain, or to make
reparation—bloody reparation, no doubt.
In the privacy of her room the stricken Princess collapsed from
the effects of the ordeal. Her poor brain had striven in vain to
invent means by which she might save the man she loved. She had
surrendered to the inevitable because there was justice in the claims
of the inexorable Duke and his vindictive friends. Against her will
she had issued the decree, but not, however, until she had learned
that he was in prison and unable to fly the country. The hope that
delay might aid him in escaping was rudely crushed when her uncle
informed her of Lorry's whereabouts. She signed the decree as if in a
dream, a nightmare, with trembling hand and broken heart. His death
warrant! And yet, like all others, she believed him guilty. Guilty
for her sake! And this was how she rewarded him.
Mizrox and his friends departed in triumph, revenge written on
every face. She walked blindly, numbly to her room, assisted by her
uncle, the Count. Without observing her aunt or the Countess Dagmar,
she staggered to the window and looked below. The Axphainians were
crossing the parade ground jubilantly. Then came the clatter of a
horse's hoof and Captain Quinnox, with the fatal papers in his
possession, galloped down the avenue. She clutched the curtains
distractedly, and, leaning far forward, cried from the open window:
"Quinnox! Quinnox! Come back! I forbid—I forbid! Destroy
those papers! Quinnox!'"
But Quinnox heard not the pitiful wail. He rode on, his dark face
stamped with pity for the man whose arrest he was to make. Had he
heard that cry from his sovereign the papers would have been in her
destroying grasp with the speed that comes only to the winged birds.
Seeing him disappear down the avenue, she threw her hands to her head
and sank back with a moan, fainting. Count Halfont caught her in his
arms. It was nightfall before she was fully revived. The faithful
young Countess clung to her caressingly, lovingly, uttering words of
consolation until long after the shades of night had dropped. They
were alone in the Princess's boudoir, seated together upon the divan,
the tired head of the one resting wearily against the shoulder of the
other. Gentle fingers toyed with the tawny tresses, and a soft voice
lulled with its consoling promises of hope. Wide and dark and
troubled were the eyes of the ruler of Graustark.
An attendant appeared and announced the arrival of one of the
American gentlemen, who insisted on seeing Her Royal Highness. The
card on the tray bore the name of Harry Anguish. At once the Princess
was aflutter with eagerness and excitement.
"Anguish! Show him to this room quickly! Oh, Dagmar, he brings
word from him! He comes from him! Why is he so slow? Ach, I cannot
Far from being slow, Anguish was exceedingly swift in approaching
the room to which he feared admittance might be denied. He strode
boldly, impetuously into the apartment, his feet muddy, his clothing
splashed with rain, his appearance far from that of a gentleman.
"Tell me! What is it?" she cried, as he stopped in the center of
the room and glared at her.
"I don't care whether you like it and it doesn't matter if you are
a Princess," he exploded, "there are a few things I'm going to say to
you. First, I want to know what kind of a woman you are to throw into
prison a man like—like Oh, it drives me crazy to think of it! I
don't care if you are insulted. He's a friend of mine and he is no
more guilty than you are, and I want to know what you mean by ordering
Her lips parted as if to speak, her face grew deathly pale, her
fingers clutched the edge o' the divan. She stared at him piteously,
unable to move, to speak. Then the blue eyes filled with tears, a sob
came to her lips, and her tortured heart made a last, brave effort at
"I—I—Mr. Anguish, you wrong me,—I—I—" She tried to whisper
through the closed throat and stiffened lips. Words failed her, but
she pleaded with those wet, imploring eyes. His heart melted, his
anger was swept away in a twinkling. He saw that he had wounded her
"You brute!" hissed the Countess, with flashing, indignant eyes,
throwing her arms about the Princess and drawing her head to her
"Forgive me," he cried, sinking to his knee before the Princess,
shame and contrition in his face. "I have been half mad this whole
day, and I have thought harshly of you. I now see that you are
suffering more intensely than I. I love Lorry, and that is my only
excuse. He is being foully wronged, your Highness, foully wronged."
"I deserve your contempt, after all. Whether he be guilty or
innocent, I should have refused to sign the decree. It is too late
now. I have signed away something that is very dear to me, —his
life. You are his friend and mine. Can you tell me what he thinks of
me—what he says—how he feels?" She asked the triple question
"He believes you were forced into the act and said as much to me.
As to how he feels, I can only ask how you would feel if you were in
his place, innocent and yet almost sure of conviction. These friends
of Axphain will resort to any subterfuge, now that one of their number
has staked his life. Mark my word, some one will deliberately swear
that he saw Grenfall Lorry strike the blow and that will be as
villainous a lie as man ever told. What I am here for, your Highness,
is to ask if that decree cannot be withdrawn."
"Alas, it cannot! I would gladly order his release if I could,
but you can see what that would mean to us. A war, Mr. Anguish," she
"But you will not see an innocent man condemned?" cried he, again
"I have only your statement for that, sir, if you will pardon me.
I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that he did not murder the
Prince after being honorably challenged."
"He is no coward!" thundered Anguish; startling both women with
his vehemence. "I say he did not kill the Prince, but I'll stake my
life he would have done so had they met this morning. There's no use
trying to have the decree rescinded, I see, so I'll take my departure.
I don't blame you, your Highness; it is your duty, of course. But
it's pretty hard on Lorry, that's all."
"He may be able to clear himself," suggested the Countess,
"And he may not, so there you have it. What chance have two
Americans over here with everybody against us?"
"Stop! You shall not say that! He shall have full justice, at
any cost, and there is one here who is not against him," cried the
Princess, with flashing eyes.
"I am aware that everybody admires him because he has done
Graustark a service in ridding it of something obnoxious—a
prospective husband. But that does not get him out of jail."
"You are unkind again," said the Princess, slowly. "I chose my
husband, and you assume much when you intimate that I am glad because
he was murdered."
"Do not be angry," cried the Countess, impatiently. "We all
regret what has happened, and I, for one, hope that Mr. Lorry may
escape from the Tower and laugh forevermore at his pursuers. If he
could only dig his way out!"
The Princess shot a startled look toward the speaker as a new
thought entered her wearied brain; a short, involuntary gasp told
that it had lodged and would grow. She laughed at the idea of an
escape from the Tower, but as she laughed a tiny spot of red began to
spread upon her cheek, and her eyes glistened strangely.
Anguish remained with them for half an hour. When he left the
castle it was with a more hopeful feeling in his breast. In the
Princess's bed-chamber late that night, two girls, in loose, silken
gowns sat before a low fire and talked of something that caused the
Countess to tremble with excitement when first her pink-cheeked
sovereign mentioned it in confidence.
XVIII. THE FLIGHT AT MIDNIGHT
Lorry's cell was as comfortable as a cell could be made through
the efforts of a kindly jailer and a sympathetic chief of police. It
was not located in the dungeon, but high in the tower, a little
rock-bound room, with a single barred window far above the floor.
There was a bed of iron upon which had been placed a clean mattress,
and there was a little chair. The next day after his arrest a
comfortable arm chair replaced the latter; a table, a lamp, some
books, flowers, a bottle of wine and some fruit found their way to his
lonely apartment—whoever may have sent them. Harry Anguish was
admitted to the cell during the afternoon. He promptly and truthfully
denied all interest in the donations, but smiled wisely.
He reported that most of the Axphain contingent was still in town;
a portion had hurried home, carrying the news to the old Prince,
instructed by the aggressive Mizrox to fetch him forthwith to
Edelweiss, where his august presence was necessary before the
twenty-sixth. Those who remained in the Graustark capital were quiet
but still in a threatening mood. The Princess, so Harry informed the
prisoner, sent sincere expressions of sympathy and the hope that all
would end well with him. Count Halfont, the Countess, Gaspon and many
others had asked to be remembered. The prisoner smiled wearily and
promised that they should not be forgotten in a week—which was as far
as he expected his memory to extend.
Late in the evening, as he was lying on his bed, staring at the
shadowy ceiling and puzzling his brain with most oppressive
uncertainties, the rattle of keys in the lock announced the approach
of visitors. The door swung open and through the grate he saw
Dangloss and Quinnox. The latter wore a long military rain coat and
had just come in from a drenching downpour. Lorry's reverie had been
so deep that he had not heard the thunder nor the howling of the
winds. Springing to his feet he advanced quickly to the grated door.
"Captain Quinnox brings a private message from the Princess," said
the Chief, the words scarcely more than whispered. It was plain that
the message was important and of a secret nature. Quinnox looked up
and down the corridor and stairway before thrusting the tiny note
through the bars. It was grasped eagerly and trembling fingers broke
the seal. Bending near the light he read the lines, his vision
blurred, his heart throbbing so fiercely that the blood seemed to be
drowning out other sounds for all time to come. In the dim corridor
stood the two men, watching him with bated breath and guilty, quaking
"Oh!" gasped Lorry, kissing the missive insanely as his greedy
eyes careened through the last line. There was no signature, but in
every word he saw her face, felt the touch of her dear hand, heard her
timid heart beating for him-for him alone. Rapture thrilled him from
head to foot, the delirious rapture of love. He could not speak, so
overpowering was the joy, the surprise, the awakening.
"Obey!" whispered Quinnox, his face aglow with pleasure, his
finger quivering as he pointed commandingly toward the letter.
"Obey what!" asked Lorry, dully.
"The last line!"
He hastily reread the last line and then deliberately held the
precious missive over the lamp until it ignited. He would have given
all he possessed to have preserved it. But the last line commanded:
"Burn this at once and in the presence of the bearer."
"There!" he said, regretfully, as he crumpled the charred remnants
between his fingers and turned to the silent watchers.
"Her crime goes up in smoke," muttered Dangloss, sententiously.
"The Princess commits no crime," retorted Quinnox, angrily, "when
she trusts four honest men."
"Where is she?" whispered the prisoner, with thrumming ears.
"Where all good women should be at nine o'clock—in bed," replied
Dangloss, shortly. "But will you obey her command?"
"So she commands me to escape!" said Lorry, smiling. "I dare not
disobey my sovereign, I suppose."
"We obey her because we love her," said the captain of the guard.
"And for that reason, I also obey. But can this thing be
accomplished without necessitating explanations and possible
complications? I will not obey if it is likely to place her in an
"She understands perfectly what she is doing, sir. In the first
place, she has had my advice," said Dangloss, the good old betrayer
of an official trust.
"You advised her to command you to allow me to escape?"
"She commanded first, and then I advised her how to command you.
Axphain may declare war a thousand times over, but you will be safe.
That's all we—I mean, all she wants."
"But I cannot desert my friend. How is he to know where I've
gone? Will not vengeance fall on him instead?"
"He shall know everything when the proper time comes. And now,
will you be ready at the hour mentioned. You have but to follow the
instructions—I should say, the commands of the writer."
"And be free! Tell her that I worship her for this. Tell her
that every drop of blood in my body belongs to her. She offers me
freedom, but makes me her slave for life. Yes, I shall be ready. If
I do not see you again, good friends, remember that I love you because
you love her and because she loves you enough to entrust a most
dangerous secret to your keeping,—the commission of an act that may
mean the downfall of your nation." He shook hands with them
"It cannot be that, sir. It may cost the lives of three of her
subjects, but no man save yourself can involve the Princess or the
Crown. They may kill us, but they cannot force us to betray her. I
trust you will be as loyal to the good girl who wears a crown, not
upon her heart," said Dangloss, earnestly.
"I have said my life is hers, gentlemen," said Lorry, simply.
"God, if I could but throw myself at her feet! I must see her before
I go. I will not go without telling her what is in my heart!" he
"You must obey the commands implicitly, on your word of honor, or
the transaction ends now," said Quinnox, firmly.
"This escape means, then, that I am not to see her again," he
said, his voice choking with emotion.
"Her instructions are that you are to go tonight, at once," said
Dangloss, and the black-eyed soldier nodded confirmation.
The prisoner paced the floor of his cell, his mind a jumble of
conflicting emotions. His clenched hands, twitching lips and
half-closed eyes betrayed the battle that was inflicting him with its
carnage. Suddenly he darted to the door, crying:
"Then I refuse to obey! Tell her that if she permits me to leave
this hole I shall be at her feet before another night has passed. Say
to her that I refuse to go from Graustark until I have seen her and
talked with her. You, Quinnox, go to her now and tell her this, and
say to her also that there is something she must hear from my own
lips. Then I will leave Graustark and not till then, even though
death be the alternative." The two men stared at him in amazement and
"You will not escape?" gasped Quinnox.
"I will not be dragged away without seeing her," he answered,
resolutely, throwing himself on the bed.
"Damned young ass!" growled Dangloss. The soldier's teeth grated.
A moment later the slab door closed softly, a key rattled, and his
visitors were gone—messengers bearing to him the most positive proof
of devotion that man could exact. What had she offered to do for his
sake? She had planned his escape, had sanctioned the commission of an
unparalleled outrage against the laws of her land—she, of all women,
a Princess! But she also had sought to banish him from the shrine at
which his very soul worshiped, a fate more cruel and unendurable than
the one she would have saved him from.
He looked at his hands and saw the black stains from the charred
letter, last evidence of the crime against the state. A tender light
came to his eyes, a great lump struggled to his throat, and he kissed
the sooty spots, murmuring her name again and again. How lonely he
was! how cold and cheerless his cage! For the first time he began to
appreciate the real seriousness of his position. Up to this time he
had regarded it optimistically, confident of vindication and
acquittal. His only objection to imprisonment grew out of annoyance
and the mere deprivation of liberty. It had not entered his head that
he was actually facing death at close range. Of course, it had been
plain to him that the charges were serious, and that he was awkwardly
situated, but the true enormity of his peril did not dawn upon him
until freedom was offered in such a remarkable manner. He grew cold
and shuddered instinctively as he realized that his position was so
critical that the princess had deemed it necessary to resort to
strategic measures in order to save him from impending doom. Starting
to his feet he paced the floor, nervousness turning to dread, dread to
terror. He pounded on the door and cried aloud. Oh, if he could but
bring back those kindly messengers!
Exhausted, torn by conflicting emotions, he at last dropped to the
bed and buried his face in his arms, nearly mad with the sudden
solitude of despair. He recalled her dear letter—the tender, helping
hand that had been stretched out to lift him from the depths into
which he was sinking. She had written—he could see the words
plainly—that his danger was great; she could not endure life until
she knew him to be safely outside the bounds of Graustark. His life
was dear to her, and she would preserve it by dishonoring her trust.
Then she had unfolded her plan of escape, disjointedly, guiltily,
hopelessly. In one place near the end, she wrote: "You have done much
more for me than you know, so I pray that God may be good enough to
let me repay you so far as it lies within my power to do so." In
another place she said: "You may trust my accomplices, for they love
me, too." An admission unconsciously made, that word "too."
But she was offering him freedom only to send him away without
granting one moment of joy in her presence. After all, with death
staring him in the face, the practically convicted murderer of a
prince, he knew he could not have gone without seeing her. He had been
ungrateful, perhaps, but the message he had sent to her was from his
heart, and something told him that it would give her pleasure.
A key turned suddenly in the lock, and his heart bounded with the
hope that it might be some one with her surrender in response to his
ultimatum. He sat upright and rubbed his swollen eyes. The door
swung open, and a tall prison guard peered in upon him, a sharpeyed,
low-browed fellow in rain coat and helmet. His lantern's single
unkind eye was turned menacingly toward the bed.
"What do you want?" demanded the prisoner, irritably.
Instead of answering, the guard proceeded to unlock the second or
grated door, stepping inside the cell a moment later. Smothering an
exclamation, Lorry jerked out his watch and then sprang to his feet,
intensely excited. It was just twelve o'clock, and he remembered now
that she had said a guard would come to him at that hour. Was this
the man? Was the plan to be carried out?
The two men stood staring at each other for a moment or two, one
in the agony of doubt and suspense, the other quizzically. A smile
flitted over the face of the guard; he calmly advanced to the table,
putting down his lantern. Then he drew off his rain coat and helmet
and placed in the other's hand a gray envelope. Lorry reeled and would
have fallen but for the wall against which he staggered. A note from
her was in his hand. He tore open the envelope and drew forth the
letter. As he read he grew strangely calm and contented; a blissful
repose rushed in to supplant the racking unrest of a moment before;
the shadows fled and life's light was burning brightly once more. She
"I entreat you to follow instructions and go to-night. You say
you will not leave Graustark until you have seen me. How rash you
are to refuse liberty and life for such a trifle. But why, I ask, am
I offering you this chance to escape? Is it because I do not hope to
see you again? Is it not enough that I am begging, imploring you to
go? I can say no more."
He folded the brief note, written in agitation, and, after kissing
it, proceeded to place it in his pocket, determined to keep it to the
last hour of his life. Glancing up at a sound from the guard, he
found himself looking into the muzzle of a revolver. A deep scowl
overspread the face of the man as he pointed to the letter and then to
the lamp. There was no mistaking his meaning. Lorry reluctantly held
the note over the flame and saw it crumble away as had its
predecessor. There was to be no proof of her complicity left behind.
He knew it would be folly to offer a bribe to the loyal guard.
After this very significant act the guard's face cleared, and he
deposited his big revolver on the table. Stepping to the cell's
entrance he listened intently, then softly closed the heavy iron
doors. Without a word he began to strip off his uniform, Lorry
watching him as if fascinated. The fellow looked up impatiently and
motioned for him to be quick, taking it for granted that the prisoner
understood his part of the transaction. Awakened by this sharp
reminder, Lorry nervously began to remove his own clothes. In five
minutes his garments were scattered over the floor and he was attired
in the uniform of a guard. Not a word had been spoken. The prisoner
was the guard, the guard a prisoner.
"Are you not afraid this will cost you your life?" asked Lorry,
first in English, then in German. The guard merely shook his head,
indicating that he could not understand.
He quickly turned to the bed, seized a sheet and tore it into
strips, impatiently thrusting them into the other's hands. The first
letter had foretold all this, and the prisoner knew what was expected
of him. He therefore securely bound the guard's legs and arms. With
a grim smile the captive nodded his head toward the revolver, the
lantern and the keys. His obliging prisoner secured them, as well as
his own personal effects, and was ready to depart. According to
instructions he was to go forth, locking the doors behind him, leaving
the man to be discovered the next morning by surprised keepers. It
struck him that there was something absurd in this part of the plan.
How was this guard to explain his position with absolutely no sign of
a struggle to bear him out? It was hardly plausible that a big,
strong fellow could be so easily overpowered single-handed; there was
something wretchedly incongruous about the—but there came a startling
and effective end to all criticism.
The guard, bound as he was, suddenly turned and lunged
head-foremost against the sharp bedpost. His head struck with a
thud, and he rolled to the floor as if dead. Uttering an exclamation
of horror, Lorry ran to his side. Blood was gushing from a long gash
across his head, and he was already unconscious. Sickened by the
brave sacrifice, he picked the man up and placed him on the bed.
A hasty examination proved that it was no more than a scalp wound,
and that death was too remote to be feared. The guard had done his
part nobly, and it was now the prisoner's turn to act as resolutely
and as unflinchingly. Sorry to leave the poor fellow in what seemed
an inhuman manner, he strode into the corridor, closed and locked the
doors clumsily, and began the descent of the stairs. He had been
instructed to act unhesitatingly, as the slightest show of nervousness
would result in discovery.
With the helmet well down over his face and the cape well up, he
steadily, even noisily made his way to the next floor below. There
were prisoners on this floor, while he had been the only occupant of
the floor above. Straight ahead he went, flashing his lantern here
and there, passing down another stairway and into the main corridor.
Here he met a guard who had just come in from the outside. The man
addressed him in the language of the country, and his heart almost
stopped beating. How was he to answer? Mumbling something almost
inaudible, he hurried on to the ground floor, trembling with fear lest
the man should call to him to halt. He was relieved to find, in the
end, that his progress was not to be impeded. In another moment he
was boldly unlocking the door that led to the visitors' hall. Then
came the door to the warden's office. Here he found three sleepy
guards, none of whom paid any attention to him as he passed through
and entered Captain Dangloss' private room. The gruff old Captain
sat at a desk, writing. The escaping man half paused as if to speak
to him. A sharp cough from the Captain and a significant jerk of the
head told him that there must be no delay, no words. Opening the door
he stepped out into a storm so fierce and wild that he shuddered
"A fitting night!" he muttered, as he plunged into the driving
rain, forcing his way across the court-yard toward the main gate. The
little light in the gate-keeper's window was his guide, so, blinded by
the torrents, blown by the winds, he soon found himself before the
final barrier. Peering through the window he saw the keeper dozing in
his chair. By the light from within he selected from the bunch of
keys he carried one that had a white string knotted in its ring. This
was the key that was to open the big gate in case no one challenged
him. In any other case he was to give the countersign, "Dangloss,"
and trust fortune to pass him through without question.
Luck was with him, and, finding the great lock, he softly inserted
and turned the key. The wind blew the heavy gate open violently, and
it required all of his strength to keep it from banging against the
wall beyond. The most difficult task that he had encountered grew
from his efforts to close the gate against the blast. He was about to
give up in despair when a hand was laid on his shoulder and some one
hissed in his startled ear:
"Sh! Not a word!"
His legs almost went from under his body, so great was the shock
and the fear. Two strong hands joined his own in the effort to pull
the door into position, and he knew at once that they belonged to the
man who was to meet him on the corner at the right of the prison wall.
He undoubtedly had tired of the delay, and, feeling secure in the
darkness of the storm, had come to meet his charge, the escaping
prisoner. Their united efforts brought about the desired result, and
together they left the prison behind, striking out against the storm
in all its fury.
"You are late," called the stranger in his ear.
"Not too late, am I?" he cried back, clutching the other's arm.
"No, but we must hasten."
"Captain Quinnox, is it you?"
"Have a care! The storm has ears and can hear names," cautioned
the other. As rapidly as possible they made their way along the
black street, almost a river with its sheet of water. Lorry had lost
his bearings, and knew not whither he went, trusting to the guidance
of his struggling companion. There seemed to be no end to their
journey, and he was growing weak beneath the exertion and the
"How far do we go?" he cried, at last.
"But a few rods. The carriage is at the next corner."
"Where is the carriage to take me?" he demanded.
"I am not at liberty to say."
"Am I to see her before I go?"
"That is something I cannot answer, sir. My instructions are to
place you in the carriage and ride beside the driver until our
destination is reached."
"Is it the castle?" cried the other, joyously.
"It is not the castle," was the disappointing answer.
At that moment they came upon a great dark hulk and heard the
stamping of horses' hoofs close at hand. It was so dark they could
scarcely discern the shape of the carriage, although they could touch
its side with their hands.
A soldier stood in the shelter of the vehicle and opened the door
for the American.
"Hurry! Get in!" exclaimed Quinnox.
"I wish to know if this is liable to get her into trouble,"
demanded Lorry, pausing with one foot on the steps.
"Get in!" commanded the soldier who was holding the door, pushing
him forward uneasily. He floundered into the carriage where all was
dry and clean. In his hand he still carried the keys and the lantern,
the slide of which he had closed before leaving the prison yard. He
could not see, but he knew that the trappings of the vehicle were
superior. Outside he heard the soldier, who was preparing to enter,
"This carriage travels on most urgent business for Her Royal
Highness, captain. It is not to be stopped."
A moment later he was inside and the door slammed. The carriage
rocked as Quinnox swung up beside the driver.
"You may as well be comfortable," said Lorry's companion, as he
sat rigid and restless. "We have a long and rough ride before us."
XIX. THE SOLDIER
Off went the carriage with a dash, the rumbles of its wheels
joining in the grewsome roar of the elements. For some time the two
sat speechless, side by side. Outside the thunder rolled, the rain
swirled and hissed, the wind howled and all the horrors of nature
seemed crowded into the blackness of that thrilling night. Lorry
wondered vaguely whither they were going, why he had seen no flashes
of lightning, if he should ever see her again. His mind was busy with
a thousand thoughts and queries.
"Where are we going?" he asked, after they had traveled half a
mile or so.
"To a place of safety," came the reply from the darkness beside
"Thanks," he said, drily. "By the way, don't you have any
lightning in this part of the world? I haven't seen a flash
"It is very rare," came the brief reply.
"Devilish uncommunicative," thought Lorry.
After a moment he asked: "How far do we travel tonight?"
"A number of miles."
"Then I'm going to take off this wet coat. It weighs a ton. Won't
you remove yours?" He jerked off the big rain coat and threw it
across to the opposite seat, with the keys and the lantern. There was
a moment's hesitation on the part of his companion, and then a second
wet coat followed the first. Their rain helmets were also tossed
aside. "Makes a fellow feel more comfortable."
"This has been too easy to seem like an escape," went on Lorry,
looking back reflectively over the surprises of the night. "Maybe I
am dreaming. Pinch me."
A finger and a thumb came together on the fleshy part of his arm,
causing him to start, first in amazement, then in pain. He had not
expected his reserved guardian to obey the command literally.
"I am awake, thanks," he laughed, and the hand dropped from his
After this there was a longer silence than at any time before. The
soldier drew himself into the corner of the seat, an action which
repelled further discussion, it seemed to Lorry, so he leaned back in
the opposite corner and allowed his mind to wander far from the
interior of that black, stuffy carriage. Where was he going? When was
he to leave Graustark? Was he to see her soon?
Soon the carriage left the smooth streets of Edelweiss and he
could tell, by the jolting and careening, that they were in the
country, racing over a rough, rocky road. It reminded him of an
overland trip he had taken in West Virginia some months before, with
the fairest girl in all the world as his companion. Now he was riding
in her carriage, but with a surly, untalkative soldier of the guard.
The more he allowed his thoughts to revel in the American ride and
its delights, the more uncontrollable became his desire to see the one
who had whirled with him in "Light-horse Jerry's" coach.
"I wish to know how soon I am to see your mistress," he exclaimed,
impulsively, sitting up and striking his companion's arm byway of
emphasis. To his surprise the hand was dashed away, and he distinctly
heard the soldier gasp. "I beg your pardon!" he cried, fearing that
he had given pain with his eager strength.
"You startled me I was half asleep," stammered the other,
apologetically. "Whom do you mean by my mistress?"
"Her Royal Highness, of course," said Lorry, impatiently.
"I cannot say when you are to see the Princess," said his
companion after waiting so long that Lorry felt like kicking him.
"Well, see here, my friend, do you know why I agreed to leave that
place back there? I said I wouldn't go away from Graustark until I
had seen her. If you fellows are spiriting me away —kidnapping me,
as it were,—I want to tell you I won't have it that way. I must
know, right now, where we are going in this damnable storm."
"I have orders to tell you nothing," said the soldier, staunchly.
"Orders, eh! From whom?"
"That is my affair, sir!"
"I guess I'm about as much interested in this affair as anybody,
and I insist on knowing our destination. I jumped into this thing
blindly, but I'm going to see my way out of it before we go much
farther. Where are we going?"
"You—you will learn that soon enough," insisted the other.
"Am I to see her soon? That's what I want to know."
"You must not insist," cried the soldier.
"Why are you so anxious to see her?" he asked, suddenly.
"Don't be so blamed inquisitive," cried Grenfall, angrily,
impatiently. "Tell me where we are going or I'll put a bullet into
you!" Drawing his revolver he leaned over, grasped the guard by the
shoulder and placed the muzzle against his breast.
"For God's sake, be calm! You would not kill me for obeying
orders! I am serving one you love. Are you mad? I shall scream if
you keep pressing that horrid thing against my side." Lorry felt him
tremble, and was at once filled with compunction. How could he expect
a loyal fellow to disobey orders?
"I beg your pardon a thousand times," he cried, jamming the pistol
into his pocket. "You are a brave gentleman and I am a fool. Take me
where you will; I'll go like a lamb. You'll admit, however, that it
is exasperating to be going in the dark like this."
"It is a very good thing that it is dark," said the soldier,
quickly. "The darkness is very kind to us. No one can see us and we
can see no one."
"I should say not. I haven't the faintest idea what you look
like. Have I seen you at the castle?"
"Will you tell me your name?"
"You would not know me by name."
"Are you an officer?"
"No; I am new to the service."
"Then I'll see that you are promoted. I like your staunchness.
How old are you?"
"Of the nobility?"
"My father was of noble birth."
"Then you must be so, too. I hope you'll forgive my rudeness. I'm
a bit nervous, you know."
"I forgive you gladly."
"Devilish rough road, this."
"Devilish. It is a mountain road."
"That's where we were, too."
"Where who were?"
"Oh, a young lady and I, some time ago. I just happened to think
"It could not have been pleasant."
"You never made a bigger mistake in your life."
"Oh, she must have been pretty, then."
"You are right this time. She is glorious."
"Pardon me! They usually are in such adventures."
"By Jove, you're a clever one!"
"Does she live in America?"
"That's none of your affair."
"Oh!" and then there was silence between them.
"Inquisitive fool!" muttered Gren to him= self.
For some time they bumped along over the rough road, jostling
against each other frequently, both enduring stoically and silently.
The rain was still falling, but the thunder storm had lost its fury.
The crashing in the sky had abated, the winds were not so fierce, the
night was being shorn of its terrors. Still the intense, almost
suffocating darkness prevailed. But for the occasional touch neither
could have told that there was another person on the seat. Suddenly
Lorry remembered the lantern. It was still lit with the slide closed
when he threw it on the seat. Perhaps it still burned and could
relieve the oppressive darkness if but for a short time. He might, at
least, satisfy his curiosity and look upon the face of his companion.
Leaning forward he fumbled among the traps on the opposite seat.
"I think I'll see if the lantern is lighted. Let's have it a
little more cheerful in here," he said. There was a sharp
exclamation, and two vigorous hands grasped him by the shoulder,
jerking him back unceremoniously.
"No! No! You will ruin all! There must be no light," cried the
soldier, his voice high and shrill.
"But we are out of the city."
"I know! I know! But I will not permit you to have a light.
Against orders. We have not passed the outpost," expostulated the
"What's the matter with your voice" demanded Lorry, struck by the
change in it.
"My voice?" asked the other, the tones natural again. "It's
changing. Didn't it embarrass you when your voice broke like that?"
went on the questioner, breathlessly. Lorry was now leaning back in
the seat, quite a little mystified.
"I don't believe mine ever broke like that," he said,
speculatively. There was no response, and he sat silent for some
time, regretting more and more that it was so dark.
Gradually he became conscious of a strange, unaccountable presence
in that dark cab. He could feel a change coming over him; he could
not tell why, but he was sure that some one else was beside him, some
one who was not the soldier. Something soft and delicate and sweet
came into existence, permeating the darkness with its undeniable
presence. A queer power seemed drawing him toward the other end of
the seat. The most delightful sensations took possession of him; his
heart fluttered oddly; his head began to reel under the spell.
"Who are you?" he cried, in a sort of ecstacy. There was no
answer. He remembered his matchsafe, and with trembling, eager
fingers drew it from the pocket of the coat he was wearing. The next
instant he was scratching a match, but as it flared the body of his
companion was hurled against his and a ruthless mouth blew out the
"Oh, why do you persist?" was cried in his ears.
"I am determined to see your face," he answered, sharply, and with
a little cry of dismay the other occupant of the carriage fell back in
the corner. The next match drove away the darkness and the mystery.
With blinking eyes he saw the timid soldier huddling in the corner,
one arm covering his face, the other hand vainly striving to pull the
skirt of a military coat over a pair of red trouser-legs. Below the
arm that hid the eyes and nose he saw parted lips and a beardless,
dainty chin; above, long, dark tresses strayed in condemning
confusion. The breast beneath the blue coat heaved convulsively.
The match dropped from his fingers, and, as darkness fell again,
it hid the soldier in the strong arms of the fugitive—not a soldier
bold, but a gasping, blushing, unresisting coward. The lithe form
quivered and then became motionless in the fierce, straining embrace;
the head dropped upon his shoulder, his hot lips caressing the burning
face and pouring wild, incoherent words into the little ears.
"You! You!" he cried, mad with joy. "Oh, this is Heaven itself!
My brave darling! Mine forever—mine forever! You shall never leave
me now! Drive on! Drive on!" he shouted to the men outside, drunk
with happiness. "We'll make this journey endless. I know you love me
now—I know it! God, I shall die with joy!"
A hand stole gently into his hand, and her lips found his in a
long, passionate kiss.
"I did not want you to know! Ach, I am so sorry! Why, why did I
come to-night? I was so strong, so firm, I thought, but see how weak
I am. You dominate,—you own me, body and soul, in spite of
everything,—against my will. I Love you—I love you—I love you!"
"I have won against the princes and the potentates! I was losing
hope, my Queen, losing hope. You were so far away, so unattainable.
I would brave a thousand deaths rather than lose this single minute
of my life. It makes me the richest man in all the world. How brave
you are! This night you have given up everything for my sake. You
are fleeing with me, away from all that has been dear to you."
"No, no. You must not be deluded. It is only for tonight, only
till you are safe from pursuit. I shall go back. You must not hope
for more than this hour of weakness, sweet as it is to me," she cried.
"You are going back and not with me?" he cried, his heart
"You know I cannot. That is why I hoped you would never know how
much I care for you. Alas, you have found me out! My love was made
rash by fear. You could never have escaped the vengeance of Axphain.
I could not have shielded you. This was the only course and I dared
not hesitate. I should have died with terror had you gone to trial,
knowing what I knew. You will not think me unwomanly for coming with
you as I am. It was necessary—really it was! No one else could
have—" But he smothered the wail in kisses.
"Unwomanly!" he exclaimed. "It was by divine inspiration. But
you will come with me, away from Graustark, away from every one. Say
that you will!"
"I cannot bear to hear you plead, and it breaks my heart to go
back there. But I cannot leave Graustark—I cannot! It would be
Heaven to go with you to the end of the world, but I have others
besides myself to consider. You are my god, my idol. I can worship
you from my unhappy throne, from my chamber, from the cell into which
my heart is to retreat. But I cannot, I will not desert Graustark.
Not even for you!"
He was silent, impressed by her nobility, her loyalty. Although
the joy ebbed from his craving heart, he saw the justice of her
"I would give my soul to see your face now, Yetive. Your soul is
in your eyes; I can feel it. Why did you not let me stay in prison,
meet death and so end all? It would have been better for both of us.
I cannot live without you."
"We can live for each other, die for each other,—apart. Distance
will not lessen my love. You know that it exists; it has been
betrayed to you. Can you not be satisfied—just a little bit—with
that knowledge?" she pleaded.
"But I want you in reality, not in my dreams, my imagination."
"Ach, we must not talk like this! There is no alternative. You
are to go, I am to stay. The future is before us; God knows what it
may bring to us. Perhaps it may be good enough to give us
happiness—who knows? Do not plead with me. I cannot endure it. Let
me be strong again! You will not be so cruel as to battle against me,
now that I am weak; it would only mean my destruction. You do not
His soul, his honor, the greatest reverence he had ever known were
in the kiss that touched her brow.
"I shall love you as you command—without hope," he said, sadly.
"Without hope for either," she sobbed.
"My poor little soldier," he whispered, lovingly, as her body
writhed under the storm of tears.
"I—I wish—I were a—soldier!" she wailed. He comforted her as
best he could and soon she was quiet—oh, so very quiet. Her head
was on his shoulder, her hands in his.
"How far do we drive?" he asked, at last.
"To the monastery. We are nearly there." she answered, in tones
"The monastery? Why do we go there?" he cried.
"You are to stay there."
"What do you mean? I thought I was to leave Graustark."
"You are to leave—later on. Until the excitement is over the
abbey is to be your hiding place. I have arranged everything, and it
is the only safe place on earth for you at this time. No one will
think of looking for you up there."
"I would to God I could stay there forever, living above you," he
"Your window looks down upon the castle; mine looks up to yours.
The lights that burn in those two windows will send out beams of love
and life for one of us, at least."
"For both of us, my sweetheart," he corrected, fondly. "You say I
will be safe there. Can you trust these men who are aiding you?"
"With my life! Quinnox carried a message to the Abbot yesterday,
and he grants you a temporary home there, secure and as secret as the
tomb. He promises me this, and he is my best friend. Now, let me
tell you why I am with you, masquerading so shamefully—"
"Adorably!" he protested.
"It is because the Abbot insisted that I bring you to him
personally. He will not receive you except from my hands. There was
nothing else for me to do, then, was there, Lorry? I was compelled to
come and I could not come as the Princess—as a woman. Discovery
would have meant degradation from which I could not have hoped to
recover. The military garments were my only safeguard."
"And how many people know of your—deception?"
"Three—besides yourself. Dagmar, Quinnox and Captain Dangloss.
The Abbot will know later on, and I shiver as I think of it. The
driver and the man who went to your cell, Ogbot, know of the escape,
but do not know I am here. Allode—you remember him—is our driver."
"Allode? He's the fellow who saw me—er—who was in the throne
"He is the man who saw nothing, sir."
"I remember his obedience," he said, laughing in spite of his
unhappiness. "Am I to have no freedom up here—no liberty, at all?"
"You are to act as the Abbot or the prior instructs. And, I must
not forget, Quinnox will visit you occasionally. He will conduct you
from the monastery and to the border line at the proper time."
"Alas! He will be my murderer, I fear. Yetive, you do not
believe I killed Lorenz. I know that most of them do, but, I swear
to you, I am no more the perpetrator of that cowardly crime than you.
God bears testimony to my innocence. I want to hear you say that you
do not believe I killed him."
"I feared so at first,—no, do not be angry—I feared you had
killed him for my sake. But now I am sure that you are innocent."
The carriage stopped too soon and Quinnox opened the door. It was
still as dark as pitch, but the downpour had ceased except for a
disagreeable, misty drizzle, cold and penetrating.
"We have reached the stopping place," he said.
"And we are to walk from here to the gate," said the Princess,
resuming her hoarse, manly tones. While they were busy donning their
rain coats, she whispered in Lorry's ear: "I beg of you, do not let
him know that you have discovered who I am."
He promised, and lightly snatched a kiss, an act of indiscretion
that almost brought fatal results. Forgetful of the darkness, she
gave vent to a little protesting shriek, fearing that the eyes of the
captain had witnessed the pretty transgression. Lorry laughed as he
sprang to the road and turned to assist her in alighting. She
promptly and thoughtfully averted the danger his gallantry presented
by ignoring the outstretched hands, discernible as slender shadows
protruding from an object a shade darker than the night, and leaped
boldly to the ground. The driver was instructed to turn the carriage
about and to await their return.
With Lorry in the center the trio walked rapidly off in the
darkness, the fugitive with the sense of fear that belongs only to a
blind man. A little light far ahead told the position of the gate,
and for this they bent their steps, Lorry and Quinnox conversing in
low tones, the Princess striding along silently beside the former, her
hand in his—a fact of which the real soldier was totally unaware.
Reaching the gate, the captain pounded vigorously, and a sleepy monk
soon peered from the little window through which shone the light.
"On important business with the Abbot, from Her Royal Highness,
the Princess Yetive," said Quinnox, in response to a sharp query,
spoken in the Graustark tongue. A little gate beside the big one
opened and the monk, lantern in hand, bade them enter.
"Await me here, captain," commanded the slim, straight soldier,
with face turned from the light. A moment later the gate closed and
Lorry was behind the walls of St. Valentine's, a prisoner again. The
monk preceded them across the dark court toward the great black mass,
his lantern creating ghastly shadows against the broken mist. His
followers dropped some little distance behind, the tall one's arm
stealing about the other's waist, his head bending to a level with
"Is it to be good-by, dearest?" he asked. "Good-by forever?"
"I cannot say that. It would be like wishing you dead. Yet there
is no hope. No, no! We will not say good-by,—forever," she said,
"Won't you bid me hope?"
"Impossible! You will stay here until Quinnox comes to take you
away. Then you must not stop until you are in your own land. We may
"Yes, by my soul, we shall meet again! I'll do as you bid and all
that, but I'll come back when I can stay away no longer. Go to your
castle and look forward to the day that will find me at your feet
again. It is bound to come. But how are you to return to the castle
tonight and enter without creating suspicion? Have you thought of
"Am I a child? Inside of three hours I shall be safely in my bed
and but one person in the castle will be the wiser for my absence.
Here are the portals." They passed inside the massive doors and
halted. "You must remain here until I have seen the prior," she said,
laughing nervously and glancing down at the boots which showed beneath
the long coat. Then she hastily followed the monk, disappearing down
the corridor. In ten minutes—ten hours to Lorry—she returned with
"He will take you to your room," she said breathlessly, displaying
unmistakable signs of embarrassment. "The prior was shocked.
Good-by, and God be with you always. Remember, I love you!"
The monk's back was turned, so the new recluse snatched the slight
figure to his heart.
"Some day?" he whispered.
She would not speak, but he held leer until she nodded her head.
XX. THE APPROACHING ORDEAL
"The American has escaped!" was the cry that spread through
Edelweiss the next morning.
It brought undisguised relief to the faces of thousands; there was
not one who upbraided Baron Dangloss for his astounding negligence.
Never before had a criminal escaped from the Tower. The only excuse,
uttered in woebegone tone, was that the prison had not been
constructed or manned for such clever scoundrels as Yankees—good name
for audacity. But as nobody criticised, his explanation was taken
good-naturedly and there was secret rejoicing in the city. Of course,
everybody wondered where the prisoner had gone; most of them feared
that he could not escape the officers, while others shrewdly smiled
and expressed themselves as confident that so clever a gentleman could
not be caught. They marveled at his boldness, his ingenuity, his
The full story of the daring break for liberty flashed from lip to
lip during the day, and it was known all over the water-swept city
before noon. Baron Dangloss, himself, had gone to the prisoner's cell
early in the morning, mystified by the continued absence of the guard.
The door was locked, but from within came groans and cries. Alarmed
at once, the Captain procured duplicate keys and entered the cell.
There he found the helpless, blood-covered Ogbot, bound hand and foot
and almost dead from loss of blood. The clothes of the American were
on the floor, while his own were missing, gone with the prisoner.
Ogbot, as soon as he was able, related his experience of the night
before. It was while making his rounds at midnight that he heard
moans from the cell. Animated by a feeling of pity he opened the slab
door and asked if he were ill. The wretched American was lying on the
bed, apparently suffering. He said something which the guard could
not understand but which he took to be a plea for assistance. Not
suspecting a trick, the kindly guard unlocked the second door and
stepped to the bedside, only to have the sick man rise suddenly and
deal him a treacherous blow over the head with the heavy stool he had
secreted behind him. Ogbot knew nothing of what followed, so
effective was the blow. When he regained consciousness he was lying
on the bed, just as the Captain had found him. The poor fellow,
overwhelmed by the enormity of his mistake, begged Dangloss to shoot
him at once. But Dangloss had him conveyed to the hospital ward and
tenderly cared for.
Three guards in one of the offices saw a man whom they supposed to
be Ogbot pass from the prison shortly after twelve, and the mortified
Chief admitted that some one had gone through his private apartment.
As the prisoner had taken Ogbot's keys he experienced little
difficulty in getting outside the gates. But, vowed Dangloss stormily,
he should be recaptured if it required the efforts of all the
policemen in Edelweiss. With this very brave declaration in mind he
despatched men to search every street and every alley, every cellar
and every attic in the city. Messengers were sent to all towns in the
district; armed posses scoured the valley and the surrounding forests,
explored the caves and brush heaps for miles around. The chagrin of
the grim old Captain, who had never lost a prisoner, was pitiful to
The forenoon was half over before Harry Anguish heard of his
friend's escape. To say that he was paralyzed would be putting it
much too mildly. There is no language that can adequately describe
his sensations. Forgetting his bodyguard, he tore down the street
toward the prison, wild with anxiety and doubt. He met Baron
Dangloss, tired and worn, near the gate, but the old officer could
tell him nothing except what he had learned from Ogbot. Of one thing
there could be no doubt: Lorry was gone. Not knowing where to turn nor
what to do, Anguish raced off to the castle, his bodyguard having
located him in the meantime. He was more in need of their protection
than ever. At the castle gates he encountered a party of raving
Axphainians, crazed with anger over the flight of the man whose life
they had thirsted for so ravenously. Had he been unprotected, Anguish
would have fared badly at their hands, for they were outspoken in
their assertions that he had aided Lorry in the escape. One fiery
little fellow cast a glove in the American's face and expected a
challenge. Anguish snapped his fingers and sarcastically invited the
insulter to meet him next winter in a battle with snowballs, upon
which the aggressor blasphemed in three languages and three hundred
gestures. Anguish and his men passed inside the gates, which had been
barred to the others, and struck out rapidly for the castle doors.
The Princess Yetive was sleeping' soundly, peacefully, with a
smile on her lips, when her Prime Minister sent an excited attendant
to inform her of the prisoner's escape. She sat up in bed, and, with
her hands clasped about her knees, sleepily announced that she would
receive him after her coffee was served. Then she thought of the
wild, sweet ride to the monastery, the dangerous return, her entrance
to the castle through the secret subterranean passage and the safe
arrival in her own room. All had gone well and he was safe. She
smiled quaintly as she glanced at the bundle of clothes on the floor,
blue and black and red. They had been removed in the underground
passage and a loose gown substituted, but she had carried them to her
chamber with the intention of placing them for the time being in the
old mahogany chest that held so many of her childhood treasures.
Springing out of bed, she opened the chest, cast them into its
depths, turned and removed the key which had always remained in the
lock. Then she summoned her maids.
Her uncle and aunt, the Countess Dagmar (whose merry brown eyes
were so full of pretended dismay that the Princess could scarcely
restrain a smile), and Gaspon, the minister of finance, were awaiting
her appearance. She heard the count's story of the escape, marveled
at the prisoner's audacity, and firmly announced that everything
possible should be done to apprehend him. With a perplexed frown on
her brow and a dubious twist to her lips, she said;
"I suppose I must offer a reward."
"Certainly!" exclaimed her uncle.
"About fifty gavvos, uncle?"
"Fifty!" cried the two men, aghast.
"Isn't that enough?"
"For the murderer of a prince?" demanded Gaspon. "It would be
absurd, your Highness. He is a most important person."
"Quite so; he is a most important person. I think I'll offer five
"More like it. He is worth that, at least," agreed Uncle Caspar.
"Beyond a doubt," sanctioned Gaspon.
"I am glad you do not consider me extravagant," she said,
demurely. "You may have the placards printed at once," she went on,
addressing the treasurer. "Say that a reward of five thousand gavvos
will be paid to the person who delivers Grenfall Lorry to me."
"Would it not be better to say 'delivers Grenfall Lorry to the
tower'?" submitted Gaspon.
"You may say 'to the undersigned,' and sign my name," she said,
"Very well, your highness. They shall be struck off this
"In large type, Gaspon. You must catch him if you can," she
added. "He is a very dangerous man and royalty needs protection."
With this wise bit of caution she dismissed the subject and began to
talk of the storm.
As the two young plotters were hastening up the stairs later on,
an attendant approached and informed the Princess that Mr. Anguish
requested an audience.
"Conduct him to my boudoir," she said, her eyes sparkling with
triumph. In the seclusion of the boudoir she and the Countess
laughed like children over the reward that had been so solemnly
"Five thousand gavvos!" cried Dagmar, leaning back in her chair,
to emphasize the delight she felt. "What a joke!"
Tap, tap! came a knock on the door, and in the same instant it
flew open, for Mr. Anguish was in a hurry. As he plunged into their
presence a pair of heels found the floor spasmodically.
"Oh, I beg pardon!" he gasped, as if about to fly. "May I come
"Not unless you go outside. You are already in, it seems," said
the Princess, advancing to meet him. The Countess was very still and
sedate. "I am so glad you have come."
"Heard about Lorry? The fool is out and gone," he cried, unable
to restrain himself. Without a word she dragged him to the divan,
and, between them, he soon had the whole story poured into his ears,
the Princess on one side, the Countess on the other.
"You are a wonder!" he exclaimed, when all the facts were known to
him. He executed a little dance of approval, entirely out of place in
the boudoir of a princess, but very much in touch with prevailing
sentiment. "But what's to become of me?" he asked, after cooling
down. "I have no excuse for remaining in Graustark and I don't like
to leave him here, either."
"Oh, I have made plans for you," said she. "You are to be held as
"I thought of your predicament last night, and here is the
solution. This very day I shall issue an order forbidding you the
right to leave Edelweiss. You will not be in prison, but your every
movement is to be watched. A strong guard will have you under
surveillance, and any attempt to escape or to communicate with your
friend will result in your confinement and his detection. In this way
you may stay here until the time comes to fly. The Axphain people
must be satisfied, you know. Your freedom will not be disturbed; you
may come and go as you like, but you are ostensibly a prisoner. By
detaining you forcibly we gain a point, for you are needed here.
There is no other way in which you can explain a continued presence
in Graustark. Is not my plan a good one?"
He gazed in admiration at her flushed cheeks and glowing eyes.
"It is beyond comparison," he said, rising and bowing low. "So
shrewd is this plan that you make me a hostage forever; I shall not
escape its memory if I live to be a thousand."
And so it was settled, in this pretty drama of deception, that
Harry Anguish was to be held in Edelweiss as hostage. At parting she
"A great deal depends on your discretion. Mr. Anguish. My guards
will watch your every action, for they are not in the
secret,—excepting Quinnox,—and any attempt on your part to
communicate with Grenfall Lorry will be fatal."
"Trust me, your Highness. I have had much instruction in wisdom
"I hope we shall see you often," she said.
"Daily—as a hostage," he replied, glancing toward the Countess.
"That means until the other man is captured," said that young
As he left the castle he gazed at the distant building in the sky
and wondered how it had ever been approached in a carriage. She had
not told him that Allode drove for miles over winding roads that led
to the monastery up a gentler slope from the rear.
The next afternoon Edelweiss thrilled with a new excitement.
Prince Bolaroz of Axphain, mad with grief and rage, came thundering
into the city with his Court at his heels. His wrath had been
increased until it resembled a tornado when he read the reward placard
in the uplands. Not until then did he know that the murderer had
escaped and that vengeance might be denied him.
After, viewing the body of Lorenz as it lay in the sarcophagus of
the royal palace, where it had been borne at the command of the
Princess Yetive, he demanded audience with his son's betrothed, and it
was with fear that she prepared for the trying ordeal, an interview
with the grief-crazed old man. The castle was in a furore; its halls
soon thronged with diplomatists and there was an ugly sense of trouble
in the air, suggestive of the explosion which follows the igniting of
a powder magazine.
The slim, pale-faced Princess met the burly old ruler in the grand
council chamber. He and his nobles had been kept waiting but a short
time. Within a very few minutes after they had been conducted to the
chamber by Count Halfont and other dignitaries, the fair ruler came
into the room and advanced between the bowing lines of courtiers to
the spot where sat the man who held Graustark in his grasp. A
slender, graceful figure in black, proud and serious, she walked
unhesitatingly to the old man's side. If she feared him, if she was
impressed by his power, she did not show it. The little drama had two
stars of equal magnitude, neither of whom acknowledged supremacy in
Bolaroz arose as she drew near, his gaunt face black and
unfriendly. She extended her hand graciously, and he, a prince for
all his wrath, touched his trembling lips to its white, smooth back.
"I come in grief and sadness to your Court, most glorious Yetive.
My burden of sorrow is greater than I can bear," he said, hoarsely.
"Would that I could give you consolation," she said, sitting in
the chair reserved for her use at council gatherings. "Alas! it
grieves me that I can offer nothing more than words."
"You are the one he would have made his wife," said the old
Prince, sitting beside her. He looked into her deep blue eyes and
tears sprung to his own. His voice failed him, and long moments
passed before he could control his emotion. Truly she pitied him in
Then followed a formal discussion of the crime and the arrangement
of details in connection with the removal of the dead Prince from
Graustark to his own land. These matters settled, Bolaroz said that
he had heard of the murderer's escape and asked what effort was being
made to re-capture him. Yetive related all that had happened,
expressing humiliation over the fact that her officers had been unable
to accomplish anything, adding that she did not believe the fugitive
could get away from Graustark safely without her knowledge. The old
Prince was working himself back into the violent rage that had been
temporarily subdued; and at last broke out in a vicious denunciation
of the carelessness that had allowed the man to escape. He first
insisted that Dangloss and his incompetent assistants be thrown into
prison for life or executed for criminal negligence; then he demanded
the life of Harry Anguish as an aider and abettor in the flight of the
murderer. In both cases the Princess firmly refused to take the
action demanded. She warmly defended Dangloss and his men, and
announced in no uncertain tones that she would not order the arrest of
the remaining American. Then she acquainted him with her intention
to detain Anguish as hostage and to have his every action watched in
the hope that a clue to the whereabouts of the fugitive might be
discovered, providing, of course, that the friend knew anything at all
about the matter. The Duke of Mizrox and others loudly joined in the
cry for Anguish's arrest, but she bravely held out against them and in
the end curtly informed them that the American, whom she believed to
be innocent of all complicity in the escape, should be subjected to
no indignity other than detention in the city under guard, as she had
"I insist that this man be cast into prison at once," snarled the
Her eyes flashed and her bosom heaved with anger.
"You are not at liberty to command in Graustark, Prince Bolaroz,"
she said, slowly and distinctly. "I am ruler here."
The heart of every Graustark nobleman leaped with pride at this
daring rebuff. Bolaroz gasped and was speechless for some seconds.
"You shall not be ruler long, madam," he said, malevolently,
"But I am ruler now, and, as such, I ask your Highness to withdraw
from my castle. I did not know that I was to submit to these threats
and insults, or I should not have been kind enough to grant you an
audience, Prince though you are. When I came to this room it was to
give you my deepest sympathy and to receive yours, not to be insulted.
You have lost a son, I my betrothed. It ill becomes you, Prince
Bolaroz, to vent your vindictiveness upon me. My men are doing all in
their power to capture the man who has so unfortunately escaped from
our clutches, and I shall not allow you or any one else to dictate the
manner in which we are to proceed." She uttered these words cuttingly,
and, at their conclusion, arose to leave the room.
Bolaroz heard her through in surprise and with conflicting
emotions. There was no mistaking her indignation, so he deemed it
policy to bottle his wrath, overlook the most offensive rebuke his
vanity had ever received, and submit to what was evidently a just
"Stay, your Highness. I submit to your proposition regarding the
other stranger, although I doubt its wisdom. There is but one in whom
I am really interested,—the one who killed my son. There is to be no
cessation in the effort to find him, I am to understand. I have a
proposition. With me are three hundred of my bravest soldiers. I
offer them to you in order that you may better prosecute the search.
They will remain here and you may use them in any way you see fit.
The Duke of Mizrox will linger in Edelweiss and with him you and
yours may always confer. He, also, is at your command. This man must
be retaken. I swear, by all that is above and below me, he shall be
found, if I hunt the world over to accomplish that end. He shall not
escape my vengeance! And hark you to this: On the twentieth of next
month I shall demand payment of the debt due Axphain. So deeply is
my heart set on the death of this Grenfall Lorry that I agree now,
before all these friends of ours, that if he be captured, and executed
in my presence, before the twentieth of November, Graustark shall be
granted the extension of time that would have obtained in the event of
your espousal with the man he killed. You hear this offer, all? It is
bound by my sacred word of honor. His death before the twentieth
gives Graustark ten years of grace. If he is still at large, I shall
claim my own. This offer, I believe, most gracious Yetive, will
greatly encourage your people in the effort to capture the man we
The Princess heard the remarkable proposition with face deathly
pale, heart scarcely beating. Again was the duty to Graustark thrust
cruelly upon her. She could save the one only by sacrificing the
"We will do all in our power to—to prove ourselves grateful for
your magnanimous offer," she said. As she passed from the room,
followed by her uncle, she heard the increasing buzz of excitement on
all sides, the unrestrained expressions of amazement and relief from
her own subjects, the patronizing comments of the visitors, all
conspiring to sound her doom. Which way was she to turn in order to
escape from herself?
"We must catch this man, Yetive," said Halfont, on the stairway.
"There is no alternative."
"Except our inability to do so," she murmured. In that moment she
determined that Grenfall Lorry should never be taken if she could
prevent it. He was innocent and it was Graustark's penalty to pay.
The next day, amidst pomp and splendor, the Prince of Axphain
started on his journey to the land of his forefathers, to the tombs
of his ancestors, all Edelweiss witnessing the imposing procession
that made its way through the north gates of the town. Far up on the
mountain top a man, looking from his little window, saw the black,
snakelike procession wind away across the plain to the northward,
losing itself in the distant hills.
XXI. FROM A WINDOW ABOVE
The longest month in Lorry's life was that which followed his
romantic flight from the Tower. To his impatient mind the days were
irksome weeks. The cold monastery was worse than a prison. He looked
from its windows as a convict looks through his bars, always hoping,
always disappointed. With each of the infrequent visits of Captain
Quinnox, his heart leaped at the prospect of liberty, only to sink
deeper in despair upon the receipt of emphatic, though kindly,
assurances that the time had not yet come for him to leave the haven
of safety into which he had been thrust by loving hands. From his
little window he could see the active city below, with the adored
castle; to his nostrils came the breath of summer from the coveted
valley, filling him with almost insupportable longing and desire.
Cold were the winds that swept about his lofty home; ghastly,
gruesome the nights, pallid and desolate the days. Out of the world
was he, dreary and heartsick, while at his feet stretched life and joy
and love in their rarest habiliments. How he endured the suspense,
the torture of uncertainty, the craving for the life that others were
enjoying, he could not understand. Big, strong and full of vigor, his
inactivity was maddening; this virtual captivity grew more and more
intolerable with each succeeding day. Would they never take him from
the tomb in which he was existing? A hundred times had he, in his
desperation, concluded to flee from the monastery, come what might,
and to trust himself to the joyous world below, but the ever-present
though waning spark of wisdom won out against the fierce, aggressive
folly that mutinied within his hungry soul. He knew that she was
guarding him with loving, tender care, and that, when the proper time
came, the shackles of danger would drop and his way would be cleared.
Still there was the longing, the craving, the loneliness. Day
after day, night after night went by and the end seemed no nearer.
Awake or asleep, he dreamed of her, his heart and mind always full of
that one rich blessing,—her love. At times he was mad with the
desire to know what she was doing, what she was thinking and what was
being done for her down there in that busy world. Lying on his
pallet, sitting in the narrow window, pacing the halls or wandering
about the cold courtyards, he thought always of her, hoping and
despairing with equal fervor. The one great question that made his
imprisonment, his inactivity so irksome was: Was he to possess the
treasure he longed so much to call his own? In those tantalizing
moments of despair he felt that if he were free and near her he could
win the fight against all odds. As it was, he knew not what mischief
was working against his chances in the world from which he was barred.
The prior was kind to him; everything that could be done to
provide comfort where comfort was a stranger was employed in his
He lived well—until his appetite deserted him; he had no
questions try answer, for no one asked why he was there; he had no
danger to fear, for no foe knew where he lived. From the city came
the promise of ultimate escape; verbal messages from those who loved
him; news of the world,—all at long intervals, however. Quinnox's
visits were like sunbeams to him. The dashing captain came only at
night and in disguise. He bore verbal messages, a wise precaution
against mishap. Not once did he bring a word of love from the
Princess, an omission which caused the fugitive deep misery until a
ray of intelligence showed him that she could not give to Quinnox the
speeches from her heart, proud woman that she was.
Anguish sent words of cheer, with commands to be patient. He
never failed to tell him, through Quinnox, that he was doing all in
his power to find the real murderer and that he had the secret
co-operation of the old police captain. Of course, the hidden man
heard of the reward and the frenzied search prosecuted by both
principalities. He laughed hysterically over the deception that was
being practiced by the blue-eyed, slender woman who held the key to
the situation in her keeping.
It was not until the night of the eighteenth of November that
Quinnox confirmed his fears by telling him of the conditions imposed
by Prince Bolaroz. For some reason the young officer had deceived
Lorry in regard to the all-important matter. The American repeatedly
had begged for information about the fatal twentieth, but on all
previous occasions his visitor doggedly maintained a show of
ignorance, vowing that he knew nothing of the circumstances Finally
Lorry, completely out of patience and determined to know the true
state of affairs, soundly upbraided him and sent word to the Princess
that if she did not acquaint him with the inside facts he would leave
the monastery and find them out for himself. This authoritative
message brought Quinnox back two nights later with the full story of
the exciting conference. She implored him to remain where he was,
and asked his forgiveness for having kept the ugly truth from him.
Quinnox added to his anguish by hastily informing him that there was
a possibility of succor from another principality. Prince Gabriel, he
said, not knowing that he was cutting his listener to the heart, was
daily with the Princess, and it was believed that he was ready to loan
Graustark sufficient money to meet the demand of Bolaroz. The mere
thought that Gabriel was with her aroused the fiercest resentment in
Lorry's breast. He writhed beneath the knowledge that she was
compelled to endure his advances, his protestations of love, his
As he paced his narrow room distractedly a horrid thought struck
him so violently that he cried aloud and staggered against the wall,
his eyes fixed on the face of the startled soldier. Perhaps she might
submit to Gabriel, for in submitting she could save not only
Graustark, but the man she loved. The sacrifice —but no! he would
not believe that such affliction could come to her! Marry Gabriel!
The man who had planned to seize her and make her his wanton! He
ground his teeth and glared at Quinnox as if he were the object of his
hatred, his vicious jealousy. The captain stepped backward in sudden
"Don't be afraid!" Lorry cried, savagely. "I'm not crazy. It's
your news—your news! Does she expect me to stay up here while that
state of affairs exists down there? Let me see: this is the
eighteenth, and day after to-morrow is the twentieth. There is no
time to be lost, Captain Quinnox. I shall accompany you when you
leave St. Valentine's to-night."
"Impossible!" exclaimed Quinnox. "I cannot allow that, sir. My
instructions are to—"
"Hang your instructions! All the instructions on earth can't
compel me to sit up here and see this sacrifice made. I am
determined to see her and put a stop to the whole affair. It is what
I feared would come to pass. She is willing to sacrifice herself or
half her kingdom, one or the other, in order that I may escape. It's
not right, captain, it's not right, and I'm going to stop it. How
soon can we leave this place?" He was pacing the floor, happy in the
decision he had reached, notwithstanding the danger it promised.
"You are mad, sir, to talk like this," protested the other,
despairingly. "Edelweiss swarms with Axphain soldiers; our own men
are on the alert to win the great reward. You cannot go to the city.
When a safe time comes, you will be taken from this place, into the
mountains instead of through the city, and given escort to Dassas, one
hundred miles east. That step will not be taken until the way is,
perfectly clear. I tell you, sir, you cannot hope to escape if you
leave the monastery now. The mountains are full of soldiers every
"I didn't say anything about an escape, did I? On the contrary, I
want to give myself up to her. Then she can have Gabriel thrown over
the castle wall and say to Bolaroz, 'Here is your man; I've gained the
ten years of grace.' That's the point, Quinnox; can't you see it?
And I want to say to you now, I'm going whether you consent or
refuse. I'd just as soon be in jail down there as up here, anyhow.
The only favor I have to ask of you is that you do the best you can
to get me safely to her. I must talk with her before I go back to the
God help me, sir, I cannot take you to her," groaned Quinnox,
trying to control his nervous apprehension. "I have sworn to her
that I will keep you from all harm, and it would be to break faith
with her if I led you into that mob down there."
"I respect your oath, my friend, but I am going, just the same.
I'll see her, too, if I have to shoot every man who attempts to
prevent me. I'm desperate, man, desperate! She's everything in the
world to me, and I'll die before I'll see her suffer."
Quinnox calmly placed his hands on the other's shoulders, and,
looking him in the eye, said quietly:
"Her suffering now is as nothing compared to what it will be if
you go back to the Tower. You forget how much pain she is enduring
to avoid that very suffering. If you care for my mistress, sir, add
no weight to the burden she already carries. Remain here, as she
desires. You can be of no service down there. I implore you to be
It was an eloquent appeal, and it struck home. Lorry wavered, but
his resolution would not weaken. He argued, first with Quinnox, then
with himself, finally returning to the reckless determination to brave
all and save her from herself. The soldier begged him to listen to
reason, implored him to reconsider, at last turning in anger upon the
stubborn American with a torrent of maledictions. Lorry heard him
through and quietly, unswervingly announced that he was ready to leave
the monastery at any time his guide cared to depart. Quinnox gave up
in despair at this, gazing hopelessly at the man he had sworn to
protect, who insisted on placing his head in the lion's jaw. He sat
down at the window and murmured dejectedly:
"What will she say to me—what will she say to me?"
"I shall exonerate you, captain. She can have no fault to find
with your action after I have told her how loyal you are and
how—how—well, how unreasonable I am," said Lorry, kindly.
"You may never live to tell her this, sir. Then what is to become
of me? I could not look her in the face again. I could only die!"
"Don't be so faint-hearted, Quinnox!" cried Lorry, stimulated by
the desire to be with her, recognizing no obstacle that might thwart
him in the effort. "We'll get through, safe and sound, and we'll
untangle a few complications before we reach the end of the book.
Brace up, for God's sake, for mine, for hers, for your own. I must
get to her before everything is lost. My God, the fear that she may
marry Gabriel will drive me mad if I am left here another night.
Come! Let us prepare to start. We must notify the Abbot that I am
to go. I can be ready in five minutes. Ye Gods, think of what she
may be sacrificing for me!"
The distracted captain gloomily watched the nervous preparations
for departure, seeing his own disgrace ahead as plainly as if it had
already come upon him. Lorry soon was attired in the guard's uniform
he had worn from the Tower a month before. His pistol was in his
pocket, and the bunch of violets she had sent to him that very night
was pinned defiantly above his heart. Quinnox smiled when he observed
this bit of sentiment, and grimly informed him that he was committing
an act prohibited in Dangloss's disciplinary rules. Officers on duty
were not to wear nosegays.
"Dangloss will not see my violets. By the way, the moon shines
brightly, doesn't it?"
"It is almost as light as day. Our trip is made extremely
hazardous for that reason. I am sorely afraid, rash sir, that we
cannot reach the castle unseen."
"We must go about it boldly, that's all."
"Has it occurred to you, sir, that you are placing me in a
terrible position? What excuse can I have, a captain of the guard,
for slinking about at night with a man whom I am supposed to be
tracking to earth? Discovery will brand me as a traitor. I cannot
deny the charge without exposing Her Royal Highness."
Lorry turned cold. He had not thought of this alarming
possibility. But his ready wit came again to his relief, and with
bright, confident eyes he swept away the obstacle.
"If discovered, you are at once to proclaim me a prisoner, take
the credit for having caught me, and claim the reward."
"In that case, you will not go to the castle, but to the Tower."
"Not if you obey orders. The offer of reward says that I must be
delivered to the undersigned. You will take me to her and not to the
Quinnox smiled and threw up his hands as if unable to combat the
quick logic of his companion. Together they made their way to the
prior's cell, afterward to the Abbot's apartment. It was barely
eleven o'clock and he had not retired. He questioned Quinnox closely,
bade Lorry farewell and blessed him, sent his benediction to the
Princess and ordered them conducted to the gates.
Ten minutes later they stood outside the wall, the great gates
having been closed sharply behind them. Above them hung the silvery
moon, full and bright, throwing its refulgent splendor over the
mountain top with all the brilliancy of day. Never had Lorry seen the
moon so accursedly bright.
"Gad, it is like day," he exclaimed.
"As I told you, sir," agreed the other, reproof in his voice.
"We must wait until the moon goes down. It won't do to risk it
now. Can we not go somewhere to keep warm for an hour or so?"
"There is a cave farther down the mountain. Shall we take the
chance of reaching it?"
"By all means. I can't endure the cold after being cooped up for
They followed the winding road for some distance down the
mountain, coming at last to a point where a small path branched off.
It was the path leading down the side of the steep overlooking the
city, and upon that side no wagon-road could be built. Seven thousand
feet below stretched the sleeping, moon-lit city. Standing out on the
brow of the mountain they seemed to be the only living objects in the
world. There was no sign of life above, below or beside them.
"How long should we be in making the descent?" asked Lorry, a sort
of terror possessing him as he looked from the dizzy height into the
ghost-like dimness below.
"Three hours, if you are strong."
"And how are we to get into the castle? I hadn't thought of
"There is a secret entrance," said Quinnox, maliciously enjoying
the insistent one's acknowledgment of weakness. "If we reach it
safely I can take you underground to the old dungeons beneath the
castle. It may be some time before you can enter the halls above, for
the secret of that passage is guarded jealously. There are but five
people who know of its existence."
"Great confidence is placed in you, I see, and worthily, I am
sure. How is it that you are trusted so implicitly?"
"I inherit the confidence. The captain of the guard is born to
his position. My ancestors held the place before me, and not one
betrayed the trust. The first-born in the last ten generations has
been the captain of the guard in the royal palace, possessing all its
secrets. I shall be the first to betray the trust—and for a man who
is nothing to me."
"I suppose you consider me selfish and vile for placing you in
this position," said Lorry, somewhat contritely.
"No; I have begun the task and I will complete it, come what may,"
answered the captain, firmly. "You are the only being in the world
for whom I would sacrifice my honor voluntarily,—save one."
"I have wondered why you were never tempted to turn traitor to the
Princess and claim the fortune that is represented in the reward."
"Not for five million gavvos, sir!"
"By George, you are a faithful lot! Dangloss, Allode and Ogbot
and yourself, four honest men to whom she trusts her life, her honor.
You belong to a rare species, and I am proud to know you."
The stealthy couple found the cave and spent an hour or more
within its walls, sallying forth after the tardy darkness had crept
down over the mountain and into the peaceful valley. Then began the
tortuous descent. Quinnox in the lead, they walked, crawled and ran
down the narrow path, bruised, scratched and aching by the time they
reached the topmost of the summer houses along the face of the
mountain. After this walking was easier, but stealthiness made their
progress slow. Frequently, as they neared the base, they were obliged
to dodge behind houses or to drop into the ditches by the roadside in,
order to avoid patroling police guards or Axphain sleuth-hounds.
Lorry marveled at the vigil the soldiers were keeping, and was
somewhat surprised to learn from the young captain that prevailing
opinion located him in or near the city. For this reason, while other
men were scouring Vienna, Paris and even London, hordes of vengeful
men searched day and night for a clew in the city of Edelweiss.
The fugitive began to realize how determined was the effort to
capture him and how small the chance of acquittal if he were taken.
To his fevered imagination the enmity of the whole world was shaping
itself against him. The air was charged with hatred, the ground with
vengeance, the trees and rocks with denouncing shadows, while from the
darkness behind merciless hands seemed to be stretching forth to
clutch him. One simple, loyal love stood alone antagonistic to the
universal desire to crush and kill. A fragile woman was shielding him
sturdily, unwaveringly against all these mighty forces. His heart
thrilled with devotion; his arm tingled with the joy of clasping her
once more to his breast; his wistful eyes hung upon the flickering
light far off in the west. Quinnox had pointed it out to him, saying
that it burned in the bedchamber of the Princes Yetive. Since the
memorable night that took him to the cell in St. Valentine's, this
light had burned from dusk to daylight. Lovingly, faithfully it had
shone for him through all those dreary nights, a lonely signal from
one heart to another.
At last, stiff and sore, they stole into the narrow streets of
Edelweiss. Lorry glanced back and shivered, although the air was
warm and balmy. He had truly been out of the world. Not until this
instant did he fully appreciate the dread that possesses a man who is
being hunted down by tireless foes; never did man's heart go out in
gratitude and trustfulness as did his toward the strong defender whose
sinewy arm he clasped as if in terror.
"You understand what this means to me," said Quinnox gravely, as
they paused to rest. "She will call me your murderer and curse me
for my miserable treason. I am the first to dishonor the name of
XXII. GRENFALL LORRY'S FOE
The Princess Yetive had not flinched a hair's breadth from the
resolution formed on that stormy night when she sacrificed pride and
duty on the altar of love and justice. Prince Bolaroz's ultimatum
overwhelmed her, but she arose from the wreckage that was strewn about
her conscience and remained loyal, steadfast and true to the man in
the monastery. To save his life was all she could hope to accomplish,
and that she was bound to do at any cost. She could be nothing to
him—not even friend. So long as he lived he would be considered the
murderer of Lorenz, and until the end a price would hang over his
head. She, Princess of Graustark, had offered a reward for him. For
that reason he was always to be a fugitive, and she least of all
could hope to see him. There had been a brief, happy dream, but it
was swept away by the unrelenting rush of reality. The mere fact that
she, and she alone, was responsible for his flight placed between them
an unsurmountable barrier.
Clinging tenaciously to her purpose, she was still cognizant of
the debt she owed the trusting, loving people of Graustark. One word
from her could avert the calamity that was to fall with the dawn of
the fatal twentieth. All Graustark blindly trusted and adored her; to
undeceive them would be to administer a shock from which they could
Her heart was bursting with love for Lorry; her mind was
overflowing with tender thoughts that could not be sent to him, much
as she trusted to the honor of Quinnox, her messenger. Hour after hour
she sat in her window and marveled at the change that had been wrought
in her life by this strong American, her eyes fixed on the faraway
monastery, her heart still and cold and fearful. She had no confidant
in this miserable affair of the heart. Others, near and dear, had
surmised, but no word of hers confirmed. A diffidence, strange and
proud, forbade the confession of her frailty, sweet, pure and womanly
though it was. She could not forget that she was a Princess.
The Countess Dagmar was piqued by her reticence and sought in
manifold ways to draw forth the voluntary avowal, with its divine
tears and blushes. Harry Anguish, who spent much of his time at the
castle and who invariably deserted his guards at the portals, was as
eager as the Countess to have her commit herself irretrievably by word
or sign, but he, too, was disappointed. He was, also, considerably
puzzled. Her Highness's manner was at all times frank and untroubled.
She was apparently light-hearted; her cheeks had lost none of their
freshness; her eyes were bright; her smile was quick and merry; her
wit unclouded. Receptions, drawing-rooms and state functions found
her always vivacious, so much so that her Court wondered not a little.
Daily reports brought no news of the fugitive, but while others were
beginning to acquire the haggard air of worry and uncertainty, she was
calmly resigned. The fifteenth, the sixteenth, the seventeenth, the
eighteenth and now the nineteenth of November came and still the
Princess revealed no marked sign of distress. Could they have seen
her in the privacy of her chamber on those dreary, maddening nights
they would not have known their sovereign.
Heavy-hearted and with bowed heads the people of Graustark saw the
nineteenth fade in the night, the breaking of which would bring the
crush of pride, the end of power. At court there was the silent dread
and the dying hope that relief might come at the last hour. Men, with
pale faces and tearful eyes, wandered through the ancient castle,
speechless, nerveless, miserable. Brave soldiers crept about, shorn of
pride and filled with woe. Citizens sat and stared aimlessly for
hours, thinking of naught but the disaster so near at hand and so
unavoidable. The whole nation surged as if in the last throes of
death. To-morrow the potency of Graustark was to die, its domain was
to be cleft in twain,—disgraced before the world.
And, on the throne of this afflicted land sat the girl, proud,
tender, courageous Yetive. To all Graustark she was its greatest,
its most devoted sufferer; upon her the blow fell heaviest. There she
sat, merciful and merciless, her slim white hand ready to sign the
shameful deed in transfer, ready to sell her kingdom for her love.
Beneath her throne, beneath her feet, cowered six souls, possessors
of the secret. Of all the people in the world they alone knew the
heart of the Princess Yetive, they alone felt with her the weight of
the sacrifice. With wistful eyes, fainting hearts and voiceless lips
five of them watched the day approach, knowing that she would not
speak and that Graustark was doomed. Loyal conspirators against that
which they loved better than their lives—their country—were
Dangloss, Quinnox, Allode, Ogbot and Dagmar. To-morrow would see the
north torn from the south, the division of families, the rending of
homes, the bursting of hearts. She sanctioned all this because she
loved him and because he had done no wrong.
Aware of her financial troubles and pursuing the advantage that
his rival's death had opened to him, Prince Gabriel, of Dawsbergen,
renewed his ardent suit. Scarce had the body of the murdered Prince
left the domain before he made his presence marked. She was compelled
to receive his visits, distasteful as they were, but she would not
hear his propositions. Knowing that he was in truth the mysterious
Michael who had planned her abduction, she feared and despised him,
yet dared make no public denunciation. As Dawsbergen was too powerful
to be antagonized at this critical time, she was constantly forced to
submit to the most trying and repulsive of ordeals. Tact and policy
were required to control the violent, hot-blooded young ruler from
the south. At times she despaired and longed for the quiet of the
tomb; at other times she was consumed by the fires of resentment,
rebelling against the ignominy to which she was subjected. Worse than
all to her were the insolent overtures of Gabriel. How she endured
she could not tell. The tears of humiliation shed after his departure
on the occasion of each visit revealed the bitterness that was
torturing this proud martyr.
He had come at once to renew his offer of a loan, knowing her
helplessness. Day after day he haunted the castle, persistent in his
efforts to induce her to accept his proposition. So fierce was his
passion, so implacable his desire, that he went among the people of
Edelweiss, presenting to them his proposal, hoping thereby to add
public feeling to his claims. He tried to organize a committee of
citizens to go before the Princess with the petition that his offer be
accepted and the country saved. But Graustark was loyal to its
Princess. Not one of her citizens listened to the wily Prince, and
more than one told him or his emissaries that the loss of the whole
kingdom was preferable to the marriage he desired. The city sickened
at the thought.
His last and master-stroke in the struggle to persuade came on the
afternoon of the nineteenth, at an hour when all Edelweiss was in
gloom and when the Princess was taxed to the point where the mask of
courage was so frail that she could scarce hide her bleeding soul
Bolaroz of Axphain, to quote from the news-despatch, was in
Edelweiss, a guest, with a few of his lords, in the castle. North of
the city were encamped five thousand men. He had come prepared to
cancel the little obligation of fifteen years standing. With the
hated creditor in the castle, his influence hovering above the town,
the populace distracted by the thoughts of the day to come, Gabriel
played what he considered his best card. He asked for and obtained a
final interview with Yetive, not in her boudoir or her reception room,
but in the throne room, where she was to meet Bolaroz in the morning.
The Princess, seated on her throne, awaited the approach of the
resourceful, tenacious suitor. He came and behind him strode eight
stalwart men, bearing a long iron-bound chest, the result of his
effort with his bankers. Yetive and her nobles looked in surprise on
this unusual performance. Dropping to his knee before the throne,
Gabriel said, his voice trembling slightly with eagerness and fear:
"Your Highness, to-morrow will see the turning point in the
history of two, possibly three nations—Graustark, Axphain and
Dawsbergen. I have included my own land because its ruler is most
vitally interested. He would serve and save Graustark, as you know,
and he would satisfy Axphain. It is in my power to give you aid at
this last, trying hour, and I implore you to listen to my words of
sincerest friendship,—yes, adoration. To-morrow you are to pay to
Prince Bolaroz over twenty-five million gavvos or relinquish the
entire north half of your domain. I understand the lamentable
situation. You can raise no more than fifteen millions and you are
helpless. He will grant no extension of time. You know what I have
proffered before. I come to-day to repeat my friendly offer and to
give unquestioned bond as to my ability to carry it out. If you
agree to accept the loan I extend, ten million gavvos for fifteen
years at the usual rate of interest, you can on to-morrow morning
place in the hand of Axphain when he makes his formal demand the full
amount of your indebtedness in gold. Ricardo, open the chest!"
An attendant threw open the lid of the chest. It was filled with
"This box contains one hundred thousand gavvos. There are in your
halls nine boxes holding nine times as much as you see here. And there
are nine times as much all told on the way. This is an evidence of my
good faith. Here is the gold. Pay Bolaroz and owe Gabriel, the
greatest happiness that could come to him."
There was a dead silence after this theatrical action.
"The interest on this loan is not all you ask, I understand," said
Halfont, slowly, his black eyes glittering. "You ask something that
Graustark cannot and will not barter—the hand of its Sovereign. If
you are willing to make this loan, naming a fair rate of interest,
withdrawing your proposal of marriage, we can come to an agreement."
Gabriel's eyes deadened with disappointment, his breast heaved and
his fingers twitched.
"I have the happiness of your Sovereign at heart as much as my
own," he said. "She shall never want for devotion, she shall never
know a pain."
"You are determined, then, to adhere to your original
proposition?" demanded the Count.
"She would have married Lorenz to save her land, to protect her
people. Am I not as good as Lorenz? Why not give—" began Gabriel,
viciously, but Yetive arose, and, with gleaming eyes and flushing
cheeks, interrupted him.
"Go! I will not hear you—not one word!"
He passed from the room without another word. Her Court saw her
standing straight and immovable, her white face transfigured.
XXIII. THE VISITOR AT MIDNIGHT
Below the castle and its distressed occupants, in a dark, damp
little room, Grenfall Lorry lived a year in a day. On the night of
the eighteenth, or rather near the break of dawn on the nineteenth,
Captain Quinnox guided him from the dangerous streets of Edelweiss to
the secret passage, and he was safe for the time being. The entrance
to the passage was through a skillfully hidden opening in the wall
that enclosed the park. A stone doorway, so cleverly constructed that
it defied detection, led to a set of steps which, in turn, took one to
a long narrow passage. This ended in a stairway fully a quarter of a
mile from its beginning. Ascending this stairway one came to a
secret panel, through which, by pressing a spring, the interior of
the castle was reached. The location of the panel was in one of the
recesses in the wall of the chapel, near the altar. It was in this
chapel that Yetive exchanged her male attire for a loose gown, weeks
before, and the servant who saw her come from the door at an unearthly
hour in the morning believed she had gone there to seek surcease from
the troubles which oppressed her.
Lorry was impatient to rush forth from his place of hiding and to
end all suspense, but Quinnox demurred. He begged the eager American
to remain in the passage until the night of the nineteenth, when, all
things going well, he might be so fortunate as to reach the Princess
without being seen. It was the secret hope of the guilty captain that
his charge could be induced by the Princess to return to the
monastery, to avoid complications. He promised to inform Her Highness
of his presence in the underground room and to arrange for a meeting.
The miserable fellow could not find courage to confess his
disobedience to his trusting mistress. Many times during the day she
had seen him hovering near, approaching and then retreating, and had
wondered not a little at his peculiar manner.
And so it was that Lorry chafed and writhed through a long day of
suspense and agony. Quinnox had brought to the little room some
candles, food and bedding, but he utilized only the former. The hours
went by and no summons called him to her side. He was dying with the
desire to hold her in his arms and to hear her voice again. Pacing to
and fro like a caged animal, he recalled the ride in West Virginia,
the scene in her bed chamber, the day in the throne room and, more
delicious than all, the trip to the monastery. In his dreams, waking
or sleeping, he had seen the slim soldier, had heard the muffled
voice, and had felt the womanly caresses. His brain now was in a
whirl, busy with thoughts of love and fear, distraught with anxiety
for her and for himself, bursting with the awful consequences of the
hour that was upon them. What was to become of him? What was to be
the end of this drama? What would the night, the morrow bring about?
He looked back and saw himself as he was a year ago in Washington,
before she came into his life, and then wondered if it could ready be
he who was going through these strange, improbable scenes, these
sensations. It was nine o'clock in the evening when Quinnox returned
to the little room. The waiting one had looked at his watch a hundred
times, had run insanely up and down the passage in quest of the secret
exit, had shouted aloud in the frenzy of desperation.
"Have you seen her?" he cried, grasping the new-comer's hand.
"I have, but, before God, I could not tell her what I had done.
Your visit will be a surprise, I fear a shock."
"Then how am I to see her? Fool! Am I to wait here forever—"
"Have patience! I will take you to her tonight—aye, within an
hour. To-morrow morning she signs away the northern provinces and
her instructions are that she is not to be disturbed to-night. Not
even will she see the Countess Dagmar after nine o'clock. It breaks
my heart to see the sorrow that abounds in the castle to-night. Her
Highness insists on being alone and Bassot, the new guard, has orders
to admit no one to her apartments. He is ill and I have promised that
a substitute shall relieve him at eleven o'clock. You are to be the
substitute. Here is a part of an old uniform of mine, and here is a
coat that belonged to Dannox, who was about your size. Please
exchange the clothes you now have on for these. I apprehend no
trouble in reaching her door, for the household is in gloom and the
halls seem barren of life."
He threw the bundle on a chair and Lorry at once proceeded to don
the contents. In a very short time he wore, instead of the cell
keeper's garments, a neat-fitting uniform of the royal guard. He was
trembling violently, chilled to the bone with nervousness, as they
began the ascent of the stairs leading to the chapel. The crisis in
his life, he felt, was near at hand.
Under the stealthy hand of Quinnox the panel opened and they
listened intently for some moments. There was no one in the
dimly-lighted chapel, so they made their way to the door at the
opposite end. The great organ looked down upon them and Lorry
expected every instant to hear it burst forth in sounds of thunder.
It seemed alive and watching their movements reproachfully. Before
unlocking the door, the captain pointed to a lance which stood against
the wall near by.
"You are to carry that lance," he said, briefly. Then he
cautiously peered forth. A moment later they were in the broad hall,
boldly striding toward the distant stairway. Lorry had been
instructed to proceed without the least sign of timidity. They passed
several attendants in the hall and heard Count Halfont's voice in
conversation with some one in an ante-room. As they neared the broad
steps who should come tripping down but Harry Anguish. He saluted
Quinnox and walked rapidly down the corridor, evidently taking his
departure after a call on the Countess.
"There goes your hostage," said the captain, grimly. It had
required all of Lorry's self-possession to restrain the cry of joyful
recognition. Up the staircase they went, meeting several ladies and
gentlemen coming down, and were soon before the apartments of the
Princess. A tall guard stood in front of the boudoir door.
"This is your relief, Bassot. You may go," said Quinnox, and,
with a careless glance at the strange soldier, the sick man trudged
off down the hall, glad to seek his bed.
"Is she there?" whispered Lorry, dizzy and faint with expectancy.
"Yes. This may mean your death and mine, sir, but you would do
it. Will you explain to her how I came to play her false?"
"She shall know the truth, good friend."
"After I have gone twenty paces down the hall, do you rap on the
door. She may not admit you at first, but do not give up. If she
bid you enter or asks your mission, enter quickly and close the door.
It is unlocked. She may swoon, or scream, and you must prevent
either if possible. In an hour I shall return and you must go back to
"Never! I have come to save her and her country, and I intend to
do so by surrendering myself this very night."
"I had hoped to dissuade you. But, sir, you cannot do so
to-night. You forget that this visit compromises her."
"True. I had forgotten. Well, I'll go back with you, but
to-morrow I am your prisoner, not your friend."
"Be careful," cautioned the captain as he moved away. Lorry
feverishly tapped his knuckles on the panel of the door and waited
with motionless heart for the response. It came not and he rapped
harder, a strange fear darting into his mind.
"Well?" came from within, the voice he adored.
Impetuous haste marked his next movement. He dashed open the
door, sprang inside and closed it quickly. She was sitting before
her escritoire, writing, and looked up, surprised and annoyed.
"I was not to be disturbed—Oh, God!"
She staggered to her feet and was in his arms before the breath of
her exclamation had died away. Had he not supported her she would
have dropped to the floor. Her hands, her face were like ice, her
breast was pulseless and there was the wildest terror in her eyes.
"My darling—my queen!" he cried, passionately. "At last I am
with you! Don't look at me like that! It is really I—I could not
stay away—I could not permit this sacrifice of yours. Speak to me Do
not stare like that!"
Her wide blue eyes slowly swept his face, piteous wonder and doubt
struggling in their depths.
"Am I awake?" she murmured, touching his face with her bewildered,
questioning hands. "Is it truly you?" A smile illumined her face,
but her joy was short-lived. An expression of terror came to her eyes
and there was agony in the fingers that clasped his arm. "Why do you
come here?" she cried. "It is madness! How and why came you to this
He laughed like a delighted boy and hastily narrated the events of
the past twenty-four hours, ending with the trick that gave him
entrance to her room.
"And all this to see me?" she whispered.
"To see you and to save you. I hear that Gabriel has been
annoying you and that you are to give up half of the kingdom
to-morrow. Tell me everything. It is another reason for my coming."
Sitting beside him on the divan, she told of Gabriel's visit and
his dismissal, the outlook for the next day, and then sought to
convince him of the happiness it afforded her to protect him from an
undeserved death. He obtained for Quinnox the royal pardon and lauded
him to the skies. So ravishing were the moments, so ecstatic the
sensations that possessed them that neither thought of the
consequences if he were to be discovered in her room, disguised as one
of her guardsmen. He forgot the real import of his reckless visit
until she commanded him to stand erect before her that she might see
what manner of soldier he was. With a laugh, he leaped to his feet
and stood before her—attention! She leaned back among the cushions
and surveyed him through the glowing, impassioned eyes which slowly
closed as if to shut out temptation.
"You are a perfect soldier," she said, her lashes parting ever so
"No more perfect than you," he cried. She remembered, with
confusion, her own masquerading, but it was unkind of him to remember
it. Her allusion to his uniform turned his thoughts into the channel
through which they had been surging so turbulently up to the moment
that found him tapping at her door.
He had not told her of his determination, and the task grew harder
as he saw the sparkle glow brighter and brighter in her eye.
"You are a brave soldier, then," she substituted. "It required
courage to come to Edelweiss with hundreds of men ready to seize you
at sight,—a pack of bloodhounds."
"I should have been a miserable coward to stay up there while you
are so bravely facing disaster alone down here. I came to help you,
as I should."
"But you can do nothing, dear, and you only make matters worse by
coming to me. I have fought so hard to overcome the desire to be
near you; I have struggled against myself for days and days, and I
had won the battle when you came to pull my walls of strength down
about my ears. Look! On my desk is a letter I was writing to you.
No; you shall not read it! No one shall ever know what it contains."
She darted to the desk, snatched up the sheets of paper and held them
over the waxed taper. He stood in the middle of the room, a feeling
of intense desolation settling down upon him. How could he lose this
"To-morrow night Quinnox is to take you from the monastery and
conduct you to a distant city. It has all been planned. Your
friend, Mr. Anguish, is to meet you in three days and you are to
hurry to America by way of Athens. This was a letter to you. In it
I said many things and was trying to write farewell when you came to
this room. Do you wonder that I was overcome with doubt and
amazement—yes, and horror? Ach, what peril you are in here! Every
minute may bring discovery and that would mean death to you. You are
innocent, but nothing could save you. The proof is too strong.
Mizrox has found a man who swears he saw you enter Lorenz's room."
"What a damnable lie!" cried Lorry, lightly. "I was not near his
"But you can see what means they will adopt to convict you. You
are doomed if caught, by my men or theirs. I cannot save you again.
You know now that I love you. I would not give away half of the land
that my forefathers ruled were it not true. Bolaroz would be glad to
grant ten years of grace could he but have you in his clutches. And,
to see me, you would run the risk of undoing all that I have planned,
accomplished and suffered for. Could you not have been content with
that last good-by at the monastery? It is cruel to both of us—to me
especially—that we must have the parting again." She had gone to the
divan and now dropped limply among the cushions, resting her head on
"I was determined to see you," he said. "They shall not kill me
nor are you to sacrifice your father's domain. Worse than all, I
feared that you might yield to Gabriel."
"Ach! You insult me when you say that! I yielded to Lorenz
because I thought it my duty and because I dared not admit to myself
that I loved you. But Gabriel! Ach!" she cried. scornfully.
"Grenfall Lorry, I shall marry no man. You I love, but you I cannot
marry. It is folly to dream of it, even as a possibility. When you
go from Graustark tomorrow night you take my heart, my life, my soul
with you. I shall never see you again—God help me to say this—I
shall never allow you to see me again. I tell you I could not bear
it. The weakest and the strongest of God's creations is woman." She
started suddenly, half rising. "Did any one see you come to my room?
Was Quinnox sure?"
"We passed people, but no one knew me. I will go if you are
distressed over my being here."
"It is not that—not that. Some spy may have seen you. I have a
strange fear that they suspect me and that I am being watched. Where
is Captain Quinnox?"
"He said he would return for me in an hour. The time is almost
gone. How it has flown! Yetive, Yetive, I will not give you up!" he
cried, sinking to his knees before her.
"You must—you shall! You must go back to the monastery to-night!
Oh how I pray that you may reach it in safety! And, you must leave
this wretched country at once. Will you see if Quinnox is outside the
door? Be quick! I am mad with the fear that you may be found
here—that you may be taken before you can return to St. Valentine's."
He arose and stood looking down at the intense face, all aquiver
with the battle between temptation and solicitude.
"I am not going back to St. Valentine's," he said, slowly.
"But it is all arranged for you to start from there tomorrow. You
cannot escape the city guard except through St. Valentine's."
"Yetive, has it not occurred to you that I may not wish to escape
the city guard?"
"May not wish to escape the—what do you mean?" she cried,
"I am not going to leave Edelweiss, dearest. It is my intention
to surrender myself to the authorities."
She gazed at him in horror for a moment and then fell back with a
"For God's sake, do not say that!" she wailed. "I forbid you to
think of it. You cannot do this after all I have done to save you.
Ach, you are jesting; I should have known."
He sat down and drew her to his side. Some moments passed before
he could speak.
"I cannot and will not permit you to make such a sacrifice for me.
The proposition of Bolaroz is known to me. If you produce me for
trial you are to have a ten years' extension. My duty is plain. I am
no cowardly criminal, and I am not afraid to face my accusers. At the
worst, I can die but once."
"Die but once," she repeated, as if in a dream.
"I came here to tell you of my decision, to ask you to save your
lands, protect your people, and to remember that I would die a
thousand times to serve you and yours."
"After all I have done—after all I have done," she murmured,
piteously. "No, no! You shall not! You are more to me than all my
kingdom, than all the people in the world. You have made me love you,
you have caused me to detest the throne which separates us, you have
made me pray that I might be a pauper, but you shall not force me to
destroy the mite of hope that lingers in my heart. You shall not
crush the hope that there may be a—a—some day!"
"A some day? Some day when you will be mine?" he cried.
"I will not say that, but, for my sake,—for my sake,—go away
from this place. Save yourself! You are all I have to live for."
Her arms were about his neck and her imploring words went to his
heart like great thrusts of pain.
"You forget the thousands who love and trust you. Do they deserve
to be wronged?"
"No, no,—ach, God, how I have suffered because of them! I have
betrayed them, have stolen their rights and made them a nation of
beggars. But I would not, for all this nation, have an innocent man
condemned—nor could my people ask that of me. You cannot dissuade
me. It must be as I wish. Oh, why does not Quinnox come for you!"
She arose and paced the floor distractedly.
He was revolving a selfish, cowardly capitulation to love and
injustice, when a sharp tap was heard at the door. Leaping to his
feet he whispered:
"Quinnox! He has come for me. Now to get out of your room
without being seen!"
The Princess Yetive ran to him, and, placing her hands on his
shoulders, cried with the fierceness of despair:
"You will go back to the monastery? You will leave Graustark? For
my sake—for my sake!"
He hesitated and then surrendered, his honor falling weak and
faint by the pathway of passion.
"Yes!" he cried, hoarsely.
Tap! tap! tap! at the door. Lorry took one look at the
rapturous face and released her,
"Come!" she called.
The door flew open, an attendant saluted, and in stepped
XXIV. OFF TO THE DUNGEON
The tableau lasted but a moment. Gabriel advanced a few steps,
his eyes gleaming with jealousy and triumph. Before him stood the
petrified lovers, caught red-handed. Through her dazed brain
struggled the conviction that he could never escape; through his ran
the miserable realization that he had ruined her forever. Gabriel, of
"I arrive inopportunely," he said, harshly, the veins standing out
on his neck and temples. "Do I intrude? I was not aware that you
expected two, your highness!" There was no mistaking his meaning. He
viciously sought to convey the impression that he was there by
appointment, a clandestine visitor in her apartments at midnight.
"What do you mean by coming to my apartment at this hour?" she
stammered, trying to rescue dignity from the chaos of emotions. Lorry
was standing slightly to the right and several feet behind her. He
understood the Prince, and quickly sought to interpose with the hope
that he might shield her from the sting.
"She did not expect me, sir," he said, and a menacing gleam came
to his eyes. His pistol was in his hand. Gabriel saw it, but the
staring Princess did not. She could not take her eyes from the face
of the intruder. "Now, may I ask why you are here?"
Gabriel's wit saved him from death. He saw that he could not
pursue the course he had begun, for there was murder in the
American's eye. Like a fox he swerved and, with a servile promise of
submission in his glance, said:
"I thought you were here, my fine fellow, and I came to satisfy
myself. Now, sir, may I ask why you are here?" His fingers twitched
and his eyes were glassy with the malevolence he was subduing.
"I am here as a prisoner," said Lorry, boldly. Gabriel laughed
"And how often have you come here in this manner as a prisoner?
Midnight and alone in the apartments of the Princess! The guard
dismissed! A prisoner, eh? Ha, what—a prison!"
"Stop!" cried Lorry, white to the lips.
The Princess was beginning to understand.
Her eyes grew wide with horror, her figure straightened
imperiously and the white in her cheeks gave way to the red of
"I see it all! You have not been outside this castle since you
left the prison. A pretty scheme! You could not marry him, could
you, eh? He is not a prince! But you could bring him here and hide
him where no one would dare to think of looking for him —in your
With a snarl of rage Lorry sprang upon him, cutting short the
sentence that would have gone through her like the keenest
"Liar! Dog! I'll kill you for that!" he cried, but, before he
could clutch the Prince's throat, Yetive had frantically seized his
"Not that!" she shrieked. "Do not kill him! There must be no
He reluctantly hurled Gabriel from him, the Prince tottering to
his knees in the effort to keep from falling. She had saved her
maligner's life, but courage deserted her with the act. Helplessly
she looked into the blazing eyes of her lover and faltered:
"I—I do not know what to say or do. My brain is bursting!"
"Courage, courage!" he whispered, gently.
You shall pay for this," shrieked Gabriel. "If you are not a
prisoner you shall be. There'll be scandal enough in Graustark
to-morrow to start a volcano of wrath from the royal tombs where lie
her fathers. I'll see that you are a prisoner!" He started for the
door, but Lorry's pistol was leveled at his head.
"If you move I'll kill you!"
"The world will understand how and why I fell by your hand and in
this room. Shoot!" he cried, triumphantly. Lorry's hand trembled
and his eyes filled with the tears of impotent rage. The Prince held
the higher card.
A face suddenly appeared at the door, which had been stealthily
opened from without. Captain Quinnox glided into the room behind the
Prince and gently closed the door, unnoticed by the gloater.
"A prisoner?" sneered Gabriel. "Where is your captor, pray?"
"Here!" answered a voice at his back. The Prince wheeled and
found himself looking at the stalwart form of the captain of the
guard. "I am surely privileged to speak now, your Highness," he went
on, addressing the Princess significantly.
"How came you here?" gasped Gabriel.
"I brought my prisoner here. Where should I be if not here to
"When—when did you enter this room?"
"An hour ago."
"You were not here when I came!"
"I have been standing on this spot for an hour. You have been
very much excited, I'll agree, but it is strange you did not see me,"
Gabriel looked about helplessly, nonplussed.
"You were here when I came in?" he asked, wonderingly.
"Ask Her Royal Highness," commanded the captain, smiling.
"Captain Quinnox brought the prisoner to me an hour ago," she
"It is a lie!" cried Gabriel. "He was not here when I entered!"
The captain of the guard laid a heavy hand on the shoulder of the
Prince and said, threateningly:
"I was here and I am here. Have a care how you speak. Were I to
do right I should shoot you like a dog. You came like a thief, you
insult the ruler of my land. I have borne it all because you are a
Prince, but have a care—have a care. I may forget myself and tear
out your black heart with these hands. One word from Her Royal
Highness will be your death warrant."
He looked inquiringly at the Princess as if anxious to put the
dangerous witness where he could tell no tales. She shook her head,
but did not speak. Lorry realized that the time had come for him to
assert himself. Assuming a distressed air he bowed his head and said,
"My pleading has been in vain, then, your Highness. I have sworn
to you that I am innocent of this murder, and you have said I shall
have a fair trial. That is all you can offer?"
"That is all," she said, shrilly, her mind gradually grasping his
"You will not punish the poor people who secreted me in their
house for weeks, for they are convinced of my innocence. Your
captain here, who found me in their house to-night, can also speak
well of them. I have only this request to make, in return for what
little service I may have given you: Forgive the old people who
befriended me. I am ready to go to the Tower at once, captain."
Gabriel heard this speech with a skeptical smile on his face.
"I am no fool," he said, simply. "Captain," shrewdly turning to
Quinnox, "if he is your prisoner, why do you permit him to retain his
The conspirators were taken by surprise, but Lorry had found his
"It is folly, your Highness, to allow this gentleman and
conquering Prince to cross-examine you. I am a prisoner, and that is
the end of it. What odds is it to the Prince of Dawsbergen how and
where I was caught or why your officer brought me to you?"
"You were ordered from my house once today, yet you come again
like a conqueror. I should not spare you. You deserve to lose your
life for the actions of tonight. Captain Quinnox, will you kill him
if I ask you to end his wretched life?" Yetive's eyes were blazing
with wrath, beneath which gleamed a hope that he could be frightened
"Willingly—willingly!" cried Quinnox. "Now, your Highness?
'Twere better in the hall!"
"For God's sake, do not murder me! Let me go!" cringed the
"I do not mean that you should kill him now, Quinnox, but I
instruct you to do so if he puts foot inside these walls again. Do
"Yes, your Highness."
"Then you will place this prisoner in the castle dungeon until
to-morrow morning, when he is to be taken to the Tower. Prince
Gabriel may accompany you to the dungeon cell, if he likes, after
which you will escort him to the gates. If he enters them again you
are to kill him. Take them both away!"
"Your Highness, I must ask you to write a pardon for the good
people in whose house the prisoner was found," suggested Quinnox,
shrewdly seeing a chance for communication unsuspected by the Prince.
"A moment, your Highness," said the Prince, who had recovered
himself cleverly. "I appreciate your position. I have made a
serious charge, and I now have a fair proposition to suggest to you.
If this man is not produced to-morrow morning I take it for granted
that I am at liberty to tell all that has happened in this room
to-night. If he is produced, I shall kneel and beg your pardon."
The Princess turned paler than ever and knew not how she kept from
falling to the floor. There was a long silence following Gabriel's
unexpected but fair suggestion.
"That is very fair, your Highness," said Lorry. "There is no
reason why I should not be a prisoner to-morrow. I don't see how I
can hope to escape the inevitable. Your dungeon is strong and I have
given my word of honor to the captain that I shall make no further
effort to evade the law."
"I agree," murmured the Princess, ready to faint under the strain.
"I must see him delivered to Prince Bolaroz," added Gabriel
"To Bolaroz," she repeated.
"Your Highness, the pardon for the poor old people," reminded
Quinnox. She glided to the desk, stunned, bewildered. It seemed as
though death were upon her. Quinnox followed and bent near her ear.
"Do not be alarmed," he whispered. "No one knows of Mr. Lorry's
presence here save the Prince, and if he dares to accuse you before
Bolaroz our people will tear him to pieces. No one will believe him."
"You—you can save him, then?" she gasped, joyously.
"If he will permit me to do so. Write to him what you will, your
Highness, and he shall have the message. Be brave and all will go
well. Write quickly! This is supposed to be the pardon."
She wrote feverishly, a thousand thoughts arising for every one
that she was able to transfer to the paper. When she had finished
the hope-inspired scrawl she arose and, with a gracious smile, handed
to the waiting captain the pardon for those who had secreted the
"I grant forgiveness to them gladly," she said.
"I thank you," said Lorry, bowing low.
"Mr. Lorry, I regret the difficulty in which you find yourself. It
was on my account, too, I am told. Be you guilty or innocent, you are
my friend, my protector. May God be good to you." She gave him her
hand calmly, steadily, as if she were bestowing favor upon a subject.
He kissed the hand gravely.
"Forgive me for trespassing on your good nature tonight, your
"The five thousand gavvos shall be yours tomorrow, Captain
Quinnox," she said, graciously. "You have done your duty well." The
faithful captain bowed deep and low and a weight was lifted from his
"Gentlemen, the door," he said, and without a word the trio left
the room. She closed the door and stood like a statue until their
footsteps died away in the distance. As one in a daze she sat at the
desk till the dawn, Grenfall Lorry's revolver lying before her.
Through the halls, down the stairs and into the clammy dungeon
strode the silent trio.
But before Lorry stepped inside the cell Gabriel asked a question
that had been troubling him for many minutes.
"I am afraid I have—ah—misjudged her," muttered Gabriel, now
convinced that he had committed himself irretrievably.
"You will find she has not misjudged you," said the prisoner,
grimly. "Can't I have a candle in here, captain?"
"You may keep this lantern," said Quinnox, stepping inside the
narrow cell. As he placed the lantern on the floor he whispered: "I
will return in an hour. Read this!" Lorry's hand closed over the bit
of perfumed paper.
The Prince was now inside the cell, peering about curiously, even
timorously. "By the way, your Highness, how would you enjoy living
in a hole like this all your life?"
"Horrible!" said Gabriel, shuddering like a leaf.
"Then take my advice: don't commit any murders. Hire some one
The two men eyed each other steadily for a moment or two. Then
the Prince looked out of the cell, a mad desire to fly from some
dreadful, unseen horror coming over him.
Quinnox locked the door, and, striking a match, bade His Highness
precede him up the stone steps.
In the cell the prisoner read and reread the incoherent message
"It is the only way. Quinnox will assist you to escape to-night.
Go, I implore you; as you love me, go. Your life is more than all to
me. Gabriel's story will not be entertained and he can have no proof.
He will be torn to pieces, Quinnox says. I do not know how I can
live until I am certain you are safe. This will be the longest night
a woman ever spent. If I could only be sure that you will do as I
ask, as I beg and implore! Do not think of me, but save yourself. I
would lose everything to save you."
He smiled sadly as he burned the "pardon." The concluding
sentences swept away the last thought he might have had of leaving
her to bear the consequences. "Do not think of me, but save yourself.
I would lose everything to save you." He leaned against the stone
wall and shook his head slowly, the smile still on his lips.
XXV. "BECAUSE I LOVE HIM"
The next morning Edelweiss was astir early. Great throngs of
people flocked the streets long before the hour set for the signing
of the decree that was to divide the north from the south. There were
men and women from the mountains, from the southern valleys, from the
plains to the north and east. Sullen were the mutterings, threatening
the faces, resentful the hearts of those who crowded the shops, the
public places and the streets. Before nine o'clock the great
concourse of people began to push toward the castle. Castle Avenue
was packed with the moving masses. Thousands upon thousands of this
humbled race gathered outside the walls, waiting for news from the
castle with the spark of hope that does not die until the very end,
nursing the possibility that something might intervene at the last
moment to save the country from disgrace and ruin.
A strong guard was required to keep the mob back from the gates,
and the force of men on the wall had been quadrupled. Business in
the city was suspended. The whole nation, it seemed, stood before
the walls, awaiting, with bated breath and dismal faces, the
announcement that Yetive had deeded to Bolaroz the lands and lives of
half of her subjects. The northern plainsmen who were so soon to
acknowledge Axphain sovereignty, wept and wailed over their unhappy
lot. Brothers and sisters from the south cursed and moaned in
Shortly before nine o'clock, Harry Anguish, with his guard of six,
rode up to the castle. Captain Dangloss was beside him on his gray
charger. They had scarcely passed inside the gates when a cavalcade
of mounted men came riding up the avenue from the Hotel Regengetz.
Then the howling, the hissing, the hooting began. Maledictions were
hurled at the heads of Axphain noblemen as they rode between the
maddened lines of people. They smiled sardonically in reply to the
impotent signs of hatred, but they were glad when the castle gates
closed between them and the vast, despairing crowd, in which the
tempest of revolt was brewing with unmistakable energy.
Prince Bolaroz, the Duke of Mizrox and the ministers were already
in the castle and had been there since the previous afternoon. In the
royal palace the excitement was intense, but it was of the subdued
kind that strains the nerves to the point where control is martyrdom.
When the attendants went to the bed chamber of the Princess at
seven o'clock, as was their wont, they found, to their surprise, no
one standing guard.
The Princess was not in her chamber, nor had she been there during
the night. The bed was undisturbed. In some alarm the two women ran
to her parlor, then to the boudoir. Here they found her asleep on the
divan, attired in the gown she had worn since the evening before, now
crumpled and creased, the proof positive of a restless, miserable
Her first act after awakening and untangling the meshes in her
throbbing, uncomprehending brain, was to send for Quinnox. She could
scarcely wait for his appearance and the assurance that Lorry was
safely out of danger. The footman who had been sent to fetch the
captain was a long time in returning. She was dressed in her
breakfast gown long before he came in with the report that the captain
was nowhere to be found. Her heart gave a great throb of joy. She
alone could explain his absence. To her it meant but one thing:
Lorry's flight from the castle. Where else could Quinnox be except
with the fugitive, perhaps once more inside St. Valentine's? With the
great load of suspense off her mind she cared not for the trials that
still confronted her on that dreaded morning. She had saved him, and
she was willing to pay the price.
Preparations began at once for the eventful transaction in the
throne room. The splendor of two Courts was to shine in rivalry. Ten
o'clock was the hour set for the meeting of the two rulers, the victor
and the victim. Her nobles and her ladies, her ministers, her guards
and her lackeys moved about in the halls, dreading the hour, brushing
against the hated Axphain guests. In one of the small waiting rooms
sat the Count and Countess Halfont, the latter in tears. The young
Countess Dagmar stood at a window with Harry Anguish. The latter was
flushed and nervous and acted like a man who expects that which is
unexpected by others. With a strange confidence in his voice, he
sought to cheer his depressed friends, but the cheerfulness was not
contagious. The sombreness of a burial hung over the castle.
Half an hour before the time set for the meeting in the throne
room Yetive sent for her uncle, her aunt and Dagmar. As Anguish and
the latter followed the girl turned her sad, puzzled eyes up to the
face of the tall American and asked:
"Are you rejoicing over our misfortune? You do not show a
particle of regret. Do you forget that we are sacrificing a great
deal to save the life of your friend? I do not understand how you can
be so heartless."
"If you knew what I know you'd jump so high you could crack those
pretty heels of yours together ten times before you touched the floor
again," said he, warmly.
"Please tell me," she cried. "I knew there was something."
"But I am afraid so high a jump would upset you for the day. You
must wait awhile, Dagmar." It was the first time he had called her
Dagmar, and she looked startled.
"I am not used to waiting," she said, confusedly.
"I think I can explain satisfactorily when I have more time," he
said, softly in her ear, and, although she tried, she could find no
words to continue. He left her at the head of the stairs, and did not
see her again until she passed him in the throne room. Then she was
pale and brave and trembling.
Prince Bolaroz and his nobles stood to the right of the throne,
the Graustark men and women of degree to the left, while near the
door, on both sides were to be seen the leading military men of both
principalities. Near the Duke of Mizrox was stationed the figure of
Gabriel, Prince of Dawsbergen. He had come, with a half dozen
followers, among a crowd of unsuspecting Axphainians, and had taken
his position near the throne. Anguish entered with Baron Dangloss and
they stood together near the doorway, the latter whiter than he had
ever been in his life.
Then came the hush of expectancy. The doors swung open, the
curtains parted and the Princess entered.
She was supported by the arm of her tall uncle, Caspar of Halfont.
Pages carried the train of her dress, a jeweled gown of black. As
she advanced to the throne, calm and stately, those assembled bent
knee to the fairest woman the eye ever had looked upon.
The calm, proud exterior hid the most unhappy of hearts. The
resolute courage with which her spirit had been braced for the
occasion was remarkable in more ways than one. Among other
inspirations behind the valiant show was the bravery of a guilty
conscience. Her composure sustained a shock when she passed Allode
at the door. That faithful, heart-broken servitor looked at her face
with pleading, horror-struck eyes as much as to say: "Good God, are
you going to destroy Graustark for the sake of that murderer? Have
pity on us—have pity!"
Before taking her seat on the throne, she swept the thrilled
assemblage with her wide blue eyes. There were shadows beneath them
and there were wells of tears behind them. As she looked upon the
little knot of white-faced northern barons, her knees trembled and her
heart gave a great throb of pity. Still the face was resolute. Then
she saw Anguish and the suffering Dangloss; then the accusing,
merciless eyes of Gabriel. At sight of him she started violently and
an icy fear crept into her soul. Instinctively she searched the
gorgeous company for the captain of the guard. Her staunchest ally
was not there. Was she to hear the condemning words alone? Would the
people do as Quinnox had prophesied, or would they believe Gabriel and
She sank into the great chair and sat with staring, helpless eyes,
deserted and feeble.
At last the whirling brain ended its flight and settled down to
the issue first at hand-the transaction with Bolaroz. Summoning all
her self-control, she said:
"You are come, most noble Bolaroz, to draw from us the price of
our defeat. We are loyal to our compact, as you are to yours, sire.
Yet, in the presence of my people and in the name of mercy and
justice, I ask you to grant us respite. You are rich and powerful, we
despoiled and struggling beneath a weight we can lift and displace if
given a few short years in which to grow and gather strength. At this
last hour in the fifteen years of our indebtedness, I sue in
supplication for the leniency that you can so well accord. It is on
the advice of my counsellors that I put away personal pride and
national dignity to make this request, trusting to your goodness of
heart. If you will not hearken to our petition for a renewal of
negotiations, there is but one course open to Graustark. We can and
will pay our debt of honor."
Bolaroz stood before her, dark and uncompromising. She saw the
futility of her plea.
"I have not forgotten, most noble petitioner, that you are ruler
here, not I. Therefore I am in no way responsible for the conditions
which confront you, except that I am an honest creditor, come for his
honest dues. This is the twentieth of November. You have had fifteen
years to accumulate enough to meet the requirements of this day.
Should I suffer for your faults? There is in the treaty a provision
which applies to an emergency of this kind. Your inability to
liquidate in gold does not prevent the payment of this honest debt in
land, as provided for in the sixth clause of the agreement. 'All that
part of Graustark north of a line drawn directly from east to west
between the provinces of Ganlook and Doswan, a tract comprising
Doswan, Shellotz, Varagan, Oeswald, Sesmai and Gattabatton.' You
have two alternatives, your Highness. Produce the gold or sign the
decree ceding to Axphain the lands stipulated in the treaty. I can
grant no respite."
You knew when that treaty was framed that we could raise no such
funds in fifteen years," said Halfont, forgetting himself in his
indignation. Gaspon and other men present approved his hasty
"Am I dealing with the Princess of Graustark or with you, sir?"
asked Bolaroz, roughly.
You are dealing with the people of Graustark, and among the
poorest, I. I will sign the decree. There is nothing to be gained
by appealing to you. The papers, Gaspon, quick! I would have this
transaction finished speedily," cried the Princess, her cheeks
flushing and her eyes glowing from the flames of a burning conscience.
The groan that went up from the northern nobles cut her like the
slash of a knife.
"There was one other condition," said Bolaroz, hastily, unable to
gloat as he had expected. "The recapture of the assassin who slew my
son would have meant much to Graustark. It is unfortunate that your
police department is so inefficient." Dangloss writhed beneath this
thrust. Yetive's eyes went to him, for an instant, sorrowfully. Then
they dropped to the fatal document which Gaspon had placed on the
table before her. The lines ran together and were the color of blood.
Unconsciously she took the pen in her nerveless fingers. A deep sob
came from the breast of her gray old uncle, and Gaspon's hand shook
like a leaf as he placed the seal of Graustark on the table, ready for
"The assassin's life could have saved you," went on Bolaroz, a
vengeful glare coming to his eyes.
She looked up and her lips moved as if she would have spoken. No
words came, no breath, it seemed to her. Casting a piteous, hunted
glance over the faces before her, she bent forward and blindly touched
the pen to the paper. The silence was that of death. Before she
could make the first stroke, a harsh voice, in which there was
combined triumph and amazement, broke the stillness like the clanging
of a bell.
"Have you no honor?"
The pen dropped from her fingers as the expected condemnation
came. Every eye in the house was turned toward the white, twitching
face of Gabriel of Dawsbergen. He stood a little apart from his
friends, his finger pointed throneward. The Princess stared at the
nemesis-like figure for an instant, as if petrified. Then the pent-up
fear crowded everything out of its path. In sheer desperation, her
eyes flashing with the intensity of defiant guilt, bitter rage welling
up against her persecutor, she half arose and cried:
"Who uttered those words? Speak!"
"I, Gabriel of Dawsbergen! Where is the prisoner, madam?" rang
out the voice.
"The man is mad!" cried she, sinking back with a shudder.
"Mad, eh? Because I do as I did promise? Behold the queen of
perfidy! Madam, I will be heard. Lorry is in this castle!"
"He is mad!" gasped Bolaroz, the first of the stunned spectators
to find his tongue.
There was a commotion near the door. Voices were heard outside.
"You have been duped!" insisted Gabriel, taking several steps
toward the throne. "Your idol is a traitress, a deceiver! I say he
is here! She has seen him. Let her sign that decree if she dares! I
command you, Yetive of Graustark, to produce this criminal!"
The impulse to crush the defiler was checked by the sudden
appearance of two men inside the curtains.
"He is here!" cried a strong voice, and Lorry, breathless and
haggard, pushed through the astonished crowd, followed by Captain
Quinnox, upon whose ghastly face there were bloodstains.
A shout went up from those assembled, a shout of joy. The faces
of Dangloss and Allode were pictures of astonishment and—it must be
said—relief. Harry Anguish staggered but recovered himself
instantly, and turned his eyes toward Gabriel. That worthy's legs
trembled and his jaw dropped.
"I have the prisoner, your Highness," said Quinnox, in hoarse,
discordant tones. He stood before the throne with his captive, but
dared not look his mistress in the face. As they stood there the
story of the night just passed was told by the condition of the two
men. There had been a struggle for supremacy in the dungeon and the
prisoner had won. The one had tried to hold the other to the
dungeon's safety, after his refusal to leave the castle, and the other
had fought his way to the halls above. It was then that Quinnox had
wit enough to change front and drag his prisoner to the place which,
most of all, he had wished to avoid.
"The prisoner!" shouted the northern nobles, and in an instant the
solemn throne room was wild with excitement.
"Do not sign that decree!" cried some one from a far corner.
"Here is your man, Prince Bolaroz!" cried a baron.
"Quinnox has saved us!" shouted another.
The Princess, white as death and as motionless, sat bolt upright
in her royal seat.
"Oh!" she moaned, piteously, and, clenching her hands, she carried
them to her eyes as if to shut out the sight. The Countess Halfont
and Dagmar ran to her side, the latter frantic with alarm. She knew
more than the others.
"Are you the fugitive?" cried Bolaroz.
I am Grenfall Lorry. Are you Bolaroz?'
"The father of the man you murdered. Ah, this is rapture!"
"I have only to say to your Highness, I did not kill your son. I
swear it, so help me God!"
"Your Highness," cried Bolaroz, stepping to the throne, "destroy
that decree. This brave soldier has saved Graustark. In an hour
your ministers and mine will have drawn up a ten Tears' extension of
time, in proper form, to which my signature shall be gladly attached.
I have not forgotten my promise."
Yetive straightened suddenly, seized the pen and fiercely began to
sign the decree, in spite of all and before those about her fairly
realized her intention. Lorry understood, and was the first to snatch
the document from her hands. A half-written Yetive, a blot and a
long, spluttering scratch of the pen told how near she had come to
signing away the lands of Graustark, forgetful of the fact that it
could be of no benefit to the prisoner she loved.
"Yetive!" gasped her uncle, in horror.
"She would have signed," cried Gaspon, in wonder and alarm.
"Yes, I would have signed!" she exclaimed, starting to her feet,
strong and defiant. "I could not have saved his life, perhaps, but I
might have saved him from the cruel injustice that that man's
vengeance would have invented. He is innocent, and I would give my
kingdom to stay the wrong that will be done."
"What! You defend the dog!" cried Bolaroz. "Seize him, men! I
will see that justice is done. It is no girl he has to deal with
"Stop!" cried the Princess, the command checking the men. Quinnox
leaped in front of his charge. "He is my prisoner, and he shall have
justice. Keep back your soldiery, Prince Bolaroz. It is a girl you
have to deal with. I will say to you all, my people and yours, that I
believe him to be innocent and that I sincerely regret his capture,
fortunate as it may be for us. He shall have a fair and a just trial,
and I shall do all in my power, Prince Bolaroz, to secure his
"Why do you take this stand, Yetive? Why have you tried to shield
him?" cried the heartbroken Halfont.
She drew herself to her full height, and, sweeping the threatening
crowd with a challenge in her eyes, cried, the tones ringing strong
and clear above the growing tumult:
"Because I love him!"
As if by magic the room became suddenly still.
"Behold an honest man. I would have saved him at the cost of my
honor. Scorn me if you will, but listen to this. The man who stands
here accused came voluntarily to this castle, surrendering himself to
Captain Quinnox, that he might, though innocent, stand between us and
disaster. He was safe from our pursuit, yet returned, perhaps to his
death. For me, for you and for Graustark he has done this. Is there
a man among you who would have done as much for his own country? Yet
he does this for a country to which he is stranger. I must commit him
to prison once more. But," she cried in sudden fierceness, "I promise
him now, before the trial, a royal pardon. Do I make my meaning
clear to you, Prince Bolaroz?"
The white lips of the old Prince could frame no reply to this
"Be careful whet you say, your Highness," cried the prisoner,
hastily. "I must refuse to accept a pardon at the cost of your
honor. It is because I love you better than my life that I stand
here. I cannot allow you and your people to suffer when it is in my
power to prevent it. All that I can ask is fairness and justice. I
am not guilty, and God will protect me. Prince Bolaroz, I call upon
you to keep your promise. I am not the slayer of your son, but I am
the man you would send to the block, guilty or innocent."
As he spoke, the Princess dropped back in the chair, her rash
courage gone. A stir near the doorway followed his concluding
sentence, and the other American stepped forward, his face showing
"Your Highness," he said, "I should have spoken sooner. My lips
were parted and ready to cry out when Prince Gabriel interposed and
prevented the signing of the decree. Grenfall Lorry did not kill the
young Prince. I can produce the guilty man!"
XXVI. THE GUESSING OF ANGUISH
The startling assertion created a fresh sensation. Sensations had
come so thick and so fast, however, that they seemed component parts
of one grand bewildering climax. The new actor in the drama held the
center of the stage undisputed.
"Harry!" cried Lorry.
"Prince Gabriel, why do you shake like a leaf? Is it because you
know what I am going to say?" exclaimed Anguish, pointing his finger
accusingly at the astonished Prince of Dawsbergen.
Gabriel's lips parted, but nothing more than a gasp escaped them.
Involuntarily his eyes sought the door, then the windows, the
peculiar uncontrollable look of the hunted coming into them. Bolaroz
allowed his gaze to leap instantly to that pallid face and every eye
in the room followed. Yetive was standing again, her face glowing.
"An accomplice has confessed all. I have the word of the man who
saw the crime committed. I charge Prince Gabriel with the murder of
His Highness, Prince Lorenz."
With a groan, Gabriel threw his hands to his heart and tottered
forward, glaring at the merciless face of the accuser.
"Confessed! Betrayed!" he faltered. Then he whirled like a
maniac upon his little coterie of followers. "Vile traitor!" he
shrieked, "I will drink your heart's blood!"
With a howl he leaped toward one of the men, a darkfaced nobleman
named Berrowag. The latter evaded him and rushed toward the door,
"It is a lie! a lie! He has tricked you! I did not confess!"
The Prince was seized by his friends, struggling and cursing. A
peculiar smile lit up the face of Harry Anguish.
"I repeat, he is the assassin!"
Gabriel broke from the detaining hands and drawing a revolver,
rushed for the door.
"Out of the way! I will not be taken alive!"
Allode met him at the curtains and grasped him in his powerful
arms, Baron Dangloss and others tearing the weapon from his hand. The
utmost confusion reigned—women screaming, men shouting—and above all
could be heard the howls of the accused Prince.
"Let me go! Curse you! Curse you! I will not surrender! Let me
kill that traitor! Let me at him!" Berrowag had been seized by
willing hands, and the two men glared at each other, one crazy with
rage, the other shrinking with fear.
Dangloss and Allode half carried, half dragged the Prince forward.
As he neared Bolaroz and the Princess he collapsed and became a
trembling, moaning suppliant for mercy. Anguish's accusation had
"Prince Bolaroz, I trust you will not object if the Princess
Yetive substitutes the true assassin for the man named in your
promise to Graustark," said Anguish, dramatically. Bolaroz, as if
coming from a dream, turned and knelt before the throne.
"Most adorable Yetive," he said; "I sue for pardon. I bow low and
lay my open heart before the truest woman in the world." He kissed
the black lace hem of her gown and arose. "I am your friend and ally;
Axphain and Graustark will live no more with hatred in their hearts.
From you I have learned a lesson in justice and constancy."
Prince Gabriel was raving like a madman as the officers hurried
him and Berrowag from the room. A shout went up from those
assembled. Its echo, reaching the halls, then the gardens, was
finally taken up by the waiting masses beyond the gates. The news
flew like wild-fire. Rejoicing, such as had never been known, shook
Edelweiss until the monks on the mountain looked down in wonder.
After the dazed and happy throng about the throne had heaped its
expressions of love and devotion upon the radiant Princess a single
figure knelt in subjection, just as she was preparing to depart. It
was the Duke of Mizrox.
"Your Royal Highness, Mizrox is ready to pay his forfeit. My life
is yours," he said, calmly. She did not comprehend until her uncle
reminded her of the oath Mizrox had taken the morning after the
"He swore, on his life, that you killed Lorenz," she said, turning
"I was wrong, but I am willing to pay the penalty. My love for
Lorenz was greater than my discretion. That is my only excuse, but
it is one you should not accept," said Mizrox, as coolly as if
announcing the time of day. Lorry looked first at him and then at the
Princess, bewildered and uncertain.
"I have no ill will against you, my Lord Duke. Release him from
his bond your Highness."
"Gladly, since you refuse to hold him to his oath," she said.
"I am under an eternal obligation to you, sir, for your leniency,
and I shall ever revere the Princess who pardons so graciously the
Yetive begged Bolaroz to continue to make the Court his home while
in Graustark, and the old Prince responded with the declaration that
he would remain long enough to sign and approve the new covenant, at
least. Before stepping from the throne, Yetive called in low tones to
Lorry, a pretty flush mantling her cheek:
"Will you come to me in half an hour?"
"For my reward?" he asked, eagerly.
"Ach?" she cried, softly, reprovingly. Count Halfont's face took
on a troubled expression as he caught the swift communication in
their eyes. After all, she was a Princess.
She passed from the room beside Halfont, proud and happy in the
victory over despair, glorying in the exposure of her heart to the
world, her blood tingling and dancing with the joys of anticipation.
Lorry and Anguish, the wonder and admiration of all, were given a
short but convincing levee in the hallway. Lords and ladies praised
and lauded them, overwhelming them with the homage that comes to the
brave. But Gaspon uttered one wish that struck Lorry's warm, leaping
heart like a piece of ice.
"Would to God that you were a Prince of the realm," said the
minister of finance, a look of regret and longing in his eyes. That
wish of Gaspon's sent Lorry away with the sharp steel of desolation,
torturing intensely as it drove deeper and deeper the reawakened pangs
of uncertainty. There still remained the fatal distance between him
and the object of his heart's desire.
He accompanied Captain Quinnox to his quarters, where he made
himself presentable before starting for the enchanted apartment in
the far end of the castle. Eager, burning passion throbbed side by
side with the cold pulsing of fear, a trembling race between two
unconquerable emotions. Passion longed for the voice, the eyes, the
caresses; fear cried aloud in every troubled throb: "You will see her
and kiss her and then you will be banished."
The two emotions thus thrown together, clashing fiercely for
supremacy, at last wove themselves into a single, solid,
uncompromising whole. Out of the two grew an aggressive
determination not to be thwarted. Love and fear combined to give him
strength; from his eyes fled the hopeless look, from his brain the
doubt, from his blood the chill.
"Quinnox, give me your hand—don't mind the blood! You have been
my friend, and you have served her almost to the death. I injured
and would have killed you in that cell, but it was not in anger. Will
you be my friend in all that is to follow?"
"She has said that she loves you," said the captain, returning the
hand clasp. "I am at your service as well as hers."
A few moments later Lorry was in her presence. What was said or
done during the half hour that passed between his entrance and the
moment that brought them side by side from the room need not be told.
That the interview had had its serious side was plain. The troubled,
anxious eyes of the girl and the rebellious, dogged air of the man
told of a conflict now only in abeyance.
"I will never give you up," he said, as they came from the door. A
wistful gleam flickered in her eyes, but she did not respond in words.
Near the head of the stairway an animated group of persons
lingered. Harry Anguish was in the center and the Countess Dagmar
was directly in front of him, looking up with sparkling eyes and
parted lips. The Count and Countess Halfont, Gaspon, the Baron
Dangloss, the Duke of Mizrox, with other ladies and gentlemen, were
being entertained by the gay-spirited stranger.
Here he comes," cried the latter, as he caught sight of the
"I am delighted to see you, Harry. You were the friend in need,
old man," said Lorry, wringing the other's hand. Yetive gave him her
hand, her blue eyes overflowing.
"Mr. Anguish had just begun to tell us how he—how he—" began
Dagmar, but paused helplessly, looking to him for relief.
"Go ahead, Countess; it isn't very elegant, but it's the way I
said it. How I 'got next' to Gabriel is what she wants to say.
Perhaps your Highness would like to know all about the affair that
ended so tragically. It's very quickly told," said Anguish.
"I am deeply interested," said the Princess, eagerly.
"Well, in the first place, it was all a bluff," said he, coolly.
"A what!" demanded Dagmar.
"Bluff," responded Harry, briefly; "American patois, dear
"In what respect," asked Lorry, beginning to understand.
"In all respects. I didn't have the slightest sign of proof
against the festive Prince."
"And you—you did all that 'on a bluff'?" gasped the other.
"Do I understand you to say that you have no evidence against
Gabriel?" asked Halfont, dumbfounded.
"Not a particle."
"But you said his confederate had confessed," protested Dangloss.
"I didn't know that he had a confederate, and I wasn't sure that
he was guilty of the crime," boasted Anguish, complacently enjoying
"Then why did you say so?" demanded Dangloss, excited beyond
"Oh, I just guessed at it!"
"God save us!" gasped Baron Dangloss, Chief of Police.
"Guessed at it?" cried Mizrox.
"That's it. It was a bold stroke, but it won. Now, I'll tell you
this much. I was morally certain that Gabriel killed the Prince.
There was no way on earth to prove it, however, and I'll admit it was
intuition or something of that sort which convinced me. He had tried
to abduct the Princess, and he was madly jealous of Lorenz. Although
he knew there was to be a duel, he was not certain that Lorenz would
lose, so he adopted a clever plan to get rid of two rivals by killing
one and casting suspicion on the other. These deductions I made soon
after the murder, but, of course, could secure no proof. Early this
morning, at the hotel, I made up my mind to denounce him suddenly if
I had the chance, risking failure but hoping for such an exhibition as
that which you saw. It was clear to me that he had an accomplice to
stand guard while he did the stabbing, but I did not dream it was
Berrowag. Lorry's sensational appearance, when I believed him to be
far away from here, disturbed me greatly but it made it all the more
necessary that I should take the risk with Gabriel. As I watched him
I became absolutely convinced of his guilt. The only way to accuse
him was to do it boldly and thoroughly, so I rang in the accomplice
and the witness features. You all know how the 'bluff' worked."
"And you had no more proof than this?" asked Dangloss, weakly.
"That's all," laughed the delighted strategist.
Dangloss stared at him for a moment, then threw up his hands and
walked away, shaking his head, whether in stupefied admiration or
utter disbelief, no one knew. The others covered Anguish with
compliments, and he was more than ever the hero of the day. Such
confidence paralyzed the people. The only one who was not overcome
with astonishment was his countryman.
"You did it well," he said in an undertone to Anguish; "devilish
"You might at least say I did it to the queen's taste," growled
"Well, then, you did," laughed Lorry.
XXVII. ON THE BALCONY AGAIN
Three persons in the royal castle of Graustark, worn by the dread
and anxiety of weeks, fatigued by the sleepless nights just past,
slumbered through the long afternoon with the motionless, deathlike
sleep of the utterly fagged. Yetive, in her darkened bed chamber,
dreamed, with smiling lips, of a tall soldier and a throne on which
cobwebs multiplied. Grenfall Lorry saw in his dreams a slim soldier
with troubled face and averted, timid eyes, standing guard over him
with a brave, stiff back and chin painfully uplifted. Captain Quinnox
dreamed not, for his mind was tranquil in the assurance that he had
been forgiven by the Princess.
While Lorry slept in the room set apart for him, Anguish roamed
the park with a happy-faced, slender young lady, into whose ears he
poured the history of a certain affection, from the tender beginning
to the distracting end. And she smiled and trembled with delight,
closing not her ears against the sound of his voice nor her heart to
the love that craved admission. They were not dreaming.
After dinner that evening Lorry led the Princess out into the
moonlit night. The November breezes were soft and balmy and the
"Let us leave the park to Dagmar and her hero, to the soldiers and
the musicians," said Yetive. "There is a broad portico here, with the
tenderest of memories. Do you remember a night like this, a month or
more ago? the moon, the sentinel and some sorrows? I would again
stand where we stood on that night and again look up to the moon and
the solemn sentinel, but not as we saw them then, with heartache and
"The balcony, then, without the old restrictions," Lorry agreed.
"I want to see that dark old monastery again, and to tell you how I
looked from its lofty windows through the chill of wind and the chill
of life into the fairest Eden that was ever denied man."
"In an hour, then, I will meet you there."
"I must correct you. In an hour you will find me there."
She left him, retiring with her aunt and the Countess Dagmar.
Lorry remained in the hall with Halfont, Prince Bolaroz, Mizrox and
Anguish. The conversation ran once more into the ever-recurring topic
of the day, Gabriel's confession. The Prince of Dawsbergen was
confined in the Tower with his confederate, Berrowag. Reports from
Dangloss late in the afternoon conveyed the intelligence that the
prisoner had fallen into melancholia. Berrowag admitted to the police
that he had stood guard at the door while Gabriel entered the Prince's
room and killed him as he slept. He described the cunning, deliberate
effort to turn suspicion to the American by leaving bloodstains. The
other Dawsbergen nobles, with the exception of two who had gone to the
capital of their country with the news of the catastrophe, remained
close to the hotel. One of them confessed that but little sympathy
would be felt at home for Gabriel, who was hated by his subjects.
Already there was talk among them of Prince Dantan, his younger
brother, as his successor to the throne. The young Prince was a
favorite with the people.
Bolaroz was pleased with the outcome of the sensational accusation
and the consequent removal of complications which had in reality been
unpleasant to him.
One feature of the scene in the throne room was not discussed,
although it was uppermost in the minds of all. The positive stand
taken by the Princess and her open avowal of love for the dashing
American were never to be forgotten. The serious wrinkles on the brow
of Halfont and the faraway expression that came frequently to his eyes
revealed the nature of his thoughts. The greatest problem of them all
was still to be solved.
As they left the room he dropped behind and walked out beside
Lorry, rather timidly detaining him until the others were some
"You were closeted with the Princess this morning, Mr. Lorry, and
perhaps you can give me the information I desire. She has called a
meeting of the ministers and leading men of the country for to-morrow
morning. Do you know why she has issued this rather unusual call?
She did not offer any explanation to me."
"I am only at liberty to say, your excellency, that it concerns
the welfare of Graustark," answered the other, after a moment's
thought. They walked on in silence for some distance.
"I am her uncle, sir, but I love her as I would love my own child.
My life has been given to her from the day that her mother, my
sister, died. You will grant me the right to ask you a plain
question. Have you told her that you love her?" The Count's face was
drawn and white.
"I have, sir. I loved her before I knew she was a Princess. As
her protector, it was to you that I would have told the story of my
unfortunate love long ago, but my arrest and escape prevented. It was
not my desire or intention to say to her what I could not speak about
to you. I do not want to be looked upon as a coward who dares not
face difficulties. My love has not been willingly clandestine, and it
has been in spite of her most righteous objections. We have both seen
the futility of love, however strong and pure it may be. I have
hoped, your excellency, and always shall."
"She has confessed her love to you privately?" asked Halfont.
"Against her will, against her judgment, sir."
"Then the worst has come to pass," groaned the old Count. Neither
spoke for some time. They were near the foot of the staircase when
Halfont paused and grasped Lorry's arm. Steadily they looked into
each other's eyes.
"I admire you more than any man I have ever known," said the
Count, huskily, "You are the soul of honor, of courage, of manliness.
But, my God, you cannot become the husband of a Princess of
Graustark! I need not tell you that, however. You surely must
"I do understand," said Lorry, dizzily. "I am not a prince, as
you are saying over and over again to yourself. Count Halfont, every
born American may become ruler of the greatest nation in the world-the
United States. His home is his kingdom; his wife, his mother, his
sisters are his queens and his princesses; his fellow citizens are his
admiring subjects if he is wise and good. In my land you will find the
poor man climbing to the highest pinnacle, side by side with the rich
man. The woman I love is a Princess. Had she been the lowliest maid
in all that great land of ours, still would she have been my queen, I
her king. When first I loved the mistress of Graustark she was, you
must not forget, Miss Guggenslocker. I have said all this to you,
sir, not in egotism nor in bitterness, but to show my right to hope in
the face of all obstacles. We recognize little as impossible. Until
death destroys this power to love and to hope I must say to you that I
shall not consider the Princess Yetive beyond my reach. Frankly, I
The Count heard him through, unconscious admiration mingling with
the sadness in his eyes.
"There are some obstacles that bravery and perseverance cannot
overcome, my friend," he said, slowly. "One of them is fate."
"As fate is not governed by law or custom, I have the best reason
in the world to hope," said Lorry, yet modestly.
"I would indeed, sir, that you were a Prince of the realm,"
fervently cried the Count, and Lorry was struck by the fact that he
repeated, word for word, the wish Gaspon had uttered some hours
By this time they were joined by the others, whereupon Grenfall
hurried eagerly to the balcony, conscious of being half an hour
early, but glad of the chance afforded for reflection and solitude.
Sitting on the broad stone railing he leaned back against a pillar
and looked into the night for his thoughts. Once more the moon was
gleaming beyond St. Valentine's, throwing against the sky a jagged
silhouette of frowning angles, towering gables and monstrous walls,
the mountain and the monastery blending into one great misty product
of the vision. Voices came up from below, as they did on that night
five weeks ago, bringing the laughter and song of happy hearts. Music
swelled through the park from the band gallery; from afar off came the
sounds of revelry. The people of Edelweiss were rejoicing over the
unexpected deliverance from a fate so certain that the escape seemed
barely short of miraculous.
Every sound, every rustle of the wind through the plants that were
scattered over the balcony caused him to look toward the door through
which she must come to him.
At last she appeared, and he hastened to meet her. As he took her
hands in his, she said softly, dreamily, looking over his shoulder
toward the mountain's crest:
"The same fair moon," and smiled into his eyes.
"The same fair maid and the same man," he added. "I believe the
band is playing the same air; upon my soul, I do."
"Yes, the same air, La Paloma. It is my lullaby. Come, let us
walk. I cannot sit quietly now. Talk to me. Let me listen and be
Slowly they paced the wide balcony, through the moonlight and the
shadows, her hand resting on his arm, his clasping it gently. Love
obstructs the flow of speech; the heart-beats choke back the words and
fill the throat.
Lorry talked but little, she not at all. Times there were when;
they covered the full length of the balcony without a word. And yet
they understood each other. The mystic, the enchanting silence of
love was fraught with a conversation felt, not heard.
Why are you so quiet?" he asked, at last, stopping near the rail.
"I cannot tell you why. It seems to me that I am afraid of you,"
she answered, a shy quaver in her voice.
"Afraid of me? I don't understand."
"Nor do I. You are not as you were before this morning. You are
different—yes, you make me feel that I am weak and helpless and that
you can say to me 'come' and 'go' and I must obey. Isn't it odd that
I, who have never known submissiveness, should so suddenly find myself
tyrannized?" she asked, smiling faintly.
"Shall I tell you why you are afraid of me?" he asked.
"You will say it is because I am forgetting to be a Princess."
"No; it is because you no longer look upon me as you did in other
days. It is because I am a possibility, an entity instead of a
shadow. Yesterday you were the Princess and looked down upon the
impossible suitor; to-day you find that you have given yourself to
him and that you do not regard the barrier as insurmountable. You were
not timid until you found your power to resist gone. Today you admit
that I may hope, and in doing so you open a gate through the walls of
your pride and prejudice that can never be closed against the love
within and the love without. You are afraid of me because I am no
longer a dream, but a reality. Am I not right, Yetive?"
She looked out over the hazy, moonlit park.
"Yesterday I might have disputed all you say; to-day I can deny
Leaning upon the railing, they fell into a silent study of the
parade ground and its strollers. Their thoughts were not of the
walkers and chatterers, nor of the music, nor of the night. They
were of the day to come.
"I shall never forget how you said 'because I love him,' this
morning, sweetheart," said Lorry, betraying his reflections. "You
defied the whole world in those four words. They were worth dying
"How could I help it? You must not forget that you had just
leaped into the lion's den defenseless, because you loved me. Could I
deny you then? Until that moment I had been the Princess adamant; in
a second's time you swept away every safeguard, every battlement, and
I surrendered as only a woman can. But it really sounded shocking,
didn't it? So theatrical."
"Don't look so distressed about it, dear. You couldn't help it,
remember," he said, approvingly.
"Ach, I dread to-morrow's ordeal!" she said, and he felt the arm
that touched his own tremble. "What will they say? What will they,
"To-morrow will tell. It means a great deal to both of us. If
they will not submit—what then?"
"What then—what then?" she murmured, faintly.
Across the parade, coming from the direction of the fountain,
Harry Anguish and Dagmar were slowly walking. They were very close
together, and his head was bent until it almost touched hers. As they
drew nearer, the dreamy watchers on the balcony recognized them.
"They are very happy," said Lorry, knowing that she was also
watching the strollers.
"They are so sure of each other," she replied, sadly.
When almost directly beneath the rail, the Countess glanced
upward, impelled by the strange instinct of an easily startled love,
confident that prying eyes were upon her. She saw the dark forms
leaning over the rail and rather jerkily brought her companion to a
standstill and to a realization of his position. Anguish turned his
"Can you, fair maid, tell me the names of those beautiful stars I
see in the dark dome above?" he asked, in a loud, happy voice. "Oh,
can they be eyes?"
"Eyes, most noble sir," replied his companion. "There are no
stars so bright."
"Methought they were diamonds in the sky at first. Eyes like
those must belong to some divinity."
"They do, fair student, and to a divinity well worth worshiping. I
have heard it said that men offer themselves as sacrifices upon her
"Unless my telescope deceives me, I discern a very handsome
sacrifice up there, so I suppose the altar must be somewhere in the
"Not a hand's breadth beneath her eyes," laughed the Countess, as
she fled precipitately up the steps, followed by the jesting student.
"Beware of a divinity in wrath," came a sweet, clear voice from
the balcony, and Anguish called out from his safe retreat, like the
boy he was:
"Ah, who's afraid!"
The Princess was laughing softly, her eyes radiant as they met
those of her companion, amused yet grave.
"Does he have a care?" she asked.
"I fear not. He loves a Countess."
"He has not to pay the price of ambition, then?" said she, softly.
"Ambition is the cheapest article in the world," he said. "It
concerns only a man's self."
XXVIII. THE MAID OF GRAUSTARK
Expectancy, concern, the dread of uncertainty marked the
countenances of Graustark's ministers and her chief men as they sat
in the council chamber on the day following, awaiting the appearance
of their Princess, at whose call they were unexpectedly assembled.
More than two score eyes glanced nervously toward the door from time
All realized an emergency. No sooner were they out of one dilemma
than another cast its prospects across their path, creating the fear
that rejoicing would be short. While none knew the nature of the
business that called them together, each had a stubborn suspicion that
it related to the stirring declarations of the day before. Not one in
that assembly but had heard the vivid, soulful sentence from the
throne. Not one but wished in secret as Gaspon and Halfont had wished
in open speech.
When the Princess entered with the prime minister they narrowly
scanned the face so dear to them. Determination and cowardice were
blended in the deep blue eyes, pride and dejection in the firm step,
strength and weakness in the loving smile she bestowed upon the
faithful counsellors. After the greetings she requested them to draw
chairs about the great table. Seating herself in her accustomed seat,
she gazed over the circle of anxious faces and realized, more than at
any time in her young life, that she was frail and weak beyond all
comparison. How small she was to rule over those strong, wise men of
hers; how feeble the hand that held the sceptre.
"My lords," she said, summoning all her strength of mind and
heart, "I am gratified to find you so ready to respond to the call of
your whimsical sovereign. Yesterday you came with hearts bowed down
and in deepest woe. To-day I assemble you here that I may ask your
advice concerning the events of that strange day. Bolaroz will do as
he has promised. We are to have the extension papers this afternoon,
and Graustark may breathe again the strong, deep breath of hope. You
well remember my attitude on yesterday. You were shocked, horrified,
amazed by my seemingly ignoble effort to preserve my preserver's life.
We will pass over that, however. It is to discuss my position that I
have called you here. To begin, I would have sacrificed my kingdom,
as you know, to save him. He was innocent and I loved him. If, on
yesterday, I would not let my kingdom stand between me and my love, I
cannot do so to-day. I have called you here to tell you, my lords,
that I have promised to become the wife of the man who would have
given his life for you and for me—that I love as a woman, not as a
The silence of death stole into the room. Every man's eyes were
glued upon the white face of the Princess and none could break the
spell. They had expected it, yet the shock was overwhelming; they had
feared it, yet the announcement stupefied them. She looked straight
before her, afraid to meet the eyes of her subjects, knowing that
sickening disapproval dwelt in them. Not a word was uttered for many
seconds. Then old Caspar's tense muscles relaxed and his arms dropped
limply from their crossed position on his breast.
"My child, my child!" he cried, lifelessly. "You cannot do this
"But the people?" cried Gaspon, his eyes gleaming. "You cannot
act against the will of the people. Our laws, natural and otherwise.
proscribe the very act you have in mind. The American cannot go upon
our throne; no man, unless he be of royal blood, can share it with
you. If you marry him the laws of our land—you know them well—will
prohibit us from recognizing the marriage."
Knowing that, my lords, I have come to ask you to revise our laws.
My throne will not be disgraced by the man I would have share it with
me." She spoke as calmly as if she were making the most trivial
request instead of asking her ministers to overthrow and undo the laws
and customs of ages and of dynasties.
"The law of nature cannot be changed," muttered Caspar, as if to
"In the event that the custom cannot be changed, I shall be
compelled to relinquish my right to occupy the throne and to depart
from among you. It would break my heart, my lords, to resort to this
monstrous sacrifice, but I love one man first, my crown and my people
"You would not leave us—you would not throw aside as despised the
crown your ancestors wore for centuries?" cried Gaspon. "Is your
Royal Highness mad?"
The others were staring with open mouths and icy hearts.
"Yes, as much as it would grieve me, I would do all this," she
answered, firmly, not daring to look at her uncle. She knew his eyes
were upon her and that condemnation lurked in their depths. Her heart
ached to turn to him with a prayer for forgiveness, but there could be
no faltering now.
"I ask you, my lords, to acknowledge the marriage of your ruler to
Grenfall Lorry. I am to be his wife; but I entreat you to grant me
happiness without making me endure the misery that will come to me if
I desert my father's throne and the people who have worshipped me and
to whom I am bound by a tie that cannot be broken. I do not plead so
much for the right to rule as I do for the one who may rule after I am
gone. I want my own to follow me on the throne of Graustark."
Then followed a long, animated discussion, growing brighter and
more hopeful as the speakers' willing hearts warmed to the
proposition. Lorry was a favorite but he could not be their prince.
Hereditary law prohibited. Still his children if God gave him
children, might be declared rightful heirs to the throne of their
mother, the Princess. The more they talked, the more the problem
seemed to solve itself. Many times the Princess and her wise men met
and overcame obstacles, huge at first, minimized in the end, all
because they loved her and she loved them. The departure from
traditionary custom, as suggested by the Princess,—coupled with the
threat to abdicate,—was the weightiest, yet the most delicate
question that had ever come before the chief men of Graustark. It
meant the beginning of a new line of princes, new life, new blood, a
complete transformation of order as it had come down through the
reigns of many Ganlooks. For the first time in the history of the
country a woman was sovereign; for the first time there had been no
direct male heir to the throne. With the death of old Prince Ganlook
the masculine side of the illustrious family ended. No matter whom
his daughter took for a husband, the line was broken. Why not the
bold, progressive, rich American? argued some. Others fell in with
the views of the few who first surrendered to the will of Yetive,
until at last but one remained in opposition. Count Caspar held out
until all were against him, giving way finally in a burst of oratory
which ended in tears and sobs and which made the sense of the
The Princess Yetive won the day, so far as her own position was
concerned. But, there was Lorry to be considered.
Mr. Lorry knows that I called you together in consultation, but he
does not know that I would have given up my crown for him. I dared
not tell him that. He knows only that I was to ask your advice on the
question of marriage, and that alone. Last night he told me he was
confident you would agree to the union. He is an American, and does
not appreciate the difficulties attending such an espousal. Over
there distinction exists only in wealth and intelligence—position, I
believe they call it, but not such as ours. He is a strange man, and
we have yet to consult him as to the arrangement," she said to her
lords, pursing her lips. "I fear he will object to the plan we have
agreed upon," she went on. "He is sensitive, and it is possible he
will not like the idea of putting our marriage to the popular vote of
"I insist, however, that the people be considered in the matter,"
said Gaspon. "In three month's time the whole nation can say whether
it sanctions the revision of our laws of heredity. It would not be
right or just for us to say who shall be their future rulers, for all
time to come, without consulting them."
"I have no hesitancy in saying that Graustark already idolizes
this brave American," said Halfont, warmly. "He has won her
affection. If the question is placed before the people to-morrow in
proper form, I will vouch for it that the whole nation will rise and
cry: 'Long live the Princess! Long live the Prince Consort!'"
"Goin' back, I see," said Sitzky, the guard, some months later,
addressing a very busy young man, who was hurrying down the platform
of the Edelweiss railway station toward the special train which was
"Hello, Sitzky! Is it you? I'm glad to see you again. Yes, we
are going back to the land of the Stars and Stripes." The speaker
was Mr. Anguish.
"You'll have fine company 's fer as Vienna, too. D' you ever see
such a celebration's dey're havin' here to-day? You'd t'ink d' whole
world was interested in d' little visit Her Royal Highness is goin' to
pay to Vienna. Dummed if d' whole city, soldiers an' all, ain't down
here to see 'er off. Look at d' crowd! By glory, I don't b'lieve we
c'n pull d' train out of d' station. 'Quainted wid any of d' royal
"Slightly," answered Anguish, smiling. He was watching a trim
figure in a tailor-made gown as it approached, drawing apart from the
throng. It was Mrs. Harry Van Brugh Anguish.
"Say, you must cut some ice wid dese people. But dat's jest like
an American, dough," the little guard went on. "De Princess married
an American an' dey say he's goin' to put d' crown away where d' moths
won't git at it an' take her over to live in Washington fer six
months. Is it a sure t'ing?"
"That's right, Sitzky. She's going back with us and then we're
coming back with her."
"Why don't he keep 'er over dere when he gits her dere? What's d'
use—what's d' use?"
"Well, she's still the Princess of Graustark, you know, Sitzky.
She can't live always in America."
"Got to be here to hold her job, eh?"
"Inelegant but correct. Now, look sharp! Where do we find our
—Ah!" His wife was with him and he forgot Sitzky.
The guard turned to watch the procession—a file of soldiers, a
cavalry troop, carriages and then—the carriage with spirited horses
and gay accoutrements. It stopped with a jangle and a man and woman
"The Princess!" cried Sitzky.
"Long live the Princess!" cried the crowd. "God save our Yetive!"
Sitzky started as if shot, Raring at the tall man who approached
with the smiling Sovereign of Graustark. "Well," he gasped, "what d'
you t'ink o' dat!"
The train that was to carry them out of the East into the West
puffed and snorted, the bell clanged, the people cheered, and they
were off. Hours later, as the car whirled through the Hungarian
plain, Yetive, looking from her window, said in that exquisite English
which was her very own:
"Ah, the world, the dear world! I am so sorry for queens!"