Part 1 out of 6
Produced by Jonathan Ferro, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK
BY GEORGE BARR McCUTCHEON
I East of the Setting Sun
II Beverly Calhoun
III On the Road from Balak
IV The Ragged Retinue
V The Inn of the Hawk and Raven
VI The Home of the Lion
VII Some Facts and Fancies
VIII Through the Ganlook Gates
IX The Redoutable Dangloss
X Inside the Castle Walls
XI The Royal Coach of Graustark
XII In Service
XIII The Three Princes
XIV A Visit and Its Consequences
XV The Testing of Baldos
XVI On the Way to St. Valentine's
XVII A Note Translated
XVIII Confessions and Concessions
XIX The Night Fires
XX Gossip of Some Consequence
XXI The Rose
XXII A Proposal
XXIII A Shot in the Darkness
XXIV Beneath the Ground
XXV The Valor of the South
XXVI The Degradation of Marlanx
XXVII The Prince of Dawsbergen
XXVIII A Boy Disappears
XXIX The Capture of Gabriel
XXX In the Grotto
XXXI Clear Skies
BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK
EAST OF THE SETTING SUN
Far off in the mountain lands, somewhere to the east of the setting sun,
lies the principality of Graustark, serene relic of rare old feudal
days. The traveler reaches the little domain after an arduous, sometimes
perilous journey from the great European capitals, whether they be north
or south or west--never east. He crosses great rivers and wide plains;
he winds through fertile valleys and over barren plateaus; he twists and
turns and climbs among sombre gorges and rugged mountains; he touches
the cold clouds in one day and the placid warmth of the valley in the
next. One does not go to Graustark for a pleasure jaunt. It is too far
from the rest of the world and the ways are often dangerous because of
the strife among the tribes of the intervening mountains. If one hungers
for excitement and peril he finds it in the journey from the north or
the south into the land of the Graustarkians. From Vienna and other
places almost directly west the way is not so full of thrills, for the
railroad skirts the darkest of the dangerlands.
Once in the heart of Graustark, however, the traveler is charmed into
dreams of peace and happiness and--paradise. The peasants and the poets
sing in one voice and accord, their psalm being of never-ending
love. Down in the lowlands and up in the hills, the simple worker of the
soil rejoices that he lives in Graustark; in the towns and villages the
humble merchant and his thrifty customer unite to sing the song of peace
and contentment; in the palaces of the noble the same patriotism warms
its heart with thoughts of Graustark, the ancient. Prince and pauper
strike hands for the love of the land, while outside the great,
heartless world goes rumbling on without a thought of the rare little
principality among the eastern mountains.
In point of area, Graustark is but a mite in the great galaxy of
nations. Glancing over the map of the world, one is almost sure to miss
the infinitesimal patch of green that marks its location. One could not
be blamed if he regarded the spot as a typographical or topographical
illusion. Yet the people of this quaint little land hold in their hearts
a love and a confidence that is not surpassed by any of the lordly
monarchs who measure their patriotism by miles and millions. The
Graustarkians are a sturdy, courageous race. From the faraway century
when they fought themselves clear of the Tartar yoke, to this very hour,
they have been warriors of might and valor. The boundaries of their tiny
domain were kept inviolate for hundreds of years, and but one victorious
foe had come down to lay siege to Edelweiss, the capital. Axphain, a
powerful principality in the north, had conquered Graustark in the
latter part of the nineteenth century, but only after a bitter war in
which starvation and famine proved far more destructive than the arms of
the victors. The treaty of peace and the indemnity that fell to the lot
of vanquished Graustark have been discoursed upon at length in at least
Those who have followed that history must know, of course, that the
reigning princess, Yetive, was married to a young American at the very
tag-end of the nineteenth century. This admirable couple met in quite
romantic fashion while the young sovereign was traveling incognito
through the United States of America. The American, a splendid fellow
named Lorry, was so persistent in the subsequent attack upon her heart,
that all ancestral prejudices were swept away and she became his bride
with the full consent of her entranced subjects. The manner in which he
wooed and won this young and adorable ruler forms a very attractive
chapter in romance, although unmentioned in history. This being the tale
of another day, it is not timely to dwell upon the interesting events
which led up to the marriage of the Princess Yetive to Grenfall
Lorry. Suffice it to say that Lorry won his bride against all wishes and
odds and at the same time won an endless love and esteem from the people
of the little kingdom among the eastern hills Two years have passed
since that notable wedding in Edelweiss.
Lorry and his wife, the princess, made their home in Washington, but
spent a few months of each year in Edelweiss. During the periods spent
in Washington and in travel, her affairs in Graustark were in the hands
of a capable, austere old diplomat--her uncle, Count Caspar
Halfont. Princess Volga reigned as regent over the principality of
Axphain. To the south lay the principality of Dawsbergen, ruled by young
Prince Dantan, whose half brother, the deposed Prince Gabriel, had been
for two years a prisoner in Graustark, the convicted assassin of Prince
Lorenz, of Axphain, one time suitor for the hand of Yetive.
It was after the second visit of the Lorrys to Edelweiss that a serious
turn of affairs presented itself. Gabriel had succeeded in escaping from
his dungeon. His friends in Dawsbergen stirred up a revolution and
Dantan was driven from the throne at Serros. On the arrival of Gabriel
at the capital, the army of Dawsbergen espoused the cause of the Prince
it had spurned and, three days after his escape, he was on his throne,
defying Yetive and offering a price for the head of the unfortunate
Dantan, now a fugitive in the hills along the Graustark frontier.
Major George Calhoun was a member of Congress from one of the southern
states. His forefathers had represented the same commonwealth, and so,
it was likely, would his descendants, if there is virtue in the fitness
of things and the heredity of love. While intrepid frontiersmen were
opening the trails through the fertile wilds west of the Alleghanies, a
strong branch of the Calhoun family followed close in their
footsteps. The major's great-grandfather saw the glories and the
possibilities of the new territory. He struck boldly westward from the
old revolutionary grounds, abandoning the luxuries and traditions of the
Carolinas for a fresh, wild life of promise. His sons and daughters
became solid stones in the foundation of a commonwealth, and his
grandchildren are still at work on the structure. State and national
legislatures had known the Calhouns from the beginning. Battlefields had
tested their valor, and drawing-rooms had proved their gentility.
Major Calhoun had fought with Stonewall Jackson and won his spurs--and
at the same time the heart and hand of Betty Haswell, the staunchest
Confederate who ever made flags, bandages and prayers for the boys in
gray. When the reconstruction came he went to Congress and later on
became prominent in the United States consular service, for years
holding an important European post. Congress claimed him once more in
the early '90s, and there he is at this very time.
Everybody in Washington's social and diplomatic circles admired the
beautiful Beverly Calhoun. According to his own loving term of
identification, she was the major's "youngest." The fair southerner had
seen two seasons in the nation's capital. Cupid, standing directly in
front of her, had shot his darts ruthlessly and resistlessly into the
passing hosts, and masculine Washington looked humbly to her for the
balm that might soothe its pains. The wily god of love was fair enough
to protect the girl whom he forced to be his unwilling, perhaps
unconscious, ally. He held his impenetrable shield between her heart and
the assaults of a whole army of suitors, high and low, great and
small. It was not idle rumor that said she had declined a coronet or
two, that the millions of more than one American Midas had been offered
to her, and that she had dealt gently but firmly with a score of hearts
which had nothing but love, ambition and poverty to support them in the
The Calhouns lived in a handsome home not far from the residence of
Mr. and Mrs. Grenfall Lorry. It seemed but natural that the two
beautiful young women should become constant and loyal friends. Women as
lovely as they have no reason to be jealous. It is only the woman who
does not feel secure of her personal charms that cultivates envy. At the
home of Graustark's princess Beverly met the dukes and barons from the
far east; it was in the warmth of the Calhoun hospitality that Yetive
formed her dearest love for the American people.
Miss Beverly was neither tall nor short. She was of that divine and
indefinite height known as medium; slender but perfectly molded; strong
but graceful, an absolutely healthy young person whose beauty knew well
how to take care of itself. Being quite heart-whole and fancy-free, she
slept well, ate well, and enjoyed every minute of life. In her blood ran
the warm, eager impulses of the south; hereditary love of case and
luxury displayed itself in every emotion; the perfectly normal demand
upon men's admiration was as characteristic in her as it is in any
daughter of the land whose women are born to expect chivalry and homage.
A couple of years in a New York "finishing school" for young ladies had
served greatly to modify Miss Calhoun's colloquial charms. Many of her
delightful "way down south" phrases and mannerisms were blighted by the
cold, unromantic atmosphere of a seminary conducted by two ladies from
Boston who were too old to marry, too penurious to love and too prim to
think that other women might care to do both. There were times,
however,--if she were excited or enthusiastic,--when pretty Beverly so
far forgot her training as to break forth with a very attractive "yo'
all," "suah 'nough," or "go 'long naow." And when the bands played
"Dixie" she was not afraid to stand up and wave her handkerchief. The
northerner who happened to be with her on such occasions usually found
himself doing likewise before he could escape the infection.
Miss Calhoun's face was one that painters coveted deep down in their
artistic souls. It never knew a dull instant; there was expression in
every lineament, in every look; life, genuine life, dwelt in the mobile
countenance that turned the head of every man and woman who looked upon
it. Her hair was dark-brown and abundant; her eyes were a deep gray and
looked eagerly from between long lashes of black; her lips were red and
ever willing to smile or turn plaintive as occasion required; her brow
was broad and fair, and her frown was as dangerous as a smile. As to her
age, if the major admitted, somewhat indiscreetly, that all his children
were old enough to vote, her mother, with the reluctance born in women,
confessed that she was past twenty, so a year or two either way will
determine Miss Beverly's age, so far as the telling of this story is
concerned. Her eldest brother--Keith Calhoun (the one with the
congressional heritage)--thought she was too young to marry, while her
second brother, Dan, held that she soon would be too old to attract men
with matrimonial intentions. Lucy, the only sister, having been happily
wedded for ten years, advised her not to think of marriage until she was
old enough to know her own mind.
Toward the close of one of the most brilliant seasons the Capital had
ever known, less than a fortnight before Congress was to adjourn, the
wife of Grenfall Lorry received the news which spread gloomy
disappointment over the entire social realm. A dozen receptions, teas
and balls were destined to lose their richest attraction, and hostesses
were in despair. The princess had been called to Graustark.
Beverly Calhoun was miserably unhappy. She had heard the story of
Gabriel's escape and the consequent probability of a conflict with
Axphain. It did not require a great stretch of imagination to convince
her that the Lorrys were hurrying off to scenes of intrigue, strife and
bloodshed, and that not only Graustark but its princess was in jeopardy.
Miss Calhoun's most cherished hopes faded with the announcement that
trouble, not pleasure, called Yetive to Edelweiss. It had been their
plan that Beverly should spend the delightful summer months in
Graustark, a guest at the royal palace. The original arrangements of the
Lorrys were hopelessly disturbed by the late news from Count
Halfont. They were obliged to leave Washington two months earlier than
they intended, and they could not take Beverly Calhoun into
danger-ridden Graustark. The contemplated visit to St. Petersburg and
other pleasures had to be abandoned, and they were in tears.
Yetive's maids were packing the trunks, and Lorry's servants were in a
wild state of haste preparing for the departure on Saturday's ship. On
Friday afternoon, Beverly was naturally where she could do the most good
and be of the least help--at the Lorrys'. Self-confessedly, she delayed
the preparations. Respectful maidservants and respectful menservants
came often to the princess's boudoir to ask questions, and Beverly just
as frequently made tearful resolutions to leave the household in
peace--if such a hullaballoo could be called peace. Callers came by the
dozen, but Yetive would see no one. Letters, telegrams and telephone
calls almost swamped her secretary; the footman and the butler fairly
gasped under the strain of excitement. Through it all the two friends
sat despondent and alone in the drear room that once had been the abode
of pure delight. Grenfall Lorry was off in town closing up all matters
of business that could be despatched at once. The princess and her
industrious retinue were to take the evening express for New York and
the next day would find them at sea.
"I know I shall cry all summer," vowed Miss Calhoun, with conviction in
her eyes. "It's just too awful for anything." She was lying back among
the cushions of the divan and her hat was the picture of cruel
neglect. For three solid hours she had stubbornly withstood Yetive's
appeals to remove her hat, insisting that she could not trust herself to
stay more than a minute or two." It seems to me, Yetive, that your
jailers must be very incompetent or they wouldn't have let loose all
this trouble upon you," she complained.
"Prince Gabriel is the very essence of trouble," confessed Yetive,
plaintively." He was born to annoy people, just like the evil prince in
the fairy tales."
"I wish we had him over here," the American girl answered stoutly. "He
wouldn't be such a trouble I'm sure. We don't let small troubles worry
us very long, you know."
"But he's dreadfully important over there, Beverly; that's the difficult
part of it," said Yetive, solemnly." You see, he is a condemned
"Then, you ought to hang him or electrocute him or whatever it is that
you do to murderers over there," promptly spoke Beverly.
"But, dear, you don't understand. He won't permit us either to hang or
to electrocute him, my dear. The situation is precisely the reverse, if
he is correctly quoted by my uncle. When Uncle Caspar sent an envoy to
inform Dawsbergen respectfully that Graustark would hold it personally
responsible if Gabriel were not surrendered, Gabriel himself replied:
'Graustark be hanged!'"
"How rude of him, especially when your uncle was so courteous about
it. He must be a very disagreeable person," announced Miss Calhoun.
"I am sure you wouldn't like him," said the princess. "His brother, who
has been driven from the throne--and from the capital, in fact--is quite
different. I have not seen him, but my ministers regard him as a
splendid young man."
"Oh, how I hope he may go back with his army and annihilate that old
Gabriel!" cried Beverly, frowning fiercely.
"Alas," sighed the princess, "he hasn't an army, and besides he is
finding it extremely difficult to keep from being annihilated
himself. The army has gone over to Prince Gabriel."
"Pooh!" scoffed Miss Calhoun, who was thinking of the enormous armies
the United States can produce at a day's notice. "What good is a
ridiculous little army like his, anyway? A battalion from Fort Thomas
could beat it to--"
"Don't boast, dear," interrupted Yetive, with a wan smile. "Dawsbergen
has a standing army of ten thousand excellent soldiers. With the war
reserves she has twice the available force I can produce."
"But your men are so brave," cried Beverly, who had heard their praises
"True, God bless them; but you forget that we must attack Gabriel in his
own territory. To recapture him means a perilous expedition into the
mountains of Dawsbergen, and I am sorely afraid. Oh, dear, I hope he'll
"And go back to jail for life?" cried Miss Calhoun. "It's a good deal to
expect of him, dear. I fancy it's much better fun kicking up a rumpus on
the outside than it is kicking one's toes off against an obdurate stone
wall from the inside. You can't blame him for fighting a bit."
"No--I suppose not," agreed the princess, miserably. "Gren is actually
happy over the miserable affair, Beverly. He is full of enthusiasm and
positively aching to be in Graustark--right in the thick of it all. To
hear him talk, one would think that Prince Gabriel has no show at
all. He kept me up till four o'clock this morning telling me that
Dawsbergen didn't know what kind of a snag it was going up against. I
have a vague idea what he means by that; his manner did not leave much
room for doubt. He also said that we would jolt Dawsbergen off the map.
It sounds encouraging, at least, doesn't it?"
"It sounds very funny for you to say those things," admitted Beverly,
"even though they come secondhand. You were not cut out for slang."
"Why, I'm sure they are all good English words," remonstrated
Yetive. "Oh, dear, I wonder what they are doing in Graustark this very
instant. Are they fighting or--"
"No; they are merely talking. Don't you know, dear, that there is never
a fight until both sides have talked themselves out of breath? We shall
have six months of talk and a week or two of fight, just as they always
"Oh, you Americans have such a comfortable way of looking at things,"
cried the princess. "Don't you ever see the serious side of life?"
"My dear, the American always lets the other fellow see the serious side
of life," said Beverly.
"You wouldn't be so optimistic if a country much bigger and more
powerful than America happened to be the other fellow."
"It did sound frightfully boastful, didn't it? It's the way we've been
brought up, I reckon,--even we southerners who know what it is to be
whipped. The idea of a girl like me talking about war and trouble and
all that! It's absurd, isn't it?"
"Nevertheless, I wish I could see things through those dear gray eyes of
yours. Oh, how I'd like to have you with me through all the months that
are to come. You would be such a help to me--such a joy. Nothing would
seem so hard if you were there to make me see things through your brave
American eyes." The princess put her arms about Beverly's neck and drew
"But Mr. Lorry possesses an excellent pair of American eyes," protested
Miss Beverly, loyally and very happily.
"I know, dear, but they are a man's eyes. Somehow, there is a
difference, you know. I wouldn't dare cry when he was looking, but I
could boo-hoo all day if you were there to comfort me. He thinks I am
very brave--and I'm not," she confessed, dismally.
"Oh, I'm an awful coward," explained Beverly, consolingly. "I think you
are the bravest girl in all the world," she added. "Don't you remember
what you did at--" and then she recalled the stories that had come from
Graustark ahead of the bridal party two years before. Yetive was finally
obliged to place her hand on the enthusiastic visitor's lips.
"Peace," she cried, blushing. "You make me feel like a--a--what is it you
call her--a dime-novel heroine?"
"A yellow-back girl? Never!" exclaimed Beverly, severely.
Visitors of importance in administration circles came at this moment and
the princess could not refuse to see them. Beverly Calhoun reluctantly
departed, but not until after giving a promise to accompany the Lorrys
to the railway station.
* * * * *
The trunks had gone to be checked, and the household was quieter than it
had been in many days. There was an air of depression about the place
that had its inception in the room upstairs where sober-faced Halkins
served dinner for a not over-talkative young couple.
"It will be all right, dearest," said Lorry, divining his wife's
thoughts as she sat staring rather soberly straight ahead of her, "Just
as soon as we get to Edelweiss, the whole affair will look so simple
that we can laugh at the fears of to-day. You see, we are a long way off
"I am only afraid of what may happen before we get there, Gren," she
said, simply. He leaned over and kissed her hand, smiling at the
emphasis she unconsciously placed on the pronoun.
Beverly Calhoun was announced just before coffee was served, and a
moment later was in the room. She stopped just inside the door, clicked
her little heels together and gravely brought her hand to "salute." Her
eyes were sparkling and her lips trembled with suppressed excitement.
"I think I can report to you in Edelweiss next month, general," she
announced, with soldierly dignity. Her hearers stared at the picturesque
recruit, and Halkins so far forgot himself as to drop Mr. Lorry's lump
of sugar upon the table instead of into the cup.
"Explain yourself, sergeant!" finally fell from Lorry's lips. The eyes
of the princess were beginning to take on a rapturous glow.
"May I have a cup of coffee, please, sir? I've been so excited I
couldn't eat a mouthful at home." She gracefully slid into the chair
Halkins offered, and broke into an ecstatic giggle that would have
resulted in a court-martial had she been serving any commander but Love.
With a plenteous supply of Southern idioms she succeeded in making them
understand that the major had promised to let her visit friends in the
legation at St. Petersburg in April a month or so after the departure of
"He wanted to know where I'd rather spend the Spring--Washin'ton or
Lexin'ton, and I told him St. Petersburg. We had a terrific discussion
and neither of us ate a speck at dinner. Mamma said it would be all
right for me to go to St. Petersburg if Aunt Josephine was still of a
mind to go, too. You see, Auntie was scared almost out of her boots when
she heard there was prospect of war in Graustark, just as though a tiny
little war like that could make any difference away up in
Russia--hundreds of thousands of miles away--" (with a scornful wave of
the hand)--"and then I just made Auntie say she'd go to St. Petersburg
in April--a whole month sooner than she expected to go in the first
"You dear, dear Beverly!" cried Yetive, rushing joyously around the
table to clasp her in her arms.
"And St. Petersburg really isn't a hundred thousand miles from
Edelweiss," cried Beverly, gaily.
"It's much less than that," said Lorry, smiling, "But you surely don't
expect to come to Edelweiss if we are fighting. We couldn't think of
letting you do that, you know. Your mother would never--"
"My mother wasn't afraid of a much bigger war than yours can ever hope
to be," cried Beverly, resentfully. "You can't stop me if I choose to
"Does your father know that you contemplate such a trip?" asked Lorry,
returning her handclasp and looking doubtfully into the swimming blue
eyes of his wife.
"No, he doesn't," admitted Beverly, a trifle aggressively.
"He could stop you, you know," he suggested. Yetive was discreetly
"But he won't know anything about it," cried Beverly triumphantly.
"I could tell him, you know," said Lorry.
"No, you _couldn't_ do anything so mean as that," announced
Beverly. "You're not that sort."
ON THE ROAD FROM BALAK
A ponderous coach lumbered slowly, almost painfully, along the narrow
road that skirted the base of a mountain. It was drawn by four horses,
and upon the seat sat two rough, unkempt Russians, one holding the
reins, the other lying back in a lazy doze. The month was June and all
the world seemed soft and sweet and joyous. To the right flowed a
turbulent mountain stream, boiling savagely with the alien waters of the
flood season. Ahead of the creaking coach rode four horsemen, all
heavily armed; another quartette followed some distance in the rear. At
the side of the coach an officer of the Russian mounted police was
riding easily, jangling his accoutrements with a vigor that disheartened
at least one occupant of the vehicle. The windows of the coach doors
were lowered, permitting the fresh mountain air to caress fondly the
face of the young woman who tried to find comfort in one of the broad
seats. Since early morn she had struggled with the hardships of that
seat, and the late afternoon found her very much out of patience. The
opposite seat was the resting place of a substantial colored woman and a
stupendous pile of bags and boxes. The boxes were continually toppling
over and the bags were forever getting under the feet of the once placid
servant, whose face, quite luckily, was much too black to reflect the
anger she was able, otherwise, through years of practice, to conceal.
"How much farther have we to go, lieutenant?" asked the girl on the
rear seat, plaintively, even humbly. The man was very deliberate with
his English. He had been recommended to her as the best linguist in the
service at Radovitch, and he had a reputation to sustain.
"It another hour is but yet," he managed to inform her, with a confident
"Oh, dear," she sighed, "a whole hour of this!"
"We soon be dar, Miss Bev'ly; jes' yo' mak' up yo' mine to res'
easy-like, an' we--" but the faithful old colored woman's advice was
lost in the wrathful exclamation that accompanied another dislodgment of
bags and boxes. The wheels of the coach had dropped suddenly into a deep
rut. Aunt Fanny's growls were scarcely more potent than poor Miss
"It is getting worse and worse," exclaimed Aunt Fanny's mistress,
petulantly. "I'm black and blue from head to foot, aren't you, Aunt
"Ah cain' say as to de blue, Miss Bev'ly. Hit's a mos' monstrous bad
road, sho 'nough. Stay up dar, will yo'!" she concluded, jamming a bag
into an upper corner.
Miss Calhoun, tourist extraordinary, again consulted the linguist in the
saddle. She knew at the outset that the quest would be hopeless, but she
could think of no better way to pass the next hour then to extract a
mite of information from the officer.
"Now for a good old chat," she said, beaming a smile upon the grizzled
Russian. "Is there a decent hotel in the village?" she asked.
They were on the edge of the village before she succeeded in finding out
all that she could, and it was not a great deal, either. She learned
that the town of Balak was in Axphain, scarcely a mile from the
Graustark line. There was an eating and sleeping house on the main
street, and the population of the place did not exceed three hundred.
When Miss Beverly awoke the next morning, sore and distressed, she
looked back upon the night with a horror that sleep had been kind enough
to interrupt only at intervals. The wretched hostelry lived long in her
secret catalogue of terrors. Her bed was not a bed; it was a
torture. The room, the table, the--but it was all too odious for
description. Fatigue was her only friend in that miserable hole. Aunt
Fanny had slept on the floor near her mistress's cot, and it was the
good old colored woman's grumbling that awoke Beverly. The sun was
climbing up the mountains in the east, and there was an air of general
activity about the place. Beverly's watch told her that it was past
"Good gracious!" she exclaimed. "It's nearly noon, Aunt Fanny. Hurry
along here and get me up. We must leave this abominable place in ten
minutes." She was up and racing about excitedly.
"Befo' breakfas'?" demanded Aunt Fanny weakly.
"Goodness, Aunt Fanny, is that all you think about?"
"Well, honey, yo' all be thinkin' moughty serious 'bout breakfas' 'long
to'ahds 'leben o'clock. Dat li'l tummy o' yourn 'll be pow'ful mad
'cause yo' didn'--"
"Very well, Aunt Fanny, you can run along and have the woman put up a
breakfast for us and we'll eat it on the road. I positively refuse to
eat another mouthful in that awful dining-room. I'll be down in ten
She was down in less. Sleep, no matter how hard-earned, had revived her
spirits materially. She pronounced herself ready for anything; there was
a wholesome disdain for the rigors of the coming ride through the
mountains in the way she gave orders for the start. The Russian officer
met her just outside the entrance to the inn. He was less English than
ever, but he eventually gave her to understand that he had secured
permission to escort her as far as Ganlook, a town in Graustark not more
than fifteen miles from Edelweiss and at least two days from Balak. Two
competent Axphainian guides had been retained, and the party was quite
ready to start. He had been warned of the presence of brigands in the
wild mountainous passes north of Ganlook. The Russians could go no
farther than Ganlook because of a royal edict from Edelweiss forbidding
the nearer approach of armed forces. At that town, however, he was sure
she easily could obtain an escort of Graustarkian soldiers. As the big
coach crawled up the mountain road and further into the oppressive
solitudes, Beverly Calhoun drew from the difficult lieutenant
considerable information concerning the state of affairs in Graustark.
She had been eagerly awaiting the time when something definite could be
learned. Before leaving St. Petersburg early in the week she was assured
that a state of war did not exist. The Princess Yetive had been in
Edelweiss for six weeks. A formal demand was framed soon after her
return from America, requiring Dawsbergen to surrender the person of
Prince Gabriel to the authorities of Graustark. To this demand there was
no definite response, Dawsbergen insolently requesting time in which to
consider the proposition. Axphain immediately sent an envoy to Edelweiss
to say that all friendly relations between the two governments would
cease unless Graustark took vigorous steps to recapture the royal
assassin. On one side of the unhappy principality a strong, overbearing
princess was egging Graustark on to fight, while on the other side an
equally aggressive people defied Yetive to come and take the fugitive if
she could. The poor princess was between two ugly alternatives, and a
struggle seemed inevitable. At Balak it was learned that Axphain had
recently sent a final appeal to the government of Graustark, and it was
no secret that something like a threat accompanied the message.
Prince Gabriel was in complete control at Serros and was disposed to
laugh at the demands of his late captors. His half-brother, the
dethroned Prince Dantan, was still hiding in the fastnesses of the
hills, protected by a small company of nobles, and there was no hope
that he ever could regain his crown. Gabriel's power over the army was
supreme. The general public admired Dantan, but it was helpless in the
face of circumstances.
"But why should Axphain seek to harass Graustark at this time?" demanded
Beverly Calhoun, in perplexity and wrath. "I should think the brutes
would try to help her."
"There is an element of opposition to the course the government is
taking," the officer informed her in his own way, "but it is greatly in
the minority. The Axphainians have hated Graustark since the last war,
and the princess despises this American. It is an open fact that the
Duke of Mizrox leads the opposition to Princess Volga, and she is sure
to have him beheaded if the chance affords. He is friendly to Graustark
and has been against the policy of his princess from the start."
"I'd like to hug the Duke of Mizrox," cried Beverly, warmly. The officer
did not understand her, but Aunt Fanny was scandalized.
"Good Lawd!" she muttered to the boxes and bags.
As the coach rolled deeper and deeper into the rock-shadowed wilderness,
Beverly Calhoun felt an undeniable sensation of awe creeping over
her. The brave, impetuous girl had plunged gaily into the project which
now led her into the deadliest of uncertainties, with but little thought
of the consequences.
The first stage of the journey by coach had been good fun. They had
passed along pleasant roads, through quaint villages and among
interesting people, and progress had been rapid. The second stage had
presented rather terrifying prospects, and the third day promised even
greater vicissitudes. Looking from the coach windows out upon the quiet,
desolate grandeur of her surroundings, poor Beverly began to appreciate
how abjectly helpless and alone she was. Her companions were ugly,
vicious-looking men, any one of whom could inspire terror by a look. She
had entrusted herself to the care of these strange creatures in the
moment of inspired courage and now she was constrained to regret her
action. True, they had proved worthy protectors as far as they had gone,
but the very possibilities that lay in their power were appalling, now
that she had time to consider the situation.
The officer in charge had been recommended as a trusted servant of the
Czar; an American consul had secured the escort for her direct from the
frontier patrol authorities. Men high in power had vouched for the
integrity of the detachment, but all this was forgotten in the mighty
solitude of the mountains. She was beginning to fear her escort more
than she feared the brigands of the hills.
Treachery seemed printed on their backs as they rode ahead of her. The
big officer was ever polite and alert, but she was ready to distrust him
on the slightest excuse. These men could not help knowing that she was
rich, and it was reasonable for them to suspect that she carried money
and jewels with her. In her mind's eye she could picture these traitors
rifling her bags and boxes in some dark pass, and then there were other
horrors that almost petrified her when she allowed herself to think of
Here and there the travelers passed by rude cots where dwelt woodmen and
mountaineers, and at long intervals a solitary but picturesque horseman
stood aside and gave them the road. As the coach penetrated deeper into
the gorge, signs of human life and activity became fewer. The sun could
not send his light into this shadowy tomb of granite. The rattle of the
wheels and the clatter of the horses' hoofs sounded like a constant
crash of thunder in the ears of the tender traveler, a dainty morsel
among hawks and wolves.
There was an unmistakable tremor in her voice when she at last found
heart to ask the officer where they were to spend the night. It was far
past noon and Aunt Fanny had suggested opening the lunch-baskets. One of
the guides was called back, the leader being as much in the dark as his
"There is no village within twenty miles," he said, "and we must sleep
in the pass."
Beverly's voice faltered. "Out here in all this awful--" Then she caught
herself quickly. It came to her suddenly that she must not let these men
see that she was apprehensive. Her voice was a trifle shrill and her
eyes glistened with a strange new light as she went on, changing her
tack completely: "How romantic! I've often wanted to do something like
The officer looked bewildered, and said nothing. Aunt Fanny was
speechless. Later on, when the lieutenant had gone ahead to confer with
the guides about the suspicious actions of a small troop of horsemen
they had seen, Beverly confided to the old negress that she was
frightened almost out of her boots, but that she'd die before the men
should see a sign of cowardice in a Calhoun. Aunt Fanny was not so proud
and imperious. It was with difficulty that her high-strung young
mistress suppressed the wails that long had been under restraint in Aunt
Fanny's huge and turbulent bosom.
"Good Lawd, Miss Bev'ly, dey'll chop us all to pieces an' take ouah
jewl'ry an' money an' clo'es and ev'ything else we done got about
us. Good Lawd, le's tu'n back, Miss Bev'ly. We ain' got no mo' show out
heah in dese mountings dan a--"
"Be still, Aunt Fanny!" commanded Beverly, with a fine show of
courage. "You must be brave. Don't you see we can't turn back? It's just
as dangerous and a heap sight more so. If we let on we're not one bit
afraid they'll respect us, don't you see, and men never harm women whom
"Umph!" grunted Aunt Fanny, with exaggerated irony.
"Well, they never do!" maintained Beverly, who was not at all sure about
it. "And they look like real nice men--honest men, even though they have
such awful whiskers."
"Dey's de wust trash Ah eveh did see," exploded Aunt Fanny.
"Sh! Don't let them hear you," whispered Beverly.
In spite of her terror and perplexity, she was compelled to smile. It
was all so like the farce comedies one sees at the theatre.
As the officer rode up, his face was pale in the shadowy light of the
afternoon and he was plainly nervous.
"What is the latest news from the front?" she inquired cheerfully.
"The men refuse to ride on," he exclaimed, speaking rapidly, making it
still harder for her to understand. "Our advance guard has met a party
of hunters from Axphain. They insist that you--'the fine lady in the
coach'--are the Princess Yetive, returning from a secret visit to
St. Petersburg, where you went to plead for assistance from the Czar."
Beverly Calhoun gasped in astonishment. It was too incredible to
believe. It was actually ludicrous. She laughed heartily. "How perfectly
"I am well aware that you are not the Princess Yetive," he continued
emphatically; "but what can I do; the men won't believe me. They swear
they have been tricked and are panic-stricken over the situation. The
hunters tell them that the Axphain authorities, fully aware of the
hurried flight of the Princess through these wilds, are preparing to
intercept her. A large detachment of soldiers are already across the
Graustark frontier. It is only a question of time before the 'red legs'
will be upon them. I have assured them that their beautiful charge is
not the Princess, but an American girl, and that there is no mystery
about the coach and escort. All in vain. The Axphain guides already feel
that their heads are on the block; while as for the Cossacks, not even
my dire threats of the awful anger of the White Czar, when he finds they
have disobeyed his commands, will move them."
"Speak to your men once more, sir, and promise them big purses of gold
when we reach Ganlook. I have no money or valuables with me; but there I
can obtain plenty," said Beverly, shrewdly thinking it better that they
should believe her to be without funds.
The cavalcade had halted during this colloquy. All the men were ahead
conversing sullenly and excitedly with much gesticulation. The driver, a
stolid creature, seemingly indifferent to all that was going on, alone
remained at his post. The situation, apparently dangerous, was certainly
most annoying. But if Beverly could have read the mind of that silent
figure on the box, she would have felt slightly relieved, for he was
infinitely more anxious to proceed than even she; but from far different
reasons. He was a Russian convict, who had escaped on the way to
Siberia. Disguised as a coachman he was seeking life and safety in
Graustark, or any out-of-the-way place. It mattered little to him where
the escort concluded to go. He was going ahead. He dared not go back--he
must go on.
At the end of half an hour, the officer returned; all hope had gone from
his face. "It is useless!" he cried out. "The guides refuse to
proceed. See! They are going off with their countrymen! We are lost
without them. I do not know what to do. We cannot get to Ganlook; I do
not know the way, and the danger is great. Ah! Madam! Here they come!
The Cossacks are going back."
As he spoke, the surly mutineers were riding slowly towards the
coach. Every man had his pistol on the high pommel of the saddle. Their
faces wore an ugly look. As they passed the officer, one of them,
pointing ahead of him with his sword, shouted savagely, "Balak!"
It was conclusive and convincing. They were deserting her.
"Oh, oh, oh! The cowards!" sobbed Beverly in rage and despair. "I must
go on! Is it possible that even such men would leave--"
She was interrupted by the voice of the officer, who, raising his cap to
her, commanded at the same time the driver to turn his horses and follow
the escort to Balak.
"What is that?" demanded Beverly in alarm.
From far off came the sound of firearms. A dozen shots were fired, and
reverberated down through the gloomy pass ahead of the coach.
"They are fighting somewhere in the hills in front of us," answered the
now frightened officer. Turning quickly, he saw the deserting horsemen
halt, listen a minute, and then spur their horses. He cried out sharply
to the driver, "Come, there! Turn round! We have no time to lose!"
With a savage grin, the hitherto motionless driver hurled some insulting
remark at the officer, who was already following his men, now in full
flight down the road, and settling himself firmly on the seat, taking a
fresh grip of the reins, he yelled to his horses, at the same time
lashing them furiously with his whip, and started the coach ahead at a
fearful pace. His only thought was to get away as far as possible from
the Russian officer, then deliberately desert the coach and its
occupants and take to the hills.
THE RAGGED RETINUE
Thoroughly mystified by the action of the driver and at length terrified
by the pace that carried them careening along the narrow road, Beverly
cried out to him, her voice shrill with alarm. Aunt Fanny was crouching
on the floor of the coach, between the seats, groaning and praying.
"Stop! Where are you going?" cried Beverly, putting her head recklessly
through the window. If the man heard her he gave no evidence of the
fact. His face was set forward and he was guiding the horses with a
firm, unquivering hand. The coach rattled and bounded along the
dangerous way hewn in the side of the mountain. A misstep or a false
turn might easily start the clumsy vehicle rolling down the declivity on
the right. The convict was taking desperate chances, and with a cool,
calculating brain, prepared to leap to the ground in case of accident
and save himself, without a thought for the victims inside.
"Stop! Turn around!" she cried in a frenzy. "We shall be killed! Are you
By this time they had struck a descent in the road and were rushing
along at breakneck speed into oppressive shadows that bore the first
imprints of night. Realizing at last that her cries were falling upon
purposely deaf ears, Beverly Calhoun sank back into the seat, weak and
terror-stricken. It was plain to her that the horses were not running
away, for the man had been lashing them furiously. There was but one
conclusion: he was deliberately taking her farther into the mountain
fastnesses, his purpose known only to himself. A hundred terrors
presented themselves to her as she lay huddled against the side of the
coach, her eyes closed tightly, her tender body tossed furiously about
with the sway of the vehicle. There was the fundamental fear that she
would be dashed to death down the side of the mountain, but apart from
this her quick brain was evolving all sorts of possible endings--none
short of absolute disaster.
Even as she prayed that something might intervene to check the mad rush
and to deliver her from the horrors of the moment, the raucous voice of
the driver was heard calling to his horses and the pace became
slower. The awful rocking and the jolting grew less severe, the clatter
resolved itself into a broken rumble, and then the coach stopped with a
Dragging herself from the corner, poor Beverly Calhoun, no longer a
disdainful heroine, gazed piteously out into the shadows, expecting the
murderous blade of the driver to meet her as she did so. Pauloff had
swung from the box of the coach and was peering first into the woodland
below and then upon the rocks to the left. He wore the expression of a
man trapped and seeking means of escape. Suddenly he darted behind the
coach, almost brushing against Beverly's hat as he passed the
window. She opened her lips to call to him, but even as she did so he
took to his heels and raced back over the road they had traveled so
Overcome by surprise and dismay, she only could watch the flight in
silence. Less than a hundred feet from where the coach was standing he
turned to the right and was lost among the rocks. Ahead, four horses,
covered with sweat, were panting and heaving as if in great distress
after their mad run. Aunt Fanny was still moaning and praying by turns
in the bottom of the carriage. Darkness was settling down upon the pass,
and objects a hundred yards away were swallowed by the gloom. There was
no sound save the blowing of the tired animals and the moaning of the
old negress. Beverly realized with a sinking heart that they were alone
and helpless in the mountains with night upon them.
She never knew where the strength and courage came from, but she forced
open the stubborn coachdoor and scrambled to the ground, looking
frantically in all directions for a single sign of hope. In the most
despairing terror she had ever experienced, she started toward the lead
horses, hoping against hope that at least one of her men had remained
A man stepped quietly from the inner side of the road and advanced with
the uncertain tread of one who is overcome by amazement. He was a
stranger, and wore an odd, uncouth garb. The failing light told her that
he was not one of her late protectors. She shrank back with a faint cry
of alarm, ready to fly to the protecting arms of hopeless Aunt Fanny if
her uncertain legs could carry her. At the same instant another ragged
stranger, then two, three, four, or five, appeared as if by magic, some
near her, others approaching from the shadows.
"Who--who in heaven's name are you?" she faltered. The sound of her own
voice in a measure restored the courage that had been paralyzed.
Unconsciously this slim sprig of southern valor threw back her shoulders
and lifted her chin. If they were brigands they should not find her a
cringing coward. After all, she was a Calhoun.
The man she had first observed stopped near the horses' heads and peered
intently at her from beneath a broad and rakish hat. He was tall and
appeared to be more respectably clad than his fellows, although there
was not one who looked as though he possessed a complete outfit of
"Poor wayfarers, may it please your highness," replied the tall
vagabond, bowing low. To her surprise he spoke in very good English; his
voice was clear, and there was a tinge of polite irony in the tones.
"But all people are alike in the mountains. The king and the thief, the
princess and the jade live in the common fold," and his hat swung so
low that it touched the ground.
"I am powerless. I only implore you to take what valuables you may find
and let us proceed unharmed--" she cried, rapidly, eager to have it
"Pray, how can your highness proceed? You have no guide, no driver, no
escort," said the man, mockingly. Beverly looked at him appealingly,
utterly without words to reply. The tears were welling to her eyes and
her heart was throbbing like that of a captured bird. In after life she
was able to picture in her mind's eye all the details of that tableau in
the mountain pass--the hopeless coach, the steaming horses, the rakish
bandit, and his picturesque men, the towering crags, and a mite of a
girl facing the end of everything.
"Your highness is said to be brave, but even your wonderful courage can
avail nothing in this instance," said the leader, pleasantly. "Your
escort has fled as though pursued by something stronger than shadows;
your driver has deserted; your horses are half-dead; you are indeed, as
you have said, powerless. And you are, besides all these, in the
clutches of a band of merciless cutthroats."
"Oh," moaned Beverly, suddenly leaning against the fore wheel, her eyes
almost starting from her head. The leader laughed quietly--yes,
good-naturedly. "Oh, you won't--you won't kill us?" She had time to
observe that there were smiles on the faces of all the men within the
circle of light.
"Rest assured, your highness," said the leader, leaning upon his
rifle-barrel with careless grace, "we intend no harm to you. Every man
you meet in Graustark is not a brigand, I trust, for your sake. We are
simple hunters, and not what we may seem. It is fortunate that you have
fallen into honest hands. There is someone in the coach?" he asked,
quickly alert. A prolonged groan proved to Beverly that Aunt Fanny had
screwed up sufficient courage to look out of the window.
"My old servant," she half whispered. Then, as several of the men
started toward the door: "But she is old and wouldn't harm a
fly. Please, please don't hurt her."
"Compose yourself; she is safe," said the leader. By this time it was
quite dark. At a word from him two or three men lighted lanterns. The
picture was more weird than ever in the fitful glow. "May I ask, your
highness, how do you intend to reach Edelweiss in your present
condition. You cannot manage those horses, and besides, you do not know
"Aren't you going to rob us?" demanded Beverly, hope springing to the
surface with a joyful bound. The stranger laughed heartily, and shook
"Do we not look like honest men?" he cried, with a wave of his hand
toward his companions. Beverly looked dubious. "We live the good, clean
life of the wilderness. Out-door life is necessary for our health. We
could not live in the city," he went on with grim humor. For the first
time, Beverly noticed that he wore a huge black patch over his left eye,
held in place by a cord. He appeared more formidable than ever under the
light of critical inspection.
THE RAGGED RETINUE
"I am very much relieved," said Beverly, who was not at all relieved."
But why have you stopped us in this manner?"
"Stopped you?" cried the man with the patch. "I implore you to unsay
that, your highness. Your coach was quite at a standstill before we knew
of its presence. You do us a grave injustice."
"It's very strange," muttered Beverly, somewhat taken aback.
"Have you observed that it is quite dark?" asked the leader, putting
away his brief show of indignation.
"Dear me; so it is!" cried she, now able to think more clearly.
"And you are miles from an inn or house of any kind," he went on. "Do
you expect to stay here all night?"
"I'm--I'm not afraid," bravely shivered Beverly.
"It is most dangerous."
"I have a revolver," the weak little voice went on.
"Oho! What is it for?"
"To use in case of emergency."
"Such as repelling brigands who suddenly appear upon the scene?"
"May I ask why you did not use it this evening?"
"Because it is locked up in one of my bags--I don't know just which
one--and Aunt Fanny has the key," confessed Beverly.
The chief of the "honest men" laughed again, a clear, ringing laugh that
bespoke supreme confidence in his right to enjoy himself.
"And who is Aunt Fanny?" he asked, covering his patch carefully with his
"My servant. She's colored."
"Colored?" he asked in amazement. "What do you mean?"
"Why, she's a negress. Don't you know what a colored person is?"
"You mean she is a slave--a black slave?"
"We don't own slaves any mo'--more." He looked more puzzled than
ever--then at last, to satisfy himself, walked over and peered into the
coach. Aunt Fanny set up a dismal howl; an instant later Sir Honesty was
pushed aside, and Miss Calhoun was anxiously trying to comfort her old
friend through the window. The man looked on in silent wonder for a
minute, and then strode off to where a group of his men stood talking.
"Is yo' daid yit, Miss Bev'ly--is de end came?" moaned Aunt
Fanny. Beverly could not repress a smile.
"I am quite alive, Auntie. These men will not hurt us. They are _very
nice_ gentlemen." She uttered the last observation in a loud voice
and it had its effect, for the leader came to her side with long
"Convince your servant that we mean no harm, your highness," he said
eagerly, a new deference in his voice and manner. "We have only the best
of motives in mind. True, the hills are full of lawless fellows and we
are obliged to fight them almost daily, but you have fallen in with
honest men--very nice gentlemen, I trust. Less than an hour ago we put a
band of robbers to flight--"
"I heard the shooting," cried Beverly. "It was that which put my escort
"They could not have been soldiers of Graustark, then, your highness,"
"They were Cossacks, or whatever you call them. But, pray, why do you
call me 'your highness'?" demanded Beverly. The tall leader swept the
ground with his hat once more.
"All the outside world knows the Princess Yetive--why not the humble
mountain man? You will pardon me, but every man in the hills knows that
you are to pass through on the way from St. Petersburg to Ganlook. We
are not so far from the world, after all, we rough people of the
hills. We know that your highness left St. Petersburg by rail last
Sunday and took to the highway day before yesterday, because the floods
had washed away the bridges north of Axphain. Even the hills have eyes
Beverly listened with increasing perplexity. It was true that she had
left St. Petersburg on Sunday; that the unprecedented floods had stopped
all railway traffic in the hills, compelling her to travel for many
miles by stage, and that the whole country was confusing her in some
strange way with the Princess Yetive. The news had evidently sped
through Axphain and the hills with the swiftness of fire. It would be
useless to deny the story; these men would not believe her. In a flash
she decided that it would be best to pose for the time being as the
ruler of Graustark. It remained only for her to impress upon Aunt Fanny
the importance of this resolution.
"What wise old hills they must be," she said, with evasive enthusiasm."
You cannot expect me to admit, however, that I am the princess," she
"It would not be just to your excellent reputation for tact if you did
so, your highness," calmly spoke the man. "It is quite as easy to say
that you are not the princess as to say that you are, so what matters,
after all? We reserve the right, however, to do homage to the queen who
rules over these wise old hills. I offer you the humble services of
myself and my companions. We are yours to command."
"I am very grateful to find that you are not brigands, believe me," said
Beverly. "Pray tell me who you are, then, and you shall be sufficiently
rewarded for your good intentions."
"I? Oh, your highness, I am Baldos, the goat-hunter, a poor subject for
reward at your hands. I may as well admit that I am a poacher, and have
no legal right to the prosperity of your hills. The only reward I can
ask is forgiveness for trespassing upon the property of others."
"You shall receive pardon for all transgressions. But you must get me to
some place of safety," said Beverly, eagerly.
"And quickly, too, you might well have added," he said, lightly. "The
horses have rested, I think, so with your permission we may proceed. I
know of a place where you may spend the night comfortably and be
refreshed for the rough journey to-morrow."
"To-morrow? How can I go on? I am alone," she cried, despairingly.
"Permit me to remind you that you are no longer alone. You have a ragged
following, your highness, but it shall be a loyal one. Will you re-enter
the coach? It is not far to the place I speak of, and I myself will
drive you there. Come, it is getting late, and your retinue, at least,
He flung open the coach door, and his hat swept the ground once
more. The light of a lantern played fitfully upon his dark, gaunt face,
with its gallant smile and ominous patch. She hesitated, fear entering
her soul once more. He looked up quickly and saw the indecision in her
eyes, the mute appeal.
"Trust me, your highness," he said, gravely, and she allowed him to hand
her into the coach.
A moment later he was upon the driver's box, reins in hand. Calling out
to his companions in a language strange to Beverly, he cracked the whip,
and once more they were lumbering over the wretched road. Beverly sank
back into the seat with a deep sigh of resignation.
"Well, I'm in for it," she thought. "It doesn't matter whether they are
thieves or angels, I reckon I'll have to take what comes. He doesn't
look very much like an angel, but he looked at me just now as if he
thought I were one. Dear me, I wish I were back in Washin'ton!"
THE INN OF THE HAWK AND RAVEN
Two of the men walked close beside the door, one of them bearing a
lantern. They conversed in low tones and in a language which Beverly
could not understand. After awhile she found herself analyzing the garb
and manner of the men. She was saying to herself that here were her
first real specimens of Graustark peasantry, and they were to mark an
ineffaceable spot in her memory. They were dark, strong-faced men of
medium height, with fierce, black eyes and long black hair. As no two
were dressed alike, it was impossible to recognize characteristic styles
of attire. Some were in the rude, baggy costumes of the peasant as she
had imagined him; others were dressed in the tight-fitting but
dilapidated uniforms of the soldiery, while several were in clothes
partly European and partly Oriental. There were hats and fezzes and
caps, some with feathers In the bands, others without. The man nearest
the coach wore the dirty gray uniform of as army officer, full of holes
and rents, while another strode along in a pair of baggy yellow trousers
and a dusty London dinner jacket. All in all, it was the motliest band
of vagabonds she had ever seen. There were at least ten or a dozen in
the party. While a few carried swords, all lugged the long rifles and
crooked daggers of the Tartars.
"Aunt Fanny," Beverly whispered, suddenly moving to the side of the
subdued servant, "where is my revolver?" It had come to her like a flash
that a subsequent emergency should not find her unprepared. Aunt Fanny's
jaw dropped, and her eyes were like white rings in a black screen.
"Good Lawd--wha--what fo' Miss Bev'ly--"
"Sh! Don't call me Miss Bev'ly. Now, just you pay 'tention to me and
I'll tell you something queer. Get my revolver right away, and don't let
those men see what you are doing." While Aunt Fanny's trembling fingers
went in search of the firearm, Beverly outlined the situation briefly
but explicitly. The old woman was not slow to understand. Her wits
sharpened by fear, she grasped Beverly's instructions with astonishing
"Ve'y well, yo' highness," she said with fine reverence, "Ah'll p'ocuah
de bottle o' pepp'mint fo' yo' if yo' jes don' mine me pullin' an'
haulin' 'mongst dese boxes. Mebbe yo' all 'druther hab de gingeh?" With
this wonderful subterfuge as a shield she dug slyly into one of the bags
and pulled forth a revolver. Under ordinary circumstances she would have
been mortally afraid to touch it, but not so in this emergency. Beverly
shoved the weapon into the pocket of her gray traveling jacket.
"I feel much better now, Aunt Fanny," she said, and Aunt Fanny gave a
"Yas, ma'am, indeed,--yo' highness," she agreed, suavely.
The coach rolled along for half an hour, and then stopped with a sudden
jolt. An instant later the tall driver appeared at the window, his head
uncovered. A man hard by held a lantern.
_"Qua vandos ar deltanet, yos serent,"_ said the leader, showing
his white teeth in a triumphant smile. His exposed eye seemed to be
glowing with pleasure and excitement.
"What?" murmured Beverly, hopelessly. A puzzled expression came into his
face. Then his smile deepened and his eye took on a knowing gleam.
"Ah, I see," he said, gaily, "your highness prefers not to speak the
language of Graustark. Is it necessary for me to repeat in English?"
"I really wish you would," said Beverly, catching her breath. "Just to
see how it sounds, you know."
"Your every wish shall be gratified. I beg to inform you that we have
reached the Inn of the Hawk and Raven. This is where we dwelt last
night. Tomorrow we, too, abandon the place, so our fortunes may run
together for some hours, at least. There is but little to offer you in
the way of nourishment, and there are none of the comforts of a
palace. Yet princesses can no more be choosers than beggars when the
fare's in one pot. Come, your highness, let me conduct you to the guest
chamber of the Inn of the Hawk and Raven."
Beverly took his hand and stepped to the ground, looking about in wonder
"I see no inn," she murmured apprehensively.
"Look aloft, your highness. That great black canopy is the roof; we are
standing upon the floor, and the dark shadows just beyond the circle of
light are the walls of the Hawk and Raven. This is the largest tavern in
all Graustark. Its dimensions are as wide as the world itself."
"You mean that there is no inn at all?" the girl cried in dismay.
"Alas, I must confess it. And yet there is shelter here. Come with
me. Let your servant follow." He took her by the hand, and led her away
from the coach, a ragged lantern-bearer preceding. Beverly's little
right hand was rigidly clutching the revolver in her pocket. It was a
capacious pocket, and the muzzle of the weapon bored defiantly into a
timid powder-rag that lay on the bottom. The little leather purse from
which it escaped had its silver lips opened as if in a broad grin of
derision, reveling in the plight of the chamois. The guide's hand was at
once firm and gentle, his stride bold, yet easy. His rakish hat, with
its aggressive red feather, towered a full head above Beverly's Parisian
"Have you no home at all--no house in which to sleep?" Beverly managed
"I live in a castle of air," said he, waving his hand gracefully. "I
sleep in the house of my fathers,"
"You poor fellow," cried Beverly, pityingly. He laughed and absently
patted the hilt of his sword.
She heard the men behind them turning the coach into the glen through
which they walked carefully. Her feet fell upon a soft, grassy sward and
the clatter of stones was now no longer heard. They were among the
shadowy trees, gaunt trunks of enormous size looming up in the light of
the lanterns. Unconsciously her thoughts went over to the Forest of
Arden and the woodland home of Rosalind, as she had imagined it to
be. Soon there came to her ears the swish of waters, as of some
turbulent river hurrying by. Instinctively she drew back and her eyes
were set with alarm upon the black wall of night ahead. Yetive had
spoken more than once of this wilderness. Many an unlucky traveler had
been lost forever in its fastnesses.
"It is the river, your highness. There is no danger. I will not lead you
into it," he said, a trifle roughly. "We are low in the valley and there
are marshes yonder when the river is in its natural bed. The floods have
covered the low grounds, and there is a torrent coming down from the
hills. Here we are, your highness. This is the Inn of the Hawk and
He bowed and pointed with his hat to the smouldering fire a short
distance ahead. They had turned a bend in the overhanging cliff, and
were very close to the retreat before she saw the glow.
The fire was in the open air and directly in front of a deep cleft in
the rocky background. Judging by the sound, the river could not be more
than two hundred feet away. Men came up with lanterns and others piled
brush upon the fire. In a very short time the glen was weirdly
illuminated by the dancing flames. From her seat on a huge log, Beverly
was thus enabled to survey a portion of her surroundings. The
overhanging ledge of rock formed a wide, deep canopy, underneath which
was perfect shelter. The floor seemed to be rich, grassless loam, and
here and there were pallets of long grass, evidently the couches of
these homeless men. All about were huge trees, and in the direction of
the river the grass grew higher and then gave place to reeds. The
foliage above was so dense that the moon and stars were invisible. There
was a deathly stillness in the air. The very loneliness was so appalling
that Beverly's poor little heart was in a quiver of dread. Aunt Fanny,
who sat near by, had not spoken since leaving the coach, but her eyes
were expressively active.
The tall leader stood near the fire, conversing with half a dozen of his
followers. Miss Calhoun's eyes finally rested upon this central figure
in the strange picture. He was attired in a dark-gray uniform that
reminded her oddly of the dragoon choruses in the comic operas at
home. The garments, while torn and soiled, were well-fitting. His
shoulders were broad and square, his hips narrow, his legs long and
straight. There was an air of impudent grace about him that went well
with his life and profession. Surely, here was a careless freelance upon
whom life weighed lightly, while death "stood afar off" and
despaired. The light of the fire brought his gleaming face into bold
relief, for his hat was off. Black and thick was his hair, rumpled and
apparently uncared for. The face was lean, smooth and strong, with a
devil-may-care curve at the corners of the mouth. Beverly found herself
lamenting the fact that such an interesting face should be marred by an
ugly black patch, covering she knew not what manner of defect. As for
the rest of them, they were a grim company. Some were young and
beardless, others were old and grizzly, but all were active, alert and
strong. The leader appeared to be the only one in the party who could
speak and understand the English language. As Beverly sat and watched
his virile, mocking face, and studied his graceful movements, she found
herself wondering how an ignorant, homeless wanderer in the hills could
be so poetic and so cultured as this fellow seemed to be.
Three or four men, who were unmistakably of a lower order than their
companions, set about preparing a supper. Others unhitched the tired
horses and led them off toward the river. Two dashing young fellows
carried the seat-cushions under the rocky canopy and constructed an
elaborate couch for the "Princess." The chief, with his own hands, soon
began the construction of a small chamber in this particular corner of
the cave, near the opening. The walls of the chamber were formed of
carriage robes and blankets, cloaks and oak branches.
"The guest chamber, your highness," he said, approaching her with a
smile at the conclusion of his work.
"It has been most interesting to watch you," she said, rising.
"And it has been a delight to interest you," he responded. "You will
find seclusion there, and you need see none of us until it pleases you."
She looked him fairly in the eye for a moment, and then impulsively
extended her hand. He clasped it warmly, but not without some show of
"I am trusting you implicitly," she said.
"The knave is glorified," was his simple rejoinder. He conducted her to
the improvised bed-chamber, Aunt Fanny following with loyal but
uncertain tread. "I regret, your highness, that the conveniences are so
few. We have no landlady except Mother Earth, no waiters, no porters, no
maids, in the Inn of the Hawk and Raven. This being a men's hotel, the
baths are on the river-front. I am having water brought to your
apartments, however, but it is with deepest shame and sorrow that I
confess we have no towels."
She laughed so heartily that his face brightened perceptibly, whilst the
faces of his men turned in their direction as though by concert.
"It is a typical mountain resort, then," she said, "I think I can manage
very well if you will fetch my bags to my room, sir."
"By the way, will you have dinner served in your room?" very
"If you don't mind, I'd like to eat in the public dining-room," said
she. A few minutes later Beverly was sitting upon one of her small
trunks and Aunt Fanny was laboriously brushing her dark hair.
"It's very jolly being a princess," murmured Miss Calhoun. She had
bathed her face in one of the leather buckets from the coach, and the
dust of the road had been brushed away by the vigorous lady-in-waiting.
"Yas, ma'am, Miss--yo' highness, hit's monstrous fine fo' yo', but whar
is Ah goin' to sleep? Out yondah, wif all dose scalawags?" said Aunt
"You shall have a bed in here, Aunt Fanny," said Beverly.
"Dey's de queeres' lot o' tramps Ah eveh did see, an' Ah wouldn' trust
'em 's fer as Ah could heave a brick house."
"But the leader is such a very courteous gentleman," remonstrated
"Yas, ma'am; he mussa came f'm Gawgia or Kaintuck," was Aunt Fanny's
The pseudo-princess dined with the vagabonds that night. She sat on the
log beside the tall leader, and ate heartily of the broth and broiled
goatmeat, the grapes and the nuts, and drank of the spring water which
took the place of wine and coffee and cordial. It was a strange supper
amid strange environments, but she enjoyed it as she had never before
enjoyed a meal. The air was full of romance and danger, and her
imagination was enthralled. Everything was so new and unreal that she
scarcely could believe herself awake. The world seemed to have gone back
to the days of Robin Hood and his merry men.
"You fare well at the Inn of the Hawk and Raven," she said to him, her
voice tremulous with excitement. He looked mournfully at her for a
moment and then smiled naively.
"It is the first wholesome meal we have had in two days," he replied.
"You don't mean it!"
"Yes. We were lucky with the guns to-day. Fate was kind to us--and to
you, for we are better prepared to entertain royalty to-day than at any
time since I have been in the hills of Graustark."
"Then you have not always lived in Graustark?"
"Alas, no, your highness. I have lived elsewhere."
"But you were born in the principality?"
"I am a subject of its princess in heart from this day forth, but not by
birth or condition. I am a native of the vast domain known to a few of
us as Circumstance," and he smiled rather recklessly.
"You are a poet, a delicious poet," cried Beverly, forgetting herself in
"Perhaps that is why I am hungry and unshorn. It had not occurred to me
in that light. When you are ready to retire, your highness," he said,
abruptly rising, "we shall be pleased to consider the Inn of the Hawk
and Raven closed for the night. Having feasted well, we should sleep
well. We have a hard day before us. With your consent, I shall place my
couch of grass near your door. I am the porter. You have but to call if
anything is desired."
She was tired, but she would have sat up all night rather than miss any
of the strange romance that had been thrust upon her. But Sir
Red-feather's suggestion savored of a command and she reluctantly made
her way to the flapping blanket that marked the entrance to the
bed-chamber. He drew the curtain aside, swung his hat low and muttered a
"May your highness's dreams be pleasant ones!" he said.
"Thank you," said she, and the curtain dropped impertinently. "That was
very cool of him, I must say," she added, as she looked at the wavering
When she went to sleep, she never knew; she was certain that her eyes
were rebellious for a long time and that she wondered how her gray dress
would look after she had slept in it all night. She heard low singing as
if in the distance, but after a while the stillness became so intense
that its pressure almost suffocated her. The rush of the river grew
louder and louder and there was a swishing sound that died in her ears
almost as she wondered what it meant. Her last waking thoughts were of
the "black-patch" poet. Was he lying near the door?
She was awakened in the middle of the night by the violent flapping of
her chamber door. Startled, she sat bolt upright and strained her eyes
to pierce the mysterious darkness. Aunt Fanny, on her bed of grass,
stirred convulsively, but did not awake. The blackness of the strange
chamber was broken ever and anon by faint flashes of light from without,
and she lived through long minutes of terror before it dawned upon her
that a thunderstorm was brewing. The wind was rising, and the night
seemed agog with excitement. Beverly crept from her couch and felt her
way to the fluttering doorway. Drawing aside the blanket she peered
forth into the night, her heart jumping with terror. Her highness was
very much afraid of thunder and lightning.
The fire in the open had died down until naught remained but a few
glowing embers. These were blown into brilliancy by the wind, casting a
steady red light over the scene. There was but one human figure in
sight. Beside the fire stood the tall wanderer. He was hatless and
coatless, and his arms were folded across his chest. Seemingly oblivious
to the approach of the storm, he stood staring into the heap of ashes at
his feet. His face was toward her, every feature plainly distinguishable
in the faint glow from the fire. To her amazement the black patch was
missing from the eye; and, what surprised her almost to the point of
exclaiming aloud, there appeared to be absolutely no reason for its
presence there at any time. There was no mark or blemish upon or about
the eye; it was as clear and penetrating as its fellow, darkly gleaming
in the red glow from below. Moreover, Beverly saw that he was strikingly
handsome--a strong, manly face. The highly imaginative southern girl's
mind reverted to the first portraits of Napoleon she had seen.
Suddenly he started, threw up his head and looking up to the sky uttered
some strange words. Then he strode abruptly toward her doorway. She fell
back breathless. He stopped just outside, and she knew that he was
listening for sounds from within. After many minutes she stealthily
looked forth again. He was standing near the fire, his back toward her,
looking off into the night.
The wind was growing stronger; the breezes fanned the night into a rush
of shivery coolness. Constant flickerings of lightning illuminated the
forest, transforming the tree-tops into great black waves. Tall reeds
along the river bank began to bend their tops, to swing themselves
gently to and from the wind. In the lowlands down from the cave "will o'
the wisps" played tag with "Jack o' the lanterns," merrily scampering
about in the blackness, reminding her of the revellers in a famous
Brocken scene. Low moans grew out of the havoc, and voices seemed to
speak in unintelligible whispers to the agitated twigs and leaves. The
secrets of the wind were being spread upon the records of the night;
tales of many climes passed through the ears of Nature.
From gentle undulations the marshland reeds swept into lower dips,
danced wilder minuets, lashed each other with infatuated glee, mocking
the whistle of the wind with an angry swish of their tall bodies.
Around the cornices of the Inn of the Hawk and Raven scurried the
singing breezes, reluctant to leave a playground so pleasing to the
fancy. Soon the night became a cauldron, a surging, hissing, roaring
receptacle in which were mixing the ingredients of disaster. Night-birds
flapped through the moaning tree-tops, in search of shelter; reeds were
flattened to the earth, bowing to the sovereignty of the wind; clouds
roared with the rumble of a million chariots, and then the sky and the
earth met in one of those savage conflicts that make all other warfare
seem as play.
As Beverly sank back from the crash, she saw him throw his arms aloft as
though inviting the elements to mass themselves and their energy upon
his head. She shrieked involuntarily and he heard the cry above the
carnage. Instantly his face was turned in her direction.
"Help! Help!" she cried. He bounded toward the swishing robes and
blankets, but his impulse had found a rival in the blast. Like a flash
the walls of the guest chamber were whisked away, scuttling off into the
night or back into the depths of the cavern. With the deluge came the
man. From among the stifling robes he snatched her up and bore her away,
she knew not whither.
THE HOME OF THE LION
"May all storms be as pleasant as this one!" she heard someone say, with
a merry laugh. The next instant she was placed soundly upon her feet. A
blinding flash of lightning revealed Baldos, the goat-hunter, at her
side, while a dozen shadowy figures were scrambling to their feet in all
corners of the Hawk and Raven. Someone was clutching her by the dress at
the knees. She did not have to look down to know that it was Aunt Fanny.
"Goodness!" gasped the princess, and then it was pitch dark again. The
man at her side called out a command in his own language, and then
turned his face close to hers.
"Do not be alarmed. We are quite safe now. The royal bed-chamber has
come to grief, however, I am sorry to say. What a fool I was not to have
foreseen all this! The storm has been brewing since midnight," he was
saying to her.
"Isn't it awful?" cried Beverly, between a moan a shriek.
"They are trifles after one gets used to them," he said. "I have come to
be quite at home in the tempest. There are other things much more
annoying, I assure your highness. We shall have lights in a moment."
Even as he spoke, two or three lanterns began to flicker feebly.
"Be quiet, Aunt Fanny; you are not killed at all," commanded Beverly,
"De house is suah to blow down. Miss--yo' highness," groaned the trusty
maidservant. Beverly laughed bravely but nervously with the tall
goat-hunter. He at once set about making his guest comfortable and
secure from the effects of the tempest, which was now at its height. Her
couch of cushions was dragged far back into the cavern and the rescued
blankets, though drenched, again became a screen.
"Do you imagine that I'm going in there while this storm rages?" Beverly
demanded, as the work progressed.
"Are you not afraid of lightning? Most young women are."
"That's the trouble. I am afraid of it. I'd much rather stay out here
where there is company. You don't mind, do you?"
"Paradise cannot be spurned by one who now feels its warmth for the
first time," said he, gallantly. "Your fear is my delight. Pray sit upon
our throne. It was once a humble carriage pail of leather, but now it is
exalted. Besides, it is much more comfortable than some of the gilded
chairs we hear about."
"You are given to irony, I fear," she said, observing a peculiar smile
on his lips.
"I crave pardon, your highness," he said, humbly "The heart of the
goat-hunter is more gentle than his wit. I shall not again forget that
you are a princess and I the veriest beggar."
"I didn't mean to hurt you!" she cried, in contrition, for she was a
very poor example of what a princess is supposed to be.
"There is no wound, your highness," he quickly said. With a mocking
grace that almost angered her, he dropped to his knee and motioned for
her to be seated. She sat down suddenly, clapping her hands to her ears
and shutting her eyes tightly. The crash of thunder that came at that
instant was the most fearful of all, and it was a full minute before she
dared to lift her lids again. He was standing before her, and there was
genuine compassion in his face. "It's terrible," he said. "Never before
have I seen such a storm. Have courage, your highness; it can last but
"Goodness!" said the real American girl, for want of something more
"Your servant has crept into your couch, I fear. Shall I sit here at
your feet? Perhaps you may feel a small sense of security if I--"
"Indeed, I want you to sit there," she cried. He forthwith threw himself
upon the floor of the cave, a graceful, respectful guardian. Minutes
went by without a word from either. The noise of the storm made it
impossible to speak and be heard. Scattered about the cavern were his
outstretched followers, doubtless asleep once more in all this
turmoil. With the first lull in the war of the elements, Beverly gave
utterance to the thought that long had been struggling for release.
"Why do you wear that horrid black patch over your eye?" she asked, a
trifle timidly. He muttered a sharp exclamation and clapped his hand to
his eye. For the first time since the beginning of their strange
acquaintanceship Beverly observed downright confusion in this debonair
knight of the wilds.
"It has--has slipped off--" he stammered, with a guilty grin. His merry
insolence was gone, his composure with it. Beverly laughed with keen
enjoyment over the discomfiture of the shame-faced vagabond.
"You can't fool me," she exclaimed, shaking her finger at him in the
most unconventional way. "It was intended to be a disguise. There is
absolutely nothing the matter with your eye."
He was speechless for a moment, recovering himself. Wisdom is conceived
in silence, and he knew this. Vagabond or gentleman, he was a clever
"The eye is weak, your highness, and I cover it in the daytime to
protect it from the sunlight," he said, coolly.
"That's all very nice, but it looks to be quite as good as the
other. And what is more, sir, you are not putting the patch over the
same eye that wore it when I first saw you. It was the left eye at
sunset. Does the trouble transfer after dark?"
He broke into an honest laugh and hastily moved the black patch across
his nose to the left eye.
"I was turned around in the darkness, that's all," he said, serenely."
It belongs over the left eye, and I am deeply grateful to you for
discovering the error."
"I don't see any especial reason why you should wear it after dark, do
you? There is no sunlight, I'm sure."
"I am dazzled, nevertheless," he retorted.
"Fiddlesticks!" she said. "This is a cave, not a drawing-room."
"In other words, I am a lout and not a courtier," he smiled. "Well, a
lout may look at a princess. We have no court etiquette in the hills, I
am sorry to say."
"That was very unkind, even though you said it most becomingly," she
protested. "You have called this pail a throne. Let us also imagine that
you are a courtier."
"You punish me most gently, your highness. I shall not forget my manners
again, believe me." He seemed thoroughly subdued.
"Then I shall expect you to remove that horrid black thing. It is
positively villainous. You look much better without it."
"Is it an edict or a compliment?" he asked with such deep gravity that
"It is neither," she answered. "You don't have to take it off unless you
"In either event, it is off. You were right. It serves as a partial
disguise. I have many enemies and the black patch is a very good
"How perfectly lovely," cried Beverly. "Tell me all about it. I adore
stories about feuds and all that."
"Your husband is an American. He should be able to keep you well
entertained with blood-and-thunder stories," said he.
"My hus--What do you--Oh, yes!" gasped Beverly. "To be sure. I didn't
hear you, I guess. That was rather a severe clap of thunder, wasn't it?"
"Is that also a command?"
"What do you mean?"
"There was no thunderclap, you know."
"Oh, wasn't there?" helplessly.
"The storm is quite past. There is still a dash of rain in the air and
the wind may be dying hard, but aside from that I think the noise is
"I believe you are right. How sudden it all was."
"There are several hours between this and dawn, your highness, and you
should try to get a little more sleep. Your cushions are dry and--"
"Very well, since you are so eager to get rid of--" began Beverly, and
then stopped, for it did not sound particularly regal. "I should have
said, you are very thoughtful. You will call me if I sleep late?"
"We shall start early, with your permission. It is forty miles to
Ganlook, and we must be half way there by nightfall."
"Must we spend another night like this?" cried Beverly, dolefully.
"Alas, I fear you must endure us another night. I am afraid, however, we
shall not find quarters as comfortable as these of the Hawk and Raven."
"I didn't mean to be ungrateful and--er--snippish," she said, wondering
if he knew the meaning of the word.
"No?" he said politely, and she knew he did not--whereupon she felt
"You know you speak such excellent English," she said irrelevantly.
He bowed low. As he straightened his figure, to his amazement, he beheld
an agonizing look of horror on her face; her eyes riveted on the mouth
of the cavern. Then, there came an angrier sound, unlike any that had
gone before in that night of turmoil.
"Look there! Quick!"
The cry of terror from the girl's palsied lips, as she pointed to
something behind him, awoke the mountain man to instant
action. Instinctively, he snatched his long dagger from its sheath and
turned quickly. Not twenty feet from them a huge cat-like beast stood
half crouched on the edge of the darkness, his long tail switching
angrily. The feeble light from the depth of the cave threw the long,
water-soaked visitor into bold relief against the black wall beyond.
Apparently, he was as much surprised as the two who glared at him, as
though frozen to the spot. A snarling whine, a fierce growl, indicated
his fury at finding his shelter--his lair occupied.
"My God! A mountain lion! Ravone! Franz! To me!" he cried hoarsely, and
sprang before her shouting loudly to the sleepers.
A score of men, half awake, grasped their weapons and struggled to their
feet in answer to his call. The lion's gaunt body shot through the
air. In two bounds, he was upon the goat-hunter. Baldos stood squarely
and firmly to meet the rush of the maddened beast, his long dagger
poised for the death-dealing blow.
"Run!" he shouted to her.
Beverly Calhoun had fighting blood in her veins. Utterly unconscious of
her action, at the time, she quickly drew the little silver-handled
revolver from the pocket of her gown. As man, beast and knife came
together, in her excitement she fired recklessly at the combatants
without any thought of the imminent danger of killing her
protector. There was a wild scream of pain from the wounded beast, more
pistol shots, fierce yells from the excited hunters, the rush of feet
and then the terrified and almost frantic girl staggered and fell
against the rocky wall. Her wide gray eyes were fastened upon the
writhing lion and the smoking pistol was tightly clutched in her hand.
It had all occurred in such an incredible short space of time that she
could not yet realize what had happened.
Her heart and brain seemed paralyzed, her limbs stiff and
immovable. Like the dizzy whirl of a kaleidoscope, the picture before
her resolved itself into shape.
The beast was gasping his last upon the rocky floor, the hilt of the
goat hunter's dagger protruding from his side. Baldos, supported by two
of his men, stood above the savage victim, his legs covered with blood.
The cave was full of smoke and the smell of powder. Out of the haze she
began to see the light of understanding. Baldos alone was injured. He
had stood between her and the rush of the lion, and he had saved her, at
a cost she knew not how great.
"Oh, the blood!" she cried hoarsely. "Is it--is it--are you badly hurt?"
She was at his side, the pistol falling from her nervous fingers.
"Don't come near me; I'm all right," he cried quickly.
"Take care--your dress--"
"Oh, I'm so glad to hear you speak! Never mind the dress! You are torn
to pieces! You must be frightfully hurt. Oh, isn't it
terrible--horrible! Aunt Fanny! Come here this minute!"
Forgetting the beast and throwing off the paralysis of fear, she pushed
one of the men away and grasped the arm of the injured man. He winced
perceptibly and she felt something warm and sticky on her hands. She
knew it was blood, but it was not in her to shrink at a moment like
"Your arm, too!" she gasped. He smiled, although his face was white with
pain. "How brave you were! You might have been--I'll never forget
it--never! Don't stand there, Aunt Fanny! Quick! Get those cushions for
him. He's hurt."
"Good Lawd!" was all the old woman could say, but she obeyed her
"It was easier than it looked, your highness," murmured Baldos. "Luck
was with me. The knife went to his heart. I am merely scratched. His
leap was short, but he caught me above the knees with his claws. Alas,
your highness, these trousers of mine were bad enough before, but now
they are in shreds. What patching I shall have to do! And you may well
imagine we are short of thread and needles and thimbles--"
"Don't jest, for heaven's sake! Don't talk like that. Here! Lie down
upon these cushions and--"
"Never! Desecrate the couch of Graustark's ruler? I, the poor
goat-hunter? I'll use the lion for a pillow and the rock for an
operating table. In ten minutes my men can have these scratches dressed
and bound--in fact, there is a surgical student among them, poor
fellow. I think I am his first patient. Ravone, attend me."
He threw himself upon the ground and calmly placed his head upon the
body of the animal.
"I insist upon your taking these cushions," cried Beverly.
"And I decline irrevocably." She stared at him in positive anger. "Trust
Ravone to dress these trifling wounds, your highness. He may not be as
gentle, but he is as firm as any princess in all the world."
"But your arm?" she cried. "Didn't you say it was your legs? Your arm is
covered with blood, too. Oh, dear me, I'm afraid you are frightfully
"A stray bullet from one of my men struck me there, I think. You know
there was but little time for aiming--?"
"Wait! Let me think a minute! Good heavens!" she exclaimed with a
start. Her eyes were suddenly filled with tears and there was a break in
her voice. "I shot you! Don't deny it--don't! It is the right arm, and
your men could not have hit it from where they stood. Oh, oh, oh!"
Baldos smiled as he bared his arm. "Your aim was good," he
admitted. "Had not my knife already been in the lion's heart, your
bullet would have gone there. It is my misfortune that my arm was in the
way. Besides, your highness, it has only cut through the skin--and a
little below, perhaps. It will be well in a day or two, I am sure you
will find your bullet in the carcass of our lamented friend, the
probable owner of this place."
Ravone, a hungry-looking youth, took charge of the wounded leader, while
her highness retreated to the farthest corner of the cavern. There she
sat and trembled while the wounds were being dressed. Aunt Fanny bustled
back and forth, first unceremoniously pushing her way through the circle
of men to take observations, and then reporting to the impatient
girl. The storm had passed and the night was still, except for the rush
of the river; raindrops fell now and then from the trees, glistening
like diamonds as they touched the light from the cavern's mouth. It was
all very dreary, uncanny and oppressive to poor Beverly. Now and then
she caught herself sobbing, more out of shame and humiliation than in
sadness, for had she not shot the man who stepped between her and death?
What must he think of her?
"He says yo' all 'd betteh go to baid, Miss Bev--yo' highness," said
Aunt Fanny after one of her trips.
"Oh, he does, does he?" sniffed Beverly. "I'll go to bed when I
please. Tell him so. No, no--don't do it, Aunt Fanny! Tell him I'll go
to bed when I'm sure he is quite comfortable, not before."
"But he's jes' a goat puncheh er a--"
"He's a man, if there ever was one. Don't let me hear you call him a
goat puncher again. How are his legs?" Aunt Fanny was almost stunned by
this amazing question from her ever-decorous mistress. "Why don't you
answer? Will they have to be cut off? Didn't you see them?"
"Fo' de Lawd's sake, missy, co'se Ah did, but yo' all kindeh susprise
me. Dey's p'etty bad skun up, missy; de hide's peeled up consid'ble. But
hit ain' dang'ous,--no, ma'am. Jes' skun, 'at's all."
"And his arm--where I shot him?"
"Puffec'ly triflin', ma'am,--yo' highness. Cobwebs 'd stop de bleedin'
an' Ah tole 'em so, but 'at felleh couldn' un'stan' me. Misteh
what's-his-names he says something to de docteh, an' den dey goes afteh
de cobwebs, suah 'nough. 'Tain' bleedin' no mo', missy. He's mostes'
neah doin' we'y fine. Co'se, he cain' walk fo' sev'l days wiv dem laigs
o' his'n, but--"
"Then, in heaven's name, how are we to get to Edelweiss?"
"He c'n ride, cain't he? Wha's to hindeh him?"
"Quite right. He shall ride inside the coach. Go and see if I can do
anything for him."
Aunt Fanny returned in a few minutes.
"He says yo'll do him a great favoh if yo' jes' go to baid. He sends his
'spects an' hopes yo' slumbeh won' be distubbed ag'in."
"He's a perfect brute!" exclaimed Beverly, but she went over and crawled
under the blankets and among the cushions the wounded man had scorned.
SOME FACTS AND FANCIES
There was a soft, warm, yellow glow to the world when Beverly Calhoun
next looked upon it. The sun from his throne in the mountain tops was
smiling down upon the valley the night had ravaged while he was on the
other side of the earth. The leaves of the trees were a softer green,
the white of the rocks and the yellow of the road were of a gentler
tint; the brown and green reeds were proudly erect once more.
The stirring of the mountain men had awakened Aunt Fanny, and she in
turn called her mistress from the surprisingly peaceful slumber into
which perfect health had sent her not so many hours before. At the
entrance to the improvised bedchamber stood buckets of water from the
"We have very thoughtful chambermaids," remarked Beverly while Aunt
Fanny was putting her hair into presentable shape. "And an energetic
cook," she added as the odor of broiled meat came to her nostrils.
"Ah cain' see nothin' o' dat beastes, Miss Beverly--an'--Ah--Ah got mah
suspicions," said Aunt Fanny, with sepulchral despair in her voice.
"They've thrown the awful thing into the river," concluded Beverly.
"Dey's cookin' hit!" said Aunt Fanny solemnly.
"Good heaven, no!" cried Beverly. "Go and see, this minute. I wouldn't
eat that catlike thing for the whole world." Aunt Fanny came back a few
minutes later with the assurance that they were roasting goat meat. The
skin of the midnight visitor was stretched upon the ground not far away.
"And how is he?" asked Beverly, jamming a hat pin through a helpless
bunch of violets.
"He's ve'y 'spectably skun, yo' highness."
"I don't mean the animal, stupid."
"Yo' mean 'at Misteh Goat man? He's settin' up an' chattin' as if
nothin' happened. He says to me 'at we staht on ouah way jes' as soon as
yo' all eats yo' b'eakfus'. De bosses is hitched up an'--"
"Has everybody else eaten? Am I the only one that hasn't? "cried
"'Ceptin' me, yo' highness. Ah'm as hungry as a poah man's dawg, an'--"
"And he is being kept from the hospital because I am a lazy,
good-for-nothing little--Come on, Aunt Fanny; we haven't a minute to
spare. If he looks very ill, we do without breakfast."
But Baldos was the most cheerful man in the party. He was sitting with
his back against a tree, his right arm in a sling of woven reeds, his
black patch set upon the proper eye.
"You will pardon me for not rising," he said cheerily, "but, your
highness, I am much too awkward this morning to act as befitting a
courtier in the presence of his sovereign. You have slept well?"
"Too well, I fear. So well, in fact, that you have suffered for
it. Can't we start at once?" She was debating within herself whether it
would be quite good form to shake hands with the reclining hero. In the
glare of the broad daylight he and his followers looked more ragged and
famished than before, but they also appeared more picturesquely