Part 1 out of 2
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RICHARD HARDING DAVIS
The King's Jackal
The private terrace of the Hotel Grand Bretagne, at Tangier,
was shaded by a great awning of red and green and yellow, and
strewn with colored mats, and plants in pots, and wicker
chairs. It reached out from the Kings apartments into the
Garden of Palms, and was hidden by them on two sides, and
showed from the third the blue waters of the Mediterranean and
the great shadow of Gibraltar in the distance.
The Sultan of Morocco had given orders from Fez that the King
of Messina, in spite of his incognito, should be treated
during his stay in Tangier with the consideration due to his
rank, so one-half of the Hotel Grand Bretagne had been set
aside for him and his suite, and two soldiers of the Bashaw's
Guard sat outside of his door with drawn swords. They were
answerable with their heads for the life and safety of the
Sultan's guest, and as they could speak no language but their
own, they made a visit to his Majesty more a matter of
adventure than of etiquette.
Niccolas, the King's majordomo, stepped out upon the terrace
and swept the Mediterranean with a field-glass for the third
time since sunrise. He lowered it, and turned doubtfully
toward the two soldiers.
"The boat from Gibraltar--has she arrived yet?" he asked.
The two ebony figures shook their heads stiffly, as though
they resented this introduction of a foreign language, and
continued to shake their heads as the servant addressed the
same question to them in a succession of strange tongues.
"Well," said Colonel Erhaupt, briskly, as he followed Niccolas
out upon the terrace, "has the boat arrived? And the launch
from the yacht," he continued, "has it started for shore yet?"
The man pointed to where the yacht lay, a mile outside the
harbor, and handed him the glass.
"It is but just now leaving the ship's side," he said. "But I
cannot make out who comes in her. Ah, pardon," he added
quickly, as he pointed to a stout elderly gentleman who walked
rapidly toward them through the garden. "The Gibraltar boat
must be in, sir. Here is Baron Barrat coming up the path."
Colonel Erhaupt gave an exclamation of satisfaction, and waved
his hand to the newcomer in welcome.
"Go tell his Majesty," he said to the servant.
The man hesitated and bowed. "His Majesty still sleeps."
"Wake him," commanded Erhaupt. "Tell him I said to do so.
Well, Baron," he cried, gayly, as he stepped forward,
"welcome--or are you welcome?" he added, with an uneasy laugh.
"I should be. I have succeeded," the other replied gruffly,
as he brushed past him. "Where is the King?"
"He will be here in a moment. I have sent to wake him. And
you have been successful? Good. I congratulate you. How far
The Baron threw himself into one of the wicker chairs, and
clapped his hands impatiently for a servant. "Twelve thousand
pounds in all," he replied. "That's more than he expected.
It was like pulling teeth at first. I want some coffee at
once," he said to the attendant, "and a bath. That boat
reeked with Moors and cattle, and there was no wagon-lit on
the train from Madrid. I sat up all night, and played cards
with that young Cellini. Have Madame Zara and Kalonay
returned? I see the yacht in the harbor. Did she succeed?"
"We do not know; the boat only arrived at daybreak. They are
probably on the launch that is coming in now."
As Barrat sipped his coffee and munched his rolls with the
silent energy of a hungry man, the Colonel turned and strode
up and down the terrace, pulling at his mustache and glancing
sideways. When the Baron had lighted a cigarette and thrown
himself back in his chair, Erhaupt halted and surveyed him in
"You have been gone over two weeks," he said. "I should like
to see you accomplish as much in as short a time," growled the
other. "You know Paris. You know how hard it is to get
people to be serious there. I had the devil's own time at
first. You got my cablegram?"
"Yes; it wasn't encouraging."
"Well, I wasn't hopeful myself. They wouldn't believe a word
of it at first. They said Louis hadn't shown such great love
for his country or his people since his exile that they could
feel any confidence in him, and that his conduct in the last
six years did not warrant their joining any undertaking in
which he was concerned. You can't blame them. They've backed
him so many times already, and they've been bitten, and
they're shy, naturally. But I swore he was repentant, that he
saw the error of his ways, that he wanted to sit once more
before he died on the throne of his ancestors, and that he
felt it was due to his son that he should make an effort to
get him back his birthright. It was the son won them.
`Exhibit A' I call him. None of them would hear of it until I
spoke of the Prince. So when I saw that, I told them he was a
fine little chap, healthy and manly and brave, and devoted to
his priest, and all that rot, and they began to listen. At
first they wanted his Majesty to abdicate, and give the boy a
clear road to the crown, but of course I hushed that up. I
told them we were acting advisedly, that we had reason to know
that the common people of Messina were sick of the Republic,
and wanted their King; that Louis loved the common people like
a father; that he would re-establish the Church in all her
power, and that Father Paul was working day and night for us,
and that the Vatican was behind us. Then I dealt out
decorations and a few titles, which Louis has made smell so
confoundedly rank to Heaven that nobody would take them. It
was like a game. I played one noble gentleman against
another, and gave this one a portrait of the King one day, and
the other a miniature of `Exhibit A' the next and they grew
jealous, and met together, and talked it over, and finally
unlocked their pockets. They contributed about L9,000
between them. Then the enthusiasm spread to the women, and
they gave me their jewels, and a lot of youngsters volunteered
for the expedition, and six of them came on with me in the
train last night. I won two thousand francs from that boy
Cellini on the way down. They're all staying at the
Continental. I promised them an audience this morning."
"Good," commented the Colonel, "good--L9,000. I suppose you
took out your commission in advance?"
"I took out nothing," returned the other, angrily. "I brought
it all with me, and I have a letter from each of them stating
just what he or she subscribed toward the expedition,--the
Duke Dantiz, so much; the Duke D'Orvay, 50,000 francs; the
Countess Mattini, a diamond necklace. It is all quite
regular. I played fair." The Colonel had stopped in his
walk, and had been peering eagerly down the leafy path through
the garden. "Is that not Zara coming now?" he asked. "Look,
your eyes are better than mine."
Barrat rose quickly, and the two men walked forward, and
bowed with the easy courtesy of old comrades to a tall, fair
girl who came hurriedly up the steps. The Countess Zara was a
young woman, but one who had stood so long on guard against
the world, that the strain had told, and her eyes were hard
and untrustful, so that she looked much older than she really
was. Her life was of two parts. There was little to be told
of the first part; she was an English girl who had come from a
manufacturing town to study art and live alone in Paris, where
she had been too indolent to work, and too brilliant to remain
long without companions eager for her society. Through them
and the stories of her wit and her beauty, she had come to
know the King of Messina, and with that meeting the second
part of her life began; for she had found something so
attractive, either in his title or in the cynical humor of the
man himself, that for the last two years she had followed his
fortunes, and Miss Muriel Winter, art student, had become the
Countess Zara, and an uncrowned queen. She was beautiful,
with great masses of yellow hair and wonderful brown eyes.
Her manner when she spoke seemed to show that she despised the
world and those in it almost as thoroughly as she despised
On the morning of her return from Messina, she wore a blue
serge yachting suit with a golf cloak hanging from her
shoulders, and as she crossed the terrace she pulled nervously
at her gloves and held out her hand covered with jewels to
each of the two men.
"I bring good news," she said, with an excited laugh. "Where
"I will tell his Majesty that you have come. You are most
welcome," the Baron answered.
But as he turned to the door it opened from the inside and the
king came toward them, shivering and blinking his eyes in the
bright sunlight. It showed the wrinkles and creases around
his mouth and the blue veins under the mottled skin, and the
tiny lines at the corners of his little bloodshot eyes that
marked the pace at which he had lived as truthfully as the
rings on a tree-trunk tell of its quiet growth.
He caught up his long dressing-gown across his chest as though
it were a mantle, and with a quick glance to see that there
were no other witnesses to his deshabille, bent and kissed the
woman's hand, and taking it in his own stroked it gently.
"My dear Marie," he lisped, "it is like heaven to have you
back with us again. We have felt your absence every hour.
Pray be seated, and pardon my robe. I saw you through the
blinds and could not wait. Tell us the glorious news. The
Baron's good words I have already overheard; I listened to
them with great entertainment while I was dressing. I hoped
he would say something discourteous or foolish, but he was
quite discreet until he told Erhaupt that he had kept back
none of the money. Then I lost interest. Fiction is never so
entertaining to me as the truth and real people. But tell us
now of your mission and of all you did; and whether successful
or not, be assured you are most welcome."
The Countess Zara smiled at him doubtfully and crossed her
hands in her lap, glancing anxiously over her shoulder.
"I must be very brief, for Kalonay and Father Paul are close
behind me," she said. "They only stopped for a moment at the
custom-house. Keep watch, Baron, and tell me when you see
Barrat moved his chair so that it faced the garden-path, the
King crossed his legs comfortably and wrapped his padded
dressing-robe closer around his slight figure, and Erhaupt
stood leaning on the back of his chair with his eyes fixed on
the fine insolent beauty of the woman before them.
She nodded her head toward the soldiers who sat at the
entrance to the terrace, as silent and immovable as blind
beggars before a mosque. "Do they understand?" she asked.
"No," the King assured her. "They understand nothing, but
that they are to keep people away from me--and they do it very
well. I wish I could import them to Paris to help Niccolas
fight off creditors. Continue, we are most impatient."
"We left here last Sunday night, as you know," she said. "We
passed Algiers the next morning and arrived off the island at
mid-day, anchoring outside in the harbor. We flew the Royal
Yacht Squadron's pennant, and an owner's private signal that
we invented on the way down. They sent me ashore in a boat,
and Kalonay and Father Paul continued on along the southern
shore, where they have been making speeches in all the
coast-towns and exciting the people in favor of the
revolution. I heard of them often while I was at the capital,
but not from them. The President sent a company of carbineers
to arrest them the very night they returned and smuggled me on
board the yacht again. We put off as soon as I came over the
side and sailed directly here.
"As soon as I landed on Tuesday I went to the Hotel de
Messina, and sent my card to the President. He is that man
Palaccio, the hotel-keeper's son, the man you sent out of the
country for writing pamphlets against the monarchy, and who
lived in Sicily during his exile. He gave me an audience at
once, and I told my story. As he knew who I was, I explained
that I had quarrelled with you, and that I was now prepared to
sell him the secrets of an expedition which you were fitting
out with the object of re-establishing yourself on the throne.
He wouldn't believe that there was any such expedition, and
said it was blackmail, and threatened to give me to the police
if I did not leave the island in twenty-four hours--he was
exceedingly rude. So I showed him receipts for ammunition and
rifles and Maxim guns, and copies of the oath of allegiance to
the expedition, and papers of the yacht, in which she was
described as an armored cruiser, and he rapidly grew polite,
even humble, and I made him apologize first, and then take me
out to luncheon. That was the first day. The second day
telegrams began to come in from the coast-towns, saying that
the Prince Kalonay and Father Paul were preaching and exciting
the people to rebellion, and travelling from town to town in a
man-of-war. Then he was frightened. The Prince with his
popularity in the south was alarming enough, but the Prince
and Father Superior to help him seemed to mean the end of the
"I learned while I was down there that the people think the
father put some sort of a ban on every one who had anything to
do with driving the Dominican monks out of the island and with
the destruction of the monasteries. I don't know whether he
did or not, but they believe he did, which is the same thing,
and that superstitious little beast, the President, certainly
believed it; he attributed everything that had gone wrong on
the island to that cause. Why, if a second cousin of the wife
of a brother of one of the men who helped to fire a church
falls off his horse and breaks his leg they say that he is
under the curse of the Father Superior, and there are many who
believe the Republic will never succeed until Paul returns and
the Church is re-established. The Government seems to have
kept itself well informed about your Majesty's movements, and
it has never felt any anxiety that you would attempt to
return, and it did not fear the Church party because it knew
that without you the priests could do nothing. But when Paul,
whom the common people look upon as a living saint and martyr,
returned hand in hand with your man Friday, they were in a
panic and felt sure the end had come. So the President called
a hasty meeting of his Cabinet. And such a Cabinet! I wish
you could have seen them, Louis, with me in the centre playing
on them like an advocate before a jury. They were the most
dreadful men I ever met, bourgeois and stupid and ugly to a
degree. Two of them were commission-merchants, and one of
them is old Dr. Gustavanni, who kept the chemist's shop in the
Piazza Royale. They were quite silly with fear, and they
begged me to tell them how they could avert the fall of the
Republic and prevent your landing. And I said that it was
entirely a question of money; that if we were paid
sufficiently the expedition would not land and we would leave
them in peace, but that----"
The King shifted his legs uneasily, and coughed behind his
thin, pink fingers.
"That was rather indiscreet, was it not, Marie?" he murmured.
"The idea was to make them think that I, at least, was
sincere; was not that it? To make it appear that though there
were traitors in his camp, the King was in most desperate
earnest? If they believe that, you see, it will allow me to
raise another expedition as soon as the money we get for this
one is gone; but if you have let them know that I am the one
who is selling out, you have killed the goose that lays the
golden eggs. They will never believe us when we cry wolf
"You must let me finish," Zara interrupted. "I did not
involve you in the least. I said that there were traitors in
the camp of whom I was the envoy, and that if they would pay
us 300,000 francs we would promise to allow the expedition
only to leave the yacht. Their troops could then make a show
of attacking our landing-party and we would raise the cry of
`treachery' and retreat to the boats. By this we would
accomplish two things,--we would satisfy those who, had
contributed funds toward the expedition that we had at least
made an honest effort, and your Majesty would be discouraged
by such treachery from ever attempting another attack. The
money was to be paid two weeks later in Paris, to me or to
whoever brings this ring that I wear. The plan we finally
agreed upon is this: The yacht is to anchor off Basnai next
Thursday night. At high tide, which is just about daybreak,
we are to lower our boats and land our men on that long beach
to the south of the break-water. The troops of the Republic
are to lie hidden in the rocks until our men have formed.
Then they are to fire over their heads, and we are to retreat
in great confusion, return to the yacht, and sail away. Two
weeks later they are to pay the money into my hands, or," she
added, with a smile, as she held up her fourth finger, "to
whoever brings this ring. And I need not say that the ring
will not leave my finger."
There was a moment's pause, as though the men were waiting to
learn if she had more to tell, and then the King threw back
his head and laughed softly. He saw Erhaupt's face above his
shoulder, filled with the amazement and indignation of a man
who as a duellist and as a soldier had shown a certain brute
courage, and the King laughed again.
"What do you think of that, Colonel?" he cried, gayly. "They
are a noble race, my late subjects."
"Bah!" exclaimed the German. "I didn't know we were dealing
with a home for old women."
The Baron laughed comfortably. "It is like taking money from
a blind beggar's hat," he said.
"Why, with two hundred men that I could pick up in London,"
Erhaupt declared, contemptuously, "I would guarantee to put
you on the throne in a fortnight."
"Heaven forbid!" exclaimed his Majesty. "So they surrendered
as quickly as that, did they?" he asked, nodding toward Madame
Zara to continue.
The Countess glanced again over her shoulder and bit her lips
in some chagrin. Her eyes showed her disappointment. "It may
seem an easy victory to you," she said, consciously, "but I
doubt, knowing all the circumstances, if any of your Majesty's
gentlemen could have served you as well. It needed a woman
"It needed a beautiful woman," interrupted the King, quickly,
in a tone that he would have used to a spoiled child. "It
needed a woman of tact, a woman of courage, a woman among
women--the Countess Zara. Do not imagine, Marie, that we
undervalue your part. It is their lack of courage that
distresses Colonel Erhaupt."
"One of them, it is true, did wish to fight," the Countess
continued, with a smile; "a Frenchman named Renauld, whom they
have put in charge of the army. He scoffed at the whole
expedition, but they told him that a foreigner could not
understand as they did the danger of the popularity of the
Prince Kolonay, who, by a speech or two among the shepherds
and fishermen, could raise an army."
The King snapped his fingers impatiently.
"An army of brigands and smugglers!" he exclaimed. "That for
his popularity!" But he instantly raised his hands as though
in protest at his own warmth of speech and in apology for his
"His zeal will ruin us in time. He is deucedly in the way,"
he continued, in his usual tone of easy cynicism. "We should
have let him into our plans from the first, and then if he
chose to take no part in them we would at least have had a
free hand. As it is now, we have three different people to
deceive: this Cabinet of shopkeepers, which seems easy enough;
Father Paul and his fanatics of the Church party; and this
apostle of the divine right of kings, Kalonay. And he and the
good father are not fools----"
At these words Madame Zara glanced again toward the garden,
and this time with such evident uneasiness in her face that
Barrat eyed her with quick suspicion.
"What is it?" he asked, sharply. "There is something you have
not told us."
The woman looked at the King, and he nodded his head as though
in assent. "I had to tell them who else was in the plot
besides myself," she said, speaking rapidly. "I had to give
them the name of some man who they knew would be able to do
what I have promised we could do--who could put a stop to the
revolution. The name I gave was his--Kalonay's."
Barrat threw himself forward in his chair.
"Kalonay's?" he cried, incredulously.
"Kalonay's?" echoed Erhaupt. "What madness, Madame! Why name
the only one who is sincere?"
"She will explain," said the King, in an uneasy voice; "let
her explain. She has acted according to my orders and for the
best, but I confess I----"
"Some one had to be sacrificed," returned the woman, boldly,
"and why not he? Indeed, if we wish to save ourselves, there
is every reason that it should be he. You know how mad he is
for the King's return, how he himself wishes to get back to
the island and to his old position there. Why, God only
knows, but it is so. What pleasure he finds in a land of
mists and fogs, in a ruined castle with poachers and smuggling
fishermen for companions, I cannot comprehend. But the fact
remains, he always speaks of it as home and he wishes to
return. And now, suppose he learns the truth, as he may at
any moment, and discovers that the whole expedition for which
he is staking his soul and life is a trick, a farce; that we
use it only as a bait to draw money from the old nobility, and
to frighten the Republic into paying us to leave them in
peace? How do we know what he might not do? He may tell the
whole of Europe. He may turn on you and expose you, and then
what have we left? It is your last chance. It is our last
chance. We have tried everything else, and we cannot show
ourselves in Europe, at least not without money in our hands.
But by naming Kalonay I have managed it so that we have only
to show the written agreement I have made with the Republic
and he is silenced. In it they have promised to pay the
Prince Kalonay, naming him in full, 300,000 francs if the
expedition is withdrawn. That agreement is in my hands, and
that is our answer to whatever he may think or say. Our word
is as good as his, or as bad; we are all of the same party as
far as Europe cares, and it becomes a falling out among
thieves, and we are equal."
Baron Barrat leaned forward and marked each word with a
movement of his hand.
"Do I understand you to say," he asked, "that you have a paper
signed by the Republic agreeing to pay 300,000 francs to
Kalonay? Then how are we to get it?" he demanded,
incredulously. "From him?"
"It is made payable to him," continued the woman, "or to
whoever brings this ring I wear to the banking-house of the
Schlevingens two weeks after the expedition has left the
island. I explained that clause to them by saying that
Kalonay and I were working together against the King, and as
he might be suspicious if we were both to leave him so soon
after the failure of the expedition we would be satisfied if
they gave the money to whichever one first presented the ring.
Suppose I had said," she went on, turning to the King, "that
it was either Barrat or the Colonel here who had turned
traitor. They know the Baron of old, when he was Chamberlain
and ran your roulette wheel at the palace. They know he is
not the man to turn back an expedition. And the Colonel, if
he will pardon me, has sold his services so often to one side
or another that it would have been difficult to make them
believe that this time he is sincere. But Kalonay, the man
they fear most next to your Majesty--to have him turn traitor,
why, that was a master stroke. Even those boors, stupid as
they are, saw that. When they made out the agreement they put
down all his titles, and laughed as they wrote them in.
`Prince Judas' they called him, and they were in ecstasies at
the idea of the aristocrat suing for blood-money against his
sovereign, of the man they feared showing himself to be only a
common blackmailer. It delighted them to find a prince royal
sunk lower than themselves, this man who has treated them like
curs--like the curs they are," she broke out suddenly--"like
the curs they are!"
She rose and laughed uneasily as though at her own vehemence.
"I am tired," she said, avoiding the King's eyes; "the trip
has tired me. If you will excuse me, I will go to my
rooms--through your hall-way, if I may."
"Most certainly," said the King. "I trust you will be rested
by dinner-time. Au revoir, my fair ambassadrice."
The woman nodded and smiled back at him brightly, and Louis
continued to look after her as she disappeared down the
corridor. He rubbed the back of his fingers across his lips,
and thoughtfully examined his finger-nails.
"I wonder," he said, after a pause, looking up at Barrat. The
Baron raised his eyebrows with a glance of polite
"I wonder if Kalonay dared to make love to her on the way
The Baron's face became as expressionless as a death-mask, and
he shrugged his shoulders in protest.
"--Or did she make love to Kalonay?" the King insisted,
laughing gently. "I wonder now. I do not care to know, but I
According to tradition the Kalonay family was an older one
than that of the House of Artois, and its name had always been
the one next in importance to that of the reigning house. The
history of Messina showed that different members of the
Kalonay family had fought and died for different kings of
Artois, and had enjoyed their favor and shared their reverses
with equal dignity, and that they had stood like a rampart
when the kingdom was invaded by the levelling doctrines of
Republicanism and equality. And though the Kalonays were men
of stouter stuff than their cousins of Artois, they had never
tried to usurp their place, but had set an example to the
humblest shepherd of unfailing loyalty and good-will to the
King and his lady. The Prince Kalonay, who had accompanied
the Dominican monk to Messina, was the last of his race, and
when Louis IV. had been driven off the island, he had followed
his sovereign into exile as a matter of course, and with his
customary good-humor. His estates, in consequence of this
step, had been taken up by the Republic, and Kalonay had
accepted the loss philosophically as the price one pays for
loving a king. He found exile easy to bear in Paris, and
especially so as he had never relinquished the idea that some
day the King would return to his own again. So firmly did he
believe in this, and so keenly was his heart set upon it, that
Louis had never dared to let him know that for himself exile
in Paris and the Riviera was vastly to be preferred to
authority over a rocky island hung with fogs, and inhabited by
dull merchants and fierce banditti.
The conduct of the King during their residence in Paris would
have tried the loyalty of one less gay and careless than
Kalonay, for he was a sorry monarch, and if the principle that
"the King can do no wrong" had not been bred in the young
Prince's mind, he would have deserted his sovereign in the
early days of their exile. But as it was, he made excuses for
him to others and to himself, and served the King's idle
purposes so well that he gained for himself the name of the
King's jackal, and there were some who regarded him as little
better than the King's confidential blackguard, and man
Friday, the weakest if the most charming of his court of
At the first hint which the King gave of his desire to place
himself again in power, Kalonay had ceased to be his Jackal
and would have issued forth as a commander-in-chief, had the
King permitted him; but it was not to Louis's purpose that the
Prince should know the real object of the expedition, so he
assigned its preparation to Erhaupt, and despatched Kalonay to
the south of the island. At the same time Madame Zara had
been sent to the north of the island, ostensibly to sound the
sentiment of the old nobility, but in reality to make capital
out of the presence there of Kalonay and Father Paul.
The King rose hurriedly when the slim figure of the Prince and
the broad shoulders and tonsured head of the monk appeared at
the farthest end of the garden-walk.
"They are coming!" he cried, with a guilty chuckle; "so I
shall run away and finish dressing. I leave you to receive
the first shock of Kalonay's enthusiasm alone. I confess he
bores me. Remember, the story Madame Zara told them in the
yacht is the one she told us this morning, that none of the
old royalists at the capital would promise us any assistance.
Be careful now, and play your parts prettily. We are all
terribly in earnest."
Kalonay's enthusiasm had not spent itself entirely before the
King returned. He had still a number of amusing stories to
tell, and he reviewed the adventures of the monk and himself
with such vivacity and humor that the King nodded his head in
delight, and even the priest smiled indulgently at the
Kalonay had seated himself on one of the tables, with his feet
on a chair and with a cigarette burning between his fingers.
He was a handsome, dark young man of thirty, with the
impulsive manner of a boy. Dissipation had left no trace on
his face, and his eyes were as innocent of evil and as
beautiful as a girl's, and as eloquent as his tongue. "May
the Maria Santissima pity the girls they look upon," his old
Spanish nurse used to say of them. But Kalonay had shown pity
for every one save himself. His training at an English public
school, and later as a soldier in the Ecole Polytechnique at
Paris, had saved him from a too early fall, and men liked him
instinctively, and the women much too well.
"It was good to be back there again," he cried, with a happy
sigh. "It was good to see the clouds following each other
across the old mountains and throwing black shadows on the
campagna, and to hear the people's patois and to taste
Messinian wine again and to know it was from your own
hillside. All our old keepers came down to the coast to meet
us, and told me about the stag-hunt the week before, and who
was married, and who was in jail, and who had been hanged for
shooting a customs officer, and they promised fine deer
stalking if I get back before the snow leaves the ridges, for
they say the deer have not been hunted and are running wild."
He stopped and laughed. "I forgot," he said, "your Majesty
does not care for the rude pleasures of my half of the
island." Kalonay threw away his cigarette, clasping his hands
before him with a sudden change of manner.
"But seriously," he cried, "as I have been telling them--I
wish your Majesty could have heard the offers they made us,
and could have seen the tears running down their faces when we
assured them that you would return. I wished a thousand times
that we had brought you with us. With you at our head we can
sweep the island from one end to the other. We will gather
strength and force as we go, as a landslide grows, and when we
reach the capital we will strike it like a human avalanche.
"And I wish you could have heard him speak," Kalonay cried,
his enthusiasm rising as he turned and pointed with his hand
at the priest. "There is the leader! He made my blood turn
hot with his speeches, and when he had finished I used to find
myself standing on my tiptoes and shouting with the rest.
Without him I could have done nothing. They knew me too well;
but the laziest rascals in the village came to welcome him
again, and the women and men wept before him and brought their
children to be blessed, and fell on their knees and kissed his
sandals. It was like the stories they tell you when you are a
child. He made us sob with regret and he filled us with fresh
resolves. Oh, it is very well for you to smile, you old
cynics," he cried, smiling at his own fervor, "but I tell you,
I have lived since I saw you last!"
The priest stood silent with his hands hidden inside his great
sleeves, and his head rising erect and rigid from his cowl.
The eyes of the men were turned upon him curiously, and he
glanced from one to the other, as though mistrusting their
"It was not me--it was the Church they came to welcome. The
fools," he cried bitterly, "they thought they could destroy
the faith of the people by banishing the servants of the
Church. As soon end a mother's love for her children by
putting an ocean between them. For six years those peasants
have been true. I left them faithful, I returned to find them
faithful. And now--" he concluded, looking steadily at the
King as though to hold him to account, "and now they are to
have their reward."
The King bowed his head gravely in assent. "They are to have
their reward," he repeated. He rose and with a wave of his
hand invited the priest to follow him, and they walked
together to the other end of the terrace. When they were out
of hearing of the others the King seated himself, and the
priest halted beside his chair.
"I wish to speak with you, father," Louis said, "concerning
this young American girl, Miss Carson, who has promised to
help us--to help you--with her money. Has she said yet how
much she means to give us," asked the King, "and when she
means to let us have it? It is a delicate matter, and I do
not wish to urge the lady, but we are really greatly in need
of money. Baron Barrat, who arrived from Paris this morning,
brings back no substantial aid, although the sympathy of the
old nobility, he assures me, is with us. Sympathy, however,
does not purchase Maxim guns, nor pay for rations, and Madame
Zara's visit to the capital was, as you know, even less
"Your Majesty has seen Miss Carson, then?" the priest asked.
"Yes, her mother and she have been staying at the Continental
ever since they followed you here from Paris, and I have seen
her once or twice during your absence. The young lady seems
an earnest daughter of our faith, and she is deeply in
sympathy with our effort to re-establish your order and the
influence of the Church upon the island. I have explained to
her that the only way in which the Church can regain her
footing there is through my return to the throne, and Miss
Carson has hinted that she is willing to make even a larger
contribution than the one she first mentioned. If she means
to do this, it would be well if she did it at once."
"Perhaps I have misunderstood her," said the priest, after a
moment's consideration; "but I thought the sum she meant to
contribute was to be given only after the monarchy has been
formally established, and that she wished whatever she gave to
be used exclusively in rebuilding the churches and the
monastery. I do not grudge it to your Majesty's purpose, but
so I understood her."
"Ah, that is quite possible," returned Louis, easily; "it may
be that she did so intend at first, but since I have talked
with her she has shown a willing disposition to aid us not
only later, but now. My success means your success," he
continued, smiling pleasantly as he rose to his feet, "so I
trust you will urge her to be prompt. She seems to have
unlimited resources in her own right. Do you happen to know
from whence her money comes?"
"Her mother told me," said the priest, "that Mr. Carson before
his death owned mines and railroads. They live in California,
near the Mission of Saint Francis. I have written concerning
them to the Father Superior there, and he tells me that Mr.
Carson died a very rich man, and that he was a generous
servant of the Church. His daughter has but just inherited
her father's fortune, and her one idea of using it is to give
it to the Church, as he would have done."
The priest paused and seemed to consider what the King had
just told him. "I will speak with her," he said, "and ask her
aid as fully as she can give it. May I inquire how far your
Majesty has taken her into our plans?"
"Miss Carson is fully informed," the King replied briefly.
"And if you wish to speak with her you can see her now; she
and her mother are coming to breakfast with me to hear the
account of your visit to the island. You can speak with her
then--and, father," the King added, lowering his eyes and
fingering the loose sleeve of the priest's robe, "it would be
well, I think, to have this presentation of the young nobles
immediately after the luncheon, while Miss Carson is still
present. We might even make a little ceremony of it, and so
show her that she is fully in our confidence--that she is one
of our most valued supporters. It might perhaps quicken her
interest in the cause."
"I see no reason why that should not be," said the priest,
thoughtfully, turning his eyes to the sea below them. "Madame
Zara," he added, without moving his eyes, "will not be
The King straightened himself slightly, and for a brief moment
of time looked at the priest in silence, but the monk
continued to gaze steadily at the blue waters.
"Madame Zara will not be present," the King repeated, coldly.
"There are a few fishermen and mountaineers, your Majesty,"
the priest continued, turning an unconscious countenance to
the King, "who came back with us from the island. They come
as a deputation to inform your Majesty of the welcome that
waits you, and I have promised them an audience. If you will
pardon me I would suggest that you receive these honest people
at the same time with the others, and that his Highness the
Crown Prince be also present, and that he receive them with
you. Their anxiety to see him is only second to their desire
to speak to your Majesty. You will find some of your most
loyal subjects among these men. Their forefathers have been
faithful to your house and to the Church for many
"Excellent," said the King; "I shall receive them immediately
after the deputation from Paris. Consult with Baron Barrat
and Kalonay, please, about the details. I wish either Kalonay
or yourself to make the presentation. I see Miss Carson and
her mother coming. After luncheon, then, at, say, three
o'clock--will that be satisfactory?"
"As your Majesty pleases," the priest answered, and with a bow
he strode across the terrace to where Kalonay stood watching
Mrs. Carson and her daughter came from the hotel to the
terrace through the hallway which divided the King's
apartments. Baron Barrat preceded them and they followed in
single file, Miss Carson walking first. It was a position her
mother always forced upon her, and after people grew to know
them they accepted it as illustrating Mrs. Carson's confidence
in her daughter's ability to care for herself, as well as her
own wish to remain in the background.
Patricia Carson, as she was named after her patron saint, or
"Patty" Carson, as she was called more frequently, was an
exceedingly pretty girl. She was tall and fair, with a smile
that showed such confidence in everyone she met that few could
find the courage to undeceive her by being themselves, and it
was easier, in the face of such an appeal as her eyes made to
the best in every one, for each to act a part while he was
with her. She was young, impressionable, and absolutely
inexperienced. As a little girl she had lived on a great
ranch, where she could gallop from sunrise to sunset over her
own prairie land, and later her life had been spent in a
convent outside of Paris. She had but two great emotions, her
love for her father and for the Church which had nursed her.
Her father's death had sanctified him and given him a place in
her heart that her mother could not hold, and when she found
herself at twenty-one the mistress of a great fortune, her one
idea as to the disposal of it was to do with it what would
best please him and the Church which had been the ruling power
in the life of both of them. She was quite unconscious of her
beauty, and her mode of speaking was simple and eager.
She halted as she came near the King, and resting her two
hands on the top of her lace parasol, nodded pleasantly to him
and to the others. She neither courtesied nor offered him her
hand, but seemed to prefer this middle course, leaving them to
decide whether she acted as she did from ignorance or from
As the King stepped forward to greet her mother, Miss Carson
passed him and moved on to where the Father Superior stood
apart from the others, talking earnestly with the Prince.
What he was saying was of an unwelcome nature, for Kalonay's
face wore an expression of boredom and polite protest which
changed instantly to one of delight when he saw Miss Carson.
The girl hesitated and made a deep obeisance to the priest.
"I am afraid I interrupt you," she said.
"Not at all," Kalonay assured her, laughing. "It is a most
welcome interruption. The good father has been finding fault
with me, as usual, and I am quite willing to change the
The priest smiled kindly on the girl, and while he exchanged
some words of welcome with her, Kalonay brought up one of the
huge wicker chairs, and she seated herself with her back to
the others, facing the two men, who stood leaning against the
broad balustrade. They had been fellow-conspirators
sufficiently long for them to have grown to know each other
well, and the priest, so far from regarding her as an
intruder, hailed her at once as a probable ally, and
endeavored to begin again where he had ceased speaking.
"Do you not agree with me, Miss Carson?" he asked. "I am
telling the Prince that zeal is not enough, and that high
ideals, unless they are accompanied by good conduct, are
futile. I want him to change, to be more sober, more
"Oh, you must not ask me," Miss Carson said, hurriedly,
smiling and shaking her head. "We are working for only one
thing, are we not? Beyond that you know nothing of me, and I
know nothing of you. I came to hear of your visit," she
continued; "am I to be told anything?" she asked, eagerly,
looking from one to the other. "It has been such an anxious
two weeks. We imagined all manner of things had happened to
Kalonay laughed happily. "The Father was probably never safer
in his life," he said. "They took us to their hearts like
brothers. They might have suffocated us with kindness, but we
were in no other danger."
"Then you are encouraged, Father?" she asked, turning to the
priest. "You found them loyal? Your visit was all you hoped,
you can depend upon them?"
"We can count upon them absolutely," the monk assured her.
"We shall start on our return voyage at once, in a day, as
soon as his Majesty gives the word."
"There are so many things I want to know," the girl said; "but
I have no right to ask," she added, looking up at him
"You have every right," the monk answered. "You have
certainly earned it. Without the help you gave us we could
not have moved. You have been more than generous----"
Miss Carson interrupted him with an impatient lifting of her
head. "That sort of generosity is nothing," she said. "With
you men it is different. You are all risking something. You
are actually helping, while I must sit still and wait. I
hope, Father," she said, smiling, "it is not wrong for me to
wish I were a man."
"Wrong!" exclaimed Kalonay, in a tone of mock dismay; "of
course it's wrong. It's wicked."
The monk turned and looked coldly over his shoulder at
Kalonay, and the Prince laughed.
"I beg your pardon," he said, "but we are told to be contented
with our lot," he argued, impenitently. "`He only is a slave
who complains,' and that is true even if a heretic did say
The monk shook his head and turned again to Miss Carson with a
"He is very young," he said, as though Kalonay did not hear
him, "and wild and foolish--and yet," he added, doubtfully, "I
find I love the boy." He regarded the young man with a kind
but impersonal scrutiny, as though he were a picture or a
statue. "Sometimes I imagine he is all I might have been," he
said, "had not God given me the strength to overcome myself.
He has never denied himself in anything; he is as wilful and
capricious as a girl. He makes a noble friend, Miss Carson,
and a generous enemy; but he is spoiled irretrievably by good
fortune and good living and good health." The priest looked
at the young man with a certain sad severity. "`Unstable as
water, thou shalt not excel,'" he said.
The girl, in great embarrassment, turned her head away,
glancing from the ocean to the sky; but Kalonay seated himself
coolly on the broad balustrade of the terrace with his hands
on his hips, and his heels resting on the marble tiling, and
clicked the soles of his boots together.
"Oh, I have had my bad days, too, Father," he said. He turned
his head on one side, and pressed his lips together, looking
"Unstable as water--that is quite possible," he said, with an
air of consideration; "but spoiled by good fortune--oh, no,
that is not fair. Do you call it good fortune, sir," he
laughed, "to be an exile at twenty-eight? Is it good fortune
to be too poor to pay your debts, and too lazy to work; to be
the last of a great name, and to have no chance to add to the
glory of it, and no means to keep its dignity fresh and
secure? Do you fancy I like to see myself drifting farther
and farther away from the old standards and the old
traditions; to have English brewers and German Jew bankers
taking the place I should have, buying titles with their
earnings and snubbing me because I can only hunt when someone
gives me a mount, and because I choose to take a purse instead
of a cup when we shoot at Monte Carlo?"
"What child's talk is this?" interrupted the priest, angrily.
"A thousand horses cannot make a man noble, nor was poverty
ever ignoble. You talk like a weak boy. Every word you say
is your own condemnation. Why should you complain? Your bed
is of your own making. The other prodigal was forced to herd
with the swine--you have chosen to herd with them."
The girl straightened herself and half rose from her chair.
"You are boring Miss Carson with my delinquencies," said the
Prince, sternly. His face was flushed, and he did not look
either at the girl or at the priest.
"But the prodigal's father?" said Miss Carson, smiling at the
older man. "Did he stand over him and upbraid him? You
remember, he went to meet him when he was yet a great way off.
That was it, was it not, Father?"
"Of course he did," cried Kalonay, laughing like a boy, and
slipping lightly to the terrace. "He met him half way and
gave him the best he had." He stepped to Miss Carson's side
and the two young people moved away smiling, and the priest,
seeing that they were about to escape him, cried eagerly, "But
that prodigal had repented. This one----"
"Let's run," cried the Prince. "He will get the best of us if
we stay. He always gets the best of me. He has been abusing
me that way for two weeks now, and he is always sorry
afterward. Let us leave him alone to his sorrow and remorse."
Kalonay walked across the terrace with Miss Carson, bending
above her with what would have seemed to an outsider almost a
proprietary right. She did not appear to notice it, but
looked at him frankly and listened to what he had to say with
interest. He was speaking rapidly, and as he spoke he glanced
shyly at her as though seeking her approbation, and not
boldly, as he was accustomed to do when he talked with either
men or women. To look at her with admiration was such a cheap
form of appreciation, and one so distasteful to her, that had
he known it, Kalonay's averted eyes were more of a compliment
than any words he could have spoken. His companions who had
seen him with other women knew that his manner to her was not
his usual manner, and that he gave her something he did not
give to the others; that he was more discreet and less ready,
and less at ease.
The Prince Kalonay had first met Miss Carson and her mother by
chance in Paris, at the rooms of Father Paul, where they had
each gone on the same errand, and since that meeting his whole
manner toward the two worlds in which he lived had altered so
strangely that mere acquaintances noticed the change.
Before he had met her, the little the priest had said
concerning her and her zeal for their common desire had piqued
his curiosity, and his imagination had been aroused by the
picture of a romantic young woman giving her fortune to save
the souls of the people of Messina; his people whom he
regarded and who regarded him less as a feudal lord than as a
father and a comrade. He had pictured her as a nervous,
angular woman with a pale, ascetic face, and with the restless
eyes of an enthusiast, dressed in black and badly dressed, and
with a severe and narrow intelligence. But he had prepared
himself to forgive her personality, for the sake of the high
and generous impulse that inspired her. And when he was
presented to her as she really was, and found her young,
lovable, and nobly fair, the shock of wonder and delight had
held him silent during the whole course of her interview with
the priest, and when she had left them his brain was in a
tumult and was filled with memories of her words and gestures,
and of the sweet fearlessness of her manner. Beautiful women
he had known before as beautiful women, but the saving grace
in his nature had never before been so deeply roused by what
was fine as well as beautiful. It seemed as though it were
too complete and perfect. For he assured himself that she
possessed everything--those qualities which he had never
valued before because he believed them to be unattainable, and
those others which he had made his idols. She was with him,
mind and heart and soul, in the one desire of his life that he
took seriously; she was of his religion, she was more noble
than his noble sisters, and she was more beautiful than the
day. In the first glow of the meeting it seemed to him as
though fate had called them to do this work together,--she
from the far shore of the Pacific, and he from his rocky
island in the Middle Sea. And he saw with cruel distinctness,
that if there were one thing wanting, it was himself. He
worshipped her before he had bowed his first good-by to her,
and that night he walked for miles up and down the long
lengths of the avenue of the Champs-Elysees, facing the great
change that she had brought into his life, but knowing himself
to be utterly unfit for her coming. He felt like an unworthy
steward caught at his master's return unprepared, with ungirt
loins, and unlighted lamp. Nothing he had done since he was a
child gave him the right to consider himself her equal. He
was not blinded by the approaches which other daughters and
the mothers of daughters had made him. He knew that what was
enough to excuse many things in their eyes might find no
apology in hers. He looked back with the awakening of a child
at the irrevocable acts in his life that could not be altered
nor dug up nor hidden away. They marked the road he had
trodden like heavy milestones, telling his story to every
passer-by. She could read them, as everyone else could read
them. He had wasted his substance, he had bartered his
birthright for a moment's pleasure; there was no one so low
and despicable who could not call him comrade, to whom he had
not given himself without reserve. There was nothing left,
and now the one thing he had ever wanted had come, and had
found him like a bankrupt, his credit wasted and his coffers
empty. He had placed himself at the beck and call of every
idle man and woman in Paris, and he was as common as the great
clock-face that hangs above the boulevards.
Miss Carson's feelings toward Kalonay were not of her own
choosing, and had passed through several stages. When they
had first met she had thought it most sad that so careless and
unprincipled a person should chance to hold so important a
part in the task she had set herself to do. She knew his
class only by hearsay, but she placed him in it, and,
accordingly, at once dismissed him as a person from her mind.
Kalonay had never shown her that he loved her, except by those
signs which any woman can read and which no man can conceal;
but he did not make love to her, and it was that which first
prepossessed her in his favor. One or two other men who knew
of her fortune, and to whom she had given as little
encouragement as she had to Kalonay, had been less
considerate. But his attitude toward her was always that of a
fellow-worker in the common cause. He treated her with a
gratitude for the help she meant to give his people which much
embarrassed her. His seriousness pleased her with him,
seeing, as she did, that it was not his nature to be serious,
and his enthusiasm and love for his half-civilized countrymen
increased her interest in them, and her liking for him. She
could not help but admire the way in which he accepted,
without forcing her to make it any plainer, the fact that he
held no place in her thoughts. And then she found that he
began to hold more of a place in her thoughts than she had
supposed any man could hold of whom she knew so little, and of
whom the little she knew was so ill. She missed him when she
went to the priest's and found that he had not sent for
Kalonay to bear his part in their councils; and at times she
felt an unworthy wish to hear Kalonay speak the very words she
had admired him for keeping from her. And at last she learned
the truth that she did love him, and it frightened her, and
made her miserable and happy. They had not seen each other
since he had left Paris for Messina, and though they spoke now
only of his mission to the island, there was back of what they
said the joy for each of them of being together again and of
finding that it meant so much. What it might mean to the
other, neither knew.
For some little time the King followed the two young people
with his eyes, and then joined them, making signs to Kalonay
that he wished him to leave them together; but Kalonay
remained blind to his signals, and Barrat, seeing that it was
not a tete-a-tete, joined them also. When he did so Kalonay
asked the King for a word, and laying his hand upon his arm
walked with him down the terrace, pointing ostensibly to where
the yacht lay in the harbor. Louis answered his pantomime
with an appropriate gesture, and then asked, sharply, "Well,
what is it? Why did you bring me here? And what do you mean
by staying on when you see you are not wanted?"
They were some distance from the others. Kalonay smiled and
made a slight bow. "Your Majesty," he began, with polite
emphasis. The King looked at him curiously.
"In the old days under similar circumstances," the Prince
continued, with the air of a courtier rather than that of an
equal, "had I thought of forming an alliance by marriage, I
should have come to your Majesty first and asked your gracious
approval. But those days are past, and we are living at the
end of the century; and we do such things differently." He
straightened himself and returned the King's look of amused
interest with one as cynical as his own. "What I wanted to
tell you, Louis," he said, quietly, "is that I mean to ask
Miss Carson to become the Princess Kalonay."
The King raised his head quickly and stared at the younger man
with a look of distaste and surprise. He gave an incredulous
"Indeed?" he said at last. "There was always something about
rich women you could never resist."
The Prince made his acknowledgment with a shrug of his
shoulders and smiled indifferently.
"I didn't expect you to understand," he said. "It does seem
odd; it's quite as difficult for me to understand as for you.
I have been through it a great many times, and I thought I
knew all there was of it. But now it seems different. No, it
does not seem different," he corrected himself; "it is
different, and I love the lady and I mean to ask her to do me
the honor to marry me. I didn't expect you to understand, I
don't care if you do. I only wanted to warn you."
"Warn me?" interrupted the King, with an unpleasant smile.
"Indeed! against what? Your tone is a trifle peremptory--but
you are interesting, most interesting! Kalonay in a new role,
Kalonay in love! Most interesting! Warn me against what?" he
"Your Majesty has a certain manner," the Prince began, with a
pretence of hesitation, "a charm of manner, I might say, which
is proverbial. It is, we know, attractive to women. Every
woman acknowledges it. But your Majesty is sometimes too
gracious. He permits himself to condescend to many women, to
any woman, to women of all classes----"
"That will do," said the King; "what do you mean?"
"What I mean is this," said Kalonay, lowering his voice and
looking into the King's half-closed eyes. "You can have all
of Miss Carson's money you want--all you can get. I don't
want it. If I am to--marry her at all, I am not marrying her
for her money. You can't believe that. It isn't essential
that you should. But I want you to leave the woman I hope to
make my wife alone. I will allow no pretty speeches, nor
royal attentions. She can give her money where she pleases,
now and always; but I'll not have her eyes opened to--as you
can open them. I will not have her annoyed. And if she
"Ah, and if she is?" challenged the King. His eyes were wide
apart now and his lips were parted and drawn back from his
teeth, like a snarling cat----
"I shall hold whoever annoys her responsible," Kalonay
There was a moment's pause, during which the two men stood
regarding each other warily.
Then the King stiffened his shoulders and placed his hands
slowly behind his back. "That sounds, my dear Kalonay," he
said, "almost like a threat."
The younger man laughed insolently. "I meant it, too, your
Majesty," he answered, bowing mockingly and backing away.
As the King's guests seated themselves at his breakfast-table
Louis smiled upon them with a gracious glance of welcome and
approval. His manner was charmingly condescending, and in his
appearance there was nothing more serious than an anxiety for
their better entertainment and a certain animal satisfaction
in the food upon his plate.
In reality his eyes were distributing the people at the table
before him into elements favorable or unfavorable to his
plans, and in his mind he shuffled them and their values for
him or against him as a gambler arranges and rearranges the
cards in his hand. He saw himself plainly as his own highest
card, and Barrat and Erhaupt as willing but mediocre
accomplices. In Father Paul and Kalonay he recognized his
most powerful allies or most dangerous foes. Miss Carson
meant nothing to him but a source from which he could draw the
sinews of war. What would become of her after the farce was
ended, he did not consider. He was not capable of
comprehending either her or her motives, and had he concerned
himself about her at all, he would have probably thought that
she was more of a fool than the saint she pretended to be, and
that she had come to their assistance more because she wished
to be near a Prince and a King than because she cared for the
souls of sixty thousand peasants. That she would surely lose
her money, and could hardly hope to escape from them without
losing her good name, did not concern him. It was not his
duty to look after the reputation of any American heiress who
thought she could afford to be unconventional. She had a
mother to do that for her, and she was pretty enough, he
concluded, to excuse many things,--so pretty that he wondered
if he might brave the Countess Zara and offer Miss Carson the
attentions to which Kalonay had made such arrogant objections.
The King smiled at the thought, and let his little eyes fall
for a moment on the tall figure of the girl with its crown of
heavy golden hair, and on her clever, earnest eyes. She was
certainly worth waiting for, and in the meanwhile she was
virtually unprotected and surrounded by his own people.
According to his translation of her acts, she had already
offered him every encouragement, and had placed herself in a
position which to his understanding of the world could have
but one interpretation. What Kalonay's sudden infatuation
might mean he could not foresee; whether it promised good or
threatened evil, he could only guess, but he decided that the
young man's unwonted show of independence of the morning must
be punished. His claim to exclusive proprietorship in the
young girl struck the King as amusing, but impertinent. It
would be easy sailing in spite of all, he decided; for
somewhere up above them in the hotel sat the unbidden guest,
the woman against whom Father Paul had raised the ban of
expulsion, but who had, nevertheless, tricked both him and the
The breakfast was drawing to an end and the faithful Niccolas
was the only servant remaining in the room. The talk had
grown intimate and touched openly upon the successful visit of
the two ambassadors to the island, and of Barrat's mission to
Paris. Of Madame Zara's visit to the northern half of the
island, which was supposed to have been less successful, no
mention was made.
Louis felt as he listened to them like a man at a play, who
knows that at a word from him the complications would cease,
and that were he to rise in the stalls and explain them away,
and point out the real hero and denounce the villain, the
curtain would have to ring down on the instant. He gave a
little purr of satisfaction, and again marshalled his chances
before him and smiled to find them good. He was grandly at
peace with himself and with the world. Whatever happened, he
was already richer by some 300,000 francs, and in a day, if he
could keep the American girl to her expedition had been played
he would be free,--free to return to his clubs and to his
boulevards and boudoirs, with money enough to silence the most
insolent among his creditors, and with renewed credit; with
even a certain glamour about him of one who had dared to do,
even though he had failed in the doing, who had shaken off the
slothfulness of ease and had chosen to risk his life for his
throne with a smoking rifle in his hand, until a traitor had
turned fortune against him.
The King was amused to find that this prospect pleased him
vastly. He was surprised to discover that, careless as he
thought himself to be to public opinion, he was still capable
of caring for its approbation; but he consoled himself for
this weakness by arguing that it was only because the
approbation would be his by a trick that it pleased him to
think of. Perhaps some of his royal cousins, in the light of
his bold intent, might take him under their protection instead
of neglecting him shamefully, as they had done in the past.
His armed expedition might open certain doors to him; his
name--and he smiled grimly as he imagined it--would ring
throughout Europe as the Soldier King, as the modern disciple
of the divine right of kings. He saw, in his mind's eye, even
the possibility of a royal alliance and a pension from one of
the great Powers. No matter where he looked he could see
nothing but gain to himself, more power for pleasure, more
chances of greater fortune in the future, and while his lips
assented to what the others said, and his eyes thanked them
for some expression of loyalty or confidence, he saw himself
in dreams as bright as an absinthe drinker's, back in his
beloved Paris: in the Champs-Elysees behind fine horses,
lolling from a silk box at the opera, dealing baccarat at the
jockey Club, or playing host to some beautiful woman of the
hour, in the new home he would establish for her in the
discreet and leafy borders of the Bois.
He had forgotten his guests and the moment. He had forgotten
that there were difficulties yet to overcome, and with a
short, indrawn sigh of pleasure, he threw back his head and
smiled arrogantly upon the sunny terrace and the green palms
and the brilliant blue sea, as though he challenged the whole
beautiful world before him to do aught but minister to his
success and contribute to his pleasures.
And at once, as though in answer to his challenge, a tall,
slim young man sprang lightly up the steps of the terrace,
passed the bewildered guards with a cheery nod, and, striding
before the open windows, knocked with his fist upon the
portals of the door, as sharply and as confidently as though
the King's shield had hung there, and he had struck it with a
The King's dream shattered and faded away at the sound, and he
moved uneasily in his chair. He had the gambler's
superstitious regard for trifles, and this invasion of his
privacy by a confident stranger filled him with sudden
He saw Kalonay staring at the open windows with an expression
of astonishment and dismay.
"Who is it?" the King asked, peevishly. "What are you staring
at? How did he get in?"
Kalonay turned on Barrat, sitting at his right. "Did you see
him?" he asked. Barrat nodded gloomily.
"The devil!" exclaimed the Prince, as though Barrat had
confirmed his guess. "I beg your pardon," he said, nodding
his head toward the women. He pushed back his chair and stood
irresolutely with his napkin in his hand. "Tell him we are
not in, Niccolas," he commanded.
"He saw us as he passed the window," the Baron objected.
"Say we are at breakfast then. I will see him myself in a
moment. What shall I tell him?" he asked, turning to Barrat.
"Do you think he knows? He must know, they have told him in
"You are keeping us waiting," said the King. "What is it?
Who is this man?"
"An American named Gordon. He is a correspondent," Kalonay
answered, without turning his head. His eyes were still fixed
on the terrace as though he had seen a ghost.
The King slapped his hand on the arm of the chair. "You
promised me," he said, "that we should be free from that sort
of thing. That is why I agreed to come here instead of going
to Algiers. Go out, Barrat, and send him away."
Barrat pressed his lips together and shook his head.
"You can't send him away like that," he said. "He is a very
important young man."
"Find out how much he will take, then," exclaimed the King,
angrily, "and give it to him. I can better afford to pay
blackmail to any amount than have my plans spoiled now by the
newspapers. Give him what he wants--a fur coat--they always
wear fur coats--or five thousand francs, or
something--anything--but get rid of him."
Barrat stirred uneasily in his chair and shrugged his
shoulders. "He is not a boulevard journalist," he replied,
"Your Majesty is thinking of the Hungarian Jews at Vienna,"
explained Kalonay, "who live on chantage and the Monte Carlo
propaganda fund. This man is not in their class; he is not to
be bought. I said he was an American."
"An American!" exclaimed Mrs. Carson and her daughter,
exchanging rapid glances. "Is it Archie Gordon you mean?" the
girl asked. "I thought he was in China."
"That is the man--Archie Gordon. He writes books and explores
places," Kalonay answered.
"I know him. He wrote a book on the slave trade in the
Congo," contributed Colonel Erhaupt. "I met him at Zanzibar.
What does he want with us?"
"He was in Yokohama when the Japanese-Chinese war broke out,"
said Kalonay, turning to the King, "and he cabled a London
paper he would follow the war for it if they paid him a
hundred a week. He meant American dollars, but they thought
he meant pounds, so they cabled back that they'd pay one-half
that sum. He answered, `One hundred or nothing,' and they
finally assented to that, and he started; and when the first
week's remittance arrived, and he received five hundred
dollars instead of the one hundred he expected, he sent back
"What a remarkable young man!" exclaimed the King. "He is
much too good for daily wear. We don't want anyone like that
around here, do we?"
"I know Mr. Gordon very well," said Miss Carson. "He lived in
San Francisco before he came East. He was always at our
house, and was a great friend of the family; wasn't he,
mother? We haven't seen him for two years now, but I know he
wouldn't spoil our plans for the sake of his paper, if he knew
we were in earnest, if he understood that everything depended
upon its being kept a secret."
"We are not certain that he knows anything," the King urged.
"He may not have come here to see us. I think Father Paul
should talk with him first."
"I was going to suggest," said Miss Carson, with some
hesitation, "that if I spoke to him I might be able to put it
to him in such a way that he would see how necessary it----"
"Oh, excellent!" exclaimed the King, eagerly, and rising to
his feet; "if you only would be so kind, Miss Carson."
Kalonay, misunderstanding the situation altogether, fastened
his eyes upon the table and did not speak.
"He has not come to see you, Patricia," said Mrs. Carson,
"He does not know that I am here," Miss Carson answered; "but
I'm sure if he did he would be very glad to see us again. And
if we do see him we can make him promise not to do anything
that might interfere with our plans. Won't you let me speak
to him, mother?"
Mrs. Carson turned uncertainly to the priest for direction,
and his glance apparently reassured her, for she rose, though
still with a troubled countenance, and the two women left the
room together, the men standing regarding each other anxiously
across the table. When they had gone the King lit a cigarette
and, turning his back on his companions, puffed at it
nervously in silence. Kalonay sat moodily studying the
pattern on the plate before him, and the others whispered
together at the farther end of the table.
When Miss Carson and her mother stepped out upon the terrace,
the American was standing with his back toward them and was
speaking to the guards who sat cross-legged at the top of the
steps. They showed no sign of surprise at the fact of his
addressing them in their own tongue further than that they
answered him with a show of respect which they had not
exhibited toward those they protected. The American turned as
he heard the footsteps behind him, and, after a startled look
of astonishment, hurried toward the two women, exclaiming,
with every expression of pleasure.
"I had no idea you were stopping here," he said, after the
first greetings were over. "I thought you were somewhere on
the Continent. I am so glad I caught you. It seems centuries
since I saw you last. You're looking very well, Mrs.
Carson--and as for Patty--I am almost afraid of her--I've been
hearing all sorts of things about you lately, Patty," he went
on, turning a smiling countenance toward the girl. "About
your engagements to princes and dukes--all sorts of disturbing
rumors. What a terrible swell you've grown to be. I hardly
recognize you at all, Mrs. Carson. It isn't possible this is
the same young girl I used to take buggy riding on Sunday
"Indeed, it is not. I wish it were," said Mrs. Carson,
plaintively, sinking into a chair. "I'm glad to see you're
not changed, Archie," she added, with a sigh.
"Why, he's very much changed, mother," the girl said. "He's
taller, and, in comparison with what he was, he's almost
wasted away, and so sunburned I hardly knew him. Except round
the forehead," she added, mockingly, "and I suppose the sun
couldn't burn there because of the laurel-wreaths. I hear
they bring them to you fresh every morning."
"They're better than coronets, at any rate," Gordon answered,
with a nod. "They're not so common. And if I'm wasted away,
can you wonder? How long has it been since I saw you, Patty?"
"No, I'm wrong, he's not changed," Miss Carson said dryly, as
she seated herself beside her mother.
"How do you two come to be stopping here?" the young man
asked. "I thought this hotel had been turned over to King
"It has," Mrs. Carson answered. "We are staying at the
Continental, on the hill there. We are only here for
breakfast. He asked us to breakfast."
"He?" repeated Gordon, with an incredulous smile. "Who? Not
the King--not that blackguard?"
Miss Carson raised her head, and stared at him in silence, and
her mother gave a little gasp, apparently of relief and
"Yes," Miss Carson answered at last, coldly. "We are
breakfasting with him. What do you know against him?"
Gordon stared at her with such genuine astonishment that the
girl lowered her eyes, and, bending forward in her chair,
twirled her parasol nervously between her fingers.
"What do I know against him? Why, Patty!" he exclaimed. "How
did you meet him, in Heaven's name?" he asked, roughly. "Have
you been seen with him? Have you known him long? Who had the
impudence to present him?"
Mrs. Carson looked up, now thoroughly alarmed. Her lower lip
was trembling, and she twisted her gloved hands together in
"What do you know against him?" Miss Carson repeated, meeting
Gordon's look with one as full of surprise as his own.
The young man regarded her steadily for a few moments, and
then, with a change of manner, as though he now saw the
situation was much more serious than he had at first supposed,
drew up a chair in front of the two women and seated himself
"Has he borrowed any money from you yet?" he asked. Miss
Carson's face flushed crimson and she straightened her
shoulders and turned her eyes away from Gordon with every sign
of indignation and disapproval. The young man gave an
exclamation of relief.
"No? That's good. You cannot have known him so very long. I
am greatly relieved."
"Louis of Messina," he began more gently, "is the most
unscrupulous rascal in Europe. Since they turned him out of
his kingdom he has lived by selling his title to men who are
promoting new brands of champagne or floating queer mining
shares. The greater part of his income is dependent on the
generosity of the old nobility of Messina, and when they don't
pay him readily enough, he levies blackmail on them. He owes
money to every tailor and horse-dealer and hotel-keeper in
Europe, and no one who can tell one card from another will
play with him. That is his reputation. And to help him live
up to it he has surrounded himself with a parcel of
adventurers as rascally as himself: a Colonel Erhaupt who was
dropped from a German regiment, and who is a Colonel only by
the favor of the Queen of Madagascar; a retired croupier named
Barrat; and a fallen angel called Kalonay, a fellow of the
very best blood in Europe and with the very worst morals.
They call him the King's jackal, and he is one of the most
delightful blackguards I ever met. So is the King for that
matter, a most entertaining individual if you keep him in his
place, but a man no woman can know. In fact, Mrs. Carson,"
Gordon went on, addressing himself to the mother, "when you
have to say that a woman has absolutely no reputation whatever
you can best express it by explaining that she has a title
from Louis of Messina. That is his Majesty's way of treating
his feminine friends when they bore him and he wants to get
rid of them. He gives them a title.
"The only thing the man ever did that was to his credit and
that could be discussed in polite society is what he is doing
now at this place, at this moment. For it seems," Gordon
whispered, drawing his chair closer, "that he is about to show
himself something of a man after all, and that he is engaged
in fitting out an armed expedition with which he hopes to
recover his kingdom. That's what brought me here, and I must
say I rather admire him for attempting such a thing. Of
course, it was Kalonay who put him up to it; he would never
have stirred from the boulevards if that young man had not
made him. But he is here, nevertheless, waiting for a
favorable opportunity to sail, and he has ten thousand rifles
and three Maxim guns lying in his yacht out there in the
harbor. That's how I came to learn about it. I was getting
an estimate on an outfit I was thinking of taking into Yucatan
from my old gunsmith in the Rue Scribe, and he dropped a hint
that he had shipped ten thousand rifles to Tangier, to Colonel
Erhaupt. I have met Erhaupt in Zanzibar, and knew he was the
King's right-hand man, so I put two and two together and
decided I would follow them up, and----"
"Yes, and now," interrupted Miss Carson, sharply--"and now
that you have followed them up, what do you mean to do?"
Gordon looked his surprise at her earnestness, but answered
that he did not know what he would do; he thought he would
either ask them to give him a commission in their expedition,
and let him help them fight, and write an account of their
adventures later, or he would telegraph the story at once to
his paper. It was with him, he said, entirely a question as
to which course would be of the greater news value. If he
told what he now knew, his paper would be the first of all
others to, inform the world of the expedition and the proposed
revolution; while if he volunteered for the expedition and
waited until it had failed or succeeded, he would be able to
tell more eventually, but would have to share it with other
Miss Carson regarded him with an expression in which
indignation and entreaty were curiously blended.
"Archie," she said, in a low voice, "you do not know what you
are doing or saying. You are threatening to spoil the one
thing in my life on which I have set my heart. The return of
this man to his throne, whether he is worthy or not, means the
restoration of the Catholic Church on that island; it means
the return of the monks and the rebuilding of the monasteries,
and the salvation of sixty thousand souls. I know all that
they mean to do. I am the one who paid for those rifles that
brought you here; you have told me only what I have known for
months, and for which I have been earnestly working and
praying. I am not blinded by these men. They are not the
creatures you describe; but no matter what they may be, it is
only through them, and through them alone, that I can do what
I have set out to do."
Gordon silenced her with a sweep of his hand. "Do you mean to
tell me," he demanded, "that you are mixed up in this--with
these--that they have taken money from you, and told you they
meant to use it to re-establish the Church? Mrs. Carson," he
exclaimed, bitterly, turning upon her, "why have you allowed
this--what have you been doing while this was going on? Do
you suppose those scoundrels care for the Church--the Church,
indeed! Wait until I see them--any of them--Erhaupt by
choice, and I'll make them give up every franc you've lent
them, or I'll horsewhip and expose them for the gang of
welshers and thimble-riggers they are; or if they prefer their
own methods, I'll call them out in rotation and shoot their
arms and legs off." He stopped and drew a long breath, either
of content that he had discovered the situation in time to
take some part in it, or at the prospect of a fight.
"The idea of you two helpless females wandering into this den
of wolves!" he exclaimed, indignantly. "It's about time you
had a man to look after you! You go back to your hotel now,
and let me have a chat with Louis of Messina. He's kept me
waiting some twenty minutes as it is, and that's a little
longer than I can give him. I'm not a creditor." He rose
from his chair; but Miss Carson put out her hand and motioned
him to be seated.
"Archie," she said, "I like the way you take this, even though
you are all wrong about it, because it's just like you to fly
into a passion and want to fight someone for somebody. If
your conclusions were anywhere near the truth, you would be
acting very well. But they are not. The King is not handling
my money, nor the Prince Kalonay. It is in the keeping of
Father Paul, the Father Superior of the Dominican monks, who
is the only one of these people I know or who knows me. He is
not a swindler, too, is he, or a retired croupier? Listen to
me now, and do not fly out like that at me, or at mother. It
is not her fault. Last summer mother and I went to Messina as
tourists, and one day, when passing through a seaport town, we
saw a crowd of people on the shore, standing or kneeling by
the hundreds in a great semicircle close to the water's edge.
There was a priest preaching to them from an open boat. It
was like a scene from the New Testament, and the man, this
Father Paul, made me think of one of the disciples. I asked
them why he did not preach on the land, and they told me that
he and all of the priests had been banished from the island
six years before, and that they could only return by stealth
and dared not land except by night. When the priest had
finished speaking, I had myself rowed out to his boat, and I
talked a long time with him, and he told me of this plan to
re-establish himself and his order. I offered to help him
with my money, and he promised me a letter to Cardinal Napoli.
It reached me on my return to Rome, and through the influence
of the Cardinal I was given an audience with the Pope, and I
was encouraged to aid Father Paul as far as I could. I had
meant to build a memorial church for father, but they urged me
to give the money instead to this cause. All my dealings
until to-day have been with Father Paul alone. I have seen a
little of the Prince Kalonay because they are always together;
but he has always treated me in a way to which no one could
take exception, and he is certainly very much in earnest.
When Father Paul left Paris mother and I came on here in order
to be near him, and that is how you find me at Tangier. And
now that you understand how much this means to me, I know you
will not do anything to stand in our way. Those men inside
are afraid that you came here for just the reason that
apparently has brought you, and when they saw you a little
while ago through the windows they were greatly disturbed.
Let me tell them that you mean to volunteer for the campaign.
The King cannot refuse the services of a man who has done the
things you are always doing. And I promise you that for a
reward you shall be the only one to tell the story of our
attempt. I promise you," she repeated earnestly, "that the
day we enter the capital, you can cable whatever you please
and tell our story to the whole of Europe."
"The story be hanged!" replied Gordon. "You have made this a
much more serious business than a newspaper story. You
misunderstand me utterly, Patty. I am here now because I am
not going to have you compromised and robbed."
The girl stood up and looked down at the young man
"You have no right whatever to use that tone to me," she said.
"I am of age and my own adviser. I am acting for the good of
a great number of people, and according to what my conscience
and common sense tell me is right. I shall hate you if you
attempt to interfere. You can do one of two things, Archie.
I give you your choice: you can either go with them as a
volunteer, and promise to keep our secret; or you can cable
what you know now, what you know only by accident, but if you
do, you will lose your best friend, and you will defeat a good
and a noble effort."
Gordon leaned back in his chair, and looked up at her steadily
for a brief moment, and then rose with a smile, and bowed to
the two women in silence. He crossed the terrace quickly with
an amused and puzzled countenance, and walked into the
breakfast-room, from the windows of which, as he rightly
guessed, the five conspirators had for some time observed him.
He looked from one to the other of the men about the table,
until his eyes finally met those of the King.
"I believe, sir, you are leading an expedition against the
Republic of Messina?" Gordon said. "I am afraid it can't
start unless you take me with you."
The presence in Tangier of the King of Messina and his suite,
and the arrival there of the French noblemen who had
volunteered for the expedition, could not escape the
observation of the resident Consuls-General and of the foreign
colony, and dinners, riding and hunting parties, pig-sticking,
and excursions on horseback into the outlying country were
planned for their honor and daily entertainment. Had the
conspirators held aloof from these, the residents might have
asked, since it was not to enjoy themselves, what was the
purpose of their stay in Tangier; and so, to allay suspicion
as to their real object, different members of the expedition
had been assigned from time to time to represent the visitors
at these festivities. On the morning following the return of
the yacht from Messina, an invitation to ride to a farmhouse
some miles out of Tangier and to breakfast there had been sent
to the visitors, and the King had directed the Prince Kalonay,
and half of the delegation from Paris, to accept it in his
They were well content to go, and rode forth gayly and in high
spirits, for the word had been brought them early in the
morning that the expedition was already prepared to move, and
that same evening at midnight the yacht would set sail for
Messina. They were careless as to what fortune waited for
them there. The promise of much excitement, of fighting and
of danger, of possible honor and success, stirred the hearts
of the young men gloriously, and as they galloped across the
plains, or raced each other from point to point, or halted to
jump their ponies across the many gaping crevices which the
sun had split in the surface of the plain, they filled the
still, warm air with their shouts and laughter. In the party
there were many ladies, and the groups changed and formed
again as they rode forward, spread out on either side of the
caravan-trail and covering the plain like a skirmish line of
cavalry. But Kalonay kept close at Miss Carson's stirrup,
whether she walked her pony or sent him flying across the
hard, sunbaked soil.
"I hope you won't do that again," he said, earnestly, as she
drew up panting, with her sailor hat and hair falling to her
shoulders. They had been galloping recklessly over the open
crevices in the soil.
"It's quite the nastiest country I ever saw," he said. "It
looks as though an earthquake had shaken it open and had
forgotten to close it again. Believe me, it is most unsafe
and dangerous. Your pony might stumble--" He stopped, as
though the possibilities were too serious for words, but the
"It's no more dangerous than riding across our prairie at dusk
when you can't see the barbed wire. You are the last person
in the world to find fault because a thing is dangerous," she
They had reached the farm, where they went to breakfast, and
the young Englishman who was their host was receiving his
guests in his garden, and the servants were passing among
them, carrying cool drinks and powdered sweets and Turkish
coffee. Kalonay gave their ponies to a servant and pointed
with his whip to an arbor that stood at one end of the garden.
"May we sit down there a moment until they call us?" he said.
"I have news of much importance--and I may not have another
chance," he begged, looking at her wistfully. The girl stood
motionless; her eyes were serious, and she measured the
distance down the walk to the arbor as though she saw it beset
with dangers more actual than precipices and twisted wire.
The Prince watched her as though his fate was being weighed in
"Very well," she said at last, and moved on before him down
The arbor was open to the air with a low, broad roof of
palm-leaves that overhung it on all sides and left it in deep
shadow. Around it were many strange plants and flowers, some
native to Morocco and some transplanted from their English
home. From where they sat they could see the other guests
moving in and out among the groves of orange and olive trees
and swaying palms, and standing, outlined against the blue
sky, upon the low, flat roof of the farm-house.
"I have dared to ask you to be so good as to give me this
moment," the Prince said humbly, "only because I am going away,
and it may be my last chance to speak with you. You do not
mind? You do not think I presume?"
"No, I do not mind," said the girl, smiling. "In my country
we do not think it a terrible offence to talk to a girl at a
garden-party. But you said there was something of importance
you wanted to say to me. You mean the expedition?"
"Yes," said Kalonay. "We start this evening." The girl
raised her head slightly and stared past him at the burning
white walls and the burning blue sky that lay outside the
circle of shadow in which they sat.
"This evening--" she repeated to herself.
"We reach there in two days," Kalonay continued; "and then
we--then we go on--until we enter the capital."
The girl's head was bent, and she looked at her hands as they
lay in her lap and frowned at them, they seemed so white and
pretty and useless.
"Yes, you go on," she repeated, "and we stay here. You are a
man and able to go on. I know what that means. And you like
it," she added, with a glance of mingled admiration and fear.
"You are glad to fight and to risk death and to lead men on to
kill other men."
Kalonay drew lines in the sand with his ridingwhip, and did
not raise his head.
"I suppose it is because you are fighting for your home," the
girl continued, "and to set your country free, and that you
can live with your own people again, and because it is a holy
war. That must be it. Now that it is really come, I see it
all differently. I see things I had not thought about before.
They frighten me," she said.
The Prince raised his head and faced the girl, clasping the
end of his whip nervously in his hand. "If we should win the
island for the King, " he said, "I believe it will make a
great change in me. I shall be able to go freely then to my
home, as you say, to live there always, to give up the life I
have led on the Continent. It has been a foolish life--a
dog's life--and I have no one to blame for it but myself. I
made it worse than it need to have been. But if we win, I
have promised myself that I will not return to it; and if we
fall I shall not return to it, for the reason that I shall
have been killed. I shall have much power if we win. When I
say much power, I mean much power in Messina, in that little
corner of the world, and I wish to use it worthily and well.
I am afraid I should not have thought of it," he went on,
naively, as though he were trying to be quite fair, "had not
Father Paul pointed out to me what I should do, how I could
raise the people and stop the abuses which made them drive us
from the island. The people must be taxed less heavily, and
the money must be spent for them and not for us, on roads and
harbors and schools, not at the Palace on banquets and fetes.
These are Father Paul's ideas, not mine,--but now I make them
mine." He rose and paced the length of the little arbor, his
hands clasped behind him and his eyes bent on the ground.
"Yes, that is what I mean to do," he said. "That is the way I
mean to live. And if we fail, I mean to be among those who
are to die on the fortifications of the capital, so that with
me the Kalonay family will end, and end fighting for the King,
as many of my people have done before me. There is no other
way. For me there shall be no more idleness nor exile. I
must either live on to help my people, or I must die with
them." He stopped in his walk and regarded the girl closely.
"You may be thinking, it is easy for him to promise this, it
is easy to speak of what one will do. I know that. I know
that I can point back at nothing I have done that gives me any
right to ask you to believe me now. But I do ask it, for if
you believe me--believe what I say--it makes it easier for me
to tell you why after this I must live worthily. But you know
why? You must know; it is not possible that you do not know."
He sat down beside her on the bench, leaning forward and
crushing his hands together on his knee. "It is because I
love you. Because I love you so that everything which is not
worthy is hateful to me, myself most of all. It is the only
thing that counts. I used to think I knew what love meant; I
used to think love was a selfish thing that needed love in
return, that it must be fed on love to live, that it needed
vows and tender speeches and caresses, or it would die. I
know now that when one truly cares, he does not ask whether
the other cares or not. It is what one gives that counts, not
what one receives. You have given me nothing--nothing--not a
word nor a look; yet since I have known you I have been more
madly happy in just knowing that you live than I would have
been had any other woman in all the world thrown herself into
my arms and said she loved me above all other men. I am not
fit to tell you this. But to-night I go to try myself, either
never to see you again, or to come back perhaps more worthy to
love you. Think of this when I am gone. Do not speak to me
now. I may have made you hate me for speaking so, or I may
have made you pity me; so let me go not knowing, just loving
you, worshipping you, and holding you apart and above all
other people. I go to fight for you, do you understand? Not
for our Church, not for my people, but for you, to live or die
for you. And I ask nothing from you but that you will let me
love you always."
The Prince bent, and catching up Miss Carson's riding-gloves
that lay beside her on the bench, kissed them again and again,
and then, rising quickly, walked out of the arbor into the
white sunshine, and, without turning, mounted his pony and
galloped across the burning desert in the direction of
Archie Gordon had not been invited to join the excursion into
the country, nor would he have accepted it, for he wished to
be by himself that he might review the situation and consider
what lay before him. He sat with his long legs dangling over
the broad rampart which overlooks the harbor of Tangier. He
was whistling meditatively to himself and beating an
accompaniment to the tune with his heels. At intervals he
ceased whistling while he placed a cigar between his teeth and
pulled upon it thoughtfully, resuming his tune again at the
point where it had been interrupted. Below him the waves ran
up lazily on the level beach and sank again, dragging the long
sea-weed with them, as they swept against the sharp rocks, and
exposed them for an instant, naked and glistening in the sun.
On either side of him the town stretched to meet the low,
white, sand-hills in a crescent of low, white houses pierced
by green minarets and royal palms. A warm sun had sent the
world to sleep at mid-day, and an enforced peace hung over the
glaring white town and the sparkling blue sea. Gordon blinked
at the glare, but his eyes showed no signs of drowsiness.
They were, on the contrary, awake to all that passed on the
high road behind him, and on the sandy beach at his feet,
while at the same time his mind was busily occupied in
reviewing what had occurred the day before, and in adjusting
new conditions. At the hotel he had found that the situation
was becoming too complicated, and that it was impossible to
feel sure of the truth of anything, or of the sincerity of
anyone. Since the luncheon hour the day before he had become
a fellow-conspirator with men who were as objectionable to him
in every way as he knew he was obnoxious to them. But they
had been forced to accept him because, so they supposed, he
had them at the mercy of his own pleasure. He knew their
secret, and in the legitimate pursuit of his profession he
could, if he chose, inform the island of Messina, with the
rest of the world, of their intention toward it, and bring
their expedition to an end, though he had chosen, as a reward
for his silence, to become one of themselves. Only the
Countess Zara had guessed the truth, that it was Gordon
himself who was at their mercy, and that so long as the
American girl persisted in casting her fortunes with them her
old young friend was only too eager to make any arrangement
with them that would keep him at her side.
It was a perplexing position, and Gordon turned it over and
over in his mind. Had it not been that Miss Carson had a part
in it he would have enjoyed the adventure, as an adventure,
keenly. He had no objections to fighting on the side of
rascals, or against rascals. He objected to them only in the
calmer moments of private life; and as he was of course
ignorant that the expedition was only a make-believe, he felt
a certain respect for his fellow-conspirators as men who were
willing to stake their lives for a chance of better fortune.
But that their bravery was of the kind which would make them
hesitate to rob and deceive a helpless girl he very much
doubted; for he knew that even the bravest of warriors on
their way to battle will requisition a herd of cattle or stop
to loot a temple. The day before, Gordon had witnessed the
brief ceremony which attended the presentation of the young
noblemen from Paris who had volunteered for the expedition in
all good faith, and he reviewed it and analyzed it as he sat
smoking on the ramparts.
It had been an impressive ceremony, in spite of the fact that
so few had taken part in it, but the earnestness of the
visitors and the enthusiasm of Kalonay and the priest had made
up for the lack of numbers. The scene had appealed to him as
one of the most dramatic he had witnessed in the pursuit of a
calling in which looking on at real dramas was the most
frequent duty, and he had enjoyed the strange mixture of
ancient terms of address and titles with the modern manners of