Part 3 out of 7
POLITICS AND PATRIOTISM
Herr Freudenberg shrugged his shoulders and glanced at the
"Mademoiselle is a paragon," he declared. "Always she understands. Sir
Julien, will you not sit down for a moment? Let me confess that this
little supper-party is a pretense. For five minutes I wish to talk to
Julien seated himself without hesitation.
"My dear host," he said, "I left Berlin a year ago with only one
hope--or rather two. The first was that I might never have to visit
Berlin again! The second was that I might have the pleasure of meeting
you as speedily and as often as possible."
Herr Freudenberg smiled--a quiet, reminiscent smile.
"Even now," he remarked, "when I would speak to you for a moment on
more serious subjects, the strange humor of that round-table conference
comes home to me. There were you and I and our big friend from Austria,
and that awful dull man from here, and the Russian. Shall you ever
forget that speechless Russian, who never opened his lips except to
disagree? Sometimes I caught your eye across the table. And, Sir
Julien, you know, I presume, whose was the triumph of those days?"
Julien smiled doubtfully.
"Yours, of course," Herr Freudenberg continued. "The Press even
ventured to find fault with me. England, as usual, they declared, had
gained all she desired and had given the very minimum. However, we will
not waste time in reminiscences. To-day the only pleasure I have in
thinking of that conference is the fact that you and I came together.
When you left Berlin--I saw you off, you remember--I told those who
stood around that there went the future Prime Minister of England. I
believed it, and I am seldom mistaken. Tell me, what piece of
transcendental ill-fortune is this which brings you here an exile?"
"I committed an act of transcendental folly," Julien replied. "I have
no one to blame but myself. I not only wrote an indiscreet letter, but
I put my name to it. I was deceived, too, in the character of the woman
to whom it was sent."
"It is so trifling an error," Herr Freudenberg said thoughtfully, "made
by many a man without evil results. One learns experience as one passes
on in life. It is a hard price that you are paying for yours. Come,
that is finished. Now answer me. What are you going to do?"
Julien laughed, a little bitterly.
"My friend," he answered, stretching out his hand and taking a
cigarette from the open box upon the table, "you ask rather a hard
question. My resignation was accepted, was even required of me.
Politics and diplomacy are alike barred to me. There is no return. What
is there left? I may write a book. So far as my means permit, I may
travel. I may play games, take a walk in the morning, play bridge in
the afternoon, eat heavily and sleep early. What is there left, Herr
Freudenberg--tell me of your wisdom--for a man about whose ears has
come crashing the scaffolding of his life?"
Herr Freudenberg looked across at his companion, and in that dimly-lit
room his eyes were bright and his lips firm.
"To rebuild, my friend," he declared. "Choose another foundation and
"You recognize, I presume," Julien said, "that I require a few more
details if your advice is to be of value?"
"The details are here in this room," Herr Freudenberg replied firmly.
"Be my man. I cannot offer you fame, because fame comes only, nowadays,
to the man who serves his own country. You see, I make no pretense at
deceiving you, but I offer you a life of action, I offer you such
wealth as your imagination can have conceived, and I offer you
"Revenge," Julien repeated, a little vaguely.
"Upon the political party by whose scheming that letter was first of
all elicited from you and then made public," Herr Freudenberg said
slowly. "Do you imagine that it was a thoughtless act of that woman's?
Do you know that her reward is to be a peerage for her husband?"
"You, too, believe that it was a trap, then?" Julien remarked.
"Of course. Don't you know yourself that you were a thorn in the flesh
to your own party? They hated you because you were not afraid to preach
war when war might have saved your country from what is to come. They
hated you because you were a strong man in a strong place, and because
the people believed in you. They hated you because the policy which
would have been yours in the four or five years to come, would have
been the policy which would have brought the country around you, which
alone would have kept your party in power. You were the only figure in
politics which the imperialist party in England had to fear. Mrs.
Carraby--I believe that was the lady's name--is ill-paid enough with
that peerage. Leave out the personal element--or leave it in, if you
will, for when I speak of my country I know no friendships--but, my
dear friend, let me tell you that I myself would have given more than a
peerage--I would have given a principality--to the person who threw you
out of English politics."
Julien's eyes were bright. Somehow or other, his old dreams, his old
faith in himself had returned for a moment. And then the bitterness all
swept in upon him.
"I think, Herr Freudenberg," he said, "that you are talking a little in
the skies. At any rate, it makes no difference. Those things have
"Those things have passed," Herr Freudenberg assented. "There is no
future for you in England. That is why I wish to rescue you from the
ignominy of which you yourself have spoken. I repeat my offer. Be my
man. You shall taste life and taste it in such gulps as you wish."
Julien shook his head slowly.
"My friend," he said, "it is the cruel part of our profession that one
man's life can be given to one country alone."
"Wrong!" Herr Freudenberg declared briskly. "I am not going to decry
patriotism. The welfare of my country is the religion which guides my
life. But you--you have no country. There is no England left for you.
She has thrown you out. You are a wanderer, a man without ties or home.
That is why I claim you as my man. I want to show you the way to
"You puzzle me," Julien admitted. "You talk about revenge. I know you
far too well to believe that you would propose to me any scheme which
would involve the raising even of my little finger against the country
which has turned me out."
"Naturally," Herr Freudenberg agreed. "You do me no less than justice,
my dear Sir Julien. What I do hope that you have firmly fixed in your
mind is that I, despite your halfpenny papers, your novelists seeking
for a new sensation, and your weird middle class, I, Carl Freudenberg,
maker of toys, am the honest and sincere friend of England. The work
which I ask you to do for me would be as much in the interests of your
country as of my own, only when I say your country, I mean your country
governed by the political party in which I have faith and confidence. I
tell you frankly that an England governed as she is at present is a
country I loathe. If I raise my hand against her--not in war, mind, but
in diplomacy--if I strive to humble her to-day, it is because I would
cover if I could the political party who are in power at this moment
with disrepute and discredit. Why should you yourself shrink from
aiding me in this task? They are the party in whose ranks--high in
whose ranks, I might say--are those who stooped with baseness, with
deceit unmentionable, to rid themselves of you. Therefore, I say
strike. Come with me and you shall help. And when the time comes, I
think I can promise you that I can show you a way back, a way which you
have never guessed."
Julien looked across the table long and earnestly.
"Herr Freudenberg," he said, "if I answer you in the negative, it is
because of your own words. The love of your country, you told me not
long ago, is your religion. For her good you would make use even of
those you call your friends. Now I am sincere with you. I do not know
whether to trust you or not. For that reason I cannot attempt to
discuss this matter with you. I do not ask even that you explain
"You mean that at any rate you cannot trust me entirely?" Herr
Freudenberg replied. "Well, if you had, I should have been disappointed
in you. Still, I have said things that were in my heart to say to you.
We send now for Mademoiselle Ixe. Before very long we talk together
Herr Freudenberg touched the bell. A waiter appeared almost
"Find mademoiselle," he ordered. "Tell her that we wait impatiently."
Mademoiselle was not far away. Herr Freudenberg passed his arm through
"We return, I think," he said. "This little room has served its
Julien on the landing tried to make his adieux, but his host only
laughed at him. Mademoiselle Ixe held out her hand and led him into the
room by her side.
"He wishes it," she murmured softly. "He has so few nights here, one
must do as he desires."
The little party returned to their table in the corner. Somehow or
other, their coming seemed to enliven the room. There was more spirit
in the music, more animation in the conversation. Albert walked with a
sprightlier step. Then Julien, in his passage down the room, received a
distinct shock. He stopped short.
"Kendricks, by Jove!" he exclaimed.
Kendricks, sitting alone at a small table, with a bottle of champagne
in front of him and a huge cigar in his mouth, waved his hand joyfully.
Then he glanced at his friend's companions, frowned for a moment, and
gazed fixedly at Herr Freudenberg.
"Julien, by all that's lucky!" he called out. "And I haven't been in
Paris four hours! I called at your hotel and they told me you were out.
"I am not alone," Julien began to explain,--
Herr Freudenberg turned round.
"You must present your friend," he declared. "He must join us."
Julien hesitated for a moment.
"Kendricks," he said, "this is my friend, Herr Freudenberg."
The two men shook hands. Kendricks as yet had scarcely taken his eyes
off Herr Freudenberg's face.
"I am glad to meet you, sir," he remarked. "It is odd, but your face
seems familiar to me."
Herr Freudenberg leaned over the table.
"My friend, Mr. Kendricks," he said, "you are, I believe, a newspaper
man, and you should know the world. When you see a face that is
familiar to you in Paris, and in this Paris, it goes well that you
forget that familiarity, eh?"
"It is sound," he agreed. "I will join you, with pleasure."
"Mademoiselle," Herr Freudenberg continued, "permit me to introduce my
new friend, Mr. Kendricks. Mr. Kendricks--Mademoiselle Ixe. We will now
begin, if it is your pleasure, to spend the evening. There is room in
our corner, Mr. Kendricks. Come there, and presently Mademoiselle Ixe
will sing to us, mademoiselle with the yellow hair there will dance,
the orchestra shall play their maddest music. This is Paris and we are
young. Ah, my friends, it comes to us but seldom to live like this!"
They all sat down together. Herr Freudenberg gave reckless orders for
more wine. The _chef d'orchestre_ was at his elbow, Albert hovered
in the background. Kendricks leaned over and whispered in his friend's
"Julien, who is our friend?"
"A manufacturer of toys from Leipzig," Julien answered grimly.
"The toys that giants play with!" Kendricks muttered. "I have never
forgotten a face in my life."
"Then forget this one for a moment," Julien advised him quickly. "This
is not a night for memories. I have lived with the ghosts of them long
Their party became larger. The little dancing girl came to drink wine
with them and remained to listen to Herr Freudenberg. A friend of
Mademoiselle Ixe--a tall, fair girl in a blue satin gown--detached
herself from her friends and joined them. Herr Freudenberg, with his
arm resting lightly around Mademoiselle Ixe's waist, talked joyously
and incessantly. It was not until some one lifted the blind and
discovered that the sun was shining that they spoke of a move. Then, as
the _vestiaire_ came hurrying up with their coats and wraps, Herr
Freudenberg lifted his glass.
"One last toast!" he cried. "Dear Marguerite, my friends, all of
you--to the sun which calls us to work, to the moon which calls us to
pleasure, to the love that crowds our hearts!"
He raised his companion's hand to his lips and drew her arm through
"Come," he cried, "to the streets! We will take our coffee from the
stall of Madame Huber."
THE MORNING AFTER
Kendricks and Julien drove down from the hill in a small open
victoria. The sun had risen, but here and there were traces of a fading
twilight. A faint mauve glow hung over the sleeping streets. The
sunlight as yet was faint and the morning breeze chilly. As they passed
down the long hill, tired-looking waiters were closing up the night
cafes. Bedraggled revelers crept along the pavements with weary
With every yard of their progression, the meeting between the two
extremes of life seemed to become more apparent. The children of the
night--the weary, unwholesome products of dissipation, rubbed shoulders
with the children of the morning--girls, hatless, in simple clothes,
walking with brisk footsteps to their work; market women, brown-cheeked
and hearty, setting out their wares upon the stalls; the youth of
Paris, blithe and strenuous, walking light-footed to the region of
warehouses and factories. Julien and Kendricks looked out upon the
little scene with interest. Both had been sleepy when they had left the
cafe, but there was something stimulating in the sight of this thin but
constant stream of people. Kendricks sat up and began to talk.
"Julien," he declared, "this Paris never alters. It's a queer little
world and a rotten one. We are here just at the ebbing of the tide.
Don't you feel the hatefulness of it--the thin-blooded scream for
pleasure which needs the lash of these painted women, these gaudy
cafes, this yellow wine all the time? My God! and they call it
pleasure! Look at these people going to their work, Julien. There's
where the red blood flows. They're the people with the taste of life
between their teeth. Can't you see them at their pleasures--see them
sitting in a beer-garden with a girl and a band, their week's money in
their pocket, and the knowledge that they've earned it? Perhaps
sometimes they look up the hill and wonder at the craze for it all. Did
you see the stream coming up to-night--automobiles, victorias,
carriages of every sort; pale-faced men who had lunched too well, dined
too well, flogging their tired systems in the craze for more
excitement, more pleasure; eating at an unwholesome hour, smoking
sickly cigarettes, kissing rouged lips, listening to the false music of
that hard laughter? Look at those girls arm in arm, off to their little
milliner's shop. Hear them laugh! You don't hear anything like that,
Julien, on the top of the hill."
"Of course," Julien remarked, stifling a yawn, "if you've come to Paris
to be moral--"
"Not I!" Kendricks broke in roughly. "Bless you, I'm one of the worst.
A wild night in Paris calls me even now from any part of the world. But
Lord, what fools we are! And, Julien, we get worse. It's the old people
who keep these places going."
"The older we get," Julien replied, "the harder we have to struggle for
Kendricks wheeled suddenly in his place.
"Tell me how long you have known Herr Freudenberg?" he insisted. "How
many times have you been seen with him? Is it the truth that you met
him to-night for the first time?"
"My dear David!" he protested,--
"To tell you the truth, Julien," Kendricks interrupted, "there's some
hidden trouble, some mysterious influence at work which seems to be
upsetting the relations just now between France and England. To be
frank with you, I know that Carraby, at a Cabinet meeting yesterday,
suggested that you were at the bottom of it."
Julien's eyes suddenly flashed fire.
"D--n that fellow!" he muttered. "Does anybody believe it?"
Kendricks shrugged his shoulders.
"Scarcely. And yet, Julien, it pays to be careful. You can't afford to
be seen in public places with the enemies of your country."
"Is Carl Freudenberg an enemy of my country?"
Kendricks leaned back in his seat and laughed scornfully.
"Julien," he exclaimed, "there are times when you are very simple! Do
you indeed mean that you would try to deceive even me? You would
pretend that I, David Kendricks, of the _Post_, don't know that
Herr Freudenberg and the Prince von Falkenberg, ruler of Germany, are
one and the same person? Maker of toys, he calls himself! Maker of
fools' palaces, if you like, builder of prison houses, if you will. No
man was ever born with less of a conscience, more solely and wholly
ambitious both for his country and for himself, than the man with whom
you talked to-night. You knew him?"
"Naturally," Julien answered. "We met at Berlin."
"The man is a great genius," Kendricks continued. "No one will deny him
that. They speak of his weaknesses. They talk of his drinking bouts, of
his plunges into French dissipation. The man hasn't a single dissipated
thought in his mind. He moves through this world--this little Paris
world--with one idea only. He gets behind the scenes. He comes here
secretly, drops hints here and there as a private person, lets himself
be considered a Parisian of Parisians. All the time he listens and he
drops his cunning words of poison and he works. What are his ambitions?
Do you know, Julien?"
"Do you?" Julien asked.
"It seems to me that I have some idea," Kendricks answered. "This is
your hotel, isn't it?"
"Are you going to stay here?"
Kendricks shook his head.
"I stay at a little hotel in the Rue Taitbout. I stay there because it
is full of the weirdest set of foreigners you ever knew. This morning
we breakfast together?"
"Come and see me when you will," Julien invited, "or I will come to
you; not to breakfast, though--I am engaged."
"To Herr Freudenberg?" Kendricks asked quickly.
"To the lady whom your little friend, the manicurist, sent me to
visit," Julien replied. "Perhaps now you will tell me that she is an
ambassadress in disguise?"
"I'll tell you nothing about her this morning," Kendricks said. "I'll
tell you nothing which you ought not to find out for yourself."
"Do you think I may breakfast with her safely?" Julien inquired.
"Heaven knows--I don't!" Kendricks replied. "No man is safe with such a
woman as Madame Christophor. But let it go. We dine together to-night.
I'll tell you some news then. I'm going to unroll a plan of campaign.
There's work for you, if you like it;--nothing formulated as yet, but
it's coming--perhaps hope--who knows?"
The sun rose higher in the heavens, the mauve light faded from the sky.
Morning had arrived in earnest and Paris settled herself down to the
commencement of another day. Julien, for the first time since he had
left England, was asleep five minutes after his head had touched the
pillow. Herr Freudenberg, on the contrary, made no attempt at all to
retire. In the sitting-room of his apartments in the Boulevard
Maupassant he sat in his dressing-gown, carefully studying some letters
which had arrived by the night mail. Opposite to him was a secretary;
by his side Estermen, who appeared to be there for the purpose of
making a report.
"Not a document," Estermen was saying, "not a line of writing of any
sort in his trunk, his bureau, or anywhere about his room."
Herr Freudenberg nodded thoughtfully.
"But these Englishmen are the devil to deal with!" he said. "The
luncheon is ordered to-day in the private room at the Armenonville?"
"Everything has been attended to," Estermen replied.
Herr Freudenberg was thoughtful for several moments. Then with a wave
of his hand he dismissed Estermen.
"You, too, can go, Fritz," he said to his secretary. "You have had a
long night's work."
"You yourself, Excellency, should sleep for a while," his secretary
Herr Freudenberg shook his head.
"Sleep," he declared, "is a waste of time. I need no sleep. As you go,
you can tell my servant to prepare a warm bath. I will rest then for an
hour and walk in the Champs Elysees."
The secretary withdrew and Herr Freudenberg was alone. He picked up a
crumpled rose that lay upon the table and twirled it for a moment or
two in his fingers. The action seemed to be wholly unconscious. His
eyes were set in a fixed stare, his thoughts were busy weaving out his
plans for the day. It was not until he was summoned to his bath that he
rose and glanced at the withered flower. Then he smiled.
"Poor little Marguerite!" he murmured. "What a pity!"
He touched the rose with his lips, abandoned his first intention, which
seemed to have been to throw it into the fireplace, and put it back
carefully upon the table, side by side with an odd white glove.
"Queer little record of the froth of life," he said softly to himself.
"One soiled evening glove, a faded rose, a woman's tears,--they pass.
What can one do--we poor others who have to drive the wheels of life?"
He sighed, shrugged his high shoulders, and passed out.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Very soon after mid-day on the same morning, Herr Carl Freudenberg was
the host at a small luncheon party given in a private room of the most
famous restaurant in the Bois. His morning attire was a model of
correctness, his eyes were clear, his manner blithe, almost joyous.
There was no possible indication in his appearance of his misspent
hours. He was at once a genial and courteous host. Monsieur Decheles
sat at his right hand; Monsieur Felix Brant on his left; Monsieur
Pelleman opposite to him. The three men had arrived in an automobile
together and had entered the restaurant by the private way, but that
they were guests of some distinction was obvious from their reception
by the manager himself.
The luncheon was worthy of the great reputation of the place. It was
swiftly and well served. With the coffee and liqueurs the waiters
withdrew. Herr Freudenberg, with a smile, rose up and tried the door.
Then he returned to his place, lit a cigarette, and leaned back in his
"My dear friends," he announced, "now we can talk."
Monsieur Pelleman smiled.
"Yes," he admitted, "we can talk. In this excellent brandy, Monsieur
Carl Freudenberg, I drink your very good health. Long may these little
visits of yours continue."
Herr Freudenberg smiled his thanks.
"Monsieur Pelleman," he said, "and you, too, my dear friends, let me
assure you that there is nothing in the world which I enjoy so much as
these brief visits of mine to your delightful capital. No more I think
of the pressures and cares of office. I let myself go, and on these
occasions, as you know, I speak to you not in the language of
diplomacy, but as good friends who meet together to enjoy an hour or
two of one another's company, and who, because there is no harm to be
done by it, but much good, open their hearts and speak true words with
Monsieur Decheles smiled.
"It is a pleasure which we all share," he declared. "It is more
agreeable, without a doubt, to take lunch with Monsieur Carl
Freudenberg, and to speak openly, than to exchange long-winded
interviews, the true meaning of which is too much concealed by
diplomatic verbiage, with the excellent gentleman to whose good offices
are intrusted the destinies of Herr Freudenberg's great nation."
"Monsieur," Herr Freudenberg said, "to-day shall be no exception.
To-day I speak to you, perhaps, more openly than ever before. To-day I
perhaps risk much--yet why not speak the things which are in my heart?"
Monsieur Felix Brant took a cigarette from the box by his elbow, but he
felt for it only. His eyes never left the face of his host. Of the
three men, he seemed the one least in sympathy with the state of
affairs to which Herr Freudenberg had alluded so cheerfully. He watched
the man at the head of the table all the time as though every energy of
which he was possessed was devoted to the task of reading underneath
that suave but impenetrable face.
"Gentlemen," Herr Freudenberg continued, "there have been many
misapprehensions between your country and mine. Ten years ago we seemed
indeed on the highroad to friendship. It was then--I speak frankly,
mind--that your country made the one fatal mistake of recent years.
Great Britain, isolated, left behind in the race for power, a weakened
and decaying nation, having searched the world over for allies, held
out the timorous hand of friendship to you. What evil genius was with
your statesmen that day! When the history of these times comes to be
written, it is my firm belief that it will be then acknowledged that
the genius of the man who reigned over Great Britain at that time was
alone responsible for the commencement of what has become a veritable
Herr Freudenberg paused.
"There is no doubt," Monsieur Decheles asserted calmly, "that the
influence of the late king was immense among the people of France. He
appealed somehow to their imaginations, a great monarch who was also a
_bon viveur_, who had lived his days in Paris as the others."
Herr Freudenberg nodded thoughtfully.
"He is dead," he said, "and history will write him down as a great
king. Do you know that it is one of my theories that morals have
nothing to do with government? I doubt whether a more sagacious monarch
has ever reigned over that unfortunate country than the one we speak
of. So sagacious was he that he even saw the beginning of the end, he
saw the things that must come when he looked across the North Sea; and
notwithstanding his descent, notwithstanding all the ties which should
have allied him with Germany, he hated our people and he hated our
country with a prophetic hatred. But we gossip a little, gentlemen. Let
me proceed. I want you to realize that the policy of Germany for the
last five years has been wholly directed towards securing the
friendship of your country. I want you to realize that but for the
continual interference of Great Britain you would even now be in a far
more favorable position with us than you are to-day. Germany wants
nothing in Morocco. Germany's first and greatest wish is for a rich and
prosperous France. On the other hand, Germany is loyal to her
friendships, and fervent in her hatreds. The country whose humiliation
is a solemn charge upon my people is Great Britain and not France."
Monsieur Decheles leaned back in his chair. Monsieur Felix Brant never
"I want," Herr Freudenberg continued, "to have you think and consider
and weigh this matter. Why do you, a great and prosperous country, link
yourselves with a decaying power, against whom, before very long,
Germany is pledged to strike? These are the plainest words that have
ever been spoken by a citizen of one country to three citizens of
another. Herr Freudenberg, the maker of toys, speaks to his three
French friends as a thoughtful merchant of his country who has had
unusual facilities for imbibing the spirit of her politicians.
Gentlemen, you do not misunderstand me?"
"It is impossible, Herr Freudenberg," Monsieur Decheles said, "to
misunderstand you for a single moment. Your hand is too clear and your
methods too sagacious."
"Then let me repeat," Herr Freudenberg declared, "that before many
years are passed--perhaps, indeed, before many months--it is the
intention of my country either to inflict a scathing diplomatic
humiliation upon Great Britain, or to engage in this war the fear of
which has kept her in a state of panic for the last ten years. Keep
that in your minds, my friends. Friendship is a great thing, honor is a
great thing, generosity is a great thing, but I would speak to you
three citizens of France to-day as I would speak to her rulers had I
access to them, and I would say, 'Do you dare, for the sake of an
alliance out of which you have procured no single benefit, do you dare
to drag your country into unnecessary, fruitless and bloody war?' You
have nothing to gain by it, you have everything to lose. Let Germany
deal with her traditional enemy in her own way. And as for France, let
France believe what is, without doubt, the truth--that she has nothing
whatever to fear from Germany. I will not speak of the past, but the
greatest thinkers in Germany to-day regret nothing so much in the
history of her splendid rise as that unfortunate campaign of
Bismarck's. It is the one blot upon her magnificent history. Let that
go--let that go and be buried. I bring you timely warning. I come to
the city I love, for her own sake, for the sake of her people whom I
also love. I beg you to listen to these words of mine, to adjust your
policy so that little by little you weaken the joints which bind you to
England, so that when the time comes you yourself may not be dragged
into a hopeless and pitiless struggle."
There was a moment's silence. Then Monsieur Decheles spoke.
"Herr Freudenberg," he began, "what you have said we have been in some
measure prepared for. The more amicable tone of all the correspondence
between our two countries has been marked of late. Yet there have been
times, and not long ago, when your country has shown wonderful
readiness to treat with a rough hand the claims of France in many
quarters of the world. The more powerful your country, the greater she
is to be feared. Supposing France stood on one side while Great Britain
fell before your arms, what then would be the relations between France
Monsieur Brant spoke for the first time.
"Herr Freudenberg, you remind me of the fable of the Persian who had
two men to fight, both as strong as himself. To the one he sent
ambassadors, with the key of his favorite gardens; the other he fought.
It is a great policy to deal with your enemies one at a time."
Herr Freudenberg stretched out his arms across the table.
"My friend," he pronounced, "without faith there is no genius. Without
genius there is no government. I only ask you to believe this one
thing. Germany is not and never has been the traditional enemy of
France. I ask you to study the whole question for but one single
half-hour, I ask you to read the commercial records of these days. Help
yourself to all the statistics that throw light upon this question, and
I swear that you will find that whereas Great Britain and Germany stand
opposed to one another under every condition and in every quarter of
the world, there is no single bone of contention anywhere between
France and Germany. Their aims are different, their destinies are
written. I ask you to apply only a reasonable measure of philosophy and
common sense, a reasonable measure of faith, to the things I say."
There was a cautious tap at the door, a whispered message. Monsieur
"It is my secretary," he announced. "I fear, gentlemen, that we are due
"Herr Freudenberg, your luncheon has been delightful," Monsieur
Decheles declared, holding out his hand. "You have given us, as usual,
something to think of. These informal meetings between citizens of two
great countries will do, I am sure, more than anything else in the
world, to ripen our budding friendship."
"Your words," Herr Freudenberg replied, grasping the hand which had
been offered to him, "are a happy augury. When we meet again, I shall
be able to prove the coming of the things of which I have spoken."
They left him on the threshold of the room. The giver of the feast was
alone. Very slowly he retraced his steps and stood for a moment with
folded arms, looking down on the table at which they had lunched. His
natural urbanity, the smile half persuasive, half humorous, which had
parted his lips, had gone. His face seemed to have resolved itself into
lines of iron. As he stood there, one seemed suddenly to realize the
presence of a great man--a greater, even, than Carl Freudenberg, maker
"HAVE YOU EVER LOVED?"
Nothing which he had heard or imagined of Madame Christophor had
prepared Julien for the subdued yet manifest magnificence of her
dwelling. He passed through that small postern gate beneath the watch
of a butler who relieved him of his stick and gloves and handed him
over to a sort of major-domo. Afterwards he was conducted across a
beautiful round hall, lit with quaint fragments of stained-glass
window, through a picture gallery which almost took Julien's breath
away, and into a small room, very daintily furnished, entirely and
characteristically French of the Louis Seize period. A round table was
laid for two in front of an open window, which looked out upon a lawn
smooth and velvety, with here and there little flower-beds, and in the
middle a gray stone fountain. Madame Christophor came in almost at the
same moment from the garden. She was wearing a long lace coat over the
thinnest of muslin skirts, and a hat with some violets in it which
seemed to match exactly the color of her eyes.
"So you have come, my friend of a few hours," she said, smiling at him.
"The fear has not seized you yet? You are not afraid that over my
simple luncheon table I shall ask you compromising questions?"
"I am neither afraid of your asking questions, madame," he assured her,
"nor of my being tempted to reply to them."
"That," she murmured, "is ungallant. Meanwhile, we lunch."
Such a meal as he might have expected from such surroundings was
swiftly and daintily served. There was cantaloup, cut in halves, with
the faintest suspicion of liqueur, and a great globule of ice; an
omelette, even for Paris a wonderful omelette,--a _mousse_ of
chicken, some asparagus, a bowl of peaches, and coffee. After the
latter had been served, madame, with a little wave of her hand,
dismissed the servants from the room.
"Sir Julien," she said, "I am not pleased with you."
"I regret your displeasure the more," he declared, "because I find
myself indebted to you for a new gastronomic ideal."
"You are really beginning to wake up," she laughed. "When you first
arrived here, less than twenty-four hours ago, you thought yourself a
broken-spirited and broken-hearted man. You were very dull. Soon you
will begin to realize that life is a matter of epochs, that no blow is
severe enough to kill life itself. It is only the end of an epoch. But
I am displeased with you, as I said, because you have told me nothing.
This morning I have letters from London. I learn that through a single
indiscretion not only were you forced to relinquish a great political
career, but that you were forced also to give up the lady for whom you
"You have ingenious correspondents," he remarked.
"Truthful ones, are they not?"
"I was engaged to marry Lady Anne Clonarty," he admitted. "It was, if I
may venture to say so, an alliance."
Madame Christophor's eyes twinkled.
"Once," she declared, "I met the Duke of Clonarty. I also met the
Duchess, I also saw Lady Anne. They were traveling in great state
through Italy. It was in Rome that I came across them. The Duchess was
very affable to me. I think you have rightly expressed your affair of
the heart, my friend. It was to have been an alliance!"
Julien was thoughtful. Madame Christophor in a moment continued.
"You know, my friend," she said, tapping the ash from her cigarette
into her saucer, "your misfortune came just in time to save you from
becoming what in English you call a great, a colossal prig."
His eyebrows went up. Suddenly he smiled.
"Perhaps," he admitted. "To be a successful politician one must of
necessity be a prig."
"Not in the least," she reminded him swiftly. "There is the Prince von
"The maker of toys," he murmured.
"The maker, alas! of toys which the world were better without," she
replied. "But never mind that. For the sake of your ambitions you were
content, were you not, to marry a young woman with whom you had not the
slightest sympathy, in order that she might receive your guests, might
add the lustre of her name to the expansion of her husband's genius?"
"Madame," he said, "we live a very short time. We live only one life.
Only certain things are possible to us. The man who tries to crowd
everything into that life fails. He is a dilettante. He may find
pleasure but he reaches no end. He strikes no long sustained note. In
the eyes of those who come after him, he is a failure."
"This," she murmured, "is interesting. Please go on."
"The man who means to succeed," he continued, "to succeed in any one
position, must sacrifice everything else--temperament, if necessary
character--for that one thing. When I left college, the study of
politics was almost chosen for me. It became a part of my life. As my
interest developed, it is true that my outlook upon life was narrowed.
I was content to forget, perhaps, that I was a man, I strove fervently
and desperately to develop into the perfect political machine. From
that point of view, nobody in England would have made me a better wife
than Lady Anne Clonarty."
"What a blessing that you wrote that letter!"
"I don't know," he replied. "I still think it was a great misfortune.
Frankly, I have no idea what to make of my life. I don't know how to
start again, to deal with the pieces in any intelligent fashion. Now
that I am outside the thing, I see the narrowness of it all, I see that
I was giving up many things which are interesting and beautiful, many
friendships that might have been delightful, but on the other hand
there was always the pressing on, the big, vital side, the great throb
of life. I miss it. I feel to myself as a great factory sounds on
Sundays and holidays, when the engine that drives all the machinery of
the place is silent. I wander among the empty, quiet places, and I am
"Have you ever loved a woman?" she asked.
Her voice had suddenly dropped. He looked across the table. Her lips
were slightly parted, her eyes fixed upon his. There was something
shining out of them which he did not wholly understand. He only knew
that the question seemed to have stirred him in some new way. An
intense sense of pleasurable content, a feeling as though he were
listening to music, stole through his senses. This was a new thing. He
was bewildered. He leaned a little further across the table. He found
himself watching the faint blue veins of her delicate fingers, noticing
the curious perfume of roses that seemed to come to him from the
flutter of the lace around her neck.
"You are a man, Sir Julien. You must be thirty-five--perhaps older. Yet
somehow you have the look to me of one who has never cared at all."
"It is true," he admitted.
"Life," she declared, "is a strange place. A few months ago your whole
career was one of ambition. Misfortune came, or what you counted a
misfortune. You reckoned yourself ruined. It is simply a change of
poise. You turn now naturally to the other things in life. Do you know
that you will find them greater?"
He shook his head.
"It is too early for me to believe that," he said. "I will admit that
now and then in my forced solitude I have sometimes realized that one
may become too engrossed in a career of ambition. One may shut out many
things in life that are sweet and wholesome. But it is too early yet
for me to look back upon what has happened with equanimity and say that
I am glad to be a wanderer on the face of the earth, a homeless man, a
She shrugged her shoulders.
"You know that people are talking about you in London?" she asked
He looked a little startled.
"I know nothing of the sort," he replied. "I have scarcely looked at a
newspaper for weeks. Kendricks is over here with some story--"
"Who is Kendricks?" she interrupted.
"A journalist, an old friend of mine. What he told me, though, I looked
upon as simply a little more malice from my friend Carraby."
"Tell me exactly his news?"
"He told me," Julien continued, "that there is a good deal of unrest
over in London concerning our relations with France. The absolute
candor and completely good understanding which existed a short time ago
seems to have become clouded. Carraby is trying to suggest in English
circles that I have been using my influence over here against the
present government. The absurd part of it is that although I have been
in France for a month, I arrived in Paris only yesterday."
"I was not alluding to that at all," she said. "It is in the country
places, at the by-elections, and twice in the House itself lately, that
things have been said which point to a certain impatience at your
having been dropped so completely. You know Brentwood?"
"A strong, firm man," Julien replied, "but scarcely a friend of mine."
"Well, in your House of Parliament, the night before last," she
continued, "he said that your country needed men at the Foreign Office
who, however great might be their love of peace, still were not afraid
of war, and your name was mentioned."
"They used to call me the fire-brand. I suppose I am in a great
minority. I have never been able to see that a wholesome war, in
defense of one's territory and one's honor, is an unmixed curse. It is
the natural blood-letting of a strong country."
"No wonder you are unpopular in radical circles," she remarked, raising
her eyebrows; "but anyhow, what I really want to say to you is this.
Don't do anything rash. You have made the acquaintance of the most
dangerous man in Europe. Don't let him control your actions, don't let
him influence you. I want you always, whatever you do, to leave the way
open for your return."
He shook his head.
"I do not think that my return is ever possible."
"Have you talked with your friend Kendricks?" she asked.
"Not yet," he replied.
"Hear what he has to say," she continued. "Bring him to see me if you
"I will try," he promised.
They were silent for a moment, listening to the splashing of the
fountain outside and the distant hum of the city.
"Do you know that you are very kind to me?" he said.
"You were very much afraid of me yesterday," she reminded him.
"Had I any cause?"
"I shall not tell you my secrets. You must find them out. I have
dabbled in politics, I have dabbled in diplomacy. I have not as a rule
very much sympathy with your sex, as I think you know. It has never
interested me before even to give good advice to a man. If I were you,
Sir Julien, beyond a certain point I would not trust Madame
Christophor, for when the time comes I have always the feeling that if
a man's career lay within my power, I would sooner wreck it than help
"Of course you are talking nonsense," he declared.
"Am I?" she replied. "Well, I don't know. I can look back now to a
half-hour of my life when I loathed every creature that could call
itself a man."
"But it was a single person," he reminded her, "who sinned."
"His crime was too great to be the crime of a single man," she
asserted, with a quiver of passion in her tone. "It was the culmination
of the whole abominable selfishness of his sex. One man's life is too
light a price to pay for the tragedy of that half-hour. I have never
spared one of your sex since. I never shall."
"So far you have been kind to me," he persisted.
"Up to a certain point. Beyond that, I warn you, I should have no pity.
If you were a wise man, I think even now that you would thank me for my
luncheon and take my hand and bid me farewell."
"Instead of which," he answered, smiling, "I am waiting only to know
when you will do me the honor to come and dine with me?"
She shook her head.
"I will make no appointment," she said. "Send me your telephone number
directly you move into your rooms. If I am weary of myself I may call
for you, but I tell you frankly that you must not expect it. If I see a
way of making use of you, that will be different."
"May I come and see you again?" he begged. "You are dismissing me
She shrugged her shoulders. She was looking weary, as though the heat
of the day had tried her.
"I care very little, after all," she answered, "whether I ever see you
again. I wish I could care, although if I did the result would be the
"You asked me a question a short time ago," he remarked. "Let me ask
you the same. Have you never cared for any one?"
"I cared once for my husband."
"You have been married?"
"Most certainly. I lived with my husband for two years."
"And now?" he persisted.
"We are separated. You really do not know my other name?"
"I have never heard you called anything but Madame Christophor."
"Well, you will hear it in time," she assured him. "You will probably
think you have made a great discovery. In the meantime, farewell."
She gave him her hands. He held them in his perhaps a little longer
than was necessary. She raised her eyes questioningly. He drew them a
little closer. Very quietly she removed the right one and touched a
bell by her side.
"If my automobile is of any service to you, Sir Julien," she said,
"pray use it. It waits outside and I shall not be ready to go out for
an hour at least."
"Thank you," he replied. "Your automobile, empty, has no attractions."
The butler was already in the room.
"See that Sir Julien makes use of my automobile if he cares to," she
ordered. "This has been a very pleasant visit. I hope we may soon meet
She avoided his eyes. He had an instinctive feeling that she was either
displeased or disappointed with him. He followed the butler out into
the hall filled with a vague sense of self-dissatisfaction.
KENDRICKS IS HOST
"You are going to spend," Kendricks declared, "a democratic evening.
You are going to mix with common folk. To-night we shall drink no
champagne at forty francs the bottle. On the other hand, we shall
probably drink a great deal more beer than is good for us. How do you
find the atmosphere here?"
"I was afraid you might notice it," Kendricks remarked. "Never mind,
presently you will forget it. You have never been here before, I
"I have not," Julien agreed. "I daresay I shall find it interesting.
You wouldn't describe it as quiet, would you?"
"One does not eat quietly here," Kendricks replied. "Four hundred
people, mostly Germans, when they eat are never silent. The service of
four hundred dinners continues at the same time. Listen to them. Close
your eyes and you will appreciate the true music of crockery."
"If that infernal little band would keep quiet," Julien grumbled, "one
might hear oneself talk!"
"Let us have no more criticisms," Kendricks begged. "To-night you are
of the working class. You may perhaps be a small manufacturer, the
agent of a manufacturing firm in the country, a clerk with a moderate
salary, or a mechanic in his best clothes. Remember that and do not
complain of the music. You do not hear it every day. Let us hear no
more blase speeches, if you please.... Good! The dinner arrives. We
dine here, my friend, for two francs. You will probably require another
meal before the evening is concluded. On the other hand, you may feel
that you never require another meal as long as you live. That is a
matter of luck. In any case, you had better squeeze a little further
up. Madame and her two daughters are going to sit next to you, and
opposite there will be monsieur, and I judge the fiance of one of the
young ladies. It will be a family party. If there is anything in that
dish of _hors d'oeuvres_ which you fancy particularly, help
yourself quickly. In a moment or two there will be no opportunity."
The two men were seated opposite one another at a long table in a huge
popular restaurant in the heart of the city. It was Kendricks'
plan--Kendricks, in fact, had insisted upon it.
"You know, my dear Julien," he continued, "a certain education is
necessary for you. If only I had a little more time I should be
invaluable. You have taken all your life too narrow a view. That
wretched Eton training! You would have been better off at a
board-school. We all should."
"You were at Winchester yourself," Julien reminded him, trying some of
the bread and approving of it.
"For a short time only," Kendricks admitted, "and then you forget the
years after which I spent in the byways. Oh, I know my people! I know
the common people of America and England and France and Germany. I know
them and love them. I love the middle classes, too, the honestly
vulgar, honestly snobbish, foolishly ambitious, yet over-cautious
middle class. The extreme types of every nation lose their racial
individuality. You find the true thing only among the bourgeoisie. Oh,
if I only knew whether these people," he added, "understood English!"
"You must not risk it," Julien warned him. "Madame has already her eye
"As a possible suitor for that unmated daughter on her right, I
suspect," Kendricks declared. "The young lady has looked at me twice
and down at her plate. Julien, you must change places."
"I shall do nothing of the sort," Julien retorted.
"If I ingratiate myself with this family and trouble comes of it,"
Kendricks continued, "the fault will be yours. Madame," he added,
standing up and bowing, "will you permit me?"
Madame had been looking at the bread. Kendricks gallantly offered it.
Madame's bows and smiles were a thing delightful to behold.
Mademoiselle, too, would take bread, if monsieur was so kind. When
Kendricks sat down again, the way was paved for general conversation.
Julien, however, practically buttonholed his friend.
"Kendricks," he said, "you have told me nothing about England."
"There is little to tell," Kendricks replied. "The little there is will
filter from me during the evening. We are spending a long evening
together, you know, Julien."
"Heavens alive!" Julien groaned. "I am not sure that I am strong
"Eat that soup," Kendricks advised him. "That, at least, is sustaining.
Never mind stirring it up to see what vegetables are at the bottom.
Take my word for it, it is good. And leave the pepper-pot alone. How
the people crowd in! You perceive the commercial traveler with a
customer? How they talk about that last order! The fat man facing you
puzzles me. I wish I could know the occupation of our neighbors. I am
"I should ask them," Julien suggested dryly.
"An idea!" Kendricks assented approvingly. "Let us wait until they have
drunk the free wine. You understand, my dear Julien, that you pay
nothing for that flask which stands by your side? It comes with the
dinner. It is free."
Julien helped himself, and sipped it thoughtfully.
"At least," he murmured, as he set his glass down, "one is thankful
that we do not pay for it!"
"There are some," Kendricks remarked, "who prefer beer. Personally, I
like to preserve my local color. _Vin ordinaire_ in Paris, beer in
Kendricks had caught madame's eye with the glass at his lips. He rose
at once and bowed. Madame acknowledged his graciousness with a huge
smile, which spread even to her double chin. Monsieur leaned forward
and joined in the ceremony. Mademoiselle, after a timid glance at her
mother, also responded. Kendricks' character as an Englishman of
gallantry was thoroughly established.
"I am doing our national character good," he declared to Julien, as he
set down his glass empty. "As to my own constitution--but let that
pass. We will drown this stuff in honest beer, later on. How are you
getting on with the fish?"
"It is excellent--really excellent," Julien proclaimed. "Do you mean to
say seriously that you are going to pay only two francs each for this
"Not a centime more," Kendricks assured him. "Do you know why I brought
"Part of my education, I suppose," Julien replied resignedly.
"Quite true. Further than that, I am here on business for my paper. I
am here to study the effect of the German invasion of Paris. This place
is being spoken of as being the haunt of Germans. It still seems to me
that I find plenty of the real French people."
"Do we pursue your investigations elsewhere during the course of the
evening?" Julien inquired.
"The whole of our evening," Kendricks told him, "is devoted to that
purpose, and incidentally," he added, "to your education. We are going
for red-blooded pleasure to-night, for the real thing,--for the hearty
laughs, for the wholesome appetites; no caviare sandwiches, over-dry
champagne, rouged lips and Rue de la Paix hats for us. If we make love,
we make love honestly. Mademoiselle may permit a clasp of her hand--no
"So far," Julien remarked, "mademoiselle--"
"That is for later," Kendricks interrupted briskly. "We shall go to a
singing-hall--a German singing-hall. The mademoiselles whom we meet
will probably have their own sweethearts. Somehow, to-night I fancy
that we shall be lookers-on. What does it matter? We shall at least see
life. We shall catch the shadows of other people's happinesses. It is,
I believe, the sincerest form. The chicken, dear Julien,--what of the
"There is little to be said against it," he confessed. "The only
trouble is that it fails to arrive."
Kendricks summoned a waiter, a task of no inconsiderable difficulty,
for the service was automatic--the dishes were set upon the table and
the waiter disappeared for the next lot. Anything intervening was
almost impossible. Monsieur, Kendricks declared, pointing indignantly
across the table, had not been served with chicken! The waiter shook
his head. It was unheard of! Monsieur had probably had his chicken and
forgotten it. The chicken had been brought, two portions. There was no
doubt about it. But where then had the chicken been hidden? Kendricks
became fluent. He looked under the table. He pointed to his friend's
empty plate. The waiter, only half convinced, departed with a vague
promise. Kendricks sipped his wine.
"It is a regrettable incident," he declared, "but in the excitement of
conversation, Julien, I ate both portions of chicken."
He had lapsed into French, the language in which he had argued with the
waiter. Madame was overcome with the humor of the affair. Mademoiselle
tittered as she leaned across and told her fiance. The unattached
mademoiselle looked her sympathy with Julien. Monsieur saw the joke and
laughed heartily. They looked reproachfully at Kendricks. To them it
was indeed a tragedy!
"Madame," Kendricks explained, "it is not my custom to be so greedy.
The waiter set both portions before me, meaning, without doubt, that I
should pass one to my friend. Alas! in the pleasure of conversation in
these delightful surroundings,"--he bowed low to mademoiselle--"something,
I don't know what it was, carried me away, and I ate and ate until both
portions were vanished. Ah!" he exclaimed. "Triumph! The waiter returns.
He brings chicken, too, for my friend. Garcon, you have done well. You
shall be rewarded. It is excellent."
The waiter, still with a protesting air, passed up the chicken. The
little party was convulsed with merriment. They all watched Julien eat
his tardy course. Kendricks, with an air of recklessness, sipped more
"I flatter myself," he said, "that before very long I shall have taught
you to forget that you were ever a Cabinet Minister, that you were ever
at Eton, that you were ever at Oxford. One does not live in those
places, you know, Julien. One shrivels instead of expands.... My
friend, we have dined."
"Is there nothing more?" Julien asked.
"There is fruit," Kendricks admitted. "It was in my mind to spare you
the fruit. I see it to right and left of us being handed around--nuts,
a banana, apples whose exterior I trust is misleading. Never mind, you
have desired fruit and you shall have it. Waiter, monsieur desires his
The waiter disappeared and in a moment or two Julien was served.
"Coffee, if you will?"
"No coffee, thanks," Julien decided. "If we are really going to spend
the evening visiting places of entertainment of a similar class, let us
reserve our coffee. A large cigar, I think."
"I hate to go. Mademoiselle opposite is pleased with me. I have made a
good impression upon madame. Monsieur is ready to extend to me the
right hand of fellowship. One of those pleasing little romances one
dreams about might here find a commencement. In a week's time I might
be accepted as a son-in-law of the house. I see all the signs of assent
already beaming in madame's eye. Perhaps we had better go, Julien!"
They took their leave, not without the exchange of many smiles and bows
with the little family party they left behind. They walked slowly down
the room, arm in arm.
"We were fortunate, you see, in our neighbors," Kendricks declared.
"There are Germans everywhere here. One is curious about these people.
One wonders how far they have imbibed the manners and customs of the
people among whom they live. Are they still absolutely and entirely
Teutons, do you suppose? Do they intermarry here, make friends, or do
they remain an alien element?"
"To judge by appearances," Julien remarked, "they remain an alien
element. It is astonishing how seldom you see mixed parties of French
people and Germans here."
"It is exactly to make observations upon that point that I am in
Paris," Kendricks asserted. "My people are curious. They want me to
watch and write about it. Do you know that there is a feeling in
London, Julien, that we are reaching the climax?"
"I can quite believe it," he replied. "Falkenberg seems to show every
desire to force our hand."
"May the Lord deliver us from a Germanized Paris!" Kendricks prayed.
"They may have the Ritz, if they will, and the Elysees Palace. They may
have all the halls of fashion and gilt and wealth. They may swamp the
Pre Catelan and the Armenonville, so long as they leave us the real
Paris. Come, we take our coffee here. This is a German cafe, if you
like. Never mind, let us see if by chance any French people have
They drank coffee at a little table in a huge building, hung with
tobacco smoke, with the inevitable band at one end, and crowded with
people. Kendricks smiled as the waiter brought them sugared cakes with
"It is Germany," he declared. "Look! An odd Frenchman or two, perhaps;
no French women. Look at the hats, the women's faces. The hats looked
well enough in the shop-windows here. What an ignoble end for them!
From an aesthetic point of view, Julien, nothing is more terrible than
the domesticity of the German. If only he could be persuaded to leave
his wife at home! Think how much more attractive it would make these
places. He would have more money to spend upon himself, upon his own
beer and his own pretzels, and in time, no doubt, a lonely feeling, a
feeling of sentiment, would overpower him, and the vacant chair would
be filled by one of these vivacious little women who might teach him in
time that blood was meant to flow, not to ooze like mud."
"I shall begin to think," Julien remarked, "that you don't like
"There you are wrong," Kendricks replied. "In their own country I like
them. They have all the good qualities. Germany for the Germans, I
should say always, and me for any other country. We have drunk our
coffee. Let us go."
They passed on to a music-hall, where they listened to a mixed
performance and drank beer out of long glasses, served to them by a
distinctly Teutonic waiter. Greatly to Kendricks' annoyance, however,
they were surrounded by English and Americans, and were too tightly
packed in to change their seats. On the way out, however, he suddenly
"Behold!" he exclaimed.
He swept his hat from his head. It was their companions at the dinner
table. Madame was pleased to remember him, also mademoiselle.
"I shall invite them to supper," Kendricks declared.
"If you do," Julien retorted, "I shall go home."
Kendricks heaved a long sigh as he regretfully let them pass by.
"It's just a touch of Oxford left in you," he complained. "For myself,
I know that madame would be excellent company, and I am perfectly
certain that mademoiselle would let me whisper--discreetly--in her ear.
Alas! it is a lost opportunity, and from here we go--to who knows
He was suddenly serious. Julien looked at him in surprise. They were
standing on the pavement outside. Kendricks consulted his watch.
"You have courage, I know, my friend," he said. "That is one reason why
I choose you for my companion to-night. I have two tickets for a German
socialist gathering here. The tickets were obtained with extraordinary
difficulty. I know that your German is pure and I can trust to my own.
From this minute, not a word in any other language, if you please."
"I am really not sure," Julien objected, "that I want to go to a German
socialist meeting. In any case, I am hungry."
"Hungry!" Kendricks exclaimed. "Hungry! What ingratitude! But be calm,
my friend," he added, taking Julien's arm, "there will be sausages and
beer where we are going."
"In that case," Julien agreed, "I am with you. Which way?"
"Almost opposite us," Kendricks declared. "Come along."
They paused outside a brilliantly lit cafe with a German name. Julien
looked at it doubtfully.
"Surely they don't hold meetings in a place like this?" he muttered.
Kendricks lowered his voice.
"We go into the cafe first," he said. "The meeting is in a private
They pushed open the swinging doors and entered the place.
A MEETING OF SOCIALISTS
The _brasserie_ into which the two men pushed their way was
smaller and less ornate than the one which they had last visited. Many
of the tables, too, were laid for supper. The tone of the place was
still entirely Teutonic. Kendricks and his companion seated themselves
at a table.
"You will eat sausage?" Kendricks asked.
"I will eat anything," Julien replied.
"It is better," Kendricks remarked. "Here from the first we may be
watched. We are certainly observed. Be sure that you do not let fall a
single word of English. It might be awkward afterwards."
"It's a beastly language," Julien declared, "but the beer and sausages
help. How many of the people here will be at the meeting?"
"Not a hundredth part of them," Kendricks answered. "It was a terrible
job to get these tickets and I wouldn't like to guarantee now that we
have them that we get there. Remember, if any questions are asked,
you're an American, the editor or envoy of _The Coming Age._"
"The dickens I am!" Julien exclaimed. "Where am I published?"
"In New York; you're a new issue."
Julien ate sausages and bread and butter steadily for several minutes.
"To me," he announced, "there is something more satisfying about a meal
of this description than that two-franc dinner where you stole my
"You have Teutonic instincts, without a doubt," Kendricks declared,
"but after all, why not a light dinner and an appetite for supper?
Better for the digestion, better for the pocket, better for passing the
time. What are you staring at?"
Julien was looking across the room with fixed eyes.
"I was watching a man who has been sitting at a small table over
there," he remarked. "He has just gone out through that inner door. For
a moment I could have sworn that it was Carl Freudenberg."
Kendricks shook his head.
"Mr. Carl Freudenberg takes many risks, but I do not think he would
care to show himself here."
"It is no crime that he is in Paris," Julien objected.
"In a sense it is," Kendricks said. "These incognito visits of his must
soon cease if they were talked too much about. Then there is another
thing. This cafe is the headquarters of German socialism in Paris, and
Herr Freudenberg is the sworn enemy of socialists. He fights them with
an iron hand, wherever he comes into contact with them. This is a
law-abiding place, without a doubt, and the Germans as a rule are a
law-abiding people, but I would not feel quite sure that he would leave
unmolested if he were recognized here at this minute."
"You think he knows that?" Julien asked.
"Knows it!" Kendricks replied scornfully. "There is nothing goes on in
Paris that he does not know. He peers into every nook and corner of the
city. He knows the feelings of the aristocrats, of the bourgeoisie, of
the official classes. Not only that, he knows their feelings towards
England, towards the Triple Alliance, towards Russia. He never seems to
ask questions, he never forgets an answer. He is a wonderful man, in
short; but I do not think that you will see him here to-night."
The long hand of the clock pointed toward midnight. Kendricks called
for the bill and paid it.
"We go this way," he announced, "through the billiard rooms."
They left the cafe by the swing-door to which Julien had pointed,
passed through a crowded billiard room, every table of which was in
use, down a narrow corridor till they came face to face with a closed
door, on which was inscribed "Number 12." Kendricks knocked softly and
it was at once opened. There was another door a few yards further on,
and between the two a very tall doorkeeper and a small man in
"Who are you?" the doorkeeper demanded gruffly.
Kendricks produced his tickets. The tall man, however, did not move. He
scrutinized them, word for word. Then he scrutinized the faces of the
two men. Kendricks he seemed inclined to pass, but he looked at Julien
for long, and in a puzzled manner.
"Of what nationality is your friend?" he asked Kendricks.
"I am an American," Julien replied.
"And your profession?"
"A newspaper editor. I edit _The Coming Age_."
"This is not altogether in order," the tall man declared. "The meeting
which we are holding to-night is not one in which the Press is
interested. We are here to discuss one man, and one man only. I do not
think that you would hear anything you could print, and as you do not
belong to our direct association here I think it would be better if you
did not enter."
Kendricks stood his ground, however.
"I must appeal," he said, "to your secretary."
The little man in spectacles came forward. Kendricks stated his case
with much indignation.
"Here am I," he announced, "editor of the only socialist paper in
London worthy of the title. I come over because I hear of this meeting.
I bring with me my American friend, the editor of _The Coming
Age_. For no other reason have we visited Paris than for this. If
you refuse us admission to this meeting, the whole of the English
branch will consider it an insult."
"And the American," Julien put in firmly.
The two men whispered together. The taller one, still grumbling, stood
on one side.
"Pass in," he directed. "It is not strictly in order, but our secretary
The two men passed on. The room in which they found themselves was a
small one and there were not more than fifty people present. It was
very dimly lit and they could barely make out the forms of the row of
men who were sitting upon chairs upon the platform. They contented
themselves with seats quite close to the door. No drinks were being
served here. Although one or two men were smoking, the general aspect
seemed to be one of stern and serious intensity. A man upon the
platform was just finishing speaking as they entered, and he apparently
called upon some one else. A large and heavy German stood up on the
centre of the slightly raised stage. He wore shapeless clothes and
horn-rimmed spectacles. His face was benevolent. He had a double chin
and a soft voice.
"My brothers," he said, "at these our meetings we have many things to
discuss. We have little time to waste. Why beat about the bush? I am
here to speak to you of the greatest enemy our cause has in the
world--Prince Adolf Rudolf von Falkenberg."
He paused. There was an ugly little murmur through the room. It was
very easy indeed to understand that the man whose name had been
mentioned was unpopular.
"The cause of socialism," the speaker continued, "is the one cause we
all have at heart. In our Fatherland it flourishes, but it flourishes
slowly. The reason that we are denied our just and legitimate triumphs
is simply owing to the vigorous opposition, the brutal enmity, of
Prince Adolf Rudolf von Falkenberg. My brothers, this man has been
warned. His only answer has been a fresh and more diabolical measure.
He fights us everywhere with the fierceness of a man who hates his
enemy. It is our duty, brethren, that we do not see our cause retarded
by the enmity of any one man. Therefore, it is my business to say to
you to-night that that man should be removed."
There was a murmur of voices, one clearer than the others.
The man on the platform adjusted his spectacles.
"My brother asks how? I will tell him. Falkenberg loves war. We others
hate it. We work always to infuse throughout the army our own
principles and theories. Falkenberg falls upon them with all his might
and main. There are orders posted in every barracks in Germany. Our
literature is confiscated. Any man preaching our doctrines is drummed
out upon the streets. I say that these things cannot last. I say that
Falkenberg must go. A friend in the audience has asked how. I will
answer you. There is a body of men whose beliefs are somewhat similar
to ours, but who go further. It is possible they see the truth. But for
us at present it is not possible to accept their general principles.
This case is an exception. The anarchists of Berlin, one of whom, Franz
Kuzman, is here to-night, will dispose of Falkenberg for us if we
provide sufficient funds to make an escape possible, and an annuity for
the executioner should he live, or for his wife should he die."
There was a slow, ominous murmur of voices. The fat man on the platform
beamed at everybody.
"Kuzman is here upon the platform," he announced. "Does any one wish to
Kuzman stood up--an awkward, rawboned, dark-featured man. In a coat
that was too short for him, he stood rather like a puppet upon the
"If you delegates of the socialist societies decide that it is just,"
he said, in a hoarse, unpleasant tone, "I am willing to see that
Falkenberg meets his reward. I can say no more. I do not fail. I move
against no one save those who deserve death and against whom the death
sentence has been pronounced. But when I do move, that man dies."
He resumed his seat. The fat man went on.
"Is it your wish," he asked, "that Kuzman be authorized by you to
arrange this affair?"
The murmur of voices was scarcely intelligible.
"Into the hands of every one of you," the fat man continued, "will be
placed a strip of paper. You will write upon it 'Yes' or 'No.' Kuzman
will be instructed according to your verdict."
Some one on the platform bustled around. Kendricks and Julien were both
supplied with the long strips. In a few minutes these were collected.
The man upon the platform turned up the lights a little higher. He drew
a small table towards him and began sorting out the papers into two
heaps. One was obviously much larger than the other. Towards the end he
came across a slip, however, at which he paused. He read it with
knitted brows, half rose to his feet and stopped. Then he went on with
his counting. Presently he got up.
"My brothers," he said, "there are forty-two papers here. Of these,
thirty-five agree to the appointment of Kuzman for the purpose we have
spoken of. Six are against it. One paper I will read to you. The writer
has not troubled to put 'Yes' or 'No.' This is what I find:
"Falkenberg has served his Emperor and his country to the whole extent
of his will and his capacity. He has given his life to make his country
great. If he has been stern upon the cause of socialism, it is because
he does not believe that socialism, as it is at present preached, is
good for Germany. I vote, therefore, that Falkenberg live.
"We desire to know," the speaker continued, "who wrote those words.
They do not sound like the words of one of our delegates. Johann and
Hesler, stand by the door. Turn up the lights. Let us see exactly who
there is here to-night, unknown to us."
There was a little murmur. A man who sat only three or four places off
from Kendricks and Julien rose silently to his feet and moved towards
the door. It was as yet locked, however. From the other end of the room
the lights were suddenly heightened. The faces of the men were now
distinctly visible. A light in the body of the hall flared up. A man
was discovered with his hand upon the door handle. There was a hoarse
murmur of voices.
"Who is he? Hold fast of the door! Let no one pass out!"
The man turned quickly round. The light flashed upon his face. Julien
was the first to recognize him and he gripped Kendricks by the arm.
"My God!" he muttered, "it's Falkenberg himself! Who is the man with
Kendricks pointed to him. They crept closer. Then that hoarse murmur of
voices turned suddenly into a low, passionate cry.
"Falkenberg! Falkenberg himself!"
The toymaker made no further attempt at concealment. He drew himself up
and faced them. They were creeping towards him now from all corners of
the room--an ugly-looking set of men, men with an ugly purpose in their
"Yes, I am Falkenberg!" he cried. "I am here to spy upon you, if you
will. Why not? Kill me, if you choose, but I warn you that if you do
the whole of Germany will rise against you and your cause."
"Don't let him escape!" some one shouted from the platform.
"It is fate!"
"He is ours!"
There was no mistaking the feeling of the men. Julien whispered swiftly
in Kendricks' ear. Simultaneously his right arm shot out. The man who
guarded the door felt his neck suddenly twisted back. Kendricks
snatched the key from his hand and thrust it in the lock. Some one
struck him a violent blow on the head. He reeled, but was still able to
turn the key. They came then with a howl from all parts of the room.
Julien felt a storm of blows. Falkenberg, with one swoop of his long
arm, disposed of their nearest assailant.
"Get off, man," Kendricks ordered. "You first!"
The door was wide open now. They half stumbled, half fell into the
outer cafe. The orchestra stopped playing, people rose to their feet.
Before they well knew what was happening, Falkenberg had slipped
through their midst and passed out of the door. One of the pursuers,
with a howl of rage, sprang after him, but he tripped against an
abutting marble table and fell. Kendricks and Julien stepped quietly to
one side, threading their way among the throng of customers in the
cafe. Loud voices shouted for an explanation.
"It was a pickpocket," some one called out from among those who came
streaming from the room,--"a tall man with a wound on the forehead. Did
no one see him?"
They all looked towards the door.
"He passed out so swiftly," they murmured.
Several of them had already reached the door of the cafe and were
rushing down the street in the direction which Falkenberg had taken.
"There were two others," a grim voice shouted from behind.
A waiter, who had seen the two men sit down, looked doubtfully towards
them. Kendricks pushed a note into his hand.
"Serve us with something quickly," he begged.
The man pocketed the note and set before them the beer which he was
carrying. Kendricks, whose knuckles were bleeding, laid his hand under
the table. Julien took a long drink of the beer and began to recover
"So far," he declared, "I have found your evening with the masses a
"Wait till my hand has stopped bleeding," he said, "and we will slip
out. That was a narrow escape for Falkenberg. What a pluck the fellow
"It seems almost like a foolhardy risk," Julien muttered. "If those
fellows could have got at him, they'd have killed him. Have they gone
back to their room, I wonder? Let us hear what the people say about the
"What was the disturbance?" he asked.
The man shrugged his shoulders.
"It was a meeting in one of the private rooms of the cafe," he
declared, "a meeting of some society. They were taking a vote when they
discovered a pickpocket. He bolted out of the room. They say that he
has got away."
"Did he steal much?" Julien inquired.
The man shook his head.
"A watch and chain, or something of the sort," he told them. "The
excitement is all over now. The gentlemen have gone back to their
Julien smiled and finished his beer.
"Is our evening at an end, Kendricks?" he asked.
Kendricks shook his head.
"Not quite," he replied, binding his handkerchief around his knuckles.
"If you are ready, there is just one other call we might make."
"More German _brasseries_?"
Kendricks smiled grimly.
"Not to-night. We climb once more the hill. We pay our respects to
"The Rat Mort?"
Kendricks, as they entered the cafe, recognized his friends with joy
"It is fate!" he exclaimed, striking a dramatic attitude.
"It is the gentleman who ate both portions of chicken!" mademoiselle
"It is the gallant Englishman of the Cafe Helder," madame laughed, her
double chin becoming more and more evident.
"And yonder, in the corner, sits Mademoiselle Ixe," Kendricks whispered
to Julien. "For whom does she wait, I wonder?".
"For Herr Freudenberg?" suggested Julien.
"For Herr Freudenberg, let us pray," Kendricks replied.
The husband of madame, the father of mademoiselle, the rightly
conceived future papa-in-law-to-be of the attendant young man, rose to
his feet in response to a kick from his wife.
"If monsieur is looking for a table," he suggested, "there is room here
adjoining ours. It will incommode us not in the slightest."
"Of all places in the room," Kendricks declared, with a bow, "the most
desirable, the most charming. Madame indeed permits--and mademoiselle?"
There were more bows, more pleasant speeches. A small additional table
was quickly brought. Kendricks ignored the more comfortable seat by
Julien's side and took a chair with his back to the room. From here he
leaned over and conversed with his new friends. He started flirting
with mademoiselle, he paid compliments to madame, he suddenly plunged
into politics with monsieur. Julien listened, half in amusement, half
in admiration. For Kendricks was not talking idly.
"A man of affairs, monsieur," Kendricks proclaimed himself to be. "My
interest in both countries, madame," he continued, knowing well that
she, too, loved to talk of the affairs, "is great. I am one of those,
indeed, who have benefited largely by this delightful alliance."
Alliance! Monsieur smiled at the word. Kendricks protested.
"But what else shall we call it, dear friends?" he argued. "Are we not
allied against a common foe? The exact terms of the _entente_,
what does it matter? Is it credible that England would remain idle
while the legions of Germany overran this country?"
Monsieur was becoming interested. So was madame. It was madame who
spoke--one gathered that it was usual!
"What, then," she demanded, "would England do?"
"She would come to the aid of your charming country, madame."
"But how?" madame persisted pertinently.
Kendricks was immediately fluent. He talked in ornate phrases of the
resources of the British Empire, the perfection of her fleet, the
wonder of her new guns. Julien, who knew him well, was amazed not only
at his apparent earnestness, but at his insincerity. He was speaking
well and with a wealth of detail which was impressive enough. His
little company of new friends were listening to him with marked
attention; Julien alone seemed conscious that they were listening to a
man who was speaking against his own convictions.
"Monsieur! Monsieur Julien!"
It was the voice of Mademoiselle Ixe. She was leaning slightly forward
in her place. Julien turned quickly around and she motioned him to a
seat by her side. He rose at once and accepted her invitation.
"I do not disturb you?" she asked. "It seemed to me that your friend
was talking with those strange people there and that you were not very
much interested. It is dull when one sits here alone."
"Naturally," Julien agreed. "My friend talks politics, and for my part
it is very certain that I would sooner talk of other things with
She was a born flirt--a matter of nationality as well as temperament,
and not to be escaped--and her eyes flashed the correct reply. But a
moment later she was gazing wistfully at the door.
"You expect Herr Freudenberg?" Julien inquired.
"I cannot tell," she replied. "I must not say that I am expecting him
because he did not ask me to meet him here. But I thought, perhaps,
that he might come--so I risked it. I was restless to-night. I do not
sing this week because Herr Freudenberg is in Paris, and without any
occupation it is hard to control the thoughts. I sat at home until I
could bear it no longer. _Eh bien!_ I sent for a little carriage
and I ventured here. There is a chance that he may come."
"Mademoiselle permits that I offer her some supper?" Julien suggested.
She hesitated and glanced at the clock.
"You are very kind, Sir Julien," she answered. "I have waited because I
have thought that there was a chance that he might come, and to sup
alone is a drear thing. If monsieur really--Ah! Behold! After all, it
is he! It is he who comes. What happiness!"
It was indeed Herr Freudenberg who had mounted the stairs and was
yielding now his coat to the attentive _vestiaire_--Herr
Freudenberg, unruffled and precisely attired in evening clothes. He
showed not the slightest signs of his recent adventure. He chatted
gayly to Albert and waved his hand to mademoiselle. He came towards
them with a smile upon his face, walking lightly and with the footsteps
of a young man. Yet mademoiselle shivered, her lip drooped.
"He is not pleased," she murmured. "I have done wrong."
There was nothing apparent to others in Herr Freudenberg's manner to
justify her conviction. He raised her fingers to his lips with charming
"Dear Marguerite," he exclaimed, "this is indeed a delightful surprise!
And Sir Julien, too! I am enchanted. Once more let us celebrate. Let us
sup. I am in time, eh?"
"With me, if you please," Julien insisted, taking up the menu.
Herr Freudenberg smiled genially.
"Host or guest, who cares so long as we are joyous?" he cried, sitting
on mademoiselle's other side. "Although to-night," he added, with a
humorous glance at Julien, "it should surely be I who entertains! Dear
He patted her hand. She looked at him pathetically and he smiled back
"Be happy, my child," he begged. "It is gone, that little twinge. It
was perhaps jealousy," he whispered in her ear. "Sir Julien has
captured many hearts."
She drew a sigh of content. She raised his hand to her lips. Then she
dabbed at her eyes with the few inches of perfumed lace which she
called a handkerchief. It was passing, that evil moment.
"There is no man in the world," she told him softly, "who should be
able to make you jealous. In your heart you know."
He laughed lightly.
"You will make me vain, dear one. Give me your little fingers to hold
for a moment. There--it is finished."
He looked around the room with the light yet cheerful curiosity of the
pleasure-seeker. Then he leaned over towards Julien.
"What does our shock-headed friend the journalist do in that company?"
he asked, with a backward motion of his head.
"He is devoted to madame with the double chin. He is apparently also
devoted to mademoiselle, the daughter of madame with the double chin.
He is contemplating, I believe, an alliance with the bourgeoisie."
Herr Freudenberg watched the group for a moment with a slight frown.
"They are types," he said under his breath, "absolute types. Kendricks
is studying them, without a doubt."
He continued his scrutiny of the room. Then he leaned towards
"There is Mademoiselle Soupelles there," he pointed out, "sitting with
an untidy-looking man in a morning coat and a red tie. You see them?"
"But certainly," mademoiselle agreed. "They are together always. It is
an alliance, that."
"It would please me," Herr Freudenberg continued, still speaking almost
under his breath, "to converse with the companion of Mademoiselle
Soupelles. From you, dear Marguerite, I conceal nothing. I made no
appointment with you to-night because it was my intention to speak with
that person, and I could not tell where he would be. All has happened
fortunately. We spend our evening together, after all. See what you can
do to help me. Go and talk to your friend, Mademoiselle Soupelles.
Bring them here if you can. Sir Julien thinks he is ordering the
supper, but he is too late; I ordered it from Albert as I entered."
Mademoiselle rose at once and shook out her skirts. She kissed her hand
across the room to her friend.
"I go to speak to her," she promised. "What I can do I will. You know
that, dear one. But he is a strange-looking man, this companion of
hers. You know who he is? His name is Jesen. If I were Susanne, I would
see to it that he was more _comme-il-faut_."
Herr Freudenberg laughed.
"Never mind his appearance," he said. "He can drive the truth into the
hearts of this people as swiftly and as surely as any man who ever took
up a pen. Bring him here, little sweetheart, and to-morrow we visit
She glanced at him almost reproachfully.
"As if that mattered!" she murmured, as she glided away.
Julien turned discontentedly to his companion.
"This fellow will take no order from me," he objected. "Do you own this
place, Herr Freudenberg, that you must always be obeyed here?"
"By no means," Herr Freudenberg replied. "To-night is an exception. I
ordered supper as I entered. You see, there are others whom I may ask
to join. You shall have your turn when you will and I will be a very
submissive guest, but to-night--well, I have even at this moment
charged mademoiselle with a message to her friend and her friend's
companion. I have begged them to join us. On these nights I like
company--plenty of company!"
"In that case, perhaps," Julien suggested, "I may be _de trop_."
Freudenberg laid his hand upon his companion's shoulder.
"My friend," he said earnestly, "it is not for you to talk like that,
to-night of all nights. If I say little, it is because we are both men
of few words, and I think that we understand. You know very well what
you and your shock-headed friend have done for me. Not that I believe,"
he went on, "that it would ever come to me to be hounded to death by
such a gang. I am too fervent a believer in my own star for that. But
one never knows. It is well, anyhow, to escape with a sound skin."
"Why did you run such a risk?" Julien asked him.
"Partly," Freudenberg answered, "because I was really curious to know
what those fellows were driving at; and partly," he added, "because,
alas! I am possessed of that restless spirit, that everlasting craving
for adventures, which drives one on into any place where life stirs. I
knew that these people were plotting something against me. I wanted to