Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Beverly of Graustark by George Barr McCutcheon

Part 3 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

your cause."

Beverly, breathing easier, was properly impressed by this promise of
fealty. She was looking with pride upon the figure of her stalwart

"I hope you have destroyed that horrid black patch," she said.

"It has gone to keep company with other devoted but deserted friends,"
he said, a tinge of bitterness in his voice.

"The uniform is vastly becoming," she went on, realizing helplessly that
she was providing intense amusement for the unseen auditors.

"It shames the rags in which you found me."

"I shall never forget them, Baldos," she said, with a strange
earnestness in her voice.

"May I presume to inquire after the health of your good Aunt Fanny
and--although I did not see him--your Uncle Sam? "he asked, with a face
as straight and sincere as that of a judge. Beverly swallowed suddenly
and checked a laugh with some difficulty.

"Aunt Fanny is never ill. Some day I shall tell you more of Uncle
Sam. It will interest you."

"Another question, if it please your highness. Do you expect to return
to America soon?"

This was the unexpected, but she met it with admirable composure.

"It depends upon the time when Prince Dantan resumes the throne in
Dawsbergen," she said.

"And that day may never come," said he, such mocking regret in his voice
that she looked upon him with newer interest.

"Why, I really believe you want to go to America," she cried.

The eyes of Baldos had been furtively drawn to the curtain more than
once during the last few minutes. An occasional movement of the long
oriental hangings attracted his attention. It dawned upon him that the
little play was being overheard, whether by spies or conspirators he
knew not. Resentment sprang up in his breast and gave birth to a daring
that was as spectacular as it was confounding. With long, noiseless
strides, he reached the door before Beverly could interpose. She half
started from her chair, her eyes wide with dismay, her lips parted, but
his hand was already clutching the curtain. He drew it aside

Two startled women stood exposed to view, smiles dying on their amazed
faces. Their backs were against the closed door and two hands clutching
handkerchiefs dropped from a most significant altitude. One of them
flashed an imperious glance at the bold discoverer, and he knew he was
looking upon the real princess of Graustark. He did not lose his
composure. Without a tremor he turned to the American girl.

"Your highness," he said clearly, coolly, "I fear we have spies and
eavesdroppers here. Is your court made up of--I should say, they are
doubtless a pair of curious ladies-in-waiting. Shall I begin my service,
your highness, by escorting them to yonder door?"



Beverly gasped. The countess stared blankly at the new guard. Yetive
flushed deeply, bit her lip in hopeless chagrin, and dropped her eyes. A
pretty turn, indeed, the play had taken! Not a word was uttered for a
full half-minute; nor did the guilty witnesses venture forth from their
retreat. Baldos stood tall and impassive, holding the curtain aside. At
last the shadow of a smile crept into the face of the princess, but her
tones were full of deep humility when she spoke.

"We crave permission to retire, your highness," she said, and there was
virtuous appeal in her eyes. "I pray forgiveness for this indiscretion
and implore you to be lenient with two miserable creatures who love you
so well that they forget their dignity."

"I am amazed and shocked," was all that Beverly could say. "You may go,
but return to me within an hour. I will then hear what you have to say."

Slowly, even humbly, the ruler of Graustark and her cousin passed
beneath the upraised arm of the new guard. He opened a door on the
opposite side of the room, and they went out, to all appearance
thoroughly crestfallen. The steady features of the guard did not relax
for the fraction of a second, but his heart was thumping disgracefully.

"Come here, Baldos," commanded Beverly, a bit pale, but recovering her
wits with admirable promptness. "This is a matter which I shall dispose
of privately. It is to go no further, you are to understand."

"Yes, your highness."

"You may go now. Colonel Quinnox will explain everything," she said
hurriedly. She was eager to be rid of him. As he turned away she
observed a faint but peculiar smile at the corner of his mouth.

"Come here, sir!" she exclaimed hotly. He paused, his face as sombre as
an owl's. "What do you mean by laughing like that?" she demanded. He
caught the fierce note in her voice, but gave it the proper

"Laughing, your highness?" he said in deep surprise. "You must be
mistaken. I am sure that I could not have laughed in the presence of a

"It must have been a--a shadow, then," she retracted, somewhat startled
by his rejoinder. "Very well, then; you are dismissed."

As he was about to open the door through which he had entered the room,
it swung wide and Count Marlanx strode in. Baldos paused irresolutely,
and then proceeded on his way without paying the slightest attention to
the commander of the army. Marlanx came to an amazed stop and his face
flamed with resentment.

"Halt, sir!" he exclaimed harshly. "Don't you know enough to salute me,

Baldos turned instantly, his figure straightening like a flash. His eyes
met those of the Iron Count and did not waver, although his face went
white with passion.

"And who are you, sir?" he asked in cold, steely tones. The count almost

"Your superior officer--that should be enough for you!" he half hissed
with deadly levelness.

"Oh, then I see no reason why I should not salute you, sir," said
Baldos, with one of his rare smiles. He saluted his superior officer a
shade too elaborately and turned away. Marlanx's eyes glistened.

"Stop! Have I said you could go, sir? I have a bit of advice to--"

"My command to go comes from _your_ superior, sir," said Baldos,
with irritating blandness.

"Be patient, general," cried Beverly in deep distress. "He does not know
any better. I will stand sponsor for him." And Baldos went away with a
light step, his blood singing, his devil-may-care heart satisfied. The
look in her eyes was very sustaining. As he left the castle he said
aloud to himself with an easy disregard of the consequences:

"Well, it seems that I am to be associated with the devil as well as
with angels. Heavens! June is a glorious month."

"Now, you promised you'd be nice to him, General Marlanx," cried Beverly
the instant Baldos was out of the room. "He's new at this sort of thing,
you know, and besides, you didn't address him very politely for an utter

"The insolent dog," snarled Marlanx, his self-control returning
slowly. "He shall be taught well and thoroughly, never fear, Miss
Calhoun. There is a way to train such recruits as he, and they never
forget what they have learned."

"Oh, please don't be harsh with him," she pleaded. The smile of the Iron
Count was not at all reassuring. "I know he will be sorry for what he
has done, and you--"

"I am quite sure he will be sorry," said he, with a most agreeable bow
in submission to her appeal.

"Do you want to see Mr. Lorry?" she asked quickly. "I will send for him,
general." She was at the door, impatient to be with the banished

"My business with Mr. Lorry can wait," he began, with a smile meant to
be inviting, but which did not impress her at all pleasantly.

"Well, anyway, I'll tell him you're here," she said, her hand on the
door-knob. "Will you wait here? Good-bye!" And then she was racing off
through the long halls and up broad stair-cases toward the boudoir of
the princess. There is no telling how long the ruffled count remained in
the ante-room, for the excited Beverly forgot to tell Lorry that he was

There were half a dozen people in the room when Beverly entered
eagerly. She was panting with excitement. Of all the rooms in the grim
old castle, the boudoir of the princess was the most famously
attractive. It was really her home, the exquisite abiding place of an
exquisite creature. To lounge on her divans, to loll in the chairs, to
glide through her priceless rugs was the acme of indolent pleasure. Few
were they who enjoyed the privileges of "Little Heaven," as Harry
Anguish had christened it on one memorable night, long before the
princess was Mrs. Grenfall Lorry.

"_Now_, how do you feel?" cried the flushed American girl, pausing
in the door to point an impressive finger at the princess, who was lying
back in a huge chair, the picture of distress and annoyance.

"I shall never be able to look that man in the face again," came
dolefully from Yetive's humbled lips. Dagmar was all smiles and in the
fittest of humors. She was the kind of a culprit who loves the
punishment because of the crime.

"Wasn't it ridiculous, and wasn't it just too lovely?" she cried.

"It was extremely theatrical," agreed Beverly, seating herself on the
arm of Yetive's chair and throwing a warm arm around her neck. "Have you
all heard about it?" she demanded, naively, turning to the others, who
unquestionably had had a jumbled account of the performance.

"You got just what you deserved," said Lorry, who was immensely amused.

"I wonder what your august vagabond thinks of his princess and her
ladies-in-hiding?" mused Harry Anguish. The Count and Countess Halfont
were smiling in spite of the assault upon the dignity of the court.

"I'd give anything to know what he really thinks," said the real
princess. "Oh, Beverly, wasn't it awful? And how he marched us out of
that room!"

"I thought it was _great_," said Beverly, her eyes glowing. "Wasn't
it splendid? And isn't he good looking?"

"He is good looking, I imagine, but I am no judge, dear. It was utterly
impossible for me to look at his face," lamented the princess.

"What are you going to do with us?" asked Dagmar penitently.

"You are to spend the remainder of your life in a dungeon with Baldos as
guard," decided Miss Calhoun.

"Beverly, dear, that man is no ordinary person," said the princess,
quite positively.

"Of course he isn't. He's a tall, dark mystery."

"I observed him as he crossed the terrace this morning," said
Lorry. "He's a striking sort of chap, and I'll bet my head he's not what
he claims to be."

"He claims to be a fugitive, you must remember," said Beverly, in his

"I mean that he is no common malefactor or whatever it may be. Who and
what do you suppose he is? I confess that I'm interested in the fellow
and he looks as though one might like him without half trying. Why
haven't you dug up his past history, Beverly? You are so keen about

"He positively refuses to let me dig," explained Beverly. "I tried, you
know, but he--he--well, he squelched me."

"Well, after all is said and done, he caught us peeping to-day, and I am
filled with shame," said the princess. "It doesn't matter who he is, he
must certainly have a most unflattering opinion as to _what_ we

"And he is sure to know us sooner or later," said the young countess,
momentarily serious.

"Oh, if it ever comes to that I shall be in a splendid position to
explain it all to him," said Beverly. "Don't you see, I'll have to do a
lot of explaining myself?"

"Baron Dangloss!" announced the guard of the upper hall, throwing open
the door for the doughty little chief of police.

"Your highness sent for me?" asked he, advancing after the formal
salutation. The princess exhibited genuine amazement.

"I did, Baron Dangloss, but you must have come with the wings of an
eagle. It is really not more than three minutes since I gave the order
to Colonel Quinnox." The baron smiled mysteriously, but volunteered no
solution. The truth is, he was entering the castle doors as the
messenger left them, but he was much too fond of effect to spoil a good
situation by explanations. It was a long two miles to his office in the
Tower. "Something has just happened that impels me to ask a few
questions concerning Baldos, the new guard."

"May I first ask what has happened?" Dangloss was at a loss for the
meaning of the general smile that went around.

"It is quite personal and of no consequence. What do you know of him? My
curiosity is aroused. Now, be quiet, Beverly; you are as eager to know
as the rest of us."

"Well, your highness, I may as well confess that the man is a puzzle to
me. He comes here a vagabond, but he certainly does not act like one. He
admits that he is being hunted, but takes no one into his confidence.
For that, he cannot be blamed."

"Have you any reason to suspect who he is?" asked Lorry.

"My instructions were to refrain from questioning him," complained
Dangloss, with a pathetic look at the original plotters. "Still, I have
made investigations along other lines."

"And who is he?" cried Beverly, eagerly.

"I don't know," was the disappointing answer. "We are confronted by a
queer set of circumstances. Doubtless you all know that young Prince
Dantan is flying from the wrath of his half-brother, our lamented friend
Gabriel. He is supposed to be in our hills with a half-starved body of
followers. It seems impossible that he could have reached our northern
boundaries without our outposts catching a glimpse of him at some
time. The trouble is that his face is unknown to most of us, I among the
others. I have been going on the presumption that Baldos is in reality
Prince Dantan. But last night the belief received a severe shock."

"Yes?" came from several eager lips.

"My men who are watching the Dawsbergen frontier came in last night and
reported that Dantan had been seen by mountaineers no later than Sunday,
three days ago. These mountaineers were in sympathy with him, and
refused to tell whither he went. We only know that he was in the
southern part of Graustark three days ago. Our new guard speaks many
languages, but he has never been heard to use that of Dawsbergen. That
fact in itself is not surprising, for, of all things, he would avoid his
mother tongue. Dantan is part English by birth and wholly so by
cultivation. In that he evidently finds a mate in this Baldos."

"Then, he really isn't Prince Dantan?" cried Beverly, as though a
cherished ideal had been shattered.

"Not if we are to believe the tales from the south. Here is another
complication, however. There is, as you know, Count Halfont, and perhaps
all of you, for that matter, a pretender to the throne of Axphain, the
fugitive Prince Frederic. He is described as young, good looking, a
scholar and the next thing to a pauper."

"Baldos a mere pretender," cried Beverly in real distress. "Never!"

"At any rate, he is not what he pretends to be," said the baron, with a
wise smile.

"Then, you think he may be Prince Frederic?" asked Lorry, deeply

"I am inclined to think so, although another complication has
arisen. May it please your highness, I am in an amazingly tangled state
of mind," admitted the baron, passing his hand over his brow.

"Do you mean that another mysterious prince has come to life?" asked
Yetive, her eyes sparkling with interest in the revelations.

"Early this morning a despatch came to me from the Grand Duke Michael of
Rapp-Thorberg, a duchy in western Europe, informing me that the duke's
eldest son had fled from home and is known to have come to the far east,
possibly to Graustark."

"Great Scott!" exclaimed Anguish. "It never rains but it hails, so
here's hail to the princes three."

"We are the Mecca for runaway royalty, it seems," said Count Halfont.

"Go on with the story, Baron Dangloss," cried the princess. "It is like
a book."

"A description of the young man accompanies the offer of a large reward
for information that may lead to his return home for reconciliation.
And--" here the baron paused dramatically.

"And what?" interjected Beverly, who could not wait.

"The description fits our friend Baldos perfectly!"

"You don't mean it?" exclaimed Lorry. "Then, he may be any one of the
three you have mentioned?"

"Let me tell you what the grand duke's secretary says. I have the
official notice, but left it in my desk. The runaway son of the grand
duke is called Christobal. He is twenty-seven years of age, speaks
English fluently, besides French and our own language. It seems that he
attended an English college with Prince Dantan and some of our own young
men who are still in England. Six weeks ago he disappeared from his
father's home. At the same time a dozen wild and venturous retainers
left the grand duchy. The party was seen in Vienna a week later, and the
young duke boldly announced that he was off to the east to help his
friend Dantan in the fight for his throne. Going on the theory that
Baldos is this same Christobal, we have only to provide a reason for his
preferring the wilds to the comforts of our cities. In the first place,
he knows there is a large reward for his apprehension and he fears--our
police. In the second place, he does not care to direct the attention of
Prince Dantan's foes to himself. He missed Dantan in the hills and
doubtless was lost for weeks. But the true reason for his flight is made
plain in the story that was printed recently in Paris and Berlin
newspapers. According to them, Christobal rebelled against his father's
right to select a wife for him. The grand duke had chosen a noble and
wealthy bride, and the son had selected a beautiful girl from the lower
walks of life. Father and son quarreled and neither would give an
inch. Christobal would not marry his father's choice, and the grand duke
would not sanction his union with the fair plebeian."

Here Beverly exclaimed proudly, her face glowing: "He doesn't look like
the sort of man who could be bullied into marrying anybody if he didn't
want to."

"And he strikes me as the sort who would marry any one he set his heart
upon having," added the princess, with a taunting glance at Miss

"Umph!" sniffed Beverly defiantly. The baron went on with his narrative,
exhibiting signs of excitement.

"To lend color to the matter, Christobal's sweetheart, the daughter of a
game-warden, was murdered the night before her lover fled. I know
nothing of the circumstances attending the crime, but it is my
understanding that Christobal is not suspected. It is possible that he
is ignorant even now of the girl's fate."

"Well, by the gods, we have a goodly lot of heroes about us," exclaimed

"But, after all," ventured the Countess Halfont, "Baldos may be none of
these men."

"Good heavens, Aunt Yvonne, don't suggest anything so distressing," said
Yetive. "He _must_ be one of them."

"I suggest a speedy way of determining the matter," said Anguish. "Let
us send for Baldos and ask him point blank who he is. I think it is up
to him to clear away the mystery."

"No!" cried Beverly, starting to her feet.

"It seems to be the only way," said Lorry.

"But I promised him that no questions should be asked," said Beverly,
almost tearfully but quite resolutely. "Didn't I, yet--your highness?"

"Alas, yes!" said the princess, with a pathetic little smile of
resignation, but with loyalty in the clasp of her hand.



That same afternoon Baldos, blissfully ignorant of the stir he had
created in certain circles, rode out for the first time as a member of
the Castle Guard. He and Haddan were detailed by Colonel Quinnox to act
as private escort to Miss Calhoun until otherwise ordered. If Haddan
thought himself wiser than Baldos in knowing that their charge was not
the princess, he was very much mistaken; if he enjoyed the trick that
was being played on his fellow guardsman, his enjoyment was as nothing
as compared to the pleasure Baldos was deriving from the situation. The
royal victoria was driven to the fortress, conveying the supposed
princess and the Countess Dagmar to the home of Count Marlanx. The two
guards rode bravely behind the equipage, resplendent in brilliant new
uniforms. Baldos was mildly surprised and puzzled by the homage paid the
young American girl. It struck him as preposterous that the entire
population of Edelweiss could be in the game to deceive him.

"Who is the princess's companion?" he inquired of Haddan, as they left
the castle grounds.

"The Countess Dagmar, cousin to her highness. She is the wife of
Mr. Anguish."

"I have seen her before," said Baldos, a strange smile on his face.

The Countess Dagmar found it difficult at first to meet the eye of the
new guard, but he was so punctiliously oblivious that her courage was
restored. She even went so far as to whisper in Beverly's ear that he
did not remember her face, and probably would not recognize Yetive as
one of the eavesdroppers. The princess had flatly refused to accompany
them on the visit to the fortress because of Baldos. Struck by a sudden
impulse, Beverly called Baldos to the side of the vehicle.

"Baldos, you behaved very nicely yesterday in exposing the duplicity of
those young women," she said.

"I am happy to have pleased your highness," he said steadily.

"It may interest you to know that they ceased to be ladies-in-waiting
after that exposure."

"Yes, your highness, it certainly is interesting," he said, as he fell
back into position beside Haddan. During the remainder of the ride he
caught himself time after time gazing reflectively at the back of her
proud little head, possessed of an almost uncontrollable desire to touch
the soft brown hair.

"You can't fool that excellent young man much longer, my dear," said the
countess, recalling the look in his dark eyes. The same thought had been
afflicting Beverly with its probabilities for twenty-four hours and

Count Marlanx welcomed his visitors with a graciousness that awoke
wonder in the minds of his staff. His marked preference for the American
girl did not escape attention. Some of the bolder young officers
indulged in surreptitious grimaces, and all looked with more or less
compassion upon the happy-faced beauty from over the sea. Marlanx
surveyed Baldos steadily and coldly, deep disapproval in his sinister
eyes. He had not forgotten the encounter of the day before.

"I see the favorite is on guard," he said blandly. "Has he told you of
the lesson in manners he enjoyed last night?" He was leading his guests
toward the quarters, Baldos and Haddan following. The new guard could
not help hearing the sarcastic remark.

"You didn't have him beaten?" cried Beverly, stopping short.

"No, but I imagine it would have been preferable. I _talked_ with
him for half an hour," said the general, laughing significantly.

When the party stopped at the drinking-fountain in the center of the
fort, Baldos halted near by. His face was as impassive as marble, his
eyes set straight before him, his figure erect and soldierly. An
occasional sarcastic remark by the Iron Count, meant for his ears, made
no impression upon the deadly composure of the new guard who had had his
_lesson_. Miss Calhoun was conscious of a vague feeling that she
had served Baldos an ill-turn when she put him into this position.

The count provided a light luncheon in his quarters after the ladies had
gone over the fortress. Beverly Calhoun, with all of a woman's
indifference to things material, could not but see how poorly equipped
the fort was as compared to the ones she had seen in the United
States. She and the countess visited the armory, the arsenal, and the
repair shops before luncheon, reserving the pleasures of the clubhouse,
the officers' quarters, and the parade-ground until afterwards. Count
Marlanx's home was in the southeast corner of the enclosure, near the
gates. Several of the officers lunched with him and the young
ladies. Marlanx was assiduous in his attention to Beverly Calhoun--so
much so, in fact, that the countess teased her afterwards about her
conquest of the old and well-worn heart. Beverly thought him extremely
silly and sentimental, much preferring him in the character of the
harsh, implacable martinet.

At regular intervals she saw the straight, martial form of Baldos pass
the window near which she sat. He was patrolling the narrow piazza which
fronted the house. Toward the close of the rather trying luncheon she
was almost unable to control the impulse to rush out and compel him to
relax that imposing, machine-like stride. She hungered for a few minutes
of the old-time freedom with him.

The Iron Count was showing her some rare antique bronzes he had
collected in the south. The luncheon was over and the countess had
strolled off toward the bastions with the young officers, leaving
Beverly alone with the host. Servants came in to clear the tables, but
the count harshly ordered them to wait until the guests had departed.

"It is the dearest thing I have seen," said Beverly, holding a rare old
candlestick at arm's length and looking at it in as many ways as the
wrist could turn. Her loose sleeves ended just below the elbows. The
count's eyes followed the graceful curves of her white forearm with an
eagerness that was annoying.

"I prize it more dearly than any other piece in my collection," he
said. "It came from Rome; it has a history which I shall try to tell you
some day, and which makes it almost invaluable. A German nobleman
offered me a small fortune if I would part with it."

"And you wouldn't sell it?"

"I was saving it for an occasion, your highness," he said, his steely
eyes glittering. "The glad hour has come when I can part with it for a
recompense far greater than the baron's gold."

"Oh, isn't it lucky you kept it?" she cried. Then she turned her eyes
away quickly, for his gaze seemed greedily endeavoring to pierce through
the lace insertion covering her neck and shoulders. Outside the window
the steady tramp of the tall guard went on monotonously.

"The recompense of a sweet smile, a tender blush and the unguarded
thanks of a pretty woman. The candlestick is yours, Miss Calhoun,--if
you will repay me for my sacrifice by accepting it without reservation."

Slowly Beverly Calhoun set the candlestick down upon the table her eyes
meeting his with steady disdain.

"What a rare old jester you are, Count Marlanx," she said without a
smile." If I thought you were in earnest I should scream with
laughter. May I suggest that we join the countess? We must hurry along,
you know. She and I have promised to play tennis with the princess at
three o'clock." The count's glare of disappointment lasted but a moment.
The diplomacy of egotism came to his relief, and he held back the gift
for another day, but not for another woman.

"It grieves me to have you hurry away. My afternoon is to be a dull one,
unless you permit me to watch the tennis game," he said.

"I thought you were interested only in the game of war," she said

"I stand in greater awe of a tennis ball than I do of a cannonball, if
it is sent by such an arm as yours," and he not only laid his eyes but
his hand upon her bare arm. She started as if something had stung her,
and a cold shiver raced over her warm flesh. His eyes for the moment
held her spellbound. He was drawing the hand to his lips when a shadow
darkened the French window, and a saber rattled warningly.

Count Marlanx looked up instantly, a scowl on his face. Baldos stood at
the window in an attitude of alert attention. Beverly drew her arm away
spasmodically and took a step toward the window. The guard saw by her
eyes that she was frightened, but, if his heart beat violently, his face
was the picture of military stoniness.

"What are you doing there?" snarled the count.

"Did your highness call?" asked Baldos coolly.

"She did not call, fellow," said the count with deadly menace in his
voice. "Report to me in half an hour. You still have something to learn,
I see." Beverly was alarmed by the threat in his tones. She saw what
was in store for Baldos, for she knew quite as well as Marlanx that the
guard had deliberately intervened in her behalf.

"He cannot come in half an hour," she cried quickly. "I have something
for him to do, Count Marlanx. Besides, I think I _did_ call." Both
men stared at her.

"My ears are excellent," said Marlanx stiffly.

"I fancy Baldos's must be even better, for he heard me," said Beverly,
herself once more. The shadow of a smile crossed the face of the guard.

"He is impertinent, insolent, your highness. You will report to me
tomorrow, sir, at nine o'clock in Colonel Quinnox's quarters. Now, go!"
commanded the count.

"Wait a minute, Baldos. We are going out, too. Will you open that window
for me?" Baldos gladly took it as a command and threw open the long
French window. She gave him a grateful glance as she stepped through,
and he could scarcely conceal the gleam of joy that shot into his own
eyes. The dark scowl on the count's face made absolutely no impression
upon him. He closed the window and followed ten paces behind the couple.

"Your guard is a priceless treasure," said the count grimly.

"That's what you said about the candlestick," said she sweetly.

She was disturbed by his threat to reprimand Baldos. For some time her
mind had been struggling with what the count had said about "the
lesson." It grew upon her that her friend had been bullied and
humiliated, perhaps in the presence of spectators. Resentment fired her
curiosity into action. While the general was explaining one of the new
gun-carriages to the countess, Beverly walked deliberately over to where
Baldos was standing. Haddan's knowledge of English was exceedingly
limited, and he could understand but little of the rapid
conversation. Standing squarely in front of Baldos, she questioned him
in low tones.

"What did he mean when he said he had given you a lesson?" she
demanded. His eyes gleamed merrily.

"He meant to alarm your highness."

"Didn't he give you a talking to?"

"He coached me in ethics."

"You are evading the question, sir. Was he mean and nasty to you? Tell
me; I want to know."

"Well, he said things that a soldier must endure. A civilian or an equal
might have run him through for it, your highness." A flush rose to his
cheeks and his lips quivered ever so slightly. But Beverly saw and
understood. Her heart was in her eyes.

"That settles it," she said rigidly. "You are not to report to him at
nine tomorrow."

"But he will have me shot, your highness," said he gladly.

"He will do nothing of the kind. You are _my_ guard," and her eyes
were gleaming dangerously. Then she rejoined the group, the members of
which had been watching her curiously. "Count Marlanx," she said, with
entrancing dimples, "will you report to me at nine to-morrow morning?"

"I have an appointment," he said slowly, but with understanding.

"But you will break it, I am sure," she asserted confidently. "I want to
give you a lesson in--in lawn tennis."

Later on, when the victoria was well away from the fort, Dagmar took her
companion to task for holding in public friendly discourse with a member
of the guard, whoever he might be.

"It is altogether contrary to custom, and--" but Beverly put her hand
over the critical lips and smiled like a guilty child.

"Now, don't scold," she pleaded, and the countess could go no further.

The following morning Count Marlanx reported at nine o'clock with much
better grace than he had suspected himself capable of exercising. What
she taught him of tennis on the royal courts, in the presence of an
amused audience, was as nothing to what he learned of strategy as it can
be practiced by a whimsical girl. Almost before he knew it she had won
exemption for Baldos, that being the stake for the first set of
singles. To his credit, the count was game. He took the wager, knowing
that he, in his ignorance, could not win from the blithe young expert in
petticoats. Then he offered to wager the brass candlestick against her
bracelet. She considered for a moment and then, in a spirit of
enthusiasm, accepted the proposition. After all, she coveted the
candlestick. Half an hour later an orderly was riding to the fort with
instructions to return at once with Miss Calhoun's candlestick. It is on
record that they were "love" sets, which goes to prove that Beverly took
no chances.

Count Marlanx, puffing and perspiring, his joints dismayed and his brain
confused, rode away at noon with Baron Dangloss. Beverly, quite happy in
her complete victory, enjoyed a nap of profound sweetness and then was
ready for her walk with the princess. They were strolling leisurely
about the beautiful grounds, safe in the shade of the trees from the
heat of the July sun, when Baron Dangloss approached.

"Your royal highness," he began, with his fierce smile, "may I beg a
moment's audience?"

"It has to do with Baldos, I'll take oath," said Beverly, with

"Yes, with your guard. Yesterday he visited the fortress. He went in an
official capacity, it is true, but he was privileged to study the
secrets of our defense with alarming freedom. It would not surprise me
to find that this stranger has learned everything there is to know about
the fort." His listeners were silent. The smiles left their faces. "I am
not saying that he would betray us--"

"No, no!" protested Beverly.

"--but he is in a position to give the most valuable information to an
enemy. An officer has just informed me that Baldos missed not a detail
in regard to the armament, or the location of vital spots in the
construction of the fortress."

"But he wouldn't be so base as to use his knowledge to our undoing,"
cried Yetive seriously.

"We only know that he is not one of us. It is not beyond reason that his
allegiance is to another power, Dawsbergen, for instance. Count Marlanx
is not at all in sympathy with him, you are aware. He is convinced that
Baldos is a man of consequence, possibly one of our bitterest enemies,
and he hates him. For my own part, I may say that I like the man. I
believe he is to be trusted, but if he be an agent of Volga or Gabriel,
his opportunity has come. He is in a position to make accurate maps of
the fort and of all our masked fortifications along the city walls."
Beyond a doubt, the baron was worried.

"Neither am I one of you," said Beverly stoutly. "Why shouldn't I prove
to be a traitress?"

"You have no quarrel with us, Miss Calhoun," said Dangloss.

"If anything happens, then, I am to be blamed for it," she cried in deep
distress. "I brought him to Edelweiss, and I believe in him."

"For his own sake, your highness, and Miss Calhoun, I suggest that no
opportunity should be given him to communicate with the outside
world. We cannot accuse him, of course, but we can _protect_ him.
I come to ask your permission to have him detailed for duty only in
places where no suspicion can attach to any of his actions."

"You mean inside the city walls?" asked Yetive.

"Yes, your highness, and as far as possible from the fortress."

"I think it is a wise precaution. Don't be angry, Beverly," the princess
said gently. "It is for his own sake, you see. I am acting on the
presumption that he is wholly innocent of any desire to betray us."

"It would be easy for someone high in position to accuse and convict
him," said Dangloss meaningly.

"And it would be just like someone, too," agreed Beverly, her thoughts,
with the others', going toward none but one man "high in power."

Later in the day she called Baldos to her side as they were riding in
the castle avenue. She was determined to try a little experiment of her

"Baldos, what do you think of the fortress?" she

"I could overthrow it after half an hour's bombardment, your highness,"
he answered, without thinking. She started violently.

"Is it possible? Are there so many weak points?" she went on, catching
her breath.

"There are three vital points of weakness, your highness. The magazine
can be reached from the outside if one knows the lay of the land; the
parade-ground exposes the ammunition building to certain disadvantages,
and the big guns could be silenced in an hour if an enemy had the sense
first to bombard from the elevation northeast of the city."

"Good heavens!" gasped poor Beverly. "Have you studied all this out?"

"I was once a real soldier, your highness," he said, simply. "It was
impossible for me not to see the defects in your fort."

"You--you haven't told anyone of this, have you?" she cried, white-faced
and anxious.

"No one but your highness. You do not employ me as a tale-bearer, I

"I did not mean to question your honor," she said. "Would you mind going
before the heads of the war department and tell them just what you have
told me? I mean about the weak spots."

"If it is your command, your highness," he said quietly, but he was

"You may expect to be summoned then, so hold yourself in readiness. And,

"Yes, your highness?"

"You need say nothing to them of our having talked the matter over
beforehand--unless they pin you down to it, you know."



A few hours later, all was dark and silent within the castle. On the
stone walks below, the steady tread of sentinels rose on the still air;
in the hallways the trusted guardsmen glided about like spectres or
stood like statues. An hour before the great edifice had been bright and
full of animation; now it slumbered.

It was two o'clock. The breath of roses scented the air, the gurgle of
fountains was the only music that touched the ear. Beverly Calhoun,
dismissing Aunt Fanny, stepped from her window out upon the great stone
balcony. A rich oriental dressing-gown, loose and comfortable, was her
costume. Something told her that sleep would be a long time coming, and
an hour in the warm, delightful atmosphere of the night was more
attractive than the close, sleepless silence of her own room. Every
window along the balcony was dark, proving that the entire household had
retired to rest.

She was troubled. The fear had entered her head that the castle folk
were regretting the advent of Baldos, that everyone was questioning the
wisdom of his being in the position he occupied through her devices. Her
talk with him did much to upset her tranquillity. That he knew so much
of the fortress bore out the subtle suspicions of Dangloss and perhaps
others. She was troubled, not that she doubted him, but that if anything
went wrong an accusation against him, however unjust, would be difficult
to overcome. And she would be to blame, in a large degree.

For many minutes she sat in the dark shadow of a great pillar, her
elbows upon the cool balustrade, staring dreamily into the star-studded
vault above. Far away in the air she could see the tiny yellow lights of
the monastery, lonely sentinel on the mountain top. From the heights
near that abode of peace and penitence an enemy could destroy the
fortress to the south. Had not Baldos told her so? One big gun would do
the work if it could be taken to that altitude. Baldos could draw a
perfect map of the fortress. He could tell precisely where the shells
should fall. And already the chief men in Edelweiss were wondering who
he was and to what end he might utilize his knowledge. They were
watching him, they were warning her.

For the first time since she came to the castle, she felt a sense of
loneliness, a certain unhappiness. She could not shake off the feeling
that she was, after all, alone in her belief in Baldos. Her heart told
her that the tall, straightforward fellow she had met in the hills was
as honest as the day. She was deceiving him, she realized, but he was
misleading no one. Off in a distant part of the castle ground she could
see the long square shadow that marked the location of the barracks and
messroom. There he was sleeping, confidently believing in her and her
power to save him from all harm. Something in her soul cried out to him
that she would be staunch and true, and that he might sleep without a
tremor of apprehensiveness.

Suddenly she smiled nervously and drew back into the shadow of the
pillar. It occurred to her that he might be looking across the moon-lit
park, looking directly at her through all that shadowy distance. She was
conscious of a strange glow in her cheeks and a quickening of the blood
as she pulled the folds of her gown across her bare throat.

"Not the moon, nor the stars, nor the light in St. Valentine's, but the
black thing away off there on the earth," said a soft voice behind her,
and Beverly started as if the supernatural had approached her. She
turned to face the princess, who stood almost at her side.

"Yetive! How did you get here?"

"That is what you are looking at, dear," went on Yetive, as if
completing her charge. "Why are you not in bed?"

"And you? I thought you were sound asleep long ago," murmured Beverly,
abominating the guilty feeling that came over her. The princess threw
her arm about Beverly's shoulder.

"I have been watching you for half an hour," she said gently. "Can't two
look at the moon and stars as well as one? Isn't it my grim old castle?
Let us sit here together, dear, and dream awhile."

"You dear Yetive," and Beverly drew her down beside her on the
cushions. "But, listen: I want you to get something out of your head. I
was _not_ looking at anything in particular."

"Beverly, I believe you were thinking of Baldos," said the other, her
fingers straying fondly across the girl's soft hair.

"Ridiculous!" said Beverly, conscious for the first time that he was
seldom out of her thoughts. The realization came like a blow, and her
eyes grew very wide out there in the darkness.

"And you are troubled on his account. I know it, dear. You--"

"Well, Yetive, why shouldn't I be worried? I brought him here against
his will," protested Beverly. "If anything should happen to him--" she
shuddered involuntarily.

"Don't be afraid, Beverly. I have as much confidence in him as you
have. His eyes are true. Grenfall believes in him, too, and so does
Mr. Anguish. Gren says he would swear by him, no matter who he is."

"But the others?" Beverly whispered.

"Baron Dangloss is his friend, and so is Quinnox. They know a
_man_. The count is different."

"I loathe that old wretch!"

"Hush! He has not wronged you in any way."

"But he _has_ been unfair and mean to Baldos."

"It is a soldier's lot, my dear."

"But he may be Prince Dantan or Frederic or the other one, don't you
know," argued Beverly, clenching her hands firmly.

"In that event, he would be an honorable soldier, and we have nothing to
fear in him. Neither of them is our enemy. It is the possibility that he
is not one of them that makes his presence here look dangerous."

"I don't want to talk about him," said Beverly, but she was disappointed
when the princess obligingly changed the subject.

Baldos was not surprised, scarcely more than interested, when a day or
two later, he was summoned to appear before the board of strategy. If
anyone had told him, however, that on a recent night a pair of dreamy
gray eyes had tried to find his window in the great black shadow, he
might have jumped in amazement and--delight. For at that very hour he
was looking off toward the castle, and his thoughts were of the girl who
drew back into the shadow of the pillar.

The Graustark ministry had received news from the southern
frontier. Messengers came in with the alarming and significant report
that Dawsbergen was strengthening her fortifications in the passes and
moving war supplies northward. It meant that Gabriel and his people
expected a fight and were preparing for it. Count Halfont hastily called
the ministers together, and Lorry and the princess took part in their
deliberations. General Marlanx represented the army; and it was he who
finally asked to have Baldos brought before the council. The Iron Count
plainly intimated that the new guard was in a position to transmit
valuable information to the enemy. Colonel Quinnox sent for him, and
Baldos was soon standing in the presence of Yetive and her advisers. He
looked about him with a singular smile. The one whom he was supposed to
regard as the princess was not in the council chamber. Lorry opened the
examination at the request of Count Halfont, the premier. Baldos quietly
answered the questions concerning his present position, his age, his
term of enlistment, and his interpretations of the obligations required
of him.

"Ask him who he really is," suggested the Iron Count sarcastically.

"We can expect but one answer to that question," said Lorry, "and that
is the one which he chooses to give."

"My name is Baldos--Paul Baldos," said the guard, but he said it in such
a way that no one could mistake his appreciation of the fact that he
could give one name as well as another and still serve his own purposes.

"That is lie number one," observed Marlanx loudly. Every eye was turned
upon Baldos, but his face did not lose its half-mocking expression of

"Proceed with the examination, Mr. Lorry" said Count Halfont,
interpreting a quick glance from Yetive.

"Are you willing to answer any and all questions we may ask in
connection with your observations since you became a member of the
castle guard?" asked Lorry.

"I am."

"Did you take especial care to study the interior of the fortress when
you were there several days ago?"

"I did."

"Have you discussed your observations with anyone since that time?"

"I have."

"With whom?"

"With her highness, the princess," said Baldos, without a quiver. There
was a moment's silence, and furtive looks were cast in the direction of
Yetive, whose face was a study. Almost instantaneously the entire body
of listeners understood that he referred to Beverly Calhoun. Baldos felt
that he had been summoned before the board at the instigation of his
fair protectress.

"And your impressions have gone no further?"

"They have not, sir. It was most confidential."

"Could you accurately reproduce the plans of the fortress?"

"I think so. It would be very simple."

"Have you studied engineering?"


"And you could scientifically enumerate the defects in the construction
of the fort?"

"It would not be very difficult, sir."

"It has come to our ears that you consider the fortress weak in several
particulars. Have you so stated at any time?"

"I told the princess that the fortress is deplorably weak. In fact, I
think I mentioned that it could be taken with ease." He was not looking
at Count Marlanx, but he knew that the old man's eyes were flaming.
Then he proceeded to tell the board how he could overcome the fortress,
elaborating on his remarks to Beverly. The ministers listened in wonder
to the words of this calm, indifferent young man.

"Will you oblige us by making a rough draft of the fort's interior?"
asked Lorry, after a solemn pause. Baldos took the paper and in
remarkably quick time drew the exact lay of the fortress. The sketch
went the rounds and apprehensive looks were exchanged by the ministers.

"It is accurate, by Jove," exclaimed Lorry. "I doubt if a dweller in the
fort could do better. You must have been very observing."

"And very much interested," snarled Marlanx.

"Only so far as I imagined my observations might be of benefit to
someone else," said Baldos coolly. Again the silence was like death.

"Do you know what you are saying, Baldos?" asked Lorry, after a moment.

"Certainly, Mr. Lorry. It is the duty of any servant of her highness to
give her all that he has in him. If my observations can be of help to
her, I feel in duty bound to make the best of them for her sake, not for
my own."

"Perhaps you can suggest modifications in the fort," snarled
Marlanx. "Why don't you do it, sir, and let us have the benefit of your
superior intelligence? No, gentlemen, all this prating of loyalty need
not deceive us," he cried, springing to his feet. "The fellow is nothing
more nor less than an infernal spy--and the Tower is the place for him!
He can do no harm there."

"If it were my intention to do harm, gentlemen, do you imagine that I
should withhold my information for days?" asked Baldos. "If I am a spy,
you may rest assured that Count Marlanx's kindnesses should not have
been so long disregarded. A spy does not believe in delays."

"My--my kindnesses?" cried Marlanx. "What do you mean, sir?"

"I mean this. Count Marlanx," said Baldos, looking steadily into the
eyes of the head of the army. "It was kind and considerate of you to
admit me to the fortress--no matter in what capacity, especially at a
critical time like this. You did not know me, you had no way of telling
whether my intentions were honest or otherwise, and yet I was permitted
to go through the fort from end to end. No spy could wish for greater
generosity than that."

An almost imperceptible smile went round the table, and every listener
but one breathed more freely. The candor and boldness of the guard won
the respect and confidence of all except Marlanx. The Iron Count was
white with anger. He took the examination out of Lorry's hands, and
plied the stranger with insulting questions, each calm answer making him
more furious than before. At last, in sheer impotence, he relapsed into
silence, waving his hand to Lorry to indicate that he might resume.

"You will understand, Baldos, that we have some cause for apprehension,"
said Lorry, immensely gratified by the outcome of the tilt. "You are a
stranger; and, whether you admit it or not, there is reason to believe
that you are not what you represent yourself to be."

"I am a humble guard at present, sir, and a loyal one. My life is yours
should I prove otherwise."

Yetive whispered something in Lorry's ear at this juncture. She was
visibly pleased and excited. He looked doubtful for an instant, and then
apparently followed her suggestion, regardless of consequences.

"Would you be willing to utilize your knowledge as an engineer by
suggesting means to strengthen the fortress?" The others stared in fresh
amazement. Marlanx went as white as death.

"Never!" he blurted out hoarsely.

"I will do anything the princess commands me to do," said Baldos easily.

"You mean that you serve her only?"

"I serve her first, sir. If she were here she could command me to die,
and there would be an end to Baldos," and he smiled as he said it. The
real princess looked at him with a new, eager expression, as if
something had just become clear to her. There was a chorus of coughs and
a round of sly looks.

"She could hardly ask you to die," said Yetive, addressing him for the
first time.

"A princess is like April weather, madam," said Baldos, with rare humor,
and the laugh was general, Yetive resolved to talk privately with this
excellent wit before the hour was over. She was confident that he knew
her to be the princess.

"I would like to ask the fellow another question," said Marlanx,
fingering his sword-hilt nervously. "You say you serve the princess. Do
you mean by that that you imagine your duties as a soldier to comprise
dancing polite attendance within the security of these walls?"

"I believe I enlisted as a member of the castle guard, sir. The duty of
the guard is to protect the person of the ruler of Graustark, and to do
that to the death."

"It is my belief that you are a spy. You can show evidence of good faith
by enlisting to _fight_ against Dawsbergen and by shooting to
kill," said the count, with a sinister gleam in his eye.

"And if I decline to serve in any other capacity than the one I now--"

"Then I shall brand you as a spy and a coward."

"You have already called me a spy, your excellency. It will not make it
true, let me add, if you call me a coward. I refuse to take up arms
against either Dawsbergen or Axphain."

The remark created a profound sensation.

"Then you are employed by both instead of one!" shouted the Iron Count

"I am employed as a guard for her royal highness," said Baldos, with a
square glance at Yetive, "and not as a fighter in the ranks. I will
fight till death for her, but not for Graustark."



"By Jove, I like that fellow's coolness," said Lorry to Harry Anguish,
after the meeting. "He's after my own heart. Why, he treats us as though
we were the suppliants, he the alms-giver. He is playing a game, I'll
admit, but he does it with an assurance that delights me."

"He is right about that darned old fort," said Anguish. "His knowledge
of such things proves conclusively that he is no ordinary person."

"Yetive had a bit of a talk with him just now," said Lorry, with a
reflective smile. "She asked him point blank if he knew who she was. He
did not hesitate a second. 'I remember seeing you in the audience
chamber recently.' That was a facer for Yetive. 'I assure you that it
was no fault of mine that you saw me,' she replied. 'Then it must have
been your friend who rustled the curtains?' said the confounded
bluffer. Yetive couldn't keep a straight face. She laughed and then he
laughed. 'Some day you may learn more about me,' she said to him. 'I
sincerely trust that I may, madam,' said he, and I'll bet my hat he was
enjoying it better than either of us. Of course, he knows Yetive is the
princess. It's his intention to serve Beverly Calhoun, and he couldn't
do it if he were to confess that he knows the truth. He's no fool."

Baldos was not long in preparing plans for the changes in the
fortress. They embodied a temporary readjustment of the armament and
alterations in the ammunition house. The gate leading to the river was
closed and the refuse from the fort was taken to the barges by way of
the main entrance. There were other changes suggested for immediate
consideration, and then there was a general plan for the modernizing of
the fortress at some more convenient time. Baldos laconically observed
that the equipment was years behind the times. To the amazement of the
officials, he was able to talk intelligently of forts in all parts of
the world, revealing a wide and thorough knowledge and extensive
inspection. He had seen American as well as European fortifications. The
Graustark engineers went to work at once to perfect the simple changes
he advised, leaving no stone unturned to strengthen the place before an
attack could be made.

Two, three weeks went by and the new guard was becoming an old story to
the castle and army folk. He rode with Beverly every fair day and he
looked at her window by night from afar off in the sombre barracks. She
could not dissipate the feeling that he knew her to be other than the
princess, although he betrayed himself by no word or sign. She was
enjoying the fun of it too intensely to expose it to the risk of
destruction by revealing her true identity to him. Logically, that would
mean the end of everything. No doubt he felt the same and kept his
counsel. But the game could not last forever, that was certain. A month
or two more, and Beverly would have to think of the return to

His courage, his cool impudence, his subtle wit charmed her more than
she could express. Now she was beginning to study him from a standpoint
peculiarly and selfishly her own. Where recently she had sung his
praises to Yetive and others, she now was strangely reticent. She was to
understand another day why this change had come over her. Stories of his
cleverness came to her ears from Lorry and Anguish and even from
Dangloss. She was proud, vastly proud of him in these days. The Iron
Count alone discredited the ability and the conscientiousness of the
"mountebank," as he named the man who had put his nose out of
joint. Beverly, seeing much of Marlanx, made the mistake of chiding him
frankly and gaily about this aversion. She even argued the guard's case
before the head of the army, imprudently pointing out many of his
superior qualities in advocating his cause. The count was learning
forbearance in his old age. He saw the wisdom of procrastination. Baldos
was in favor, but someday there would come a time for his undoing.

In the barracks he was acquiring fame. Reports went forth with unbiased
freedom. He established himself as the best swordsman in the service, as
well as the most efficient marksman. With the foils and sabers he easily
vanquished the foremost fencers in high and low circles. He could ride
like a Cossack or like an American cowboy. Of them all, his warmest
admirer was Haddan, the man set to watch him for the secret service. It
may be timely to state that Haddan watched in vain.

The princess, humoring her own fancy as well as Beverly's foibles, took
to riding with her high-spirited young guest on many a little jaunt to
the hills. She usually rode with Lorry or Anguish, cheerfully assuming
the subdued position befitting a lady-in-waiting apparently restored to
favor on probation. She enjoyed Beverly's unique position. In order to
maintain her attitude as princess, the fair young deceiver was obliged
to pose in the extremely delectable attitude of being Lorry's wife.

"How can you expect the paragon to make love to you, dear, if he thinks
you are another man's wife?" Yetive asked, her blue eyes beaming with
the fun of it all.

"Pooh!" sniffed Beverly. "You have only to consult history to find the
excuse. It's the dear old habit of men to make love to queens and get
beheaded for it. Besides, he is not expected to make love to me. How in
the world did you get that into your head?"

On a day soon after the return of Lorry and Anguish from a trip to the
frontier, Beverly expressed a desire to visit the monastery of
St. Valentine, high on the mountain top. It was a long ride over the
circuitous route by which the steep incline was avoided and it was
necessary for the party to make an early start. Yetive rode with Harry
Anguish and his wife the countess, while Beverly's companion was the
gallant Colonel Quinnox. Baldos, relegated to the background, brought up
the rear with Haddan.

For a week or more Beverly had been behaving toward Baldos in the most
cavalier fashion. Her friends had been teasing her; and, to her own
intense amazement, she resented it. The fact that she felt the sting of
their sly taunts was sufficient to arouse in her the distressing
conviction that he had become important enough to prove
embarrassing. While confessing to herself that it was a bit treacherous
and weak, she proceeded to ignore Baldos with astonishing
persistency. Apart from the teasing, it seemed to her of late that he
was growing a shade too confident.

He occasionally forgot his differential air, and relaxed into a very
pleasing but highly reprehensible state of friendliness. A touch of the
old jauntiness cropped out here and there, a tinge of the old irony
marred his otherwise perfect mien as a soldier. His laugh was freer, his
eyes less under subjugation, his entire personality more arrogant. It
was time, thought she resentfully, that his temerity should meet some
sort of check.

And, moreover, she had dreamed of him two nights in succession.

How well her plan succeeded may best be illustrated by saying that she
now was in a most uncomfortable frame of mind. Baldos refused to be
properly depressed by his misfortune. He retired to the oblivion she
provided and seemed disagreeably content. Apparently, it made very
little difference to him whether he was in or out of favor. Beverly was
in high dudgeon and low spirits.

The party rode forth at an early hour in the morning. It was hot in the
city, but it looked cold and bleak on the heights. Comfortable wraps
were taken along, and provision was made for luncheon at an inn half way
up the slope. Quinnox regaled Beverly with stories in which Grenfall
Lorry was the hero and Yetive the heroine. He told her of the days when
Lorry, a fugitive with a price upon his head, charged with the
assassination of Prince Lorenz, then betrothed to the princess, lay
hidden in the monastery while Yetive's own soldiers hunted high and low
for him. The narrator dwelt glowingly upon the trip from the monastery
to the city walls one dark night when Lorry came down to surrender
himself in order to shield the woman he loved, and Quinnox himself
piloted him through the underground passage into the very heart of the
castle. Then came the exciting scene in which Lorry presented himself as
a prisoner, with the denouement that saved the princess and won for the
gallant American the desire of his heart.

"What a brave fellow he was!" cried Beverly, who never tired of hearing
the romantic story.

"Ah, he was wonderful, Miss Calhoun. I fought him to keep him from
surrendering. He beat me, and I was virtually his prisoner when we
appeared before the tribunal."

"It's no wonder she loved him and--married him."

"He deserved the best that life could give, Miss Calhoun."

"You had better not call me Miss Calhoun, Colonel Quinnox," said she,
looking back apprehensively. "I am a highness once in a while, don't you

"I implore your highness's pardon!" said he gaily.

The riders ahead had come to a standstill and were pointing off into the
pass to their right. They were eight or ten miles from the city gates
and more than half way up the winding road that ended at the monastery
gates. Beverly and Quinnox came up with them and found all eyes centered
on a small company of men encamped in the rocky defile a hundred yards
from the main road.

It needed but a glance to tell her who comprised the unusual
company. The very raggedness of their garments, the unforgetable
disregard for consequences, the impudent ease with which they faced
poverty and wealth alike, belonged to but one set of men--the vagabonds
of the Hawk and Raven. Beverly went a shade whiter; her interest in
everything else flagged, and she was lost in bewilderment. What freak of
fortune had sent these men out of the fastnesses into this dangerously
open place?

She recognized the ascetic Ravone, with his student's face and beggar's
garb. Old Franz was there, and so were others whose faces and
heterogeneous garments had become so familiar to her in another day. The
tall leader with the red feather, the rakish hat and the black patch
alone was missing; from the picture.

"It's the strangest-looking crew I've ever seen," said Anguish. "They
look like pirates."

"Or gypsies" suggested Yetive. "Who are they, Colonel Quinnox? What are
they doing here?" Quinnox was surveying the vagabonds with a critical,
suspicious eye.

"They are not robbers or they would be off like rabbits" he said
reflectively. "Your highness, there are many roving bands in the hills,
but I confess that these men are unlike any I have heard about. With
your permission, I will ride down and question them."

"Do, Quinnox. I am most curious."

Beverly sat very still and tense. She was afraid to look at Baldos, who
rode up as Quinnox started into the narrow defile, calling to the escort
to follow. The keen eyes of the guard caught the situation at once. Miss
Calhoun shot a quick glance at him as he rode up beside her. His face
was impassive, but she could see his hand clench the bridle-rein, and
there was an air of restraint in his whole bearing.

"Remember your promise," he whispered hoarsely. "No harm must come to
them." Then he was off into the defile. Anguish was not to be left
behind. He followed, and then Beverly, more venturesome and vastly more
interested than the others, rode recklessly after. Quinnox was
questioning the laconic Ravone when she drew rein. The vagabonds seemed
to evince but little interest in the proceedings. They stood away in
disdainful aloofness. No sign of recognition passed between them and

In broken, jerky sentences, Ravone explained to the colonel that they
were a party of actors on their way to Edelweiss, but that they had been
advised to give the place a wide berth. Now they were making the best of
a hard journey to Serros, where they expected but little better
success. He produced certain papers of identification which Quinnox
examined and approved, much to Beverly's secret amazement. The princess
and the colonel exchanged glances and afterwards a few words in subdued
tones. Yetive looked furtively at Beverly and then at Baldos as if to
enquire whether these men were the goat-hunters she had come to know by
word of mouth. The two faces were hopelessly non-committal.

Suddenly Baldos's horse reared and began to plunge as if in terror, so
that the rider kept his seat only by means of adept horsemanship. Ravone
leaped forward and at the risk of injury clutched the plunging steed by
the bit. Together they partially subdued the animal and Baldos swung to
the ground at Ravone's side. Miss Calhoun's horse in the meantime had
caught the fever. He pranced off to the roadside before she could get
him under control.

She was thus in a position to observe the two men on the
ground. Shielded from view by the body of the horse, they were able to
put the finishing touches to the trick Baldos had cleverly
worked. Beverly distinctly saw the guard and the beggar exchange bits of
paper, with glances that meant more than the words they were unable to

Baldos pressed into Ravone's hand a note of some bulk and received in
exchange a mere slip of paper. The papers disappeared as if by magic,
and the guard was remounting his horse before he saw that the act had
been detected. The expression of pain and despair in Beverly's face sent
a cold chill over him from head to foot.

She turned sick with apprehension. Her faith had received a stunning
blow. Mutely she watched the vagabonds withdraw in peace, free to go
where they pleased. The excursionists turned to the main road. Baldos
fell back to his accustomed place, his imploring look wasted. She was
strangely, inexplicably depressed for the rest of the day.



She was torn by conflicting emotions. That the two friends had
surreptitiously exchanged messages, doubtless by an arrangement
perfected since he had entered the service--possibly within the
week--could not be disputed. When and how had they planned the
accidental meeting? What had been their method of communication? And,
above all, what were the contents of the messages exchanged? Were they
of a purely personal nature, or did they comprehend injury to the
principality of Graustark? Beverly could not, in her heart, feel that
Baldos was doing anything inimical to the country he served, and yet her
duty and loyalty to Yetive made it imperative that the transaction
should be reported at once. A word to Quinnox and Ravone would be seized
and searched for the mysterious paper. This, however, looked utterly
unreasonable, for the vagabonds were armed and in force, while Yetive
was accompanied by but three men who could be depended upon. Baldos,
under the conditions, was not to be reckoned upon for support. On the
other hand, if he meant no harm, it would be cruel, even fatal, to
expose him to this charge of duplicity. And while she turned these
troublesome alternatives over in her mind, the opportunity to act was
lost. Ravone and his men were gone, and the harm, if any was intended,
was done.

From time to time she glanced back at the guard. His face was
imperturbable, even sphinx-like in its steadiness. She decided to hold
him personally to account. At the earliest available moment she would
demand an explanation of his conduct, threatening him if necessary. If
he proved obdurate there was but one course left open to her. She would
deliver him up to the justice he had outraged. Hour after hour went by,
and Beverly suffered more than she could have told. The damage was done,
and the chance to undo it was slipping farther and farther out of her
grasp. She began to look upon herself as the vilest of traitors. There
was no silver among the clouds that marred her thoughts that afternoon.

It was late in the day when the party returned to the castle, tired
out. Beverly was the only one who had no longing to seek repose after
the fatiguing trip. Her mind was full of unrest. It was necessary to
question Baldos at once. There could be no peace for her until she
learned the truth from him. The strain became so great that at last she
sent word for him to attend her in the park. He was to accompany the men
who carried the sedan chair in which she had learned to sit with a
delightful feeling of being in the eighteenth century.

In a far corner of the grounds, now gray in the early dusk, Beverly bade
the bearers to set down her chair and leave her in quiet for a few
minutes. The two men withdrew to a respectful distance, whereupon she
called Baldos to her side. Her face was flushed with anxiety.

"You must tell me the truth about that transaction with Ravone," she
said, coming straight to the point.

"I was expecting this, your highness," said he quietly. The shadows of
night were falling, but she could distinguish the look of anxiety in his
dark eyes.

"Well?" she insisted impatiently.

"You saw the notes exchanged?"

"Yes, yes, and I command you to tell me what they contained. It was the
most daring thing I--"

"You highness, I cannot tell you what passed between us. It would be
treacherous, "he said firmly. Beverly gasped in sheer amazement.

"Treacherous? Good heaven, sir, to whom do you owe allegiance--to me or
to Ravone and that band of tramps?" she cried, with eyes afire.

"To both, your highness," he answered so fairly that she was for the
moment abashed. "I am loyal to you--loyal to the heart's core, and yet I
am loyal to that unhappy band of tramps, as you choose to call
them. They are my friends. You are only my sovereign."

"And you won't tell me what passed between you? "she said, angered by
this epigrammatic remark.

"I cannot and be true to myself."

"Oh? you are a glorious soldier," she exclaimed, with fierce sarcasm in
her voice. "You speak of being true! I surprise you in the very act

"Stay, your highness!" he said coldly. "You are about to call me a spy
and a traitor. Spare me, I implore you, that humiliation. I have sworn
to serve you faithfully and loyally. I have not deceived you, and I
shall not. Paul Baldos has wronged no man, no woman. What passed between
Ravone and myself concerns us only. It had nothing to do with the
affairs of Graustark."

"Of course you would say that. You wouldn't be fool enough to tell the
truth," cried she hotly. "I am the fool! I have trusted you and if
anything goes wrong I alone am to blame for exposing poor Graustark to
danger. Oh, why didn't I cry out this afternoon?"

"I knew you would not," he said, with cool unconcern.

"Insolence! What do you mean by that?" she cried in confusion.

"In your heart you knew I was doing no wrong. You shielded me then as
you have shielded me from the beginning."

"I don't see why I sit here and let you talk to me like that," she said,
feeling the symptoms of collapse. "You have not been fair with me,
Baldos. You are laughing at me now and calling me a witless little
fool. You--you did something to-day that shakes my faith to the very
bottom. I never can trust you again. Good heaven, I hate to confess
to--to everyone that you are not honest."

"Your highness!" he implored, coming close to the chair and bending over
her. "Before God, I am honest with you. Believe me when I say that I
have done nothing to injure Graustark. I cannot tell you what it was
that passed between Ravone and me, but I swear on my soul that I have
not been disloyal to my oath. Won't you trust me? Won't you believe?"
His breath was fanning her ear, his voice was eager; she could feel the
intensity of his eyes.

"Oh, I don't--don't know what to say to you," she murmured. "I have been
so wrought up with fear and disappointment. You'll admit that it was
very suspicious, won't you? "she cried, almost pleadingly.

"Yes, yes," he answered. His hand touched her arm, perhaps
unconsciously. She threw back her head to give him a look of
rebuke. Their eyes met, and after a moment both were full of
pleading. Her lips parted, but the words would not come. She was
afterwards more than thankful for this, because his eyes impelled her to
give voice to amazing things that suddenly rushed to her head.

"I want to believe you," she whispered softly.

"You must--you do! I would give you my life. You have it now. It is in
your keeping, and with it my honor. Trust me, I beseech you. I have
trusted you."

"I brought you here--" she began, defending him involuntarily. "But,
Baldos, you forget that I am the princess!" She drew away in sudden
shyness, her cheeks rosy once more, her eyes filling with the most
distressingly unreasonable tears. He did not move for what seemed hours
to her. She heard the sharp catch of his breath and felt the repression
that was mastering some unwelcome emotion in him.

Lights were springing into existence in all parts of the park. Beverly
saw the solitary window in the monastery far away, and her eyes fastened
on it as if for sustenance in this crisis of her life--this moment of
surprise--this moment when she felt him laying hands upon the heart she
had not suspected of treason. Twilight was upon them; the sun had set
and night was rushing up to lend unfair advantage to the forces against
which they were struggling. The orchestra in the castle was playing
something soft and tender--oh, so far away.

"I forget that I am a slave, your highness," he said at last, and his
voice thrilled her through and through. She turned quickly and to her
utter dismay found his face and eyes still close to hers, glowing in the

"Those men--over there," she whispered helplessly. "They are looking at

"Now, I thank God eternally," he cried softly, "You do not punish me,
you do not rebuke me. God, there is no night!"

"You--you must not talk like that," she cried, pulling herself together
suddenly. "I cannot permit it, Baldos. You forget who you are, sir,"

"Ah, yes, your highness," he said, before he stood erect. "I forget that
I was a suspected traitor. Now I am guilty of _lese majeste."_
Beverly felt herself grow hot with confusion.

"What am I to do with you?" she cried in perplexity, her heart beating
shamefully. "You swear you are honest, and yet you won't tell me the
truth. Now, don't stand like that! You are as straight as a ramrod, and
I know your dignity is terribly offended. I may be foolish, but I
_do_ believe you intend no harm to Graustark. You _cannot_ be
a traitor."

"I will some day give my life to repay you for those words, your
highness," he said. Her hand was resting on the side of the
chair. Something warm touched it, and then it was lifted
resistlessly. Hot, passionate lips burned themselves into the white
fingers, and a glow went into every fiber of her body.

"Oh!" was all she could say. He gently released the hand and threw up
his chin resolutely.

"I am _almost_ ready to die," he said. She laughed for the first
time since they entered the park.

"I don't know how to treat you," she said in a helpless flutter." You
know a princess has many trials in life."

"Not the least of which is womanhood."

"Baldos," she said after a long pause. Something very disagreeable had
just rushed into her brain. "Have you been forgetting all this time that
the Princess Yetive is the wife of Grenfall Lorry?"

"It has never left my mind for an instant. From the bottom of my heart I
congratulate him. His wife is an angel as well as a princess."

"Well, in the code of morals, is it quite proper to be so _loyal_
to another man's wife?" she asked, and then she trembled. He was
supposed to know her as the wife of Grenfall Lorry, and yet he had
boldly shown his love for her.

"It depends altogether on the other man's wife," he said, and she looked
up quickly. It was too dark to see his face, but something told her to
press the point no further. Deep down in her heart she was beginning to
rejoice in the belief that he had found her out. If he still believed
her to be the real princess, then he was--but the subject of
conversation, at least, had to be changed.

"You say your message to Ravone was of a purely personal nature," she

"Yes, your highness." She did not like the way in which he said "your
highness." It sounded as if he meant it.

"How did you know that you were to see him to-day?"

"We have waited for this opportunity since last week. Franz was in the
castle grounds last Thursday."

"Good heavens! You don't mean it!"

"Yes, your highness. He carried a message to me from Ravone. That is why
Ravone and the others waited for me in the hills."

"You amaze me!"

"I have seen Franz often," he confessed easily. "He is an excellent

"So it would seem. We must keep a lookout for him. He is the go-between
for you all, I see."

"Did you learn to say 'you all' in America?" he asked. Her heart gave a
great leap. There was something so subtle in the query that she was
vastly relieved.

"Never mind about that, sir. You won't tell me what you said in your
note to Ravone."

"I cannot."

"Well, he gave you one in return. If you are perfectly sincere, Baldos,
you will hand that note over to me. It shall go no farther, I swear to
you, if, as you vow, it does not jeopardize Graustark. Now, sir, prove
your loyalty and your honesty."

He hesitated for a long time. Then from an inner pocket he drew forth a
bit of paper.

"I don't see why it has not been destroyed," he said regretfully. "What
a neglectful fool I have been!"

"You might have said it had been destroyed," she said, happy because he
had not said it.

"But that would have been a lie. Read it, your highness, and return it
to me. It must be destroyed."

"It is too dark to read it here." Without a word he handed the paper to
her and called the chair bearers, to whom he gave instructions that
brought her speedily beneath one of the park lamps. She afterwards
recalled the guilty impulse which forced her to sit on the tell-tale
note while the men were carrying her along in the driveway. When it was
quite safe she slyly opened the missive. His hand closed over hers, and
the note, and he bent close once more.

"My only fear is that the test will make it impossible for me to kiss
your hand again," said he in a strained voice. She looked up in

"Then it is really something disloyal?"

"I have called it a test, your highness," he responded enigmatically.

"Well, we'll see," she said, and forthwith turned her eyes to the
all-important paper. A quick flush crossed her brow; her eyes blinked
hopelessly. The note was written in the Graustark language!

"I'll read it later, Baldos. This is no place for me to be reading
notes, don't you know? Really, it isn't. I'll give it back to you
to-morrow," she was in haste to say.

An inscrutable smile came over his face.

"Ravone's information is correct, I am now convinced," he said
slowly. "Pray, your highness, glance over it now, that I may destroy it
at once," he persisted.

"The light isn't good."

"It seems excellent."

"And I never saw such a miserable scrawl as this. He must have written
it on horseback and at full gallop,"

"It is quite legible, your highness."

"I really cannot read the stuff. You know his handwriting. Read it to
me. I'll trust you to read It carefully."

"This is embarrassing, your highness, but I obey, of course, if you
command. Here is what Ravone says:

"'We have fresh proof that she is not the princess, but the American
girl. Be exceedingly careful that she does not lead you into any
admissions. The Americans are tricky. Have little to say to her, and
guard your tongue well. We are all well and are hoping for the best.'"



Beverly was speechless.

"Of course, your highness," said Baldos, deep apology in his voice,
"Ravone is woefully misinformed. He is honest in his belief, and you
should not misjudge his motives. How he could have been so blind as to
confound you with that frisky American girl--but I beg your pardon. She
is to be your guest. A thousand pardons, your highness."

She had been struck dumb by the wording of the note, but his apparently
sincere apology for his friend set her every emotion into play once
more. While he was speaking, her wits were forming themselves for
conflict. She opened the campaign with a bold attack. "You--you believe
me to be the princess, sure 'nough, don't you?" But with all her
bravery, she was not able to look him in the face.

"How can you doubt it, your highness? Would I be serving you in the
present capacity if I believed you to be anyone else?"

"Ravone's warning has not shaken your faith in me?"

"It has strengthened it. Nothing could alter the facts in the case. I
have not, since we left Ganlook, been in doubt as to the identity of my

"It seems to me that you are beating around the bush. I'll come straight
to the point. How long have you known that I am not the princess of

"What!" he exclaimed, drawing back in well-assumed horror. "Do you
mean--are you jesting? I beg of you, do not jest. It is very serious
with me." His alarm was so genuine that she was completely deceived.

"I am not jesting," she half whispered, turning very cold. "Have you
thought all along that I am the princess--that I am Grenfall Lorry's

"You told me that you were the princess."

"But I've never said that I was--was anyone's wife."

There was a piteous appeal in her voice and he was not slow to notice it
and rejoice. Then his heart smote him.

"But what is to become of me if you are not the princess?" he asked
after a long pause. "I can no longer serve you. This is my last day in
the castle guard."

"You are to go on serving me--I mean you are to retain your place in the
service," she hastened to say. "I shall keep my promise to you." How
small and humble she was beginning to feel. It did not seem so
entertaining, after all, this pretty deception of hers. Down in his
heart, underneath the gallant exterior, what was his opinion of her?
Something was stinging her eyes fiercely, and she closed them to keep
back the tears of mortification.

"Miss Calhoun," he said, his manner changing swiftly, "I have felt from
the first that you are not the princess of Graustark. I _knew_ it
an hour after I entered Edelweiss. Franz gave me a note at Ganlook, but
I did not read it until I was a member of the guard."

"You have known it so long?" she cried joyously. "And you have trusted
me? You have not hated me for deceiving you?"

"I have never ceased to regard you as _my_ sovereign," he said

"But just a moment ago you spoke of me as a frisky American girl," she
said resentfully.

"I have used that term but once, while I have said 'your highness' a
thousand times. Knowing that you were Miss Calhoun, I could not have
meant either."

"I fancy I have no right to criticise you," she humbly admitted. "After
all, it does not surprise me that you were not deceived. Only an
imbecile could have been fooled all these weeks. Everyone said that you
were no fool. It seems ridiculous that it should have gone to this
length, doesn't it?"

"Not at all, your highness. I am not--"

"You have the habit, I see," she smiled.

"I have several months yet to serve as a member of the guard. Besides, I
am under orders to regard you as the princess. General Marlanx has given
me severe instructions in that respect."

"You are willing to play the game to the end?" she demanded, more
gratified than she should have been.

"Assuredly, yes. It is the only safeguard I have. To alter my belief
publicly would expose me to--to--"

"To what, Baldos?"

"To ridicule, for one thing, and to the generous mercies of Count
Marlanx. Besides, it would deprive me of the privilege I mentioned a
moment ago--the right to kiss your hand, to be your slave and to do
homage to the only sovereign I can recognize. Surely, you will not
subject me to exile from the only joys that life holds for me. You have
sought to deceive me, and I have tried to deceive you. Each has found
the other out, so we are quits. May we not now combine forces in the
very laudible effort to deceive the world? If the world doesn't know
that we know, why, the comedy may be long drawn out and the climax be
made the more amusing."

"I'm afraid there was a touch of your old-time sarcasm in that remark,"
she said. "Yes, I am willing to continue the comedy. It seems the safest
way to protect you--especially from General Marlanx. No one must ever
know, Baldos; it would be absolutely pitiful. I am glad, oh, so glad,
that you have known all the time. It relieves my mind and my conscience

"Yes," he said gently; "I have known all along that you were not
Mr. Lorry's wife." He had divined her thought and she flushed
hotly. "You are still a princess, however. A poor goat-hunter can only
look upon the rich American girl as a sovereign whom he must worship
from far below."

"Oh, I'm not so rich as all that," she cried." Besides, I think it is
time for a general clearing-up of the mysteries. Are you Prince Dantan,
Prince Frederic, or that other one--Christobal somebody? Come, be fair
with me."

"It seems that all Edelweiss looks upon me as a prince in disguise. You
found me in the hills--"

"No; you found me. I have not forgotten, sir."

"I was a vagabond and a fugitive. My friends are hunted as I am. We have
no home. Why everyone should suspect me of being a prince I cannot
understand. Every roamer in the hills is not a prince. There is a price
upon my head, and there is a reward for the capture of every man who was
with me in the pass. My name is Paul Baldos, Miss Calhoun. There is no
mystery in that. If you were to mention it in a certain city, you would
quickly find that the name of Baldos is not unknown to the people who
are searching for him. No, your highness, I regret exceedingly that I
must destroy the absurd impression that I am of royal blood. Perhaps I
am spoiling a pretty romance, but it cannot be helped. I was Baldos, the
goat-hunter; I am now Baldos, the guard. Do you think that I would be
serving as a Graustark guard if I were any one of the men you mention?"

Beverly listened in wonder and some disappointment, it must be
confessed. Somehow a spark of hope was being forever extinguished by
this straightforward denial. He was not to be the prince she had seen in
dreams. "You are not like anyone else," she said." That is why we
thought of you as--as--as--"

"As one of those unhappy creatures they call princes? Thank fortune,
your highness, I am not yet reduced to such straits. My exile will come
only when you send me away."

They were silent for a long time. Neither was thinking of the hour, or
the fact that her absence in the castle could not be unnoticed. Night
had fallen heavily upon the earth. The two faithful chair-bearers,
respectful but with wonder in their souls, stood afar off and
waited. Baldos and Beverly were alone in their own little world.

"I think I liked you better when you wore the red feather and that
horrid patch of black," she said musingly.

"And was a heart-free vagabond," he added, something imploring in his

"An independent courtier, if you please, sir," she said severely.

"Do you want me to go back to the hills? I have the patch and the
feather, and my friends are--"

"No! Don't suggest such a thing--yet." She began the protest eagerly and
ended it in confusion.

"Alas, you mean that some day banishment is not unlikely?"

"You don't expect to be a guard all your life, do you?"

"Not to serve the princess of Graustark, I confess. My aim is much
higher. If God lets me choose the crown I would serve, I shall enlist
for life. The crown I would serve is wrought of love, the throne I would
kneel before is a heart, the sceptre I would follow is in the slender
hand of a woman. I could live and die in the service of my own
choosing. But I am only the humble goat-hunter whose hopes are phantoms,
whose ideals are conceived in impotence."

"That was beautiful," murmured Beverly, looking up, fascinated for the

"Oh, that I had the courage to enlist," he cried, bending low once
more. She felt the danger in his voice, half tremulous with some thing
more than loyalty, and drew her hand away from a place of instant
jeopardy. It was fire that she was playing with, she realized with a
start of consciousness. Sweet as the spell had grown to be, she saw that
it must be shattered.

"It is getting frightfully late," she sharply exclaimed. "They'll wonder
where I've gone to. Why, it's actually dark."

"It has been dark for half an hour, your highness," said he, drawing
himself up with sudden rigidness that distressed her. "Are you going to
return to the castle?"

"Yes. They'll have out a searching party pretty soon if I don't appear."

"You have been good to me to-day," he said thoughtfully. "I shall try to
merit the kindness. Let me--"

"Oh, please don't talk in that humble way! It's ridiculous! I'd rather
have you absolutely impertinent, I declare upon my honor I would. Don't
you remember how you talked when you wore the red feather? Well, I liked

Baldos laughed easily, happily. His heart was not very humble, though
his voice and manner were.

"Red is the color of insolence, you mean."

"It's a good deal jauntier than blue," she declared.

"Before you call the bearers, Miss--your highness, I wish to retract
something I said awhile ago," he said very seriously.

"I should think you would," she responded, utterly misinterpreting his

"You asked me to tell you what my message to Ravone contained and I
refused. Subsequently the extent of his message to me led us into a most
thorough understanding. It is only just and right that you should know
what I said to him."

"I trust you, Baldos," she protested simply.

"That is why I tell this to you. Yesterday, your highness, the castle
guard received their month's pay. You may not know how well we are paid,
so I will say that it is ten gavvos to each. The envelope which I gave
to Ravone contained my wages for the past six weeks. They need it far
more than I do. There was also a short note of good cheer to those poor
comrades of mine, and the assurance that one day our luck may change and
starvation be succeeded by plenty. And, still more, I told him that I
knew you to be Miss Calhoun and that you were my angel of
inspiration. That was all, your highness."

"Thank you, Baldos, for telling me," she said softly. "You have made me
ashamed of myself."

"On the contrary, I fear that I have been indulging in mock
heroics. Truth and egotism--like a salad--require a certain amount of

"Since you are Baldos, and not a fairy prince, I think you may instruct
the men to carry me back, being without the magic tapestry which could
transplant me in a whiff. Goodness, who's that?"

Within ten feet of the sedan chair and directly behind the tall guard
stood a small group of people. He and Beverly, engrossed in each other,
had not heard their approach. How long they had been silent spectators
of the little scene only the intruders knew. The startled, abashed eyes
of the girl in the chair were not long in distinguishing the newcomers.
A pace in front of the others stood the gaunt, shadowy form of Count

Behind him were the Princess Yetive, the old prime minister, and Baron



Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest