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THE ROCK ISLAND ARGUS, FRIDAY, MAY 12, 1911.
T OW TT
STOOD bending over the
handkerchief for a moment
and then hastily concealed It.
I had alm.t forgotten what
occasioned the rift until rudely re
minded by Walen as we left the hall
"I frar you have played into Vasea's
hands, Verrall." he aid.
"Or he into mine."
'True, or li'; ir;to yours. It is diffi
cult to judee.''
"Knowing so little of me. you would
Bay, I went on. pu;iing. I knew, his
thoughts into words. "My dear Wt.
len, I ask only a fair field and no fa
vor. A few true friends and a good
muse and success i? hnif won."
"Men fall in :i pood car.se. Verrall."
"To prove tl.at it If poo-j to those
who remain." I snswered.
II! news peis n broad quickly, and
O'Ryan hd heard what had taken
plaee before I joined him.
"Verrali. you're an ajmighty fool.
Fare. It's sorry I r.m to he compelled
to tell you I he truth "
"I don't fnnfy you've succeeded in
doinc it no-.v. There was nothing for
1: tnit n boid move Vnsca had de
termined to force n;o into this f.ght
and to lea re no !.;. hole for cseap.
Better surely to prip the situation firm
ly end tn:st t hi'-;;."
"Luck"' he e.t'-:ai:u"d. "I know what
Vnsca cr.n do. Ymi don't, '
"I very soon shall."
'I'd lifer to chance piaces with yon."
"A piece of national conceit. My
laiice play may he j.s pood as yours."
"Sure, that's not lr at hi!. The one
who fight dies ilhtiiiT: the one who
is left dies there. I'm tl ne who's
left. That is what troubles rue." And
he waved his hand townrd the square.
"It's a bad s;n when a man barks
as loudly as Yns -a does." I said.
"That's a Found enough argument
when civilization has knocked half the
fighting power out if a mum hut it's
just meaningless here. In Prusscn
lond a man daren't bnrk unless he can
Lite. I'd give a good deal to he hack In
Yadasara. The place is full of black
guards, to he sure, but they're black
boards you can understand none of
these tournament businesses and non
sense of that kind."
There were three days of waiting
before the tournament, three days in
which I had to st.tl mysr if to l)"hnve
calmly, as usual, ihree lays durinc
which I could hardly remain still for
The day dawned bright and sunny,
but with a keenness in the air which
perhaps my nervous excitement exag
gerated. I woke early and never, sure
ly, have hours been so leaden winged
as they were that morning.
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said O'Kyan. curbing ray Impatience.
"It woM only he to show anxiety."
"Which, of course, we do not feel."
I said, with a nervous laugh.
We waited in silence until it was
tin'e to po, and la silence we rode to
Plentiful as the ae-ommodation in
the lists had seemed to me. it was evi
dently no too much. Every seat, ev
ery point of vantage, had been taken.
There were two entrances reserved for
the knights who were to take part in
the day's proceedings, facing each oth
er and shut off from the arena by i
barrier which was only opened to let
a knight pass in to combat.
On one side of the lists was a gallery,
in which were the marshal and his
heralds, and opposite a similar gallery,
where Princess Paria sat with her ret
inue. My eyes were riveted on this
gallery, but I could not tell whether
she had noticed me or whether she
looked anxious or indifferent.
"Your time approached. Verrall."
said O'Kyan. looking to the harness of
The trumpets sounded, and a roar
of welcome came from a thousand
throats. Other combats had excited,
but my entrance- her:. Med the perform
ance Tvhh-h h -d brought Ihis crowd to
gether. As I rode p;ist the gallery the
marshal and his attendants rose to
give me courteous welcome. So had
they risen to each knight as he en
tered the lists, hut there was keener
criticism In their eyes ns they rose to
me. Some friends I had among them,
some enemies. I could probably have
divided friends from foes by the ex
pression on their faces. I kept my
horse well in hand. I had no desire
now to show off gallantly. The busi
ness before me was too serious and
might all too- scon give the lie to my
warlike Appearance. Slowly I walked
the horse round the lists until I was
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nilti. T V mv a a . . . . a c
oyrpoVte the gallery In which Princess
The princess rose, and I saluted her
gravely, wonderlnc If at that moment
the same thought ran through both our
brains the thonjtht of the handker
chief which she hnd plven and which
even then was lyinp close to my heart.
Tbn I rode back and stood beneath
the marshal's paliery.
"Heralds, sound the challenge of the
Kniuht of the Silver Star once." he
The trumpets' mu?lc filled the air,
and before the echoes had died among
the bills the barrier at the opposite
side of the lists to which I had enter
ed was thrown open, and Count Vase a
rode Into the arena.
"I accept the challenge." he cried,
and then, approaching me. he s-id In
a lower voice: "No love creeps into
cur oomhat. Sir Verrall. Tou have
willed that it shall be for honor."
"For honor. Count Vasca. and for
lovf. too. If you will." I answered de
fiantly. "So son a different tale! Danger
gives increasing beauty to a fair face
likely to be lost." I
"It U rather to challenge j-ou to '
yo'.ir best. Tou harp on love so con- t
stratly perchance honor Is not enough j
to strengthen your arm agaln-st me." '
A h'.s of rage was his only answer, j
"To achievement, knights!' cried the j
herald. "Sound trumpets!" j
As the blast rang out I turned my j
horse, and the next moment the count
and I were rushing madly at each oth- .
er. In that instant my mind was a '
blank. Action had driven out even '
the thonsrht of fear. We met. His '
lanre 6hivered against my shield, a i
blow which shook me, but did not ;
j make me reel in the saddle. Either ;
i my aim was untrue or he avoided the i
I blow, for my lance only glanved clong !
' h's armor, and I continued ray rush j
toward the opposite side of the lists, j
i Perhaps there was sfme surprise that ;
j I w.is still in the saddle, a satisfac
i ti-n thnt the comb.it was nt To be a
j one sided affair. That if not all I clnim
j ed to be I was at least no craven car
j pet knicht. At any rate, a cheer rang
; fi'it. and I felt encouraged,
j Turning. I saw that the count had '
! been supplied with another lance and :
1 was ready to charge acain. There wjis :
! a moment's pause; then the trumpets '
j sounded, and once more we rushed ,
j upon each other. The spirit of battle
was upon ine. i naa more c-nuuence,
nnd I dup the spurs into my horse, I
leaning forward to the charpe.
I hardly knew what hnd happened,
brought as I was to a sndden standstill
by a blow which seemed to strike me
full In the body. I reeled backward,
but my horse, being thrown upon his
haunches, saved me. aud with a
i mighty effort I succeeded in keeping
my seat As roy horse struggled lip I
regained my full consciousness, to find
Va sea's horse also struggling to his
feet, his rider still in the saddle, and
to see that both our lances were bro
ken short to the handle. My blow had
been as fierce as his. Victory was
with neither of us yet.
A great roar of applause arose
around us as we passed to opposite
sides of the lists.
Both of us had to be given a fresh
lance, and probably the count, like
myself, felt the need of recovering
himself a little before again rugh'ng
to the onslaught. I had no knowledge
of how much of this kind of thing he I
could stand without showing signs of
! weakness, but I was perfectly sure
. that another blow like the last would
j be quite enough for me.
j Even now we seemed a long time
reaching each other, and my eyes re
' fused to see my enemy clearly as he
came, yet I felt that he, too, wished
to end the combat; that he, too, was
bent on making a desperate endeavor.
Gathering all my strength together, I
rushed to meet him, and even as I did
eo I remembered O'ltyan's advice.
XVrhaps even at that late moment I
feared to receive such a blow as the
last, but whatever the motive was
that decided me I acted upon the ad
vice. I slightly checked my pace, and
as we met I swerved a little and lev
eled my lance at Vasea's helmet. The
sudden action made me reel, and had
the count's lance struck me then 1
should have been unhorsed. But for- i
tune favored me. Vasca attempted to
alter his course in a similar manner,
but his horse, going faster than mine,
stumbled forward. Hla lance missed
me altogether, while mine only struck
him lightly It was not my blow that
unseated him, but bis stumbling
charger. The count made a frantic
effort to keep bis horse from falling,
but in vain, and he rolled heavily from
his saddle to the ground.
Shout after shout rent the air. Who
could tell how the count had fallen?
The fact remained that, while he roll
ed in the dust. I remained in the sad
dle. So they shouted as men will at
victory, patisfied and jubilant.
"Slr Verrall! Sir Verrall! The
Knight of the Silver Starr
The count struggled to his feet.
"A stumbling steed is no knight's
dishonor. Another horse!" he cried.
"Or on foot. Sir Verrall, as you wilL"
I sat 8 till and mute. As through a
mist I saw waving hands In the gal
leries; as through a thick tog I heard
my name and Vasea's.
The sh.trp note of a bugle aroused
me somewhat. For an Instant I fan
cied it the summons to another charge
and turned my horse mechanically.
But there was other business in hand.
A blare of trumpets had summoned to
Mfcl ! S) lo)igi
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the mimic battle, but this was on
sharp, lor.c drawn note, a note of
alarm always in Prussenland. The
shouting ceased; hands no longer
waved. I think I saw the princess rise
and leave her gallery suddenly. I know
that there was a nmss of movement
on all sides of the lists. Knights and
soldiers rushed across the turf, and I
was borne along with them to the bar
rier. "To arms! To arms!" was now the
cry on every side.
"Bravely done. Sir Verrall!" And I
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saw O Hyan press toward me through
"What is it?" I said almost in a
"Faith, it's what suits us best real
fighting. The enemy are in force be
fore the town."
"I I" And then I should have slip
ped from my saddle had not O'Ryan
literally lifted me to the ground.
The excitement at the news of com
ing conflict was so great that fortu-
HE POLLED HEAVILY FROM HIS SADDLE.
nately little notice was taken of me,
and O'Ryan managed to get me away
quietly. He plied me with more wine.
"Do you want to rob me of what
little sense I have?" I said.
"Anything to make you sleep for a
j few hours," O'Myan answered. "Yon
I have a short time to rest before we go
out against the enemy."
"Did any one notice that I fainted?"
"No; I took care of that Not a soul
knows but what you were still full of
fijrht when the summons to more se
rious business came more serious,
that is. to some, but far less to us,
"Yon langhed this morning when I
spoke of luck."
"Luck! Don't say the word. Sure,
it waFn't luck at all. but fine fighting."
The intense strain of the day was
loosened, the danger was over; almost
I believed that luck bad had nothing
to do with my success, and then then
dreams came. light fancies, feather"
rxirne on the bosom of a summer wind,
whispering voices calling softly, "Da
ria," and then a vision of her with
arms outstretched, a smile upon her
lips, radiant as the smile of morning,
and then, before I could hear her
speak, before I could throw myself
at her feet, deep sleep with no dream
"Time, Verrall." itinf
I started up.
"You ought to be rested, said
O'Ryan. "I've been shaking you long
enough, and; by St. Fatrick. your
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snoring been mighty."
It was early morning. The world at
our feet was still In twilight, but the
top of Khrym had caught the sun. I
felt refreshed, but certainly not in con
dition for a hard day's fighting.
"It's to be real war this time, not
games," said O'Ryan.
"The other was no game to me. and
I would sooner wait a little while for
the real fighting," I answered.
The camp was in considerable confu
sion as O'Ryan and I rode In.
"You're a much bigger man than yon
were yesterday," said O'Ryan.
Surrounded by her guards and by
several knights, the princess was la
earnest conversation with Count Vasca
as I went to salute her. Naturally her
mind was full of anxious thought, and
I should not have noticed her casual
acceptance of me had not a knight sa
luted her just before me. To him she
smiled graciously; to me she gav.e a
"Your prowess yesterday argues ill
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tor many a brave Unlght yonder la
Yadasara." Count Vasca said.
"Yon are gracious to say so, count,"
"Truly I speak only as I have cause
to know. I can prove honestly a friend,
although I fear you do not so consider
"I have a habit of bc'.n honest too."
"Which means that yon do not be
"I have judged by actions," I said.
"I ask no more than that you con
tinue to do so." he replied.
He held i:t his hand, and I took It. I
could do no les. and his frankness al
most deceived me.
"There Is work before ns," he went
on. "You will march your men toward
Yadasara. Tonhrht. inayle, we will
pledge our friendship in a cup of wine.
Ferhaps tomorrow we shall ride side
by side in pleasant rivalry against our
(To be Continued.