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fclildegarde's father and had striven
for the principality in the days gone by. The king, thinking to repair tho imaginary wrongs of the prince, forced the suit. He impressed upon the prin cess that it was marry the prince or "ive up the principality. She gave her consent, not knowing what to do un er the circumstances. Prince Ernst a prince without principality or reve nues. In marrying the princess he acquires both I shall tell you how I became concerned." Hillars laid his smoking pipe In the ash pan. He got up and roamed about the room, stopped at the window and stared at the inken sky, then returned to his chair. CHAPTER IV. I shall tell Hillars' story as he told it. He saul' Last August I went to My mission was important and took me to the British legation, where I am _well known. I was most cordially in cited to attend a ball to be given the ""**Hext evening The notables of the Eourt were there. For a few moments the king let his sun shine on the as semblage It was a brilliant spectacle. At midnight I saw foi the first time a remaikably beautiful woman I was looking well myself that night. All women like to see broad shoulders in a man It suggests strengthsome thing they ha\e not Several times this young woman's eyes met mine. Somehow, mine were always first to fall. There was a magnetism in hers mine could not withstand. Later an attache came to me and said that he wished to piesent me to her serene highness the Princess Hildegarde of let us call it Hohenphaha. He whis pered that she had commanded the in troduction I expected to see some red faced dowager who wanted to ask me about my country and bore me with hei guttural accents. To my in tense pleasure, I found myself at the side of the beauty whom I had been admuing. There was a humorous light in her eyes as she put some ques tions to me. "Do jou speak German?" she asked in that language "Pooily, your highness," I answered. "Perhaps, then, you speak French?" "As I do my mother tongue," said I. "I am interested in Americans," she said "Collectively or individually?" I tried to say this with perfect innocence, but the smile on her lips told me that I had failed "Yes, I was sure that you would in terest me." She tapped the palm of her hand with the fan she held. "Shall I tell you why I desired to meet you?" 1 oodded "1 ha\ heard it said that the Ameri can bows down before a title, and I am a woman and curious." Said I, laughing: "Your highness has been misinformed. We never bow down to a title. It is to the wearers that we bow." This time her eyes fell. "This sort of conversation Is alto gether new to me," she said, opening the fan "1 hope that I have not offended your highness," I said "Indeed, no But it seems so strange to have any one talk to me with such frankness and deliberation. Have you no fear?" "There is seldom fear where there is admiration If you had used the word awe, now7" Soft laughter rippled over the fan. She had the most wonderful eyes. "Are all Americans brave like your- self?" she next asked "Bra\e? Vv hat do you call brave?" "Your utter lack of fear in my pies ence, in the Orst place. I am called dangerous And then your exploits in the Balkistan, in the second place. Are you not the Hillars whose brav ery not so long ago was an interesting topic the newspapers? I know you." "This is truly remarkable," said I. "The only thing I did was to lead a regiment out of danger." "The danger was annihilation If a captain or a colonel bad done it, we should ba\e thought nothing of it. but an utter stranger, who had nothing in common with either causeah, believe me, it was a very gallant thing to do." "This is positively the first time I was e\er glad that I did the thing." I placed my hand o\er my heart "Rut, after all that is not half so brave as what I am doing now." "1 do not understand," said she, puz zled "Why, it is simple. Here I am talk ing to you, occupying your time and keeping those fierce generals at bay. See how they are gnawing those fierce mustaches and biting their lips and asking one another who 1 am. There are as many as five challenges waiting for me the moment I depart from your side." There was mischief in her eye. "Then you shall stay with me, find me an ice and waltz once with me. for if anything happened to you I should always have myself to blame." I waltzed with her, and the perfume of her hair got into my head, and I grew dizzy When the dance came to an end. I went into the smoking room. Suddenly it went through my brain that the world had changed in an in credibly short time I tried to smoke, _nd for the first time in my life tobac co was tasteless. I was falling in lore with a princess. I confess that it did not horrify me. On the contrary. I grew thrilled and excited. There was spiee here whic?i hitherto had been Jenied me. The cost was unspelled I fell as far as I could fall The in certainty of the affair was in itself an enchantment. Well, the next day I strolled up the A\enue of Legations and saw her on horseback She was accompanied by an elderly man with a face like an eagle's. There were various decora tions on his breast As the princess saw me she bent her head. She re membered me. That wap all that was .necessary for my transportation. Lat- er 1 was informed that her escort Prince Ernst of Wortumborg, IvL1, was destined to become her lord aii. master. I did not care whojbe wat I knew that I hated him. 1 :V- S~ For a week I lingered on. I met"her time and^ again,~alone on horseback, at the various embassies and at the opera. At these meetings, riearned a great deal about her. She was known to be the most capricious woman at court, and that she was as courageous as she was daring, and that theprince might consider himself lucky if he got her, king's will or no king's will. She had little liking for her intended. She treated him contemptuously and held his desires in utter disregard. One ne morning I was told that the prince lv-as beginning to notice my attentionsr that he was one of the most noted pis tol shots and swordsmen on the conti nent and that if I had any particular regard for my epidermis I would cease my attendance on the princess at once. This of course made me more attentive than ever, for I can hold my own with any man when it comes to pistols, and I can handle the rapter with,some suc cess. It was one night at the opera that the climax was brought about. I sat in one of the stalls diagonally across from the royal box where she sat. She saw me and gave me the barest nod of recognition. Perhaps she did not wish to attract the attention of the royal personages who sat with her, for the nod struck me as clandestine. Between the first and second acts a note was handed to me. It was not addressed, neither was it signed. But it was for me.' The bearer spoke my name. As near as I can remember the note con tained these words: "A carriage will await you two blocks south. It will be without lights. You will enter it exactly ten minutes after the. opera is ended." That was all, but it was enough. When I returned to my seat, I found the princess gazing intently at me. I made an affirmative gesture and was rewarded with a smile which set my blood to rushing. I made little out of the last act. I could not dream what the anonymous note had behind it. I suspicioned an intrigue, but what use had she for me, an American, a very nobody? Something unusual was about to take place, and I was to be a wit ness or a participant of it. That was as far as my talent for logical deduc tion went. Promptly at the stated time I stood at the side of the carriage. It was the plainest sort of an affair. Evidently it had been hired for the oc casion. The door opened. "Step in, monsieur," said a low voice in French. I obeyed. The horse start ed. As we spun along the pavement a light flashed into the window. The princess sat before me. There was a ringing in my ears, and I breathed quickly. But I said no word. It was for her to speak first. "Monsieur is an American," she be gan. "The American is of a chivalric race." "That should be the aim of all men," I replied. "But it is not so. Monsieur, I have been studying you for the past week. Tonight I place my honor and my fame in your hands.- It is for you to prove that you are a knight. I trust you. When I have said what I shall say to you, you may withdraw or give me your aid, as you please." "I am grateful for your confidence, your highness," said I. "What is it that you wish me to do "Have patience, monsieur, till the ride is done," she said. "Do not speak again till I permit you. I must thinks The journey was accomplished in half an hour. "It is here, monsieur, that we alight," she said as the carriage stopped I was glad that her opera cloak was of dark material and that she wore a veil. The building before which we stood was on the outskirts of the city. Far away to my left I could see the flicker ing lights of the palaces. A yellowish haze hung over all. Once within the building I noted with surprise the lux urious appointments. Plainly it was no common inn, a resort for the middle and traveling classes. Whether it was patronized by the nobility I could only surmise. "We shall continue to speak in French," she said as she threw back her cloak and lifted her veil. "Mon sieur has probably heard that the Prin cess Hildegarde is a creature of ex travagant caprices, and he expects an escapade." "Your highness wrongs me," I pro tested. "I am an obscure American. Your highness does not share your that is" I stopped^ not wishing to give the term escapade to anything she might do. As a matter of fact she has caus ed her royal guardian, the king, no end" of trouble. She went to Paris once un attended. At another time.she roamed around Heidelberg and slashed a fenc ing master. She had donned a stu dent's garb. She is said to be the finest swordswoman on the continent Yet notwithstanding her caprices she is a noble minded woman. She does all these things called social vagaries be cause she has a fine scorn for the in nate hypocrisy of the social organiza tion of this country. She loves free dom not wisely, but too well.a Tdolgc1f. on: "Monsieur wrongse me also,-' she said. escp a ll.. am alone. You appealed to me," with a directness which amazed me, "be- cause of your handsome face, your ele gant form, your bright eyes. You area man who loves adventure which has the spice of danger in it. My country men" She crooked one of her bare shoulders, which shone like yellow ivo ry in the subdued light. This rank flat tery cooled me. A woman who has any regard for a man is not likely to flatter him in respect to his looks on so short and slight an acquaintance. "Mon sieur," she proceeded, "this is to be no escapade, no caprice^ I ask your aid as a desperate woman. At court I can find no ope to succor me save fit thev peril of that which is dearer~to me than my Mfe.'-Amolig the commoners who would dare?. An Englishman? It is too much trouble. A Frenchman? I would trust him not quite so far as the door. You are the first American not connected with the legation I have ev er met. WiH you help me?" "If what you ask me to do is within my capabilities, I am yoursto com- mand." "-l-"t. "The "reward will be small." AsIf to try me. I laughed. -1 was so insanely happy, I suppose. "There will be danger," she persist ed "secret dangife There will be scan- dal." "The more danger _$he merrier," I cried. "Ah, yes," smiling "it is the man of Balkistan." I leaned over the table and inhaled the ineffable perfumes jhich emanat ed from her petbufl. m*ell what must I succor the princess? Is she a prisoner in a castle over which some ogre rules? Well, then, I'll be Sir Galahad." My jesting tone jarred on her nerves. 'She straightened in her chair. "Monsieur is amused," she said cold ly. "And he asks a thousand pardons!" I cried contritely. "Command me," and I grew chilled and serious. "You have heard that I am to wed Prince Ernst of Wortumborg?" "Yes." I gnawed the ends of my mustache. "Monsieur, it is against my will, my whole being. I have no desire to con tribute a principality and a wife to'a man who is not worthy of one or the other. I refuse to become the king's puppet notwithstanding^ his power to take away my principality and leave me comparatively without resources. I detest this man so thoroughly that I cannot hate him. I abhor him. It is you who must save me from him. It is you who must also save me my princi pality. Oh, they envy me, these poor people, because I am a princess, be cause I dwell in the tinsel glitter of the court. Could they but know how I en vy their lives, thpir homes, their hum ble ambitions! Believe me, monsieur, as yet I love no man. But that is no reason why I should link my"life to that of a man to whom virtue in a wo man means nothing. He caused my mother great sorrow. He came be tween her and my father. He spoiled her life. Now he wisnes to spoil mine. "The prince will hem Brussels. You are to come in his stead." But I will not have it so. I will give up my principality rather. But fiist let me try to see if I cannot retain the one and rid myself of the other Listen. Tomorrow night there will be a dinner here. The king and the inner court will hold forth. But they will cast aside their pomp and become for the time being ordinary people. The pi ince will be in Brussels and therefore una ble to attend. You are to come in his stead-!' y~ "I?" in astonishment. "Even so," she smiled. "While the festivities are at their height you and I will secretly leave and return to the city. We shall go immediately to the station, thence to France." I looked at her as one in a dream. "I You! Thence to France?" CHAPTER V. Hillars went to the sideboard and emptied-half a glass of brandy. Com ing back to his chair, he remained in a reverie for a short time. Then he re sumed his narrative: venture. You willshe return your coun try. You will be the envy of your com patriots. You will recount at your clubs a story such as men read, but never hear told." She was growing a hysterical A Di lookeo atm she saw that my face was grave. "Is there no other way?" I asked. "Can it not be accomplished without scandal?" "No. There must be scandal. Other wise I should be brought back and for given, and no one would know. In a certain sense I am valuable. The Ho henphalians love me. I ^m something of an idol to them. The king appreci ates my rule. It-gives him a knowl edge that there will be no internal Ifcbjp are limits lo the king's^patience, and l.am about ta-tiry them severely," Brit monsieur hesi'ta^rHe wiUwi|b-' -draw his PTQWISQJ'WI*^^^^-^ "No, your highness," said fT* "I have given my word. As for the scandal, it is not to myself that I care. It will ^be a^Jolly ?.4venture for me, and then I shall have such a clever story to tell my friends at1:he clubs." She saw that I was offended. "For give me, monsieur. I know that you would dVno such thing. -But let me explain to you. At the station we will be intercepted by two trusted and high officials at court.'^ ,"What!" I exclaimed. "Do they know?" "No, but 1 shall write to them anony mously, the note to be placed in their hands immediately we leave the prem- ises." v"~ I looked at the woman in wonder. "But this is madness!"*! cried. "Directly you will see the method in the madness. Without their knowing there could be no scandal. They will me from- try to stop us.'You will overpower and bind them. There will also 1*J several other witnesses who will not be par ticipants. Through them it will be come known that I have eloped with an American. Oh, it is a well laid plan." "But supposing I am overpowered myself, thrown into jail and I know not what?" All this was more than I had bargained for. "Nothing of the kind will happen. Monsieur will hold a pistol in each hand when the-carriage door is open ed. You will say: *I am a desperate man. One of you bind the other or I fire!' It will be done. You will spring upon the remaining one, and I will help you to bind him likewise. Oh, you will accomplish it well. You are a strong man. Moreover, you are rapid." I sat in my chair, speechless. Here was a woman of details. I had. never met one before. "Well, does "monsieur accept the ad venture or does he politely decline?" There was a subtle taunt in her tones. That decided me. "Your highness, I should be happy to meet a thousand uhlans to do you serv ice. What you ask me to do is quite simple." I knew that I should lose my head in case of failure. I rose and bowed as unconcernedly as though she had but asked me join her with a cup of tea. "Ah, monsieur, you area man!" And she laughed softly as she saw me throw back my shoulders. There was unmistakable admiration in her eye3. "And yet," with a sudden frown, "there will be danger. You may slip. You may become injured. Yes, there Is danger." "Your highness," said 1 lowly, com pelling her eyes to meet mine, "it is not the danger of the adventure or its re sults that I most fear." I was honest enough to make my meaning clear. She blushed. "I said that I trusted monsieur's honor," was her rejoinder. "Come," with a return of her imperi ousness, "it is time that we were gone." She drew on her cloak and dropped the veil. '"I might add," she said, "that we will remain in France one hour. From there you may go your way, and I shall go secretly to my palace." And the glamour fell away like the last leaves of the year. I had to wake up the driver, who had fallen asleep. "Where shall I say?" I asked. "To your hotel. I shall give the driv er the remaining instructions." "But you haven't told me," said I, as I took my place in the carriage, "how-t am to become a guest at tho dinner to morrow evening." "I spoke to the king this morning. I said that I had a ca'price. He replied that if I would promise it to be i last he would grant it. I promised. I said that it was my desire to bring to the dinner a person who though without rank was a gentleman, one who would grace any gathering, kingly or other wise. My word was sufficient. I knew before I asked you that you would come. Twenty-four hours from now wethat is, you and Iwill be on the way to the French'frontier. I shall be ever in your debt." Silence fell upon us. I knew that I loved her with a lore that was burning me up, consuming me. And the adven ture was all so unheard of for^these prosaic times! And so full of the charm of mystery was she that I had not been a man not to have fallen a victim. What possibilities suggested The princess looked up into my face themselves to me as on we rode! Once heroine of the charming story and smiled. "Yes thence to France. Ah, I could go alone. But listen, monsieur. Above all things there must be a scandal. A princess elopes with an American ad venturer. The prince will withdraw his suit. The king may or may not for give me, but I will risk it. He is still somewhat fond of me notwithstanding the worry I have caused him. TinV way is the only method by which 1 may convince him how detestable this engagement is to me. Yet my freedom is more to me than my principality. Let the king bestow it upon whom he will. I shall become a teacher of lan guages or something of that sort. I shall be free and happy. Oh, you will have a merry tale to tell, a merry ad- to be troubles in Hohenphalia so long as there was not an army, but a mob. The matters stand as they now do. Still, princess was Enchanting, irew reck less and let her read my eyes more than once, bjjt she pretended not to see what was in them. At dinner a toast was given to his majesty. It was made with those steins I showed yon, Jack. The princess said softly to me, kiss ing the rim of the stein she held, "My toast is not to the king, but to the~gen tleman!" I had both steins bullied up and left with the host together with my address. It was not long after that the event ful moment for our flight arrived. "I knew that I was basely to abuse the hospitality of the king. But what is a king to a man in love? Presently we two were alone in the garden, the prin cess and myself. She was whispering instructions, telling me that I was a man of courage. "It is not too late to back out," she said. 4^, "I would face a thousand kings rath- er," I replied. We could see at the gate the carriage -which was to take lis to the station. Now came the moment when I was tried by the crucible and found to be dross. I committed the most foolish blunder of my life, fey love suddenly overleaped its bounds. In a moment my arms were around her lithe body my lips met hers squarely. After it was done she stood_very still* as if in capable of understanding my offense. But I-understood. I was overwhelmed with remorse, love and regret. I had made impossible what might have across the frontier I should be free to confess^my love for her. A princess? What of that? She would be only a womanthe woman I loved. I trem bled. Something might happen so that she would have to turn to me. If the king refused to forgive her,' she was mine! Ah, that plain carriage held a wonderful dream that night. At length too sliortly for methe^vehicle drew up in front of my hotel As I was The hero is a yotmg American news- S &hl ^/^/^.^.to- paper man. ward me. But instead of kissing it If. pressed my lips on her round white arm. As though my lips burned, she drew back. "Have a care, monsieur have a care,"won."said she icily. "Such a kiss has I stammered an apology and stepped out. Then I heard a low laugh. "Good night, Mr. Hillars. You are a brave gentleman!" The door closed, and the vehicle sped away into the darkness. I stood look tag after it, ^-bewildered. Her last words were spoken in pure English. With the following evening came the dinner, and I as a guesta riervous, self conscious guest who started at ev ery footstep. *I was presented to the king, who eyed me curiously. Seeing that I wore a medal such as his chan cellor gives to men who sometimes do his country service, he spoke to me and inquired how I had obtained it Jt was an affair similar to the Balkistan, only [TO E CONTINUED.] A Deep Mystery. -It is a mystery why women endure backache, headache, ner* ousness, sleeplessness, melancholy, fainting and dizzy spells when thousands have proved that Electric Bitters will quickly cure such troubles. "I suf fered for years with kidney trouble," writes Mrs Phebe Cherley, of Peter son la "and a lame back pained me ho I could not dress myself, but Elec tric Bitters wholly cured me, and, al though 73 years old, I now am able to do all my housework It overcomes constipation, improve appetite, gives perfect health. Only 50c at C. A. Jack's drug store. missionary Committee Meets. 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