>he said brokenly. "I — I dare not interfere, even
though I app roved of what you say, which I do not."
"S-jrne one must act. and speedily too, or the
resultant mischief cannot be undone. I appeal to
you because you are a woman, and we men are
prone to bungle in these matters."
•"B:it what do you want of me?" wailed the
tortured Princess. "Michael protested against the
marriage — "
"' I am thinking of Alec's welfare now," said Stamp
on grurny. " You are his mother, and you and I can
save him. In a word, that girl must go, to-night if
possible, to-morrow without fail. The talk of
marriage must be dropped, and revived only when a
Serb is the prospective bride."
"' You say she must go. What does that imply? It
:= not in my power to send her away, even if I would."
"It is. Princess." was the grini answer. "I: she
loves Alec, she will save him by leaving him. lam
told women do these things occasionally. Perhaps
she is one of the self sacrificing sort. At any rate
she must be given the chance, and by
you. She must go away, and in going
tell the King she will never marry him.
It is hard. Both will suffer; but in
the long run Alec will come to see that
by no other means can he retain his
AX odd element of fatality seemed
f\. to attach itself to the Byzantine
Saint Peter in the cathedral of Del
gratz. Joan nearly lost her life within
a few hours of the time when she first
saw that remarkable work of art, and
it was ordained that one of the last
clear memories of her checkered life in
Kosnovia should be its round staring
eyes, its stiiily modeled right hand,
uplifted, it might be, in reproof or
exhortation, the ornate pastoral stan,
and the emblem of the crossed keys
that labeled the artist's intent to por
tray the chief apostle. Poor Joan had
already conceived a violent dislike of
the reputed Giotto. It was no longing
to complete her work that drove her
at the end to the solemn cathedral,
but the compelling need of confiding in
Felix. For it had come to this: she must
fly from Delgratz, at once and forever.
It chanced that morning that Alec
had taken a holiday. He appeared
unexpectedly at breakfast ana sat by
Joans side, and his lover's eyes had
detected a pallor, a certain strained and
wistful ... of the lips, signs of
mental storm and stress that she hoped
would not be noticeabk?.
" Sweetheart." he whispered □ quick
alarm, "you are not well. You are
feeling this wretched climate. I am
minded to throw sentiment aside and
vend my mother and you to the Xew
"I am quite well," she said, with a
forced composure that she felt lid no
deceive him. It was necessary to in
vent some explanation, and she con
tinued hurriedly. "I did not sleep
soundly last night. Some wandering
night bird flew in through my open
window and startled me with its frantic
efforts to escape from the room. That
is all. After a little rest I shall be
"That gloomy old cathedral is not a
healthy place. I am inclined to think,"
he said, scanning her face again with
the anxious gaze of one who could not
endure even a momentary eclipse of its
bright vivacity. "You go there too
often, and now that we know from
whom your commission was received it
is straining a point of efiquette to con
tinue your work. ]• will relieve any
scruples you may have on that head if
1 tell you that I paid Monsieur Beliani
yesterday every farthing of the money
that was advanced to you by his agent
" I am glad of that." she sajd simply.
"I did not like the idea of being in
debted to him. Though he is a very
clever man, I regard him as a good
deal of a rogue."
Alec was not to be switched off personal issues
because Joan expressed her opinions in this mat
ter of fact manner. "I am quit sure you are^ ill,
or at any rate run down," he persisted. •■ U hat
you need is a change of air. I think I can allow
myself a few hours' respite from affairs of state
to-day. What say you if the two of us drive to our
country hou*r this morning and find out for our
selves the progress made by the workmen.' I
seem to remember that the' contractor named a
date, not far distant now, when the place would be
"There is nothing in the world that I should like
better," said foan.
Again Alec detected a strange undercurrent of
emotion in her voice; but he attributed it to the lack
of sleep she had complained of, and with his cus-
SUNDAY MAGAZINE FOR JANUARY 2. 1910
t;ain attributed it to the reaction that comes to
ghly strung natures after a surfeit of excitement in
the midst of a new and dimcult environment.
He kissed her tenderly, and Joan seemed to be on
the verge erf tear-. He was puzzled; but thought it
best to refrain from comment. "Poor girl!" he said
to himself. 'She feels it hard to 1 c surrounded by
j eople who are all strangers and mostly shut off by
the barrier of language.'
But he was in no sense alarmed. He left the palace
convinced that a few hours of repose would bring
back the color to her cheeks and the natural buoy
ancy to her manner. Then he meant to chaff her
it her distracted air; for Joan was no neurotic
i t. and she herself would be the first to laugh
at the nervous lit of the morning.
"P< 'LUSKI, hard at work at his frescos since an early
•* hour, Igingly snatching a hasty meal at
Ida ur: rised when Joan came to him after
the King - departure and told him that she meant to
finish her picture that afternoon. He
made no comment, however; indeed, he
as glad of her com] any. and the two
i rov<.- • aether in the cai acious
: carriage th.it brought them to
nd from cathedral and palace. Dur
g their working hour> they refused to
mperedi >y r hepre>eT;i e< >f servants.
n old Greek, who acted as caretaker,
>ok charge of canvases, easels, paint
S, and other utensils of the
winter's craft, and he came out glee
ully trom his lodge as soon as their
chicle rumbled under the deep arch
the outer porch.
Usually Joan had a word and a smile
>r him. though the extent of her Greek
conversation was a phrase or two
learned from Felix; but to-day she
hardly seemed to see him, and lost not
a moment in settling down to work.
She had not much to do; in fact, so far
,i- Felix took note of her actions, after
ad mating the canvas and mixing some
■ i'.r- on the palette, she sat idle for a
long time, and even then occupied her
self with an unnecessary deepening of
tints in the picture, which already dis
played an amazing resemt>kince to its
ilted and highly colored prototype.
At last she spoke, and Felix, perched
n a platform above her head, was
a most startled by the sorrow laden
adence of her voice.
"I did not really come here to-day
o paint," she said. "The picture is
mi.shed; my work in Delgratz is ended.
ou and Pauline are the only two
eople in the world whom I can trust,
nd I have brought you here, Felix, to
tell you that I ai leaving Defrgratz to
THE hunchback slid down from the
little scatioldmg he had constructed
to enaMe him to survey the large area
covered by the frescos. "I suppose I
have understood what you said." he
(Tied It is impossible to focus one's
thoughts properly on the spoken word
when a huge dome add.-, vibrations of
it- own, and I admit that I am in
variably irritated myself when I state
a remarkable fact with the utmost
plainness and people pretend to be
either deaf or dull of comprehension."
That was Polnskfs way, — he never
• puM take one seriously, — but Joan
lerely sighed and bent her head.
■ you say you are leaving Delgratz to
ight! May one ask why"-" he went on,
( ropping his bantering manner at once.
" No, she said.
Felix bassooned a few deep notes
etween his lips. " Y< >v have some good
n for telling me that. 1 presume'"
le muttered, uttering the first words
iat occurred to his perplexed brain.
" Yes. tla very best of reasons, or at
-.i t the most convincing. 1 cannot
. :i here unless 1 ir.arrv Alec. and.
. I | lutely determined not to
rry him. it follow-, that I must [
' Ah, you are willing to give
,rt of reason, then." he said. "At
Tit I am muddled. < >ne grasps
that unless you marry Alec you must
■ ■ ... aB wi. . . ) Vii j „, , but why not marry Alec? It sounds like a
ition of Euclid with the main clauses omitted."
t< l the fan I un sorr Felix, but I cannot explain myself
They returned to the city in time for luncheon; further. You came to Delgratz with me; win you
then the King had to burn awaj to try and over- return with me to Pans- It not. will you at least
promise to help me >g et away and leep secret the
His nartine words were an injun< n-.n to loan that fa< I that lam going'
shTshould not -.out again during the hot hour, but, Felix grew round eyed with amazement; but he
r to obtain the n he had been managed to control his tongue. "You are asking »
during the I g 1 deal, dear," he said, lT Do you know what you
„!!,v dear "You m.v, feel quite ..re doing? I'" yoa ******* what v '/ ur actk f Wlll
certain that when n< eet I shall mto Alec? What has happened, some lovers
altogether from tin- pallid i i Thai >, unlike v .v. |....n I f you run off in tins
£3 S breakfast this morning." ion you will be trying most deliberately to break
Me.- vi> -till con ciou detach- poor Alec i heart
ment m her words Joan uttered a queer little choking «ob; yet n
acting a part came back with force but he nth ■■■ i?
r ta ' ■ rbore from pressing her for any further
'X'HEV took their drive, and to all outward sem
■■• blance Joan enioyed it thoroughly. Her dr
ing spirits revived i :;re the last straggling
: Delgratz were left behind. She exh:
the keenest interest in the house and gardens. Al-
Lgh their inspection did n>>t end until the sun was
tne heavens, she insisted upon entering c
I traversing many of the paths in the
gr -■ She talked, too. with a fluent y
that in any other woman would have i sus
■ -• ill Uec was too glad that the
marked depression of the morning had passed to
leed 1 her half-h r ■:. He enl
with zest into her c . r future home.
E .t her advice on every lil i ■. en
thusiastic him ly re
. from the ban to that
leafy paradise. H<_- remembered afterward how Juan's
" [ Have Brought You Here
M Tell You I Am Leaving
Delgratz To-Nitrht." Said Joan.
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