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Live th.e Kins'
-a By MARY ROBERTS RINEHART 'opyright, 1917, by the Ridgway Company A1 j Ri e ut s Reserved Copyright, 1317. by Mary Roberta Rinehart DWIG IS OFFERED AS A SACRIFICE TO SAVE THE TOT TERING KINGDOM OF LIVONIA. Synopsis.—The crown prince of f.ivonin, Ferdinand William Otto, years old. taken to the opera by his aunt, tires of the singing and s away to the park, where he makes the acquaintance of Bobby irpe, a little American hoy. Returning to the palace at night, he !s everything In an uproar as a result of the search which bus been 3e for him. The same night the chancellor calls to consult the s grandfather, the old king, who Is very ill. The chancellor äug te that to preserve the kingdom, the friendship of the neighboring gdoin of Karnia be secured by giving the I'rincess Hedwig in muV ge to King Karl of that country. Countess Loschek, lady-ln-waiting Princess Annuneiata, Hedwig's mother, is in love with King Karl 1 plots to prevent his marriage to Hedwig. Hedwig, who loves iky Larisch, Otto's aid de camp, Is dismayed when told of the plans her marriage. Countess Loschek sends a secret message to King rl. The messenger is attacked by agents of the terrorists and a mmy letter substituted. Captain Larisch, unaware of the substitu n, holds up Karl's chauffeur and secures the envelope. The captain personates Karl's chauffeur and exchanges the sheet within the velope for some cigarette papers. On delivering the envelope to irl, Larisch is made prisoner when the deception Is discovered. r* . HAPTER VII—Continued. archduchess was terrified. She own that there urns disaffection She knew that in the last few precautions at the palace had îcreased. Septries were doubled, i the uniforms of lackeys, but no labor, were everywhere. But ime and safety she had felt se eourse," the king resumed, s are not as had as that paper tes. It Is the voice of the few, than the many. Still, it is a > anciata looked more than her age She glanced around the room T_7 Q li'U fVoJ w x c VU r a of A . "I Will Go Myself." Aiough, already, she heard the mob *ie doors. 'o return to the matter of J^ed ■% marriage," said the king. 1 iarriage ! When our very lives are tlatened!" would be greatly honored, said liking, "if I might be permitted to Ah what I was saying." le had the grace to flush. Jnder the circumstances," the kl resumed, "Hedwig's marriage tes ou great significance—great po lifel significance." ir a half-hour then, he talked to ÏU More than for years, he un bQmed himself. He had tried. His misters had tried. Taxes had been Ultened ; the representation of the PÇle increased, until, as he said, he Wi ouly nominally a ruler. But dis sent remained. Some w ho had gone tebmerica and returned with savings ethgh to set themselves up in busi ng, had brought back with them t e African idea. innunciata listened to the end. e e 1« no pity for those who would bet te themselves by discontent and i s PSduct, revolt. She felt only resent mtit, that her peace was being threa **td, her position assailed. And n b* resentment she included the un» hfcself. He should have done better. ind something of this she did no hesitate to say. "Karnia is quiet enough," she finished, a final thrust. "Karnia Is better off- A low lan , most of it, and fertile." But a f-po °f color showed in his old cheeks. u ® glad you spoke of Karnia. M ia ever plans we make, Karnia must he considered." "Why? Karnia does not consider us," Be raised his hand. "You art wrong. Just now, Karnia is doing us the honor of asking an alliance with ns. A matrimonial alliance." The archduchess was hardly sur prised, as one may believe. But she was not minded to yield too easily. The old resentment against her father ! 5 I 7 / : flamed. Indifferent mother though she was, she made capital of a fear for Hedwig's happiness. At last she succeeded in Irritating the king—a more difficult thing now than In earlier times, hut not so hard a matter at that. He listened quietly until she had finished, and then sent her away. When she had got part way to the door, however, he called her back. And since a king is a king, even if he is one's father and very old, she came. "Just one word more," he said, in his thin, old, high-bred voice. "Much of your unhappiness was of your own making. You. and you only, know how much. But nothing that you have said can change the situation. I am merely compelled to make the decision fflone, and soon. I have not much time." So, after all, was the matter of the Duchess Hedwig's marriage arranged. ! 5 Êônipôsîté outgrowth of expediency I and obstinacy, of defiance and anger. And so was It hustened. Irritation gave the king strength. That afternoon were summoned In haste the members of his council—fat old Friese, young Marschall with the rat face, austere Bayerl with the white skin and burning eyes, and oth ers. And to them all the king dis closed his royal will. There was some demur. But, after all, the king's will was dominant. Friese could hut voice his protest and relupse iuto greasy silence. The chancellor sat silent during the conclave, silent, but intent. On euch speaker he turned his eyes, and waited until at last Karl's proposal, with its : promises, was laid before them in fud. Then, and only then, the chancellor rose. His speech was short. He told them of what they all knew, their own insecurity. He spoke but a word of the crown priuce, hut that softly. And he drew for them a picture of the future that set their hearts to glowing —a throne secure, a greater kingdom, freedom from the costs of war, a har bor by the sea. The battle, which was no battle at all was won. He had won. The coun try had won. The crown prince had won. Only Hedwig had lost. Anil only Mettllch knew just how she had lost. The necessity for work brought the king the strength to do It. Mettllch remained with him. Boxes were brought from vaults, unlocked and ex amined. Secretaries came and went. At eight o'clock a frugal dinner was spread In the study, and they ate it almost literally over state documents. On and on. until midnight or there abouts. Then they stopped. The thing was arranged. Nothing was left now but to carry the word to Karl. Two things were necessary: Haste. The king, having determined it, would lose no time. And dignity. The grand daughter of the king must bo offered with ceremony. No ordinary king s messenger, then, but some dignitary of the court. To this emergency Mettllch rose like the doughty old warrior and statesman that he was. "If you are willing, «1«, he said, as he rose, "I will go myself. "When?" "Since it must be done, the sooner the better. Tonight, sire." "To the capital?" "Not so far. Karl is hunting. He is at Wcdellng." He went almost immediately, and the king summoned his valets, and "as got to bed. But long after the auto mobile containing Mettllch and two se cret agents was on the road toward the mountains, he tossed on his nai row bed. To what straits had they come indeed! He closed his eyes wearily. Something hail gone out o, his life. He did not realize at first what it was. When he did. he smiled his old grim smile in the darkness. He had lost a foe. More than any thing, perhaps, he had dearly loved a foe. CHAFTER VIM. On the Mountain Road. The low gray car which carried the chancellor was on its way through the mountains. It moved deliberately, tor s a two reasons. First, the chancellor was afraid of motors. He had a horseman's hatred and fear of machines. Second, he was not of a mind to rouse King Karl from a night's sleep, even to bring the hand of the Princess Hedwig. His intention was to put up at some Tnn in a village not far from the lodge and to reach Karl by messenger early in the morning, before the hunters left for the day. Tiien, nil being prepared duly and In order. Mettlich himself would arrive, and things would go forward with dignity and dispatch. The valley of the Ar deepened. The cliff rose above them, a wall broken here and there by the offtake of nar row ravines, filled with forest trees. There was a pause while the chains on the roar wheels were supplemented by others In front, for there must he no danger of a skid. And another pause, where the road slanted peril ously toward the brink of the chasm, and caution dictated t v at the chancel . lor alight, and make a hundred feet or so of dangerous curve afoot. It required diplomacy to get him out. But it was finally done, and his heavy figure, draped in its military cape, went on ahead, outlined by tiie lumps of the car behind him. He was well around the curve, and the cliff was broken by a wedge of timber, when a curiously shaped ob ject projected itself over the edge of the bunk, and rolling down, lay almost at his feet. The lamps brought it Into sharp relief—a man, gagged and tied, and rolled, cigar shaped, in an auto mobile robe. The chancellor turned, and called to his men. Then he bent over the bun dle. The others ran up, and cut the bonds. What with cold and long in action, and his recent drop over the bank, the man could not speak. One of the secret service men had a flask, and held it to his lips. An amazing situation, indeed. Increased by the dis covery that under the robe he wore only his undergarments, with a sol dier's tunic wrapped around his shoul ders! They carried him into the car W^erç he iny with head lolling hack, and' his swollen tongtie protruding. Half dead ho was, with cold and long anxiety. The brandy cleared his mind long before he could speak, and he saw by the uniforms that h~e wu's In the hands of the enemy. He turned sulkily sclent then, convinced that he had escaped one death hut to meet an other. Twenty-four hours now he had faced eternity, and he was ready. He preferred, however, to die fully clothed, and when, in response to his pointing up the hank and to his In articulate mouthings, one of the secret police examined the hit of woodland with his pocket flash, he found a pair of trousers where Nikky had left them, neatly folded and hung over the branch of a tree. The brandy being supple mented by hot coffee from a patent bot tle, the man revived further, made an effort, and sat up. Ills tongue was still swollen, hut they made out what he said. He had been there since the night before. He was of Karnia, and a'king's messenger. I was coming back from the har rier," he said thickly, "where I had carried dispatches to the officer in charge. On my return a man hailed me from the side of the road, near where you found me. I thought that he desired to be taken on, and stopped my car. But he attacked me. He was armed and I was not. He knocked me senseless, and when I awakened I was They Carried Him Into the Car. above the road, among trees. I gave myself up when the snow commenced. Few pass this way. But I heard your car coming and made a desperate ef fort." "Then," asked one of the agents, "these are not your clothes?" "They are his, sir." The agent produced a flash light and inspected the garments. Before the chancellor's eyes, button by button, strap on the sleeve, star on the cuff, came into view the uniform of a cap a in tain of ids own regiment, the grena diers. Then one of his own men lmd done this infamous thing, one of his own officers, indeed. "Co through the pockets," he or dered sternly. Came into view under the flash a pair of gloves, a box of matches, a silk handkerchief, a card case. The agent said nothing, hut passed a card to the chancellor, who read it without com ment. There was silence in the car. At last the chancellor stirred. "This man—he took your car on?" "Yes. And he has not returned. No other machine has passed." The secret service men exchanged glances. There was more to this than appeared. Somewhere ahead, then, was Nikky Larisch, with a motor that did not belong to him, and wearing clothing which his victim described as a chauffeur's coat of leather, breeches and puttees, and a fur greatcoat over all. "Had the snow commenced when this happened?" "Not then, sir. Shortly after." "Go out with the driver," the chancellor ordered one of his men. ••and watch the road for the tracks of another car. Go slowly." So it was that, after an hour or so, they picked up Nikky 's trail, now twenty-four hours old hut still clear, and followed It. The chancellor was awake enough by this time, and head ing forward. When at last the trail turned from the highway toward the shooting box at Wedding, Mettlich fell back with something between a curse and a groan. "The fool !" he muttered. "The young fool ! It was madness." At last they drew up at an inn in the village on the royal preserve, and the chancellor, looking rather.gray, alighted. He directed that the man they had rescued he brought in. The chancellor was Dot for losing him just vet. lie took a room for him at the inn, and rather cavalierly locked him in it. The chancellor sipped hot milk and considered. Nikky Larisch a prisoner in Karl's hands caused him less anxiety than "it would huve a month before. But what was behind it all? At u little before five the man out side the prisoner's door heard some thing inside the room. He glanced in. All was quiet. The prisoner slept heavily, genuine sleep. There was no mistaking it, the sleep of a man warm after long cold and exhaustion, weary after violent effort. The agent went out again, and locked the door behind him. And as the door closed, a tmp dooF from the kitchen below opened soffly under the sleeping man's bed. With reat caution came the landlord, head first, then shoulders. The space was cramped. He crawled up, like a snake out of a hole, und ducked behind the curtains of the bed. All was still quiet, save that the man outside struck a match and lighted a pipe. Half an hour later, the chancellor's prisoner, still stiff and weak, was mak ing his way toward the hunting lodge. Kaiser saw him first, and found the story unenlightening. Nor could Karl, roused by a terrified valet, make much more of it. When the man had gone, Karl lay back among his pillows and eyed his agent. "So Mettllch Is here!" he said. "A hasty journey. They must be eager." "They must be In trouble," Kniser observed dryly. And on that uncom plimentary comment King Karl slept, his face drawn Into a weary smile. But he received the chancellor of Livonia cordially the next morning, go ing himself to the lodge doorstep to meet his visitor, and there shaking hands with him. "I am greatly honored, excellency,*' he said, with his twisted stelle. "And I, sire." But the chancellor watched him from under his shaggy brows. The messenger had escaped. By now Karl knew the story, knew of his midnight ride over the mountains, and the haste it indicated. Karl himself led the way to his study, ignoring the chamberlain, and stood aside to let Mettlich enter. Then he followed and closed the door. "It Is a long time since you huve honored Karnia with a visit," Karl ob served. "Will you sit down?" Karl himself did not sit. He stood negligently beside the mantel, an arm stretched along it. "Not since the battle of the Ar, sire," replied the chancellor dryly. He had headed an army of invasion then. Karl smiled. "I hope that now your errand is more peaceful." For answer the chancellor opened a portfolio he carried, and fumbled among its papers. But, having found the right one, he held it without open ing it. "Before we come to that, sire, you have here, I believe, detained for some strange reason, a Captain Lar isch, aide-de-camp"—he paused for ef fect—"to his royal highness, the crown prince of Livonia." his his Karl if vo rnan — "Nor ily. "' him he anced up quics will describe this erhaps, gent le se,'' raid the chancellor test have ' tm. We have traced AltLou'ili by what authority T yon hold him am bore to tin I fail to understand. î 1 out what you have uiiut with him." -Done with him?" echoed Karl. if as Captain Larisch you refer to a mad man who tlie night hefoie Iasi • , ,i,,, sire. Mailman is tue word. ' He is a prisoner," Karl said, in a t,.e,, t()!U >, stern enough now. "He a ••• >aui'•■(! and robbed one < He -tele certain document has not suffered for it air . aus»— well, because 1 ! "1 I he un countr about A tii arraug vonia irtunat and mine, î end" ■at that, undo meut between e made, with my men. : That he , ady was be- i •lieved that ; disi rust between jour , ilency, was ' a ibtediy. Let the Karnia and Li 11, dwig to seal safe the bargain, and Nikky "as enough. But let Livonia demand too much, or not agree at all, and Nikkj was lost. Thus did Nikky Larisch play his small part in the game of nations. "Suppose." suid Karl unctuously, "that we discuss first another more im portant matter. I confess to a certain impatience." He bowed slightly'. The chaneeiCr hesitated. Then he glanced thoughtfully at the paper in his hand. Through a long luncheon, the two alone and even the servants dis missed. through a longer afternoon, negotiations went on. Mettllch fought hard on some points, only to meet de r Cä ms A m Letter." Want That feat. Karl stood firm. The great fort resses on the border must hereafter j contain only nominal garrisons. For the seaport strip he had almost dou- i bled his price. The railroad must be • completed within two years. "The Princess Hedwig," Karl said j suddenly. "She has been told, of j course?" . < "Not officially. She knows, how ever." "How does she regard it?" The chancellor hesitated. "Like most young women, she would prefer making her own choice. But that." he added hastily, "is hut a whim. She is a lovable and amiable girl. When the time comes, she will be willing enough." Karl stared out through one of the heavily curtained windows. He was not so sure. And the time had gone by when he would have enjoyed the taming of a girl. Now he wanted peace—was he not paying a price for it?—and children to inherit his well managed kingdom. And perhaps—who knows?—a little love. Before him rose a vision of Hedwig, her frank eyes, her color that rose and fell, her soft, round body. "You have no reason to believe that she has—looked elsewhere?" "None, sire," said the chancellor stoutly. By late afternoon all was arranged, papers signed and witnessed, and the two signatures affixed, the one small and cramped—a soldier's hand; the other bold and flowing—the scruwl of a king. And Hedwig, suve for the cere mony, was the bride of Karl of Kur nia. It was then that the chancellor rose anil stretched his logs. "And now, sire," he said, "since we fire friends and no longer enemies, you will. I know, release that mad boy of mine." "When do you start back?" "Within an hour." "Before that time." said Knrl, "you shall have him, chancellor." And with that Mettllch was forced to he content. He trusted Karl no more now than he ever had. But he made his adieus with no hint of trou ble in his face. Karl stood for a moment in the open air. It was done, then, and well done. It was hard to realize. He turned to î he west, where for so long behind the mountains had lurked an enemy. A new era was opening; peace, disarma ment, a quiet and prosperous land. He had spent his years of war and women. That was over. When he returned to the study the agent Kaiser was already there. But I Karl, big with plans for the future. I would have been alone, and eyed the , agent with disfavor. "Well?" he demanded. "We have been able to search the ! chancellor's rooms, sire." the agent j said, "for the articles mentioned last I night—a card case, gloves, add n silk i handkerchief, belonging to the pris- I oner upstairs. He is Captain Larisch, aide-de-camp to the crown prince of Livonia." Lie had expected Karl to be im Pressed "1 knot are a lu informa Hut Karl ■' that " he said r ''Vs just a little la tion, Kaiser." •hing like rnaii t'me. "Then at. it is this nly looked at him. lly. "You with your howed in tho an n 1'rirn , i ; , ' a p > Know, Lai 'i inline of i m ,-i back "You requeue. • ! •» ! j , -}, • r , r , J.,, ,, lion sir- 1 ." 1- or atisw. r. Karl pointed t > the door. For some i firne ai'î'-r in* had dis missed the j Or.-u. Karl , ci. d iilS IflTiit-y alone. Kaiser brum: :Iit no un V(>ri, i'd Infor: math n. Thor i fore tho thing v,ns tnn Therefore h e had had his > 11 * ■ n i\ in ids hand, and bow was Pledge,1 !,, then, K iri misdeeds his inouth. What if Hedwig, ha road Olga then, if he Hedwig? h t him go. f„ [•aid the penalty His triumph was ash time, »any es in this hoy, d hidden so Loschek's recovered i What if— nfatuuted with nowhere on tli« letter? What, and took it to j i • j j But at last he sent for the prisoner upstairs, and waited f,. r him with both Jealousy and fear in his eyes. Five minutes later Nikky Larisch wns ushered into the red study, and having bowed, an Insolent young how at that, stood and eyed the king. "I have sent for you to release you," said Karl. Nikky drew a long breath. T am grateful, sire." "You have been interceded for by the chancellor of Livonia. General Mettlich, who has just gone." Nikky bowed. Karl fixed him with cold eyes. "But before you take leave of us," he said Ironically, "I should like the true story of the night before last. Somehow, somewhere, a letter Intended for mo was exchanged for a biank paper. I want that letter." "I know no more than you, sire. It is not reasonable that i would havo taken the risk I took for an envelope containing nothing." "For that matter," said his majesty, "there was nothing reasonable about anything you did!" And now Karl played his trump card, played it with watchful eyes on Nik ky's face. He would see if report spoke the truth, if this blue-eyed boy was in love with Hedwig. He was a jealous man, this Karl of the cold eyes, jealous and passionate. Not ns a king, then, watching a humble soldier of Livonia, but as man to man, ha gazed at Nikky. "For fear that loyalty keeps you silent, I may say to you that the old troubles between Karnia and Livonia are over." "I do not understand, sire." Knrl hgçitRÎod. Then, wjth hl» Twisted SmTïe, he £asT thé rigid etiquette of such fnahers to the jyinds. "It Is very simple," he said. "There will Be no more trouble between these two neighboring countries, because a marriage has today been arranged—a marriage between the Princess Hedwig, his majesty's granddaughter, and my self." , r For a moment Nikky Larisch closed his eyes. I I , ! j I i I The annlversafy of the death of Prince Hubert dawned bright and sunny. The place showed a thin coy» ering of snow, which clung, wet and sticky, to the trees; but by rino o'clock most of it had disappeared, aad Priuce Ferdinand William Otto \V*S Informed that the excursion woulh take place. Two motors took the party, by back streets, to the landing stage. In the first were Annuneiata, Hedwig, and the countess, and at the last moment Otto had salvaged Miss Braithwaite from the second car, and begged a place for her with him. A police agent sat beside the chauffeur. Also another car just ahead, contained other agents, by Mottiich's order before his departure—a plain black motor, with out the royal arms. In the second machine followed a part of the suite, Hedwig's lady la waiting, two gentlemen of the court. In parade dress, and Father Gregory, come from his monastery at Etzel to visit his old friend, the king. At the landing stage a small crowd had gathered on seeing the red carpet laid and the gilt ropes put up, which indicated a royal visit. A small girl, with a hastily secured bouquet in her hot hands, stood nervously waiting. In deference to the anniversary, the flow ers were tied with a black ribbon. Annuneiata grumbled when she saw the crowd, and the occupants of the first car looked them over carefully. It remained for Hedwig to spy the black ribbon. In the confusion, she slipped over to the little girl, who went quite white with excitement. "They are lovely," Hedwig whispered, "but please take off the black ribbon." The child eyed her anxiously. "It will cotne to pieces, highness." "Take the ribbon from your Hair. It will be beautiful." Which was done! But, ns was not unnatural, the child forgot her speech, and merely thrust the bouquet, tied with a large pink bow, into the hands of Prince Ferdinand William Otto. "Here," she said. It was. perhaps, the briefest, and therefore the most agreeable presentation speech the crown prince had ever heard. Old Adelbert, crippled veteran and long an attendant at th* opera, loses his position, an event which starts a train of circumstances which have a st r ange bearing upon the futurs of the kingdom of Livonia. as* (TO BE CONTINUED.» Philadelphia municipal court lie&rd 33,004 cases in last fiseul year.