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The St. Charles herald. [volume] (Hahnville, La.) 1873-1993, June 01, 1918, Image 5

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SHNi*$"t' -t"ft4-v ■
long uve the
By Mary
Roberts Rinehart
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Copyright, 1917, by Mary Roberts Rinehart
NIKKY IS TORN BETWEEN LOVE AND A SENSE OF DUTY
AND LOYALTY TO HIS KING.
=
Llvonî^^l^^^var^of^pîots'of *th^ 'r H,n * ***° h< " r t0 th< * th ™<*
grandfather the kim> i! f 1 le r *' rr °rlsts to form a republic. His
tS marriage of Pw; "SV" Pn ' St ' rv( ' ,lu ' ki ^dom. arranges for
Knleuic r T TT HedWiR ' ° tto ' s «>»sln. to King Karl of
Cant- hi \iktv r ? " f !in attachment she has formed for
Captain Nikky Lariseh. Prince Otto's personal attendant Countess
tovet th"!! u 1 t '' r ,h /: niPna R e Archduchess Amiuneiata, is in
me \\ith the king of Karnia, for whom she acts as S pv She is
Hr to V t! COmm . ,tt " e ° f tPn ' '-»-rs of the terrorists, unless
she bous to the committee's will and helps to secrete the crown
prince when the king, who is very ill, dies.
CHAPTER XI,
— 10 —
As a Man May Love a Woman.
Hedwig came to tea that afternoon.
She came in softly, and defiantly, for
she was doing a forbidden tiling, but
Prince Ferdinand William Otto had
put away the frame against such a
contingency. He had, as a matter of
fact, been putting cold cloths on Miss
Braithwaite's forehead.
"I always do it," he Informed Hed
wig. "I like doing it. It gives me
something to do. She likes them
rather dry, so the water doesn't run
<iown her neck."
Had Miss Braithwaite not been 111,
Hedwig would have talked things over
with her then. There was no one else
to whom she could go. Hilda refused
to consider the prospect of marriage
as anything but pleasurable, and be
tween her mother and Hedwig there
had never been any close relation
ship.
But Miss Braithwaite lay motionless,
her face set in lines of suffering, and
after a time Hedwig rose and tiptoed
out of the room.
Prince Ferdinand William Otto was
excited. Tea had already come, and
on the rare occasions when the gover
ness was 111, It was his privilege to
pour the tea.
"Nikky is coming," he said rapidly,
"and the three of us will have a party.
Please don't tell me how you like your
tea, and see If I can remember."
"Very well, dear," Hedwlg said
gently, and went to the window.
Nikky entered almost Immediately.
As a matter of fact, although he
showed no trace of It, Nikky had been
having an extremely bad time since
his return ; the chancellor, who may or
may not have known that his heart
was breaking, had given him a very
severe scolding on the way back from
Wedellng. It did Nikky good, too, for
it roused him to his own defense, and
made him forget, for a few minutes
anyhow, that« life was over for him,
and that the chancellor carried his
death sentence in his old leather dis
patch case.
After that, arriving In the capital,
they had driven to the little office
in a back street, and there Nikky had
roused himself again enough to give
a description of Peter Niburg, and to
give the location of the house where
he lived. But he slumped again after
that, ate no dinner, and spent a loug
Ish time in the place, staring up at
Annunciata's windows, where he hail
once seen Hedwlg on the balcony.
Then, late in the evening, Nikky
was summoned to the king's bedroom,
and came out pale, with his shoulders
very square. He had received a real
wigging this time, and even con
templated throwing himself In the
river. Only he could swim so dam
nably well !
But he had the natural elasticity or
youth, and a sort of persistent belief
in his own luck, rather like the chan
cellor's confidence in seven as a num
ber—a confidence, by the way, which
the countess could easily have shaken.
So he had wakened the next morning
rather cheerful than otherwise, and
over a breakfast of broiled ham had
refused to look ahead farther than the
That afternoon, in the study, Nikky
hesitated when he saw Hed g.
Then he came and bent low over her
hand. And Hedwig, because every in
stinct yearned to touch his shining
bent head, spoke to him very calmly,
was rather distant, a Ut " e Jj®"'
"You have been away, I think? she
said.
"For a day or two, highness.
"And today," he added, reproach
fully, "today you did not ri e -
"I did not feel like riding, Hedwlg
responded listlessly. "I »" tire *
think I am always tired.
»Lemon and two lumps," muttered
the crown prince. "That s
Hedwlg. Give It to him, please.
b»« £«!<■ -
•"priSfe pSÄ
tered excitedly. H . . nass ing
dilating on Its davonn®.
politely orer the ' glnnced at
Now and the looking, and
ÏÏSÆ *" -ted, Ute young
Ungar," annonnced the
thtXg. wH poss^ »g
merits? What an irony ! What u jest!
It was true there was u change in
him. He looked subdued, almost sad.
"To Karnia?" she asked, when
Prince Ferdinand William Otto had
left the room. "Officially?"
"Not—exactly."
"Where, in Karniu?"
"I ended," Nikky confessed, "at
Wedellng."
Hedwlg gazed at him, her elbows
propped on the tea table. "Then,"
she said, "I think you know."
"I know, highness."
"And you have uothing to say?"
"Highness," Nikky began huskily,
"you know what I would say. And
that I cannot. To take advantage of
Otto's fancy for me. a child's liking, to
violate the confidence of those who
placed me here—I am doing that, every
moment."
"What about me?" Hedwig asked.
"Do I count for nothing? Does It not
matter at all how I feel, whether I am
happy or wretched? Isn't that as Im
portant as honor?"
Nikky flung out his hands. "You
know," he said rapidly. "What can I
tell you that you do not know a thou
sand times? I love you. Not as a
subject may adore his princess, bnt
as a man loves a woman."
She drew herself up. "Love!" 6he
said. "I do not call that love."
"It Is greater love than you know,"
said poor Nikky. But all his courage
died a moment later, and his resolution
with It. for without warning Hedwlg
dropped her head on her hands and,
crouching forlornly, fell to sobbing.
"I counted on you," she said wildly.
"And you are like the others. No one
cares how wretched I am. I wish I
might die."
Then indeed Nikky was lost. In an
instant he was on his knees beside
her, his arms close about her, his head
bowed against her breast. And Hed
wig relaxed to his embrace. When at
last he turned and looked up at her,
It was Hedwig who bent and kissed
him.
"At least," she whispered, "we have
had this. We can always remember,
whatever comes, that we have had
this."
But Nikky was of very human stuff,
and not the sort that may live by
memories. He was very haggard
when he rose to his feet—haggard, and
his mouth was doggedly set. "I will
never give you up, now," he said.
Brave words, of course. But as he
said them he realized their futility.
n
sät
/
V
m
"We Will Go Away, Nikky," She Said.
The eyes he turned on her were, as
he claimed her, without hope. For
there was no escape.
Hedwlg. with shining eyes, was al
ready planning.
"We will go away, Nikky,' she said.
"And It must be soon, because other
wise—"
Nikky dared not touch her again,
knowing what he had to say. "Dear
est," be said, bending toward her,
"that Is what we cannot do."
"No?" She looked up, puzzled, but
still confident. "And why, cowardly
one?"
"Because I have given my word to
remain with the crown prince." Then,
seeing that she still did not compre
hend, he explained, swiftly. He stood,
as many u man has stood before, be
tween love and loyalty to his king,
and he was a soldier. He had no
choice.
It was terrible to him to see the
light die out of her eyes. But even
as he told her of the dangers that
compassed the child and possibly oth
ers of the family, he saw that they
touched her remotely, if at all.
All she said, when Nikky finished,
was: "I might have known it. Of
course they would get me, ns they did
the others." But a moment later site
rose and threw out lier arms. "IIow
skillful they are! They knew about
it. it is all a part of the plot. They
made you promise never to desert
otto, so that their arrangements need
not be interfered with. Oh, I know
them, better than you do. They are
all cruel. It is the blood."
That evening the Princess Hedwig
went unannounced to her grandfather's
apartment, and demanded to be al
lowed to enter.
A gentleman in waiting bowed deep
ly, I nit stood before the dour. "Your
highness must pardon my reminding
your highness," lie said firmly, "that
no one may enter his majesty's pres
ence without permission."
"Then go in," said Hedwig, in a
white rage, "and get the permission."
The gentleman in waiting went in,
very deliberately, because his dignity
was outraged. The moment he had
gone, however, Hedwig flung the door
open, und followed, standing, a figure
of tragic defiance. Inside the heavy
curtains of the king's bedroom.
"There is no use saying you won't
see me, grandfathj^L For here I am."
They eyed eaciitither, the one, it
must be told, a trifle uneasily, the
other desperately. Then into the
king's eyes came a flash of admiration,
and Just a gleam of amusement.
"So I perceive," he said. "Come
here, Hedwig."
A sister of churity was standing by
the king's bed. She had cared for
him through many illnesses. In the
intervals she retired to her cloister and
read holy books and sewed for the
poor. •
The sister went out, her black habit
dragging, but she did not sfw. Some
time later she heard bitter crying in
the royal bed chamber, and the king's
tones, soothing now and very sad.
"There is a higher duty than happi
ness," he said. "There are greater
things than love. And one duy you
will know this."
When she went in Hedwig had gone,
and the old king, lying in his bed, was
looking at the portrait of his dead
son.
• *•••••
The following morning the Countess
Loschek left for a holiday. She had
the choice of but two alternatives, to
do as she had been commanded, for it
amounted to that, or to die. The com
mittee would not kill her, in case she
failed them. It would be unnecessary.
Enough that they place the letter and
the code in the hands of the author
ities, by some anonymous means. Well
enough she knew the chancellor's in
flexible anger, and the Archduchess
Annunciata's cold rage. They would
sweep her away with a gesture, and
she would die the death of all traitors.
A week ! Time had been when a
week of the dragging days at the pal
ace had seemed eternity. Now the
hours flew. The gold clock on her
dressing table, a gift from the arch
duchess, marked them with flying
hands.
During the afternoon came a pack
age, rather unskillfully tied with a gilt
cord. Opening it, the countess dis
closed a glove box of wood, with a de
sign of rather shaky violets burnt into
the cover. Inside was a note:
I am very sorry you are sick. This is
to put your gloves in when you travel.
Please excuse the work. I have done it
in a hurry.
FERDINAND WILLIAM OTTO.
Suddenly the countess laughed, chok
ing hysterical laughter that alarmed
Minna ; horrible laughter, which left
her paler than ever, and gasping.
*******
The old castle of the Loscheks
looked grim and inhospitable when she
reached it that night. Built during the
years when the unbeliever overran
southern Europe, it stood in a com
manding position over a valley, and a
steep, walled road led up to it.
But, its ancient glory and good re
pute departed, its garrison gone, its
drawbridge and moat things of the
past, Its very hangings and furnish
ings moldering from long neglect, it
hung over the valley, a past menace,
an empty threat.
To this dreary refuge the countess
had fled. She wanted the silence of
its still rooms in which to think.
Wretched herself, its wretchedness
called her. As the carriage which had
brought her from the railway turned
into its woods, and she breathed the
pungent odor of pine and balsam, she
relaxed for the first time.
Why was she so hopeless? She
could escape. She knew the woods
well. None who followed her could
know them so well. She would get
away, and somewhere, la a new world,
j
S
make a fresh start. Surely, after all,
peace was the greatest thing in the
world.
The carriage drove on; Minna, on
the box, crossed herself at sight of the
church, and chatted with the driver,
a great figure who crowded her to the
very edge of the seat.
"I am glad to be here," she said. "I
am sick of grandeur. My home is in
Etzel." She turned and inspected the
man beside here. "You are a new
comer. I think?"
"I have but just come to Etzel."
"Then you cannot tell me about my
people." She was disappointed.
"And you," inquired the driver,
"you will stay for a visit ?"
"A week only. But better than noth
ing."
"After that, you return to the city?"
"Yes. Madame the countess—you
would know, if you were Etzel-born—
madame the countess is lady in wait
ing to her royal highness, the Arch
duchess Annunciata."
"So !" said the driver. But he was
not curious, and the broken road de
manded his attention. He was but
newly come, so very newly that he did
not know his way, and once made u
wrong turning.
The countess relaxed. She slept
that night.
When she had breakfasted and
dressed, she went out on a balcony,
and looked down at the valley. Her
eyes dropped to the old wall below,
where in the sunshine the caretaker
was beating a rug. Close to him, In in
timate and cautious conversation, was
the driver of the night before. Glanc
ing up, they saw her and at once
separated.
Gone was peace, then. The countess
knew—knew certainly. "Our eyes see
everywhere." Eyes, indeed—eyes that
even now the caretaker raised furtive
ly from his rug.
Nevertheless, the countess was
minded to experiment, to be certuin.
For none is so suspicious, she knew,
ns one who fears suspicion. None so
guilty as the guilty. During the fore
noon she walked through the woods,
going briskly, with vigorous, mountuin
bred feet. No crackle of underbrush
disturbed her. Swift turnings revealed
no lurking figures skulking behind the
trunks of trees. But where an ancient
stone bridge crossed a mountain
stream, she carne on the huge driver
of the night before reflectively fish
ing.
He saluted her gravely, and the
countess paused and looked at him.
"You have caught no fish, my friend?"
she said.
"No, madame. But one plays about
my hook."
She turned hack. Eyes everywhere,
and arms, great hairy arms. And feet
that, for all their Size, must step
lightly!
On ttte second day she made a des
perate resolve, and characteristically
put it into execution at once. She
sent for the caretaker. When he came,
uneasy, for the Loscheks were justly
feared In the countryside, and even
the thing of which he knew gave him
small courage, she lost no time in
evasion.
"Go," she said, "and bring here your
accomplice."
"My accomplice, madame ! I do
not—"
"You heard me," she said.
He turned, half sullen, half terrified,
and paused. "Which do you refer to,
madame?"
She had seen only the one. Then
there were others. Who could tell
how many others?
"The one who drove here."
So he went, leaving her to desperate
reflection. When he returned, it was
to usher in the heavy figure of the
spy.
"Which of you is in authority?" she
demanded.
"I, madame." It was the spy who
She dismissed the caretaker with a
gesture.
"Have you any discretion over me?
Or must you refer matters to those
who sent you?"
"I must refer to them."
j "How long will it take to send a
S message and receive a reply?"
He considered. "Until tomorrow
night, madame."
Another day gone, then, and nothing
determined !
"Now, listen," she said, "and listen
carefully. I have come here to decide
a certain question. Whether you know
what that question is or not, does not
matter. But before I decide it I must
take a certain journey. I wish to make
that journey. It is into Karnia."
She watched him. "It is impossible.
My instructions—"
"I am not asking your permission.
I wish to send a letter to the commit
tee. They, and they alone, will de
termine this thing. Will you send the
letter?"
When he hesitated, perplexed, she
got up and moved to her writing table.
"I shall write the letter," she said
haughtily. "See that it is sent. When
I report at the end of the time that I
have sent such a letter, you can judge
better tbvji I the result if it has not
been received."
ile was still dubious, but she wrote
the letter and gave it to hint, her face
proud and scornful. But she was not
easy, for all that, and she watched
from lier balcony to see If any messen
ger left the castle and descended the
mountain road. She was rewarded, an
hour later, by seeing a figure leave the
old gateway and start afoot toward the
village, a pale faced man with color
less hair. A part of the hidden guard
that surrounded lier, she knew, and j
somehow familiar. But, although she j
racked her brains, she could not re- ■
member where she had seen him.
That day, toward evening, the huge I
man presented himself. He brought no j
T
IE. j r
i '
pi
n ,. S Lg,
V
1
"Which of You Is in Authority?" She
Demanded.
letter, but an ora! message. "Permis
sion is given, madume," he said. "I
myself shall accompany you."
CHAPTER XII.
Nikky Makes a Promise.
The chancellor lived alone, in his
little house near the palace, a house
that looked strangely like him, over
hanging eyebrows and all, with win
dows that were like his eyes, clear
and concealing many secrets. A grim,
gray little old house, which concealed
behind it n walled garden full of un
expected charm. And that, too, was
like the chancellor.
Mathilde kept his house for him,
mended and pressed his uniforms,
washed and starched his linen,
quarreled with the orderly who at
tended him, and drove him to hed at
night.
Mathilde was in touch with the peo
ple. It was Muthilde, and not one of
his agents, who had brought word of
the approaching revolt of the copper
smiths' guild, and enabled him to check
it almost before it began. A stoic, this
Mathilde, with her tall, spare figure
and glowing eyes, stoic and patriot.
Once every month she burned four
candles before the shrine of Our Lady
of Sorrows in the cathedral, because
of four sons she had given to her coun
try.
On the evening of the day Hedwlg
had made her futile appeal to the king,
the chancellor sat alone. His dinner,
almost untasted, lay at his elbow. It
was nine o'clock. At something ufter
seven he had paid his evening visit to
the king, and had found him uneasy
and restless.
"Sit down," the king had said. "I
need steadying, old friend."
"Steadying, sire?"
"I have had a visit from Hedwlg.
Rather a stormy one, poor child." He
turned and fixed on his chancellor his
faded eyes. "You still think it is the
best tiling?"
"It is the only thing."
"But al! this haste," put in the king
querulously. "Is that so necessary?
Hedwig begs for time. She hardly
knows the man."
"Time! But I thought—'' He hesi
tated. How say to a dying man that
time was the one thing he did not
have?
"Another thing. She was Incoherent,
but I gathered that there was some one
else. The whole interview was cy
clonic. It seems, however, that this
young protege of yours, Lariseh, has
been making love to her over Otto's
head."
Mettlich's face hardened, a gradual
process, as the news penetrated in all
its significance.
"A boy and girl affair, sire. He is
loyal. And in all of this, you and I are
reckoning without Karl. The princess
hardly knows him, and naturally she
is terrified. But his approaching visit
will make many changes. He is a flue
figure of a man, and women—"
"Exactly," said the king dryly.
What the chancellor meant was that
women always had loved Karl, and the
king understood.
"His wild days are over," bluntly
j
j

I
j
observed the chancellor. "He is forty,
sire."
"Aye," said the king. "And at forty
a bad man changes his nature, and
purifies himself In marriage : Non
sense, Karl will be as he has always
been. But we have gone into this be
fore. Only, I am sorry for Hedwig.
Get rid of this young Lariseh."
The chancellor sat reflecting, ills
chin dropped forward on his breast.
"Otto will miss him."
••Well, out with it. T may not dis
miss him. What, then?"
"It is always easy to send men away.
loyal. II
him. For that, sire.
tain
îr will. We
an arrangement that is sat
Lariseh is keen, young, and
lwig lias thrown hers. -If at
But it is sometimes better t
them, and force them to your ■
have lien
isfactory.
in
In
of
she is responsible,
her," growled the
. "It the situation
he said, "1 will
will
"Then get
king.
The chancellor r<
Is left to me, sir.
promise two things. That <>tt>
keep his friend, and that the Princess
Hedwig will bow to y<>ur wishes with
out further argument."
"Do it. and God help you," said tha
king, again with the flicker of amuse
ment.
The chancellor had gone home,
walking heavily along the darkening
streets. Once again he had conquered.
The reins remained in his guarded old
hands. And he was about to put the
honor of the country into the keeping
of the son of Maria Meurad, whom ha
had once loved.
So now he sat in his study, and
waited. When he heard Ntkky's quick
step as he eatne along the tile passage,
he picked up his pipe.
Nikky saluted, and made his way
across the room in the twilight, with
the ease of familiarity. "I am late,
sir," he apologized. "We found our
man, and he is safely Jailed. He made
no resistance."
"Sit down." said the chancellor.
And. touching a bell, he asked Ma
thilde for coffee. "So we have him,"
he reflected. "The next thing Is to
discover if he knows who his assall
ants were. That, and the person for
whom he acted—however, I sent for
you for another reason. What is thl3
about the Princess Iledw-ig?"
"The Princess Hedwlg!"
"What folly, boy ! A young girl who
cannot know her own mind ! And for
such a bit of romantic trifling you
would ruin yourself. It is ruin. You
know that."
Nikky remained silent, a little sul
len.
"The princess went to the king with
her story this evening." The boy
started. "A cruel proceeding, but tha
young are always cruel. The expected
result has followed: The king wishes
you sent away."
"I am at his command, sir."
The chancellor filled his pipe from
a bowl near by, working deliberatuly.
Nikky sat still, rather rigid.
"May I ask," he said at last, "that
you say to the king that the responsi
bility is mine? No possible blame can
attach to the Princess Hedwig. I lova
her, and—I am not clever. I show what
I feel."
"The Immediate result," said tha
chancellor cruelly, "will doubtless be
a putting forward of the date of her
marriage." NIkky's hands clenched.
"A further result would be your dis
missal from the army. One does not
do such things as you have done, light»
ly."
"Lightly!" said Nikky Lariseh.
"Heaven !"
"But," continued the chancellor, "I
have a better way. I have faith, for
one thing, in your blood. The son of
Maria Menrad must be—his mother's
son. And the crown prince is at
tached to you. Not for your sake, but
for his, I am inclined to be lenient.
What I shall demand for that leniency
is that no word of love again pass be
tween you and the Princess Hedwig."
"It would be easier to go away."
Nikky closed his eyes. It was get
ting to be a habit, just as some pe.-plo
crack their knuckles.
"We need our friends about us," the
chancellor continued. "The carnival
j is coming, always a dangerous tiinq for
j us. The king grows weaker day by
j day. A crisis is impending for all of
' us, and we need you."
Nikky rose, steady enough now, bn*
white to the lips.
"I give my word, sir," he said. "I
shall say no word of—of how I feel to
Hedwig. Not again. She knows—and
I think," he added proudly, "that she
knows I shall not change. That I shall
always—"
"Exactly !" said the chancellor. IÏ
was the very pitch of the king's dry;
old voice. "Of course she knows, be
ing a woman. And now, good night.'*
The king recommends that
Prince Otto study the utterances
of—now whom, do you suppose?
You couldn't guess in a hundred
years. You will find out in the
next installment.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
Money talks—it also stops talk.

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