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The St. Charles herald. [volume] (Hahnville, La.) 1873-1993, July 06, 1918, Image 3

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Long Live the Kin
= By= 1
MARY ROBERTS RINEHART
Copyright, 1917, by the Rldgway Company All Rights Reserved Copyright, 1917, by MarylRoberta Rinehart
THROUGH ADELBERT THE COMMITTEE OF TEN LEARNS
THE SECRET PASSAGE
Synopsis.—Prince Ferdinand William Otto, heir to the throne of
Livonia, is unaware of plots of the terrorists to form a republic. His
grandfather, the king, in order to preserve the kingdom, arrunges for
the marriage of Princess Hedwlg, Otto's cousin, to King Kurl of
Karnla. Hedwig rebels because of an attachment she hus formed for
Captain Nikky Larisch, Prince Otto's personal attendant. Countess
Loschek, attached to the menuge of Archduchess Annunclatu, is in
love with the king of Karnla, for whom she acts as spy. She is
threatened by the committee of ton, leaders of the terrorists, unless
she bows to the committee's will and helps to secrete the crown prince
when the king, who is very ill, dies. Nikky is torn between love and
a sense of duty and loyalty to his king. Without Hurl's support the
king's death would bring the terrorists into control. The terrorists fix
the carnival as the time for kidnaping the crown prince.
CHAPTER XIV—Continued.
— 13 —
The concierge bent closer over the
«table. "Doctor Weiderman, the king's
physician, is one of us," he whispered,
"The king lives now only because of
stimulants to the heart His body is
already dead. When the stimulunts
•cease, he will die."
Old Adelbert covered his eyes. He
had gone too far to retreat now.
Driven by brooding and trouble, he had
allied himself with the powers of dark
n ess.
He sat silent while the concierge
cleared the table, and put the dishes
In a pan for his niece to wash. And
throughout the evening he said little.
At something before midnight he and
his host were to set out on a grave
matter, nothing less than to visit the
committee of ten, and Impart the old
soldier's discovery. In the interval he
sat waiting, and nursing his grievances
<to keep them warm.
Black Humbert, waiting for the hour
to start and filling his tankard repeat
edly, grew loquacious. He hinted of
past matters in which he had proved
his value to the cause. Old Adelbert
gathered that, if he had not actually
murdered the late crown prince and
his wife, he had been closely con
cerned in it. His thin, old flesh crept
with anxiety. It was a bad business,
and he could not withdraw.
"We should have had the child, too,"
boasted the concierge, "and saved
much bother. But he had been, un
known to us, sent to the country. A
matter of milk, I believe."
"But you say -you do not war on
children I"
"Bah! A babe of a few months.
Furthermore," said the concierge, I
.have a nose for the police. I scent
a spy, as a dog scents a bone. ^ Who,
think you, discovered Haeckel?"
"Haeckel !" Old Adelbert sat upright
In his chair.
"Aye, Haeckel, Haeckel the Jovial,
the archconspirator. Who but I? 1
suspected him. He was too fierce. He
had no caution. He was what a peace
ful citizen may fancy a revolutionist
to be. I watched him. He was not
hrave. He was reckless because be
had nothing to fear. And at last I
caught him." .
Old Adelbert was sitting forward on
the edge of his chair, his Jaw dropped.
\
1
the
He
HO Piloted the Veteran Among
Grave*.
"And what mis
Judged U blm. Boys are reM
-I caug "^ m 'He knew much. He
"I have said it. H e dateSi For
had names, pinces, «vendates.
that matter, he conf*- uavere d old
"Then he is dead? Queren
Adelbert. drugged his shoul
The concierge shrugg brle fly.
«er». ■« «"': , hcre , in an
-Knr n time I* M ve saved
** v __ ..id Lmra
upper room.
" "LTîfmrned sulky
used him. . -\vhei
fused speech, did not^^ ^ uuc .
We could have
re
Wben he
'
I
not walk." He rose and consulted a
greut silver wutch. "We cun go now,"
he said. "The committee likes prompt
ness."
They left together, the one striding
out with long steps that were sur
prisingly light for his size, the other,
hanging back a trifle, as one who walks
because he must Old Adelbert, who
had loved his king better than his
country, was a lagging "patriot" that
night. His breath came short and
labored. His throat was dry. As they
passed the opera, however, he threw
his head up. The performance was
over, but the great house was still
lighted, and in the foyer, strutting
about, was his successor. Old Adel
bert quickened his 6teps.
At the edge of the place, near the
statue of tho queen, they took a car,
and so reached the borders of the city.
After that they walked far. The scent
of the earth, fresh turned by the
plough, was in their nostrils. Cattle,
turned out after the long winter,
grazed or lay in the fields. Through
the ooze of the road the two plodded ;
old Adelbert struggling through with
difficulty, the concierge exhorting him
Impatiently to haste,
At last the leader paused, and sur
veyed his surroundings : "Here I
must cover your eyes, comrade," he
said. "It is a formality all must com
ply with."
Old Adelbert drew back. "I do not
like your rule. I am not as other men.
I must see where I go."
"I shull lead you carefully. And, If
you fear, I can carty you." He
chuckled at the thought But old Adel
bert knew well that he could do it
knew that he was as a child to those
mighty arms. He submitted to the
bandage, however, with an ill grace
that caused the concierge to smile.
"It hurts your dignity, eh, old
rooster !" he said Jovially. "Others, of
greater dignity, have felt the 6ame.
But all submit in the end."
He piloted the veteran among the
graves with the ease of familiarity.
Only once he spoke. "Know you where
you are?"
"In a field," said Adelbert, "recently
ploughed."
"Aye, in a field, right enough. But
one which sows corruption, and raises
nothing, until perhaps great St Ga
briel culls in his crop."
Then, realizing the meaning of the
mounds over which he trod, old Adel
bert crossed himself.
"Only a handful know of this meet
ing place," boasted the concierge. "I,
and a few others. Only we may meet
with the committee face to face."
"You must have great influence," ob
served old Adelbert timidly.
"I control the guilds. He who today
can sway labor to his will V» power
ful ; very powerful, comrade. Labor
Is the great beast which tires of car
rying burdens, and Is but now learning
Its strength."
"Aye," said old Adelbert "Had I
been wise, I would have Joined a guild.
Then I might have kept my place at
the opera. As it Is, I stood alone, and
they put me out."
"You do not stand alone now. Stand
by us, and we will support you. The
' republic will not forget its friends."
Thus heartened, old Adelbert bright
I ened up somewhat. Why should fee, an
old soldier, sweat at the thought of
blood? Great changes required heroic
measures. It was because he was old
that he feared change. He stumped
through the passageway without urg
ing, and stood erect and with shoulders
squared while the bandage was re
moved.
He was rather longer than Olga
Loschek had been in comprehending
bis surroundings. His old eyes at first
saw little but the table and its candles
in their gruesome holders. But when
he saw the committee his heart failed
Here, embodied before him, was every
thing he had loathed during all his
upright and loyal years—anarchy,
nfurder, treason. His face worked.
The cords in his neck stood oat like
strings drawn to the breaking point,
The concierge was speaking. For
all his boasting, he was ill at ease.
His voice had lost its bravado, and
had taken on a fawning note
"This Is the man of whom word was
sent to the committee," he said. "I
ventured to ask that he be allowed
to come here, because he brings in
formation of value.
"Step forward, comrade," said the
leader. "What is your name and oc
cupation?"
"Adelbert, excellency. As to occu
pation, for years I was connected with
the opera. Twenty years, excellency.
Then I grew old, and another—" His
voice broke.
What is the Information that brings
you here?"
Suddenly old Adelbert wept, terrible
tears that forced their way from his
faded eyes, and ran down his cheeks.
I cannot, excellencies I" he cried. "I
find I cannot."
He collupsed Into the chair, and
throwing his anus across the table
bowed his head on them. His shoul
ders heaved under his old uniform.
The committee stirred, and the con
cierge caught him brutally by the
wrist
"Dp with you!" he said, from
clenched teeth. "What stupidity is
this? Would you play with death?'
But old Adelbert was beyond fear.
He shook his head. "I cannot" he
muttered, his face hidden.
Then the concierge stood erect and
folded his arms across his chest. "He
7
wm
ÂÆtoi
m/,
mi
W,
"It I* There," He Said Thickly.
Is terrified, that is all," he said,
the committee wishes, I can tell them
of this matter. Later, he can be to'
terrogated."
The leader nodded.
"By chance," said the concierge,
"this—this brave veteran"—he glanced
contemptuously at the huddled figure
in the chair—"has come across an old
passage, the one which rumor has said
lay under the city wall, and for which
we have at different times Instituted
search."
He paused, to give his words weight.
That they were of supreme interest
could be told by the craning forward
of the committee.
"The entrance is concealed at the
base of the old Gate of the Moon. Our
friend here followed It, and reports
it in good condition. For a mile or
thereabouts it foliows the line of the
destroyed wall. Then it turns and
goes to the palace itself."
"Into the palace?"
"By a flight of stairs, inside the
wall, to a door in the roof. - This door,
which was locked, he opened, having
carried keys with him. The door he
describes as In the tower. As it was
night, he could not see clearly, but
the roof at that point is flat."
'Stand up, Adelbert," said the leader
sharply. "This that our comrade tells
is true?"
"It is true, excellency."
"Shown a diagram of the palace,
could you locate this door?"
Old Adelbert stared around him
hopelessly. It was done now. Noth
ing that he could say or refuse to say
would change that. He nodded.
When, soon after, a chart of the
palace was placed on the table, he in
dicated the location of the door with a
trembling forefinger. "It is there, he
said thickly. "And may God forgive
me for the thing I have done !"
"If
CHAPTER XV.
King Karl.
"They love us dearly!" said King
Karl.
The chancellor, who sat beside him
in the royal carriage, shrugged his
shoulders. "They bave had little rea
son to love, In the past, majesty," he
said briefly.
Karl laughed, and watched the
crowd. He and the chancellor rode
alone, Karl's entourage, a very modest
one, following in another carriage.
There was no military escort, no pomp.
It had been felt unwise. Karl, paying
ostensibly a visit of sympathy, had
come unofficially.
The chancellor was not so calm as
he appeured. He had lined the route
from the station to tho paluea with his
men ; had prepared for «very contin
gency so far as he could without call
ing «ut the guard. As the carriage,
drawn by its four chestnut horses,
moved slowly along the streets, his
eyes under their overhanging thatch
were watching ahead, searching the
crowd for symptoms of unrest.
Anger he saw in plenty, and
suspicion. Scowling faces and frown
ing brows. But as yet there was no
disorder. lie sat with folded arms,
magnificent in his uniform beside Karl,
who wore civilian dress and looked
less royal than perhaps he felt.
And Karl, too, watched the crowd,
feeling its temper and feigning an in
difference he did not feel. Olga Los
chek had been right. He did not want
trouble. More than that, ho was of
an age now to crave popularity. Many
the measures which had mude him
beloved In his own land hud no higher
purpose than this, the smiles of the
crowd. So he wutched and talked of
Indifferent things.
"It is ten yeurs since I have been
here," he observed, "but there are few
changes."
We have built no great buildings,"
said Mettlich bluntly. "Wars have left
us no money, majesty, for building !"
That being a closed road, so to
speak, Karl tried another. "The
crown prince must be quite a lad," he
experimented. "He was a babe in
arms, then, but frail, I thought."
He Is sturdy now." The chancellor
relapsed Into watchfulness.
"Before I see the Princess Hedwlg,"
Karl made another attempt, "It might
be well to tell me how she feels about
things. I would like to feel that the
prospect Is at least not dlsagreeuble to
her."
The chancellor was not listening.
There was trouble ahead. It had come,
then, after all. He muttered some
thing behind his gray mustache. The
horses stopped, as the crowd suddenly
closed In front of them.
Drive on !" he said angrily, and the
coachman touched his whip to the
horses. But they only reared, to be
grasped at the bridles by hostile hands
ahead.
in
Karl half rose from his seat.
"Sit still, majesty," said the chancel
lor. "It Is the students. They will
talk, that is all."
But It came perilously near to be
ing a riot. Led by some students,
pushed by others, the crowd sur
rounded the two carriages, first mut
tering, then yelling. A stone was
hurled, and struck one of the horses.
Another dented the body of the car
riage Itself. A man with a handker
chief tied over the lower half of his
face mounted the shoulders of two
companions, and harangued the crowd.
They wanted no friendship with Kar
nia. Were they to lose their national
existence? He exhorted them madly
through the handkerchief. A babel of
noise, of swinging back and forth, of
mounted police pushing through to
surround the carriage, of cries and the
dominating voices of the student
demagogues. Then at last a semblance
of order, low muttering, an escort of
police with drawn revolvers around the
carriage, and it moved ahead.
Through It all the chancellor had sat
with folded arms. Only his livid face
told of his fury. Karl, too, had sat Im
passive, picking at his small mustache.
But, as the carriage moved on, he
said : "A few moments ago I observed
that there had been few changes. But
there has been, I perceive, after all, a
great change."
One cannot Judge the many by the
few, majesty."
But Karl only raised his eyebrows.
In his rooms, removing the dust of
his journey, broken by the automobile
trip across the mountains where the
two railroads would some day meet,
Karl reflected on the situation. A dual
monarchy, one portion of it restless
and revolutionary, was less desirable
than the present peace and prosperity
of Karnia. And unrest was contagious.
He might find himself in a difficult
position.
He glanced about his rooms. In one
of them Prince Hubert had met his
death. It was well enough for Mett
lich to say the few could not speak for
the many. It took but one man to do
a murder, Karl reflected grimly.
But when he arrived for tea in the
archduchess' white drawing room he
was urbane and smiling. He kissed
the hand of the archduchess and bent
over Hedwig's with a flash of white
teeth.
Then he saw Olga Loschek, and his
smile stiffened. The countess came
forward, curtsied, and as he extended
his hand to her, touched it lightly
with her lips. They were quite cold.
For just an instant their eyes met.
It was, on the surface, an amiable
and quiet tea party. Hedwig had
taken up her position by a window,
and was conspicuously silent. Behind
her were the soft ring of silver against
china, the countess' gay tones, Karl's
suave ones, assuming gravity, as he
inquired as to his majesty's health;
the Archduchess Annunciata pretend
ing a solicitude she did not feel. And
all forced, all artificial.
"Grandmother," Hedwig whispered
from her window to the austere old
bronze figure in the place, "was it
like this with you, at first? Did you
shiver when he touched your hand?
And doesn't it matter, after a year?"
"Very feeble," said the archduchess'
voice, behind her, "but so brave—a
lesson to us all."
"He has had a long and conspicuous
career," Karl observed. "It is sad, but
we must all come to it. I hope he will
be able to see me."
"Hedwig!" said her mother, sharp
ly, "your tea is getting cold."
Hedwig turned toward the room.
Listlessness gave her an added dignity,
a new charm. Karl's eyes flamed as
he watched her. Even her coldness
appealed to him. ne had a feeling
that the coldness was only a young
girl's armor, that under it was a deep
ly passionate woman. The thought of
to
seen;.
r come to deep, vibrant life j to
in liis arms thrilled him.
Wlnai lu* carried her tea to her, he \
tient over lier. "Please'* he said.
"Try to like me. I—"
"I'm sorry," Hedwig said quickly.
"Mother lias forgotten the lemon."
Karl smiled and, shrugging his
shoulders, fetched the lemon. "Bight,
now?" he inquired. "And aren't we
going to have a talk together?"
"If you wish it. I dare say we shall."
"Majesty," said Hilda, frowning into
her teacup. "I see a marriage for
you." She ignored her mother's scowl,
and tilted her cup to examine It.
"A marriage!" Karl Joined her, and
peered with mock anxiety at the tea
grounds. "Strange that my fate
should he confined in so small a com
pass! A happy marriage? Which am
I?"
"The long yellow leaf. Yes, It looks
happy. But you may be ruther
shocked when I tell you."
"Shocked?"
"1 think," said Hilda, grinning, "that
you are going to marry me."
"Delightful !"
"And we are going to have—"
"Hildu !" cried the archduchess fret
fully, "Do stop that nonsense and let
us talk. I was trying to recall, this
morning," she said to Kurl, "when you
last visited us." She knew It quite
well, but she preferred having Karl
think she hud forgotten. "It was, I
believe. Just before Hubert—"
"Yes," said Karl gravely, "just be
fore."
"Otto was a baby then."
"A very small child. I remember
that I was afraid to handle him."
"He is a curious boy, old beyond his
years. Bather a little prig, I think.
He has an English governess, and she
has made him quite a little woman."
Kurl laughed, but Hedwig flushed.
"He is not that sort at all," she de
clared stoutly. "He is lonely and— und
rather pathetic. The truth is thut no
one really cures for him, except—"
"Except Captain Larisch !" said the
archduchess smoothly. "You and he,
Hedwlg, have done your best by him,
surely."
a
surely."
The bit of byplay was not lost on
Karl—the sudden stiffening of Hed
wig's back, Olga's narrowed eyes.
Olga had been right, then. Trust her
for knowing facts when they were dis
agreeable. Ills eyes became set and
watchful, hard, too, had any noticed.
There were ways to deal with such a
situation, of course. They were giv
ing him this girl to secure their own
safety, and she knew it. Had he not
been so mad about her he might have
pitied her, but he felt no pity, only a
deep and resentful determination to
get rid of Nikky, and then to warm
her by his own fire. He might have
to break her first. After thut manner
had many queens of Karnia come to
the throne. He 6miled behind his
small mustache.
When tea was almost over, the
crown prince was announced. He
came in, rather nervously, with his
hands thrust In his trousers pockets.
Q
N
n
n
8
Of
Z'«
A Babel of Noise, of Swinging Back
and Forth.
He was very shiny with soap and
water and his hair was still damp
from parting. In his tailless black
Jacket, his long gray trousers, and his
round Eton collar, he looked like a
very anxious little schoolboy, and not
royal at all.
Greetings over, and having re
quested that his tea be half milk, with
four lumps of sugar, he carried his
cup over beside Hedwig, and sat down
on a chair. Followed a short silence,
with the archduchess busy with the
tea tilings, Olga Loschek watching
Karl, and Karl inter surveying the
crown prince. Ferdinand William
Otto, who disliked a silence, broke it
first.
"I've Just taken off my winter flan
nels," he observed. "I feel very
smooth and nice underneath."
Hilda giggled, but Hedwig reached
over and stroked his arm. "Of course
you do," she said gently.
"Nikky," continued Prince William
Otto, stirring his tea, "does not wear
any flannels. Miss Braithwaite thinks
he is very careless."
King Karl's eyes gleamed with
amusement. He saw the infu ;ted
face of the archduchess, and bent
toward the crown prince with earnest
ness.
"As a matter of fact." he said,
"since you have mentioned the sub
ject, I do not wear any either. Your
'Nikky' and I seem most surprisingly
to bav
(things
the same tastes—about varions
•Do you like dogs?" inquired the
crown irrt nee, much interested.
Dog*! Why, yes. I nave quite a
number of dogs."
"I should think it would be nicer
have just one dog, and be very
fond of It. But I suppose they would!
eat a great deal. Do you believe In
love at first sight?'
Otto !" saW the archduchess, ex
tremely shocked.
He turned to her apologetically. "I
was only trying to find out how many
tilings lie and Nikky agreed about,"
he explained. "Nikky believes in lova
at first sight. He says it is the only
real kind of love, because love isn't
a thing you think out. You only feel
It"
The archduchess met Karl's eyes»
"You see !" she said.
"But it is sound doctrine," Karl ob
served, bending forward and with »
slanting glance at Hedwlg. "I quit*
agree with him again. And this friend
of yours, he thinks love Is the only
thing in the world, I dare say?"
"Well, he thluks c greut deal of it.
But he says thut love of country come»
first, before anything else."
The archduchess glanced at Hedwlg
furiously. The girl had closed her
eyes, und was sitting detached and
She would have liked to box her
pale.
ears. Karl was no fool, and th^ere waa
talk enough. He would heu.j it, of
course.
"Tell us about your pilgrimage.
Otto," she suggested.
"Well, I went," said the crow»
prince reflectively. "We walked a l*ag!
time, and It was very warm. I have*
quite a large blister, and the arafe
bishop had to take his shoes off a^l
walk In his stockings, because his feet
hurt. No one saw. It was on a coun
try lane. But I'm nfruld it didn't
very much good." He drew a loay
breath.
"No?" I^arl Inquired.
a
it
Suddenly the boy's chin quivered.
He was terribly ufruld he was going
to cry, and took a large sip of tea*
which cleared his voice.
"My grandfather Is not any better,"'
he said. "Perhaps some one els«
should have gone. I am not very
good," he explained to KarL "It
ought to be a very good person. II»
Is very sick."
"Perhaps," suggested Karl mocking
ly, with a glance at Hedwlg, "they
should have sent this 'Nikky' of
yours."
Annunciata stirred restlessly. SU«
considered this talk of Nikky i a
execrable taste.
"He is not particularly good."
"Oh, -so he is not particularly
good?"
"Well, he thinks he isn't. He suya
he doesn't find It easy to love his
country more than unything in the
world, for one thing. . And he smoke»
a great many cigarettes."
"Another tuste In common!" Jeered
Karl, In his smooth, carefully Ironic
tones.
Annunciata was in the last stagt*
of Irritation. There was no mistaking
the sneer in Karl's voice. His smil»
was forced. She guessed that he had
heard of Nikky Larisch before, that.
Indeed, he knew probably more than
she did. Just whut, she wondered,
was there to know? A great deal, l#
one could judge by Hedwig's face.
"I hope you are working hard at
your lessons, Otto," she said, in tha
severe tone which Otto had learned
that most people use when they refer
to lessons.
"I'm afraid I'm not doing very well.
Tante. But I've learned the 'Gettys
burg address.' Shall I say it?"
"Heavens, no !" she protested. She
had not the faintest idea what tba
"Gettysburg address" was. Sh»
suspected Mr. Gladstone.
The countess had relupsed Into sil
ène* A little back from the family
circle, she had watched the whol»
scene stonily, and knowing Karl a»
only a woman who loves sincerely and
long can know a man, she knew tha
inner workings of his mind. She Baw
anger in the very turn of his head
and set of his Jaw. But she saw more,
jealousy, und was herself half mad
with it
She knew him well. She had her
self, for years, held him by holding
herself dear, by the very difficulty of
attaining her. And now this indiffer
ent, white-faced girl, who might be
his, indeed, for the taking, but who
would offer or promise no love, was
rousing him to the instinct of posses
sion by her very indifference. He had
told her the truth, thut night in tjja
mountain inn. It was Hedwig ha
wanted, Hedv.ig herself, her heart, all
of her. And, if she Knew Karl, he
would move heaven and earth to get
the thing lie wanted.
She surveyed the group. How little
they knew what was in store for them?
She, Olga Loschek, by the lifting of
a nnger. could turn their smug superi
ority into tears and despair, could ruia
them and send them flying for shelter
to the very ends of the earth.
But when she looked at the littl»
crown prince, legs dangling, eating hi»
thin bread and butter as only a hun
gry small boy can eat, she shivered.
By what means must she do all this l
By what unspeakable means!
Karl saw the king that evening, a
short visit marked by extreme formal
ity, and, on the king's part, by the
keen and frank scrutiny of one who
is near the end and fears nothing but
the final moment. Karl found the
meeting depressing and the king's eyer
disconcerting.
-----------—^
Countess
Loschek
sees a
chance for
revenge.
The next
installment
gives the
exciting
detail®
(TO I1E CONTIX C i»rx»

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