Modern New York j/U^^ ~^'^^^*_-_-_^_f____^__-__^kW^^ Robert Bracefield
THE CASTLE OF GLOOM
A Zenda Romance of
Modern New York
Rich young Arthur Van Tasel loves ".Mil
dred Boltwood," who turns out to bo Princess
Lueretia of Luxembrant, living at the Castle
of Gloom, built by a crazy man, oil the Hud
son. She has claims on the throne.
King Leander comes to America Incognito,
in his yacht, to urge marriage.
Van Tasel discovers the king, whom Lu
cretia hates. Van Tasel swears to wed Lu
cretia. His chum, B-sdlck, vows to help win
She admits her love, hut rejects him to
snatch the Luxembrant crown while the king
"Long live the queen!" says Van Tasel.
Plans for Escape
The princess was the queen now, not
the woman, and she spoke as if she
already wore a crown.
"May all my subjects be as loyal!"
Then, in one of her quick transitions,
her lips trembled and she became the
woman again. He was the lover, not
the subject—the lover whom she was
renouncing fur the stern call of duty.
Her eyes were wet and she faltered.
Well might a woman renounce a
throne for the love of a Van Tasel.
Perhaps she was thinking so. Perhaps
she was thinking that the world was
black at the moment, despite the glit
tering crown that shone in the dis
"I wanted you for a friend," she
said, "because it was impossible for
you to be more. If heaven had de
creed that we might be more than
friends, if fate had been kinder to us,
if love had been possible "
She stopped, but not soon enough,
for Van Tasel was at her side. Queen
or peasant, he would have had her in
his arms, but she held him back.
"Until death," lie exclaimed blackly,
"I shall be lover, not friend!"
"No," she answered, with bitterness,
"love must be forsworn. Since it is im
possible, let us resign ourselves."
He still refused to forswear his pas
sion, but she answered him with the
story of Luxembrant, long the subject
of despotism at the hands of Leander
and his predecessors. It was for her
people that she was renouncing love.
"We must forget—you and I—thai
there is love in the world, except the
love for country," she told him. "If
for any cause a woman could put aside
her womanly love, it would be for
She stepped back and added, firmly,
with eyes raised to heaven:
"God helping me,- I forswear my
love for Arthur Van Tasel, now and
The princess, as she spoke these
fateful words, seemed to tower above
him like some terrible ogress. She
grew to giant stature, while he shrunk
to that of a dwarf. The room swam
before him. The lights turned to dull
specks of fire. Before God, she had
confessed, yet renounced, her love for
him. Hie fate was sealed beyond re
demption. She stood there clamly
weighing him in the scale—he, alone, on
one side, while on the other was th!
whole Luxembrant populace.
He got his senses back, and the
princess, In her proper proportions,
stood before him again. Her beauty
was transcendent now. He seemed to
see a bright halo about her.
"You have witnessed mv struggle,"
she said, "for that most sacred of all
things, duty. For my sake will you
apply the same test to yourself? Will
you swear to forget your love for the
Princess Lueretia, in the name of hu
Van Tasel hesitated but a moment
longer. A great hopelessness filed him
as he took her hand with courtly grace,
and kissed it as any courtier might
"The test you require of me," he said,
LOS ANGELES HERALD SUNDAY MAGAZINE
looking her unflinchingly in the eye
"is indeed heroic. God help me to for
swear mv love!"
He held her fingers In his for a mo
ment, and she let them stay ther,-.
while her eyes drooped to the floor.
Then with a quick movement Van
Tasel straightened and said in a voice
without a tremor:
"You are my queen; It is fir you to
command. I am a knight In your ser
vice. What is your majesty's wish."
There was the trace of a smile on the
face of the princess at this melodra
"My first wish, Mr. Van Tasel. is
that you dispense with court ceremony
until I am a queen in reality. There
is much that still stands between in
and a throne."
Her brow darkened.
"At the outset. I am called on to do
"You refer to your departure," he
His heart went down into its depths.
Her departure! She was going away
from him, forever. She was slipping
out of his grasp, and ho was powerless
to stop her. Indeed, by the most dire
ful coincidence, he was called on to
"Yes. I must leave America secretly,
and yet my every move Is watched by
an army of the king's spies. Will you
help me, Mr. Van Tasel? Will you aid?"
There was the despair of a woman In
her tones now, though she had forsworn
such a petty trifle as love for a man.
She loved him still, and yet was ask
ing him to help her go away from him.
"Yes." he said, simply, "I will help
you. You have but to name the day
and hour, and you will not. find me
"You are the only one to whom I can
turn," she answered. "I have Luxem
brant advisers in New York, to be sure,
but they are useless in such an emer
gency. I must go disguised; otherwise
the news would be flashed to my ene
mies across the water. The success of
my.enterprise depends on strategythe
taking of the throne while Leander is
absent. Were the king to suspect that
I have sailed for Luxembrant he would
be there ahead of me, for the yacht
Ibex, in which he came to America In
cognito, is faster than- the swiftest
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Bleriot Monoplane in Flight
More Ways Than One
Van Tasel understood now how the
king had come to America without the
public's knowledge. In his yach ,
Leander was able to sail up the Hud
son without disembarking, to the very
foot of the cliff on which st od the
Castle of Gloom. No doubt he was now
safely secluded in his cabin, his boat
lying at anchor somewhere about New
York. His spies had found Lueretia
and watched her every move, and per
haps their reports on Van Tasel were
what brought the king himself.
It was clear enough how the stone
came to be in the mad on the night
Van Tasel came near going over the
brink in his automobile. It was clear
enough who stole his runabout, and
who hurled him down the cliff. Lean
dor's agents had kept close watch, in
deed, on the king's rival.
The princess turned again to the sec
retary and took out a bundle of cable
"Leander is not the only one who can
have spies," she said, "but s.les to
not solve all of one's problems. I have
been well appiised of the king's move
ments, and his departure for New Yo-k
was known to me within an hour after
his yacht silled from Mlddeldam. Al
though the populace had no not on of
his destination, my agents knew it.
So, too, my departure for Mlddeldam
will bo known to the king unless you,
Mr. Van Tasel, can devise means of
getting mo there that wl 1 deceive even
the craftiest of his agents."
Van Tasel put down all thoughts
except that he was now a knight, In
deed, sworn to the service of the Prin
cess Lueretia—sworn to a trust such
as no New York chap ever was sworn
"I shall not only arrange for your
escape as you desire," he said, "but I
shall go with you to guard you. If the
high duties of my princess prevent her
from taking me as a lover, they can
not keep me from standing watch to
preserve her to the country she serves.
The king would not hesitate at vio
lence, even to murder, to defeat your
The reply of the princess, however,
sent Van Tasel's heart to his shoes.
"I see," she said, "that I must
FEBRUARY 6. 1910.
to train you for royal service. To
serve a princess a knight must deny
himself. I fear you have forgotten
that Leander is watching you quite
as sharply as he is keeping his eyes on
me. It would be impossible for you to
disguise yourself so thai you could go
He was almost gay as he answered:
"Many things are possible of which
Leander does not dream."
She looked at him wonderingly. He
went to the door and peered into the
corridor, to make sure no servants
were lurking about. Then, having
Closed the door again, he tapped the
wall meaningly with his knuckles,
"Are you aware of no secret way to
leave the castle?" he asked.
Her eyes were big with surprise.
They gave him her answer.
"You Will need no disguise, except a
dark night," he wont on. "There is a
tunnel that runs from the castle eel al
to the face of the cliff, just above tin
water. Heaven Itself must have -nt
me tumbling Into tin- opening. Once
out of the tunnel, my own yacht, the
Hell Diver, will be in waiting, a
stone's throw away. In a day I can
have the boat made ready. I am will
ing to wager that, however fast the
king's boat may be, the Hell Diver
would leave it in her wake."
Then, suddenly remembering, In
"The Hell Diver was mixed up once
with Moorish pirates, Since then sin
has been heavily armed."
Not Love but Hate..,
It was well along toward morning
when Van Tasel succeeded, after furi
ous ringing, in getting Benjamin Fos
dick out of bed.
"Van Tasel!" the latter exclaimed,
rubbing his eyes as he opereJ the door
of his suite. "What deviltry Is up
now, that you come around in tin
night, wild-eyed and scarcely abe to
talk? Did the princess reject you?"
Van Tasel sank into a chair. He was
in a chill from the long rile and the
nervous strain of two days. His fingers
shook as he lighted a cigar. i
"Yes," he said, blackly.
"The first rejection means nothing,"
soothed Fosdick. "In fact, it's rather
favorable. When a girl really loves
a man, she turns him down a few
times to test him. You know, now,
that she doesn't want you for your
Fosdick poured out two glasses of
"Don't trifle," said Van Tasel.
"There's work to be done. The time
has come, Ben, for you to help me. You
haven't forgotten the vow you made to
stand by me through thick and thin?"
Fosdick was all attention.
"Bully for you!" he said. "You've
not given her up!"
"We have renounced our love for
each other," answered Van Tasel, in
the blackest of accents. "Neverthe
less, there's work to be done, and
you'll have little more sleep for a
couple of nights. You are to sail for
Luxembrant at midnight tomorrow."
Fosdick blinked in bewilderment.
"Come, come, my boy!'' he said,
"don't spoil a good love story by go
ing crazy. You've been making a
great fool of yourself over this girl.
You haven't had five nights' sleep since
you met her. Strike a saner pace.
Can't you see—?"
"I'm not crazy," interrupted Van
Tasel, "and for the love affair, it's
Fosdick was alarmed for ills chum's
"The prim-ess has bigger game in
sight," Van Tasol went on. "She is to
seize the Luxembrant throne while the
(Continued on Page 20)
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