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mVfJufmUX _m\i.'\' . ->T Vim "^ a-wF^-\W P-^ THE CASTLE OF GLOOM A Zenda Romance of Modern New York SYNOPSIS The Castle of Gloom, on the Hudson, built by ii crazy man, Is occupied by "Mildred Holtwood," "in, turns out to be Princess IjU cretla of Luxembrant, having claims on the throne. King Leander comes to America In the yacht Ibex to urge marriage, Ich young Arthur Van Tasel discovers the king, win,in Lucretla bates. she loves Van Tasel. but rejects him to snatch the crown In the king's absence, Van Tasel elans to secretly send the prin cess to Luxembrant In bis yacht, Hell Diver, with his chum, Fosdlck, while Van Tasel re mains to capture th,, king ana detain him on 111,' Sea Hull. The princess is t,, leave the castle through a secret tunnel. Then Van Tasel Is to lure the king to the castle ami abduct him through this same exit. CHAPTER XXXI The Light in the Tower The night was propitious for the adventure. Banks of black clouds ob scured the stars and the moon was yet far below the horizon. New York was asleep beneath a blanket of fog, .ill unconscious that a drama bo mediaeval was being enacted at her floors. The play houses had turned out their throngs of romance-thirsty men ami women and the little play dreams and tragedies were over. Many times Van Tasel had remarked to Fosdlck that New Yorkers thought the only romance available was bogus romance pictured for them on the theater boards. In their own lives, and in the lives of .New Yorkers aronml them, they saw nothing but prosaic humdrum. To Van Tasel the whole world was romantic. He had lived in romance all his life. Ho had found it where others saw nothing but tiresome routine. Yet no such drama as that of the present had come to him. It seemed almost too much to believe of even New York, with all Its possibilities. It would not have greatly surprised him if he had awakened to find that the princess was but a myth of his night's fancy and the king an ogre, to vanish with the dawn. New York was sleeping, as the Hell Diver, with all outer lights extin guished and scarcely making a ripple, neared the black cliffs of Cranium. Below decks, however, where spies on the shore could not penetrate, the boat was aglow with energy and anima tion. The brass of the engines glit tered like gold and the deep red glow of the fires spoke of dormant power, a power that would soon be needed in the swift flight across the Atlantic with the Princess Lucretia. Just now the sinkers, In spick and span jumpers and overalls, were taking their ease, but it would not lie long that they idled. Before the clock had gone round again they would be working and sweating like fiends tit the fires of hades. And they would have no rest until the Hell Diver's anchor touched the bottom of the sea off Middledam. Such, at least, were sonic of Van Tasel's reflections as he and Fosdick sat smoking their pipes in the cabin. Fosdick, now that he was In for the exploit, was gay over It. To cross the Atlantic with a runaway princess was tin adventure not to be sneezed at. and the spirit of the thing had hold of his veins. He had seen Lucretia only tit a distance as yet, but he had spent half his nights listening to Van Tasel rave over her. "Ben," said Van Tasel, as the cap tain on the bridge took the boat up the Hudson, "I'm Inclined to believe that you intend to betray me. Damn me! Fosdick. If I don't think you in tend to marry the princess yourself!" Fosdick smoked his pipe ' com placently. "Since you admit that you are out of the race." he retorted, "what's to pre- LOS ANGELES HERALD SUNDAY MAGAZINE vent? Two fellows can't marry her. and as long as you don't care to be king of Luxembrant, I might as well be." Van Tasel had struck a match to light his pipe. but he held it in his An gers until it burned him, while he frowned at his chum. 1 "I am out of the race," he sail; "true enough. So are you— so is Leander. The terms of my compact with Lu ', eretia are these, that we are both to i forget that such a thing ax love exists in the world. If the queen forgets her ' vow, then am I not absolved from mine As soon as any other fellow gets 1 int. the race, 1 shall be in it again, So be careful how you make love to the princess on the way over, Fosdick." Fosdlck laughed at Van Tasel's lu gubrious face. "If I didn't know you, Van, I might think you in earnest." "I am." said Van Tasel. "Why ; shouldn't I lie." Fosdlck roared with laughter. "When I am the prince-consort,'! he went on, tantal'.zingly, "we'll invite you over to our house-warming in the palace—[,u cretla and I. Will you come. Van?" Van Tasel got up impatiently. "Come, Fosdick," he said, "don't Joke about something that gets so close to me. I have half a notion to kick over the whole plan and go along with the princess myself, leaving you to kidnap Leander. What do you say to It?" Fosdick was sobered. He had no do sire to match himself against royalty in a kidnaping contest. Much pleasant iT he thought to cross the ocean in the company of a charming girl, who for five days at least would have to forget that she was a queen. "No," I want none of your kings. Queens for me, if you please! 1 prom ise to he most discreet In my love making. Van and to say, a good word in your behalf. She shall choose be tween us Van Tasel, without preju dice." Van Tasel growled at his friend's persistent fueetiousness. hut he forgot it in a minute in giving Fosdick direc tions as to how he should send hack wireless messages from the Hell Diver of the progress the boat made and o'' the health of the princess. "This cipher code," evpDlned Van Tasel. "I shall give to the operator on the Sea Cull the first thing in the morning." it lacked a little of midnight when the Hell Diver droooed anchor at the foot of Cranium cliff. The river was as black as tin- Styx as Van Tasel and Fosdick stood on the deck and locked up the invisible slope of the shore to the lofty point where the castle stood. Van Tasel strained his eyes in the darkness. Then he caught Fosdick by the arm. whispering hoarsely: "The light. Den! Where is It?" "What light?" asked Fosdick. "The princess agreed on a signal to indicate that all was well. She was to put a light In tho barbacan tower. If the lii'ht were absent I was to know there was deviltry afoot." Fosdlck, too. gazed Intently. ' "The light is not there," he said. > CHAPTER XXXII A Rude Shock Two of the Hell Diver's crew rowed Van Tasel and Fosdlck to the rocky i bank and they scrambled ashore. I "You will wait here until we return," ' Van Tasel commanded the men. "and ' remember that you are not to talk. ' smoke, sing or whistle. A hundred dollar bill for each of you if you live up to orders." ' Van Tasel had a way of commanding i the obedience of those who served him 1 by that most certain of methods— i money. His servants and employes i would have walked through fire and l blood for him, not only because they loved and admired him, but becaus • they found it most profitable, The crew of the Hell Diver had asked no questions. Van Tasel's nocturnal ad ventures were of too common occur rence, and for whatever they did th ■ boat's sailors knew they would be handsomely paid. "You can depend on us, sir," was the assurance he got. > Once ashore, Van Tasel and Fosdick * groped their way to the tunnel's en " trance. inside they climbed the iron i stairs in breathless haste. At the top 1 they paused in fresh alarm. The secret , door In the cellar of the castle stood i open and bright lights were visible. "Devils!" exclaimed Van Tasel. ' "What Is the meaning of this? There is treuchery here!" A moment later they were In the cellar. Confronting them was Madam Boltwood and a group of white-faced servants. "Where Is the princess?" demanded Van Tasel, his eyes blinking in the sudden change from the gloom of the secret passage. "Where is she?" Madam Boltwood wrung her hands. She was dazed and incoherent. "Gone!" she wailed, "Cone!" "Gone!"echoed Van Tasel, in black despair. "Where has she gone?" The old lady's eyes opened wide in horror as she pointed to the secret door through which Van Tasel and Fosdick had just come. "There!" she replied. "Cone THERE! Into that black hole!" She was half demented with woe, and Van Tasel refused to credit her words. "What?" he cried. "Impossible!" Seized with fury at the thought that deception was being practiced on him, he forgot he wag addressing a woman, and seized her by the arm. "Tell me the truth!" he command ed. "Tell me where she Is, or by hea ven, I'll—" He remembered himself, and with hasty apology, released his grip on Madam Boltwood. "Do not keep me in suspense,'' he pleaded. "Where is she?" "I have told you the truth. She is gone. The king has taken her, by vio lence. An hour ago he and his agents entered the castle by that secret dem and surprised the princess, She strug gled and alarmed the castle, but too late. They took her away." Madam Boltwood sank into a chair, moaning: "Lucretia! Lucretia!" CHAPTER XXXIII In Their Owno Trap Van Tasel, struck dumb with mo mentary aphasia, looked at Fosdlck, Then his senses returned. "Back!" he cried. "Back to the yacht! There is not a moment to lose If we hope to recover the princess. Ben, we must save her. We must pursue the king to his palace In Mid deldam, if we have to, and strike him dead on his throne. Quick, Fosdick! hack to the yacht!" With breathless haste they retraced their steps through the secret pas sage, and now, easting their light on the floor, they beheld the small foot prints of the princess in the dust, in termingled with those of the ruffians who had kidnaped her. The sight of those little marks filled Van Tasel with fury. "Fosdlck." he said, restraining him self, "we have been fools. We have been blind. egotistical fools. We might have foreseen what has hap pened. We might have known that some slinking traitor among the prin cess' servants would betray the secret passage to Leander. We ought to FEBRUARY 27, 1910. Robert Bracefield have known it and guarded her from what has befallen. We should have known the deadly peril she was in. A blind man could have seen it." He laughed, half-crazed, at his folly. "We have been outwitted at our own game. Ben, by this foreign monster, who now- has Lucretia in his clutches. If he reaches Luxembrant with her, he will have her at his mercy!" The dire straits of the Princess Lu cretia filled Van Tasel with horrible fear. "if there is a God on high," he said, dramatically, "1 call on Him to protect her! As for us, Ben, there is but one hope." Van Tasel speedily put life into the Hell Diver, (line aboard her again, he ordered the anchor Instantly weighed and her nose turned toward the ocean, with every inch of steam she would carry. The stokers spiting to the task. The yacht came out of her darkened shell and fairly blazed. Her great search light sent a broad ribbon of radiance ahead of her. The foam curled under her prow, and expanded in a widening path behind. A halo of sparks from her smokestack hung over her. Every fiber of her hull trembled as she took up the pursuit of the king's yacht. "The devils must have passed us with their lights out." said Van Tasel. "They were quite as shrewd as We were ourselves." He was In the little wireless tele graph room now, and he took up a pencil and wrote: "Miller, captain of Sea Gull, off Jef jerson City: We have been outwitted. The girl is now on the Ibex, bound down the Hudson. Stop her, and if the boat refuses to lay to, disable her, but shoot clear of the cabin. "VAN TASEL." "It is a desperate chance," he said, "but we must take it. Heaven pro tect Lucretia!" CHAPTER XXXIV The Chase "If the Sea Gull's operator Is not asleep," said Van Tasel, as the wireless device snapped off the message, "there may be time enough yet to stop the king's vessel and rescue Lucretia be fore the ibex passes the Battery. If this plan fails, Ben, we must trust to the speed of the Hell Diver, and her guns. If we can overhaul the king, I'll warrant that my men will be val iant, and tight for me to the death." A moment later he groaned: "They say the king's vessel is fast. Heaven grant that the Hell Diver may be faster." He and Fosdick stood there Impa tiently awaiting an answer to their message, while the panting of the en gines grew fiercer. Then of a sudden the reply came Hashing back. The Sea Cull's operator had been faithful. "Van Tasel. aboard Hell Diver: In structions followed. Will do all in our power to stop the Ibex. MILLER." "Praise heaven!" exclaimed Van Tas el, a great relief in his voice, "and praise to the man who Invented the wireless telegraph!" Van Tasel and Fosdick remained on deck as the yacht parted the waters of the Hudson and bent her matchless energies to the pursuit. They passed a freighter or two, with the speed that a railroad train passes a roadside ve hicle. Never had the Hell Diver's power been put to such a test—not even when Van Tasel had embarked In a globe-circling race. "If the king's yacht gets away from the Sea Gull and outruns us." said Van Tasel, "she will have to make the fastest trip any craft ever made across the ocean. if we once yet within range if the Ibex, Fosdlck, I'll guarantee that (Continue!, on Vim*- >•"