L. P. M.
J. Stewart Barney
Part 4 out of 5
calls the Ambassador the 'undertaker,' sir, and it's all on account,
sir, of his not a-having any lace on his coat, sir. Don't you think you
might wear some of your Colonial Society medals and decorations, sir?"
and he tried hard to hide his contempt for these American signs of
alleged aristocracy. "There is some as is bright in colour, sir, and he
wouldn't know, sir, but as how you is a duke in America, sir."
"None of that nonsense, James, unless," he said with a quizzical look,
"you give me the copy of the Golden Fleece, which shows that I am a
member in good standing of the South Chicago Aero Club."
"Not that one, sir," protested James, "if you will pardon me, sir, I
think it is a bit large, sir, for the waistcoat opening, sir. I think,
sir, that the Order of the Cincinnati is very neat, sir. It is very
much like one of the Greek Orders, I don't recall which, sir, but Lord
Knott wore it once, I recall, sir, when the King of Greece was in
"No, James," Edestone shook his head. "My father was a blacksmith, and
I would not like to deceive the Emperor."
"How you do like your little joke, sir," said James, putting his hand
to his mouth. "Won't you just use that button, sir, instead of a
buttonhole? It ain't so frivolous like, sir, begging your pardon, sir."
"Oh well, yes; just to keep you quiet."
"Thank you, sir."
And Edestone left the room.
Downstairs, the household was in a state of suppressed excitement. The
German men servants, without the usual protection of a brilliant
uniform, looked as if they would like to drop everything and hide
themselves in the coal cellar. The maids were almost on the verge of
tears. Mrs. Jones, with all the jewelry on that she possessed, was
moving about with a flushed face seeing that everything was in order.
"For Heaven's sake, hurry up, Jack," she said. "We must have a short
dinner and be ready when the Emperor arrives. As for myself, I never
can touch anything for hours before I meet him. He scares me almost out
of my wits."
Her husband was walking up and down with the expression of a man who is
the speaker of the evening, watching the waiters serving coffee and
passing cigars. The only persons who seemed perfectly at their ease
were Lawrence and his Bowery boy valet, Fred, who were holding a very
serious conversation in the corner of the hall.
Dinner, it must be confessed, was very like the gathering of the
distant relatives the night before the funeral of the rich old maid of
the family. Lawrence's jokes were either not heard or were received
with sad-eyed contortions of the face that were less like a smile than
the premonition of a sneeze. The strain was so great that as they were
having their coffee a sudden clatter in the street came as an immense
The air was instantly filled with the subdued noise of the different
members of the household taking their various places. The Acting
Ambassador and Mrs. Jones went out of the dining-room and took a
position near the door of the large reception room, leaving Edestone
and Lawrence alone. They had previously explained to Edestone what he
must do when they notified him that it was time for him to come in and
"Lawrence," he said when the servants had all gone, "won't you tell me
what you have decided on? I am rather curious to know your plan."
Lawrence, who had grown quite serious for him, came around from his
place and lighting a cigarette sat down close to him.
"You know Prince Fritz Funk?" he leaned over to whisper.
"Of course," said Edestone.
"Well," continued Lawrence, "I'm supposed to look something like him. I
am just his height. He has, as you know, certain striking mannerisms,
which when he is drinking are accentuated. I have all last year been
amusing the officers at the clubs by giving imitations of him, and they
do say I am better than he is himself.
"Now all the soldiers stationed in and about Berlin know Fritzie's
peculiarities, so I propose to impersonate him tonight while he is in
here drinking the Ambassador's champagne. My man is to get his helmet,
'_avec le grand panache_,' and his long gray-blue military cape, and
with my riding boots and spurs and a sword, I shall be able to fool
those boobs out there; that is, if they don't throw on me one of those
damned spot lights. If they do, G-o-o-d-n-i-g-h-t! Then I can only say
that I am doing it on a bet. But I hardly think that would save me in
these times. The least I could expect would be a term in prison for
insulting the uniform. I will go down in history as 'Little Boy Blue up
in the air.'"
"It's a big risk you're taking," frowned Edestone, "and were there any
other way I would not allow you to do this. But if you do succeed, you
will go down in history in a way you could never dream. Lawrence, if
you get back safely with this information, I will make you a present of
Lawrence looked at his friend as if he thought that he had lost his
mind, but when he saw the look of determination on Edestone's strong
face, which seemed to have aged within the hour, and when he felt the
grip of his powerful hand, he knew that he meant every word he said.
"By God, old man," he said with a little break in his voice, "you
should be the Emperor instead of his nibs out there."
"I may be yet," said Edestone smiling, and a look came on his face that
Lawrence had never seen there before.
The servants were moving quietly about the room, but it was plain to
see that they felt the presence of the Lord's Anointed. Through the
house could be heard the clatter of many swords and the tramping of
booted heels along the marble hall. It sent a thrill through Edestone
that he would have had difficulty to explain. It was like the echo of
some far distant past seeming to recall to life a sleeping spirit,
which with great exultation was throwing off the fetters of its long
slumbers. He seemed to be impelled by an almost irresistible force to
rush into their midst and take his rightful position at their head.
He was recalled to himself by the sudden silence that had fallen on the
entire house, as though some great army had been halted and was
standing at rigid attention. Then he heard the silvery tinkle and
metallic clink of sabre and spurs as of a single figure striding with
military precision over the softest of carpets, and he could picture
that majestic form advancing well in front of his glittering escort as
they stood in breathless silence while he made his dramatic entrance.
Then the silence was broken by a voice which said slowly and
distinctly: "His Imperial Majesty." An almost simultaneous click
followed as if all had come to a salute and were waiting for the sign
to relax and from automatons become human beings again.
Edestone was all alone in the dining-room.
The servants had left the room after removing the table decorations,
covering it with a dark cloth and setting a large bowl of flowers in
the centre; and Lawrence had gone out quietly on hearing the noise in
And so he sat, this young man in a strange land, thousands of miles
away from his home, waiting to be called to a death struggle, without
help from anyone, with the most powerful, arrogant, and relentless man
on the face of the earth, an adversary surrounded by the most perfect
fighting machine yet devised by man, with all the confidence, that
tradition, success, and a brilliant mind could give. An Emperor with
the sublime dignity of his position which he sincerely believed he held
by Divine Right, and who had always lived surrounded by an atmosphere
of absolute submission to his will.
Yet Edestone was not afraid. He was not even nervous. He was merely
anxious to be up and doing. This show of force, those mysterious
two-wheeled wagons, had roused his fighting blood. So assured was
he of his own sincerity in his efforts for the good of all that he
resented the attitude which they had taken. He knew they would try
to get his invention peaceably, if possible, but would stop at nothing
if they failed, and he expected some overt act of violence tonight that
would mean war with the United States.
So when he was called by one of the under-secretaries of the Embassy he
went with little charity in his heart, but with head erect and
determination shown in his every movement, bearing on his face, which
seemed to have grown very hard, a look that left no doubt of the
fearlessness of the spirit that was behind it.
He was taken in at one end of the large room that vibrated with light
and colour. Around three sides of it was banked the most brilliant
array of uniforms that he had ever seen. There were white-headed
generals ablaze with decorations and medals; there were young princes
with simple uniforms and with but one handsome decoration to show their
distinguished rank. There were Cuirassiers and Uhlans, and now and then
he could pick out the sombre black and silver uniforms of the
celebrated Death's-Head Hussars.
But the one figure which dominated all and held his attention was that
of the Emperor.
He stood in the centre of the room with the Secretary and General von
Lichtenstein, Mrs. Jones having retired as soon as she had received her
He was a man of medium height but with a bearing which made him appear
larger than he really was. He was dressed in the wonderful white
uniform of the Garde du Corps, which carried with it the celebrated
silver eagle helmet.
As this figure dominated and held the centre of this brilliant picture,
so his face drew the attention from his magnificent uniform and held it
as with a magnetic power. It was handsome, intelligent, strong, but
above all it was commanding. There was little kindness but there was a
merry twinkle in his sharp blue eyes which showed a human side and was
These eyes could change, however, and when he saw Edestone and they
were met by his perfectly fearless but respectful glance, they seemed
to try by force to penetrate his very soul.
Edestone advanced alone until he came to within a few paces of the
central group, and then stopped, standing with one knee slightly bent,
his right hand held lightly in front of his body, which was inclined in
a graceful and easy attitude of reverence, while his other hand hung
naturally at his side.
After his first quick glance, Edestone dropped his eyes to about the
Emperor's knees and held them there until the Secretary, with a slight
gesture, called him to his side. The young man then straightened up and
went slowly to the Ambassador's left, and there stood perfectly erect
looking straight at the Emperor, while Jones with some show of
embarrassment was saying:
"Your Majesty, may I present Mr. John Fulton Edestone, of New York."
The Emperor, with the hearty and easy manner which he always assumes
with those he has been told are distinguished Americans and with that
quizzical expression in his sharp eyes which, though attractive, is
described as most disconcerting, replied.
"Mr. Edestone," he said, in a loud voice, "your fame has gone before
you, and we are always glad to welcome distinguished men of science in
Berlin, which we think is the centre of science and culture. Your name,
that of a great lighthouse and suggesting the greatest of your
inventions, electric lights, convinces me that you were born to blaze
the way for us," and he laughed, in which he was joined heartily by his
well-trained courtiers, who knew that nothing pleased him more than to
appreciate his little jokes of which he was so fond.
With his quick eye for detail he had caught the Cincinnati button worn
by Edestone, and said:
"I see that you are the descendant of a soldier, which gives you a
greater claim upon my imperial favour. What was your ancestor's rank?"
"He was a general, Your Majesty," replied Edestone with a firmness that
seemed to attract and slightly offend him.
He scowled. He was so accustomed to seeing strong men quail before him
that the coolness of the other man shocked his sense of propriety.
"General von Lichtenstein tells me," his face brightening up again,
"that you have made a very interesting invention, which may be of great
service to me in bringing to a successful end sooner than I had
expected this cruel war, which has been forced upon me by those
grasping English. He tells me that you have motion pictures of this
invention in actual war practice, which the representative of the
American Ambassador has so kindly invited me here to see."
Turning to Jones, he said with great show of condescension: "I thank
you, Mr. Secretary." Then looking at Edestone sharply, and with rather
a sarcastic turn in his voice, he continued: "I will gladly see your
pictures, and what is perhaps of more interest to you, no doubt, I
will, if I like it, buy your invention at a good price."
And then, as if addressing the entire company, who stood waiting to
applaud his every sentiment, he said: "Germany expects and is able to
pay large prices for American goods now." And then, as if to cut short
any possible protest that Edestone might presume to make, he turned his
back upon him and said very abruptly to the Secretary: "Where are these
"In the next room," replied the Secretary, "and if you please, Mr.
Edestone will show them to Your Majesty at once. Edestone," he said,
"has everything been arranged?"
"Yes," nodded Edestone. Though boiling with rage he kept a perfectly
The entire company led by the Emperor and the Secretary moved into
another room where Black had installed the apparatus.
Edestone, with his usual modesty, had obliterated himself, and bringing
up the rear was about to go around through the other rooms to reach his
place in front of the screen when his attention was called by General
von Lichtenstein, who had fallen back apparently with the intention of
speaking to him apart from the others.
"Mr. Edestone," he said, drawing him aside, "one would think that you
had spent your entire life among us," and with a quizzical smile he
added: "I think you rather astonished the Kaiser by your _sang-froid_.
I have seen men of the highest rank stand speechless in his presence,
while you are as finished as a courtier of the Grand Monarque and as
cool as the Iron Chancellor.
"I admit," he said in his fatherly manner, "I had no authority from you
to do so, but thought it best to leave upon the Emperor the impression
that you would sell your invention. Had I not done so he certainly
would have demanded the reasons for your presence in Berlin, and had I
dared to suggest that you had been sent by the United States to coerce
him he would have been thrown into such a rage that he might have
declared war on your country, which I understand is the last thing that
"I regret that you did this, General von Lichtenstein, if I may be
pardoned for seeming to criticize a statesman of your experience and
distinction; for I do not intend to sell and my country has not sent me
to coerce. I have come instead to appeal to your reason, after showing
you the uselessness of continuing this loss of life in the face of the
great power in the hands of those who know the secret of my invention
and intend to put a stop to it."
A cloud seemed to pass over the General's face, but he soon recovered
his bland, almost Oriental smile.
"But, Mr. Edestone, you seem to forget that whereas others _may_ have
the secret, we know that you certainly have it, and you are still our
most honoured guest in Berlin."
"Where I am also the guest of my own country, so long as the Acting
Ambassador is so kind as to allow me to remain under his roof and our
flag," replied Edestone pointedly, intending if possible to force the
In this he failed as the old man only smiled through his glasses.
"A great statesman was lost when you turned inventor, Mr. Edestone," he
said in a most complimentary tone. "But come, I fear His Majesty
waits." And then changing his manner, he said with a knowing wink:
"Here is a note which Princess Wilhelmina asked me to deliver to you.
She seems to be very much interested. Can it be possible that you are
raising your eyes to a Princess of the Blood?
"Still, stranger things than that have happened," he half mused, "and
His Imperial Majesty is always glad to recognize talent and reward it
in a befitting manner."
They went into the other room where the Emperor sat waiting. Evidently
impatient that Edestone was not at his position of parlour entertainer
in front of the screen with his pointer in hand as soon as the Imperial
eye should deign to be cast in that direction, he rose with exaggerated
politeness when the American appeared and said in a most sarcastic
manner: "Must the whole world wait while inventors dream?"
Then sitting down he added in a harsh and irritable tone: "With your
very kind assistance, Mr. Edestone, we will now inspect these much
talked of pictures."
There was a silence in the room that was like a gasp of horror, and
the company all standing looked as if they expected to see Edestone
sink to the floor with mortification; that is, all except Jones, who
slow-moving had only gotten half-way to his feet when the Kaiser sat
down, and who now dropped back into his chair with a quizzical little
smile playing about the corners of his mouth.
But Edestone, with the respectful manner of a grown man answering his
father, who still looked upon him as a boy, and who had reproved him
unjustly, said with an indulgent smile that bore no trace of
"I beg that Your Majesty will forgive me, but I was held prisoner by
General von Lichtenstein, and not until I waved the Stars and Stripes
would he let me go."
The General hurried over to the Emperor. "Pardon me, Sire," he said,
for he saw that the Emperor would fly into one of his fits of rage and
might upset all of their well-laid plans if something was not quickly
done to quiet him. "Pardon me, Sire, it was my fault. I did not know
that I was keeping Your Majesty waiting."
"Go on with the pictures," said the Emperor, with an impatient gesture
of his enormous right hand, and he sat glaring at the screen as the
lights went out.
Lawrence waited until the room was dark and then slipped out unnoticed.
He would have liked to remain and see the rest of Edestone's most
interesting pictures which had started off with those taken in
Newfoundland and included a series not shown at Buckingham Palace. But
he had an exciting task before him. The idea of posing as a Royal
Prince in the magnificent uniform of the Imperial Hussars with nodding
plumes and flowing military cape, his coat-of-arms emblazoned on his
left shoulder, appealed to his dramatic instincts, as did the danger to
his passion for adventure.
He was brave, but unlike Edestone his was the bravery of an unthinking
recklessness rather than that of a perfectly balanced mind which,
contemptuous of the body that carries it, forces that body to do its
The fact that Edestone had offered him an unheard of reward had made
little impression, going in one ear and out of the other. He would
accept it as lightly as it had been offered because he himself would
have made exactly the same offer under the same circumstances. Whenever
he wanted anything he paid the price, even if it took his last cent. It
was no incentive to action now, as he would have gladly paid for the
privilege of playing this big part in this wonderful melodrama--a
melodrama which he was prepared at any time to see change into a
tragedy, with him the dead hero.
He found that his Bowery boy Fred, under the pretext that it was
customary in the best New York "high society," had bullied the German
flunkeys into bringing all of the officers' helmets and cloaks upstairs
and laying them out on a bed in one of the chambers on the second
floor, from which place it was easy for him to smuggle all he wanted
into Lawrence's room. Lawrence found him there waiting to help him
Turning up the collar of his dress coat so as to hide his white shirt
front, the masquerader buckled on the sabre that Fred handed to him.
Without changing his trousers he put on his riding boots and spurs,
which with the busby and cloak, a pair of white kid gloves, and a small
blond moustache completed his disguise. Standing thus in the middle of
the room with the door open, he waited until Fred signalled that the
coast was clear. He then stepped quickly across the hall and into the
elevator, closely followed by Fred, who closed the door. When they were
perfectly safe from interruption, he adjusted his costume and his false
moustache to his entire satisfaction, pinning the cloak securely
together with large safety pins to prevent it from flying open. Then as
the elevator passed the main floor on its way to the basement, he made
a gesture of derision.
Fred got out of the car and again carefully reconnoitred. Finding that
the passage leading to the garden was clear and that there was no one
in the billiard room, which was between the elevator and the outside
door, he signalled and Lawrence walked out into the garden at the side
of the Embassy.
It was quite dark there, but not dark enough to prevent the soldiers,
who were stationed about to watch this door, from seeing him as he
stood perfectly still as if hesitating which way to turn.
Observing that he was an officer, they saluted and stood at attention.
Then as he moved forward and they saw the insignia on his cloak they
signalled in some mysterious manner to the next post, who in turn
passed it down the line that Royalty was at large and that they must be
careful not to be caught napping.
Accordingly, as Lawrence emerged from the semi-darkness and came around
to the front of the Embassy, every soldier was standing at attention
and the different officers, after looking searchingly but most
respectfully at him to satisfy themselves who he was, stepped back and
allowed him to pass, while they stood like pieces of stone.
Lawrence did not deign even to notice them, but, reeling unsteadily in
his gait, passed them without even acknowledging their salute.
His presence having been reported to the Captain who had charge of the
company that was stationed in the street immediately in front of the
Embassy, this officer hastened up to him.
"Is there anything that you require, Your Royal Highness?" he saluted.
Lawrence, carrying out his pretence of intoxication, gave a perfect
imitation of the Prince when in that condition.
"I am making a tour of inspection to see that everything is all right,"
he said thickly.
The Captain saw his condition and showed an inclination to follow him,
but Lawrence waved his hand with what was intended to be a regal
gesture, although in fact it seemed to throw him almost off his
The Captain stepped back most respectfully and saluted, but smiled as
he followed with his eyes the young Prince.
Lawrence strutted quickly but unsteadily until he came to within about
a hundred yards of the mortars, where a sentry challenged him.
"Pardon me, Your Royal Highness, but my orders are to permit no one to
pass. If you will allow me, I will call the Corporal of the Guard, who
will send for the Captain."
Lawrence interrupted him by bellowing:
"Get out of my way, you stupid blockhead, or I'll kick you out of my
way! I have not time to wait for the lot of fools that you all are."
Then as the man did not move he gave him a tremendous upper-cut,
catching his chin with the base of his open hand and sending his head
back and lifting him off his feet. He fell sprawling about ten feet
away against an iron railing, where he lay perfectly still with a nasty
cut in the back of his head.
The Captain, who had been slowly following to see that nothing happened
to his Royal charge, ran up quickly and, ordering another soldier to
take the place of the fallen sentry, had the wounded man hurried
quickly out of sight.
In the meantime Lawrence was strolling along, without even looking back
at the poor fellow where he lay.
"I caught him just right," he muttered with a touch of compunction. "I
hope I did not hurt him badly."
When he finally came to the mortars with the mysterious two-wheeled
wagons attached to them, he walked around from one to the other, as if
he were making a careful inspection to see that everything was all
right. It was impossible for him even now to make out what was hidden
under the canvas covers. One thing he could see, however, and that was,
that from under each there ran a carefully insulated electric cable to
the nearest fire hydrant where it was carefully attached.
After inspecting all four, Lawrence turned around and went back to the
second wagon, the cover of which he had noticed was not on exactly
straight. He hoped to be able to see what was underneath, but he found
that the cover was strapped down so tightly that he could get no
During all this time the officers and men were standing at attention in
their proper places, although they followed him with their eyes, an
amused expression on their faces.
Finding that it was impossible for him to discover anything while the
covers remained on the wagons, he bellowed in a loud and commanding
voice, not forgetting to imitate Royalty in its cups:
And to the young officer who ran up to him he said:
"Why is not that cover on straight? Did you not receive orders that
these--" and as Lawrence had not the slightest idea what "these" were,
he substituted a loud hiccough for the unknown name, and contented
himself with pointing with an unsteady hand. "Did you not understand
these had to be perfectly concealed? Now that one is not perfectly
concealed, for I can see perfectly what it is, so take that cover off
and put it on straight. And be quick about it or I will report you for
The Lieutenant, who was one of the very young recruits now officering
the German Army, feeling overpowered by the presence of Royalty, had
given the order, and the men were unstrapping the cover when the
Captain came up.
"What are you doing there?" he demanded. Then turning sharply to the
young Lieutenant he said in the most brutal manner:
"Don't you know that the orders are not to take these covers off, not
until the very last minute, not until everything else has been tried
and has failed to bring her down."
"But His Royal Highness," stammered the younger officer, "has ordered
this cover off because it is not on straight."
"But, Your Royal Highness," expostulated the Captain, although in the
most deferential manner, "don't you think that this cover is on
"What! Do you mean to contradict me?" Lawrence almost screamed. "I say
that the cover is not on straight, and I have ordered this fool to take
it off and put it on straight, perfectly straight."
"But that is impossible," said the Captain, warily keeping out of reach
of His Royal Highness's fists. "The orders are that these covers are
not to come off until the American flying machine makes its appearance,
and if it does not appear, the covers are not to come off at all. These
are the orders of the General Staff, and Your Royal Highness must
realize that they have to be obeyed."
"Well," said Lawrence with the persistency of a drunken man, talking at
the top of his voice, "if you do not put that cover on straight I will
report you, and you will be court-martialled for insulting a Prince of
All the while he kept swaying as if he were about to fall.
Straightening himself up with much difficulty and assuming a drunken
dignity he started to go away; but as if he were unable to free his
intoxicated mind from the one idea that obsessed it, he turned and
changed his tone to a persuasive one.
"I don't insist that you take the cover off," he laughed, "I only
insist that it be straightened, because you can see as well as I that
it is not on perfectly straight, and your orders were to put these
covers on straight, perfectly straight."
The Captain, now thoroughly amused, and deciding that the best way was
to humour him, thought, since his orders were only not to remove, that
he would be able to satisfy the Prince without directly disobeying his
instructions. He therefore ordered the men to unstrap the cover and
pull it around.
Lawrence seemed entirely satisfied with this, and took such interest in
seeing that the cover was adjusted to exactly the right position, that
he leaned over and took hold of it himself, as if to give his help. As
he did so he gave a lurch, and grabbing at the cover as if to save
himself, he went down in a heap with it on top of him.
The men helped him quickly to his feet and as quickly readjusted the
cover, but not before he had seen that the drum-shaped objects were in
fact great wooden spools on which were wound thousands and thousands of
yards of large copper wire.
Having seen all that he wanted, he now turned his attention towards
getting back to the Embassy, so taking the Captain's arm, and seeming
either to have lost all interest or to have been overcome by his fall,
made his way along. He swung and lurched so that it was with difficulty
the officer kept him on his feet.
Then when they arrived at the front steps and the Captain was assisting
him up, Lawrence, as if suddenly awaking from sleep, stopped.
"I am too dirty to go in by the front door," he protested, "I will go
in by the garden. I am much obliged to you, Captain; don't come any
Then laughing and shaking his finger in the Captain's face, he said in
a tone of exultation: "I got that cover on straight, anyhow--perfectly
Swaying as he rounded the corner of the house, he went in through the
side door, where he found Fred waiting for him, who pulled off his
boots and gave him his pumps.
He took off his busby, and handed it to Fred, unpinned the long
military cloak, unbuckled his sword, turned down the collar of his
evening coat, and "Richard was himself again."
Stepping into the elevator and letting himself off at the main floor,
he went hurriedly into the room where Edestone was still showing his
pictures, while Fred, after brushing and cleaning the royal
paraphernalia, put them back in their place.
Lawrence moved quickly over to the cabinet where Mr. Black was working
the machine and stepped inside. "I must speak to Mr. Edestone," he
whispered. "Can't you stop the machine as if something had gone wrong?
Then Mr. Edestone will come back here and see what is the matter."
"Not on your life!" Black shook his head violently. "The Emperor now is
in a perfect fury. He and Mr. Edestone have had one or two 'set-tos,'
and Mr. Edestone is beginning to put it back at him pretty strong, and
if anything should happen to the machine I think it would end in a
fight. I rather wish we were back in New York. If it is necessary for
you to speak to Mr. Edestone before the lights go up, this reel that I
am running off now will take just about eight minutes more, so if you
will slip quietly back of the screen you can whisper to him from there
without attracting much attention. I will make a little extra noise to
help you out."
Lawrence worked his way unobtrusively through the room, and standing
just to the side of the screen in a dark corner, called in a low voice:
"Jack, can I speak to you?"
Edestone, who had been deeply concerned about him, felt that a load was
lifted from his mind when he heard the dare-devil's voice. He knew at
least that Lawrence was back safely, and he was confident that he would
not have come back without the information until he had made a good
fight for it. So as everything was quiet on the outside he was
Lawrence very quickly explained to him exactly what he had seen, and
Edestone, squeezing his arm, said quietly:
"Ah! That is their little game!"
TWO REMARKABLE MEN
When the lights finally went up and the entertainment ended, perhaps
the most surprised, almost dumbfounded, man in the room was Jones. He
now had his first insight into the stupendous amount of work that had
been done by his friend, and was completely overcome by the seriousness
of the situation. He understood at last many things which had been lost
on him before, as for instance the insinuating remarks of the
Chancellor at their various conferences and why he had suspected the
Secretary of lying to him.
Jones wondered also if his own Government had purposely kept the
Embassy in the dark as to its relationship with Edestone. Not knowing
the whereabouts or even the ownership of this frightful instrument of
war, he was at a loss to know what he should say when certain pointed
questions which were inevitable were put to him.
He realized now for the first time that the German General Staff was at
work and would stop at nothing either to obtain the use of this great
monster of the air or, by seizing Edestone himself, control its
movements; that is, if Edestone and not the United States were
He could not blind himself to the air of confidence that pervaded the
entire company, composed as it was of the highest men in the German
Government, and this led him to believe that they knew Edestone held
the key of the situation, and as long as they held him they occupied
the strongest position.
But why, he could not help asking himself, had Edestone been such a
fool as to put himself so completely in their power. Still, being a
very astute man, and having the greatest confidence in his old friend,
who he knew would do the straight thing in a strong position and the
wise thing if he found himself in a weak one, he awaited developments.
Edestone, who had walked over to the Secretary of Legation, leaned down
and said in a voice loud enough for the Emperor to hear:
"Will you please say to His Imperial Majesty that if there is any
question he would like to put to me, or if he would care to have me
repeat any of the pictures, I should appreciate the great honour."
The Emperor, who was just waking up to the fact that he had in this
young American a very strong and clever man to deal with, was to a
certain extent at a loss to decide just how he would treat him.
Without waiting to have the request conveyed to him in due form, and
speaking directly to Edestone he said in an affable voice:
"I should like to see again the picture showing the working of the
bomb-dropping device, and I would like to have the film stopped exactly
at the moment that the projectile leaves the tube. I wish to examine
the action of the ejector."
"I shall be most happy," replied Edestone, "to run that film again very
slowly and repeat it as often as Your Majesty may desire. I can also
run it backward very slowly, but I cannot stop the machine that I am
using tonight without ruining the film, and I am quite sure," he bowed
most respectfully, "that Your Majesty will not wish me to do that."
"Stop that machine as I order you to do, and ruin the film if it is
necessary!" said the Emperor in his most commanding tone.
At last Edestone had the chance he had been looking for. He knew that
he was perfectly in his rights, and if he refused and the Emperor still
insisted upon his most unjust demand, it would open the eyes of his
country's representative to the situation and the true attitude of the
German authorities. Besides, he was incensed at the wanton destruction
of other people's property to satisfy the whims of this absolute
"I am very sorry, Your Majesty, I cannot do that, and for state reasons
that it is impossible for me to explain."
The Emperor turned perfectly livid. His face was painful to look at. He
tried vainly to speak, but could not. It was plain that he was
labouring under an emotion greater than his physical condition could
stand. His mouth worked and each hair of his moustache seemed to stand
on end, giving to his trembling lips an almost ghastly expression. He
was seized with a violent fit of coughing which on account of the weak
condition of his throat caused his doctor, without whom he rarely
moved, to step forward, as if alarmed, to his assistance.
General von Lichtenstein leaned over as if to restrain him and
whispered something in his ear, but this seemed only to infuriate him
the more, and he waved his Councillor aside.
The Acting Ambassador, a lawyer of ability, felt strongly the justice
of Edestone's position in defending his property rights, and had he
been sitting on the bench instead of on the edge of a raging volcano
would have ruled in his favour. As it was, he watched with intense
interest this contest between these two remarkable men.
When the Emperor had recovered sufficiently to speak, in a way that
showed his uncontrollable rage was battling with an inherited physical
weakness, his voice, starting in a whisper, rose and broke, and, in his
violent efforts to control the convulsive spasms of his throat, turned
into a scream.
"Show that film!" he shouted, "and stop it where I command or I will
confiscate everything you have and throw you into prison."
At this Jones rose quickly to his feet, a dangerous light in his eyes,
and he was about to speak, but General von Lichtenstein rushed over and
"His Majesty is beside himself," he urged in a low voice. "He does not
mean what he says. When he is himself again he will regret the
indignity that he has offered your country and will make reparation."
The Emperor had also arisen and was standing in the midst of as furious
and warlike a looking lot of men as had ever grouped themselves around
his wild barbaric ancestors, ready to pile their dead bodies about
their master and give the last drop of blood for his protection.
They looked as if they approved and only waited for the word to rush in
and avenge the insult to their beloved lord, and while waiting for this
word they stood and glared at Edestone with a look of absolute contempt
and undying hatred.
"Well, which shall it be?" said the Emperor, in a voice which was more
under control but none the less determined. "Will you stop your film?"
Edestone, who all this time had stood perfectly still looking at the
Emperor with eyes out of which had gone every vestige of deference and
respect, showed in every feature a fixed and determined but absolutely
cool defiance. The only time that his face had changed or his position
altered since he last spoke was when the Emperor was apparently
suffering, and then it had taken on an expression of deep pity and
sincere sympathy and he too had made a step forward as if to render
This had quickly changed, however, when his glance caught the look of
hatred that was riveted upon him. Declining even to glance at the
Emperor, he addressed himself directly to the Secretary of Legation,
speaking in a perfectly clear voice, which was a relief after the
Emperor's painful and rasping efforts.
"Mr. Secretary," he said slowly, "I resent the insult to you, and
through you to our country, which you represent, but if I thought that
by complying with the unjust demands which the Emperor of Germany has
seen fit to make I could prevent war between the United States and his
country, I naturally would comply. When I see, however, that the
Emperor of Germany refuses to respect the rights of an American citizen
in the house of his Ambassador, I realize that the destruction of my
film will not save the situation." He turned to the Emperor. "I regret
that I cannot comply with your commands. The matter is now between our
The Emperor laid his hand upon his sword and made a movement as though
he intended to strike, at which every sword in the room flashed from
its scabbard, save only that of old von Lichtenstein, who pressing
forward laid a dissuasive hand on the Emperor's arm.
"Don't let him draw you on," he whispered to his master; "this may be
some trick." Then to the rest he said in a contemptuous tone: "Don't
make fools of yourselves and make Germany ridiculous."
The Emperor turned to the Secretary. "Sir," he said in a voice
trembling with agitation, "you have heard the insult that has
been offered to my Imperial person, and if you do not deliver
this man over to my police, I shall at twelve o'clock tomorrow
night declare war against the United States of America, and until
that time"--threateningly--"I shall hold you personally responsible
Edestone coolly took out his watch and noted that it was exactly
twenty-five minutes past eleven o'clock, a proceeding which almost
caused the Emperor to lose control of himself again, but he was once
more held in check by General von Lichtenstein.
"I know now that this is a trick, Your Majesty," he declared.
The Acting Ambassador bowed slightly to the Emperor's last attack. "I
shall report to my Government all that has passed," he replied, "and
exactly what Your Majesty has just said, and I shall, as soon as I
receive an answer, report to Your Imperial Majesty." He finished, and
stood waiting as if to force the Emperor's immediate departure.
Then with scant formality, and showing by the unpardonable rudeness of
their behaviour the contempt in which they held all Americans, the
Emperor and his entire suite left the Embassy without taking the
slightest further notice of Edestone.
ALL CARDS ON THE TABLE
The royal party had scarcely gotten out of the house and Edestone and
Jones were still standing in the middle of the reception room when the
return of General von Lichtenstein was announced.
The old General came in as quietly as if nothing had happened. He
greeted the Secretary cordially and smiled benignly at Edestone.
"Young man," he said, "you needed my old head on your young shoulders
badly tonight. I have returned to have a talk with the Acting
Ambassador, and I think that if he can prevail upon you to be
reasonable I may be able to settle this little difficulty between you
and His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor. If you will only lead us into
some smaller room, Mr. Secretary, we can sit down and over our cigars
discuss this matter quietly."
"I am sorry that my machine--" began Edestone, but he was quickly
interrupted by the General.
"Tut, tut, that is nothing at all. That was simply two young men losing
their tempers, and ought to be soon settled. One being an Emperor makes
it a little more difficult, I will admit, but I have seen Emperors
angry before and they are just like any of us. They cool off when they
realize that they have," and he lowered his voice with a quizzical
look, "been a little bit foolish."
When they were all comfortably seated around the table in the library
of the Embassy, and the General and Edestone had lighted cigars, while
Jones, who never smoked, looked on, the old General, statesman,
philosopher, and writer opened the conversation.
"We have now come to the last hand in this game which we have been
playing," he said, "and I think it would be just as well for all cards
to be laid on the table."
Edestone looked at him in surprise, for instead of the simple, smiling
old gentleman, with the soft gentle voice and fatherly manner, he saw a
crafty, dangerous, and determined man of steel. His voice was cold and
harsh, his winning smile had gone. He had come to fight and to fight
desperately to the finish.
"In the first place," he continued, "we do not know exactly what is the
relationship between you," looking at Edestone, "and the United States
of America," with a wave of his hand toward Jones, "and as there can
now be no reason for further concealment, since we are virtually on the
verge of a declaration of war--a step which I am here to prevent if
possible--I will say that it makes no difference to His Imperial
Majesty's Government what that relationship may be, so long as Germany
gets the use of Mr. Edestone's invention. But we will declare war upon
the United States tomorrow night unless we get an assurance from you
that we shall have the exclusive right to the one and only flying
machine in which this invention has been installed."
At this Jones looked over at Edestone with a glance of inquiry.
"Yes," said Edestone in answer to this, "there is only one."
"Germany understands, of course," proceeded the General, "that the
United States will construct others, but so will Germany. Germany is
willing and prepared to pay well for this, although she knows that by
holding Mr. Edestone she controls this machine and could have it
without paying for it. We admit that we do not know where it is, but we
are confident that Mr. Edestone does,"--he turned upon Edestone the
look of a wild beast who has his prey and loves to torture it,--"and we
intend that he shall communicate with the commander and see that this
ship is sent to some place where we can take possession of it."
And then with a grim smile he leaned forward on the table, looking
first at the Secretary and then at Edestone.
"You are both virtually prisoners in this Embassy," he said. "That is
"Then we are now at war," said the Secretary with a quiet smile.
"No," replied the General, "it has not come to that yet. And it does
not necessarily have to come to that. We should be able to arrange this
matter here tonight. As I have said, Germany will pay well. She is
willing to start on even terms with the United States, who can build
just as fast as we can. Germany will bring this war to an end within a
week, and then she and the United States can come to an agreement as to
how they will divide up the rest of the earth."
Edestone smiled and made no answer.
The Secretary said: "I can do nothing until I have communicated with my
"I am sorry," said the General impatiently, "but we cannot wait until
we get an answer from your very slow and inefficient State Department.
We must have a reply before tomorrow night at 12 o'clock. Have you
nothing to say, Mr. Edestone? You are perhaps personally the most
deeply interested, because I tell you," he grinned cruelly, "we will
get your secret if we have to put you on the rack and go back five
centuries in the eyes of the rest of the world, should it be necessary
to do that in order to give it the blessings that can only be gotten
under German rule. I ask you again, have you nothing to say?"
"Nothing, General," replied Edestone.
He was slowly blowing rings of smoke, seeming almost to fascinate the
General, who would often stop speaking to follow them with his eyes
until they broke or were lost in the darkness in the corners of the
room. This was an old trick of his to divert the attention of his
adversary, therein improving on Bismarck who always used his cigar to
gain time when driven to a corner.
"That is your final answer?" said the General.
"My final answer," Edestone bowed.
"And you, Mr. Secretary?"
"I am but the mouthpiece of my Government, and she has not spoken yet."
"Well, gentlemen," said the General rising, "I think we understand each
"I think so," replied Edestone. "Good-night, sir."
The Secretary accompanied the visitor out into the hall, leaving
Edestone, who as soon as he was alone rang for a servant and sent for
Lawrence. In the meantime he just had opportunity to glance at the note
which General von Lichtenstein had given him. It was a mere scrap of
writing asking him to come to the Princess Wilhelmina immediately after
the departure of His Imperial Majesty.
When Lawrence came in he hastily slipped this into his pocket.
"Lawrence," he said, "I want you to send a message for me as soon as
Jones has given his consent. I will ask him in regard to it as soon as
he returns, so you had better wait and hear what he has to say."
A moment later the Secretary came into the room with a very worried
expression on his face. "Edestone," he said impressively, "this
undoubtedly means war."
"And if so," rejoined Edestone, "we will win."
He then explained to Jones how he was in daily communication with
"Specs" and was now only waiting for the Secretary's consent to send
for him and he could have him over Berlin in seven hours. He also
explained to him about the instrument that was in the penthouse on the
roof of the Embassy.
"But what do you propose to do, Jack?" frowned the Secretary. "Do you
intend to fight these people single-handed and thereby drag your
country into a cruel and disastrous war? That seems to me to be
"No, I propose to save you and the members of the Embassy from a very
disagreeable experience and from what may develop into a very dangerous
situation; for I am convinced that these Germans will not hesitate to
fire upon the Embassy if you do not deliver me up to them. The only
hope of stopping war without loss of life is through me and my
invention. I therefore ask your permission to send the following
message," and he handed the Secretary a scrap of paper upon which he
"Be exactly over American Embassy Berlin tomorrow night at nine
o'clock. Take station at 5000 feet and there await instructions.
The Secretary took the paper and read it through twice very slowly.
"I fear," he said with a sigh, "that is the only way."
WHERE IS IT?
The Secretary left the room after practically turning the entire matter
over to Edestone. He feared that the time had come to show force. The
Germans, in what they felt might be a desperate strait, had thrown to
the wind caution, tradition, and the usages of civilized warfare. They
were preparing some desperate move which he felt that he was powerless
to stop. Diplomacy with them now was as useless as pure logic on a
How they expected to stand against Edestone and his diabolical mystery
of the air, he could not comprehend, but he had lived long enough with
this nation to know them. Simple, kind, and lovable in their ordinary
lives, they were nevertheless, on the subject of war, individually and
collectively mad and they were ready to die fighting.
Whereas any sane man could see that their fight with Edestone was
hopeless, they with their absolute confidence and conceit were
preparing to pit themselves against him and some unknown secret of
nature. While he, with his discovery, was apparently in a position to
let loose upon their defenceless city an engine of destruction too
terrible to think of. Edestone, like the pilot who has come aboard the
ocean liner, had now taken entire charge.
The first thing was to get off this message, so he sat down to work out
the cipher known only to himself and "Specs." He said to Lawrence:
"My initials J. F. E. are the call which must be repeated three times,
then twice, and then finally once. This must all be repeated with one
minute intervals until answered by the single letter 'E,' which will be
repeated eight times, once for every letter in my name, and after an
interval of five minutes, once again only.
"After you have satisfied yourself that you are in touch with Mr. Page,
my head man, 'Specs,' I call him, send him this." He handed Lawrence
one word of twenty-two letters, or rather twenty-two letters which he
had apparently taken indiscriminately from a small pocket dictionary.
"Have him repeat, and see that there is no mistake," and continuing, he
said: "We are certainly being watched by the German servants; the
condition of my trunks shows that, so the first thing to do is to get
them out of the way. Call them all down into the ballroom, and say that
I wish to speak to them. See that everyone is there, and if there is a
single one missing, search the house from garret to cellar until you
find them all. I will give them a little talk which will give you and
Black time to get off this message. I will, incidentally, show them
that I propose to put up with no nonsense whatever."
As Lawrence was leaving the room he said to him with a jolly laugh:
"Oh, by the way, how does it feel to be rich again? I have been so
occupied with other things that I have not had time to thank and
congratulate you on your splendid work. What a fine story it will make
when we get back to New York, which will be very soon, I hope."
When the servants came in he first gave them a little insight into the
real state of affairs from a standpoint that they had never known. He
then explained to them that the Embassy was practically in a state of
siege, and that he was in command, and that if he heard of any one of
them having any communication whatever with anyone on the outside, he
would treat them in the way that he had treated the people in the
pictures which he had shown them, only he would put them out of the
window and they would keep going up and up and never come down again.
So when Lawrence returned and signalled that he might let them go, a
more thoroughly scared set of domestics never waited on the word of
"Ivan the Terrible."
"Well, Bo," said Lawrence as he threw himself into a comfortable chair,
after slopping whisky and water all over the tablecloth and dropping a
large piece of ice on the floor which he kicked violently at the
retreating servant at whom he had bellowed, giving a perfect imitation
of a Prussian officer in a public restaurant when American ladies are
present, "this has certainly been 'some day.' Will you please be so
kind as to put me wise on a few of your dates?
"In the first place, who was the 'wise guy' who rushed out from nowhere
and swallowed up my J. F. E. like an old trout from under a bank who
had never seen a Silver Doctor before? Where is he? How is he to get
here, and what is he going to do when he does?"
Edestone quietly finished the lighting of his cigar, and after he was
thoroughly satisfied that this was perfectly done and it was going to
draw to his entire satisfaction, he said:
"Well, now that you are to be my fellow-partner in crime, and Jones is
our associate, I will tell you. Do you remember the summer way back in
the 90's that you and I spent in Switzerland mountain climbing?"
"Yes, perfectly," said Lawrence, "but that was a long time ago. We were
nothing but kids then."
"Do you remember that you, kid-like, insisted upon going over a very
flimsy-looking snow bridge, simply because the old guide told us that
he had never seen that crevasse bridged before, and that the tradition
down in Chamonix was that it had only been bridged once or twice in the
memory of man?
"And do you remember," went on Edestone, "that at first he refused to
go, saying that if it broke after we got over, there was no possible
way of our getting back?"
"Yes," acknowledged Lawrence, "the old 'chump,' and I remember that we
went over and got back all right, and those guides are talking about it
"Well, do you remember," continued Edestone, "that when we scrambled
up over the next rock ridge we looked into a regular bowl-shaped
valley that had the appearance of a crater of an extinct volcano?"
"Yes," said Lawrence.
"Well, 'Specs' is there in that valley, where perhaps no human being
has ever been before. I sent him there for that reason. He has been
there for the last two months and a half, unknown to anyone on the face
of the earth and thoroughly protected from the storms that sweep over
that portion of the French Alps."
"Well, I'll be damned," said Lawrence. "Is 'Specs' the skipper of that
pretty little toy you were showing on the screen?"
"No, Captain Lee is the skipper," laughed Edestone. "Dear old 'Specs'
is my boss. He is the Admiral."
"Well, for the love of Mike," exploded Lawrence. "What a swell chance
those mortars out there with their long distance telephone attachments
will have with that Queen of the Milky Way. You don't mean to say that
he is coming over here with his forty thousand tons and float around up
there five thousand feet above the Embassy?" he exclaimed as he looked
up at the ceiling with a look of alarm, as if he expected to see it
come crushing down on him at any moment. And jumping out of his chair
he ran about the room, making the most ridiculous gestures, crying:
"Air, I want air!" while Edestone laughed until the tears rolled down
"But say, Bo," said Lawrence, "there is nothing to it. What do you
suppose those crazy Dutchmen are thinking about? Why I thought that sky
pirate belonged to the United States, and was now probably tied to a
dock in some mud flat, with a crew of two brass polishers and a Sunday
School teacher, while the Virginia creeper and the North Carolina
milkweed twined about it to make nests for the Dove of Peace."
"No," said Edestone, "it is what you have just called it, a Sky Pirate,
and I am the buccaneer."
"Did the Emperor know that when he got so gay with you tonight?" asked
"No, he does not know that, but he knows everything else."
"Well, what is his game?"
"Well," said Edestone, after thinking for a while, "as far as I can
make it out it is this: They do not want to kill me; they are using me
to bait the trap with which they hope to catch the 'Queen of the Milky
Way,' as you call her. They will take her dead, now that they cannot
get her alive, and they hope to be able to put new life into her after
they have taken all life out with the 'long distance telephone
attachments,' as you call them."
"Why is he so certain that you will not drop bombs on his city?" asked
"I do not know," replied Edestone, "unless he knows that I am more of a
gentleman than he is. Or perhaps he thinks that I will not allow any
damage to be done until I am safely on board, which may or may not be
"_Tu as raison, mon vieux_," shrugged Lawrence.
"They will do nothing to me until they are certain that they are going
to lose me. They want me alive, but would rather have me dead than in
the hands of the other fellow. Now do you understand?"
"Not exactly," replied Lawrence, pretending to look very wise. "What do
you mean about taking her dead if they can't get her alive, and what
have those wires got to do with it?"
"I mean by taking her alive," said Edestone, "buying her from whoever
she belongs to, and keeping me here to show them how to run her. And
when I spoke of taking her dead, I had forgotten that you had not heard
what I said tonight while showing the pictures. I will explain this to
you sometime when we get on board and we have more time, but you will
understand enough when I tell you this."
Lawrence listened attentively as Edestone continued.
"They know that she floats by virtue of an instrument that I have; they
know that she will not float if brought in contact with the earth or if
connected with it by means of some electrical conductor. They propose
to establish an electrical connexion between her and the ground by
throwing those wires over her with mortars, just as the life-saving men
throw a life-line to a ship in distress."
"Oh, that was why they were so carefully connected with the water
main," interrupted Lawrence.
"Yes," replied Edestone, "and when they get her down they will expect
me with my instrument to float her off again."
"Well, what do you think of their chances of pulling this off?" asked
"I think," said Edestone thoughtfully, "their chances are small, but
you can never tell what these very resourceful people may do. They are
buoyed up by a hopefulness that is almost uncanny and they can't all be
THE DIFFERENCE OF THEIR STATIONS
Edestone and Lawrence sat quietly for a few minutes, Lawrence watching
him with a merry twinkle in his eye while Edestone was unconsciously
fingering the note that General von Lichtenstein had given him. Finally
"Well, I'm off for bed. I have a hard day before me tomorrow."
"Yes, you are, you old fox!" said his companion. "I'm on to you. There
is something up, and you can't hide it from me. You have been sitting
there fingering that note from--well, I guess I can pretty well call
you, because your lady friends in Berlin are limited--with the silliest
expression I have ever seen on your face. Now, out with it! You had
better get it off your chest by telling your troubles to papa."
Edestone put the note quickly into his pocket, and was about to force
through his bluff when Lawrence stopped him by saying:
"You can trust me, old man; now out with it."
"Well," said Edestone in an embarrassed tone, "General von Lichtenstein
did give me a note from Princess Wilhelmina," showing it to Lawrence.
"My dear fellow," Lawrence said, "what do you propose to do? If you are
going to take a chance for the pleasure of seeing a beautiful woman, I
am with you heart and soul; but if you are taking a chance because you
believe she is sincerely in distress and calling on you, an American
here in Berlin, when she's got all of those becorseted Johnnies around
her, you had better allow me to advise you."
"I am perfectly willing to take a chance," cried Edestone in an angry
tone, "if you choose to call it that, because I have absolute confidence
"Say, Jack, I think you are beginning to get a little bit soft on the
Princess. You may be all right when it comes to straight electricity,
but I think you will admit that I have had more experience in this kind
of animal magnetism than you. She is certainly a snappy little
"Lawrence, please don't," said Edestone.
"Well, you don't know perfectly well, Jack, that General von
Lichtenstein would not have delivered that note from a Princess of the
house of Windthorst to you, a low-born American plebeian, unless it was
part of their scheme. Why it's as much as his life is worth, if it is as
you believe it to be," and he gave Edestone a knowing look.
"Now, cut that out, Lawrence," said Edestone in a decided tone. "Do not
think for one moment that I have any illusions as far as that young lady
is concerned. She is evidently in trouble of some kind, and the fact
that she is so young offsets that of her being a Princess."
Lawrence shrugged his shoulders, and occupied himself smoking while
"I think that General von Lichtenstein thinks she is working for them,
but I am just fool enough to think that she is not. In fact, I know she
is not, but even if she were, I would like to show those people that I
will not allow them to sacrifice her dignity and compromise herself in
her own eyes even for them, so I am going, if for no other reason than
to keep her from doing something which she may some day deeply
regret. I'm off. If you want some excitement, why you might drop into
some of the clubs and feel out the officers."
"Ah," said Lawrence, "that is a good idea. I will be just about as
popular as a baby rabbit in a litter of foxes."
"And you can enjoy watching them as they sit around, licking their
chops," interjected Edestone, "as they think of the dainty morsel you
will make when they eat you alive tomorrow. Be careful. We want no
false steps, and there are some pretty skittish ponies in the Emperor's
stable. He can hold in check his plough horses, but these young
thoroughbreds are getting nervous at the post."
"Well," said Lawrence, "I never was very strong for these Prussians, but
they made a hit with me tonight in the way in which they started for
you. They were a pretty fine looking lot of handsome young chaps," and
curling an imaginary moustache, he continued: "Almost as good as our
eleven of 1903," and they both stood and toasted grand old Harvard, and
he was leaving the room singing, "Here's to dear old Harvard, drink her
down!" when Edestone called him back and said:
"Lawrence, get one of the Embassy automobiles and I will drop you on the
Edestone, whereas he knew that his movements were being watched and that
this meeting had been arranged, if not by the German General Staff, by
some of its female lieutenants, was determined to show them that he did
not intend to compromise this little Princess by calling upon her at
that hour of the night in a secretive manner.
All was perfectly quiet in the streets, and the automobile was allowed
to pass without interruption. When he arrived at the Palace he imagined
that the coast had been cleared for him, for on entering he discovered
that there was some sort of an entertainment going on, which would have
necessitated the presence of waiting automobiles on the outside, which
were conspicuous by their absence.
He was evidently expected, and was immediately conducted to a small
room. He could hear music and laughter in another part of the Palace,
but saw no one except the flunkeys in the hall.
The room into which he was shown was evidently one of those used by the
family in their home life, as was shown by the papers, books, and fancy
work lying about.
The situation would ordinarily have been most amusing to him, and had he
not been so occupied with such serious matters, and had there been less
of a difference in their ages and social positions, he would have
enjoyed the excitement of a mysterious rendezvous with this extremely
charming and attractive young woman.
He was thoroughly conscious of her attractions, and though he might have
denied the necessity of this, in thinking of her he always kept before
his mind the fable of the fox and the sour grapes.
He was kept waiting for about fifteen minutes, and he began to wonder if
the whole thing had not been arranged, and would not have been surprised
if when the door quietly opened he had seen von Lichtenstein or even the
Emperor himself instead of a very much frightened little woman.
She was apparently supported by sheer will power and the pride of the
Princess, which she had inherited from her long line of ancestors,
extending back into the unwritten pages of history.
She was dressed so simply that the lines of her most graceful little
figure were perfectly revealed, but with such modesty that though she
followed the dictates of the modern fashions, which leave little to the
imagination, the effect upon Edestone was that of reverence in the
presence of such youth and innocence.
To him she seemed to be draped in some soft silky material, and though
her neck and arms were bare, they were enveloped in a shimmer of tulle,
which she held about her as if for protection. Her hair, parted in the
middle, was flatly dressed, and held close to her small head by a little
band of jewels which encircled it and crossed her low white brow.
She was perfectly calm, dignified, and had herself well in hand. There
was an expression upon her face of resolution, and as if to help, she
assumed a more royal and dignified bearing than he had ever supposed she
was capable of.
She had evidently been crying, but her voice was steady and rather
haughty in its tone as she said, giving him her hand:
"I am glad that you have come."
Edestone took it gently in his own, and bowing, scarcely touched it with
his lips, but when he felt its icy touch, and caught the faint perfume,
he felt a thrill, and for a moment he forgot that he was in the presence
of a Royal Princess, who looked upon him as something a little bit
better than a servant, and not as good as the most miserable Count that
ever wore a paper collar or passed a fraudulent check at the Newport
Recovering himself quickly, however, he dropped her hand and stood in an
attitude of deep respect, but not until she had caught the look that he
had given her.
Not daring to look up at her for fear of her indignation at his
presumption, he busied himself arranging the cushions in a seat for her.
Raising her hand to her throat, which had moved convulsively, she
watched him with a quiet little smile, as if waiting to finish the
deadly work which she, young as she was, knew that she had started. Like
a great ring general, she did not intend to allow her adversary time to
recover before she administered the _coup de grace_.
When he recovered sufficiently to allow himself to look at her, although
he resolved to keep strictly to the object of their meeting, he was so
struck with her great charm that he could not resist saying:
"I sincerely hope, Princess, that you will pardon me if I take the great
liberty of saying to you that you are looking extremely beautiful
She answered with a smile.
And then in a light and frivolous tone, and looking at her in a manner
which she could not misunderstand, with the deepest respect he added:
"If I were a Prince and a few years younger, I would humbly kneel and
worship at your shrine, Princess."
A cloud passed over her face, but recovering, with a look which if
Edestone had been younger and less sensible would have finished him:
"Well, Mr. Edestone," she smiled coquettishly, "I understand that you
were tonight a match for an Emperor; and I am feeling very old myself."
With a smile acknowledging her condescension in allowing this slight
exchange of repartee, he assumed a fatherly air, and said, having
recovered himself entirely:
"Now, my dear and very sweet little Princess, your very old and most
humble servant awaits your orders. The only reward that he expects is
that he be allowed to see you one or two times before he dies of old
age, or you are seated on a throne."
With an impatient gesture, and an almost imperceptible stamp of her
little foot, she said:
"Please don't talk that way. I hate being a Princess, and the way you
say it makes me hate myself," and with a quick glance and a tone of
great seriousness: "I don't think you are so old as all that.
"I have sent for you," changing her voice, "to warn you again. It was
absolutely necessary in order to arrange this meeting to lead them to
believe that I was willing to do that which you must hate me for--use my
power as a woman to persuade you to give up the position which you have
taken, and though I hate them all for it, in order to save you from
certain death I have compromised myself in my own eyes, and have done
that which will cause you to hate me."
"That I could never do," said Edestone, which brought a faint smile to
her lips. "Princess, I appreciate more deeply than I can say your great
kindness, and if there is anything that I can do which will save you
from these people when they find that you have failed in your
undertaking, you can command me. Your warning, however, comes as no
surprise to me; but I appreciate it none the less."
"Could I not hold out to them," she anticipated, "that you had agreed to
reveal this secret to me, and in that way gain time, and you might be
able to get out of Berlin?"
"But what would become of you when they discovered that you had played
them false?" asked Edestone. And then, as if hesitating to refer to the
delicacy of her position, an English Princess in Berlin, he added: "They
are relentless, and they might suspect you of playing into the hands of
England. No, Princess, there is but one thing for you to do, and that is
to say that I declined absolutely and entirely to consider any
proposition of any kind.
"If you were in any way associated with me in what I have already done
and what I propose to do, I should not be willing to leave you in
Berlin, and though I know you are absolutely sincere in your intentions
to assist me in my work, there is no possible way for me to protect you
other than by taking you with me, which is absolutely out of the
question. You would not be safe even in the American Embassy."
She thought for a while, and then, as if an idea had struck her, she
"My mother, like myself, is perfectly loyal to England, and if as I
understand it is the intention of the American Government to come out on
the side of the Allies, would there be any impropriety in my going with
her to the Embassy and taking my chances with the Secretary's family?"
"That would be impossible," said Edestone. "They have taken you into
their confidence, and would not allow you to leave the country. I think
mine is the only plan. Say to them that I would listen to no
proposition, and allow me to go and take my chances."
He could not trust himself, and he knew his only hope of keeping her
esteem was in getting out before she discovered his real secret, and
rising in a most dignified manner he kissed her hand, and then allowing
himself to press it gently to his cheek for a moment, left the room
abruptly, while she sank into a seat and covered her face with her
THEY CALL FOR ASSISTANCE
The next morning everything was perfectly quiet on the outside of the
Embassy. The soldiers had apparently settled down for a siege. They
contented themselves with singing hymns and drinking songs, and with
mock reverence rendering the "Star Spangled Banner," closely followed by
the "Marseillaise," and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."
But there was mutiny within the walls. Mrs. Jones had flatly refused to
leave the Embassy. She said that she had not the slightest idea of
going up in Jack's foolish flying machine, to be shot at by the soldiers
or dropped into the middle of the ocean; that for her part she intended
to stay exactly where she was. The Secretary might go if he wished to
risk his life in a balloon or if it was his duty, but she thought she
was safer in the Embassy. She was perfectly sure that the Germans would
not dare to shoot at it while the United States flag was flying over it,
and there were women inside.
The Secretary seemed to agree with her, and said: "It was only on your
account, my dear, that I was going. As long as the flag flies above this
roof, my duty is here, and I sincerely hope that you are right."
"But we are now at war with these people," said Edestone, "and they may
take it into their heads to shoot that flag away, and they have plainly
shown that they will kill and burn women and children if in their
judgment one single point, however small, can be gained in their
national game of war. It is a ruling passion with them, and they think
that all of the nicer feelings of honour, humanity, and even religion
must be crushed, and that these sentiments are foolish and are for women
and weaklings only."
At which Mrs. Jones seemed worried. She preferred, however, she said, to
stay and take a chance rather than go to certain death with Edestone.
"I think," said he, "that if we were dealing with any of the other
civilized nations, the Embassy would be perfectly safe, even if war had
been declared or forced upon us without any formal declaration, but with
the Germans in their present state of nerves, it is quite
different. They have a strange method of retaliation, not for an injury
to themselves, but for the failure on their part to inflict one upon
others, which can only be accounted for by their savage passion for
revenge. The real danger, however, will be before this while they are
trying to prevent my escape."
The Secretary was anxious to remain at his post as long as possible, so
he was glad to side with Mrs. Jones. Lawrence begged for and obtained
permission to go with Edestone.
"You can take absolutely nothing in the way of luggage," said
Edestone. "I can fit you out when we get on board. I have just told
Black, Stanton, and James the same thing, and I suppose your boy would
like to go with you also."
"Certainly," said Lawrence.
With no preparations to make, there was nothing to do but wait. Lawrence
was the only one who was willing to go out on the streets and stand the
ugly looks that were given by all those who in some way or another knew
that they were Americans.
On his return he reported that the papers were silent on the subject of
the Kaiser's call at the Embassy the night before. One of the afternoon
papers, he said, did report that a very large Zeppelin had been seen
flying over Berne at 9 o'clock in the morning, at about 5000 feet,
judging by her size. At first it was thought that she was on fire from
the clouds of smoke that she was emitting, but she continued on her way
in the direction of Berlin at about fifty miles an hour. She was up too
high, the papers stated, to be identified, but as the Swiss Government
knew that none of the Allies had Zeppelins, it was suggested that a
protest would soon come from Switzerland for a violation of her
Lawrence said that evidently the German General Staff had received some
information, for he found no officers at the Club, and troops with
anti-aircraft guns and mortars with their two-wheeled trailers were
moving in all directions.
The general public, however, as usual, seemed to have no information,
and were going about their duties in their usual stolid manner.
The troops around the Embassy had been reinforced and were showing great
activity. He thought that the Kaiser was making a personal inspection
judging by the number of high officers he saw going and coming.
The soldiers were most insulting in their manner and kept him moving,
and would not allow him to go anywhere near the mortars which were
stripped for action. The covers over the two-wheeled drums were
unstrapped so that they could be thrown off at a moment's notice.
"You are right," said Edestone, as he and Lawrence stood looking out of
one of the windows of the Embassy at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon.
"They have heard something. I am surprised that we have heard nothing
from them today. You can depend upon it, they will try to get me without
an actual fight. They know that they can bamboozle our Government, but
fear the temper of our people will not stand for any killing, which they
certainly intend to do if necessary. I do wish Mrs. Jones was not here.
"If 'Specs' was over Berne at 9 o'clock," he went on, "and he wanted to,
he could have been here hours ago. He is evidently jogging along
slowly. He cannot now be more than fifty miles away; he is perhaps just
about at Leipsic. I think we had better speak to him and tell him to go
higher up and not to come over Berlin before dark. You know he does not
know what is going on here. I am afraid to warn him about the wires,
for if by chance they should intercept our message they would know that
they had struck a very good answer to my 'Little Peace Maker.'"
"You don't mean to say," cried Lawrence, "that there is any chance of
their pulling you down with those wires?"
"It all depends," replied Edestone. "It would take me some time to
calculate the amount of metal it would require to take the current that
would wreck us, but if they do get that amount in contact with us and
the earth at the same time we will come down."
"My God!" said Lawrence.
"Well, that is the reason that I do not want to take any chance by
mentioning wires at all. They don't know now that one wire will not do
the trick, and if they get the idea that it is a question of the largest
possible number, they will double up on us. As it is, they have sixteen,
and we have a fighting chance. At any rate, I will speak to 'Specs' and
tell him not to come over the Embassy until after dark."
"Won't he have some difficulty in finding the Embassy?" asked Lawrence.
Edestone laughed. "You do not know old 'Specs.' In the first place he
studied for six years in Berlin and knows it from end to end. Besides,
he has all of the cities of Europe plotted, and he can get his bearings
from a dozen different points. He will feel very badly unless Capt. Lee
puts him within a few inches of where his calculations tell him he
should be. Why, you should see him calculating! He used a 6 H pencil,
and he can cover a large sheet of paper with microscopic figures before
you have even sharpened yours! It will be just like 'Specs,' if it is a
still night, to drop a plumb line and check himself. When you see him
coming down slowly, you can be sure that he is going to drop his ladder
at exactly the right spot.
"You see to it that the servants are all out of the way. If necessary,
lock them all down in the basement. I will work out the message."
When Lawrence returned and stated that everything was clear, Edestone
said to him: "Send this. It says:
"Stand by at 50, up 10,000. After dark follow orders. If called
They then took the elevator and went together to the roof, where with
powerful glasses they searched the south-western sky. On all sides they
could see Taubes, which like great birds were circling in all
Edestone was startled by seeing something that looked like the "Little
Peace Maker," but it turned out to be one of the largest German
"Why, my boy," laughed Lawrence, "Captain Lee could make that fellow
look like an _ante bellum_ picnic in a thunderstorm, all hoop
skirts and bombazine, before Count Zeppelin could get it under the
"It is circling now," he exclaimed; "he must have his eye on a Belgium
baby, the old buzzard!"
After Edestone had gotten Lawrence to his wireless instrument by first
running the car down until the top was at the level of the roof, and
after Lawrence had stepped on running it up to the top of the penthouse,
he then dropped the car down and came out on the roof again.
He looked about with his glasses; and was not surprised to see soldiers
on the roofs of the other buildings where they had stationed powerful
anti-aircraft guns and searchlights.
"I am rather glad Mrs. Jones is not coming with us," he thought. "It is
going to be pretty hot here for a little while. We shall be under fire
for about ten feet; Captain Lee will not dare come down any closer."
When Lawrence came down, he said: "I got him and he answered me. I am
sure someone was trying to cut in. I could not tell whether he could get
us or not, but he was trying to mix us up."
Edestone worked with his little book for a few minutes, and then read
"Passed over Leipsic up 5000. Have been seen. Will stand by at 30,
"That means that he is about over Dessau, and could get here in fifteen
minutes easily if called. So far so good. But those machine guns are
worrying me. I did not want to make any show of force, but self
protection may drive me to it.
"Run the elevator down, Lawrence, and come back by the stairs. We can
walk down. I want to look over my ground and plan my campaign."
"How foolish," he thought, "not to have remembered the machine guns on
the roofs. The only protection we have on the Embassy are the chimneys
and the penthouse, and they will protect only halfway up the landing
ladder. There is always that ten feet in which we will be exposed on all
sides to a fire under which nothing could live for half a minute."
He then examined the door to the bulkhead at the head of the stairs. It
was strong, but there was no way to fasten it on the outside. There was
another door at the bottom of the stairs that could be locked, but it
was an ordinary door and could easily be broken down. He found only one
place on the entire roof where there was what might be called a zone of
safety, and that was by no means perfectly safe.
He carefully worked out the plan of defence, giving to his enemy the
part to play which he thought they would naturally take.
When Lawrence came up he explained his plan to him. He said: "When they
see that we are attempting to escape by the roof, they will rush us by
coming up those stairs. I do not intend to allow my men to fire unless
it is absolutely necessary."
"Oh, just shoot me one little one," begged Lawrence.
Edestone frowned disapprovingly. "When they have broken through the
lower door, we can stand here between the penthouse and the chimneys,
and by keeping down below the parapet be comparatively safe. I will then
tell them that I have a machine gun trained on the bulkhead door, and
that it will be certain death for them to attempt to come out that
way. If they fire on the Embassy, I will order my large guns to silence
every gun that bears on it."
As they went downstairs the sun was just setting.
"SIT DOWN, YOU DOG!"
As Edestone and Lawrence were coming down the stairs they were met by
one of the German servants, who told them in a rather excited manner
that the Secretary wished to see them both in his library.
Hastening down they were surprised as they arrived in the main hall to
see through the iron and glass grille a squad of German soldiers
standing at the front door.
"This is their last card," said Edestone in an undertone, "and if it
fails there is nothing left for them to do but kill me. They have
received word from Leipsic and they know that there is no time to lose,
so we can look out now for anything. You had better get our party
together, Lawrence, and see that every man has a pistol. There are two
automatics in my room. When you get back, if you find me standing, or if
I rise, or if I light a cigar, make some excuse and get up to the roof
as quickly as you can and send your S. O. S. call to 'Specs.' He can be
here in fifteen minutes after he receives it. Then, lock that grille and
station someone there you can trust."
"I wonder what they'll charge me with?" he thought as alone he entered
the room where the Secretary was sitting calmly, although Edestone could
see that he was making a great effort not to show his indignation to the
German officer who was standing in front of him.
Edestone knew him so well that when he saw his mouth fixed as though he
was whistling quietly to himself, the forefinger of his right hand at
his lips as if to assist him in his musical efforts,--he who could not
turn a tune,--he knew that Jones had himself well in hand. In his left
hand the Secretary held a formal-looking paper with which he was quietly
tapping the table in front of him as though keeping time to his
soundless and imaginary ditty. With his chin well down, he was looking
from under his heavy eyebrows with eyes that were dangerously cold.
The officer who had delivered these papers was apparently waiting for
his answer and stood very erect, looking straight ahead of him. He did
not change his position or notice Edestone as he entered the room.
"Good-morning, Count von Hemelstein," said Edestone on seeing who it
was, and the soldier then condescended to acknowledge the greeting with
a slight bow.
The Secretary leaned forward, and putting both hands flat on the table
while looking straight at Count von Hemelstein, said in a rather
judicial tone, as though delivering an opinion from the bench:
"Mr. Edestone, Count von Hemelstein has just delivered to me an order
for your arrest on the charge of giving assistance to the enemies of
Germany. He also charges Lawrence Stuyvesant with insulting the
Emperor's uniform and his dignity by impersonating a Prince of the Royal
Blood and rendering that Prince ridiculous. He states, however, in your
case that the Emperor will accept your explanation if you will accompany
Count von Hemelstein quietly and make it to His Imperial Majesty in
person. In the case of Lawrence Stuyvesant, he demands an apology and
has paroled him in my custody until this is received, and as in the
first case he makes a further condition, which is that the Emperor will
accept an apology made by Lawrence Stuyvesant to the Prince himself,
provided only that you agree to accompany Count von Hemelstein quietly
and at once."
Then turning as if addressing a prisoner on trial before him he said, in
that soft and quiet voice always assumed by a judge in speaking to a
criminal, even though he knows that the culprit has just boiled his
"In the case against you, Mr. Edestone, in your absence I have flatly
denied the charge. In the case against Lawrence Stuyvesant I deny all
knowledge of, and decline to express an opinion until I have had an
opportunity of looking into, the circumstances of the alleged offence."
Edestone who had stood during this went over and took a seat at the
Secretary's side of the table. "It is just as you said it would be," he
observed to the Count with a mocking laugh as he passed him. "You
Germans are so thorough."
The Count made no reply, only stiffening up, if it were possible to give
any more of that quality of German militarism to a ramrod in human form.
He stood as if expecting the Secretary to continue, or to hear further
from Edestone, but both men sat perfectly still looking at him. The
Secretary, as if having delivered his ruling, he was waiting for the
case to go on, settled back into his chair, while Edestone, with the
look of a lawyer who is perfectly satisfied with the ruling of the
court, was grinning at his opponent, toying with both hands with a small
bronze paper-weight made in the shape of a ploughshare, recently
received from Washington with the compliments of the Secretary of State.
As neither man seemed to have the slightest intention of breaking the
silence, after a moment which seemed an age, Count von Hemelstein
brought his hand with a snap to a salute.
"My orders are to bring Mr. Edestone with me," he said, "and if you
decline to deliver him to me, Mr. Secretary, I must use force."
"That I have no power to prevent you from doing," said Jones. "You are
now in the Embassy of a friendly nation, on soil dedicated by His
Imperial Majesty to the use of the representative of that nation, whose
safety and that of those he may see fit to protect are guaranteed by the
most solemn promise that it is possible for one nation to make to
another. If His Imperial Majesty intends to break his solemn word, I am
as powerless as the lowest peasant in his domain. As to my word of
honour as to the safe-keeping of Mr. Lawrence Stuyvesant, you have by
your act reduced me to the rank of a simple American citizen, and as
such, and not as representing the Ambassador at the Court of Berlin--for
after this there can be none--I tell you that I will not give my word to
those who do not keep theirs. As to Mr. Edestone, I can simply, for his
own sake, advise him to go with you, but not before I tell him that his
country will resist with all its power the indignity which His Majesty
has seen fit to offer it."
Lawrence, who had come in during this speech, was standing looking in
amazement from one to the other.
Then Edestone rose. "Mr. Secretary," he said, "I regret to have been the
cause of putting you in this most trying position, and before I decide
to accompany this officer or detective I must think, so with your
permission I will light a cigar." He walked over to a table and very
slowly selected one from a box that was there.
Lawrence, as if he had forgotten something, left the room hurriedly.
Edestone very deliberately took his cigar and very slowly lighted it. He
then as slowly walked back to his seat and sat blowing ring after ring,
holding all the time the box of matches in his right hand.
In the meantime Lawrence had walked to the front door, as if looking out
to see why the soldiers were there, and turned the key of the grille so
noiselessly that it failed to attract any attention from the men on the
outside. Then turning to Fred, the Bowery boy, who was waiting for him,
he spoke in an undertone.
"Don't let any of the servants open that door or even go near it," he
said, and, satisfied that his order would be obeyed, stepped inside the
elevator and closed the door with a bang.
Edestone, who had meanwhile been doing anything simply to kill time,
heard this. He knew that Lawrence would work quickly, and had had ample
time to carry out the first part of his instructions. As if about to
drop into his pocket the box of matches he was holding, he drew with a
quick motion a .38 automatic, and leaning across the table covered the
Count with it.
"Hold up your hands!" he said without raising his voice. "It is safer."
There was on his face that unmistakable look of the man who intends to
kill. The other man saw it and understood, and reluctantly raised his
hands above his head after making a half-gesture as if to draw his own
pistol from his belt but thinking better of it.
"This is very foolish, Mr. Edestone," he said with a disdainful
sneer. "Will you fight single-handed six million men?"
Jones, who when a young man had spent a good many years in a frontier
town, was too accustomed to this method of punctuating one's remarks and
calling the undivided attention of one's listener to them, to be much
surprised. At any rate, he showed none, and besides he knew Edestone to
be a perfectly cool man whose trigger finger would not twitch from
"Be careful, Jack," he contented himself with saying very quietly; "I
suppose you know what you are about." Then he settled back to wait for
Edestone to explain what he would do next.
"Yes, William," said Edestone, "I know exactly what I am doing, and in
order to relieve you and your Government from any responsibility, I
here, in the presence of the Emperor's representative, renounce my
allegiance to the United States of America and to all other countries,
and I now become a law unto myself, accountable to no one but myself--in
other words, an outlaw, a pirate." He turned then to the emissary of
"Count von Hemelstein, as I intend to keep you in that position for some
little time unless you will allow me to remove your arms--not your
sword," he explained quickly on seeing the look of horror that came over
the Prussian's face. "I will allow you to keep that barbaric relic of
the Middle Ages and modern Japan, to which you and the Knights k of the
Orient attach so much importance. But that very nice automatic I must
have. I beg that you will allow me to take it without any unnecessary
fuss." He walked around the table and, gently pulling the pistol out of
its holster, put it into his own pocket, keeping the Count carefully
covered all the while.
"Now you can take down your hands. I know that you can hide nothing more
dangerous in that tight-fitting uniform of yours than a long cigarette
holder and a very pretty box. I am delighted that you have been so
quiet, as no one could come to your assistance. Your soldiers are locked
outside of the iron grille and would have some difficulty in breaking it
down, even if they could hear you; so sit down. I wish to explain a few
things to you.
"It is now exactly a quarter before eight o'clock. By eight the Little
Peace Maker will be over the Embassy, and you with your boastful
knowledge of other people's business must realize what that means. You
have heard what I just said to the Secretary representing the United
States at the Court of Berlin, and my object in making that statement
before you was to relieve him and the United States of America of the
responsibility of any of my acts. The Little Peace Maker is my own
personal property, and before she fires a gun or drops a bomb I shall
haul down the flag of the United States and run up my own private
signal, which on my yacht, the _Storm Queen_, is well known in all
yachting circles. In short, from now on I declare myself an outlaw.
"If your Emperor will allow me and my men to go abroad peaceably, I will
do so and all may be well, but at the very first act of violence I will
take the necessary steps to protect them. I intend to keep you here
until I am notified that the airship has arrived, and when I leave this
room, my advice to you is not to follow me, but go at once and notify
your superior officer and thereby save the great loss of life that will
"Now, Count, as we will have about ten minutes longer together, I am
quite sure that the Secretary will not object to your joining me with
one of the Ambassador's extremely good cigars," and he winked at his
He walked over to the table as if to get the box, but the moment his
back was turned the Count jumped and started for the door like a
flash. With a quick side step, however, Edestone threw himself between
him and the only exit from the room, and giving the fugitive a good poke
in the stomach with the muzzle of his gun, said:
"I allowed you to do that to show you that you are absolutely in my
power. Sit down, Count von Hemelstein, and if you will give me your word
of honour that you will not move I shall not tie you. Do you accept
The Count nodded his head and sat down, and the Secretary, who all this
time had been sitting perfectly quiet, said with a very little bit of a
smile on about one-half of his mouth:
"Count von Hemelstein, if I were you I should sit still. You must see
that you are powerless to do anything, and whereas I know that
Mr. Edestone does not intend to kill you unless it is absolutely
necessary, I am equally certain that he intends to if it is. In fact, I
do not know that he might not kill me if I stood in his way. He has just
declared himself to be an outlaw, and it is my duty to turn him over to
the authorities, but I should hate to have to try to do it now that he
seems so bent on leaving us."
Edestone, who quickly caught the idea that the Secretary was trying to
convey to him, turned on his friend.
"If you, my friend, whom I have known for years, desert me now," he
declared in a loud and apparently much excited tone, "or attempt to
deliver me over to these wild people to kill, I will kill you, if it is
the last act of my life." He faced about so that one eye was hidden from
the flabbergasted German and gave another significant wink. Then
turning back to the Count he resumed: "I will kill any man who prevents
me from going on board the Little Peace Maker tonight. Now let us talk
about more pleasant things for the few remaining minutes that we are to
have in each other's company."
But the Count was in no mood for conversation. He sat staring at the
floor, while Edestone with his watch in his hand waited for word from
Lawrence. It was now eight o'clock and still no response. Could there
be some mistake? Had the Germans been able to prevent his message from
going through? Or was Lawrence waiting to be sure that the airship was
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