The Yellow Crayon
E. Phillips Oppenheim
Part 6 out of 6
They embarked in the drizzling rain. Lady Carey drew a little
breath of relief as they reached their cabin, and felt the boat
move beneath them.
"Thank goodness that we are really off. I have been horribly
nervous all the time. If they let you leave England they can have
no suspicion as yet."
Lucille was putting on an ulster and cap to go out on deck.
"I am not at all sure," she said, "that I shall not return to
England. At any rate, if Victor does not come to me in Paris I
shall go to him."
"What beautiful trust!" Lady Carey answered. "My dear Lucille, you
are more like a school-girl than a woman of the world."
A steward entered with a telegram for Lucille. It was banded in at
the Haymarket, an hour before their departure. Lucille read it, and
her face blanched. "I thank you for your invitation, but I fear
that it would not be good for my health. - S."
Lady Carey looked over her shoulder. She laughed hardly.
"How brutal!" she murmured. "But, then, Victor can be brutal
sometimes, can't he?"
Lucille tore it into small pieces without a word. Lady Carey
waited for a remark from her in vain.
"I, too," she said at last, "have had some telegrams. I have been
hesitating whether to show them to you or not. Perhaps you had
better see them."
She produced them and spread them out. The first was dated about
the same time as the one Lucille had received.
"Have seen S. with message from Lucille. Fear quite useless, as
he believes worst."
The second was a little longer.
"Have just heard S. has left for Liverpool, and has engaged berth in
Campania, sailing to-morrow. Break news to Lucille if you think well.
Have wired him begging return, and promising full explanation."
"If these," Lucille said calmly, "belonged to me I should treat them
as I have my own."
"What do you mean?"
"I should tear them up."
Lady Carey shrugged her shoulders with the air of one who finds
further argument hopeless.
"I shall have no more to say to you, Lucille, on this subject," she
said. "You are impossible. In a few days you will be forced to
come round to my point of view. I will wait till then. And in the
meantime, if you think I am going to tramp up and down those sloppy
decks and gaze at the sea you are very much mistaken. I am going
to lie down like a civilized being, and try and get a nap. You had
better do the same."
"For my part," she said, "I find any part of the steamer except the
deck intolerable. I am going now in search of some fresh air.
Shall I send your woman along?"
Lady Carey nodded, for just then the steamer gave a violent lurch,
and she was not feeling talkative. Lucille went outside and walked
up and down until the lights of Calais were in sight. All the time
she felt conscious of the observation of a small man clad in a huge
mackintosh, whose peaked cap completely obscured his features. As
they were entering the harbour she purposely stood by his side. He
held on to the rail with one hand and turned towards her.
"It has been quite a rough passage, has it not?" he remarked.
"I have crossed," she said, "when it has been much worse. I do not
mind so long as one may come on deck."
"Your friend," he remarked, "is perhaps not so good a sailor?"
"I believe," Lucille said, "that she suffers a great deal. I just
looked in at her, and she was certainly uncomfortable."
The little man gripped the rail and held on to his cap with the
"You are going to Paris?" he asked.
They were in smoother water now. He was able to relax his grip of
the rail. He turned towards Lucille, and she saw him for the first
time distinctly - a thin, wizened-up little man, with shrewd kindly
eyes, and a long deeply cut mouth.
"I trust," he said, "that you will not think me impertinent, but it
occurred to me that you have noticed some apparent interest of mine
in your movements since you arrived on the boat."
"It is true," she answered. "That is why I came and stood by your
side. What do you want with me?"
"Nothing, madam," he answered. "I am here altogether in your
interests. If you should want help I shall be somewhere near you
for the next few hours. Do not hesitate to appeal to me. My
mission here is to be your protector should you need one."
Lucille's eyes grew bright, and her heart beat quickly.
"Tell me," she said, "who sent you?"
"I think that you know," he answered. "One who I can assure you
will never allow you to suffer any harm. I have exceeded my
instructions in speaking to you, but I fancied that you were looking
worried. You need not. I can assure you that you need have no
Her eyes filled with tears.
"I knew," she said, "that those telegrams were forgeries."
He looked carefully around.
"I know nothing about any telegrams," he said, "but I am here to
see that no harm comes to you, and I promise you that it shall not.
Your friend is looking out of the cabin door. I think we may
congratulate ourselves, madam, on an excellent passage."
Lady Carey disembarked, a complete wreck, leaning on the arm of her
maid, and with a bottle of smelling salts clutched in her hand. She
slept all the way in the train, and only woke up when they were
nearing Paris. She looked at Lucille in astonishment.
"Why, what on earth have you been doing to yourself?" she exclaimed.
"You look disgustingly fit and well."
Lucille laughed softly.
"Why not? I have had a nap, and we are almost at Paris. I only
want a bath and a change of clothes to feel perfectly fresh."
But Lady Carey was suspicious.
"Have you seen any one you know upon the train?" she asked.
Lucille shook her head.
"Not a soul. A little man whom I spoke to on the steamer brought
me some coffee. That is all."
Lady Carey yawned and shook out her skirts. "I suppose I'm getting
old," she said. "I couldn't look as you do with as much on my mind
as you must have, and after traveling all night too."
"After all," she said, "you know that I am a professional optimist,
and I have faith in my luck. I have been thinking matters over
calmly, and, to tell you the truth, I am not in the least alarmed."
Lady Carey looked at her curiously.
"Has the optimism been imbibed," she asked, "or is it spontaneous?"
"Unless the little man in the plaid mackintosh poured it into the
coffee with the milk," she said, "I could not possibly have imbibed
it, for I haven't spoken to another soul since we left."
"Paris! Here we are, thank goodness. Celeste can see the things
through the customs. She is quite used to it. We are going to the
Ritz, I suppose!"
At eight o'clock in the evening Lucille knocked at the door of
Lady Carey's suite of rooms at the hotel. There was no answer.
A chambermaid who was near came smiling up.
"Miladi has, I think, descended for dinner," she said.
Lucille looked at her watch. She saw that she was a few minutes
late, so she descended to the restaurant. The small table which
they had reserved was, however, still unoccupied. Lucille told the
waiter that she would wait for a few moments, and sent for an
Lady Carey did not appear. A quarter of an hour passed. The head
waiter came up with a benign smile.
"Madam will please to be served?" he suggested, with a bow.
"I am waiting for my friend Lady Carey," Lucille answered. "I
understood that she had come down. Perhaps you will send and see
if she is in the reading-room."
"With much pleasure, madam," the man answered.
In a few minutes he returned.
"Madam's friend was the Lady Carey?" he asked.
The man was gently troubled.
"But, Miladi Carey," he said, "has left more than an hour ago."
Lucille looked up, astonished.
"Left the hotel?" she exclaimed.
"But yes, madam," he exclaimed. "Miladi Carey left to catch the
boat train at Calais for England."
"It is impossible," Lucille answered. "We only arrived at midday."
"I will inquire again," the man declared. "But it was in the office
that they told me so."
"They told you quite correctly," said a familiar voice. "I have
come to take her place. Countess, I trust that in me you will
recognise an efficient substitute."
It was the Prince of Saxe Leinitzer who was calmly seating himself
opposite to her. The waiter, with the discretion of his class,
withdrew for a few paces and stood awaiting orders. Lucille looked
across at him in amazement.
"You here?" she exclaimed, "and Muriel gone? What does this mean?"
The Prince leaned forward.
"It means," he said, "that after you left I was in torment. I felt
that you had no one with you who could be of assistance supposing
the worst happened. Muriel is all very well, but she is a woman,
and she has no diplomacy, no resource. I felt, Lucille, that I
should not be happy unless I myself saw you into safety."
"So you followed us here," Lucille remarked quietly.
"Exactly! You do not blame me. It was for your sake - as well as
"And Muriel - why has she left me without farewell - without warning
of any sort?"
The Prince smiled and stroked his fair moustache.
"Well," he said, "it is rather an awkward thing for me to explain,
but to tell you the truth, Muriel was a little - more than a little
- annoyed at my coming. She has no right to be, but - well, you
know, she is what you call a monopolist. She and I have been
friends for many years."
"I understand perfectly what you have wished to convey," Lucille
said. "But what I do not understand are the exact reasons which
brought you here."
The Prince took up the carte de jour.
"As we dine," he said, "I will tell you. You will permit me to
Lucille rose to her feet.
"For yourself, certainly," she answered. "As for me, I have
accepted no invitation to dine with you, nor do I propose to do so."
The Prince frowned.
"Be reasonable, Lucille," he pleaded. "I must talk with you. There
are important plans to be made. I have a great deal to say to you.
Lucille looked across at hi m with a curious smile upon her lips.
"You have a good deal to say to me?" she remarked. "Yes, I will
believe that. But of the truth how much, I wonder?"
"By and bye," he said, "you will judge me differently. For hors
d'oeuvres what do you say to oeufs de pluvier? Then - "
"Pardon me," she interrupted, "I am not interested in your dinner!"
"In our dinner," he ventured gently.
"I am not dining with you," she declared firmly. "If you insist
upon remaining here I shall have something served in my room. You
know quite well that we are certain to be recognised. One would
imagine that this was a deliberate attempt on your part to
"Lucille," he said, "do not be foolish! Why do you persist in
treating me as though I were your persecutor?"
"Because you are," she said coolly.
"It is ridiculous," he declared. "You are in the most serious
danger, and I have come only to save you. I can do it, and I will.
But listen - not unless you change your demeanour towards me."
She laughed scornfully. She had risen to her feet now, and he was
perforce compelled to follow her example.
"Is that a challenge?" she asked.
"You may take it as such if you will," he answered, with a note of
sullenness in his tone. "You know very well that I have but to
lift my finger and the gendarmes will be here. Yes, we will call
it a challenge. All my life I have wanted you. Now I think that
my time has come. Even Souspennier has deserted you. You are
alone, and let me tell you that danger is closer at your heels than
you know of. I can save you, and I will. But I have a price, and
it must be paid."
"If I refuse?" she asked.
"I send for the chief of the police."
"She looked him up and down, a measured, merciless survey. He was
a tall, big man, but he seemed to shrink into insignificance.
"You are a coward and a bully," she said slowly. "You know quite
well that I am innocent of any knowledge even concerning Duson's
death. But I would sooner meet my fate, whatever it might be, than
suffer even the touch of your fingers upon my hand. Your presence
is hateful to me. Send for your chief of the police. String your
lies together as you will. I am satisfied."
She left him and swept from the room, a spot of colour burning in
her cheeks, her eyes lit with fire. The pride of her race had
asserted itself. She felt no longer any fear. She only desired
to sever herself at once and completely from all association with
this man. In the hall she sent for her maid.
"Fetch my cloak and jewel case, Celeste," she ordered. "I am going
across to the Bristol. You can return for the other luggage."
"But, madam - "
"Do as I say at once," Lucille ordered.
The girl hesitated and then obeyed. Lucille found herself suddenly
addressed in a quiet tone by a man who had been sitting in an
easy-chair, half hidden by a palm tree.
"Will you favour me, madam, with a moment's conversation?"
Lucille turned round. She recognised at once the man with whom she
had conversed upon the steamer. In the quietest form of evening
dress, there was something noticeable in the man's very
insignificance. He seemed a little out of his element. Lucille
had a sudden inspiration, The man was a detective.
"What do you wish to say?" she asked, half doubtfully.
"I overheard," he remarked, "your order to your maid. She had
something to say to you, but you gave her no opportunity."
"And you?" she asked, "what do you wish to say?"
"I wish to advise you," he said, "not to leave the hotel."
She looked at him doubtfully.
"You cannot understand," she said, "why I wish to leave it. I
have no alternative."
"Nevertheless," he said, "I hope that you will change your mind."
"Are you a detective?" she asked abruptly.
"Madam is correct!"
The flush of colour faded from her cheeks.
"I presume, then," she said, "that I am under your surveillance?"
"In a sense," he admitted, "it is true."
"On the steamer," she remarked, "you spoke as though your interest
in me was not inimical."
"Nor is it," he answered promptly. "You are in a difficult position,
but you may find things not so bad as you imagine. At present my
advice to you is this: Go upstairs to your room and stay there."
The little man had a compelling manner. Lucille made her way
towards the elevator.
"As a matter of fact," she murmured bitterly, "I am not, I suppose,
permitted to leave the hotel?"
"Madam puts the matter bluntly," he answered; "but certainly if
you should insist upon leaving, it would be my duty to follow you."
She turned away from him and entered the elevator. The door of
her room was slightly ajar, and she saw that a waiter was busy at
a small round table. She looked at him in surprise. He was
arranging places for two.
"Who gave you your orders?" she asked.
"But it was monsieur," the man answered, with a low bow. "Dinner
"Monsieur?" she repeated. "What monsieur?"
"I am the culprit," a familiar voice answered from the depths of
an easy-chair, whose back was to her. "I was very hungry, and it
occurred to me that under the circumstances you would probably not
have dined either. I hope that you will like what I have ordered.
The plovers' eggs look delicious."
She gave a little cry of joy. It was Mr. Sabin.
The Prince dined carefully, but with less than his usual appetite.
Afterwards he lit a cigarette and strolled for a moment into the
lounge. Celeste, who was waiting for him, glided at once to his
"Monsieur!" she whispered. "I have been here for one hour."
"Monsieur le Duc has arrived."
The Prince turned sharply round.
"Monsieur le Duc de Souspennier. He calls himself no longer Mr.
A dull flush of angry colour rose almost to his temples.
"Why did you not tell me before?" he exclaimed.
"Monsieur was in the restaurant," she answered. "It was impossible
for me to do anything but wait."
"Where is he?"
"Alas! he is with madam," the girl answered.
The Prince was very profane. He started at once for the elevator.
In a moment or two he presented himself at Lucille's sitting-room.
They were still lingering over their dinner. Mr. Sabin welcomed
him with grave courtesy.
"The Prince is in time to take his liqueur with us," he remarked,
rising. "Will you take fin champagne, Prince, or Chartreuse? I
recommend the fin champagne."
The Prince bowed his thanks. He was white to the lips with the
effort for self-mastery.
"I congratulate you, Mr. Sabin," he said, "upon your opportune
arrival. You will be able to help Lucille through the annoyance
to which I deeply regret that she should be subjected."
Mr. Sabin gently raised his eyebrows.
"Annoyance!" he repeated. "I fear that I do not quite understand."
The Prince smiled.
"Surely Lucille has told you," he said, "of the perilous position
in which she finds herself."
"My wife," Mr. Sabin said, "has told me nothing. You alarm me."
The Prince shrugged his shoulders.
"I deeply regret to tell you," he said, "that the law has proved
too powerful for me. I can no longer stand between her and what
I fear may prove a most unpleasant episode. Lucille will be
arrested within the hour."
"Upon what charge?" Mr. Sabin asked.
"The murder of Duson."
Mr. Sabin laughed very softly, very gently, but with obvious
"You are joking, Prince," he exclaimed.
"I regret to say," the Prince answered, "that you will find it very
far from a joking matter."
Mr. Sabin was suddenly stern.
"Prince of Saxe Leinitzer," he said, "you are a coward and a
The Prince started forward with clenched fist. Mr. Sabin had no
weapon, hut he did not flinch.
"You can frighten women," he said, "with a bogie such as this, but
you have no longer a woman to deal with. You and I know that such
a charge is absurd - but you little know the danger to which you
expose yourself by trifling with this subject. Duson left a letter
addressed to me in which he announced his reasons for committing
"Yes. He preferred suicide to murder, even at the bidding of the
Prince of Saxe Leinitzer. He wrote and explained these things to
me - and the letter is in safe hands. The arrest of Lucille, my
dear Prince, would mean the ruin of your amiable society."
"This letter," the Prince said slowly, "why was it not produced at
the inquest? Where is it now?"
"It is deposited in a sealed packet with the Earl of Deringham,"
Mr. Sabin answered. "As to producing it at the inquest - I thought
it more discreet not to. I leave you to judge of my reasons. But
I can assure you that your fears for my wife's safety have been
wholly misplaced. There is not the slightest reason for her to
hurry off to America. We may take a little trip there presently,
but not just yet."
The Prince made a mistake. He lost his temper.
"You!" he cried, "you can go to America when you like, and stay
there. Europe has had enough of you with your hare-brained schemes
and foolish failures. But Lucille does not leave this country. We
have need of her. I forbid her to leave. Do you hear? In the name
of the Order I command her to remain here."
Mr. Sabin was quite calm, but his face was full of terrible things.
"Prince," he said, "if I by any chance numbered myself amongst your
friends I would warn you that you yourself are a traitor to your
Order. You prostitute a great cause when you stoop to use its
machinery to assist your own private vengeance. I ask you for your
own sake to consider your words. Lucille is mine - mine she will
remain, even though you should descend to something more despicable,
more cowardly than ordinary treason, to wrest her from me. You
reproach me with the failures of my life. Great they may have been,
but if you attempt this you will find that I am not yet an impotent
The Prince was white with rage. The sight of Lucille standing by
Mr. Sabin's side, her hand lightly resting upon his, her dark eyes
full of inscrutable tenderness, maddened him. He was flouted and
ignored. He was carried away by a storm of passion. He tore a
sheet of paper from his pocket book, and unlocking a small gold
case at the end of his watch chain, shook from it a pencil with
yellow crayon. Mr. Sabin leaned over towards him.
"You sign it at your peril, Prince," he said. "It will mean worse
things than that for you."
For a second he hesitated. Lucille also leaned towards him.
"Prince," she said, "have I not kept my vows faithfully? Think!
I came from America at a moment's notice; I left my husband without
even a word of farewell; I entered upon a hateful task, and though
to think of it now makes me loathe myself - I succeeded. I have
kept my vows, I have done my duty. Be generous now, and let me go."
The sound of her voice maddened him. A passionate, arbitrary man,
to whom nothing in life had been denied, to be baulked in this
great desire of his latter days was intolerable. He made no answer
to either of them. He wrote a few lines with the yellow crayon
and passed them silently across to Lucille.
Her face blanched. She stretched out an unwilling hand. But Mr.
Sabin intervened. He took the paper from the Prince's hand, and
calmly tore it into fragments. There Was a moment's breathless
"Victor!" Lucille cried. "Oh, what have you done!"
The Prince's face lightened with an evil joy.
"We now, I think," he said, "understand one another. You will
permit me to wish you a very pleasant evening, and a speedy
Mr. Sabin smiled.
"Many thanks, my dear Prince," he said lightly. "Make haste and
complete your charming little arrangements. Let me beg of you to
avoid bungling this time. Remember that there is not in the whole
of Europe to-day a man more dangerous to you than I."
The Prince had departed. Mr. Sabin lit a cigarette and stood on
the hearthrug. His eyes were bright with the joy of fighting.
"Lucille," he said, "I see that you have not touched your liqueur.
Oblige me by drinking it. You will find it excellent."
She came over to him and hung upon his arm. He threw his cigarette
away and kissed her upon the lips.
"Victor," she murmured, "I am afraid. You have been rash!"
"Dearest," he answered, "it is better to die fighting than to stand
aside and watch evil things. But after all, there is no fear. Come!
Your cloak and dressing case!"
"You have plans?" she exclaimed, springing up.
"Plans?" He laughed at her a little reproachfully. "My dear
Lucille! A carriage awaits us outside, a special train with steam
up at the Gard de L'ouest. This is precisely the contingency for
which I have planned."
"Oh, you are wonderful, Victor," she murmured as she drew on her
coat. "But what corner of the earth is there where we should be
"I am going," Mr. Sabin said, "to try and make every corner of the
She was bewildered, but he only laughed and held open the door for
her. Mr. Sabin made no secret of his departure. He lingered for
a moment in the doorway to light a cigarette, he even stopped to
whisper a few words to the little man in plain dinner clothes who
was lounging in the doorway. But when they had once left the hotel
they drove fast.
In less than half an hour Paris was behind them. They were
traveling in a royal saloon and at a fabuulous cost, for in France
they are not fond of special trains. But Mr. Sabin was very happy.
At least he had escaped an ignominious defeat. It was left to him
to play the great card.
"And now," Lucille said, coming out from her little bed-chamber
which the femme de chambre was busy preparing, "suppose you tell
me where we are going."
Mr. Sabin smiled.
"Do not be alarmed," he said, "even though it will sound to you the
least likely place in the world. We are going to Berlin."
The great room was dimly enough lit, for the windows looking out
upon the street were high and heavily curtained, The man who sat
at the desk was almost in the shadow. Yet every now and then a
shaft of sunlight fell across his pale, worn face. A strange
combination this of the worker, the idealist, the man of affairs.
>From outside came the hum of a great city. At times, too, there
came to his ears as he sat here the roar of nations at strife,
the fierce underneath battle of the great countries of the world
struggling for supremacy. And here at this cabinet this man sat
often, and listened, strenuous, romantic, with the heart of a lion
and the lofty imagination of an eagle, he steered unswervingly on
to her destiny a great people. Others might rest, hut never he.
He looked up from the letter spread out before him. Lucille was
seated at his command, a few yards away. Mr. Sabin stood
respectfully before him.
"Monsieur le Duc," he said, "this letter, penned by my illustrious
father to you, is sufficient to secure my good offices. In what
manner can I serve you?"
"Your Majesty," Mr. Sabin answered, "in the first place by
receiving me here. In the second by allowing me to lay before
you certain grave and very serious charges against the Order of
the Yellow Crayon, of which your Majesty is the titular head."
"The Order of the Yellow Crayon," the Emperor said thoughtfully,
"is society composed of aristocrats pledged to resist the march of
socialism. It is true that I am the titular head of this
organisation. What have you to say about it?"
"Only that your Majesty has been wholly deceived," Mr. Sabin said
respectfully, "concerning the methods and the working of this
society. Its inception and inauguration were above reproach. I
myself at once became a member. My wife, Countess of Radantz, and
sole representative of that ancient family, has been one all her
The Emperor inclined his head towards Lucille.
"I see no reason," he said, "when our capitals are riddled with
secret societies, all banded together against us, why the great
families of Europe should not in their turn come together and
display a united front against this common enemy. The Order of
the Yellow Crayon has had more than my support. It has had the
sanction of my name. Tell me what you have against it."
"I have grave things to say concerning it," Mr. Sahin answered,
"and concerning those who have wilfully deceived your Majesty.
The influences to be wielded by the society were mainly, I believe,
wealth, education, and influence. There was no mention made of
murder, of an underground alliance with the 'gamins' of Paris, the
dregs of humanity, prisoners, men skilled in the art of secret
The Emperor's tone was stern, almost harsh.
"Duc de Souspennier, what are these things which you are saying?"
"Your Majesty, I speak the truth," Mr. Sabin answered firmly.
"There are in the Order of the Yellow Crayon three degrees of
membership. The first, which alone your Majesty knows of, simply
corresponds with what in England is known as the Primrose League.
The second knows that beneath is another organisation pledged to
frustrate the advance of socialism, if necessary by the use of
their own weapons. The third, whose meetings and signs and whose
whole organisation is carried on secretly, is allied in every
capital in Europe with criminals and murderers. With its great
wealth it has influence in America as well as in every city of
the world where there are police to be suborned, or desperate men
to be bought for tools. At the direction of this third order
Lavinski died suddenly in the Hungarian House of Parliament, Herr
Krettingen was involved in a duel, the result of which was assured
beforehand, and Reginald Brott, the great English statesman, was
ruined and disgraced. I myself have just narrowly escaped death
at his hands, and in my place my servant has been driven to death.
Of all these things, your Majesty, I have brought proofs."
The Emperor's face was like a carven image, but his tone was cold
"If these things have been sanctioned," he said, "by those who are
responsible for my having become the head of the Order; they shall
feel my vengeance."
"Your Majesty," Mr. Sabin said earnestly, "a chance disclosure, and
all might come to light. I myself could blazon the story through
Europe. Those who are responsible for the third degree of the Order
of the Yellow Crayon, and for your Majesty's ignorance concerning
its existence, have trifled with the destiny of the greatest
sovereign of modern times."
"The Prince of Saxe Leinitzer," the Emperor said, "is the acting
head of the Order."
"The Prince of Saxe Leinitzer," Mr. Sabin said firmly, "is
responsible for the existence of the third degree. It is he who
has connected the society with a system of corrupt police or
desperate criminals in every great city. It is the Prince of Saxe
Leinitzer, your Majesty, and his horde of murderers from whom I
have come to seek your Majesty's protection. I have yet another
charge to make against him. He has made, and is making still, use
of the society to further his own private intrigues. In the name
of the Order he brought my wife from America. She faithfully
carried out the instructions of the Council. She brought about
the ruin of Reginald Brott. By the rules of the society she was
free then to return to her home. The Prince, who had been her
suitor, declined to let her go. My life was attempted. The story
of the Prince's treason is here, with the necessary proofs. I
know that orders have been given to the hired murderers of the
society for my assassination. My life even here is probably an
uncertain thing. But I have told your Majesty the truth, and the
papers which I have brought with me contain proof of my words."
The Emperor struck a bell and gave a few orders to the young officer
who immediately answered it. Then he turned again to Mr. Sabin.
"I have summoned Saxe Leinitzer to Berlin," he said. "These matters
shall be gone into most thoroughly. In the meantime what can I do
"We will await the coming of the Prince," Mr. Sabin answered grimly.
* * * * *
Lady Carey passed from her bath-room into a luxurious little
dressing-room. Her letters and coffee were on a small table near
the fire, an easy-chair was drawn up to the hearthrug. She fastened
the girdle of her dressing-gown, and dismissed her maid.
"I will ring for you in half an hour, Annette," she said. "See that
I am not disturbed."
On her way to the fireplace she paused for a moment in front of a
tall looking-glass, and looked steadily at her own reflection.
"I suppose," she murmured to herself, "that I am looking at my best
now. I slept well last night, and a bath gives one colour, and
white is so becoming. Still, I don't know why I failed. She may
be a little better looking, but my figure is as good. I can talk
better, I have learnt how to keep a man from feeling dull, and there
is my reputation. Because I played at war correspondence, wore a
man's clothes, and didn't shriek when I was under fire, people have
chosen to make a heroine of me. That should have counted for
something with him - and it didn't. I could have taken my choice
of any man in London - and I wanted him. And I have failed!"
She threw herself back in her easy-chair and laughed softly.
"Failed! What an ugly word! He is old, and he limps, and I - well,
I was never a very bashful person. He was beautifully polite, but
he wouldn't have anything to say to me."
She began to tear open her letters savagely.
"Well, it is over. If ever anybody speaks to me about it I think
that I shall kill them. That fool Saxe Leinitzer will stroke his
beastly moustache, and smile at me out of the corners of his eyes.
The Dorset woman, too - bah, I shall go away. What is it, Annette?"
"His Highness the Prince of Saxe Leinitzer has called, milady."
"Called! Does he regard this as a call?" she exclaimed, glancing
towards the clock. "Tell him, Annette, that your mistress does not
receive at such an hour. Be quick, child. Of course I know that
he gave you a sovereign to persuade me that it was important, but I
won't see him, so be off."
"But yes, milady," Annette answered, and disappeared.
Lady Carey sipped her coffee.
"I think," she said reflectively, "that it must be Melton."
"Milady," she exclaimed, "His Highness insisted upon my bringing
you this card. He was so strange in his manner, milady, that I
thought it best to obey."
Lady Carey stretched out her hand. A few words were scribbled on
the back of his visiting card in yellow crayon. She glanced at it,
tore the card up, and threw the pieces into the fire.
"My shoes and stockings, Annette," she said, "and just a morning
wrap - anything will do."
The Prince was walking restlessly up and down the room, when Lady
Carey entered. He welcomed her with a little cry of relief.
"Heavens!" he exclaimed. "I thought that you were never coming."
"I was in no hurry," she answered calmly. "I could guess your news,
so I had not even the spur of curiosity."
He stopped short.
"You have heard nothing! It is not possible?"
She shrugged her shoulders.
"No, but I know you, and I know him. I am quite prepared to hear
that you are outwitted. Indeed, to judge from your appearance
there can be no doubt about it. Remember I warned you."
The Prince was pale with fury.
"No one could foresee this," he exclaimed. "He has walked into the
"Then," Lady Carey said, "I am quite prepared to hear that he tamed
"If there was one person living whom I could have sworn that this
man dared not visit, it was our Emperor," the Prince said. "It is
only a few years since, through this man's intrigues, Germany was
shamed before the world."
"And yet," Lady Carey said sweetly, "the Emperor has received him."
"I have private intelligence from Berlin," Saxe Leinitzer answered.
"Mr. Sabin was in possession of a letter written to him by the
Emperor Frederick, thanking him for some service or other; and the
letter was a talisman."
"How like him," Lady Carey murmured, "to have the letter."
"What a pity," the Prince sneered, "that such devotion should remain
Lady Carey sighed.
"He has broken my heart," she replied.
The Prince threw out his hands.
"You and I," he cried, "why do we behave like children! Let us
start afresh. Listen! The Emperor has summoned me to Berlin."
"Dear me," Lady Carey murmured. "I am afraid you will have a most
"I dare not go," the Prince said slowly. "It was I who induced
the Emperor to become the titular head of this cursed Order. Of
course he knew nothing about the second or third degree members and
our methods. Without doubt he is fully informed now. I dare not
"What shall you do?" Lady Carey asked curiously.
"I am off to South America," he said. "It is a great undeveloped
country, and there is room for us to move there. Muriel, you know
what I want of you."
"My good man," she answered, "I haven't the faintest idea."
"You will come with me," he begged. "You will not send me into
exile so lonely, a wanderer! Together there may be a great future
before us. You have ambition, you love intrigue, excitement, danger.
None of these can you find here. You shall come with me. You shall
not say no. Have I not been your devoted slave? Have - "
She stopped him. Her lips were parted in a smile of good-natured
"Don't be absurd, Saxe Leinitzer. It is true that I love intrigue,
excitement and danger. That is what made me join your Order, and
really I have had quite a little excitement out of it, for which
I suppose I ought to thank you. But as for the rest, why, you are
talking rubbish. I would go to South America to-morrow with the
right man, but with you, why, it won't bear talking about. It makes
me angry to think that you should believe me capable of such shocking
taste as to dream of going away with you."
He flung himself from the room. Lady Carey went back to her coffee
and letters. She sent for Annette.
"Annette," she directed, "we shall go to Melton to-morrow. Wire
Haggis to have the Lodge in order, and carriages to meet the midday
train. I daresay I shall take a few people down with me. Let
George go around to Tattershalls at once and make an appointment
for me there at three o'clock this afternoon. Look out my habits
and boots, too, Annette."
Lady Carey leaned back in her chair for a moment with half-closed
"I think," she murmured, "that some of us in our youth must have
drunk from some poisoned cup, something which turned our blood into
quicksilver. I must live, or I must die. I must have excitement
every hour, every second, or break down. There are others too
- many others. No wonder that that idiot of a man in Harley
Street talked to me gravely about my heart. No excitement. A
quiet life! Bah! Such wishy-washy coffee and only one cigarette."
She lit it and stood up on the hearthrug. Her eyes were half
closed, every vestige of colour had left her cheeks, her hand was
pressed hard to her side. For a few minutes she seemed to struggle
for breath. Then with a little lurch as though still giddy, she
stooped, and picking up her fallen cigarette, thrust it defiantly
between her teeth.
"Not this way," she muttered. "From a horse's back if I can with
the air rushing by, and the hot joy of it in one's heart ... Only
I hope it won't hurt the poor old gee ... Come in, Annette. What
a time you've been, child.
The Emperor sent for Mr. Sabin. He declined to recognise his
"Monsieur le Duc," he said, "if proof of your story were needed
it is here. The Prince of Saxe Leinitzer has ignored my summons.
He has fled to South America."
Mr. Sabin bowed.
"A most interesting country," he murmured, "for the Prince."
"You yourself are free to go when and where you will. You need no
longer have any fears. The Order does not exist. I have crushed it."
Mr. Sabin bowed.
"Your Majesty," he said, "has shown exemplary wisdom."
"From its inception," the Emperor said, "I believe that the idea was
a mistaken one. I must confess that its originality pleased me; my
calmer reflections, however, show me that I was wrong. It is not
for the nobles of the earth to copy the methods of socialists and
anarchists. These men are a pest upon humanity, but they may have
their good uses. They may help us to govern alertly, vigorously,
always with our eyes and ears strained to catch the signs of the
changing times. Monsieur le Duc, should you decide to take up your
residence in this country I shall at all times be glad to receive
you. But your future is entirely your own."
Mr. Sabin accepted his dismissal from audience, and went back to
"The Prince," he told her, "has gone-to South America. The Order
does not exist any longer. Will you dine in Vienna, or in
She held out her arms.
"You wonderful man!" she cried.
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