Long Live the King!

Contents:
Author: Mary Roberts Rinehart

Chapter XXVIII Tee Crown Prince’s Pilgrimage

The day when Olga Loschek should have returned to the city found her too ill to travel. No feigned sickness this, but real enough, a matter of fever and burning eyes, and of mutterings in troubled sleep.

Minna was alarmed. She was fond of her mistress, in spite of her occasional cruelties, and lately the Countess had been strangely gentle. She required little attention, wished to be alone, and lay in her great bed, looking out steadily at the bleak mountain-tops, to which spring never climbed.

"She eats nothing," Minna said despairingly to the caretaker. "And her eyes frighten me. They are always open, even in the night, but they seem to see nothing."

On the day when she should have returned, the Countess roused herself enough to send for Black Humbert, fretting in the kitchen below. He had believed that she was malingering until he saw her, but her flushed and hollow cheeks showed her condition.

"You must return and explain," she said. "I shall need more time, after all." When he hesitated, she added: "There are plenty to watch that I do not escape. I could not, if I would. I have not the strength."

"Time is passing," he said gruffly, "and we get nowhere."

"As soon as I can travel, I will come."

"If madame wishes, I can take a letter."

She pondered over that, interlacing her fingers nervously as she reflected.

"I will send no letter," she decided, "but I will give you a message, which you can deliver."

"Yes, madame."

"Say to the Committee," she began, and paused. She had thought and thought until her brain burned with thinking, but she had found no way out. And yet she could not at once bring herself to speech. But at last she said it: "Say to the Committee that I have reflected and that I will do what they ask. As far," she added, "as lies in my power. I can only - "

"That is all the Committee expects," he said civilly, and with a relief that was not lost on her. "With madame’s intelligence, to try is to succeed."

Nevertheless, he left her well guarded. Even Minna, slipping off for an evening hour with a village sweetheart, was stealthily shadowed. Before this, fine ladies had changed garments with their maids and escaped from divers unpleasantnesses.

Olga Loschek lay in her bed, and always there were bells. The cattle were being driven up into the mountains for the summer grazing, great, soft-eyed herds, their bells tinkling slowly as they made their deliberate, soft-footed progress along the valley; the silvery bells for mass; the clock striking the hour with its heavy, vibrating clamor of bronze.

When she sank into the light sleep of fever, they roused her, or she slept on; hearing in their tones the great bell of St. Stefan’s announcing the King’s death. Bells, always bells.

At the end of two days she was able to be up again. She moved languidly about her room, still too weak to plan. There were times when she contemplated suicide, but she knew herself to be too cowardly to do more than dream of it.

And on the fourth day came the Crown Prince of Livonia on a pilgrimage.

The manner of his coming was this:

There are more ways than one of reaching the hearts of an uneasy people. Remission of taxes is a bad one. It argues a mistake in the past, in exacting such tithes. Governments may make errors, but must not acknowledge them. There is the freeing of political prisoners, but that, too, is dangerous, when such prisoners breathe sedition to the very prison walls.

And there is the appeal to sentiment. The Government, pinning all its hopes to one small boy, would further endear him to the people. Wily statesman that he was, the Chancellor had hit on this to offset the rumors of Hedwig’s marriage.

But the idea was not his, although he adopted it. It had had its birth in the little room with the Prie-dieu and the stand covered with bottles, had been born of the Sister’s belief in the miracles of Etzel.

However, he appropriated it, and took it to the King.

"A pilgrimage!" said the King, when the mater was broached to him. "For what? My recovery? Cannot you let your servant depart in peace?"

"Pilgrimages," observed the Chancellor, "have had marvelous results, sire. I do not insist that they perform miracles, as some believe," - he smiled faintly, - "but as a matter of public feeling and a remedy for discord, they are sometimes efficacious."

"I see," said the King. And lay still, looking at the ceiling.

"Can it be done safely?" he asked at last.

"The maddest traitor would not threaten the Crown Prince on a pilgrimage. The people would tear him limb from limb."

"Nevertheless, I should take all precautions," he said dryly. "A madman might not recognize the - er - religious nature of the affair."

The same day the Chancellor visited Prince Ferdinand William Otto, and found him returned from his drive and busy over Hedwig’s photograph frame.

"It is almost done," he said. "I slipped over in one or two places, but it is not very noticeable, is it?"

The Chancellor observed it judicially, and decided that the slipping over was not noticeable at all. Except during school hours Miss Braithwaite always retired during the Chancellor’s visits, and so now the two were alone.

"Otto," said the Chancellor gravely, "I want to talk to you very seriously."

"Have I done anything?"

"No." He smiled. "It is about something I would like you to do. For your grandfather."

"I’ll do anything for him, sir."

"We know that. This is the point. He has been ill for along time. Very ill."

The boy watched him with a troubled face. "He looks very thin," he said. "I get quite worried when I see him."

"Exactly. You have heard of Etzel?"

Prince Ferdinand William Otto’s religious instruction was of the best. He had, indeed, heard of Etzel. He knew the famous pilgrimages in order, and could say them rapidly, beginning, the year of Our Lord 915 - the Emperor Otto and Adelheid, his spouse; the year of Our Lord 1100, Ulrich, Count of Ruburg; and so on.

"When people are ill," he said sagely, "they go to Etzel to be cured."

"Precisely. But when they cannot go, they send some one else, to pray for them. And sometimes, if they have faith enough, the holy miracle happens, and they are cured."

The Chancellor was deeply religious, and although he had planned the pilgrimage for political reasons, for the moment he lost sight of them. What if, after all, this clear-eyed, clean-hearted child could bring this miracle of the King’s recovery? It was a famous shrine, and stranger things had been brought about by less worthy agencies.

"I thought," he said, "that if you would go to Etzel, Otto, and there pray for your grandfather’s recovery, it - it would be a good thing."

The meaning of such a pilgrimage dawned suddenly on the boy. His eyes filled, and because he considered it unmanly to weep, he slid from his chair and went to the window. There he got out his pocket-handkerchief and blew his nose.

"I’m afraid he’s going to die," he said, in a smothered voice.

The Chancellor followed him to the window, and put an arm around his shoulders. "Even that would not be so terrible, Otto," he said. "Death, to the old, is not terrible. It is an open door, through which they go gladly, because - because those who have gone ahead are waiting just beyond it."

"Are my mother and father waiting?"

"Yes, Otto."

He considered. "And my grandmother?"

"Yes."

"He’ll be very glad to see them all again."

"Very happy, indeed. But we need him here, too, for a while. You need him and - I. So we will go and pray to have him wait a little longer before he goes away. Hour about it?"

"I’ll try. I’m not very good. I do a good many things, you know."

Here, strangely enough, it was the Chancellor who fumbled for his handkerchief. A vision had come to him of the two of them kneeling side by side at Etzel, the little lad who was "not very good," and he himself with his long years behind him of such things as fill a man’s life. And because the open door was not so far ahead for him either, and because he believed implicitly in the great Record within the Gate, he shook his shaggy head.

So the pilgrimage was arranged. With due publicity, of course, and due precaution for safety. By train to the foot of the mountains, and then on foot for the ten miles to Etzel.

On the next day the Crown Prince fasted, taking nothing but bread and a cup of milk. On the day of the pilgrimage, however, having been duly prepared, and mass having been said at daybreak in the chapel, with all the Court present, he was given a substantial breakfast. His small legs had a toilsome journey before them.

He went through his preparation in a sort of rapt solemnity. So must the boy crusaders have looked as, starting on their long journey, they faced south and east, toward the far-distant Sepulcher of Our Lord.

The King’s Council went, the Chancellor, the Mayor of the city, wearing the great gold chain of his office around his neck, and a handful of soldiers, - a simple pilgrimage and the more affecting. There were no streaming banners, no magnificent vestments. The Archbishop accompanied them; and a flag-bearer.

They went on foot to the railway station through lines of kneeling people, the boy still rapt; and looking straight ahead, the Chancellor seemingly also absorbed, but keenly alive to the crowds. As he went on, his face relaxed. It was as if the miracle had already happened. Not the miracle for which the boy would pray, but a greater one. Surely these kneeling people, gazing with moist and kindly eyes at the Crown Prince, could not, at the hot words of demagogues, turn into the mob he feared. But it had happened before. The people who had, one moment, adored the Dauphin of France on his balcony at Versailles, had lived to scream for his life.

On and on, through the silent, crowded streets. No drums; no heralds, no bugles. First the standard-bearer; then the Archbishop, walking with his head bent; then the boy, alone and bareheaded, holding his small hat in moist; excited fingers; then the others, the Chancellor and the Mayor together, the Council, the guard. So they moved along, without speech, grave, reverent, earnest.

At the railway station a man stepped out of the crowd and proffered a paper to the Crown Prince. But he was too absorbed to see it, and a moment later the Chancellor had it, and was staring with hard eyes at the individual who had presented it. A moment later, without sound, or breach of decorum, the man was between two agents, a prisoner. The paper, which the Chancellor read on the train and carefully preserved, was a highly seditious document attacking the Government and ending with threats.

The Chancellor, who had started in an exalted frame of mind, sat scowling and thoughtful during the journey. How many of those who had knelt on the street had had similar seditious papers in their pockets? A people who could kneel, and, kneeling, plot!

The Countess, standing on her balcony and staring down into the valley, beheld the pilgrimage and had thus her first knowledge of it. She was incredulous at first, and stood gazing, gripping the stone railing with tense hands. She watched, horror-stricken. The Crown Prince, himself, come to Etzel to pray! For his grandfather, of course. Then, indeed, must things be bad with the King, as bad as they could be.

The Crown Prince was very warm. She could see the gleam of his handkerchief as he wiped his damp face. She could see the effort of his tired legs to keep step with the standard-bearer.

The bells again. How she hated them! They rang out now to welcome the pilgrims, and a procession issued from the church door, a lay brother first, carrying a banner, then the fathers, two by two; the boys from the church school in long procession. The royal party halted at the foot of the street. The fathers advanced. She could make out Father Gregory’s portly figure among them. The bell tolled. The villagers stood in excited but quiet groups, and watched.

Then the two banners touched, the schoolboys turned, followed by the priests. Thus led, went the Crown Prince of Livonia to pray for his grandfather’s life.

The church doors closed behind them.

Olga Loschek fell on her knees. She was shaking from head to foot. And because the religious training of her early life near the shrine had given her faith in miracles, she prayed for one. Rather, she made a bargain with God: -

If any word came to her from Karl, any, no matter, to what it pertained, she would take it for a sign, and attempt flight. If she was captured, she would kill herself.

But, if no word came from Karl by the hour of her departure the next morning, then she would do the thing she had set out to do, and let him beware! The King dead, there would be no King. Only over the dead bodies of the Livonians would they let him marry Hedwig and the throne. It would be war.

Curiously, while she was still on her knees, her bargain made, the plan came to her by which, when the time came, the Terrorists were to rouse the people to even greater fury. Still kneeling, she turned it over in her mind. It was possible. More, it could be made plausible, with her assistance. And at the vision it evoked, - Mettlich’s horror and rage, Hedwig’s puling tears, her own triumph, - she took a deep breath. Revenge with a vengeance, retaliation for old hurts and fresh injuries, these were what she found on her knees, while the bell in the valley commenced the mass, and a small boy; very rapt and very earnest, prayed for his grandfather’s life.

Yet the bargain came very close to being made the other way that day, and by Karl himself.

Preparations were being made for his visit to Livonia. Ostensibly this visit was made because of the King’s illness. Much political capital was being made of Karl’s going to see, for the last time, the long-time enemy of his house. While rumor was busy, Karnia was more than satisfied. Even the Socialist Party approved, and their papers, being more frank than the others, spoke openly of the chances of a dual kingdom, the only bar being a small boy.

On the day of the pilgrimage Karl found himself strangely restless and uneasy. He had returned to his capital the day before, and had busied himself until late that night with matters of state. He had slept well, and wakened to a sense of well-being. But, during the afternoon, he became uneasy. Olga Loschek haunted him, her face when he had told her about the letter, her sagging figure when he had left her.

Something like remorse stirred in him. She had taken great risks for him. Of all the women he had known, she had most truly and unselfishly loved him. And for her years of service he had given her contempt. He reflected, too, that he had, perhaps, made an enemy where he needed a friend. How easy, by innuendo and suggestion, to turn Hedwig against him, Hedwig who already fancied herself interested elsewhere.

Very nearly did he swing the scale in which Olga Loschek had hung her bargain with God - so nearly that in the intervals of affixing his sprawling signature to various documents, he drew a sheet of note-paper toward him. Then, with a shrug, he pushed it away. So Olga Loschek lost her bargain.

At dawn the next morning the Countess, still pale with illness and burning with fever, went back to the city.

CHAPTER XXIX
OLD ADELBERT THE TRAITOR
"Thus," said the concierge, frying onions over his stove; "thus have they always done. But you have been blind. Rather, you would not see."

Old Adelbert stirred uneasily. "So long as I accept my pension - "

"Why should you not accept your pension. A trifle in exchange for what you gave. For them, who now ill-use you, you have gone through life but half a man. Women smile behind their hands when you hobble by."

"I do not hold with women," said old Adelbert, flushing. "They take all and give nothing." The onions were done, and the concierge put them, frying-pan and all, on the table. "Come, eat while the food is hot. And give nothing," he repeated, returning to the attack. "You and I ride in no carriages with gilt wheels. We work, or, failing work, we starve. Their feet are on our necks. But one use they have for us, you and me, my friend - to tax us."

"The taxes are not heavy," quoth old Adelbert.

"There are some who find them so." The concierge heaped his guest’s plate with onions. And old Adelbert, who detested onions, and was besides in no mood for food, must perforce sample them.

"I can cook," boasted his host. "The daughter of my sister cannot cook. She uses milk, always milk. Feeble dishes, I call them. Strong meat for strong men, comrade."

Old Adelbert played with his steel fork. "I was a good patriot," he observed nervously, "until they made me otherwise."

"I will make you a better. A patriot is one who is zealous for his country and its welfare. That means much. It means that when the established order is bad for a country, it must be changed. Not that you and I may benefit. God knows, we may not live to benefit. But that Livonia may free her neck from the foot of the oppressor, and raise her head among nations."

>From which it may be seen that old Adelbert had at last joined the revolutionary party, an uneasy and unhappy recruit, it is true, but - a recruit. "If only some half-measure would suffice," he said, giving up all pretense of eating. "This talk of rousing the mob, of rioting and violence, I do not like them."

"Then has age turned the blood in your veins to water!" said the concierge contemptuously. "Half-measures! Since when has a half-measure been useful? Did half-measures win in your boasted battles? And what half-measures would you propose? "

Old Adelbert sat silent. Now and then, because his mouth was dry, he took a sip of beer from his tankard. The concierge ate, taking huge mouthfuls of onions and bread, and surveying his feeble-hearted recruit with appraising eyes. To win him would mean honor, for old Adelbert, decorated for many braveries, was a power among the veterans. Where he led, others would follow.

"Make no mistake," said Black Humbert cunningly. "We aim at no bloodshed. A peaceful revolution, if possible. The King, being dead, will suffer not even humiliation. Let the royal family scatter where it will. We have no designs on women. The Chancellor, however, must die."

"I make no plea for him," said old Adelbert bitterly. "I wrote to him also, when I lost my position, and received no reply. We passed through the same campaigns, as I reminded him, but he did nothing."

"As for the Crown Prince," observed the concierge, eyeing the old man over the edge of his tankard, "you know our plan for him. He will be cared for as my own child, until we get him beyond the boundaries. Then he will be safely delivered to those who know nothing of his birth. A private fund of the Republic will support and educate him."

Old Adelbert’s hands twitched. "He is but a child," he said, "but already he knows his rank."

"It will be wise for him to forget it." His tone was ominous. Adelbert glanced up quickly, but the Terrorist had seen his error, and masked it with a grin. "Children forget easily," he said, "and by this secret knowledge of yours, old comrade, all can be peacefully done. Until you brought it to me, we were, I confess, fearful that force would be necessary. To admit the rabble to the Palace would be dangerous. Mobs go mad at such moments. But now it may be effected with all decency and order."

"And the plan?"

"I may tell you this." The concierge shoved his plate away and bent over the table. "We have set the day as that of the Carnival. On that day all the people are on the streets. Processions are forbidden, but the usual costuming with their corps colors as pompons is allowed. Here and there will be one of us clad in red, a devil, wearing the colors of His Satanic Majesty. Those will be of our forces, leaders and speech-makers. When we secure the Crown Prince, he will be put into costume until he can be concealed. They will seek, if there be time, the Prince Ferdinand William Otto. Who will suspect a child, wearing some fantastic garb of the Carnival?"

"But the King? "inquired old Adelbert in a shaking voice. "How can you set a day, when the King nay rally? I thought all hung on the King’s death."

The concierge bent closer over the table. "Doctor Wiederman, the King’s physician, is one of us," he whispered. "The King lives now only because of stimulants to the heart. His body is already dead. When the stimulants cease, he will die."

Old Adelbert covered his eyes. He had gone too far to retreat now. Driven by brooding and trouble, he had allied himself with the powers of darkness.

The stain, he felt, was already on his forehead. But before him, like a picture on a screen, came the scene by which he had lived for so many years, the war hospital, the King by his bed, young then and a very king in looks, pinning on the breast of his muslin shirt the decoration for bravery.

He sat silent while the concierge cleared the table, and put the dishes in a pan for his niece to wash. And throughout the evening he said little. At something before midnight he and his host were to set out on a grave matter, nothing less than to visit the Committee of Ten, and impart the old soldier’s discovery. In the interval he sat waiting, and nursing his grievances to keep them warm.

Men came and went. From beneath the floor came, at intervals, a regular thudding which he had never heard before, and which he now learned was a press.

"These are days of publicity," explained the concierge. "Men are influenced much by the printed word. Already our bulletins flood the country. On the day of the Carnival the city will flame with them, printed in red. They will appear, as if by magic power, everywhere."

"A call to arms?"

"A call to liberty," evaded the concierge.

Not in months had he taken such pleasure in a recruit. He swaggered about the room, recounting in boastful tones his influence with the Committee of Ten.

"And with reason," he boasted, pausing before the old soldier. "I have served them well; here in this house is sufficient ammunition to fight a great battle. You, now, you know something of ammunition. You have lived here for a long time. Yet no portion of this house has been closed to you. Where, at a guess, is it concealed?"

"It is in this house?"

"So I tell you. Now, where?"

"In the cellar, perhaps."

"Come, I will show you." He led old Adelbert by the elbow to a window overlooking the yard. Just such an enclosure as each of the neighboring houses possessed, and surrounded by a high fence. Here was a rabbit hutch, built of old boards, and familiar enough to the veteran’s eyes; and a dovecote, which loomed now but a deeper shadow among shadows.

"Carrier-pigeons," explained the concierge. "You have seen them often, but you suspected nothing, eh? They are my telegraph. Now, look again, comrade. What else?"

"Barrels," said old Adelbert, squinting. "The winter’s refuse from the building. A - a most untidy spot."

His soldierly soul had revolted for months at the litter under his window. And somewhere, in the disorder, lay his broken sword. His sword broken, and he -

"Truly untidy," observed the concierge complacently. "A studied untidiness, and even then better than a room I shall show you in the cellar, filled to overflowing with boxes containing the winter’s ashes. Know you," he went on, dropping his voice, "that these barrels and boxes are but - a third full of rubbish. Below that in cases is - what we speak of."

"But I thought - a peaceful revolution, a - "

"We prepare for contingencies. Peace if possible. If not, war. I am telling you much because, by your oath, you are now one of us, and bound to secrecy. But, beside that, I trust you. You are a man of your word."

"Yes," said old Adelbert, drawing himself up. "I am a man of my word. But you cannot fight with cartridges alone."

"We have rifles, also, in other places. Even I do not know where all of them are concealed." The concierge chuckled in his beard. "The Committee knows men well. It trusts none too much. There are other depots throughout the city, each containing supplies of one sort and another. On the day of the uprising each patriot will be told where to go for equipment. Not before."

Old Adelbert was undoubtedly impressed. He regarded the concierge with furtive eyes. He, Adelbert, had lived in the house with this man of parts for years, and had regarded him as but one of many.

Black Humbert, waiting for the hour to start and filling his tankard repeatedly, grew loquacious. He hinted of past matters in which he had proved his value to the cause. Old Adelbert gathered that, if he had not actually murdered the late Crown Prince and his wife, he had been closely concerned in it. His thin, old flesh crept with anxiety. It was a bad business, and he could not withdraw.

"We should have had the child, too," boasted the concierge, "and saved much bother. But he had been, unknown to us, sent to the country. A matter of milk, I believe."

"But you say you do not war on children!"

"Bah! A babe of a few months. Furthermore," said the concierge, "I have a nose for the police. I scent a spy, as a dog scents a bone. Who, think you, discovered Haeckel?"

"Haeckel!" Old Adelbert sat upright in his chair.

"Aye, Haeckel, Haeckel the jovial, the archconspirator, who himself assisted to erect the press you hear beneath your feet. Who but I? I suspected him. He was too fierce. He had no caution. He was what a peaceful citizen may fancy a revolutionist to be. I watched him. He was not brave. He was reckless because he had nothing to fear. And at last I caught him."

Old Adelbert was sitting forward on the edge of his chair; his jaw dropped. "And what then?" he gasped. "He was but a boy. Perhaps you misjudged him. Boys are reckless."

"I caught him," said the concierge. "I have said it. He knew much. He had names, places, even dates. For that matter; he confessed."

"Then he is dead?" quavered old Adelbert.

The concierge shrugged his shoulders. "Of course," he said briefly. "For a time he was kept here, in an upper room. He could have saved himself, if he would. We could have used him. But he turned sulky, refused speech, did not eat. When he was taken away," he added with unction, "he was so weak that he could not walk." He rose and consulted a great silver watch. "We can go now," he said. "The Committee likes promptness."

They left together, the one striding out with long steps that were surprisingly light for his size, the other, hanging back a trifle, as one who walks because he must. Old Adelbert, who had loved his King better than his country, was a lagging "patriot" that night. His breath came short and labored. His throat was dry. As they passed the Opera, however, he threw his head up. The performance was over, but the great house was still lighted, and in the foyer, strutting about, was his successor. Old Adelbert quickened his steps.

At the edge of the Place, near the statue of the Queen, they took a car, and so reached the borders of the city. After that they walked far. The scent of the earth, fresh-turned by the plough, was in their nostrils. Cattle, turned out after the long winter, grazed or lay in the fields. Through the ooze of the road the two plodded; old Adelbert struggling through with difficulty, the concierge exhorting him impatiently to haste.

At last the leader paused, and surveyed his surroundings: "Here I must cover your eyes, comrade," he said. "It is a formality all must comply with."

Old Adelbert drew back. "I do not like your rule. I am not as other men. I must see where I go."

"I shall lead you carefully. And, if you fear, I can carry you." He chuckled at the thought. But old Adelbert knew well that he could do it, knew that he was as a child to those mighty arms. He submitted to the bandage, however, with an ill grace that caused the concierge to smile.

"It hurts your dignity, eh, old rooster!" he said jovially. "Others, of greater dignity, have felt the same. But all submit in the end."

He piloted the veteran among the graves with the ease of familiarity. Only once he spoke. "Know you where you are?"

"In a field," said Adelbert, "recently ploughed."

"Aye, in a field, right enough. But one which sows corruption, and raises nothing, until perhaps great St. Gabriel calls in his crop."

Then, realizing the meaning of the mounds over which he trod, old Adelbert crossed himself.

"Only a handful know of this meeting-place," boasted the concierge. "I, and a few others. Only we may meet with the Committee face to face."

"You must have great influence," observed old Adelbert timidly.

"I control the guilds. He who to-day can sway labor to his will is powerful, very powerful comrade. Labor is the great beast which tires of carrying burdens, and is but now learning its strength."

"Aye," said old Adelbert. "Had I been wise, I would have joined a guild. Then I might have kept my place at the Opera. As it is, I stood alone, and they put me out."

"You do not stand alone now. Stand by us, and we will support you. The Republic will not forget its friends."

Thus heartened, old Adelbert brightened up somewhat. Why should he, an old soldier, sweat at the thought of blood? Great changes required heroic measures. It was because he was old that he feared change. He stumped through the passageway without urging, and stood erect and with shoulders squared while the bandage was removed.

He was rather longer than Olga Loschek had been in comprehending his surroundings. His old eyes at first saw little but the table and its candles in their gruesome holders. But when he saw the Committee his heart failed. Here, embodied before him, was everything he had loathed during all his upright and loyal years anarchy, murder, treason. His face worked. The cords in his neck stood out like strings drawn to the breaking-point.

The concierge was speaking. For all his boasting, he was ill at ease. His voice had lost its bravado, and had taken on a fawning note.

"This is the man of whom word was sent to the Committee," he said. "I ventured to ask that he be allowed to come here, because he brings information of value,"

"Step forward, comrade," said the leader. "What is your name and occupation?"

"Adelbert, Excellency. As to occupation, for years I was connected with the Opera. Twenty years, Excellency. Then I grew old, and another - " His voice broke. What with excitement and terror, he was close to tears. "Now I am reduced to selling tickets for an American contrivance, a foolish thing, but I earn my bread by it."

He paused, but the silence continued unbroken. The battery of eyes behind the masks was turned squarely on him.

Old Adelbert fidgeted. "Before that, in years gone by, I was in the army," he said, feeling that more was expected of him, and being at a loss. "I fought hard, and once, when I suffered the loss you perceive, the King himself came to my bed, and decorated me. Until lately, I have been loyal. Now, I am - here." His face worked.

"What is the information that brings you here?"

Suddenly old Adelbert wept, terrible tears that forced their way from his faded eyes, and ran down his cheeks. "I cannot, Excellencies!" he cried. "I find I cannot."

He collapsed into the chair, and throwing his arms across the table bowed his head on them. His shoulders heaved under his old uniform. The Committee stirred, and the concierge caught him brutally by the wrist.

"Up with you!" he said, from clenched teeth. "What stupidity is this? Would you play with death?"

But old Adelbert was beyond fear. He shook his head. "I cannot," he muttered, his face hidden.

Then the concierge stood erect and folded his arms across his chest. "He is terrified, that is all," he said. "If the Committee wishes, I can tell them of this matter. Later, he can be interrogated."

The leader nodded.

"By chance," said the concierge, "this - this brave veteran" - he glanced contemptuously at the huddled figure in the chair has come across an old passage, the one which rumor has said lay under the city wall, and for which we have at different times instituted search."

He paused, to give his words weight. That they were of supreme interest could be told by the craning forward of the Committee.

"The entrance is concealed at the base of the old Gate of the Moon. Our friend here followed it, and reports it in good condition. For a mile or thereabouts it follows the line of the destroyed wall. Then it turns and goes to the Palace itself."

"Into the Palace?"

"By a flight of stairs, inside the wall, to a door in the roof. This door, which was locked, he opened, having carried keys with him. The door he describes as in the tower. As it was night, he could not see clearly, but the roof at that point is flat."

"Stand up, Adelbert," said the leader sharply. "This that our comrade tells is true?"

"It is true, Excellency."

"Shown a diagram of the Palace, could you locate this door?"

Old Adelbert stared around him hopelessly. It was done now. Nothing that he could say or refuse to say would change that. He nodded.

When, soon after, a chart of the Palace was placed on a table, he indicated the location of the door with a trembling forefinger. "It is there," he said thickly. "And may God forgive me for the thing I have done!"

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Chicago: Mary Roberts Rinehart, "Chapter XXVIII Tee Crown Prince’s Pilgrimage," Long Live the King!, ed. White, John S. (John Stuart), 1847-1922 and trans. Boswell, Robert Bruce in Long Live the King! (New York: A. L. Burt, 1922), Original Sources, accessed April 22, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CMGPPSFRSJX5JP4.

MLA: Rinehart, Mary Roberts. "Chapter XXVIII Tee Crown Prince’s Pilgrimage." Long Live the King!, edited by White, John S. (John Stuart), 1847-1922, and translated by Boswell, Robert Bruce, in Long Live the King!, Vol. 22, New York, A. L. Burt, 1922, Original Sources. 22 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CMGPPSFRSJX5JP4.

Harvard: Rinehart, MR, 'Chapter XXVIII Tee Crown Prince’s Pilgrimage' in Long Live the King!, ed. and trans. . cited in 1922, Long Live the King!, A. L. Burt, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 22 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CMGPPSFRSJX5JP4.