The King’s Jackal

Author: Richard Harding Davis


The presence in Tangier of the King of Messina and his suite, and the arrival there of the French noblemen who had volunteered for the expedition, could not escape the observation of the resident Consuls-General and of the foreign colony, and dinners, riding and hunting parties, pig-sticking, and excursions on horseback into the outlying country were planned for their honor and daily entertainment. Had the conspirators held aloof from these, the residents might have asked, since it was not to enjoy themselves, what was the purpose of their stay in Tangier; and so, to allay suspicion as to their real object, different members of the expedition had been assigned from time to time to represent the visitors at these festivities. On the morning following the return of the yacht from Messina, an invitation to ride to a farmhouse some miles out of Tangier and to breakfast there had been sent to the visitors, and the King had directed the Prince Kalonay, and half of the delegation from Paris, to accept it in his name.

They were well content to go, and rode forth gayly and in high spirits, for the word had been brought them early in the morning that the expedition was already prepared to move, and that same evening at midnight the yacht would set sail for Messina. They were careless as to what fortune waited for them there. The promise of much excitement, of fighting and of danger, of possible honor and success, stirred the hearts of the young men gloriously, and as they galloped across the plains, or raced each other from point to point, or halted to jump their ponies across the many gaping crevices which the sun had split in the surface of the plain, they filled the still, warm air with their shouts and laughter. In the party there were many ladies, and the groups changed and formed again as they rode forward, spread out on either side of the caravan-trail and covering the plain like a skirmish line of cavalry. But Kalonay kept close at Miss Carson’s stirrup, whether she walked her pony or sent him flying across the hard, sunbaked soil.

"I hope you won’t do that again," he said, earnestly, as she drew up panting, with her sailor hat and hair falling to her shoulders. They had been galloping recklessly over the open crevices in the soil.

"It’s quite the nastiest country I ever saw," he said. "It looks as though an earthquake had shaken it open and had forgotten to close it again. Believe me, it is most unsafe and dangerous. Your pony might stumble—" He stopped, as though the possibilities were too serious for words, but the girl laughed.

"It’s no more dangerous than riding across our prairie at dusk when you can’t see the barbed wire. You are the last person in the world to find fault because a thing is dangerous," she added.

They had reached the farm, where they went to breakfast, and the young Englishman who was their host was receiving his guests in his garden, and the servants were passing among them, carrying cool drinks and powdered sweets and Turkish coffee. Kalonay gave their ponies to a servant and pointed with his whip to an arbor that stood at one end of the garden.

"May we sit down there a moment until they call us?" he said. "I have news of much importance—and I may not have another chance," he begged, looking at her wistfully. The girl stood motionless; her eyes were serious, and she measured the distance down the walk to the arbor as though she saw it beset with dangers more actual than precipices and twisted wire. The Prince watched her as though his fate was being weighed in his presence.

"Very well," she said at last, and moved on before him down the garden-path.

The arbor was open to the air with a low, broad roof of palm-leaves that overhung it on all sides and left it in deep shadow. Around it were many strange plants and flowers, some native to Morocco and some transplanted from their English home. From where they sat they could see the other guests moving in and out among the groves of orange and olive trees and swaying palms, and standing, outlined against the blue sky, upon the low, flat roof of the farm-house.

"I have dared to ask you to be so good as to give me this moment," the Prince said humbly, "only because I am going away, and it may be my last chance to speak with you. You do not mind? You do not think I presume?"

"No, I do not mind," said the girl, smiling. "In my country we do not think it a terrible offence to talk to a girl at a garden-party. But you said there was something of importance you wanted to say to me. You mean the expedition?"

"Yes," said Kalonay. "We start this evening." The girl raised her head slightly and stared past him at the burning white walls and the burning blue sky that lay outside the circle of shadow in which they sat.

"This evening—" she repeated to herself.

"We reach there in two days," Kalonay continued; "and then we—then we go on—until we enter the capital."

The girl’s head was bent, and she looked at her hands as they lay in her lap and frowned at them, they seemed so white and pretty and useless.

"Yes, you go on," she repeated, "and we stay here. You are a man and able to go on. I know what that means. And you like it," she added, with a glance of mingled admiration and fear. "You are glad to fight and to risk death and to lead men on to kill other men."

Kalonay drew lines in the sand with his ridingwhip, and did not raise his head.

"I suppose it is because you are fighting for your home," the girl continued, "and to set your country free, and that you can live with your own people again, and because it is a holy war. That must be it. Now that it is really come, I see it all differently. I see things I had not thought about before. They frighten me," she said.

The Prince raised his head and faced the girl, clasping the end of his whip nervously in his hand. "If we should win the island for the King, " he said, "I believe it will make a great change in me. I shall be able to go freely then to my home, as you say, to live there always, to give up the life I have led on the Continent. It has been a foolish life—a dog’s life—and I have no one to blame for it but myself. I made it worse than it need to have been. But if we win, I have promised myself that I will not return to it; and if we fall I shall not return to it, for the reason that I shall have been killed. I shall have much power if we win. When I say much power, I mean much power in Messina, in that little corner of the world, and I wish to use it worthily and well. I am afraid I should not have thought of it," he went on, naively, as though he were trying to be quite fair, "had not Father Paul pointed out to me what I should do, how I could raise the people and stop the abuses which made them drive us from the island. The people must be taxed less heavily, and the money must be spent for them and not for us, on roads and harbors and schools, not at the Palace on banquets and fetes. These are Father Paul’s ideas, not mine,—but now I make them mine." He rose and paced the length of the little arbor, his hands clasped behind him and his eyes bent on the ground. "Yes, that is what I mean to do," he said. "That is the way I mean to live. And if we fail, I mean to be among those who are to die on the fortifications of the capital, so that with me the Kalonay family will end, and end fighting for the King, as many of my people have done before me. There is no other way. For me there shall be no more idleness nor exile. I must either live on to help my people, or I must die with them." He stopped in his walk and regarded the girl closely. "You may be thinking, it is easy for him to promise this, it is easy to speak of what one will do. I know that. I know that I can point back at nothing I have done that gives me any right to ask you to believe me now. But I do ask it, for if you believe me—believe what I say—it makes it easier for me to tell you why after this I must live worthily. But you know why? You must know; it is not possible that you do not know."

He sat down beside her on the bench, leaning forward and crushing his hands together on his knee. "It is because I love you. Because I love you so that everything which is not worthy is hateful to me, myself most of all. It is the only thing that counts. I used to think I knew what love meant; I used to think love was a selfish thing that needed love in return, that it must be fed on love to live, that it needed vows and tender speeches and caresses, or it would die. I know now that when one truly cares, he does not ask whether the other cares or not. It is what one gives that counts, not what one receives. You have given me nothing—nothing—not a word nor a look; yet since I have known you I have been more madly happy in just knowing that you live than I would have been had any other woman in all the world thrown herself into my arms and said she loved me above all other men. I am not fit to tell you this. But to-night I go to try myself, either never to see you again, or to come back perhaps more worthy to love you. Think of this when I am gone. Do not speak to me now. I may have made you hate me for speaking so, or I may have made you pity me; so let me go not knowing, just loving you, worshipping you, and holding you apart and above all other people. I go to fight for you, do you understand? Not for our Church, not for my people, but for you, to live or die for you. And I ask nothing from you but that you will let me love you always."

The Prince bent, and catching up Miss Carson’s riding-gloves that lay beside her on the bench, kissed them again and again, and then, rising quickly, walked out of the arbor into the white sunshine, and, without turning, mounted his pony and galloped across the burning desert in the direction of Tangier.

Archie Gordon had not been invited to join the excursion into the country, nor would he have accepted it, for he wished to be by himself that he might review the situation and consider what lay before him. He sat with his long legs dangling over the broad rampart which overlooks the harbor of Tangier. He was whistling meditatively to himself and beating an accompaniment to the tune with his heels. At intervals he ceased whistling while he placed a cigar between his teeth and pulled upon it thoughtfully, resuming his tune again at the point where it had been interrupted. Below him the waves ran up lazily on the level beach and sank again, dragging the long sea-weed with them, as they swept against the sharp rocks, and exposed them for an instant, naked and glistening in the sun. On either side of him the town stretched to meet the low, white, sand-hills in a crescent of low, white houses pierced by green minarets and royal palms. A warm sun had sent the world to sleep at mid-day, and an enforced peace hung over the glaring white town and the sparkling blue sea. Gordon blinked at the glare, but his eyes showed no signs of drowsiness. They were, on the contrary, awake to all that passed on the high road behind him, and on the sandy beach at his feet, while at the same time his mind was busily occupied in reviewing what had occurred the day before, and in adjusting new conditions. At the hotel he had found that the situation was becoming too complicated, and that it was impossible to feel sure of the truth of anything, or of the sincerity of anyone. Since the luncheon hour the day before he had become a fellow-conspirator with men who were as objectionable to him in every way as he knew he was obnoxious to them. But they had been forced to accept him because, so they supposed, he had them at the mercy of his own pleasure. He knew their secret, and in the legitimate pursuit of his profession he could, if he chose, inform the island of Messina, with the rest of the world, of their intention toward it, and bring their expedition to an end, though he had chosen, as a reward for his silence, to become one of themselves. Only the Countess Zara had guessed the truth, that it was Gordon himself who was at their mercy, and that so long as the American girl persisted in casting her fortunes with them her old young friend was only too eager to make any arrangement with them that would keep him at her side.

It was a perplexing position, and Gordon turned it over and over in his mind. Had it not been that Miss Carson had a part in it he would have enjoyed the adventure, as an adventure, keenly. He had no objections to fighting on the side of rascals, or against rascals. He objected to them only in the calmer moments of private life; and as he was of course ignorant that the expedition was only a make-believe, he felt a certain respect for his fellow-conspirators as men who were willing to stake their lives for a chance of better fortune. But that their bravery was of the kind which would make them hesitate to rob and deceive a helpless girl he very much doubted; for he knew that even the bravest of warriors on their way to battle will requisition a herd of cattle or stop to loot a temple. The day before, Gordon had witnessed the brief ceremony which attended the presentation of the young noblemen from Paris who had volunteered for the expedition in all good faith, and he reviewed it and analyzed it as he sat smoking on the ramparts.

It had been an impressive ceremony, in spite of the fact that so few had taken part in it, but the earnestness of the visitors and the enthusiasm of Kalonay and the priest had made up for the lack of numbers. The scene had appealed to him as one of the most dramatic he had witnessed in the pursuit of a calling in which looking on at real dramas was the most frequent duty, and he had enjoyed the strange mixture of ancient terms of address and titles with the modern manners of the men themselves. It had interested him to watch Baron Barrat bring out the ancient crown and jewelled sceptre which had been the regalia of all the Kings of Messina since the Crusades and spread them out upon a wicker tea-table, from which Niccolas had just removed some empty coffee-cups, half filled with the ends of cigarettes, some yellow-backed novels, and a copy of the Paris Figaro. It was also interesting to him to note how the sight of the little heir-apparent affected both the peasants from the mountains and the young nobles from the Club Royale. The former fell upon their knees with the tears rolling down the furrows in their tanned cheeks, while the little wise-eyed boy stood clinging to his nurse’s skirts with one hand and to his father’s finger with the other, and nodded his head at them gravely like a toy mandarin.

Then the King had addressed them in a dignifled, earnest, and almost eloquent speech, and had promised much and prophesied the best of fortunes, and then, at the last, had turned suddenly toward Miss Carson, where she stood in the background between her mother and Father Paul.

"Every cause has its Joan of Arc, or its Maria Theresa," he cried, looking steadfastly at Miss Carson. "No cause has succeeded without some good woman to aid it. To help us, my friends, we have a daughter of the people, as was Joan of Arc, and a queen, as was Maria Theresa, for she comes from that country where every woman is a queen in her own right, and where the love of liberty is inherent." The King took a quick step backward, and taking Miss Carson’s hand drew her forward beside him and placed her facing his audience, while the girl made vain efforts to withdraw her hand. "This is she," he said earnestly, "the true daughter of the Church who has made it possible for us to return to our own again. It is due to her that the King of Messina shall sit once more on his throne; it is through her generosity alone that the churches will rise from their ruins and that you will once again hear the Angelus ring across the fields at sunset. Remember her, my friends and cousins, pray for her as a saint upon earth, and fight gloriously to help her to success!"

Gordon had restrained himself with difficulty while this scene was being enacted; he could not bear the thought of the King touching the girl’s hand. He struggled to prevent himself from crying out at the false position into which he had dragged her; and yet there was something so admirably sincere in the King’s words, something so courteous and manly, that it robbed his words of all the theatrical effect they held, and his tribute to the girl filled even Gordon with an emotion which on the part of the young nobles found expression in cheer upon cheer.

Gordon recalled these cheers and the looks of wondering admiration which had been turned upon Miss Carson, and he grew so hot at the recollection that he struck the wall beside him savagely with his clinched fist, and damned the obstinacy of his young and beautiful friend with a sincerity and vigor that was the highest expression of his interest in her behalf.

He threw his cigar into the rampart at his feet and dropped back into the high road. It was deserted at the time, except for the presence of a tall, slightly built stranger, who advanced toward him from the city gates. The man was dressed in garments of European fashion and carried himself like a soldier, and Gordon put him down at a glance as one of the volunteers from Paris. The stranger was walking leisurely, stopping to gaze at the feluccas in the bay, and then turning to look up at the fortress on the hill. He seemed to have no purpose in his walk except the interest of a tourist, and as he drew up even with Gordon he raised his helmet politely and, greeting him in English, asked if he were on the right road to the Bashaw’s Palace. Gordon pointed to where the white walls of the palace rose above the other white walls about it.

"That is it," he said. "All the roads lead to it. You keep going up hill."

"Thank you," said the stranger. "I see I have taken a long way." He put his white umbrella in the sand, and, removing his helmet, mopped his forehead with his handkerchief. "It is a curious old town, Tangier," he said, affably, "but too many hills, is it not so? Algiers I like better. There is more life."

"Yes, Algiers is almost as good as the boulevards," Gordon assented, "if you like the boulevards. I prefer this place because it is unspoiled. But, as you say, there is not much to do here."

The stranger’s eyes fell upon the Hotel Grande Bretagne, which stood a quarter of a mile away from them on the beach.

"That is the Hotel Bretagne, is it not?" he asked. Gordon answered him with a nod.

"The King Louis of Messina, so the chasseur at the hotel tells me, is stopping there en suite," the stranger added, with an interrogative air of one who volunteers an interesting fact, and who asks if it is true at the same moment.

"I can’t say, I’m sure," Gordon replied. "I only arrived here yesterday."

The stranger bowed his head in recognition of this piece of personal information, and, putting on his helmet, picked up his umbrella as though to continue his stroll. As he did so his eyes wandered over the harbor and were arrested with apparent interest by the yacht, which lay a conspicuous object on the blue water. He pointed at it with his umbrella.

"One of your English men-of-war is in the harbor, I see. She is very pretty, but not large; not so large as many," he said.

Gordon turned his head obligingly and gazed at the yacht with polite interest. "Is that a man-of-war? I thought it was a yacht," he said. "I’m not familiar with the English war-vessels. I am an American."

"Ah, indeed!" commented the affable stranger. "I am French myself, but I think she is a man-of-war. I saw her guns when I passed on the steamer from Gibraltar."

Gordon knew that the steamer did not pass within half a mile of where the yacht lay at anchor, but he considered it might be possible to see her decks with the aid of a glass.

"You may be right," he answered, indifferently. As he turned his eyes from the boat he saw a woman, dressed in white, and carrying a parasol, leave the gardens of the Hotel Bretagne, and come toward them along the beach. The Frenchman, following the direction of his eyes, saw her also, and regarded her instantly with such evident concern that Gordon, who had recognized her even at that distance as the Countess Zara, felt assured that his inquisitor held, as he had already suspected, more than a tourist’s interest in Tangier.

"Well, I will wish you a good-morning," said the Frenchman, hurriedly.

"Good-morning," Gordon replied, and taking a cigar from his case, he seated himself again upon the rampart. As he walked away the stranger glanced back over his shoulder, but Gordon was apparently absorbed in watching the waves below him, and had lost all interest in his chance acquaintance. But he watched both the woman and the Frenchman as they advanced slowly from opposite directions and drew nearer together, and he was not altogether surprised, when the in man was within twenty feet of her, to see her start and stand still, and then, with the indecision of a hunted animal, move uncertainly, and then turn and run in the direction of the hotel. Something the man apparently called after her caused her to stop, and Gordon observed them now with undisguised interest as they stood conversing together, oblivious of the conspicuous mark they made on the broad white beach under the brilliant sun.

"I wonder what he’s up to now?" Gordon mused. "He was trying to pump me, that’s evident, and he certainly recognized the lady, and she apparently did not want to recognize him. I wonder if he is a rejected lover, or another conspirator. This is a most amusing place, nothing but plots and counterplots and—Hello!" he exclaimed aloud. The man had moved quickly past Madame Zara, and had started toward the hotel, and Zara had held out her hand to him, as though to entreat him to remain. But he did not stop, and she had taken a few uncertain steps after him, and had then, much to the American’s dismay, fallen limply on her back on the soft sand. She was not a hundred yards distant from where he sat, and in an instant he had slipped from the wall, and dropped on his hands and knees on the beach below. When Gordon reached her the Frenchman had returned, and was supporting her head on his knee and covering her head with her parasol.

"The lady has fainted!" he exclaimed, eagerly. His manner was no longer one of idle indolence. He was wide awake now and visibly excited.

"The sun has been too much for her," he said. "It is most dangerous walking about at this time of day."

Gordon ran down the beach and scooped up some water in his helmet, and dipping his handkerchief in it bathed her temples and cheek. He had time to note that she was a very beautiful girl, and the pallor of her face gave it a touch of gentleness that he had not seen there before.

"I will go to the hotel and bring assistance, said the stranger, uneasily, as the woman showed signs of regaining consciousness.

"No," said Gordon, "you’ll stay where you are and shade her with her umbrella. She’ll be all right in a minute."

The girl opened her eyes, and looking up saw Gordon bending over her. She regarded him for a moment and made an effort to rise, and in her endeavor to do so her eyes met those of the Frenchman, and with a sharp moan she shut them again and threw herself from Gordon’s knee to the sand.

"Give me that umbrella," said Gordon, "and go stand over there out of the way."

The man rose from his knee without showing any resentment and walked some little distance away, where he stood with his arms folded, looking out to sea. He seemed much too occupied with something of personal interest to concern himself with a woman’s fainting-spell. The girl lifted herself slowly to her elbow, and then, before Gordon could assist her, rose with a quick, graceful movement and stood erect upon her feet. She placed a detaining hand for an instant on the American’s arm.

"Thank you very much," she said. "I am afraid I have been imprudent in going out into the sun." Her eyes were fixed upon the Frenchman, who stood moodily staring at the sea and tearing one of his finger-nails with his teeth. He seemed utterly oblivious of their presence. The girl held out her hand for the parasol she had dropped and took it from Gordon with a bow.

"May I walk back with you to your hotel?" he asked. "Unless this gentleman----"

"Thank you," the girl said, in tones which the Frenchman could have easily overheard had he been listening. "I am quite able to go alone now; it is only a step."

She was still regarding the Frenchman closely; but as he was obviously unconscious of them she moved so that Gordon hid her from him, and in an entirely different voice she said, speaking rapidly,—

"You are Mr. Gordon, the American who joined us last night. That man is a spy from Messina. He is Renauld, the Commander-in-Chief of their army. He must be gotten away from here at once. It is a matter for a man to attend to. Will you do it?"

"How do you know this?" Gordon asked. "How do you know he is General Renauld? I want to be certain."

The girl tossed her head impatiently.

"He was pointed out to me at Messina. I saw him there in command at a review. He has just spoken to me—that was what frightened me into that fainting-spell. I didn’t think I was so weak," she said, shaking her head. "He offered me a bribe to inform him of our plans. I tell you he is a spy."

"That’s all right," said Gordon, reassuringly; "you go back to the hotel now and send those guards here on a run. I’ll make a charge against him and have him locked up until after we sail to-night. Hurry, please; I’ll stay here."

Gordon felt a pleasurable glow of excitement. It was his nature to throw himself into everything he did and to at once become a partisan. It was a quality which made his writings attractive to the reader, and an object of concern to his editor. At the very word "spy," and at this first hint of opposition to the cause in which he had but just enlisted, he thrilled as though it had always been his own, and he regarded the Frenchman with a personal dislike as sudden as it was unfounded.

The Frenchman had turned and was walking in the direction of the city gate. His eyes were bent on the sandy beach which stretched before him, and he made his way utterly unmindful of the waves that stole up to his feet and left little pools of water in his path. Gordon beckoned impatiently to the two soldiers who came running toward him at the hotel, and moved forward to meet them the sooner. He took one of them by the wrist and pointed with his other hand at the retreating figure of the Frenchman.

"That man," he said, "is one of the King’s enemies. The King is in danger while that man is here. Your duty is to protect the King, so he gives this foreigner into your charge."

The soldier nodded his head in assent. "The King himself sent us," he replied.

"You will place him in the Civil Prison," Gordon continued, "until the King is safe on his yacht, and you will not allow him to send for the French Consul-General. If he sees the Consul-General he will tell him a great many lies about you, and a great war-ship will come and your Bashaw will be forced to pay the foreigners much money. I will go with you and tell this man in his own tongue what you are going to do with him."

They walked hurriedly after the Frenchman, and when they had overtaken him Gordon halted and bowed.

"One moment, please," he said. "These soldiers have an order for your arrest. I speak the language, and if you have anything to say to them I will interpret for you."

The Frenchman stared from Gordon to the guards and then laughed incredulously but with no great confidence. He had much to say, but he demanded to know first why he should be arrested.

"The lady you insulted," Gordon answered, gravely, "happened, unfortunately for you, to be one of the King’s guests. She has complained to him, and he has sent these soldiers to put you where you cannot trouble her again. You see, sir, you cannot annoy women with impunity even in this barbarous country."

"Insult her! I did not insult her," the man retorted. "That is not the reason I am arrested."

"You annoyed her so much that she fainted. I saw you," said Gordon, backing away with the evident purpose of abandoning the foreigner to his guards.

"She has lied," the man cried, "either to the King or to me. I do not know which, but I am here to find out. That is why I came to Tangier, and I intend to learn the truth."

"You’ve begun rather badly," Gordon answered, as he still retreated. "In the Civil Prison your field of investigation will be limited."

The Frenchman took a hasty step toward him, shrugging off the hand one of the soldiers had placed on his shoulder.

"Are you the Prince Kalonay, sir?" he demanded. "But surely not," he added.

"No, I am not the Prince," Gordon answered. "I bid you good-morning, sir."

"Then you are on the other side," the man called after him eagerly, with a tone of great relief. "I have been right from the very first. I see it plainly. It is a double plot, and you are one of that woman’s dupes. Listen to me—I beg of you, listen to me—I have a story to tell."

Gordon paused and looked back at the man over his shoulder, doubtfully.

"It’s like the Arabian Nights," he said, with a puzzled smile. "There was once a rich merchant of Bagdad and the Sultan was going to execute him, but they put off the execution until he could tell them the story of the Beautiful Countess and the French Envoy. I am sorry," he added, shaking his head, "but I cannot listen now. I must not be seen talking to you at all, and everyone can see us here."

They were as conspicuous figures on the flat surface of the beach as two palms in a desert, and Gordon was most anxious to escape, for he was conscious that he could be observed from every point in the town. A hundred yards away, on the terrace of the hotel, he saw the King, Madame Zara, Barrat, and Erhaupt standing together watching them.

"If the American leaves him now, we are safe," the King was saying. He spoke in a whisper, as though he feared that even at that distance Gordon and the Frenchman could overhear his words. "But if he remains with him he will find out the truth, and that means ruin. He will ruin us."

"Look, he is coming this way," Zara answered. "He is leaving him. The danger is past."

The Frenchman raised his eyes and saw the four figures grouped closely together on the terrace.

"See, what did I tell you?" he cried. "She is with the King now. It is a plot within a plot, and I believe you know it," he added, furiously. "You are one of these brave blackmailers yourself—that is why you will not let me speak."

"Blackmailers!" said Gordon. "Confound your impudence, what the devil do you mean by that?"

But the Frenchman was staring angrily at the distant group on the terrace, and Gordon turned his eyes in the same direction. Something he saw in the strained and eager attitude of the four conspirators moved him to a sudden determination.

"That will do, you must go," he commanded, pointing with his arm toward the city gate; and before the Frenchman could reply, he gave an order to the guards, and they seized the foreigner roughly by either arm and hurried him away.

"Thank God!" exclaimed the King, piously. "They have separated, and the boy thinks he is rendering us great service. Well, and so he is, the young fool."

The group on the piazza remained motionless, watching Gordon as he leisurely lit a cigar and stood looking out at the harbor until the Frenchman had disappeared inside the city wall. Then he turned and walked slowly after him.

"I do not like that. I do not like his following him," said Barrat, suspiciously.

"That is nothing," answered the King. "He is going to play the spy and see that the man is safely in jail. Then he will return and report to us. We must congratulate him warmly. He follows at a discreet distance, you observe, and keeps himself well out of sight. The boy knows better than to compromise himself by being seen in conversation with the man. Of course, if Renauld is set free we must say we had no part in his arrest, that the American made the arrest on his own authority. What a convenient tool the young man is. Why, his coming really frightened us at first, and now—now we make a cat’s-paw of him." The King laughed merrily. "We undervalue ourselves sometimes, do we not?"

"He is a nice boy," said Zara. "I feel rather sorry for him. He looked so anxious and distressed when I was so silly as to faint on the beach just now. He handled me as tenderly as a woman would have done—not that women have generally handled me tenderly," she added.

"I was thinking the simile was rather misplaced," said the King.

Gordon passed the city wall and heard the gates swing to behind him. The Frenchman and his two captors were just ahead, toiling heavily up the steep and narrow street. Gordon threw his cigar from him and ran leaping over the huge cobbles to the Frenchman’s side and touched him on the shoulder.

"We are out of sight of the hotel, now, General," he said. He pointed to the dark, cool recesses of a coffee-shop and held back the rug that hung before it. "Come in here," he said, "and tell me that story."


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Chicago: Richard Harding Davis, "III," The King’s Jackal, ed. Davis, Charles Belmont, 1866-1926 in The King’s Jackal (New York: George E. Wood, 1850), Original Sources, accessed January 27, 2023,

MLA: Davis, Richard Harding. "III." The King’s Jackal, edited by Davis, Charles Belmont, 1866-1926, in The King’s Jackal, Vol. 22, New York, George E. Wood, 1850, Original Sources. 27 Jan. 2023.

Harvard: Davis, RH, 'III' in The King’s Jackal, ed. . cited in 1850, The King’s Jackal, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 27 January 2023, from