Monsieur Jesen was excited yet nervous.
"It is too late," he muttered, "to talk business."
Herr Freudenberg smiled.
"Ah!" he cried, "you jest, my friend. Look out of that window. You see
the sunshine in the streets, you breathe the fresh, clear air? Too
late, indeed! It is morning, and the brain is keenest then. Don't you
feel the fumes of the hot room, of the wine, of the tobacco smoke, all
pass away with the touch of that soft wind?"
Monsieur Jesen stared. He was conscious of a very bad headache, an
uncomfortable sense that he had, as usual on his weekly holiday, eaten
and drunk and smoked a great deal more than was good for him. He gazed
with wonder at this tall, spare-looking man, who had drunk as much and
smoked as much and eaten as much as any one else, and yet appeared
exactly as he had done four hours ago. Even his linen was still
spotless. His eyes were bright, his manner buoyant.
"Monsieur," he murmured, "you are marvelous. I have never before met a
German merchant like you."
Herr Freudenberg sat quite still for a moment. He looked at
mademoiselle, the friend of Monsieur Jesen, and he realized that theirs
was no casual acquaintance. In both he recognized the characteristics
of fidelity. As he had always the genius to do, he took his risks.
"Monsieur Jesen," he announced, "I am no German maker of toys. Let me
ascend with you to your room and you shall hear who I am and why I have
said these things to you."
Monsieur Jesen held his hand to his head. Something in the manner of
this new friend of his was, in a sense, mesmeric.
"You shall ascend, monsieur," he said. "I do not know who you are, but
you are evidently a very wonderful person. We will ascend and you shall
wait while I place my head in cold water and Susanne mixes me some
absinthe. Then I will listen."
The automobile came to a standstill about halfway down a shabby street
in a somewhat shabby neighborhood. Herr Freudenberg noticed this fact
without change of countenance, but with secret pleasure. He turned to
"Dear Marguerite," he whispered, "for an hour or so I must leave you.
You will permit that my man takes you to your apartments and returns
for me here?"
"May I not wait for you here in the automobile?" she asked timidly.
Herr Freudenberg shook his head kindly.
"Dear little one," he murmured, "not this morning. Indeed, I have
important affairs on hand. As soon as I am free, I will telephone.
Sleep well, little girl."
He stepped out on to the pavement. The postern door in front of them
was opened, in response to Monsieur Jesen's vigorous knocking, from
some invisible place by a string. The three of them climbed four
flights of rickety stairs. They reached at last a stone landing.
Monsieur Jesen threw open a door and led the way into an untidy-looking
"Monsieur will forgive the fact," he begged, "that I am not better
housed. If it were not for little Susanne here," he added, patting her
upon the shoulder, "I doubt whether I should keep a roof above my head
"It is not like this," Herr Freudenberg declared, "that genius should
"Indeed," Mademoiselle Susanne intervened, "it is what I tell him
always. Monsieur, they pay him but a beggarly three hundred francs a
month - he, who writes all the editorials; he, who is the spirit of the
papers! It is not fair. I tell dear Paul that it is wicked, and, as he
says, the money, if it were not for me, he would squander it in a
minute. I have even to go with him to the office, for there are many
who know when Paul draws his little cheque."
Herr Freudenberg set down his hat upon the table. He looked around at
all the evidences of unclean and sordid life. Then he looked at the
man. It was a queer housing, this, for genius! His face remained
expressionless. Of the disgust he felt he showed no sign. In the
building of houses one must use many tools!
"Monsieur Jesen," he said, "and mademoiselle - I speak to you both, for
I recognize that between you there is indeed a union of sympathy and
souls. Mademoiselle, then, I address myself to you. On certain terms I
have offered to purchase for Monsieur Paul here a two-thirds share of
the newspaper upon which he works, that two-thirds share which he and I
both know is in the market at this moment. I am willing at mid-day
to-morrow, or rather to-day, to place within his hands the sum
required. I am willing to send my notary with him to the office, and
the affair could be arranged at half-past twelve. From then he
practically owns _Le Jour_. Its politics are his to control. I
make him this offer, mademoiselle, and it is a greater one than it
sounds, for the money which I place in his hands to make this
purchase - five hundred thousand francs - is his completely and
absolutely. You move at once into apartments befitting your new
position. Monsieur Paul Jesen is no longer a struggling and ill-paid
journalist. He is the proprietor of an important journal, through whose
columns he shall help to guide the policy of your nation."
Monsieur Jesen sat down. His fingers were clutching one another.
Mademoiselle stared at Herr Freudenberg. Her color was coming and
"Monsieur, I do not understand!" she cried. "Are you a prince in
disguise? Why do you do this?"
"Mademoiselle," Herr Freudenberg replied, "your question is the
question of an intelligent woman. Why do I do this? Not for nothing, I
assure you. It is my custom to make bargains, indeed, but I make them
so that those with whom I deal shall never regret the day they met Herr
Freudenberg. I offer you this splendid future, you and Monsieur Jesen
there, on one condition, and it is a small one, for already the truth
has found its way a little into his brain. _Le Jour_ has supported
always, wholly and entirely, the _entente_ between Great Britain
and your country. I have tried to point out to Paul Jesen here what all
far-seeing people must soon appreciate - that the _entente_ is
The girl glanced at Jesen. Jesen was looking away out of the dusty
"Mademoiselle," Herr Freudenberg continued, "I will not weary you at
this hour in the morning with politics. I have talked long with
Monsieur Jesen and I think that I have shown him something of the
truth. You came to the rescue of Great Britain when she lay friendless
and powerless. You saved her prestige; you saved her, without doubt,
from invasion. What have you gained? Nothing! What can you ever gain?
Nothing! Her army of toy soldiers would be of less use to you than a
single corps from across the Elbe. Her fleet - you have no possessions
to guard. It is for herself only that she maintains it. I ask you to
think quietly for yourself and ask yourself on whose side is the
balance of advantage. You can reply to that question in one way, and
one way only. France has been carried away on a wave of enthusiasm, a
wave of sentiment - call it what you will. But France is a far-seeing
people. The moment is ripe. I propose to Paul Jesen that his should be
the hand and _Le Jour_ the vehicle which shall bring the French
people to a proper understanding of the political situation."
"Who, then, are you?" Mademoiselle Susanne persisted.
Herr Freudenberg barely hesitated.
"Mademoiselle," he said, "we speak of great things, we three, in this
little chamber of yours. I, who have often talked of great things
before, have learned in life one lesson at least, and that is when one
may trust. It is not my desire that many people should know who I am.
It suits my purpose better to move in Paris as a private citizen, but
to you two let me tell the truth. I am Prince Falkenberg."
There was a silence. The man looked at him, sober enough now, in
amazement. The girl's hands were clasped together. She was watching the
man - her man. She crept to his side, her arm was around his neck.
"Dear Paul," she whispered, "think! Think how sweet life might be.
There is so much truth in all this. I know little of politics, but
think of the hard times we have lived through. Think how glorious to
have you ride in your automobile to the offices of your newspaper, to
see you pass into the editor's sanctum instead of waiting outside, to
have me call for you, perhaps, and take you out to lunch - no, never at
Drevel's any more - at the Cafe de Paris, or Henry's, or Paillard's, or
out in the Bois! And the excursions, dear Paul. Think of them! The
country - how we both love the country! You remember when we first went
out together to the little town on the river, where no one ever seemed
to have come from Paris before? How sleepy and quiet the long
afternoon, when we lay in the grass and heard the birds sing, and the
murmur of the river, and we had only a few francs for our dinner, and
we had to leave the train and walk that last four miles because you had
drunk one more _bock_. Dear Paul, think what life might be if one
were really rich!"
The man's eyes flashed.
"It is true," he muttered. "All my life I have been a straggler."
"You have done your genius an ill turn, my friend," Herr Freudenberg
said slowly. "No man can be at his best who knows care. I, Prince
Falkenberg, I promise you that it is the truth which I have spoken, the
truth which I shall show you. You lose no shadow of honor or
self-respect. There will come a day when the millions of readers whom
you shall influence will say to themselves - 'Paul Jesen, he is the man
who saw the truth. It is he who has saved France.' You accept?"
"Monsieur le Prince," Susanne cried, "he accepts!"
Jesen rose to his feet. He had become a little unsteady again. He
struck the table with his fist.
"I accept!" he declared.
THE FLIGHT OF LADY ANNE
It was exactly nine forty-five in the evening, about three weeks
later, when the two-twenty from London steamed into the Gare du Nord.
Julien, from his place among the little crowd wedged in behind the
gates, gazed with blank amazement at the girl who, among the first to
leave the train, was presenting her ticket to the collector. At that
moment she recognized him. With a purely mechanical effort he raised
his hat and held out his hand.
"Lady Anne!" he exclaimed. "Why - I had no idea you were coming to
Paris," he added weakly.
She laughed - the same frank, good-humored laugh, except that she seemed
to lack just a little of her usual self-possession.
"Neither did I," she confessed, "until this morning."
He looked at her blankly. She was carrying her own jewel-case. He could
see no signs of a maid or any party.
"But tell me," he asked, "where are the rest of your people?"
She shook her head.
"Nowhere. I am quite alone."
Julien was speechless.
"You must really forgive me," he continued, after a moment's pause, "if
I seem stupid. It is scarcely a month ago since I read of your
engagement to Harbord. The papers all said that you were to be married
"That's exactly it," she said. "That's why I am here."
"What, you mean that you are going to be married here?" asked Julien.
"I am not going to be married at all," she replied cheerfully. "Between
ourselves, Julien," she added, "I found I couldn't go through with it."
"Couldn't go through with it!" he repeated feebly.
Lady Anne was beginning to recover herself.
"Don't be stupid," she begged. "You used to be quick enough. Can't you
see what has happened? I became engaged to the little beast. I stood it
for three weeks. I didn't mind him at the other end of the room, but
when he began to talk about privileges and attempt to take liberties, I
found I couldn't bear the creature anywhere near me. Then all of a
sudden I woke up this morning and remembered that we were to be married
in a week. That was quite enough for me. I slipped out after lunch,
caught the two-twenty train, and here I am."
"Exactly," Julien agreed. "Here you are."
"With my luggage," she continued, swinging the jewel-case in her hand
and laughing in his face.
"With your luggage," Julien echoed. "Seriously, is that all that you
"Every bit," she answered. "You know mother?"
"Yes, I know your mother!" he admitted.
"Well, I didn't exactly feel like taking her into my confidence," Lady
Anne explained, smiling. "Under those circumstances, I thought it just
as well to make my departure as quietly as possible."
"Then they don't know where you are?"
"Really," she assured him, "you are becoming quite intelligent. They do
"In other words, you've run away?"
"Marvelous!" she murmured. "I suppose it's the air over here."
A sudden idea swept into Julien's mind. Of course, it was ridiculous,
yet for a moment his heart gave a little jump. Perhaps she divined his
thought, for her next words disposed of it effectually.
"Of course, I knew that you were in Paris, but I had no idea that we
should meet, certainly not like this. I have a dear friend to whose
apartments I shall go at once. She is a milliner."
"She is a what?" Julien asked blankly.
A smile played about Lady Anne's lips.
"My dear Julien," she exclaimed, "you know, you never did understand
me! I repeat that she is a milliner and that she is a dear friend of
mine, and I am going just as I am to tell her that I have come to spend
the night. She will have to find me rooms, she will have to help me
Kendricks, who had come by the same train, and whom Julien was there to
meet, was hovering in the background. Julien, seeing him, could do no
more than nod vaguely.
"Lady Anne," he began, -
"You needn't bother about that," she interrupted. "We were always good
friends, weren't we?" she added carelessly. "Besides, to call me 'Lady'
anything would be rather ridiculous under the present circumstances."
"Well, Anne, then," he said, "please let me get my bearings. I
understand that you were engaged to Harbord - you weren't forced into
it, I suppose?"
"Not at all. I tried to run along the usual groove, but I came up
against something too big for me. I don't know how other girls do it. I
simply found I couldn't. Samuel Harbord is rather by way of being
something outrageous, you know."
"Of course he is," Julien agreed, with sudden appreciation of the fact.
"You needn't be so vigorous about it. I remember your almost forcing
him on to me the day you called to say good-bye."
"I was talking rubbish," Julien asserted. "You see, I was in rather an
unfortunate position myself that day, wasn't I? No one likes to feel
like a discarded lover. I can understand your chucking Harbord all
right, but I can't quite see why it was necessary for you to run away
from home to come and stay with a little milliner."
"My dear Julien, you don't know those Harbords! There are hordes of
them, countless hordes - mothers and sisters and cousins and aunts.
They've besieged the place ever since our engagement was announced. If
the merest whisper were to get about among them that I was thinking of
backing out, there's nothing they wouldn't do. They'd make the whole
place intolerable for me - follow me about in the street, weep in my
bedroom, hang around the place morning, noon and night. Besides, mother
would be on their side and the whole thing would be impossible."
"I have no doubt," Julien admitted, "that the situation would be a
trifle difficult, but to talk about earning your own living - you, Lady
Anne - "
"Lady fiddlesticks!" she interrupted. "What a stupid old thing you are,
Julien! You never found out, I suppose, that at heart I am a Bohemian?"
"No, I never did!" he assented vigorously.
"Ah, well," she remarked, "you were too busy flirting with that Carraby
woman to discover all my excellent qualities. We mustn't stay here,
must we? Are you very busy, or do you want to drive me to my friend's
house? Of course, meeting you here will be the end of me if any one
sees us. Still, I don't suppose you object to a little scandal, and the
more I get the happier I shall be."
"I'll take you anywhere," Julien promised. "You don't mind waiting
while I speak to the man whom I have come to meet?"
"Not at all," she replied. "You are sure he won't object?"
"Of course not," Julien assured her. "Kendricks is an awfully good
The two men gripped hands. Kendricks was carrying his own bag and
smoking his accustomed pipe. He had apparently been asleep in the
carriage and was looking a little more untidy than usual.
"I got your wire all right," Julien said, "and I am thundering glad to
see you. Are you just in search of the ordinary sort of copy, or is
there anything special doing?"
"Something special," Kendricks answered, "and you're in it. When can we
talk? No hurry, as long as I see you some time to-night."
"I am entirely at your service," Julien declared. "I have been bored to
death for the last few weeks and I am only too anxious to have a talk.
You don't mind if I see this young lady to her friend's house first? I
don't know exactly where it is, but it won't take very long. She is all
alone, and as long as we have met I feel that I ought to look after
"Naturally," Kendricks agreed. "I can go to my hotel and meet you
anywhere you say for supper."
Julien glanced at his watch.
"It is ten o'clock within a minute or two," he announced. "Supposing we
make it half-past eleven at the Abbaye?"
"That'll suit me. So long!"
He strode away in search of a cab. Julien returned to Lady Anne and
took the jewel-case from her fingers.
"It's all arranged," he said. "You are quite sure that you have no more
"Not a scrap! Have you ever traveled without luggage, Julien? It makes
you feel that you are really in for adventures."
"Does it!" he replied a little weakly. Somehow or other, he had never
associated a love for adventures with Lady Anne.
"Isn't it fun to be in Paris once more?" she continued. "I want a real
rickety little _voiture_ and I want the man to have a white hat,
if possible, and I want to drive down into Paris over those cobbles."
"Any particular address?"
She handed him a card. He called an open victoria and directed the man.
Together they drove out of the station yard. Lady Anne leaned forward,
looking around her with keen pleasure.
"Julien," she cried, "this is delightful, meeting you! I hope I shan't
be a bother to you, but really it is rather nice to feel that I have
one friend here."
"You couldn't possibly be a bother to me," he declared. "I'm rather a
waif here myself, you know, and I am honestly glad to see you."
She looked at him quickly and breathed a little sigh of relief.
"Now that's sweet of you," she said. "Of course, I don't see why you
shouldn't be. We were always good friends, weren't we? and it makes me
feel so much more comfortable to remember that we never went in for the
other sort of thing."
"There was just one moment," he murmured ruminatingly, -
She turned her head.
"Stop at once," she begged. "That moment passed, as you know. If it
hadn't, things might have been different. If it hadn't, I should feel
differently about being with you now. We are forgetting that moment, if
you please, Julien. Do, there's a good fellow. If you wanted to be
good-natured, you could be so nice to me until I get used to being
"Forgotten it shall be, by all means," he promised cheerfully. "Do you
know that the address you gave me is only a few yards away?"
"Oh, bother!" she exclaimed. "I knew that it was somewhere up by the
Gare du Nord."
They turned off from the Rue Lafayette and pulled up opposite a
"Mademoiselle Rignaut lives up above," Lady Anne said, alighting. "It's
sweet of you to have brought me, Julien."
"I am going to wait and see that you are all right," he replied,
ringing the bell.
There was a short delay, then the door was opened. A young woman peered
"Who is it?" she asked quickly.
A little of Lady Anne's confidence for the moment had almost deserted
her. The girl's face was invisible and the interior of the passage
looked cheerless. Nevertheless, she answered briskly.
"Don't you remember me, Mademoiselle Janette? I am Lady Anne - Lady Anne
Clonarty, you know."
There was a wondering scream, an exclamation of delight, and Julien
stood on the pavement for fully five minutes. Then Lady Anne
reappeared, followed by her friend.
"Sir Julien," she said, "this is Mademoiselle Rignaut. I am awfully
lucky. Mademoiselle Rignaut has a room she can let me have and we are
going to raid her shop and get everything I want. She has costumes as
well as hats."
Julien shook hands with the little Frenchwoman, who had not yet
recovered from her amazement.
"But this is wonderful, monsieur, is it not," she cried, "to see dear
Lady Anne like this? Such a surprise! Such a delight! But, miladi," she
added suddenly, "you must be hungry - starving!"
"I am," Lady Anne admitted frankly.
The little woman's face fell.
"But only this afternoon," she explained, "my servant was taken away to
the hospital! What can we - "
"What you will both do," Julien interrupted, "is to come and have
supper with me."
"Do you really mean it?" Lady Anne asked doubtfully. "What about your
"He won't mind," Julien assured her. "You shall take your first step
into Bohemia, my dear Anne. We had arranged to sup in the Montmartre.
You and Mademoiselle Rignaut must come. I can give you half an hour to
get ready - more, if you want it."
"What larks!" Lady Anne exclaimed. "Can I come in a traveling dress?"
"You can come just as you are," Julien replied. "One visits these
places just as one feels disposed. I'll be off and get a taximeter
automobile instead of this thing, and come back for you whenever you
"You are a brick," Lady Anne declared. "I shall love to go."
"Monsieur is too kind," Mademoiselle Rignaut agreed, "but as for me, it
is not fitting - "
"Rubbish!" Lady Anne interrupted briskly. "You've got to get all that
sort of stuff out of your head, Janette, and to start with you must
come to supper with us. Bless you, I couldn't go alone with Sir Julien!
I was engaged to be married to him three months ago."
Mademoiselle shook her head feebly.
"But indeed, Miladi Anne," she protested, "you are a strange people,
you English! I do not understand."
Lady Anne took her by the arm and turned towards the open door.
"Don't bother about that. We'll be ready in half an hour, Julien."
Julien returned to the Gare du Nord and treated himself to a whiskey
and soda. He was surprised at the pleasurable sense of excitement which
this meeting had given him. During the last few weeks in Paris he had
found little to interest or amuse him. He had been, in fact, very
distinctly bored. The newspapers and illustrated journals, although
they were always full of interest to him, had day by day brought their
own particular sting. Although his affection for Lady Anne had been of
a distinctly modified character, yet he had found it curiously
unpleasant to read everywhere of her engagement, of her plans for the
future, and to look at the photographs of her and her intended
bridegroom which seemed to stare at him from every page. Somehow or
other, although he told himself that personally it was of no
consequence to him, he yet found the present situation of affairs far
more to his liking.
He lounged about the Gare du Nord, smoking a cigarette and thinking
over what she had told him. There was a good deal in the present
situation to appeal to his sense of humor. He thought of the Duke and
the Duchess when they discovered the flight of their daughter, - their
efforts to keep all details from the papers; of Harbord and his horde
of relations - Harbord, who had neither the dignity nor the breeding to
accept such a reverse in silence. He could imagine the gossip at the
clubs and among their friends. He himself was immensely surprised. He
had considered himself something of a judge of character, and yet he
had looked upon Lady Anne as a good-natured young person, brimful of
common sense, without an ounce of sentiment - a perfectly well-ordered
piece of the machinery of her sex. The whole affair was astonishing.
Perhaps to him the most astonishing part was that he found himself
continually looking at the clock, counting almost the minutes until it
was possible for him to start on this little expedition!
"TO OUR NEW SELVES"
Julien found a taximeter automobile and, punctually at the time
appointed, drove to the little milliner's shop in the Rue St. Antoine.
Lady Anne and her companion were waiting for him and they drove off