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[Illustration: "'SIR,' SAID THE LADY IN ITALIAN, 'I NEED A
POSTILLION.'" - _Page 2_.]




Clementina

By A.E.W. Mason

Author of "The Courtship of Morrice Buckler" "Parson Kelly" etc.


Illustrated by Bernard Partridge

New York
Frederick A. Stokes Company
Publishers


1901

THIRD EDITION

UNIVERSITY PRESS JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE, U.S.A.


THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
TO
ANDREW LANG, ESQ.
AS A TOKEN OF MUCH
FRIENDSHIP




CONTENTS


CHAPTER
I. A CHANCE MEETING
II. BAD NEWS
III. WOGAN MAKES A PROPOSAL
IV. SHOWS THAT THERE ARE BETTER HIDING-PLACES THAN A WINDOW-CURTAIN
V. SHOWS THAT A DISHONEST LANDLORD SHOULD AVOID WHITE PAINT
VI. WOGAN CONTINUES HIS JOURNEY
VII. WOGAN IS MISTAKEN FOR A MORE NOTABLE MAN
VIII. AT SCHLESTADT
IX. GAYDON MINDS HIS OWN BUSINESS
X. A MONTH OF WAITING
XI. THE PRINCE OF BADEN VISITS CLEMENTINA
XII. THE NIGHT OF THE 27TH. IN THE STREETS OF INNSPRUCK
XIII. THE NIGHT OF THE 27TH. IN CLEMENTINA'S APARTMENTS
XIV. THE ESCAPE
XV. THE FLIGHT TO ITALY: WOGAN'S CITY OF DREAMS
XVI. THE FLIGHT TO ITALY: THE POTENT EFFECTS OF A WATER-JUG
XVII. THE FLIGHT TO ITALY: A GROWING CLOUD
XVIII. WOGAN AND CLEMENTINA CONTINUE THEIR JOURNEY ALONE
XIX. THE ATTACK AT PERI
XX. THE GOD OF THE MACHINE DOES NOT APPEAR
XXI. COMPLICATIONS AT BOLOGNA
XXII. CLEMENTINA TAKES MR. WOGAN TO VISIT THE CAPRARA PALACE
XXIII. WOGAN LEARNS THAT HE HAS MEDDLED
XXIV. MARIA VITTORIA REAPPEARS
XXV. THE LAST
THE EPILOGUE




CLEMENTINA




CHAPTER I


The landlord, the lady, and Mr. Charles Wogan were all three, it seemed,
in luck's way that September morning of the year 1719. Wogan was not
surprised, his luck for the moment was altogether in, so that even when
his horse stumbled and went lame at a desolate part of the road from
Florence to Bologna, he had no doubt but that somehow fortune would
serve him. His horse stepped gingerly on for a few yards, stopped, and
looked round at his master. Wogan and his horse were on the best of
terms. "Is it so bad as that?" said he, and dismounting he gently felt
the strained leg. Then he took the bridle in his hand and walked
forward, whistling as he walked.

Yet the place and the hour were most unlikely to give him succour. It
was early morning, and he walked across an empty basin of the hills. The
sun was not visible, though the upper air was golden and the green peaks
of the hills rosy. The basin itself was filled with a broad uncoloured
light, and lay naked to it and extraordinarily still. There were as yet
no shadows; the road rose and dipped across low ridges of turf, a
ribbon of dead and unillumined white; and the grass at any distance from
the road had the darkness of peat. He led his horse forward for perhaps
a mile, and then turning a corner by a knot of trees came unexpectedly
upon a wayside inn. In front of the inn stood a travelling carriage with
its team of horses. The backs of the horses smoked, and the candles of
the lamps were still burning in the broad daylight. Mr. Wogan quickened
his pace. He would beg a seat on the box to the next posting stage.
Fortune had served him. As he came near he heard from the interior of
the inn a woman's voice, not unmusical so much as shrill with
impatience, which perpetually ordered and protested. As he came nearer
he heard a man's voice obsequiously answering the protests, and as the
sound of his footsteps rang in front of the inn both voices immediately
stopped. The door was flung hastily open, and the landlord and the lady
ran out onto the road.

"Sir," said the lady in Italian, "I need a postillion."

To Wogan's thinking she needed much more than a postillion. She needed
certainly a retinue of servants. He was not quite sure that she did not
need a nurse, for she was a creature of an exquisite fragility, with the
pouting face of a child, and the childishness was exaggerated by a great
muslin bow she wore at her throat. Her pale hair, where it showed
beneath her hood, was fine as silk and as glossy; her eyes had the
colour of an Italian sky at noon, and her cheeks the delicate tinge of
a carnation. The many laces and ribbons, knotted about her dress in a
manner most mysterious to Wogan, added to her gossamer appearance; and,
in a word, she seemed to him something too flowerlike for the world's
rough usage.

"I must have a postillion," she continued.

"Presently, madam," said the landlord, smiling with all a Tuscan
peasant's desire to please. "In a minute. In less than a minute."

He looked complacently about him as though at any moment now a crop of
postillions might be expected to flower by the roadside. The lady turned
from him with a stamp of the foot and saw that Wogan was curiously
regarding her carriage. A boy stood at the horses' heads, but his dress
and sleepy face showed that he had not been half an hour out of bed, and
there was no one else. Wogan was wondering how in the world she had
travelled as far as this inn. The lady explained.

"The postillion who drove me from Florence was drunk - oh, but drunk! He
rolled off his horse just here, opposite the door. See, I beat him," and
she raised the beribboned handle of a toy-like cane. "But it was no use.
I broke my cane over his back, but he would not get up. He crawled into
the passage where he lies."

Wogan had some ado not to smile. Neither the cane nor the hand which
wielded it would be likely to interfere even with a sober man's
slumbers.

"And I must reach Bologna to-day," she cried in an extreme agitation.
"It is of the last importance."

"Fortune is kind to us both, madam," said Wogan, with a bow. "My horse
is lamed, as you see. I will be your charioteer, for I too am in a
desperate hurry to reach Bologna."

Immediately the lady drew back.

"Oh!" she said with a start, looking at Wogan.

Wogan looked at her.

"Ah!" said he, thoughtfully.

They eyed each other for a moment, each silently speculating what the
other was doing alone at this hour and in such a haste to reach Bologna.

"You are English?" she said with a great deal of unconcern, and she
asked in English. That _she_ was English, Wogan already knew from her
accent. His Italian, however, was more than passable, and he was a wary
man by nature as well as by some ten years' training in a service where
wariness was the first need, though it was seldom acquired. He could
have answered "No" quite truthfully, being Irish. He preferred to answer
her in Italian as though he had not understood.

"I beg your pardon. Yes, I will drive you to Bologna if the landlord
will swear to look after my horse." And he was very precise in his
directions.

The landlord swore very readily. His anxiety to be rid of his vociferous
guest and to get back to bed was extreme. Wogan climbed into the
postillion's saddle, describing the while such remedies as he desired
to be applied to the sprained leg.

"The horse is a favourite?" asked the lady.

"Madam," said Wogan, with a laugh, "I would not lose that horse for all
the world, for the woman I shall marry will ride on it into my city of
dreams."

The lady stared, as she well might. She hesitated with her foot upon the
step.

"Is he sober?" she asked of the landlord.

"Madam," said the landlord, unabashed, "in this district he is nicknamed
the water drinker."

"You know him, then? He is Italian?"

"He is more. He is of Tuscany."

The landlord had never seen Wogan in his life before, but the lady
seemed to wish some assurance on the point, so he gave it. He shut the
carriage door, and Wogan cracked his whip.

The postillion's desires were of a piece with the lady's. They raced
across the valley, and as they climbed the slope beyond, the sun came
over the crests. One moment the dew upon the grass was like raindrops,
the next it shone like polished jewels. The postillion shouted a welcome
to the sun, and the lady proceeded to breakfast in her carriage. Wogan
had to snatch a meal as best he could while the horses were changed at
the posting stage. The lady would not wait, and Wogan for his part was
used to a light fare. He drove into Bologna that afternoon.

The lady put her head from the window and called out the name of a
street. Her postillion, however, paid no heed: he seemed suddenly to
have grown deaf; he whipped up his horses, shouted encouragements to
them and warnings to the pedestrians on the roads. The carriage rocked
round corners and bounced over the uneven stones. Wogan had clean
forgotten the fragility of the traveller within. He saw men going busily
about, talking in groups and standing alone, and all with consternation
upon their faces. The quiet streets were alive with them. Something had
happened that day in Bologna, - some catastrophe. Or news had come that
day, - bad news. Wogan did not stop to inquire. He drove at a gallop
straight to a long white house which fronted the street. The green
latticed shutters were closed against the sun, but there were servants
about the doorway, and in their aspect, too, there was something of
disorder. Wogan called to one of them, jumped down from his saddle, and
ran through the open doorway into a great hall with frescoed walls all
ruined by neglect. At the back of the hall a marble staircase, guarded
by a pair of marble lions, ran up to a landing and divided. Wogan set
foot on the staircase and heard an exclamation of surprise. He looked
up. A burly, good-humoured man in the gay embroideries of a courtier was
descending towards him.

"You?" cried the courtier. "Already?" and then laughed. He was the only
man whom Wogan had seen laugh since he drove into Bologna, and he drew a
great breath of hope.

"Then nothing has happened, Whittington? There is no bad news?"

"There is news so bad, my friend, that you might have jogged here on a
mule and still have lost no time. Your hurry is clean wasted," answered
Whittington.

Wogan ran past him up the stairs, and so left the hall and the open
doorway clear. Whittington looked now straight through the doorway, and
saw the carriage and the lady on the point of stepping down onto the
kerb. His face assumed a look of extreme surprise. Then he glanced up
the staircase after Wogan and laughed as though the conjunction of the
lady and Mr. Wogan was a rare piece of amusement. Mr. Wogan did not hear
the laugh, but the lady did. She raised her head, and at the same moment
the courtier came across the hall to meet her. As soon as he had come
close, "Harry," said she, and gave him her hand.

He bent over it and kissed it, and there was more than courtesy in the
warmth of the kiss.

"But I'm glad you've come. I did not look for you for another week," he
said in a low voice. He did not, however, offer to help her to alight.

"This is your lodging?" she asked.

"No," said he, "the King's;" and the woman shrank suddenly back amongst
her cushions. In a moment, however, her face was again at the door.

"Then who was he, - my postillion?"

"Your postillion?" asked Whittington, glancing at the servant who held
the horses.

"Yes, the tall man who looked as if he should have been a scholar and
had twisted himself all awry into a soldier. You must have passed him in
the hall."

Whittington stared at her. Then he burst again into a laugh.

"Your postillion, was he? That's the oddest thing," and he lowered his
voice. "Your postillion was Mr. Charles Wogan, who comes from Rome
post-haste with the Pope's procuration for the marriage. You have helped
him on his way, it seems. Here's a good beginning, to be sure."

The lady uttered a little cry of anger, and her face hardened out of all
its softness. She clenched her fists viciously, and her blue eyes grew
cold and dangerous as steel. At this moment she hardly looked the
delicate flower she had appeared to Wogan's fancy.

"But you need not blame yourself," said Whittington, and he lowered his
head to a level with hers. "All the procurations in Christendom will not
marry James Stuart to Clementina Sobieski."

"She has not come, then?"

"No, nor will she come. There is news to-day. Lean back from the window,
and I will tell you. She has been arrested at Innspruck."

The lady could not repress a crow of delight.

"Hush," said Whittington. Then he withdrew his head and resumed in his
ordinary voice, "I have hired a house for your Ladyship, which I trust
will be found convenient. My servant will drive you thither."

He summoned his servant from the group of footmen about the entrance,
gave him his orders, bowed to the ground, and twisting his cane
sauntered idly down the street.




CHAPTER II


Wogan mounted the stairs, not daring to speculate upon the nature of the
bad news. But his face was pale beneath its sunburn, and his hand
trembled on the balustrade; for he knew - in his heart he knew. There
could be only one piece of news which would make his haste or tardiness
matters of no account.

Both branches of the stairs ran up to a common landing, and in the wall
facing him, midway between the two stairheads, was a great door of tulip
wood. An usher stood by the door, and at Wogan's approach opened it.
Wogan, however, signed to him to be silent. He wished to hear, not to
speak, and so he slipped into the room unannounced. The door was closed
silently behind him, and at once he was surprised by the remarkable
silence, almost a cessation of life it seemed, in a room which was quite
full. Wherever the broad bars of sunshine fell, as they slanted dusty
with motes through the open lattices of the shutters, they striped a
woman's dress or a man's velvet coat. Yet if anyone shuffled a foot or
allowed a petticoat to rustle, that person glanced on each side
guiltily. A group of people were gathered in front of the doorway. Their
backs were towards Wogan, and they were looking towards the centre of
the room. Wogan raised himself on his toes and looked that way too.
Having looked he sank down again, aware at once that he had travelled of
late a long way in a little time, and that he was intolerably tired. For
that one glance was enough to deprive him of his last possibility of
doubt. He had seen the Chevalier de St. George, his King, sitting apart
in a little open space, and over against him a short squarish man, dusty
as Wogan himself, who stood and sullenly waited. It was Sir John Hay,
the man who had been sent to fetch the Princess Clementina privately to
Bologna, and here he now was back at Bologna and alone.

Wogan had counted much upon this marriage, more indeed than any of his
comrades. It was to be the first step of the pedestal in the building up
of a throne. It was to establish in Europe a party for James Stuart as
strong as the party of Hanover. But so much was known to everyone in
that room; to Wogan the marriage meant more. For even while he found
himself muttering over and over with dry lips, as white and exhausted he
leaned against the door, Clementina's qualifications, - "Daughter of the
King of Poland, cousin to the Emperor and to the King of Portugal, niece
to the Electors of Treves, Bavaria, and Palatine," - the image of the
girl herself rose up before his eyes and struck her titles from his
thoughts. She was the chosen woman, chosen by him out of all Europe - and
lost by John Hay!

He remembered very clearly at that moment his first meeting with her.
He had travelled from court to court in search of the fitting wife, and
had come at last to the palace at Ohlau in Silesia. It was in the dusk
of the evening, and as he was ushered into the great stone hall, hung
about and carpeted with barbaric skins, he had seen standing by the
blazing wood fire in the huge chimney a girl in a riding dress. She
raised her head, and the firelight struck upwards on her face, adding a
warmth to its bright colours and a dancing light to the depths of her
dark eyes. Her hair was drawn backwards from her forehead, and the
frank, sweet face revealed to him from the broad forehead to the rounded
chin told him that here was one who joined to a royal dignity the simple
nature of a peasant girl who works in the fields and knows more of
animals than of mankind. Wogan was back again in that stone hall when
the voice of the Chevalier with its strong French accent broke in upon
his vision.

"Well, we will hear the story. Well, you left Ohlau with the Princess
and her mother and a mile-long train of servants in spite of my commands
of secrecy."

There was more anger and less despondency than was often heard in his
voice. Wogan raised himself again on tiptoes and noticed that the
Chevalier's face was flushed and his eyes bright with wrath.

"Sir," pleaded Hay, "the Princess's mother would not abate a man."

"Well, you reached Ratisbon. And there?"

"There the English minister came forward from the town to flout us with
an address of welcome in which he used not our incognitos but our true
names."

"From Ratisbon then no doubt you hurried? Since you were discovered, you
shed your retinue and hurried?"

"Sir, we hurried - to Augsburg," faltered Hay. He stopped, and then in a
burst of desperation he said, "At Augsburg we stayed eight days."

"Eight days?"

There was a stir throughout the room; a murmur began and ceased. Wogan
wiped his forehead and crushed his handkerchief into a hard ball in his
palm. It seemed to him that here in this room he could see the Princess
Clementina's face flushed with the humiliation of that loitering.

"And why eight days in Augsburg?"

"The Princess's mother would have her jewels reset. Augsburg is famous
for its jewellers," stammered Hay.

The murmur rose again; it became almost a cry of stupefaction. The
Chevalier sprang from his chair. "Her jewels reset!" he said. He
repeated the words in bewilderment. "Her jewels reset!" Then he dropped
again into his seat.

"I lose a wife, gentlemen, and very likely a kingdom too, so that a lady
may have her jewels reset at Augsburg, where, to be sure, there are
famous jewellers."

His glance, wandering in a dazed way about the room, settled again on
Hay. He stamped his foot on the ground in a feverish irritation.

"And those eight days gave just the time for a courier from the Emperor
at Vienna to pass you on the road and not press his horse. One should be
glad of that. It would have been a pity had the courier killed his
horse. Oh, I can fashion the rest of the story for myself. You trailed
on to Innspruck, where the Governor marched out with a troop and herded
you in. They let _you_ go, however. No doubt they bade you hurry back to
me."

"Sir, I did hurry," said Hay, who was now in a pitiable confusion. "I
travelled hither without rest."

The anger waned in the Chevalier's eyes as he heard the plea, and a
great dejection crept over his face.

"Yes, you would do that," said he. "That would be the time for you to
hurry with a pigeon's swiftness so that your King might taste his bitter
news not a minute later than need be. And what said she upon her
arrest?"

"The Princess's mother?" asked Hay, barely aware of what he said.

"No. Her Highness, the Princess Clementina. What said she?"

"Sir, she covered her face with her hands for perhaps the space of a
minute. Then she leaned forward to the Governor, who stood by her
carriage, and cried, 'Shut four walls about me quick! I could sink into
the earth for shame.'"

Wogan in those words heard her voice as clearly as he saw her face and
the dry lips between which the voice passed. He had it in his heart to
cry aloud, to send the words ringing through that hushed room, "She
would have tramped here barefoot had she had one guide with a spirit to
match hers." For a moment he almost fancied that he had spoken them, and
that he heard the echo of his voice vibrating down to silence. But he
had not, and as he realised that he had not, a new thought occurred to
him. No one had remarked his entrance into the room. The group in front
still stood with their backs towards him. Since his entrance no one had
remarked his presence. At once he turned and opened the door so gently
that there was not so much as a click of the latch. He opened it just
wide enough for himself to slip through, and he closed it behind him
with the same caution. On the landing there was only the usher. Wogan
looked over the balustrade; there was no one in the hall below.

"You can keep a silent tongue," he said to the usher. "There's profit in
it;" and Wogan put his hand into his pocket. "You have not seen me if
any ask."

"Sir," said the man, "any bright object disturbs my vision."

"You can see a crown, though," said Wogan.

"Through a breeches pocket. But if I held it in my hand - "

"It would dazzle you."

"So much that I should be blind to the giver."

The crown was offered and taken.

Wogan went quietly down the stairs into the hall. There were a few
lackeys at the door, but they would not concern themselves at all
because Mr. Wogan had returned to Bologna. He looked carefully out into
the street, chose a moment when it was empty, and hurried across it. He
dived into the first dark alley that he came to, and following the wynds
and byways of the town made his way quickly to his lodging. He had the
key to his door in his pocket, and he now kept it ready in his hand.
From the shelter of a corner he watched again till the road was clear;
he even examined the windows of the neighbouring houses lest somewhere a
pair of eyes might happen to be alert. Then he made a run for his door,
opened it without noise, and crept secretly as a thief up the stairs to
his rooms, where he had the good fortune to find his servant. Wogan had
no need to sign to him to be silent. The man was a veteran corporal of
French Guards who after many seasons of campaigning in Spain and the Low
Countries had now for five years served Mr. Wogan. He looked at his
master and without a word went off to make his bed.

Wogan sat down and went carefully over in his mind every minute of the
time since he had entered Bologna. No one had noticed him when he rode
in as the lady's postillion, - no one. He was sure of that. The lady
herself did not know him from Adam, and fancied him an Italian into the
bargain - of that, too, he had no doubt. The handful of lackeys at the
door of the King's house need not be taken into account. They might
gossip among themselves, but Wogan's appearances and disappearances were
so ordinary a matter, even that was unlikely. The usher's silence he had
already secured. There was only one acquaintance who had met and spoken
with him, and that by the best of good fortune was Harry
Whittington, - the idler who took his banishment and his King's
misfortunes with an equally light heart, and gave never a thought at all
to anything weightier than a gamecock.

Wogan's spirits revived. He had not yet come to the end of his luck. He
sat down and wrote a short letter and sealed it up.

"Marnier," he called out in a low voice, and his servant came from the
adjoining room, "take this to Mr. Edgar, the King's secretary, as soon
as it grows dusk. Have a care that no one sees you deliver it. Lock the
parlour door when you go, and take the key. I am not yet back from
Rome." With that Wogan remembered that he had not slept for forty-eight
hours. Within two minutes he was between the sheets; within five he was
asleep.




CHAPTER III


Wogan waked up in the dark and was seized with a fear that he had slept
too long. He jumped out of bed and pushed open the door of his parlour.
There was a lighted lamp in the room, and Marnier was quietly laying his
master's supper.

"At what hour?" asked Wogan.

"Ten o'clock, monsieur, at the little postern in the garden wall."

"And the time now?"

"Nine."

Wogan dressed with some ceremony, supped, and at eight minutes to ten
slipped down the stairs and out of doors. He had crushed his hat down
upon his forehead and he carried his handkerchief at his face. But the
streets were dark and few people were abroad. At a little distance to
his left he saw above the housetops a glow of light in the air which
marked the Opera-House. Wogan avoided it; he kept again to the alleys
and emerged before the Chevalier's lodging. This he passed, but a
hundred yards farther on he turned down a side street and doubled back
upon his steps along a little byway between small houses. The line of
houses, however, at one point was broken by a garden wall. Under this
wall Wogan waited until a clock struck ten, and while the clock was


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