A.E. W. Mason.

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heat. "There's no petticoat in the world, though it were so stiff with
gold that it stood on end of itself, that's worth a single second of the
next forty-eight hours."

"But it contains her Highness's jewels."

Wogan's impatience became an exasperation. Were all women at heart,
then, no better than Indian squaws? A string of beads outweighed the
sacrifices of friends and the chance of a crown! There was a blemish in
his idol, since at all costs she must glitter. Wogan, however, was the
master here.

"Her Highness must lose her jewels," he said roughly, and was turning
away when her Highness herself spoke.

"You are unjust, my friend," she said. "I would lose them very
willingly, were there a chance no one else would discover them. But
there's no chance. The woman of the tavern will find the bundle, will
open it; very likely she has done so already. We shall have all
Innspruck on our heels in half an hour;" and for the first time that
night Wogan heard her voice break, and grieved to know that the tears
were running down her cheeks. He called to O'Toole, -

"Ride back to the tavern! Bring the packet without fail!"

O'Toole galloped off, and Gaydon drove the carriage to the side of the
road. There was nothing to do but to wait, and they waited in silence,
counting up the chances. There could be no doubt that the landlady, if
once she discovered the jewels hidden away in a common packet of
clothing, must suspect the travellers who had left them behind. She
would be terrified by their value; she would be afraid to retain them
lest harm should come to her; and all Innspruck would be upon the
fugitives' heels. They waited for half an hour, - thirty minutes of gloom
and despair. Clementina wept over this new danger which her comrades
ran; Mrs. Misset wept for that her negligence was to blame; Gaydon sat
on the box in the falling snow with his arms crossed upon his breast,
and felt his head already loose upon his shoulders. The only one of the
party who had any comfort of that half-hour was Wogan. For he had been
wrong, - the chosen woman had no wish to glitter at all costs, though, to
be sure, she could not help glittering with the refulgence of her great
merits. His idol had no blemish. Wogan paced up and down the road, while
he listened for O'Toole's return, and that thought cheated the time for
him. At last he heard very faintly the sound of galloping hoofs below
him on the road. He ran back to Gaydon.

"It might be a courier to arrest us. If I shout, drive fast as you can
to Nazareth, and from Nazareth to Italy."

He hurried down the road and was hailed by O'Toole.

"I have it," said he. Wogan turned and ran by O'Toole's stirrup to the
carriage.

"The landlady has a good conscience and sleeps well," said O'Toole. "I
found the house dark and the doors shut. They were only secured,
however, by a wooden beam dropped into a couple of sockets on the
inside."

"But how did you open them?" asked Clementina.

"Your Highness, I have, after all, a pair of arms," said O'Toole. "I
just pressed on the doors till - "

"Till the sockets gave?"

"No, till the beam broke," said he, and Clementina laughed.

"That's my six foot four!" said she. O'Toole did not understand. But he
smiled with great condescension and dignity, and continued his story.

"I groped my way up the stairs into the room and found the bundle
untouched in the corner."

He handed it to the Princess; Wogan sprang again onto the box, and
Gaydon whipped up the horses. They reached the first posting stage at
two, the second at four, the third at six, and at each they wasted no
time. All that night their horses strained up the mountain road amid the
whirling sleet. At times the wind roaring down a gorge would set the
carriage rocking; at times they stuck fast in drifts; and Wogan and
Gaydon must leap from the box and plunging waist-deep in the snow, must
drag at the horses and push at the wheels. The pace was too slow; Wogan
seemed to hear on every gust of wind the sound of a galloping company.

"We have lost twelve hours, more than twelve hours now," he repeated and
repeated to Gaydon. All the way to Ala they would still be in the
Emperor's territory. It needed only a single courier to gallop past
them, and at either Roveredo or Trent they would infallibly be taken.
Wogan fingered his pistols, straining his eyes backwards down the road.

At daybreak the snow stopped; the carriage rolled on high among the
mountains under a grey sky; and here and there, at a wind of the road,
Wogan caught a glimpse of the towers and chimney-tops of Innspruck, or
had within his view a stretch of the slope they had climbed. But there
was never a black speck visible upon the white of the snow; as yet no
courier was overtaking them, as yet Innspruck did not know its captive
had escaped. At eight o'clock in the morning they came to Nazareth, and
found their own berlin ready harnessed at the post-house door, the
postillion already in his saddle, and Misset waiting with an uncovered
head.

"Her Highness will breakfast here, no doubt?" said Gaydon.

"Misset will have seen to it," cried Wogan, "that the berlin is
furnished. We can breakfast as we go."

They waited no more than ten minutes at Nazareth. The order of
travelling was now changed. Wogan and Gaydon now travelled in the berlin
with Mrs. Misset and Clementina. Gaydon, being the oldest of the party,
figured as the Count of Cernes, Mrs. Misset as his wife, Clementina as
his niece, and Wogan as a friend of the family. O'Toole and Misset rode
beside the carriage in the guise of servants. Thus they started from
Nazareth, and had journeyed perhaps a mile when without so much as a
moan Clementina swooned and fell forward into Wogan's arms. Mrs. Misset
uttered a cry; Wogan clasped the Princess to his breast. Her head fell
back across his arm, pale as death; her eyes were closed; her bosom,
strained against his, neither rose nor fell.

"She has fasted all Lent," he said in a broken voice. "She has eaten
nothing since we left Innspruck."

Mrs. Misset burst into tears; she caught Clementina's hand and clasped
it; she had no eyes but for her. With Gaydon it was different. Wogan was
holding the Princess in a clasp too loverlike, though, to be sure, it
was none of his business.

"We must stop the carriage," he said.

"No," cried Wogan, desperately; "that we must not do;" and he caught her
still closer to him. He had a fear that she was dying. Even so, she
should not be recaptured. Though she were dead, he would still carry her
dead body into Bologna and lay it white and still before his King.
Europe from London to the Bosphorus should know the truth of her and
ring with the wonder of her, though she were dead. O'Toole, attracted by
the noise of Mrs. Misset's lamentations, bent down over his horse's neck
and looked into the carriage.

"Her Highness is dead!" he cried.

"Drive on," replied Wogan, through his clenched teeth.

Upon the other side of the carriage, Misset shouted through the window,
"There is a spring by the roadside."

"Drive on," said Wogan.

Gaydon touched him on the arm.

"You will stifle her, man."

Wogan woke to a comprehension of his attitude, and placed Clementina
back on her seat. Mrs. Misset by good fortune had a small bottle of
Carmelite water in her pocket; she held it to the Princess's nostrils,
who in a little opened her eyes and saw her companions in tears about
her, imploring her to wake.

"It is nothing," she said. "Take courage, my poor marmosets;" and with a
smile she added, "There's my six feet four with the tears in his eyes.
Did ever a woman have such friends?"

The sun came out in the sky as she spoke. They had topped the pass and
were now driving down towards Italy. There was snow about them still on
the mountain-sides and deep in drifts upon the roads. The air was
musical with the sound of innumerable freshets: they could be seen
leaping and sparkling in the sunlight; the valleys below were green with
the young green of spring, and the winds were tempered with the warmth
of Italy. A like change came upon the fugitives. They laughed, where
before they had wept; from under the seat they pulled out chickens which
Misset had cooked with his own hands at Nazareth, bottles of the wine of
St. Laurent, and bread; and Wogan allowed a halt long enough to get
water from a spring by the roadside.

"There is no salt," said Gaydon.

"Indeed there is," replied Misset, indignant at the aspersion on his
catering. "I have it in my tobacco-box." He took his tobacco-box from
his pocket and passed it into the carriage. Clementina made sandwiches
and passed them out to the horsemen. The chickens turned out to be old
cocks, impervious to the soundest tooth. No one minded except Misset,
who had brought them. The jolts of the carriage became matter for a
jest. They picnicked with the merriment of children, and finally
O'Toole, to show his contempt for the Emperor, fired off both his loaded
pistols in the air.

At that Wogan's anxiety returned. He blazed up into anger. He thrust his
head from the window.

"Is this your respect for her Highness?" he cried. "Is this your
consideration?"

"Nay," interposed Clementina, "you shall not chide my six feet four."

"But he is mad, your Highness. I don't say but what a trifle of madness
is salt to a man; but O'Toole's clean daft to be firing his pistols off
to let the whole world know who we are. Here are we not six stages from
Innspruck, and already we have lost twelve hours."

"When?"

"Last night, before we left Innspruck, between the time when you escaped
from the villa and when I joined you in the avenue. I climbed out of the
window to descend as I had entered, but the sentinel had returned. I
waited on the window-ledge crouched against the wall until he should
show me his back. After five minutes or so he did. He stamped on the
snow and marched up the lane. I let myself down and hung by my hands,
but he turned on his beat before I could drop. He marched back; I clung
to the ledge, thinking that in the darkness he would pass on beneath me
and never notice. He did not notice; but my fingers were frozen and
numbed with the cold. I felt them slipping; I could cling no longer, and
I fell. Luckily I fell just as he passed beneath me; I dropped feet
foremost upon his shoulders, and he went down without a cry. I left him
lying stunned there on the snow; but he will be found, or he will
recover. Either way our escape will be discovered, and no later than
this morning. Nay, it must already have been discovered. Already
Innspruck's bells are ringing the alarm; already the pursuit is
begun - " and he leaned his head from the window and cried, "Faster!
faster!" O'Toole, for his part, shouted, "Trinkgeldt!" It was the only
word of German which he knew. "But," said he, "there was a Saracen lady
I learned about at school who travelled over Europe and found her lover
in an alehouse in London, with no word but his name to help her over the
road. Sure, it would be a strange thing if I couldn't travel all over
Germany with the help of 'Trinkgeldt.'"

The word certainly had its efficacy with the postillion. "Trinkgeldt!"
cried O'Toole, and the berlin rocked and lurched and leaped down the
pass. The snow was now less deep, the drifts fewer. The road wound along
a mountain-side: at one window rose the rock; from the other the
travellers looked down hundreds of feet to the bed of the valley and the
boiling torrent of the Adige. It was a mere narrow ribbon of a road made
by the Romans, without a thought for the convenience of travellers in a
later day; and as the carriage turned a corner, O'Toole, mounted on his
horse, saw ahead a heavy cart crawling up towards them. The carter saw
the berlin thundering down towards him behind its four maddened horses,
and he drew his cart to the inside of the road against the rock. The
postillion tugged at his reins; he had not sufficient interval of space
to check his team; he threw a despairing glance at O'Toole. It seemed
impossible the berlin could pass. There was no use to cry out; O'Toole
fell behind the carriage with his mind made up. He looked down the
precipice; he saw in his imagination the huge carriage with its tangled,
struggling horses falling sheer into the foam of the river. He could not
ride back to Bologna with that story to tell; he and his horse must take
the same quick, steep road.

The postillion drove so close to the cart that he touched it as he
passed. "We are lost!" he shouted in an agony; and O'Toole saw the hind
wheel of the berlin slip off the road and revolve for the fraction of a
second in the air. He was already putting his horse at the precipice as
though it was a ditch to be jumped, when the berlin made, to his
astonished eyes, an effort to recover its balance like a live thing. It
seemed to spring sideways from the brink of the precipice. It not only
seemed, it did spring; and O'Toole, drawing rein, in the great revulsion
of his feelings, saw, as he rocked unsteadily in his saddle, the
carriage tearing safe and unhurt down the very centre of the road.

O'Toole set his spurs to his horse and galloped after it. The postillion
looked back and laughed.

"Trinkgeldt!" he cried.

O'Toole swore loudly, and getting level beat him with his whip. Wogan's
head popped out of the window.

"Silence!" said he in a rage. "Mademoiselle is asleep;" and then seeing
O'Toole's white and disordered face he asked, "What is it?" No one in
the coach had had a suspicion of their danger. But O'Toole still saw
before his eyes that wheel slip over the precipice and revolve in air,
he still felt his horse beneath him quiver and refuse this leap into
air. In broken tones he gasped out his story to Wogan, and as he spoke
the Princess stirred.

"Hush!" said Wogan; "she need not know. Ride behind, O'Toole! Your blue
eyes are green with terror. Your face will tell the story, if once she
sees it."

O'Toole fell back again behind the carriage, and at four that afternoon
they stopped before the post-house at Brixen. They had crossed the
Brenner in a storm of snow and howling winds; they had travelled ten
leagues from Innspruck. Wogan called a halt of half an hour. The
Princess had eaten barely a mouthful since her supper of the night
before. Wogan forced her to alight, forced her to eat a couple of eggs,
and to drink a glass of wine. Before the half-hour had passed, she was
anxious to start again.

From Brixen the road was easier; and either from the smoothness of the
travelling or through some partial relief from his anxieties, Wogan, who
had kept awake so long, suddenly fell fast asleep, and when he woke up
again the night was come. He woke up without a start or even a movement,
as was his habit, and sat silently and bitterly reproaching himself for
that he had yielded to fatigue. It was pitch-dark within the carriage;
he stared through the window and saw dimly the moving mountain-side, and
here and there a clump of trees rush past. The steady breathing of
Gaydon, on his left, and of Mrs. Misset in the corner opposite to
Gaydon, showed that those two guardians slept as well. His reproaches
became more bitter and then suddenly ceased, for over against him in the
darkness a young, fresh voice was singing very sweetly and very low. It
was the Princess Clementina, and she sang to herself, thinking all three
of her companions were asleep. Wogan had not caught the sound at first
above the clatter of the wheels, and even now that he listened it came
intermittently to his ears. He heard enough, however, to know and to
rejoice that there was no melancholy in the music. The song had the
clear bright thrill of the blackbird's note in June. Wogan listened,
entranced. He would have given worlds to have written the song with
which Clementina solaced herself in the darkness, to have composed the
melody on which her voice rose and sank.

The carriage drew up at an inn; the horses were changed; the flight was
resumed. Wogan had not moved during this delay, neither had Misset nor
O'Toole come to the door. But an ostler had flashed a lantern into the
berlin, and for a second the light had fallen upon Wogan's face and
open eyes. Clementina, however, did not cease; she sang on until the
lights had been left behind and the darkness was about them. Then she
stopped and said, -

"How long is it since you woke?"

Wogan was taken by surprise.

"I should never have slept at all," stammered he. "I promised myself
that. Not a wink of sleep betwixt Innspruck and Italy; and here was I
fast as a log this side of Trent. I think our postillion sleeps too;"
and letting down the window he quietly called Misset.

"We have fresh relays," said he, "and we travel at a snail's-pace."

"The relays are only fresh to us," returned Misset. "We can go no
faster. There is someone ahead with three stages' start of us, - someone
of importance, it would seem, and who travels with a retinue, for he
takes all the horses at each stage."

Wogan thrust his head out of the window. There was no doubt of it; the
horses lagged. In this hurried flight the most trifling hindrance was a
monumental danger, and this was no trifling hindrance. For the hue and
cry was most certainly raised behind them; the pursuit from Innspruck
had begun twelve hours since, on the most favourable reckoning. At any
moment they might hear the jingle of a horse's harness on the road
behind. And now here was a man with a great retinue blocking their way
in front.

"We can do no more, but make a fight of it in the end," said he. "They
may be few who follow us. But who is he ahead?"

Misset did not know.

"I can tell you," said Clementina, with a slight hesitation. "It is the
Prince of Baden, and he travels to Italy."

Wogan remembered a certain letter which his King had written to him from
Rome; and the hesitation in the girl's voice told him the rest of the
story. Wogan would have given much to have had his fingers about the
scruff of that pompous gentleman's neck with the precipice handy at his
feet. It was intolerable that the fellow should pester the Princess in
prison and hinder her flight when she had escaped from it.

"Well, we can do no more," said he, and he drew up the window. Neither
Gaydon nor Mrs. Misset were awakened; Clementina and Wogan were alone in
the darkness.

She leaned forward to him and said in a low voice, -

"Tell me of the King. I shall make mistakes in this new world. Will he
have patience with me while I learn?"

She had spoken upon the same strain in the darkness of the staircase
only the night before. Wogan gently laughed her fears aside.

"I will tell you the truest thing about the King. He needs you at his
side. For all his friends, he is at heart a lonely man, throned upon
sorrows. I dare to tell you that, knowing you. He needs not a mere
wife, but a mate, a helpmate, to strive with him, her hand in his. Every
man needs the helpmate, as I read the world. For it cannot but be that a
man falls below himself when he comes home always to an empty room."

The Princess was silent. Wogan hoped that he had reassured her. But her
thoughts were now turned from herself. She leaned yet further forward
with her elbows upon her knees, and in a yet lower voice she asked a
question which fairly startled him.

"Does she not love you?"

Wogan, indeed, had spoken unconsciously, with a deep note of sadness in
his voice, which had sounded all the more strange and sad to her from
its contrast with the quick, cheerful, vigorous tones she had come to
think the mark of him. He had spoken as though he looked forward with a
poignant regret through a weary span of days, and saw himself always in
youth and middle years and age coming home always to an empty room.
Therefore she put her question, and Wogan was taken off his guard.

"There is no one," he said in a flurry.

Clementina shook her head.

"I wish that I may hear the King speak so, and in that voice; I shall be
very sure he loves me," she said in a musing voice, and so changing
almost to a note of raillery. "Tell me her name!" she pleaded. "What is
amiss with her that she is not thankful for a true man's love like
yours? Is she haughty? I'll bring her on her knees to you. Does she
think her birth sets her too high in the world? I'll show her so much
contempt, you so much courtesy, that she shall fall from her arrogance
and dote upon your steps. Perhaps she is too sure of your devotion? Why,
then, I'll make her jealous!"

Wogan interrupted her, and the agitation of his voice put an end to her
raillery. Somehow she had wounded him who had done so much for her.

"Madam, I beg you to believe me, there is no one;" and casting about for
a sure argument to dispel her conjectures, he said on an impulse,
"Listen; I will make your Highness a confidence." He stopped, to make
sure that Gaydon and Mrs. Misset were still asleep. Then he laughed
uneasily like a man that is half-ashamed and resumed, - "I am lord and
king of a city of dreams. Here's the opening of a fairy tale, you will
say. But when I am asleep my city's very real; and even now that I am
awake I could draw you a map of it, though I could not name its streets.
That's my town's one blemish. Its streets are nameless. It has taken a
long while in the building, ever since my boyhood; and indeed the work's
not finished yet, nor do I think it ever will be finished till I die,
since my brain's its architect. When I was asleep but now, I discovered
a new villa, and an avenue of trees, and a tavern with red blinds which
I had never remarked before. At the first there was nothing but a queer
white house of which the original has fallen to ruins at Rathcoffey in
Ireland. This house stood alone in a wide flat emerald plain that
stretched like an untravelled sea to a circle of curving sky. There was
room to build, you see, and when I left Rathcoffey and became a
wanderer, the building went on apace. There are dark lanes there from
Avignon between great frowning houses, narrow climbing streets from
Meran, arcades from Verona, and a park of many thickets and tall
poplar-trees with a long silver stretch of water. One day you will see
that park from the windows of St. James. It has a wall too, my city, - a
round wall enclosing it within a perfect circle; and from whatever
quarter of the plain you come towards it, you only see this wall,
there's not so much as a chimney visible above it. Once you have crowded
with the caravans and traders through the gates, - for my town is
busy, - you are at once in the ringing streets. I think my architect in
that took Aigues Mortes for his model. Outside you have the flat, silent
plain, across which the merchants creep in long trailing lines, within
the noise of markets, the tramp of horses' hoofs, the talk of men and
women, and, if you listen hard, the whispers, too, of lovers. Oh, my
city's populous! There are quiet alleys with windows opening onto them,
where on summer nights you may see a young girl's face with the
moonlight on it like a glory, and in the shadow of the wall beneath, the
cloaked figure of a youth. Well, I have a notion - " and then he broke
off abruptly. "There's a black horse I own, my favourite horse."

"You rode it the first time you came to Ohlau," said the Princess.

"Do you indeed remember that?" cried Wogan, with so much pleasure that
Gaydon stirred in his corner, and Clementina said, "Hush!"

Wogan waited in a suspense lest Gaydon should wake up, which, to be
sure, would be the most inconsiderate thing in the world. Gaydon,
however, settled himself more comfortably, and in a little his regular
breathing might be heard again.

"Well," resumed Wogan, "I have a notion that the lady I shall marry will
come riding some sunrise on my black horse across the plain and into my
city of dreams. And she has not."

"Ah," said Clementina, "here's a subterfuge, my friend. The lady you
shall marry, you say. But tell me this! Has the lady you love ridden on
your black horse into your city of dreams?"

"No," said Wogan; "for there is no lady whom I love." There Wogan should
have ended, but he added rather sadly, "Nor is there like to be."

"Then I am sure," said Clementina.

"Sure that I speak truth?"

"No, sure that you mislead me. It is not kind; for here perhaps I might
give you some small token of my gratitude, would you but let me. Oh, it
is no matter. I shall find out who the lady is. You need not doubt it. I
shall set my wits and eyes to work. There shall be marriages when I am
Queen. I will find out!"

Wogan's face was not visible in the darkness; but he spoke quickly and


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