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gloriously! And," he added, with sudden fierceness, "may all who are her
enemies perish miserably!"

"Ludwig, for heaven's sake!" ejaculated Marie, in terror. "Look at
Katharina; she is ill."

And, indeed, the baroness's lovely face was pallid as that of a corpse.
Her eyes were closed; her head had fallen back against her chair.

Ludwig and Marie sprang to her side, the young girl exclaiming
reproachfully:

"See how you have terrified her."

"Don't be frightened," returned Ludwig, assuringly; "it is only a
passing illness, and will soon be over."

He had restored the fair woman to consciousness on another occasion; he
knew, therefore, what to do now. After a few minutes the baroness opened
her eyes again. She forced a smile to her lips, shivered once or twice,
then whispered to Ludwig, who was bending over her with a glass of
water:

"I don't need any water. We were going to drink a toast; wine is
required for that ceremony."

She extended her trembling hand, clasped the stem of her glass, and,
raising it, continued: "I drink to your toast, Count Vavel! And here is
to my dear little daughter, my good little Marie. May God preserve her
from all harm!"

"You may safely drink to Ludwig's toast," gaily assented Marie, "safely
wish that the enemies of your Marie may 'perish miserably,' for she has
no enemies."

"No; she has no enemies," repeated the baroness in a low tone, as she
pressed the young girl closely to her breast.

A few minutes later, when Katharina had regained her usual self-command,
she said:

"Marie, my dear little daughter, I know that our friend Ludwig is eager
to discuss war plans with his emissary. Let us, therefore, give him the
opportunity to do so, while we make our plans for quite a different sort
of war!"

"What!" jestingly exclaimed Count Vavel, "my lovely betrothed speaks
thus of her preparations for our wedding?"

"The task is not so easy as you imagine," retorted Katharina. "There
will be a great deal to do, and I mean to take Marie with me."

"To-day?"

"Certainly; is she not my daughter? But seriously, Ludwig, Marie must
not remain here if the recruiting-flag is to wave from the tower, and
if the castle is to be open to every notorious bully in the county. You
gentlemen may attend to your recruits here, while Marie and I, over at
the manor, arrange a fitting ensign for your company. Before we bid
adieu to the castle, however, we must pay a visit to the cook. If her
mistress leaves here I fancy she will not want to stop."

"Lisette was very fond of me once," observed Marie; "and there was a
time when she did everything for me."

"Then she must come with us to the manor to a well-deserved rest. I can
send one of my servants over here to attend to the wants of the
gentlemen."

The two ladies now took leave of Count Vavel and his visitor. Marie led
the way to her own apartments, where she introduced the cats and dogs to
Katharina. Then she drew her into the alcove, and secretly pulled the
cord at the head of the bed.

"Now you are my prisoner," she said to the baroness, who was looking
about her in a startled manner. "Were I your enemy - your rival - I should
not need to do anything to gratify my enmity but refuse to reveal the
secret of this screen, and you would have to die here alone with me."

"Good heavens, Marie! How can you frighten me so?" exclaimed Katharina,
in alarm.

"Ha, ha!" merrily laughed the young girl, "then I have really frightened
you? But don't be alarmed; directly some one will come who will not let
you 'perish miserably.'"

The baroness's face grew suddenly pallid; but she quickly recovered
herself as Count Vavel came hastily into the outer room.

"Did you summon me, Marie?" he called, when he saw that the screen was
down.

"Yes, I summoned you," replied Marie. "I want you to repeat the
good-night wish you give me every night."

"But it is not night."

"No; but you will not see me again to-day, so you must wish me good
night now."

Ludwig came near to the screen, and said in a low, earnest tone:

"May God give you a good night, Marie! May angels watch over you! May
Heaven receive your prayers, and may you dream of happiness and freedom.
Good night!"

Then he turned and walked out of the room.

"That is his daily custom," whispered Marie. Then she pressed her foot
on the spring in the floor, and the screen was lifted.




CHAPTER VI


Lisette had finished her tasks in the kitchen when the two ladies came
to pay her a visit. She was sitting in a low, stoutly made chair which
had been fashioned expressly for her huge frame, and was shuffling a
pack of cards when the ladies entered.

She did not lay the cards to one side, nor did she rise from her chair
when the baroness came toward her and said in a friendly tone:

"Well, Lisette, I dare say you do not know that I am your neighbor from
the manor?"

"Oh, yes, I do. I used often to hear my poor old man talk about the
beautiful lady over yonder, and of course you must be she."

"And do you know that I expect to be Count Vavel's wife?"

"I did not know it, your ladyship, but it is natural. A gallant
gentleman and a beautiful lady - if they are thrown together then there
follows either marriage or danger. A marriage is better than a danger."

"This time, Lisette, marriage and danger go hand in hand. The count is
preparing for the war."

This announcement had no other effect on the impassive mountain of flesh
than to make her shuffle her cards more rapidly.

"Then it is come at last!" she muttered, cutting the cards, and
glancing at the under one. It was only a knave, not the queen!

"Yes," continued the baroness; "the recruiting-flag already floats from
the tower of the castle, and to-morrow volunteers will begin to enroll
their names."

"God help them!" again muttered the woman.

"I am going to take your young mistress home with me, Lisette," again
remarked the baroness. "It would not be well to leave her here, amid the
turmoil of recruiting and the clashing of weapons, would it?"

"I can't say. My business is in the kitchen; I don't know anything about
matters out of it," replied Lisette, still shuffling her cards.

"But I intend to take you out of the kitchen, Lisette," returned the
baroness. "I don't intend to let you work any more. You shall live with
us over at the manor, in a room of your own, and, if you wish, have a
little kitchen all to yourself, and a little maid to wait on you. You
will come with us, will you not?"

"I thank your ladyship; but I had rather stay where I am."

"But why?"

"Because I should be a trouble to everybody over yonder. I am a person
that suits only herself. I don't know how to win the good will of other
people. I don't keep a cat or a dog, because I don't want to love
anything. Besides, I have many disagreeable habits. I use snuff, and I
can't agree with anybody. I am best left to myself, your ladyship."

"But what will become of you when both your master and mistress are gone
from the castle?"

"I shall do what I have always done, your ladyship. The Herr Count
promised that I should never want for anything to cook so long as I
lived."

"Don't misunderstand me, Lisette. I did not ask how you intended to
live. What I meant was, how are you going to get on when you do not see
or hear any one - when you are all alone here?"

"I am not afraid to be alone. I have no money, and I don't think anybody
would undertake to carry _me_ off! I am never lonely. I can't read, - for
which I thank God! - so that never bothers me. I don't like to knit; for
ever since I saw those terrible women sitting around the guillotine and
knitting, knitting, knitting all day long, I can't bear to see the
motion of five needles. So I just amuse myself with these cards; and I
don't need anything else."

"But surely your heart will grow sore when you do not see your little
mistress daily?"

"Daily - daily, your ladyship? This is the second time I have laid eyes
on her face in six years! There was a time when I saw her daily,
hourly - when she needed me all the time. Is not that so, my little
mistress? Don't you remember how I had a little son, and how he called
me _chère maman_, and I called him _mon petit garçon_?"

As she spoke, she laid the cards one by one on her snowy apron. She
looked intently at them for several moments, then continued:

"No; I don't need to know anything, only that she is safe. _She_ will
always be carefully guarded from all harm, and my cards will always tell
me all I need know about _mon petit garçon_. No, your ladyship; I shall
not go with you; I cannot leave the place where my poor Henry died."

"Poor Lisette! what a tender heart is yours!"

"Mine?" suddenly and with unusual energy interrupted Lisette. "Mine a
tender heart? Ask this little lady here - who cannot tell a lie - if I am
not the woman who has the hardest, the most unfeeling heart in all the
world. Ask her that, your ladyship. Tell her, _mon petit garçon_," she
added, turning to Marie, - "tell the lady it is as I say."

"Lisette - dear Lisette," remonstrated Marie.

"Have you ever seen me weep?" demanded the woman.

"No, Lisette; but - "

"Did I ever sigh," interrupted Lisette, "or moan, or grieve, that time
when we spent many days and nights together in one room?"

"No, no; never, Lisette."

The woman turned in her chair to a chest that stood by her side, opened
it, and took out a package carefully wrapped first in paper, then in a
linen cloth.

When she had removed the wrappings, she held up in her hands a child's
chemise and petticoat.

"What is needed to complete these, your ladyship?" she asked.

"A dear little child, I should say," answered Katharina, indulgently.

"You are right - a dear little child."

"Where is the child, Lisette?"

"That I don't know - do you understand? _I - don't - know._ And I don't
inquire, either. Now, will you still imagine that I have a tender heart?
It is years since I looked on these little garments. What did I do with
the child that wore them? Whose business is it what I did with her? She
was _my_ child, and I had a right to do as I pleased with her. I was
paid enough for it - an enormous price! You don't understand what I am
talking about, your ladyship. Go; take _mon petit garçon_ with you; and
may God do so to you as you deal with him. Take care of him. My cards
will tell me everything, and sometime, when I have turned into a hideous
hobgoblin, those whom I shall haunt will remember me! And now, _mon
petit garçon_" - turning again to Marie, - "let me kiss your hand for the
last time."

Marie came close to the singular woman, bent over her, and pressed a
kiss on the fat cheeks, then held her own for a return caress.

This action of the young girl seemed to please the woman. She struggled
to her feet, muttering: "She is still the same. May God guard her from
all harm!" Then she waddled toward Katharina, took her slender hand in
her own broad palm, and added: "Take good care of my treasure, your
ladyship. Up to now, I have taken the broomstick every evening, before
going to bed, and thrust it under all the furniture, to see if there
might not be a thief hidden somewhere. You will have to do that now. A
great treasure, great care! And, your ladyship, when you shall have in
your house such a little chemise and petticoat, with the little child in
them, trotting after you, chattering and laughing, clasping her arms
round you and kissing you, and if some one should say to you, as they
said to me, 'How great a treasure would induce you to exchange this
little somebody in the red petticoat for it?' and if you should say, 'I
will give up the child for so much,' then, your ladyship, you too may
say, as I say, that your heart is a heart of stone."

Katharina's face had grown very white. She staggered toward Marie,
caught her arm, and drew her toward the door, gasping:

"Come - come - let us go. The steam - the heat of - the kitchen makes - me
faint."

The fresh air of the court soon revived her.

"Let us play a trick on Ludwig," she suggested. "We will take his canoe,
and cross the cove to the manor. We can send it back with a servant."

She ordered her coachman to take the carriage home; then she took
Marie's hand and led her down to the lake.

They were soon in the boat. Marie, who had learned to row from Ludwig,
sent the little craft gliding over the water, while Katharina held the
rudder.

Very soon they were in the park belonging to the manor; and how
delighted Marie was to see everything!

A herd of deer crossed their path, summoned to the feeding-place by a
blast from the game-keeper's horn. The graceful animals were so tame
that a hind stopped in front of the two ladies, and allowed them to rub
her head and neck. Oh, how much there was to see and enjoy over here!

Katharina could hardly keep pace with the eager young girl, who would
have liked to examine the entire park at once.

What a number of questions she asked! And how astonished she was when
Katharina told her the large birds in the farm-yard were hens and
turkeys. She had never dreamed that these creatures could be so pretty.
She had never seen them before - not even a whole one served on the
table, only the slices of white meat which Lisette had always cut off
for her. But what delighted her more than anything else was that she
might meet people, look fearlessly at them, and be stared at in return,
and cordially return their friendly "God give you a good day!"

What a pleasure it was to stop the women and children, with all sorts
and shapes of burdens on their heads or in their arms, and ask what they
were carrying in the heavy hampers; to call to the peasant girls who
were singing merrily, and ask where they had learned the pretty songs.

"Oh, how delightful it is here!" she exclaimed, flinging her arms around
the baroness. "I should like to dig and work in the garden all day long
with these merry girls. How happy I shall be here!"

"To-morrow we will visit the fields," said Katharina "Can you ride?"

"Ride?" echoed Marie, in smiling surprise. "Yes - on a rocking-horse."

"Then you will very soon learn to sit on a living horse."

"Do you really believe I shall?" breathlessly exclaimed Marie.

"Yes; I have a very gentle horse which you shall have for your own."

"One of those dear, tiny little horses from which one could not fall? I
have seen them in picture-books."

"He is not so very small; but you will not be afraid of falling off when
you have learned to ride. Then, when you can manage your horse, we will
ride after the hounds - "

"No, no," hastily interposed the young girl; "I shall never do that. I
could not bear to see an animal hurt or killed."

"You will have to accustom yourself to seeing such sights, my dear
little daughter. Riding and hunting are necessary accomplishments;
besides, they strengthen the nerves."

"Have not the peasant women got strong nerves, little mama?"

"Yes; but they strengthen them by hard work, such as washing clothes."

"Then let us wash clothes, too."

Katharina smiled indulgently on the innocent maid, and the two now
entered the manor, where Marie made the acquaintance of Fräulein Lotti,
the baroness's companion.

Marie's attention was attracted by the number of books she saw
everywhere; and they were all new to her. Ludwig had never brought
anything like them to the castle. There were poems, histories, romances,
fables. Ah, how she would enjoy reading every one of them!

"Oh, who is doing this?" she exclaimed, when her eyes fell on an easel
on which was a half-finished painting - a study head.

Her admiration for the baroness increased when that lady told her the
picture was the work of her own hand.

"How very clever you must be, little mama! I wonder if you could paint
my portrait?"

"I will try it to-morrow," smilingly replied the baroness.

"And what is this - this great monster with so many teeth?" she asked,
running to the piano.

Katharina told her the name of the "monster," and, seating herself in
front of the "teeth," began to play.

Marie was in an ecstasy of delight.

"How happy you ought to be, little mama, to be able to make such
beautiful music!" she cried, when Katharina turned again toward her.

"You shall learn to play, too; Fräulein Lotti will teach you."

For this promise Marie ran to Fräulein Lotti and embraced her.

While at dinner Marie suddenly remembered that she had not yet seen the
little water-monster, and inquired about him.

The baroness told her that the boy had gone back to his fish companions
in the lake; then asked: "But where did you ever see the creature?"

Marie hesitated a moment before replying; a natural modesty forbade her
from confessing to Ludwig's betrothed wife that he had taught her how to
swim, and had always accompanied her on her swimming excursions in his
canoe.

"I saw him once with you in the park, when I was looking through the
telescope," she answered, with some confusion.

"Ah! then you also have been spying upon me?" jestingly exclaimed the
baroness.

"How else could I have learned that you are so good and beautiful?"
frankly returned the young girl.

"Ah, I have an idea," suddenly observed the baroness. "That spy-glass is
here now. The surveyor to whom Ludwig gave it sent it to me when he had
done with it. Come, we will pay Herr Ludwig back in his own coin! We
will spy out what the gentlemen are doing over at the castle."

Marie was charmed with this suggestion, and willingly accompanied her
"little mama" to the veranda, where the familiar telescope greeted her
sight.

Two of the windows in that side of the Nameless Castle which faced the
manor were lighted.

"That is the dining-room; they are at dinner," explained Marie,
adjusting the glass - a task of which the baroness was ignorant. When she
had arranged the proper focus, she made room for Katharina, who had a
better right than she had to watch Ludwig.

"What do you see?" she asked, when Katharina began to smile.

"I see Ludwig and the vice-palatine; they are leaning out of the window,
and smoking - "

"Smoking?" interposed Marie. "Ludwig never smokes."

"See for yourself!"

Katharina stepped back, and Marie placed her eye to the glass. Yes;
there, plainly enough, she beheld the remarkable sight: Ludwig, with
evident enjoyment, drawing great clouds of smoke from a long-stemmed
pipe. The two men were talking animatedly; but even while they were
speaking, the pipes were not removed from their lips - Ludwig, indeed, at
times vanished entirely behind the dense cloud of smoke.

"For six whole years he never once let me see him smoking a pipe!"
murmured Marie to herself. "How much he enjoys it! Do you" - turning
abruptly toward the baroness, who was smilingly watching her young
guest - "do you object to tobacco smoke?"

She seemed relieved when the baroness assured her that tobacco smoke was
not in the least objectionable.

Some time later, when reminded that it was time for little girls to be
in bed, Marie protested stoutly that she was not sleepy.

"Pray, little mama," she begged, "let us look a little longer through
the telescope; it is so interesting."

But even while she was giving voice to her petition the windows in the
dining-room over at the castle became darkened. The gentlemen evidently
had retired to their rooms for the night.

"Oh, ah-h," yawned Marie, "I am sleepy, after all! Come, little mama, we
will go to bed."

Katharina herself conducted the young girl to her room. Marie exclaimed
with surprise and delight when, on entering the room adjoining the
baroness's own sleeping-chamber, she beheld her own furniture - the
canopy-bed, the book-shelves, toys, card-table, everything. Even Hitz,
Mitz, Pani, and Miura sat in a row on the sofa, and Phryxus and Helle
came waddling toward her, and sat up on their hind legs.

The things had been brought over from the castle while the baroness and
Marie were in the park.

"You will feel more at home with your belongings about you," said
Katharina, as she returned the grateful girl's good-night kiss.




PART VII

THE HUNGARIAN MILITIA


CHAPTER I


When Count Vavel and the vice-palatine disappeared from the window of
the dining-room, they did not retire to their pillows. They went to
Ludwig's study, where they refilled their pipes for another smoke.

"But tell me, Herr Vice-palatine," said the count, continuing the
conversation which had begun at the dining-table, "why is it that six
months have been allowed to pass since the Diet passed the militia law
without anything having been accomplished?"

"Well, you must know that there are three essential parts among the
works of a clock," returned Herr Bernat, complacently puffing away at
his pipe. "There is the spring, the pendulum, and the escapement. The
wheels are the subordinates. The spring is the law passed by the Diet.
The pendulum is the palatine office, which has to set the law in motion;
the escapement is the imperial counselor of war. The wheels are the
people. We will keep to the technical terms, if you please. When the
spring was wound up, the pendulum began to set the wheels going. They
turned, and the loyal nobles of the country began to enroll their
names - "

"How many do you suppose enrolled their names?" interrupted the count.

"Thirty thousand cavalry and forty thousand infantry - which are not all
the able-bodied men, as only one member from each family is required to
join the army. After the names had been entered came the question of
uniforms, arms, officering, drilling, provisions. You must admit that a
clock cannot strike until the hands have made their regular passage
through all the minutes and seconds that make up the hour!"

"For heaven's sake! What a preamble!" ejaculated the count. "But go on.
The first minute?"

"Yes; the first minute a stoppage occurred caused by the escapement
objecting to furnish canteens; if the militiamen wanted canteens they
must provide them themselves."

"I trust the clock was not allowed to stop for want of a few canteens,"
ironically observed Count Vavel.

"Moreover," continued the vice-palatine, not heeding the interruption,
"the escapement gave them to understand that brass drums could not be
furnished - only wooden ones - "

"They will do their duty, too, if properly handled," again interpolated
Vavel.

"A more disastrous check, however, was the decision of the _Komitate_
that the uniform was to consist of red trousers and light-blue dolman - "

"A picturesque uniform, at any rate!"

"There was a good deal of argument about it; but at last it was decided
that the companies from the Danube should adopt light-blue dolmans, and
those from the Theiss dark-blue."

"Thank heaven something was decided!"

"Don't be too premature with your thanks, Herr Count! The escapement
would not consent to the red trousers; red dye-stuff was not to be had,
because of the continental embargo. The militia must content itself with
trousers made of the coarse white cloth of which peasants' cloaks are
made. You can imagine what a tempest that raised in the various
counties! To offer Hungarian nobles trousers made of such stuff! At
last the matter was arranged: trousers and dolman were to be made of the
same material. The Komitate were satisfied with this. But the escapement
then said there were not enough tailors to make so many uniforms. The
government would supply the cloth, and have it cut, and the militiamen
could have it made up at home."

"That certainly would make the uniform of more value to the wearer!"

"_Would have made_, Herr Count; would have made! The escapement suddenly
announced that the cloth could not be purchased; for, while the dispute
about the colors of the uniform had been going on, the greedy merchants
had advanced the price of all cloths to such an exorbitant figure that
the government could n't afford to buy it."

"To the cuckoo with your escapement! The men have got to have uniforms!"

"Beg pardon; don't begin yet to waste expletives, else you will not have
any left at the end of the hour! The counties then agreed to pay the sum
advanced on the original price of the cloth, whereupon the escapement
said the money would have to be forthcoming at once, as the cloth could
not be bought on credit."

"Well, is there no treasury which could supply enough funds for this
worthy object?" asked the count.

"Yes; there is the public treasury for current expenses. But the
treasurer will not give any money to the militia until they are mounted
and equipped; the escapement will not furnish the cloth for the uniforms
without the money; and the treasury will not give any money until the


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