The Traveller in the Fur Cloak

STANLEY J. WEYMAN December 1 1923

The Traveller in the Fur Cloak

STANLEY J. WEYMAN December 1 1923

The Traveller in the Fur Cloak

STANLEY J. WEYMAN

"OVINGTON'S BANK"

I OWN that I was to blame, that I was hasty, cross-grained and aggressive; and I shall never cease to regret it. But I had some reason, at the time it seemed to me that I had good reason, to be short-tempered; and if Perceval Ellis had recognized this and made allowances for my position—however, it is too late now to consider what might have happened in other circumstances and had we been different men.

It was at Wittenberg on the Elbe, where we arrived on a close, thunderous afternoon, the sky low and black above us, that the trouble came to a head. We had left Iglau on the eighteenth of July, our departure hastened by the Armistice which laid Austria, the last independent power in Germany, at the feet of Napoleon. The hopes which Aspern and Essling had raised, had been crushed on the heights of Wagram; and for us Metternich had become inaccessible. Stadion, the Minister, whose star had clearly set, had received us only by stealth, Gentz had tearfully pressed on us our passports. An English mission at a court now dependent on our enemies, was plainly out of place, and though we had been admitted to take leave, and had received assurances—and something more, which it behoved us to convey as quickly as possible to London—the secrecy maintained and the affrighted faces about us, had warned us to withdraw while we might. It was manifest that the Ball Platz doubted its power to protect us, and feared a repetition of the tragedy of Rastadt for which it might be held responsible.

A SECRET and Special mission is seldom more than a post of observation, and when it is accredited to a court nominally hostile—as Austria was in the year 1809—has always something of the equivocal. But a mission of this kind, which it may become necessary to repudiate, is the one plum which the Office reluctantly resigns to youth; and what young diplomatist ever hesitated to accept the gift, or did not feel his heart beat high as he set his foot on the ladder which was to raise him in a surprisingly short time to Paris

or to Petersburg? What young diplomatist ever set forth on such a mission without rejoicing in his newfound independence, or ever doubted his finesse, or his power to deal with the very nicest emergency that could arise?

Certainly not I, when eight months earlier I had left London on H.M. sloop-of-war Bustard, and hastened by way of the Mediterranean—for Europe was closed to us—to Vienna. And, at first, all had smiled on the Envoy Extraordinary. I had been received in the highest quarters sous cape indeed, but graciously, the overtures I had been empowered to make had been welcomed, assurances had been given me. It was acknowledged that Austria, hemmed in by foes, could look only to the sea for a diversion, and even the question of subsidies fell chose etrange!—into the second place. Let England strike, and Austria would know ho;w to prove her gratitude. But time—time was everything. The blow must be struck in Hanover, and the sooner the better.

T DID what I could. Thrice Klatz, the messenger,

running, I am bound to own, great risk, but aided by his connections in the country, carried my despatches to Hamburg. Thence they were forwarded by smugglers’ post to Heligoland and so to London. Then on his third return the blow fell.

I might have foreseen it, for the Office did but follow precedent. I had been too successful for my own interests. A mission which, it now seemed probable, would be crowned with success, was too rich a prize for a youngster with some experience but little influence. Klatz brought back a letter, in the Chief’s own hand, commending me in handsome terms—and superseding me. Perceval Ellis would come out to take charge. He had already started and should reach the Austrian Court by the end of May. Enclosed was my appointment as secretary to the mission.

It was a bitter pill, but in the pepiniere in which I

was trained the service first was the primary rule, and I say it with feeling, that if Ellis had met me as I was prepared to meet him, he would have had no ground to complain of my loyalty. But Perceval came out, jealous of his authority; he held himself boutonne from the first, and though I was the only person who could put him in possession of the situation, or indicate the safe men, he kept me at arm’s length. There might have been a difference of twenty years between us instead of five. Then—and this was no aid to a good understanding between us—from the moment of his arrival things took a turn for the worse. The Austrians failed to follow up their successes. The Archduke Charles stood by, inactive, while Napoleon made good his losses. By the first week of July Wagram had shattered our hopes and left us no option but to retire from a false position and a court at which we had no longer a footing.

Immediately there had arisen the question which was to mean so much to us—and was to divide us. We had, as I have hinted, despatches of the most confidential nature in our hands, the more valuable seeing that they were, owing to the Austrian defeat, the sole fruit of our mission. They embraced some promises, more assurances, a few words signed by an illustrious hand— and, alas, at odds with more public words signed by the same hand. In a word, they were the seeds from which a new coalition might one day arise. But over and above these we had proof, as private as they had been costly to obtain, of Napoleon’s plan for a new marriage; whispers, and something more than whispers, of the divorce and wedding which six months later were to shock Europe. Naturally it was of importance that no French eye should alight on these documents, while on the other hand it was probable that, if it became known that they were in our possession, an attempt would be made to obtain them.

To allow these papers to pass out of our hands, even into Klatz’s, was out of the question. We must convey them ourselves, and the point which my chief had to decide was—by which route should we withdraw? We\

nught go by Constantinople and the long road of the Mediterranean, and this route, though not free from risk, was in my opinion the safer. But we might be many weeks, even months at sea. and we should certainly lag behind events. Instead of arriving with a flourish of trumpets and a burst of news, sufficient to till the columns oí the Uaaett* and to mask our defeat, we should sneak into Downing Street as dead men out of mind -for the memory oí the Office is short.

I he only lIltI t 1 t~ -~ v ut our imittututy -~ .~tlI ULj 1 p r h II In burg ,~ .( 111t1 1 t t -. rn. %~ t:t Ill t!ItII1V .1 •t tt t gi t U .sdIIRttlt .15 to f~ j..' ti C n l'~e i -~ in 1 U liust -a. nanv i:Li 1~ 1 I' U-'sI;1 Mt-t-~Slt'iburg. 1 h t-L~ t v~r had roads aid rta i~ .-`t~*t~e.j lit and tvcrv halting :_~.-r. tn.•-ut v t. rian point' or 1-ri-neli `I ,` iltilv at I he tlt'spot --f he W Ut I U r~ pt :1 our dii ii to pri v ilegi ii i -` trt-tglitv of had-i in tho Itie L~u d z~i . or of hamburg, viien-t' ht 1 .1 .`ld. or rioinUt raiitv of Sa XOi, rr ` i our -iv .v. searched his otilce 1 his tat~-rs

who had been our principal link with Stadion Mi iternich. and who knew Prussia, where he had ce. as intimately as he knew Austria, where he Í the Ministers' shadow, undertook to furnish passports for the overland journey; he could her. But he urged us so earnestly to go by sea was clear that he gravely feared that the crewould not be respected and that his government held responsible for any catastrophe that

How I might have decided, had the lead been mine, and the credit to be gained by a speedy return been also for me. 1 cannot say. As things were—and I do not deny that a little malice may have moved me to unaccustomed discretion—I supported Gentz.

But the last word lay, of course, with my chief, and Kills, naturally deliberate, and trained to a meticulous caution, seemed for once to have changed moods with me. He decided, and with little hesitation, on the overland journey. His motive was, of course, as clear to me as daylight. He foresaw that were he the first to reach London with the news of the Armistice, he would gain some credit and might hope to veil under a great show of energy and activity the real failure of his

ANY rate that was how I read his mind, and xplained a decision at odds with his character, id but five years, and an uncle in the cabinet the of me—with much less experience of the country we were to traverse. It might have been thought, therefore, that he would open his mind to me, and in that case I am confident that I should have loyally entered into his hopes. But he would not declare himself. The reserve which had marred our relations from the first continued to part us at this crisis. He was pedantic, I thought, priggish; while I was sore. And I found, I am afraid—God forgive me for it, as things turned out!—a sly pleasure in probing his motives and pricking him to the verge of avowing them. Nor, I fear, was I quite unaware that my opposition had the

effect of hardening him in his resolve.

"Certainly it seems to me,” I would argue slily, "that we are running a considerable risk, Ellis. And

for no adequate reason that I can see.”

"H-m!" Perceval's answers when he was riding the high horae often began in that way. “H-m!” Then with his snuff-box in one hand and a pinch delicately poised in the fingers of the other—an attitude that always provoked me for I knew it to be copied from Metternich—“Possibly! Possibly on the surface it may appear so. But there are things that I have to consider, consider very carefully. Cartwright. I must not think of myself. I bear a heavy, a veryheavy responsibility.” And having taken his pinch and dusted hi3 fingers, his eyes would seek the distance, as if he lived under a burden of thought unshared by common men. “It is of vital, the most vital importance”—solemnly—“that the Office should have this information as speedily as possible. The very fate of Europe, my dear Cartwright, may depend upon it. And, therefore, I must not think

of myself. No!”

"True.” I would reply between irritation and amusement. “But if we never arrive with the information?” The gesture with which he thrust the idea aside was worthy of a Cato. “Ah, to be sure, to be sure! Well, we must faee that. But I think that you exaggerate the risk. I think so, Cartwright, on mature consideration. I do indeed. One might suppose, listening to you, that we were proposing to cross France itself!”

’We are going to do something much more serious,” I retorted more than once. “If we were going to cross France it would be with French passports and even Nap. would hesitate to kidnap us a la face du soleil. But we are going to do quite another thing, Chief.

We are going to plunge into the dark. We are going to traverse a country unknown and uncharted, for since we knew it, Germany is another landa country as much subject to Franco, more shame to it, as if it were little Luxemburg or Cleves! We are going to do that with Saxon or Prussian passports of which Davout will make no more, if he come across us and have an object to serve, than of a piece of paper! And we are going to do it though, believe me, there is not between the Reisengebirge and the Baltic a policeman or a douanier, a change-house or a custom house that isn’t as much under Napoleon's orders as if Germany were French!”

“X IY DEAR sir, the Duke of Brunswick,” with 1 something of offence, “has at least shown that he is not under French orders. You must admit that!” “And with what result?” I riposted. “If the latest report be true, he is in full flight to the sea. Never, if we are to believe what we are told, was there a more abortive rising! The failure in Hesse tells the same tale. And the unlucky Schill who really for a day or two looked like effecting something has been cut to pieces with scarcely a man rising in his defence. And disowned—disowned each and all of them by a lick-spittle Germany! No, the argument is the other way, my dear Ellis, for they have set the country on fire, and everywhere we shall come on handfuls of French troops patrolling it and pulling out the embers. These rascals will care as much for the credentials of a Prussian king who dare not return to his own capital as for my note of hand! If we fall in with one of the parties—”

Perceval’s glance at me was a very arid one. “My dear Cartwright,” pompously, “that is the effect of being too long on the Continent. You are obsessed by Napoleon and his power. The thought of him paralyses you—h-m!—paralyses you as it paralysed these luckless Austrians. He casts a shadow—•”

“Ay, he does,” I cried, taking him up rather more sharply than became me. “A deep black shadow! And you will find that that shadow stretches across Germany and we may very well be lost in the gloom of it. By all means if you decide on it, make the venture. But make it with your eyes open, for it is, believe me, a plunge into the unknown. For sixteen or eighteen days if you make for Hamburg and three weeks if you make for Memel we shall be travelling in constant peril, liable to be arrested—and worse—at every post-house and every town-gate.”

“My good fellow,” he rejoined, a little contemptuously. “You see everything en noir. You have too much imagination.”

He was my Chief, and I refrained. I did not tell him that he had none.

“And you forget,” he continued, shrewdly, “that Klatz has performed this journey which you make out to be so formidable more than once. He has been to Hamburg three times in the last six months.”

“Klatz is a German,” I returned. “He knows every turn and twist of the business. He has his connections along the road, and even so, it was necessary, as you know, to give him a douceur of a hundred pounds for each journey. And consider, that if we reach Hamburg in safety, we have still to find the means of leaving the country.”

“There will be English ships in the mouth of the Elbe.”

“And Bernadotte in command at Hamburg. Do you suppose that he will stand by while we signal for a cutter to come up the river and take us off?”

“Then we must go as Klatz’s letters go. That will be”—and I am bound to say that the patronizing forbearance with which Ellis met my objections annoyed me—“as we are advised when we reach Hamburg. In the meantime,” with a return to his usual pomposity, “we must shut our eyes to the risk, and—h’m!—think only of the public service. See, if you please, that nothing is left behind, burn with care all brouillons, and have all ready for a start on Wednesday morning. Kaspar will see the carriage packed—”

“You will take your own carriage?”

“Certainly, certainly,” with dignity, “and a calash for Klatz and Kaspar and the baggage. The Prussian passports should meet us at the frontier, but I will see Gentz about that. A little forethought, h-m! A little prevision, my dear Secretary, and the difficulties will disappear. Some discomfort we shall no doubt encounter, but personal considerations must give way to—h’m!— to higher interests, my dear man.”

I SAW that I could not move him, I am not sure that I wished to move him. His complacency and his determination to ignore the injury that he had done me—albeit innocently—irritated me, and I had argued in a spirit of opposition when, alas, as I now see, a single frank, kindly word might have brought us together, and placed us on a better footing. For with all his little mannerisms Ellis was a good fellow at bottom.

And yet I was right. The extent to which Europe was then closed to us can to-day hardly be understood. We had a footing in Portugal—Talavera was fought in

the very month of \frhieh I am writing—and some relations, albeit touchy—with Denmark.

But upon all between those distant points—and immensely distant they were when roads were bad and few, and travelling slow—lay thick darkness, the shadow of Napoleon. He had overthrown Austria at Austerlitz, Prussia at Jena, Russia at Friedland, and now at Wagrarn he had taught a final lesson to a prostrate, terrorstricken divided Germany. The north-west of that vast land he governed through his brothers, the Kings of Holland and Westphalia. The south-west, the Confederation of the Rhine, was his creature, registered his edicts, augmented his armies. Prussia, a remnant of its former greatness, survived on his sufferance, its fortresses held by French troops, its revenues drained for French purposes, its King an exile from his own capital. Now Austria had suffered its final defeat, and with Russia for a complaisant ally Napoleon held the great central plain of Europe in a relentless grip. From the Rhone to the far Niemen, from the Baltic to the Alps—and beyond, for his stepson ruled in Italy, his viceroy Murat in Naples—his word was law, his hint an order, his officers pro-consuls. He had built up again the Empire of Charlemagne.

One power alone still raised its head against him. One country alone still stood between him and universal dominion; and all that he could do, he had done and was doing to vanquish it, to eradicate its very name, to wipe its memory from the countries he ruled. He had closed the continent to English goods, he had seized or expelled every Englishman, he had driven out our embassies, he had striven to silence our language.

And he had so far succeeded that even for our Foreign Office Europe had become a dark Continent. It took in that day a week for the most urgent news to travel from Vienna to Berlin; but many, many weeks would elapse before the same tidings, slowly filtering through secret channels, became known in Downing Street. Smugglers with some regularity carried letters from the Elbe to Heligoland; thence a packet crossed at intervals to Harwich. Less frequently a similar post ran between Memel and Husum on the Danish coast. But the information which thus trickled through, was late and scanty, and I had stated no more than the truth when I said that we were plunging into the dark, into a Germany, uncharted and unknown.

Withal on the 18th—the 18th of July 1809, at six in the morning we left Iglau, His Excellency and I travelling in the carriage which I had bought on my arrival. Klatz and Perceval’s servant, Kaspar, attending us in a post calash. We travelled, of course, with four horses to each carriage.

CHAPTER II

AND for some days all went so well with us that if • Ellis had been given to badinage, in place of being a person of much and solemn dignity, he might have had the laugh on me. Screened by the troops thrown out to cover the Archduke’s right wing, and under favor of the Armistice, we made good progress, our worst privation a crowded lodging at night, our gravest hindrance a thronged road by day. For Gentz had kept his promises. Everywhere word of our coming had preceded us. The best quarters had been retained for us—under canvas if no better offered—and from one headquarters to another we were forwarded with care and received with honor. Across the more lonely tracts, or where danger threatened, we were escorted by a handful of Hussars, and the ring of their spurs and the clatter of their scabbards became as much a feature of our progress and as monotonous to the ear, as the dull level of the Bohemian plain became to the eye.

July day after July day saw us leaving some tiny town, perched on a low hill whence its towers and steeples looked down on the cornfields and vine-lands, and making for just such another town perched on a twin hill and visible some hours before we reached it. I have said that we were received with honor and sped on our way with care; but time and again there was more than this—so much more that even the heart of the diplomatist, trained to mark and learn and betray nothing, was touched by the wistful looks that followed us, as if with us departed the last gleam of hope, the last spark of independence. Metternich and Stadion might lay their misfortunes at our door, might sneer at England’s slowness to move and curse her caution. But the staff-officers and the like with whom we had to do, as we travelled, know nothing of la haute politique and discerned in us only a succour which the fortune of war«had cut off.

However, I must not dwell on this. Suffice it that on the twenty-fourth we reached Prague, that ancient city, the home of Wallenstein, the battle-ground of the sects, as mediaeval as when the Thirty Years War ringed it about with fire. We crossed the famous bridge with its monstrous statues, and on the twenty-fifth at Teschen we passed—under the protection of a parlementaire—from the Austrian to the Saxon lines, and from friendship to a mute and guarded hostility. Nor

was this the worst. Hitherto we had been protected from the graver disorders of the roads. Troops had been halted to give us passage, convoys had been drawn aside for us, the crippled and the wounded, dragging their slow way towards the homes many of them were never to see, and whom we could pity but could not help, were kept at a distance from us. But henceforth we struggled forward in the full current, jostled and delayed by all the flotsam and jetsam that floats on the ebb-tide of war. We in our turn had to halt while guns and reinforcements marched by us, or we thrust a devious way through bands of scowling men—deserters, beggars, camp-vultures, women, who cursed us in all the tongues of Europe. Staff-officers, travelling fast in calashes, flung mud over us. Here the post-house was full and, if we ate at all, we must eat seated in our carriage before the house. There the relays were out, no horses were to be had, and we must wait, watched with hostile eyes by a surly crowd.

WE WERE all of two days travelling from Teschen to Dresden. The picturesque and rockbound Gate of the Elbe, through which our road ran, had no charms for us, moving as we did amid clouds of dust; and though we promised ourselves that when we had left the seat of war a little farther behind us, things would be better, the promise was but half kept. The main war was, indeed, soon far to the rear; but the Duke of Brunswick’s attack on Dresden had everywhere spread suspicion, fear and disorder.

We presently discovered—and hardly knew whether to welcome or regret it—that, in place of our friendly escort, our clattering smiling dragoons, a single mounted gendarme followed on our heels and kept a watchful eye on our proceedings.

“He is following us,” said Perceval, after looking back for a good two minutes, his long neck stretched out of the carriage.

“Oh yes, he is following us,” I assented drily. But even I did not then foresee that that little black blur on the road behind us was to grow to so great a cloud of trouble.

We drove into Dresden an hour before sunset, and paused at the gate to show our papers. An officer, tall, spare, correct, unsmiling, advanced to the door of the carriage, “You are staying, Excellency?”

“At the Hotel de Pologne,” I said.

“Pardon!” he replied coldly. “At the Stadt Berlin, if it please you. I am directed to say that your horses are ordered for six o’clock to-morrow.”

“But,” I objected—it is the business of the Secretary to stand between his Chief and the vulgar world—“His Excellency is tired, sir. He has been travelling for some days and proposes to stay here a day to recruit.” “I regret. But the horses are ordered for six. It is an order, gentlemen.”

I shrugged my shoulders, while Ellis clothed himself in sulky dignity. Clearly it was of no use to remonstrate. We drove to the Stadt Berlin, and I laughed when we were alone, for it was no more than I had expected. But Ellis looked worried. He was no coward, but lacking imagination he had nerves; so that that which he had not been able to foresee caught him by surprise and harassed him. And, touchy, he felt every prick to his dignity, considering that England was injured in his person.

“D—n them!” he said sourly, letting nature for once have its way with him.

“With all my heart,”

I rejoined. “But in the meantime we must leave at six.”

Presently I noticed that steps had been taken to isolate us.

We were lodged in a separate wing of the Stadt Berlin, and the servants who waited

on us, went to and fro with grim faces, said little and had a louche look. I suspected them of being in the police service, but whatever of ill augury this imparted was counteracted by the reflection that the object of the precaution might be merely our safety.

And in any case it was a small matter. It was a trifle

beside the perplexity which began on the next day to harass and divide us, and at Wittenberg, as I have hinted, came to a head. The weather was still cloudy and hot, the air oppressive, and Ellis, troubled—unreasonably troubled, I thought, for so far we had encountered nothing that I had not expected—by the authorities’ attitude, had slept ill and was out of temper. Klatz —I have said little of Klatz, but we went much by his advice— was more fussy than ordinary, and Kaspar, a phlegmatic Swiss, seemed to be the only person untouched by circumstances.

'T'HEN, the horses

-*■ given us were poor, and the stage sandy, and the knowledge that henceforward our way lay across the dull featureless plain of Middle Europe pressed upon us. The thought of its immense unbroken expanses, its flat wastes stretching to the horizon, its forests set thick about pale shimmering lakes, weighed, I remember, strangely on the imagination, Arriving late in the day at Grossenhayn, a little town on the frontier, some miles from the Elbe, we were

stopped at the Prussian barrier, required to descend, and ushered into an inner room.

We were received by an officer who, except that the blue of his uniform was darker, might have been the replica of him of Dresden, as sallow, as reticent, as unsmiling. He was as stiff as a ramrod, but I saluted him with due ceremony.

“You expected us?” I said.

“Naturally.”

“His Excellency—” “Excellency?” with a shrug and a sour smile. “Only,” bowing slightly, “where he is accredited, I suggest, sir.”

It was rather a shock, but I set it down to Prussian

churlishness and raised my eyebrows. “Still -, it is in that character

that our Prussian credentials should be awaiting us,” I objected.

He took no notice of my remark, but “Your papers to this point, if you please,” he said shortly.

I produced them. “You will see that they are special,” I said, “and countersigned by—”

“I can read, mein Herr!”

The man was brutal, and evidently with intention, but there was nothing to be gained by contending with him. Perceval took a seat with an impassive face, and we waited in silence while the man perused the papers. He did this twice, from time to time holding them up

to the light and scanning them with a suspicion that aroused— in me at any rate—a strong desire to kick him. At length he put down the papers, opened a drawer in the table beside him, and deliberately placed them in the drawer. He locked it and returned the key to his pocket.

“And our new ones?” said I.

“You will proceed with these,” he replied, and he took a fresh set from another drawer. “They are drawn in favor of Herren Eils and Wagenmacher, merchants of Hamburg, returning to Hamburg, with their clerk and servant. Gentlemen,” raising his hand, as recovering from my astonishment I began to remonstrate, “I am acting under orders, in your interest as ■well as in that of the State. And my orders are peremptory. If you prefer to return by the way you have come, you are at liberty to do so, and you will relieve us from embarrassment. I shall then return you your original papers. But if you choose to proceed you will proceed with these. We have of course been warned of your coming, the matter has been fully considered, and—”

“The devil it has, sir!” Ellis cried, and unable to contain himself longer, he rose in his wrath, tall, thin, dry. “Are you aware, sir, who I am? Are you aware, sir, of my status as an ambassador relying on that law of nations which is observed by every civilized country? I am, sir, His Britannic Majesty’s Envoy duly accredited to the Court of Vienna, and I claim to proceed as such.” The man smiled his sour smile. He made as if he blew something away. “Piff!” he said. “A claim—but a claim, and most equivocal. An envoy to a state with

which your Sovereign is at wrar, as he is at war wdth us? No, Excellency, be satisfied. We might,”— darkly—“adopt another course and I do not know that it wrould not be wdser. But those w7hose orders I obey prefer to avoid ambiguities and in a w'ord those are my instructions. I can neither alter them nor withdraw7 from them.” Poor Ellis was thunderstruck. He rode the high horse a little longer, threatened to appeal to Berlin, threatened to appeal to Hardenberg, the Prussian Minister. But the officer only shrugged his shoulders, and half an hour after we had entered the place we left it, Perceval sallow7 w7ith rage, and w7alked down the street to the Post House whither the carriages had preceded us. The postmaster asked, civilly enough, if we proposed to go farther that day, but my companion in a sulky mood declined to say—he wrould tell him wffien w7e had dined. Poor chap, he was angry w7ith all the w7orld and not least with me—my predictions had been a little too near the truth.

The Post House was but a poor place, with one com-

!tu.> room, sunk below the street, low-ceiled and illlighted, but as we were late we had it to ourselves. V\ e occupied a small table before the window, Klatz and Kaspar were at the long table in the middle of the room. As we sat waiting impatiently for something to be warmed up for us, Perceval unfolded the coarse napkin that lay before him, and, “Hallo!” he muttered, "What’s this?"

1 looked across at him. my attention caught by his tone. “What is it?” 1 asked.

I_ï K DID not answer. He w as staring at the table. * ^ When he raised his o\es it was to look, not at me, but at our two attendants. He saw that they had their backs to us and w ith a warning glance he slid something acroes the table towards me. ”lt was in my napkin,” he muttered.

It was a scrap of paper. On it was scrawled in German letters. “Beware of Klatz and the Elster.”

“Oh. the devil!” I murmured.

"ft was in my napkin.” he repeated.

"Humph!” 1 grunted, and 1 reversed the bit of coarse yellowish paper There was nothing on the other side, and having made sure of that I slipped it into my as a stout country wench approached our table with the Kalbsbraten.

What do you make of it?” Ellis asked presently, sh« had withdrawn to fetch the wine I had ordered. "Well,” I said sapiently, "it comes from a friend— or an enemy.”

That does not take us far." snappishly. He was flustered. Following on what had happened in the office the thing was disturbing.

No.” I answered. "But the whole thing depends or. that; on whether it is a friend's warning, or an enemy’s snare. That is clear.”

Kaspar can write.”

It is not his writing.”

"He may have got someone—”

To write it? Possibly,” I allowed. “I don’t think

"Well, whoever it is, and whatever it is,” he laid down with dignity, "I shall pay no attention to it.”

I agreed. “Probably that will be the wiser course,” I aid But I felt no surprise when Perceval’s next words betrayed doubt.

ere another road?” he asked, “that does not pass through Elsterwerde?”

1 will inquire,” I said, “if you will keep Klatz by you after we have done dinner. In any case I would r. '* go on to-day. We are safe here. That blatant Prussian knows who we are and cannot deny us; and hall gain the evening to think it over. If Klatz presses you to go on this evening, say that you are not well.’*

He nodded. "At the same time I don’t believe a word of it,” he said crossly.

■ I—so far. Klatz has served us well and we very reason to think him faithful. But—”

“But what?”

Well, everything is possible.”

"But—the Office detailed him, did it not?” “Certainly. The man has been in the service at least six years. He wa3 one of the messengers attached to Berlin when I was there in ’3. I knew him. Oh, no doubt his record is all right.”

n I shall pay no attention to this,” Ellis declared.

OUT the seeds of suspicion, once sown, are hard to root up, and H. E. made no demur when I presently sauntered out and with as careless an air as I could assume, lounged towards the inn-yard. A wagon had just come in, laden with wounded soldiers, and with it a couple of poet carriages, and there was much bustle. I marked, however, an ostler who seemed to be unemployed. and who was standing near the entrance, in talk with a sallow dour-looking man, with remarkably black eyebrows. I thought that he would do, and I was approaching the pair, when I recognized with a slight shock that the sallow man with the black eyebrows wore the uniform of a French army postillion, and I sheered off. The man, whether he had remarked my approach or not, moved off also. Still I took the hint, I saw that it would be wiser to make my inquiries elsewhere, and I strolled casually down the street.

It was the ordinary street of a small German town, cobble-paved, with a gutter running down the middle, ar i firewood stacked here and there against the gabled rouses. There were a dozen signs swinging over the roadway, their varied hues, with the lines of green shutters, giving a cheerful air to the street. I picked out a saddler’s sign and saw a man with an apron twisted about his waist and a dirt:/ leather nightcap on his head lounging at the door. I asked him what sort of a road it was to Elsterwerde and if the other road to Berlin—I tacitly assumed that there was one—was

"By Wittenberg? So! It is about six hours longer, mein Herr.”

“People go that way?”

"Oh yes, it is as you please. But it adds six hours.”

1 thanked him, and after strolling a little farther as if to satisfy my curiosity, I turned back to the Post House. I found Ellis looking out of the low small-paned window, Klatz at his elbow. He turned as I entered. “Klatz wdshes us to start,” he said.

I yawned. “We could do no more than a couple of German miles,” I said. “It hardly seems worth while.” Klatz interposed. “Just so, sir,” he said, “but with his Excellency’s permission that will just take us to Elsterwerde. And the Lamb is a good house. This is—it is unfitting his Excellency’s position—to stay here.” “His Excellency will do as he thinks fit, Klatz,” I answered carelessly. “But for.my part I have seen enough of that carriage for one day.”

“But this house—you see what it is! And to-night there may be many here.”

Ellis looked undecided. “What do you say, Cart. wright?”

“Oh, I say, stay here,” I replied. “Klatz works us too hard. Remember we got off at six. And as we are now' but Herren Eils and Wagenmacher of Hamburg vs may put up with a little roughness for once. It is in character,” I added.

“But the Lamb—such quarters, sir!” Klatz waved his fat hands. “The Lamb to-night and so to Herzberg for dinner to-morrow. If his Excellency will be guided

by me—*”

“No, Klatz,” Perceval answered, his mind made up, I’ve no doubt, by the other’s urgency. “We stay here to-night. Arrange it so, and send Kaspar to the barrier to say that we remain.”

T COULD not be sure—but did I surprise a gleam in Klatz’s blue eyes, a little out of character with the plump little man’s wonted good humor. If so, it was gone as soon as seen, and might have expressed only the annoyance of one who saw his visions of a rich, greasy supper at his beloved Lamb set aside for a whim.

In either case he made no further demur, but left us alone.

But Ellis was not willing to allow that it was the paper that had moved him. “We’ll stop, as you wish it,” he said grudgingly. “But I don’t believe a word of it!”

“There is another road—by Wittenberg. It is six hours longer.”

“We are certainly,” peevishly, “not going to waste six hours.”

“It is as you decide, Chief, of course,” I said.

“Why, for all we know, that may be the very road they wish us to take!”

“Precisely.”

“Then why—”

“The point is—friend or enemy?” I rejoined. “As I said at the beginning. As I still say. A warning or a trap?”

“I don’t believe a word of it!” Ellis repeated obstinately. “And I think that we are ill-advised to stay here. But as you have settled it, so let it be. Only, I must press on you, my good fellow, not to see an enemy in every bush!”

After that it may be believed that we did not spend a very cheerful or companionable evening. The Post House, filling up after nightfall with a noisy brawling company, we were forced to share a bedroom and Perceval, always touchy on the point of dignity, took this ill, and was for blaming me. While I, reflecting that the journey with its drawbacks and risks was not of my choosing, and that the gain if any would also be his, was fn no mood to take his grumbling with patience.

Moreover, I was, also—I confess it—anxious. The warning so short and so explicit troubled me. Did it come from friend or foe? Was it really a warning? Or a snare? Ought we to take the advice or reject it?

The answers to these questions—and everything, the safety of the despatches and perhaps our own lives, hung on their accuracy—depended on our reading of Klatz. Was the messenger faithful, or was he plotting, in league with some one, and against us? His record was good, I could not gainsay that; so good, indeed, that before the evening was out Ellis would not hear the matter argued. Having given way so far as to stay over the night, and suffering for his complaisance, he was now convinced that he had been a fool to give way. Every fresh hardship, every petty annoyance confirmed him in this, and added to his peevishness.

AND I had nothing to cite to thé contrary, except the momentary gleam which I had discerned, or fancied that I had discerned, in the man’s eyes; and nothing is more difficult than to convey to another the impression that so slight a thing makes. Ellis pooh. poohed my idea as pure fancy, hinted that I was scaring myself into a panic, and ended by asking me who it was that I thought was warning us. If it was not Kaspar—

“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. “I can’t say. If I could—” “But who can it be?” he persisted. He was an obstinate fellow and had an annoying trick of harping on a point

once he had got hold of it. “Who can it be?”

“Well, possibly, the Prussian police.”

“My dear fellow! Absurd! Perfectly absurd! Why? You should reason these things out. Why should they?”

“Well, they may wish to avoid trouble and yet be unwilling to appear as thwarting their French masters. There may be orders out to seize us, and for their own reasons—we cannot suppose that they love the French —they may not wish the orders to be executed.”

However, he would not hear of this. It was too farfetched, it was fanciful. I was letting my fears run away with me. He laughed at the notion and presently turning his back on me, after a groan or two at the shortness of the bed, he went to sleep. I should fain have done the same, but my brain was at work and I could not sleep so easily. The problem obsessed me. I had an uneasy feeling that a net was being drawn about us, and I lay so long turning it this way and that, that in the end I overslept myself, and Perceval had dressed and left the room when I opened my eyes.

I followed him downstairs as quickly as I could. I was still in two minds about the matter, but was convinced that it would be useless to argue with him. In Germany they do not make much of the morning meal, and at all times are early afoot, and there were only three or four persons in the common room when I entered. But they were three or four too many, for they were smoking and spitting, and the stale smell of beer pervaded the place. Ellis was at the table by the window, and I saw at once that something farther had occurred to disturb him.

“What is it?” I murmured, as I cast an eye through the latticed window at the roadway which was on a higher level than the floor of the room, and disclosed the passers-by only up to the waist.

“I have had another of those—h’m!—those papers!” he replied. “It was in my napkin—as before.” He pushed the thing across to me under cover of a plate. I looked at it. The paper, the writing, the words, all were the same.

“Umph!” I said, and shrugged my shoulders. “Pleasant!”

“What’s to be done?”

He was evidently shaken, and I made up my mind. “I should take the advice and go by Wittenberg,” I said.

HE LOOKED sadly out of temper, but he did not answer at once. A minute later, seeing Kaspar standing in the doorway, he beckoned to him. “Send Herr Klatz to me,” he said curtly. And when the little man, plump and fresh, his gills rosy, his eyes twinkling with good-humor, appeared, “Klatz,” he said, “Mr. Cartwright wishes to see Wittenberg.” “The home of Dr. Martinus,” I said, playing up to him with a smile. “It is possible, I suppose? It is not much out of our way?”

The little man’s hands went up in piteous remonstrance. “ Unmöglich!" he exclaimed. “Impossible, Excellency! Impossible! It is many hours out of the way—a long day and no nearer Berlin when we are there! And,” glancing warily behind him to make sure that he had no listeners, “it is the road to Magdeburg and on that road there are French troops. The road of the Elbe, you understand, Excellency! Oh, it would not do at all! I could not reconcile it with my conscience to take his Excellency that way. When peace comes,” looking benevolently at me, “Mr. Cartwright may visit it. It is of interest, oh, colossal! But at present, no.”

“How far should we have to follow the Elbe road?” Ellis inquired.

“A long way, and there are French garrisons in Magdeburg on the one side and in Torgau on the other. Oh, it would not do at all, Excellency.”

“But there may be French troops in the Elster direction also?” I suggested.

“Going—whither, sir?”

“Oh, to Berlin, say.”

He cast a compassionate glance at me. “But the French have withdrawn from Berlin. His Excellency knows that, surely. For Custine, Glogau, Dantzig— they would not go this way. Nor for Stralsund.” “Just so,” said Ellis, nodding. “I see. Good. Well, that will do for the present, Klatz. You can go.”

“At what hour will his Excellency be ready?”

“At eight. But be within call in the meantime.” When he was gone, “H-m,” said Perceval, “that settles it, I think? What he says is reasonable.”

“I’m hanged if I know,” I replied, still doubting, though the man’s arguments had seemed fair enough.

He raised his eyebrows delicately. “You are hard to persuade, my friend,” he said.

I WAS, and for an odd reason, though I did not think it worth while to advance it. It was based on Klatz. While he had stood talking to us, I had become aware of a contradiction in him. He was a man peculiarly fitted to go anywhere without arousing suspicion; a cheery, innocent, roundabout little chap, mild as milk, and in a word as much like a German cherub as it is

possible to imagine. Yet I knew that the inner Klatz must be something quite different, or he would not have been capable of risking his life, coolly and imperturbably, as we knew that he had risked it over and over again in his perilous journeys across the country. Clearly then there were two Klatzes, and the inner one, the real man, might, it suddenly occurred to me, be as clever at deceiving us as at deceiving those among whom he moved unsuspected.

I was so strongly impressed by the discrepancy that I presently burned my boats. “Look here, Eliis,” I said, rising, and speaking, I have no doubt with some heat, “be guided by me—for once! Make up your mind, and go by Wittenberg! Go by Wittenberg, no matter what Klatz says.”

He stared at me in surprise. “Why, my dear man, what’s taken you?” he exclaimed. “This is not like you.”

“I don’t know, but I beg you to do as I say. I am sure that we shall be wise to do so. If it is only to oblige me, Ellis, go that way. Give Klatz any reason you like, but—•”

“I can’t make you out,” he said. “You believe this —this rubbish, then?” flicking with his finger the paper which lay beside him under cover of a plate. “You think it is genuine? A warning?”

“I do,” I said, standing stoutly by my. pippins. “Wrongly or rightly, I do believe it.”

“H-m! Well, I am surprised!” he said. “But—at any rate I know now,” drily,

“what you do think. But you were not used to be nervous,

Cartwright?”

“Well, I am nervous now,”

I answered, “and I don’t mind confessing it. I may be a fool, but if it is only to oblige me,

Ellis, don’t go by the Elster.”

He sat, thinking hard, drumming with his fingers on the table; and I could see that he was disturbed. But at length —the Germans had retired some minutes before, and we were alone—“H-m! Well, if you

put it that way,” he said, “of course I’ll give way. We’ll go by Wittenberg. But I tell you frankly, Cartwright, that I think we are doing a foolish thing. I think, more likely than not, that we are running the very risk you wish to avoid.

We’ve many reasons for trusting Klatz and no reason at all to trust your unknown advisers— that is clear, isn’t it? Still,

I’ll do it, my good man, as you feel so strongly about it. Only I warn you, you must stand the blame if anything happens.”

“I will,” I said stoutly, though my heart misgave me a little. “Whatever comes of it,

I will be responsible.”

He shrugged his shoulders, and went out, his face rather grim. What he said to Klatz, or what reason he gave for the change, I don’t know. But I will say that for Perceval, he had á way with him. He could ride the high horse when he chose, and play the Envoy; and though when he returned he was in no good temper, and made no attempt to hide it, he said nothing more to me. Klatz, too, when I next came upon him, superintending the packing of the carriage in the street before the inn, said no word, and soon after eight we got away on the Wittenberg road.

CHAPTER III

TT WAS another dull, oppressive morning, and before we had driven a German mile from Grossenhayn we encountered two things which did not lighten my responsibility; a responsibility that weighed on me the more heavily, as I had assumed it on the strength of an idea at best fanciful. The first thing was ? travel-stained calash which we overtook and passed on the outskirts of the town.

It was as dingy and ramshackle as the ruck of German post-carriages, and contained two persons, an overdressed woman, coarsely handsome, and a lad, half-man, half-boy, with a big head, for whom, brief as my view of him was, I took a strange distaste. But that which gave to this carriage an air of ill omen in my eyes was the fact that it was conducted by the postillion in the French uniform, whom I had remarked in the inn-yard.

Then, a little later, we came up with a party of French infantry, small dark men, not particularly soldierly to the eye, but marching, in their baggy red trousers, with that ugly lounging gait which looks slow yet carries the men over more ground than any other troops can cover in the time. The road, where we came up with them, was narrow, with a ditch on either side, and the officer riding at the rear waved to us to keep back. The result was that for half a league we crawled along in their dust until a welcome cross-road enabled us to pass them. The men, and still more the officer, eyed us inquisitively—no doubt our two carriages travelling together attracted attention that we could well have spared; and for a moment I feared that the officer was going to stop us. However, he only addressed a question which we could not hear to the leading postboy and, content withthe answer, suffered us to proceed.

Still it was not a heartening episode, nor did it stand alone. Though we had now passed out of the immediate sphere of war, these were not the only troops we encountered. We came on bodies of Dutch and Danes, marching

northwards—probably they had been ordered down to curb the Brunswick rising; and later on some straggling, black-avised Italians proceeding God knows whither, who whatever they were to their enemies were certainly a terror to the countryside. They gave us, these broken wandering fragments, a singular impression of the vastness of the machine which the great despot wielded, and of the world-wide scope of the resources on which his power drew.

And French, Dutch, Danes or Italians, they all marched and swaggered as if the land belonged to them; eyingthe peasants insolently, plundering the shops, flinging coarse jeers at the women at work in the fields. And the peasants, standing at the street corners or plodding in the dust of their marches, eyed them askance and with fear, cringed before their coming, crossed their path on sufferance. The very sky, low and dark, seemed to look down on a beaten land, upon crops raised for the profit of others, upon villages crushed under imposts, upon towns ruled by servile burgomasters. We drove by inns roaring with foreign choruses and eyed doubtfully by scared authorities. We saw Schlosser, deserted, barred and shuttered, in fear of rapine. Our own postboys humped their shoulders and bent their heads as they passed the foreigners, so that I, familiar with the Germany of an earlier day, a Germany proud of its haughty army, marvelled and found the change incredible. Hardly could I believe that a single day of battle had had power so to enslave a nation. That fatal fourteenth of October, the day of Jena and Auerstadt, had indeed done its work!

I COULD not refrain from putting my sense of this into words and breaking a long silence, “That poor wretch of a Schill!” I exclaimed. “He must have been mad to think that he would be supported! And Brunswick no less mad!”

“A beaten people!” said Ellis curtly, his eyes averted.

“A very easily beaten people! Why, the Spaniards are worth two of them! They at least are making a fight of it. No wonder that the Emperor does not know where to stop in his exactions. Or that the King hesitates to return to Berlin.” “The King does not set them much of an example,” Ellis agreed drily.

“A d—d bad example,” I rejoined. “Not much of the Great Frederick about him— except the selfishness of his policy. For the sake of filching Hanover from us, his allies, he threw over Austria. Then when he saw that he was not to be allowed to keep his plunder he threw over the French, and is paying for it! Well, serve him right! Poor old Austria with all her faults shines beside him. It took more than Austerlitz, it took a Wagram as well as an Ulm, to bring her to her knees. But after all, Ellis, it is something to have seen this. Our journey won’t be entirely wasted.”

He hummed and hawed, and I have no doubt that he was already considering the terms of the report that he would send in. After a pause, “Yes,” he admitted grudgingly, “but we might have known this without seeing it. Had there been a spark of spirit left in Prussia, she must have joined Austria this year, and turned the scale. But she is beaten. H-m! Yes, and there’s a pretty deep mark of Davout’s hoof here. He has put his foot down and crushed them body and soul, my good man.” Davout, it will be remembered, was at this time in charge of North Germany. The French garrisons in all Prussia’s strong places were under his command, only the Hanseatic towns being left to the milder government of Bernadotte. Between them Continued on page 57

The Traveller in the Fur Cloak

Continued from page 15

they lorded it over the vast region stretching from Westphalia to the Vistula, from the North Sea to the Bohemian mountains. And Davout, as Chief of the Military Police of the Empire, gripped the strings of every intrigue, overlooked every conspiracy; his was the hand that had crushed the sporadic risings that the Austrian war had encouráged, his the hand that still lay so heavy on the nation.

I have set down this conversation not only because it reflects pretty faithfully our impressions at the time, but because, I must own, it was nearly all that passed between us during a long day’s journey. Perceval was morose and taciturn, and I resented his attitude.

AS WE approached Wittenberg, the • thunder began to rumble in the distance. The postboys, glancing over their shoulders, flogged on their sweating horses, the carriage bounded and jolted from one hole to another, the gloom increased. Presently the gates appeared before us, showing grey and phantomlike in the strange light, with a single stork seated with drooping wings on its nest above them. The thunder crashed nearer and louder. We drew up at the barrier.

“I wish to God we were well through it,” Ellis muttered peevishly, as Klatz, descending from the calash advanced with our papers.

However, things went better than we feared. The guard had no more mind to be out in the storm than we had. They cast but a perfunctory glance at the papers, counted us, asked whence we had come that day, and waving to us to proceed, dived back into their shelter. We drove under the echoing gateway, rolled through narrow streets, between bald houses that stared cold and ghastly in the pale light, bumped over the pavement, and turning sharply under an arch, halted with much cracking of whips, in the courtyard of the Golden Stag.

The inn stood on three sides of the court, and round the court ran a gallery. The gloom of the storm darkened the small open space, but three or four candle-lit windows shone out on the twilight, and there issued from the same windows a medley of voices and laughter. Beneath the gallery beside which we had pulled up, three or four waiters were bustling about, huddling chairs and tables under cover; and mingled with these, or clustering about the doorway a bevy of men—in gaudy uniforms and tipsily noisy—stood holding bottles and glasses, as if they had just been displaced from the tables. Thrpugh the windows behind

we had glimpses of a long table and of a large party seated at it

We had time to see this, and with misgiving that the diners were French; and then a stout figure detached itself from the group and came towards us. Before the man reached the carriage door, Klatz—the ever nimble Klatz—■ had skipped out and intercepted him.

The colloquy lasted longer than we expected, while the thunder pealed overhead and at any moment the storm might burst upon us—large drops were already pattering on the ground. Ellis thrust out his head. “Well!” he cried impatiently, “What is it, Klatz? What is the matter?” A sad, fat man, the innkeeper, advanced, bowing, to the door of the carriage. “I am desolated, Geehrte Herren,” he said, “but what can I do? My house is taken up. A party of officers from Magdeburg are celebrating here. They have engaged—”

“Not the whole house!” Ellis exclaimed angrily. “Nonsense, man, you can take us in somewhere. We are not going out into this storm.”

The sad, fat man raised his hands in deprecation. “I could give you rooms to sleep—it is possible. But to eat, no meine Herren. The speisesaal is taken up and all the first floor. You see?” “Then we will eat in our rooms!” “So! But I have no servants—it is not practical, I have not the men. But if the geehrte Herren are willing to eat out—”

“Man, we will eat out,” Ellis rejoined. “Only let us get in out of the rain before we are drenched. Come, Klatz, we will see the rooms.”

BUT I had had my eyes on the topers about the doorway. I had noticed that they were observing us closely, and I touched Perceval’s elbow. “I am not sure,” I muttered, “that it would not be wiser to go on and find another inn.” “In this storm?” he rejoined. “No, Cartwright, no, I am hanged if I do! You have brought us here, very much against my will as far as I am concerned,” querulously. “And now that we are here—”

“Very good,” I said shortly. “I am content if you are.” But it did not escape me that the innkeeper when he led Ellis and Klatz into the house avoided the door round wnich the Frenchmen clustered and took them in by another on the opposite side of the court. The choice told a tale.

I thought it well to be as prudent, and I took shelter also under the gallery on that side. Kaspar followed suit, stationing himself a few paces from me. The rain was beginning to pour down, leaping from the ground in a million tiny points of silver, and the postboys cowering in

their saddles and cursing the delay, waited impatiently for a signal. Presently it came from a window above, and I as tened by a blinding flash of lightning they drew on to the stables through an arch at the end of the yard.

This left me once more in full view of the Frenchmen, but I purposely averted my gate from them and directed my eyes down the sheltered space on my side. Here things were rougher and wore a more domestic aspect. Across a corner linen hung on a cord to dry, and against a the wall a couple of spinning wheels stood flattened; a saddle rested athwart an empty dog kennel and beside it some children’s toys lay, mingled with pattens and milk pails and the like.

These things taken in, my eyes passed cn to two persons, who, seated on a bench under the gallery, appeared to he either alarmed by the tempest—for they were holding one another’s hands—or ill at ease for some other reason. One was an elderly woman neat and apple-faced, in the garb of an upper servant; the other a young girl, appeared, though plainly dressed, to be of superior position, for her luxuriant hair, parted on the forehead, was piled up in the curling negligee mode of the day. Their eyes, I noticed, roved nervously about them, and between the storm and the noise of the revellers opposite us, the two looked thoroughly out of place as well as uncomfortable.

Nothing, really to remark in this; just two travellers, unversed in the road, and astray amid strange surroundings. But the girl’s face attracted me; it caught, it held my eyes. It was an oval face, pure and delicate, and somewhat pale, a face that gained in expression what it lost in colour. The eyes, bright and quick, told of secret disquiet, while the mouth, finely curved, quivered from time to time, as if tears were not far off.

“What am they doing here?” I wondered. “Ai d what is their trouble?” But before I had time to conceive an answer I found the inn-keeper at my elbow. He began, with a stealthy eye on the Frenchmen, to renew his apologies, but seeing the direction of my gaze he broke off.

“What are those two doing here?” I asked.

“Ah, there again I am unfortunate!” he said. “Their room is not ready, and the young lady is of the suite of the Grand Duchess of Zerbst, and commended to my humble services by Her Highness. She is here to find a partner to share a landschute to Berlin—on her way to Altona. But what will you? The times are bad. A share in a landschute to Berlin— nothing more easy two or three years ago. But few women travel nowadays—safer at home, mein Herr—and I cannot hear of one. The young lady is pressed for time too, and I fear will be forced to travel by the Eilwagen which is slow, and—little fitting.”

“She has the look of an Engländerin?” I suggested.

“No, gnädiger Herr, she is Danish. There are no English here—how should there be? Though craving your pardon,” with a sly glance at me, “I had the same thought of you until you spoke. You are doubtless from the south?”

“From Moravia,” I answered carelessly—and truthfully. “But now of Hamburg. The old lady does not accompany her?”

“Ño, she returns. They came in at midday. I shall do my best—to oblige Her Highness, I would do my possible. But—” with open hands he expressed his plight-—a very sad, fat man, with no love of the French I could see.

“I am sorry that we have no lady with us,” I said. “Otherwise I am sure—•”

“The high-born is gracious. But it would not be—practical.”

Still the girl’s face appealed to me. She looked forlorn. “It is a long way to Altona,” I said.

“As to Hamburg. But from Berlin she

is better than well arranged for.”

NrO more was said, as Ellis came down. He had donned his fur cloak, and was fretting and fuming—for he liked going out to supper through the storm no better than I did. I pointed the two out to him and stated the case. “I suppose we could not take her on with us?” I ventured shamefacedly. x

He stared at me. “Good Heavens, man,” he cried testily, "what room have we? And a young girl? Ridiculous! We have enough to do, my good man, to get ourselves through this cursed country, without taking charge of all the distressed

damsels we meet. Come, tell Raspar to get you your cloak. Klatz recommends the Rathskeller. Come, l am famished, man.”

I saw that my suggestion had heated a temper already simmering, and I said no more. Kaspar brought me my cloak, and not sorry to put a space between ourselves and the Frenchmen, we passed out into the town. Since we had entered the inn it had grown dark, but now and again the lightning whitened the house fronts, and its glare enabled us to avoid the abandoned carts, the piles of fire-wood and the projecting cellar-doors, that in Germany make every street a peril. Fortunately the Market Place was not far off, and a walk of three minutes brought us to the low door, and the half-dozen steps that led down to the cheerful, well-lighted Rathskeller. It was of the usual pattern, a narrow vaulted chamber with whitewashed walls, divided into six or seven bays, and set with two tables in each bay, one on either side of the middle passage, in a homely way the aspect of the place was bright and cheerful.

Probably the storm had kept away many of the habitues, for there were not more than a dozen persons present. Twothirds of these were smoking and drinking beer from earthenware mugs; the other third were supping, plainly but sufficiently. It was not my first nor my twentieth visit to such a place, and we were soon, our orders given, seated comfortably in one of the empty bays.

Even Ellis’s ill-humour was not proof against the pleasant change from the gloom and rain of the streets. “Well, we shall not do so badly, after all,” he said, looking about him, and stretching out his long legs.

BUT he turned glum a moment later. A clatter of iron-shod feet arose at the entrance, and five wild-looking youths, long-haired and bare-necked, in loose strangely-cut coats, trooped in and, talking loudly and raucorously, marched down the passage, as if the place belonged to them. Unfortunately, they chose the table over against ours, flung their staves and knapsacks noisily into a corner, dragged up the benches, and hammering arrogantly on the tables, began to shout their orders.

“Oh, dear, dear me,” said Perceval, eyeing them askance, “this spoils all.” “Students,” I said. “From Leipzig or Halle, I expect. They must lord it over everyone, or they would not be German Burschen. They will quiet down presently.”

To some extent they did, but not until they had taken seinen of the place, looked everyone over, and hidden themselves in a cloud of smoke, which did not spare us. I would rather have been without them, of course, for they were noisy, obstreperous neighbours and their tobacco was vile. But our supper came and we applied ourselves to it, and presently their meal arrived also, accompanied by stupendous flagons of beer, and took off their attention. They were uproarious still, bursting now and again into a chorus which they timed to blows on the table; and occasionally they flung a jest or a derisive word at some distant and inoffensive person. But they did not make us their butts, and though we could not ignore their presence, we were becoming hardened to the nuisance, when suddenly and without warning they broke into a volley of booing and hooting. “Out! out! out!” they roared.

I looked up, to learn what was the cause of the outburst, and saw that they were all facing towards the entrance. I glanced that way, but too late to see more than that others nearer the door were also gazing towards it. “What was it?” I asked Filis. “I missed it.”

“A man in a French uniform,” he explained. “I only just saw him. He looked in, but thought better of it apparently. One of those Army postillions, I fancy.” “Oh!” said I, remembering the man whom I had seen twice at Grossenhayn.

“But—” Perceval asked, “why did they set on him?”

“Because he was French, I suppose.” “But, I wonder they are not afraid.” “Well, just so,” I admitted. “To be sure! It is odd.” And then after a moment’s thought, “Do you know, I think, Ellis, if you don’t mind I’ll look into this?

I may learn something. There may be more in it than appears.”

He put his hand on my arm to detain me, but I was already on my feet, and though he called after me I was already half way across the passage, my mug in my hand. “Smollis etfiducit," I said, using

the old cant words; and as the five wildlooking figures gazed at me in amazement at my audacity, I raised my mug. “Brother Burschen, I drink to the Burschenschaft!” I said. “The Past to the Present!”

f7_OR a moment they studied me, scowlA ing, then satisfied, I suppose, with what they saw, they sprang to their feet. “Fiducit!” they answered, as one man. “We drink to the Burschenschaft! The Present to the Past!”

“The Blue of the sky, the Red of the grape and the White of the Madchen’s breast,” I continued, reading the question in their eye.-

“So! Of Heidelberg.”

“And you. Brother Burschen?”

“Of Leipzig.”

I laid my hand on the back of the bench. “Were the President to say Ad loca—”

“Welcome and honoured!” rejoined the senior, making room for me. As I sat down I caught a glimpse through the haze that surrounded us of Ellis’s disapproving face, but I did not heed his discontent. I knew better than he where I was, and I was set, perhaps too strongly, on following out the idea that had occurred to me. Success might be worth some risk.

“I am from the South,” I said, opening my trenches. “And have lived so long in the land of Philistia that I am no better than a freshman. Much is strange to me, though I was once in good standing. That chap who looked in just now—”

“We sup with no Frenchmen,” the senior replied. “The Bursch is free.” Then with his eyes fixed on me and some doubt in them, “Placetne?”

“Valde et maxime placetl"

He nodded. “We blow the fire. Palm kindled it, Sehill fed it, the Burschen are the bellows.”

“But is it not extinguished?” I asked. He had lowered his voice, and I followed the example.

“At the top. Ay, patted down, beaten down, smothered down—at the top!” He spat on the floor. “But at the bottom it burns and the Burschen blow it. And presently it will burst forth, the more furiously because it is smothered down! And then the top—”

“Yes?”

“The top will fall in,” drily.

“But Prussia? With your leave, it does not seem to me that here there is much fire burning?”

He snapped his fingers. “Out of a dead Prussia—a living Germany! The Fatherland!” He raised his mug and as at a signal all five—-after the students’ free and easy custom in public places—burst into a well-known song.

“Which is the Germans’ Fatherland? Is’t Prussian land, is’t Swabian land? Is’t where on Rhine the red grapes hang Where o’er the Baltic sea mews clang Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no,

This Fatherland must wider go.

“Which is the Germans’ Fatherland? Then, name me finally that land!

Wide as the German free tongue springs, And hymns to God in Heaven sings! That shall it be! That shall it be!

That land, brave Germans, given to thee!”

LONG before the chorus reached its J close, three fourths of those present in the Rathskeller were on their feet, joining lustily in it. And marking their sparkling eyes, and the abandon with which they thundered the chorus,

Das soll es seyn, das soll es seyn Das, wacker Deutscher, nenne dein!

I was convinced that my neighbour had made no vain boast when he said that the Burschen were blowing the fire. Indeed I caught the infection and joined in, regardless of Perceval’s black looks and angry signals, which the cloud of smoke mercifully obscured for me. After the song, “Das Vaterland!" cried the students waving their mugs. "Deutschen, das Vaterland!"

The toast drunk, we sat down. “Yet Sehill,” I remarked, anxious to probe the matter still farther, “the brave and unfortunate Sehill —”

The last thing l meant was to cause a fresh outbreak, but I did it. In a twinkling the Burschen were on their feet again "Vivat Sehill!" they shouted. "Hoch to Sehill! Hoch! Hoch!"

supported. Here and there a man raised his glass and drank. But. for the majority the challenge was too audacious. They stared stolidly into the smoke, or glanced uneasily towards the door.

I was a little uncomfortable myself. The thing had gone farther than I had anticipated, and 1 could not be unconscious of Ellis’s furious glances. I could make a pretty good guess at bis thoughts, and owned that be had some reason to be angry. All the same I could not refrain from one last attempt to get to the bottom of things. “But do you not run a risk?” I asked. “I speak as a Philistine. There are French in the town—a large party of them at the Golden Stag.”

“So! They will not be there long!” they bragged. “And they will not interfere with us. Are we not the Burschenschaft? And behind us is there not the Tugenbund? Touch Leipzig and you prick Halle, Gottingen, Heidelberg, Fichtelstadt! The whole German land! No, the Bursch is free, and woe to those who would enslave him.”

“But—”

I got no farther. A hand fell on my shoulder. Ellis had not been able to control his feelings any longer. He had risen and stepped across the passage. “For God’s sake, put an end to this fooling!” he muttered in my ear, his voice trembling with anger. “Have you forgotten yourself altogether? Do you want us to be arrested? You are going the right way, man, if you do, and in our position—with our responsibility! Are you mad, Cartwright?”

“I am coming,” I said. “I’ll explain. But—but one moment, Chief. Just a moment more. One moment; I want—•” “No, by God, I’m off!” he retorted, in great wrath. “I wash my hands of it!’’ And he turned on his heel, snatched up his hat and stalked away to the door, his tall figure and magnificent fur cloak drawing all eyes upon him as he strode down the passage.

I WAS vexed with myself as well as with him, for I knew that I had been imprudent. But the harm was done now, and after being so frankly received, I could not break away without a word of acknowledgment. “I regret, good brothers, but I must leave you now,” I said. “I thank you for—”

I paused, seeing that they were all five looking oddly at me. The spokesman raised his eyebrows. “So? English?” he said in a low tone.

It was no use to deny it. Perceval, speaking to me in English had given the secret away. I nodded.

“Ah! Then it is for you, the risk! If we had known—” looking about him— “but there’s no one here that will speak. You are safe enough. But you must be careful, friend. If there is anything we of Burschen can do—”

“We go by the Elbe at five to-morrow— to Magdeburg,” put in the next to him. They wore, all five, a different air now, spoke low, and with heads together, looked warily over their shoulders—for my sake I knew.

I thanked them again. “But I am not in the danger you think,” I said, and I explained, for I saw that they took me for a spy. “Still, you are right. I must be careful and go now—-my friend will be waiting for me.”

I paid them and fled, as much noticed, I dare say, in my going as Ellis had been before me. I seemed to have been in the place a long time, but I did not think that the time had been wasted—if only no ill came of it.

When I stepped out into the Market Place, I found that the storm had passed. The downpour had ceased, leaving the kennels running, and the wet pavement gleaming. Above, the moon was shining in a clear, rain-swept sky. As I crossed the open space I was in some doubt which of two streets that opened before me was the one that led to the inn, but luckily, as I paused, a watch'tnan with his lighted lantern and iron-shod staff came round a corner and lifting his voice announced to the row of peaks and gables that fringed the square that it was eleven of the clock and all well! He directed me and two minutes later I was hammering on the closed door of the inn.

I asked the man who admitted me if the other gentleman had come in. He did not seem to understand, and more sharply, “Has anyone entered within the last five minutes?” I asked.

“No one,” he answered sulkily. “Nor for another five.”

HE WAS sleepy and surly, and I fancied that there was some mistake, so I entered. As I crossed the angle of the courtyard, which was half in moonlight, half in shadow, I saw that the illumination in the Speisesaal was much lessened, though a few topers still lingered round the guttering candles. Taking my own light, I mounted the stairs, considering as I climbed how I should put the case to Ellis, for I could not hide from myself that I had jumped the ropes a trifle. To meddle in the conspiracies of a country to which one is accredited—or through which one passes, cloaked in the privileges of an ambassador—is certainly against the rules of the service and only to be forgiven when success crowns the venture. But to do so, or to appear to do so, when one is in a subordinate capacity and without authority—well, I felt that I should need all my finesse to placate Perceval. Yet I had learned something, nay perhaps a good deal; and, much or little, it would inure to his credit.

By the time, candle in hand, I had threaded my way through the passages to his door I thought that I had the matter arranged in my mind—after all he was a sensible chap at bottom, and would see reason. I knocked, and when he did not answer, I opened the door. It would not do to appear diffident—or guilty.

But, to my surprise, he was not there, and I began to think that he had not entered and that the man at the door was right. I passed on to my own room and in a chair outside the door I found Kaspar sleeping sweetly. I roused him. “Where is His Excellency?” I asked.

“I have not seen him, sir,” Kaspar replied, standing up and blinking his eyes. “Isn’t he with you, sir?”

“No. Are you sure he hasn’t come in?”

I insisted.

“Not to my knowledge, sir.”

“Where is Herr Klatz?”

“I don’t think that he is in either, but I will see, sir.”

He went and returned. “He is not in his room,” he said.

“Ah!” I rejoined. “Well, never mind him, but go downstairs and enquire if His Excellency has been seen. Make sure that he is not in the house, do you hear? He should have returned before this.”

Kaspar hurried away on his errand. I snuffed my candle and stood, thinking. The house was very quiet, and after waiting awhile I went back to the head of the stairs and listened. I began to feel uneasy.

CHAPTER IV.

I SUPPOSE that I had made some noise, stalking to and fro in this way, for as I stood staring down the dark silent well of the staircase and listening intently, a door three or four paces from me opened and a head appeared. For a moment the light of the candle I held glinted on a pair of bright eyes, an anxious little face, a thick tail of dark hair athwart a peignoired shoulder, and I recognized the girl whom I had seen that afternoon under the gallery. Then the face was hurriedly withdrawn, the door fell to softly. I was alone. I heard Kaspar set his foot on the stairs. He came up them noisily, two at a time.

“His Excellency has not come in,” he said.

“Are you sure?”

“Quite sure, sir.” And I saw that in his phlegmatic way he shared my alarm.

“Then we had better go alone and see what has become of him,” I replied. “Come along, man. Don’t stop to get ybur hat.”

We hurried down the stairs. The courtyard was in darkness, the last light in the Speisesaal had been extinguished. The man at the entrance confirmed what Kaspar had said, and, his curiosity aroused, stepped out with us into the street. The little town lay strangely quiet about us. The moonlight fell along the street in which we stood, but it helped us little for it was broken into small patches by the signs that projected from the houses, while here and there an outside staircase completely blocked the view. It was difficult to see to any distance, but we listened. “I think you had better go one way and I another,” I said to Kaspar. “Don’t lose yourself. I’ll go towards—”

The porter cut me short. He held up his hand. “So!” he exclaimed, “I think he comes.”

I was mightily relieved, for it had just occurred to me that it was I who had brought Ellis to Wittenberg. “He must have taken a wrong turning,” I said, as,

fifty or sixty yards away, the man whose footsteps the porter had heard entered the street from a side lane, and emerging from a mass of shadow, approached us with hurried steps.

“It’s Klatz!” cried Kaspar suddenly.

“Klatz?” I ejaculated.

It was Klatz. He came up out of breath with the haste he had made. He recognized Kaspar, who was bare-headed, almost as quickly as we recognized him, and “What is it?” he asked. “Is anything the matter?”

“His Excellency has not come in,” I replied curtly. “We had better all separate and go different ways to—”

“So!” said the porter again—he had sharp ears, that man! “He comes now, I think.”

I doubted. A clatter of feet, a murmur of loud voices had, indeed, broken into the street, coming from the direction of the Market Place, but I had little hope that Perceval was one of the group, for the party, an uproarious one, was shouting a song without the least regard for the comfort or sleep of the townsfolk. “No,” I said, “it’s not he. I fancy it’s some students that I—”

“I think he is with them,” said Klatz.

“Oh, but, man—”

“I tbink so, sir,” Kaspar agreed. “I see His Excellency now.”

And certainly there were six in the party, and the students were but five. But I could hardly believe that the sixth could be Perceval. The song they were singing, and singing with derisive gusto, and much brandishing of iron shod sticks,

“Ah, he who slyly the Mädchen seeks,

What risks he runs, when the little god tweaks!

By pending pole and the distaff’s stroke

His fire is quenched and his pate is broke!

O fie, O fie, O fie, O fie Whither away, sir, on the sly?”

was certainly not one of his choosing, and as certainly accorded ill with his dignity. Indeed the porter sniggered softly. “It’s him,” he said with meaning. “Well, he’s not the first.”

AND it was Ellis. A dozen paces from ■ us, he detached himself abruptly from his companions, while they with an elaborate salutation and a mockery of respect, marched solemnly by, still singing, with uplifted sticks,

“O fie, O fie, 0 fie, 0 fie!

Whither away, sir, on the sly?”

“Good heavens, Chief,” I cried in genuine amazement. “Where in the world have you—”

“Come in,” he growled, and it needed no more to prove to me that he was in a red-hot rage. But not another word would he utter to any one until we had entered the inn and climbed the stairs and he had slammed the door of his room upon the others. Then as he turned on me, his candle in his hand, I saw with astonishment that his stock was torn, his hat wet and mud-stained as if it had been in the gutter, and his face discoloured. But he gave me no time to ask questions or voice my concern. He attacked me, pale with passion. “What the devil did you mean,” he snarled, “by leaving me as you did?”

“I? But it was you, my dear Ellis, who—”

“I’ve been next door to murdered! And might-have been murdered, but for those young ruffians—insolent brutes!” He took out his handkerchief and passed it over his lips, and I saw that he was really unable to continue. I stepped to the table, found his flask and poured out a little cognac. He took it without thanking me, drank it, and sat down on his bed. A little colour came back to his face.

“Now tell me what happened,” I said. “If it happened through any fault of mine, Ellis, I very much regret it.”

“Regret it?” he ejaculated, for the cordial had only heated his indignation, already at the boiling point. “Regret it? And happened? I’ll tell you what happened in six words. I took the wrong road out of the Market Place. I was quick to find out what I had done and I was turning about when a lad overtook me, asked if I had lost my way and said he would show me a short cut to the inn. He led me down a side street till I grew suspicious—I saw we were in a kind of cul de sac with the town wall before us, and I stopped. T don’t believe this is right,’ I said, but before the words were out of my mouth I heard a movement behind me,

and turned, and there was a man creeping up behind me. I don’t know exactly what happened then, but I fancy I jumped for the wall. But I was too late, for the next moment the lad was on my back trying to pull me down, while the I • other sprang at me in front. I holla-ed and made what fight I could, but I was as good as choked, when those friends of yours came up, and the two let me go— and fled.”

“Did they rob you?” I cried in a panic. “They didn’t get the—”

“No. But they tried. The tall man tore open my coat, but the clasp of the cloak was in his way, and they had not time. The others came up, d—n them!” with a fresh outburst of rage. “The brutes jeered at me, wanting to know what I was doing down there—it was a disreputable place,

of course. And they would not listen when I told them, but began to sing that abominable song.”

“Still they saved you from something more serious,” I said, seeing with wonder j that the correct Ellis was more disturbed j by the students’ insinuation than by the attempt to rob him. “And what they thought does not matter. The point is,” considering, “was it just a guet-apens by a couple of rogues who saw you astray, Ellis, or a deliberate attempt by someone who knew what you had about you?”

“I hadn’t it,” drily. “I’d hidden it, no matter where. But if you ask me I’ve no doubt that it was that they were after.” “Well, I’m afraid so.”

“And what we were brought to Wittenberg for, thanks to you,” bitterly.

“Don’t say that,” I protested. “After all,” for I had been thinking, “it was Klatz who recommended us to go to the Rathskeller. And Klatz was out to-night, and came back out of breath twTo minutes before you.”

“Klatz?”

“Yes, Klatz. Did you see either of the men’s faces? Could you be sure that he was not—”

ELLIS did not let me finish the sentence. He was on his feet, his temper quite lost. “By G-d, Cartwright, you are mad about Klatz!” he cried. “You’ve got Klatz on the brain! How could Klatz , know that I should leave the Rathskeller alone? Or that I should lose my way? How could He? Eh? How could he? But the truth is, instead of trying to inculpate Klatz, whom I trust, thoroughly trust, I tell you, you ought to blame yourself. What business had you, man, to go hobnobbing with those brutes of students? You in your position? Drinking toasts to ! Schill and singing seditious songs—and making yourself conspicuous? Why,

! good God, man,” with growing indignation, “you might have been arrested there j and then, and I too! And what a position i should we have been in! It was out of j reason! It was indefensible! Indefensible! j And I am bound to tell you, it is my duty to tell you, that if you don’t know the j rules of the service, by G—d, I must teach 1 you them.”

! “Look here,” I said, “Ellis,” for I, too, was pretty near the end of my patience,

! for I honestly thought that the villain of lie play was Klatz, and that my friend was wilfully blinding himself, “suppose I we talk this over in the morning when we I are both a little cooler. You are upset now and—”

“No,” he retorted, too angry to be reasonable, “we’ll have it out now, if you 1 please. I gave way to you this morning and I see now what a mistake it was. The effect has been to expose me to this attack,

; and I might very well have lost my life, or ! the papers, which would have been worse! And all through your d—d folly about Klatz. But what I complain of now, and think a good deal more of, is your conduct in joining those fools this evening, when I showed you plainly that I disapproved of it! You exposed yourself and exposed me j to the most serious misconstruction. What I right have we to mix ourselves up with j random rubbish of that kind? Is it not ! against every tradition, every rule, every precedent of the service?”

“I grant it—as a rule,” I admitted.

1 “But every rule has its exceptions.’

"Exceptions be d -d!" he said, shaken out of his usual propriety.

“Wait. Listen," 1 said, sobered by the ■! reasonableness of his complaint—however unreasonably stated. "Let me tell you I why I did it, for 1 did not do it without ■ thought. I did it to learn something of the feeling of the country, of which they are as ignorant at home as of what is i passing in the moon. It was to ascertain,

Ellis, whether there did exist any of that discontent with the servility of the government which Stein at Troppau asserted and Gentz denied. Well, I did learn a good deal. I proved the existence of that discontent not only to my satisfaction, but, I should have thought, also to yours. Granted that Burschen are privileged people, yet it is clear that even they would not dare to behave as they did, if they did not know that popular sentiment was with them. They could not drink Schill’s health in public if Schill’s conduct were disapproved, nor sing of German unity if Nap’s rule were popular. No one opposed them, no one interfered. Very good. Then frankly I think I did you a service—and no small service. You have only to set down your impressions in official language and hand it in for Castlereagh’s consideration and I’ll warrant he’ll send for you within twenty-four hours—and want to know more.”

I HAD wrought myself to a pretty high pitch of indignation—for I thought Ellis unjust as well as stupid. But he brought me down with a jolt. “Well, I don’t agree with you,” he said flatly, in his most official tone. “On the contrary I think that your conduct as a subordinate, was indiscreet in a high degree. Our business is not to mix ourselves up with this or that party. It is simply and solely to get these despatches home in safety, and sallies like that of to-night are not only compromising but dangerous.”

“And you see no excuse for it?” I exclaimed.

“No! My good man, none! You talk about Klatz, but it is not Klatz who puts us in peril. It is your hot-headedness, Cartwright. It is your lack of the very elements of discretion! But for that I should not have left that place alone.” “Then that was my fault too, I suppose?” I cried contemptuously.

“Certainly. If you forgot yourself I could not be expected to stay and countenance it. And involve myself also,” with dignity.

I really could not put up with that. It was most unfair. “Then I suppose you think,” I retorted hotly, “that you would be safer with Klatz than with me? That’s it, is it?”

“Unless you show greater prudence, I certainly do think so. If you are going to act again as you acted this evening, I haven’t a doubt about it. You have told me again and again that we are followed and watched and are in danger here and in danger there—that the utmost circumspection is necessary! Very well. Then if that is so, if we are watched, and followed, you are condemned out of your own mouth. Could anything be more imprudent or more improper than your conduct this evening? Or more indefensible?”

I own that he had me there. It was difficult to meet that, and I lost my temper altogether. “If that is so,” I retorted, “if that is your opinion, I had better make my way to Hamburg by one road, and you by another.”

Probably he did not think me in earnest, for “That is for you to decide, Cartwright,” he said in his coldest tone. .“Certainly I do not need your services en voyage. There is no quill work.” Which was an additional stab, for quill-work is the depreciatory term applied to the tyro’s employment. “And if we are likely to have any repetition of to-day’s folly—” he continued.

“You think you would be safer without me?”

“I neither say it nor deny it.” He shrugged his shoulders, for he had grown cool in proportion as I had become heated.

Too heated for prudence, or, alas, even for common sense, either of which would have told me that I was on the point of making a fool of myself. Simmering with indignation, “Very good,” I answered. “Then I shall take you at your word.” And acharne to the last degree, I left the room, and slammed the door behind me.

It was a pretty quarrel, if it had ended there! And there it might and I think would have ended—for by morning I should have come to a cooler mind—if illluck had not thrown Kaspar in my way at the very moment when a word could do most mischief. He was sitting in the passage, patiently waiting to learn if Ellis wanted anything before he retired; and carried away by my feelings I spoke to him—and burned my boats.

“His Excellency thinks it better that

we should separate.” I said, controlling with difficulty my voice, “and go by different routes. There is a boat starting down the Elbe at five and I shall go by it.

You can take on my baggage. Call me at four.”

He looked his amazement, as well he might, but like a well-trained servant he j only asked if he could pack anything for 1 me.

“No, I shall take little and I can j manage that,” I said. “Good night.” And ¡

I shut myself up in my room.

Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa! I own I it humbly. But at the time I did not see j this, or regret what I had done. The thing had no doubt been long coming to a head. !

A score of grievances, of pin-pricks and I provocations, of patronage on one side, of j resentment on the other, had made bad j blood between us. And ten days of forced ¡ companionship within the narrow bounds I of a travelling carriage with all the desj agréments which this entailed, had so in| flamed the trouble that it hardly needed j the irritation which our difference about j Klatz had set up to ferment the sore and j bring it to the surface. Of course I see now [ how petty it all was and how childish I j was— and blameable, heaven forgive me! i But I did not see it then. I dubbed poor ¡ Ellis a pompous stiff-necked ass, and he j no doubt thought me a hot-head, illj trained, and unbroken. I had done him, as I I fancied, a valuable service—and been I rewarded with rebuke! He saw in the ] same service only an unprofessional prank, j compromising to him and, in our situation, ! dangerous.

So, as I have said, I did not at once j repent. I was hot and excited, I thought j myself in the right, I deemed myself | hardly used. But before sleep, ill to woo that night, came to me, the thing began to appear in truer colours, and I to perceive ¡ that I had behaved like a fool. For the j quarrel might have serious consequences ¡ for me, even though we came together again at Hamburg. I could hardly hope to have after this the good word of one who was now my chief and must report upon me, j and though nothing that I knew of j Perceval led me to believe that he would 1 be unfair, so nothing that I knew of him led me to think that he would j ignore our differences. In all likelihood I j should return branded with the worst ¡ affiche a man in our profession can earn— that of being indiscreet. With Europe closed to the service, three-fourths of our men were at this time idle, and I who had gone out to Vienna, the envy of men ten years older than myself, would return to spend my days in fruitless attendance at ( the Office, my only relaxation, as I : haunted the waiting room, a daily perusal i of the Journal de Leyden.

So I tossed and tumbled in a bed that, j like all German beds, was too steep and ! too short for me; and I would gladly have undone what I had done. But I had ¡ spoken to Kaspar, and I had not the ; courage or the good sense to eat my words.

But let me say this—in my own defence.

If I had known then what was fated to be the outcome, if I had foreseen ever so j dimly the tragical issue which that night’s 1 work was preparing, if I had had an inkj ling of the life-long regret that I was laying ¡ up for myself, I know—and I only do myj self justice in saying this—that I should { have let no consideration of pride or dignity weigh with me. I should have ' abased myself without a murmur. But ; the future was hidden from me—and the price that was to be paid.

TILL it was with a weight upon my ¡ spirits that I aroused myself at Kaspar’s I bidding next morning and began to make ¡ my few preparations. The freshness of the i morning, the July sun, poured in through ; my casement, but had no immediate j power to cheer me. I swallowed the cup of tea Kaspar had made for me, and presently, grumpily and sleepily, I descended | the stairs. I noted, idly, but with some ; surprise, that the door of the girl who had looked out last night stood open, and that j the room was apparently empty. But it ¡ was not until I emerged from the inn and ¡ stood in the rain-washed street where the Stubenmädchen were whitening the steps, j and here and there a gilded vane glittered ¡ in the sunshine, that I felt the breath of adventure move me. Whatever the cost in the future, I was free in the present. ; Free for some days from the stuffy carriage and Ellis’s company, free to make m • way to Hamburg by any road I chose. The world was before me.

To be Continued