GRENFALL LORRY'S FOE
The Princess Yetive had not flinched a hair's breadth from the resolution
formed on that stormy night when she sacrificed pride and duty on the
altar of love and justice. Prince Bolaroz's ultimatum overwhelmed her, but
she arose from the wreckage that was strewn about her conscience and
remained loyal, steadfast and true to the man in the monastery. To save
his life was all she could hope to accomplish, and that she was bound to
do at any cost. She could be nothing to him—not even friend. So long
as he lived he would be considered the murderer of Lorenz, and until the
end a price would hang over his head. She, Princess of Graustark, had
offered a reward for him. For that reason he was always to be a fugitive,
and she least of all could hope to see him. There had been a brief, happy
dream, but it was swept away by the unrelenting rush of reality. The mere
fact that she, and she alone, was responsible for his flight placed
between them an unsurmountable barrier.
Clinging tenaciously to her purpose, she was still cognizant of the debt
she owed the trusting, loving people of Graustark. One word from her could
avert the calamity that was to fall with the dawn of the fatal twentieth.
All Graustark blindly trusted and adored her; to undeceive them would be
to administer a shock from which they could never recover.
Her heart was bursting with love for Lorry; her mind was overflowing with
tender thoughts that could not be sent to him, much as she trusted to the
honor of Quinnox, her messenger. Hour after hour she sat in her window and
marveled at the change that had been wrought in her life by this strong
American, her eyes fixed on the faraway monastery, her heart still and
cold and fearful. She had no confidant in this miserable affair of the
heart. Others, near and dear, had surmised, but no word of hers confirmed.
A diffidence, strange and proud, forbade the confession of her frailty,
sweet, pure and womanly though it was. She could not forget that she was a
The Countess Dagmar was piqued by her reticence and sought in manifold
ways to draw forth the voluntary avowal, with its divine tears and
blushes. Harry Anguish, who spent much of his time at the castle and who
invariably deserted his guards at the portals, was as eager as the
Countess to have her commit herself irretrievably by word or sign, but he,
too, was disappointed. He was, also, considerably puzzled. Her Highness's
manner was at all times frank and untroubled. She was apparently
light-hearted; her cheeks had lost none of their freshness; her eyes were
bright; her smile was quick and merry; her wit unclouded. Receptions,
drawing-rooms and state functions found her always vivacious, so much so
that her Court wondered not a little. Daily reports brought no news of the
fugitive, but while others were beginning to acquire the haggard air of
worry and uncertainty, she was calmly resigned. The fifteenth, the
sixteenth, the seventeenth, the eighteenth and now the nineteenth of
November came and still the Princess revealed no marked sign of distress.
Could they have seen her in the privacy of her chamber on those dreary,
maddening nights they would not have known their sovereign.
Heavy-hearted and with bowed heads the people of Graustark saw the
nineteenth fade in the night, the breaking of which would bring the crush
of pride, the end of power. At court there was the silent dread and the
dying hope that relief might come at the last hour. Men, with pale faces
and tearful eyes, wandered through the ancient castle, speechless,
nerveless, miserable. Brave soldiers crept about, shorn of pride and
filled with woe. Citizens sat and stared aimlessly for hours, thinking of
naught but the disaster so near at hand and so unavoidable. The whole
nation surged as if in the last throes of death. To-morrow the potency of
Graustark was to die, its domain was to be cleft in twain,—disgraced
before the world.
And, on the throne of this afflicted land sat the girl, proud, tender,
courageous Yetive. To all Graustark she was its greatest, its most devoted
sufferer; upon her the blow fell heaviest. There she sat, merciful and
merciless, her slim white hand ready to sign the shameful deed in
transfer, ready to sell her kingdom for her love. Beneath her throne,
beneath her feet, cowered six souls, possessors of the secret. Of all the
people in the world they alone knew the heart of the Princess Yetive, they
alone felt with her the weight of the sacrifice. With wistful eyes,
fainting hearts and voiceless lips five of them watched the day approach,
knowing that she would not speak and that Graustark was doomed. Loyal
conspirators against that which they loved better than their lives—their
country—were Dangloss, Quinnox, Allode, Ogbot and Dagmar. To-morrow
would see the north torn from the south, the division of families, the
rending of homes, the bursting of hearts. She sanctioned all this because
she loved him and because he had done no wrong.
Aware of her financial troubles and pursuing the advantage that his
rival's death had opened to him, Prince Gabriel, of Dawsbergen, renewed
his ardent suit. Scarce had the body of the murdered Prince left the
domain before he made his presence marked. She was compelled to receive
his visits, distasteful as they were, but she would not hear his
propositions. Knowing that he was in truth the mysterious Michael who had
planned her abduction, she feared and despised him, yet dared make no
public denunciation. As Dawsbergen was too powerful to be antagonized at
this critical time, she was constantly forced to submit to the most trying
and repulsive of ordeals. Tact and policy were required to control the
violent, hot-blooded young ruler from the south. At times she despaired
and longed for the quiet of the tomb; at other times she was consumed by
the fires of resentment, rebelling against the ignominy to which she was
subjected. Worse than all to her were the insolent overtures of Gabriel.
How she endured she could not tell. The tears of humiliation shed after
his departure on the occasion of each visit revealed the bitterness that
was torturing this proud martyr.
He had come at once to renew his offer of a loan, knowing her
helplessness. Day after day he haunted the castle, persistent in his
efforts to induce her to accept his proposition. So fierce was his
passion, so implacable his desire, that he went among the people of
Edelweiss, presenting to them his proposal, hoping thereby to add public
feeling to his claims. He tried to organize a committee of citizens to go
before the Princess with the petition that his offer be accepted and the
country saved. But Graustark was loyal to its Princess. Not one of her
citizens listened to the wily Prince, and more than one told him or his
emissaries that the loss of the whole kingdom was preferable to the
marriage he desired. The city sickened at the thought.
His last and master-stroke in the struggle to persuade came on the
afternoon of the nineteenth, at an hour when all Edelweiss was in gloom
and when the Princess was taxed to the point where the mask of courage was
so frail that she could scarce hide her bleeding soul behind it.
Bolaroz of Axphain, to quote from the news-despatch, was in Edelweiss, a
guest, with a few of his lords, in the castle. North of the city were
encamped five thousand men. He had come prepared to cancel the little
obligation of fifteen years standing. With the hated creditor in the
castle, his influence hovering above the town, the populace distracted by
the thoughts of the day to come, Gabriel played what he considered his
best card. He asked for and obtained a final interview with Yetive, not in
her boudoir or her reception room, but in the throne room, where she was
to meet Bolaroz in the morning.
The Princess, seated on her throne, awaited the approach of the
resourceful, tenacious suitor. He came and behind him strode eight
stalwart men, bearing a long iron-bound chest, the result of his effort
with his bankers. Yetive and her nobles looked in surprise on this unusual
performance. Dropping to his knee before the throne, Gabriel said, his
voice trembling slightly with eagerness and fear:
“Your Highness, to-morrow will see the turning point in the history of
two, possibly three nations—Graustark, Axphain and Dawsbergen. I
have included my own land because its ruler is most vitally interested. He
would serve and save Graustark, as you know, and he would satisfy Axphain.
It is in my power to give you aid at this last, trying hour, and I implore
you to listen to my words of sincerest friendship,—yes, adoration.
To-morrow you are to pay to Prince Bolaroz over twenty-five million gavvos
or relinquish the entire north half of your domain. I understand the
lamentable situation. You can raise no more than fifteen millions and you
are helpless. He will grant no extension of time. You know what I have
proffered before. I come to-day to repeat my friendly offer and to give
unquestioned bond as to my ability to carry it out. If you agree to accept
the loan I extend, ten million gavvos for fifteen years at the usual rate
of interest, you can on to-morrow morning place in the hand of Axphain
when he makes his formal demand the full amount of your indebtedness in
gold. Ricardo, open the chest!”
An attendant threw open the lid of the chest. It was filled with gold
“This box contains one hundred thousand gavvos. There are in your halls
nine boxes holding nine times as much as you see here. And there are nine
times as much all told on the way. This is an evidence of my good faith.
Here is the gold. Pay Bolaroz and owe Gabriel, the greatest happiness that
could come to him.”
There was a dead silence after this theatrical action.
“The interest on this loan is not all you ask, I understand,” said
Halfont, slowly, his black eyes glittering. “You ask something that
Graustark cannot and will not barter—the hand of its Sovereign. If
you are willing to make this loan, naming a fair rate of interest,
withdrawing your proposal of marriage, we can come to an agreement.”
Gabriel's eyes deadened with disappointment, his breast heaved and his
“I have the happiness of your Sovereign at heart as much as my own,” he
said. “She shall never want for devotion, she shall never know a pain.”
“You are determined, then, to adhere to your original proposition?”
demanded the Count.
“She would have married Lorenz to save her land, to protect her people. Am
I not as good as Lorenz? Why not give—” began Gabriel, viciously,
but Yetive arose, and, with gleaming eyes and flushing cheeks, interrupted
“Go! I will not hear you—not one word!”
He passed from the room without another word. Her Court saw her standing
straight and immovable, her white face transfigured.