ri f i its ie
ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA
THE VALLEY OF WISHES
TORCHES TO LIGHT
THEM DOWN THE
FLIGHTS OF STEPS,
Prince of Lorlonia
THE VALLEY OF WISHES
A FAIRY TALE OF
THE DAYS OF CHIVALRY
THE COUNTESS OF JERSEY
AUTHOR OF â€˜â€˜ MAURICE, OR THE RED JAR.â€
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY ALICE R. WOODWARD
MACMILLAN AND CO.
AND NEW YORK
All rights reserved
RicHarp Cray anp, Sons, Limirep,
LONDON AND BUNGAY.
. Otca ano Her Broruer .
Vuiapimir Takes ADVICE
Tue Rose Ciry
Otca Finps a Frienp
. Erte Neeps a Frignp
Tue Pror Succeeps .
Monkey Istanp .
. Tue Counc .
Vicrory anp TIDINGS .
Tue VaLLey or WISHES. ,
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Having procured torches to light them
down the flights of steps
â€œYou must learn to take care of baby
. . Olga,â€ said the Princess .
â€œT suggest nothing, my lord â€
The old man solemnly raised his right
Olga had run with Irene and Xenia to
her old post of observation
The monkey gave the box to the little
â€œAh, Queen,â€ said he, â€œis all lost?
where shall I find rest?â€
Tenâ€”elevenâ€”twelve ! Olga sprang to
the first stone
To face page 2
OLGA AND HER BROTHER
â€˜Come here, Princess Olga,â€™ cried the nurse,
â€˜your mama wants you.â€™
Olga was picking roses in the garden, but
she ran as fast as her little legs could carry her
towards the broad verandah, where she knew
that she should find her mother.
The Princess of Lorlonia lay on a low couch
supported by a pile. of cushions, and her dark
eyes looked all the darker because her face was
so pale and thin. She smiled as Olga came
near her and said :
â€˜Baby wants to be taken out of the cradle,
Olga. Do you think that you can lift him ?â€™
Olga was delighted. . She had often held
little Eric in her arms before, but she had. never
2 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
been trusted to lift him out of his bed by her
very own self.
â€˜You had better fetch your little chair first,â€™
continued her mother, â€˜so that you can sit down
beside me when you have him in your arms.â€™
Olga obeyed ; and having carefully arranged
her little white and gold chair near her motherâ€™s
couch, she still more carefully bent over the
cradle of carved ebony in which Eric was begin-
ning to kick his legs and wave his arms, quite
determined to show that he had been quiet for
as long a time as could be expected of a sturdy
boy nine months old. He smiled when he saw
his sister and allowed her to take him up, and
to sit down and amuse him with his coral and
â€˜You must learn to take care of baby, Olga,â€™
said the Princess. â€˜The day may come when
he will be left in your charge.â€™
â€˜What do you mean, mama?â€™ asked the little
â€˜Perhaps you cannot understand altogether,
darling,â€™ answered her mother ; â€˜but you know
that when your father died little Eric became
Prince of Lorlonia, and that all this part of the
country belongs to him.â€™
â€œYOU MUST LEARN
TO TAKE CARE OF
BABY. .. OLGAâ€
SAID THE PRINCESS,
1 OLGA AND HER BROTHER ~ 5
â€˜Yes, I know, mama, and I know that you
are to take care of him till he is a big boy, and
that then he is to take care of you.â€™
â€˜I will take care of him as long as I am alive,
my child,â€™ said the Princess in a rather sad
voice ; â€˜but I may not live till he is a big boy.
You are eleven years older than Eric, and if I
die you must tell him that his father and
mother wanted him to be a brave man, to speak
the truth, and to take care of his people.â€™
â€˜You wonâ€™t die, my own mama,â€™ cried Olga ;
â€˜you will live to be an old, old woman, and then
Eric and I will both take care of you.â€™
â€˜I hope I may live till you both grow up, but
I do not know,â€™ said the lady. â€˜Remember what
I have said if I do not. Remember, also, that
Eric and you are to live here with Count Radul
and his wife, and that you are not to be taken
away to any other castle or city as long as they
can protect you here.â€™
â€˜I will remember, mama,â€™ replied the little
Eric here showed signs of impatience. He
thought the conversation had lasted quite long
enough, and that his mother and sister having
settled his future to their satisfaction, ought to
4 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
attend to his present amusement. Olga got up
and carried him towards some brilliantly flower-
ing bougainvillea. The little boy stretched out
his hands to the gay clusters, and crowed and
laughed, till his nurse, summoned by the Prin-
cessâ€™s hand-bell, bore him away for his eveningâ€™s
meal and walk.
Olga ran back to her roses, for she had not
picked all she needed to fill the bowls in her
motherâ€™s room. Presently a clatter of horsesâ€™
feet and jingling armour sounded on the broad
road which lay below the terraced garden. This
road was almost hidden from sight by a narrow
plantation of myrtle and other shrubs, but from
the end of the uppermost terrace a glimpse
could be caught of any wayfarers who passed
along it just before they turned to mount the
hill on which the castle stood. .Olga accord-
ingly scampered to that post of observation, and
then hurried back to her mother crying :
â€˜Mama, mama! Four knights and squires in
armour and adozen men-at-arms! They are
riding up to the castle, and I think the crest is
Cousin Vladimirâ€™s vulture. It is an ugly bird
like that, I am sure.â€™
Princess Anna turned, if possible, paler than
1 ~ OLGA â€˜AND HER BROTHER 5
before, and murmuring to herself â€˜an ugly bird
indeed,â€™ rang her bell hastily, and.said to Olga,
â€˜Run in, dear ; send Amalia to me, and tell nurse
to change your frock and comb your hair.
Then come to my room. Go,â€™ she added to
the servant who answered the bell, â€˜ask Count
Radul to hasten to meet the guests who are
coming up to the castle, and beg the Countess
to join me in the saloon.â€™
Amalia came and helped her mistress, who
was very delicate, to go to her room and pre-
pare to receive the unexpected visitors whoever
they might be.
The castle was so remote. from other dwell-
ings of the same sort, and so entirely surrounded
by the vast possessions of the Princes of Lor-
lonia, that it was not usual in times of peace to
keep sentries on the look-out, though a small
garrison of armed retainers lived. in the guard-
house under the command of the late Princeâ€™s
faithful vassal and friend, Count Radul.
The knights who were riding up to the outer
gateway must have been known as friends of
the family at the various outposts on the high-
ways and bridle-paths leading to. the castle,
or they would not have been allowed to pass
6 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
unchallenged. Nevertheless the widowed Prin-
cess of Lorlonia knew only too well that some
outward friends are more dangerous than open
enemies, and she was more afraid of her hus-
bandâ€™s cousin, Counts Vladimir, than of many
of the wild chieftains-or bandit leaders against
whom the Prince had fought in his lifetime.
The Princess had justâ€™ put on a black satin
robe and Amalia was fastening a long veil of
white lawn to her hair with a large diamond
brooch, when a knock was heard at the door.
â€˜Come in!â€™ said the Princess ; and Countess
Sophy Macovros, the wife of Count Radul,
entered the room in some excitement.
â€˜I ventured, Princess, to come to your cham-
ber instead of to the saloon as you desired, for
my husband thought that your Highness had
betterâ€™ be prepared with the news that the
stranger knights are Count Vladimir and_ his
â€˜Thank you, Countess ; I guessed as much,
for Olga saw that the crest was like my cousinâ€™s.
Has Count Radul met him ?â€™
â€˜He is just greeting him at the entrance, and
will take him for refreshment to the banqueting
hall. He bade me say that he will await your
I ' OLGA AND HER BROTHER
summons to conduct the, Count to the
â€œIt is well, Countess. As soon as Olga comes
we will go there.â€™
Olga, her blue eyes Sparkling with excite-
ment, and wearing a white satin frock with lace
sleeves, now ran into the room, and her mother,
leaning on the Countessâ€™s arm, descended to the
saloon, where two young ladies, Xenia and
Irene, who acted as maids of honour, and two
pages, awaited her presence.
Countess Sophy led the lady to a large aie
of state at the end of the room, and Olga seated
herself on a little footstool at her right hand.
One of the pages was then sent to tell Count
Radul that the Princess was ready to receive her
guests whenever they were sufficiently refreshed
from the toils of their journey.
Not. many minutes had elapsed before the
attendants who were waiting outside the saloon
threw open the large folding-doors, and the
Seneschal Marco, an old man richly dressed
in black velvet, with a long gold chain round
his neck, advanced into the room and announced,
â€˜ The noble and valorous:Lord, the Count Vladi-
mir of Gravenia, has come to greet his well-
8 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
beloved cousin, the gracious and noble Lady
Anna, Princess of Lorlonia, and her son, the
high-born and mighty Prince of Lorlonia.â€™ The
seneschal struck the ground with his long white
staff; his tokenâ€™ of office, and stood aside to
admit the Count so formally announced, who
entered. with Count Radul on his right hand,
and followed by his own attendants and the
other gentlemen who were acting as officers of
the Princessâ€™s guard. Count Vladimir bowed
low to his kinswoman, who rose as he came
forward, and said,
â€˜Welcome, Cousin Vladimir. I am glad to
see you at Lorlonia. Had you given me notice
I would have received you more fittingly.â€™
â€˜T ask no other greeting, dear cousin, than
' to see you well. And is this my dear little
Olga?â€™ he added, stooping to kiss the child,
who submitted politely, but without much
â€œYes, this is Olga,â€™ replied her mother. â€˜ Will
you sit down, cousin?â€™ She pointed to a chair
near her own, and the Count sat down. Count
Radul and his wife, at a sign from the Prin-
cess, also seated themselves; Xenia and Irene
remained in the background, and the other
I OLGA AND HER BROTHER 9
attendants conversed together at the lower ,end
of the room.
Count Vladimir, a tall dark man with restless
eyes, did not seem entirely at his ease. He ex-
plained that he had been suddenly summoned
to the Capital, where the King was calling a
council of his chief vassals, in order to discuss
some points connected with the defence of the
â€˜kingdom. He then continued,â€”
â€˜I was on a visit in this neighbourhood, and
I could not pass near your castle, my dear
cousin, without calling to pay my respects, and
to offer my services as representing the interests
of my dear little cousin Eric at the Council.â€™
â€˜Thank you, Cousin Vladimir,â€™ answered the
Princess rather coldly. â€˜It is very thoughtful
of you, but I have no need to trouble you with
the care of any interests except your own.
The lands of Lorlonia pay a certain annual
sum to his Majesty and are free from further
charge or, burden. Count Radul Macovros
looks after their defence, and my sonâ€™s other
officers see that the laws of his land are
carried out. When Eric is old enough he
may choose to follow the King to the wars,
but meantime the council cannot affect him or
10 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
his interests in any way. The King loved his
father, and will certainly not try to interfere
with the rights of the son.â€™
_ â€˜Certainly, certainly, dear Anna,â€™ said
Vladimir, with an annoyance which he vainly
tried to hide under a show of affection. â€˜ Allow
me, however, to say that ladies do not always
understand the concerns of courts and kings.
Circumstances alter cases, and his Majesty or
his advisers may wish to ask more from Lor-
lonia either in men or money than was formerly
given. It would be of great advantage to your .
son if I, as his kinsman, were to receive your
authority to speak for him in the Council.â€™
â€˜I am not at all afraid of demands from
the King, Cousin Vladimir,â€™ replied the Princess
quietly ; â€˜and if his Majesty had any com-
munication to make he would send me a mes-
senger direct, by whom I should send a direct
answer. Circumstances, as you justly remark,
alter cases, and I should like to know full
particulars of any case which might arise before
authorising anybody, even a relation, to speak
in my name and my sonâ€™s.â€™
Vladimir frowned darkly, while Count Radul
looked on the ground to hide a smile of satis-
I OLGA AND HER. BROTHER If
faction. He understood very well why Count
Vladimir wanted permission to speak in Ericâ€™s
name. The Count thought that he would
bribe the King and council with offers of men
and money from his little cousinâ€™s lands, and
that, in return, rights would be given him
over the whole country of Lorlonia, that he
would be appointed guardian during the boyâ€™s
infancy, and perhaps contrive in the end to
make himself master in his place. Both Count
Vladimir and Count Radul, however, knew that
the Princess spoke truly. The King had been
a great friend of the late Princeâ€™s, he respected
his widow, and would not listen to any one who
did not speak, in the first instance at all events,
with her authority.
â€˜Well, my lady,â€™ said Vladimir after a pause,
trying to speak in a gay and cheerful manner,
â€˜since you will not allow me to act a kinsmanâ€™s .
part towards my little cousin, will you at least
allow me to see him?â€™
â€˜Certainly,â€™ replied the Princess, relieved that
the Count gave up the argument so readily.
â€˜George, added she, beckoning to one of the
pages, â€˜go and bid Nania bring Prince Eric
12 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜Let me go,â€™ exclaimed Olga jumping up,
and throwing her arms round her motherâ€™s neck
she whispered, â€˜I want to see that nurse puts on
his right frock.â€™
â€˜Very well ;â€™ answered her mother smiling,
and the little girl ran off. The seneschal
watched her proceedings with considerable dis-
approval. Though very fond of his little
Princess he did not think that she ought to run
messages in the presence of strangers, and he
took care that the attendants should be ready
to throw the doors wide open when she returned
with her brother and his nurse, while he
himself marched into the room wielding his
white staff with added importance, and an-
nouncing in a voice of unwonted solemnity,
â€˜The Highborn Noble and Mighty Eric, Prince
of Lorlonia, Count of Mandania, Hospodar of
_ Tortosima, and Lord Paramount of all the
Cities, Towns and Territories between the
Mountains of Vassilos and the River Mitrovek.â€™
The poor little Prince, Count, Hospodar and
Lord Paramount looked almost appalled at
the recital of his own dignities and at the
stately manner in which the assembly rose and
saluted at his entrance. The sight of his
L OLGA AND HERâ€™ BROTHER |. 13
mother however reassured him, and he looked
round pleased with the jingle of the swords
and spurs, the flashing of the helmets carried
by the knights and men-at-arms, and the glitter
of the breast-plates which they wore. .
â€˜He is a soldierâ€™s son,â€™ said Count Radul,
â€˜and knows a soldier when he sees him.â€™
Count Vladimir, who, during Olgaâ€™s absence,
had been talking to the Princess and Countess
Sophy about his journey and the beauty of the
surrounding country, now rose hastily and tried
to take the baby from Nania.
The little fellow would not allow this. He -
did not cry but, pushing his cousin away with
his tiny.hand,. held out both arms to Count
Radul, and insisted with energetic move-
ments that he should take him and carry
him to his mother. Seated on her lap he
broke into a cheerful. smile, and seemed
thereby to respond to the greetings of the
Count Vladimir turned away with a forced
laugh and remarked to the Princess, â€˜ Your boy
is a fine child, but does not know his friends.â€™
â€˜Indeed he does,â€™ broke in Olga, â€˜ Eric loves
every one who loves himâ€™
14 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜He does not love me, Olga,â€™ replied the
â€˜Well, you see, he canâ€™t know yet whether
you love him,â€™ retorted the little girl.
â€˜Hush, Olga,â€™ said her mother, â€˜ your cousin
quite understands that Eric is a baby and will
learn in time to behave properly.â€™
â€˜I hope he will learn both to know me and
to love me,â€™ remarked the Count.
After a little further conversation the Princess
and her children retired, the Princess begging
that her cousin would excuse her presence at
supper as she was not strong enough for late
Count and Countess Macovros attended her
to the door of her own apartments, and as they
went back to the saloon the former muttered to
his wife, â€˜It will be a good thing for the family
if they all know friend from foe as quickly as
â€˜You donâ€™t think the Count will do the child
any harm, do you?â€™ whispered the Countess,
alarmed by his manner.
â€˜He shall not have the chance if I can help
it, returned her husband. â€˜But hush! walls
have ears when there are strangers in the house.â€™
I OLGA AND HER BROTHER 15
Meantime Count Vladimir had called his
favourite squire, the red-haired and crafty
Nicholas, to look at the view from the large
window at the end of the saloon. As they
stood together in the recess he murmured in
an angry tone,
â€˜The brat is as obstinate as his mother. [I
wish I had him in my power !
VLADIMIR -TAKES ADVICE
_ Tue castle of Lorlonia was in reality a stately
palace of black and white marble solidly built,
and surrounding a paved courtyard, in the
midst of which played a beautiful fountain
supplied from a water-tower, which also served
as a post of observation for the watchmen in
times of war or danger.
An arcade with alternate columns of black
and white marble ran round three sides of the
court, on the fourth was a wide entrance with
elaborately wrought bronze gates, opening on
to a broad gravelled terrace with a smooth lawn
Except where the ground was artificially
levelled, the hill on which the castle was
CHAP. II VLADIMIR TAKES ADVICE 17
erected sloped gradually away in all directions,
On two sides it was laid out in gardens and
pleasure-grounds, the third was covered with
stables and outbuildings of various kinds, and
up the northern approach wound, amidst oak and
chestnut trees, the broad road by which Vladimir
had arrived on his visit to his cousinâ€™s home.
The whole hill where it reached the plain was
encircled by a high stone wall with small
fortified guard-towers at intervals. Travellers
from the south-west entered through an archway
protected by a portcullis, and passed along the
foot of the western garden from which Olga had
first caught sight of the men-at-arms.
Vladimir, whose temper was not improved by
his failure to obtain the object of his visit,
refused to spend more than one night at the
castle, and at an early hour on the morning
following his arrival assembled his troop on
the terrace outside the bronze gates.
Princess Anna, who was anxious not to offend
him more han possible, came out to say
good-bye, holding by the hand Olga, whose
golden curls were shining brightly in the
morning sunlight. Nania stood near with little
Eric in her arms. The boy was enchanted by
18 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
the sight of so many horses and soldiers, and in
high good humour even consented to shake
hands with his dark-browed cousin. â€˜ Good-bye,
young man,â€™ said Vladimir, â€˜and take my
advice. If people in this world offer you
friendship, donâ€™t refuse it. There is not so
much spare kindness going begging.â€™
â€˜T hope neither Eric nor I shall ever refuse
friendship, cousin Vladimir,â€™ said the Princess.
â€˜Certainly not that of our kinsmen. We shall
always be glad to see you here, and we wish you
a prosperous journey.â€™
â€œGood-bye, my lady Olga,â€™ said the Count
turning to her. â€˜What do you wish me?â€™
â€˜I wish you to love Eric really and truly,â€™ -
replied the little girl earnestly.
â€˜Teach Eric to love me then,â€™ said the
knight laughing ; and kissing the hand of the
Princess he vaulted on his horse, Count Radul
brought him the stirrup-cup, and after pledging
the company at large, he returned the golden
goblet with a final bow, and rode away.
â€˜Nicholas,â€™ said he, as the heavy portcullis
of the south-western archway fell behind them,
â€˜methinks fair means have failed to gain our
ends, What is to be our next move?â€™
ul VLADIMIR TAKES ADVICE 19
â€˜T hardly know, my lord. You have many
friends on the Kingâ€™s council. Would they not
support you if you applied directly to be made
guardian of the little Prince?â€™
â€˜Perhaps they might, but it would be of little
use. The council has nothing to do with
Lorlonia and its Prince. The whole thing
depends on the King himself. He will believe
anything Princess Anna says, and do anything
_ she wishes.â€™
â€œYou are the nearest relation, my lord, and
must succeed to the Principality if anything
should happen to the child.â€™
â€˜There is Olgaâ€”but a girl might beâ€™ more
easily managed if the boy and his mother were
out of the way.â€™
_ Â© Princess Anna cannot live long.â€™
â€˜No, but you will see. She will leave the
boy in charge of that impertinent fellow, Radul
Macovros. He behaves already as if he were
lord of the castle. I am certain that she has
spoken to the King about it, and probably to
all the neighbouring Counts and Hospodars.
Most of them are friends or relations of her own.â€
Nicholas was silent for a few minutes, and
then said :
20 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜My lord, [hardly see how open force or open
policy will help us.â€™
â€˜I did not suppose you would,â€™ retorted his
leader : â€˜ have you anything that is not open to
suggest ? We are not talking in the market-
Nicholas looked cautiously behind him. The
other squires were talking and laughing together
well out of earshot. â€˜They were fully aware that
their lord did not care for interruption when
conferring with his favourite. The men-at-arms
and baggage mules were following ata still more
â€˜It is ali right,â€™ said the Count impatiently,
â€˜those fools are not listening. What is this
desperate secret? Have you contrived to bribe
any of my cousinâ€™s people ?â€™
â€˜Not a chance of that I am afraid, my lord.
They have too comfortable quarters, and too easy
a time of it, with a lady and a baby to rule them.â€™
â€˜Afraid of having to go out and fight like
men, I supposeâ€”the cowards !â€™ exclaimed Vladi-
mir. â€˜ Well, then, letâ€™s hearâ€”what is your
famous plan ?â€™
â€˜My lord, did you ever hear of the pink
marble quarries of Lorlonia?â€™
ul VLADIMIR TAKES ADVICE 21
â€˜Hear of them? I should think so. They
bring in a golden harvest every year to that
lucky brat, as they did to his father before him.
What of them ?â€™
â€˜Some of them lie not far from the road
by which we travel to-morrow, and we might
turn aside to visit them if your lordship pleased.â€™
â€˜Why should I please? Do you hope to
corrupt the quarrymen ?â€™
â€˜J beg your pardon, my lord. I am afraid
you will laugh at me.â€™
â€˜I shall make you laugh on the wrong side of
your mouth if you donâ€™t get on quicker with
what you have to say. What have quarries and
quarrymen to do with my claims on Lorlonia?â€™
â€˜Well, my lord,â€™ continued Nicholas, speak-
ing more quickly, â€˜three or four miles beyond
the quarries, which are surrounded with a little
workmenâ€™s town, there is a vast deserted city,
with temples and palaces all complete, built
entirely of this precious pink marble. There
are houses and baths, beautiful fountains and
groves of orange and almond trees, yet no man,
woman, or child of the workmenâ€™s town will go
to live in these palaces, or even wander in the
22 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
â€˜Wellâ€”what of it? Do you propose that I
should: seize the marble city and make it my
capital?â€™ sneered Vladimir. â€˜Is this your cun-
ning plan when open force and open policy fail?â€™
â€˜Not exactly, if your lordship will have
patience. The marble city is abandoned and
avoided because the country people say that it
â€˜Haunted! what nonsense!â€™ cried Vladimir
â€˜ Perhaps it is nonsense,â€™ continued Nicholas,
â€˜but I have known wise men who thought quite
â€˜And what was the wise menâ€™s story?â€™ asked
â€˜They say that every palace, temple, and
garden is inhabited by little white dwarfs, the
subjects of a magician who threw some spell
over the place centuries ago. The dwarfs sleep
by day in secret chambers but at night they
throng the city, feast and work and follow all
the occupations of mankind. Their master is
seldom seen, but if any one has the courage to
lie down to sleep in the Great Hall of the
principal palace on Midsummer Eve the dwarfs
will lead him to their master and he will answer
II VLADIMIR TAKES ADVICE 23
three questions and give counsel which never
fails. Some add that none can succeed in this
quest save those who are akin to the Princes of
â€˜You expect a reasonable man to believe this
tale! And even if it were true, what then?â€™
â€˜To-morrow, remarked Nicholas quietly,
â€˜will be Midsummer Eve.â€™
â€˜And you suggest that I should spend the
night in your precious city ?â€™
â€˜I suggest nothing, my lord. â€œIt occurred to
me that your lordship might care to visit the
famous pink marble quarries of Lorlonia since
you were in the neighbourhood, and this re-
minded me of a legend not unconnected with
your family. No doubt the superintendent of
the quarries would be pleased to show you
hospitality, but if the works would not interest
you there is an end of the matter.â€™
The Count made no answer. Nicholas fell a
little behind, and when next his lord spoke it
was on quite a different subject. That evening
the Count and his retainers slept at a little
country inn. At supper Vladimir asked the
landlord who attended him whether the quarries
of pink marble were worth a visit.
24 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜Assuredly, noble lord,â€™ replied the man.
â€˜ All who see them say there are none like them
in the world. They are called the Rose Quarries,
for the marble has veins as delicate as a blush
rose, and it glows like pearls and opals. If your
Excellency should please to stop to-morrow on
your way to Mandania, which is our Princeâ€™s
frontier town, as your Excellency knows, the
master of the Rose Quarries would be proud to
show them to his Highnessâ€™s kinsman.â€™
â€˜Then they lie between here and the frontier ?
Could I inspect them, and push on, to sleep at
Mandania to-morrow night ?â€™
â€˜Not well, noble Count ; they lie a little off
the high road and it would take some hours to
see all their marvels. If your Excellency
pleases, I will send a messenger to Master
Jagietto at daybreak and bid him prepare a
lodging for all your noble party.â€™
â€˜Do so, good man. â€˜Tell him that one of
the sheds or quarrymenâ€™s huts will be all that
Nicholas grinned to himself but said nothing.
The whole population of the little workmenâ€™s
town was astir when the gaily armed train rode
up soon after noon on Midsummer Eve, and
I VLADIMIR TAKES ADVICE 25
Jagietto, Master of the Rose Quarries, received
his Princeâ€™s cousin with all possible respect and
The quarries were very extensive and gave
employment to a large number of men who
lived with their families in little huts scattered
all over the mountain side. At the foot, on
the banks of a smoothly flowing river, were
more substantially built houses, belonging to
the foremen, tradesmen, and other of the richer
The river had wharves on its .banks against
which were fastened rafts and flat-bottomed
boats, in readiness to take away the blocks of
marble to other towns and seaports.
Vladimir was shown all the wonders of the
place, the quarries themselves where men were
boring and splitting the rocks with crowbars
and pickaxes, the yards where the: huge masses
were hewn into shapes more. convenient for
transport, and the workshops where the finer
specimens were prepared. by skilled workmen for
their final destination as columns and other
ornaments for the palaces of kings and nobles.
The marble was indeed marvellously beau-
tiful, and when smoothly polished was more
26 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
like some lovely pink pearl than the solid
material used for buildings and pavements.
â€˜Now,â€™ said Jagietto, â€˜your Excellency has
seen all our work-a-day premises. Will you be
gracious enough to come to our Rose Hall
where we have made ready some refreshment ?â€™
Vladimir was getting very hungry and was
only too glad to follow his guide through a
long gallery leading from one of the quarries
right into the side of a hill. When he again
issued into daylight he could not refrain from a
cry of astonishment. He found himself in a
large circular chamber, open at the top to the
sky, but surrounded entirely by walls of the
finest pink marble fancifully adorned with
representations of animals, flowers, ferns, trees,
â€˜Yes,â€™ said Jagietto with an air of pride and
satisfaction, â€˜from this part of the mountain we
quarry the most beautiful marble, and when the
middle of this pit had been cleared out,.the
great-grandfather of our present Prince gave
orders that the walls should be left standing,
dressed and polished, just to show what our
mines could produce. Since then our best
workmen in their spare time have amused
ree VLADIMIR TAKES. ADVICE 27
themselves by carving all these pictures on the
walls, and now I donâ€™t believe there is such
another hall in the world as ours.â€™
â€˜I should think not indeed,â€™ replied Vladimir,
who was only too anxious to flatter his little
cousinâ€™s subjects with smooth words and com-
pliments, and whose good humour was certainly
increased by the sight of a plentiful banquet
spread on a marble table and surrounded by
marble seats. While they were eating, the
Count asked the superintendent many questions
about the works and the extent of the quarries,
and Jagietto, pleased with his apparent interest,
gave him all the information in his power.
â€˜Yes,â€™ he said, â€˜ your Excellency must have
seen many castles and palaces enriched with our
marble. I often grieve that his Highnessâ€™s own
castle of Lorlonia was built before these quar-
ries were opened. Our pink would be much
handsomer than the black and white of which
it is constructed.â€
â€˜Surely,â€™ said Vladimir, â€˜this rose marble was
known long before the Castle of Lorlonia was
built? Have I not heard of some very fine
buildings now no longer in use, which lie just
beyond these quarries and are all made of this
28 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
beautiful marble? If I had time I should rather
like to visit them.â€™
â€˜Ah well,â€™ replied Jagietto, â€˜there are a few
deserted houses which some people call the Rose
City, but I would not advise your Excellency
to waste your time in going there. The path
is exceedingly rough, in fact impassable for
horses, and no one lives in the place. . It is true
that some marble like ours must have been
used in building there, but probably it was
picked up accidentally, and then the whole
thing was forgotten till Prince Hetgarâ€™s time. |
Let me-give your lordship some of this
Jagietto was evidently anxious to drop the
subject, and Vladimir, who had learnt all that
he wanted to know, did not wish to continue a
conversation which might have enlightened his
followers, so he accepted the venison and began
to talk about hunting.
One of the workshops near the entrance to
the principal quarry had been hastily prepared
as a lodging for the men-at-arms, and Jagietto
invited the Count, Nicholas, and the two other
squires to sleep at his own house.
Vladimir requested that Nicholas might
I VLADIMIR TAKES ADVICE 29
share his room, which he was satisfied to find
was on the ground floor and had large windows
opening into the garden. THe said he was very
tired and asked Jagietto to allow him to retire
to his chamber as soon as the sun had set. An
hour later when all was quiet in the Masterâ€™s
house, two figures crept stealthily through the
little garden and crossed the small strip of level
ground lying between the workmenâ€™s town and
the marble mountains.
â€˜Are you sure that you know the way?â€™
asked one impatiently.
â€˜I made careful inquiry, my lord,â€™ replied
the other, â€˜and the men told me that none
cared to follow yonder dark path between the
two peaks. Wise men may take the road which
fools fear.â€™ â€˜
â€˜And fall into dangers which fools avoid,â€™
retorted his chief. Nevertheless he followed on.
Presently the path became nothing but a track,
rough with fallen stones and hard to trace by
the dim light of the stars, for the moon was
not yet risen.
â€˜There is no path at all,â€™ exclaimed the
Count, after another hour or so of. hard walk-
ing. â€˜Your city is a mere foolâ€™s dream,â€™
30 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP, II
â€˜Does your lordship â€˜choose to return?â€™
asked Nicholas calmly. â€˜ Yonder are walls and
columns, perchance there is no oracle behind
them, and it would be lost labour to proceed.â€™
â€˜Since we have come so far we may as well
see the business out,â€™ replied the Count in a
somewhat surly tone ; and Nicholas with a grim
smile scrambled over the mass of rock which
formed a kind of final barricade between the
narrow pass and an open plain on the other
In this plain, which stretched away to the
west, but wasâ€™ bounded on the south by a great
forest, and on the east by another ridge of
mountains, rose the dark walls and stately roofs
which the sharp eyes of the squire had detected
from a distance. Just as the Count gained his
side the full moon arose over the mountain-
tops, and, sailing silently into the cloudless
sky, poured a flood of light with sudden and
startling illumination over the deserted mansions
of the Rose City.
THE ROSE CITY
Ir the marble banqueting-hall of Prince Hetgar
had looked beautiful in the golden sunlight, far
more lovely appeared the city whose roseate
walls caught and threw back the silver radiance
of the moon. Right and left the crimson ram-.
parts stretched, their smooth surface broken at
regular intervals by stately columns, whose
rounded form made them appear rather paler
than the marble on which they cast their
shadows, and whose delicate veins could be
clearly traced in. the mystical light.
Just in front of the strangers there was a
wide opening in the wall, where gates had
doubtless hung in olden times, but which now
afforded an unimpeded. view into the very heart
32 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
of the city. A broad avenue ran directly from it,
having on either side a row of colossal statues of
kings and warriors, each holding in his hand a
sword, a spear, or asceptre. Behind these appeared
splendid buildings with domes, colonnades, and
slender towers, and at the end of the avenue
could be seen a vast portico which was evidently
the entrance to the chief palace of the city.
Every statue, every column, every building was
built of the same pure marble, whose almost
transparent texture glowed and varied from the
deepest crimson to the palest possible shade of
pink, and the richly carved ornaments with
which the whole was adorned seemed in very
deed to be framed of newly-opened roses. The
dark shadows cast by the statues appeared as
if thrown by living guardians of the city,
and, bold as Vladimir undoubtedly was, his
heart beat somewhat faster as he looked at the
silent path along which he was shortly to
â€˜Now, my lord,â€™ said Nicholas, â€˜if you wish
to consult the oracle you must go forward alone.
The Master of the White Dwarfs will only
receive one inquirer at a time; ; if two go to-
gether, though they may hear sounds, no form
ti THE ROSE CITY 33
will appear to them and no voice will answer
â€œYou are more ready to send me into a
trap than to walk into it yourself, Nicholas,
methinks,â€™ said Vladimir.
There was an angry flash in the squireâ€™s eye,
but: he answered in his usual smooth voice, â€˜ Just.
as your lordship pleases. I am quite ready to
ask three questions on my own account if you
prefer to let me go in your stead, though, as I
have not the honour of belonging to your lord-
shipâ€™s family, it is doubtful whether I should
get an answer.â€™
â€˜And if I bade you ask the questions for me?â€™
â€˜It would be useless.) The Master answers
each man for himself, not for another.â€™
â€˜Well, then, stay here and wait for me. I
fear neither dwarf nor soothsayer, but I care
little to be the dupe of man or magic.â€™
- So saying the Count waved his hand to his
follower as a sign to remain outside, and hurry-
ing forward, passed the gateway and trod firmly
up the avenue. Nicholas looked after him.
â€˜Wise men must serve fools, I suppose,â€™ mut-
tered he, â€˜but they will ask their share of the
spoil, and, if possible, avoid the danger ;â€™ and
34 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
wrapping his cloak around him, he sat down ~
with his back against a rock to await his lordâ€™s
He saw him pass the statues without looking
up at one of them, but it seemed to him as if
the sculptured chiefs bent their heads and
frowned at the intruder. At length the Count
paused on the steps of the portico for a moment,
then he advanced yet more boldly, mounted to
the platform at the top, and entering a narrow
doorway, disappeared from the sight of his
A. strange spectacle greeted Vladimir when
he had passed the doorway. He found himself
in a spacious hall, perfect in every part, for the
lapse of ages did not appear to have affected
the Rose City in the smallest degree. Neither
weather nor the hand of man had displaced a
single block of marble, nor injured one carved
leaf in the mass of ornament around. The
centre part of the hall was paved with rich pink
and white mosaic representing festivals and
hunting-scenes, and was surmounted by a high
dome of rock crystal, through which the moon-
beams fell in broken rays. This dome was
supported by pillars, each twisted into some
II THE ROSE CITY 35
quaint and novel shape, and between the pillars
and the outer walls of the hall was a wide corri-
dor, roofed and floored with sculptured marble and
raised several feet above the mosaic pavement.
The corridor was prepared. as if for a feast,
soft silken cushions were scattered in all direc-
tions, gorgeous curtains woven with threads of
gold and silver were looped to the pillars, and
from pillar to pillar all round the hall. were
festooned garlands of fresh roses. At intervals
were placed little silver tables only a few inches
high, and against the walls were fastened silver
sconces bearing torches of sweet-smelling wood.
The torches were not lighted and no food was
as yet placed upon the tables.
â€˜Well,â€™ said Vladimir to himself, â€˜ whoever
occupies this palace has some idea of making
himself comfortable. I incline to suspect that
the whole city is the head-quarters of a band of
robbers who give out that it is haunted in order
to keep intruders at a distance. What shall I
do now? If they find me here the chances are
that they will kill me as the surest way of
making me hold my tongue. Shall I go back ?
That impudent fellow Nicholas will laugh at me
to himself and his companionsâ€™ even if he dare
36 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
not do so to my face. Besides, I should like
to see the owners of all this property. They
keep it in excellent repair anyhow. White
dwarfs! Those tables look about the size for
dwarfs, but it must be all nonsense. Yet how
could robbers,.or indeed any mortals, live here
and never be seen by the quarrymen? Perhaps
Jagietto knows all about it and is paid to keep
quiet. Well, I will know the truth some-
how. Sleep here? Lie down to sleep I
think was the condition. It would be diffi-
cult to sleep in these strange quarters. I
suppose I can help myself to a few of these
cushions.â€ So saying the Count picked up
half-a-dozen, carried them to the darkest corner
of the corridor, arranged them as a bed, and
All was silent ; even the night wind rustling
the orange-trees in the orchards, and the musical
fall of the fountains which he had heard as he
walked up the avenue, did not reach him here.
He shut his eyes, thinking that possibly the
unseen inhabitants expected that of him, but he
heard nothing. He opened them again and
watched the moonbeams falling on the pave-
-mentâ€”still nothing. He began once more to
im THE ROSE CITY 3
think over the questions he should ask the master
of the White Dwarfs if he ever made his ac-
quaintance, and so thinking he became really
drowsy and closed his eyes without meaning to
Ah! what was that? Vladimir roused
himself in haste and leaned on his elbow. Had
he been asleep ? was he dreaming? Silence still,
yet no longer solitude. The hall was thronged
with little beings, men and women no bigger
than children of four or five years old, with
perfectly white faces, clear blue eyes, hair of the
palest yellow, and clothes made of white silk
trimmed with white swansdown. . All the tables
were now spread with food and wine, and every
torch was lighted, shedding a dazzling lustre
and delicious odours.
As the Count looked on amazed all the
little white people rose to their feet, one who
seemed to be leader of the ceremonies gave a
signal, soft music played, and the whole assembly
sang in chorus as follows,
Many a chieftain and many a knight
Loved his lady and faced his foes,
Feasted where flowers and lamps shone bright
In the Crimson City, the Hall of the Rose.
38 â€˜ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
Years wheel onward, valour is vain
Spells to scatter the Master throws,
Never shall beauty her sway regain
In the Crimson City, the Hall of the Rose.
Years roll onward and ours the home,
Trees that blossom and stone that glows,
Where silver light through the crystal dome
Floods the Crimson City, the Hall of the Rose.
He is dreaming, we guard his sleep ;
Mighty Master! â€™t is he who knows
How we, his. servants, our vigil keep
In the Crimson City, the Hall of the Rose.
â€˜Now,â€™ said the leader as the voices died
away, â€˜sit and feast, White Dwarfs of the Rose
City. This is Midsummer Eve, and though
our lord slumbers as is his wont he bids you
make merry.> |
â€˜May none come to disturb our feast to-night
then,â€™ remarked a rather cross-looking dwarf
who sat at the same table with the first speaker.
â€˜If there is one thing whichâ€™ I dislike more
than another, it is when a tiresome inquisitive
mortal comes asking questions and wanting
â€˜You have not to give the answers, Repan,â€™
cried another, â€˜so what can it matter to you?â€™
â€˜Besides,â€™ added a fourth, â€˜ we frightened the
III THE ROSE CITY 39
last man who came so thoroughly that I donâ€™t
think we have had any one here for three years.â€™
â€˜If mortals were wise they would keep their
questions to themselves,â€™ said a very sapient-
looking dwarf. â€˜I never knew any good come
of the answers they get.â€™
â€˜That is only because they donâ€™t understand
them and donâ€™t know how to use them,â€™ re-
joined a lady dwarf; â€˜but then mortals are
â€˜Is it true that no one can get an answer
from the master unless he belongs to the family
of the Princes of Lorlonia?â€™ asked one.
â€˜Tam not quite certain,â€™ replied the president,
â€˜but I believe that our lord is obliged to answer
the Princes of Lorlonia and their kindred,
while he can do as he pleases if any one else
ventures into his presence.â€™
â€˜Then,â€™ exclaimed Vladimir, suddenly rising
and advancing towards the table at which this
conversation was carried on, â€˜take me to your
master. J am cousin to the Prince of Lorlonia,
this is Midsummer Eve, and I demand answers
to three questions.â€ __
â€˜Not so fast ;â€™ replied the president, rising
to his feet with an air of great composure, and
4o ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA cHaP.
waving his hand. In an instant every torch
was extinguished, and as a cloud passed over the
moon at the same moment the hall was
wrapped in darkness.
Immediately at least a dozen dwarfs threw
themselves upon the indignant Count and fastened
his hands and feet tightly with cords. Not till this
was done did the president speak again or make
any answer to Vladimirâ€™s angry protests.
â€˜Throw him on the ground and sit upon
him,â€™ was his next order, and five or six dwarfs
carried out the first injunction, while several
more obeyed the second and placed themselves
upon the prisonerâ€™s arms, legs, and chest with
evident satisfaction to themselves and much
inconvenience to their victim.
â€˜ Now, sir, who are you, and what right have
you as a spy in our banqueting-hall ?â€™ demanded
the president with a very severe air.
â€˜I am Count Vladimir of Gravenia, and as I
told you before I am cousin to the Prince of
Lorlonia !â€™ gasped the furious noble. â€˜I am not
a spy. Do you think I want to see your
trumpery feast, or that you will frighten me
with your silly conjuring tricks? I heard you
say yourself that your master, whoever he may
TL THE ROSE CITY At
be, is bound to answer the kinsmen of Lorlonia,
so take me to him without more delay, or the
armies of our house shall come and batter down
your wretched city.â€™
â€˜You may or may not be related to the
Princes of Lorlonia,â€™ returned the president
very calmly, while the dwarfs who were using
the Count as a seat indulged in a few private
kicks, â€˜I should not, however, have guessed it
by your manners, and since you listened to our
conversation you are certainly a spy. As to
armies, they might batter for months and they
would make little difference to a city which has
stood here for centuries. Nevertheless, this is
Midsummer Eve, and I will take my masterâ€™s
pleasure concerning you. Meantime, as you
have interrupted my friends at their banquet,
they may get what amusement they can out of
you while I am away.â€™
So saying he left the hall, and the: cloud
rolling away from the moon gave the mis-_
chievous dwarfs light enough to fall upon the
unfortunate Count, and they forthwith pro-
ceeded to pinch him, beat him, and even kick
him from one to another as an unwieldy foot-
ball. His struggles and remonstrances were
42 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
alike in vain, and he felt like a battered mass
when the return of the president put a stop to
this lively game.
â€˜Our master is graciously pleased to desire
your presence, so get up and follow me,â€™ said
the dwarf. â€˜I advise you to try and behave
with the courtesy becoming the rank which you
claim. You can untie his hands and feet,â€™ he
added, addressing Vladimirâ€™s late tormentors,
who appeared unwilling to let him go. i
The cords were slowly unfastened and the
freed prisoner struggled to his feet, scowling
fiercely on all around, but afraid to express his
wrath in words lest the attack should be
â€˜Now come,â€™ said the leader rather im-
patiently, and taking a torch he entered a long
narrow passage which issued from one corner of
the hall, and seemed to have no light from the
Bruised and sore the Count stumbled after
him, dimly guided by the flickering torch, and
presently arrived in another hall smaller than
that which they had left. From this a staircase
ascended to an upper story and brought them
to yet another long dark passage.
THE OLD MAN
HIS RIGHT HAN
ul THE ROSE CITY 43
_ â€˜Where are we going? You are leading me
into some pitfall !â€™ exclaimed the Count.
â€˜Keep quiet if you donâ€™t want to be pitched
head foremost over the parapet,â€™ retorted the
dwarf, emerging from the corridor on to a marble
terrace surrounded by a kind of marble lattice
carved as delicately as ivory fret-work. In
the centre of the terrace was a canopy of
silver supported by eight silver columns, and
beneath it, on a couch covered with cloth of
gold, lay a very old man with a long white
A dwarf stood near each column swinging a
censer of perfume, while three others crouched
at the head, and three at the foot of the bed,
slowly waved large fans of ostrich feathers to
and fro, that a soft scented breeze might refresh
the sultry night.
Was the old man sleeping or waking? His
eyes were closed and Vladimir could not tell,
till a hollow voice saidâ€”
â€˜Let him approach ;â€™ and his guide, who
evidently disliked him, pushed him roughly
As he drew near to the couch the old man
solemnly raised his right hand, and the Count saw
44. ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA cHap.
on his forefinger an enormous diamond set in a
massive silver ring. Somewhat to his surprise
he perceived his own face clearly reflected in the
â€˜Tt is well,â€™ said the old man; â€˜the mortal
who disturbs my rest is of the princely house.
Let him ask his three questions and begone.â€™
Taken almost unawares in spite of his
previous preparation, the Count mustered his
courage and his wits as well as he could, and
asked in a tolerably firm voiceâ€”
â€˜Who shall be Prince of Lorlonia ?â€™
â€˜He who will win it by a wish and hold it
by the love of his people,â€™ replied the sage.
â€˜That does not tell me much. It might be
I or another,â€™ muttered the Count to himself,
and then asked aloud,
â€˜What shall happen to Prince Eric?â€™
â€˜His fate lies in the hand of a girl,â€™ was
â€˜I donâ€™t see much good in being pounded to
a jelly for this information, was the discon-
tented thought of the inquirer. â€˜I must get
something more to the purpose out of the old
fellow this time.â€™
After a momentâ€™s pause he said, â€˜I was told,
MI THE ROSE CITY 45
Father, that you give counsel which never fails.
Deign to tell me how I may win and wear the
princely diadem of Lorlonia?â€™
Very slowly and distinctly came the answerâ€”
â€˜Beyond the mountains which lie to the east
of the Rose City is the Valley of Wishes, where
every wish uttered by men, women and children
during the past twelve months takes form on
New Yearâ€™s Day.. Whoever can first cross the
stream which flows at the foot of those moun-
tains on the further side of the Black Gorge,
after the Great Bell of this city has tolled the
passing of the Old Year, may choose amongst
his wishes that which~ he will have fulfilled.
No more. Leave me to rest. â€˜The Great Bell
tolls and Midsummer Day is here.â€™
Before Vladimir could speak, or question the
old man further, a deafening sound broke upon
his ears. Oneâ€”twoâ€”three, tolled out into
the night, and ere the twelfth clash of the
mighty bell had sounded he fell senseless on
When he opened his eyes again he was lying
near the rocks outside the City ane Nicholas
was bending over him.
OLGA FINDS A FRIEND
Ir was the first day of August, and the sun
shone gloriously on the Castle of Lorlonia, yet
all within it were sad. Princess Anna had died
a week before, and the vassals of the Princedom
had -been assembled in the castle to escort her to
her grave. Now many of them had gone home,
after again swearing fealty to the little Eric, and
solemnly confiding him and Olga to the
guardianship of Count Radul Macovros and his
wife, in accordance with the wishes of the dead
Princess, . Sixâ€™ of the principal nobles were
chosen as a Council of Regency to look after
the affairs of the State until he came of age, and
each ofthese in turn was to pay a monthly visit
to the castle, to see that little Eric was well and
CHAP. IV OLGA FINDS A FRIEND 47
Vladimir was one of the six, and he and a
few others still stayed on at the castle, saying
that they could not leave the little orphans
quite so soon, and would remain a few days to
cheer them: up.
Poor little Olga, who had cried till she was
tired, was sitting in the garden with CountessSophy
Macovros, and Nania was walking up and down
carrying Prince Eric, who could not understand
why all around him wore black clothes and
looked so dull, and why he did not see his mama.
â€˜What shall. we do, Countess Sophy?â€™
exclaimed Olga, leaning her head against her
friend, â€˜Cousin Vladimir pretends to be fond of
us, but I never can like him, and I am sure
he does not like Ericâ€”and he wonâ€™t go away
and leave us alone.â€™
â€˜He will go in a few days, dear,â€™ replied the
Countess, putting her arm round the little girl.
â€˜It is quite. natural that he should wait to see
everything settled before he leaves.â€™
â€˜Xenia says he is always walking up and
down the dark avenue plotting with Nicholas,
and sometimes Sir Witold was with them before
he left, and. she is sure they are upâ€™ to. some
48 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜Xenia cannot possibly know anything about
it, and ought not to frighten you. Besides
Jagellon, the Hospodar of Dorzyn, who was
one of your fatherâ€™s greatest friends, is here, and
means to stay as long as Count Vladimir is in
Olga was silenced though not convinced, and
at this minute Irene, a tall fair girl who had, like
Xenia, been lady-in-waiting to Princess Anna,
hastened towards Countess Sophy and begged her
to come at once, as Count Radul was seeking
â€˜Now, Olga,â€™ said the lady, kissing the child
as she left her, â€˜do not trouble your little head
any more. Remember that you have plenty of
friends to take care of you and Eric. Go and
play with him, dear, and make him happy, that
is what your mother would wish you to do.â€™ |
Olga went towards a bench where Nania had
now seated herself, and tried her best to play
with Eric, but she felt so dull and miserable
that she could not succeed as usual in making
her little brother laugh, and, quite out of spirits,
she said that she would go and pick him some
flowers from her own garden and bring them
back to him.
Iv OLGA FINDS A FRIEND 49
â€˜Won't you call Lady Irene or Lady Xenia
to go with you, Princess Olga?â€™ asked the
nurse, â€˜or shall I send Catherine? It is a long
way to your garden in the wood, and I suppose
that is where you mean to go.â€™
â€˜No, please donâ€™t, Nania. I shall not meet
any one in the wood path, and I had far
rather be alone. I shall not be very long, and I
shall be able to play with baby much better
when I have had a walk by myselfâ€™
The nurse hesitated. The wood in which
Olga had made a little garden for herself lay, it
is true, within the wall which surrounded the
hill on which the castle stood, but it was the
most distant part of the enclosed grounds, and
through it flowed a small stream which ran in
under an arch in the wall near one of the guard
towers, and out again beneath a similar opening
about a mile off.
Princess Anna had never given any special
orders that Olga was not to go there alone, but
generally a lady-in-waiting or one of the maids
had gone with her, and Nania was very anxious
that all her late mistressâ€™s wishes should be
carefully carried out.
However, she could not imagine that any
50 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
possible danger awaited Olga in the wood, and
â€˜as the poor child would plainly be the better for
an undisturbed walk, the nurse allowed her to
go, only cautioning her to come straight home
as soon as she had gathered her flowers.
Quietly enough at first Olga followed the
broad gravelled paths, and flights of stone steps
which descended from terrace to terrace, but
when the neatly-kept gardens ended and the
mossy woodland tracks began, her spirits rose,
and she began to run down the hill as she was
accustomed to do. As she drew near the
sheltered glade in which she had chosen the spot
for her garden she heard a sound of struggling,
and angry voices. She stopped for a moment,
and then crept quietly on, till through an opening
in the trees she could see what was happening
without herself being seen. To her surprise she
saw Ivan, the head forester, who lived with some
of his men in the guard-house near the entrance
of the stream, holding by the arm a boy a little
older than herself, whom he seemed about to
strike with the stock of his musket.
â€˜Stop, Ivan, what are you doing? What has
that boy done ?â€™ cried the little girl. Both Ivan
and the boy looked up and saw Olga, who had
1v OLGA FINDS A FRIEND Sr
issued from her hiding-place and was standing
on the top of a bank just above them.
Though Ivan did not strike the boy he con-
tinued to hold his. arm, and Olga had a good
chance of looking at him. He was gaily and
somewhat strangely dressed in a suit of dark
green velvet with tight red silk sleeves, red
stockings, and a red cap. His hair was dark,
and his black eyes were very bright and spark-
ling. He was a pretty boy despite his some-
what mischievous expression.
â€˜I beg your pardon, Princess Olga,â€™ said Ivan,
â€˜but this young man deserves a thrashing if ever
boy did. He has not only pulled up the flowers
in your garden, but has pulled down your
rockery, and he wonâ€™t tell me how he got here,
where he and the likes of him have no business.â€™
â€˜Pulled down my rockery! Oh, boy, why
ever did you do that ?â€™ exclaimed Olga.
â€˜I did not know it was. your rockery,â€™
answered the boy, looking rather ashamed. â€˜I
wanted to make a bridge over the stream, and
those stones looked handy for it. If you will
â€˜tell this old fellow to let me go, I'll soon build
up the rockery again.â€™
â€˜Td better thrash him first, Princess Olga,
32 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA - cua.
indeed I had,â€™ entreated Ivan, with energy, â€˜it
will teach him not to come here againâ€”itâ€™s the
only way with these young poachers.â€™
â€˜Iâ€™m not a poacher,â€™ cried the boy, indignantly,
â€˜Tâ€™mâ€”well, never mindâ€”the young lady shall
decide. Is this old man to thrash me or not?
I'll stand still and let him do it if you say so,
but he could not do it by himself, not he !â€™
â€˜No, no,â€™ said Olga hastily, â€˜let him go,
Ivan, and I'll see that he builds up the rockery
again all right.â€™
â€˜But I must see him off the premises, my
lady,â€™ insisted Ivan. â€˜It will never do to leave
him trespassing on the grounds of my lord,
â€˜Well, come back in half an hourâ€”we shall
have done the rockery by that time,â€™ said Olga.
Ivan still objected, but Olga was firm, and at
last the old man moved discontentedly away,
determining to return in a very short half hour,
and not to be far off meantime.
Olga had very few child companions, and saw
these rarely, so the bright eyes and gay appear-
"ance of the young trespasser had taken her fancy,
and no sooner was Ivan out of sight than she
IV OLGA FINDS A FRIEND 53
â€˜I think the bridge was rather a good idea.
Suppose we build it instead of the rockery ?â€™
â€˜ All rightâ€”but what will old Thrashem say ?â€™
â€˜Oh, wellâ€”you see it was my rockery. I
donâ€™t see what it matters to him.â€™
â€˜Nor I either ; letâ€™s build the bridge by all
means. We must make haste though, for I have
to go back.â€™
â€˜Go back where? Where did you come
The boy looked round cautiously to see that
no one was listening and then said,
â€˜It is a secretâ€”I cannot tell you exactly, but
you have done mea good turn and you are a
nice girl, so I will tell you something if you
will promise not to tell any one else.â€™
_Olgaâ€™s eyes filled with tears as she answeredâ€”
â€˜My father and mother are both dead, so I
suppose I can promise now. If they had been
alive I must have told them.â€™
â€˜I am very sorry they are dead,â€™ answered
the boy, pausing as he arranged a stone near the
bank. â€˜Perhaps that is another reason for
telling you what I was going to say. Youwhave
been a friend to me and I can be a friend to
you if you need one. My father is travelling
54 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
back to his own country, and as he stopped for
a night on his journey not far from here, I
thought I would explore the neighbourhood.
I got in under the archâ€”where the stream runs
in you know.â€™
â€˜However did you manage that ?â€™ said Olga,
â€˜you did not swim, for you are not wet, and
your velvet clothes are not spoilt. It is not
possible in any other way !â€™
â€˜Isnâ€™t it? Never mind; by the way I got
in you could get out if necessary. Now I can
give you a servant who would bring me a
message at any time if you wanted to send for
â€˜Why do you think I should want to send
â€˜If you donâ€™t think it likely it does not
matter. I did hear folks say that trouble might
be brewing up here. You have a little brother,
have you not?â€™
â€˜Yes, a dear little boy!â€™ cried Olga.
should like you to see him !â€™
â€˜Perhaps I shall some day,â€™ continued the
strange boy still busy with the stones. â€˜Is
your brother the Prince of the country?â€™
â€˜Yes, he is. How much you know about us !â€™
Iv OLGA FINDS A FRIEND $5
â€˜Perhaps I do and perhaps I donâ€™t. Well,
would you like my servant?â€™
Olga paused much perplexedâ€”
â€˜You are a very puzzling boy,â€™ she answered
at length. â€˜I have promised not to tell some-
thing you were going to tell me and I really
donâ€™t know now what it is. Was it that you
were travelling with your father, or that you
got in under the arch, or what? If it is about
the servant I could not have a fresh servant in
the castle without telling any one and saying
where I got him.â€™
â€˜You must not tell any one anything about
me, returned the boy, â€˜except just what old
Thrashem knowsâ€”or will knowâ€”that he found
me spoiling your garden and that I helped you
build a bridge instead of a rockery because you
wished it. As for the servant, if you would
like to have him I will arrange that you shall
keep him without any one except yourself know-
ing anything about him.â€™ â€”
Olga hesitated again. It was really a very
perplexing position for a little girl not quite
twelve years old. She did not in the least wish
to deceive her guardians or to act against their
desires, yet at the same time she felt bound to
56 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
do all she could to. protect Eric, and she fancied
that Count Vladimir was more dangerous than
any of her friends suspected. If she had been
a little older she would have thought the danger
of accepting a strangerâ€™s help and a servant
whom she had to hide, at least as great as that
of trusting to such protection as she had
already, but perhaps as it turned out it was
fortunate that this did not strike her. She
believed in the good will of her new companion
â€˜I should certainly like to have some one
whom I could send to fetch help if I wanted
itâ€”only perhaps it might be naughty to keep a
man hidden from everybody else.â€™
â€˜IT assure you it would not be in the least
naughty to keep the servant I mean. Anyhow,
if you agree you shall see him to-morrow, and
if you donâ€™t like him you shall send him away.
Listen carefully to this, however. He can
understand what you say though he cannot
â€˜Cannot speak?â€™ interrupted Olga aston-
â€˜Not a word,â€™ replied the boy. â€˜Come
down here about this time, or as near it as you
Iv OLGA FINDS A FRIEND 57
can manage, to-morrow, and he will be waiting
for you. He will hold my red cap in his hand
and you will know him by that. You may
give him any orders you like. Take the red
cap and keep it carefully, and if ever you want
my help give the servant the cap, or throw
it to him if you cannot get near him. Thatâ€™s
all; now be quiet, here is Thrashem coming
â€˜Itâ€™s not half an hour.
â€˜No, I never supposed he would trust me so
long. Here, give me a stoneâ€”pretend to be
â€˜Whatever are you doing, Princess Olga?â€™
grumbled Ivan as he came up. â€˜I never
thought you would let that young scamp lead
you into mischief. Why you will block up the
whole stream, spoil the trout-fishing, make the
water overflow the banks, and ruin the young ~
â€˜Oh, Ivan, donâ€™t be angry! I thought a
bridge such a capital idea.â€™
â€˜ Wellâ€”capital idea or not it canâ€™t be carried
out now, for this young master is coming with
me, and he will have to walk out of the wood
pretty quick or he will make acquaintance with
53 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
a stick after all. Now come along youâ€”whatâ€™s-
â€˜Yes, what zs your name?â€™ asked Olga
â€˜Red Cap for the present. Good-bye,â€™
laughed the boy, as Ivan marched him off.
â€˜Good-bye, donâ€™t hurt him, Ivan,â€™ cried Olga.
â€˜Not if he behaves himself, replied the
Olga watched them out of sight, gathered a
few flowers and slowly climbed up the hill. On
reaching the castle she gave the account of her
expedition which Red Cap had suggested, and
Countess Sophy and the nurse, pleased that she
had found something to amuse and interest her,
did not blame her for letting a strange boy help
her to build the bridge.
Had they known what else that boy had
promised to do for her they would have been
considerably alarmed, but of that they were
All next morning Olga was in a fever of
excitement. The events of the last week were
however quite sufficient to account for her state
of mind, and nobody suspected that she had any
other cause for her restlessness, for being unable
Iv OLGA FINDS A FRIEND 59
to settle either to work or play, and for constantly
wanting to know the time.
Early in the afternoon she told the nurse that
she wanted to go back to her garden. Â¢ Well,â€™
said Nania, â€˜I suppose you will find no more
strange boys there. I really wish you would
take some one with you.â€™
â€˜Ivan is sure to have kept a sharp look-out
for boys,â€™ answered the child. â€˜Donâ€™t be anxious,
nurse. It is much nicer to go alone.â€™
Nania again consented, though somewhat
reluctantly, and Olga made haste to escape before
she should encounter Countess Sophy or any one
else likely to ask questions.
Along the walks, down the steps, down the
mossy path she ran, and with beating heart leapt
over the last bank which overhung her garden.
On the few remaining piled-up stones of her
rockery, red cap in hand, was seated her new
servantâ€”a monkey !
ERIC NEEDS A FRIEND
Oca stood still in blank amazement. Surely
Red Cap had played her just such a mischievous
trick as she might have expected. What pos-
sible good could a monkey do either her or
The monkey on seeing her approach started
up from his seat and held out the cap with a
low and very profound bow; then he stood in
an attitude of attention as if awaiting her com-
â€˜Are you my new servant?â€™ she asked at
length in atone of disappointment. The monkey â€”
bowed again, and again held out the cap which
Olga took rather reluctantly.
â€˜What can you do?â€™ she said, not quite
CHAP. V ERIC NEEDS A FRIEND 61
knowing how to continue the conversation. The
creature glanced round and noticed a small
summer-house where Olga kept her gardening
tools. He ran to it, fetched a watering-pot,
filled it at the stream, and proceeded carefully to
water such of the plants as were in the shade
of the trees, avoiding those in the glare of
the sun. He looked up at the little girl as
if asking her approval, then, seeing that she had
dropped her hood, he picked it up, and carefully
replaced it on her head.
â€˜I see,â€™ she said, â€˜you mean that you will
work for me and wait upon me. That is it,
' The monkey nodded, and grinned to show his
â€˜What shall I call you? You must have a
name, you know. Will Tommy do?â€™
The monkey shook his head, ran back to the
garden, and picked a leaf of mustard which he
held up to her.
â€˜Whatâ€”Mustard? (What a funny name!
Is that what you want me to call you?â€™
The ape nodded two or three times.
â€˜Very well, I donâ€™t mind, J donâ€™t think it is
62 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
a very pretty name, bile if you Anke it hae: is.most
important. Now then, Mustard, where shall you
sleep, and what shall you eat ?â€™
Without a momentâ€™s hesitation Mustard
sprang up into an immense oak tree and curled
himself up into one of the big branches so that
he was completely hidden by the thick leafy
screen. Then stretching himself he jumped
thence into a chestnut tree, picked one. or two
nuts, broke off the outer rind, cracked the shell
and ate the kernel with an air of the utmost
content. Olga clapped her hands and laughed
for the first time since her motherâ€™s death.
â€˜Oh, you dear Mustard! you are a nice
monkey and I like you very much.â€™
Mustard acknowledged the compliment by
springing with one bound to her feet.
â€˜I do wish Eric could see you,â€™ she con-
tinued, â€˜it would make him crow, and I dare say
he would soon learn to say Mustard. Couldnâ€™t
we manage it ?â€™â€™
Mustard shook his head again very solemnly
and held up one hand in a warning manner.
â€˜Oh, very well,â€™ said Olga regretfully.
â€˜Perhaps some day everything will be safe, and
then you can see him. Now I must go. I
v ERIC NEEDS A FRIEND 63
will come back here to-morrow alone, if nurse
will let me ;. if she won't, and you see anybody
coming with me, you must hide, you under-
Mustard made a low bow and pointed to the
large tree as much as to say that his hiding-
place was always ready; and bidding him
good-bye Olga ran up the hill much more
merrily than she had done the day before.
As she reached the highest terrace she met
Irene â€˜coming to look for her.
_. Â¢Where have you been, Olga?â€™ cried the
young lady, â€˜Countess Sophy is looking for
â€˜I have been in my garden. Is anything the
â€˜Why, yesâ€”the Hospodar has to return at
once to Dorzyn.â€™
â€œAt once! You donâ€™t mean this afternoon?
He was to stay here as long as Cousin Vladimir.
Is he going too?â€™
â€˜No, worse luck !â€™ replied Irene. â€˜ The Count
is not going, but my Lord Jagellon is. A
messenger arrived post haste about. an hour
ago and brought news of some disturbance at
homeâ€”enemies trying to stir up a rising in
64 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA cHapP.
Dorzyn I believe, and the Hospodar is obliged
to set off post haste to quiet his own people.â€™
Irene stopped here, but the brown-eyed
Xenia, who came up in time to hear her last
words, was more communicative. .
â€˜Yes, and most of us can make a pretty good
guess as to how those disturbances arose. Count
Vladimirâ€™s lordship of Gravenia is not so far
away from Dorzyn. It is easy enough to send
a few banditti over the border and to stir up
strife, if you want to bring the Master home
again when he is in a place where he interferes
with your wicked plots.â€™
â€˜Hush, Xenia ! You know Countess Macov-
ros said you should not talk when you cannot
be certain that what you say is true ; you only
put ideas into the childâ€™s head.â€™
â€˜Well, all you cautious people may lose that
blessed baby with your prudence. Thatâ€™s all I
can say. Anyhow, Olga must make haste, for
Countess Sophy wants her to say good-bye to the
Hospodar, and he will be off in half an hour.
She will hardly have time to change her frock.â€™
â€˜Never mind my frock. Where is the
Hospodar??â€™ exclaimed Olga in great excite-
v ERIC NEEDS A FRIEND 65
â€˜In the arcade,â€™ answered Xenia; â€˜but you
had better come to Countess Sophy first. She
is going out to say good-bye to him directly.
Count Radul will take him the stirrup-cup, and
you and Eric are to be there.â€™
â€œNo, I must see him at once,â€™ cried Olga,
setting off to run to the house.
Irene wished to detain her, but Xenia held
her friend back.
â€˜Let the child go. When Count and Countess
Macovros come out to speed the Hospodar,
Count Vladimir will be there also. Give Olga
a chance of seeing him alone, she can do no
harm, and may do some good.â€™
Olga meantime reached the arcade, which
surrounded the large courtyard, and found the
Hospodar Jagellon, as Xenia had said, standing
there with two or three squires to whom he was
giving final directions. One of the other nobles
who had remained at the castle was with him,
Vladimir and Radul were still inside the house.
â€˜Oh, my lord,â€™ cried the little girl, as she
ran up to him nearly crying, â€˜donâ€™t go, please
donâ€™t go |â€™
â€˜What is the matter, Princess Olga?â€™ asked
the Hospodar kindly and with some anxiety.
66 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€œCome in here and tell me all about it.â€™ He
made a sign of excuse to his friend and led the
child into one of the rooms which opened on to
the arcade. â€˜Now what is it, my dear? Why
do you want me not to go?â€™
Olga coloured deeply. She dared not say
how much she distrusted her cousin, and mur-
â€˜You were my fatherâ€™s friend. I know little
Eric is safe as long as you are here.â€™
â€˜My dear. child, your little brother is sur-
rounded with trusty friends and vassals, and
will be perfectly safe when I am gone.â€™
â€˜Countess Sophy said,â€™ added Olga more
boldlyâ€™ but still embarrassed, â€˜that you had
promised to stay as longâ€”as longâ€”as any one
â€˜I meant, it is true,â€™ replied Jagellon also
somewhat perplexed, â€˜to have left the castle on
the same day as your cousiii and my friend the.
Lord of Wurbat. AÂ° messenger however has
just arrived with bad news which obliges me to
start at once. Your cousin Vladimir and my
lord of Wurbat leave in two days, and Count
and Countess Macovros will easily entertain
them for that short time. Really, my little
v ERIC NEEDS A FRIEND 67
lady, you will have nothing to fear and no
cause to trouble yourself either about the
guest who goes or the guests who stay behind.â€™
He did not know what.caused the childâ€™s
anxiety, and though he himself distrusted
Vladimir he did not imagine that the Count
had any immediate intention of injuring Eric.
He rather thought, as did some of the other
nobles, that what he intended to do in the end
was to deprive them one by one of their share
in the guardianship of the little Prince and to
make himself sole Regent. This they were
fully determined to prevent.
Jagellon stroked the little girlâ€™s hair.and tried
to cheer her, but Olga became desperate.
â€˜No,â€™ she said, â€˜it is not about entertaining
them. It is that I know Count Vladimir hates
Eric and wants to get rid of him. that he may
be Prince himself. Mama. told me to take
care of Eric, and so I will, but Iam too little
to fight my cousin, so Iâ€™ donâ€™t want you to go
while he is here.â€™ ;
â€˜But, my dear child,â€™ answered Jagellon, now
really uneasy, â€˜even if your ideas were true,
which I do not. think they are, Count Radul is
quite able to protect the little Prince, and
68 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
he and all his men-at-arms are devoted. to
Olga felt rather ashamed of appearing to
mistrust so good and true a friend as Count
Radul ; at the same time, though she was too
young either to understand her own fears or to
explain them, she felt that once inside the
castle, Count Vladimir was almost as powerful
as her brotherâ€™s proper guardian, and a great
deal more cunning and unscrupulous. How-
ever, words failed her, and she remained silent,
while the Hospodar went on :
â€˜Be sure, Princess Olga, if you need help,
which I hope and believe you will not, you
have only to send for me, and I will come at
once and defend you and your brother to the
very utmost of my power.â€™
The words of Jagellon recalled to the childâ€™s
mind those of Red Cap. He too had promised
help if she should send to himâ€”he had told
her how to send. How should she send for the
Hospodar if she needed him? Mustard might
be a messenger if he could find the way. He
was so clever that perhaps he knew where
Dorzyn lay, but if he got there he would be
unable to speak. These thoughts flashed
v ERIC NEEDS A FRIEND 69
quickly through her mind, and then she
â€˜Perhaps I could not write to you. I might
not be able to get paper. Will you give me
something, or tell me of something which I could
send as a token ?â€™
The Hospodar smiled and drew a ring off
â€œYou are a very determined little lady, and
very thoughtful for your age. Here is a ring
which your father gave me. Keep it till we
meet again, and meantime, if you want me, send
it to me.â€™
â€˜Thank you very much; here they come.
Please donâ€™t say I asked you,â€™ said Olga greatly
confused ; and hiding the ring in her dress she
hastened to join Countess Sophy Macovros who
at that minute came out of the castle accom-
panied by Nania carrying Eric, and followed by
Count Radul and Count Vladimir.
All the usual ceremonies of farewell were
carried out, warm good wishes were interchanged
between Count Vladimir, Count Radul, and the
Hospodar of Dorzyn. Jagellon, before he
went, once more kissed the hand of the baby
Eric, and swore to be faithful to him and to
Jo ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
defend him against every foe; then turning to
Olga he added : â€˜ And you, Princess Olga, shall
always find me a true knight ready to come at
your call.â€ So saying he leapt into his saddle,
and having received the stirrup-cup from the
hands of Radul, he bowed low to all present
and clattered away followed by his gallant
â€˜So, cousin Olga, you have enlisted a champion
in your service?â€™ said Count Vladimir in a
sneering tone as he watched the Hospodarâ€™s
departure with an air of grim satisfaction.
â€˜IT like the Hospodar very much, cousin
Vladimir,â€™ replied Olga timidly, â€˜but I donâ€™t
exactly know that he is my champion.â€™
â€˜You donâ€™t want one, my dear, so long as I
am here,â€™ was the answer. â€˜Well, Prince Eric,
and what have you to say to your kinsman ?â€™
The constant efforts of Count and Countess
Macoyros, united to those of the nurse, had
taught Eric that Vladimir was a person to be
treated with respect, and he held. out his hand
with much dignity, though without the merry
smile with which the little Prince was accustomed
to greet his favourites.
â€˜So we are becoming better acquainted, are
vo ERIC NEEDS A FRIEND 71
we? You had better take him indoors, nurse ;
evening is drawing in.â€™ :
â€˜It is quite warm as yet, my lord,â€™ returned
Nania, somewhat offended by what she regarded
as an interference with her department.
Countess Sophy, however, made her a hasty
sign to retire, and she carried the Prince into
the castle, accompanied by Olga, who was be-
ginning to feel tired after all the events and
excitements of the afternoon. The Countess
soon followed their example, and Count Vladi-
mir, Count Macovros, and the Lord of Wurbat
were left standing in the courtyard.
â€˜I think, Count,â€™ said Wurbat, â€˜that youâ€™
propose returning to Gravenia the day after
â€˜Probably, my lord,â€™ answered Vladimir. â€˜I
am only waiting to see that my little cousin is
comfortably settled in all respects, and then I
shall leave him in the hands of our good
Radul here, and return to look after my own
â€˜Then we can ride together for the first two
â€˜Certainly, my lord. Shall we arrange to have
our trains ready at daybreak ?â€™
72 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜That will suit me exactly. I think of going
for a stroll this fine evening ; will you accom-
pany me?â€™ :
â€˜If your lordship will excuse me, I have some
letters to write, as a messenger has just ridden
in post from Gravenia.â€™
â€œThen I will not interrupt you. Count
Macovros, will you come with me?â€™
Count Radul readily agreed, and he and the
Lord of Wurbat walked away together.
Vladimir waited till they were out of sight,
and then shouted impatiently, â€˜ Nicholas |â€™
_ The squire appeared immediately from some
dim recess of the arcade, and asked, â€˜ What is
your lordshipâ€™s pleasure ?â€™
â€˜So far so good. We have got rid of this old
fool of a Hospodar, with his ancestral friendship
and all the rest of it. I suppose there is enough
work awaiting him in Dorzyn to occupy him for
at least a fortnight ?â€™
â€˜Quite, my lord. Companies of raiders from
Gravenia have entered his territory in six or
seven different places. Your lordshipâ€™s do-
minions will benefit greatly by their departure
â€”almost as much as you will benefit by the
departure of the Hospodar from Lorlonia. On
v ERIC NEEDS A FRIEND 73
all accounts it is better that he should be at
home and looking after his own subjects.â€™
â€˜Good. Now are our bands ready in the neigh-
bourhood of the south-western guard house ?â€™
â€˜There are five bands of fifty men each, my
lord, two hundred and fifty in all, hidden
among the low hills and the woods just outside
the gateway. You have only to persuade the
Lord of Wurbat and his men to ride on a little
in advance of your own followers. Make some ~
excuse for their lingering behind, and see that
the drawbridge is kept down and the portcullis
raised in readiness for their departure. When
they reach the gateway they must engage the
attention of the guard, and the first fifty will be
on the bridge and secure the passage before the
defenders realise what has happened. â€˜This once
achieved nothing can prevent the entrance of
the other four bands. It would be well to get
Wurbat and his men out of sight before any
â€˜skirmish begins, as the longer we can prevent
newsâ€™ from spreading in the neighbourhood,
the more time will Sir Witold have to play
his part, and the firmer will be your lordshipâ€™s
hold on the castle and lands of Lorlonia.â€™
THE PLOT SUCCEEDS
THE portcullis was raised and the drawbridge
lowered as the Lord of Wurbat and his ten
followers rode out of the south-western gateway
Count Vladimir rode with them, accompanied
by Nicholas and two men-at-arms. As he crossed
the drawbridge he shouted to the warders,
â€˜Do not raise the bridge or drop the gate for
a few minutes. The rest of my band are
following. They were delayed by an accident
to the baggage mules ; but my Lord of Wurbat
and I wanted to push on, and the others will be
â€˜Very good, my Lord Count,â€™ replied the
head warder and as the last man-at-arms
CHaP. VI THE PLOT SUCCEEDS . 73
crossed the bridge, he added aside to his
companions, â€˜ We shall be glad enough to see
the last of that rascally crew. Let them make
good speed back to Graveniaâ€”Lorlonia wants
none of them.â€™
â€˜True enough,â€™ answered one of the men,
â€˜they are boasting braggarts, always ready to
quarrel, and as for that Nicholas with his hang-
dog face, if he does not mean mischief to our
young Prince, I'll roast my pike and eat it.â€™
â€˜Better keep it cool to thrust into the squireâ€™s
body methinks,â€™ retorted another; and they
continued their comments on Vladimirâ€™s band for
some minutes, looking meanwhile alternately
towards the castle to see if the laggards were
coming, and towards the retreating forms of the
advance guard who were presently out of sight.
â€˜Come,â€™ said the head warder, â€˜if those
fellows donâ€™t make haste, I shall have this bridge
up again. These are not days in which to risk
â€˜Here they are,â€™ cried a soldier; and sure
enough, the remainder of the troop came
trotting along the path at the foot of the
â€˜Make haste,â€™ shouted the head warder, and
76 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA cHaP.
all the others turned to look at them, thus
failing to observe that armed men were ap-
proaching slowly on either hand, keeping close
to the outside of the wall.
- The foremost of the band from within just
reached the gate, when a dozen of the assailants
from without sprang forward and took posses-
sion of the bridge.
The head warder instantly gave orders to
lower the portcullis, and at the same time
wound his horn as a signal to the guards at the
other towers. It was too late. Vladimirâ€™s men
within the gateway had seized the warders who
attempted to obey the orders given, and though
these struggled gallantly and nearly succeeded in
freeing themselves, the delay gave time for the
attacking party to swarm across the bridge, and
their numbers, which were increased every
minute by fresh arrivals, soon overpowered the
scanty guard, and enabled the first comers to
keep the entrance open till the whole two
hundred and fifty traitors who had _ been
concealed in the neighbourhood were inside the
The other garrisons who had started on hear-
ing the signal, which was passed from tower
VI THE PLOT SUCCEEDS 79
to tower, arrived separately, some half-dozen
men at a time, and were easily overcome by
their numerous and successful foes. Two or
three ran up to the castle, and caused the great
bell to be rung; Count Radul was soon on the
spot, only to be made prisoner like the rest.
One, more prudent than his fellows, perceived
what was happening, and instead of running
straight into the trap, set off at the top of his
speed to warn the inhabitants of the nearest
village, and thus to raise the country against the
treachery which threatened their prince.
Alas, his forethought was as vain as the
rash courage of his fellows! He speedily en-
countered Vladimir, Nicholas, and their two
attendants, who had contrived at the first halt
to excuse themselves to their companions by
saying that they must wait to see the rest of
their train come up, and would then ride on and
overtake the Lord of Wurbat. Instead of
doing so they departed post haste for Lorlonia
and soon met the solitary fugitive. He refused
to tell his errand, but they recognised his livery,
arrested him on suspicion, put him on a horse
behind one of the men-at-arms, and rode still
more rapidly back to the scene of action.
78 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
Meantime the women and children at the
Palace had been thrown into a state of terror.
They had seen Vladimir depart with a feeling of
great relief, and Olga had run with Irene and
Xenia to her old post of observation at the end
of the highest terrace to watch the troup as
they reached the bottom of the hill and turned
into the broad road below.
â€˜Donâ€™t they look pretty, Irene?â€™ cried the
little girl. â€˜The spears shine so brightly and
the plumes dance up and down in the sunlight.â€™
â€˜They do indeed,â€™ replied the young lady.
â€˜See, there is the Lord of Wurbat, and Count
Vladimir rides at his right hand.â€™
â€˜That -is the prettiest and the pleasantest
sight which I have seen for many a long day,â€™
added Xenia. â€˜Good-bye, my lord, and peace be
with you ; you leave more peace behind you
than we could ever enjoy while you were here !â€™
â€œDo take care, Xenia,â€™ said the more cautious
Irene, â€˜ you never know who may hear you.â€™
â€˜Count Vladimir cannot hear me, nor
Nicholas either, they are. much too far off,
thank goodness !â€™
â€œYes, but all their people have not gone yet.
Something went wrong with the baggage mules,
â€œOLGA HAD RUN
WITH IRENE AND
XENIATO HER OLD
POST OF OBSERVA-
vi THE PLOT SUCCEEDS 79
aa the men who escort them will pass in a few
â€˜Will they?â€™ said Olga; â€˜then let us stay
here a little longer. I like to see men and
horses winding through the trees.â€™
Her companions agreed; and while they
waited began to talk of their future plans.
Irene was to return to her mother in a few
weeks ; Xenia, on the other hand, was an orphan,
and her uncle, who was also her guardian, had
agreed to leave her for the present to act as
friend and governess to Olga under the superin-
tendence of Countess Sophy.
â€˜Iam so glad that you will stay, Xenia,â€™ said
the little girl, after they had discussed the
matter for a few minutes, â€˜but we shall miss
Irene, shall we not?â€™
â€˜Yes, dear, and I shall be sorry to go, though
very glad to see my mother again.â€™
The conversation went on in this manner tif
a fresh clatter of hoofs and sound of voices
announced the passing of the baggage train.
â€˜They have all passed now,â€™ said Xenia,
â€˜so we may as well go and gather flowers.â€™
The three girls were moving slowly along
the terrace, when they were startled by the
80 ERIC, PRINCE OF. LORLONIA CHaP.
sudden sound of a horn, followed by a loud and
confused noise of voices, and the clashing of
pikes, together with the occasional firing of a
musket, or arquebus.
â€˜What is that? Irene, Xenia, what can that
be?â€™ cried poor little Olga, whose fears returned
twofold after the late relief of her cousinâ€™s
â€˜Some enemy must have attacked the gate-
house, let us run and warn Count Radul,â€™
replied Irene ; and all three ran as fast as they
could to the castle. Count Radul: seized: his
sword and was on his way to the scene of
action before the messengers from the other
towers had time to reach the castle, but, as
already said, he was quickly overpowered ey
Countess Sophyâ€™s first thought was for Eric,
and she bade Nania prepare a few clothes for
him and Olga in case flight were necessary and
possible. All the men from the guard-house
adjoining the castle had followed Count Radul,
so none remained to act as immediate protectors
except the seneschal, a few old men like himself,
and the pages who, though anxious to join in
the fray, had been sternly ordered back by the
vI THE PLOT. SUCCEEDS 81
Master of the Fisuseholee Olga shone of
Mustard and had some vague idea of running
to look for him, but Countess Sophy bade her
remain in the house, and she herself was
unwilling to leave her brother until she knew
what had really taken place.
The frightened household were not long left
A warlike procession was soon seen winding
up the northern approach. . First appeared two
hundred of Vladimirâ€™s soldiers four abreast,
holding their pikes erect and marching with an
air of triumph. â€˜Thenâ€™ rode a single horseman,
proudly displaying the Vulture. banner of
Gravenia. Behind him. walked the men-at-
arms from the various guard-houses, deprived
of their weapons and with their hands tied
behind their backs. Then came four of. Vladi-
mirâ€™s squires, and in their midst, a prisoner and
without his sword, though not bound, Countess
Sophy was horrified to see her husband.
Last of all rode the triumphant Vladimir with
a few of his special attendants. He had left the
remainder of his force to garrison the guard
â€˜Shut the gates!â€™ cried the seneschal when
82 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
the first soldiers came.in sight ; and the pages,
who were waiting in the courtyard, hastened to
obey his order, and swung to the heavy bronze
gates which generally stood open all day.
The seneschal locked them and with a: low
bow handed the keys to Countess Sophy, who,
speechless with anxiety, was standing in the -
_ arcade, and saw only too clearly that all
. possibility of defence was over.
By this time the soldiers had ranged them-
selves ina double rank round the broad gravelled
terrace in front of the gates, and Vladimir riding
into the centre ordered them to bring forward
the prisoners. All told these were about sixty
men, besides Count Radul and two or -three
squires who attended him.
â€˜Count Radul,â€™ said Vladimir in a haughty
tone, â€˜what: do you mean by resisting with an
armed force the cousin of your Prince, his
guardian and rightful heir ?â€™
â€˜Count Vladimir,â€™ replied Radul, â€˜ when my
â€˜masterâ€™s kinsman has asked for peaceable en-~
trance into these walls I have at no time failed
to render him due honour. When I arrived
to-day at the south-western gateway I found
him with all these alien soldiers fighting and
vI THE PLOT SUCCEEDS 83
wounding the faithful servants of my Prince.
How could I do otherwise than oppose him ?â€™
â€˜Stand forth, Andrew,â€™ said Vladimir, ad-
dressing the leader of the first fifty men who
had violently seized the. bridge. â€˜Give an
account. of what passed at a gateway.â€™
â€˜So please your noble lordship,â€™ began An-
drew, who. had been carefully taught by Nicholas,
â€˜my men and I were waiting to greet our mates
who had been stopping here in the castleâ€”â€”â€™
he hesitated, and Nicholas:prompted himâ€”
â€œYou came up to the bridge from outside,
anxious to meet them as they came out, eh?â€™
â€˜Yesâ€”we called out to them.â€™
â€˜You did nothing of the sort,â€™ broke in the
head warder, unable to contain himself. â€˜So
please you, my lord, they jumped on to the
bridge, and seized our menâ€”â€”â€™
â€˜Silence, fellow ! shouted Vladimir in a voice
of. thunder. â€˜If I rightly understand you,
Andrew, you wanted to give a friendly and
peaceable welcome to your companions, and
these warders attacked you and tried to prevent
your coming together ?â€™
â€˜Yes, my lord Count, that is it.â€™
â€˜And you, Count Radul,â€™ continued the self-
84. ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
made judge, turning again to his prisoner, â€˜ having
arrived in the midst of the disturbance, instead
of quieting your men and inquiring into the
cause of their drawn swords and uncalled for
wrath, joined in the attack on my people. Had
not they had other friends in the neighbourhood
who were quietly waiting to act as my escort on
my way home, I know not how my poor fellows
might have suffered. â€˜This is, however, a for-
tunate event. I have long suspected, and I now
have full: proof, that you .are a traitor to the
princely house of Lorlonia. You desire to
prevent all my little cousinâ€™s kinsmen from
visiting him and his castle, and to keep him a
hostage in your own hands. Your wicked plots
shall, however, be frustrated. Men of Lorlonia,â€™
he continued, raising his voice and speaking to
the disarmed soldiers, â€˜as one of the Council of
Regency and next heir to the Principality, I
hereby depose Count Radul from the guardian-
ship of Prince Eric, and I will assume the charge
of the children of Lorlonia and this castle until
I can communicate with the rest of the council.
I do this at great cost to myself, as I have urgent
business in Gravenia, but my duty to my cousin
demands this sacrifice.
vi THE PLOT SUCCEEDS 85
â€˜I now desire that you at once swear obedience
to me as guardian and Regent. If you do this
you shall be free ; if not, you remain prisoners.â€™
A low murmuring arose amongst the men
who were thus addressed. â€˜They were all per-
fectly faithful to Eric, but some of the younger
ones did not fully understand the dispute between
his guardians. â€˜They were aware that Vladimir
was the childrenâ€™s nearest relation, and had not
the same reasons for suspecting him as those
who knew him better.
Ivan the forester, however, who had taken his
share in the fray, was equal to the occasion. â€˜I
beg your lordshipâ€™s pardon, my Jord Count,â€™ said
he, â€˜but your lordship has forgotten that you
are not the next heir to Prince Eric. Ladies
have governed Lorlonia ere now. I trust our
little Prince will live, reign, marry, and have
children. If not Princess Olga will be Princess
Vladimir frowned darkly and would have
made an angry reply had not Nicholas bent from
his saddle and whispered to him. Restraining
himself with difficulty he answered, â€˜This is
beside the question. For the time being neither
Prince Eric nor Princess Olga is old enough to
86 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
govern. Iam guardian and Regent. Will you
or will you not swear obedience to me? Go
round, Nicholas, and ask them one by one. Set
those who promise free, the others shall be
presently marched off to prison. We have no
time to dally with scruples.â€™
About half the men questioned swore and
were set at liberty, though their arms were not
restored to them. Ivan, the head warders of all
the towers, and their principal followers, refused,
and remained bound.
â€˜Now for you, Count Radul. If I have your
oath you shall be a prisoner here on parole. If
not, there are dungeons at Gravenia, and one is
ready for your occupation.â€™
â€˜My oath will never be given to any but my
lawful Prince,â€™ was the quiet reply.
â€˜I knew your obstinacy and did not much
expect it,â€™ was the contemptuous answer. â€˜As
I remarked before I have no time to waste, and
I have not the slightest inclination to argue.
Your lordship will start on your journey at
daybreak to-morrow. One little point, however,
remains to be settled. It concerns my friend
Countess Macovros. I observe that that excel-
lent lady is holding the keys of the gates in her
VI THE PLOT SUCCEEDS 87
hand, and is watching our proceedings with
evident interest. Now she probably awaits your
orders as to her course of action. If she will
have those gates opened quietly, and will behave
with her usual discretion and amiability, I shall
have no objection to her remaining for the
present in charge of my little cousins. I have
no lady ready to undertake the care of the
children, and am not prepared to act as head
nurse myself. If she should unhappily feel
disposed to refuse my very simple requests I
shall be under the painful necessity of having
the gates broken open and of depriving the
nursery of its worthy superintendent. There is
no difficulty whatever in the matter, but it will
spoil some good bronze work, and perhaps
frighten the children. Will your lordship oblige
me by a speedy decision? It is near dinner-time
and we are all hungry.â€™
Count Radul hesitated. The surrender was
most painful, yet he knew that resistance would
be absolutely useless, and as far as he could see
the only hope for the poor children lay in their re-
taining the services of his wife. Without directly
answering the heartless speech of his captor he
therefore turned to the Countess and saidâ€”
88 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP. VI
â€˜It is hopeless to resist, oe ge. te
gates be opened, and do you remain and be
faithful to your Prince and his sister.â€™
Olga and the women, who had awaited the
end of the discussion in silent agony, now began
The esas did not shed a tear. She held
out the keys to the seneschal and said, â€˜Open
â€˜No, madam,â€™ replied the old man, â€˜at least
spare me this. Do not force me to end my
faithful service by opening the gates of Lorlonia
to the enemy of my masterâ€™s house.â€™
Countess Sophy Macovros made no reply.
She came forward to the gates and called
The squire sprang from his horse and advanced
towards her. She passed the keys to him through
the bronze bars, saying, â€˜ You need not fear to
be a traitor.â€™
Nicholas bowed, turned the lock from the
outside, threw open the gates, and welcomed his
master as Lord of the Castle of Lorlonia.
THE next morning dawned with little hope for
Count Radul had been allowed to take a
short farewell of his wife on the evening before,
and was led away before sunrise. Soon after-
wards Vladimir sent for Nicholas and had a
long conversation with him on past events and
future plans. Sir Witold, who had married
Vladimirâ€™s sister and was no better than himself,
was the only chief holding lands in the Princi-
pality on whom he could fully depend. He had
been promised a rich reward if he could success-
fully help to make his brother-in-law Prince,
and was now employed in trying to win nobles
and knights over to his side by lies and promises.
go ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
At present, of course, Witold only suggested
that Vladimir should be made guardian instead
of Radul, whom he declared to be a traitor. If
once Vladimir had the children thoroughly in
his power he fancied the rest would be easy.
As for the King he was away, fighting against
another sovereign with whom he was at war ;
and since Princess Anna was dead it was
unlikely that any one would call upon him
to interfereâ€”at all events for some time to
â€˜The chief thing, my lord,â€™ said Nicholas
when all these matters had been talked over,
â€˜is to prevent the news of yesterdayâ€™s events
from spreading too quickly. If none of the
other nobles interfere for a few weeks we shall
be able to get your own men into all the
garrisons and principal posts in the country.
Once settled here, here you stay ; it will not be
over easy to attack you, and impossible to turn
you out. The men who refused to swear fealty
to you are safe under lock and key. Even
those who swore and were freed are forbidden
to go without the wall for the present. They
are all at work under supervision. It only
remains to deal with the women and children.
vir PRISONERS gt
I am not sure whether it was wise to keep
_ Â¢Why yes, if any of the Council of Regency
hear that she is in the castle looking after the
children they will take it for granted that the
brats are properly treated. I need not keep
her longer than I choose. My sister can take
her place by and by.â€™
â€˜How about the ladies Irene and Xenia?â€™
â€˜Keep them too for the present. If they
suffered any ill-treatment we should have their
kinsmen down upon us, and if we send them
away they will spread the news too rapidly.â€™
â€˜It is well, my lord. And the reward which
your lordship promised me?â€™
â€˜Knighthood, and the lands of Tortosima.â€™
â€˜Knighthood you shall have in all due form.
As for the lands of Tortosima I am not sure
whether they are at my disposal.â€™
â€˜Why, my lord Count, the Lord of Torto-
sima died a month ago. It is a fief of Lor-
lonia, Prince Eric bears the title of Hospodar,
and the lands and their revenues are always held
by a chosen vassal of the reigning Prince. . The
fief has not yet been given away as I know
92 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
well, and as Regent your lordship cannot
question that it will be at your disposal.â€™
â€˜Good, we shall see shortly. Do not doubt,
Nicholas, that your interests are as dear to
me as my own. For the present leave me.
I have affairs which demand attention.â€™
Nicholas walked away in a discontented man-
ner, and Vladimir, after a few minutes, went
out into the western garden and began to pace
up and down the uppermost terrace, with his
hands behind his back, in deep thought.
Presently raising his head he caught sight of
Olga, who had just come out of the castle and
was crossing the far end of the path.
â€˜Come here, child ;â€”where are you going?â€™
he added as she drew near.
â€˜I am going to my garden, Cousin Vladimir.â€™
â€˜Where is your garden?â€™
â€˜Down in the wood yonder,â€™ she answered
timidly, pointing in that direction.
â€˜Why are you alone? Where is your
nurse ? or Lady Xenia, or one of them? What
is the good of my keeping all these women if
they neglect their duty in this way?â€™
â€˜Donâ€™t be angry, Cousin Vladimir, please
donâ€™t,â€™ said the child, her eyes filling with tears ;
vil PRISONERS ; 93
â€˜they never neglect me, and any of them would
come with me at any time, only I like best to go
alone to my garden. Nurse is with Eric just
now, but Xenia and Irene are sitting under the
arcade. I will fetch one of them to go with
me if you like.â€™
â€œGo and fetch Countess Macovros and come
back with her directly,â€™ replied her cousin, so
sternly that Olga went off in terror without
Countess Sophy hastened to the terrace
holding the little girl by the hand, and without
giving her time to speak the Count addressed
â€˜Countess Sophy Macovros, when I kindly
consented that you should remain here, despite
your husbandâ€™s treachery, it was on the under-
standing that you should look after my wards,
the children of my late cousin the Prince of
Lorlonia. You appear to neglect this duty
shamefully. I find this child, Princess Olga,
wandering about alone without any attendance
whatsoever. I believe that you have two idle
young ladies in the house who waited on the
late Princess Anna. What are they doing?
Where are the nurses? I dare say they have left
94 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
the baby to look after himself, with the design
that I should be blamed if anything should
happen to the Prince.â€™
â€˜I may at once reassure your lordship on
that point,â€™ replied the Countess, who, though
she had flushed scarlet at the insult to her
husband, resolved to restrain herself for the sake
of the children. â€˜I have just left Prince Eric
with two nurses attending him. I regret that
you should be displeased at finding Princess
Olga alone in the garden. She is accustomed to
amuse herself in this way, but since you have
assumed the temporary guardianship of the
children of Lorlonia your instructions respecting
them shall be carried out whenever and wherever
possible. I understand that you desire that
Princess. Olga shall always have a companion in
her walks and games. Â© It shall be so in future.â€™
â€˜Understand me, madam,â€™ returned the Count
more angrily than before, â€˜whether my guard-
lanship is temporary or not is no concern of
yours. My instructions have no limitations, and
it will not rest with you to judge when and
where they are possible. Not only is Princess
Olga to have a constant companion in her walks
and games, but neither she nor Prince Eric is
vil PRISONERS 95.
to go beyond the three upper terraces and the
two walled gardens on any pretext whatsoever.â€™
Olga heard him with dismay. The three
upper terraces were in full sight of the windows
of the castle, and the two gardens which were
commonly called â€˜ walled,â€™ were small enclosures
adjoining the laundry ground, planted with
vegetables and fruit-trees for the use of the
household, and surrounded with very high walls.
Neither on the terraces nor in these gardens
would it be possible for her to escape from
observation even for: a few minutes, so she
would have no chance of meeting Mustard even
if she could coax Xenia to leave her for a short
time, or find some pretext to rid herself of
any other companion who might be ordered to
Countess Macovros paused before answering
and then said, â€˜You are master of course, my
lord, yet I would beg. you to reconsider your.
ordersâ€”at least, as far as Olga is concerned.
Prince Eric may perhaps take the air sufficiently
within the limits you have laid down, but an
active child like his sister, who is accustomed to
play and run about, and to ride her pony in the
surrounding woods and meadows, is sure to
96 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
suffer in health from such confinement. In her
case, therefore, I would venture to ask for some
extension of the boundaries.â€™
â€˜I am master, and I do not discuss the
matter. You may go, Countess Macovros.â€™
Vladimir waved his hand with an air of
authority, and Countess Sophy and Olga
The ladies and nurses were, needless to say,
highly indignant on hearing of the Countâ€™s
tyrannical orders. Poor Countess Macovros,
who was grieving bitterly over her husbandâ€™s
fate, was weighed down with anxiety at this fresh
proof of Vladimirâ€™s intention to keep the
children State prisoners.
Xenia being prevented by the prudence, of
her companions from giving full vent to her
wrath, went off to find the seneschal, who was
very fond of her and hated his new master at
least as much as she did. She found him sitting
in a melancholy attitude in the small room
opening on to the arcade, which was generally
considered as his own.
â€˜Ah well,â€™ he said, when he had heard the
story, â€˜may my day come soon or I may see
my young Prince go before me! This is the
VII PRISONERS 97
beginning of the end. I am an old man, and
would gladly give my life for his, only it is not
my life which the vulture desires, he would
destroy the young eagle !â€™
â€˜What do you mean, Marco?â€™ cried Olga,
her cheeks white and her eyes expanded with
fear. She had come to look for Xenia, and
unseen by either her or the seneschal had
overheard his last words.
â€˜ Nothing dear, nothing,â€™ exclaimed Xenia try-
ing to soothe her, but Marco was too much in
earnest to allow his warnings to be disregarded.
â€˜No, Princess Olga,â€™ he continued ; â€˜I would
not terrify you needlessly, but the time for
smooth sayings is past. Count Vladimir will
not be satisfied till he is Prince, and he cannot
be Prince while the rightful heir lives. Lor-
Jonia will not have him; the people love your
fatherâ€™s house too well. Though he may try to
reign without bloodshed, the day will come, and
come soon, when he will have gone too far to
retreat, and will sweep all who stand in his way
from his path if he has them in his power. I am
an old man, and the aged see true. Take my
word for it. Do you and your brother escape
if you can,â€™
98 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜Come away, Olga,â€™ said Xenia, who was
beginning to be alarmed lest Vladimir or one of
his henchmen should find them talking with a
servant whom he knew to be unfriendly, though
he had not as yet wished further to rouse the
wrath of the household by putting him under
The child lifted Marcoâ€™s hand, and saidâ€”
Â© Thank you, Marco.â€™ â€˜Then as she walked
away with Xenia she said, â€œOh, Xenia, I suppose
it is wicked, but I do wish Cousin Vladimir
were dead !â€™
â€˜ Perhaps it is wicked, my dear, I am sure. it .
is not surprising,â€™ repliedâ€™ the young lady.
â€˜However, I advise you. not to express such
wishes out loud; and donâ€™t be too much
frightened by what old Marco says, old men
get very nervous you know.â€™
The next day went slowly by. Vladimirâ€™s
orders were strictly carried out, and very dull
did Olga find it to pace slowly up and down
the terraces and walled gardens. Though she
was fond of her companions it seemed im-
possible to play with them when she felt all the
time as if she were watched by the eyes of her
jailers. Moreover, Marcoâ€™s words haunted her,
vn PRISONERS 99
she remembered how she had promised her
mother to take care of Eric, she thought that
she ought to send either the red cap or the
Hospodarâ€™s ring to summon help, yet knew not
how to.do so. â€”
All these ideas wearied her poor little brain,
and kept her wakeful, when, on the third
night after the taking of the castle, she went
toâ€™ bed in her little room, next to that in
which slept Eric and Nania. Presently she
thought she heard something strike the window,
she listened, the sound was repeated. She
jumped out of bed, ran -to. the window,
opened the. shutter, and to herâ€™ joy saw Mustard
standing in the garden below !
At that very moment she heard a sentry
approaching ; Mustard, however, who heard it
even more quickly than she did, sprang into a
tree and hid till the danger was past. When
all was silent he returned, and after bowing
to her, touched his head with his hand as if
putting. on a cap, then made a movement as if
throwing something, and then again looked up
at. her with an air of anxious expectation.
Olga quickly understood what he meant ; she
fetched the cap, opened the window, and hired
100 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
it out to him. Then leaning forward she said
in a low clear voiceâ€”
â€˜Good Mustard, my cousin forbids me to
walk beyond the three top terraces and the two
walled gardens, so I could not come to see you
before. I will look out of this window every
night when Nania is asleep. Perhaps you may
bring me some help.â€™
Mustard nodded quickly two or three times
and then bounded away, while Olga made haste
to shut both window and shutters before the
sentry should return on his rounds.
A week dragged wearily past and then a
fresh trouble overtook the poor captives.
Countess Sophy Macovros becoming more
and more alarmed as to the designs of Vladimir,
consulted with Irene and Xenia without saying
anything of her fears to Olga.
Irene said that if the Countess would write a
letter she was sure that her father, on hearing
of the condition of things in the castle, would
inform some of the Council of Regency and
attempt to secure their freedom. Irene herself
had written, but posts in those days were few
and uncertain, and she had found no opportunity
of forwarding her letter.
vil PRISONERS 101
â€˜I should have no better chance of sending a
letter than you,â€™ said the Countess mournfully.
â€˜Donâ€™t be so down-hearted,â€™ put in Xenia,
â€˜do you write the letter, Countess Sophy ;
your words will carry most weight, and I will
find means to send it.â€™ â€”
The letter was written accordingly, and Xenia
entrusted it to George, the page, a great friend
of hers, who declared that he knew a way of
getting over the outer wall unseen by the watch,
and would deliver it to a messenger outside, who
would take it to its destination.
The plan almost succeededâ€”almost, but not
quite. George got over the wall and met his
friend the messenger. Unfortunately, just as he
was leaving him, having entrusted him with the
letter, one of Vladimirâ€™s squires, who had been
out shooting squirrels, came up unexpectedly,
asked George what he was doing there, searched
the messenger, an unarmed country boy who
did not dare to resist, and found the letter.
He dragged both boys to the nearest gatehouse,
which was not far off, had the country boy
soundly thrashed and dismissed, took George
up to the castle for further punishment, and
handed the letter to Vladimir.
102 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CH. VII
The Count was furious, instantly placed all
three ladies in close confinement, and separated
them entirely from the children, who, he said,
should now be accompanied in their walks not
only by the nurses but by an armed sentry,
with orders never to let them out of his sight.
As for George, he had a thrashing, followed
by a monthâ€™s imprisonment, and no further
chance of speaking to Xenia.
Oxca and Eric were sorrowfully returning from
their evening walk, after being deprived of their
best friends, when yet another misfortune befel
Nania was about to take them up stairs,
followed by the under-nurse, Catherine, when
Vladimir met and stopped them.
he said abruptly, â€˜ that no one who has been under
the influence of Count and Countess Macovros,
those enemies of the House of Lorlonia, shall
remain to poison the minds of these children.
You nurses, therefore, will at once resign your
charge. You will be paid and provided for. I shall
send you both to Gravenia. Now you may say
good-bye to Princess Olga and Prince Eric in my
404 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
presence. You will never see either of them
It is needless to dwell on the grief and tears
of nurses and children. Vladimir would listen
to noentreaties. He said that all the clothes and
possessions of the nurses had been already packed
and brought down stairs, and bade Olga carry up
Eric. He, poor child, began to understand that
his friends were being taken from him one by
one, and clung to Nania as if nothing would
induce him to leave her, and Olga absolutely
refused to try and take him from her.
The Count then seized the little boy himself,
despite all his struggles, and roughly carried
him up stairs. Olga gave Nania one parting
hug and rushed after her little brother, who was
handed over by Vladimir to his new nurse, a
rather stupid-looking woman, who had been
servant to Sir Witoldâ€™s wife. The Count went
away after repeating his orders that the children
were never to be left alone, and particularly
desiring that the nurse should keep the door
between her room and Olgaâ€™s open at night.
The nurse, who did not seem unkind, tried
to cheer them ; finding, however, that her at-
tempts were vain she soon gave them up, and
vu THE FLIGHT 10s
devoted her attention to making herself comfort-
able, and telling the new under-nurse what she
expected of her.
That night Olga, who was more miserable
than ever, was specially careful to ascertain that
the new nurse was not awake before she ventured
to her window. She was relieved to find that both
the nurse and poor little Eric, who was worn out
with crying, were sleeping soundly. She had pru-
dently told the new maid that she did not like her
shutters closed, so she had only to draw aside her
curtains, and what was her joy when she saw
both Mustard and Red Cap standing beneath her
Quickly and quietly shutting the door between
the rooms she threw open the window and
leaning out saidâ€”
â€˜Oh, I am glad to see you! Is the sentry
out of the way?â€™
â€˜Yes, we have found means to keep him
quiet for a bit,â€™ replied Red Cap. â€˜Listen, do
you want to get away from here ?â€™
â€œIndeed I do, and to take Eric. That cruel
Count Vladimir has taken every one from us, first
Countess Sophy and Irene and Xenia, and now
Nania and Catherine. I know he wants to
106 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
kill Eric, Marco said so, and I am sure he is
â€˜Quite so,â€™ returned the boy. â€˜ Well, we have
no time to lose. Where does Eric sleep ?â€™
â€˜In the room joining this, with the new nurse.â€™
â€˜There is no one elsein his room or yours?â€™
â€˜No; two maids sleep in a room opposite,
but there is a passage between, and they cannot
hear anything when the doors are shut.â€™
â€˜All right, then itis fairly easy. Look here :
Mustard will bring you up this box of powder.
We have quieted the sentry with it to-night and
we'll do so again to-morrow. You have only to
scatter a little of it close to a personâ€™s mouth and
nose, so that he may smell it, and it puts him off
to sleep for half an hour at least. Mustard got on
a tree under which the sentry always stands for
a bit, and threw some into his collar. You
must scatter some on to the nurseâ€™s pillow and
Ericâ€™s too, so that he may not cry.â€™
â€˜Wonâ€™t it hurt him ?â€™
â€˜Not a bit. You can try it on a dog or bird
if you like, to make sure. Now, Mustard, up
By the posts of a narrow verandah which was
just under Olgaâ€™s window, and by a few projecting
THE MONKEY GAVE
THE BOX TO THE
VIll THE FLIGHT 107
stone ornaments above, the active monkey easily
reached the window-sill and gave the box to the
â€˜little girl. While he was climbing, Red Cap
hastily explained that she must scatter the
powder on the pillows exactly when the Castle
clock struck eleven, and that he and Mustard
would be under her window with the means of
escape a few minutes later.
Olga nodded assent, for the risk of continuing
the conversation was great. Mustard and Red
Cap quickly disappeared and she softly shut the
window, drew the.curtains, and opened the door
between the rooms. Then quite tired out, yet
with new hope in her heart, the poor little girl
crept back:to bed and was soon fast asleep.
Next morning Olga contrived to try the
effect of the powder on a cat which lived in the
nursery and happened to be lying on the hearth-
~rug: She sat down near it with her doll in her
arms, and, while pretending to feed the doll,
scattered some of the contents of the box near
the catâ€™s whiskers. Puss was sound asleep in
two minutes, and about three quarters of an hour
afterwards woke up as lively as possible ; so
Olga: was perfectly satisfied, and awaited the
evening with much hidden excitement and
108 . ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
tolerable assurance of success. When Vladimir
came in the course of the day to see the nurse,
she told him that the children had behaved very
well, that Prince Eric naturally fretted a little,
but that Princess Olga did her best to keep her
brother in good spirits. This was more than
the Count expected, and fortunately soothed his
temper and put him off his guard.
As soon as she had assured herself that the nurse
was asleep, Olga dressed herself all but her shoes
and then lay awake, trembling with expectation,
till the castle clock slowly sounded the appointed
hour. At the last stroke she jumped out of bed
and hurried into the next room, where she
scattered the powder as directed. Then she
returned to the window, put on her shoes while
waiting, and directly she had done so saw her
friends and quickly opened the window. The
moon was in its first quarter so there was light
enough, yet not too much. Red Cap made her
a sign and said in a low clear voice, â€˜ Fetch
She ran into the childâ€™s room and lifted him out:
of his little bed, overjoyed to find that neither he
nor the nurse moved. She wrapped him in a
warm cloak which she had ready, and took him
vul THE FLIGHT 109
back into her own room, where she found that
Mustard was waiting for her, crouched on the
window-sill and holding a rope ladder in
â€˜Come down the ladder at once,â€™ said Red
Cap. â€˜Lay the baby on a chair near Mustard.
He will not stir, and directly you are down
Mustard will bring him.â€™
Olga was rather unwilling to leave the child
for a moment. However, she knew that she
could not safely carry him down the ladder,
and that the best thing was to obey orders
without dispute; so she descended as rapidly
as she could. The moment her foot touched
the ground Mustard let the ladder go, Red
Cap picked it up and rolled it into a bundle.
By the time he had done this Mustard was
at Olgaâ€™s side, and placed her little brother in
the arms which she joyfully held out to receive
â€˜Now come, donâ€™t say a word, and follow
me closely,â€™ said Red Cap taking her hand,
and he led the way rapidly by the terraces and
the well-remembered woodland path till they
reached the garden where they had first met.
â€œWe must get out, if possible, before Eric
110 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
wakes, whispered the boy, picking his way
amongst the trees by the side of the stream.
â€˜Tf he is like most babies he is bound to howl
when he opens his eyes.â€™
â€˜He very seldom howls as you call it,â€™
asserted Olga, â€˜but of course it will be very
funny to wake out of doors in the dark.â€™
â€˜Hush, donâ€™t speak so loud,â€™ continued, Red
Cap, and they went on for a few minutes in
silence. â€˜Ah!â€™, he exclaimed presently in a
subdued tone, â€˜here we areâ€”now for it.â€™
They had reached the low arch in the wall
under which the stream ran out of the enclosed
grounds, and bending down Olga could just
seeâ€™ that a boat was waiting for them out-
â€œNow,â€ said the boy, â€˜you must let me hold
that child while Mustard lifts you through,
and then he will give him back to you in the
Mustard, who resembled a chimpanzee more
than any other sort of monkey, was as tall
as a small man, and when he stood in the
stream his head was just above the level of the
water.. His long and strong arms easily carried
Olga through the arch, and to her surprise she
\ VII THE FLIGHT III
found herself received and lifted into the boat
by another monkey who was waiting outside.
Eric was promptly handed out to her, and Red
Cap was conveyed to the boat in the same
Then Mustard and the. monkey who had
been standing in the stream got in, and
they. were swiftly rowed off by four other
monkeys who formed the boatâ€™s â€” crew.
Mustard and his companion presently also
took oars, and with six strong rowers they
were soon out of sight of the castle wall.
â€˜There,â€™ said Red Cap with an air of im-
mense relief, â€˜now I think we are all right,
anyhow for the present, and Eric may wake
if he likes. I had a little more powder ready,
but my mother told me | had better not give
him more than one dose if I could help it.
Here is a bottle of milk though, and some
cakes for both of you.â€™
â€˜You area good kind boy,â€™ cried Olga ; â€˜look,
Eric is waking upâ€”isnâ€™t he a darling?â€™
Eric indeed opened his eyes at that
minute and seemed inclined to cry. Mustard,
however, who evidently thought that he was
deputy-nurse, stopped rowing, uncorked the
112 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
bottle with the greatest promptitude, and
handed it and a cup to Red Cap, who poured
out some milk and gave it to Olga that
she might feed her brother without delay.
He was then provided with a cake, and having
eaten it went to sleep again, after a good stare
at the monkeys with whom he fortunately
seemed rather pleased than otherwise.
â€˜Now,â€™ said Olga, â€˜please tell me if it
is not a secret. Where are we going? Shall
we see your mother? and are all your monkeys
as nice and clever as my dear Mustard ?â€™
â€˜Yes,â€™ replied Red Cap, â€˜we are going to
my mother. She and my father live on an
island in the great sea into which this stream,
which soon widens intoariver,runs. By sunrise,
if nothing happens to delay us, we shall reach
its mouth, and a ship is waiting for us just
outside. My father and mother are ready to
welcome you, and some day I expect they
will tell you all about our island and our
monkeys. Now you had better lie down at
the bottom of the boat and go to sleep like
Eric. You are quite safe, and we shall not
be at the rivers mouth for six or seven
Vu THE FLIGHT ti3
Olga took his advice. She was soon asleep,
and when she opened her eyes again little waves
-were dashing on a deserted beach, and the spray
tossed up as they broke upon the rocks
â€™ glittered in the beams of the rising sun.
- Their boat pitched to and fro rather un-
comfortably as it rowed over the bar of sand
where the river ran into the sea, but the waters
beyond were smooth enough, and before Eric
had time to be frightened they were alongside
of a good-sized ship, and were quickly helped
up the ladder which was lowered as they
As they stepped on deck a flag was run up to
the top of the mainmast, bearing as its emblem
a red rose on a white ground, and immediately
all the sails were set and the ship stood out to
Olga had become so accustomed to the skill
of her monkey acquaintance that she was less
astonished than might have been expected to
find that the whole crew of the ship consisted of
monkeys. The officers even wore a kind of
uniformâ€”scarlet shirts, leather belts, and caps ;
the common sailors had not troubled themselves
114. ERIC, PRINCE. OF LORLONIA CHAP.
The morning was delightful, and the first
part of the voyage when the ship sailed amongst
numerous little islands, which cast purple shad-
ows into the deep blue sea, enchanted Olga.
The monkeys had prepared an excellent break-
fast, and after it was over she sat on a chair on
deck with Eric in her arms, and the little boy,
delighted with the bright sunshine, the fresh air,
and the frolics of the monkey sailors, clapped
his hands, and tried to answer his sisterâ€™s merry
words in his broken baby language.
He soon made friends with Red Cap, who
seated himself at Olgaâ€™s feet and told her that
they might expect to reach the island where his
parents lived on the following evening.
â€˜My mother will tell you all our history and
explain whatever puzzles you better than I can
do, so I shall leave it to her,â€™ he added. < Per-
haps, however, I had better warn you that she,
my father and myself, are the only human
creatures on the island. All our subjects are
â€˜I donâ€™t mind if they are all as good-
natured as Mustard and the monkeys on the
ship,â€™, answered Olga, â€˜they amuse Eric very
VII : THE FLIGHT 115
â€˜ He is a little monkey himself,â€™ laughed Red
Cap; â€˜I am sure he wants to climb up that
â€˜He is not such a monkey as you,â€™ retorted
Olga, whose spirits were rapidly rising with the
sense of safety and freedom, â€˜he never tried to
pull down my rockery.â€™
â€˜And he never built you a bride instead.â€™
Â©You didnâ€™t finish it.â€™
â€˜That wasnâ€™t my fault. By the way, what
has happened to old Thrashem ?â€™
â€˜Poor Ivan !â€™ sighed the child, becoming grave
again. â€˜Count Vladimir put him -in prison
because he would not swear to obey him. I
think he is more angry with him than with
almost any one, for he would not agree that
Vladimir was next heir after Eric. He said I
â€˜Of course you are. Who cares what
Vladimir says? Never you mind. We will
have out Thrashem, and all the ladies and nurses
and every one who has treated you properly, and
we will lock old Vladimir up in the very deepest
dungeon in all Lorlonia. Now tell me all
about it. I only know little bits of your story
here and there. We have nothing to do till
116 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
dinner-time, and if Eric gets tried of sitting
still Mustard shall walk about with him and
continue his monkey education.â€™
Olga told him about her past life, her parents,
her friends, and all that she knew of the plots
of Vladimir.and Nicholas, and of their success
up to the present time. Of course there was
much that she did not know, and she had never
heard of the Rose City, nor of Vladimirâ€™s visit
to the dwarfs and their master on Midsummer
In conclusion, she showed him the Hospodarâ€™s
ring which she wore on a ribbon tied round her
neck and hidden inside her frock. â€˜If I could
send him that,â€™ she said, â€˜I think he would do
something to help us. He is a good, brave
man, and he would not Jet Cousin Vladimir take
everything away from Eric without fighting him
in some way.â€™
â€˜Why, how funny !â€™ exclaimed Red Cap, as
he examined the ring which Olga held out to
him. â€˜Do you see, Olga? The seal part of
this ring is exactly the same as our flag. It has
a red rose, made out of a ruby or some shining
stone like that, let into a white ground. I
wonder what it means.â€™
VIII THE FLIGHT 117
â€˜I donâ€™t know anything about it except that
my father gave it to Jagellon, the Hospodar of
Dorzyn. I think I remember seeing it on my
â€˜fatherâ€™s finger a long time ago, but Iam not
â€˜I think I have heard something about a
ring that was to bring good luck to our
island, but I am not sure either. However,
my father will know, so we must wait till we
â€˜There is one thing you might tell me now,â€™
said Olga, â€˜what is your name? you cannot be
really called Red Cap.â€™
â€˜Why not ? I wear a red cap.â€™
â€˜Yes, but you were not born with a red cap;
and anyhow, people are not called after their
The boy tried to make her guess, and, as she
failed after six or seven trials, he finally told
her that his name was Raymond, that his father
was Duke Ludovic, and his mother the Duchess
Dinner was now ready, and after dinner Eric
went to sleep. With fair weather, games, and
talks the time sped pleasantly on, till towards
the evening of the second day the monkey on
118 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA Â° CH. VUI
watch vigorously waved his long arm, and
Raymond cried eagerly : â€˜Come, Olga, we are
nearly there. Do you see the blue hill-tops
rising above the horizon? that is our home
that is Monkey Island !â€™
Tue soft rounded hills of Monkey Island,
clothed nearly to their summits with dark green
trees, stood out clear against the setting sun as
the ship cast anchor in the sheltered harbour.
-Around the harbour, and at the foot of these
pleasant hills, was built the capital city of the
island. It was a small one, and. consisted
chiefly of huts, for few of the monkeys cared
to live in houses, preferring in that land of
perpetual summer to sleep in trees or caves and
to spend the day in the woods and fields.
Duke Ludovic, however, had a large white
house, over which floated a banner bearing the
same design as the shipâ€™s ensign, and some of
his councillors, who were chosen from the
120 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
older and staider apes, thought that it befitted
their dignity to possess huts, even if they did
not care to spend much time within four walls,
and generally slept on the roofs rather than
under them. There were also a few warehouses
wherein were stowed food and other articles not
required for immediate use, and a Hall of Coun-
cil which was the pride of all the inhabitants of
the island, being built, so said tradition, after
the pattern of a great palace in the unknown
city from which their forefathers had come in
No sooner had Raymondâ€™s ship entered the
harbour than a large boat, gaily painted and
provided with an awning of scarlet silk, put
off from a small stone pier which ran out into
the water opposite the ducal Palace.
â€˜There are my father and mother!â€™ cried
Raymond, and he hurried to the side of the
ship to welcome them.
Duke Ludovic, a tall, handsome man, soon
stepped on board, warmly greeted Olga, and
taking Eric in his arms, said :
â€˜Welcome, my little Prince, to Monkey
Island. It is not the first time that this land
has given shelter to exiles. May you not have
Ix MONKEY ISLAND 121
to wait so long for your rights as those who
came before you !â€™
The little boy looked solemnly at his new
friend. Apparently he had been introduced to so
many strange people and strange places of late
that novelty ceased to alarm him, and he allowed '
the Duke to carry him down the steps into the
boat, and hand him over to the Duchess without
raising the least objection. Duchess Almida, a
plump, good-looking lady with blue eyes and
light-brown hair, received him and Olga with the
greatest kindness, called them â€˜Poor dear
children!â€ asked if they had liked the cakes,
and regretted that she had not sent clothes. for
Eric, who was still in his night-gown and cloak.
â€˜ However,â€™ she said, â€˜we will soon put that
right. I have some old things of Raymondâ€™s at
the Palace, which he can wear till we get new
The landing-place was thronged with mon-
keysâ€”fathers, mothers, and dear little baby apes,
with whom Olga was quite enraptured. She
longed to stop and play with them, but was
obliged to defer that pleasure, as porters carrying
chairs with hoods to keep off the sun, were await-
ing them, and trotted off with them to the Palace.
122 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
Here she found the Duchessâ€™s ladies, monkeys
distinguished by white caps and petticoats, who
looked so like nurses that the children felt quite
at home with them ; and Eric was fed and stowed
away in a nice little white bed quite as if he had
been in his own castle.
â€˜Now,â€™ said Almida, when she had satisfied
herself that he was comfortably asleep, and that
Olga and Raymond had had a good supper,
â€˜now, my dear, if you are not too tired, come
and tell the Duke all. your adventures.
Raymond has told us something of your history,
but we want to know a great deal more.â€™
â€˜I think I told Raymond everything yester-
day, your Grace,â€™ replied the little girl, rather
â€˜Yes, but you must tell papa and mama,
Olga. I cannot repeat it all properly, though I
will listen and remind you if you have forgotten
So Olga told the story all over again, adding
how very kind Raymond and Mustard had been,
and describing fully all that they had done for
her and Eric. She ended by saying, â€˜I cannot
think why Raymond should have taken so much
trouble to help and save us, only because I found
IX MONKEY ISLAND 123
him in the garden. If Eric grows up and gets
his country back we will do everything we can
to show how grateful we are.â€™
â€˜You may do something for us yet, my dear,â€™
answered Ludovic, smiling. â€˜Now show me
the Hospodarâ€™s ring. Raymond told me there
was something curious about it. I did not quite
understand what he meant.â€™
Olga drew out the ring, and Duke Ludovic
started in amazement when he saw it.
â€˜Surely, Almida,â€™ he cried, â€˜this must be the
lost ring of the prophecy. â€˜â€˜* The golden-haired
child, and the ring of the rose.â€â€ What were the
Almida half said, half sung, to an old, old
â€˜ Never again shall chief and knight
In feast or fray meet friends or foes,
Till the gold-haired child with baby bright
Shall bring to the Island the Ring of the Rose.â€™
â€˜Yes,â€™ cried Raymond, excitedly, â€˜and it goes
â€˜Then shall shatter the Masterâ€™s sleep,
Then the fountain its strength disclose ;
The knights shall triumph, the dwarfs shall weep
In the Crimson City, the Hall of the Rose,â€™
124 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜I knew there was some story about a ring
that was to bring us good fortune, but I had
forgotten exactly what it was.â€™
â€˜You do not know exactly now, do you?â€
said his father, amused at his impatience.
â€˜Here is Olga, looking quite perplexed, as she
well may be. You have told us your story, my
dear,â€™ he added, turning to the little girl, â€˜and
now I must tell you ours. It is quite as
melancholy in the past, and the future ending
seems even more uncertain. Perhaps I should
not have told you so much as I am about to do,
had it not-become plain that we must help each
other, and, young as you are, you have had
to understand and todo so much for yourself and
your little brother, that you will not be alarmed
by the idea of what lies before you.
â€˜Well, you must know that some three
hundred years ago the ancestors of my subjects
on this island were not monkeys, but brave
knights and beautiful ladies with their squires,
servants and attendants. They lived in a
splendid city in a distant land. I have never
been there, nor do I know exactly where it is.
The legends concerning it are confused: and
uncertain, and we do not even know: precisely
1x MONKEY ISLAND e 125
how my forefathers lost it. They were rulers
in their own country, and they quarrelled with
â€˜a powerful enchanter who turned the whole
population of the city irito monkeys and drove
them away. He could not transform the Duke
and Duchess and their children in the same
manner, but he was able to cast a spell upon
them which obliged them and the direct line of
rulers to live in exile among their former sub-
jects and their monkey descendants, and which
has prevented them from finding out the where-
abouts of their former Dukedom or taking any
steps to recover it up to the present time.
â€˜Each Duke in turn has to choose a wife
among human beings. When he has done so
the lady who has consented to marry him must
live with him on the Island, and they can only
visit foreign countries to seek a bride for their
eldest son, or to take their other children to
live with their motherâ€™s relations.
â€˜When you first met Raymond we had just
left our two younger children with their uncle
to be educated, and were on our way home.
Our little boy and girl may never return to live
here, so you can understand that the fate: cast
on our house by the enchanterâ€™s spell is a sad
126 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
one, and that we long to break it. Perhaps
you have brought us the means of so doing.
Now, however, it is late, and you must go to
_ bed. To-morrow we will assemble the Council.
They shall see your ring, hear your story, and
consider whether the old traditions point out
what is best to be done.â€™
Very solemn was the meeting of the Monkey
Council in their great hall. Olga was surprised
to see such a fine building, with its high dome
and handsome colonnade running round the
paved space in the centre.
Thirty monkeys in purple tunics squatted on
this pavement, and all rose and saluted as the
Duke and Duchess with the three children, and
the ducal guards carrying pikes, entered the hall
and took their places under the colonnade.
Olga had already discovered that the monkeys
spoke a language of their own, partly consisting
of certain sounds and partly of gestures, and an
animated discussion was soon in progress. The
speakers all looked at her and Eric, and Ray-
mond whispered to her that his father had ex-
plained to the Council who they were and
whence they had come, and that the councillors,
though pleased to see them, seemed uncertain as
1X MONKEY ISLAND 127
to how long the laws of the island would allow
them to stay.
- â‚¬You wonâ€™t send us away, will you ?â€™ whis-
pered the little girl in return.
â€˜No, no; it is all right. Hush! my father
is speaking again.â€™
Duke Ludovic had indeed risen to his feet,
and all were silent, while he made another short
speech ending by pointing to Olga.
Raymond said hastily in a low voice, â€˜ He has
told them about the ring. Pull it out, please.â€™
Olga did so, and the boy added, â€˜ Would you
mind taking off the ribbon and letting them see
the stone ?â€™
Olga slipped the ribbon over her head, and
Raymond, with his fatherâ€™s consent, carried the
ring round to each member of the Council in
turn. All appeared astonished, and one or two
showed a desire to take the ring into their own
hands for closer examination. This Raymond
would not allow, till he reached an old monkey
who appeared to be the President. He handed
the treasure to him with a low bow, and stood
by while he inspected it.
The patriarch gave a deep â€˜ Ah-h!â€™ which
seemed to express even more satisfaction than
128 . ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
surprise, and addressed a few words to the Duke,
who, turning to Olga, said,
â€˜It isas thought. Handaman, the President
of our Council, isâ€˜descended from the keeper of
the ducal treasures, who was transformed into
an ape like the other officersâ€™ of the household
at the time of our exile. He brought with him
certain precious relics, and amongst them a pink
marble casket said to contain instructions as to
how we may recover all that we lost. No one
has hitherto been able to break it open.
â€˜ Handaman now tells me that the tradition
handed down from father to son in-his family
is that a golden-haired child with a baby
boy should some day come to the Island and
bring with her a ring bearing the emblem of our
~ house, and that this ring should open the casket.â€™
â€˜He said something else, papa,â€™ remarked
_ â‚¬Never mind that, my boy,â€™ said his father,
*I.do mind,â€™ murmured Raymond; and he
whispered to his companion, â€˜ He said she should
be the bride of the heir.â€™ #8
â€˜ What nonsense,â€™ returned Olga. â€˜We have
something else to attend to at present.â€™
Ix MONKEY ISLAND. x29
So it appeared ; for a fresh and still. more
lively debate began among the monkeys, at the
end of which Ludovic informed Olga that it was
decided that the Council should go immediately
to the underground chamber in which the treas-
ures were kept, and that if she would consent
to do so, she herself should touch the casket
with the ring in their presence and witness the
Olga readily agreed ; and the Duchess thought-
fully added that the expedition might frighten
Eric, and that it would be better for him to play
in the Palace garden with Mustard and two of
the ladies while they were away.
Raymond and Olga therefore took him back
to the Dukeâ€™s house, and left him perfectly con-
tent, while they returned to the Council Hall arid
found all the monkeys anxiously awaiting them,
with torches to light them down the flightsof steps
and through the dark galleries leading to the
Treasure House. The Treasure House itself was
a long, low, vaulted chamber, and all round were
iron rings or: brackets into which the monkeys
thrust their torches. The ducal guards stood at the
entrance to keep out all intruders, while the coun-
cillors, under Handamanâ€™s directions, removed one
130 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
padlocked box after another, till they disclosed a
secret recess in which was placed what was
evidently the greatest of all the treasures, the
pink marble casket.
It was not very large, about fifteen inches long
and six high, and not a sign was there of any
opening whatsoever. In fact, it might have been
a simple block of polished marble, shining and
delicately veined, but not otherwise remarkable,
were it not that if any one lifted it and shook
it backwards and forwards, he could hear some-
thing slip about inside, and moreover it was not
so heavy as-it would have been had it consisted
of solid marble throughout.
Handaman took it and brought it into the
centre of the chamber, where he placed it on one of
thelarge boxes which had just been pulled forward.
He then told the other monkeys to clear a space
and form themselves into a ring, and begged the
Duke and Duchess, Raymond and Olga, to come
into the middle.
He returned the ring, which he had hitherto
held, to the little girl, and said something which
Ludovic explained :â€”
â€˜Fe does not know how or where you must
touch the casket, but is sure that you can
Ix MONKEY ISLAND 131
open it with the ring. He asks you to press it
all round, where lids generally fit on to boxes,
until you come to the right place.â€™
Olga did as he asked without producing the
slightest effect. She then struck the four
corners, the top, the bottom, still nothing
happened. She tried every inch of the surface
in vain. The Duke and Duchess and all the
others present in turn took the ring and tried
the experiment with equal failure.
The monkeys looked as gloomy as it is
possible for monkeys to look, and hope was
rapidly fading into despair, when Raymond, who
had been wandering round in an aimless manner,
took it into his head to peer into the recess
whence the box had been taken, and exclaimed :
â€˜Why, there are some letters carved here,
right at the back! Bring a light, quick !â€™
The councillors understood human language
perfectly though they could not speak it, and
one ran forward with a torch. Raymond, after a
little puzzling, made out this verseâ€”
Not to Chieftain, Duke, or King,
To gold-haired child the casket shows
The fated scroll ;â€”let her kiss the ring,
And thrice let the marble be touched with the rose.
132 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
Not a moment did Olga hesitate. She hastily
kissed the ring, and thrice touched the casket
with the signet. The result was instantaneous.
The lid of the casket flew open as if a hidden
spring had been pressed, and disclosed to the
eager spectators a roll of yellow parchment.
Handaman took it out and gave it to the Duke
with a low bow. Raymond squeezed Olgaâ€™s
hand and the Duchess kissed her while Ludovic
read aloud as followsâ€”
To the children of the Rose City. You will hear these woras
Jar from the land of your Fathers.
Know then that your home lies between the Black
Mountains, the Great Forest and the Plains of Mandania,
where the country of the Princes of Lorlonia joins the
country of the King. â€˜To seek it sail to the shore where
the forest meets the sea. Land where two tall marble
columns mark a roadstead which was once the port of the
March straight to the north till you see the Black Moun-
tains rising to the east. â€˜Then, as you leave the forest, the
Crimson City will lie before you.
Let those who go bear the swords of their fathers, and
attack the City before sunrise on the last day of the old
year, for thus only can you conquer.
Let her who unseals the casket go with you to unseal
the spring wherein if you bathe you shall once more be as
1x MONKEY ISLAND 133
When you have won, bring back those left in the island
and let them do likewise.
This is the doom and destiny which courage can fulfil.
In the hour of triumph be merciful to the vanquished, and
faithful to the Princes of Lorlonia, for your fate is enwoven
Ir is easy to imagine the excitement of the
Council on hearing the contents of the scrollâ€”
an excitement which rapidly spread throughout
For three hundred years generation after
generation had known that a spell hung over
them, that they were not what they should have
been. Monkey parents had taught their monkey
children that they must learn what they could
of the ways and arts of human beings, for that
the day might come when they would be called
upon to take their place in the civilised world.
A strange limit, however, invariably stopped.
them when they reached a certain point in their
education. All that could be done with hands
CH. X THE COUNCIL 135
alone they learnt easily ; but to read, to write,
or to draw, was impossible to them. They could
build houses, till the fields, and tend cattle, if
their Duke or his son superintended them ; left
to themselves they generally became confused
and ceased their labours. While like other
monkeys they were fond of oysters and shell-
fish, unlike them they were expert divers, and
their rulers gained most of their wealth from
pearl fisheries. Their Dukes had from time to
time attempted to bring in other human beings
to live in the island and direct their subjects,
these efforts had hitherto been vain; the en-
chanterâ€™s spell forbade them, and some accident
had always proved fatal to the incomers, or had
at least obliged their departure. Now monkey
said to monkey, â€˜ We shall have our own again ;
we shall fight for our rights and win them!
We shall be men like our forefathers !â€™
All the monkeys who heard the news rushed
to the Palace, and the gardens and grounds
around it were thronged from morning till even-
ing with eager crowds. If Olga appeared they
fell on their knees before her and tried to kiss
her hands, her frock, even her little shoes.
As for Eric, Mustard and the ladies hardly
136 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
dared take him beyond the balcony, for every
mother monkey in the island wanted to nurse
the little Prince.
They had gathered from the reports of the
councillors, who had heard the parchment read,
that their ancient rulers came from the country
of the Princes of Lorlonia, and that their for-
tunes were bound up with those of their feudal
lords. They looked upon the children as de-
liverers and heralds of victory, and swore again
and again that when they had recovered their
own heritage they would never rest until the
rightful heir was restored to the home of his
fathers. Another and still more solemn Council
was soon held to discuss the means of carrying
the directions of the parchment into effect, and
while it was sitting, impatient crowds awaited
_its decisions outside the hall.
It is hardly necessary to remark that almost
every councillor had a great deal of good advice
to give, and many objections to make to the
suggestions of the last speaker.
At length one cantankerous ape arose and
â€˜Why should we trouble ourselves in the
matter? Who knows if this old parchment is
x THE COUNCIL 147
not altogether a fraud? Wandaman may have
hidden it in that precious box, and have touched
a spring when the young lady did what she was
told to do by a doggerel which he himself had
cut in the rock. Even if the parchment had
been lying there for several hundred years it was
probably written by some one who knew that
his descendants would be as idiotic as himselfâ€™
(a disgusted howl arose from all his hearers),
â€˜and I at all events am not prepared to under-
take a wild-goose chase on the strength of it.â€™
â€˜Nobody wants you! Remain a monkey for
the rest of your days! More like a cranky old
A torrent of such shouts fell upon the devoted
head of the unfortunate objector, and Handa-
man sprang indignantly to his feet, and in along
and eloquent reply assured them that never be-
fore in a long life of devotion to his country,
&c., &c., &e.
At length Ludovic thought it was time to
interrupt the tempest of applause which greeted
the Presidentâ€™s reply, and to get to business.
He therefore arose, and the respect which the
wildest monkey always showed to the man who
governed them kept the assembly in rapt atten-
138 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
tion while he addressed it : â€˜ Monkeys,â€™ said he,
â€”â€˜soon to be men â€™â€”(cheers), â€˜ two points have
to be settled. First, will you undertake the
enterprise pointed out to you?â€™ (Cries of â€˜We
will.â€) â€˜Secondly, how are you going to do it?â€™
(â€˜ That is the question?â€™ from the cantankerous
ape, and shouts of â€˜ We will fight !â€™â€”< You will
lead us,â€™ from his colleagues.â€)
these questions in order to the Council. Donâ€™t
all speak at once. Let those who are in favour
of undertaking the re-capture of the Rose City
A howl of â€˜ Ayeâ€™ from twenty-nine monkeys
responded to his appeal.
â€˜ Now those of the contrary opinion.â€™
The cantankerous monkey jumped up.
â€˜I protest,â€™ said he, â€˜ but my fools of fellow-
councillors evidently mean to go and get their
throats cut instead of staying quietly at home.
If they succeed in turning themselves into any-
thing it will be into asses, not men. For my
part I prefer to be a monkey, so decline to have
anything more to do with them. Good morn- _
ing!â€™ And he marched out of the hall with all
the dignity at his command.
â€˜The minority has withdrawn,â€™ remarked the
x THE COUNCIL 139
Duke quietly, â€˜and the first point is carried
unanimously. On the second question, How
are you going to do it? 1 will make a very few
remarks. We shall have to go in a ship, so let
no monkey volunteer who is afraid of the seaâ€™ ;
(one or two became very serious). â€˜ Those who
go are to take the swords of their fathers. It
will therefore be necessary to find out how many
monkeys on the island have preserved their
ancestral swords. We shall have to fight, so let
no one come who is not ready to be drilled first ;
(two or three others here became grave). Lastly,
we must persuade Princess Olga to come with
us. I will undertake to arrange matters with
Princess Olga, and for the rest I propose that
the Council adjourn till this time to-morrow,
and that in the meantime the members do ascer-
tain how many monkeys are ready to go to sea,
to be drilled first, and fight afterwards; and
how many swords belonging to their ancestors
can be produced by the combatants. Let the
names, and, if possible, the volunteers, be brought
here to-morrow. Are all agreed?â€™
No monkey had any objection to offer, though
they were rather less keen when it came to act-
ing instead of talking. Nevertheless, Handaman
140 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
arose and assured his Grace that they were all
agreed, and that his injunctions should be strictly
carried out.. The assembly then dispersed, and
the Duke went to look for Olga. The little
girl, though ready to accompany the*army,
raised two difficulties. What was to happen to
Eric? and how was she to send the ring to the
â€˜My dear child,â€™ said Almida, â€˜I will take
every care of â€˜Eric while you are gone ; and why
should you send to the Hospodar? If the
Duke can regain his position, and if his subjects
turn back again into knights and soldiers, be
sure that he will hasten to acknowledge your
brother as his feudal lord, and to replace him
on the throne of Lorlonia.â€™
â€˜ Yesâ€”butâ€” â€™replied Olga, hesitating.
â€˜You think there are two â€œifsâ€ in all this?â€™ said
the Duke, smiling rather sadly. â€˜ Well, I agree ;
however, what do you think of this idea? We
are still in August, and it will be useless for us -
to set off before December. We are not to
attack the city till the last day of the old year,
and my monkeys who are accustomed to warmth
must not be kept longer than possible in a
climate far colder than this. There will be
x j THE COUNCIL I41
plenty of time to send to the Hospodar and to
get his answer and advice before we go. He
will tell you what help you may expect from
him, and whether he thinks that the possible
advantage which Eric might gain by enlisting
so many fresh and faithful subjects in his cause
would justify you in leaving him with my wife.
In any case your brother will have three months
in which to become accustomed to the Duchess
and her ladies.â€™
â€˜Oh, yes,â€™ said Olga, much relieved; â€˜and
you will let Mustard take the ring, will you
â€˜If you wish it,â€™ replied Ludovic. â€˜But would
not Eric miss him? Capsicum is as faithful as
Mustard, and knows the way better, for he
attended me when I went to marry the Duchess,
and we passed not far from Dorzyn.â€™
To Capsicum Olga accordingly entrusted the
precious ring with a long letter to the Hospodar,
in which she explained everything as well as she
could, and ended by imploring his advice, and
begging him in any case to return the ring,
which was so precious to her new friends.
Before the ship with Capsicum on board had
left Monkey Island, the volunteers, who were
142 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
afraid neither of sea-sickness nor fighting, and
who were also possessed of the necessary
weapons, had been selected. They were found
to consist of two hundred monkeys all told, in
addition to Ludovic and Raymond, and the
Duke set to work to drill them without delay.
The population of the island amounted to
many thousands, but Ludovic felt that it would
be worse than useless to take monkeys who did
not fulfil the necessary conditions, and that he
would have a much better chance of success
with a small, well-disciplined force.
Early in September Olga was sitting on the
parade-ground with Eric in her arms. Both were
watching with much interest the performances
of the newly-raised regiments, when Mustard
came running towards them waving his arms
and shouting in his own language, of which
Olga now understood a few words, â€˜The ship !
the ship !â€™
She ran quickly to the pier, and in a few
minutes the ship cast anchor, and Capsicum,
landing in the little boat, bowed before her,
and gave her a sealed packet.
Anxiously she broke the seal, and found that
it contained, together with the ring, the follow-
x THE COUNCIL 143
ing letter, which, after giving Eric into the
charge of Mustard, she proceeded to read :â€”
-Â©To my honoured Princess Olga,â€”I was
indeed glad to receive your letter and to know
that you and your brother were for the time
being in safety. Count Vladimir was, as you
may imagine, furious at your flight. He tried
for a time to conceal it, and when he found
this impossible, he accused Count and Countess
Macovros of having stolen you away. All is
confusion. Unfortunately, Vladimir has per-
suaded several of the nobles that he is your
true friend. His brother-in-law, Sir Witold,
has helped him greatly, and has also deceived
large numbers of the townspeople and country-
men, among whom he has sent messengers in
various disguises. I would prefer that you and
Eric should be brought to one of the sea-ports,
and that I should receive you there and take
charge of you both, but Vladimir has garrisoned
all the sea-ports, and, as you know, they are to
the south of Lorlonia, whereas Dorzyn lies to
the north-west, and I must force my way
through land occupied by Vladimirâ€™s troops
before I can meet you anywhere. Autumn is
near, and it is a bad time of the year for
144 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
beginning a campaign ; still, if fair means are
of no avail, fight I must. On the whole, I
think you had better leave Eric with the
Duchess. He will be safe and happy with
her ; and since Duke Ludovic wishes you to
accompany. his army, I cannot oppose your
doing so, if you are not afraid. I have heard
rumours at different times of the strange tale of
the Rose City and the Monkey Island which
you now tell me, and it may be true that you,
a child of Lorlonia, are fated to free the descend-
ants of your ancestorâ€™s vassals. In any case, I
will try and meet you in December somewhere
between Mandania and the Great Forest beyond
the marble mines, for I understand that the city .
lies in that direction some three daysâ€™ march
from the sea. I will gather together what
friends I can, and if Duke Ludovic is able to
help us, all may yet be well. Keep a good heart,
and kiss Eric for me.â€”Your devoted friend
and faithful knight, JaceLton, Hospodar of
- Without further . hesitation Olga agreed to
the wishes of the Duke and his subjects, and
consoled herself with the idea that she could still
be happy with Eric for two months at least,
x THE COUNCIL : 146
and would then only leave him for a very
short time. The nineteenth of September was
his first birthday, which was celebrated through-
out the island as a great festival. The Duke
ordered a grand review for the occasion, and
in the evening there was a magnificent display
Three months later the good ship d/mida,
bearing the rose banner, sailed from the island
manned with a picked crew, and carrying with
her Ludovic, Raymond, and Olga, the two
hundred trained monkeys, and the hopes and
good wishes of the whole population.
The voyage was uneventful, for they knew
well how to-avoid the ordinary track of ships,
and, moreover, were not making for any of
the usual sea-ports.
The Great Forest was rather nearer to the
island than the river down which Raymond had
escaped with the children, and by noon on the
second day of their voyage they began to near
the coast, and to look out for the marble pillars
which marked the deserted roadstead.
â€˜There they are!â€™ cried the keen-eyed Ray-
mond just as the look-out monkey gave the
m6 | ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA ' Hap,
By careful soundings they found safe an-
chorage for their ship under the shelter of
a little promontory, and on Christmas Day
Ludovic landed his forces, telling Olga that he
hoped they would all have a happier time next
year. The crew was left in charge of the ship,
with strict orders to keep themselves concealed
and to put out to sea if they perceived any one
coming who was likely to board the vessel. .
â€˜I do not think it probable,â€™ added the
Duke ; â€˜and we shall look to find you waiting
for us when we return victorious some ten
days hence.â€™ :
Ludovic had been very glad of the Hospodarâ€™s
information that the city was supposed to be
some three daysâ€™ march from the sea, and had
allowed a little extra time in case of accidents.
He and his monkeys marched slowly through
the forest in detached parties of ten or a dozen,
keeping near enough to each other to be able
to summon aid in case of danger, without
attracting attention by the passage of a large
Olga, amply provided with warm garments
and coverings, was carried in a chair guarded by
Ludovic, Raymond, and a chosen band. The
x THE COUNCIL 147
Duke, moreover, fearing lest creatures accus-
tomed to tropical warmth should suffer in
colder climes, had provided each monkey with
a blanket as a protection against the chill winds
of evening... The country through which they
had to pass was not wrapped in snow like more
northern regions, yet there was a sharp touch
of frost in the air, and the tall leafless trees
looked strangely gaunt and weird as the soldier-
apes marched beneath them by day, or curled
themselves up in their branches by night.
Two days before that fixed for the attack,
the adventurers saw the Black Mountains rising
to the east, the trees stood further apart, and
the rays of winter sunlight sparkled more freely
on the short grass.
â€˜We are drawing near the city,â€™ cried Ray-
mond. â€˜How I long to hasten on and scale
â€˜Quietly, my boy,â€™ replied Ludovic; â€˜we
must halt here. Give the signal for our forces
to assemble as soon as evening falls.â€™
The message was passed on quickly from
band to band, and when twilight came the
hairy, long-armed warriors drew together round
148 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CH. x
The Duke chose Capsicum and two other
monkeys, and bade them go to spy out the
city by night and bring him word next morning
as to its distance and apparent strength.
On receiving their report that an hour's
march would bring them beneath its walls,
that the inhabitants slept by day and feasted
by night, and that scanty or no guard appeared
to be kept on the ramparts, Ludovic told all
his troops to rest that day and to meet him
again at midnight, ready to take the city
before the sun should rise on the last day of
VICTORY AND TIDINGS
THE master slept on his couch on the terraced
roof beneath the silver canopy. The dwarfs,
near the columns, swung their censers ; but the
crouching attendants no longer waved fans,
rather they kept alive braziers fed with scented
wood, and drew the crimson curtains closer to
keep out the chill air of winter.
The midnight feast was over in the Rose
City, and the sleepy dwarfs had retired to their
marble chambers to sleep away the short De-.
cember day. No work (save the cooking of
meats and the twining of evergreens) was done
during the last week in the year, and all gave
themselves up to high revelry.
The watch kept was never very serious, for
150 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
the spells woven by the master around the city
were so powerful that few mortals had ever
succeeded in discovering its whereabouts, and
the neighbouring quarrymen were so thoroughly
convinced that it was haunted and dangerous
that they never dared approach its walls.
Little did the dwarfs, sleeping on their silken
cushions, dream of the dark procession which
was advancing up the long avenue of marble
kings and chiefs just as the morning stars were
fading in the sky.
The sculptured statues seemed not to frown on
these dusky warriors as they had done on
Vladimir ; rather Ludovic, who strode in front
of his band, fancied that his silent forefathers
relaxed their stern aspect, and bade him welcome
as he passed.
â€˜Now,â€™ he whispered to his head officer, who .
followed close behind, â€˜the Palace is before us.
Let us enter boldly, and take possession; with
this citadel in our hands we can defy any
He led die way up the steps of ie portico,
and was about to enter the narrow doorway
leading into the central hall, when he was stopped
by a cry of pain from one of his followers, He
XI VICTORY AND TIDINGS 151
turned, and saw that the monkey had been hit
in the arm by an arrow discharged by an un-
seen foe. The cry had awakened other dwarfs
who were lodged in a sort of watch-tower on
the roof of the Palace by the side of the dome,
and they, seizing their bows, discharged a flight
of arrows at the invaders. Meantime the first
archer, who had accidentally seen them as he
was mounting a staircase on his way home from
a feast, and had shot at them through a loop-
hole in the wall, rushed off to warn the dwarfs
who were in charge of the great tocsin, or alarum
bell of the city. Its heavy clang soon sounded
far and wide, and summoned the inhabitants
from every street and garden to the defence of
The monkeys, totally unaccustomed to pain,
shrunk back on first feeling the darts of their
tiny opponents ; but Ludovic, with all the in-
stincts of his knightly race hot within him, >
rejoiced to find himself in the thick of a fray.
He drew his sword, and bidding his monkeys
form a solid square on the platform beneath the
portico, he threw himself in front of them and
prepared to drive back the swarm of dwarfs
who rapidly assailed them on every side. The
152 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
monkeys soon recovered their courage, particu-
larly when they saw the boy Raymond fighting
as bravely as his father, and driving back the
pigmies again and again. Scores soon lay
wounded at their feet ; hundreds, however, rushed
on to take their place.
Still worse, the door behind them was pushed
violently open, and fresh regiments of dwarfs,
who had been hastily marshalled in the recesses
of the Palace, attacked them from the rear.
A thought struck the Duke, and in the
monkey tongue, which the dwarfs did not of
course understand, he bade half his force,
headed by Capsicum, swarm up the columns of
the portico, thus gain the roof, and then charge
down upon the dwarfs inside, and, if possible,
_ capture the central hall from within, while he
and his supporters continued to keep at bay the
increasing forces outside.
Still the dwarfs rushed on like the waves of
the sea, and were still driven back by the Duke,
Raymond, and their apes, who, no longer
frightened but maddened by their wounds,
fought now like men if not like heroes.
At length a shout of triumph from their
brethren inside gave them fresh hope and heart,
XI VICTORY AND TIDINGS 153
The dwarfs who had attacked them from be-
hind rushed back into the Palace to help those
â€œGo after them,â€™ cried the Duke to the hind-
most ranks of his monkeys ; â€˜ back into the hall
and secure it, we will follow you by degrees, and
our enemies shall not enter with us.â€™
What he said was done. In a few minutes
the central hall was in the hands of the
monkey forces, and the door was closed and
guarded against the armies without.
All the dwarfs inside the Palace were soon
captured and bound, and Ludovic then de-
manded, â€˜ Who, and where, is your leader ?â€™
No answer was forthcoming. The shouts
and fury of the throngs without were deafening ;
but inside the hall was total silence.
The Duke became impatient.
â€˜Now,â€™ he said, â€˜I must have an answer. I
have come to demand my own again. I may
go out once more to wound and slay the in-
habitants of this city until none remain, but I
do not desire their destruction. I would rather
treat with your chief. Produce him. If you
will not I must find him for myself.â€™
Still silence within, and tumult without.
154 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜Well,â€™ continued iudowie, â€˜I suppose hes is
not present, as no chief would be such a coward
as to refuse to answer for himself and his people,
so do you, Capsicum, stop here and look after
these fellows while I take twenty soldiers with
me and explore the rest of the building.â€™
â€˜Your Grace had better take torches,â€™ replied
Capsicum; â€˜we had trouble enough coming
down through the dark galleries.â€™
Ludovic took his advice, and fortunately at
once chose the passage through which the dwarf
had conducted Vladimir on Midsummer Eve.
Past the small hall, up the staircase, and along
the second gallery went the Duke and his
followers, and found themselves on the terrace,
where the enchanter and foe of their race
dreamed away the centuries.
Just as Ludovic stepped on to the marble
pavement the tardy sun rose in the winter sky,
and a strange and instantaneous transformation
scene took place.
All the carved roses of the marble lattice-work
which formed the parapet of the terrace sud-
denly blossomed into real flowers, and from each
one issued a tiny elf, while a lovely lady sprang
from a crimson column, which took the form of
i S â€˜ a
= Ss \ ee) me
f y \\ 4 A \
5 4 l
= Wi A
We Z As
yy y x
AY Cae â€”s
fe Say Ph < \ :
ea") SN SS â€”
: s 2 IAN p> Ss eee
yy 5 \ \ G \yâ€”
z Â¢ \ WAS
Z oY \ \)
â€”~ \ Se
â€œIS ALL LOST ? WHERE
â€œ AH, QUEEN,â€ SAID HE,
SHALL I FIND REST?â€
XI VICTORY AND TIDINGS 155
a living rose-tree when touched by the first
beams of the sun.
As she advanced the old man rose from his
couch and bowed low before her, sayingâ€”
â€˜This is your day, O Queen! Once every
year you come to rouse me from my slumber.
Queen of the Dawn, what would you with the
Master of Dreams?â€™
â€˜Master,â€™ replied the Queen, â€˜your reign in
this city is ended. The spell is broken, and the
victor is here. For three hundred years your
dwarfs have served you, and Night has kept
Life away from the city and the forest. At
length â€˜the rightful lord has fulfilled the pro-
phecy, and has met the Queen of the Dawn at
sunrise on the last day of the year. Now the
gold-haired child has but to unseal the Magic
Fountain, and the sons of those who were en-
chanted by the Lord of Dreams shall have their
own once more.â€™
The old man knelt at her feet.
â€˜Ah, Queen,â€™ said he, â€˜is all lost? Where
shall I find rest, and send my dreams abroad
into the world?â€™ -
â€˜Go,â€™ said she, â€˜summon your dwarfs and bid
them cease their clamour, Let them follow
156 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
you through the Great Forest to the shores of
the sea. There the ivory boats await you, and
you will pass away in them to the Country of
The old man bowed again, and sighing deeply,
passed down the marble stairs by which Ludovic
had come up. Ludovic, in blank amazement,
turned to the Queen, who saidâ€”
â€˜Follow; and led him also to the central
Dwarfs and monkeys alike stood speechless
with astonishment as the dreaded Master and
the lovely Queen, with her attendant elves, en-
tered into their midst ; but the dwarfs soon
realised their fate.
The Duke bade the monkeys unbind them
and let them go. The door was thrown open
and all tumult ceased as the Enchanter for the
first time during three centuries left the Palace
walls. Silently he went forth, silently his people
followed him, and left for ever the Rose City to
live and dream far off in the Country of the
â€˜Now,â€™ said the Queen, â€˜ fetch the child with
the ring; you must have brought her or you
would not be here. Then I will show you the
XI VICTORY AND TIDINGS 187
fountain, and my task will be done. It is only
on this day that I come to the Rose City. Then
I go to visit my sister the Queen of the Twi-
light, who lives in the Valley of Wishes, and so
' T pass on my way to other lands.â€™
She said the last words to Ludovic unheard
by Raymond ; for the moment that the order
to â€˜fetch the childâ€™ had been given, he had
dashed away with six monkeys in search of
The little girl had been left at a safe distance
from the city in charge of the four monkeys who
carried her chair. They were part of the shipâ€™s
crew, and had accompanied the army as her
Raymond found her in a great state of anxiety.
She had heard the cries of the combatants, and
had seen in the distance the long procession of
little white men and women passing away into
the forest. Now her joy and relief were great
when she heard that the victory was complete,
and that it only remained for her to come with
her precious ring and unseal the Magic Foun-
â€˜Welcome, little one,â€™ said the Queen of the
Dawn, when Olga was led into her presence ;
158 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP,
â€˜you have done much and have still much to
do, yet do not fear, for the omen of to-day is
She led the way through gardens, fair even in
winter, and fairer still by their promise of the
spring, till they came to a vast enclosed space
with a wall all round it. No door was visible,
and within was heard the murmur of falling
â€˜Do you remember,â€™ said the Queen, smiling
at Olga, â€˜how you opened the casket?â€™
Olga smiled in return, and kissing the signet
pressed it thrice against the marble wall. A
heavy door, hitherto unseen, immediately swung
back, and disclosed a large bath with a fountain
playing in the centre.
With one accord the soldier monkeys rushed
into the water, and in a few minutes issuedâ€”
apes no longer, but gallant knights clothed in
complete armour! The four sailors followed
their example, and were with equal promptitude
transformed into sturdy blue-jackets.
The knights at once knelt before Ludovic
and proffered him their oaths: of fealty, and he
and Raymond in turn did homage to Olga as
heiress of Lorlonia, and renewed their vow that
Xi VICTORY AND TIDINGS isg
their first enterprise should be to restore Eric to
Then all turned with warm thanks and offers
of service to the Queen of the Dawn.
She answered graciously that she rejoiced in
their happiness, and must now be gone.
â€˜To you, Princess Olga,â€™ she added, Â«1 repeat,
be brave still as you have been hitherto. Your
task 1s not yet over. I go where you see those
two black peaks rising in the east. Few can
distinguish them, fewer still can reach them.
They are the portals of the Black Gorge. I
know not whether you may yet have cause to
seek them, it would be a hard journey for one
so young, but remember my words, for you at
least behold them.â€™ -
. Olga kissed the Queenâ€™s hand, and then fixed
her eyes on the black peaks. Even while she
looked, the Queen with all her train passed
suddenly away, and not one of the company
could say whither she had gone.
â€˜Now,â€™ said Ludovic, â€˜the first step is won,
and we may rest awhile. Let us go into the
Palace where, if I mistake not, the dwarfs have
left goodly remnants of their feasts. We shall
none of us be sorry for breakfast.â€™
160 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
This proposal met with universal applause,
and the meal was in progress with merry jests
and laughter, when a clatter of horseâ€™s hoofs
was heard in the avenue, and a shout of â€˜ What
ho! is any one within?â€™ One of the knights
hastened to the door and saw a youth of about
fifteen, splashed with mud and looking pale and
â€˜Can you tell me where to find Princess Olga
of Lorlonia?â€™ he cried.
_ Â©She is here,â€™ answered the knight. â€˜ Come in
and rest yourself, and she will give you audience.â€™
â€˜I have no time to rest,â€™ replied the boy ;
â€˜I must speak with her at once. Could any
one give my horse a feed and rub down
The knight called one of the sailors, and
told him to do his best for the horse, while
he took the messenger into the hall.
â€˜Why, George!â€™ exclaimed Olga, instantly
recognising that luckless page. â€˜ How did you
George knelt and kissed her hand, then rising
â€˜I have pressing news for your rad
XI VICTORY AND TIDINGS 16%
â€˜I think you had better tell Duke Ludovic
and his son Raymond also,â€™ replied the little
girl. â€˜They are my friends and guardians,
and if your news is important I shall need
The page having consented, the Duke insisted
that he should eat a piece of bread and drink a
cup of wine, and then all four went into the
smaller hall, where George related as briefly
as he could the events which had happened since
the Hospodar wrote to Olga. Jagellon had
done his best to assemble an army to march
against Vladimir, but had found great difficulty.
Most of the knights and nobles were unwilling
to begin a campaign in the autumn, and wished
to await the return of the spring, when the
King might be expected back from his distant
expedition, and might take the whole question
in hand. Few believed that the children were
away in Monkey Island; some thought that
Vladimir himself had hidden them ; others that
they had been stolen and concealed by Macovros
or other friends of their own.
Some gave Count Vladimir credit for â€˜beings
really friendly to Eric, and others had been
won over to his side by bribes or promises.
162 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
The Hospodar regarded himself as pledged
to meet Olga in December, and hoped that
at least no one else would interfere, and
that he and Vladimir would be left to fight
the matter out on equal terms. Here also
he was unfortunately deceived. Once master
of Lorlonia, the Count had far larger resources
at his command than his opponent ; besides,
he was on the spot, while Jagellon had to
bring his men from a distance. Sir Witold
and several of his acquaintance brought troops,
and when Jagellon met the. traitors near Man-
dania, the frontier town, he and his men were
largely outnumbered. George and some others
who had escaped from the Castle of Lorlonia
had gathered as many friends as they could
and had joined the Hospodar.
â€˜If we had had you and Prince Eric with
us, he continued, â€˜we could have raised the
country. As it was, people did not know
whom to believe, or what to think. The end
of it was that the battle was fought yesterday,
and though our: men were as brave as lions,
and the Hospodar fought like a Paladin, we
got the worst of it, and had to fall back
on a neighbouring stronghold. Vladimir did
XI VICTORY AND TIDINGS 163
not gain much advantage, however, and the
battle has delayed his plans. Now I have
come post-haste to tell you that that scoundrel
Nicholas is dead, and has sent you a message.â€™
â€˜Nicholas dead, and sent me a message!â€™
exclaimed Olga, more and more astonished.
â€˜Yes. This is how it came about. He had
been annoyed with Count Vladimir for some
time. He had been his adviser and helped him
in everything, and thought that the Count did
not treat him properly. Just before the battle
he went to head-quarters and demanded to be
at once invested, in the presence of the principal
captains and leaders, with the fief of Tortosima,
which he said had been promised him long
ago. Count Vladimir gave an evasive answer,
Nicholas lost his temper, angry words passed.
At last Sir Witold jumped up and saidâ€”
â€˜Why not tell him the truth, Vladimir?
You can give him something else, but you
cannot give him Tortosima as you _ have
already given it to me.â€™
â€˜Nicholas was furious, and left the tent
vowing vengeance against both brothers-in-
law. He went to his quarters, summoned
half-a-dozen soldiers who were his personal
164 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
followers, and left the camp, meaning to desert
to the Hospodar.
â€˜Sir Witold evidently suspected something
of the sort, for he sent a couple of squires
after him, who caught sight of him as he was
approaching our lines. One of the squires shot
an arrow at him which wounded him mortally.
His men picked him up and rode forward to
our ranks, carrying a white cloth on the end of
a spear as a flag of truce. Our sentries let
them pass, seeing that their leader had been
wounded by the enemy, and just then I rode
up in attendance on the Hospodar.
â€˜Nicholas knew me, and called to me in a
faint voice that if I loved my masterâ€™s children
I should come and hear what he had to say
before he died. Jagellon gave me leave, telling
me to rejoin him as soon as possible. Nicholas
told me of his quarrel with Vladimir, and
added : â€œThis I know ; to-morrow night he
means to pass the Black Gorge into the Valley
of Wishes. He learnt from the enchanter of
the Rose City that whoso first crosses the stream
at the foot of those mountains after the bell
tolls the passing of the old year will gain the
fulfilment of any wish formed during the past
XI VICTORY â€˜AND TIDINGS 165
twelve months. He has wished to have Eric in
his power, and will claim that wish. Rumour
says that Princess Olga is somewhere in this
country. If you can find her and tell her this,
she may yet be beforehand with the Count.
The chance is small, and I care not much what
happens, yet I would rather she should gain
the day than that my ungrateful master should
triumph. I did all for him, and my death lies
at his door.â€ Having said this, he died.
â€˜I galloped back to the Hospodar, and found
him already advancing to battle, so I could not
tell him what I had heard till the fight was over.
â€˜Then he told me that you might possibly
be here, and that I could learn more at the
quarries. I reached them this morning, and
was obliged to rest my horse, while I found,
with some difficulty, a quarryman willing
to give me information as to where this city
â€˜Then,â€™ said Olga, who had hung breathless
on every word, â€˜I must cross the stream before
Vladimir. The Queen of the Dawn said I
might have to go, and it is the only way of
saving Eric. I know where the Black Gorge
lies. It is now nearly noon, and I have twelve
166 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
hours before midnight strikes. I must start
â€˜How will you go, my dear?â€™ said the
Duke. â€˜A child like you cannot cross those
dismal mountains. Let me go instead. I will
wish now whatever you desire, and claim the
â€˜No,â€™ replied Olga; â€˜the Queen said few
could reach the Valley, and that I could.
Besides, no one can do it in time unless they
ride. You are heavier than J am, and I should
have a better chance if George will nd me
â€˜Gladly, Princess,â€™ answered the page ; â€˜ but
I fear my horse would never do the distance in
twelve hours. He was in the battle yesterday,
and I rode him almost all last night. If you
could possibly have a strong pony, he would be
much more useful in those mountain paths. _ I
will go with you.â€™
â€˜No, you won't,â€™ said Raymond ; â€˜ you are
quite done up, and it is my turn now. Just
wait a minute. He was out of the hall
before any one could stop him, and back
â€˜T saw some ponies,â€™ he announced, breathless
xI VICTORY AND TIDINGS 167
from haste, â€˜as.we came here, grazing on the
edge of the forest. I have sent the sailors Â°
and some of the other men to catch two as
quickly as possible. â€˜ You lend us your saddle,
-and I will put it on one, and rig up a pillion
for Olga to sit behind me. We will lead the
other with us to change in case the first getsâ€™
tired by the time we reach the foot of the
mountains. Then we will let the first go, and
we will be over the stream before Vladimir,
THE VALLEY OF WISHES
Tue young moon shed her soft rays on two
travellers who were toiling up a stony path
between the frowning peaks which guarded the
The girl rode a shaggy pony, while the boy
had dismounted and trudged stoutly at her side.
â€˜Itâ€™s all right, Olga,â€™ said he, â€˜ we are in plenty
of time. The night is so clear and frosty that
the great bell which tolls the hours in the city
sounds even here. Listen !â€™
As he spoke the deep tones rang out, and the
children counted ten.
â€˜You see,â€™ continued Raymond, â€˜ we are near
the top of the Pass now, and it will be easy
enough going down. Are you very tired?â€™
CH. XII THE VALLEY OF WISHES 169
â€˜Oh no, but you must be; you have walked â€”
all the way from the foot of the mountain.â€™
â€˜Not a bit of it. It is much easier than
riding two on a pony uphillâ€”and safer too.â€™
Another half hour brought them to the sum-
mit, and they paused to look down on either
side. â€˜The descent before them seemed fairly
simple. There was no beaten track, but the
dry bed of a mountain stream wound between
large stones and low grassy banks till it dis-
appeared in the mist which overhung the valley
beneath ; and from the mist arose a murmuring
sound which they took to be the noise of the
stream which Olga was to cross when midnight
was past. ,
They turned to look at the path by which
they had climbed with great toil and difficulty.
It was so steep and rugged that Olga had often
proposed to leave the pony and clamber up on
foot. To this Raymond would not consent ;
he had insisted on dragging the pony up after
him, and was now very proud of his success.
â€˜Look !â€™ cried Olga suddenly, in a low and
alarmed tone. â€˜ What is that?â€™
Raymiond gave a suppressed whistle.
â€˜No doubt about it, I am afraid. It is your
170 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
scoundrel of a cousin. Well, he is coming up
the mountain with two other fellows, and they
all have heavy war-horses. We did not think
the way up particularly easy, and where a pony
stumbles a charger is uncommonly likely to fall.
Come along, Olga. They had better not see
us, for, though they would find it hard to catch
us, if they did manage it we should not be very
heavy weights to pitch over a precipice.â€™
Olga needed no second invitation to make
good speed, and as the bell sounded eleven, they
found themselves enveloped in mist and stand-
ing on the brink of the stream which formed
the boundary of the Valley of Wishes.
â€˜You must not cross yet,â€™ said Raymond in a
voice trembling with excitement. â€˜The best
thing to do will be to choose the easiest place
to get over, and then to hide quietly till we hear
the bell toll again. Then you can stand ready
and jump across the moment the twelfth stroke
â€˜How clever you are!â€ answered Olga; and
tired as they were the children walked slowly
along the bank till they found a place where
one or two large rocks might act as stepping
XII THE VALLEY OF WISHES 17
Raymond crossed forwards and backwards to
test them, and pronounced them quite satis-
â€œIt is warmer here than above,â€™ said he, < let
us sit down to rest, and eat the remainder of
They did so, and talked quietly together,
while the pony cropped the short grass near
them, till they heard voices at the top of the
â€˜They are there,â€™ whispered Olga in a tone
of alarm. â€˜I expect it is about half-past eleven
and they will be down in time.â€™
â€˜They may be down in time,â€™ whispered Ray-
mond in return; â€˜but we are here first, and
have found the best place to cross.â€™
â€˜Vladimir is a strong man and could jump
the stream anywhere,â€™ replied the little girl
â€˜Donâ€™t be afraid, only be ready,â€™ said the boy
in a consoling manner. â€˜Keep quite still now
while I lead the pony further off and tie him to
a tree. We must not let them suspect that we are
here, and then they wonâ€™t be in such a hurry.â€™
Raymond did as he proposed, and then re-
turned to Olga. The voices heard from time
172 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
to time were coming nearer, and at last the boy
whispered, â€˜â€™ They have left their horses and are
coming fast. I know what I will do. You see
that large rock close to where the Count will
jump the stream, if he arrives, as is most likely,
just in time? I will go and hide behind it, and
if he tries to cross at the same time you do, I
will leap out and catch hold of his leg. Of
course he is stronger than I am ; but a minuteâ€™s
delay will make the difference.â€™
â€˜He may hurt you !â€™
â€˜ He will have no time to attend to me. Stay
where you are, I must go at once before they
are near enough to see me.â€™
Olgaâ€™s heart almost stood still with terror
when Raymond left her on what she felt to be a
dangerous errand.. Alone in the middle of the
night, all depended on her courage and agility.
A false step and Vladimir would win. What
would that mean to Eric?
The voices were quite close now ; she could
hear the Count say to his companion, â€˜ We are
here, Witold; we win this venture also, and
then all is ours.â€™
â€˜Right, Vladimir,â€™ replied the other, as the
three men gained the level ground.
OLGA SPRANG TO THE
XI - THE VALLEY OF WISHES 173
â€˜Listen!â€™ cried the squire who attended
The first stroke of the midnight bell : One
Olga rose to her feet. Â© Vladimir drew nearer
to the stream.
As. the notes sounded, the Count exclaimed,
â€˜Here is the place !â€™
â€œYou can jump it easily,â€™ criedâ€™ Witold.
Olga sprang to the first stone.
The Count would haveâ€™ cleared the whole
stream while she did so, had not Raymond shot
like an eel from behind the rock. He caught
Vladimirâ€™s leg as he was in the very act of leap-
ing, and herâ€™ enemy fell head foremost into the
water as Olga safely gained the further shore.
Witold. seized Raymond, while the squire
hastened to help his master. The boy, however,
had not lived with monkeys so many years for
nothing. With a jerk he twisted himself out
of the knightâ€™s grasp and leapt the stream be-
fore the Count was on his feet again.
The three men-followed, but too late.
174 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
As the echoes of the great bell died slowly in
the mountain-tops the mist rolled away from
the valley and a crowd of weird and almost
undistinguishable forms thronged to meet the
new comers. Tall black beings, and little
children dressed in white, were mingled in hope-
less confusion with animals, known and un-
known, with fair ladies and dark-browed
brigands, even with plants and flowers which
seemed to have become alive and to desire
to join in this strange welcome to the New
â€˜Come this way,â€™ they cried, â€˜singling out
Olga from the men; â€˜you were the first to
cross the stream. Come this way and see our
The Count and his companions were too
much astounded by the spectacle to attempt
immediate vengeance on Raymond, who quietly
took Olgaâ€™s hand and led her forward, while
the others followed.
They soon perceived two ladies seated on a
throne on the top of a little hill, and Olga and
Raymond joyfully recognised in one of them
their friend the Queen of the Dawn. She was
dressed in soft pink draperies woven with threads
XII THE VALLEY OF WISHES 175
of gold which cast light around her whenever
she moved. On her head she wore a crown of
tiny sunbeams, and she carried a golden sceptre.
Her sister, the Queen of the Twilight, who
appeared to bear sway in the valley, wore
floating garments of blue and silver, her shadowy
veil was fastened to a coronet of stars, and in
her hand she held a silver wand.
â€œCome hither, child,â€™ she said kindly. â€˜ You
have fairly won your venture. Now choose
wisely and well. All depends upon your choice.â€™
During the hasty ride of the afternoon, and
the weary scaling of the mountain at night,
Olga had endeavoured to recall her wishes of
the past year. She had tried to frame new ones,
yet all she seemed able to say to herself and
Raymond was, â€˜ How I wish Eric were safe and
home again !â€™
What she had wished before she could hardly
remember, though she dimly felt that it was no
good to her cousin.
Now the Queen bade her stand by her side,
and told Raymond and the men to wait behind
her while she summoned the wishes of all the
mortals â€˜present to pass before them.
Raymondâ€™s wishes came first. They were a
176 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
cheery band: ponies, a bow and arrows, a suit
of armour ; these took quaint and lively shapes
as they hurried past. Clearest of all was the
floating form of a little girl, and Olga could not
help recognising it as a reflection of herself.
The Queen smiled, and the Queen of the
Dawn said, â€˜They may be realised yet,
Raymond, but my sister cannot give you the
The wishes of the squire and Sir Witold
followed. â€˜They were of sterner stuff, and as a
dark figure, with a dagger in one hand and aâ€™
bag of gold in the other, passed by with scowl-
ing glances, the Queen of the Twilight re-
â€˜It is well for you, Sir Knight, that such a
dream of crime and greed is not fulfilled. Wishes
like those bring their own punishment.â€™ â€”
Then came the wishes of Vladimirâ€”a princely
diadem stained with gore; a gloomy soldier
with downcast eyes, bearing a sceptre ; a veiled
form, which seemed to crush a child in its grasp :
these and many more, a dark and hideous troop,
The Count himself trembled as his thoughts
took shape before his eyes.
Xi THE VALLEY OF WISHES 177
â€˜Would it have been well with you if you
had had the choice of one of these?â€™ said the
Queen. â€˜ Now let Olgaâ€™s wishes appear and wait
before her ; for she must choose which shall be
fulfilled to-night. One only cannot be granted.
Her mother cannot live on earth again !â€™
Many a childish wish was there. Fresh flowers
in her garden, birds and holidays, a boat in which
she might row on the river, and other children to
_ play with. The sad wish lost for ever was there
also, and the tears filled Olgaâ€™s eyes as she saw
Last came two wishes, and all started as they
took their place. They both bore the likeness
of Vladimir. One was ghastly pale as if life
had left him ; the other was bright and smiling,
and bore an infant tenderly in his arms.
â€˜What are these wishes of yours, my child?â€™
said the Queen of the Twilight.
Olga turned pale and then flushed rosy red.
â€˜I think I remember now, your Majesty,â€™ she
answered timidly. â€˜When Cousin Vladimir left
our castle last summer he asked me what I
wished him, and I said I wished him to love
Eric really and truly. I suppose that is the
wish that -holds the baby.â€™
178 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
â€˜And the other?â€™ ;
Olga dropped her voice almost to a whisperâ€”
â€˜I know it was wrong, but I thought he
wanted to kill Eric, and I wished he were
â€˜You see you thought right,â€™ broke in Ray-
mond. â€˜His wishes showed that he did wish
to kill Eric, and you too, I expect.â€™
â€˜Hush, Raymond,â€™ said the Queen; â€˜she
must choose for herself and none may guide
Olga paused. Vladimir had been very cruel,
and wished to be more cruel still ; yet she could
not choose his death. There were her wishes
for Ericâ€™s safety, which stood before her as
smiling children. She might take one of those,
and leave the Count to the vengeance of Duke
Ludovic and her other friends. Yet would it
not be better even for Eric, and certainly for
Vladimir himself, that he too should become
the little Princeâ€™s friend? She thought
so, and advancing towards the form of
Vladimir holding the child, she touched it and
â€˜I choose that Cousin Vladimir shall love
_ Eric really and truly,â€™
XII THE VALLEY OF WISHES . 179
The whole of the thought-figures instantly
vanished away, and the real Vladimir, advanc-
ing from behind the throne, fell at the childâ€™s
feet and saidâ€”
â€˜Olga, you shall have your wish. I will
love Eric and be his faithful vassal. I thought
that this night would be my last when I saw your
wishes appear after you had seen all the wicked-
ness of mine. Youhave saved my life, and you
shall see that. even I know what gratitude
â€˜Well chosen, child,â€™ said the Queen of the
Twilight. â€˜There are few to whom it is given
to choose which of their wishes shall be fulfilled,
and fewer still to whom such a choice would
be a blessing. If you have friends for whom
you care, do not send them to this valley.
Let them win the prizes for which they long
by honest work and perseverance. A wish
formed in anger and gratified in haste may
injure an enemy, but will injure far more
him who has uttered it. However, this
warning is not for you. Your wish was
a right and good one, it has secured your
brotherâ€™s rights and won peace for his people.
Go home in happiness, and in years to , come
180 ERIC, PRINCE OF LORLONIA CHAP.
may Raymond also have his best wish grati-
Nearly seven happy years have hastened by,
and the Castle of Lorlonia is the scene of such
rejoicing as it never knew before.
On its highest tower floats the Royal
Standard, having on one side the Eagle Banner
of Lorlonia, and on the other Duke Ludovicâ€™s
Crimson Rose, for the King himself has come
to grace the marriage of Sir Raymond, youngest
yet bravest of his knights, with Princess Olga,
the fairest lady of his empire, and sister to the
most powerful of his princes.
The youthful Eric has met the monarch at
his frontier city and ridden with him to the
castle,,and he now dismounts and holds the
Kingâ€™s stirrup while he bids him welcome, and
thanks him for the honour done to his house.
_ Then a gallant throng of nobles, knights,
and fair ladies, proudly marshalled by the
ancient Seneschal, come forward to greet. their
sovereign and do him homage. There is the
brave Hospodar, rejoicing in. the happiness of
his little lady, now so tall and beautiful.
XII THE VALLEY OF WISHES 181
There is the good Duke Ludovic and_ his
kindly Duchess, proud of their brave son, and
feeling that the dearest wish of their hearts
is fulfilled, since he has won the bride whom
they destined for him years ago. Their summer
home is the Rose City, but they still spend the
winter months in their old dominion, now
called â€˜Olgaâ€™s Isle,â€™ for only one ape, the
cantankerous councillor, remains inâ€™ what was
once â€˜Monkey Island.â€™
Here are Irene and Xenia, each with: a
knightly husband, and Count. and Countess
Macovros, who once more live at the castle,
and train up their young Prince with devoted
care. They need no longer fear force or guile,
for Count Vladimir has kept his vow, and
is the most faithful of Ericâ€™s many faithful
George is here, and has become Raymondâ€™s
favourite squire and friend ; while in the back-
ground, among the retainers of the Prince who
are sharing in the gladness of the day, are
Nania and Catherine, and the sturdy Ivan, who.
says to the head-warderâ€”
â€˜Well, after all, I was right to catch Sir
Raymond, for if I had not done it, Princess
182 ERIC, PRINCE. OF LORLONIA CH. XII
Olga would never have known him; and I
do believe he will make her a good husband,
if she does not spoil him.â€™
And now the King salutes the bride, and
throws a chain of diamonds round her neck,
while he bids all present unite in his wishes
that the true knight Raymond may be ever
~ faithful and fortunate as he was in boyhood,
that Olga may gain for herself even more love
and homage in her happiness than she won in
her misfortune, and that many years of peace
and prosperity may attend Eric, Prince of
RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BUNGAY.
LE h OSES
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SF epee at
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The element type "div" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "