“Why did you assist him?” she demanded.
“Details are tiresome, Miss Thorne,” replied Mr. Grimm with the utmost courtesy. “There is one other thing I know—that the Latin compact will not be signed in the United States.”
The prince’s eyes met Miss Thorne’s inquiringly, and she shook her head. The sneer was still playing about his mouth.
“Anything else of special interest that you know?” he queried.
“Yes, of interest to both you and Miss Thorne. That is merely if the Latin compact is signed anywhere, the English-speaking countries of the world might construe it as a casus belli and strike soon enough, and hard enough, to put an end to it once for all.”
Again there was silence for a little while. Slowly the prince’s eyes were darkening, and a shadow flitted across Miss Thorne’s face. The prince rose impatiently.
“Well, what is the meaning of all this? Are you going to take me back to prison?”
“No,” said Mr. Grimm. He glanced at his watch. “I will give each of you one-half hour to pack your belongings. We must catch a train at one o’clock.”
“Leave the city?” gasped Miss Thorne.
“Impossible!” exclaimed the prince.
“One-half hour,” said Mr. Grimm coldly.
“But—but it’s out of the question,” expostulated Miss Thorne.
“One-half hour,” repeated Mr. Grimm. He didn’t dare to meet those wonderful blue-gray eyes now. “A special car with private compartments will be attached to the regular train, and the only inconvenience to you will be the fact that the three of us will be compelled to sit up all night. Half a dozen other Secret Service men will be on the train with us.”
And then the prince’s entire manner underwent a change.
“Mr. Grimm,” he said earnestly, “it is absolutely necessary that I remain in Washington for another week—remain here even if I am locked up again—lock me up again if you like. I can’t sign compacts in prison.”
“Twenty-five minutes,” replied Mr. Grimm quietly.
“But here,” exclaimed the prince explosively, “I have credentials which will insure my protection in spite of your laws.”
“I know that,” said Mr. Grimm placidly. “Credentials of that nature can not be presented at midnight, and you will not be here to-morrow to present them. The fact that you have those credentials, your Highness, is one reason why you must leave Washington now, to-night.”
They paused in the office, the three of them, and while Miss Thorne was giving some instructions as to her baggage the prince went over to the telegraph booth and began to write a message on a blank. Mr. Grimm appeared at his elbow.
“No,” he said.
“Can’t I send a telegram if I like?” demanded the prince sharply.
“No, nor a note, nor a letter, nor may you speak to any one,” Mr. Grimm informed him quietly.