Von Blitz leaped upon a platform and shouted madly: “Fools! Don’t believe him! He cannot bring der ships here! He lies—he lies! He—”
At that moment, a shrill clamour of voices arose in the distance—the cries of women and children. Chase’s heart gave a great bound of joy. He knew what it meant. The crowd turned to learn the cause of this sudden disturbance. Across the square, coming from the town, raced the women and children, gesticulating wildly and screaming with excitement.
Chase pointed his finger at Von Blitz and shouted:
“I can’t, eh? There’s a British warship standing off the harbour now, and her guns are trained—”
But he did not complete the astounding, stupefying sentence. The women were screaming:
“The warship! The warship! Fly! Fly!”
In a second, the entire assemblage was racing furiously, doubtingly, yet fearfully toward the pier. Von Blitz and Rasula shouted in vain. They were left with Chase, who smiled triumphantly upon their ghastly faces.
“Gentlemen, they are not deceived. There is a warship out there. You came near to showing your hand to-night. Now come along with me, and I’ll show my hand to you. Rasula, you’d better draw in your claws. You’re entitled to some consideration. But Von Blitz! Jacob, you are standing on very thin ice. I can have you shot to-morrow morning.”
Von Blitz sputtered and snarled. “It is all a lie! It is a trick!” He would have drawn his revolver had not Rasula grasped his arm. The native lawyer dragged him off toward the pier, half-doubting his own senses.
Just outside the harbour, plainly distinguishable in the moonlight, lay a great cruiser, her searchlights whipping the sky and sea with long white lashes.
The gaping, awe-struck crowd in the street parted to let Chase pass through on his way to the bungalow. He was riding one of Wyckholme’s thoroughbreds, a fiery, beautiful grey. His manner was that of a medieval conqueror. He looked neither to right nor to left, but kept his eyes straight ahead, ignoring the islanders as completely as if they did not exist.
“It’s more like a Christian Endeavour meeting than it was ten minutes ago,” he was saying to himself, all the time wondering when some reckless unbeliever would hurl a knife at his back. He gravely winked his eye in the direction of the chateau. “Good old Britt!” he muttered in his exultation.
THE LANTERN ABOVE
Chase sat for hours on his porch that night, gazing down upon the chateau. Lights gleamed in a hundred of its windows. He knew that revelry held forth in what he was pleased enough to call the feudal castle, and yet his heart warmed toward the gay people who danced and sang while he thirsted at the gates.