“What do you mean, your Highness?” demanded St. George curtly.
“But is it not simple?” asked the prince, still smiling. “You have contrived a sensation for the great American newspaper. No one can doubt.”
King Otho leaned back in the beetling throne.
“Ah, yes,” he said, “it is true. Something has been contrived. But—is the sensation of his contriving, Prince?”
Olivia stood silent. It was not possible, it was not possible, she said over mechanically. For St. George to have come with this story of a potion—a drug that had restored youth to her father, had transformed him from that mad old Malakh—
“Father!” she cried appealingly, “don’t you remember—don’t you know?”
King Otho, watching the prince, shook his head, smiling.
“At dawn,” he said, “there are few of us to be found remaining still at table with Socrates. I seem not to have been of that number.”
“Olivia!” cried St. George suddenly.
She met his eyes for a moment, the eyes that had read her own, that had given message for message, that had seen with her the glory of a mystic morning willingly relinquished for a diviner dawn. Was she not princess here in Yaque? She laid her hand upon her father’s hand; the crown that they had given her glittered as she turned toward the multitude.
“My people,” she said ringingly, “I believe that that man speaks the truth. Shall the prince not answer to this charge before the High Council now—here—before you all?”
At this King Otho did something nearly perceptible with his eyebrows. “Perfect. Perfect. Quite perfect,” he said below his breath. The next instant the eyelids of the sovereign drooped considerably less than one would have supposed possible. For from every part of the great chamber, as if a storm long-pent had forced the walls of the wind, there came in a thousand murmurs—soft, tremulous, definitive—the answering voice to Olivia’s question:
“Yes. Yes. Yes...”
OUT OF THE HALL OF KINGS
In Prince Tabnit’s face there was a curious change, as if one were suddenly to see hieroglyphics upon a star where before there had been only shining. But his calm and his magnificent way of authority did not desert him, as so grotesque a star would still stand lonely and high in the heavens. He spoke, and upon the multitude fell instant silence, not the less absolute that it harboured foreboding.
“Whatever the people would say to me,” said the prince simply, “I will hear. My right hand rests in the hand of the people. In return I decree allegiance to the law. Your princess stands before you, crowned. This most fortunate return of his Majesty, the King, can not set at naught the sacred oath which has just left her lips. Henceforth, in council and in audience, her place shall be at his Majesty’s right hand, as was the place