Vavel took the letter, and said: “Rest here until I return. You will find something to eat and drink in the corner there. I may want you to ride farther to-night.”
“If I am to go on a horse, that will rest me sufficiently,” was the response.
Vavel quitted the tent to read the letter by the nearest watch-fire. It was addressed to “General Guillaume.”
That the general commanded a brigade of the viceroy of Italy’s troops, Vavel knew.
The letter was a long one—four closely written pages. Before reading it Vavel glanced at the signature: “Marquis de Fervlans.” The name seemed familiar, but he could not remember where he had heard it. He was fully informed when he read the contents:
“M. GENERAL: The intrigue has been successfully carried out. Themire has found the fugitives! They are hidden in a secluded nook on the shore of Lake Neusiedl in Hungary, where their extreme caution has attracted much attention. Themire’s first move was to take up her abode in the same neighborhood, which she did in a masterly manner. The estate she bought belonged to a Viennese baron who had ruined himself by extravagance. Themire bought the property, paying one hundred thousand guilders for it, on condition that she might also assume the baron’s name; such transfers are possible, I believe, in Austria. In this wise Themire became the Baroness Katharina Landsknechtsschild, and, as she thoroughly understands the art of transformation, became a perfect German woman before she took possession of her purchase. In order not to arouse suspicion on the part of the fugitives, she carefully avoided meeting either of them, and played to perfection the role of a lady that had been jilted by her lover.
“Themire learned that our fugitive owned a powerful telescope with which he kept himself informed of everything that happened in the neighborhood, and this prompted her to adopt a very amusing plan of action. I wanted to put an end at once to the matter, and had gone to Vienna for the purpose of so doing. I entered the Austrian army as Count Leon Barthelmy, in order to be near my chosen emissary. But my scheme was without result. I had planned that a notorious robber of that region should steal the girl and the documents from the Nameless Castle,—as the abode of the fugitives is called,—but my robber proved unequal to the task. Consequently I was forced to accept Themire’s more tedious but successful plan. The difficulty was for Themire to become acquainted with our fugitive without arousing his suspicions. An opportunity offered. One night, when we knew to a certainty that the hermit in the Nameless Castle would be in his observatory because of an eclipse of the moon, Themire put her plan into operation. The hermit, who is only a man, after all, found a lovely woman more attractive than all the planets in the universe; he was captured in the net laid for