The card bore the name:
“Vicomte Leon Barthelmy, K. K., Colonel of Cavalry.”
Count Vavel tried to remember where he had heard the name before, but without success. He quieted his dread which this act of ceremony had aroused in him by the thought that it contained no further significance than the conventional courtesy which a stranger felt himself called upon to pay to a resident.
The call would, of course, have to be returned. From his observatory Count Vavel informed himself at what hour the colonel betook himself to the exercise-ground, and chose that time to make his visit. Naturally he found the colonel absent, and left a card for him. A few days afterward Colonel Barthelmy again alighted from his horse at the door of the Nameless Castle, and again met with a disappointment—the Herr Count was not at home to visitors; he was engaged, and had given orders not to be disturbed.
Again the troop’s commander left his card, determining to remain indoors at the manor until the return visit had been paid, which would have to be done within twenty-four hours if no rudeness were intended.
He was not a little astonished to find, on returning to the manor, that Count Vavel had left a card for him with the porter. Such promptness perplexed the colonel. How had the count managed to reach the manor before he did? The porter informed him that the gentleman from the Nameless Castle had rowed across the cove, which was a much shorter way than by the carriage-road around the shore.
The colonel now determined to prove that he was an obstinate and persistent admirer of the occupant of the Nameless Castle. He paid a third visit at eight o’clock the next evening. This time Henry informed the visitor that the count had gone to bed.
“Is he ill?” inquired the colonel.
“No; this is his usual hour for retiring.”
“But how can a man who is not ill go to bed at eight o’clock?”
And again he handed Henry a card.
This visit Count Vavel returned the next morning at three o’clock. At this hour, as may be supposed, every soul in the manor was still sound asleep. Only the guards on watch at the gate demanded: “Halt! Who comes there?”
On learning that the intruder was a “friend,” they allowed him to waken the porter, who thrust his frowzy head from the half-open door to ask, in surprise, what was wanted.
“Is the Herr Colonel at home?” inquired Count Vavel.
“Yes, your lordship; but he is in bed.”
“Is he ill?”
“No, your lordship; but he is in bed, of course, at this hour.”
“Why, how can a man who is not ill stay in bed until three o’clock?”
The count turned over a corner of his card, and handed it to the porter.
This, at last, the colonel understood, and left no
more cards at the
* * * * *