“In one minute!” Five crowns and three made eight crowns; not a bad business these dull times.
Carmichael lolled in the worn cushions, wondering whether or not to question his man. But it was so unusual for a person of such particular habits as the chancellor to ride in an ordinary carriage. Carmichael slid over to the forward seat and touched the jehu on the back.
“Where did you take the chancellor to-night?” he asked.
“Du lieber Gott! Was that his excellency? He said he was the chief steward.”
“So he is, my friend. I was only jesting. Where did you take him?”
“I took him to the Krumerweg. He was there half an hour. Number forty.”
“Where did you take the veiled lady?”
The coachman drew in suddenly and apprehensively. “Herr, are you from the police?”
“Thousand thunders, no! It was by accident that I stood near the gate when she got out. Who was she?”
“That is better. They both told me that they were giving charity. I did not see the lady’s face, but she went into number forty, the same as the steward. You won’t forget the extra crown, Herr?”
“No; I’ll make it five. Turn back and leave me at the Grand Hotel.” Then he muttered: “Krumerweg, crooked way, number forty. If I see this old side-paddler stopping at the palace steps again, I’ll take a look at number forty myself.”
On the return to the hotel the station omnibus had arrived with a solitary guest. A steamer trunk and a couple of bags were being trundled in by the porter, while the concierge was helping a short, stocky man to the ground. He hurried into the hotel, signed the police slips, and asked for his room. He seemed to be afraid of the dark. He was gone when Carmichael went into the office.
“Your Excellency,” said the concierge, rubbing his hands and smiling after the manner of concierges born in Switzerland, “a compatriot of yours arrived this evening.”
“What name?” indifferently. Compatriots were always asking impossible things of Carmichael, introductions to the grand duke, invitations to balls, and so forth, and swearing to have him recalled if he refused to perform these offices.
The concierge picked up the slips which were to be forwarded to the police.
“He is Hans Grumbach, of New York.”
“An adopted compatriot, it would seem. He’ll probably be over to the consulate to-morrow to have his passports looked into. Good night.”
So Hans Grumbach passed out of his mind; but for all that, fortune and opportunity were about to knock on Carmichael’s door. For there was a great place in history ready for Hans Grumbach.
AT THE BLACK EAGLE