Grumbach went into his wallet still again. This document the chancellor read with an interest foreign to the affair under his hand. Presently he laughed softly. Why, he could not readily have told.
“I am sorry, Herr Grumbach. All this unnecessary trouble simply because of the word Bavaria.”
“No trouble at all, your Excellency,” restoring his papers. “I have seen the inside of a real palace, and I never expected such an honor.”
“How long will you be making your visit?”
“Only a few days, your Excellency. Then I shall proceed to Bavaria.”
“Your excellency has no further orders?” said the head gardener patiently.
“Good Heaven, Breunner, I had forgotten all about you! There is nothing more. Gentlemen, your pardon for having detained you so long. Herr Captain, you will return with me to the ball-room?”
“If your excellency will excuse me, no. I am tired. I shall return to the hotel with Herr Grumbach.”
“As you please. Good night.”
The three left the cabinet under various emotions. The sub-chief bowed himself off at the gates, and Carmichael and Grumbach crossed the Platz leisurely.
“How did you come by that Bavarian passport?” asked Carmichael abruptly.
“It is a forgery, my friend, but his excellency will never find that out.”
“You have me all at sea. Why did he bring in the head gardener and leave him standing there all that while?”
“He had a sound purpose, but it fell. The head gardener did not recognize me.”
“Do you know him?”
“Yes. He is my elder brother.”
THE KING’S LETTER
The ambassador from Jugendheit, Baron von Steinbock, was not popular in Dreiberg, at least not among the people, who still held to the grand duke’s idea that the kingdom had been behind the abduction of the Princess Hildegarde. The citizens scowled at his carriage, they scowled at the mention of his name, they scowled whenever they passed the embassy, which stood in the heart of the fashionable residences in the Koenig Strasse. Never a hot-headed Dreiberger passed the house without a desire to loot it, to scale the piked fence and batter in the doors and windows. Steinbock himself was a polished, amiable gentleman, in no wise meriting this ill-feeling. The embassy was in all manner the most important in Dreiberg, though Prussia and Austria overshadowed it in wealth and prestige.
At this moment the people gazed at the house less in rancor than in astonishment. The king of Jugendheit was to marry her serene highness! It was a bad business, a bad business; no good would come of it. The great duke was a weak man, after all.
The menials in and about the embassy felt the new importance of their positions. So then, imagine the indignation of the majordomo, when, summoned at dusk one evening to the carriage gates, three or four days after the portentous news had issued from the palace, he found only a ragged and grimy carter who demanded peremptorily to be admitted and taken to his excellency at once.