The Goose Girl eBook

Harold MacGrath
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about The Goose Girl.

“The cavalry, Highness,” said Hans, without hesitation.

She laughed.  “If you had been a foot-soldier, you would have said the infantry; of the artillery, you would have sworn by the cannon.”

“That is true, Highness.  The three arms are necessary, but there is ever the individual pride in the arm one serves in.”

“And that is right.  You speak good English,” she remarked.

“I have lived more than sixteen years in America, Highness.”

“Do you like it there?”

“It is a great country, full of great ideas and great men, Highness.”

“And you will go back?”

“Soon, Highness.”

The mare, knowing that this was the way home, grew restive and began prancing and pawing the road.  She reined in quickly.  As she did so, something yellow flashed downward and tinkled as it struck the ground.  Grumbach hastened forward.

“My locket,” said her highness anxiously.

“It is not broken, Highness,” said Grumbach; “only the chain has come apart.”  Then he handed it to her gravely.

“Thank you!” Her highness put both chain and locket into a small purse which she carried in her belt, touched the mare, and sped up the road, Carmichael following.

Grumbach returned to the parapet.  He followed them till they passed out of sight beyond the gates.

Gott!” he murmured.

His face was as livid as the scar on his head.

CHAPTER XV

THE WRONG MAN

Herbeck dropped his quill, and there was a dream in his eyes.  His desk was littered with papers, well covered with ink; flowing sentences, and innumerable figures.  He was the watch-dog of the duchy.  Never a bill from the Reichstag that did not pass under his cold eye before it went to the duke for his signature, his approval, or veto.  Not a copper was needlessly wasted, and never was one held back unnecessarily.  Herbeck was just both in great and little things.  The commoners could neither fool nor browbeat him.

The dream in his eyes grew; it was tender and kindly.  The bar of sunlight lengthened across his desk, and finally passed on.  Still he sat there, motionless, rapt.  And thus the duke found him.  But there was no dream in his eyes; they were cold with implacable anger.  He held a letter in his hand and tossed it to Herbeck.

“I shall throw ten thousand men across the frontier to-night, let the consequences be what they may.”

“Ten thousand men?” The dream was shattered.  War again?

“Read that.  It is the second anonymous communication I have received within a week.  As the first was truthful, there is no reason to believe this one to be false.”

Herbeck read, and he was genuinely startled.

“What do you say to that?” triumphantly.

“This,” with that rapid decision which made him the really great tactician he was.  “Let them go quietly back to Jugendheit.”

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Project Gutenberg
The Goose Girl from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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