“I am glad that you have been able to do so, but your appearance, at present, is rather that of a wealthy Polish noble, than of a companion of brigands.”
“I was able to do some service to Count Staroski, as, when travelling with his wife and child, and his brother, Count John, he was attacked by a pack of wolves. I have been staying with him for some weeks, and his brother has now had the kindness to accompany me here. He has thereby made my passage through the country easy, as we have travelled with fast horses in his sledge, and have always put up at the chateaux of nobles of his acquaintance. I have, therefore, avoided all risk of arrest at towns. In the letter forwarded to you I explained the real circumstances of the death of the Jew.”
“Yes, we quite understood that, Captain Carstairs. You had a very narrow escape from death at his hands, and, as the danger was incurred purely in the king’s service, it will not be forgotten. Up to the time when the Jew organized the attack upon you in Warsaw, I was well satisfied with your reports of your work. So far nothing has come of it, as Augustus has been too strong for any movement against him, but we hope, ere long, to defeat him so decisively that our friends will be able to declare against him. I will inform the king of your return, and I have no doubt he will be glad to hear your story from your own lips. He loves tales of adventure, and time hangs somewhat heavily on hand, as, until the frost breaks, nothing can be done in the field.”
On the following day, indeed, Charlie was sent for to the royal quarters, and had to recount the story of his adventures in full to the king, who was highly interested in them, and at the conclusion requested him to introduce Count John Staroski, in order that he might express to him his obligation for the service he had rendered to one of his officers. This done, Charlie drove out with the count to the village where Colonel Jamieson’s regiment was quartered, and where his return was received with delight by Harry, and with great pleasure by Major Jervoise and his fellow officers. He was obliged to give a short outline of what he had been doing since he left, but put off going into details for a future occasion.
“And are you coming back to us now, Charlie?” Harry asked.
“Certainly. My success in the diplomatic way was not sufficiently marked for them to be likely to employ me in that line again. We must return this afternoon, as the king has invited us both to sup with him tonight.”