“Oh, you are wonderful, Victor,” she murmured as she drew on her coat. “But what corner of the earth is there where we should be safe?”
“I am going,” Mr. Sabin said, “to try and make every corner of the earth safe.”
She was bewildered, but he only laughed and held open the door for her. Mr. Sabin made no secret of his departure. He lingered for a moment in the doorway to light a cigarette, he even stopped to whisper a few words to the little man in plain dinner clothes who was lounging in the doorway. But when they had once left the hotel they drove fast.
In less than half an hour Paris was behind them. They were traveling in a royal saloon and at a fabuulous cost, for in France they are not fond of special trains. But Mr. Sabin was very happy. At least he had escaped an ignominious defeat. It was left to him to play the great card.
“And now,” Lucille said, coming out from her little bed-chamber which the femme de chambre was busy preparing, “suppose you tell me where we are going.”
Mr. Sabin smiled.
“Do not be alarmed,” he said, “even though it will sound to you the least likely place in the world. We are going to Berlin.”
The great room was dimly enough lit, for the windows looking out upon the street were high and heavily curtained, The man who sat at the desk was almost in the shadow. Yet every now and then a shaft of sunlight fell across his pale, worn face. A strange combination this of the worker, the idealist, the man of affairs. From outside came the hum of a great city. At times, too, there came to his ears as he sat here the roar of nations at strife, the fierce underneath battle of the great countries of the world struggling for supremacy. And here at this cabinet this man sat often, and listened, strenuous, romantic, with the heart of a lion and the lofty imagination of an eagle, he steered unswervingly on to her destiny a great people. Others might rest, but never he.
He looked up from the letter spread out before him. Lucille was seated at his command, a few yards away. Mr. Sabin stood respectfully before him.
“Monsieur le Duc,” he said, “this letter, penned by my illustrious father to you, is sufficient to secure my good offices. In what manner can I serve you?”
“Your Majesty,” Mr. Sabin answered, “in the first place by receiving me here. In the second by allowing me to lay before you certain grave and very serious charges against the Order of the Yellow Crayon, of which your Majesty is the titular head.”
“The Order of the Yellow Crayon,” the Emperor said thoughtfully, “is society composed of aristocrats pledged to resist the march of socialism. It is true that I am the titular head of this organisation. What have you to say about it?”
“Only that your Majesty has been wholly deceived,” Mr. Sabin said respectfully, “concerning the methods and the working of this society. Its inception and inauguration were above reproach. I myself at once became a member. My wife, Countess of Radantz, and sole representative of that ancient family, has been one all her life.”