She thanked me with her eyes, and took the dagger and hid it in her bosom.
“There is one other matter,” said Rudolph to Max; “the meeting next Monday night is to be a very important one, I think, from certain indications. It is called to prepare for an expected outbreak of the people. It would be well that some reliable person should be present, as heretofore, who can report to you all that occurs. If you can send me a discreet man I can hide him where I have before hidden our brethren.”
“Why could I not serve the purpose?” I said. “I will be here anyhow; and as I would have to remain until the gathering broke up, I might just as well witness the proceedings.”
“He is not one of us,” said Rudolph, doubtfully.
“No,” replied Max; “but I will vouch for his fidelity with my life.”
“Then be it so,” said Rudolph. “Let Miss Washington withdraw by the farther door; and after a reasonable delay we will pass through into a communicating series of rooms, and I will then show your friend where he is to be concealed.”
I had seen something of the magnificence of this age, and of the splendor of its lordly habitations; but I was not prepared for the grandeur of the rooms through which Rudolph led me. It would be impossible to adequately describe them. We moved noiselessly over carpets soft and deep as a rich sward, but tinted with colors and designs, from the great looms of the world, beside which the comparison of nature’s carpets seemed insignificant. We passed up great winding stairs, over which, it seemed to me, three carriages might have been driven abreast; we were surrounded at every step by exquisite statuary and royal paintings; our course led through great libraries where the softened light fell on the endless arrays of richly-bound books. But they were as dead intelligence under the spell of a magician. No pale students sat at the tables here, availing themselves of the treasures which it had taken generations to assemble, and some of which could scarcely be found elsewhere. Men and women passed and repassed us; for the house was so full of servants that it seemed like a town in itself. Here and there were quiet-looking watchmen, who served the place of police in a great city, and whose duty it was to keep watch and ward over the innumerable articles which everywhere met the eye—costly books, works of art, bronzes, jeweled boxes, musical instruments, small groups of exquisite statuary, engravings, curios, etc., from all quarters of the earth. It represented, in short, the very profligacy and abandon of unbounded wealth. Each room seemed to contain a king’s ransom. I could not help but contrast this useless and extravagant luxury, which served no purpose but display and vanity, with the dreadful homes and working-places of the poor I had visited the day before. And