“That,” the Kaiser said, “is well spoken. It is the spirit, I believe, with which every son of my Empire regards the future. I think that they, too, more especially those who surround my person, have felt something of that divine message which has come to me. For many years I have, for the sake of my people, willed peace. Now that the time draws near when Heaven has shown me another duty, I have no fear but that every loyal German will bow his head before the lightnings which will play around my sword and share with me the iron will to wield it. Your audience is finished, Baron Von Ragastein. You will take your place with the gentlemen of my suite in the retiring-room. We shall proceed within a few minutes and leave you at the Belgian frontier.”
Dominey rose, bowed stiffly and backed down the carpeted way. The Kaiser was already bending once more over the map. Seaman, who was waiting outside the door of the anteroom, called him in and introduced him to several members of the suite. One, a young man with a fixed monocle, scars upon his face, and a queer, puppet-like carriage, looked at him a little strangely.
“We met some years ago in Munich, Baron,” he remarked.
“I acknowledge no former meetings with any one in this country,” Dominey replied stiffly. “I obey the orders of my Imperial master when I wipe from my mind every episode or reminiscence of my former days.”
The young man’s face cleared, and Seaman, by his side, who had knitted his brows thoughtfully, nodded understandingly.
“You are certainly a good actor, Baron,” he declared. “Even your German has become a little English. Sit down and join us in a glass of beer. Luncheon will be served to us here in a few minutes. You will not be recalled to the Presence until we set you down.”
Dominey bowed stiffly and took his place with the others. The train had already started. Dominey gazed thoughtfully out of the window. Seaman, who was waiting about for his audience, patted him on the arm.
“Dear friend,” he said, “I sympathise with you. You sorrow because your back is now to Berlin. Still, remember this, that the day is not far off when the sentence of exile against you will be annulled. You will have expiated that crime which, believe me, although I do not venture to claim a place amongst them, none of your friends and equals have ever regarded in the same light as His Imperial Majesty.”
A smiling steward, in black livery with white facings, made his appearance and served them with beer in tall glasses. The senior officer there, who had now seated himself opposite to Dominey, raised his glass and bowed.
“To the Baron Von Ragastein,” he said, “whose acquaintance I regret not having made before to-day. May we soon welcome him back, a brother in arms, a companion in great deeds! Hoch!”