the fireplace on either
side was in reality a door hiding the entrance to a shaft that rose
from the vaults beneath the castle to the roof. At each floor there
was a similar secret door concealing the mouth of the passage. From
the vaults a corridor led through another secret panel to the tunnel
that wound downward to the cave in the hillside.
"Beyond that we shall find horses, your majesty," concluded the old
man. "They have been hidden in the woods since I came to Blentz.
Each day I go there to water and feed them."
During the servant's explanation Barney had been casting about in
his mind for some means of rescuing the princess without so great
risk of detection, and as the plan of the secret passageway became
clear to him he thought that he saw a way to accomplish the thing
with comparative safety in so far as detection was concerned.
"Who occupies the floor above us, Joseph?" he asked.
"It is vacant," replied the old man.
"Good! Come, show me the entrance to the shaft," directed Barney.
"You will go without attempting to succor the Princess Emma?"
exclaimed the old fellow in ill-concealed chagrin.
"Far from it," replied Barney. "Bring your rope and the swords. I
think we are going to find the rescuing of the Princess Emma the
easiest part of our adventure."
The old man shook his head, but went to another room of the suite,
from which he presently emerged with a stout rope about fifty feet
in length and two swords. As he buckled one of the weapons to Barney
his eyes fell upon the American's seal ring that encircled the third
finger of his left hand.
"The Royal Ring of Lutha!" exclaimed Joseph. "Where is it, your
majesty? What has become of the Royal Ring of the Kings of Lutha?"
"I'm sure I don't know, Joseph," replied the young man. "Should I be
wearing a royal ring?"
"The profaning miscreants!" cried Joseph. "They have dared to filch
from you the great ring that has been handed down from king to king
for three hundred years. When did they take it from you?"
"I have never seen it, Joseph," replied the young man, "and possibly
this fact may assure you where all else has failed that I am no true
king of Lutha, after all."
"Ah, no, your majesty," replied the old servitor; "it but makes
assurance doubly sure as to your true identity, for the fact that
you have not the ring is positive proof that you are king and that
they have sought
" And so the two walked together through the dark alley to the end of the rickety, dismantled dock; the one thinking of the vast reward the King would lavish upon her for the information she felt sure she alone could give; the other feeling beneath his mantle for the hilt of a long dagger which nestled there.Page 35
" "But what be the duties?" said he whom they called Peter the Hermit.Page 36
" "'Tis well, my son, and even as I myself would have it; together we shall ride out, and where we ride, a trail of blood shall mark our way.Page 40
Few of them had seen his face and fewer still had spoken with him, but they loved his name and his prowess and in secret they prayed for him to their ancient god, Wodin, and the lesser gods of the forest and the meadow and the chase, for though they were confessed Christians, still in the hearts of many beat a faint echo of the old superstitions of their ancestors; and while they prayed also to the Lord Jesus and to Mary, yet they felt it could do no harm to be on the safe side with the others, in case they did happen to exist.Page 43
Then he turned once more to face her enemies with the strange inconsistency which had ever marked his methods.Page 46
"What boon would the knight ask?" "That whatsoever a bad report you hear of your knight, of whatsoever calumnies may be heaped upon him, you shall yet ever be his friend, and believe in his honor and his loyalty.Page 55
" "Fear not, Mary," replied Bertrade.Page 58
There was a glint of armor among the drenched foliage, but the rain-buffeted eyes of the riders saw it not.Page 71
" He did not answer at once and her heart rose in her breast as it filled with the hope that her brave rescuer might be the same Roger de Conde who had saved her from the hirelings of Peter of Colfax but a few short weeks since.Page 73
It was a gorgeous, impressive spectacle, but one so common in those fierce, wild days, that none thought it worthy of more than a passing backward glance.Page 86
" Norman of Torn made no attempt to deny the reason for his visit, but asked bluntly if she heard aught of Bertrade de Montfort.Page 88
" It was at this time that the King's soldiers were harassing the lands of the rebel barons, and taking a heavy toll in revenge for their stinging defeat at Rochester earlier in the year, so that it was scarcely safe for small parties to venture upon the roadways lest they fall into the hands of the mercenaries of Henry III.Page 109
One was that the girl he had left still loved him, and that some day, mayhap tomorrow, she would suffer because she had sent him away; and the other was that he did not love her, that his heart was locked in the fair breast of Bertrade de Montfort.Page 115
Though he had never formally espoused the cause of the barons, it now seemed a matter of little doubt but that, in any crisis, his grisly banner would be found on their side.Page 125
Possibly it be but a bad habit that will yield to my maturer years.Page 127
"Oh, save me, save me! for he has come to kill me," he ended in a pitiful wail.Page 128
" Slowly, the palsied limbs of the great coward bore him tottering to the center of the room, where gradually a little clear space had been made; the men of the party forming a circle, in the center of which stood Peter of Colfax and Norman of Torn.Page 136
"I do not understand you, my friend.Page 139
They must not find thee here, Norman of Torn, for the King has only this night wrung a promise from my father to take thee in the morning and hang thee.Page 145
Gently, he lifted her to the waiting arms of Philip of France, and then the King, with his own hands, tore off the shirt of mail, and with trembling fingers ripped wide the tunic where it covered the left breast of the Devil of Torn.