The Hosts of the Air by Joseph A. Altsheler
Chapter XI. The Efficient Hostler
When John Scott returned to the stables his pulses were still throbbing with joy and he trod the grass of the Elysian Fields. Young love is pure and noble, a spontaneous emotion that has nothing in it of calculation, and the wild and strange setting of his romance merely served to deepen his feelings.
He was the young crusader again, a knight coming to rescue his lady from the hands of the infidels. He had made the impossible possible. He had seen her and spoken with her, and despite his peasant clothes and his position of a menial that he had willingly taken, she had known him at once. He had seen the deep color flushing into her face and the light like the first arrow of dawn spring into her eyes, and he knew that he had not come in vain.
He put so much vigor into his work, and he whistled and sang, low but so joyously that the stolid Walther took notice.
"Why are you so happy, you Castel?" he asked.
"I've seen the sun, Herr Walther."
"There is nothing uncommon about that. The sun has risen every morning for a million years and more."
"But not this sun, Herr Walther. It never rose before and it's the brightest and most glorious of them all."
Walther looked up at the sun. It was in truth bright, casting a golden glow over all the mountains, but he saw nothing new about it.
"It's a fine sun, as you say," he said, "but it's the same as ever. Ah, you're French after all--in blood, I mean, I don't question your loyalty--and you see things that are not. Too much imagination, Castel. Quit it. It's not wholesome."
"But I'm enjoying it, Herr Walther. Imagination is a glorious thing. You see the same sun that I do in so far as our eyes are able to look upon it, but you do not see it in the same way. It appears far more splendid and glorious to me than it does to you. Our eyes are mirrors and mine reflect today with much more power and much more depth of color than yours do."
Walther stared at him, comprehending but little of what he had said, and shook his head slowly.
"Your French blood is surely on top now, Castel," he said. "I should call you a little mad if you didn't work so hard and with such a good heart."
"Ah, well, if we enjoy our madness, pray let us remain so."
Walther shook his head again, and walked away some distance where he stopped, and looked long at his new helper who toiled with uncommon diligence but who whistled and sang in a low but happy manner as he toiled. A new thought was slowly making its way into his stolid brain. A man might have a madness, and be none the worse for it. Well, every one to his own madness.
John had heard from Ilse that Julie walked on the terrace twice every day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and he strove so to arrange his work that he might see her again that afternoon. Knowing that he was already a favorite with Walther he made many suggestions. This horse or that needed exercise, and one that had been a favorite with the prince before he had taken to the automobile, and that even now was often ridden by him, would be all the better for sun and air. Walther agreed with him and John deftly postponed the time until about four o'clock, the warmest and brightest part of the afternoon, when he thought it most likely that Julie would come again.
He led the horse back and forth along a road that led from the stables to a forest hanging on the slope, being in sight of the terrace about half the way. But the terrace was bare and it was not until he had made three or four turns that Julie with her following shadow, Suzanne, appeared. Again John's heart beat heavily, and the hand that held the bridle trembled. He could not help it. His mind, highly sensitive and imaginative, was nevertheless powerful and tenacious to the last degree. And he was there in the heart of old romance. The vast castle, gray and sinister, loomed above him, but beyond was the golden light on the mountains.
He did not try to attract her attention, but, walking calmly on with the horse, poured all his soul into the wish that she would look his way. He had not the remotest belief in the supernatural as he told himself again, but he continued to wish it with all his power and strength, and presently her gaze turned toward the young peasant and the horse who were walking slowly up and down the road. He was too far away to read her face, but his fond fancy told him that she rejoiced again to see him there.
She looked at him a little while, but she made no sign or signal. He expected none. She would know too well that it might create suspicion and from some one of the many windows of the castle jealous eyes might be watching.
She advanced to the edge of the terrace with her faithful shadow still close behind her, and then the prince came. He was in a white and silver uniform of Austria, a magnificent figure of a man, despite his middle years, and his great brown beard gave him a majestic aspect. But John knew that his eyes were set close together and that the soul behind them was unscrupulous and cruel.
He saw Auersperg take off his gorgeous hat and bow low before the young Julie. Then they walked together on the terrace, the dark shadow of Suzanne following, but further behind now.
John's heart was filled with a fierce and consuming rage. The presence of Auersperg, magnificent, triumphant, powerful, a medieval baron here in the most medieval of all settings, a very monarch indeed, brought him back to earth. What could he do alone in the face of so much might? What could Julie herself do, helpless, before so much pressure? And, after all, from his point of view and from the point of view from his class, Auersperg was making her a great offer, one that nobles in the two empires would hold to be most honorable. For the first time he felt a tremor of doubt, and then he stilled it as base and unworthy. The very word "morganatic" was repulsive to him. It implied that the man stooped, and that the woman surrendered something no real wife could yield. Julie, whose blood was the blood of the great republican marshal, would never submit to such a wrong.
John presently saw someone standing on the steps of the terrace, and as he turned with the horse, he beheld a wild and jealous face. It was young Kratzek, and he was watching Auersperg and Julie. He was only a lad, this Austrian noble, but John's heart felt a touch of sympathy. A common love made them akin and he knew that Kratzek's love like his own was the love of youth, high and pure. He felt neither hate nor jealousy of the Austrian.
His eyes went back to Julie and Auersperg. Their faces were turned toward him now and he could see that it was the prince who talked and that Julie listened, saying but little. The thud of hoofs on the road into the valley came to him and Pappenheim, on his great black horse, galloped into view. But he pulled to a walk when he saw the two on the terrace, and John smiled to himself in grim irony. Pappenheim also loved the ground upon which the young Julie walked. Von Arnheim and von Boehlen should be there, too, and then the jealous circle would be complete.
Kratzek presently walked away, and Pappenheim rode slowly past the castle and out of sight. Julie turned from the prince and looked fixedly for a little while in John's direction. He felt that she meant it as a sign, and he was eager to reply in some way, but prudence held him. Then she went into the castle and Auersperg was left alone on the terrace.
John saw that Prince Karl of Auersperg was very thoughtful. He walked slowly back and forth, his figure magnified in the sun's glow, and now and then he thoughtfully stroked his great brown beard. He seemed to John more than ever out of place. His time was centuries ago among the robber barons. In such a group he would not have been the worst, but in his soul John wished that the hour for all such as he had come. If the great war struck that dead trunk from the living body of the human race it would not be fought wholly in vain.
He went into the castle after a while, his walk slow and thoughtful, and John returned with the horse to the stables. All the rest of the day, he worked with such diligence and effect that Walther bade him rest.
"You may go about the castle as much as you please," he said, "and you may enter the part set aside for the servants, but you must stop there. Nor can you go beyond the immediate castle grounds. If you try it you risk a shot from the sentries."
"I've no wish to be shot and so I'll not risk it," said John, with the utmost sincerity, and after bathing his face and hands, he strolled through the grounds of Zillenstein, his course soon and inevitably leading him toward the addition to the right wing from the windows of which lights were shining. Yet the grounds outside were heavy with shrubbery, and, keeping hidden in it, he advanced farther and farther, eager to see.
He was not yet twenty yards from the walls and he saw human figures passing before the windows. Then a dark form presently slipped from a small door and stood a moment or two on the graveled walk, as if undecided. John felt the pulses beating hard in his temples. He knew that stalwart figure. It was none other than the grim and faithful Suzanne and, daring all, he went to the very edge of the shrubbery, calling in a loud whisper:
She stood attentive, glanced about, and, seeing that no one observed her, came to the edge of the deep shadow.
"Suzanne! Suzanne!" called John again. "It is I, John Scott! Have you any message for me from Mademoiselle Julie?"
She looked again to see that none was near, and then stepped boldly into the shrubbery, where John seized her arm half in entreaty and half to hurry her.
"O, Suzanne! Suzanne!" he repeated, with fierce insistence. "Have you any word for me?"
They were completely in the heavy shadow now, between the short clipped pines, where no one, even but a few feet away, could see, and before replying she looked at him, her grim face relaxing into a smile. She had always watched him before with a sort of angry jealousy, but John believed that he now read welcome and gladness in her eyes.
"Suzanne! Suzanne!" he repeated, his insistence ever growing stronger. "Is there no word for me?"
"Aye," she said, "my mistress bids me tell you that she is grateful, that she understands all you have risked for her sake, that she can never repay you sufficiently for your great service, and that she feels safer because you are near."
"Ah," breathed John, "it is worth every risk to hear that."
"But she fears for you. She knows that you are in great danger here. If they discover who you are, you perish at once as a spy. So she bids me tell you to go away. It is easy to escape from here to the Italian frontier. She would not have you lose your life for her."
"Is it because my life is of more value to her than that of any other man? Oh, tell me, I pray you?"
Another of her rare smiles passed over the grim face of the woman.
"It is a question that Mademoiselle Julie alone can answer," she said. "But when she went to her room she wept a little and her tears were not those of sorrow."
"Oh, then, Suzanne, she is indeed glad that I am here. Tell her that I came for her, and that I will not go away until she goes too."
"She is in no great danger here; she is a prisoner, but they treat her as a guest, one of high degree."
"Auersperg would force her to marry him."
Suzanne smiled once more, but gravely.
"The prince would marry her," she said, "and he is not the only one who wishes to do so. But fear not. Auersperg cannot force her to marry him. She is of the same tempered steel as her brother, the great Monsieur Philip. Were she a man as he is, she would dare as much as he does, and being a woman she will dare in a woman's way none the less."
"And the others, Kratzek and Pappenheim, and von Arnheim if he should come, they are young and brave and true! Might she not, as the only way of escape from the high-handed baron, marry one of them?"
For the fourth time Suzanne smiled. Never before had she permitted herself that luxury so many times in a month, but there was an odd glint in this latest smile of hers, which gave to her face a rare look of softness.
"Nor will she marry any of them," she said, "although they are brave and honest and true and love her. Mademoiselle Julie has her own reasons which she does not tell to me, but I know. She will not marry Prince Karl of Auersperg. She will not marry Prince Wilhelm von Arnheim, she will not marry Count Leopold Kratzek, she will not marry Count Maximilien Pappenheim. Do I not know her well, I who have been with her all her life?"
And once more that smile with the odd glint in it passed over her stern face. But John in the thickening dusk could not see it, although her low earnest voice carried conviction.
"Tell her for me, will you, Suzanne," he said, "that I think I can take her from the castle of Zillenstein. Tell her, too, that I am in little danger in my peasant's clothes. I have been face to face with the prince himself and he has shown no sign of recognition, nor has Count Kratzek who was my prisoner once. Tell her that I will not go. Tell her that my heart is light because she fears for my safety and, O Suzanne, tell her that I will watch over her the best I can, until all of us escape from this hateful castle."
"It is much to tell. How can I remember it alt?"
"Then tell her all you remember."
"That I promise. And now it's time for me to go back. We cannot risk too much."
She turned away, but John had another question to ask her. His heart smote him that he had not thought of Picard.
"Your father, Suzanne?" he said. "I have not heard of him. Is he here?"
"They left him a prisoner at Munich. Doubtless he will escape and he, too, will reach Zillenstein."
"Tell Mademoiselle Julie that her brother did not come to the appointed meeting at Chastel, because he was wounded. Not badly. Don't be alarmed, Suzanne. He'll be as well as ever soon."
"Then he, too, will come to Zillenstein. You are not the only one who seeks, Monsieur Scott."
"But I am the first to arrive. Nothing can take that from me."
"It is true. Now I must hasten back to the castle. If I stay longer they will suspect me."
She slipped from the shrubbery and was gone, and, John, afire with new emotions, strolled in a wide circuit back to the stables.
A week went by. Twice every day he saw Julie on the terrace, but no word passed between them, the chance never came. But the hosts of the air were at work. The invisible currents were passing between the girl on the terrace who was treated like a princess and the young peasant who walked the horses in the road.
"Be not afraid. I have a strength more than my own to save you," came on a wave of air.
"I fear not for myself, only for you lest they discover you," came the answering wave.
"I love you. You are the most beautiful woman in the world and the bravest. It's cause for pride to risk death for you."
"I know that you are here for me. I knew that you would come, when I saw you in Metz. I know that under your peasant's garb you are a prince, more of a real prince than any Auersperg that ever lived."
John was outside of himself. He felt sometimes as if he had left his body behind. The spirit of the crusader was still upon him, and in sight of his beloved, the prize that he had reached but not yet won, he cast aside all thought of danger or failure and awaited the event, whatever it might be, with the supreme confidence of youth. It is but truth to say that he was happy in those days, filled with a stolen delight, all the sweeter because it was stolen under the very eyes of the medieval baron, lord almost of life and death, who was master there.
He steadily advanced in the good graces of Walther. No other such industrious and skillful groom had appeared at Zillenstein in many a day, and he rapidly acquired dexterity also with the automobiles. None could send them spinning with more certainty along the curving mountain roads. He practiced with diligence because he had a vague premonition that all this knowledge would be of use to him some day.
Pappenheim went away, but returned after four days. John fancied that he had been in Vienna, but he knew the magnet that had brought him back. He saw the young Austrian's eyes flame more than once when Julie appeared in her favorite place on the terrace. And yet John neither hated nor feared him.
Kratzek was well enough to go back to the battle front, but he lingered. John did not know what excuses he gave, but he was there, and his eyes, too, burned when Julie passed.
Often in the evening he watched for the grim Suzanne and the word that she would bring, but she did not come. Day by day he saw her, the long black shadow behind her mistress, but she never looked toward him, however intensely he wished it.
The prince went forth occasionally, but he always used an automobile and he was never gone longer than a day. John wondered why he remained so long at Zillenstein, knowing that he was a general in the German army and a man of weight at the battle front. He concluded at last that he must be waiting there for a conference of some kind between important men of Germany and Austria. He had heard through the gossip in the castle that Italy was threatening war on Austria, and the Teutonic powers must now face also toward the southwest. Much might be decided at Zillenstein.
Ilse and Olga were still his best sources of information. Very little that passed in the castle missed their shrewd inquiring minds, and they had found in the handsome young peasant from Lorraine one with whom they liked to talk. He jested and laughed with them but there was a certain reserve on his part that they could not break down but which drew them on. He would not flirt with them. None was readier than he for light words and airy compliments, but nothing that he said permitted either of the trim young Austrian girls to think that he might become a lover.
"I think, Herr Johann," said Ilse, "that you have left behind in Lorraine a maid whom you love."
"It may be so," said John vaguely. "I saw one in Metz whom anybody could love."
"What was she like?" asked Ilse, eagerly.
"A skin the tint of the young rose, eyes like the dawn on a summer morning, hair a shower of the finest spun silk, and a walk like that of a young goddess."
"It's beautiful, but it doesn't describe; what was the color of her hair and eyes?"
"I don't know. They dazzled me so much that I merely remember their loveliness and glory."
"It can't be!" exclaimed Ilse, who did not walk in Elysian paths. "You jest with us. You recall her hair and eyes."
John shook his head impressively.
"The French prisoner, the one they call a spy, Mademoiselle Lannes, is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen," said blond Olga, "but no one could look at her without remembering the color of her hair and eyes, such a marvelous gold and such a deep, dark blue."
"His Highness, Prince Karl, remembers them well," said Ilse.
"But not better than the young Count Kratzek," said Olga.
"Nor better than Count Pappenheim."
"And yet they're going to send her away."
"It's because the generals and princes are coming for the great council and they wouldn't have more to fall in love with her."
"And it might give even Prince Karl trouble to answer questions why she is here."
John's pulses began to beat heavily despite all his efforts at calmness and he turned his face away that they might not see the eager light in his eyes. When he had mastered himself sufficiently to use a quiet voice he asked:
"When is this great council of which you speak?"
"In three or four days," replied Ilse. "We hear that many Serene Highnesses are coming from both Berlin and Vienna."
"And the French girl is to be carried away before they come?"
"She goes the day after tomorrow with the dark woman, Suzanne, to the hunting lodge of His Highness, higher in the mountains."
Then with a frightened gesture she clapped her hand upon her mouth.
"You will say nothing of it, Herr Johann?" she pleaded. "It is a secret from all but a few, and His Highness doubtless would punish us terribly if he knew that we told."
"You can trust me, Ilse," said John earnestly. "I would not bring trouble upon you or Olga. Besides, what is it to me?"
He sought by indirect questions to learn more from them, but they would not continue, seeming to be afraid that they had already said too much. Then he turned casually from the subject, lest he rouse suspicion, and spoke of his horses. But all the while he was searching his mind, as one looks for a treasure, to discover how he could follow Julie and Suzanne to their new abode.
He gathered from Walther that the hunting lodge was higher in the mountains in the depths of a great forest, about six leagues from Zillenstein where there was much big game. In times of peace the prince frequently went there, and a good automobile road led to the lodge, although in winter the snow was often so deep that the place was inaccessible.
Late that afternoon the hoofs of horses beat steadily on the road leading from the valley up to Zillenstein. John from a coign of vantage saw approaching a young man in a gray German uniform, followed by four hussars, also in German gray. Anyone who came to Zillenstein was of interest, and as John looked the leading figure became familiar. Doubt soon changed to certainty. He knew the swing of the broad shoulders and the high pose of the head. It was the young prince, von Arnheim.
"And so they all gather," said John to himself.
He was swept by the little shiver that one often feels when influenced suddenly by a powerful emotion. Fate or chance had a wonderful way of bringing about strange things. He had seen it too often not to know. He was sure in his heart now that von Boehlen too would come some time and somehow.
He looked at the terrace. Julie and Suzanne had appeared there in the last few minutes, and they were gazing at the gallant figure of young von Arnheim who was now so near. The prince himself, when he saw Julie, sprang from his horse, ran lightly up the steps, and bending low over her hand, kissed it. Nor did John feel jealousy or hate of him.
He was glad that von Arnheim had come. He was sure that Julie did not love him and never would, but he was a brave and honest man who would do no wrong. Julie was safer from insult with him near. To the rank of Prince Karl of Auersperg he could oppose a rank the equal of his own.
He was too far away to hear their words or even to note their faces, but he saw the young prince talk with her for a little space and then go into the castle, doubtless to notify Auersperg of his arrival. Julie as her eyes roved about the great panorama of mountain and valley saw John, and the wireless messages of their eyes passed and repassed again.
"I know that you are watching and risking your life for me," hers said.
"Gladly," his replied.
"I like Prince Wilhelm von Arnheim, but it's liking, not love."
"I wish to believe it and do."
Then the little waves of air were stilled, as she went back into the castle, doubtless because she feared to arouse suspicion, and John returned to his work with Walther, convinced that he must form some plan now. Von Arnheim must merely be the vanguard of the council, and Julie might be sent away earlier than Ilse had announced. He must contrive a way to follow.
That night he lurked once more in the shrubbery. He had been there nearly every night, hopeful that Suzanne would pass again, but not until tonight did she come. The tall figure, swathed almost to the eyes in a heavy cloak, came down the terrace to the walk, and John whistled low a note of a French folksong. He had merely hoped that she would stop a moment or two to listen, and the little device succeeded. She paused and looked at the black mass of the shrubbery.
"Suzanne! Suzanne!" called John, his voice showing all the intenseness of his anxiety.
"Monsieur Scott," she said in a loud whisper.
"Yes, Suzanne, here behind the bushes! I must have word with you!"
Silently she stepped into the impenetrable shadows and John eagerly seized her hand.
"Your mistress, Mademoiselle Julie," he whispered eagerly, "she does not break down with the suspense and anxiety? She still hopes?"
"You need not fear for her courage, Monsieur Scott. Did I not tell you that she had a heart of steel, even the same as that of her great brother. I should not tell it to you, but she has never despaired since you came."
John's fingers closed convulsively upon the large muscular hand of Suzanne and in the darkness the woman's grim face relaxed into a smile.
"You are holding my hand not that of Mademoiselle Julie," she said.
"Your words bring me such joy, Suzanne, that I forgot, but I must speak to your mistress."
"You cannot. It is impossible. She is watched more closely than ever."
"But there is news that she must know! Then you must tell it to her!"
"What news? You surely don't mean that they will try her on this ridiculous charge of being a spy!"
"No, not that, Suzanne, but they're preparing to send her and you away."
"And glad we both will be to leave this hateful castle of Zillenstein."
"But it's not that you will fare better. There will be no chance of freedom now. You are to be sent into the higher mountains in the wilderness to a hunting lodge belonging to Auersperg. You will be hidden from all but a few of his most trusted followers."
"Then we're not afraid. We shall even be glad to go there, anywhere from this terrible place. We do not fear the woods, my mistress and I. I can think they're more friendly than those old stone walls above us."
"But tell her this, Suzanne, I pray you, that I shall follow her there."
"I don't yet know, but I shall find a way. Tell her, Suzanne, that I'll never leave her so long as I'm alive."
The eyes of the grim woman softened singularly, as she gazed in the dusk at the young man. A devotion such as his, a devotion so evident, would have moved a heart of stone. Her young mistress was dearer than anyone else in the world to her, dearer than her own father, and her stern spirit relaxed when she saw that another could love her in a different way, but as well.
"I'll tell her," she said, "but I tell you that 'tis needless. She knows already that wherever she goes you will follow. Does that bring any comfort to your soul, Mr. Scott?"
"Aye, Suzanne, it fills it with thankfulness. Don't forget to tell her that she will go soon. Von Arnheim, Pappenheim and Kratzek are her friends, but they can't prevent it if they would. It may be too that they will not know when or where she goes."
"She shall hear everything you say and, remember, that she has a brave heart. She has less fear for herself than for you."
She slipped away in the darkness and John went back to his own little place over the stables where he passed a night that was all but sleepless thinking over his problem and finding no good solution. He meant to follow Julie and Suzanne in any event to the hunting lodge, but it was not sufficient merely to follow. He must appear in some capacity that would permit him to be of service. And yet Providence was working for him at that moment.
Prince Karl of Auersperg in his magnificent modernized apartments in the huge castle was also troubled by an inability to sleep. Hitherto in his fifty or more years of life he had always got what he wanted. His blood was more ancient than that of either Hohenzollern or Hapsburg. The Auerspergs had been princes of the Holy Roman Empire for a thousand years and now he was a prince of both Teutonic empires and a general of the first rank in the army of Germany. His wealth was so vast that he scarcely knew the extent of his own lands and here in Zillenstein he could maintain the power and state that appertained to a baron of the Middle Ages.
A mind that has only to wish for a thing to get it becomes closed in fifty years. It mistakes desire for right. It regards opposition as sacrilege. Other minds that differ from it are wicked because they differ. The thick armor of Prince Karl's self-complacency had been pierced as it were by a tiny needle that stung, however tiny, as if its point were laden with poison.
He, the omniscient and omnipotent, had been defied and by whom? A mere slip of a girl! A child! She was not even of his own race! But perhaps it was this very defiance that made him wish for her all the more. He loved her as he had never loved that long-dead wife, a plain princess who always thought what she was told to think.
But he would take Julie in all honor as his wife. He could not make her a princess but he could make her a countess, and he would clothe her in a golden shower. There had been hundreds of morganatic marriages. They implied no disgrace. Noblewomen themselves had been glad to make them. And yet she had refused. Nothing could move her. She had not even flinched a particle when he had threatened her otherwise with death as a spy, although the threat was merely words on his lips and had no abiding place in his heart. She was most beautiful then, when the defiant fire flashed in her dark blue eyes and the sunshine coming through a tall stained glass window made deep red tints in her wonderful golden hair. It was maddening to think of her, just a child turning into a woman, and wholly in his power defying him as if he were some humble lieutenant and not the mighty Prince Karl of Auersperg.
He rose and walked angrily back and forth. Now and then he went to a window and looked out at the dusky panorama of valley, mountain and shaggy forest. As far as he could see and farther it was all his and yet he was powerless in the matter that now concerned him more than all others. She was his prisoner, and yet she was as free as air. Her soul and her heart were her own, and he could not reach either. He knew it. That knowledge like the little poisoned needle had punctured the triple-plate of his complacency and pride and left him no relief from pain, a pain that would have become intolerable had he known that of all the bars that stood between her and him the one that nothing could move was a young peasant in his employ, who watered and fed horses, and who often led them up and down the road within his plain view.
And yet knowing what he did, knowing that she would not marry him, he had no thought to give her up. Hope will often spring anew in the face of absolute knowledge itself, and deep in his heart a belief would appear now and then that he might yet break her to his wish. He knew that von Arnheim, Pappenheim and Kratzek knelt at the same shrine and he laughed harshly to himself because he was sure that they knelt in vain. They were young, handsome, attractive, men of the world, men whom any girl might love but she did not love any of them. He knew the signals, and Julie certainly hung out none for von Arnheim, nor for Kratzek nor for Pappenheim.
He ran his fingers through his great brown forked beard, just such a beard as many a robber baron might have worn, and thought deeply of what he should do with her, before the great council of princes and generals assembled in his castle. She must not be there then. Awkward questions might be asked, but if she were well hidden no trouble could befall. Von Arnheim or Kratzek or Pappenheim might speak, but any words of his would outweigh all of theirs and that term of a spy was wonderfully convenient.
But he wished only himself to know where Julie had gone. He wanted no tattle and gossip about the castle and where there were so many servants and followers it could not be prevented unless they were kept in ignorance. It would be best to use a stranger, one who was known but little at Zillenstein, and he recalled such a man. Second thought confirmed first thought and his decision was made.