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- Beverly of Graustark - 1/51 -


BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK

BY GEORGE BARR McCUTCHEON

CONTENTS

I East of the Setting Sun II Beverly Calhoun III On the Road from Balak IV The Ragged Retinue V The Inn of the Hawk and Raven VI The Home of the Lion VII Some Facts and Fancies VIII Through the Ganlook Gates IX The Redoutable Dangloss X Inside the Castle Walls XI The Royal Coach of Graustark XII In Service XIII The Three Princes XIV A Visit and Its Consequences XV The Testing of Baldos XVI On the Way to St. Valentine's XVII A Note Translated XVIII Confessions and Concessions XIX The Night Fires XX Gossip of Some Consequence XXI The Rose XXII A Proposal XXIII A Shot in the Darkness XXIV Beneath the Ground XXV The Valor of the South XXVI The Degradation of Marlanx XXVII The Prince of Dawsbergen XXVIII A Boy Disappears XXIX The Capture of Gabriel XXX In the Grotto XXXI Clear Skies

BEVERLY OF GRAUSTARK

CHAPTER I

EAST OF THE SETTING SUN

Far off in the mountain lands, somewhere to the east of the setting sun, lies the principality of Graustark, serene relic of rare old feudal days. The traveler reaches the little domain after an arduous, sometimes perilous journey from the great European capitals, whether they be north or south or west--never east. He crosses great rivers and wide plains; he winds through fertile valleys and over barren plateaus; he twists and turns and climbs among sombre gorges and rugged mountains; he touches the cold clouds in one day and the placid warmth of the valley in the next. One does not go to Graustark for a pleasure jaunt. It is too far from the rest of the world and the ways are often dangerous because of the strife among the tribes of the intervening mountains. If one hungers for excitement and peril he finds it in the journey from the north or the south into the land of the Graustarkians. From Vienna and other places almost directly west the way is not so full of thrills, for the railroad skirts the darkest of the dangerlands.

Once in the heart of Graustark, however, the traveler is charmed into dreams of peace and happiness and--paradise. The peasants and the poets sing in one voice and accord, their psalm being of never-ending love. Down in the lowlands and up in the hills, the simple worker of the soil rejoices that he lives in Graustark; in the towns and villages the humble merchant and his thrifty customer unite to sing the song of peace and contentment; in the palaces of the noble the same patriotism warms its heart with thoughts of Graustark, the ancient. Prince and pauper strike hands for the love of the land, while outside the great, heartless world goes rumbling on without a thought of the rare little principality among the eastern mountains.

In point of area, Graustark is but a mite in the great galaxy of nations. Glancing over the map of the world, one is almost sure to miss the infinitesimal patch of green that marks its location. One could not be blamed if he regarded the spot as a typographical or topographical illusion. Yet the people of this quaint little land hold in their hearts a love and a confidence that is not surpassed by any of the lordly monarchs who measure their patriotism by miles and millions. The Graustarkians are a sturdy, courageous race. From the faraway century when they fought themselves clear of the Tartar yoke, to this very hour, they have been warriors of might and valor. The boundaries of their tiny domain were kept inviolate for hundreds of years, and but one victorious foe had come down to lay siege to Edelweiss, the capital. Axphain, a powerful principality in the north, had conquered Graustark in the latter part of the nineteenth century, but only after a bitter war in which starvation and famine proved far more destructive than the arms of the victors. The treaty of peace and the indemnity that fell to the lot of vanquished Graustark have been discoursed upon at length in at least one history.

Those who have followed that history must know, of course, that the reigning princess, Yetive, was married to a young American at the very tag-end of the nineteenth century. This admirable couple met in quite romantic fashion while the young sovereign was traveling incognito through the United States of America. The American, a splendid fellow named Lorry, was so persistent in the subsequent attack upon her heart, that all ancestral prejudices were swept away and she became his bride with the full consent of her entranced subjects. The manner in which he wooed and won this young and adorable ruler forms a very attractive chapter in romance, although unmentioned in history. This being the tale of another day, it is not timely to dwell upon the interesting events which led up to the marriage of the Princess Yetive to Grenfall Lorry. Suffice it to say that Lorry won his bride against all wishes and odds and at the same time won an endless love and esteem from the people of the little kingdom among the eastern hills Two years have passed since that notable wedding in Edelweiss.

Lorry and his wife, the princess, made their home in Washington, but spent a few months of each year in Edelweiss. During the periods spent in Washington and in travel, her affairs in Graustark were in the hands of a capable, austere old diplomat--her uncle, Count Caspar Halfont. Princess Volga reigned as regent over the principality of Axphain. To the south lay the principality of Dawsbergen, ruled by young Prince Dantan, whose half brother, the deposed Prince Gabriel, had been for two years a prisoner in Graustark, the convicted assassin of Prince Lorenz, of Axphain, one time suitor for the hand of Yetive.

It was after the second visit of the Lorrys to Edelweiss that a serious turn of affairs presented itself. Gabriel had succeeded in escaping from his dungeon. His friends in Dawsbergen stirred up a revolution and Dantan was driven from the throne at Serros. On the arrival of Gabriel at the capital, the army of Dawsbergen espoused the cause of the Prince it had spurned and, three days after his escape, he was on his throne, defying Yetive and offering a price for the head of the unfortunate Dantan, now a fugitive in the hills along the Graustark frontier.

CHAPTER II

BEVERLY CALHOUN

Major George Calhoun was a member of Congress from one of the southern states. His forefathers had represented the same commonwealth, and so, it was likely, would his descendants, if there is virtue in the fitness of things and the heredity of love. While intrepid frontiersmen were opening the trails through the fertile wilds west of the Alleghanies, a strong branch of the Calhoun family followed close in their footsteps. The major's great-grandfather saw the glories and the possibilities of the new territory. He struck boldly westward from the old revolutionary grounds, abandoning the luxuries and traditions of the Carolinas for a fresh, wild life of promise. His sons and daughters became solid stones in the foundation of a commonwealth, and his grandchildren are still at work on the structure. State and national legislatures had known the Calhouns from the beginning. Battlefields had tested their valor, and drawing-rooms had proved their gentility.

Major Calhoun had fought with Stonewall Jackson and won his spurs--and at the same time the heart and hand of Betty Haswell, the staunchest Confederate who ever made flags, bandages and prayers for the boys in gray. When the reconstruction came he went to Congress and later on became prominent in the United States consular service, for years holding an important European post. Congress claimed him once more in the early '90s, and there he is at this very time.

Everybody in Washington's social and diplomatic circles admired the beautiful Beverly Calhoun. According to his own loving term of identification, she was the major's "youngest." The fair southerner had seen two seasons in the nation's capital. Cupid, standing directly in front of her, had shot his darts ruthlessly and resistlessly into the passing hosts, and masculine Washington looked humbly to her for the balm that might soothe its pains. The wily god of love was fair enough to protect the girl whom he forced to be his unwilling, perhaps unconscious, ally. He held his impenetrable shield between her heart and the assaults of a whole army of suitors, high and low, great and small. It was not idle rumor that said she had declined a coronet or two, that the millions of more than one American Midas had been offered to her, and that she had dealt gently but firmly with a score of hearts which had nothing but love, ambition and poverty to support them in the conflict.

The Calhouns lived in a handsome home not far from the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Grenfall Lorry. It seemed but natural that the two beautiful young women should become constant and loyal friends. Women as lovely as they have no reason to be jealous. It is only the woman who does not feel secure of her personal charms that cultivates envy. At the home of Graustark's princess Beverly met the dukes and barons from the far east; it was in the warmth of the Calhoun hospitality that Yetive formed her dearest love for the American people.

Miss Beverly was neither tall nor short. She was of that divine and indefinite height known as medium; slender but perfectly molded; strong


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