The Lighted Match (Chapter 27, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 27

Louis Delgado awaited Jusseret in an agony of doubt and fear.

The Frenchman was late. A dispatch from the frontier had announced his
coming, but to the anxiety of Delgado delays seemed numberless and

At last an aide ushered him into the apartment where the new Monarch
waited, his inevitable glass of Pernod and anisette twisting in his
fingers. Jusseret bowed.

"Where is Martin?" inquired the King.

"Dead," said the newcomer briefly. The Pretender paled palpably.
Evidently the plan had gone awry. Fear always stood near the fore, ready
to rush out upon Delgado's timid spirit.

"And being dead," resumed the Frenchman, "he is much safer."

Louis gave a half-shuddering sigh of relief. He had none of that
righteous horror of crime which makes the face of murder hideous, but in
its place he had all the terrors of the weak, and playing with life and
death gave him over to panic.

"I should suggest an announcement that King Karyl had fled for a time
from the cares of State and was traveling as a private gentleman in
strictest incognito, when sudden death overtook him. There need be no
hint of violence. There must be a State funeral."

"Where is the body?" objected Louis.

Jusseret shrugged his shoulders.

"That I cannot say. I can, however, assure you that it is quite
lifeless. Since the death occurred some days ago the lying in State may
be dispensed with. A closed casket is sufficient."

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