The Lighted Match (Chapter 7, page 2 of 9)


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Chapter 7

"Colonel Von Ritz," she commanded, "you will take me back at once!" She
drew herself as far away from him as the space on the seat permitted.

"Your Highness's commands are supreme." The man spoke in the same even
voice. "I intend taking Your Highness back--when it is safer for Your
Highness to go back."

He turned the car suddenly to the right and sped along the narrower road
that led away from the main thoroughfare.

"You will take me back, now. I had not supposed that to a gentleman--"
Her voice choked into silence and her eyes filled with angry tears.

"Your Highness misunderstands," he said coldly. "I obey the throne. If I
live long enough to serve it in another reign, Your Highness will be
Your Majesty. Yet even then will your commands be no more supreme to
me--no more sacred--than now. But even then, Your Highness--"

"Call me Miss Carstow," she interrupted in impassioned anger. "I will
have my freedom for to-night at least."

"Yet even then, Miss Carstow," he calmly resumed, "when danger threatens
you or your throne, I shall take such means as I can to avert that
danger, as I am doing now. Even though"--for a moment the cold, metallic
evenness left his voice and a human note stole into his words--"even
though the reward be contempt."

She did not answer.

"Your High--Miss Carstow,"--Von Ritz spoke with a deferential
finality--"believe me, some things are inevitable."

Suddenly the car stopped.

The girl made a movement as though she would rise, but the man's arm
quietly stretched itself across before her, not touching her, but
forming an effective barrier.

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