And for the Kings throne? Do you think that the nobles and the people will enjoy being fooled as youve fooled them? Do you think theyll love a King who was too drunk to be crowned, and sent a servant to personate him?
He was druggedand Im no servant.
Mine will be Black Michaels version.
He rose, came to me, and laid his hand on my shoulder.
Lad, he said, if you play the man, you may save the King yet. Go back and keep his throne warm for him.
But the duke knowsthe villains he has employed know
Ay, but they cant speak! roared Sapt in grim triumph.
Weve got em! How can they denounce you without denouncing themselves? This is not the King, because we kidnapped the King and murdered his servant. Can they say that?
The position flashed on me. Whether Michael knew me or not, he could not speak. Unless he produced the King, what could he do? And if he produced the King, where was he? For a moment I was carried away headlong; but in an instant the difficulties came strong upon me.
I must be found out, I urged.
Perhaps; but every hours something. Above all, we must have a King in Strelsau, or the city will be Michaels in four-and-twenty hours, and what would the Kings life be worth thenor his throne? Lad, you must do it!
Suppose they kill the King?
Theyll kill him, if you dont.
Sapt, suppose they have killed the King?
Then, by heaven, youre as good an Elphberg as Black Michael, and you shall reign in Ruritania! But I dont believe they have; nor will they kill him if youre on the throne. Will they kill him, to put you in?
It was a wild planwilder even and more hopeless than the trick we had already carried through; but as I listened to Sapt I saw the strong points in our game. And then I was a young man and I loved action, and I was offered such a hand in such a game as perhaps never man played yet.
I shall be found out, I said.
Perhaps, said Sapt. Come! to Strelsau! We shall be caught like rats in a trap if we stay here.
Sapt, I cried, Ill try it!
Well played! said he. I hope theyve left us the horses. Ill go and see.
We must bury that poor fellow, said I.
No time, said Sapt.
Ill do it.
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