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An Imperial Marriage

Produced by Al Haines.

[Illustration: Cover]

AN

IMPERIAL MARRIAGE

BY

ARTHUR W. MARCHMONT

AUTHOR OF "BY RIGHT OF SWORD," "WHEN I WAS CZAR," ETC.

_ILLUSTRATED_

WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED LONDON, MELBOURNE AND TORONTO 1909

CONTENTS

CHAP.

I. The "Imperial Marriage" II. Complications III. Chalice IV. Ephraim Ziegler V. Althea's Story VI. A Stroke of Luck VII. Preliminary Steps VIII. Trapped IX. A Perilous Crisis X. In the Hands of the Police XI. My Return XII. Murder XIII. In the House of Death XIV. The Murderer XV. Baron von Ringheim XVI. My Role as a Conspirator XVII. "W. Mischen's" Warehouse XVIII. The Luck Turns XIX. Von Felsen Gains his End XX. A Bride Elect XXI. Like a Dog at Heel XXII. In Search of the Baron XXIII. In the Grip of an Enemy XXIV. From Peril to Peril XXV. An Awkward Plight, indeed XXVI. A Charge of Murder XXVII. Once Again in the Toils XXVIII. Dragen Again XXIX. Just in Time XXX. The End

CHAPTER I

THE "IMPERIAL MARRIAGE"

When the Kaiser planned the marriage between his kinswoman, the Princess von Altenvelt, and his handsome favourite, the Prince von Graven--the "Imperial Marriage," as the Court gossips styled it--there did not appear to be even the remotest possibility that it could ever be any concern of mine.

The news was almost the last I sent through to my paper, the _London Newsletter_, for I heard of it just before I resigned my position as Berlin Special Correspondent, on succeeding to my uncle's fortune. I had remained on in the capital, ostensibly to give a lift to my successor, my old Varsity chum, Gerald Bassett, but in reality for a reason which no one knew, except my sister, Bessie. And she only guessed it was on Althea's account.

Sisters have a knack of ferreting out these secrets, and I gathered that she had guessed mine because she had dropped more than one hint that Althea, being a great friend of hers, would be very welcome as a sister-in-law.

That was the position when, at a dance one night, Hugo von Felsen told me with a grin on his thin long malicious face that the Imperial Marriage was in danger because Prince von Graven had fallen in love with Althea and she with him.

I had always detested von Felsen, and had only tolerated him in my newspaper days because, as the son of a powerful Minister, Count von Felsen, he could sometimes be tapped for valuable information. The fact that this news came from him made it seem even worse than it was.


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