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A Man of Mark by Anthony Hope

The signorina was looking worried


"I

must call and congratulate the lady," I said.

The colonel couldn't very well object to that, but he didn't like it.

"Well, Christina told me she was very busy, but I dare say she'll see you for a few minutes."

"I dare say she will," I said dryly.

"I must be off now. I shall have to be about all day, trying to catch those infernal fellows who destroyed the bills."

"You won't be doing any business to-day, then?"

"What, about settling the Government?" he asked, grinning. "Not just yet. Wait till I've got the signorina and the money, and then we'll see about that. You think about the money, my boy!"

Much to my relief he then departed, and as he went out I swore that neither signorina nor money should he ever have. In the course of the next twenty-four hours I must find a way to prevent him.

"Rather early for a call," said I, "but I must see the signorina."

On my way up I met several people, and heard some interesting facts. In the first place, no trace had appeared of Don Antonio and his daughter; rumor declared that they had embarked on _The Songstress_ with the President and his faithful doctor. Secondly, Johnny Carr was still in bed at the Golden House (this from Mme.

Devarges, who had been to see him); but his men had disappeared, after solemnly taking the oath to the new Government. Item three: The colonel had been received with silence and black looks by the troops, and two officers had vanished into space, both Americans, and the only men of any good in a fight. Things were looking rather blue, and I began to think that I also should like to disappear, provided I could carry off my money and my mistress with me. My scruples about loyalty had been removed by the colonel's overbearing conduct, and I was ready for any step that promised me the fulfillment of my own designs. It was pretty evident that there would be no living with McGregor in his present frame of mind, and I was convinced that my best course would be to cut the whole thing, or, if that proved impossible, to see what bargain I could make with the President. Of course, all would go smoothly with him if I gave up the dollars and the lady; a like sacrifice would conciliate McGregor. But then, I didn't mean to make it.

"One or other I will have," said I, as I knocked at the door of "Mon Repos," "and both if possible."

The signorina was looking worried; indeed, I thought she had been crying.

"Did you meet my aunt on your way up?" she asked, the moment I was announced.

"No," said I.

"I've sent her away," she continued. "All this fuss frightens her, so I got the colonel's leave (for you know we mustn't move without permission now liberty has triumphed) for her to seek change of air."


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