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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XVII "It Is a Very Bad Sign"

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``I never heard it before,'' he replied. ``She would not send me a name I knew. Probably I have never seen either of them. But I know the work they do. They are spies of the Maranovitch, and suspect that I know something of the Lost Prince. They believed they could terrify you into saying things which would be a clue. Men and women of their class will use desperate means to gain their end.''

``Might they--have left me as they threatened?'' Marco asked him.

``They would scarcely have dared, I think. Too great a hue and cry would have been raised by the discovery of such a crime. Too many detectives would have been set at work to track them.''

But the look in his father's eyes as he spoke, and the pressure of the hand he stretched out to touch him, made Marco's heart thrill. He had won a new love and trust from his father. When they sat together and talked that night, they were closer to each other's souls than they had ever been before.

They sat in the firelight, Marco upon the worn hearth-rug, and they talked about Samavia--about the war and its heart-rending struggles, and about how they might end.

``Do you think that some time we might be exiles no longer?'' the boy said wistfully. ``Do you think we might go there together --and see it--you and I, Father?''

There was a silence for a while. Loristan looked into the sinking bed of red coal.

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``For years--for years I have made for my soul that image,'' he said slowly. ``When I think of my friend on the side of the Himalayan Mountains, I say, `The Thought which Thought the World may give us that also!' ''

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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