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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XXX The Game Is at an End

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``In a few days, messengers--friends of my father's--will come to take us to Samavia. You and I and Lazarus are to go,'' he said to The Rat.

``God be thanked!'' said Lazarus. ``God be thanked!''

Before the messengers came, it was the end of the week. Lazarus had packed their few belongings, and on Saturday Mrs. Beedle was to be seen hovering at the top of the celler steps, when Marco and The Rat left the back sitting-room to go out.

``You needn't glare at me!'' she said to Lazarus, who stood glowering at the door which he had opened for them. ``Young Master Loristan, I want to know if you've heard when your father is coming back?''

``He will not come back,'' said Marco.

``He won't, won't he? Well, how about next week's rent?'' said Mrs. Beedle. ``Your man's been packing up, I notice. He's not got much to carry away, but it won't pass through that front door until I've got what's owing me. People that can pack easy think they can get away easy, and they'll bear watching. The week's up to-day.''

Lazarus wheeled and faced her with a furious gesture. ``Get back to your cellar, woman,'' he commanded. ``Get back under ground and stay there. Look at what is stopping before your miserable gate.''

A carriage was stopping--a very perfect carriage of dark brown. The coachman and footman wore dark brown and gold liveries, and the footman had leaped down and opened the door with respectful alacrity. ``They are friends of the Master's come to pay their respects to his son,'' said Lazarus. ``Are their eyes to be offended by the sight of you?''

``Your money is safe,'' said Marco. ``You had better leave us.''

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Mrs. Beedle gave a sharp glance at the two gentlemen who had entered the broken gate. They were of an order which did not belong to Philibert Place. They looked as if the carriage and the dark brown and gold liveries were every-day affairs to them.

``At all events, they're two grown men, and not two boys without a penny,'' she said. ``If they're your father's friends, they'll tell me whether my rent's safe or not.''

The two visitors were upon the threshold. They were both men of a certain self-contained dignity of type; and when Lazarus opened wide the door, they stepped into the shabby entrance hall as if they did not see it. They looked past its dinginess, and past Lazarus, and The Rat, and Mrs. Beedle--THROUGH them, as it were,--at Marco.

He advanced towards them at once.

``You come from my father!'' he said, and gave his hand first to the elder man, then to the younger.

``Yes, we come from your father. I am Baron Rastka--and this is the Count Vorversk,'' said the elder man, bowing.

``If they're barons and counts, and friends of your father's, they are well-to-do enough to be responsible for you,'' said Mrs. Beedle, rather fiercely, because she was somewhat over-awed and resented the fact. ``It's a matter of next week's rent, gentlemen. I want to know where it's coming from.''

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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