Long Live the King
Nikky Does A Reckless Thing
Nikky Larisch had been having an exciting time. First of all, he exchanged garments with
the chauffeur, and cursed his own long legs, which proved difficult to cover adequately.
But the chauffeur's long fur ulster helped considerably. The exchange was rather a
ticklish matter, and would have been more so had he not found a revolver in the fur coat
pocket. It is always hard to remove a coat from a man whose arms are tied, and trousers
are even more difficult. To remove trousers from a refractory prisoner offers problems.
They must be dragged off, and a good thrust from a heavy boot, or two boots, has been
known to change the fate of nations.
However, Nikky's luck stood. His prisoner kicked, but owing to Nikky's wise precaution
of having straddled him, nothing untoward happened.
Behold, then, Nikky of the brave heart standing over his prostrate prisoner, and rolling
him, mummy fashion, in his own tunic and a rug from the machine.
"It is cold, my friend," he said briefly; "but I am a kindly soul, and if you have told me
the truth, you will not have so much as a snuffle to remind you of this to-morrow."
"I have told the truth."
"As a soldier, of course," Nikky went on, " I think you have made a mistake. You should
have chosen the precipice. But as a private gentleman, I thank you."
Having examined the knots in the rope, which were very well done, indeed, and having
gagged the chauffeur securely, Nikky prepared to go. In his goggles, with the low-visored
cap and fur coat, he looked not unlike his late companion. But he had a jaunty step as he
walked toward the car, a bit of swagger that covered, perhaps, just a trifle of uneasiness.
For Nikky now knew his destination, knew that he was bound on perilous work, and that
the chances of his returning were about fifty-fifty, or rather less.
Nevertheless, he was apparently quite calm as he examined the car. He would have
chosen, perhaps, a less perilous place to attempt its mysteries, but needs must. He
climbed in, and released the brakes. Then, with great caution, and considerable noise, he
worked it away from the brink of the chasm, and started off.
He did not know his way. Over the mountains it was plain enough, for there was but one
road. After he descended into the plain of Karnia, however, it became difficult. Sign-
posts were few and not explicit. But at last he found the railroad, which he knew well -
that railroad without objective, save as it would serve to move troops toward the border.
After that Nikky found it easier.