And holding her hand he conducted her, to her great astonishment, out of the study, across the now deserted anteroom, and into that large official apartment in which the state affairs of Brandenstein were habitually conducted. Here were arrayed in a row a number of pompouslooking gentlemen whom Lina instantly recognized as the ministers of the Duchy. Standing rigidly at attention they bowed to Eitel Gustav, but at the same time their eyes, their little stupid glancing eyes, were fixed upon Varsovina with hostility, mistrust and good honest Brandenstein resentment.
Eitel Gustav said with a charming simplicity and dignity: "Gentlemen, I sent for you to-day because I wished to present to you your new ruler, Madame Varsovina. I am certain that you will serve her as faithfully as you have always served me, and indeed I can conceive of no higher praise."
And he smiled, still clinging to her hand. But Lina, who had just called him sane, drew away, and for the first time looked at him with something approaching horror. As for the ministers of Brandenstein, their faces expressed a startled disgust that was almost ludicrous, and indeed one, who held some rather obscure office, so far forgot himself as to murmur, "Down with the concubine!"—af ter which demonstration he choked, shuffled away behind his comrades, and hid his face in an enormous red silk handkerchief. But the mischief was done, and these gentlemen of Brandenstein, that had but one moment before been standing with so much precision, so much formality, like a row of portly black soldiers, now broke up into angry groups, and whispered threats, and gesticulated, muttering to one another and appeared really very formidable indeed. Eitel Gustav continued to watch them with a passionate interest, and he was white to the lips, and his eyes sparkled with insanity.