Sketches by Mark Twain/A Mediæval Romance
Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/193 Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/194 Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/195 Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/196 Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/197 Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/198 Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/199 Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/200 Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/201 "Not there, your Grace, not there! It is not lawful to pronounce judgment upon any of the ducal line save from the ducal throne!"
A shudder went to the heart of poor Conrad, and a tremor shook the iron frame of his old father likewise. Conrad had not been crowned—dared he profane the throne? He hesitated and turned pale with fear. But it must be done. Wondering eyes were already upon him. They would be suspicious eyes if he hesitated longer. He ascended the throne. Presently he stretched forth the sceptre again, and said—
"Prisoner, in the name of our sovereign Lord Ulrich, Duke of Brandenburgh, I proceed to the solemn duty that hath devolved upon me. Give heed to my words. By the ancient law of the land, except you produce the partner of your guilt and deliver him up to the executioner you must surely die. Embrace this opportunity—save yourself while yet you may. Name the father of your child!"
A solemn hush fell upon the great court—a silence so profound that men could hear their own hearts beat. Then the princess slowly turned, with eyes gleaming with hate, and pointing her finger straight at Conrad said—
"Thou art the man!"
An appalling conviction of his helpless, hopeless peril struck a chill to Conrad's heart like the chill of death it self. What power on earth could save him? To disprove the charge he must reveal that he was a woman, and for Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/203