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The Sword Maker   By: (1850-1912)

Book cover

First Page:

THE

SWORD MAKER

BY

ROBERT BARR

AUTHOR OF

"TEKLA" "CARDILLAC" "THE VICTORS" "IN THE MIDST OF ALARMS" ETC.

NEW YORK

FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

PUBLISHERS

FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

June, 1910

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. AN OFFER TO OPEN THE RIVER II. THE BARGAIN IS STRUCK III. DISSENSION IN THE IRONWORKERS' GUILD IV. THE DISTURBING JOURNEY OF FATHER AMBROSE V. THE COUNTESS VON SAYN AND THE ARCHBISHOP OF COLOGNE VI. TO BE KEPT SECRET FROM THE COUNTESS VII. MUTINY IN THE WILDERNESS VIII. THE MISSING LEADER AND THE MISSING GOLD IX. A SOLEMN PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE X. A CALAMITOUS CONFERENCE XI. GOLD GALORE THAT TAKES TO ITSELF WINGS XII. THE LAUGHING RED MARGRAVE OF FURSTENBERG XIII. "A SENTENCE; COME, PREPARE!" XIV. THE PRISONER OF EHRENFELS XV. JOURNEYS END IN LOVERS' MEETING XVI. MY LADY SCATTERS THE FREEBOOTERS AND CAPTURES THEIR CHIEF XVII. "FOR THE EMPRESS, AND NOT FOR THE EMPIRE" XVIII. THE SWORD MAKER AT BAY XIX. THE BETROTHAL IN THE GARDEN XX. THE MYSTERY OF THE FOREST XXI. A SECRET MARRIAGE XXII. LONG LIVE THEIR MAJESTIES

THE SWORD MAKER

I

AN OFFER TO OPEN THE RIVER

Considering the state of the imperial city of Frankfort, one would not expect to find such a gathering as was assembled in the Kaiser cellar of the Rheingold drinking tavern. Outside in the streets all was turbulence and disorder; a frenzy on the part of the populace taxing to the utmost the efforts of the city authorities to keep it within bounds, and prevent the development of a riot that might result in the partial destruction at least of this once prosperous city. And indeed, the inhabitants of Frankfort could plead some excuse for their boisterousness. Temporarily, at any rate, all business was at a standstill. The skillful mechanics of the town had long been out of work, and now to the ranks of the unemployed were added, from time to time, clerks and such like clerical people, expert accountants, persuasive salesmen, and small shopkeepers, for no one now possessed the money to buy more than the bare necessities of life. Yet the warehouses of Frankfort were full to overflowing, with every kind of store that might have supplied the needs of the people, and to the unlearned man it seemed unjust that he and his family should starve while granaries were packed with the agricultural produce of the South, and huge warehouses were glutted with enough cloth from Frankfort and the surrounding districts to clothe ten times the number of tatterdemalions who clamored through the streets.

The wrath of the people was concentrated against one man, and he the highest in the land; to blame, of course, in a secondary degree, but not the one primarily at fault for this deplorable state of things. The Emperor, always indolent from the time he came to the throne, had grown old and crabbed and fat, caring for nothing but his flagon of wine that stood continually at his elbow. Laxity of rule in the beginning allowed his nobles to get the upper hand, and now it would require a civil war to bring them into subjection again. They, sitting snug in their strongholds, with plenty of wine in their cellars and corn in their bins, cared nothing for the troubles of the city. Indeed, those who inhabited either bank of the Rhine, watching from their elevated castles the main avenue of traffic between Frankfort and Cologne, her chief market, had throughout that long reign severely taxed the merchants conveying goods downstream. During the last five years, their exactions became so piratical that finally they killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, so now the Rhine was without a boat, and Frankfort without a buyer.

For too long Frankfort had looked to the Emperor, whose business it was to keep order in his domain, and when at last the merchants, combining to help themselves, made an effort towards freedom, it was too late... Continue reading book >>




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