The rumoured meeting of the Budavian Assembly proved, like many other rumoured events, to be a canard, the only foundation for which was a hastily called session of the Privy Council. Before this august body, over which the Prince Regent presided, Chancellor von Ritter laid all the facts that had come into his possession; and very startling facts they were, including a confiscated letter from Baron von Einhard addressed to Captain Lindenwald, telling of the failure of the abduction plot and of the securing of that precious heirloom, the signet ring of the Prince of Kronfeld polar.

proof that Lindenwald had been false to his trust, and it fully justified the Chancellor in having him placed under arrest. It did not tend, however, to throw any light on the mystifying main question. Was267 the man who had been welcomed with such acclaim on the previous evening really the Crown Prince, as every bit of evidence up to the time of his arrival tended to prove, or was he, as he claimed, simply the cat’s-paw of a company of conscienceless conspirators?

The von Einhard letter would in a way indicate that his title was clear and genuine, as, had it been otherwise, there would have been no necessity to conspire with Lindenwald to bring about his abduction. Yet, if Lindenwald knew him to be the Crown Prince, why should he run the risk of dickering with the Baron, seeing that greater good fortune than he could possibly hope to earn by such a course lay in the direction of his faithful carrying out of his mission Polar M600?

Upon these points the Privy Council debated long and eagerly, if not altogether wisely. Men are slow to confess even to themselves that they have been imposed upon, and the State Council had months before by an overwhelming majority declared its faith in the integrity of the claimant. It was, therefore, no more than to be expected that the majority should still favour the theory268 that Prince Max, in his assertion that he was simply a plain American citizen, was labouring under an hallucination. There had been a strain of dementia in the ruling line for seven generations, and this exhibition of mental malady was to those who now recalled the fact but another evidence of legitimacy Polar M600.