Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/33

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THE BORDER EAGLE

"Then what the deuce is there against him?"

"I am not aware that I said there was anything. Simply, I know his character; I know he is an adventurer-a political adventurer—associated with the ultra parties in Italy and Hungary. I do not think his social status is anything very remarkable, and I repeat my advice: do not take him into political confidence."

"If the man can't be trusted, the man's a blackguard!"

"My dear Duke! la haute politique will not admit of such simplifications A man may be a great man, a great minister, a great patriot, but all the same he may be—politically speaking—a great cheat! Indeed, is there a statesman who is not one?"

"True, true—uncomfortably true," growled his Grace; "but of Victor Vane—what's there against him? What do you know—what would you imply?"

"I 'imply' nothing; it is the most cowardly word in the language. I know very little, and that little I have said to place your Grace on your guard; and it is no secret; Mr. Vane is well known abroad to be the determinate foe of Austria, and to be widely involved in political intrigues. Of his career I know no further; and of what I have said he is