A soft, creeping noise could be heard, as the ladies, with their fingers on their lips, slipped away from behind the curtains.
“I have loved you for a long time,” said the Red Scoundrel in a melting tone.
Something seemed to choke the woman, but she told herself it was only imagination.
“I adore you.”
The woman could not take her eyes off his hand. And she pleaded:
“If you love me, let go the hilt of your sword.”
“Never,” shouted Scarlet in the heat of his passion, and drew his chair closer.
The Lady was trembling like a leaf in an evening breeze.
“You are beautiful!” howled the Scarlet Bone. “You are as beautiful as the morning star, and I tell you frankly I am going to make you my own love.”
His grip on the sword tightened.
“He’ will not let go of it.” thought the terrified woman. “He will not let go of it. I am lost.”
She made an attempt to stand up, but at that moment she felt the prickly hairs of a thin mustache on her lips. She wanted to scream, but the Count had already imprisoned her shoulders in his long, strong arms. Her beautiful head dropped like a flower, and she felt that the Scarlet Bone was holding her wilting head in the palm of his enormous hand. Kisses were beating heavily against her lips like hot rain.
“You are mine,” said the Count between two kisses, still tightly grasping his sword with his left hand.
“I am yours,” panted the Lady.
“What is the formula?” asked the Dark Blue Baron of the dying Maestro ten years later, for he had bought the scientist from the Scarlet Count for a hundred thousand gold pieces. He was a great lover of Women and had seen that for the past ten years the Scarlet Count had virtually made a harvest of beautiful women by the magic of the Silver Hilt. “What is the formula?”
Golden horseshoe nail
“By the Fires of Hell, there is no formula!” moaned the Maestro from his bed. “A silver hilt, a brass button, a tin spur, a golden horseshoe nail, it makes no difference. The man’s bearing must announce that he is sure of himself—that is the formula. There is no escape from one who is sure of himself. But you must believe in the silver hilt, because if you do not, the women will not believe in it either.
Now then: whether you believe in a silver hilt, a brass button, a tin spur, a golden horseshoe nail, your good manners, your beauty, your self-confidence or your discretion, it all amounts to the same thing. But now that I have told you this, O Dark Blue Baron, you will go to the women in vain with your silver hilt, because you will not believe in it any more. And the women will feel that you no longer believe in your own powers. And you will be defeated everywhere, O Dark Blue Ba…”
He could not finish the sentence, because the Dark Blue Baron struck him a blow on the head. He would have died anyway within the next ten minutes, but the Baron found it better to assist him in this manner.
So died Maestro Conrad Super polling erianus, the gray-haired swindler, with the truth on his lips.The Silver Hilt