The Slim Princess
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[Illustration: I consented to deliver a message for him]
THE SLIM PRINCESS
* * * * *
_By_ GEORGE ADE
* * * * *
"The Slim Princess" has been elaborated and rewritten from a story
printed in _The Saturday Evening Post_ of Philadelphia late in 1906 and
copyright, 1906, by the Curtis Publishing Company.
* * * * *
I WOMAN IN MOROVENIA
II KALORA'S AFFLICTION
III THE CRUELTY OF LAW
IV THE GARDEN PARTY
V HE ARRIVES
VI HE DEPARTS
VII THE ONLY KOLDO
VIII BY MESSENGER
IX AS TO WASHINGTON, D.C.
X ON THE WING
XI AN OUTING--A REUNION
XII THE GOVERNOR CABLES
XIII THE HOME-COMING
XIV HEROISM REWARDED
* * * * *
THE SLIM PRINCESS
* * * * *
WOMAN IN MOROVENIA
Morovenia is a state in which both the mosque and the motor-car now
occur in the same landscape. It started out to be Turkish and later
decided to be European.
The Mohammedan sanctuaries with their hideous stencil decorations and
bulbous domes are jostled by many new shops with blinking fronts and
German merchandise. The orthodox turn their faces toward Mecca while the
enlightened dream of a journey to Paris. Men of title lately have made
the pleasing discovery that they may drink champagne and still be good
Mussulmans. The red slipper has been succeeded by the tan gaiter. The
voluminous breeches now acknowledge the superior graces of intimate
English trousers. Frock-coats are more conventional than beaded jackets.
The fez remains as a part of the insignia of the old faith and
hereditary devotion to the Sick Man.
The generation of males which has been extricating itself from the
shackles of Orientalism has not devoted much worry to the Condition of
In Morovenia woman is still unliberated. She does not dine at a
palm-garden or hop into a victoria on Thursday afternoon to go to the
meeting of a club organized to propagate cults. If she met a cult face
to face she would not recognize it.
Nor does she suspect, as she sits in her prison apartment, peeping out
through the lattice at the monotonous drift of the street life, that her
sisters in far-away Michigan are organizing and raising missionary funds
in her behalf.
She does not read the dressmaking periodicals. She never heard of the
Wednesday matinee. When she takes the air she rides in a carriage that
has a sheltering hood, and she is veiled up to the eyes, and she must
never lean out to wriggle her little finger-tips at men lolling in front
of the cafes. She must not see the men. She may look at them, but she
must not see them. No wonder the sisters in Michigan are organizing to
batter down the walls of tradition, and bring to her the more recent
privileges of her sex!
Two years ago, when this story had its real beginning, the social status
of woman in Morovenia was not greatly different from what it is to-day,
or what it was two centuries ago.
Woman had two important duties assigned to her. One was to hide herself
from the gaze of the multitude, and the other was to be beautiful--that
is, fat. A woman who was plump, or buxom, or chubby might be classed as
passably attractive, but only the fat women were irresistible. A woman
weighing two hundred pounds was only two-thirds as beautiful as one
weighing three hundred. Those grading below one hundred and fifty were
verging upon the impossible.
If it had been planned to make this an old-fashioned discursive novel,
say of the Victor Hugo variety, the second chapter would expend itself
upon a philosophical discussion of Fat and a sensational showing of how
and why the presence or absence of adipose tissue, at certain important
crises, had altered the destinies of the whole race.
The subject offers vast possibilities. It involves the physical
attractiveness of every woman in History and permits one to speculate
wildly as to what might have happened if Cleopatra had weighed forty
pounds heavier, if Elizabeth had been a gaunt and wiry creature, or if
Joan of Arc had been so bulky that she could not have fastened on her
The soft layers which enshroud the hard machinery of the human frame
seem to arrive in a merely incidental or accidental sort of way. Yet
once they have arrived they exert a mysterious influence over careers.
Because of a mere change in contour, many a queen has lost her throne.
It is a terrifying thought when one remembers that fat so often comes
and so seldom goes.
It has been explained that in Morovenia, obesity and feminine beauty
increased in the same ratio. The woman reigning in the hearts of men was
the one who could displace the most atmosphere.
Because of the fashionableness of fat, Count Selim Malagaski,
Governor-General of Morovenia, was very unhappy. He had two daughters.
One was fat; one was thin. To be more explicit, one was gloriously fat
and the other was distressingly thin.
Jeneka was the name of the one who had been blessed abundantly. Several
of the younger men in official circles, who had seen Jeneka at a
distance, when she waddled to her carriage or turned side-wise to enter
a shop-door, had written verses about her in which they compared her to
the blushing pomegranate, the ripe melon, the luscious grape, and other
vegetable luxuries more or less globular in form.
No one had dedicated any verses to Kalora. Kalora was the elder of the
two. She had come to the alarming age of nineteen and no one had started
in bidding for her.
In court circles, where there is much time for idle gossip, the most
intimate secrets of an important household are often bandied about when
the black coffee is being served. The marriageable young men of
Morovenia had learned of the calamity in Count Malagaski's family. They
knew that Kalora weighed less than one hundred and twenty pounds. She
was tall, lithe, slender, sinuous, willowy, hideous. The fact that poor
old Count Malagaski had made many unsuccessful attempts to fatten her
was a stock subject for jokes of an unrefined and Turkish character.
Whereas Jeneka would recline for hours at a time on a shaded veranda,
munching sugary confections that were loaded with nutritious nuts,
Kalora showed a far-western preference for pickles and olives, and had
been detected several times in the act of bribing servants to bring
this contraband food into the harem.
Worse still, she insisted upon taking exercise. She loved to play
romping games within the high walls of the inclosure where she and the
other female attaches of the royal household were kept penned up. Her
father coaxed, pleaded and even threatened, but she refused to lead the
indolent life prescribed by custom; she scorned the sweet and heavy
foods which would enable her to expand into loveliness; she persistently
declined to be fat.
Kalora's education was being directed by a superannuated professor named
Popova. He was so antique and book-wormy that none of the usual
objections urged against the male sex seemed to hold good in his case,
and he had the free run of the palace. Count Selim Malagaski trusted
him implicitly. Popova fawned upon the Governor-General, and seemed
slavish in his devotion. Secretly and stealthily he was working out a
frightful vengeance upon his patron. Twenty years before, Count Selim,
in a moment of anger, had called Popova a "Christian dog."
In Morovenia it is flattery to call a man a "liar." It is just the same
as saying to him, "You belong in the diplomatic corps." It is no
disgrace to be branded as a thief, because all business transactions are
saturated with treachery. But to call another a "Christian dog" is the
thirty-third degree of insult.
Popova writhed in spirit when he was called "Christian," but he covered
his wrath and remained in the nobleman's service and waited for his
revenge. And now he was sacrificing the innocent Kalora in order to
punish the father. He said to himself: "If she does not fatten, then her
father's heart will be broken, and he will suffer even as I have
suffered from being called Christian."
It was Popova who, by guarded methods, encouraged her to violent
exercise, whereby she became as hard and trim as an antelope. He
continued to supply her with all kinds of sour and biting foods and
sharp mineral waters, which are the sworn enemies of any sebaceous
condition. And now that she was nineteen, almost at the further boundary
of the marrying age, and slimmer than ever before, he rejoiced greatly,
for he had accomplished his deep and malign purpose, and laid a heavy
burden of sorrow upon Count Selim Malagaski.
THE CRUELTY OF LAW
If the father was worried by the prolonged crisis, the younger sister,
Jeneka, was well-nigh distracted, for she could not hope to marry until
Kalora had been properly mated and sent away.
In Morovenia there is a very strict law intended to eliminate the
spinster from the social horizon. It is a law born of craft and inspired
by foresight. The daughters of a household must be married off in the
order of their nativity. The younger sister dare not contemplate
matrimony until the elder sister has been led to the altar. It is
impossible for a young and attractive girl to make a desirable match
leaving a maiden sister marooned on the market. She must cooperate with
her parents and with the elder sister to clear the way.
As a rule this law encourages earnest getting-together in every
household and results in a clearing up of the entire stock of eligible
daughters. But think of the unhappy lot of an adorable and much-coveted
maiden who finds herself wedged in behind something unattractive and
shelf-worn! Jeneka was thus pocketed. She could do nothing except fold
her hands and patiently wait for some miraculous intervention.
In Morovenia the discreet marrying age is about sixteen. Jeneka was
eighteen--still young enough and of a most ravishing weight, but the
slim princess stood as a slight, yet seemingly insurmountable barrier
between her and all hopes of conventional happiness.
Count Malagaski did not know that the shameful fact of Kalora's
thinness was being whispered among the young men of Morovenia. When the
daughters were out for their daily carriage-ride both wore flowing
robes. In the case of Kalora, this augmented costume was intended to
conceal the absence of noble dimensions.
It is not good form in Morovenia for a husband or father to discuss his
home life, or to show enthusiasm on the subject of mere woman; but the
Count, prompted by a fretful desire to dispose of his rapidly maturing
offspring, often remarked to the high-born young gentlemen of his
acquaintance that Kalora was a most remarkable girl and one possessed of
many charms, leaving them to infer, if they cared to do so, that
possibly she weighed at least one hundred and eighty pounds.
[Illustration: Papova rejoiced greatly]
These casual comments did not seem to arouse any burning curiosity
among the young men, and up to the day of Kalora's nineteenth
anniversary they had not had the effect of bringing to the father any of
those guarded inquiries which, under the oriental custom, are always
preliminary to an actual proposal of marriage.
Count Selim Malagaski had a double reason for wishing to see Kalora
married. While she remained at home he knew that he would be second in
authority. There is an occidental misapprehension to the effect that
every woman beyond the borders of the Levant is a languorous and waxen
lily, floating in a milk-warm pool of idleness. It is true that the
women of a household live in certain apartments set aside as a "harem."
But "harem" literally means "forbidden"--that is, forbidden to the
public, nothing more. Every villa at Newport has a "harem."
The women of Morovenia do not pour tea for men every afternoon, and they
are kept well under cover, but they are not slaves. They do not inherit
a nominal authority, but very often they assume a real authority. In the
United States, women can not sail a boat, and yet they direct the cruise
of the yacht. Railway presidents can not vote in the Senate, and yet
they always know how the votes are going to be cast. And in Morovenia,
many a clever woman, deprived of specified and legal rights, has learned
to rule man by those tactful methods which are in such general use that
they need not be specified in this connection.
Kalora had a way of getting around her father. After she had defied him
and put him into a stewing rage, she would smooth him the right way
and, with teasing little cajoleries, nurse him back to a pleasant humor.
He would find himself once more at the starting-place of the
controversy, his stern commands unheeded, and the disobedient daughter
laughing in his very face.
Thus, while he was ashamed of her physical imperfections, he admired her
cleverness. Often he said to Popova: "I tell you, she might make some
man a sprightly and entertaining companion, even if she _is_ slender."
Whereupon the crafty Popova would reply: "Be patient, your Excellency.
We shall yet have her as round as a dumpling."
And all the time he was keeping her trained as fine as the proverbial
THE GARDEN PARTY
Said the Governor-General to himself in that prime hour for wide-awake
meditation--the one just before arising for breakfast: "She is not all
that she should be, and yet, millions of women have been less than
perfect and most of them have married."
He looked hard at the ceiling for a full minute and then murmured, "Even
men have their shortcomings."
This declaration struck him as being sinful and almost infidel in its
radicalism, and yet it seemed to open the way to a logical reason why
some titled bachelor of damaged reputation and tottering finances might
balance his poor assets against a dowry and a social position, even
though he would be compelled to figure Kalora into the bargain.
It must be known that the Governor-General was now simply looking for a
husband for Kalora. He did not hope to top the market or bring down any
notable catch. He favored any alliance that would result in no discredit
to his noble lineage.
"At present they do not even nibble," he soliloquized, still looking at
the ceiling. "They have taken fright for some reason. They may have an
inkling of the awful truth. She is nineteen. Next year she will be
twenty--the year after that twenty-one. Then it would be too late. A
desperate experiment is better than inaction. I have much to gain and
nothing to lose. I must exhibit Kalora. I shall bring the young men to
her. Some of them may take a fancy to her. I have seen people eat sugar
on tomatoes and pepper on ice-cream. There may be in Morovenia one--one
would be sufficient--one bachelor who is no stickler for full-blown
loveliness. I may find a man who has become inoculated with western
heresies and believes that a woman with intellect is desirable, even
though under weight. I may find a fool, or an aristocrat who has
gambled. I may stumble upon good fortune if I put her out among the
young men. Yes, I must exhibit her, but how--how?"
He began reaching into thin air for a pretext and found one. The
inspiration was simple and satisfying.
He would give a garden-party in honor of Mr. Rawley Plumston, the
British Consul. Of course he would have to invite Mrs. Plumston and
then, out of deference to European custom, he would have his two
daughters present. It was only by the use of imported etiquette that he
could open the way to direct courtship.
Possibly some of the cautious young noblemen would talk with Kalora,
and, finding her bright-eyed, witty, ready in conversation and with
enthusiasm for big and masculine undertakings, be attracted to her. At
the same time her father decided that there was no reason why her
pitiful shortage of avoirdupois should be candidly advertised. Even at a
garden-party, where the guests of honor are two English subjects, the
young women would be required to veil themselves up to the nose-tips and
hide themselves within a veritable cocoon of soft garments.
The invitations went out and the acceptances came in. The English were
flattered. Count Malagaski was buoyed by new hopes and the daughters
were in a day-and-night flutter, for neither of them had ever come
within speaking distance of the real young man of their dreams.
On the morning of the day set apart for the debut of Kalora, Count Selim
went to her apartments, and, with a rather shamefaced reluctance, gave
"Kalora, I have done all for you that any father could do for a beloved
child and you are still thin," he began.
"Slender," she corrected.
"Thin," he repeated. "Thin as a crane--a mere shadow of a girl--and,
what is more deplorable, apparently indifferent to the sorrow that you
are causing those most interested in your welfare."
"I am not indifferent, father. If, merely by wishing, I could be fat, I
would make myself the shape of the French balloon that floated over
Morovenia last week. I would be so roly-poly that, when it came time for
me to go and meet our guests this afternoon, I would roll into their
presence as if I were a tennis-ball."
"Why should you know anything about tennis-balls? You, of all the young
women in Morovenia, seem to be the only one with a fondness for
athletics. I have heard that in Great Britain, where the women ride and
play rude, manly games, there has been developed a breed as hard as
flint--Allah preserve me from such women!"
"Father, you are leading up to something. What is it you wish to say?"
"This. You have persistently disobeyed me and made me very unhappy, but
to-day I must ask you to respect my wishes. Do not proclaim to our
guests the sad truth regarding your deficiency."
"Good!" she exclaimed gaily. "I shall wear a robe the size of an Arabian
tent, and I shall surround myself with soft pillows, and I shall wheeze
when I breathe and--who knows?--perhaps some dark-eyed young man worth a
million piasters will be deceived, and will come to you to-morrow, and
buy me--buy me at so much a pound." And she shrieked with laughter.
"Stop!" commanded her father. "You refuse to take me seriously, but I am
in earnest. Do not humiliate me in the presence of my friends this
Then he hurried away before she had time to make further sport of him.
To Count Selim Malagaski this garden-party was the frantic effort of a
sinking man. To Kalora it was a lark. From the pure fun of the thing,
she obeyed her father. She wore four heavily quilted and padded gowns,
one over another, and when she and Jeneka were summoned from their
apartments and went out to meet the company under the trees, they were
almost like twins and both duck-like in general outlines.
First they met Mrs. Rawley Plumston, a very tall, bony and dignified
woman in gray, wearing a most flowery hat. To every man of Morovenia
Mrs. Plumston was the apotheosis of all that was undesirable in her sex,
but they were exceedingly polite to her, for the reason that Morovenia
owed a great deal of money in London and it was a set policy to
cultivate the friendship of the British.
While Jeneka and Kalora were being presented to the consul's wife,
these same young men, the very flower of bachelorhood, stood back at a
respectful distance and regarded the young women with half-concealed
curiosity. To be permitted to inspect young women of the upper classes
was a most unusual privilege, and they knew why the privilege had been
extended to them. It was all very amusing, but they were too well bred
to betray their real emotions. When they moved up to be presented to the
sisters they seemed grave in their salutations and restrained
themselves, even though one pair of eyes, peering out above a very gauzy
veil, seemed to twinkle with mischief and to corroborate their most
Out of courtesy to his guests, Count Malagaski had made his garden-party
as deadly dull as possible. Little groups of bored people drifted about
under the trees and exchanged the usual commonplace observations. Tea
and cakes were served under a canopy tent and the local orchestra
struggled with pagan music.
Kalora found herself in a wide and easy kind of a basket-chair sitting
under a tree and chatting with Mrs. Plumston. She was trying to be at
her ease, and all the time she knew that every young man present was
staring at her out of the corner of his eye.
Mrs. Plumston, although very tall and evidently of brawny strength, had
a twittering little voice and a most confiding manner. She was immensely
interested in the daughter of the Governor-General. To meet a young girl
who had spent her life within the mysterious shadows of an oriental
household gave her a tingling interest, the same as reading a forbidden
book. She readily won the confidence of Kalora, and Kalora, being most
ingenuous and not educated to the wiles of the drawing-room, spoke her
thoughts with the utmost candor.
"I like you," she said to Mrs. Plumston, "and, oh, how I envy you! You
go to balls and dinners and the theater, don't you?"
"Alas, yes, and you escape them! How I envy _you_!"
"Your husband is a very handsome man. Do you love him?"
"I tolerate him."
"Does he ever scold you for being thin?"
"Does he _what_?"
"Is he ever angry with you because you are not big and plump
"Heavens, no! If my husband has any private convictions regarding my
personal appearance, he is discreet enough to keep them to himself. If
he isn't satisfied with me, he should be. I have been working for years
to save myself from becoming fat and plump and--pulpy."
"Then you don't think fat women are beautiful?"
"My child, in all enlightened countries adipose is woman's worst enemy.
If I were a fat woman, and a man said that he loved me, I should know
that he was after my bank-account. Take my advice, my dear young lady,
"Reduce. Make yourself slender. You have beautiful eyes, beautiful hair,
a perfect complexion, and with a trim figure you would be simply
Kalora listened, trembling with surprise and pleasure. Then she leaned
over and took the hand of the gracious Englishwoman.
"I have a confession to make," she said in a whisper. "I am not fat--I
am slim--quite slim."
And then, at that moment, something happened to make this whole story
worth telling. It was a little something, but it was the beginning of
many strange experiences, for it broke up the wonderful garden-party in
the grounds of the Governor-General, and it gave Morovenia something to
talk about for many weeks to come. It all came about as follows:
At the military club, the night before the party, a full score of young
men, representing the quality, sat at an oblong table and partook of
refreshments not sanctioned by the Prophet. They were young men of
registered birth and supposititious breeding, even though most of them
had very little head back of the ears and wore the hair clipped short
and were big of bone, like work-horses, and had the gusty manners of the
They were foolishly gloating over the prospect of meeting the two
daughters of the Governor-General, and were telling what they knew about
them with much freedom, for, even in a monarchy, the chief executive and
his family are public property and subject to the censorship of any one
who has a voice for talking.
Of these male gossips there were a few who said, with gleeful certainty,
that the elder daughter was a mere twig who could hide within the shadow
of her bounteous and incomparable sister.
"Wait until to-morrow and you shall see," they said, wagging their heads
To-morrow had come and with it the party and here was Kalora--a pretty
face peering out from a great pod of clothes.
They stood back and whispered and guessed, until one, more enterprising
than the others, suggested a bold experiment to set all doubts at rest.
Count Malagaski had provided a diversion for his guests. A company of
Arabian acrobats, on their way from Constantinople to Paris, had been
intercepted, and were to give an exhibition of leaping and
pyramid-building at one end of the garden. While Kalora was chatting
with Mrs. Plumston, the acrobats had entered and, throwing off their
yellow-and-black striped gowns, were preparing for the feats. They were
behind the two women and at the far end of the garden. Mrs. Plumston and
Kalora would have to move to the other side of the tree in order to
witness the exhibition. This fact gave the devil-may-care young
bachelors a ready excuse.
"Do as I have directed and you shall learn for yourselves," said the one
who had invented the tactics. "I tell you that what you see is all
shell. Now then--"
Four conspirators advanced in a half-careless and sauntering manner to
where Kalora and the consul's wife sat by the sheltering tree, intent
upon their exchange of secrets.
"Pardon me, Mrs. Plumston, but the acrobats are about to begin," said
one of the young men, touching the fez with his forefinger.
"Oh, really?" she exclaimed, looking up. "We must see them."
"You must face the other way," said the young man. "They are at the east
end of the garden. Permit us."
Whereupon the young man who had spoken and a companion who stood at his
side very gently picked up Mrs. Plumston's big basket-chair between them
and carried it around to the other side of the tree. And the two young
men who had been waiting just behind picked up Kalora's chair and
carried _her_ to the other side of the tree, and put her down beside the
Did they carry her? No, they dandled her. She was as light as a feather
for these two young giants of the military. They made a palpable show of
the ridiculous ease with which they could lift their burden. It may have
been a forward thing to do, but they had done it with courtly
politeness, and the consul's wife, instead of being annoyed, was pleased
and smiling over the very pretty little attention, for she could not
know at the moment that the whole maneuver had grown out of a wager and
was part of a detestable plan to find out the actual weight of the
Governor-General's elder daughter.
If Mrs. Plumston did not understand, Count Selim Malagaski understood.
So did all the young men who were watching the pantomime. And Kalora
understood. She looked up and saw the lurking smiles on the faces of the
two gallants who were carrying her, and later the tittering became
louder and some of the young men laughed aloud.
She leaped from her chair and turned upon her two tormentors.
"How dare you?" she exclaimed. "You are making sport of me in the
presence of my father's guests! You have a contempt for me because I am
ugly. You mock at me in private because you hear that I am thin. You
wish to learn the truth about me. Well, I will tell you. I _am_ thin. I
weigh one hundred and eighteen pounds."
She was speaking loudly and defiantly, and all the young men were
backing away, dismayed at the outbreak. Her father elbowed his way among
them, white with terror, and attempted to pacify her.
"Be still, my child!" he commanded. "You don't know what you are
"Yes, I do know what I am saying!" she persisted, her voice rising
shrilly. "Do they wish to know about me? Must they know the truth? Then
With sweeping outward gestures she threw off the soft quilted robes
gathered about her, tore away the veil and stood before them in a white
gown that fairly revealed every modified in-and-out of her figure.
What ensued? Is it necessary to tell? The costume in which she stood
forth was no more startling or immodest than the simple gown which the
American high-school girl wears on her Commencement Day, and it was
decidedly more ample than the sum of all the garments worn at polite
social gatherings in communities somewhat to the west. Nevertheless, the
company stood aghast. They were doubly horrified--first, at the
effrontery of the girl, and second, at the revelation of her real
person, for they saw that she was doomed, helpless, bereft of hope, slim
beyond all curing.
Kalora was alone.
After putting the company to consternation she had flung herself
defiantly back into the chair and directed a most contemptuous gaze at
all the desirable young men of her native land.
The Governor-General made a choking attempt to apologize and explain,
and then, groping for an excuse to send the people away, suggested that
the company view the new stables. The acrobats were dismissed. The
guests went rapidly to an inspection of the carriages and horses. They
were glad to escape. Jeneka, crushed in spirit and shamed at the brazen
performance of her sister, began a plaintive conjecture as to "what
people would say," when Kalora turned upon her such a tigerish glance
that she fairly ran for her apartment, although she was too corpulent
for actual sprinting. Mrs. Plumston remained behind as the only
"It was a most contemptible proceeding, my child. When they lifted us
and carried us to the other side of the tree I thought it was rather
nice of them; something on the order of the old Walter Raleigh days of
chivalry, and all that. And just think! The beasts did it to find out
whether or not you were really plump and heavy. It's a most
"I wouldn't marry one of them now, not if he begged and my father
commanded!" said Kalora bitterly. "And poor Jeneka! This takes away her
last chance. Until I am married she can not marry, and after to-day not
even a blind man would choose me."
"For goodness' sake, don't worry! You tell me you are nineteen. No woman
need feel discouraged until she is about thirty-five. You have sixteen
years ahead of you."
"Not in Morovenia."
"Why remain in Morovenia?"
"We are not permitted to travel."
"Perhaps, after what happened to-day, your father will be glad to let
you travel," said Mrs. Plumston with a significant little nod and a wise
squint. "Don't you generally succeed in having your own way with him?"
"Oh, to travel--to travel!" exclaimed Kalora, clasping her hands. "If I
am to remain single and a burden for ever, perhaps it would lighten
father's grief if I resided far away. My presence certainly would
remind him of the wreck of all his ambitions, but if I should settle
down in Vienna or Paris, or--" she paused and gave a little gasp--"or if
anything should happen to me, if I should--should disappear, that is,
really disappear, Jeneka would be free to marry and--"
"Oh, pickles!" said Mrs. Plumston. "I have heard of romantic young women
jumping overboard and taking poison on account of rich young men, but I
never heard of a girl's snuffing herself out so as to give her sister a
chance to get married. The thing for you to do at a time like this, when
you find yourself in a tangle, is to think of yourself and your own
chances for happiness. Father and Jeneka will take care of themselves.
They are popular and beloved characters here in Morovenia. They are not
taking you into consideration except as you seem to interfere with
their selfish plans. I have made it a rule not to work out my neighbor's
"What can I do?" asked Kalora, seemingly impressed by the earnestness of
the consul's wife.
"Leave Morovenia. Keep at your father until he consents to your going.
Here you are despised and ridiculed--a victim of heathen prejudice left
over from the Dark Ages. Get away, even if you have to walk, and take my
word for it, the moment you leave Morovenia you will be a very beautiful
girl; not a merely attractive young person, but what we would call at
home a radiant beauty--the oriental type, you know. And as a personal
favor to me, don't be fat."
"No fear of that," said the girl with a melancholy attempt at a smile.
"But you must go and join the others. Do, please. I am now in disgrace,
and you may compromise your social standing in Morovenia if you remain
here and talk to me."
"I dare say I should go. I have a husband who requires as much attention
and scolding as a four-year-old. Sometimes I almost favor the oriental
system of the husband's directing the wife. Good-by."
Mrs. Plumston gave her a kiss and a friendly little pat on the arm, and
walked away toward the stables with a swinging, heel-and-toe, masculine
Kalora had the whole garden to herself. She sat squared up in the wicker
chair with her fists clenched, looking straight ahead, trying in vain to
think of some plan for avenging herself upon the whole race of
bachelors. As she sat thus some one spoke to her.
"How do you do?" came a voice.
She was startled and looked about, but saw no one.
"Up here!" came the voice again.
She looked up and saw a young man on the top of the wall, his legs
hanging over. Evidently he had climbed up from the outside, and yet
Kalora had never suspected that the wall could be climbed.
[Illustration: "Up here!" came the voice again]
He was smoothly shaven, with blond hair almost ripe enough to be auburn;
he wore a gray suit of rather loose and careless material, a belt, but
no waistcoat; his trousers were reefed up from a pair of saddle-brown
shoes, and the silk band around his small straw hat was tricolored. In
his hand was a paper-covered book. Swung over his shoulder was a camera
in a leather case. He sat there on top of the high wall and gazed at
Kalora with a grinning interest, and she, forgetting that she was
unveiled and clad only in the simple garments which had horrified the
best people of Morovenia, gazed back at him, for he was the first of the
kind she had seen.
"What are you doing here?" she asked wonderingly.
"I am looking for the show," he replied. "They told me down at the hotel
that a very hot bunch of acrobats were doing a few stunts down here this
afternoon, and I thought I'd break in if I could. Wanted to get some
pictures of them."
"Were you invited?"
"No, but that doesn't make any difference. In Cairo I went to a native
wedding every day. If I passed a house where there was a wedding being
pulled off, I simply went inside and mingled. They never put me
out--seemed to enjoy having me there. I suppose they thought it was the
American custom for outsiders to ring in at a wedding."
"You said American, didn't you? Are you from America?"
"Do I look like a Scandinavian? I am from the grand old commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. Did you ever hear of the town of Bessemer?"
"I'm afraid not."
"Did you ever hear of the Pike family that robbed all the orphans, tore
down the starry banner, walked on the humble working-girl and gave the
double cross to the common people? Did you?"
"Dear me, no," she replied, following him vaguely.
"Well, I am Alexander H., of the tribe of Pike, and I have two reasons
for being in your beautiful little city. One is Federal grand jury and
the other is ten-cent magazine. You know, our folks are sinfully rich.
About four years ago I came in for most of the guvnor's coin, and in
trying to keep up the traditions of the family, I have made myself
unpopular, but I didn't know how unpopular I really was until I got this
magazine from home this morning." And he held up the paper-covered book,
which had a rainbow cover. "They have been writing up a few of us
captains of industry, and they have said everything about me that they
_could_ say without having the thing barred out of the mails. I notice
that you speak our kind of talk fairly well, but I think I can take you
by the hand and show you a lot of new and beautiful English language. I
will read this to you."
Before she could warn him, or do anything except let out a horrified
"Oh-h!" he had leaped lightly from his high perch and was standing in
front of her.
"I'm afraid you don't understand," she said, rising and taking a
frightened survey of the garden, to be sure that no one was watching.
"Strangers are not permitted in here. That is, men, and more
"I'm not a Christian, and I can prove it by this magazine. I am an
octopus, and a viper, and a vampire, and a man-eating shark. I am what
you might call a composite zoo. If you want to get a line on me just
read this article on _The Shameless Brigand of Bessemer_, and you will
certainly find out that I am a nice young fellow."
Kalora had studied English for years and thought she knew it, and yet
she found it difficult fully, to comprehend all the figurative phrases
of this pleasing young stranger.
"Do I understand that you are traveling abroad because of your
unpopularity at home?" she asked.
"I am waiting for things to cool down. As soon as the muck-rakers wear
out their rakes, and the great American public finds some other kind of
hysterics to keep it worked up to a proper temperature, I shall mosey
back and resume business at the old stand. But why tell you the story of
my life? Play fair now, and tell me a lot about yourself. Where am I?"
"You are here in my father's private garden, where you hare no right to
"Is Count Selim Malagaski, Governor-General of Morovenia."
"Wow! And you?"
"I am his daughter."
"The daughter of all that must be something. Have you a title?"
"I am called Princess."
"Can you beat that? Climb up a wall to see some A-rabs perform, and find
a real, sure-enough princess, and likewise, if you don't mind my saying
so, a pippin."
"I don't know what you mean," she said.
"I mean that you're a good-looker--that it's no labor at all to gaze
right at you. I didn't think they grew them so far from headquarters,
but I see I'm wrong. You are certainly all right. Pardon me for saying
this to you so soon after we meet, but I have learned that you will
never break a woman's heart by telling her that she is a beaut."
[Illustration: "Are you a real ingenue, or a kidder?"]
Kalora leaned back in her chair and laughed. She was beginning to
comprehend the whimsical humor of the very unusual young man. His direct
and playful manner of speech amused her, and also seemed to reassure
her. And, when he seated himself within a few inches of her elbow,
fanning himself with the little straw hat, and calmly inspecting the
tiny landscape of the forbidden garden, she made no protest against his
familiarity, although she knew that she was violating the most sacred
rules laid down for her sex.
She reasoned thus with herself:
"To-day I have disgraced myself to the utmost, and, since I am utterly
shamed, why not revel in my lawlessness?"
Besides, she wished to question this young man. Mrs. Plumston had said
to her: "You are beautiful." No one else had ever intimated such a
thing. In fact, for five years she had been taunted almost daily because
of her lack of all physical charms. Perhaps she could learn the truth
about herself by some adroit questioning of the young man from
"You have traveled a great deal?" she asked.
"Me and Baedeker and Cook wrote it," he replied; and then, seeing that
she was puzzled, he said: "I have been to all of the places they keep
"You have seen many women in many countries?"
"I have. I couldn't help it, and I'm glad of it."
"Then you know what constitutes beauty?"
"Not always. What is sponge cake for me may be sawdust for somebody
else. Say, I rode for an hour in a 'rickshaw at Nagoya to see the most
beautiful girl in Japan and when we got to the teahouse they trotted out
a little shrimp that looked as if she'd been dried over a barrel--you
know, stood _bent_ all the time, as if she was getting ready to jump.
Her neck was no bigger than a gripman's wrist and she had a nose that
stood right out from her face almost an eighth of an inch. Her eyes were
set on the bias and she was painted more colors than a bandwagon. I
said, 'If this is the champion geisha, take me back to the land of the
chorus girl.' And in China! Listen! I caught a Chinese belle coming down
the Queen's Road in Hong-Kong one day, and I ran up an alley. I have
seen Parisian beauties that had a coat of white veneering over them an
inch thick, and out here in this country I have seen so-called
cracker-jacks that ought to be doing the mountain-of-flesh act in the
Ringling side-show. So there you are!"
"But in your own country, and in the larger cities of the world, there
must be some sort of standard. What are the requirements? What must a
woman be, that all men would call her beautiful?"
"Well, Princess, that's a pretty hard proposition to dope out. Good
looks can not be analyzed in a lab or worked out by algebra, because,
I'm telling you, the one that may look awful lucky to me may strike
somebody else as being fairly punk. Providence framed it up that way so
as to give more girls a chance to land somebody. Still, there is one
kind that makes a hit wherever people are bright enough to sit up and
take notice. Now I suppose that any male being in his right senses would
find it easy to look at a woman who was young enough and had eyes and
hair and teeth and the other items, all doing team-work together, and
then if she was trim and slender--"
"Should she be slender?" interrupted Kalora, leaning toward him.
"Sure. I don't mean the same width all the way up and down, like an art
student, but trim and--Here, I'll show you. You will find the pictures
of the most beautiful women in the world right here in the ads of a
ten-cent magazine. Look them over and you will understand what I mean."
He turned page after page and showed her the tapering goddesses of the
straight front, the tooth-powder, the camera, the breakfast-food, the
massage-cream, and the hair-tonic.
"These are what you call beautiful women?" she asked.
"These are about the limit."
"Then in your country I would not be considered hideous, would I?"
"Hideous? Say, if you ever walked up Fifth Avenue you would block the
traffic! And in the palm-garden at the Waldorf--why, you and the head
waiter would own the place! Are you trying to string me by asking such
questions? Are you a real ingenue, or a kidder?"
"I hardly know what you mean, but I assure you that here in Morovenia
they laugh at me because I am not fat."
"This is a shine country, and you're in wrong, little girl," said Mr.
Pike, in a kindly tone. "Why don't you duck?"
"Leave here and hunt up some of the red spots on the map. You know what
I mean--away to the bright lights! I don't like to knock your native
land but, honestly, Morovenia is a bad boy. I've struck towns around
here where you couldn't buy illustrated post-cards. They take in the
sidewalks at nine o'clock every night. That orchestra down at the hotel
handed me a new coon song last night--_Bill Bailey_! Can you beat that?
As long as you stay here you are hooked up with a funeral."
Kalora, with wrinkled brow, had been striving to follow him in his
"Strange," she murmured. "You are the second person I have met to-day
who advises me to go away--to the west."
"That's the tip!" he exclaimed with fervor. "Go west and when you start,
keep on going. You come to America and bring along the papers to show
that you're a real live princess and you'll own both sides of the
street. We'll show you more real excitement in two weeks than you'll
see around here if you live to be a hundred."
"I should like to go, but--Look! Hurry, please! You must go!"
She pointed, and young Mr. Pike turned to see two guards in baggy
uniforms bearing down upon him, their eyes bulging with amazement.
"Shall I try to put up a bluff, or fight it out?" he asked, as he stood
up to meet them.
"You can not explain," gasped Kalora. "Run! _Run_! They know you have no
right here. This means going to prison--perhaps worse."
"Does it?" he asked, between his set teeth. "If those two brunettes get
me, they'll have to go some."
When the two pounced upon him he made no resistance and they captured
him. He stood between them, each of them clutching an arm and breathing
heavily, not only from exertion, but also out of a sense of triumph.
And now, in order to give a key to the surprising performances of
Alexander H. Pike, it will be necessary to call up certain biographical
When he was in the Hill School he won the pole vault, but later, in his
real collegiate days, he never could come within two inches of 'varsity
form, and therefore failed to make the track-team.
While attending the Institute of Technology he worked one whole autumn
to perfect an offensive play which was to be used against "Buff"
Rodigan, of the semi-professional athletic-club team. This play was
known as "giving the shoulder," with the solar plexus as the point of
attack. The purpose of the play was not to kill the opposing player, but
to induce him to relinquish all interest in the contest.
Furthermore, Mr. Pike, while spending a month or more at a time in New
York City, during his post-graduate days, had worked with Mr. Mike
Donovan, in order to keep down to weight. Mr. Donovan had illustrated
many tricks to him, one of the best being a low feint with the left,
followed by a right cross to the point of the jaw.
While the two bronze-colored guards stood holding him, Mr. Pike rapidly
took stock of his accomplishments, and formulated a program. With a
sudden twist he cleared himself, sprang away from the two, and jumped
behind a tree. One soldier started to the right of the tree and the
other to the left, so as to close in upon him and retake him. This was
what he wanted, for he had them "spread," and could deal with them
He used the Donovan tactics on the first guard, and they worked out with
shameful ease. When the soldier saw the left coming for the pit of his
stomach, he crouched and hugged himself, thereby extending his jaw so
that it waited there with the sun shining on it until the young man's
right swing came across and changed the middle of the afternoon to
midnight. Number one was lying in profound slumber when Alumnus Pike
turned to greet number two.
The second soldier, having witnessed the feat of pugilism, doubled his
fists and extended them awkwardly, coming with a rush. Mr. Pike suddenly
squatted and leaned forward, balancing on his finger-tips, until number
two was about to fall upon him and crush him, and then he arose with
that rigid right shoulder aimed as a catapult. There was a sound as when
the air-brake is disconnected, and number two curled over limply on the
ground and made faces in an effort to resume breathing.
Mr. Pike picked up his magazine and put it under his coat. He buttoned
the coat, smiled in a pale, but placid manner at Kalora, who was still
immovable with terror, and then he proceeded to vindicate his "prep
school" training. He ran over to the canopy tent, under which the
refreshments had been served, pulled out one of the poles and, pointing
it ahead of him, ran straight for the wall.
Kalora, watching him, regarded this as a wholly insane proceeding. Was
he going to attempt to poke a hole through a wall three feet thick?
Just as he seemed ready to flatten himself against the stones, he
dropped the end of the pole to the ground and shot upward like a rocket.
Kalora saw him give an upward twist and wriggle, fling himself free from
the pole and disappear on the other side of the wall, the camera
following like the tail of a comet. As he did so, number two, coming to
a sitting posture, began to shriek for reinforcements. Number one was up
on his elbow, regarding the affairs of this world with a dreamy
Fortunately for the Governor-General, the participants in the exploded
garden-party had escaped at the very first opportunity.
Count Malagaski, greatly perturbed and almost in a state of collapse
over the unhappy affair in the garden, was returning to his apartments
when the second surprising episode of the day came to a noisy climax.
He heard the uproar and had the two guards brought before him. They
reported that they had found a stranger in the garb of an infidel seated
within the secret garden chatting with the Princess Kalora. They did not
agree in their descriptions of him, but each maintained that the
intruder was a very large person of forbidding appearance and terrific
"How did he manage to escape?" asked the Governor-General.
"By jumping over the wall."
"Over a wall ten feet high?" demanded the Governor-General.
"Without touching his hands, sir. He was very tall; must have been seven
"If you ever had an atom of gray matter, evidently this stranger has
beaten it out of you. Hurry and notify the police!"
Kalora's candid version of the whole affair was hardly less startling
than that of the guards. The stranger had come over the wall suddenly,
much to her alarm. He attempted to converse with her, but she sternly
ordered him from the premises. He was exceedingly tall, as the guards
had said, and very dark, with rather long hair and curling black
mustache. He addressed her in English, but spoke with a marked German
This description, faithfully set down by Popova, was carried away to the
secret police of Morovenia, said to be the most astute in the world.
They were instructed to watch all trains and guard the frontier and, as
soon as they had their prisoner safely put away in the lower dungeon of
the municipal prison, they were to notify the Governor-General, who
would privately pass sentence.
A crime against any member of the ruler's household comes under a
separate category and need not be tried in public sessions. For entering
a royal harem or addressing a woman of title the sentences range from
the bastinado to solitary confinement for life.
No wonder Kalora waited in trembling. Like every other provincial she
had much respect for the indigenous constabulary. She did not believe it
possible for the pleasing stranger to break through the network that
would be woven about him.
Shunning her father and sister, and shunned by them, she waited many
sleepless hours in her own apartments for the inevitable news from
beyond the walls.
Next morning there came to her a cheering and terrifying message.
THE ONLY KOLDO
Three hours after his pole-vault, Mr. Alexander H. Pike, wearing a
dinner-jacket newly ironed by his man-slave, and with a soft hat crushed
jauntily down over the right ear, was pacing back and forth in the main
corridor of the Hotel de l'Europe waiting for the dread summons to the
He had to admit to himself that his nerves seemed to be about as taut as
piano wires. He told himself that possibly he was "up against it," and
yet he had stood on the brink of disaster so often during his college
career without acquiring vertigo, that the experience of the afternoon
was like a joyous renewal of youth.
He had no set program but he had a feeling that if he was to be
questioned he would lie entertainingly.
Of one thing he was certain--it would help his case if he made no
attempt to hurry across the frontier. He believed in the wisdom of
hunting up the authorities whenever the authorities were hunting for
him. For instance, in the prep school, after getting the cow into the
chapel, he discovered her there and notified the principal and was the
only boy who did not fall under suspicion. To assume a childlike
innocence and to bluff magnificently,--these had been the twin rules
that had saved him so often and would save him now, unless he should be
confronted by the princess or the two guards, in which case--he whistled
Suddenly two men came slamming in at the front door and stalked down the
avenue of palms. They seemed to be throbbing with the importance of
their errand, as they moved toward a little side office, which was the
official lair of the manager.
One of the men was elderly and wizened and the other was a detective.
Pike knew it as soon as he glanced at the heavy jowls and the broad face
and heard the authoritative footfall. He knew, also, that he was not a
bona fide detective, but a municipal detective, who is paid a monthly
salary and walks stealthily along side streets in citizen's dress, all
the time imagining that the people he meets take him to be a merchant or
a lawyer. In this he is mistaken, for he resembles nothing except a
If Mr. Pike had known that the officer who accompanied Popova was the
celebrated Koldo, chief of the secret service, no doubt the impulse to
retreat to his apartment and get behind the bed canopies would have been
stronger. He knew, however, that no detective of analytical methods
would expect to find the criminal standing at his elbow, so he followed
the two over to the office and calmly wedged himself into the
The great Koldo was agitated as he told his story to the manager, who
was a polite and sympathetic importation from Switzerland. Popova stood
by and corroborated by nodding.
"An outrage of the most dreadful nature has been reported from the
palace," said Koldo.
"Dear me!" murmured the manager. "I am so sorry."
"A stranger scaled the wall and entered the forbidden precincts. He
addressed himself to the Princess Kalora with most insulting
familiarity. Two of the household guards captured him, but he escaped
after beating them brutally. The report of the whole affair and a
description of the man have been brought to me by the esteemed
Popova--this gentleman here, who is court interpreter and instructor in
languages to the royal family."
Popova nodded and Mr. Pike saw the scattered spires of Bessemer,
Pennsylvania, whirling away into a cloud of disappearance.
"If you have a description of the man, no doubt you will be able to find
him," he said, knowing that this kind of speech would strengthen his
plea of innocence when brought out at the trial.
The chief of the secret service turned and looked wonderingly at the
bland stranger and resumed: "After some reflection I have decided to
make inquiries at all the hotels, to learn if any foreigner answering
this description has lately arrived in the city."
"You may be sure that any information I possess will be put at your
disposal immediately," said the manager, with a smile and a professional
The only Koldo, breathing deeply, brought from his pocket a sheet of
paper, while Mr. Pike propped himself deliberately against the door and
tried to mold his features into that expression of guileless innocence
which he had observed on the face of a cherub in the Vatican.
"He is very rugged and powerful," said the detective, referring to his
notes. "Large, quite large--black hair, dark eyes with a glance that
seems to pierce through anything--long mustache, also black--wears much
jewelry--speaks with a marked German accent--wears a suit of Scotch
plaid--heavy military boots."
Mr. Pike removed his hat and allowed the electric light to twinkle on
his ruddy hair.
"How--ah--where did you get this description?" he asked gently.
"From the Princess herself," replied Popova. "She saw him at close
"Believe me, I am sorry, but no one answering the description has been
at my hotel," said the manager.
"Then I shall go to the Hotel Bristol and the Hotel Victoria," announced
Koldo, with something of fierce determination in his tone.
"An excellent plan," assented the manager.
"Would you mind if I butted in with a suggestion?" said Mr. Pike, laying
a friendly hand on the arm of the redoubtable Koldo. "Don't you think
it would be better if you went alone to these hotels? This distinguished
gentleman," indicating Popova, "is well known on account of being a high
guy up at the palace. Sure as you live, if he trails around with you,
you will be spotted. You don't want to hunt this fellow with a brass
band. Besides, you don't need any help, do you?"--to the head of the
"Certainly not," replied the famous detective, swelling visibly. "I have
all the data--already I am planning my campaign."
"Then I should like to have a talk with Pop-what's-his-name. I think I
can slip him a few valuable pointers. You go right along and nail your
man and we'll sit here in the shade of the sheltering palm and tell each
other our troubles."
"I must return to the palace quite soon," murmured Popova, gazing at
the stranger uneasily.
"Call a carriage for the professor," spoke up Mr. Pike briskly, to the
manager. "I know his time is valuable, so we'll get down to business
immediately, if not sooner."
The manager knew a millionaire's voice when he heard it, so he hurried
away. The impatient Koldo said that he would communicate directly with
the palace as soon as he had effected the capture, and started for the
front door. Then, remembering himself, he went out the back way.
The old tutor, finding himself alone with Mr. Pike, was not permitted to
relapse into embarrassment.
"In the first place, I want you to know who and what I am," said Mr.
Pike. "Come into my suite and I'll show you something. Then you'll see
that you're not wasting your time on a light-weight."
He led the way to a large parlor ornately done in red, and pulled out
from a leather trunk a passport issued by the Department of State of the
United States of America. It was a huge parchment, with pictorial
embellishments, heavy Gothic type and a seal about the size of a pie.
Mr. Pike's physical peculiarities were enumerated and there was a direct
request that the bearer be shown every courtesy and attention due a
citizen of the great republic. Popova looked it over and was impressed.
"It isn't everybody that gets those," said Mr. Pike, as he put the
document carefully back into the trunk and covered it with shirts. "Have
a red chair. Take off your hat--ah, I remember, you leave that on, don't
The old gentleman seated himself, somewhat reassured by the cheery
manner of his host, who sat in front of him and beamed.
Mr. Pike, supposed to be given to vapory and aimless conversation,
really was a general. Already we have learned that he based his
every-day conduct on a groundwork of safe principles. He had certain
private theories, which had stood the test, and when following these
theories he proceeded with bustling confidence. One of his theories was
that every man in the world has a grievance and regards himself as
much-abused, and in order to win the regard and confidence of that man,
all one has to do is feel around for the grievance and then play upon
it. Mr. Pike, in his province of employer, had been compelled to study
the methods of successful labor-union agitators.
"You don't know much about me, but I know plenty about you," he began,
closing one eye and nodding wisely. "I hadn't been here very long before
I found out who was the real brains of that outfit up at the palace."
"Really, you know, we are not supposed to discuss the merits of our
ruler," said Popova, fairly startled at the candid tone of the other. He
lifted one hand in timid deprecation.
"Of course you're not. That's why some one who is simply a figurehead
goes on taking all the credit for tricks turned by a smart fellow who is
working for him. Now, if you lived in the dear old land of ready money,
where the accident of birth doesn't give any man the right to sit on
somebody else's neck, you'd be a big gun. You'd have money and a pull
and probably, before you got through, you'd be investigated. Over here,
you are deliberately kept in the background. You are the Patsy."
"The squidge--that means the fellow who does all the worrying and gets
nothing out of it. Now, before you return to what you call the palace,
and which looks to me like the main building of the Allegheny Brick
Works, will you do me the honor of going into that cave of gloom, known
as the American bar, and hitting up just one small libation?"
"I am not sure that I catch your meaning," said Popova, who felt himself
somewhat smothered by rhetoric.
"Into the bar--down at the little iron table--business of hoisting
"We of the faith are not supposed to partake of any drink containing
even a small percentage of alcohol."
"I'm not _supposed_ to dally with it myself, having been brought up on
cistern water, but I find in traveling that I entertain a more kindly
feeling for you strange foreign people when I carry a medium-sized
headlight. Come along, now. Don't compel me to tear your clothes."
There was no resisting the masterful spirit of the young steel magnate,
and Popova was led away to a remote apartment, where a single shelf,
sparsely set with bottles, made a weak effort to reproduce the fabled
splendors of far-away New York.
"Let's see, what shall we tackle?" asked Mr. Pike, as he checked down
the line with a rigid forefinger. "If you don't care what happens to
you, we might try a couple of cocktails--that is, if you like the taste
of _eau de quinine_. Oh, I'll tell you what! Here are lemons, seltzer
and gin. Boy, two gin fizzes."
The attendant, who was very juvenile and much afraid of his job, smiled
and shook his head.
"Do you mean to say that you never heard of a gin fizz?" asked Mr. Pike.
"All the ingredients within reach, simply waiting to be introduced to
each other, and you have been holding them apart. You ought to be
ashamed of yourself. Bring out some ice. Produce your jigger. Get busy.
Hand me the tools and I'll do this myself."
Then, while the other two looked on in abashed admiration, Mr. Pike
deftly squeezed the lemons and splashed in allopathic portions of the
crystal fluid and used ice most wastefully. After vigorous shaking and
patient straining he shot a seething stream of seltzer into each glass
and finally delivered to Popova a translucent drink that was very tall
and capped with foam.
"Hide that, Professor," he said. "In a few minutes you will speak
several new languages."
Popova sipped conservatively.
"Don't be afraid," urged Mr. Pike, encouragingly. "If the boy watched me
carefully, possibly he can duplicate the order."
The youth was more than willing, for he seldom received instruction.
With now and then a word of counsel or warning from the wise man of the
west in the corner, he cautiously assembled two other fizzes, while Mr.
Pike, in a most nonchalant and roundabout manner, sought information
concerning affairs of state, local politics, the Governor-General's
household and Princess Kalora. Popova told more than he had meant to
tell and more than he knew that he was telling.
It may have been that the fizzes were insidious or that Mr. Pike was
unduly persuasive, or that a combination of these two powerful
influences moved the elderly tutor to impulses of unusual generosity. At
any rate, he found himself possessed of an affection for the young man
from Bessemer, Pennsylvania. It was an affection both fatherly and
brotherly. When Mr. Pike asked him to perform just a small service for
him, he promised and then promised again and was still promising when
his host went with him to the carriage and said that he had not lived in
vain and that in years to come he would gather his grandchildren around
him and tell of the circumstances of his meeting with the greatest
scholar in southeastern Europe.
On the morning after the strange happenings in the garden, Kalora sat by
one of the cross-barred windows overlooking a side street, and envied
the humble citizens and unimportant woman drifting happily across her
field of vision.
Never in all her life had she walked out alone. The sweet privilege of
courting adventure had been denied her. And yet she felt, on this
morning, an almost intimate acquaintance with the outside world, for had
she not talked with a valorous young man who could leap over high walls
and subdue giants and pay compliments? He had thrown a sudden glare of
romance across her lonesome pathway. The few minutes with him seemed to
encompass everything in life that was worth remembering. She told
herself that already she liked him better than any other young man she
had met, which was not surprising, for he had been the first to sit
beside her and look into her eyes and tell her that she was beautiful.
She knew that whatever of wretchedness the years might hold in store for
her, no local edict could rob her of one precious memory. She had locked
it up and put it away, beyond the reach of courts and relatives.
During many wakeful hours she had recalled each minute detail of that
amazing interview in the garden, and had tried to estimate and
foreshadow the young man's plan of escape from the secret police.
Perhaps he had been taken during the night. The greatest good fortune
that she could picture for him was a quick flight across the frontier,
which meant that he would never return--that she had seen him once and
could not hope to see him again.
In her contemplation of the luminous figure of the Only Young Man, she
had ceased to speculate concerning her own misfortunes. The fact of her
disgrace remained in the background, eclipsed--not in evidence except as
a dim shadow over the day.
While she sat immovable, gazing into the street, feeling within herself
a tumult which was not of pain, nor yet of pleasure, but a satisfactory
commingling of both, she heard her name spoken. Popova was standing in
the doorway. He greeted her with a smile and bow, both of which struck
her as being singularly affected, for he was not given to polite
observances. As he squatted near her, she noticed that he was tremulous
and seemed almost frightened about something.
"I have come to tell you that I regret exceedingly the--the distressing
incident of yesterday, and that I sympathize with you deeply--deeply,"
"It is your fault," she said, turning from him and again gazing into the
street. "You taught me everything I do not need in Morovenia. You
neglected the one essential. I am not blind. It was never your desire
that I should be like my sister."
She spoke in a low monotone and with no tinge of resentment, but her
words had an immediate and perturbing effect on Popova, who stared at
her wide-eyed and seemed unable to find his voice.
"You must know that I have been governed by your father's wishes," he
said awkwardly. "Why do you--"
"Do not misunderstand me. I thank you for what you have done. I would
not be other than what I am. Tell me--the stranger--you know, the one in
the garden--has he been taken?" inquired the Princess.
"Taken! Taken! Not even a clue--not a trace! Either the earth opened to
swallow him or else Koldo is a dunce. The description was most accurate.
By the way, I--I had a most interesting conversation regarding the case,
with a young man at the Hotel de l'Europe last evening. He is a person
of great importance in his own country, also a student of
world-politics--I--he--never have I encountered such discrimination in
one so young. It was because of my admiration for his talents and my
confidence in his integrity that I consented to deliver a message for
Kalora squirmed in her pillows, and turned eagerly to face Popova.
"A message? For me?" she cried, eagerly.
"I will admit that the whole proceeding is most irregular, to put it
mildly. The young man was so deeply interested in your perilous
adventure of yesterday, and so desirous of felicitating you upon your
escape, that I yielded to his importunities and promised to deliver to
you this letter."
He brought it out cautiously, as if it were loaded with an explosive,
and Kalora pounced upon it.
"I rely upon you to maintain absolute secrecy in regard to my part in
But Kalora, unheeding him, had torn open the letter and was reading, as
MY DEAR PRINCESS:
I hope that's the way to begin. Something tells me that you would not
stand for "Your Majesty" or any of these "Royal Highness" trimmings.
Believe me, you are the best ever. I have just had a talk with the
eminent plain-clothes man who is looking for the burglar that broke into
the garden this afternoon and tried to steal you. He read to me the
description. Say, if I tried to write at this minute all of my present
emotions concerning you, I would burn holes in the paper. When it comes
to turning out fiction, Marie Corelli is not in the running. Honestly,
when Mr. Detective walked into the hotel this evening, I figured it a
toss-up whether I should ever see home and mother again.
I am only an humble steel-maker, but I am for you and I want to see you
again and tell you right to your face what I think of you. If you will
sort of happen to be in the garden at 4 p.m. to-morrow (Thursday), I
will come over the wall at the very spot I picked out to-day. I know
that this method of becoming acquainted with young women is not indorsed
by the _Ladies_' _Home Journal_ or Beatrice Fairfax, but, as nearly as I
can find out, there is no other way in which I can get into society over
So far as the bloodhounds of the law are concerned, don't give them a
thought. I have met, the great Koldo, and he won't know until about next
Sunday that yesterday was Tuesday. The professor has promised to bring a
reply to the hotel. He is not on.
YOUR GERMAN FRIEND.
She read it all and found herself gasping--surprised, frightened, and
moved to a fluttering delight. She had thought of him as skulking in
byways, of concealing his name and attempting to disguise himself so
that he might dodge through the meshes woven by the invincible Koldo,
and here he was, still flaunting himself at the hotel and calmly
preparing to repeat his hazardous experiment.
"He is a fool!" she exclaimed, forgetting that Popova was present.
"I trust the message has not offended you," said the tutor, decidedly
alarmed at her agitation and not understanding what it meant.
"I tell you he is a fool--a fool!" she repeated. And while Popova
wondered, she sprang to her feet and ran to him and gave him a muscular
embrace around the tender portion of his neck, for he still squatted
after the oriental manner, even though he wore a long black coat of
"I consented to bring it because he was most urgent, and seemed a proper
sort of person," began Popova, "and not knowing the contents--"
"Bless you, I am not offended," interrupted Kalora, and then, looking at
the letter again, she burst into happy laughter.
The young stranger was unquestionably a fool. She had not dreamed that
any one could be so reckless and heedless, so contemptuous of the dread
machinery of the law, so willing to risk his very life for the sake
of--of seeing her again!
"If he has been impertinent, possibly you will take no notice of his
communication," suggested Popova.
"Oh, I _must_--I must at least acknowledge the receipt of it. Common
courtesy demands that. I shall write just a few lines and you must take
them to him at once. He seems to be a very forward person unacquainted
with our local customs, and so I shall formally thank him and suggest to
him that any further correspondence would be inadvisable. That's the
really proper thing to do, don't you think?"
"Then wait here until I have written it, and unless you wish me to go to
my father and tell him something that would put an end to your
illustrious career, deliver this message within a hour--deliver it
yourself. Give it to him and to no one else."
Never was a go-between more nonplussed, but he promised with a readiness
and a sincerity which indicated that he was keenly aware of the fact
that Kalora held him in her power. The minx had read his secret without
Mr. Pike was waiting in the avenue of potted palms when the greatest
scholar of southeastern Europe, now reduced to the humble role of
messenger boy, came to him, somewhat flurried and breathless, and
slipped a small envelope into his hand.
Popova rather curtly refused to renew his acquaintance with occidental
fizzes, and waited only until he had announced to Mr. Pike that the
Princess wished to emphasize the advice contained in the letter and to
assure the presumptuous stranger that it was meant for his welfare.
This is what Mr. Pike read:
My very good friend:
I have protected you, not because you deserve protection, but because I
like you very much. You must not come to the palace grounds again. They
are now under double guard and, if I attempted to meet you, no doubt a
whole company of our big soldiers would surround you and surely you
could not overcome so many powerful men. I am thinking only of your
safety. I beg you to leave Morovenia at once. Your danger is greater
than you can imagine. What more can I say, except that I shall always
remember you? Sincerely,
Mr. Pike read it carefully three times and then told himself aloud that
it was not what he would precisely term a love-letter.
"I may have made an impression, but certainly not a ten-strike," he
thought to himself, as he folded up the missive and put it into the most
sacred compartment of his Russia-leather pocketbook, along with the
letter of credit.
"I fear me that the incident is closed," he said. "I would stay here one
year if I thought there was a chance of seeing her again, but if she
wants me to fly I guess I had better fly."
That evening, after an earnest controversy with the manager over a very
complicated bill, studded with "extras," Mr. Alexander H. Pike,
accompanied by dragoman, leather trunks, hat-boxes and hold-alls, drove
away to the transcontinenta express, and slept soundly while crossing
the dangerous frontier.
Possibly he would not have slept so soundly if he had known that at four
o'clock that afternoon the Princess Kalora had been idling her time in
the palace garden, walking back and forth near the high wall.
She had told him not to come, and of course he would not come. No one
could be so audacious and foolhardy as to invite destruction after being
solemnly warned--and yet, if he _did_ come, she wanted to be there to
speak to him again and rebuke him and tell him not to come a third time.
She went back to her apartment much relieved and intensely disappointed.
Such is the perverseness of the feminine nature, even in Morovenia.
AS TO WASHINGTON, D.C.
About the time that Mr. Pike arrived in Vienna, and after Kalora had
been in voluntary retirement for some forty-eight hours, the famous
Koldo, head of the secret police, came into possession of a most
Having searched for two days, without finding the trail of the criminal
with the black mustache and the German accent, he bethought himself of
the wisdom of going to the garden where the intruder had engaged in a
desperate struggle with the two guards. Possibly he would discover
incriminating footprints. Instead, he found some scraps of paper, with
printing of a foreign character.
By questioning the guards he learned that these tatters had come from a
printed book which the mysterious stranger had carried, and which he
never relinquished even while reducing his foes to insensibility.
Koldo put these pieces of paper into a strong envelope, which he sealed
and marked "Exhibit A," and delivered his precious find to the
While Mr. Pike sat in Ronacher's at Vienna, watching a most entertaining
vaudeville performance, Count Selim Malagaski was in his library,
conferring with the wise Popova.
"How did he escape?" asked Count Malagaski again and again, shaking his
head. "The police have searched every corner of the town, and can find
no one answering the description."
"Have you questioned Kalora again?"
"Yes, and she now remembers that he had a very heavy scar over his
right eye. Her description and these few scraps of paper torn from the
book he was carrying are all that we have to guide us in our search."
The Governor-General held up the several remnants of a ten-cent
"It is in English; I read it badly."
He gave the torn pages to the old tutor, and Popova, picking up the
first, read as follows:
What is the great danger that threatens the American woman? It is
_obesity_. It is well known that ninety-nine per cent of all the women
in the United States are striving to reduce their weight. For all such
we have a message of hope. Write to Madam Clarissa and she----
"The remainder is torn away," said Popova.
The Governor-General had been leaning forward, listening intently. "Do
you mean to say that there is a country in which all the woman are fat?"
"It would seem so," replied Popova. "Let us read further." He picked up
another of the torn pages and read aloud:
To the Oatena Company of Pine Creek, Michigan:
When I began using your wonderful health-food I was a mere skeleton. I
have been living on it for three months and I have gained a pound a day.
Permit me to express the conviction that you are real benefactors to the
human race. Gratefully yours,
"Stop!" exclaimed the Governor-General, striking the table. "Is it
possible that somewhere in this world there is a food which will add a
pound a day?"
"The testimonial seems genuine," replied Popova. "It has been sworn to
before a notary."
"What country is this?"
"America, the land of milk and honey."
"Both very fattening," commented the Governor-General. "Popova, I have
an inspiration. You well know that my situation here is most desperate.
I must find husbands for these two daughters, but I dare not hope that
any one will come for Kalora until the disgraceful affair has been
forgotten and I can absolutely demonstrate that she has developed into
some degree of attractiveness. It is better for all concerned that she
should leave Morovenia until the present scandal blows over. Now, why
not America? It is a remote, half-savage country, and she will be far
from the temptations which would beset her at any fashionable capital in
Europe. We read in this magazine that all the women in America are fat.
She will come back to us in a little while as plump as a partridge. From
the sworn testimonial it would appear that she can obtain in America a
marvelous food which will cause her to gain a pound a day. She now
weighs one hundred and eighteen pounds. If she remained there a year she
would weigh, let me see--one hundred and eighteen plus three hundred and
sixty-five--oh, that doesn't seem possible! That is too good to be true!
But even six months, or only three months, would be sufficient. She
_must_ be sent away for a while, in the care of some one who will guard
her carefully. Read up on America to-night, and let me know all about it
in the morning."
Next day Popova, having consulted all the British authorities at hand,
reported that the United States of America covered a large but
undeveloped area, that the population was so engrossed with the
accumulation of wealth that it gave little heed to pleasures or
intellectual relaxation, and that the country as a whole was unworthy of
consideration except as the abode of a swollen material prosperity.
"Just the place for her," exclaimed the Governor-General. "No pleasures
to distract her, an atmosphere of plodding commercialism, an abundance
of health-giving nourishment! Perhaps the mere change of climate will
have the desired effect. We will make the experiment. She is doomed if
she remains here, and America seems to be our only hope. I suppose our
beloved Monarch sends a minister to that country. If so, communicate
with the Secretary of the Legation and request him to secure secluded
apartments for her and a suite. You shall accompany her."
"I?" exclaimed Popova, unable to conceal his joy.
"Yes; she must be under careful restraint all the time. What is the
capital of the United States?"
"Washington. It is a sleepy and well-behaved town. I have looked it up."
"Good! You shall take her to Washington. If one of the many civil wars
should break out, or there should be an uprising of the red men, she can
hurry to the protection of the Turkish Embassy. Let us make immediate
preparations--and remember, Popova, that my whole future happiness as a
father depends upon the success of this expedition."
When Kalora was gravely informed by her father that she and the tutor
and a half-dozen female attendants were to be bundled up and sent away
to America, and that she was to do penance, take a dieting treatment,
and come back in due time to try and atone for her unfortunate past, did
she weep and beg to be allowed to remain at her own dear home? No; she
listened in apparently meek and rather mournful submission, and, after
her father went away, she turned handsprings across the room.
Her utmost dream of happiness had been realized. She was to go to the
land of the red-headed stranger where she would be admired and courted,
and where, in time, she might aspire to the ultimate honor of having her
picture in a ten-cent magazine.
ON THE WING
The train rolled away from the low and dingy station and was in the open
country of Morovenia. Kalora and her elderly guardian and the young
women who were to be her companions during the period of exile had been
tucked away into adjoining compartments. Each young woman was muffled
and veiled according to the most discreet and orthodox rules.
Popova's bright red fez contrasted strangely with his silvering hair,
but no more strangely than did this wondrous experience of starting for
a new world contrast with the quiet years that he had spent among his
The train sped into the farm-lands. On either side was a wide stretch
of harvest fields, heaving into gentle billows, with here and there a
shabby cluster of buildings. If Kalora had only known, Morovenia was
very much like the far-away America, except that Morovenia had not
learned to decorate the hillsides with billboards.
At last she was to have a taste of freedom! No father to scold and
plead; no much-superior sister to torment her with reproaches; no
peering through grated windows at one little rectangle of outside
sunshine. To be sure, Popova had received explicit and positive
instructions concerning her government. But Popova--pshaw!
She unwound her veil and removed her head-gear and sat bareheaded by the
car-window, greedily welcoming each new picture that swung into view.
"You must keep your face covered while we are in public or semi-public
places," said Popova gently, repeating his instructions to the very
"I shall not."
Thus ended any exercise of Popova's authority during the whole journey.
Before the train had come to Budapest all the young women, urged on to
insubordination, had removed their veils, and Kalora had boldly invaded
another compartment to engage in rapt and feverish dialogue with a
little but vivacious Frenchwoman.
Two hours out from Vienna, the tutor found her involved in a business
conference with a guard of the train. She had learned that the tickets
permitted a stopover in Vienna. She wished to see Vienna. She had
decided to spend one whole day in Vienna.
Popova, as usual, made a feeble show of maintaining his authority, but
he was overruled.
Count Selim Malagaski, at home, consulting the prearranged schedule,
said, "This morning they have arrived in Paris and Popova is arranging
for the steamship tickets."
At which very moment, Kalora was in an open carriage driving from one
Vienna shop to another, trying to find ready-made garments similar to
those worn by Mrs. Rawley Plumston. Popova was now a bundle-carrier.
The shopping in Vienna was merely a prelude to a riotous extravagance of
time and money in Paris. Popova, writing under dictation, sent a message
to Morovenia to the effect that they had been compelled to wait a week
in order to get comfortable rooms on a steamer.
Kalora had the dressmakers working night and day.
She and her mother and her grandmother and her great-grandmother and the
whole line of maternal ancestors had been under suppression and had
attired themselves according to the directions of a religious Prophet,
who had been ignorant concerning color effects. And yet, now that Kalora
had escaped from the cage, the original instinct asserted itself. The
love of finery can not be eliminated from any feminine species.
When she boarded the steamer she was outwardly a creature of the New
From the moment of embarking she seemed exhilarated by the salt air and
the spirit of democracy.
She lingered in New York--more shopping.
By the time she arrived at Washington and went breezing in to call upon
a certain dignified young Secretary, the transformation was complete.
She might not have been put together strictly according to mode, but she
was learning rapidly, and willing to learn more rapidly.
AN OUTING--A REUNION
The Secretary of the Legation at Washington was surprised to receive a
letter from the Governor-General of Morovenia requesting him to find
apartments for the Princess Kalora and a small retinue. The letter
explained that the Governor-General's daughter had been given a long
sea-voyage and assigned to a period of residence within the quiet
boundaries of Washington, in the hope that her health might be improved.
The Secretary looked up the list of hotels and boarding-houses. He did
not deem it advisable to send a convalescent to one of the large and
busy hotels; neither did he think it proper to reserve rooms for her at
an ordinary boarding-house, where she would sit at the same table with
department-employees and congressmen. So he compromised on a very
exclusive hotel patronized by legislators who had money of their own, by
many of the titled attaches of the embassies, and by families that came
during the season with the hope of edging their way into official
society. He explained to the manager of the hotel that the Princess
Kalora was an invalid, would require secluded apartments, and probably
would not care to meet any of the other persons living at the hotel.
Within a week after the rooms had been reserved the invalid drove up to
the Legation to thank the Secretary for his kindness. Now, the Secretary
had lived in modern capitals for many years, was trained in diplomacy,
and had schooled himself never to appear surprised. But the Princess
Kalora fairly bowled him over. He had pictured her as a wan and waxen
creature, who would be carried to the hotel in a closed carriage or
ambulance, there to recline by the windowside and look out at the
rustling leaves. He had decided, after hours of deliberation, that the
etiquette of the situation would be for some member of the Legation to
call upon her about once a week and take flowers to her.
And here was the invalid, bounding out of a coupe, tripping up the front
steps and bursting in upon him like an untamed Amazon from the prairies
of Nebraska. She wore a tailor-made suit of dark material, a sailor hat,
tan gloves with big welts on the back and stout, low-heeled Oxfords.
This was the young woman who had come five thousand miles to improve
her health! This was the child of the Orient, and in the Orient, woman
is a hothouse flower. This was the timid young recluse to whom the
soft-spoken diplomats were to carry a few roses about once a week.
Why had she called upon the Secretary? First, to thank him for having
engaged the rooms; second, to invite him to take her out to a country
club and teach her the game of golf. She had heard people at the hotel
talking about golf. The game had been strongly commended to her by a
congressman's daughter, with whom she had ascended to the top of the
When the Secretary, having recovered his breath, asked if she felt
strong enough to attempt such a vigorous game, she was moved to silvery
laughter. She told what she had accomplished during three short days in
Washington. She had attended two matinees with Popova, had gone motoring
into the Virginia hills, had inspected all the public buildings, and
studied every shop-window in Pennsylvania Avenue. The Secretary knew
that all this outdoor freedom was not usually accorded a young woman of
his native domain, and yet he felt that he had no authority to restrain
her or correct her. She was a princess, and he was relatively a
subordinate, and, when she requested him to take her to the country
club, he gave an embarrassed consent.
"You have been in America a long time?" she asked.
"About three years."
"You have met many people--that is, the important people?"
"All of them are important over here. Those that are not very wealthy
or very eminent are getting ready to be."
"I am wondering if you could tell me something about a young man I met
abroad. I met him only once, and I have quite forgotten his name."
"I'm afraid I haven't met him."
"He is rather good-looking and has--well, red hair; not rusty red, but a
sort of golden red."
"There are millions of red-haired young men in America."
"Please don't discourage me. Now I remember the name of his home. He
lived in Pennsa--Pennsylvania, that's it."
"Pennsylvania is about four times as large as Morovenia."
"But he is very wealthy. He talked as if he had come into millions."
"I can well believe it. The millionaires of Pennsylvania are even as
the sands of the sea or the leaves of the forest."
"He owns some sort of mills or factories--where they make steel."
"Every millionaire in Pennsylvania has something to do with steel. Now,
if you were searching in that state for a young man who is penniless and
has nothing to do with the steel industry, possibly I might be of some
service to you. The whole area of Pennsylvania is simply infested with
millionaires. Not all of them are red-headed, but they will be, before
Congress gets through with them."
This playful lapse into the American vernacular was quite lost upon the
Princess Kalora, who was sitting very still and gazing in a most
disconsolate manner at the Secretary.
"I felt sure that you could tell me all about him," she said.
"Believe me, if I encounter any young millionaire from Pennsylvania,
whose hair is golden-red, I shall put detectives on his trail and let
you know at once. You met him abroad?"
"At a garden party in Morovenia."
"Indeed! Garden parties in Morovenia! And yet that is not one-half as
surprising as to find you here in Washington."
"You are not displeased to find me here?"
"And you will take me to the country club?"
"At any time. It will really give me much pleasure."
"I shall drop a note. Good-by."
He stood at the window to watch her as she nimbly jumped into the coupe
and was driven away.
That evening he made a most astonishing report to his intimates of the
corps and asked:
"What shall I do?"
"Do you feel competent to take charge of her and regulate her conduct?"
"I do not."
"Have you instructions to watch her and make sure that she observes the
etiquette and keeps within the restrictions of her own country while she
is visiting in Washington?"
"Nothing of the sort."
"From your first interview with her, do you believe that it would be
advisable for any of us to attempt to interfere with her plans?"
"Then take her to the country club and teach her the game of golf, and
remember the old saying at home, that no man was ever given praise for
attempting to govern another man's family."
So it was settled that the Legation would not attempt any supervision of
Kalora's daily program. And it was a very wise decision, for the daily
program was complicated and the Legation would have been kept
Popova became merely a sort of footman, or modified chaperon. He knew
that he had no real authority and seldom attempted even the most timid
suggestions as to her conduct. Once or twice he mentioned health-food
and dieting, and was pooh-poohed into a corner. As for the women
attendants, who had been sent along that they might be the companions of
the Princess during the long hours of loneliness and seclusion, they
were trained to act as hair-dressers and French maids and repairing
Kalora had money and a title and physical attractions. Could she well
escape the gaieties of Washington? Be assured that she made no effort to
escape them. She followed the busy routine of dinners and balls,
receptions and afternoon teas, her childish enthusiasm never lagging.
She could play at golf and she seemed to know horseback riding the first
time she tried it, and after the first two weeks she drove her own
The letters that went back to Morovenia were fairly dripping with
superlatives and happy adjectives. She was delighted with Washington;
she was in excellent health; the members of the Legation were very
thoughtful in their attentions; the autumn weather was all that could be
desired; her apartments at the hotel were charming. In fact, her whole
life was rose-colored, but never a word of real news for her anxious
father and sister--nothing about gaining a pound a day. The
Governor-General hoped from the encouraging tone of the letters that she
was quietly housed, out in the borders of some primeval forest,
gradually enlarging into the fullness of perfect womanhood.
About three months after her departure, in order to reassure himself
regarding the progress in her case, he wrote a letter to the minister at
Washington. He told the minister that his child was disposed to be
unruly and that Popova had become careless and somewhat indefinite in
his reports--and would he, the minister, please write and let an anxious
parent know the actual weight of Princess Kalora?
The minister resented this manner of request. He did not feel that it
was within the duties of a high official to go out and weigh young
women, so he replied briefly that he knew no way of ascertaining the
exact weight of an acrobatic young woman who never stood still long
enough to be weighed, but he could assure the father that she was
somewhat slimmer and more petite than when she arrived in Washington a
few weeks before.
This letter slowly traveled back to Morovenia, and on the very day of
its delivery to Count Selim Malagaski, who read it aloud and then went
into a frothing paroxysm of rage, the Princess Kalora in Washington
figured in a most joyful episode.
A western millionaire, who had bought a large cubical palace on one of
the radiating avenues, was giving a dancing-party, to which the entire
blue book had been invited. Kalora went, trailed by the long-suffering
Popova. She wore her most fetching Parisian gown, and decked herself
out with wrought jewelry of quaint and heavy design, which was the envy
of all the other young women in town, and she put in a very busy night,
for she danced with army officers, and lieutenants of the navy, and one
senator, and goodness knows how many half-grown diplomats.
At two o'clock in the morning she was in the supper-room: a fairly late
hour for a young woman supposed to be leading a quiet life. The food set
before her would not have been prescribed for a tender young creature
who was dieting. She was supping riotously on stuffed olives. Her
companion was a young gentleman from the army. They sat beneath a huge
palm. The tables were crowded together rather closely.
She chanced to look across at the little table to her right, and she
saw a young man--a young man with light hair almost ripe enough to be
With a smothered "Oh!" she dropped the olive poised between her fingers,
and as she did so, he looked across and saw her and exclaimed:
"Well, I'll be--"
He came over, almost upsetting two tables in his impetuous course. She
expected to see him jump over them.
He seized her hand and gazed at her in grinning delight, and the young
gentleman from the army went into total eclipse.
THE GOVERNOR CABLES
"I don't believe it. It's too good to be true. I am in a trance. It
isn't you, is it?"
And he was still holding her hand.
"_That's_ it. I was so busy thinking of you after I left your cute
little country that I couldn't remember the name. I thought of 'calico'
and 'Fedora' and 'Kokomo' and a lot of names that sounded like it, but I
knew I was wrong. _Kalora_--_Kalora_--I'll remember that. I knew it
began with a 'K.' But what in the name of all that is pure and
sanctified are you doing in the land of the free?"
"You invited me to come. Don't you remember? You urged me to come."
"That's why you notified me as soon as you arrived, isn't it? How long
have you been here?"
"I forget--three months--four months. Surely you have seen my name in
the papers. Every morning you may read a full description of what
Princess Kalora of Morovenia wore the night before. For a simple and
democratic people you are rather fond of high-sounding titles, don't you
"I haven't read the papers, because I'm always afraid I'll find
something about myself. They don't describe my costumes, however. They
simply say that I am trying to blow up and scuttle the ship of State.
But this has nothing to do with your case. It is customary, when you
accept an invitation, to let the host know something about it. In other
words, why didn't you drop me a line?"
"I will confess--the whole truth--since you have been candid enough to
admit that you had forgotten my name. I tried to find you, through the
Legation. I described you, but--your name--_please_ tell me your name
again? You mentioned it, that day in the garden. Popova promised to go
to the hotel and get it for me, but we were bundled away in such a
"Heavens! Imagine any one forgetting such a name! Alexander H. Pike,
Bessemer, Pennsylvania, tariff-fed infant and all-round plutocrat."
"Why, of course, _Pike, Pike_--it is the name of a fish."
The young gentleman from the army moved uneasily, and they remembered
that he was present. He hoped they wouldn't mind if he went to look up
his partner for the next dance, and they assured him that they wouldn't,
and he believed them and was backing away when Popova arrived to suggest
the lateness of the hour and intimate his willingness to return to the
His sudden journey to the western hemisphere and his period of residence
at Washington had been punctuated with surprises, but the amazement
which smote him when he saw Kalora leaning across the table toward the
young man who had introduced the gin fizz into Morovenia was sudden and
Mr. Pike greeted him rapturously and gave him the keys to North America,
and then Kalora patted him on the arm and sent him away to wait for her.
They sat and talked for an hour--sat and talked and laughed and pieced
out between them the wonderful details of that very lively day in
"And you have come all the way to Washington, D.C. in order to increase
your weight?" he asked. "That certainly would make a full-page story for
a Sunday paper. Think of anybody's coming to Washington to fatten up!
Why, when I come down here to regulate these committees, I lose a pound
"I never dreamed that there could be a country in which women are given
so much freedom--so many liberties."
"And what we don't give them, they take--which is eminently correct. Of
all the sexes, there is only one that ever made a real impression on
"And to think that some day I shall have to return to Morovenia!"
"Forget it," urged Mr. Pike, in a low and soothing tone. "Far be it from
me to start anything in your family, but if I were you, I would never
go back there to serve a life sentence in one of those lime-kilns, with
a curtain over my face. You are now at the spot where woman is real
superintendent of the works, and this is where you want to camp for the
rest of your life."
"But I can not disobey my father. I dare not remain if he--"
She paused, realizing that the talk had led her to dangerous ground, for
Mr. Pike had dropped his large hand on her small one and was gazing at
her with large devouring eyes.
"You won't go back if I can help it," he said, leaning still nearer to
her. "I know this is a little premature, even for me, but I just want
you to know that from the minute I looked down from the wall that day
and saw you under the tree--well, I haven't been able to find anything
else in the world worth looking at. When I met you again to-night, I
didn't remember your name. You didn't remember my name. What of that? We
know each other pretty well--don't you think we do? The way you looked
at me, when I came across to speak to you--I don't know, but it made me
believe, all at once, that maybe you had been thinking of me, the same
as I had been thinking of you. If I'm saying more than I have a right to
say, head me off, but, for once in my life, I'm in earnest."
"I'm glad--you like me," she said, and she pushed back in her chair and
looked down and away from him and felt that her face was burning with
"When you have found out all about me, I hope you'll keep on speaking to
me just the same," he continued. "I warn you that, from now on, I am
going to pester you a lot. You'll find me sitting on your front
door-step every morning, ready to take orders. To-morrow I must hie me
to New York, to explain to some venerable directors why the net earnings
have fallen below forty per cent. But when I return, O fair maiden, look
out for me."
He would be back in Washington within three days. He would come to her
hotel. They were to ride in the motor-car and they were to go to the
theaters. She must meet his mother. His mother would take her to New
York, and there would be the opera, and this, and that, and so on, for
he was going to show her all the attractions of the Western Hemisphere.
The night was thinning into the grayness of dawn when he took her to
the waiting carriage. She put her hand through the window and he held it
for a long time, while they once more went over their delicious plans.
After the carriage had started, Popova spoke up from his dark corner.
"I am beginning to understand why you wished to come to America. Also I
have made a discovery. It was Mr. Pike who overcame the guards and
jumped over the wall."
"I shall ask the Governor-General to give you Koldo's position."
An enormous surprise was waiting for them at the hotel. It was a cable
from Morovenia--long, decisive, definite, composed with an utter
disregard for heavy tolls. It directed Popova to bring the shameless
daughter back to Morovenia immediately--not a moment's delay under pain
of the most horrible penalties that could be imagined. They were to take
the first steamer. They were to come home with all speed. Surely there
was no mistaking the fierce intent of the message.
Popova suffered a moral collapse and Kalora went into a fit of weeping.
Both of them feared to return and yet, at such a crisis, they knew that
they dared not disobey.
The whole morning was given over to hurried packing-up. An afternoon
train carried them to New York. A steamer was to sail early next day,
and they went aboard that very night.
[Illustration: They were to come home with all speed.]
Kalora had left a brief message at her hotel in Washington. It was
addressed to Mr. Alexander H. Pike, and simply said that something
dreadful had happened, that she had been called home, that she was
going back to a prison the doors of which would never swing open for
her, and she must say good-by to him for ever.
She tried to communicate with him before sailing away from New York.
Messenger boys, bribed with generous cab-fares, were sent to all the
large hotels, but they could not find the right Mr. Pike. The real Mr.
Pike was living at a club.
She leaned over the railing and watched the gang-plank until the very
moment of sailing, hoping that he might appear. But he did not come, and
she went to her state-room and tried to forget him, and to think of
something other than the reception awaiting her back in the dismal
region known as Morovenia.
The Governor-General waited in the main reception-room for the truant
expedition. He was hoping against hope. Orders had been given that
Popova, Kalora and the whole disobedient crew should be brought before
him as soon as they arrived. His wrath had not cooled, but somehow his
confidence in himself seemed slowly to evaporate, as it came time for
him to administer the scolding--the scolding which he had rehearsed over
and over in his mind.
He heard the rolling wheels grit on the drive outside, and then there
was murmuring conversation in the hallway, and then Kalora entered. His
most dreadful suspicions were ten times confirmed. She wore no veil and
no flowing gown. She was tightly incased in a gray cloth suit, and there
was no mistaking the presence of a corset underneath. On her head was a
kind of Alpine hat with a defiant feather standing upright at one side.
Before her father had time to study the details of this barbaric
costume, he sat staring at her as she was silhouetted for an instant
between him and the open window.
Merciful Mahomet! She was as lean and supple as an Austrian race-horse!
He could say nothing. She ran over and gave him a smack on the forehead
and then said cheerily:
"Well, popsy, here I am! What do you think of me?"
While Count Selim Malagaski was holding to his chair and trying to sort
out from the limited vocabulary of Morovenia the words that could
express his boiling emotions, he saw Popova standing shamefaced in the
doorway. Was it really Popova? The tutor wore a traveling-suit with
large British checks, a blue four-in-hand, and, instead of a fez, a
rakish cap with a peak in front. As he edged into the room the young
women attendants filed timidly behind him. Horror upon horrors! They
were in shirt-waists, with skirts that came tightly about the hips, and
every one of them wore a chip hat, and not one of them was veiled!
The Governor-General tried to steady himself in order to meet this
"So this is how you have managed my affairs?" he said in angry tones to
the trembling Popova.
"What is the meaning of this shocking exhibition?"
"Don't blame him, father," spoke up Kalora. "I am responsible for
whatever has happened. We have seen something of the world. We have
learned that Morovenia is about two hundred years behind the times. They
knew that you would not approve, but I have compelled them to have the
courage of their convictions. You can see for yourself that we no longer
belong here. There is but one thing for you to do, and that is to send
us away again."
"No!" exclaimed her father, banging his fist on the table, and then
coming to his feet. "You shall remain here--all of you--and be punished!
You have ruined your own prospects; you have condemned your poor sister
to a life of single misery, and you have made your father the
laughing-stock of all Morovenia! If I can not reform you and make you a
dutiful child, at least I can make an example of you!"
"Stop!" she said very sharply. "Let us not have an unfortunate scene in
the presence of the servants. If you have anything to say to me, send
them away, and remember also, father, I have certain rights which even
you must respect. Also, I have a great surprise for you. I am beautiful.
Hundreds of young men have told me so. Under no circumstances would I
permit myself to become large and gross and bulky. You are disheartened
because no young man in Morovenia wishes to marry me. Bless you, there
isn't a young man in this country worth marrying!"
"Young woman, you have taxed my patience far beyond the limit," said
her father, speaking low in an effort to control his wrath. "Hereafter
you shall never go beyond the walls of this palace! You shall be a
waiting-maid for your sister! The servants shall be instructed to treat
you as a menial--one of their own class! These shameless women are
dismissed from my service! As for you"--turning upon the old tutor--"you
shall be put away under lock and key until I can devise some punishment
severe enough to fit your case!"
That night Kalora slept on a hard and narrow cot in a bare apartment
adjoining her sister's gorgeous boudoir--quite a change from the suite
overlooking the avenue.
The shirt-waist brigade had been sent into banishment, and poor Popova
was sitting on a wooden stool in a dungeon, thinking of the dinners he
had eaten at Old Point Comfort and wondering if he had not overplayed
himself in the effort to be avenged upon the Governor-General.
A month later Popova was still in prison, and had demonstrated that even
after one has lunched for several months at the Shoreham, the New
Willard and the Raleigh, he may subsist on such simple fare as bread and
Kalora had been humiliated to the uttermost, but her spirit was unbroken
She was nominally a servant, but Jeneka and the others dared not attempt
any overbearing attitude toward her, for they feared her sharp and ready
The fires of inward wrath seemed to have reduced her weight a few
pounds, so that if ever a man faced a situation of unbroken gloom, that
man was the poor Governor-General.
Count Malagaski sat in the large, over-decorated audience room, alone
with his sorrowful meditations. An attendant brought him a note.
"The man is at the gate," said the attendant. "He started to come in. We
tried to keep him out. He pushed three of the soldiers out of the way,
but we finally held him back, so he sends this note."
A few lines had been written in pencil on the reverse side of a
typewritten business letter. The Governor-General could speak English,
but he read it rather badly, so he sent for his secretary, who told him
that the note ran as follows:
You don't know me and there is no need to give my name. Must see you
on important matter of business. Something in regard to your daughter.
"Great Heavens, another one!" said the Governor-General. "There are one
thousand young men ready and willing to marry Jeneka and not one in all
the world wants Kalora. Send him away!"
"I am afraid he won't go," suggested the attendant. "He is a very
"Then send him in to me. I can dispose of his case in short order."
A few moments later Count Selim Malagaski found himself sitting face to
face with a ruddy young man in a blue suit--a square-shouldered, smiling
young gentleman, with hair of subdued auburn.
"I take it that you're a busy man and I'll come to the point," said the
young man, pulling up his chair. "I try to be business from the word go,
even in matters of this kind. You have a daughter."
"I have two daughters," replied the Governor-General sadly.
"You have only one that interests me. I have been around a good deal,
but she is about the finest looking girl I--"
"Before you say any more, let me explain to you," said the
Governor-General very courteously. "Perhaps you are not entitled to this
information, but you seem to be a gentleman and a person of some
importance, and you have done me the honor to admire my daughter, and,
therefore, it is well that you should know all the facts in the case. I
have two daughters. One is exceedingly beautiful and her hand has been
sought in marriage by young men of the very first families of Morovenia,
notably Count Luis Muldova, who owns a vast estate near the Roumanian
frontier. I have another daughter who is decidedly unattractive, so
much so that she has never had an offer of marriage. I am telling you
all this because it is known to all Morovenia, and even you, a stranger,
would have learned it very soon. Under the law here, a younger sister
may not marry until the elder sister has married. My unattractive
daughter is the elder of the two. Do you see the point? Do you
understand, when you come talking of a marriage with my one desirable
daughter, that not only are you competing with all the wealthy and
titled young men of this country, but also you are condemned to sit down
and patiently wait until the elder sister has married,--which means, my
dear sir, that probably you will wait for ever? Therefore I think I may
safely wish you good day."
"Hold on, here," said the visitor, who had been listening intently,
with his eyes half-closed, and nodding his head quickly as he caught the
points of the unusual situation. "If I can fix it up with you and
daughter--and I don't think I'll have any trouble with daughter--what's
the matter with my rustling around and finding a good man for sister?
There is no reason why any young woman with a title should go into the
discard these days. At least we can make a try. I have tackled
propositions that looked a good deal tougher than this."
"Do you think it possible that you could find a desirable husband for a
young woman who has no physical charms and who, on two or three
occasions, has scandalized our entire court?"
"I don't say I can, but I'm willing to take a whirl at it."
"My dear sir, before we go any further, tell me something about
yourself. You are an Englishman, I presume?"
"Great Scott! You're the first one that ever called me that. I have been
called a good many things, but never an Englishman. I'll have to begin
wearing a flag in my hat. I'm an American."
"American!" gasped the Governor-General. "I am very sorry to hear it. I
have every reason for regarding you and your native country as my
"You're dead wrong. America is all right. The States size up pretty well
alongside of this little patch of country."
"I do not blame you for being loyal to your own home, sir, but isn't it
rather presumptuous for you, an American, to aspire to the hand of a
Princess who could marry any one of a dozen young men of wealth and
"What's the matter with my wealth and social position? I'm willing to
stack up my bank-account with any other candidate. I happen to be worth
eighteen million dollars."
"Dollars?" repeated the Governor-General, puzzled. "What would that be
"It's a shame to tell you. Only about four hundred million piastres,
"What!" exclaimed the Governor-General. "Surely you are joking. How
could one man be worth four hundred million piasters?"
"Say, if you'll give me a pencil and a pad of paper and about a
half-day's time, I'll figure out for you what Henry Frick is worth in
piasters and then you _would_ have a fit. Why, in the land of ready
money I'm only a third-rater, but I've got the four hundred million, all
"But have you any social position?" asked the Governor-General. "Any
rank? Any title? Over here those things count for a great deal."
"I am Grand Exalted Ruler of the Benevolent and Protective Order of
Elks," said the visitor calmly.
"I am a Knight Templar."
"A knight? That is certainly something."
"Do you see this badge with all the jewels in it? That means that I am a
Noble of the Mystic Shrine."
"I can see that it is the insignia of a very distinguished order," said
the Governor-General, as he touched it admiringly.
"What is more, I am King of the Hoo-Hoos."
"A sure-enough king. Now, don't you worry about my wealth or my title.
I've got money to burn and I can travel in any company. The thing for us
to do is to get together and find a good husband for the cripple, and
fix up this whole marriage deal. But before we go into it I want to meet
your daughter and find out exactly how I stand with her."
"That will be unnecessary, and also impossible. Whatever arrangements
you make with me may be regarded as final. My daughter will obey my
"Not for mine! I am not trying to marry any girl that isn't just as keen
for me as I am for her. Why, I've seen her only twice. Let me talk it
over with her, and if she says yes, then you can look me up in
Bradstreet and we'll all know where we stand."
"I am sorry, but it is absolutely contrary to our customs to permit a
private interview between an unmarried woman and her suitor."
"Whereas in our country it is the most customary thing in the world!
Now, why should we observe the customs of _your_ country and disregard
the customs of _my_ country, which is about forty times as large and
eighty times as important as your country? Don't be foolish! I may be
the means of pulling you out of a tight hole. You go and send your
daughter here to me. Give me ten minutes with her. I'll state my case to
her, straight from the shoulder, and, if she doesn't give me a lot of
encouragement, I'll grab the first train back to Paris. If she _does_
give me any encouragement, then you'll see what can be accomplished by
a real live matrimonial agency."
The Governor-General hesitated, but not for long. The confident manner
of the stranger had inspired him with the first courage that he had felt
for many weeks and revived in him the long-slumbering hope that possibly
there was somewhere in the world a desirable husband for Kalora. He was
about to violate an important rule, but there was no reason why any one
on the outside should hear about it.
"This is most unusual," he said. "If I comply with your request, I must
beg of you not to mention the fact of this interview to any one. Remain
He went away, and the young man waited minute after minute, pacing back
and forth the length of the room, cutting nervous circles around the big
office chairs, wiping his palms with his handkerchief and wondering if
he had come on a fool's errand or whether--
He heard a rustle of soft garments, and turned. There in the doorway
stood a feminine full moon--an elliptical young woman, with half of her
pink and corpulent face showing above a gauzy veil, her two chubby hands
clasped in front of her, the whole attitude one of massive shyness.
"I--I beg pardon," he said, staring at her in wonder.
She tried to speak, but was too much flustered. He saw that she was
smiling behind the veil, and then she came toward him, holding out her
hand. He took the hand, which felt almost squashy, and said:
"I am very glad to meet you."
Then there was a pause.
"Won't you be seated?" he asked.
She sank into one of the leather chairs and looked up at him with a
little simper, and there was another pause.
"I--I never have seen you before, have I?" she asked, with a secretive
attempt to take a good look at him.
"You can search me," he replied, staring at her, as if fascinated by her
wealth of figure. "If I had seen you before, I have a remote suspicion
that I should remember you. I don't think it would be easy to forget
"You flatter me," she said softly.
"Do I? Well, I meant every word of it. Will you pardon me for being a
wee bit personal? Are there many young ladies in these parts that are
as--as--corpulent, or fat, or whatever you want to call it--that is, are
you any plumper than the average?"
"I have been told that I am."
"Once more pardon me, but have you done anything for it?"
"For what?" she asked, considerably surprised.
"I wouldn't have mentioned it, only I think I can give you some good
tips. I had a Cousin Flora who was troubled the same way. About the time
she went to Smith College she got kind of careless with herself, used to
eat a lot of candy and never take any exercise, and she got to be an
awful looking thing. If you'll cut out the starchy foods and drink
nothing but Kissingen, and begin skipping the rope every day, you'll be
surprised how much of that you'll take off in a little while. At first
you won't be able to skip more than twenty-five or fifty times a day,
but you keep at it and in a month you can do your five hundred. Put on
plenty of flannels and wear a sweater. And I'll show you a dandy
exercise. Put your heels together this way,"--and he stood in front of
her,--"and try to touch the floor with your fingers--so!"--illustrating.
"You won't be able to do it at first, but keep at it, and it'll help a
lot. Then, if you will lie flat on your back every morning, and work
your feet up and down----"
She had listened, at first in utter amazement. Now her timid
coquettishness was giving way to anger.
"What are you trying to tell me?" she asked.
"It's none of my business, but I thought you'd be glad to find out
what'd take off about fifty pounds."
"And is this why you came to see me?" she demanded.
"_I_ didn't come to see _you_."
"My father said you were waiting and he sent me to you."
"Sent _you_," replied Mr. Pike in frank surprise. "My dear girl, you may
be good to your folks and your heart may be in the right place, and I
don't want to hurt your feelings, but father has got mixed in his dates.
I certainly didn't come here to see _you_."
As he was speaking Jeneka wriggled forward in her chair and then arose.
She stood before him, heaving perceptibly.
"Your manner is most insulting," she declared. She had expected to be
showered with compliments, and here was this giggling stranger advising
her to be thin! She toddled over to the door and pushed a bell. Then she
turned upon the bewildered stranger and remarked coldly: "Unless you
have something further to communicate, you may consider this interview
at an end."
A servant appeared in the doorway.
"Show this person out," said the portly princess.
The servant gave a little scream.
And then he was holding both her hands.
"You are _here_--here in Morovenia? You came all the way?"
"All the way! I'd have come ten times as far. Before I left New York I
heard about all those messenger boys hunting me around the hotels, but I
didn't know what it meant. When I got back to Washington I found your
note, and, as soon as I could get Congress calmed down, I started--got
in here last night."
"But why did you come?"
[Illustration: "Mr. Pike!" "Kalora!"]
"Can't you guess?" Mr. Pike wasted no time in circumlocution.
During this hurried interview Jeneka had been holding a determined thumb
against the electric button. The Governor-General, waiting impatiently
up the hallway, heard the prolonged buzzing and came to investigate. He
found the adorable Jeneka, all trembling with indignation, in the
doorway. She saw him and pointed. He looked and saw the distinguished
stranger, the man of many titles and unbounded wealth, standing close to
the slim princess, holding both her hands and beaming upon her with all
of the unmistakable delirious happiness of love's young dream.
"What does it mean?" asked the Governor-General. "Is it possible----"
"He was rude to me," began Jeneka, "He was most insulting----"
Mr. Pike turned to meet his prospective father-in-law.
"You meant well, but you got twisted," he remarked. "This is the one I
was looking for."
At first Count Selim Malagaski was too dumfounded for speech.
"Are you sure?" he asked. "Can it be possible that you, a man worth
millions of piasters, an exalted ruler, a Noble of the Mystic Shrine,
have deliberately chosen this waspy, weedy----"
"Let up!" said Mr. Pike sharply. "You can say what you please about your
daughter, but you mustn't make remarks about the prospective Mrs. Pike.
I don't know anything about her local reputation for looks, but I think
she's the most beautiful thing that ever drew breath, and I'd make it
stronger than that if I knew how. You thought I meant the fat one.
Well, I didn't, but I hope the agreement goes just the same. And I'll
stick to what I said. I'll get the other one married off. It may take a
little time, but I think I can find some one."
"_Find_ some one?" cried Jeneka indignantly.
"_Find_ some one?" repeated her father. "She has been sought by every
young man of quality in the whole kingdom. How dare you suggest
Then he paused, for he was beginning to comprehend that young Mr. Pike
had stepped in and saved him, and that, instead of rebuking Mr. Pike, he
should be weeping on his breast and calling him "son."
Jeneka came to her senses at the same moment, for she saw her dream of
five years coming true. She knew that soon she would be the Countess
Mr. Pike suddenly felt himself caressed by three happy mortals.
"I shall make you a Knight of the Gleaming Scimitar," said the
Governor-General. "I have the authority."
"Thanks," replied Mr. Pike.
"And we can have a double wedding," exclaimed Jeneka, whose ecstasy was
"We shall be married in Washington," said Kalora decisively. "I am not
going to be carted over to my husband's house and delivered at the back
door, even if it is the custom of my native land. I shall be married
publicly and have twelve bridesmaids."
"You may start for Washington immediately," said her father with genuine
"I shall need a chaperon. Send for Popova."
"Good! His punishment shall be--permanent exile."
"Nothing would please him better," said Kalora. "Over here he is
nothing--in Washington he will be a distinguished foreigner. Washington!
_Washington_! To think that all of us are going back there! To think
that once more I shall have pickles--all the pickles I want to eat!"
"We have over fifty varieties waiting for you," observed young Mr. Pike
"I have been thinking," spoke up the Governor-General. "I shall apply to
the Sultan. He shall make you a Most Noble Prince of the Order of
Bosporus. The decoration is a great star, studded with diamonds."
"Thanks," replied Mr. Pike.
That night the great palace at Morovenia was completely illuminated for
the first time in many months.
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