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- Long Live the King - 1/76 -


Long Live the King

by Mary Roberts Rinehart

CONTENTS

I. The Crown Prince runs away

II. And sees the World

III. Disgraced

IV. The Terror

V. At the Riding-School

VI. The Chancellor pays a Visit

VII. Tea in the Schoolroom

VIII. The Letter

IX. A Fine Night

X. The Right to live and love

XI. Rather a Wild Night

XII. Two Prisoners

XIII. In the Park

XIV. Nikky does a Reckless Thin

XV. Father and Daughter

XVI. On the Mountain Road

XVII. The Fortress

XVIII. Old Adelbert

XIX. The Committee of Ten

XX. The Delegation

XXI. As a Man may love a Woman

XXII. At Etzel

XXIII. Nikky Makes a Promise

XXIV. The Birthday

XXV. The Gate of the Moon

XXVI. At the Inn

XXVII. The Little Door

XXVIII. The Crown Prince's Pilgrimage

XXIX. Old Adelbert the Traitor

XXX. King Karl

XXXI. Let Mettich guard his Treasure

XXXII. Nikky and Hedwig

XXXIII. The Day of the Carnival

XXXIV. The Pirate's Den

XXXV. The Paper Crown

XXXVI. The King is dead

XXXVII. Long live the King

XXXVIII. In the Road of the Good Children

XXXIX. The Lincoln Penny

LONG LIVE THE KING!

CHAPTER I

THE CROWN PRINCE RUNS AWAY

The Crown Prince sat in the royal box and swung his legs. This was hardly princely, but the royal legs did not quite reach the floor from the high crimson-velvet seat of his chair.

Prince Ferdinand William Otto was bored. His royal robes, consisting of a pair of blue serge trousers, a short Eton jacket, and a stiff, rolling collar of white linen, irked him.

He had been brought to the Opera House under a misapprehension. His aunt, the Archduchess Annunciata, had strongly advocated "The Flying Dutchman," and his English governess, Miss Braithwaite, had read him some inspiring literature about it. So here he was, and the Flying Dutchman was not ghostly at all, nor did it fly. It was, from the royal box, only too plainly a ship which had length and height, without thickness. And instead of flying, after dreary aeons of singing, it was moved off on creaky rollers by men whose shadows were thrown grotesquely on the sea backing.

The orchestra, assisted by a bass solo and intermittent thunder in the wings, was making a deafening din. One of the shadows on the sea backing took out its handkerchief and wiped its nose.

Prince Ferdinand William Otto looked across at the other royal box, and caught his Cousin Hedwig's eye. She also had seen the handkerchief; she took out her own scrap of linen, and mimicked the shadow. Then, Her Royal Highness the Archduchess Annunciata being occupied with the storm, she winked across at Prince Ferdinand William Otto.

In the opposite box were his two cousins, the Princesses Hedwig and Hilda, attended by Hedwig's lady in waiting. When a princess of the Court becomes seventeen, she drops governesses and takes to ladies in waiting. Hedwig was eighteen. The Crown Prince liked Hedwig better than Hilda. Although she had been introduced formally to the Court at the Christmas-Eve ball, and had been duly presented by her grandfather, the King, with the usual string of pearls and her own carriage with the spokes of the wheels gilded halfway, only the King and Prince Ferdinand William Otto had all-gold wheels, - she still ran off now and then to have tea with the Crown Prince and Miss Braithwaite in the schoolroom at the Palace; and she could eat a great deal of bread-and-butter.

Prince Ferdinand William Otto winked back at the Princess Hedwig. And just then - "Listen, Otto," said the Archduchess, leaning forward. "The 'Spinning Song' - is it not exquisite?"

"They are only pretending to spin," remarked Prince Ferdinand William Otto.

Nevertheless he listened obediently. He rather liked it. They had not fooled him at all. They were not really spinning, - any one could see that, but they were sticking very closely to their business of each outsinging the other, and collectively of drowning out the orchestra.

The spinning chorus was followed by long and tiresome solos. The Crown Prince yawned again, although it was but the middle of the afternoon. Catching Hedwig's eye, he ran his fingers up through his thick yellow hair and grinned. Hedwig blushed. She had confided to him once, while they were walking in the garden at the summer palace, that, she was thinking of being in love with a young lieutenant who was attached to the King's suite. The Prince who was called Otto, for short, by the family, because he actually had eleven names - the Prince had been much interested. For some time afterward he had bothered Miss Braithwaite to define being in love, but he had had no really satisfactory answer.

In pursuance of his quest for information, he had grown quite friendly with the young officer, whose name was Larisch, and had finally asked to have him ride with him at the royal riding-school. The grim old King had granted the request, but it had been quite fruitless so far after all. Lieutenant Larisch only grew quite red as to the ears, when love was mentioned, although he appeared not unwilling to hear Hedwig's name.

The Crown Prince had developed a strong liking for the young officer. He assured Hedwig one time when she came to tea that when he was king he would see that she married the lieutenant. But Hedwig was much distressed.

"I don't want him that way," she said. "Anyhow, I shall probably have to marry some wretch with ears that stick out and a bad temper. I dare say he's selected already. As to Lieutenant Larisch, I'm sure he's in love with Hilda. You should see the way he stares at her."

"Pish!" said Prince Ferdinand William Otto over his cup. "Hilda is not as pretty as you are. And Nikky and I talk about you frequently."

"Nikky" was the officer. The Crown Prince was very informal with the people he liked.

"Good gracious!" exclaimed the Princess Hedwig, coloring. "And


Long Live the King - 1/76

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