“An Englishman never sees a joke until it is too late, they say. This time it appears to be the American who is slow witted. What I don’t understand is why he was leading that confounded band.”
“My word, Chase, everybody in Europe—except you—knows that Brabetz is a crank about music. Composes, directs and all that. Over in Brabetz he supports the conservatory of music, written dozens of things for the orchestra, plays the pipe organ in the cathedral—all that sort of rot, you know. He’s a confounded little bounder, just the same. He’s mad about music and women and don’t care a hang about wine. The worst kind, don’t you know. I say, it’s a rotten shame she has to marry him. But that’s the way of it with royalty, old chap. You Americans don’t understand it. They have to marry one another whether they like it or not. But, I say, you’d better come over and stop with me to-night. It will be better if they don’t find you just yet.”
Three days later, a man came down to relieve Chase of his office; he was unceremoniously supplanted in the Duchy of Rapp-Thorberg.
It was the successful pleading of the Princess Genevra that kept him from serving a period in durance vile.
THE ENGLISH INVADE
The granddaughter of Jack Wyckholme, attended by two maids, her husband and his valet, a clerk from the chambers of Bosworth, Newnes & Grapewin, a red cocker, seventeen trunks and a cartload of late novels, which she had been too busy to read at home, was the first of the bewildered legatees to set foot upon the island of Japat. A rather sultry, boresome voyage across the Arabian Sea in a most unhappy steamer which called at Japat on its way to Sidney, depressed her spirits to some extent but not irretrievably.
She was very pretty, very smart and delightfully arrogant after a manner of her own. To begin with, Lady Agnes could see no sensible reason why she should be compelled to abandon a very promising autumn and winter at home, to say nothing of the following season, for the sake of protecting what was rightfully her own against the impudent claims of an unheard-of American.
She complacently informed her solicitors that it was all rubbish; they could arrange, if they would, without forcing her to take this abominable step. Upon reflection, however, and after Mr. Bosworth had pointed out the risk to her, she was ready enough to take the step, although still insisting that it was abominable.
Mr. Saunders was the polite but excessively middle-class clerk who went out to keep the legal strings untangled for them. He was soon to discover that his duties were even more comprehensive.