It was neatly done, to bring up the talk about the White Lady just at this time.
The King may have his own reasons for that.
The King? The King has his—ha, ha! And you believe that no one sees through this fine game? You do not realize that there are eyes which even at night can see certain persons stealing across the courtyards of the Royal Palace? That there are ears which can hear plainly how such persons are let pass unchallenged because—ha, ha, ha!—because these persons wear white dominos? My dear sir, you must lay your plans more carefully if you would not have them patent to the simplest deductions. But do not trust too much to the King’s indulgence toward the Prince of Wales. He is his nephew; he may not wish him compromised. Therefore he allows him to pass in and out in disguise. But, believe me, that is all the Prince has to hope for here. And I at least should be very sorry for a young diplomat, just beginning his career as you are, who cannot profit by a direct hint from a statesman of twenty years’ experience, whose power of diplomatic manipulation has not yet been excelled. [He goes out.]
Then the sentries let the white domino pass unchallenged, out of consideration for a Prince of Wales who does not exist? And the white domino is taken into the King’s study? Here are two definite facts. The King himself plans some midnight adventure, and does not wish interference on the part of his sentries. His favorites, prying into everything, but winning only imperfect knowledge, connect the sentry order with the ghost of the Prince of Wales, and presuppose a tender thoughtfulness for the young adventurer on family or political grounds. Delicious! [He sits down to write on a paper he has taken from his portfolio.] Why, then—with the excuse of introducing the Prince of Wales, I might bring the poor Prince of Baireuth, banished from the palace and from the city, back again quite unhindered to his captive princess—and even to the Queen. The sun shines once more—but there is another storm to conquer first. The King approaches. [The KING comes an, dressed for the street. GRUMBKOW and EVERSMANN follow.]
KING (still outside).
Who is it, you say?
KING (coming in).
Tell him that I send my regards to him and his English price-lists. We in Berlin are not cottonwards inclined just at present.
GRUMBKOW (designating the bowing HOTHAM).
Baronet Hotham desires to pay his respects to Your Majesty personally.
Tell him Prussia is putting her best foot forward. German manufacturers need a chance to catch up with what the English already know about spinning and weaving.