Now after spending some very pleasant weeks in your interesting country, I feel sure that this book will find many sympathetic readers in America. Quite naturally it will be discussed; some, doubtless, will censure it—and unjustly; others will believe with me that the tale teaches a great moral lesson.
Born as the Boy was born, the end which Fate forced upon him, to me, was inevitable. Each word and act of the three weeks of his parents’ love-idyl must reflect in the character and life of the child. Little by little the baby King grew before my mental vision until I saw at last there was no escape from his importunity and I allowed the insistent Boy—masterful even from his inception—to shape himself at his own sweet will. Thus he became the hero of my study.
This is not a book for children or fools—but for men and women who can grasp the underlying principle of morality which has been uppermost in my mind as I wrote. Those who can see beyond the outburst of passion—the overmastering belief in the power of love to justify all things, which the Boy inherited so naturally from his Queen mother—will understand the forces against which the young Prince must needs fight a losing battle. The transgression was unavoidable to one whose very conception was beyond the law—the punishment was equally inevitable.
In fairness to this book of mine—and to me—the great moral lesson I have endeavored to teach must be considered in its entirety, and no single episode be construed as the book’s sole aim. The verdict on my two years’ work rests with you, dear Reader, but at least you may be sure that I have only tried to show that those who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind.
The Prince tore the missive fiercely from its envelope, and scowled at the mocking glint of the royal crown so heavily embossed at the top of the paper. What a toy it was, he thought, to cost so much, and eventually to mean so little! Roughly translated, the letter ran as follows:
“Your Royal Highness will be gratified to learn that at last a satisfactory alliance has been arranged between the Princess Elodie of Austria and your royal self. It is the desire of both courts and councils that the marriage shall be solemnized on the fifteenth of the May following your twenty-first birthday, at which time the coronation ceremony takes place that is to place the crown of the kingdom upon the head of the son of our beloved and ever-to-be-regretted Imperatorskoye. The Court and Council extend greetings and congratulations upon the not far distant approach of both auspicious events to your Royal Highness, which cannot fail to afford the utmost satisfaction in every detail to the ever-beautiful-and-never-to-be-sufficiently beloved Prince Paul.