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After London ebook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about After London.

CHAPTER XXVIII

FOR AURORA

Felix now began to find out for himself the ancient truth, that difficulties always confront man.  Success only changes them, and increases their number.  Difficulties faced him in every direction; at home it had seemed impossible for him to do anything.  Now that success seemed to smile on him and he had become a power, instead of everything being smooth and easy, new difficulties sprang up for solution at every point.  He wished to continue his journey, but he feared that he would not be permitted to depart.  He would have to start away in the night, in which case he could hardly return to them again, and yet he wished to return to these, the first friends he had had, and amongst whom he hoped to found a city.

Another week slipped away, and Felix was meditating his escape, when one afternoon a deputation of ten spearmen arrived from a distant tribe, who had nominated him their king, and sent their principal men to convey the intelligence.  Fame is always greatest at a distance, and this tribe in the mountains of the east had actually chosen him as king, and declared that they would obey him whether he took up his residence with them or not.  Felix was naturally greatly pleased; how delighted Aurora would be! but he was in perplexity what to do, for he could not tell whether the Wolfstead people would be favourably inclined or would resent his selection.

He had not long to consider.  There was an assembly of the tribe, and they, too, chose him by common consent as their king.  Secretly they were annoyed that another tribe had been more forward than themselves, and were anxious that Felix should not leave them.  Felix declined the honour; in spite of his refusal, he was treated as if he were the most despotic monarch.  Four days afterwards two other tribes joined the movement, and sent their acceptance of him as their monarch.  Others followed, and so quickly now that a day never passed without another tribe sending a deputation.

Felix thought deeply on the matter.  He was, of course, flattered, and ready to accept the dignity, but he was alive to considerations of policy.  He resolved that he would not use the title, nor exercise the functions of a king as usually understood.  He explained his plan to the chiefs; it was that he should be called simply “Leader”, the Leader of the War; that he should only assume royal authority in time of war; that the present chiefs should retain their authority, and each govern as before, in accordance with ancient custom.  He proposed to be king only during war-time.  He would, if they liked, write out their laws for them in a book, and so give their customs cohesion and shape.  To this plan the tribes readily agreed; it retained all the former customs, it left the chiefs their simple patriarchal authority, and it gave all of them the advantage of combination in war.  As the Leader, Felix was henceforth known.

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