The Illustrious Prince eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about The Illustrious Prince.

The doctor shook his head.

“No,” he said, “I will not give my parole!”

Late that night, he tried the handle of his door and found it open.  The corridor outside was in thick darkness.  He felt his way along by the wall.  Suddenly, from behind, a pair of large soft hands gripped him by the throat.  Slowly he was drawn back—­almost strangled.

“Let me go!” he called out, struggling in vain to find a body upon which he could gain a grip.

The grasp only tightened.

“Back to your rooms!” came a whisper through the darkness.

The doctor returned.  When he staggered into his sitting room, he turned up the electric light.  There were red marks upon his throat and perspiration upon his forehead.  He opened the door once more and looked out upon the landing, striking a match and holding it over his head.  There was no one in sight, yet all the time he had the uncomfortable feeling that he was being watched.  For the first time in his life he wondered whether a thousand guineas was, after all, such a magnificent fee!

Almost at the same time the Prince sat back in the shadows of the Duchess of Devenham’s box at the Opera and talked quietly to Lady Grace.

“But tell me, Prince,” she begged, “I know that you are glad to go home, but won’t you really miss this a little,—­the music, the life, all these things that make up existence here?  Your own country is wonderful, I know, but it has not progressed so far, has it?”

He shook his head.

“I think,” he said, “that the portion of our education which we have most grievously neglected is the development of our recreations.  But then you must remember that we are to a certain extent without that craving for amusement which makes these things necessary for you others.  We are perhaps too serious in my country, Lady Grace.  We lack altogether that delightful air of irresponsibility with which you Londoners seem to make your effortless way through life.”

She was a little perplexed.

“I don’t believe,” she said, “that in your heart you approve of us at all.”

“Do not say that, Lady Grace,” he begged.  “It is simply that I have been brought up in so different a school.  This sort of thing is very wonderful, and I shall surely miss it.  Yet nowadays the world is being linked together in marvellous fashion.  Tokio and London are closer today than ever they have been in the world’s history.”

“And our people?” she asked.  “Do you really think that our people are so far apart?  Between you and me, for instance,” she added, meaning to ask the question naturally enough, but suddenly losing confidence and looking away from him,—­“between you and me there seems no radical difference of race.  You might almost be an Englishman—­not one of these men of fashion, of course, but a statesman or a man of letters, some one who had taken hold of the serious side of life.”

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The Illustrious Prince from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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