The Illustrious Prince eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 pages of information about The Illustrious Prince.
one of these.  But I tell you that patriotism as we understand it is a deeper thing.  In the land where it flourishes there is no great pre-eminence in what you call sports or games.  It does not come like a whirlwind on the wings of disaster.  It grows with the limbs and the heart of the boy, grows with his muscles and his brawn.  It is part of his conscience, part of his religion.  As he realizes that he has a country of his own to protect, a dear, precious heritage come down to him through countless ages, so he learns that it is his sacred duty to know how to do his share in defending it.  The spare time of our youth, Mr. Haviland, is spent learning to shoot, to scout, to bear hardships, to acquire the arts of war.  I tell you that there was not one general who went with our troops to Manchuria, but a hundred thousand.  We have no great army.  We are a nation of men whose religion it is to fight when their country’s welfare is threatened.”

There was a short silence.  The Prime Minister and Bransome exchanged rapid glances.

“These, then,” Penelope said slowly, “were the things you left unsaid.”

The Prince raised his hand a little—­a deprecatory gesture.

“Perhaps even now,” he said, “it was scarcely courteous of me to say them, only I know that they come to you as no new thing.  There are many of your countrymen who are speaking to you now in the Press as I, a stranger, have spoken.  Sometimes it is harder to believe one of your own family.  That is why I have dared to say so much,—­I, a foreigner, eager and anxious only to observe and to learn.  I think, perhaps, that it is to such that the truth comes easiest.”

Of a purpose, the three men who were there said nothing.  The Prince offered Penelope his arm.

“I will not be disappointed,” he said.  “You promised that you would show me the palm garden.  I have talked too much.”

CHAPTER XXIX.  A RACE

The Prince, on his way back from his usual before-breakfast stroll, lingered for a short time amongst the beds of hyacinths and yellow crocuses.  Somehow or other, these spring flowers, stiffly set out and with shrivelled edges—­a little reminiscent of the last east wind—­still seemed to him, in their perfume at any rate, to being him memories of his own country.  Pink and blue and yellow, in all manner of sizes and shapes, the beds spread away along the great front below the terrace of the castle.  This morning the wind was coming from the west.  The sun, indeed, seemed already to have gained some strength.  The Prince sat for a moment or two upon the gray stone balustrade, looking to where the level country took a sudden ascent and ended in a thick belt of pine trees.  Beyond lay the sea.  As he sat there with folded arms, he was surely a fatalist.  The question as to whether or not he should ever reach it, should ever find himself really bound for home, was one which seemed to trouble

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The Illustrious Prince from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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