The Illustrious Prince eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about The Illustrious Prince.
and were easily arranged.  The days seemed to have gone by for that over-strained sensitiveness which was continually giving rise to senseless bickerings, when every trilling breeze seemed to fan the smouldering fires of jealousy.  The two great English-speaking nations appeared finally to have realized the absolute folly of continual disputes between countries whose destiny and ideals were so completely in accord and whose interests were, in the main, identical.  A period of absolute friendliness had ensued.  And now there had come this little cloud.  It was small enough at present, but Mr. Harvey was not the one to overlook its sinister possibilities.  Two citizens of his country had been barbarously murdered within the space of a few hours, one in the heart of the most thickly populated capital in the world, and there was a certain significance attached to this fact which the Ambassador himself and those others at Washington perfectly well realized.  He glanced once more at the most recent letter on the top of this pile of correspondence and away again out into the Park.  It was a difficult matter, this.  His friends at Washington did not cultivate the art of obscurity in the words which they used, and it had been suggested to him in black and white that the murder of these two men, under the particular circumstances existing, was a matter concerning which he should speak very plainly indeed to certain August personages.  Mr. Harvey, who was a born diplomatist, understood the difficulties of such a proceeding a good deal more than those who had propounded it.

There was a knock at the door, and a footman entered, ushering in a visitor.

“The young lady whom you were expecting, sir,” he announced discreetly.

Mr. Harvey rose at once to his feet.

“My dear Penelope,” he said, shaking hands with her, “this is charming of you.”

Penelope smiled.

“It seems quite like old times to feel myself at home here once more,” she declared.

Mr. Harvey did not pursue the subject.  He was perfectly well aware that Penelope, who had been his first wife’s greatest friend, had never altogether forgiven him for his somewhat brief period of mourning.  He drew an easy chair up to the side of his desk and placed a footstool for her.

“I should not have sent for you,” he said, “but I am really and honestly in a dilemma.  Do you know that, apart from endless cables, Washington has favored me with one hundred and forty pages of foolscap all about the events of the week before last?”

Penelope shivered a little.

“Poor Dicky!” she murmured, looking away into the fire.  “And to think that it was I who sent him to his death!”

Mr. Harvey shook his head.

“No,” he said, “I do not think that you need reproach yourself with that.  As a matter of fact, I think that I should have sent Dicky in any case.  He is not so well known as the others, or rather he wasn’t associated so closely with the Embassy, and he was constantly at the Savoy on his own account.  If I had believed that there was any danger in the enterprise,” he continued, “I should still have sent him.  He was as strong as a young Hercules.  The hand which twisted that noose around his neck must have been the hand of a magician with fingers of steel.”

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The Illustrious Prince from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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