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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 714 pages of information about Under Two Flags.

He soothed her tenderly.

“Hush—­be at rest!  There is no injury but what I can repair, nor is there a creature in sight to have witnessed the accident.  Trust in me; no one shall ever know of this.  You shall reach town safely and alone.”

And, while he promised, he forgot that he thus pledged his honor to leave four hours of his life so buried that, however much he needed, he neither should nor could account for them.

CHAPTER IX.

The painted bit.

Baden was at its brightest.  The Victoria, the Badischer Hof, the Stephanie Bauer were crowded.  The Kurliste had a dazzling string of names.  Imperial grandeur sauntered in slippers; chiefs, used to be saluted with “Ave Caesar Imperator,” smoked a papelito in peace over “Galignani.”  Emperors gave a good-day to ministers who made their thrones beds of thorns, and little kings elbowed great capitalists who could have bought them all up in a morning’s work in the money market.  Statecraft was in its slippers and diplomacy in its dressing-gown.  Statesmen who had just been outwitting each other at the hazard of European politics laughed good-humoredly as they laid their gold down on the color.  Rivals who had lately been quarreling over the knotty points of national frontiers now only vied for a twenty-franc rosebud from the bouquetiere.  Knights of the Garter and Knights of the Golden Fleece, who had hated each other to deadliest rancor with the length of the Continent between them, got friends over a mutually good book on the Rastadt or Foret Noir.  Brains that were the powder depot of one-half of the universe let themselves be lulled to tranquil amusement by a fair idiot’s coquetry.  And lips that, with a whisper, could loosen the coursing slips of the wild hell-dogs of war, murmured love to a princess, led the laugh at a supper at five in the morning, or smiled over their own caricatures done by Tenniel or Cham.

Baden was full.  The supreme empires of demi-monde sent their sovereigns, diamond-crowned and resistless, to outshine all other principalities and powers, while in breadth of marvelous skirts, in costliness of cobweb laces, in unapproachability of Indian shawls and gold embroideries, and mad fantasies and Cleopatra extravagances, and jewels fit for a Maharajah, the Zu-Zu was distanced by none.

Among the kings and heroes and celebrities who gathered under the pleasant shadow of the pine-crowned hills, there was not one in his way greater than the steeple-chaser, Forest King—­certes, there was not one half so honest.

The Guards’ Crack was entered for the Prix de Dames, the sole representative of England.  There were two or three good things out of French stables,—­specially a killing little boy, L’Etoile,—­and there was an Irish sorrel, the property of an Austrian of rank, of which fair things were whispered; but it was scarcely possible that anything could stand against the King and that wonderful stride of his which spread-eagled his field like magic, and his countrymen were well content to leave their honor and their old renown to “Beauty” and his six-year-old.

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