The Adventures Harry Richmond — Volume 5 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about The Adventures Harry Richmond Volume 5.

‘The princess—?’ said I.

‘Ottilia has done that.’

‘Baroness, can I believe you?—­and alone?’

A marvellous twinkle of shuffle appeared in the small slate-coloured eyes I looked at under their roofing of thick black eyebrows.

‘Alone,’ she said.  ’That is, she was precautious to have her giant to protect her from violence.  There you have a glimmering of reason in her; and all of it that I can see.’

‘Old Schwartz is a very faithful servant,’ said I, thinking that she resembled the old Warhead in visage.

‘A dog’s obedience to the master’s whims you call faithfulness!  Hem!’ The baroness coughed dryly.

I whispered:  ‘Does Prince Ernest—­is he aware?’

‘You are aware,’ retorted the baroness, ’that what a man idolizes he won’t see flaw in.  Remember, I am something here, or I am nothing.’

The enigmatical remark was received by me decorously as a piece of merited chastisement.  Nodding with gravity, I expressed regrets that the sea did not please her, otherwise I could have offered her a yacht for a cruise.  She nodded stiffly.  Her mouth shut up a smile, showing more of the door than the ray.  The dinner, virtually a German supper, ended in general conversation on political affairs, preceded and supported by a discussion between the Prussian-hearted General and the Austrian-hearted margravine.  Prince Ernest, true to his view that diplomacy was the weapon of minor sovereigns, held the balance, with now a foot in one scale, now in the other; a politic proceeding, so long as the rival powers passively consent to be weighed.

We trifled with music, made our bow to the ladies, and changed garments for the smoking-room.  Prince Ernest smoked his one cigar among guests.  The General, the Chancellor, and the doctor, knew the signal for retirement, and rose simultaneously with the discharge of his cigar-end in sparks on the unlit logwood pile.  My father and Mr. Peterborough kept their chairs.

There was, I felt with relief, no plot, for nothing had been definitely assented to by me.  I received Prince Ernest’s proffer of his hand, on making my adieux to him, with a passably clear conscience.

I went out to the library.  A man came in for orders; I had none to give.  He saw that the shutters were fixed and the curtains down, examined my hand-lamp, and placed lamps on the reading-desk and mantel-piece.  Bronze busts of sages became my solitary companions.  The room was long, low and dusky, voluminously and richly hung with draperies at the farther end, where a table stood for the prince to jot down memoranda, and a sofa to incline him to the relaxation of romance-reading.  A door at this end led to the sleeping apartments of the West wing of the palace.  Where I sat the student had ranges of classical volumes in prospect and classic heads; no other decoration to the walls.  I paced to and fro and should have flung myself on

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The Adventures Harry Richmond — Volume 5 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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