Press enter after choosing selection

The Prince's Stake

The Prince's Stake image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

A Frcnch journal tells us the followng story, which, if oot fact, is an excellent fable : 1 was walking one damp erening in the gardens oí a Germán Kursaal, when my altention was attracted by severa] white inarblo statues, whien seemed to be ehivoring in the chili night air "What have you done, poor things!" I said. half-aloud, "to be put out here in the colcl, when you ought to bo sleeping eornfortably in a museum P" The answer was just trembling on their pale lips when the gardennr came by and interrupted thum so I put the question to him. The gardener was a Germán ; consequently, a philoscpher. ''Ah! mon sieur," ho replied, "this is a world of vicissitudes. One must do what one can, not what one wishes, while horG below. These statuês once stood in the museum of a prince of the Germán Confederation ; thev were not carved to be set out of doors to catch the rheumatism in the gardens of a Kursaal ; but no one knowa what his destiny may be. I, myseli, for example " '■You yourself, may reverse the fate of the statues, and be preserved one day in a museum ; but you have no; told me how they came here." "That is just what I was goingto do. Monsieur knows that all the Germán princes, great and and little, especiully the latter, come to this watering-place, and stake their money at the roulette tabale. All of them are not Rothchilds, and this one I spoke of lost jlorin after florin, till he had nothing left. Thon he wished to play on credit. He applied to the bank : " 'I am a princu' hesaid; 'a sovereign prince by the graee of God and the treaty of Vienna. I have an ancient castle in ruina, on the top of a rook, and a modern chateau on a plain.' " 'How many florins have you in your pocket?' '"None at all; but I have ribbons of numerous orders, doublc-headod eagles, golden lions, and zilver falcons, and numerous other heraldic animáis, wbich I have a right to display on all ceromonial occasions. I am colonel, too, of a regiment, somewhcre. I do not know exac ly where it is at present. They say that the Oíd once raised a largo gum of money on his handsome moustache, and these oertainly are worth as much as the most renowned moustache in the world.' "The bank laughod, and would have laughed still, perhaps, vvhon the pfince suddenly recollected that, besides the animáis on his coat-of-arms, he had halt a dozen statues in his museum. There chanced to be a French connoisseur at the Kursaal who had seeu the museum, and could estímate the value of its contente ; so the prince received a bag of florins on this security, and ere eight days were over they weroswept into the green pit oí iheroueíte table, which had already swallowed up the ducal treasurv. The prince paid his debts, liko an honorable man ; and that is the renson wby you see the statues hore.' The next day I walkel again in the garden, in the bright sunshine, between two rows of orange trees, whioh looked very thriving and beautiful in their green boxos, carved to imítate a Swiss cottage. "Monsieur is admiring the oraagetrees,' said the gardener, who was watching me from bobind the folia ge ; "they are another example of tho viciö situdes of fortune ?" 'Like the statues?" "Preciselj ; they carne from tbesama Buurce. The pTince wauwa!kinj{ in this garden, the day aiter his loss, playing in a malanoholy manner with tho bestarred ribbon over his shoulder, wben to met tl. e proprietor of tho Kursaal. " 'This is a very fine garden,' he said he hini, 'but tliere is ono thing vvanting.' ;!'You mean statuos, but thaaks to your highness wushall soon havo thoso here.' "'No, no; that is an oíd añair. I havo fiftv fina oranprotroe3 which would look very well in front of your windows.' 11 'Fifty ! they would bt worth ton thousand fl.orins.1 " 'Any fine orange-treos would be worth that, but thoy are nol ordinary trees. They are the very ones at which Mignon was looking when ho said to Wilhelm Moiitor : 'Knnw'st thongh tbo lanil where the oranje an-l rayrtle An t-mhlema of dcod.s that are done in their climef You have hoard of Mignon'a Jsong ?' ' 'Oh, certainly ; who has not ? In compliment o Mignon, then, I suppose I must givo fivo thousand florins moro.' " 'Butstay a moment; one must bo honorable. I suppose I onght to to!l you tliat I have an infalible secret, by which I can brake the bank the noxt time I aitdown to the roulette table.' 11 ' I suppose, now that you will de duet fivo thousand ?' "'On Ihe contrary, T will add five; that will make twenty thousand for the trees H 'Tho princo tried his infalliblo secret ; and the oragng-trees, camo to atke their'place with the statues.'