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American Push

American Push image
Parent Issue
Day
29
Month
March
Year
1894
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

COPYRIGHT. 1891. m - - - of Ehe great, cobuncn, 'witless mass ís ] 'obedience.' You would slowly realize I again, my dear son - " But here Clarimond ventured an interruption. He had borne much from his motlier in the past; he was prepared to bear much from her in the future, since already it had grown clear to him that she had arrived with the intent of i a permanent sojourn. But just now, that late effort at selfcontrol which had rosulted so successfully, the king once more feit his nerves in danger of tumult. He had never behaved to his mother with the faintest lack of respectful gllantry; he was indeed incapable of any act toward her except one of gentleness amd toleration, ! no matter how exacting or imperious I might have been her own attitude. Nevertheless, he had in readiness at his mental command a certain quiet yet cogent force of repulsión which his great position made it not seldom requisite j for him to employ, and which he did not ! hesitate to employ now. "My dear mother," he said, bending over her hand and touching it lightly with his lips, "you surely nrast be ! tigued with your journey; and if you will permit, I will send to you your women. Perhaps I have been too reckless in my recent confidences, and if so pray remember that I have uttered them in no role of personal resentment. As for the young lady whom you have brought to Saltravia with the expectation of ra&king her my wife, it would be idle iit me to place the attractions of : either my throne or my personality against those of her mother church. Surely she will there find profounder consolation than any that my more limited resources could bestow." This, even from son to mother, was a Bort of royal dismissal. But the princess, who might be got rid of for a, night, could not be waived aside more durably. As one of her detested Americans might have said, she had come to stay The king now feit himself in straits with regard to the due reception and entertainment of Alonzo. On the following day he and Eric presented themselves at the palace, and an hour or two of the most pleasant intercourse ensued. Alonzo, after visiting with the king those great galleries on whose walls blank spaces were lef t for the j tures that he would probably bring to them, feit immensely drawn toward his I new master. In a few more days he started on the first of his missions, one that took him among certain old monasteries in the north of Italy. Meanwhile the king bored himself with etiquette and precedent under the keen scrutiny of his mother. The princess would not lift an eyelid unless court ■custom sanctioned it. She managed, during that summer and the next autumn, to gather about herself a little coterie of supporters, and for a time a new political party was talked of. But her son's entire indifference may have gone far to prevent such imprudent measures. "My mother has tortured us for eight weeks," Clarimond at length said to Eric. "I wonder how much longer she will insist upon making it a crime for a man to be seen smoking a cigarette within twenty yards of her, even eu pleine air." j "What is the punishment for such a crime?' asked Eric, who had thus far been simply repelled by the princess, never presuming to cross the threshold ! of any chamber in which she chose to enshrine her august presence. . "Decapitation, I believe," said the king, tragi-comically. "My dear Eric," he went on, "is not everything quite spoiled?" "We had thought of a sham revolution, Lonz and I," began Eric. And then he described, in terse and swift phrase, an imaginary fete, where the court would play parts of masquerading martyrs and suppliants and the palace would be stormed by suppositious iasurgents. : "Delightful," said Clarimond. "VYhat a lark,' to speak your American slang! We would give sanguinary orders to the maitre d' hotel. Plenty of blood, and heads on pikes thrust in at the windows. Everybody would be mock rified until supper-time, and then it would all end in amicable beakers. Did your beloved Alonzo suggest that? No, I need not ask, Eric. It is too distinctly you." "It is he, not I," replied Eric, fibbing shamelessly. "When you know him better you vvill accredit him with the originality of the idea." i "I know him well enough," said the king, "to credit him with much inventiveness. But my mother- " "Ah, yes, your majesty, I-" "Tut, tut, Eric. If you 'majesty' me I will exile you from Saltravia." "Pardon, monsieur; it was a slip." "Don't let the slip occur again. But the princess would never consent to Buch a fete. It would satirize too fiercely her well-known prejudices. . . . 'Lonz', as you cali him, will soon be back with some treasures?" Alonzo returned within the week, and greatly pleased his new employer by one or two shrewd selections in the way of purchase. But when October had waned, and the princess had sfiven every sign that she did not choose to reseek her dear Italy, Clarimond declared himself piteously handicaped. Bianca d' Este was forever thrust at him, and the young lady's "accomplishments" were made as drearily ordioary to him as the details of his toast and coffee at breakfast time. Ile could discover in Bianca nothing that interested him. The winter began, and the ■covu-t had beeotnw. undr tbo nrin. eess' haughty surveillance, one somber monotony, Winter in Saltravia was never severe; snow feil and blasts blew, but seldom with harsh results. Alonzo, thoroughly fitted to his new position, acquitted himself with skill and tact. He made several new journeys, and each bore its fine artistic fruit. The king became almost as devotedly his friend as he was the friend of Eric. When a fresh spring had lavished its green beauty on the Saltravian hills, Eric declared to his fellow-lodger: "I am positively jealous of you, mj dear Lonz. Jealousy, you know, is the touchstone of friendship. You leave me no resource with the king except that of slander. I must whisper insiduous things about you in the ear of Clarimond." "As if you could, Eric!'' said Alonzo. "Oh! I am quite capable of it, I assure you," said Eric. "111 get the princess to poison you. Still, no, on second thought, Ican't. She'sentirely toostrong a hater of our transatlantic republic. If I talked with her about that Borgian Burgundy for you, she would be certain to snub me for wishing to give you so old-world aad aristocratie an extinction. " The princess, though much more prosaic than a Borgia, had already cenr trived to make her son's little court a nest of discontentments. lier severities, her arraigning edicts, had bathed in gloom all the merry abandon of Clarimond's environment, and by the time that May touched the valley with its tender promises, she had filled it also with feuds and bickerings. It was her wish that the hotels adjacent to the springs should be closed permanent' y, but on this point the king showed u-m disfavor. "The waters are wonderfully healing," he said. "Let those who choose come and drink of them." "Bah!" said his rnother. "My dear Clarimond, you cheapen your charming little king-dom. And then tho&e unspeakable Americans!" "Unspeakable, indeed," said the king, "in oceasional inst anees." "Whatdo you mean?" asked the princess, with a start. "I mean the enchanting young American lady of whom I caught a glimpse last evening," he replied. 'Tve not yot found out her name, but Eric has promised to get it for me. Perhaps Lispenard might know her, but as you are probably aware, he is now in Munich." The princess gnawed her nether lip and said nothing. Her son's civilities to Bianca d' Este had not been half as accentuated of late as she desired them to be. The name of this enchanting young American lady, in whom the king found himself uncommonly interested, was Kathleen Kennaird. On the morrow Eric Thaxter made that discovery and at once imparted it to Clarimond. For some reason Eric refrained from mentioning the former relations between Sathïeen ánd his absent friend. All the time, however, he was telling himself that it was a very small world, and wondering if Alonzo would not agxee with him to this effect when he returned from Munich. "I should like greatly to know that girl," the king said to Eric a day or two later. "Her face somehow haunts me. Do what you can about it, won't you?" If Mrs. Kennaird had heard those words from the royal lips it is certain that her heart would have given a rery lofty leap indeed. CHAPTER VUL The truth wasthat Kathleen'smother had brought her to Saltravia with a most ambitious motive. After leaving Stuttgardt they had been living for several months in Dresden, and there she had heard things concerning Clariraond wbioh made it seem at least conceivable that a splendid event might crown past disappointments and ehagrins. Poor Kathleen, whose health had somewhat iailed of late, did not dream of the a.xxdacity which underlay her mother's proposal that they should visit the Saltravian springs. They had hardly been there three days at the hotel when Clarimond, strolling one evening, just at sunset, passed the casino, saw Kathleen, and was struck by her peculiar loveliness. The princess detested hia democratie way of exhibiting himself, as she called it, and more than once implored him not to appear thus publicly. l?nt. the kin had no idea of hedging himsclf with his own divinity. He had long ago formed the habit of going and coming like a private gentleman, and, though the stares of the crowd did not precisely please him, they were less of a bore than would have been compulsory self-immurement. Mrs. Kennaird was quickly plunged into an ecstasy by his evident admiration of Kathleen. "I do wish one could know him," she raid to her daughter. "Did you notice how he looked at you, my dear?" "No," said Kathleen. "It seemed to me that he looked at everybody equally, and in the most amiable manner." "Thcy say," continued Mrs. Kennaird, "that he is wonderfully amiable for a king. And he certainly is very handsome; don't you think so?" "I think him very distinguished." Kathleen's eyes glistened as she added: "There's a picturesqueness about him that corresponds perfectly with this lovely land he rules. He interests me very greatly. I don't mean so much because of his royalty as of the artistic atmosphere in which he seems tp dweil; though one must allow each its attractive f orce." 'His being royal is hardly an objection, I should say," remarked Mrs. Kennaird. "One can endure it. At least l can - mat is ui a iaw. " 'Ana sn laughed a sort of tinkling little laugh. "Mamma! Good heavens! What are you saying?" As she spoke, Kathleen flushed to her temples and then grew colorless. They had left the casino and had reached a somewhat lonely -spot, where at a distance you could see the pale marvels of the palace towering with its innumerable spires, turrets and crenelations above the bounteous verdure of the dark-green champaign. Between masses of spicy-scented hemlocks flashed and plashed a cascade, and so strong was the afternoon breeze that it blew little spray-laden gusts from the foamy and tumbling turbulence of water. Mother and child were not wholly alone, as it chanced, and Mrs. Kennaird, with a look to right and left as though an ambushed listener were possible, if not just a likelihood, suddenly said: "I'm not dealing in such fairy dreams, my dear, af ter all." And then she let her hand rest on the girl's arm, steadily and meaningly pressing it. "Mamma! mamma! Even il I cared to marry anyone, I - " "You shall not sacrifico your life to that ruffian, Kathleen. For this is vvhat he had been to us both. I shall never be happy until I see you married happily -and brilliantly, too. Of course King Clarimond would be a glorious triumph for you. I've dared to dream of such an event. Yes, Kathleen, I actually have. And there are strong reasons, my dear, why I should so have drcamed. You remember that Mrs. Winslow in Dresden- that bright little Boston woman with the lemon-colored eyebrows - who gave us our letter to the Jerninghams here? Well, it was she vvho first roused in me my daring idea. She looked at you on the evening that we dined with her, and murmure?, to me that you had the air of a queen, because your manner was at once so grand and so simple, and then (this she said in the frankest yet most abrupt fashion.as if it wereonly an afterthought), becauso you were so entirely, so exceptionally handsome. liefore that the voluble little creature had been speaking of the king of Saltravia. She had told me that his hatred of morganatic marriages had given offense to some of the haughtiest nobles of Europe, and that he had refused to receive a certain princely cousin of his on account of having contracted such an alliance. Then she said other things concerning Clarimond; she spoke of his intense democracy, of his rumored assertion that he meant to marry the woman he loved, even though she were bom a peasant; and lastly of his well-known regard for America and the American people. This, my dear, was the secret of my having brought you here. You see, I'm making a clean breast of it to you now. Don't stare at me in that amazed manner. You act as if you'd just heard an explosión of dynamite." "I have, mamma - and a rather loud vne." [TO BE CONTINUED.]

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Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Register