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Long Live the King

The Pirate's Den
Miss Braithwaite was asleep on the couch in her sitting-room, deeply asleep, so that when
Prince Ferdinand William Otto changed the cold cloth on her head, she did not even
move. The Countess Loschek had brought her some medicine.
"It cured her very quickly," said the Crown Prince, shuffling the cards with clumsy
fingers. He and Nikky were playing a game in which matches represented money. The
Crown Prince had won nearly all of them and was quite pink with excitement. "It's my
deal, it? When she goes to sleep like that, she nearly always wakens up much better. She's
very sound asleep."
Nikky played absently, and lost the game. The Crown Prince triumphantly scooped up
the rest of the matches. "We've had rather a nice day," he observed, "even if we didn't go
out. Shall we divide them again, and start all over?"
Nikky, however, proclaimed himself hopelessly beaten and a bad loser. So the Crown
Prince put away the cards, which belonged to Miss Braithwaite, and with which she
played solitaire in the evenings. Then he lounged to the window, his hands in his pockets.
There was something on his mind which the Chancellor's reference to Hedwig's picture
had recalled. Something he wished to say to Nikky, without looking at him.
So he clearer throat, and looked out the window, and said, very casually:
"Hilda says that Hedwig is going to get married."
"So I hear, Highness."
"She doesn't seem to be very happy about it. She's crying, most of the time."
It was Nikky's turn to clear his throat. "Marriage is a serious matter," he said. "It is not to
be gone into lightly."
"Once, when I asked you about marriage, you said marriage was when two people loved
each other, and wanted to be together the rest of their lives."
"Well," hedged Nikky, "that is the idea, rather."
"I should think," said Prince Ferdinand William Otto, slightly red, "that you would marry
her yourself."
Nikky, being beyond speech for an instant and looking, had His Royal Highness but seen
him, very tragic and somewhat rigid, the Crown Prince went on:
"She's a very nice girl," he said; "I think she would make a good wife."
 
 
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