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Long Live the King

At The Riding-School
His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Ferdinand William Otto was in disgrace.
He had risen at six, bathed, dressed, and gone to Mass, in disgrace. He had breakfasted at
seven-thirty on fruit, cereal, and one egg, in disgrace. He had gone to his study at eight
o'clock for lessons, in disgrace. A long line of tutors came and went all morning, and he
worked diligently, but he was still in disgrace. All morning long and in the intervals
between tutors he had tried to catch Miss Braithwaite's eye.
Except for the most ordinary civilities, she had refused to look in his direction. She was
correcting an essay in English on Mr. Gladstone, with a blue pencil, and putting in blue
commas every here and there. The Crown Prince was amazingly weak in commas. When
she was all through, she piled the sheets together and wrote a word on the first page. It
might have been "good." On the other hand, it could easily have been "poor." The
motions of the hand are similar.
At last; in desperation, the Crown Prince deliberately broke off the point of his pencil,
and went to the desk where Miss Braithwaite sat, monarch of the American pencil-
sharpener which was the beloved of his heart.
"Again!" said Miss Braithwaite shortly. And raised her eyebrows.
"It's a very soft pencil," explained the Crown Prince. "When I press down on it, it - it
busts."
"It what?"
"It busts - breaks." Evidently the English people were not familiar with this new and
fascinating American word.
He cast a casual glance toward Mr. Gladstone. The word was certainly "poor." Suddenly
a sense of injustice began to rise in him. He had worked rather hard over Mr. Gladstone.
He had done so because he knew that Miss Braithwaite considered him the greatest man
since Jesus Christ, and even the Christ had not written "The Influence of Authority in
Matters of Opinion."
The injustice went to his eyes and made him blink. He had apologized for yesterday, and
explained fully. It was not fair. As to commas, anybody could put in enough commas.
The French tutor was standing near a photograph of Hedwig, and pretending not to look
at it. Prince Ferdinand William Otto had a suspicion that the tutor was in love with
Hedwig. On one occasion, when she had entered unexpectedly, he had certainly given out
the sentence, "Ce dragon etait le vieux serpent, la princesse," instead of "Ce dragon etait
le vieux serpent, le roi."
 
 
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