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Reginald in Russia and Other Stories

Reginald In Russia
Reginald sat in a corner of the Princess's salon and tried to forgive the furniture, which
started out with an obvious intention of being Louis Quinze, but relapsed at frequent
intervals into Wilhelm II.
He classified the Princess with that distinct type of woman that looks as if it habitually
went out to feed hens in the rain.
Her name was Olga; she kept what she hoped and believed to be a fox- terrier, and
professed what she thought were Socialist opinions. It is not necessary to be called Olga
if you are a Russian Princess; in fact, Reginald knew quite a number who were called
Vera; but the fox-terrier and the Socialism are essential.
"The Countess Lomshen keeps a bull-dog," said the Princess suddenly. "In England is it
more chic to have a bull-dog than a fox-terrier?"
Reginald threw his mind back over the canine fashions of the last ten years and gave an
evasive answer.
"Do you think her handsome, the Countess Lomshen?" asked the Princess.
Reginald thought the Countess's complexion suggested an exclusive diet of macaroons
and pale sherry. He said so.
"But that cannot be possible," said the Princess triumphantly; "I've seen her eating fish-
soup at Donon's."
The Princess always defended a friend's complexion if it was really bad. With her, as
with a great many of her sex, charity began at homeliness and did not generally progress
much farther.
Reginald withdrew his macaroon and sherry theory, and became interested in a case of
miniatures.
"That?" said the Princess; "that is the old Princess Lorikoff. She lived in Millionaya
Street, near the Winter Palace, and was one of the Court ladies of the old Russian school.
Her knowledge of people and events was extremely limited; but she used to patronise
every one who came in contact with her. There was a story that when she died and left
the Millionaya for Heaven she addressed St. Peter in her formal staccato French: 'Je suis
la Princesse Lor-i-koff. Il me donne grand plaisir a faire votre connaissance. Je vous en
prie me presenter au Bon Dieu.' St. Peter made the desired introduction, and the Princess
addressed le Bon Dieu: 'Je suis la Princesse Lor- i-koff. Il me donne grand plaisir a faire
votre connaissance. On a souvent parle de vous a l'eglise de la rue Million.'"
 
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