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The Illustrious Prince

8. An Interrupted Theatre Party
Seated upon a roomy lounge in the foyer of the Savoy were three women who attracted
more than an average amount of attention from the passers-by. In the middle was the
Duchess of Devenham, erect, stately, and with a figure which was still irreproachable
notwithstanding her white hair. on one side sat her daughter, Lady Grace Redford, tall,
fair, and comely; on the other, Miss Penelope Morse. The two girls were amusing
themselves, watching the people; their chaperon had her eye upon the clock.
"To dine at half-past seven," the Duchess remarked, as she looked around the
ENTRESOL of the great restaurant through her lorgnettes, "is certainly a little trying for
one's temper and for one's digestion, but so long as those men accepted, I certainly think
they ought to have been here. They know that the play begins at a quarter to nine."
"It isn't like Dicky Vanderpole in the least," Penelope said. "Since he began to tread the
devious paths of diplomacy, he has brought exactness in the small things of life down to a
fine art."
"He isn't half so much fun as he used to be," Lady Grace declared.
"Fun!" Penelope exclaimed. "Sometimes I think that I never knew a more trying person."
"I have never known the Prince unpunctual," the Duchess murmured. "I consider him
absolutely the best-mannered young man I know."
Lady Grace smiled, and glanced at Penelope.
"I don't think you'll get Penelope to agree with you, mother," she said.
"Why not, my dear?" the Duchess asked. "I heard that you were quite rude to him the
other evening. We others all find him so charming."
Penelope's lip curled slightly.
"He has so many admirers," she remarked, "that I dare say he will not notice my absence
from the ranks. Perhaps I am a little prejudiced. At home, you know, we have rather
strong opinions about this fusion of races."
The Duchess raised her eyebrows.
"But a Prince of Japan, my dear Penelope!" she said. "A cousin of the Emperor, and a
member of an aristocracy which was old before we were thought of! Surely you cannot
class Prince Maiyo amongst those to whom any of your country people could take
exception."
 
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