The Land of the Changing Sun
Thorndyke went down into his chambers to make his toilet and was ready to leave when
there was a soft rap on his door. He opened it, and to his surprise saw Bernardino
modestly draw herself back into the shadow of the hall.
"Pardon me, but I must speak to you," she stammered in confusion.
"What is it?" he asked, going out to her.
"I want to advise you to avoid my father to-day. He is greatly disappointed with the
accident of yesterday, and he is never courteous to strangers when he is displeased. He
was particularly anxious to have you entertained by the fete."
"Thank you; I shall keep out of his way," promised the Englishman. "Where had I better
stay--here in my rooms?"
"No, he might send for you. If you would care to see Winter Park, I can go with you as
"I should be delighted; nothing could please me more."
"But," (as a servant passed in the room with a tray) "that is your breakfast. Meet me at the
fountain at the north entrance of the palace in half an hour." And, drawing her veil over
her face, she vanished in the darkness of the corridor.
After he had breakfasted and sent the man away, he hastened below to the place
designated by the princess. She was waiting for him under the palm trees, and was so
disguised that he would not have known her but for her low amused laugh as he was
about to pass her.
"It would not do for any one to suspect me," she explained; "my father would never
forgive me for doing this." She pointed to a flying-machine near by. "We must take the
air; I have made all the arrangements. Winter Park is beyond the limits of the city."
He followed her across the grass to the machine and into the car. They could see the
driver behind the glass of the narrow compartment in which he sat, and when he turned
the polished metal wheel the machine rose like a liberated balloon.
Thorndyke looked out of the window. The blue haze of the fifth hour of the morning was
breaking over everything, and as the domes, pinnacles, and vari-colored roofs fell away
in the beautiful light, the breast of the Englishman heaved with delightful emotions.
Bernardino was watching his face with a gratified smile.
"You like Alpha," she said, half anxiously, half inquiringly.