Long Live the King HTML version
The Committee Of Ten
On the evening of the annual day of mourning, the party returned from the fortress. The
Archduchess slept. The Crown Prince talked, mostly to Hedwig, and even she said little.
After a time the silence affected the boy's high spirits. He leaned back in his chair on the
deck of the launch, and watched the flying landscape. He counted the riverside shrines to
himself. There were, he discovered, just thirteen between the fortress and the city limits.
Old Father Gregory sat beside him. He had taken off his flat black hat, and it lay on his
knee. The ends of his black woolen sash fluttered in the wind, and he sat, benevolent
hands folded, looking out.
>From guns to shrines is rather a jump, and the Crown Prince found it difficult.
"Do you consider fighting the duty of a Christian?" inquired the Crown Prince suddenly.
Father Gregory, whose mind had been far away, with his boys' school at Etzel, started.
"Fighting? That depends. To defend his home is the Christian duty of every man."
"But during the last war," persisted Otto, "we went across the mountains and killed a lot
of people. Was that a Christian duty?"
Father Gregory coughed. He had himself tucked up his soutane and walked forty miles to
join the army of invasion, where he had held services, cared for the wounded, and fired a
rifle, all with equal spirit. He changed the subject to the big guns at the fortress.
"I think," observed the Crown Prince, forgetting his scruples, "that if you have a pencil
and an old envelope to draw on, I'll invent a big gun myself."
Which he proceeded to do, putting in a great many wheels and levers, and adding, a
folding-table at the side on which the gunners might have afternoon tea - this last
prompted by the arrival just then of cups and saucers and a tea service.
It was almost dark when the launch arrived at the quay. The red carpet was still there, and
another crowd. Had Prince Ferdinand William Otto been less taken up with finding one
of his kid gloves, which he had lost, he would have noticed that there was a scuffle going
on at the very edge of the red carpet, and that the beggar of the morning was being led
away, between two policemen, while a third, running up the river bank, gingerly
deposited a small round object in the water, and stood back. It was merely one of the
small incidents of a royal outing, and was never published in the papers. But Father
Gregory, whose old eyes were far-sighted, had seen it all. His hand - the hand of the
Church - was on the shoulder of the Crown Prince as they landed.