Long Live the King HTML version
As A Man May Love A Woman
Hedwig came to tea that afternoon. She came in softly, and defiantly, for she was doing a
forbidden thing, but Prince Ferdinand William Otto had put away the frame against such
a contingency. He had, as a matter of fact, been putting cold cloths on Miss Braithwaite's
"I always do it," he informed Hedwig. "I like doing it. It gives me something to do. She
likes them rather dry, so the water doesn't run down her neck."
Hedwig made a short call on the governess, prostrate on the couch in her sitting-room.
The informality of the family relationship had, during her long service, been extended to
include the Englishwoman, who in her turn found nothing incongruous in the small and
kindly services of the little Prince. So Hedwig sat beside her for a moment, and turned the
cold bandage over to freshen it.
Had Miss Braithwaite not been ill, Hedwig would have talked things over with her then.
There was no one else to whom she could go. Hilda refused to consider the prospect of
marriage as anything but pleasurable, and between her mother and Hedwig there had
never been any close relationship.
But Miss Braithwaite lay motionless, her face set in lines of suffering, and after a time
Hedwig rose and tiptoed out of the room.
Prince Ferdinand William Otto was excited. Tea had already come, and on the rare
occasions when the governess was ill, it was his privilege to pour the tea.
"Nikky is coming," he said rapidly, "and the three of us will have a party. Please don't tell
me how you like your tea, and see if I can remember."
"Very well, dear," Hedwig said gently, and went to the window.
Behind her Prince Ferdinand William Otto was in a bustle of preparation. Tea in the
study was an informal function, served in the English manner, without servants to bother.
The Crown Prince drew up a chair before the tea service, and put a cushion on it. He
made a final excursion to Miss Braithwaite and, returning, climbed on to his chair.
"Now, when Nikky comes, we are all ready," he observed.
Nikky entered almost immediately.
As a matter of fact, although he showed no trace of it, Nikky had been having an
extremely bad time since his return; the Chancellor, who may or may not have known
that his heart was breaking, had given him a very severe scolding on the way back from
Wedeling. It did Nikky good, too, for it roused him to his own defense, and made him