Long Live the King
The Paper Crown
Strange that the old Palace roof should, in close succession; have seen Nikky forgetting
his promise to the Chancellor, and Otto forgetting that he was not to run away. Strange
places, roofs, abiding places, since long ago, of witches.
"How'd you happen to be in that gutter?" Bobby demanded, as they started down the
staircase in the wall. "Watch out, son, it's pretty steep."
"I was getting a ball."
"Is this your house?"
"Well, I live here," temporized Prince Ferdinand William Otto. A terrible thought came
to him. Suppose this American boy, who detested kings and princes, should learn who he
"It looks like a big place. Is it a barracks?"
"No." He hesitated. "But there are a good many soldiers here. I - I never saw these steps
"I should think not," boasted Bobby. "I discovered them. I guess nobody else in the world
knows about them. I put up a flag at the bottom and took possession. They're mine."
"Really!" said Prince Ferdinand William Otto, quite delighted. He would never have
thought of such a thing.
A door of iron bars at the foot of the long flight of steps - there were four of them - stood
open. Here daylight, which had been growing fainter, entirely ceased. And here Bobby,
having replaced his mask, placed an air-rifle over his shoulder, and lighted a candle and
held it out to the Crown Prince.
"You can carry it," he said. "Only don't let it drip on you. You'll spoil your clothes."
There was a faintly scornful note in his voice, and Ferdinand William Otto was quick to
"I don't care at all about my clothes," he protested. And to prove it he deliberately tilted
the candle and let a thin stream of paraffin run down his short jacket.
"You're a pretty good sport," Bobby observed. And from that time on he addressed His
Royal Highness as "old sport."