The Illustrious Prince HTML version

26. Some Farewells
Never did Prince Maiyo show fewer signs of his Japanese origin than when in the
company of other men of his own race. Side by side with His Excellency the Baron
Hesho, the contrasts in feature and expression were so marked as to make it hard, indeed,
to believe that these two men could belong to the same nation. The Baron Hesho had high
cheekbones, a yellow skin, close-cropped black hair, and wore gold-rimmed spectacles
through which he beamed upon the whole world. The Prince, as he lounged in his wicker
chair and watched the blue smoke of his cigarette curl upwards, looked more like an
Italian--perhaps a Spaniard. The shape of his head was perfectly Western, perfectly and
typically Romanesque. The carriage of his body must have been inherited from his
mother, of whom it was said that no more graceful woman ever walked. Yet between
these two men, so different in all externals, there was the strongest sympathy, although
they met but seldom.
"So we are to lose you soon, Prince," the Baron was saying.
"Very soon indeed," Prince Maiyo answered. "Next week I go down to Devenham. I
understand that the Prime Minister and Sir Edward Bransome will be there. If so, that, I
think, will be practically my leave-taking. There is no object in my staying any longer
over here."
The Baron blinked his eyes meditatively.
"I have seen very little of you, Maiyo," he said, "since your last visit to the Continent. I
take it that your views are unchanged?"
The Prince assented.
"Unchanged indeed," he answered,--"unchangeable, I think almost that I might now say.
They have been wonderful months, these last months, Baron," he continued. "I have seen
some of those things which we in Japan have heard about and wondered about all our
lives. I have seen the German army at manoeuvres. I have talked to their officers. Where
I could, I have talked to the men. I have been to some of their great socialist meetings. I
have heard them talk about their country and their Emperor, and what would happen to
their officers if war should come. I have seen the French artillery. I have been the guest
of the President. I have tried to understand the peculiar attitude which that country has
always adopted toward us. I have been, unrecognized, in St. Petersburg. I have tried to
understand a little the resources of that marvellous country. I came back here in time for
the great review in the Solent. I have seen the most magnificent ships and the most
splendid naval discipline the world has ever known. Then I have explored the interior of
this island as few of our race have explored it before, not for the purpose of studying the
manufactures, the trades, the immense shipbuilding industries,--simply to study the
people themselves."