The Lady of the Shroud HTML version

Book 9. Balka
Rupert's Journal--Continued (Longe Intervallo).
February 10, 1908.
It is so long since I even thought of this journal that I hardly know where to begin. I
always heard that a married man is a pretty busy man; but since I became one, though it
is a new life to me, and of a happiness undreamt of, I KNOW what that life is. But I had
no idea that this King business was anything like what it is. Why, it never leaves me a
moment at all to myself--or, what is worse, to Teuta. If people who condemn Kings had
only a single month of my life in that capacity, they would form an opinion different
from that which they hold. It might be useful to have a Professor of Kingship in the
Anarchists' College--whenever it is founded!
Everything has gone on well with us, I am glad to say. Teuta is in splendid health, though
she has--but only very lately--practically given up going on her own aeroplane. It was, I
know, a great sacrifice to make, just as she had become an expert at it. They say here that
she is one of the best drivers in the Blue Mountains--and that is in the world, for we have
made that form of movement our own. Ever since we found the pitch-blende pockets in
the Great Tunnel, and discovered the simple process of extracting the radium from it, we
have gone on by leaps and bounds. When first Teuta told me she would "aero" no more
for a while, I thought she was wise, and backed her up in it: for driving an aeroplane is
trying work and hard on the nerves. I only learned then the reason for her caution--the
usual one of a young wife. That was three months ago, and only this morning she told me
she would not go sailing in the air, even with me, till she could do so "without risk"--she
did not mean risk to herself. Aunt Janet knew what she meant, and counselled her
strongly to stick to her resolution. So for the next few months I am to do my air-sailing
The public works which we began immediately after the Coronation are going strong. We
began at the very beginning on an elaborate system. The first thing was to adequately
fortify the Blue Mouth. Whilst the fortifications were being constructed we kept all the
warships in the gulf. But when the point of safety was reached, we made the ships do
sentry-go along the coast, whilst we trained men for service at sea. It is our plan to take
by degrees all the young men and teach them this wise, so that at the end the whole
population shall be trained for sea as well as for land. And as we are teaching them the
airship service, too, they will be at home in all the elements--except fire, of course,
though if that should become a necessity, we shall tackle it too!
We started the Great Tunnel at the farthest inland point of the Blue Mouth, and ran it due
east at an angle of 45 degrees, so that, when complete, it would go right through the first
line of hills, coming out on the plateau Plazac. The plateau is not very wide--half a mile
at most--and the second tunnel begins on the eastern side of it. This new tunnel is at a
smaller angle, as it has to pierce the second hill--a mountain this time. When it comes out