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The Lady of the Shroud by Bram Stoker

Part 6 out of 7

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When I read Rooke's report of Ernest Melton's abominable conduct I
was more angry with him than I can say. Indeed, I did not think
before that that I could be angry with him, for I have always
despised him. But this was too much. However, I realized the wisdom
of Rooke's advice, and went away by myself to get over my anger and
reacquire my self-mastery. The aeroplane Teuta was still housed on
the tower, so I went up alone and took it out.

When I had had a spin of about a hundred miles I felt better. The
bracing of the wind and the quick, exhilarating motion restored me to
myself, and I felt able to cope with Master Ernest, or whatever else
chagrinable might come along, without giving myself away. As Teuta
had thought it better to keep silence as to Ernest's affront, I felt
I must not acknowledge it; but, all the same, I determined to get rid
of him before the day was much older.

When I had had my breakfast I sent word to him by a servant that I
was coming to his rooms, and followed not long behind the messenger.

He was in a suit of silk pyjamas, such as not even Solomon in all his
glory was arrayed in. I closed the door behind me before I began to
speak. He listened, at first amazed, then disconcerted, then angry,
and then cowering down like a whipped hound. I felt that it was a
case for speaking out. A bumptious ass like him, who deliberately
insulted everyone he came across--for if all or any of his efforts in
that way were due to mere elemental ignorance he was not fit to live,
but should be silenced on sight as a modern Caliban--deserved neither
pity nor mercy. To extend to him fine feeling, tolerance, and such-
like gentlenesses would be to deprive the world of them without
benefit to any. So well as I can remember, what I said was something
like this:

"Ernest, as you say, you've got to go, and to go quick, you
understand. I dare say you look on this as a land of barbarians, and
think that any of your high-toned refinements are thrown away on
people here. Well, perhaps it is so. Undoubtedly, the structure of
the country is rough; the mountains may only represent the glacial
epoch; but so far as I can gather from some of your exploits--for I
have only learned a small part as yet--you represent a period a good
deal farther back. You seem to have given our folk here an
exhibition of the playfulness of the hooligan of the Saurian stage of
development; but the Blue Mountains, rough as they are, have come up
out of the primeval slime, and even now the people aim at better
manners. They may be rough, primitive, barbarian, elemental, if you
will, but they are not low down enough to tolerate either your ethics
or your taste. My dear cousin, your life is not safe here! I am
told that yesterday, only for the restraint exercised by certain
offended mountaineers on other grounds than your own worth, you would
have been abbreviated by the head. Another day of your fascinating
presence would do away with this restraint, and then we should have a
scandal. I am a new-comer here myself--too new a comer to be able to
afford a scandal of that kind--and so I shall not delay your going.
Believe me, my dear cousin, Ernest Roger Halbard Melton, of Humcroft,
Salop, that I am inconsolable about your resolution of immediate
departure, but I cannot shut my eyes to its wisdom. At present the
matter is altogether amongst ourselves, and when you have gone--if it
be immediately--silence will be observed on all hands for the sake of
the house wherein you are a guest; but if there be time for scandal
to spread, you will be made, whether you be alive or dead, a European
laughing-stock. Accordingly, I have anticipated your wishes, and
have ordered a fast steam yacht to take you to Ancona, or to whatever
other port you may desire. The yacht will be under the command of
Captain Desmond, of one of our battleships--a most determined
officer, who will carry out any directions which may be given to him.
This will insure your safety so far as Italian territory. Some of
his officials will arrange a special carriage for you up to Flushing,
and a cabin on the steamer to Queenboro'. A man of mine will travel
on the train and steamer with you, and will see that whatever you may
wish in the way of food or comfort will be provided. Of course, you
understand, my dear cousin, that you are my guest until you arrive in
London. I have not asked Rooke to accompany you, as when he went to
meet you, it was a mistake. Indeed, there might have been a danger
to you which I never contemplated--a quite unnecessary danger, I
assure you. But happily Admiral Rooke, though a man of strong
passions, has wonderful self-control."

"Admiral Rooke?" he queried. "Admiral?"

"Admiral, certainly," I replied, "but not an ordinary Admiral--one of
many. He is THE Admiral--the Lord High Admiral of the Land of the
Blue Mountains, with sole control of its expanding navy. When such a
man is treated as a valet, there may be . . . But why go into this?
It is all over. I only mention it lest anything of a similar kind
should occur with Captain Desmond, who is a younger man, and
therefore with probably less self-repression."

I saw that he had learned his lesson, and so said no more on the

There was another reason for his going which I did not speak of. Sir
Colin MacKelpie was coming with his clansmen, and I knew he did not
like Ernest Melton. I well remembered that episode of his offering
one finger to the old gentleman in Mr. Trent's office, and, moreover,
I had my suspicions that Aunt Janet's being upset was probably in
some measure due to some rudeness of his that she did not wish to
speak about. He is really an impossible young man, and is far better
out of this country than in it. If he remained here, there would be
some sort of a tragedy for certain.

I must say that it was with a feeling of considerable relief that I
saw the yacht steam out of the creek, with Captain Desmond on the
bridge and my cousin beside him.

Quite other were my feelings when, an hour after, The Lady came
flying into the creek with the Lord High Admiral on the bridge, and
beside him, more splendid and soldier-like than ever, Sir Colin
MacKelpie. Mr. Bingham Trent was also on the bridge.

The General was full of enthusiasm regarding his regiment, for in
all, those he brought with him and those finishing their training at
home, the force is near the number of a full regiment. When we were
alone he explained to me that all was arranged regarding the non-
commissioned officers, but that he had held over the question of
officers until we should have had a suitable opportunity of talking
the matter over together. He explained to me his reasons, which were
certainly simple and cogent. Officers, according to him, are a
different class, and accustomed to a different standard altogether of
life and living, of duties and pleasures. They are harder to deal
with and more difficult to obtain. "There was no use," he said, "in
getting a lot of failures, with old-crusted ways of their own
importance. We must have young men for our purpose--that is, men not
old, but with some experience--men, of course, who know how to behave
themselves, or else, from what little I have seen of the Blue
Mountaineers, they wouldn't last long here if they went on as some of
them do elsewhere. I shall start things here as you wish me to, for
I am here, my dear boy, to stay with you and Janet, and we shall, if
it be given to us by the Almighty, help to build up together a new
'nation'--an ally of Britain, who will stand at least as an outpost
of our own nation, and a guardian of our eastern road. When things
are organized here on the military side, and are going strong, I
shall, if you can spare me, run back to London for a few weeks.
Whilst I am there I shall pick up a lot of the sort of officers we
want. I know that there are loads of them to be had. I shall go
slowly, however, and carefully, too, and every man I bring back will
be recommended to me by some old soldier whom I know, and who knows
the man he recommends, and has seen him work. We shall have, I dare
say, an army for its size second to none in the world, and the day
may come when your old country will be proud of your new one. Now
I'm off to see that all is ready for my people--your people now."

I had had arrangements made for the comfort of the clansmen and the
women, but I knew that the good old soldier would see for himself
that his men were to be comfortable. It was not for nothing that he
was--is--looked on as perhaps the General most beloved by his men in
the whole British Army.

When he had gone, and I was alone, Mr. Trent, who had evidently been
waiting for the opportunity, came to me. When we had spoken of my
marriage and of Teuta, who seems to have made an immense impression
on him, he said suddenly:

"I suppose we are quite alone, and that we shall not be interrupted?"
I summoned the man outside--there is always a sentry on guard outside
my door or near me, wherever I may be--and gave orders that I was not
to be disturbed until I gave fresh orders. "If," I said, "there be
anything pressing or important, let the Voivodin or Miss MacKelpie
know. If either of them brings anyone to me, it will be all right."

When we were quite alone Mr. Trent took a slip of paper and some
documents from the bag which was beside him. He then read out items
from the slip, placing as he did so the documents so checked over
before him.

1. New Will made on marriage, to be signed presently.

2. Copy of the Re-conveyance of Vissarion estates to Peter
Vissarion, as directed by Will of Roger Melton.

3. Report of Correspondence with Privy Council, and proceedings

Taking up the last named, he untied the red tape, and, holding the
bundle in his hand, went on:

"As you may, later on, wish to examine the details of the
Proceedings, I have copied out the various letters, the originals of
which are put safely away in my strong-room where, of course, they
are always available in case you may want them. For your present
information I shall give you a rough synopsis of the Proceedings,
referring where advisable to this paper.

"On receipt of your letter of instructions regarding the Consent of
the Privy Council to your changing your nationality in accordance
with the terms of Roger Melton's Will, I put myself in communication
with the Clerk of the Privy Council, informing him of your wish to be
naturalized in due time to the Land of the Blue Mountains. After
some letters between us, I got a summons to attend a meeting of the

"I attended, as required, taking with me all necessary documents, and
such as I conceived might be advisable to produce, if wanted.

"The Lord President informed me that the present meeting of the
Council was specially summoned in obedience to the suggestion of the
King, who had been consulted as to his personal wishes on the
subject--should he have any. The President then proceeded to inform
me officially that all Proceedings of the Privy Council were
altogether confidential, and were not to be made public under any
circumstances. He was gracious enough to add:

"'The circumstances of this case, however, are unique; and as you act
for another, we have thought it advisable to enlarge your permission
in the matter, so as to allow you to communicate freely with your
principal. As that gentleman is settling himself in a part of the
world which has been in the past, and may be again, united to this
nation by some common interest, His Majesty wishes Mr. Sent Leger to
feel assured of the good-will of Great Britain to the Land of the
Blue Mountains, and even of his own personal satisfaction that a
gentleman of so distinguished a lineage and such approved personal
character is about to be--within his own scope--a connecting-link
between the nations. To which end he has graciously announced that,
should the Privy Council acquiesce in the request of
Denaturalization, he will himself sign the Patent therefor.

"'The Privy Council has therefore held private session, at which the
matter has been discussed in its many bearings; and it is content
that the change can do no harm, but may be of some service to the two
nations. We have, therefore, agreed to grant the prayer of the
Applicant; and the officials of the Council have the matter of the
form of Grant in hand. So you, sir, may rest satisfied that as soon
as the formalities--which will, of course, require the formal signing
of certain documents by the Applicant--can be complied with, the
Grant and Patent will obtain.'"

Having made this statement in formal style, my old friend went on in
more familiar way:

"And so, my dear Rupert, all is in hand; and before very long you
will have the freedom required under the Will, and will be at liberty
to take whatever steps may be necessary to be naturalized in your new

"I may tell you, by the way, that several members of the Council made
very complimentary remarks regarding you. I am forbidden to give
names, but I may tell you facts. One old Field-Marshal, whose name
is familiar to the whole world, said that he had served in many
places with your father, who was a very valiant soldier, and that he
was glad that Great Britain was to have in the future the benefit of
your father's son in a friendly land now beyond the outposts of our
Empire, but which had been one with her in the past, and might be

"So much for the Privy Council. We can do no more at present until
you sign and have attested the documents which I have brought with

"We can now formally complete the settlement of the Vissarion
estates, which must be done whilst you are a British citizen. So,
too, with the Will, the more formal and complete document, which is
to take the place of that short one which you forwarded to me the day
after your marriage. It may be, perhaps, necessary or advisable
that, later on, when you are naturalized here, you shall make a new
Will in strictest accordance with local law."

August 19, 1907.

We had a journey to-day that was simply glorious. We had been
waiting to take it for more than a week. Rupert not only wanted the
weather suitable, but he had to wait till the new aeroplane came
home. It is more than twice as big as our biggest up to now. None
of the others could take all the party which Rupert wanted to go.
When he heard that the aero was coming from Whitby, where it was sent
from Leeds, he directed by cable that it should be unshipped at
Otranto, whence he took it here all by himself. I wanted to come
with him, but he thought it better not. He says that Brindisi is too
busy a place to keep anything quiet--if not secret--and he wants to
be very dark indeed about this, as it is worked by the new radium
engine. Ever since they found radium in our own hills he has been
obsessed by the idea of an aerial navy for our protection. And after
to-day's experiences I think he is right. As he wanted to survey the
whole country at a glimpse, so that the general scheme of defence
might be put in hand, we had to have an aero big enough to take the
party as well as fast enough to do it rapidly, and all at once. We
had, in addition to Rupert, my father, and myself, Sir Colin and Lord
High Admiral Rooke (I do like to give that splendid old fellow his
full title!). The military and naval experts had with them
scientific apparatus of various kinds, also cameras and range-
finders, so that they could mark their maps as they required.
Rupert, of course, drove, and I acted as his assistant. Father, who
has not yet become accustomed to aerial travel, took a seat in the
centre (which Rupert had thoughtfully prepared for him), where there
is very little motion. I must say I was amazed to see the way that
splendid old soldier Sir Colin bore himself. He had never been on an
aeroplane before, but, all the same, he was as calm as if he was on a
rock. Height or motion did not trouble him. Indeed, he seemed to
ENJOY himself all the time. The Admiral is himself almost an expert,
but in any case I am sure he would have been unconcerned, just as he
was in the Crab as Rupert has told me.

We left just after daylight, and ran down south. When we got to the
east of Ilsin, we kept slightly within the border-line, and went
north or east as it ran, making occasional loops inland over the
mountains and back again. When we got up to our farthest point
north, we began to go much slower. Sir Colin explained that for the
rest all would be comparatively plain-sailing in the way of defence;
but that as any foreign Power other than the Turk must attack from
seaward, he would like to examine the seaboard very carefully in
conjunction with the Admiral, whose advice as to sea defence would be

Rupert was fine. No one could help admiring him as he sat working
his lever and making the great machine obey every touch. He was
wrapped up in his work. I don't believe that whilst he was working
he ever thought of even me. He IS splendid!

We got back just as the sun was dropping down over the Calabrian
Mountains. It is quite wonderful how the horizon changes when you
are sailing away up high on an aeroplane. Rupert is going to teach
me how to manage one all by myself, and when I am fit he will give me
one, which he is to have specially built for me.

I think I, too, have done some good work--at least, I have got some
good ideas--from our journey to-day. Mine are not of war, but of
peace, and I think I see a way by which we shall be able to develop
our country in a wonderful way. I shall talk the idea over with
Rupert to-night, when we are alone. In the meantime Sir Colin and
Admiral Rooke will think their plans over individually, and to-morrow
morning together. Then the next day they, too, are to go over their
idea with Rupert and my father, and something may be decided then.

August 21, 1907.

Our meeting on the subject of National Defence, held this afternoon,
went off well. We were five in all, for with permission of the
Voivode and the two fighting-men, naval and military, I brought Teuta
with me. She sat beside me quite quietly, and never made a remark of
any kind till the Defence business had been gone through. Both Sir
Colin and Admiral Rooke were in perfect agreement as to the immediate
steps to be taken for defence. In the first instance, the seaboard
was to be properly fortified in the necessary places, and the navy
largely strengthened. When we had got thus far I asked Rooke to tell
of the navy increase already in hand. Whereupon he explained that,
as we had found the small battleship The Lady of an excellent type
for coast defence, acting only in home waters, and of a size to take
cover where necessary at many places on our own shores, we had
ordered nine others of the same pattern. Of these the first four
were already in hand, and were proceeding with the greatest
expedition. The General then supplemented this by saying that big
guns could be used from points judiciously chosen on the seaboard,
which was in all so short a length that no very great quantity of
armament would be required.

"We can have," he said, "the biggest guns of the most perfect kind
yet accomplished, and use them from land batteries of the most up-to-
date pattern. The one serious proposition we have to deal with is
the defence of the harbour--as yet quite undeveloped--which is known
as the 'Blue Mouth.' Since our aerial journey I have been to it by
sea with Admiral Rooke in The Lady, and then on land with the
Vladika, who was born on its shores, and who knows every inch of it.

"It is worth fortifying--and fortifying well, for as a port it is
peerless in Mediterranean seas. The navies of the world might ride
in it, land-locked, and even hidden from view seawards. The
mountains which enclose it are in themselves absolute protection. In
addition, these can only be assailed from our own territory. Of
course, Voivode, you understand when I say 'our' I mean the Land of
the Blue Mountains, for whose safety and well-being I am alone
concerned. Any ship anchoring in the roads of the Blue Mouth would
have only one need--sufficient length of cable for its magnificent

"When proper guns are properly placed on the steep cliffs to north
and south of the entrance, and when the rock islet between has been
armoured and armed as will be necessary, the Mouth will be
impregnable. But we should not depend on the aiming of the entrance
alone. At certain salient points--which I have marked upon this map-
-armour-plated sunken forts within earthworks should be established.
There should be covering forts on the hillsides, and, of course, the
final summits protected. Thus we could resist attack on any side or
all sides--from sea or land. That port will yet mean the wealth as
well as the strength of this nation, so it will be well to have it
properly protected. This should be done soon, and the utmost secrecy
observed in the doing of it, lest the so doing should become a matter
of international concern."

Here Rooke smote the table hard.

"By God, that is true! It has been the dream of my own life for this
many a year."

In the silence which followed the sweet, gentle voice of Teuta came
clear as a bell:

"May I say a word? I am emboldened to, as Sir Colin has spoken so
splendidly, and as the Lord High Admiral has not hesitated to mention
his dreaming. I, too, have had a dream--a day-dream--which came in a
flash, but no less a dream, for all that. It was when we hung on the
aeroplane over the Blue Mouth. It seemed to me in an instant that I
saw that beautiful spot as it will some time be--typical, as Sir
Colin said, of the wealth as well as the strength of this nation; a
mart for the world whence will come for barter some of the great
wealth of the Blue Mountains. That wealth is as yet undeveloped.
But the day is at hand when we may begin to use it, and through that
very port. Our mountains and their valleys are clad with trees of
splendid growth, virgin forests of priceless worth; hard woods of all
kinds, which have no superior throughout the world. In the rocks,
though hidden as yet, is vast mineral wealth of many kinds. I have
been looking through the reports of the geological exports of the
Commission of Investigation which my husband organized soon after he
came to live here, and, according to them, our whole mountain ranges
simply teem with vast quantities of minerals, almost more precious
for industry than gold and silver are for commerce--though, indeed,
gold is not altogether lacking as a mineral. When once our work on
the harbour is done, and the place has been made secure against any
attempt at foreign aggression, we must try to find a way to bring
this wealth of woods and ores down to the sea.

"And then, perhaps, may begin the great prosperity of our Land, of
which we have all dreamt."

She stopped, all vibrating, almost choked with emotion. We were all
moved. For myself, I was thrilled to the core. Her enthusiasm was
all-sweeping, and under its influence I found my own imagination
expanding. Out of its experiences I spoke:

"And there is a way. I can see it. Whilst our dear Voivodin was
speaking, the way seemed to clear. I saw at the back of the Blue
Mouth, where it goes deepest into the heart of the cliffs, the
opening of a great tunnel, which ran upward over a steep slope till
it debouched on the first plateau beyond the range of the
encompassing cliffs.

Thither came by various rails of steep gradient, by timber-shoots and
cable-rails, by aerial cables and precipitating tubes, wealth from
over ground and under it; for as our Land is all mountains, and as
these tower up to the clouds, transport to the sea shall be easy and
of little cost when once the machinery is established. As everything
of much weight goes downward, the cars of the main tunnel of the port
shall return upward without cost. We can have from the mountains a
head of water under good control, which will allow of endless
hydraulic power, so that the whole port and the mechanism of the town
to which it will grow can be worked by it.

"This work can be put in hand at once. So soon as the place shall be
perfectly surveyed and the engineering plans got ready, we can start
on the main tunnel, working from the sea-level up, so that the cost
of the transport of material will be almost nil. This work can go on
whilst the forts are building; no time need be lost.

"Moreover, may I add a word on National Defence? We are, though old
in honour, a young nation as to our place amongst Great Powers. And
so we must show the courage and energy of a young nation. The Empire
of the Air is not yet won. Why should not we make a bid for it? As
our mountains are lofty, so shall we have initial power of attack or
defence. We can have, in chosen spots amongst the clouds, depots of
war aeroplanes, with which we can descend and smite our enemies
quickly on land or sea. We shall hope to live for Peace; but woe to
those who drive us to War!"

There is no doubt that the Vissarions are a warlike race. As I
spoke, Teuta took one of my hands and held it hard. The old Voivode,
his eyes blazing, rose and stood beside me and took the other. The
two old fighting-men of the land and the sea stood up and saluted.

This was the beginning of what ultimately became "The National
Committee of Defence and Development."

I had other, and perhaps greater, plans for the future in my mind;
but the time had not come for their utterance.

To me it seems not only advisable, but necessary, that the utmost
discretion be observed by all our little group, at all events for the
present. There seems to be some new uneasiness in the Blue
Mountains. There are constant meetings of members of the Council,
but no formal meeting of the Council, as such, since the last one at
which I was present. There is constant coming and going amongst the
mountaineers, always in groups, small or large. Teuta and I, who
have been about very much on the aeroplane, have both noticed it.
But somehow we--that is, the Voivode and myself--are left out of
everything; but we have not said as yet a word on the subject to any
of the others. The Voivode notices, but he says nothing; so I am
silent, and Teuta does whatever I ask. Sir Colin does not notice
anything except the work he is engaged on--the planning the defences
of the Blue Mouth. His old scientific training as an engineer, and
his enormous experience of wars and sieges--for he was for nearly
fifty years sent as military representative to all the great wars--
seem to have become directed on that point. He is certainly planning
it all out in a wonderful way. He consults Rooke almost hourly on
the maritime side of the question. The Lord High Admiral has been a
watcher all his life, and very few important points have ever escaped
him, so that he can add greatly to the wisdom of the defensive
construction. He notices, I think, that something is going on
outside ourselves; but he keeps a resolute silence.

What the movement going on is I cannot guess. It is not like the
uneasiness that went before the abduction of Teuta and the Voivode,
but it is even more pronounced. That was an uneasiness founded on
some suspicion. This is a positive thing, and has definite meaning--
of some sort. We shall, I suppose, know all about it in good time.
In the meantime we go on with our work. Happily the whole Blue Mouth
and the mountains round it are on my own property, the portion
acquired long ago by Uncle Roger, exclusive of the Vissarion estate.
I asked the Voivode to allow me to transfer it to him, but he sternly
refused and forbade me, quite peremptorily, to ever open the subject
to him again. "You have done enough already," he said. "Were I to
allow you to go further, I should feel mean. And I do not think you
would like your wife's father to suffer that feeling after a long
life, which he has tried to live in honour."

I bowed, and said no more. So there the matter rests, and I have to
take my own course. I have had a survey made, and on the head of it
the Tunnel to the harbour is begun.


MONDAY, AUGUST 26, 1907.
(Written by Cristoferos, Scribe of the Council, by instruction of
those present.)

When the private meeting of various Members of the National Council
had assembled in the Council Hall of the State House at Plazac, it
was as a preliminary decided unanimously that now or hereafter no
names of those present were to be mentioned, and that officials
appointed for the purposes of this meeting should be designated by
office only, the names of all being withheld.

The proceedings assumed the shape of a general conversation, quite
informal, and therefore not to be recorded. The nett outcome was the
unanimous expression of an opinion that the time, long contemplated
by very many persons throughout the nation, had now come when the
Constitution and machinery of the State should be changed; that the
present form of ruling by an Irregular Council was not sufficient,
and that a method more in accord with the spirit of the times should
be adopted. To this end Constitutional Monarchy, such as that
holding in Great Britain, seemed best adapted. Finally, it was
decided that each Member of the Council should make a personal
canvass of his district, talk over the matter with his electors, and
bring back to another meeting--or, rather, as it was amended, to this
meeting postponed for a week, until September 2nd--the opinions and
wishes received. Before separating, the individual to be appointed
King, in case the new idea should prove grateful to the nation, was
discussed. The consensus of opinion was entirely to the effect that
the Voivode Peter Vissarion should, if he would accept the high
office, be appointed. It was urged that, as his daughter, the
Voivodin Teuta, was now married to the Englishman, Rupert Sent Leger-
-called generally by the mountaineers "the Gospodar Rupert"--a
successor to follow the Voivode when God should call him would be at
hand--a successor worthy in every way to succeed to so illustrious a
post. It was urged by several speakers, with general acquiescence,
that already Mr. Sent Leger's services to the State were such that he
would be in himself a worthy person to begin the new Dynasty; but
that, as he was now allied to the Voivode Peter Vissarion, it was
becoming that the elder, born of the nation, should receive the first

THE SAME--Continued.

The adjourned meeting of certain members of the National Council was
resumed in the Hall of the State House at Plazac on Monday, September
2nd, 1907. By motion the same chairman was appointed, and the rule
regarding the record renewed.

Reports were made by the various members of the Council in turn,
according to the State Roll. Every district was represented. The
reports were unanimously in favour of the New Constitution, and it
was reported by each and all of the Councillors that the utmost
enthusiasm marked in every case the suggestion of the Voivode Peter
Vissarion as the first King to be crowned under the new Constitution,
and that remainder should be settled on the Gospodar Rupert (the
mountaineers would only receive his lawful name as an alternative;
one and all said that he would be "Rupert" to them and to the nation-
-for ever).

The above matter having been satisfactorily settled, it was decided
that a formal meeting of the National Council should be held at the
State House, Plazac, in one week from to-day, and that the Voivode
Peter Vissarion should be asked to be in the State House in readiness
to attend. It was also decided that instruction should be given to
the High Court of National Law to prepare and have ready, in skeleton
form, a rescript of the New Constitution to be adopted, the same to
be founded on the Constitution and Procedure of Great Britain, so far
as the same may be applicable to the traditional ideas of free
Government in the Land of the Blue Mountains.

By unanimous vote this private and irregular meeting of "Various
National Councillors" was then dissolved.

(Kept by the Monk Cristoferos, Scribe to the National Council.)

The adjourned meeting duly took place as arranged. There was a full
attendance of Members of the Council, together with the Vladika, the
Archbishop, the Archimandrites of Spazac, of Ispazar, of Domitan, and
Astrag; the Chancellor; the Lord of the Exchequer; the President of
the High Court of National Law; the President of the Council of
Justice; and such other high officials as it is customary to summon
to meetings of the National Council on occasions of great importance.
The names of all present will be found in the full report, wherein
are given the ipsissima verba of the various utterances made during
the consideration of the questions discussed, the same having been
taken down in shorthand by the humble scribe of this precis, which
has been made for the convenience of Members of the Council and

The Voivode Peter Vissarion, obedient to the request of the Council,
was in attendance at the State House, waiting in the "Chamber of the
High Officers" until such time as he should be asked to come before
the Council.

The President put before the National Council the matter of the new
Constitution, outlining the headings of it as drawn up by the High
Court of National Law, and the Constitution having been formally
accepted nem. con. by the National Council on behalf of the people,
he proposed that the Crown should be offered to the Voivode Peter
Vissarion, with remainder to the "Gospodar Rupert" (legally, Rupert
Sent Leger), husband of his only child, the Voivodin Teuta. This
also was received with enthusiasm, and passed nem. con.

Thereupon the President of Council, the Archbishop, and the Vladika,
acting together as a deputation, went to pray the attention of the
Voivode Peter Vassarion.

When the Voivode entered, the whole Council and officials stood up,
and for a few seconds waited in respectful silence with heads bowed
down. Then, as if by a common impulse--for no word was spoken nor
any signal given--they all drew their handjars, and stood to
attention--with points raised and edges of the handjars to the front.

The Voivode stood very still. He seemed much moved, but controlled
himself admirably. The only time when be seemed to lose his self-
control was when, once again with a strange simultaneity, all present
raised their handjars on high, and shouted: "Hail, Peter, King!"
Then lowering their points till these almost touched the ground, they
once again stood with bowed heads.

When he had quite mastered himself, the Voivode Peter Vissarion

"How can I, my brothers, sufficiently thank you, and, through you,
the people of the Blue Mountains, for the honour done to me this day?
In very truth it is not possible, and therefore I pray you to
consider it as done, measuring my gratitude in the greatness of your
own hearts. Such honour as you offer to me is not contemplated by
any man in whose mind a wholesome sanity rules, nor is it even the
dream of fervent imagination. So great is it, that I pray you, men
with hearts and minds like my own, to extend to me, as a further
measure of your generosity, a little time to think it over. I shall
not want long, for even already, with the blaze of honour fresh upon
me, I see the cool shadow of Duty, though his substance is yet hardly
visible. Give me but an hour of solitude--an hour at most--if it do
not prolong this your session unduly. It may be that a lesser time
will serve, but in any case I promise you that, when I can see a just
and fitting issue to my thought, I shall at once return."

The President of the Council looked around him, and, seeing
everywhere the bowing heads of acquiescence, spoke with a reverent

"We shall wait in patience whatsoever time you will, and may the God
who rules all worthy hearts guide you to His Will!"

And so in silence the Voivode passed out of the hall.

From my seat near a window I could watch him go, as with measured
steps he passed up the hill which rises behind the State House, and
disappeared into the shadow of the forest. Then my work claimed me,
for I wished to record the proceedings so far whilst all was fresh in
my mind. In silence, as of the dead, the Council waited, no man
challenging opinion of his neighbour even by a glance.

Almost a full hour had elapsed when the Voivode came again to the
Council, moving with slow and stately gravity, as has always been his
wont since age began to hamper the movement which in youth had been
so notable. The Members of the Council all stood up uncovered, and
so remained while he made announcement of his conclusion. He spoke
slowly; and as his answer was to be a valued record of this Land and
its Race, I wrote down every word as uttered, leaving here and there
space for description or comment, which spaces I have since then
filled in.

"Lords of the National Council, Archbishop, Vladika, Lords of the
Council of Justice and of National Law, Archimandrites, and my
brothers all, I have, since I left you, held in the solitude of the
forest counsel with myself--and with God; and He, in His gracious
wisdom, has led my thinking to that conclusion which was from the
first moment of knowledge of your intent presaged in my heart.
Brothers, you know--or else a long life has been spent in vain--that
my heart and mind are all for the nation--my experience, my life, my
handjar. And when all is for her, why should I shrink to exercise on
her behalf my riper judgment though the same should have to combat my
own ambition? For ten centuries my race has not failed in its duty.
Ages ago the men of that time trusted in the hands of my ancestors
the Kingship, even as now you, their children, trust me. But to me
it would be base to betray that trust, even by the smallest tittle.
That would I do were I to take the honour of the crown which you have
tendered to me, so long as there is another more worthy to wear it.
Were there none other, I should place myself in your hands, and yield
myself over to blind obedience of your desires. But such an one
there is; dear to you already by his own deeds, now doubly dear to
me, since he is my son by my daughter's love. He is young, whereas I
am old. He is strong and brave and true; but my days of the
usefulness of strength and bravery are over. For myself, I have long
contemplated as the crown of my later years a quiet life in one of
our monasteries, where I can still watch the whirl of the world
around us on your behalf, and be a counsellor of younger men of more
active minds. Brothers, we are entering on stirring times. I can
see the signs of their coming all around us. North and South--the
Old Order and the New, are about to clash, and we lie between the
opposing forces. True it is that the Turk, after warring for a
thousand years, is fading into insignificance. But from the North
where conquests spring, have crept towards our Balkans the men of a
mightier composite Power. Their march has been steady; and as they
came, they fortified every step of the way. Now they are hard upon
us, and are already beginning to swallow up the regions that we have
helped to win from the dominion of Mahound. The Austrian is at our
very gates. Beaten back by the Irredentists of Italy, she has so
enmeshed herself with the Great Powers of Europe that she seems for
the moment to be impregnable to a foe of our stature. There is but
one hope for us--the uniting of the Balkan forces to turn a masterly
front to North and West as well as to South and East. Is that a task
for old hands to undertake? No; the hands must be young and supple;
and the brain subtle, as well as the heart be strong, of whomsoever
would dare such an accomplishment. Should I accept the crown, it
would only postpone the doing of that which must ultimately be done.
What avail would it be if, when the darkness closes over me, my
daughter should be Queen Consort to the first King of a new dynasty?
You know this man, and from your record I learn that you are already
willing to have him as King to follow me. Why not begin with him?
He comes of a great nation, wherein the principle of freedom is a
vital principle that quickens all things. That nation has more than
once shown to us its friendliness; and doubtless the very fact that
an Englishman would become our King, and could carry into our
Government the spirit and customs which have made his own country
great, would do much to restore the old friendship, and even to
create a new one, which would in times of trouble bring British
fleets to our waters, and British bayonets to support our own
handjars. It is within my own knowledge, though as yet unannounced
to you, that Rupert Sent Leger has already obtained a patent, signed
by the King of England himself, allowing him to be denaturalized in
England, so that he can at once apply for naturalization here. I
know also that he has brought hither a vast fortune, by aid of which
he is beginning to strengthen our hands for war, in case that sad
eventuality should arise. Witness his late ordering to be built nine
other warships of the class that has already done such effective
service in overthrowing the Turk--or the pirate, whichever he may
have been. He has undertaken the defence of the Blue Mouth at his
own cost in a way which will make it stronger than Gibraltar, and
secure us against whatever use to which the Austrian may apply the
vast forces already gathered in the Bocche di Cattaro. He is already
founding aerial stations on our highest peaks for use of the war
aeroplanes which are being built for him. It is such a man as this
who makes a nation great; and right sure I am that in his hands this
splendid land and our noble, freedom-loving people will flourish and
become a power in the world. Then, brothers, let me, as one to whom
this nation and its history and its future are dear, ask you to give
to the husband of my daughter the honour which you would confer on
me. For her I can speak as well as for myself. She shall suffer
nothing in dignity either. Were I indeed King, she, as my daughter,
would be a Princess of the world. As it will be, she shall be
companion and Queen of a great King, and her race, which is mine,
shall flourish in all the lustre of the new Dynasty.

"Therefore on all accounts, my brothers, for the sake of our dear
Land of the Blue Mountains, make the Gospodar Rupert, who has so
proved himself, your King. And make me happy in my retirement to the

When the Voivode ceased to speak, all still remained silent and
standing. But there was no mistaking their acquiescence in his most
generous prayer. The President of the Council well interpreted the
general wish when he said:

"Lords of the National Council, Archbishop, Vladika, Lords of the
Councils of Justice and National Law, Archimandrites, and all who are
present, is it agreed that we prepare at leisure a fitting reply to
the Voivode Peter of the historic House of Vissarion, stating our
agreement with his wish?"

To which there was a unanimous answer:

"It is." He went on:

"Further. Shall we ask the Gospodar Rupert of the House of Sent
Leger, allied through his marriage to the Voivodin Teuta, daughter
and only child of the Voivode Peter of Vissarion, to come hither to-
morrow? And that, when he is amongst us, we confer on him the Crown
and Kingship of the Land of the Blue Mountains?"

Again came the answer: "It is."

But this time it rang out like the sound of a gigantic trumpet, and
the handjars flashed.

Whereupon the session was adjourned for the space of a day.

THE SAME--Continued.
September 10, 1907.

When the National Council met to-day the Voivode Peter Vissarion sat
with them, but well back, so that at first his presence was hardly
noticeable. After the necessary preliminaries had been gone through,
they requested the presence of the Gospodar Rupert--Mr. Rupert Sent
Leger--who was reported as waiting in the "Chamber of the High
Officers." He at once accompanied back to the Hall the deputation
sent to conduct him. As he made his appearance in the doorway the
Councillors stood up. There was a burst of enthusiasm, and the
handjars flashed. For an instant he stood silent, with lifted hand,
as though indicating that he wished to speak. So soon as this was
recognized, silence fell on the assembly, and he spoke:

"I pray you, may the Voivodin Teuta of Vissarion, who has accompanied
me hither, appear with me to hear your wishes?" There was an
immediate and enthusiastic acquiescence, and, after bowing his
thanks, he retired to conduct her.

Her appearance was received with an ovation similar to that given to
Gospodar Rupert, to which she bowed with dignified sweetness. She,
with her husband, was conducted to the top of the Hall by the
President, who came down to escort them. In the meantime another
chair had been placed beside that prepared for the Gospodar, and
these two sat.

The President then made the formal statement conveying to the
"Gospodar Rupert" the wishes of the Council, on behalf of the nation,
to offer to him the Crown and Kingship of the Land of the Blue
Mountains. The message was couched in almost the same words as had
been used the previous day in making the offer to the Voivode Peter
Vissarion, only differing to meet the special circumstances. The
Gospodar Rupert listened in grave silence. The whole thing was
manifestly quite new to him, but he preserved a self-control
wonderful under the circumstances. When, having been made aware of
the previous offer to the Voivode and the declared wish of the
latter, he rose to speak, there was stillness in the Hall. He
commenced with a few broken words of thanks; then he grew suddenly
and strangely calm as he went on:

"But before I can even attempt to make a fitting reply, I should know
if it is contemplated to join with me in this great honour my dear
wife the Voivodin Teuta of Vissarion, who has so splendidly proved
her worthiness to hold any place in the government of the Land. I
fain would . . . "

He was interrupted by the Voivodin, who, standing up beside him and
holding his left arm, said:

"Do not, President, and Lords all, think me wanting in that respect
of a wife for husband which in the Blue Mountains we hold so dear, if
I venture to interrupt my lord. I am here, not merely as a wife, but
as Voivodin of Vissarion, and by the memory of all the noble women of
that noble line I feel constrained to a great duty. We women of
Vissarion, in all the history of centuries, have never put ourselves
forward in rivalry of our lords. Well I know that my own dear lord
will forgive me as wife if I err; but I speak to you, the Council of
the nation, from another ground and with another tongue. My lord
does not, I fear, know as you do, and as I do too, that of old, in
the history of this Land, when Kingship was existent, that it was
ruled by that law of masculine supremacy which, centuries after,
became known as the Lex Salica. Lords of the Council of the Blue
Mountains, I am a wife of the Blue Mountains--as a wife young as yet,
but with the blood of forty generations of loyal women in my veins.
And it would ill become me, whom my husband honours--wife to the man
whom you would honour--to take a part in changing the ancient custom
which has been held in honour for all the thousand years, which is
the glory of Blue Mountain womanhood. What an example such would be
in an age when self-seeking women of other nations seek to forget
their womanhood in the struggle to vie in equality with men! Men of
the Blue Mountains, I speak for our women when I say that we hold of
greatest price the glory of our men. To be their companions is our
happiness; to be their wives is the completion of our lives; to be
mothers of their children is our share of the glory that is theirs.

"Therefore, I pray you, men of the Blue Mountains, let me but be as
any other wife in our land, equal to them in domestic happiness,
which is our woman's sphere; and if that priceless honour may be
vouchsafed to me, and I be worthy and able to bear it, an exemplar of
woman's rectitude." With a low, modest, graceful bow, she sat down.

There was no doubt as to the reception of her renunciation of Queenly
dignity. There was more honour to her in the quick, fierce shout
which arose, and the unanimous upward swing of the handjars, than in
the wearing of any crown which could adorn the head of woman.

The spontaneous action of the Gospodar Rupert was another source of
joy to all--a fitting corollary to what had gone before. He rose to
his feet, and, taking his wife in his arms, kissed her before all.
Then they sat down, with their chairs close, bashfully holding hands
like a pair of lovers.

Then Rupert arose--he is Rupert now; no lesser name is on the lips of
his people henceforth. With an intense earnestness which seemed to
glow in his face, he said simply:

"What can I say except that I am in all ways, now and for ever,
obedient to your wishes?" Then, raising his handjar and holding it
before him, he kissed the hilt, saying:

"Hereby I swear to be honest and just--to be, God helping me, such a
King as you would wish--in so far as the strength is given me.

This ended the business of the Session, and the Council showed
unmeasured delight. Again and again the handjars flashed, as the
cheers rose "three times three" in British fashion.

When Rupert--I am told I must not write him down as "King Rupert"
until after the formal crowning, which is ordained for Wednesday,
October 16th,--and Teuta had withdrawn, the Voivode Peter Vissarion,
the President and Council conferred in committee with the Presidents
of the High Courts of National Law and of Justice as to the
formalities to be observed in the crowning of the King, and of the
formal notification to he given to foreign Powers. These proceedings
kept them far into the night.

FROM "The London Messenger."
(From our Special Correspondent.)
October 14, 1907.

As I sat down to a poorly-equipped luncheon-table on board the
Austro-Orient liner Franz Joseph, I mourned in my heart (and I may
say incidentally in other portions of my internal economy) the
comfort and gastronomic luxury of the King and Emperor Hotel at
Trieste. A brief comparison between the menus of to-day's lunch and
yesterday's will afford to the reader a striking object-lesson:

Trieste. Steamer.
Eggs a la cocotte. Scrambled eggs on toast.
Stewed chicken, with paprika. Cold chicken.
Devilled slices of Westphalian ham Cold ham.
(boiled in wine). Bismarck herrings.
Tunny fish, pickled. Stewed apples.
Rice, burst in cream. Swiss cheese.
Guava jelly.

Consequence: Yesterday I was well and happy, and looked forward to a
good night's sleep, which came off. To-day I am dull and heavy, also
restless, and I am convinced that at sleeping-time my liver will have
it all its own way.

The journey to Ragusa, and thence to Plazac, is writ large with a
pigment of misery on at least one human heart. Let a silence fall
upon it! In such wise only can Justice and Mercy join hands.

Plazac is a miserable place. There is not a decent hotel in it. It
was perhaps on this account that the new King, Rupert, had erected
for the alleged convenience of his guests of the Press a series of
large temporary hotels, such as were in evidence at the St. Louis
Exposition. Here each guest was given a room to himself, somewhat
after the nature of the cribs in a Rowton house. From my first night
in it I am able to speak from experience of the sufferings of a
prisoner of the third class. I am, however, bound to say that the
dining and reception rooms were, though uncomfortably plain, adequate
for temporary use. Happily we shall not have to endure many more
meals here, as to-morrow we all dine with the King in the State
House; and as the cuisine is under the control of that cordon bleu,
Gaston de Faux Pas, who so long controlled the gastronomic (we might
almost say Gastonomic) destinies of the Rois des Diamants in the
Place Vendome, we may, I think, look forward to not going to bed
hungry. Indeed, the anticipations formed from a survey of our meagre
sleeping accommodation were not realized at dinnertime to-night. To
our intense astonishment, an excellent dinner was served, though, to
be sure, the cold dishes predominated (a thing I always find bad for
one's liver). Just as we were finishing, the King (nominated) came
amongst us in quite an informal way, and, having bidden us a hearty
welcome, asked that we should drink a glass of wine together. This
we did in an excellent (if rather sweet) glass of Cliquot '93. King
Rupert (nominated) then asked us to resume our seats. He walked
between the tables, now and again recognizing some journalistic
friend whom he had met early in life in his days of adventure. The
men spoken to seemed vastly pleased--with themselves probably.
Pretty bad form of them, I call it! For myself, I was glad I had not
previously met him in the same casual way, as it saved me from what I
should have felt a humiliation--the being patronized in that public
way by a prospective King who had not (in a Court sense) been born.
The writer, who is by profession a barrister-at-law, is satisfied at
being himself a county gentleman and heir to an historic estate in
the ancient county of Salop, which can boast a larger population than
the Land of the Blue Mountains.

EDITORIAL NOTE.--We must ask our readers to pardon the report in
yesterday's paper sent from Plazac. The writer was not on our
regular staff, but asked to be allowed to write the report, as he was
a kinsman of King Rupert of the Blue Mountains, and would therefore
be in a position to obtain special information and facilities of
description "from inside," as he puts it. On reading the paper, we
cabled his recall; we cabled also, in case he did not obey, to have
his ejectment effected forthwith.

We have also cabled Mr. Mordred Booth, the well-known correspondent,
who was, to our knowledge, in Plazac for his own purposes, to send us
full (and proper) details. We take it our readers will prefer a
graphic account of the ceremony to a farrago of cheap menus, comments
on his own liver, and a belittling of an Englishman of such noble
character and achievements that a rising nation has chosen him for
their King, and one whom our own nation loves to honour. We shall
not, of course, mention our abortive correspondent's name, unless
compelled thereto by any future utterance of his.

FROM "The London Messenger."
(By our Special Correspondent, Mordred Booth.)
October 17, 1907.

Plazac does not boast of a cathedral or any church of sufficient
dimensions for a coronation ceremony on an adequate scale. It was
therefore decided by the National Council, with the consent of the
King, that it should be held at the old church of St. Sava at
Vissarion--the former home of the Queen. Accordingly, arrangements
had been made to bring thither on the warships on the morning of the
coronation the whole of the nation's guests. In St. Sava's the
religious ceremony would take place, after which there would be a
banquet in the Castle of Vissarion. The guests would then return on
the warships to Plazac, where would be held what is called here the
"National Coronation."

In the Land of the Blue Mountains it was customary in the old days,
when there were Kings, to have two ceremonies--one carried out by the
official head of the national Church, the Greek Church; the other by
the people in a ritual adopted by themselves, on much the same basis
as the Germanic Folk-Moot. The Blue Mountains is a nation of
strangely loyal tendencies. What was a thousand years ago is to be
to-day--so far, of course, as is possible under the altered condition
of things.

The church of St. Sava is very old and very beautiful, built in the
manner of old Greek churches, full of monuments of bygone worthies of
the Blue Mountains. But, of course, neither it nor the ceremony held
in it to-day can compare in splendour with certain other ceremonials-
-for instance, the coronation of the penultimate Czar in Moscow, of
Alfonso XII. in Madrid, of Carlos I. in Lisbon.

The church was arranged much after the fashion of Westminster Abbey
for the coronation of King Edward VII., though, of course, not so
many persons present, nor so much individual splendour. Indeed, the
number of those present, outside those officially concerned and the
Press of the world, was very few.

The most striking figure present--next to King Rupert, who is seven
feet high and a magnificent man--was the Queen Consort, Teuta. She
sat in front of a small gallery erected for the purpose just opposite
the throne. She is a strikingly beautiful woman, tall and finely-
formed, with jet-black hair and eyes like black diamonds, but with
the unique quality that there are stars in them which seem to take
varied colour according to each strong emotion. But it was not even
her beauty or the stars in her eyes which drew the first glance of
all. These details showed on scrutiny, but from afar off the
attractive point was her dress. Surely never before did woman, be
she Queen or peasant, wear such a costume on a festive occasion.

She was dressed in a white Shroud, and in that only. I had heard
something of the story which goes behind that strange costume, and
shall later on send it to you. {2}

When the procession entered the church through the great western
door, the national song of the Blue Mountains, "Guide our feet
through darkness, O Jehovah," was sung by an unseen choir, in which
the organ, supplemented by martial instruments, joined. The
Archbishop was robed in readiness before the altar, and close around
him stood the Archimandrites of the four great monasteries. The
Vladika stood in front of the Members of the National Council. A
little to one side of this body was a group of high officials,
Presidents of the Councils of National Law and Justice, the
Chancellor, etc.--all in splendid robes of great antiquity--the High
Marshall of the Forces and the Lord high Admiral.

When all was ready for the ceremonial act of coronation, the
Archbishop raised his hand, whereupon the music ceased. Turning
around, so that he faced the Queen, who thereon stood up, the King
drew his handjar and saluted her in Blue Mountain fashion--the point
raised as high possible, and then dropped down till it almost touches
the ground. Every man in the church, ecclesiastics and all, wear the
handjar, and, following the King by the interval of a second, their
weapons flashed out. There was something symbolic, as well as
touching, in this truly royal salute, led by the King. His handjar
is a mighty blade, and held high in the hands of a man of his
stature, it overtowered everything in the church. It was an
inspiriting sight. No one who saw will ever forget that noble
flashing of blades in the thousand-year-old salute . . .

The coronation was short, simple, and impressive. Rupert knelt
whilst the Archbishop, after a short, fervent prayer, placed on his
head the bronze crown of the first King of the Blue Mountains, Peter.
This was handed to him by the Vladika, to whom it was brought from
the National Treasury by a procession of the high officers. A
blessing of the new King and his Queen Teuta concluded the ceremony.
Rupert's first act on rising from his knees was to draw his handjar
and salute his people.

After the ceremony in St. Sava, the procession was reformed, and took
its way to the Castle of Vissarion, which is some distance off across
a picturesque creek, bounded on either side by noble cliffs of vast
height. The King led the way, the Queen walking with him and holding
his hand . . . The Castle of Vissarion is of great antiquity, and
picturesque beyond belief. I am sending later on, as a special
article, a description of it . . .

The "Coronation Feast," as it was called on the menu, was held in the
Great Hall, which is of noble proportions. I enclose copy of the
menu, as our readers may wish to know something of the details of
such a feast in this part of the world.

One feature of the banquet was specially noticeable. As the National
Officials were guests of the King and Queen, they were waited on and
served by the King and Queen in person. The rest of the guests,
including us of the Press, were served by the King's household, not
the servants--none of that cult were visible--but by the ladies and
gentlemen of the Court.

There was only one toast, and that was given by the King, all
standing: "The Land of the Blue Mountains, and may we all do our
duty to the Land we love!" Before drinking, his mighty handjar
flashed out again, and in an instant every table at which the Blue
Mountaineers sat was ringed with flashing steel. I may add
parenthetically that the handjar is essentially the national weapon.
I do not know if the Blue Mountaineers take it to bed with them, but
they certainly wear it everywhere else. Its drawing seems to
emphasize everything in national life . . .

We embarked again on the warships--one a huge, steel-plated
Dreadnought, up to date in every particular, the other an armoured
yacht most complete in every way, and of unique speed. The King and
Queen, the Lords of the Council, together with the various high
ecclesiastics and great officials, went on the yacht, which the Lord
High Admiral, a man of remarkably masterful physiognomy, himself
steered. The rest of those present at the Coronation came on the
warship. The latter went fast, but the yacht showed her heels all
the way. However, the King's party waited in the dock in the Blue
Mouth. From this a new cable-line took us all to the State House at
Plazac. Here the procession was reformed, and wound its way to a
bare hill in the immediate vicinity. The King and Queen--the King
still wearing the ancient bronze crown with which the Archbishop had
invested him at St. Sava's--the Archbishop, the Vladika, and the four
Archimandrites stood together at the top of the hill, the King and
Queen being, of course, in the front. A courteous young gentleman,
to whom I had been accredited at the beginning of the day--all guests
were so attended--explained to me that, as this was the national as
opposed to the religious ceremony, the Vladika, who is the official
representative of the laity, took command here. The ecclesiastics
were put prominently forward, simply out of courtesy, in obedience to
the wish of the people, by whom they were all greatly beloved.

Then commenced another unique ceremony, which, indeed, might well
find a place in our Western countries. As far as ever we could see
were masses of men roughly grouped, not in any uniform, but all in
national costume, and armed only with the handjar. In the front of
each of these groups or bodies stood the National Councillor for that
district, distinguishable by his official robe and chain. There were
in all seventeen of these bodies. These were unequal in numbers,
some of them predominating enormously over others, as, indeed, might
be expected in so mountainous a country. In all there were present,
I was told, over a hundred thousand men. So far as I can judge from
long experience of looking at great bodies of men, the estimate was a
just one. I was a little surprised to see so many, for the
population of the Blue Mountains is never accredited in books of
geography as a large one. When I made inquiry as to how the frontier
guard was being for the time maintained, I was told:

"By the women mainly. But, all the same, we have also a male guard
which covers the whole frontier except that to seaward. Each man has
with him six women, so that the whole line is unbroken. Moreover,
sir, you must bear in mind that in the Blue Mountains our women are
trained to arms as well as our men--ay, and they could give a good
account of themselves, too, against any foe that should assail us.
Our history shows what women can do in defence. I tell you, the
Turkish population would be bigger to-day but for the women who on
our frontier fought of old for defence of their homes!"

"No wonder this nation has kept her freedom for a thousand years!" I

At a signal given by the President of the National Council one of the
Divisions moved forwards. It was not an ordinary movement, but an
intense rush made with all the elan and vigour of hardy and highly-
trained men. They came on, not merely at the double, but as if
delivering an attack. Handjar in hand, they rushed forward. I can
only compare their rush to an artillery charge or to an attack of
massed cavalry battalions. It was my fortune to see the former at
Magenta and the latter at Sadowa, so that I know what such
illustration means. I may also say that I saw the relief column
which Roberts organized rush through a town on its way to relieve
Mafeking; and no one who had the delight of seeing that inspiring
progress of a flying army on their way to relieve their comrades
needs to be told what a rush of armed men can be. With speed which
was simply desperate they ran up the hill, and, circling to the left,
made a ring round the topmost plateau, where stood the King. When
the ring was complete, the stream went on lapping round and round
till the whole tally was exhausted. In the meantime another Division
had followed, its leader joining close behind the end of the first.
Then came another and another. An unbroken line circled and circled
round the hill in seeming endless array, till the whole slopes were
massed with moving men, dark in colour, and with countless glittering
points everywhere. When the whole of the Divisions had thus
surrounded the King, there was a moment's hush--a silence so still
that it almost seemed as if Nature stood still also. We who looked
on were almost afraid to breathe.

Then suddenly, without, so far as I could see, any fugleman or word
of command, the handjars of all that mighty array of men flashed
upward as one, and like thunder pealed the National cry:

"The Blue Mountains and Duty!"

After the cry there was a strange subsidence which made the onlooker
rub his eyes. It seemed as though the whole mass of fighting men had
partially sunk into the ground. Then the splendid truth burst upon
us--the whole nation was kneeling at the feet of their chosen King,
who stood upright.

Another moment of silence, as King Rupert, taking off his crown, held
it up in his left hand, and, holding his great handjar high in his
right, cried in a voice so strong that it came ringing over that
serried mass like a trumpet:

"To Freedom of our Nation, and to Freedom within it, I dedicate these
and myself. I swear!"

So saying, he, too, sank on his knees, whilst we all instinctively

The silence which followed lasted several seconds; then, without a
sign, as though one and all acted instinctively, the whole body stood
up. Thereupon was executed a movement which, with all my experience
of soldiers and war, I never saw equalled--not with the Russian Royal
Guard saluting the Czar at his Coronation, not with an impi of
Cetewayo's Zulus whirling through the opening of a kraal.

For a second or two the whole mass seemed to writhe or shudder, and
then, lo! the whole District Divisions were massed again in
completeness, its Councillors next the King, and the Divisions
radiating outwards down the hill like wedges.

This completed the ceremony, and everything broke up into units.
Later, I was told by my official friend that the King's last
movement--the oath as he sank to his knees--was an innovation of his
own. All I can say is, if, in the future, and for all time, it is
not taken for a precedent, and made an important part of the
Patriotic Coronation ceremony, the Blue Mountaineers will prove
themselves to be a much more stupid people than they seem at present
to be.

The conclusion of the Coronation festivities was a time of unalloyed
joy. It was the banquet given to the King and Queen by the nation;
the guests of the nation were included in the royal party. It was a
unique ceremony. Fancy a picnic-party of a hundred thousand persons,
nearly all men. There must have been made beforehand vast and
elaborate preparations, ramifying through the whole nation. Each
section had brought provisions sufficient for their own consumption
in addition to several special dishes for the guest-tables; but the
contribution of each section was not consumed by its own members.

It was evidently a part of the scheme that all should derive from a
common stock, so that the feeling of brotherhood and common property
should be preserved in this monumental fashion.

The guest-tables were the only tables to be seen. The bulk of the
feasters sat on the ground. The tables were brought forward by the
men themselves--no such thing as domestic service was known on this
day--from a wood close at hand, where they and the chairs had been
placed in readiness. The linen and crockery used had been sent for
the purpose from the households of every town and village. The
flowers were plucked in the mountains early that morning by the
children, and the gold and silver plate used for adornment were
supplied from the churches. Each dish at the guest-tables was served
by the men of each section in turn.

Over the whole array seemed to be spread an atmosphere of joyousness,
of peace, of brotherhood. It would be impossible to adequately
describe that amazing scene, a whole nation of splendid men
surrounding their new King and Queen, loving to honour and serve
them. Scattered about through that vast crowd were groups of
musicians, chosen from amongst themselves. The space covered by this
titanic picnic was so vast that there were few spots from which you
could hear music proceeding from different quarters.

After dinner we all sat and smoked; the music became rather vocal
than instrumental--indeed, presently we did not hear the sound of any
instrument at all. Only knowing a few words of Balkan, I could not
follow the meanings of the songs, but I gathered that they were all
legendary or historical. To those who could understand, as I was
informed by my tutelary young friend, who stayed beside me the whole
of this memorable day, we were listening to the history of the Land
of the Blue Mountains in ballad form. Somewhere or other throughout
that vast concourse each notable record of ten centuries was being
told to eager ears.

It was now late in the day. Slowly the sun had been dropping down
over the Calabrian Mountains, and the glamorous twilight was stealing
over the immediate scene. No one seemed to notice the coming of the
dark, which stole down on us with an unspeakable mystery. For long
we sat still, the clatter of many tongues becoming stilled into the
witchery of the scene. Lower the sun sank, till only the ruddiness
of the afterglow lit the expanse with rosy light; then this failed in
turn, and the night shut down quickly.

At last, when we could just discern the faces close to us, a
simultaneous movement began. Lights began to flash out in places all
over the hillside. At first these seemed as tiny as glow-worms seen
in a summer wood, but by degrees they grew till the space was set
with little circles of light. These in turn grew and grew in both
number and strength. Flames began to leap out from piles of wood,
torches were lighted and held high. Then the music began again,
softly at first, but then louder as the musicians began to gather to
the centre, where sat the King and Queen. The music was wild and
semi-barbaric, but full of sweet melody. It somehow seemed to bring
before us a distant past; one and all, according to the strength of
our imagination and the volume of our knowledge, saw episodes and
phases of bygone history come before us. There was a wonderful
rhythmic, almost choric, force in the time kept, which made it almost
impossible to sit still. It was an invitation to the dance such as I
had never before heard in any nation or at any time. Then the lights
began to gather round. Once more the mountaineers took something of
the same formation as at the crowning. Where the royal party sat was
a level mead, with crisp, short grass, and round it what one might
well call the Ring of the Nation was formed.

The music grew louder. Each mountaineer who had not a lit torch
already lighted one, and the whole rising hillside was a glory of
light. The Queen rose, and the King an instant after. As they rose
men stepped forward and carried away their chairs, or rather thrones.
The Queen gave the King her hand--this is, it seems, the privilege of
the wife as distinguished from any other woman. Their feet took the
time of the music, and they moved into the centre of the ring.

That dance was another thing to remember, won from the haunting
memories of that strange day. At first the King and Queen danced all
alone. They began with stately movement, but as the music quickened
their feet kept time, and the swing of their bodies with movements
kept growing more and more ecstatic at every beat till, in true
Balkan fashion, the dance became a very agony of passionate movement.

At this point the music slowed down again, and the mountaineers began
to join in the dance. At first slowly, one by one, they joined in,
the Vladika and the higher priests leading; then everywhere the whole
vast crowd began to dance, till the earth around us seemed to shake.
The lights quivered, flickered, blazed out again, and rose and fell
as that hundred thousand men, each holding a torch, rose and fell
with the rhythm of the dance. Quicker, quicker grew the music,
faster grew the rushing and pounding of the feet, till the whole
nation seemed now in an ecstasy.

I stood near the Vladika, and in the midst of this final wildness I
saw him draw from his belt a short, thin flute; then he put it to his
lips and blew a single note--a fierce, sharp note, which pierced the
volume of sound more surely than would the thunder of a cannon-shot.
On the instant everywhere each man put his torch under his foot.

There was complete and immediate darkness, for the fires, which had
by now fallen low, had evidently been trodden out in the measure of
the dance. The music still kept in its rhythmic beat, but slower
than it had yet been. Little by little this beat was pointed and
emphasized by the clapping of hands--at first only a few, but
spreading till everyone present was beating hands to the slow music
in the darkness. This lasted a little while, during which, looking
round, I noticed a faint light beginning to steal up behind the
hills. The moon was rising.

Again there came a note from the Vladika's flute--a single note,
sweet and subtle, which I can only compare with a note from a
nightingale, vastly increased in powers. It, too, won through the
thunder of the hand-claps, and on the second the sound ceased. The
sudden stillness, together with the darkness, was so impressive that
we could almost hear our hearts beating. And then came through the
darkness the most beautiful and impressive sound heard yet. That
mighty concourse, without fugleman of any sort, began, in low,
fervent voice, to sing the National Anthem. At first it was of so
low tone as to convey the idea of a mighty assembly of violinists
playing with the mutes on. But it gradually rose till the air above
us seemed to throb and quiver. Each syllable--each word--spoken in
unison by the vast throng was as clearly enunciated as though spoken
by a single voice:

"Guide our feet through darkness, O Jehovah."

This anthem, sung out of full hearts, remains on our minds as the
last perfection of a perfect day. For myself, I am not ashamed to
own that it made me weep like a child. Indeed, I cannot write of it
now as I would; it unmans me so!

* * *

In the early morning, whilst the mountains were still rather grey
than blue, the cable-line took us to the Blue Mouth, where we
embarked in the King's yacht, The Lady, which took us across the
Adriatic at a pace which I had hitherto considered impossible. The
King and Queen came to the landing to see us off. They stood
together at the right-hand side of the red-carpeted gangway, and
shook hands with each guest as he went on board. The instant the
last passenger had stepped on deck the gangway was withdrawn. The
Lord High Admiral, who stood on the bridge, raised his hand, and we
swept towards the mouth of the gulf. Of course, all hats were off,
and we cheered frantically. I can truly say that if King Rupert and
Queen Teuta should ever wish to found in the Blue Mountains a colony
of diplomatists and journalists, those who were their guests on this
great occasion will volunteer to a man. I think old Hempetch, who is
the doyen of English-speaking journalists, voiced our sentiments when
he said:

"May God bless them and theirs with every grace and happiness, and
send prosperity to the Land and the rule!" I think the King and
Queen heard us cheer, they turned to look at our flying ship again.


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 alone.

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 on the east side of
that, it will tap the real productive belt. Here it is that our
hardwood-trees are finest, and where the greatest mineral deposits
are found. This plateau is of enormous length, and runs north arid
south round the great bulk of the central mountain, so that in time,
when we put up a circular railway, we can bring, at a merely nominal
cost, all sorts of material up or down. It is on this level that we
have built the great factories for war material. We are tunnelling
into the mountains, where are the great deposits of coal. We run the
trucks in and out on the level, and can get perfect ventilation with
little cost or labour. Already we are mining all the coal which we
consume within our own confines, and we can, if we wish, within a
year export largely. The great slopes of these tunnels give us the
necessary aid of specific gravity, and as we carry an endless water-
supply in great tubes that way also, we can do whatever we wish by
hydraulic power. As one by one the European and Asiatic nations
began to reduce their war preparations, we took over their disbanded
workmen though our agents, so that already we have a productive staff
of skilled workmen larger than anywhere else in the world. I think
myself that we were fortunate in being able to get ahead so fast with
our preparations for war manufacture, for if some of the "Great
Powers," as they call themselves, knew the measure of our present
production, they would immediately try to take active measures
against us. In such case we should have to fight them, which would
delay us. But if we can have another year untroubled, we shall, so
far as war material is concerned, be able to defy any nation in the
world. And if the time may only come peacefully till we have our
buildings and machinery complete, we can prepare war-stores and
implements for the whole Balkan nations. And then--But that is a
dream. We shall know in good time.

In the meantime all goes well. The cannon foundries are built and
active. We are already beginning to turn out finished work. Of
course, our first guns are not very large, but they are good. The
big guns, and especially siege-guns, will come later. And when the
great extensions are complete, and the boring and wire-winding
machines are in working order, we can go merrily on. I suppose that
by that time the whole of the upper plateau will be like a
manufacturing town--at any rate, we have plenty of raw material to
hand. The haematite mines seem to be inexhaustible, and as the
raising of the ore is cheap and easy by means of our extraordinary
water-power, and as coal comes down to the plateau by its own gravity
on the cable-line, we have natural advantages which exist hardly
anywhere else in the world--certainly not all together, as here.
That bird's eye view of the Blue Mouth which we had from the
aeroplane when Teuta saw that vision of the future has not been in
vain. The aeroplane works are having a splendid output. The
aeroplane is a large and visible product; there is no mistaking when
it is there! We have already a large and respectable aerial fleet.
The factories for explosives are, of course, far away in bare
valleys, where accidental effects are minimized. So, too, are the
radium works, wherein unknown dangers may lurk. The turbines in the
tunnel give us all the power we want at present, and, later on, when
the new tunnel, which we call the "water tunnel," which is already
begun, is complete, the available power will be immense. All these
works are bringing up our shipping, and we are in great hopes for the

So much for our material prosperity. But with it comes a larger life
and greater hopes. The stress of organizing and founding these great
works is practically over. As they are not only self-supporting, but
largely productive, all anxiety in the way of national expenditure is
minimized. And, more than all, I am able to give my unhampered
attention to those matters of even more than national importance on
which the ultimate development, if not the immediate strength, of our
country must depend.

I am well into the subject of a great Balkan Federation. This, it
turns out, has for long been the dream of Teuta's life, as also that
of the present Archimandrite of Plazac, her father, who, since I last
touched this journal, having taken on himself a Holy Life, was, by
will of the Church, the Monks, and the People, appointed to that
great office on the retirement of Petrof Vlastimir.

Such a Federation had long been in the air. For myself, I had seen
its inevitableness from the first. The modern aggressions of the
Dual Nation, interpreted by her past history with regard to Italy,
pointed towards the necessity of such a protective measure. And now,
when Servia and Bulgaria were used as blinds to cover her real
movements to incorporate with herself as established the provinces,
once Turkish, which had been entrusted to her temporary protection by
the Treaty of Berlin; when it would seem that Montenegro was to be
deprived for all time of the hope of regaining the Bocche di Cattaro,
which she had a century ago won, and held at the point of the sword,
until a Great Power had, under a wrong conviction, handed it over to
her neighbouring Goliath; when the Sandjack of Novi-Bazar was
threatened with the fate which seemed to have already overtaken
Bosnia and Herzegovina; when gallant little Montenegro was already
shut out from the sea by the octopus-like grip of Dalmatia crouching
along her western shore; when Turkey was dwindling down to almost
ineptitude; when Greece was almost a byword, and when Albania as a
nation--though still nominally subject--was of such unimpaired
virility that there were great possibilities of her future, it was
imperative that something must happen if the Balkan race was not to
be devoured piecemeal by her northern neighbours. To the end of
ultimate protection I found most of them willing to make defensive

And as the true defence consists in judicious attack, I have no doubt
that an alliance so based must ultimately become one for all
purposes. Albania was the most difficult to win to the scheme, as
her own complications with her suzerain, combined with the pride and
suspiciousness of her people, made approach a matter of extreme
caution. It was only possible when I could induce her rulers to see
that, no matter how great her pride and valour, the magnitude of
northern advance, if unchecked, must ultimately overwhelm her.

I own that this map-making was nervous work, for I could not shut my
eyes to the fact that German lust of enlargement lay behind Austria's
advance. At and before that time expansion was the dominant idea of
the three Great Powers of Central Europe. Russia went eastward,
hoping to gather to herself the rich north-eastern provinces of
China, till ultimately she should dominate the whole of Northern
Europe and Asia from the Gulf of Finland to the Yellow Sea. Germany
wished to link the North Sea to the Mediterranean by her own
territory, and thus stand as a flawless barrier across Europe from
north to south.

When Nature should have terminated the headship of the Empire-
Kingdom, she, as natural heir, would creep southward through the
German-speaking provinces. Thus Austria, of course kept in ignorance
of her neighbour's ultimate aims, had to extend towards the south.
She had been barred in her western movement by the rise of the
Irredentist party in Italy, and consequently had to withdraw behind
the frontiers of Carinthia, Carniola, and Istria.

My own dream of the new map was to make "Balka"--the Balkan
Federation--take in ultimately all south of a line drawn from the
Isle of Serpents to Aquileia. There would--must--be difficulties in
the carrying out of such a scheme. Of course, it involved Austria
giving up Dalmatia, Istria, and Sclavonia, as well as a part of
Croatia and the Hungarian Banat. On the contrary, she might look for
centuries of peace in the south. But it would make for peace so
strongly that each of the States impinging on it would find it worth
while to make a considerable sacrifice to have it effected. To its
own integers it would offer a lasting settlement of interests which
at present conflicted, and a share in a new world-power. Each of
these integers would be absolutely self-governing and independent,
being only united for purposes of mutual good. I did not despair
that even Turkey and Greece, recognizing that benefit and safety
would ensue without the destruction or even minimizing of
individuality, would, sooner or later, come into the Federation. The
matter is already so far advanced that within a month the various
rulers of the States involved are to have a secret and informal
meeting. Doubtless some larger plan and further action will be then
evolved. It will be an anxious time for all in this zone--and
outside it--till this matter is all settled. In any case, the
manufacture of war material will go on until it is settled, one way
or another.

March 6, 1908.

I breathe more freely. The meeting has taken place here at
Vissarion. Nominal cause of meeting: a hunting-party in the Blue
Mountains. Not any formal affair. Not a Chancellor or Secretary of
State or Diplomatist of any sort present. All headquarters. It was,
after all, a real hunting-party. Good sportsmen, plenty of game,
lots of beaters, everything organized properly, and an effective
tally of results. I think we all enjoyed ourselves in the matter of
sport; and as the political result was absolute unanimity of purpose
and intention, there could be no possible cause of complaint.

So it is all decided. Everything is pacific. There is not a
suggestion even of war, revolt, or conflicting purpose of any kind.
We all go on exactly as we are doing for another year, pursuing our
own individual objects, just as at present. But we are all to see
that in our own households order prevails. All that is supposed to
be effective is to be kept in good working order, and whatever is, at
present, not adequate to possibilities is to be made so. This is all
simply protective and defensive. We understand each other. But if
any hulking stranger should undertake to interfere in our domestic
concerns, we shall all unite on the instant to keep things as we wish
them to remain. We shall be ready. Alfred's maxim of Peace shall be
once more exemplified. In the meantime the factories shall work
overtime in our own mountains, and the output shall be for the
general good of our special community--the bill to be settled
afterwards amicably. There can hardly be any difference of opinion
about that, as the others will be the consumers of our surplus
products. We are the producers, who produce for ourselves first, and
then for the limited market of those within the Ring. As we
undertake to guard our own frontiers--sea and land--and are able to
do so, the goods are to be warehoused in the Blue Mountains until
required--if at all--for participation in the markets of the world,
and especially in the European market. If all goes well and the
markets are inactive, the goods shall be duly delivered to the
purchasers as arranged.

So much for the purely mercantile aspect.

May 21, 1908.

As Rupert began to neglect his Journal when he was made a King, so,
too, I find in myself a tendency to leave writing to other people.
But one thing I shall not be content to leave to others--little
Rupert. The baby of Rupert and Teuta is much too precious a thing to
be spoken of except with love, quite independent of the fact that he
will be, in natural course, a King! So I have promised Teuta that
whatever shall be put into this record of the first King of the Sent
Leger Dynasty relating to His Royal Highness the Crown Prince shall
only appear in either her hand or my own. And she has deputed the
matter to me.

Our dear little Prince arrived punctually and in perfect condition.
The angels that carried him evidently took the greatest care of him,
and before they left him they gave him dower of all their best. He
is a dear! Like both his father and his mother, and that says
everything. My own private opinion is that he is a born King! He
does not know what fear is, and he thinks more of everyone else than
he does of his dear little self. And if those things do not show a
truly royal nature, I do not know what does . . .

Teuta has read this. She held up a warning finger, and said:

"Aunt Janet dear, that is all true. He is a dear, and a King, and an
angel! But we mustn't have too much about him just yet. This book
is to be about Rupert. So our little man can only be what we shall
call a corollary." And so it is.

I should mention here that the book is Teuta's idea. Before little
Rupert came she controlled herself wonderfully, doing only what was
thought best for her under the circumstances. As I could see that it
would be a help for her to have some quiet occupation which would
interest her without tiring her, I looked up (with his permission, of
course) all Rupert's old letters and diaries, and journals and
reports--all that I had kept for him during his absences on his
adventures. At first I was a little afraid they might harm her, for
at times she got so excited over some things that I had to caution
her. Here again came in her wonderful self-control. I think the
most soothing argument I used with her was to point out that the dear
boy had come through all the dangers safely, and was actually with
us, stronger and nobler than ever.

After we had read over together the whole matter several times--for
it was practically new to me too, and I got nearly as excited as she
was, though I have known him so much longer--we came to the
conclusion that this particular volume would have to be of selected
matter. There is enough of Rupert's work to make a lot of volumes
and we have an ambitious literary project of some day publishing an
edition de luxe of his whole collected works. It will be a rare
showing amongst the works of Kings. But this is to be all about
himself, so that in the future it may serve as a sort of backbone of
his personal history.

By-and-by we came to a part when we had to ask him questions; and he
was so interested in Teuta's work--he is really bound up body and
soul in his beautiful wife, and no wonder--that we had to take him
into full confidence. He promised he would help us all he could by
giving us the use of his later journals, and such letters and papers
as he had kept privately. He said he would make one condition--I use
his own words: "As you two dear women are to be my editors, you must
promise to put in everything exactly as I wrote it. It will not do
to have any fake about this. I do not wish anything foolish or
egotistical toned down out of affection for me. It was all written
in sincerity, and if I had faults, they must not be hidden. If it is
to be history, it must be true history, even if it gives you and me
or any of us away."

So we promised.

He also said that, as Sir Edward Bingham Trent, Bart.--as he is now--
was sure to have some matter which we should like, he would write and
ask him to send such to us. He also said that Mr. Ernest Roger
Halbard Melton, of Humcroft, Salop (he always gives this name and
address in full, which is his way of showing contempt), would be sure
to have some relevant matter, and that he would have him written to
on the subject. This he did. The Chancellor wrote him in his most
grandiloquent style. Mr. E. R. H. Melton, of H., S., replied by
return post. His letter is a document which speaks for itself:

May 30, 1908.


I am honoured by the request made on your behalf by the Lord High
Chancellor of your kingdom that I should make a literary contribution
to the volume which my cousin, Queen Teuta, is, with the help of your
former governess, Miss MacKelpie, compiling. I am willing to do so,
as you naturally wish to have in that work some contemporary record
made by the Head of the House of Melton, with which you are
connected, though only on the distaff side. It is a natural ambition
enough, even on the part of a barbarian--or perhaps semi-barbarian--
King, and far be it from me, as Head of the House, to deny you such a
coveted privilege. Perhaps you may not know that I am now Head of
the House; my father died three days ago. I offered my mother the
use of the Dower House--to the incumbency of which, indeed, she is
entitled by her marriage settlement. But she preferred to go to live
at her seat, Carfax, in Kent. She went this morning after the
funeral. In letting you have the use of my manuscript I make only
one stipulation, but that I expect to be rigidly adhered to. It is
that all that I have written be put in the book in extenso. I do not
wish any record of mine to be garbled to suit other ends than those
ostensible, or whatever may be to the honour of myself or my House to
be burked. I dare say you have noticed, my dear Rupert, that the
compilers of family histories often, through jealousy, alter matter
that they are allowed to use so as to suit their own purpose or
minister to their own vanity. I think it right to tell you that I
have had a certified copy made by Petter and Galpin, the law
stationers, so that I shall be able to verify whether my stipulation
has been honourably observed. I am having the book, which is
naturally valuable, carefully packed, and shall have it forwarded to
Sir Edward Bingham Trent, Baronet (which he now is--Heaven save the
mark!), the Attorney. Please see that he returns it to me, and in
proper order. He is not to publish for himself anything in it about
him. A man of that class is apt to advertise the fact of anyone of
distinction taking any notice of him. I would bring out the MS. to
you myself, and stay for a while with you for some sport, only your
lot--subjects I suppose you call them!--are such bounders that a
gentleman's life is hardly safe amongst them. I never met anyone who
had so poor an appreciation of a joke as they have. By the way, how
is Teuta? She is one of them. I heard all about the hatching
business. I hope the kid is all right. This is only a word in your
ear, so don't get cocky, old son. I am open to a godfathership.
Think of that, Hedda! Of course, if the other godfather and the
godmother are up to the mark; I don't want to have to boost up the
whole lot! Savvy? Kiss Teuta and the kid for me. I must have the
boy over here for a bit later on--when he is presentable, and has
learned not to be a nuisance. It will be good for him to see
something of a real first-class English country house like Humcroft.
To a person only accustomed to rough ways and meagre living its
luxury will make a memory which will serve in time as an example to
be aimed at. I shall write again soon. Don't hesitate to ask any
favour which I may be able to confer on you. So long!

Your affectionate cousin,


Extract from Letter from E. Bingham Trent to Queen Teuta of the Blue

. . . So I thought the best way to serve that appalling cad would be
to take him at his word, and put in his literary contribution in
full. I have had made and attested a copy of his "Record," as he
calls it, so as to save you trouble. But I send the book itself,
because I am afraid that unless you see his words in his own writing,
you will not believe that he or anyone else ever penned seriously a
document so incriminating. I am sure he must have forgotten what he
had written, for even such a dull dog as he is could never have made
public such a thing knowingly.

Such a nature has its revenges on itself. In this case the officers
of revenge are his ipsissima verba.

February 1, 1909.

All is now well in train. When the Czar of Russia, on being asked by
the Sclavs (as was meet) to be the referee in the "Balkan
Settlement," declined on the ground that he was himself by inference
an interested party, it was unanimously agreed by the Balkan rulers
that the Western King should be asked to arbitrate, as all concerned
had perfect confidence in his wisdom, as well as his justice. To
their wish he graciously assented. The matter has now been for more
than six months in his hands, and he has taken endless trouble to
obtain full information. He has now informed us through his
Chancellor that his decision is almost ready, and will be
communicated as soon as possible.

We have another hunting-party at Vissarion next week. Teuta is
looking forward to it with extraordinary interest. She hopes then to
present to our brothers of the Balkans our little son, and she is
eager to know if they endorse her mother-approval of him.

April 15, 1909.

The arbitrator's decision has been communicated to us through the
Chancellor of the Western King, who brought it to us himself as a
special act of friendliness. It met with the enthusiastic approval
of all. The Premier remained with us during the progress of the
hunting-party, which was one of the most joyous occasions ever known.
We are all of good heart, for the future of the Balkan races is now
assured. The strife--internal and external--of a thousand years has
ceased, and we look with hope for a long and happy time. The
Chancellor brought messages of grace and courtliness and friendliness
to all. And when I, as spokesman of the party, asked him if we might
convey a request of His Majesty that he would honour us by attending
the ceremony of making known formally the Balkan Settlement, he
answered that the King had authorized him to say that he would, if
such were wished by us, gladly come; and that if he should come, he
would attend with a fleet as an escort. The Chancellor also told me
from himself that it might be possible to have other nationalities
represented on such a great occasion by Ambassadors and even fleets,
though the monarchs themselves might not be able to attend. He
hinted that it might be well if I put the matter in train. (He
evidently took it for granted that, though I was only one of several,
the matter rested with me--possibly he chose me as the one to whom to
make the confidence, as I was born a stranger.) As we talked it
over, he grew more enthusiastic, and finally said that, as the King
was taking the lead, doubtless all the nations of the earth friendly
to him would like to take a part in the ceremony. So it is likely to
turn out practically an international ceremony of a unique kind.
Teuta will love it, and we shall all do what we can.

June 1, 1909.

Our dear Teuta is full of the forthcoming celebration of the Balkan
Federation, which is to take place this day month, although I must
say, for myself, that the ceremony is attaining to such dimensions
that I am beginning to have a sort of vague fear of some kind. It
almost seems uncanny. Rupert is working unceasingly--has been for
some time. For weeks past he seems to have been out day and night on
his aeroplane, going through and round over the country arranging
matters, and seeing for himself that what has been arranged is being
done. Uncle Colin is always about, too, and so is Admiral Rooke.
But now Teuta is beginning to go with Rupert. That girl is simply
fearless--just like Rupert. And they both seem anxious that little
Rupert shall be the same. Indeed, he is the same. A few mornings
ago Rupert and Teuta were about to start just after dawn from the top
of the Castle. Little Rupert was there--he is always awake early and
as bright as a bee. I was holding him in my arms, and when his
mother leant over to kiss him good-bye, he held out his arms to her
in a way that said as plainly as if he had spoken, "Take me with

She looked appealingly at Rupert, who nodded, and said: "All right.
Take him, darling. He will have to learn some day, and the sooner
the better." The baby, looking eagerly from one to the other with
the same questioning in his eyes as there is sometimes in the eyes of
a kitten or a puppy--but, of course, with an eager soul behind it--
saw that he was going, and almost leaped into his mother's arms. I
think she had expected him to come, for she took a little leather
dress from Margareta, his nurse, and, flushing with pride, began to
wrap him in it. When Teuta, holding him in her arms, stepped on the
aeroplane, and took her place in the centre behind Rupert, the young
men of the Crown Prince's Guard raised a cheer, amid which Rupert
pulled the levers, and they glided off into the dawn.

The Crown Prince's Guard was established by the mountaineers
themselves the day of his birth. Ten of the biggest and most
powerful and cleverest young men of the nation were chosen, and were
sworn in with a very impressive ceremony to guard the young Prince.
They were to so arrange and order themselves and matters generally
that two at least of them should always have him, or the place in
which he was, within their sight. They all vowed that the last of
their lives should go before harm came to him. Of course, Teuta
understood, and so did Rupert. And these young men are the persons
most privileged in the whole Castle. They are dear boys, every one
of them, and we are all fond of them and respect them. They simply
idolize the baby.

Ever since that morning little Rupert has, unless it is at a time
appointed for his sleeping, gone in his mother's arms. I think in
any other place there would be some State remonstrance at the whole
royal family being at once and together in a dangerous position, but
in the Blue Mountains danger and fear are not thought of--indeed,
they can hardly be in their terminology. And I really think the
child enjoys it even more than his parents. He is just like a little
bird that has found the use of his wings. Bless him!

I find that even I have to study Court ritual a little. So many
nationalities are to be represented at the ceremony of the "Balkan
Settlement," and so many Kings and Princes and notabilities of all
kinds are coming, that we must all take care not to make any
mistakes. The Press alone would drive anyone silly. Rupert and
Teuta come and sit with me sometimes in the evening when we are all
too tired to work, and they rest themselves by talking matters over.
Rupert says that there will be over five hundred reporters, and that
the applications for permission are coming in so fast that there may
be a thousand when the day comes. Last night he stopped in the
middle of speaking of it, and said:

"I have an inspiration! Fancy a thousand journalists,--each wanting
to get ahead of the rest, and all willing to invoke the Powers of
Evil for exclusive information! The only man to look after this
department is Rooke. He knows how to deal with men, and as we have
already a large staff to look after the journalistic guests, he can
be at the head, and appoint his own deputies to act for him.
Somewhere and sometime the keeping the peace will be a matter of
nerve and resolution, and Rooke is the man for the job."

We were all concerned about one thing, naturally important in the
eyes of a woman: What robes was Teuta to wear? In the old days,
when there were Kings and Queens, they doubtless wore something
gorgeous or impressive; but whatever it was that they wore has gone
to dust centuries ago, and there were no illustrated papers in those
primitive days. Teuta was talking to me eagerly, with her dear
beautiful brows all wrinkled, when Rupert who was reading a bulky
document of some kind, looked up and said:

"Of course, darling, you will wear your Shroud?"

"Capital!" she said, clapping her hands like a joyous child. "The
very thing, and our people will like it."

I own that for a moment I was dismayed. It was a horrible test of a
woman's love and devotion. At a time when she was entertaining Kings
and notabilities in her own house--and be sure they would all be
decked in their finery--to have to appear in such a garment! A plain
thing with nothing even pretty, let alone gorgeous, about it! I
expressed my views to Rupert, for I feared that Teuta might be
disappointed, though she might not care to say so; but before he
could say a word Teuta answered:

"Oh, thank you so much, dear! I should love that above everything,
but I did not like to suggest it, lest you should think me arrogant
or presuming; for, indeed, Rupert, I am very proud of it, and of the
way our people look on it."

"Why not?" said Rupert, in his direct way. "It is a thing for us all
to be proud of; the nation has already adopted it as a national
emblem--our emblem of courage and devotion and patriotism, which will
always, I hope, be treasured beyond price by the men and women of our
Dynasty, the Nation, that is--of the Nation that is to be."

Later on in the evening we had a strange endorsement of the national
will. A "People's Deputation" of mountaineers, without any official
notice or introduction, arrived at the Castle late in the evening in
the manner established by Rupert's "Proclamation of Freedom," wherein
all citizens were entitled to send a deputation to the King, at will
and in private, on any subject of State importance. This deputation
was composed of seventeen men, one selected from each political
section, so that the body as a whole represented the entire nation.
They were of all sorts of social rank and all degrees of fortune, but
they were mainly "of the people." They spoke hesitatingly--possibly
because Teuta, or even because I, was present--but with a manifest
earnestness. They made but one request--that the Queen should, on
the great occasion of the Balkan Federation, wear as robes of State
the Shroud that they loved to see her in. The spokesman, addressing
the Queen, said in tones of rugged eloquence:

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