BLTC Press Titles

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Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Esoteric Buddhism

A. P. Sinnett

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse

One day, a sequel to "Three weeks."

by Elinor Glyn


The letter was sealed with the royal crest and signed by the Regent—the Boy's uncle—the Grand Duke Peter, his mother's brother, who had been his guardian and protector almost from his birth. The young prince knew that his uncle loved him, knew that the Grand Duke desired nothing on earth so much as the happiness of his beloved sister's only son—and yet at this crisis of the Boy's life, even his uncle was as powerless to help as was Paul Verdayne, the Englishman.

"The Princess Elodie!" he grumbled. "Who the devil is this Princess Elodie, anyway? Austrian blood has no particular charm for me! They might at least have told me something a little more definite about the woman they have picked out to be the mother of my children. A man usually-11— likes to look an animal over before he purchases!"

Known to London society as Monsieur Zalen

ska, the Prince had come up to town with the Verdaynes, and was apparently enjoying to the utmost the frivolities of London life.

At a fashionable garden party he sat alone, in a seclusion he had long sought and had finally managed to secure, behind a hedge of hawthorn where none but lovers, and men and women troubled as he was troubled, cared to conceal themselves.

The letter, long-expected and dreaded, had finally crossed the continent to his hand. It was only the written confirmation of the sentence Fate had pronounced upon him, even as it had pronounced similar sentences upon princes and potentates since the beginning of thrones and kingdoms.

While the Prince—or Paul Zalenska, as I will now call him—sat in his brooding brown study, clutching the imperial letter tightly in his young hand, his attention was arrested by the sound of voices on the other side of the hawthorn hedge.

He listened idly, at first, to what seemed to be a one-sided conversation, in a dull, emotionless feminine voice—a discourse on fashion, society chit-chat, and hopeless nonentities, interspersed with bits of gossip. Could women never talk about anything else? he thought impatiently.

But his displeasure did not seem to affect the course of things at all. The voice, completely unconscious of the aversion it aroused in the invisible listener, continued its dreary, expressionless monotone.

"What makes you so silent, Opal? You haven't said a word to-day that you didn't absolutely have to say. If all American girls are as dreamy as you, I wonder why our English lords are so irresistibly attracted across the water when in search of brides!"

And then the Boy on the other side of the hedge

felt his sluggish pulse quicken, and almost started

to his feet, impelled by a sudden thrill of delight;

for another voice had spoken—a voice of such

infinite charm and sweetness and vitality, yet with

'languorous suggestion of emotional heights and

'depths, that he felt a vague sense of disappoint

v- ment when the magnetic notes finally died away.

"Brides?" the voice echoed, with a lilt of girlish laughter running through the words. "You mean 'bribes,' don't you? For I assure you, dear cousin, it is the metallic clink of American gold, and nothing else, that lures your great men over the sea. As for my silence, ma belle, I have been uncommunicative because there really seemed nothing at all worth saying. I can't accustom myself to small-talk—I can't even listen to it patiently. I always feel a wild impulse to fly far, far away, where I can close my ears to it all and listen to my own thoughts. I'm sorry if I disappoint you, Alice—I seem to disappoint everybody that I would like to please—but I assure you, laugh at my dreams as you may, to me my dream-life is far more attractive and beautiful than what you term Life. Forgive me if I hurt you, cousin. I'm peculiarly constituted, perhaps, but I don't like this twaddle, and I can't help it! Everything in England is so beautiful, and yet its society seems so—so hopelessly unsatisfactory to one who longs to live!"

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