After the supper there were
obligations which the Prince,
whose sense of etiquette was
always strong, could not avoid.
He took Penelope back to her
aunt, reminding her that the
next dance but one belonged to
him. Miss Morse, who was an invalid
and was making one of her very
rare appearances in Society,
curiously as he disappeared.
"I wonder what they'd think
of your new admirer in New York,
Penelope," she remarked.
"I imagine," Penelope answered, "that
they would envy me very much."
Miss Morse, who was a New Englander
of the old-fashioned type, opened
her lips, but something in her
niece's face restrained her.
"Well, at any rate," she said, "I
hope we don't go to war with
them. The Admiral wrote me, a
few weeks ago, that he saw no
hope for anything else."
"It would be a terrible complication," the
Duchess sighed, "especially considering
our own alliance with Japan.
I don't think we need consider
it seriously, however. Over in
America you people have too much
"The Government have, very
likely," Miss Morse admitted, "but
it isn't always the Government
who decide things or who even
rule the country. We have an
omnipotent Press, you know. All
that's wanted is a weak President,
and Heaven knows where we should
"Of course," the Duchess remarked, "Prince
Maiyo is half an Englishman.
His mother was a Stretton-Wynne.
One of the first intermarriages,
I should think. Lord Stretton-Wynne
was Ambassador to Japan."
"I think," said Penelope, "that
if you could look into Prince
Maiyo's heart you would not find
him half an Englishman. I think
that he is more than seven-eighths
"I have heard it whispered," the
Duchess remarked, leaning forward, "that
he is over here on an exceedingly
serious mission. One thing is
quite certain. No one from his
country, or from any other country,
for that matter, has ever been
so entirely popular amongst us.
He has the most delightful manners
of any man I ever knew of any
Sir Charles came up, with gloomy
face, to claim a dance. After
it was over, he led Penelope
back to her aunt almost in silence.
"You are dancing again with
the Prince?" he asked.
"Certainly," she answered. "Here
The Prince smiled pleasantly
at the young man, who towered
like a giant above him, and noticed
at once his lack of cordiality.
"I am selfish!" he exclaimed,
pausing with Penelope's hand
upon his coat sleeve. "I am taking
you too much away from your friends,
and spoiling your pleasure, perhaps,
because I do not dance. Is it
not so? It is your kindness to
a stranger, and they do not all
"We will go into the winter
garden and talk it over," she
They found their old seats
unoccupied. Once more they sat
and listened to the fall of the
"Prince," said Penelope, "there
is one thing I have learned about
you this evening, and that is
that you do not love questions.
And yet there is one other which
I should like to ask you."
"If you please," the
"You spoke, a little time ago," she
continued, "of some great crisis
with which your country might
soon come face to face. Might
I ask you this: were you thinking
of war with the United States?"
He looked at her in silence
for several moments.
"Dear Miss Penelope," he said,--"may
I call you that? Forgive me if
I am too forward, but I hear
so many of our friends--"
"You may call me that," she
"Let me remind you, then, of
what we were saying a little
time ago," he went on. "You will
not take offence? You will understand,
I am sure. Those things that
lie nearest to my heart concerning
my country are the things of
which I cannot speak."
"Not even to me?" she pleaded. "I
am so insignificant. Surely I
do not count?"
"Miss Penelope," he said, "you
yourself are a daughter of that
country of which we have been
She was silent.
"You think, then," she asked, "that
I put my country before everything
else in the world?"
"I believe, " he answered, "that
you would. Your country is too
young to be wholly degenerate.
It is true that you are a nation
of fused races--a strange medley
of people, but still you are
a nation. I believe that in time
of stress you would place your
country before everything else."
"And therefore?" she
"And therefore," he continued
with a delightful smile, "I shall
not discuss my hopes or fears
with you. Or if we do discuss
them," he went on, "let us weave
them into a fairy tale. Let us
say that you are indeed the Daughter
of All America and that I am
the Son of All Japan. You know
what happens in fairyland when
two great nations rise up to
"Tell me," she
"Why, the Daughter
of All America and the Son
of All Japan stand
hand in hand before their people,
and as they plight their troth,
all bitter feelings pass away,
the shouts of anger cease, and
there is no more talk of war."
She sighed, and leaned a little
towards him. Her eyes were soft
and dusky, her red lips a little
"But I," she whispered, "am
not the Daughter of All America."
"Nor am I," he answered with
a sigh, "the Son of all Japan."
There was a breathless silence.
The water splashed into the basin,
the music came throbbing in through
the flower-hung doorways. It
seemed to Penelope that she could
almost hear her heart beat. The
blood in her veins was dancing
to the one perfect waltz. The
moments passed. She drew a little
breath and ventured to look at
him. His face was still and white,
as though, indeed, it had been
carved out of marble, but the
fire in his eyes was a living
"We have actually been talking
nonsense," she said, "and I thought
that you, Prince, were far too
"We were talking fairy tales," he
answered, "and they are not nonsense.
Do not you ever read the history
of your country as it was many
hundreds of years ago, before
this ugly thing they call civilization
weakened the sinews of our race
and besmirched the very face
of duty? Do you not like to read
of the times when life was simpler
and more natural, and there was
space for every man to live and
grow and stretch out his hands
to the skies,--every man and
every woman? They call them,
in your literature, the days
of romance. They existed, too,
in my country. It is not nonsense
to imagine for a little time
that the ages between have rolled
away and that those days are
"No," she answered, "it
is not nonsense. But if they
He raised her fingers to his
lips and kissed them. The touch
of his hand, the absolute delicacy
of the salute itself, made it
unlike any other caress she had
ever known or imagined.
"The world might have been
happier for both of us," he whispered.
Somerfield, sullen and discontented,
came and looked at them, moved
away, and then hesitatingly returned.
"Willmott is waiting for you," he
said. "The last was my dance,
and this is his."
She rose at once and turned
to the Prince.
"I think that we should go
back," she said. "Will you take
me to my aunt?"
"If it must be so," he answered. "Tell
me, Miss Penelope," he added, "may
I ask your aunt or the Duchess
to bring you one day to my house
to see my treasures? I cannot
say how long I shall remain in
this country. I would like you
so much to come before I break
up my little home."
"Of course we will," she answered. "My
aunt goes nowhere, but the Duchess
will bring me, I am sure. Ask
her when I am there, and we can
agree about the day."
He leaned a little towards
She nodded. There were three
engagements for the next day
of which she took no heed.
"Tomorrow," she said. "Come
and let us arrange it with the
Prince Maiyo left Devenham
House to find the stars paling
in the sky, and the light of
an April dawn breaking through
the black clouds eastwards. He
dismissed his electric brougham
with a little wave of the hand,
and turned to walk to his house
in St. James's Square. As he
walked, he bared his head. After
the long hours of artificially
heated rooms, there was something
particularly soothing about the
fresh sweetness of the early
spring morning. There was something,
it seemed to him, which reminded
him, however faintly, of the
mornings in his own land,--the
perfume of the flowers from the
window-boxes, perhaps, the absence
of that hideous roar of traffic,
or the faint aromatic scent from
the lime trees in the Park, heavy
from recent rain. It was the
quietest hour of the twenty-four,--the
hour almost of dawn. The night
wayfarers had passed away, the
great army of toilers as yet
slumbered. One sad-eyed woman
stumbled against him as he walked
slowly up Piccadilly. He lifted
his hat with an involuntary gesture,
and her laugh changed into a
sob. He turned round, and emptied
his pockets of silver into her
hand, hurrying away quickly that
his eyes might not dwell upon
"A coward always," he
murmured to himself, a little
for he knew where his weakness
lay,--an invincible repugnance
to the ugly things of life. As
he passed on, however, his spirits
rose again. He caught a breath
of lilac scent from a closed
florist's shop. He looked up
to the skies, over the housetops,
faintly blue, growing clearer
every moment. Almost he fancied
that he looked again into the
eyes of this strange girl, recalled
her unexpected yet delightful
frankness, which to him, with
his love of abstract truth, was,
after all, so fascinating. Oh,
there was much to be said for
this Western world!--much to
be said for those whose part
it was to live in it! Yet, never
so much as during that brief
night walk through the silent
streets, did he realize how absolutely
unfitted he was to be even a
temporary sojourner in this vast
city. What would they say of
him if they knew,--of him, a
breaker of their laws, a guest,
and yet a sinner against all
their conventions; a guest, and
yet one whose hand it was which
would strike them, some day or
other, the great blow! What would
she think of him? He wondered
whether she would realize the
truth, whether she would understand.
Almost as he asked himself the
question, he smiled. To him it
seemed a strange proof of the
danger in which a weaker man
would stand of passing under
the yoke of this hateful Western
civilization. To dream of her--yes!
To see her face shining upon
him from every beautiful place,
to feel the delight of her presence
with every delicious sensation,--the
warmth of the sunlight, the perfume
of the blossoms he loved! There
was joy in this, the joy of the
artist and the lover. But to
find her in his life, a real
person, a daughter of this new
world, whose every instinct would
be at war with his--that way
lay slavery! He brushed the very
thought from him.
As he reached the door of his
house in St. James' Square, it
opened slowly before him. He
had brought his own servants
from his own country, and in
their master's absence sleep
was not for them. His butler
spoke to him in his own language.
The Prince nodded and passed
on. On his study table--a curious
note of modernism where everything
seemed to belong to a bygone
world--was a cablegram. He tore
it open. It consisted of one
word only. He let the thin paper
fall fluttering from his fingers.
So the time was fixed!
Then Soto came gliding noiselessly
into the room, fully dressed,
with tireless eyes but wan face,--Soto,
the prototype of his master,
the most perfect secretary and
servant evolved through all the
"Master," he said, "there
has been trouble here. An Englishman
came with this card."
The Prince took it, and read
the name of Inspector Jacks.
"The man asked questions," Soto
continued. "We spoke English
so badly that he was puzzled.
He went away, but he will come
The Prince smiled, and laid
his hand almost caressingly upon
the other's shoulder.
"It is of no consequence, Soto," he
said,--"no consequence whatever."