Never did Prince Maiyo show
fewer signs of his Japanese origin
than when in the company of other
men of his own race. Side by
side with His Excellency the
Baron Hesho, the contrasts in
feature and expression were so
marked as to make it hard, indeed,
to believe that these two men
could belong to the same nation.
The Baron Hesho had high cheekbones,
a yellow skin, close-cropped
black hair, and wore gold-rimmed
spectacles through which he beamed
upon the whole world. The Prince,
as he lounged in his wicker chair
and watched the blue smoke of
his cigarette curl upwards, looked
more like an Italian--perhaps
a Spaniard. The shape of his
head was perfectly Western, perfectly
and typically Romanesque. The
carriage of his body must have
been inherited from his mother,
of whom it was said that no more
graceful woman ever walked. Yet
between these two men, so different
in all externals, there was the
strongest sympathy, although
"So we are to lose you soon,
Prince," the Baron was saying.
"Very soon indeed," Prince
Maiyo answered. "Next week I
go down to Devenham. I understand
that the Prime Minister and Sir
Edward Bransome will be there.
If so, that, I think, will be
practically my leave-taking.
There is no object in my staying
any longer over here."
The Baron blinked his eyes
"I have seen very little of
you, Maiyo," he said, "since
your last visit to the Continent.
I take it that your views are
The Prince assented.
"Unchanged indeed," he answered,--"unchangeable,
I think almost that I might now
say. They have been wonderful
months, these last months, Baron," he
continued. "I have seen some
of those things which we in Japan
have heard about and wondered
about all our lives. I have seen
the German army at manoeuvres.
I have talked to their officers.
Where I could, I have talked
to the men. I have been to some
of their great socialist meetings.
I have heard them talk about
their country and their Emperor,
and what would happen to their
officers if war should come.
I have seen the French artillery.
I have been the guest of the
President. I have tried to understand
the peculiar attitude which that
country has always adopted toward
us. I have been, unrecognized,
in St. Petersburg. I have tried
to understand a little the resources
of that marvellous country. I
came back here in time for the
great review in the Solent. I
have seen the most magnificent
ships and the most splendid naval
discipline the world has ever
known. Then I have explored the
interior of this island as few
of our race have explored it
before, not for the purpose of
studying the manufactures, the
trades, the immense shipbuilding
industries,--simply to study
the people themselves."
The Baron nodded gravely.
"I ask no questions," he said. "It
is the Emperor's desire, I know,
that you go straight to him.
I take it that your mind is made
up,--you have arrived at definite
"Absolutely" Prince Maiyo answered. "I
shall make no great secret of
them. You already, my dear Baron,
know, I think, whither they lead.
I shall be unpopular for a time,
I suppose, and your own position
may be made a little difficult.
After that, things will go on
pretty much the same. Of one
thing, though, I am assured.
I see it as clearly as the shepherd
who has lain the night upon the
hillside sees the coming day.
It may be twelve months, it may
be two years, it may even be
three, but before that time has
passed the clouds will have gathered,
the storm will have burst. Then,
I think, Hesho, our master will
be glad that we are free."
The Baron agreed.
"Only a few nights ago," he
said, "Captain Koki and the other
attaches spent an evening with
me. We have charts and pieces,
and with locked doors we played
a war game of our own invention.
It should all be over in three
Prince Maiyo laughed softly.
"You are right," he said. "I
have gone over the ground myself.
It could be done in even less
time. You should ask a few of
our friends to that war game,
Baron. How they would smile!
You read the newspapers of the
"There is an undercurrent of
feeling somewhere," the Prince
continued,--"one of the cheaper
organs is shrieking all the time
a brazen warning. Patriotism,
as you and I understand it, dear
friend, is long since dead, but
if one strikes hard enough at
the flint, some fire may come.
Hesho, how short our life is!
How little we can understand!
We have only the written words
of those who have gone before,
to show us the cities and the
empires that have been, to teach
us the reasons why they decayed
and crumbled away. We have only
our own imagination to help us
to look forward into the future
and see the empires that may
rise, the kingdoms that shall
stand, the kingdoms that shall
fall. Amongst them all, Hesho,
there is but this much of truth.
It is our own dear country and
our one great rival across the
Pacific who, in the years to
come, must fight for the supremacy
of the world."
"It will be no fight, that," the
Ambassador answered slowly,--"no
fight unless a new prophet is
born to them. The money-poison
is sucking the very blood from
their body. The country is slowly
but surely becoming honey-combed
with corruption. The voices of
its children are like the voices
from the tower of Babel. If their
strong man should arise, then
the fight will be the fiercest
the world has ever known. Even
then the end is not doubtful.
The victor will be ours. When
the universe is left for them
and for us, it will be our sons
who shall rule. Listen, Maiyo."
"I listen," the
The Baron Hesho had laid aside
his spectacles. He leaned a little
towards his companion. His voice
had fallen to a whisper, his
hand fell almost caressingly
upon his friend's shoulder.
"I would speak of something
else," he continued. "Soon you
go to the Duke's house. You will
meet there the people who are
in authority over this country.
When you leave it, everything
is finished. Tell me, is the
way homeward safe for you?"
"Wonderful person!" Prince
Maiyo said, smiling.
"No, I am not wonderful," the
Ambassador declared. "All the
time I have had my fears. Why
not? A month ago I sought your
aid. I knew from our friends
in New York that a man was on
his way to England with letters
which made clear, beyond a doubt,
the purpose of this world journey
of the American fleet. I sent
for you. We both agreed that
it was an absolute necessity
for us to know the contents of
"We discovered them," the Prince
answered. "It was well that we
"You discovered them," the
Ambassador interrupted. "I have
taken no credit for it. The credit
is yours. But in this land there
are so many things which one
may not do. The bowstring and
the knife are unrecognized. Civilization
has set an unwholesome value
upon human life. It is the maudlin
sentiment which creeps like corruption
through the body of a dying country."
"I know it," the Prince declared,
sighing. "I know it very well
"Dear Maiyo," the Ambassador
asked, "how well do you know
"My friend," the Prince answered, "it
were better for you not to ask
"Here under this roof," the
Baron continued, "is sanctuary,
but in the streets and squares
beyond, it seems to me--and I
have thought this over many times,--it
seems to me that even the person
of the great Prince, cousin of
the Emperor, holy son of Japan,
would not be safe."
Prince Maiyo shrugged his shoulders.
There was gravity in his face,
but it was the gravity of a man
who has learnt to look upon serious
things with a light heart.
"I, also," he said, "have
weighed this matter very carefully
my mind. What I did was well
done, and if the bill is thrust
into my face, I must pay. First
of all, Baron, I promise you
that I shall finish my work.
After that, what does it matter?
You and I know better than this
nation of life-loving shopkeepers.
A week, a year, a span of years,--of
what account are they to us who
have sipped ever so lightly at
the great cup? If we died tomorrow
for the glory of our country,
should we not say to one another,
you and I, that it was well?"
The Baron rose to his feet
and bowed. Into his voice there
had crept a note almost of reverence.
"Prince," he said, "almost
you take me back to the one mother
country. Almost your words persuade
me that the strangeness of these
Western lands is a passing thing.
We wonder, and as we wonder they
shall crumble away. The sun rises
in the East."
The Prince also rose. Servants
came silently forward, bearing
his hat and gloves.
Prince smiled, as he made his
"Perhaps," the Ambassador echoed. "Who
The Prince sent away his carriage
and walked homeward, greeting
every now and then an acquaintance.
He walked cheerfully and with
a smile upon his face. There
was nothing in his appearance
which could possibly have indicated
to the closest observer that
this was a man who had taken
death by the hand. At the corner
of Regent Street and Pall Mall
he overtook Inspector Jacks.
He leaned forward at once and
touched the detective on the
"Mr. Jacks," he said, "it
is pleasant to see you once
I was afraid that I should have
to leave without bidding you
The Inspector started. The
Prince laughed to himself as
he watched that gesture. Indeed,
a man who showed his feelings
so easily would be very much
at a loss in Tokio!
"You are going away, Prince?" the
Inspector asked quickly. "When?"
"The exact day is not fixed," the
Prince replied, "but it is true
that I am going home. I have
finished my work, and, you see,
there is nothing to keep me over
here any longer. Tell me, have
you had any fortune yet? I read
the papers every day, hoping
to see that you have cleared
up those two terrible affairs."
Inspector Jacks shook his head.
"Not yet, Prince," he
"Not yet," the Prince echoed. "Dear
me, that is very unfortunate!"
Inspector Jacks watched the
people who were passing, for
a moment, with a fixed, unseeing
"I am afraid," he said, "that
we must seem to you very slow
and very stupid. Very likely
we are. And yet, yet in time
we generally reach our goal.
Sometimes we go a long way round.
Sometimes we wait almost over
long, but sooner or later we
The Prince nodded sympathetically.
"The best of fortune to you,
Mr. Jacks!" he said. "I wish
you could have cleared these
matters up before I left for
home. It is pure selfishness,
of course, but I have always
felt a great interest in your
"If we do not clear them up
before you leave the country,
Prince," the Inspector answered, "I
fear that we shall never clear
them up at all."
The Prince passed on smiling.
A conversation with Inspector
Jacks seemed always to inspire
him. It was a fine afternoon
and Pall Mall was crowded. In
a few moments he came face to
face with Somerfield, who greeted
him a little gloomily.
"Sir Charles," the Prince said, "I
hope that I shall have the pleasure
of meeting you at Devenham?"
"I am not sure," Somerfield
answered. "I have been asked,
but I promised some time ago
to go up to Scotland. I have
a third share in a river there,
and the season for salmon is
"I am sorry," the Prince declared. "I
have no doubt, however, but that
Miss Morse will induce you to
change your mind. I should regret
your absence the more," he continued, "because
this, I fear, is the last visit
which I shall be paying in this
Somerfield was genuinely interested.
"You are really going home?" he
"Almost at once," the
"Only for a time, I suppose?" Somerfield
The Prince shook his head.
"On the contrary," he said, "I
imagine that this will be a long
goodbye. I think I can promise
you that if ever I reach Japan
I shall remain there. My work
in this hemisphere will be accomplished."
Somerfield looked at him with
the puzzled air of a man who
is face to face with a problem
which he cannot solve.
"You'll forgive my putting
it so plainly, Prince," he remarked, "but
do you mean to say that after
having lived over here you could
possibly settle down again in
The Prince returned for a moment
his companion's perplexed gaze.
Then his lips parted, his eyes
shone. He laughed softly, gracefully,
with genuine mirth.
"Sir Charles," he said, "I
shall not forget that question.
I think that of all the Englishmen
whom I have met you are the most
English of all. When I think
of your great country, as I often
shall do, of her sons and her
daughters, I will promise you
that to me you shall always represent
the typical man of your race
The Prince left his companion
loitering along Pall Mall, still
a little puzzled. He called a
taxi and drove to Devenham House.
The great drawing rooms were
almost empty. Lady Grace was
just saying goodbye to some parting
guests. She welcomed the Prince
with a little flush of pleasure.
"I find you alone?" he
"My mother is opening a bazaar
somewhere," Lady Grace said. "She
will be home very soon. Do let
me give you some tea."
"It is my excuse for coming," the
She called back the footman
who had shown him in.
"China tea, very weak, in a
china teapot with lemon and no
sugar. Isn't that it?" she asked,
"Lady Grace," he declared, "you
spoil me. Perhaps it is because
I am going away. Every one is
kind to the people who go away."
She looked at him anxiously.
"Going away!" she exclaimed. "When?
Do you mean back to Japan?"
"Back to my own country," he
answered. "Perhaps in two weeks,
perhaps three--who can tell?"
"But you are coming to Devenham
first?" she asked eagerly.
"I am coming to Devenham first," he
assented. "I called this afternoon
to let your father know the date
on which I could come. I promised
that he should hear from me today.
He was good enough to say either
Thursday or Friday. Thursday,
I find, will suit me admirably."
She drew a little sigh.
"So you are going back," she
said softly. "I wonder why so
many people seem to have taken
it for granted that you would
settle down here. Even I had
begun to hope so."
"Lady Grace," he said, "I
am not what you call a cosmopolitan.
To live over here in any of these
Western countries would seem
to denote that one may change
one's dwelling place as easily
as one changes one's clothes.
The further east you go, the
more reluctant one is, I think,
to leave the shadow of one's
own trees. The man who leaves
my country leaves it to go into
exile. The man who returns, returns
She was a little perplexed.
"I should have imagined," she
said, "that the people who leave
your country as emigrants to
settle in American or even over
here might have felt like that.
But you of the educated classes
I should have thought would have
found more over here to attract
you, more to induce you to choose
a new home."
He shook his head.
"Lady Grace," he said, "believe
me that is not so. The traditions
of our race--the call of the
blood, as you put it over here--is
as powerful a thing with our
aristocratics as with our peasants.
We find much here to wonder at
and admire, much that, however
unwillingly, we are forced to
take back and adopt in our own
country, but it is a strange
atmosphere for us, this. For
my country-people there is but
one real home, but one motherland."
"Yet you have seemed so contented
over here," she remarked. "You
have entered so easily into all
He set down his teacup and
smiled at her for a moment gravely.
"I came with a purpose," he
said. "I came in order to observe
and to study certain features
of your life, but, believe me,
I have felt the strain--I have
felt it sometimes very badly.
These countries, yours especially,
are like what one of your great
poets called the Lotus-Lands
for us. Much of your life here
is given to pursuits which we
do not understand, to sports
and games, to various forms of
what we should call idleness.
In my country we know little
of that. In one way or another,
from the Emperor to the poor
runner in the streets, we work."
"Is there nothing which you
will regret?" she asked.
"I shall regret the friends
I have made,--the very dear friends," he
repeated, "who have been so very
much kinder to me than I have
deserved. Life is a sad pilgrimage
sometimes, because one may not
linger for a moment at any one
spot, nor may one ever look back.
But I know quite well that when
I leave here there will be many
whom I would gladly see again."
"There will be many, Prince," she
said softly, "who will be sorry
to see you go."
The Prince rose to his feet.
Another little stream of callers
had come into the room. Presently
he drank his tea and departed.
When he reached St. James' Square,
his majordomo came hurrying up
and whispered something in his
The Prince smiled.
"I go to see him," he said. "I
will go at once."