It was curious how the Prince's
sudden departure seemed to affect
almost every member of the little
house party. At first it had
been arranged that the Duke,
Mr. Haviland, Sir Edward Bransome,
and the Prince should leave in
the former's car, the Prince's
following later with the luggage.
Then the Duchess, whose eyes
had filled with tears more than
once after her whispered conversation
with her husband, announced that
she, too, must go to town. Lady
Grace insisted upon accompanying
her, and Penelope reminded them
that she was already dressed
for travelling and that, in any
case, she meant to be one of
the party. Before ten o'clock
they were all on their way to
The Prince sat side by side
with Lady Grace, the other two
occupants of the car being the
Duke himself and Mr. Haviland.
No one seemed in the least inclined
for conversation. The Duke and
Mr. Haviland exchanged a few
remarks, but Lady Grace, leaning
back in her seat, her features
completely obscured by a thick
veil, declined to talk to any
one. The Prince seemed to be
the only one who made any pretence
at enjoying the beauty of the
spring morning, who seemed even
to be aware of the warm west
wind, the occasional perfume
of the hedgeside violets, and
the bluebells which stretched
like a carpet in and out of the
belts of wood. Lady Grace's eyes,
from beneath her veil, scarcely
once left his face. Perhaps,
she thought, these things were
merely allegorical to him. Perhaps
his eyes, fixed so steadfastly
upon the distant horizon, were
not, as it seemed, following
the graceful outline of that
grove of dark green pine trees,
but were indeed searching back
into the corners of his life,
measuring up the good and evil
of it, asking the eternal question--was
it worth while?
In the other car, too, silence
reigned. Somerfield was the only
one who struggled against the
general air of depression.
"After all," he remarked to
Bransome, "I don't see what we're
all so blue about. If Scotland
Yard are right, and the Prince
is really the guilty person they
imagine him, I cannot see what
sympathy he deserves. Of course,
they look upon this sort of thing
more lightly in his own country,
but, after all, he was no fool.
He knew his risks."
Penelope spoke for the first
time since they had left Devenham.
"If you begin to talk like
that, Charlie," she said, "I
shall ask the Duchess to stop
the car and put you down here
in the road."
Somerfield laughed, not altogether
"Seven miles from any railway
station," he remarked.
Penelope shrugged her shoulders.
"I should not care in the least
what happened to you, today or
at any other time," she declared.
After that, Somerfield held
his peace, and a somewhat strained
silence followed. Soon they reached
the outskirts of London. Long
before midday they slackened
speed, after crossing Battersea
Bridge, and the two cars drew
alongside. They had arranged
to separate here, but, curiously
enough, no one seemed to care
to start the leave taking.
"You see the time!" the Prince
exclaimed. "It is barely eleven
o'clock. I want you all, if you
will, to come with me for ten
minutes only to my house. Tomorrow
it will be dismantled. Today
I want you each to choose a keepsake
from amongst my treasures. There
are so many ornaments over here,
engravings and bronzes which
are called Japanese and which
are really only imitations. I
want you to have something, if
you will, to remember me by,
all of you, something which is
really the handicraft of my country
The Duke looked for a moment
"It wants an hour to midday," the
Prince said, softly. "There is
They reached St. James' Square
in a few minutes. There were
no signs of disturbance. The
door flew open at their approach.
The same solemn-faced, quietly
moving butler admitted them.
The Prince led the way into the
room upon the ground floor which
he called his library.
"It is a fancy of mine," he
said, smiling, "to say goodbye
to you all here. You see that
there is nothing in this room
which is not really the product
of Japan. Here I feel, indeed,
as though I had crossed the seas
and were back under the shadow
of my own mountains. Here I feel,
indeed, your host, especially
as I am going to distribute my
He took a picture from the
wall and turned with it to the
"Duke," he said, "this engraving
is a rude thing, but the hand
which guided the steel has been
withered for two hundred years,
and no other example remains
of its cunning. Mr. Haviland," he
added, stepping to his writing
table, "this lacquered shrine,
with its pagoda roof, has been
attributed to Kobo-Daishi, and
has stood upon the writing table
of seven emperors. Sir Edward,
this sword, notwithstanding its
strange shape and gilded chasing,
was wielded with marvellous effect,
if history tells the truth, a
hundred and thirty years ago
by my great-grandfather when
he fought his way to the throne.
Sir Charles, you are to go into
Parliament. Some day you will
become a diplomat. Some day,
perhaps, you will understand
our language. Just now I am afraid," he
concluded, "this will seem to
you but a bundle of purple velvet
and vellum, but it is really
a manuscript of great curiosity
which comes from the oldest monastery
in Asia, the Monastery of Koya-San."
He turned to the Duchess.
"Duchess," he said, "you
see that my tapestries have
gone. They left yesterday for
Devenham Castle. I hope that
you will find a place there where
you may hang them. They are a
little older than your French
ones, and time, as you may remember,
has been kind to them. It may
interest you to know that they
were executed some thirteen hundred
and fifty years ago, and are
of a design which, alas, we borrowed
from the Chinese."
The Prince paused for a moment.
All were trying to express their
thanks, but no one was wholly
successful. He waved their words
"Lady Grace," he said, turning
to the statuette of Buddha in
a corner of the room and taking
from its neck a string of strange
blue stones, "I will not ask
you to wear these, for they have
adorned the necks of idols for
many centuries, but if you will
keep them for my sake, they may
remind you sometimes of the color
of our skies."
Once more he went to his writing
table. From it he lifted, almost
reverently, a small bronze figure,--the
figure of a woman, strongly built,
almost squat, without grace,
whose eyes and head and arms
"Miss Penelope," he said, "to
you I make my one worthless offering.
This statuette has no grace,
no shapeliness, according to
the canons of your wonderful
Western art. Yet for five generations
of my family it has been the
symbol of our lives. We are not
idol worshippers in Japan, yet
one by one the men of my race
have bent their knee before this
figure and have left their homes
to fight for the thing which
she represents. She is not beautiful,
she does not stand for the joys
and the great gifts of life,
but she represents the country
which to us stands side by side
with our God, our parents, and
our Emperor. Nothing in life
has been dearer to me than this,
Miss Penelope. To no other person
would I part with it."
She took it with a sudden hysterical
sob, which seemed to ring out
like a strange note upon the
unnatural stillness of the room.
And then there came a thing which
happened before its time. The
door was opened. Inspector Jacks
came in. With him were Dr. Spencer
Whiles and the man who a few
days ago had been discharged
from St. Thomas' Hospital. Of
the very distinguished company
who were gathered there, Inspector
Jacks took little notice. His
eyes lit upon the form of the
Prince, and he drew a sigh of
relief. The door was closed behind
him, and he saw no way by which
he could be cheated of his victory.
He took a step forward, and the
Prince advanced courteously,
as though to meet him. The others,
for those few seconds, seemed
as though they had lost the power
of speech or movement. Then before
a word could be uttered by either
the Inspector or the Prince,
the door was opened from the
outside, and a man came running
in,--a man dressed in a shabby
blue serge suit, dark and thin.
He ran past the Inspector and
his companions, and he fell on
his knees before his master.
"I confess!" he cried. "It
was I who climbed on to the railway
car! It was I who stabbed the
American man in the tunnel and
robbed him of his papers! The
others are innocent. Marki, who
brought the car for me, knew
nothing. Those who saw me return
to this house knew nothing. No
man was my confidant. I alone
am guilty! I thought they could
not discover the truth, but they
have hunted me down. He is there--the
doctor who bandaged my knee.
I told him that it was a bicycle
accident. Listen! It was I who
killed the young American Vanderpole.
I followed him from the Savoy
Hotel. I dressed myself in the
likeness of my master, and I
entered his taxi as a pleasant
jest. Then I strangled him and
I robbed him too! He saw me--that
man!" Soto cried, pointing to
the youth who stood at the Inspector's
left hand. "He was on his bicycle.
He skidded and fell through watching
me. I told my master that I was
in trouble, and he has tried
to shield me, but he did not
know the truth. If he had, he
would have given me over as I
give myself now. What I did I
did because I love Japan and
because I hate America!"
His speech ended in a fit of
breathlessness. He lay there,
gasping. The doctor bent forward,
looking at him first in perplexity
and afterwards in amazement.
Then very slowly, and with the
remnants of doubt still in his
tone, he answered Inspector Jacks'
"He is the image of the man
who came to me that night," he
declared. "He is wearing the
same clothes, too."
"What do you say?" the Inspector
whispered hoarsely to the youth
on his other side. "Don't hurry.
Look at him carefully."
The young man hesitated.
"He is the same height and
figure as the man I saw enter
the taxi," he said. "I believe
that it is he."
Inspector Jacks stepped forward,
but the Prince held out his hand.
ordered, and his voice was
sterner than any there
had ever heard him use. There
was a fire in his eyes from which
the man at his feet appeared
"Soto," the Prince said, and
he spoke in his own language,
so that no person in that room
understood him save the one whom
he addressed,--"why have you
The man lay there, resting
now upon his side, and supporting
himself by the palm of his right
hand. His upturned face seemed
to have in it all the passionate
pleading of a dumb animal.
"Illustrious Prince," he answered,
speaking also in his own tongue, "I
did it for Japan! Who are you
to blame me, who have offered
his own life so freely? I have
no weight in the world. For you
the future is big. You will go
back to Japan, you will sit at
the right hand of the emperor.
You will tell him of the follies
and the wisdom of these strange
countries. You will guide him
in difficulties. Your hand will
be upon his as he writes across
the sheets of time, for the glory
of the Motherland. Banzai, illustrious
Prince! I, too, am of the immortals!"
He suddenly collapsed. The
doctor bent over him, but the
Prince shook his head slowly.
"It is useless," he said. "The
man has confessed his crime.
He has told me the whole truth.
He has taken poison."
Lady Grace began to cry softly.
The air of the room seemed heavy
with pent-up emotions. The Prince
moved slowly toward the door
and threw it open. He turned
towards them all.
"Will you leave me?" he asked. "I
wish to be alone."
His eyes were like the eyes
of a blind man.
One by one they left the room,
Inspector Jacks amongst them.
The only person who spoke, even
in the hall, was the Inspector.
"It was the Prince who brought
the doctor here," he muttered. "He
must have known! At least he
must have known!"
Mr. Haviland touched him on
"Inspector Jacks!" he
Inspector Jacks saluted.
"The murderer is dead," he
continued, speaking still under
his breath. "Silence is a wonderful
gift, Mr. Jacks. Sometimes its
reward is greater even than the
reward of action."
They passed from the house,
and once more its air of deep
silence was unbroken. The Prince
stood in the middle of that strange
room, whose furnishings and atmosphere
seemed, indeed, so marvellously
reminiscent of some far distant
land. He looked down upon the
now lifeless figure, raised the
still, white fingers in his for
a moment, and laid them reverently
down. Then his head went upward,
and his eyes seemed to be seeking
"So do the great die," he murmured. "Already
the Gods of our fathers are calling
you Soto the Faithful. Banzai!"