The Princess Elopes (Chapter IV, page 1 of 9)


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He came straight to the consulate, and I was so glad to see him that I
sat him down in front of the sideboard and left orders that I was at
home to no one. We had been class-mates and room-mates at college, and
two better friends never lived. We spent the whole night in recounting
the good old days, sighed a little over the departed ones, and praised
or criticized the living. Hadn't they been times, though? The nights
we had stolen up to Philadelphia to see the shows, the great
Thanksgiving games in New York, the commencements, and all that!

Max had come out of the far West. He was a foundling who had been
adopted by a wealthy German ranchman named Scharfenstein, which name
Max assumed as his own, it being as good as any. Nobody knew anything
about Max's antecedents, but he was so big and handsome and jolly that
no one cared a hang. For all that he did not know his parentage, he
was a gentleman, something that has to be bred in the bone. Once or
twice I remember seeing him angry; in anger he was arrogant, deadly,
but calm. He was a god in track-linen, for he was what few big men
are, quick and agile. The big fellow who is cat-like in his movements
is the most formidable of athletes. One thing that invariably amused
me was his inordinate love of uniforms. He would always stop when he
saw a soldier or the picture of one, and his love of arms was little
short of a mania. He was an expert fencer and a dead shot besides.
(Pardon the parenthesis, but I feel it my duty to warn you that nobody
fights a duel in this little history, and nobody gets killed.)

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