The Princess Elopes (Chapter I, page 1 of 10)


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It is rather difficult in these days for a man who takes such scant
interest in foreign affairs--trust a whilom diplomat for that!--to
follow the continual geographical disturbances of European surfaces.
Thus, I can not distinctly recall the exact location of the Grand Duchy
of Barscheit or of the neighboring principality of Doppelkinn. It
meets my needs and purposes, however, to say that Berlin and Vienna
were easily accessible, and that a three hours' journey would bring you
under the shadow of the Carpathian Range, where, in my diplomatic days,
I used often to hunt the "bear that walks like a man."

Barscheit was known among her sister states as "the meddler," the
"maker of trouble," and the duke as "Old Grumpy"--_Brummbär_. To use a
familiar Yankee expression, Barscheit had a finger in every pie.
Whenever there was a political broth making, whether in Italy, Germany
or Austria, Barscheit would snatch up a ladle and start in. She took
care of her own affairs so easily that she had plenty of time to
concern herself with the affairs of her neighbors. This is not to
advance the opinion that Barscheit was wholly modern; far from it. The
fault of Barscheit may be traced back to a certain historical pillar of
salt, easily recalled by all those who attended Sunday-school.
"Rubbering" is a vulgar phrase, and I disdain to use it.

When a woman looks around it is invariably a portent of trouble; the
man forgets his important engagement, and runs amuck, knocking over
people, principles and principalities. If Aspasia had not observed
Pericles that memorable day; if there had not been an oblique slant to
Calypso's eyes as Ulysses passed her way; if the eager Delilah had not
offered favorable comment on Samson's ringlets; in fact, if all the
women in history and romance had gone about their affairs as they
should have done, what uninteresting reading history would be to-day!

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