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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 27, 1903)
A iModcrn Romance
By Richard Voss
The Weary Kings
Copyright, 13)3, l.y J. W. Mulle.r.)
HAVE proved my depesi mm I. I
know myself; I wish that I wer
my father's eldest son an I thn
heir of crown uml realm; I
wish my brother. the King, hud
fill himself too weak. h:il permitted hU
terror to conquer him and had abdicated
In my favor.
Oil. God, Thou Mauler of Heaven and
f Earth, be merciful to me, for I envy
my brother the crown.
The Klni I" wonderfully Rood to me and
I tltinli: "If I wire In your place!-' With
mh thoughts I can look Into h's eyes,
Kpcak calmly with him, shake Mh hand,
without feeling the slightest compnn"tlon.
low In Much h thiriK possible?
I'i'caii.w I do not wish to be King for
my own sake, but for the sake of the na
tion that loves me and for which my rule
would be a mlsTi rtune!
That In It! II. id these unjust, th
rurned words never been mild to me, I
Would i.cver Iinve bad these monstrous,
fratricidal thought. That la It! They hive
bitten deep Inio my soul and bruin unill
nothing rem.'iliud In me except the burn
ing determination to become King that I
might give, the. lie to thoon maddening
According to ancient usage everything
la undent with us-tlie new King re'ires
eight days before his coronation in'.o a
Carthusian monaFtery thut la connected
with tho Palac by enormous liiiM n gal
lerlea. Tin re are great ceremonies. In the pres
ence of the whole Court, led by the (Irani
Trior, tho train goes slowly uwtty, with the
terrible psnlniH of the Monks in their ears,
and they aeem to step with the KttiK into
For a full week the King will rema n en
tombed in bis (ill. None ma y upprtach
him. With fasting and prayer he prepares
himself for the martyrdom, the acceptance
Of the crown. Ills Bpurae food la handed
to him through an opening In the wall.
None dare speak to him, not even the
1 am afraid.
What I thought, hoped, wished In secret,
may become true; the King In his cell is
thinking of ttbdlcatlon. He called the. Grand
Prior to him. He Is the only one who may
reach him now except a physician. The
reverend father has been with my mother.
Secret cabinet meetings are being held.
The rumor must have reached the people;
for a multitude waits before the Palace.
Once I stepped to the window. They saw
and recognised me and but I withdrew
at oik e. Else it might have happened
that the nation In this hour would have .
Now the Privy Councillor is with tha
1 must kill these thoughts. I know that
I will he a lost man if I cannot liberate
and purify myself. 1 shall bo lost forever.
What Is happening?
They are keeping It secret from me
from me who would succeed the King If
he remulns weuk. Kvcn my mother deceives
Inc. The ministers meet, the Council of
State is culled, and I, the heir of my
brother, am shut out.
I shall demand explanation! They must
answer to me! Do they not know that the
people, the whole people, stands by me,
that It believes In me, loves me und cheers
me, Ixx'g live the King!
Htop! Stop! The King Is not dead yet.
Today I went to see my mother. I went
to beg her to tell me why they kpt me In
Igr-orauca while they were deciding the
fate of the land and of me.
In the last-anjc-room I found the new
Court Lady. When the lackeys threw the
doors open for me, she arose and made her
correct bow, which annoys me so Just be
cause It Is so correct. And with it she hud
Wit h elaborate politeness I said to her:
"lrHy, Countess, announce me to Her
"Her Majesty cannot receive your Royal
"I may announce no one."
"Is my mother 111?"
"Her Majesty has the Ministers In coun
cil" "So much the better."
I strode forward In order to puss in to
my mother unannounced.
Then Gebhardt's sister cried out:
"I received strict order from Her Maaty
to permit none to enter. Should Your
Reyal Highness pass me I must consider
myself as duunlsned by Her Majesty."
I stood still and listened, with my old
pleasure In Independent, proud speech to
ward one like myself-with my old pleas
tire. Heaven be thanked. I bowed and
"With your permission X shall wait here
until the Council la ended and the mother
la able to receive her son."
The Countess took ber seat again at my
request and I sat down near ber. In excited,
Ht- set tired mood, as I was well aware. Kor
a. time we mid, er rather I aaJd, common-
SUDDENLY MT HEART BEGAN TO THROB, MT BREATH STOPPED, AND I STOOD BEHIND HER.
place tilings. Then, I know ' not
broke out with:
"I congratulate you on your appointment
to Court. There axe such great th-'nga
here for you; the splendor and glory of a
Royal Court! I believe there Is nothing
more splendid or glorious in tho whole
I spoke with all the sharp Irony, the
bitter sarcasm to which her calm poise
drovo me. She looked at me ste ulily.
Heaven knows why I had to think at that
"She knows how It Is In you. She knows
that you desire the, crown."
Then something strange happened. As If
I were under a spell, T stepped toward
her. Instead of rising, she kept her place
calmly. I stood before her and said with
a choking voice:
"Are you, too, of the belief that it would
he a misfortune for the country if those
inside there should let the King abdicate?"
"Your Royal Highness wishes to hear my
After awhile we held each other's eyee
steadily I got the reply:
"It depends on the power."
"You consider my character too .weak?"
"Your Royal Highners would have to
overcome your churacter."
"In order not to be a degenerate ruler? As
you see. am so indiscreet as to demand
tho truth from your character. Pardon
me If I demand too much."
I had not demanded too much. This girl,
whom I had despised, possess d the cour
age to tell the man who ml'jht biennis
King, with her steadfast glance, that she
considered hltn as belonging to a degen
Could I but give the He to the prophetic
glance of the courageous woman! Again
I had the wish that seized me when op
posed to our medical spirit us fnrnllljrls.
Hut I have underestimated the Countess
Thyra's soul. That pleases me. There Is
something free and great and strMig In
The Council ended and I was admitted to
my mother. But I did not find her whom I
sought. Her sun who was King wished to
escape the crown; ber son who was to be
come King wished to throw himself Into
her arms. I was driven by the terror of
the fate of our house, the fear of myself.
On her another heart I longed to find abet
ter, peace, refuge from myself. But be
fore the lull, motionless form in the trail
ing block garments I was forced to let my
My mother stood in the center of the
room, looked at me without moving and
The King will remain King! Whaf,
then, do you wish?"
What do I wish, unblessed that I was?
Her fixed gazo and the almost inimical
tone of her voice hurt me like something
physical. Striving for breath, 1 uttered:
"At least I wish to know why it would
be a misfortune for the country If my
brother were to persist in his weakness!
He will not persist, you tell me. Good!
May his rulo be happy and glorlniu for
our race and for the coutnry. Only tell
me why my rule would be unhappy and
shameful! You must tell me!"
I saw my mother's features softening.
But she remained silent.
Approaching ber and raising my hauls, I
"Mother, tell me. It devours me. f
brood forever. See! It Is something that
may madden must madden me. Tell ma
before I go mad. Am I a wicked creature?
I suffer, mother. Help roe. mother, dear
mother. I have never asked you for any
thing; think, never! And now I ask you
for my soul."
So I prayed to my mother; and then
then she told me.
And as she told me she threw both arms
around my neck, pressed my head to her
bosom, wept over me till my face was wet
with her tears. Weeping, she whi-pered
It to me, and now now I know It. I am
Indeed my father's true son, for even now
my father's malady la said to show In me.
Have I not a great mother?
To tell such a thing to her son, her be
loved son! For my mother loves me. She
knew why I came to her, what I wished to
hear from her, and she told roe the other
thing. There must have been such mothers
But It Is not true, it is not true, not true;
I am well! They are mistaken. The wise
physician, too, Is mistakes. Buck things
occur. I am the only healthy one of our
race! Sick, very sick. Is the King whom
they declare to be the only healthy oaw.
Ho has inherited the sickness of our house,
of my father.
I am healthy In body and soul. I can
think logically; twice two is four. Well,
then! But it is horrible to consider how
a tow senseless ones can drive a aane man
out of his senses.
In that fearful moment I had the
strength to comfort my weeping mother.
I had never seen her cry before, for
Queens, as everyone knows, do not weep,
even when they arc Queens of Misery like
my mother. Even I looked on with dull
amazement at the stream of real tears!
Surely they were scalding drops that burned
my mother's heart.
We remained together a long while for
the first time! For the first time we were
mother and son. Things had to go far with
the State of Denmark before we got to
And further than that. I have the
strength to remain silent. I long to speak,
cry, scream. But I hold my mouth shut
tightly. I long to call in our spirltus
familiarls. But I conquer myself. I long
to throw myself on the breast of my one
friend and sob on his bosom. But I do not
permit myself to shed a tear even in my
Today the King arose from his tomb,
and the most imprudent sparrow dare not
chatter about what happened in the cell.
I have not yet seen my resurrected brother.
I have not seen my mother, either, since
the hour In which she wept over me. How
shall I look into their eyes? My brother,
too. will know that I have learned how It
Is with me "even now." I mean haw it '
Is said to be with me, for It is not true,
not true, not true! They He! The day will
come when I can prove the lie to them.
However, I need not fear as to how I
shall look at mother and brother. So long
as we "celebrate," we are less family than
ever. And now we are representatives
from head to sole In the highest of wedding
and coronation style.
My adjutant has handad me a long Itxt.
Everything Is in it, named with painful
system Every article of clothing, from
the cravat to each ribbon of each Order,
la scheduled and Just how often each must
be changed. Tonight I shall have to lock
myself In my room and learn the whole
thing by heart. If It will only go Into my
sick head! Cebhardt will have to rehears
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