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LBATROS




THE

ALBATROSS NOVELS

By ALBERT ROSS
23 Volumes

May be had wherever books are sold at the price you
paid for this volume

Black Adonis, A
Garston Bigamy, The
Her Husband's Friend
His Foster Sister
His Private Character
In Stella's Shadow
Love at Seventy
Love Gone Astray
Moulding a Maiden
Naked Truth, The
New Sensation, A
Original Sinner, An
Out of Wedlock
Speaking of Ellen
Stranger Than Fiction
Sugar Princess, A
That Gay Deceiver
Their Marriage Bond
Thou Shalt Not
Thy Neighbor's Wife
Why I'm Single
Young Fawcett's Mabel
Young Miss Giddy

G. W. DILLINGHAM CO.

Publishers :: :: New York



A SUGAR PRINCESS.



BY ALBERT Ross.



AUTHOR OF



"Tnou SHALT NOT," "His PRIVATE CHARACTER,*

" A NEW SENSATION," "THE NAKED TRUTH,"

"STRANGER THAN FICTION," ETC.



NEW YORK:

OOPYRIQHT, 1100, T

G. W. Dillingham Co., Publishers.

[All rights reserved.}

- Ave.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTKR

I. A Bird of 111 Omen. .... 9

II. " Half Dutch, half Dago." . . .22

III. " Was there no rupture between you ?" 31

IV. Mr. Pyne, the Detective. . . 43
V. Mr. Barney has a Plan, . .52

VI. Scenes on the Wharf. . . .63

VII. " That's the whole story, girls." . 73

VIII. Carl Meets Mr. Van Steuben. . . 84

IX. The Burial of a Queen. . . 93

X. Going over to Hawaii. . . .102

XI. " You left him there to die !" . . in

XII. Search for a Dead Man. . . .118

XIII. Invited out to Dinner. . . .126

XIV " The only sweetheart I've got." . 138

XV. The Need of Strong Play. . . 149

XVI. On the Steamer Coptic. . . .157

XVII. A Day at Yokohama. . . .165

XVIII. Amy Writes a Letter. . . 174

XIX. An Evening with Geishas. . .183

XX. " Do you love her very much 7* . 191

XXL Her First Proposal. . . . 203

m

2061879



6 CONTENTS.

CHAPTBR PAC

XXII. A Real English Lord at Last. . 213

XXIII. " It was his spirit." . . . .226

XXIV. An Unwelcome Checque for $500. .235
XXV. On the Road to Kusatsu. c . .247

XXVL " You speak so sadly." . . .253

XXVIL The Story of Chatham Stone. . .259

XXVIII. " I love you, Carl ! I love you !" . 267

XXIX. Lending a Passport. .... 275

XXX. A Shock for Mrs. Van. . . .284

XXXI. The Marquis of Maebashi. . . .293

XXXII. " Across oceans and continents." 300

XXXIII. Amy Writes to Olive. . . . 3<>7

XXXIV. " All's well that ends welL" in



TO MY READERS.



When a novelist has written twenty-two books, all
of which from the standpoint of his publisher's
ledger, at least have proved " successful," it may
not be out of place for him to review his work. I
therefore ask your indulgence for a brief retrospect.

You noticed that " Stranger than Fiction " marked
a decided departure in my style of writing, and will
see that "A Sugar Princess" adheres to the new
lines. Inexhaustible as the old field is, valuable as it
may be to any sensible reader, there are other paths
which I prefer to explore.

44 Thou Shalt Not " was a bold tale, but I have
never been sorry I wrote it. To relate such a
story in language fit for the nursery would be im-
possible. It was intended for men and women and
a sale of nearly a quarter of a million copies proves
what a vast number must have read it. I hope and
believe it has done some good.

About " His Private Character " I have more doubt.
There are moments of flippancy in that novel which,
perhaps, had better not be there; though the moral
lesson is -unmistakable. It was written under the

[7]



8 TO MY READERS.

intoxication of my first great hold on the reading
public and without due thought in all respects. I
mean to revise it by-and-by.

" In Stella's Shadow " was also a novel for grown
persons, which if modified would lose its force.
44 Speaking of Ellen " (the work of which I am
proudest) has, on the other hand, a vein (that re-
ferring to Nathalie) which could have been treated
in wiser fashion.

When a man's hair begins to turn white he cannot
help glancing back along the road he has travelled.
I have written conscientiously, if sometimes mistak-
enly. There is little in my other books that I would
alter much, from the moral side. As a critic said
long ago if I have often presented vice I have never
made it attractive.

But vice is not the only thing worth writing about,
though it is common enough, God knows ! I ask to
be excused from discussing it further. Surely I have
done my share.

My publishers seem to prosper, when " greater "
book houses are falling around them. Their returns
to me for 1899 show larger sales than for some years
past.

For eighteen months I have been engaged in a
journey around the world. When the Paris exposi-
tion is over I expect to return to America and greet
you again. With deep appreciation and regard,

ALBERT ROSS.

PARIS, June^ 1900.



A SUGAR PRINCESS.



CHAPTER I.

A BIRD OF ILL OMEN.

"YES, I'm going to leave Carl nearly every dollar
I've got."

Old Peter Meyer sat on the opposite side of the table
from his friend, Marcus Lmdes, in the little private
room over the St. Louis restaurant. They had just
completed their dinner, and the cloth was covered with
the usual disarray that follows such a meal. Meyer was
upwards of seventy years of age, not over strong, and
yet not done with by any means as far as the natural
eye could judge. His rather tall and slender form
was wiry, his gray eye clear. His hair, streaked liber-
ally with white, still retained much of its original
dark color; and his cheek, though pale, showed the
effects of a life of right living. He was dressed in
dark clothes, carefully and neatly in short, a clean,
affable old gentleman, who evidently believed he knew
what he was about.

"He's as honest a lad as breathes. I've had him with

C9l



IO A SUGAR PRINCESS.

me long enough to know him thoroughly. I really
think an own son couldn't be dearer to me than
Carl is."

The last expressions were uttered very slowly, with
long pauses between them. It was as if the speaker
expected to be interrupted by some remark from his
friend.

Mr. Lindes, who was like his companion of German
stock, was somewhat shorter and stouter and perhaps
ten years younger. The carelessness of his apparel
formed a vivid contrast to that of the other and his
face wore an expression much less open and ingenu-
ous. By one of those contrasts so often seen, these
men had become closely attached to each other, years
and years before the opening of our story. Though
there was almost nothing, apparently, which they had
in common, unless it was their mutual liking for a
good dinner, a stein of lager and a clay pipe, they-
managed to endure a great deal of each other's com-
pany without having any serious falling out; and this
also without ever agreeing wholly on any subject what-
ever.

In fact, Mr. Lindes made it a point never to agree
with anybody if he could possibly help it. If he had
heard someone say that the sun would rise on the fol-
lowing morning he would probably have entered at
once into an argument to prove that it would do noth-
ing of the kind. Still he was not a bad follow at
heart, and though Meyer knew him as well as one man
can know another after forty years acquaintance, he
endured this idiosyncrasy and usually managed to
laugh it off, when obstinacy degenerated into sulkiness.



A SUGAR PRINCESS. It

"You have no blood relations?" said Marcus, in a
sort of interrogation, as if this was merely a prelimi-
nary to what he intended to say. Simple as was the
question, Meyer scented a disagreement.

"Only some distant cousins who are well enough
off to need no aid from me. Carl calls me uncle,'
but that is, as you know, merely a matter of form. His
affection for his dead father is a sacred thing, and
though he really occupies the place of a son to me, I
could not ask him to give me a nearer and dearer
title."

Marcus Lindes knew Carl Meyer, as the subject of
this conversation was now called by nearly everybody,
though his original name was Muller. He had no more
reason to doubt that the young fellow deserved the
confidence and affection of his adopted parent than
he had that he sat there by that table. But as he
blew the froth off a fresh stein of beer that the waiter
had just brought his love of controversy was too strong
to be overcome.

"Of course Carl knows of your intention that you
mean to leave him your property?" he began.

"Well, supposing he does,'' said Peter, shifting his
long legs uneasily. He wondered what could be
coming next.

"It's natural that a lad who has nothing of his own
should do the best he can to secure himself a fortune,"
answered Lindes, with aggravating slowness.

An expression of pain not unmixed with anger
crossed Meyer's wrinkled face.

"You do like to ascribe mean motives to people,"
was his tart reply.



la A SUGAR PRINCESS.

"I know human nature," drawled Lindes.

"But you don't seem to know Carl ! " replied the
other, with rising inflection. "I'll wager he has never
thought of money in that connection from the day I
took him in charge till this minute."

Lindes shook his head with an incredulous smile;
one of those smiles that can be almost as insulting as
a slap in the face. Then, with the freedom of an old
acquaintance, he ejaculated, "Pooh, pooh ! "

"He's not a fool, Peter," he added. "He saw
through you from the start. He knows, as well as if
you said it to him in so many words, that if he does
as you wish he'll get your money when you're through
with it. And that's nothing against him, as I see. In
this world every man has got to look out for his own
interests."

Peter Meyer struck the table with the flat of his
hard hand, and the beer in the two steins jumped re-
sponsively.

"If I had as low an idea of Carl as you, I'd send
him packing tomorrow and leave what I've got to an
orphan asylum ! " he cried, sharply.

"And break your old heart over it afterwards ?"

"No, he wouldn't be worth another thought. Why !
After I've taken him to my breast like a father, like
a mother! When I've treated him as tenderly as a
ewe could treat a lamb ! You know all about it, Mar-
cus. That boy and I have been more than companions,
we've been chums. With nearly fifty years between
us we've met on equal ground. The relation couldn't
have been dearer if he'd been part and parcel of my



A SUGAR PRINCESS, 13

flesh. An3 you," the speaker paused, his voice shak-
ing as if it could hardly utter the words, "would have
me believe that, all this time, he's been counting the
hours before his fingers woul'd handle my cash and I
be under ground ! "

A tear gathered in the grey eye and rolled down the
furrowed cheek. The man had been hurt in his tend-
erest place. Already Lindes regretted the effect of
his insinuations, but his innate mulishness kept him
to the argument.

"Oh, he may be all right," he admitted. "But have
you ever tested him ? A hard-headed business man
like you shouldn't trust altogether to appearances. If
the boy is really the idealic creature you think you
can leave him your fortune, if you want to. If the
case was mine, though, I'd prove that before I did
'so."

Meyer absently finished the beer in his stein and
rang to have it refilled. His gaze wandered over the
walls of the room, from the portrait of the "Old Em-
peror" William on one side to that of Grover Cleve-
land on the other. His mind was not, however, oc-
cupied with thoughts of either of those worthies. He
was too much distressed over the matter under con-
sideration.

The entrance of the waiter aroused him from his
revery. "Prove it?" he repeated, vaguely.

"Certainly ; arfd in a way that would settle my douibts
lor good and all."

"Go ahead ! go ahead ! " was the impatient rejoinder.
"You've got some sneaky notion ; out with it ! "



14 A SUGAR PRINCESS.

"Well, before I'd risk making a young beggar too
glad at my death I'd be convinced that he was the
sort I wanted to endow with my property or the
contrary."

"How? how?" Meyer rose from his chair in ihis
excitement

"There are a hundred ways. For instance, you
might disappear for awhile and leave him to his own
devices; make him think you are dead be dead as
far as he is concerned. That wouldn't be difficult.
You've made a will, I suppose. Let him secure tem-
porary possession of the property, and then judge by
his actions how deep his grief is. If he should turn
out the angelic fellow you've settled it in your mind he
is, of course he'd be delighted to have you return and
take possession again. If, on the contrary, he is a
designing schemer, he'd show that pretty plainly, too;
and if he is one of these fellows who make ducks and
drakes of an inheritance you'll not be long in discover-
ing it. There's your chance, roughly outlined," said
Lindes, as Meyer sank again into his seat. "But," he
added, sarcastically, " you won't take advantage of it,
not you. You'd rather shut your eyes and ruin any
risk than to learn the truth, for you're afraid it might-
n't suit you when you got it."

The old gentleman sipped at his beer and then mut-
tered that the idea advanced was contemptible, mean
and tricky.

"Carl need never know there was any trick if he
turned out the dear, broken-hearted son you think he
would. All you've got to do is to take a journey



A SUGAR PRINCESS, 15

and neglect your correspondence with him. Reasons
are easy to give afterwards distance, illness, unre-
liable mails; and rumors of sudden death in a foreign
land are not hard to set in circulation. But," Lindes
returned again to the satirical strain, "that's the use?
You'll do nothing of the kind ; you'd rather be fooled."

Although Meyer knew to the core the mental make-
up of the man, he was dazed for a moment at the ap-
parent strength of his argument. He muttered weak-
ly that he could trust Carl implicitly that it was un-
necessary to try any such miserable game. But all
the time he was thinking, thinking. Suppose he (had
really taken an ingrate to his heart? What if the
kind manner, the filial attitude, the affectionate ex-
pressions, had all been influenced by sordid motives!
Oh, it was unendurable !

"I'm too old to go on a long journey alone," he
muttered at last, when the pendulum had swung in
both directions many times and at last stood still.

"For the sake of preventing your being swindled,
I'd go witih you. This is a serious matter."

Meyer arose to his fe and took his overcoat from
its hook, leaving half the beer in his stein undrained.
No single act could better have shown the extent of
his perturbation. He twisted a long muffler about his
neck and drew his slouch hat well down on his head.

"I won't !" he said, in so low a tone that tihe words
were scarcely audible. He was talking rather to him-
self than to his companion. "It's the most outrageous
thing I ever heard of." Then he looked Lindes full
in the eyes and shot the next words at him : "I would-



l6 A SUGAR PRINCESS.

n't have as suspicious a mind as you for all the gold
in Alaska ! "

Remarking nonchalantly that if Meyer preferred be-
ing made a fool of he would have nobody but himself
to blame, Lindes drank the rest of his own beer and
prepared to accompany his companion to the street.
They walked along the chilly way, for it was mid-
winter, in silence for some time. In spite of all he
could do the leaven was working in Peter Meyer's
brain. When his residence was reached the men went
in together.

For years they had been in the habit, whenever they
were both in St. Louis, of dining in the same room in
which we found them, walking together to Meyer's
house, and of spending an hour or two afterwards in
the sittingroom there. Soon they were seated before
a bright fire of logs, in a chimney patterned after the
fireplaces of long ago, with a singing teakettle hang-
ing from a hook and implements for smoking adorn-
ing the mantel. It was a thoroughly comfortable old
place, one of the kind more common half a century
since than now, when fashion has got in its deadly
work in every corner of the modern home. Two cosy
old chairs that had been brought originally from Ger-
many received the host and his guest. Lighting their
long clay pipes the old men puffed away, silently, for
some time.

" You knew Hans Muller," said Peter, at last, for
but one thought had occupied his mind during this
interim. "Can you imagine that such a father could
have a son who was a scoundrel?"



A SUGAR PRINCESS, I?

was ready witih his reply. He asked if Meyer
had forgotten what the play-actor said, the other night,
(in the "Old Homestead") "Pedigree may be all
right in horses and cattle, but it don't count much
with human beings."

"You knew Linda Goepper, too, before Hans mar-
ried her," persisted Peter, refusing to be convinced
by the illustration.

"I can only give you the same answer."

"But," was the impatient query, "has there been
anything, in what you've seen of Carl, that makes you
distrust him?"

Lindes hestitated a moment before replying; that
second or two which is always more eloquent than
words to a troubled or doubting mind.

"I haven't said there was anything," he answered,
evasively. "But, consider a moment, Peter. Matters
that involve money should be treated in a business fash-
ion. You wouldn't hire a cashier without knowing
more about him than that he had a good mother and a
respectable father. Why, you wouldn't even buy a
horse until you'd had him tried around steam trains
and electric cars. And yet you'd leave the savings of
a lifetime to a boy that you really know very little
about."

The host sat with both elbows on his knees, lean-
ing over toward the fire. The ashes in his long pipe
were cold.

"You've heard some jealous busybody talking about
Carl," he muttered, querulously.

"No, I assure you."



10 A SUGAR PRINCESS.

"What do you want to annoy itte for, then?"

"I don't want you to make a mistake," was the im-
pressive reply.

Apparently somewhat relieved Meyer took a coal
and relighted his tobacco. The pipes sent out their
smoke together after that without interruption till a
grandfather's clock in the corner rang the strokes of
ten. At which sound Lindes arose, according to his
usual custom, knocked the ashes out of his pipe, laid
it on the mantel, stretched himself and said he must
go.

"I won't do it, I tell you," Peter repeated three or
four times, as he bade his friend goodnight at the
door. "I won't do it; and I won't even think of it
again. It's too silly."

"As you like," responded the other, with a disagree-
able laugh. *' I shall always be glad to know I did my
duty."

Meyer did not go to bed at once. He sat before
the fireplace for an hour alone, peering into the coals
as if he might gain from them some indication regard-
ing the matter that troubled his mind. The next morn-
ing he arose far from rested. All the long night he
had tumbled and tossed. The current of a life that
had seemed to flow on most pleasantly was stirred
to its deptlhs. At the bottom of what had looked like
a pelucid stream he thought he could discern a darker
stratum. The little stir which Lindes' pole had made
had caused a decided discoloration.

Peter met Carl at the breakfast table at the usual
hour. The latter had retired early and enjoyed the un-



A SUGAR PRINCESS. 1$

disturbed rest of youth and health. He was twenty-
two years of age, of medium height, with a well-knit
frame, straight, well-poised, athletic. He had German
blond hair, German blue eyes and a complexion in
which the red blood showed. Naturally not over-com-
municative, he merely said good-morning to his adopt-
ed uncle and devoted himself with a fine appetite to
the meal which Matilda Metzger, the housekeeper,
had set out.

Peter, from across the table, glanced at him from
time to time, eating little on account of a lump that
seemea to fill his throat. He was still revolving in his
mind the insinuations he had heard on the previous
evening. If what Marcus Lindes had hinted were true,
life had for him lasted too long; the sooner he could
rearrange his testament and leave this earth the better.

All the affection of his old heart fought against the
monstrous proposition that his adopted boy was actu-
ated in every move by the despicable motive of per-
sonal gain. And with his grief came also the convic-
tion that, if Carl was really such a wretch as this
would make 'him, it would not satisfy justice merely
to turn him out to earn his living ; he deserved strang-
ling 'where he sat !

For in that case he had robbed an old man of his
happiness, murdered the love given him so freely, des-
troyed as by fire a structure built to shelter and sustain
the closing years of a lonely life. Oh, it was unbear-
able!

"You are not eating," said the bright young voice,
Carl's attention being attracted at last to the silent
figure.



2T A SUGAR PRINCESS.

"Iso, I'm not feeling just right this morning. I
think perhaps I'd better take a little journey. I
believe I need a change."

"All right," was the immediate reply. "We can
pack up in an hour or two, as we've done before.
Where do you think of going?"

"I don't know yet."

Carl looked at his benefactor more intently, struck
by something peculiar in his tone.

"You are pale," he said, anxiously, at the same time
rising from the table. "Let me call the doctor."

But Peter indicated a negative, saying it was noth-
ing and would soon pass away.

Carl was not satisfied, however. He went behind
his companion's chair, took the gray head between his
broad hands and smoothed the thin hair away from the
temples.

"This may make you feel better," he said gently.
"It does sometimes, you know."

The health of the youth seemed to enter rlie veins
of the other from between those broad palms. Witli
the touch Meyer found the lurking fears vanishing
and indignation taking their place. It was not Carl
now who deserved strangling. It was Marcus Lindes.

"I wish you would let me call the doctor," Carl
said, after a little while. "Your head is hot. He
might give you something to afford relief."

"No, no, I am much better." The old man roused
himself and smiled up into the anxious face. Putting
his trembling hands above his head he took the strong
young palms in them, pressing the fingers with ail his



A SUGAR PRINCESS. 91

strength. He was better indeed. He had regained
a great treasure he had feared was lost.

"I am much better," he repeated. "Go out now and
take your exercise. And please stop at Mr. Lindes'
rooms and say I would like to have him call here this
morning."

It required a little further persuasion to induce the
young man to obey the request to leave the house.
Before he was quite convinced Peter had to ring for
Matilda to bring him a fresh breakfast, which he at-
tacked with an appetite that was not simulated.

"I'm all right now. Ask Marcus to come as soon
as he can. I have some business to do with him."

The old gentleman was impatient for the moment
when he could throw the evil prophecy back in the
face of that bird of ill-omen. He could only wonder
as he devoured his chop and drank his coffee that he
had let it worry him for a moment.



22 A SUGAR PRINCESS.



CHAPTER II.
"HALF DUTCH, HALF DAGO."

MD now if the reader has no abjection (and who
was ever known to object to a trip of that kind?) we
will ask him (or her) to accompany us for a little
while to Honolulu, in Oahu, the capital of the group
of islands now commonly called the Hawaiian. The
beautiful town lay basking in the sun on an April
morning following the events narrated in the preceding
chapter. While all the plain that stretches from Dia-
mond Head to Pearl Harbor, and from the mountain
ranges to the sea was, as ever, clothed in luxuriant
tropical vegetation, the villas on King Street, half
hidden in bowers of gigantic palms, presented perhaps
the most perfect appearance. And on this famous
avenue no home had more attractiveness than that of
the far-famed Sugar King, Abel Van Steuben.

If we pass under the massive gateway and traverse
the thirty or forty yards between the sidewalk and the
house, we may ascend the stone steps and enter the
central hall of this mansion. If we inquire for its own-
er a courteous Chinese servant dressed in the costume
of his country will inform us that Mr. Van Steuben
has not yet left his breakfast table. If, however, we
avail ourselves of the privilege which is ours as novel-
ist and reader, we may penetrate with our vision the



A SUGAR PRINCESS. 2$

walls that separate us from him. We shall find a man
of fifty years or so, rather large, with a face that be-
trays his Dutch origin ; a grizzled beard carefully trim-
med and an upper lip clean-shaved. We shall notice


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