Albert Ross.

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to an earldom, would he ever forgive her for having
twice assailed him in language far from polite? If,
on the other hand, he was an artful rogue (and she
had heard of pretended noblemen imposing on credu-
lous people) what could be worse than giving him an-
other chance to ply his arts?

Mr. Lovejoy, to whom she appealed in her distress,
counselled great caution. He thought, after what had
happened, it would be best to wait for positive poofs
before opening further negotiations. Mrs. Young, on
the other hand, was convinced that the Englishman
was all he represented himself ; but she took the ground
that he was hardly up to the high standard the Van
Steuben family should set. She had a copy of Whit-
taker's Almanack in her trunk, and as she read the


names of British peers aloud it seemed to Mrs. Van
that there was a large assortment to select from. The
one thing on which both members of her "kitchen
cabinet" agreed was that nothing ought to be done for
the present but maintain the status quo. They did
not use this term exactly, for tfhat would have entailed
a prolonged explanation, but the idea is contained in
that familiar expression of diplomats.

There was little doubt in the mind of Mrs. Van that
Mr. Loring had followed her daughter. The coolie
sent with the horse belonging to the landlord of the
Kindayo Hotel had been directed to pursue his way
to Kusatsu. It was possible that with two or three days
of interrupted association he had again offered his
hand to Amy and had this time been accepted. Mrs.
Van knew her daughter well enough to realize that
in that case it might require much effort to break off
the match she had been so anxious to bring about. It
would certainly be embarrassing to meet Mr. Loring
until she understood the situation. She therefore sent
another wire to Amy, telling her that she would go, on
her arrival at Tokyo, to the Metropole Hotel, where
she wished her to visit her, coming with no escort ex-
cept her maid or Mr. Muller.

On receiving this wire Amy naturally tihonght Carl
the best one to select. They set off in 'rickshas, as if
merely going for sightseeing, and reached the Met-
Topole earlier than Mrs. Van. As it is quite apt to be
m Japan, the train was late and they went to one of
the parlors, to await the expected arrival.

As there was no one else in the room Amy saw no


reason why she might not enjoy a very pleasant half
hour with the man she loved. She took a chair next
to his and said with fervor that she was glad tfhey were
at last where no listening ears could interfere with their

"How long have you loved me?" she began, bend-
ing on him a look of beaming happiness. "Though I
knew what was in your heart, I feared till the last mo-
ment something would separate us. Wasn't it awful
that I had to be the one to speak out? But I'm not
sorry I did it, dear, and I'll make you glad to the last
day I live."

His reply was delivered with slow and measured

"I have loved you from the moment I had you in my
arms in the water at San Francisco ; loved you with my
whole soul ; loved you as I always shall, though I fear
nothing short of a miracle can bring that love to its
fulfillment. Amy, let us look this matter squarely in
the face. It would not be honorable for me to win
you in our widely different circumstances. Your father
trusts me and I will not be false to him. It is inex-
pressibly sweet to know you are not indifferent to me
to feel that, had I possessed a suitable fortune, you
would have joined your life to mine. Whatever happens
I shall guard that memory as my dearest possession."

The girl's eyes opened wide and her mouth pouted

"Then you won't be my husband? You will wreck
my future as well as your own? And all because my
father has more money than you ?"


"But think !" he answered, much distressed. "Your
father is "

"I know ; I know ! A Sugar King, a Millionaire, the
richest-man-in-Honolulu, all that sort of thing. But
I'm nothing but a foolish little girl, very much in love,
whom nobody seems to consider. I'm not going to
tease you to marry me, sir. You needn't think I shall
get down on my knees to crave the boon. If a man
really cared for me he would at least ask my father,
before he gave up hope. It is evident you don't love
me and never did. I have lowered myself in your eyes
and must suffer the penalty."

She bent her head, and Carl, forgetting everything,
lifted the piquant face and touched the lips with his
own. At first she made a pretense of avoiding the em-
brace, and finally not only accepted but returned it.
He sank on one knee and she placed an arm around
his neck.

"I can get Popsie to disinherit me," she whispered
"just in a friendly way, you know. If you prefer I'll
come to you with nothing but the clothes I wear and
a little handbag containing combs and brushes. We
will have nearly as much then as he had when he mar-
ried mamma. But we don't need to do that," she
hastened to add, "He's very fond of you already."

Carl could not muster courage enough to take that
arm from his neck or to fly from the siren voice that
whispered of an earthly heaven. He knelt there still,
like one entranced, listening to words sweeter than
ambrosia, and replying in monosyllables from time to
time. He felt himself wavering when, to ptraotuaite the


sentences, Amy laid her soft cheek against his; but he
still protested feebly that it would be disgraceful for a
penniless man to aspire to the height toward which she
beckoned him.

"If you love me as much as you say," she said at
last, "I suppose you could claim your estate in St.
Louis. That would make you what mother calls 'in
our class.' ' :

"I have relinquished it in writing," he replied. "Noth-
ing would tempt me to touch it."

"Not even your love for me?"

"Not even that and there is nothing so strong,
Amy, of which I can conceive." Then he murmured

"I could not love thee, dear, so much
Loved I not honor more."

She had both arms around his neck now and all the
affection in her untainted heart shone in her luminous
dark eyes. They had quite forgotten that they were in
the public parlor of a hotel, into which anyone might
enter unannounced. It was one of those blissful mo-
ments of which even the transgression in Eden could
not rob the human race; a glimpse of Paradise like
that which Elizabeth Browning ref ered to when she

" Unless you can gaze in a crowd all day
On the absent face that fixed you ;
Unless you can love as the angels may,
With the breadth of heaven betwixt you j


Unless you can feel, when unpraised by his breath,

That your beauty itself wants proving

Unless you can swear, ' For life, for death !'
Oh, never call it loving I"

The door opened. Mrs. Van Stetiben entered, fol-
lowed by Rev. Mr. Lovejoy and Mrs. Young. There
was a scream, and the portly lady had to be helped to
a sofa by her attendant.

"Don't speak to me! Don't come near me!" cried
Mrs. Van, as Amy sprang up and hastened to her side.
"How can you look me in the face, you shameless
girl! (Thank you, Mrs. Young.) So, miss, this is
the way you carry on with a common servant in the
public parlor of a hotel! What do you think your
father would say if he knew !"

"That will do, mother," Amy replied, in a set tone,
though her face colored deeply. " You know very
well your daughter could not lower herself and that
your charges are nonsense. The man you delight to
insult is dearer to me than life. My father knows how
much I love him and approves my choice. I admit it
was indiscreet to give way to my affection in a public
room, but I have kept it pent up so long it had to over-
flow somewhere."

Mrs. Van rocked herself to and fro on the sofa as
if in excruciating agony, continually applying to her
nostrils the smelling salts which Mrs. Young promptly
gave her.

"You will return to Honolulu with me on the very
next steamer," she exclaimed, "I hope," she added


in an undertone, "I shall get there alive, but it will
be no fault of yours if I do."

"I am not going to Honolulu on the next steamer,"
said Amy, quietly.

"Then I shall go without you. I have tried to bring
you up as a girl should be in your sphere of life
and I have failed. Do not let William hear of this/'
she continued, in a half whisper to Mr. Lovejoy. "He
is rash. I fear if he knew what advantage this viper
has taken of the trust reposed in him he would do
something terrible."

Excited as she was, Amy could not repress a smile
at the idea of her brother in the role of an avenger.
As she glanced at Mr. Lovejoy's face he indicated
that she had best leave the parlor, and, drawing her
arm through Carl'?, she went out into the hallway.

"You see," said the young man, dejectedly, "how
perfectly hopeless our case is !"

"You haven't the courage of a mouse you great,
strong giant!" she exclaimed, squeezing his arm.
"Mamma will get over it. I don't believe you really
love me."

There was no one in sight and Amy only said this
to induce the form of denial most natural to expect.
It came. A blond moustache swept her red lips.

"Mr. Lovejoy is our chief reliance," she said, when
this pleasant diversion was ended and she had a
chance to use her voice. "He has written to father
that he must come at once, as you are going to resign
your position. He will come, seasickness not con-
sidered, and within a month or so you can have his


blessing if you want it. If it pleases yottr independent
spirit any better we can begin housekeeping in one
room, as he did. Perhaps you'll be a Sugar King your-
self one of these days. Carl!" she pouted, " I've not
had a definite answer yet to the proposal I made you
at Shibu!"

They were getting into their 'rickshas when Billy
appeared on the scene Billy, who had been so re-
cently represented as a possible avenger of blood. He
was fashionably dressed, as usual, and carried a light
walking stick, with which he struck his trousers as he
came along. At sight of the pair he ran toward them
joyfully and extended both hands.

"Oh, I have got the greatest news !" cried his sister,
with suppressed eagerness. "You'll stand by me, won't
you, as you always have ever since we were tots?"

"To the last ditch, Amy."

"Well I'm going to surprise you this time. How
would you like Mr. Muller for a "

"Brother-in-law! Splendidly! You thought I
was blind all the time, but I wasn't. I saw the way
the wind blew. Is it settled?"

Amy looked sideways at Carl, who reddened violent-

"I hardly know," she replied. "Is it?"

Carl cleared his throat.

"Mr. Van Steuben," he said in a low tone, "I love
your sister dearly and I believe she cares almost as
much for me. But in my present condition, with no
prospects for the future, how can I ask her to be
my wife?"


"Seems to me I could find some way, if I were in
your place," answered Billy, with a laugh.

"Mamma is awfully angry about it," said Amy.
"Can I rely on you, Billy, whatever happens ?"

"Bet your boots 1" was the unequivocal answer.




WHEN Carl and Amy reached the Imperial they
learned that Mr. Loring had suddenly departed, hav-
ing received a telegram which compelled him to leave
at once. He had only had time to leave that message
with Lisette, but promised to write from England
when he reached home. They talked it over together,
agreeing that he was a pleasant fellow and that they
were sorry to have him go. Just now, 'however, Carl
was in too great a quandary for the matter to interest
him much. To remain at the same hotel witfi Amy,
in their altered relationship, practically in charge of
her, was assuming a deep responsibility. It was hardly
more practicable to leave her alone with Lisette. The
alternative of advising her to return to Honolulu with
her mother was not agreeable, but he adopted it at
last. He might have saved himself the trouble, as the
proposal was declined forthwith.

"Papa is on the way here," -she said. "I can't run
away from him when he has undertaken a disagreeable
journey solely on my account. I don't believe mamma
will go. When she gets over her anger she'll make the
best of it."

At last she consented to return to the Metropole


and ascertain definitely Mrs. Van's intentions. Licrc te
and one of the hotel couriers accompanied her?

Hardly had the young lady gone when Mr. Simmer
Barney appeared on the scene. He had been making
some investigations, he said, which convinced him
more than ever that Peter Meyer was alive and in Jap-
an. Though Carl shook his head incredulously he
answered all the questions asked him, describing
minutely the scene near Ikao, when he saw the shad-
owy outlines of the familiar form. Urged to accom-
pany Barney to the spot he said he would gladly do
so when relieved from a more pressing duty. He was
obliged to reveal the fact that Mrs. Van and her
daughter might part company.

"I thought you would take more interest in the
thing," said Barney, with a disheartened face. "Your
keenness has suffered a great relapse since I first met

"As long as Mr. Meyer was alive," was Carl's im-
patient response, "I would have followed him to tlhe
end of the earth. I even risked my life in the hope
of recovering his charred body. The errand you have
engaged in is absolute folly. While I would be glad
to help you, if you insist upon wasting your time, I
cannot leave real and immediate duties to do so."

He had not finished before a 'ricksha drew up in
front of the hotel and Mr. Love joy stepped out. He
looked particularly grave as he approached Carl and,
paying no attention to the fact that he had a companion,
requested him to come to his room for a private con-
versation. Carl excused himself hastily from Barney
and accompanied the minister upstairs.


"Mrs. Van Steuben has decided to take a steamer
for Honolulu tomorrow," said Mr. Lovejoy, when they
were alone, "even if Miss Amy cannot be persuaded
to go wibh her. I have promised to officiate in loco
parentls until Mr. Van Steuben arrives, should the
daughter decline to leave Japan. After wfaat I saw in
the Metropole parlor I need hardly ask if you also
expect to await Mr. Van Steuben's coming."

Carl felt the need of saying something in defense
of himself and of Amy.

"I see you are angry with me and perliaps I deserve
a little of your indignation. It was certainly thought-
less to select a public room for sudh a scene as you
interrupted. I have loved Miss Van Steu'ben blindly
s*ince the first day I saw her. Now that I know she
also cares for me I am like a man in a dream."

"I have no disposition to judge you. I merely wish
to say that, if Miss Van Steuben desired it, I will as-
sume charge of her until her father comes. I am
somewhat older than you and in the circumstances "

Carl thanked the speaker warmly, saying he had re-
moved a great weight from his mind. He then asked,
with some uneasiness, what Mrs. Young would do
after Mrs. Van sailed, but the minister said they were
going together. Carl then told him of Mr. Loring's
departure, to which he listened with interest, and Mr.
Barney's strange mission to Japan was also alluded

The conversation closed by requesting that Barney
should be sent for and this was done without delay.
As the result of a long talk it was decided, in case


Mrs. Van Steuben did not change Tier mind, and If
Miss Amy consented, that the entire remaining mem-
bers of the party would accompany Mr. Barney to
the interior*

When Amy returned from the Metropole she told
Carl that her interview had been very painful and that
there was no prospect of healing the rupture. She had
been given no choice between the maternal displeasure
indefinitely prolonged and of returning at once to
Honolulu, with a promise never to see or communicate
with Mr. Muller again.

"In that emergency, how could I hesitate?" she ask-
ed, pathetically. "You'll take me in charge till Popsie
comes, at least?"

"Mr. Lovejoy will assume that position please
don't frown! He will be an indulgent guardian."
Then Carl went on to speak of Mr. Barney and to say
he wished to join their excursion into the country.
She haid no objections and that matter was settled.

Billy came over a little later and announced that his
mother, himself and the Young contingent would go to
Yokohama on the evening train and sail on the follow-
ing morning. He had come to say good-by. Amy
loved 'her brother devotedly and the parting had many
elements of sadness.

"I wish mother wouldn't carry her unreasonableness
so far," she said. "I'm afraid when she gets home
she'll spread some awful stories. Papa will be here
in three or four weeks and everything would be love-
ly if we could persuade her to wait till then/'

He replied that he had already used bis best efforts.


He did not believe, however, that his mother would
say anything to make trouble at home. She was too
proud of the family position for that.

"But why need you go with her? Ah, I see! It's
that old love affair of yours with Minna King. Billy,
for heaven's sake, don't marry that half-white girl.
You'll be sorry the rest of your life. She's nice enough,
and pretty, I won't deny, but this mixing of races is

He inquired blandly what she thought of mixing
Dutch and Portuguese, which had produced her own
sweet self; and if she thought the addition of a strain
of pure German would help things any. She reddened,
but replied that all these nationalities were white,
which made a difference.

"If I were to marry Prince Daniel, tfhat would be
something similar. You know you wouldn't like that,
Billy. Give her up, that's a good boy !"

He said she knew perhaps, from her own experience,
how easy such things were. Arguments were plainly
lost on him. That evening, at the hour her mother
and brother were to take their train, she threw her-
self into Olive Thorn's arms, disconsolate.

On the next day, when the newspapers showed that
the Hongkong Maru had sailed with Mrs. Van and
Billy among the passengers, preparations for the re-
turn to Ikao were pushed. In spite of his incredulity
Carl could not help being affected by Mr. Barney's

Something happened that evening, however, to>
change his views. On coming down to dinner he saw


at one of the tables the three Japanese gentlemen who
had been fellow passengers with him on the Coptic.
Later, in the smoking room, the one who had been
pointed out to him as the eldest son of the Marquis
of Maebashi greeted him cordially. Inquiries as to
his stay in Japan, his impression's of the country, and
so on, were made by the Oriental, wMi that politeness
whidh has caused the Japanese to be known as "the
Frenchman of the East." After a pleasant half hour
had been spent in this way the young marquis branch-
ed into another subject.

"I have just returned from Shoji," lie said, "one of
the most delightful of our mountain resorts. There I
saw a gentleman who is, I imagine, a fellow country-
man of yours, about whom I promised to speak to
your minister here. He is very old and seems slightly
deranged. When he arrived he had plenty of money,
but for some time now has made excuses whenever his
bill is presented. He seems to have had a good edu-
cation and has apparently seen much of the world. The
suspicion is that he has strayed from his friends and
cannot find his way back to them. Have you happened
to hear of anyone of that description who is missing?"

It was nearly a minute before Carl could find his

"Do you remember the gentleman's name ?" he asked.

The Japanese did not remember. He was then ask-
ed the most expeditious route to Shoji and gave care-
ful directions, after whidh Carl left him, with many

The possibilities of the new question were monu-


mental. If Meyer was living and deranged beyond re-
pair what then? What if his faculties slhotlld be
restored to him ? If if if

Might he regain his friend, wrecked in body and
mind, and still lose the dearest girl on earth?



CARL arose in the morning feeling that he could not
start for Shoji too soon. Barney had the new in-
formation imparted to him before breakfast and re-
ceived it with enthusiasm.

The suggestion of changing the trip to Shoji met
with no objection from anybody, it being newer than
Ikao and equally interesting. The first train was con-
sequently taken to Gotemba, whidi point was reached
before noon. After a lunch and rest at the principal
hotel the requisite number of horses and bettos were
engaged and tfie cavalcade started into the country.

Amy's partiality for Carl was no longer a secret and
they were permitted by common consent to ride in ad-
vance of the others. Olive spoke to Lisette once or
twice about the matter and occasionally dropped a
hint to Mr. Lovejoy. She found herself wondering if
the rich Abel Van Steuben would really give his con-
sent, when he had to face the actual proposition.
Theories in sudh matters, she knew, were not always
carried out in actual experience. Although saddened
when she thought of her brother's disappointment, she
could not help rejoicing at Amy's happiness. If Capt.
Thorn was not to win this girl she had no reason to
envy Mr. Muller his remarkable conquest.


It was quite dark before they arrived at Yoshida, a
purely Japanese village where foreigners are seldom
seen. The entire town was en fete, a great fire festival
being in progress, and the geishas for miles around
were engaged to entertain the people. In all the
streets and squares were numerous tall piles of wood,
blazing merrily, illuminating the place till it was al-
most as light as day. This festival occurs but once a
year and is of very ancient origin. They found the
hotel a primitive affair, but were too tired to mind
tfhis. Twenty minutes after lying down on the futons,
spread on the mat-covered floor, all were fast asleep.

Anxious to puslh on as fast as possible, it was ar-
ranged before retiring that the horses should be ready
at seven o'clock. The road was little more than a path
through the hills and the ovefhanging trees required
constant care to keep them from sweeping the riders
off their saddles. When the Lake of Shoji was at last
in sight, a beautiful sheet of water nestling among
the mountains, and the White walls of the cosy hotel
could be discerned in the distance, Carl told his com-
panion W'hy he had come to this place. She was flat-
tered that he confided his secret to her alone and
spoke soothing words of encouragement.

Now that his goal was so near, Mr. Barney could
not bear to remain behind, but with an apology forced
his horse past the young couple and entered the
grounds of the 'hotel in advance of them. Carl did
not feel like hastening. A peculiar sensation oppressed
him. He dreaded almost as much as he hoped that he
would find Peter Meyer there.


At the dobr of the hotel Mr. Hoshino, the propri-
etor, an Englislhman wtho had been adopted into a
Japanese family and married one of its daughters,
welcomed the party. Hoshino said to Carl that the
guest he sought had gone for a walk but would pro-
bably return directly. As full a description as he
could give was added, but he said the gentleman had
registered in the name of Oberman.

Carl's excitement had now grown to fever heat. He
asked Barney to let him meet the man first alone ; and,
pressing Amy's hand with a convulsive grip, strode
down the path in the direction indicated. He had not
gone far when he saw the form of Peter Meyer
older, grayer, more bent, but unmistakable approach-
ing. Carl paused and stood stock still, witlh folded
arms. As Peter approached he glanced sideways at
him and seemed about to pass without a word. Then
he looked again and stopped.

"You've been gone a long time," he said, complain-
ingly. "If you were not coming home you might have
sent some word."

Good Heaven! The period since they had met
was a blank to his mind.

"Go over and tell Lindes I want to see him," con-
tinued the old man. "He said you would never come.
Now I can prove him a false prophet."

"Mr. Lindes is in St. Lours. We are in Japan.
Don't you remember going to Honolulu, and the vol-

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Online LibraryAlbert RossA sugar princess → online text (page 17 of 19)