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Our War with Monaco by Edward Page Mitchell

I

When I last visited Monaco I found that enlightened community in a state of exasperation against everything that is American. I even detected covert hostility in the manner of M. Berg of the Beau Rivage Hotel, who had formerly received me with so much politeness. After breakfast, during which meal the waiter glared at me with undisguised hatred, I went to pay my respects to our diplomatic representative, an acquaintance of old in Ohio. The consul's face was haggard, as if from protracted anxiety. He was putting the final touches to an elaborate toilet.

"What is the trouble, Green?" I demanded.

The consul sighed repeatedly while he was framing his reply. The excellent fellow had a habit of adorning his ordinary conversation with the phraseology of an official dispatch. This process required more or less time, but the effect was impressive.

"I must inform you," he said, "that the relations between the United States and the Independent Principality of Monaco, cordial as they have been in the past, are approaching a crisis full of peril. Recent events justify the apprehensions which I have from time to time expressed in my communications to the Department of State at Washington. It would be folly to conceal the fact that the present attitude of the court of Prince Charles III is anything but friendly to our own government; or that the situation is one which calls for the utmost watchfulness and the most delicate diplomacy. I have the honor to add that I shall be both prudent and firm."

"Yes," said I; "but what is the row about?"

"The complication," he replied, emphasizing that word, "arises partly from the dark intrigues of the crafty statesmen who surround the prince, and partly from the behavior of Americans here and at Nice, particularly Titus."

"And who the deuce is Titus?"

"George Washington Titus," he replied, with a look full of gloom, "is a man whose existence and acts embitter my official career; yet I am constantly yielding to the remarkable influence which he exerts over me, as over most people with whom he comes in contact. George Washington Titus is a perpetual source of danger to the peace that has been maintained so long between the United States and Monaco; yet when he is with me I cannot help being carried away by the reckless enthusiasm of his nature. To employ a colloquialism, he has kept me in hot water ever since he arrived. Pardon me; but, privately and personally and apart from my official capacity, I sometimes say to myself, 'Confound George Washington Titus!'"

"Now," I remarked, "I am just as wise as I was before."

"The story is a long one, and, as in every affair of international moment, the details are many and complicated. I am about to have an interview with the hereditary prince, and shall officially request an explanation of certain things. Come with me to the palace. I will give you the facts as we walk."

It is only a step from the American consulate to the palace, and the consul's narrative advanced slowly, owing to the dignity of its periods. For convenience, I had better join what he told me on this occasion with what I afterward learned respecting the difficulty.

Since 1869, when Prince Charles III abolished taxation, the revenue of the government of Monaco has been derived exclusively from the gaming tables at the casino. The prince's subjects, nearly six thousand souls, have been prosperous and happy, having no taxes to pay and plenty of travelers to fleece. The income from the casino has been large enough to meet all administrative expenses, to support the court in a style befitting the importance of the oldest reigning family in Europe--for Prince Charles traces his line of descent directly back to the Grimaldi of the tenth century--and to leave a handsome annual surplus, part of which has been wisely devoted to a system of internal improvements.

In pursuit of this policy, it had been determined about a year before to blast out the large rock at the mouth of the cove behind the palace. The prince's Navy, which consists of a steam launch of about twelve tons burden, armed with a swivel gun, is accustomed to ride at anchor in this cove when not actively engaged. The rock seriously impeded the free ingress and egress of the Navy. The contract for the work of removal was awarded by Roasio, Minister of Marine, to Titus, an American engineer.

Up to the time of Titus' arrival in Monaco, the Americans had been popular with the subjects of the prince. They were liberal in expending money, rarely disputed reckoning at the hotels, cafes, and shops, and contributed largely to the revenue of the casino. The official pathway of my friend, the consul, had lain over rose beds. Titus himself won much applause at first. He was a tall, good-looking Baltimorean, who had been major of Engineers in the Union Army. A genial and sometimes roistering companion of men, gallant in his bearing toward the ladies of the court, skillful in his attack on the obnoxious rock, he had enjoyed for a time a pronounced success in Monaco. The people watched with pride the operations of his divers, the work of his steam dredge, the arrival and unloading of the square tin cans of dynamite which came consigned to him from Marseilles. He was in a measure identified with the mysterious forces of nature, and therefore a little feared; but it was generally conceded that he deserved well of the inhabitants.

Soon, however, he was unfortunate enough to incur the displeasure of several very influential personages; and although he himself cared not a copper for the frown of any dignitary on the peninsula, the consul, who felt more or less responsible for him, thenceforth trod on thorns. Titus' decline in prestige was due to several causes.

One night, being in his cups, he had knocked down M. De Mussly, the generalissimo of the Army, who had ventured to remonstrate with him for practicing the war whoop of the American Indian in the public square in front of the palace. On receiving a challenge the next morning from the outraged warrior, Titus had laughed, and offered to swim with De Mussly due south across the Mediterranean until one or the other should be drowned. The affair was brought to the attention of the Tribunal Superieur by M. Goybet, Advocate-General, but Consul Green succeeded in having the charge suppressed.

Then followed another misadventure, far worse than the De Mussly incident. At a grand ball at the casino, Titus deliberately excused himself from dancing a fifth polka with the Princess Florestine, sister of the reigning prince. This august lady is a widow, who, in spite of her fifty years and two hundred pounds, has managed to preserve the impulses and tastes of maiden youth. If rumor was to be credited, she was not unkindly disposed toward the good-looking American engineer. When Titus was asked by a friend why he chose to fly in the face of Providence, he replied, "I had already danced four times with the princess. The old lady ought to remember that people go to balls for pleasure." This remark, of course, came to the ears of the princess, and thereafter she devoted every energy to the accomplishment of Titus' ruin.

The unlucky American next provoked the hostility of the all-powerful authorities at the casino, by introducing the game of poker as a rival, in private society, to the public attractions of roulette and rouge et noir. The new heresy spread like wildfire. In Monaco and in Nice people lost money to each other, instead of to the bank, as formerly. Receipts at the casino fell off more than one half. In vain the Administration procured a deliverance from the ecclesiastical authorities, declaring the game immoral. People still played poker. Worse than all, Titus and his disciples turned the terrible new engine against the subjects of the prince, and won their money. This was a start!ing innovation, and it awakened deep resentment. It was said that no less a personage than Monsignor Theuret, the Grand Almoner, having won thirteen thousand francs at roulette on a succession of three seventeens, lost the entire amount the next night at poker to Titus, and as much more besides; and that he was obliged to give his note for a large sum to the American. This was a specimen case.

As the prosperity of the people of Monaco rested wholly upon the prosperity of the casino, popular indignation rose high against the Americans, especially Titus. The poker question found a place in politics. Titus' enemies were unceasing in their efforts to undermine him at the court and neglected no means to inflame the prejudices of the populace.

II

Such, then, was the situation when I accompanied Consul Green to the palace.

At the threshold of the mansion inhabited by the descendants of the Grimaldi, we encountered a gorgeous usher wearing a heavy gold chain upon the breast of his crimson velvet robe. He led the way across an inner court and up a flight of marble steps, at the top of which he surrendered us, with a magnificent bow, to the keeping of M. Ponsard, Commandant of the Palace. Ponsard, in his turn, conducted us along a corridor and through a series of stately apartments to the office of the First Chamberlain, who after some delay ushered us into the presence of the Grand Almoner of the prince's Household. This eminent individual was seated at a desk writing. He greeted Green ceremoniously. He was aware that Monsieur the American Minister had audience that morning of the hereditary prince; but His Serene Highness was just now reviewing the Army in the piazza before the palace. His Serene Highness would soon return. If Monsieur the Minister and his friend would like to witness the pageant, there was an admirable view of the piazza from the balcony of the Salon des Muses, the third apartment to the left. The chamberlain would show the way.

"A polite old gentleman," I remarked, as we followed the chamberlain to the Salon des Muses.

"That extraordinary man," whispered Green, with a touch of awe in his voice, "is Monsignor Theuret, one of the most astute statesmen in Europe. His influence at court is practically boundless. He combines ecclesiastical with secular functions, being apostolic administrator and bishop of Hermopolis, and at the same time Grand Almoner of the household and superintendent of the third Salle of the casino. Being one of the chief leaders of the anti-Titus party, he both hates and fears me; yet did you observe how well he dissembled?"

"It strikes me," said I, "that this doubling up of offices is rather droll."

"It is necessary," returned Green, with perfect gravity, "in Monaco, where the total population is not large. The First Chamberlain, ahead of us here, as well as the Commandant of the Palace, and the usher with the gold chain act at night as croupiers at the casino. Chevalier Voliver, Minister of Foreign Affairs, leads the casino orchestra. He is an excellent musician and rather friendly to our interests, inasmuch as I have on several occasions rendered him trifling services of a pecuniary nature. But I must admit that, in statecraft, the Chevalier is weak and irresolute. He is hardly more than the tool and creature of Monsignor Theuret, whose ambition is as limitless as his ability is diabolical."

The First Chamberlain left us on the balcony. Thence we commanded a view, not only of the piazza below, but of nearly the entire principality. One could have fired a pistol ball into the Mediterranean, either to the west or to the south, and to the north the French frontier was within long rifle range. The palace itself shut off the eastward view, but Green informed me that the sea boundary on that side, with the cove where the Navy rode at anchor, was scarcely a stone's throw away. Opposite us were the grounds of the casino, the long stuccoed façade, the round concert kiosque, the theater, the restaurants, and the shops of the bazaar. Above this seductive establishment floated a captive balloon, in which visitors might ascend to the length of the rope for twenty francs the trip.

From the balloon overhead I turned my attention to the spectacle in the open piazza in front of the palace. Sidewalks, steps, doorways, and windows were thronged with loyal subjects of Charles III. Directly beneath us, on a fine black stallion, sat the hereditary prince, motionless as a statue. The Army of Monaco, commanded by the intrepid De Mussly, marched and countermarched before him, exhibiting its proficiency in al! the evolutions known to modern military science. In their smart red uniforms and white cockades, the thirty-two carabineers, who constitute the effective force under De Mussly, presented a truly formidable appearance, wheeling to and fro. The generalissimo had drilled them to march with that peculiarly vicious fling of the legs which is taught in Prussian tactics; and when they came kicking across the square in fours, wheeled suddenly into a sixteen-front line, halted before the hereditary prince, and grounded arms with a simultaneous clang of thirty-two carbine butts against the pavement, bravo after bravo arose from the delighted spectators, while a smile of proud gratification rested for an instant upon His Serene Highness's countenance.

Just then I observed the eccentric actions of an individual halfway across the square, who seemed to be trying to attract our notice. He whistled through his knuckles, waved both arms in the air, and then, apparently dissatisfied with the result of these demonstrations, snatched a gun from the nearest soldier and raised his own silk hat on the muzzle high above the heads of the crowd. Having restored the gun to the astonished warrior, he expressed his low opinion of the Army, for our benefit, by means of a derisive pantomime, and began to elbow his way through the ranks toward us.

"It is Titus," groaned Green. "He is continually compromising me in some such way."

The consul endeavored in vain to discountenance our fellow citizen below, by staring fixedly in another direction. Titus was not to be snubbed. He shouted, "Hi! Green," and, "Oh! Green," until he obtained the full attention of my embarrassed companion.

"Be sure to be at home by two o'clock, Green," roared Titus. "I have important news." Thereupon he gleefully flourished before our faces what looked like an official document and hurried away.

When the First Chamberlain came to summon Green to his interview with the hereditary prince, I returned to the consulate to await him. He rejoined me at a little before two o'clock. "Well, what luck?" I inquired.

"The outlook is gloomy," he replied, nervously. "The interview was most unsatisfactory. In order to commit the government of Monaco to some definite form of complaint, I requested His Highness to say candidly in what the American people had offended him. The prince regarded me steadily with his dark, piercing eyes, and at last replied, 'Pouf! You Americans talk loudly at our tables d'hôte, bully our croupiers, browbeat our gendarmes before our very face, and make yourself generally obnoxious.' I perceived, of course, the disingenuousness of this answer, but managed to control my indignation. His Highness next asked me a good many questions about the financial and material resources of the United States Government, the efficiency of its military and naval forces, its debt, annual revenue, and so on. I need not say that my answers to all these questions were guarded and discreet. I then pressed the prince to tell me if there was any truth in the report that a personage high in the court had a pecuniary interest in fomenting trouble between the United States and Monaco. I thought the prince winced a little at this home thrust; but he replied in the negative, referring to the story as an 'idle bruit.' The interview then ended; but as I came away I observed on the face of the crafty Monsignor Theuret an expression which I could not fathom. It seemed very like mirth, untimely as--"

Here the consul was interrupted by the precipitate entrance of Titus, followed by three or four other Americans.

"Hallo, Green!" said this brusque individual. "Are you in the dumps? I'll enliven you presently."

There was something in his tone, careless as it was, that fairly startled Green out of his official dignity.

"Merciful heavens!" exclaimed the consul; "what has happened now?"

Titus winked at the rest of the company. He took a pipe from his pocket and reached for the tobacco box on the table, upsetting, as he did so, the contents of the consul's inkstand over a pile of official papers. This accident did not discompose him in the least. He coolly filled his pipe and occupied himself for some minutes in emitting large rings of smoke, one after another, and then shooting little rings through the series.

"We are all of the Yankee persuasion, I suppose," he said at last, casting a glance of inquiry at me. I nodded in reply. Then Titus produced the document which we had seen him waving in the piazza.

"Here's a lark," said he. "I took this down from the bulletin board in front of Papa Voliver's Foreign Office this forenoon. Lord forgive the theft! I did it for my country's sake."

Then he proceeded to read, rapidly translating the French into English. We listened, dumfounded. Great beads of perspiration stood upon Green's forehead. He clutched mechanically at the papers on the table and inked the ends of his fingers.

The document was an edict, signed by Charles III himself, countersigned by the Chevalier Voliver, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and sealed with the great seal of the principality. Stripped of verbiage, the edict decreed:

First, that it should be unlawful for any subject of the prince, or any foreigner sojourning within the boundaries of the principality, to engage in the American game called poker, said game being dangerous to the public morals and subversive of existing institutions.

Secondly, that all obligations contracted by subjects of the prince to subjects of the American President, through the game called poker, or otherwise, be thereby repudiated.

Thirdly, that thenceforth no American subject be permitted to enter the Principality of Monaco, for business or for pleasure; that American subjects then in Monaco be allowed twenty-four hours from the promulgation of this edict, within which time they must leave the principality, under penalty of imprisonment at the discretion of the Tribunal Superieur and confiscation of their effects.

All eyes were turned upon Green. It was some time before the consul recovered the faculty of speech. "But this is unprecedented!" he exclaimed. "It is not only outrageous in a general way, but it is specifically discourteous to me, personally and officially. I am the diplomatic representative of the United States, duly accredited to this court. Here is an important paper, seriously affecting the relations between the two governments, which, instead of being conveyed to me in the proper manner, has been tacked on a bulletin board, like a miserable writ of attachment. Furthermore," he added, as the enormity of the outrage grew upon him, "I have not only been ignored, insulted, but I have been trifled with. This edict must have been posted before my interview with the hereditary prince. It is infamous!"

"Well, fellow citizens," said Titus, with a light laugh, "what are we going to do about it?"

"There is only one thing to do," replied Green. "Dispatch a full and carefully worded statement of the affair to the Department of State at Washington, in order that Congress may take appropriate action."

Titus sent forth a roar of laughter along with a cloud of smoke. "And meanwhile?" he demanded. "I am inclined to think that in the present condition of our glorious Navy it will be about two years and six months before we can expect to have a fleet of iron-dads here."

"I suppose we must leave Monaco," said the consul, sadly. "We are at the mercy of an absolute and remorseless power." "LEAVE?" thundered Titus.

"Let us have your ideas, Mr. Titus," said I.

"Well," said Titus. "I propose to try my hand at a state paper. I've undertaken tougher jobs in my day. Get a sheet of clean foolscap, Green, and a good, sharp pen. Now write down what I say."

He then dictated the following manifesto:

To Charles Honore, Prince of Monaco:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a mighty nation to avenge an injury sustained by her in the persons of some of her most valued citizens, the visitation of her wrath upon the offender is apt to be sharp, sudden, and overwhelming.

Unless your edict of this date be revoked before nine o'clock tomorrow, and due apology made for the same, we, the United States of America, do hereby declare war against the Principality of Monaco on land, sea, underground, and in the skies; and God have mercy upon your soul!

(Signed)
GEORGE WASHINGTON TITUS, Commander in Chief
JOHN J. GREEN,
Minister Plenipotentiary

"There! Green," said Titus, complacently, "now tell your man Giovanni to go and tack this little composition upon the bulletin board of the Foreign Office, and leave the rest to me."

"But this is very irregular," protested the consul. "The power to declare war is vested by the Constitution in Congress. We can't declare war. Besides, there are always certain formalities to be observed."

"Damn your formalities!" rejoined Titus. "In times of great national emergency like the present there is a higher law than the Constitution. In such a crisis men of action must come to the front. You can come in with your protocols and preliminary drafts, and all that solemn rot, when we get to the negotiations for peace. I'm commander in chief just now. You and these other gentlemen must go around among the Americans here and tell 'em not to be alarmed, but to act precisely as if nothing had happened. That's General Order number one. Hold on a minute, though. Is there anybody who understands the army signals?"

I respectfully informed the commander in chief that I was familiar with the code.

"Good!" said he. "You've got grit. I like the build of your chin. Stay here with me. I constitute you chief of staff."

"Now," he continued, after the others had departed, "take four of the consul's red silk handkerchiefs and make some little signal flags. I have another important letter to write."

The composition of this missive seemed to give him considerable trouble, for I had finished the flags long before he stopped writing. Finally he tossed me a sheet of note paper. "I hate infernally to do this," he said, giving his mustache a tug, "but, hang it all, everything is fair in love and war."

The letter bore no address or signature:

MADAME: I have read your eyes, and my heart is full of joy. I have also read the black looks on the faces of your jealous and powerful relatives. If I have seemed cold and indifferent, it is because I cared for your peace of mind--not because I feared for myself, believe me, Madame.

And now the cruel edict has gone forth. Exile from Monaco is nothing, for the world is wide. Exile from you is death; for my poor life is in your adorable smile.

If you are as bold as you are beautiful; if wide difference of rank weighs less in the balance than an absorbing passion; if you can dare everything for the sake of one who has suffered and been silent, be at the pump behind the equestrian statue of your noble ancestor, Vincenzio Grimaldi, one hour before sunrise tomorrow morning, and be alone.

"It's a confounded shame," remarked Titus, half to me, half to himself, "to bring her out into the damp early air at her age; but it can't be helped."

The consul's valet now returned. He had nailed the document upon the bulletin board, as Excellency had commanded, and there was already an immense crowd collected around it.

"Buono!" cried Titus. "Now, Giovanni, I have another commission for you. You are discreet." He gave him the letter and whispered a few words of direction. The intelligent fellow nodded.

"And, by the way, Giovanni, you are on pretty good terms with the Army?"

"Yes, Excellency."

"How much will it cost to get the Army drunk tonight?" "Very drunk, Excellency?"

"That is what I mean."

Giovanni made a rapid calculation with the aid of his fingers. "About sixty francs, I think, Excellency," he replied, with a broad grin. Titus handed him five napoleons.

An hour later I walked with the commander in chief along the western rampart--the fashionable afternoon promenade in Monaco. Few Americans were to be seen, but on every hand there was evidence of an unusually excited state of popular feeling. We encountered scowls and audibly whispered insults at every step; but my companion walked on unconcerned, with his long, swinging gait. "The Council of State is in session. There will be hot work tomorrow," I overheard one subject of the prince remarking to another. A rattle of drums, and De Mussly marched briskly past us, at the head of a detachment of four carabineers. Ladies waved their handkerchiefs at the military. "The generalissimo is posting his sentinels," said Titus. "Luckily there are two cafes in Monaco to one soldier." Some of the shopkeepers were putting up their shutters, early in the day as it was. Suddenly Titus modified his pace, and his countenance assumed a singularly pensive expression. Three ladies were approaching us. I had only time to see that one of these, walking slightly in advance of the others, was a very stout person of middle age, ostentatiously dressed and heavily rouged. As she passed us Titus took off his hat and made a profound and rather melancholy bow. The fat lady bent her eyes to the ground. I thought I detected traces of a blush on those parts of her face which were not factitiously red.

"It's all right," Titus whispered in my ear. "The battle's ours."

III

At half past five o'clock on the morning of the momentous day, a strange thing happened near the casino. The captive balloon, set free from the moorings that tied it to the earth at night, began to rise slowly and majestically through the mists of the early twilight. With a plunge or two to the right and left, and a flutter as if of astonishment at being disturbed at such an unwonted hour, the vast spheroid settled its course straight toward the zenith, as rapidly as the paying out of the rope permitted. A single individual operated the brake of the cylinder from which the rope unwound. That individual was myself. The car of the balloon carried two passengers. One was Titus; the other, a woman muffled in many wraps and closely veiled.

"Carissima!" Titus had whispered to his trembling companion as he helped her into the basket. "It is our only chance of flight. We should certainly be arrested at the frontier if we attempted to escape by land." A gentle gurgle of tenderness and helplessness was the only response.

I watched the vaguely outlined bulk as it ascended to the length of the rope. The light breeze from the west carried the balloon directly over the palace, where it rested motionless at a height of five or six hundred feet.

When I left the casino grounds I stepped over the prostrate form of a sentinel, snoring lustily upon the pavement. The streets were deserted, but I passed one cafe which had been open all night. Glancing through the doorway, I saw a dozen of De Mussly's red-uniformed veterans in various stages of intoxication. Those who were still sober enough to sing were shouting a war song, the refrain of which menaced my native land with unutterable doom. Giovanni's five napoleons had done their work.

Three hours later I finished a comfortable breakfast at my hotel and sallied forth to find the consul. The situation had changed. The city was wide awake now, and indescribable confusion prevailed. The entire population surged through the streets leading to the palace and the casino. Business was everywhere suspended. A few carabineers were seen here and there, seedy in the face and shaky in the legs. The generalissimo was making desperate efforts to collect his demoralized army. On the balcony in front of the palace, whence we had witnessed the brilliant review of the Army on the day before, stood the prince and several members of his family, surrounded by Ministers of State. Among the latter I recognized the sinister visage of Monsignor Theuret. The piazza and the adjoining streets were thronged with people. All eyes were turned upward to the balloon, which still floated over the palace, the only tranquil object in the tumultuous scene.

As soon as Titus had shown his face to the crowd below, there had been a rush to the windlass with the intention of winding in the rope and recapturing the balloon. But Titus, leaning over the side of the basket, had brandished a long bowie knife in a way that left no doubt of his purpose to cut the balloon free if any attempt should be made to haul it down. He was thus far master of the situation. The enemy remained inactive, undecided what course to pursue; the dignitaries upon the balcony were earnestly engaged in conference.

In the piazza, just under the balcony, I espied the consul in the center of a little knot of Americans. With some difficulty I elbowed my way to the spot.

A murmur from the crowd drew my attention to the balloon. Titus was making certain motions with two small red flags. I produced two similar flags from beneath my waistcoat. Communication was thus established between the two divisions of the United States Army. The Duomo clock struck nine.

"Ask if the edict is revoked," signaled Titus.

I translated the message to the consul, who put the question to the balcony in a loud voice and in the most approved terms of diplomacy.

Monsignor Theuret, speaking for the government of Monaco, replied with a sneer: "The edict is not revoked. Its provisions relating to the arrest of Americans found within our territories will be carried into effect in precisely one hour." This answer was conveyed to Titus.

"Declare Monaco in a state of siege!" was his prompt rejoinder.

The cool audacity of this announcement produced a visible effect upon the populace. What mysterious power had this man in the sky, who talked with little flags and calmly defied a prince with an Army and Navy? What was coming next?

Theuret retained his presence of mind. "Let the rope be cut," he shouted. "Then the wind will blow this impudent American scoundrel over into Italy. We shall be well rid of him at the price of a balloon."

Again there was a rush toward the rope and a hundred knives were ready to do the work. But Theuret, who had been steadily gazing upward, was seen to turn as pale as death and to grasp at the balustrade for support.

"Basta! Basta!" he cried. "Cut not that rope, if you value your lives! The princess is in the balloon!"

Sure enough, the round, red face of the princess was visible over the wickerwork of the car. A howl of astonishment and dismay went up from the crowd. The little knot of Americans answered the howl with a cheer.

"Titus has won the game!" said the consul.

But the agitation of Monsignor Theuret was even greater than circumstances appeared to warrant. The sight of the princess in the car seemed to drive him to madness. He tore his hair, shook both fists at the balloon, and shrieked as if he expected Madame to hear. "Ah, Florestine, faithless! I suspected as much. Monster of perfidy! Cuor' miol Wretched, wretched woman!"

"I suspected as much, also," said the consul, in an undertone. "We diplomats have eyes everywhere. Look at Theuret! What a scandal!"

The prince was regarding Theuret's manifestations of jealous frenzy with searching eyes. Then he summoned De Mussly and gave him a command, inaudible to those below. Two soldiers removed Monsignor Theuret from the balcony. "The bishop is arrested!" cried the crowd, all agape at the unexpected incident.

"Now, monsieur," said the prince, addressing Consul Green, "what are your demands? It seems that in some inexplicable way you have succeeded in kidnaping our sister. What ransom do you require of us?"

After some signaling, Green reported the ultimatum which Titus propounded: The revocation of the edict, the restoration of American citizens to an equality with the subjects of the most privileged nation, the re-establishment of the game of poker, the prince's own guarantee for the payment of all debts due to American citizens, and an indemnity of ten thousand francs for the expenses and anxieties of the war.

There was a long consultation upon the balcony. At last the prince was seen to shake his head, as if in reply to arguments intended to dissuade him from some settled plan of action. The Chevalier Voliver stepped forward from the group and said, "His Serene and Most Christian Highness has wavered between the natural affection which he entertains for his sister, Madame the Princess, and his duty toward his subjects. The struggle is now at an end. Bitterly as he regrets one result of his decision, he feels that he must place the interests of the people of Monaco above family ties. He sacrifices Her Highness to duty. The edict will go into effect at ten o'clock. He commands that the rope be cut, and the balloon set adrift."

"That is the diplomatic way of saying that he is rather glad to get rid of the foolish and troublesome old lady," I remarked to Green after I had reported the speech to Titus.

But the consul and the rest of the Americans had fallen from hope into dejection. They felt that the commander in chief had played his last card and lost.

Not so Titus. His flags were plied vigorously for a brief space of time, and then, reaching his arm at full length from the network of ropes around the car, he held forth a large tin canister that glittered in the sunlight.

The effect of this simple act was marvelous. It paralyzed the arms of those who were about to cut the rope. It carried consternation to the group upon the balcony. It created a panic in the crowd, which scattered in every direction. A cry of horror went up from a thousand throats. In all the noise and confusion only one word was distinguishable:

"Dynamite!"

The people of Monaco had learned, from Titus' own teaching, how terribly potent, even in small quantities, was this agent of destruction. Now they felt that an unknown quantity of the awful, mysterious thing was suspended, so to say, by a single hair, over their heads and homes. The prince himself blanched at the possibilities of the next moment.

"He says," I yelled at the top of my voice, "that if his conditions are not accepted in three minutes by his watch, and without further parley, he will drop the can and blow your principality into smithereens."

In two minutes peace was re-established.

IV

The war was over. Secured by the most explicit guarantees from the government of Charles III, the victorious commander allowed himself to be pulled down from the skies. Still holding the dreaded fin can in one hand, with the other he gallantly assisted his lady captive from the car of the balloon, and led her to the balcony of the palace.

"Serene Highness," he said, as he respectfully consigned the Princess Florestine to the care of her august brother, "I regret that the necessities of war compelled me to make a prisoner of Madame the Princess, who was abroad early this morning on a mission of charity."

The prince bowed in silence. The princess's eyes were fixed upon the floor.

"And, Serene Highness," continued Titus, "I implore you to believe that I would not risk the precious life of so exalted a lady by putting her in proximity with a dangerously large amount of dynamite."

So saying, he tossed the can over the balustrade. It fell upon the pavement with an empty rattle.

End.

 
 
 

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