74 PRINCE PRIGIO.
" Very! " said the ambassador, with perfect truth.
"' Caitiff!' she cries to your butler," his majesty went on ; " 'perjured knave, thou liest in thy throat! Gluckstein is a hundred leagues from here, and how sayest thou that thou slewest the monster, and earnest hither in a few hours' space ?' This had not occurred to me,—I am a plain king, but I at once saw the force of her majesty's argument. * Yes,' said I; 'how did you manage it ? ' But he—your man, I mean— was not a bit put out. ' Why, your majesty,' says he, ' I just sat down on that there bit of carpet, wished I was here, and here / ham. And I'd be glad, having had the trouble,—and my time not being my own,—to see the colour of them perkisits, according to the proclamation.' On this her majesty grew more indignant, if possible. ' Nonsense ! ' she cried ; ' a story out of the Arabian Nights is not suited for a modern public, and fails to win aesthetic credence.' These were her very words."
" Her majesty's expressions are ever choice and appropriate," said the ambassador.
" 'Sit down there, on the carpet, knave,' she went on ; ' ourself and consort'—meaning me —'will take our places by thy side, and / shall wish us in Gluckstein, at thy master's ! When the experiment has failed, thy head shall from thy shoulders be shorn !' So your man merely said, ' Very well, mum,—your majesty, I mean/