CHRISTMAS AT THE COURT
prolonged thought and study of face and character I have come to the conclusion that there is not one lady of my Court but who is quite lovely enough and charming enough to become my royal consort. Therefore to choose is difficult—so difficult that it is impossible, and, being impossible, I shall never wed again. I have spoken."
For a moment there was intense silence. Then deafening cheers arose, and all faces were radiant with delight, especially the faces of the ladies, who thus remained equals, no jealousy being possible. " Such tact! " said one. "How true!" cried another. But one lady had slipped away unobserved. It was Countess Spinx.
The gallant Monarch, unaccompanied, pleased at the reception given to his declaration, smilingly passed on to the antechamber, as was his wont, for a private view of the Christmas-tree before the revels commenced. King Jorum had detached one of the woollen boots embroidered with pearls and precious stones, anxiously tried it on, and was admiring the effect, when Little Love appeared and inquired if he would grant an interview to Prince Olivin, who was waiting without.
" I am engaged," was his Majesty's impatient reply.
" That, Sire, is what Prince Olivin wants to be!"