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Seats of the Haughty
by [?]

Golden by day and silver by night, a new trail now leads to us across the Indian Ocean. Dusky kings and princes have found our Bombay of the West; and few be their trails that do not lead down to Broadway on their journey for to admire and for to see.

If chance should ever lead you near a hotel that transiently shelters some one of these splendid touring grandees, I counsel you to seek Lucullus Polk among the republican tuft-hunters that besiege its entrances. He will be there. You will know him by his red, alert, Wellington-nosed face, by his manner of nervous caution mingled with determination, by his assumed promoter’s or broker’s air of busy impatience, and by his bright-red necktie, gallantly redressing the wrongs of his maltreated blue serge suit, like a battle standard still waving above a lost cause. I found him profitable; and so may you. When you do look for him, look among the light-horse troop of Bedouins that besiege the picket-line of the travelling potentate’s guards and secretaries–among the wild-eyed genii of Arabian Afternoons that gather to make astounding and egregrious demands upon the prince’s coffers.

I first saw Mr. Polk coming down the steps of the hotel at which sojourned His Highness the Gaekwar of Baroda, most enlightened of the Mahratta princes, who, of late, ate bread and salt in our Metropolis of the Occident.

Lucullus moved rapidly, as though propelled by some potent moral force that imminently threatened to become physical. Behind him closely followed the impetus–a hotel detective, if ever white Alpine hat, hawk’s nose, implacable watch chain, and loud refinement of manner spoke the truth. A brace of uniformed porters at his heels preserved the smooth decorum of the hotel, repudiating by their air of disengagement any suspicion that they formed a reserve squad of ejectment.

Safe on the sidewalk, Lucullus Polk turned and shook a freckled fist at the caravansary. And, to my joy, he began to breathe deep invective in strange words:

“Rides in howdays, does he?” he cried loudly and sneeringly. “Rides on elephants in howdahs and calls himself a prince! Kings–yah! Comes over here and talks horse till you would think he was a president; and then goes home and rides in a private dining-room strapped onto an elephant. Well, well, well!”

The ejecting committee quietly retired. The scorner of princes turned to me and snapped his fingers.

“What do you think of that?” he shouted derisively. “The Gaekwar of Baroda rides in an elephant in a howdah! And there’s old Bikram Shamsher Jang scorching up and down the pig-paths of Khatmandu on a motor-cycle. Wouldn’t that maharajah you? And the Shah of Persia, that ought to have been Muley-on-the-spot for at least three, he’s got the palanquin habit. And that funny-hat prince from Korea–wouldn’t you think he could afford to amble around on a milk-white palfrey once in a dynasty or two? Nothing doing! His idea of a Balaklava charge is to tuck his skirts under him and do his mile in six days over the hog- wallows of Seoul in a bull-cart. That’s the kind of visiting potentates that come to this country now. It’s a hard deal, friend.”

I murmured a few words of sympathy. But it was uncomprehending, for I did not know his grievance against the rulers who flash, meteor-like, now and then upon our shores.

“The last one I sold,” continued the displeased one, “was to that three-horse-tailed Turkish pasha that came over a year ago. Five hundred dollars he paid for it, easy. I says to his executioner or secretary–he was a kind of a Jew or a Chinaman–‘His Turkey Gibbets is fond of horses, then?’

“‘Him?’ says the secretary. ‘Well, no. He’s got a big, fat wife in the harem named Bad Dora that he don’t like. I believe he intends to saddle her up and ride her up and down the board-walk in the Bulbul Gardens a few times every day. You haven’t got a pair of extra-long spurs you could throw in on the deal, have you?’ Yes, sir; there’s mighty few real rough-riders among the royal sports these days.”