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Let’s Play King
by [?]

Miss Lugg squealed, “I’ve got it! How about his playing the drummer boy of the regiment—Civil War stuff—saves the General when he’s wounded, and Lincoln invites him to the White House?”

Miss Lugg was soaring into genius before their awed eyes. But she was interrupted by the circular-saw voice of Mrs. T. Benescoten Tait:

“Not on your life! Not a chance! Terry in them awful battle scenes with all them tough mob extras falling over him? That’s always the trouble with wars—they make good scenes but somebody is likely to get hurt. No, sir!”

“Was ist das denn fur ein Hutzpah!” growled Mr. Abraham Hamilton Granville. “Der Terry should take a chance, what we pay him!”

Mrs. Tait sprang up, a fury on ice. “Yeah! A miserable two thousand a week! Believe me, on the next contract it’s going to be four thousand, and if it don’t come from Jupiter, there’s others that’ll pay it. Why, we don’t hardly make expenses on two grand, having to keep up a swell social position so none of these bozos like Franchot can high-hat us, and Terry’s French tutor and his dancing teacher and his trainer and his chauffeur and—and—And thank heaven I’m not ambitious like a lot of these bums that want to show off how swell they are.

“Hones’ sometimes I wish we’d stayed back in Mechanicville! Mr. Tait had a large garage there—we saved more money than what we can here, the way you hogs want to grab off all the coin and don’t never think about the Artist and his folks and how they got to live. ”

“Yes, yes, yes, maybe that’s so. Well, what’s your idea of his next rle, Bessie?” soothed Mr. Granville.

Mr. Tait suggested, “I got an idea that—”

“You have not! You never did have!” said Bessie. “Now, I think it would be nice if—I’d just love to see my Terrykins as this here Lost Dophing—this son of Napoleon or Looey or whoever he was—YOU know, Leglong. Miss Lugg can look up all the historical dope on him. I think Terry’d look lovely in satin tights with a ruff!”

“Oh, gee!” wailed Terry.

“I don’t,” continued Mrs. Tait, with severe virtue, “like to see my little boy playing these newsboy and hard-up rles all the time. I don’t think it’s a good influence on all his Following. It ain’t progress. And him with his wardrobe!”

While Mrs. Tait sermonized, the butler had brought out the four-o’clock cocktail tray and the afternoon papers, and Wiggins, the rusty press agent, had escaped from the sound of Bessie’s voice into a nice wholesome Chicago murder story.

He piped, now:

“Say, talking about your Lost Dauphin dope, Bess, here’s one in real life. Seems in the paper, King Udo of Slovaria died last night of heart failure and his heir is his son, Maximilian—King Maximilian III, he’ll be—and the poor kid is only ten. Youngest king in the world. But where the heck is Slovaria?”

“You tellum, Terry,” said Bessie Tait. “Terry is a wonder at jography, same as I always was. ”

“I don’t want to!” protested the wonder.

“You do what I tell you to, or I won’t let you play baseball with the butler’s kids! I’ll—I’ll make you go to tea at Princess Marachecella’s!”

“Oh, darn!” sighed Terry.

Then he recited, with the greatest speed and lack of expression, “Slovaria is a Balkan kingdom bounded on the north by Roumania, on the east by Zenda, on the south by Bulgaria, and on the west by Graustark. The capital is Tzetokoskavar. The principal rivers are the Rjekl and the Zgosca. The exports are cattle, hides, cheese and wool. The reigning monarch is Udo VII, who is descended from the renowned warrior King Hieronymus, and who is united in wedlock to the famous beauty Sidonie, a cousin of the former German Kaiser … Say, Mamma, what’s a Balkan kingdom? Is it in China?”

“Now listen to him, will you? I bet there ain’t a kid in Hollywood that’s got as swell a tutor or ‘s educated as good as he is!” purred Mrs. Tait. “I was always like that, too—just crazy about books and education. ”

“Wait! Wait! I’ve got it!” shrieked Miss Lilac Lavery Lugg. “Here’s our scenario, and the publicity about this new kid king will help to put it over. Listen! Terry is the boy king of a—”