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Rupert The Resembler
by [?]

“The King!” said Spitz to Fritz quickly. “He must not see him.”

“Too late,” said Fritz, as a young man bounded lightly out of the bushes.

I was thunderstruck! It was as if I had suddenly been confronted with a mirror–and beheld myself! Of course he was not quite so good-looking, or so tall, but he was still a colorable imitation! I was delighted.

Nevertheless, for a moment he did not seem to reciprocate my feeling. He stared at me, staggered back and passed his hand across his forehead. “Can it be,” he muttered thickly, “that I’ve got ’em agin? Yet I only had–shingle glash!”

But Fritz quickly interposed.

“Your Majesty is all right–though,” he added in a lower voice, “let this be a warning to you for to-morrow! This gentleman is Mr. Razorbill–you know the old story of the Razorbills?–Ha! ha!”

But the King did not laugh; he extended his hand and said gently, “You are welcome–my cousin!” Indeed, my sister-in-law would have probably said that–dissipated though he was–he was the only gentleman there.

“I have come to see the coronation, your Majesty,” I said.

“And you shall,” said the King heartily, “and shall go with us! The show can’t begin without us–eh, Spitz?” he added playfully, poking the veteran in the ribs, “whatever Michael may do!”

Then he linked his arms in Spitz’s and mine. “Let’s go to the hut–and have some supper and fizz,” he said gayly.

We went to the hut. We had supper. We ate and drank heavily. We danced madly around the table. Nevertheless I thought that Spitz and Fritz were worried by the King’s potations, and Spitz at last went so far as to remind his Majesty that they were to start early in the morning for Kohlslau. I noticed also that as the King drank his speech grew thicker and Spitz and Fritz exchanged glances. At last Spitz said with stern significance:

“Your Majesty has not forgotten the test invariably submitted to the King at his coronation?”

“Shertenly not,” replied the King, with his reckless laugh. “The King mush be able to pronounsh–name of his country–intel-lillil-gibly: mush shay (hic!): ‘I’m King of–King of–Tootoo-tooral-looral-anyer.'” He staggered, laughed, and fell under the table.

“He cannot say it!” gasped Fritz and Spitz in one voice. “He is lost!”

“Unless,” said Fritz suddenly, pointing at me with a flash of intelligence, “HE can personate him, and say it. Can you?” he turned to me brusquely.

It was an awful moment. I had been drinking heavily too, but I resolved to succeed. “I’m King of Trooly-rooly–” I murmured; but I could not master it–I staggered and followed the King under the table.

“Is there no one here,” roared Spitz, “who can shave thish dynasty, and shay ‘Tooral–‘? No! —- it! I mean ‘Trularlooral–‘” but he, too, lurched hopelessly forward.

“No one can say ‘Tooral-looral–‘” muttered Fritz; and, grasping Spitz in despair, they both rolled under the table.

How long we lay there, Heaven knows! I was awakened by Spitz playing the garden hose on me. He was booted and spurred, with Fritz by his side. The King was lying on a bench, saying feebly: “Blesh you, my chillen.”

“By politely acceding to Black Michael’s request to ‘try our one-and-six sherry,’ he has been brought to this condition,” said Spitz bitterly. “It’s a trick to keep him from being crowned. In this country if the King is crowned while drunk, the kingdom instantly reverts to a villain–no matter who. But in this case the villain is Black Michael. Ha! What say you, lad? Shall we frustrate the rascal, by having YOU personate the King?”

I was–well!–intoxicated at the thought! But what would my sister-in-law say? Would she–in her Nonconformist conscience–consider it strictly honorable? But I swept all scruples aside. A King was to be saved! “I will go,” I said. “Let us on to Kohlslau–riding like the wind!” We rode like the wind, furiously, madly. Mounted on a wild, dashing bay–known familiarly as the “Bay of Biscay” from its rough turbulence–I easily kept the lead. But our horses began to fail. Suddenly Spitz halted, clapped his hand to his head, and threw himself from his horse. “Fools!” he said, “we should have taken the train! It will get there an hour before we will!” He pointed to a wayside station where the 7.15 excursion train for Kohlslau was waiting.