Page:Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field.djvu/203

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


MARK MEETS KING LEOPOLD—ALMOST

A man with a top hat, long gray whiskers and a rapid-looking young woman on his arm came out of the Metropole Hotel in Paris as we passed.

"Poor seedy beggar," said Mark, "I wonder whether he would object to a five-sous piece?" And he put his hand in his pocket.

"Hold," I said. "That's King Leopold and Cleo de Merode."

"Impossible, with that get-up," objected Mark.

"Get-up?" I repeated. "Kings always wear frayed jeans when they travel incog."

"In that case, go and smash the old beast. You are younger than I, and heavier, too."

At the moment when Mark extended this thoughtful invitation, Swithins of the "New York Herald" hailed us. "Look at that chap," he said, pointing to the person I had called his Belgian Majesty; "he is the model who sat for L'Assiette au Beurre's caricature of King Leopold as Saint Anthony. Let's go inside and get a copy."

Mark bought a dozen or more to send to American friends. The caricature by D'Ostoya, if I recollect rightly, was an excellent likeness of both the King and of the beggar we had run across.

"Neither would take his hat off to Rothschild," said Mark; "Leopold, because his