"To-morrow You Will be King"

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"To-morrow You Will be King"


TO-MORROW you will be king.

This is the best and most highly paid job that I give out. You will have an enormous salary, and you will be able to buy anything you like to eat or drink, but you must wear the clothes that I give you. There will be several hundred suits, and you must wear them on occasions as I dictate. You must always be thinking of ME and my CONSTITUTION (spelled in very large capitals), and you must not have any ideas of your own. You may think, but you must not express your thoughts. You must not have any likes or dislikes, any prejudices, any bias, or any political thought.

"Above all, you must not marry whom you like. I will find you a wife. You see, I was once a slave, as you will be to-morrow, and I like to keep you, although you are expensive to me, because you remind me of that time; or, rather, you bring home to me how I have developed, how I have become free, and I like to feel this power that I, a People (with a very large P), may even keep one slave myself, may even be a tyrant when the mood comes over me. For I rejoice in you, and as you pass me in the street I will take off my hat and bow to you, and when you deign to acknowledge me, I will cheer and cry, 'God save the King!'

"To-morrow and every day after I shall introduce you to hundreds and hundreds of people. You will not find them interesting, in fact you will find them mostly tedious and dull, but you must remember them all—all their names and faces and many facts concerning them, so that in after years, if you meet one of them, you must be ready to say, 'Ah, Mr. Brown, how is your youngest son getting on in Nicaragua?' You must be very careful to remember that it is the youngest son and that it is Nicaragua. If you ask how his eldest son is getting on in Fiji, and his eldest son is dead and had not even been to Fiji, you will estrange Brown, and I value Brown very highly. He supports the exchequer of one of my greatest parties. I shall expect this of you. It is what I am pleased to call 'tact.' If you meet others, and you look into their eyes, and they seem sympathetic to you, you must not treat them with more cordiality than those to whom you take an aversion.

"You must worship in the church established by my prelates, and considered best for you, and you must be strict in your observances. Every day there will be many papers for you to sign, but fortunately for you, you need not read them, for you must sign them in any case. And when you open my house of government you must read a speech. This speech will be written for you by some one you won't know, and will be printed in bold type, so that it will not be difficult to read.

"This holds good with every public act of yours. I try to make it as easy for you as possible, so that you have no personal worry or responsibility. You must not even refer to yourself as I; you must say 'we.' This does not mean that there is more than one of you, but it gives you emphasis, and lends point to the phrase, 'Le roi est mort. Vive le roi!'

"You may have relaxation,—that is to say, you may have change of scene and to a certain extent change of society,—but you must never deviate by a hair's-breadth from these restrictions that I have laid down. Into my life you will bring color, history, pageantry, and a sense of form. For these things I am prepared to pay you well and to stand by you.

"When your day is finished and you say your prayers and retire to bed, in the silent watches of the night you may have whatever thoughts you like. Of course I should prefer you to think of ME and my CONSTITUTION, but I shall not exact that from you, provided your thoughts do not color your actions of the preceding day. Now go, sire, for to-morrow you will be king."

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1928, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.