THE GRAND DUKE

RUD. My Lord Chamberlain, as you are aware, my marriage
with the wealthy Baroness von Krakenfeldt will take place
to-morrow, and you will be good enough to see that the rejoicings
are on a scale of unusual liberality. Pass that on. (Chamberlain
whispers to Vice-Chamberlain, who whispers to the next, and so
on.) The sports will begin with a Wedding Breakfast Bee. The
leading pastry-cooks of the town will be invited to compete, and
the winner will not only enjoy the satisfaction of seeing his
breakfast devoured by the Grand Ducal pair, but he will also be
entitled to have the Arms of Pfennig Halbpfennig tattoo'd between
his shoulder-blades. The Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. All
the public fountains of Speisesaal will run with Gingerbierheim
and Currantweinmilch at the public expense. The Assistant
Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. At night, everybody will
illuminate; and as I have no desire to tax the public funds
unduly, this will be done at the inhabitants' private expense.
The Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will see to this. All my
Grand Ducal subjects will wear new clothes, and the Sub-Deputy
Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will collect the usual commission on
all sales. Wedding presents (which, on this occasion, should be
on a scale of extraordinary magnificence) will be received at the
Palace at any hour of the twenty-four, and the Temporary
Sub-Deputy Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will sit up all night for
this purpose. The entire population will be commanded to enjoy
themselves, and with this view the Acting Temporary Sub-Deputy
Assistant Vice-Chamberlain will sing comic songs in the
Market-place from noon to nightfall. Finally, we have composed a
Wedding Anthem, with which the entire population are required to
provide themselves. It can be obtained from our Grand Ducal
publishers at the usual discount price, and all the Chamberlains
will be expected to push the sale. (Chamberlains bow and
exeunt). I don't feel at all comfortable. I hope I'm not doing
a foolish thing in getting married. After all, it's a poor heart
that never rejoices, and this wedding of mine is the first little
treat I've allowed myself since my christening. Besides,
Caroline's income is very considerable, and as her ideas of
economy are quite on a par with mine, it ought to turn out well.
Bless her tough old heart, she's a mean little darling! Oh, here
she is, punctual to her appointment!
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Word count: 395

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