November 28 , 2007

The Jingo


The king slapped his hand to the back of his neck and jumped to his feet. Shaking the rain from his hair; he slammed and bolted the big wooden shutters just behind him. The princess, in the supple devilment of her nineteen years, leaned meekly against the shutters, but there was a suspicious spark in the wide brown eyes with which she held her brother's attention.
"We only stuck our noses out!" she deceptively apologized, as her slim brown hand slid stealthily up to the bolt.
The king laughed in spite of himself as he gazed down on her, her curling brown hair gleaming wet and the raindrops glistening on her oval face; and he shook his head at his younger brother, a tall boy of seventeen, who stood laughing behind her, quite ready for any mischief the girl might suggest.
"Shutters were made to keep storms out," the king stated, with every appearance of stern wisdom.
"Jump!" suddenly cried their guest from his seat in front of the wide fireplace, where thick flaming logs did their best against the damp and chill of the spring storm.
The guest, a black-bearded young man, with the fashionable red braiding on his dark blue jacket, was too late with his warning, for the princess had at last succeeded in slyly slipping the bolt, and she and her younger brother sprang away, shrieking with laughter, as the shutters flew wide open and the storm rushed in from the night, drenching the king and the marble floor, blowing out most of the flaring candle-balls which formed a frieze about the big hall, and swirling great volumes of smoke from the fireplace.
The king, a tall and wholesome-looking fellow of about thirty-five, shook the water again from his hair and beard, and made an energetic plunge for his brother and sister.
"Head them off, Onalyon!" he called, as, eluding him, they circled the big apartment, hurdling the dignified benches which came in their way.

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