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From At the Grass Roots, Comprising “The Christmas of 1883,” and Other Vagrant Sketches, by Elmer House (Dodd Gaston), with Cover Design and Frontispiece by Albert T. Reid, Topeka: Monotyped by Crane & Company, 1905; pp. 119-120.

Black and white sketch by Albert T. Reid, of Elmer House, sitting smoking a cigar at his desk.



Nearly every unattached girl in this town is looking for a Prince. Which is all right. Nothing inferior to a Prince in the matter of title is good enough for any girl.

Where the unattached girl falls into error is not in the matter of taste, but in matter of geography. She believes the only place she can meet a Prince is at the seaside, in the mountains, or at the home of a girl friend in some other town. There is always too great a disposition to overlook the members of the royal family right here at home. The Princes are distributed pretty equally, and one finds them quite as plentiful in Leavenworth, Des Moines or Peoria as they are at the seaside or in the mountains.

The idea that Princes are restricted to certain localities, or that the home-grown sort is inferior to the imported variety, 120 is error. No matter where she finds him, the girl will discover, in time, that her Prince smells of tobacco and is profane when occasion warrants. She will find that he knows the different brands of intoxicants well enough to call them by their first names, and that he changes his hosiery reluctantly. And she will also find that in the privacy of his apartments he prefers an old pair of slippers and his shirtsleeves to the royal robes.

If he doesn’t, the chances are that he isn’t a Prince.

There is just as much idiocy, just as many split infinitives, and just as much that is reprehensible among the men who frequent the drawing-rooms along Fifth avenue as there is among those for whom the shades in the front parlors in Topeka are drawn on Sunday evenings.

No town or community has a copyright on royal blood.

Cover Design by Albert T. Reid, Green with Black Title and Illustration of Trees, Clouds and a Distant Old One-Story Farmhouse, with a Chimney. It has been cropped for the online text as a tailpiece for each page.

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