The Empress Of Andorra

All the troubles in Andorra arose from the fact that the town clerk had

views of his own respecting the Holy Roman Empire.

Of course everybody knows that for many centuries the Republic of

Andorra, situated in an isolated valley among the Pyrenees, has enjoyed

the noble and inestimable boon of autonomy. Not that the Andorrans have

been accustomed to call it by that name, because, you see, the name was

yet invented; but the thing itself they have long possessed in all

its full and glorious significance. The ancient constitution of the

Republic may be briefly described as democracy tempered by stiletto. The

free and independent citizens did that which seemed right in their own

eyes; unless, indeed, it suited their convenience better to do that

which seemed wrong; and, in the latter case, they did it unhesitatingly.

So every man in Andorra stabbed or shot his neighbour as he willed,

especially if he suspected his neighbour of a prior intention to stab or

shoot him. The Republic contained no gallows, capital punishment having

been entirely abolished, and, for the matter of that, all other

punishment into the bargain. In short, the town of Andorra was really a

very eligible place of residence for families or gentlemen, provided

only they were decently expert in the use of the pistol.

However, in this model little Republic, as elsewhere, society found

itself ranged under two camps, the Liberal and the Conservative. And

lest any man should herein suspect the present veracious historian of

covert satirical intent, or sly allusion to the politics of neighbouring

States, it may be well to add that there was not much to choose between

the Liberals and the Conservatives of Andorra.

Now, the town clerk was the acknowledged and ostensible head of the

Great Liberal Party. His name in full consisted of some twenty

high-sounding Spanish prenomens, followed by about the same number of

equally high-sounding surnames; but I need only trouble you here with

the first and last on the list, which were simply Senor Don Pedro

Henriquez. It happened that Don Pedro, being a learned man, took in all

the English periodicals; and so I need hardly tell you that he was

thoroughly well up in the Holy Roman Empire question. He could have

passed a competitive examination on that subject before Mr. Freeman, or

held a public discussion with Professor Bryce himself. The town clerk

was perfectly aware that the Holy Roman Empire had come to an end, pro

tem. at least, in the year eighteen hundred and something, when Francis

the First, Second, or Third, renounced for himself and his heirs for

ever the imperial Roman title. But the town clerk also knew that the

Holy Roman Empire had often lain in abeyance for years or even

centuries, and had afterwards been resuscitated by some Karl (whom the

wicked call Charlemagne), some Otto, or some Henry the Fowler. And the

town clerk, a bold and ambitious young man, reflecting on these things,

had formed a deep scheme in his inmost heart. The deep scheme was after

this wise.

Why not revive the Holy Roman Empire in Andorra?

Nothing could be more simple, more natural, or more in accordance with

the facts of history. Even Mr. Freeman could have no plausible argument

to urge against it. For observe how well the scheme hangs together.

Andorra formed an undoubted and integral portion of the Roman Empire,

having been included in Region VII., Diocese 13 (Hispania Citerior

VIII.), under the division of Diocletian. But the Empire having gone to

pieces at the present day, any fragment of that Empire may re-constitute

itself the whole; "just as the tentacle of a hydra polype," said Don

Pedro (who, you know, was a very learned man), "may re-constitute itself

into a perfect animal, by developing a body, head, mouth, and

foot-stalk." (This, as you are well aware, is called the Analogical

Method of Political Reasoning.) Therefore, there was no just cause or

impediment why Andorra should not set up to be the original and only

genuine representative of the Holy Roman Empire, all others being

spurious imitations.--Q. E. D.

The town clerk had further determined in his own mind that he himself

was the Karl (not Charlemagne) who was destined to raise up this revived

and splendid Roman Empire. He had already struck coins in imagination,

bearing on the obverse his image and superscription, and the proud title

"Imp. Petrus P. F. Aug. Pater Patriae, Cos. XVIII.;" with a reverse of

Victory crowned, and the legend "Renovatio Romanorum." But this part of

his scheme he kept as yet deeply buried in the recesses of his own soul.

As regards the details of this Caesarian plan, much diversity of opinion

existed in the minds of the Liberal leaders. Don Pedro himself, as

champion of education, proposed that the new Emperor should be elected

by competitive examination; in which case he felt sure that his own

knowledge of the Holy Roman Empire would easily place him at the head of

the list. But his colleague, Don Luis Dacosta, who was the Joseph Hume

of Andorran politics, rather favoured the notion of sending in sealed

tenders for executing the office of Sovereign, the State not binding

itself to accept the lowest or any other tender; and he had himself

determined to make an offer for wearing the crown at the modest

remuneration of three hundred pounds per annum, payable quarterly.

Again, Don Iago Montes, a poetical young man, who believed firmly in

prestige, advocated the idea of inviting the younger son of some

German Grand-Duke to accept the Imperial Crown, and the faithful hearts

of a loyal Andorran people. But these minor points could easily be

settled in the future: and the important object for the immediate

present, said Don Pedro, was the acceptance in principle of the

resuscitated Holy Roman Empire.

Don Pedro's designs, however, met with considerable opposition from the

Conservative party in the Folk Mote. (They called it Folk Mote, and not

Cortes or Fueros, on purpose to annoy historical critics; and for the

same reason they always styled their chief magistrate, not the Alcalde,

but the Burgomaster.) The Conservative leader, Don Juan Pereira (first

and last names only; intermediate thirty-eight omitted for want of

space!) wisely observed that the good old constitution had suited our

fathers admirably; that we did not wish to go beyond the wisdom of our

ancestors; that young men were apt to prove thoughtless or precipitate;

and finally that "Nolumus leges Andorrae mutare." Hereupon, Don Pedro

objected that the growing anarchy of the citizens, whose stabbings were

increasing by geometrical progression, called for the establishment of a

strong government, which should curb the lawless habits of the jeunesse

doree. But Don Juan retorted that stabbing was a very useful practice

in its way; that no citizen ever got stabbed unless he had made himself

obnoxious to a fellow-citizen, which was a gross and indefensible piece

of incivism; and that stilettos had always been considered extremely

respectable instruments by a large number of deceased Andorran worthies,

whose names he proceeded to recount in a long and somewhat tedious

catalogue. (This, you know, is called the Argument from Authority.) The

Folk Mote, which consisted of men over forty alone, unanimously adopted

Don Juan's views, and at once rejected the town clerk's Bill for the

Resuscitation of the Holy Roman Empire.

Thus driven to extremities, the town clerk determined upon a coup

d'etat. The appeal to the people alone could save Andorran Society. But

being as cautious as he was ambitious, he decided not to display his

hand too openly at first. Accordingly he resolved to elect an Empress to

begin with; and then, by marrying the Empress, to become

Emperor-Consort, after which he could easily secure the Imperial crown

on his own account.

To ensure the success of this excellent notion, Don Pedro trusted to the

emotions of the populace. The way he did it was simply this.

At that particular juncture, a beautiful young prima donna had lately

been engaged for the National Italian Opera, Andorra. She was to appear

as the Grande Duchesse on the very evening after that on which the

Resuscitation Bill had been thrown out on a third reading. This amiable

lady bore the name of Signorita Nora Obrienelli. She was of Italian

parentage, but born in America, where her father, Signor Patricio

Obrienelli, a banished Neapolitan nobleman and patriot, had been better

known as Paddy O'Brien; having adopted that disguise to protect himself

from the ubiquitous emissaries of King Bomba. However, on her first

appearance upon any stage, the Signorita once more resumed her discarded

patronymic of Obrienelli; and it is this circumstance alone which has

led certain scandalous journalists maliciously to assert that her father

was really an Irish chimney-sweep. But not to dwell on these

genealogical details, it will suffice to say that Signorita Nora was a

beautiful young lady with a magnificent soprano voice. The enthusiastic

and gallant Andorrans were already wild at the mere sight of her

beauty, and expected great things from her operatic powers.

Don Pedro marked his opportunity. Calling on the prima donna in the

afternoon, faultlessly attired in frock-coat, chimney-pot, and lavender

kid gloves, the ambitious politician offered her a bouquet worth at

least three-and-sixpence, accompanied by a profound bow; and inquired

whether the title and position of Empress would suit her views.

"Down to the ground, my dear Don Pedro," replied the impulsive actress.

"The resuscitation of the Holy Roman Empire has long been the dream of

my existence."

Half an hour sufficed to settle the details. The protocols were signed,

the engagements delivered, and the fate of Andorra, with that of the

Holy Roman Empire attached, trembled for a moment in the balance. Don

Pedro hastily left to organize the coup d'etat, and to hire a special

body of claqueurs for the occasion.

Evening drew on apace, big with the fate of Pedro and of Rome. The Opera

House was crowded. Stalls and boxes glittered with the partisans of the

Liberal leader, the expectant hero of a revived Caesarism. The claque

occupied the pit and gallery. Enthusiasm, real and simulated, knew no

bounds. Signorita Obrienelli was almost smothered with bouquets; and the

music of catcalls resounded throughout the house. At length, in the

second act, when the prima donna entered, crown on head and robes of

state trained behind, in the official costume of the Grand-Duchess of

Gerolstein, Don Pedro raised himself from his seat and cried in a loud

voice, "Long live Nora, Empress of Andorra and of the Holy Roman


The whole audience rose as one man. "Long live the Empress," re-echoed

from every side of the building. Handkerchiefs waved ecstatically; women

sobbed with emotion; old men wept tears of joy that they had lived to

behold the Renovation of the Romans. In five minutes the revolution was

a fait accompli. Don Juan Pereira obtained early news of the coup

d'etat, and fled precipitately across the border, to escape the popular

vengeance--not a difficult feat, as the boundaries of the quondam

Republic extended only five miles in any direction. Thence the

broken-hearted old patriot betook himself into France, where he intended

at first to commit suicide, in imitation of Cato; but on second

thoughts, he decided to proceed to Guernsey, where he entered into

negotiations for purchasing Victor Hugo's house, and tried to pose as a

kind of pendent to that banished poet and politician.

Although this mode of election was afterwards commented upon as informal

by the European Press, Don Pedro successfully defended it in a learned

letter to the Times, under the signature of "Historicus Secundus," in

which he pointed out that a similar mode has long been practised by the

Sacred College, who call it "Electio per Inspirationem."

The very next day, the Bishop of Urgel drove over to Andorra, and

crowned the happy prima donna as Empress. Great rejoicings immediately

followed, and the illuminations were conducted on so grand a scale that

the single tallow-chandler in the town sold out his entire

stock-in-trade, and many houses went without candles for a whole week.

Of course the first act of the grateful sovereign was to extend her

favour to Don Pedro, who had been so largely instrumental in placing her

upon the throne. She immediately created him Chancellor of Andorra and

Prince of the Holy Roman Empire. The office of town clerk was abolished

in perpetuity; while an hereditary estate of five acres was conferred

upon H.E. the Chancellor and his posterity for ever.

Don Pedro had now the long-wished-for opportunity of improving the

social and political position of that Andorran people whom he had so

greatly loved. He determined to endow them with Primary Education, a

National Debt, Free Libraries and Museums, the Income Tax, Female

Suffrage, Trial by Jury, Permissive Prohibitory Bills, a Plebiscitum, an

Extradition Treaty, a Magna Charta Association, and all the other

blessings of modern civilization. By these means he hoped to ingratiate

himself in the public favour, and thus at length to place himself

unopposed upon the Imperial and Holy Roman throne.

His first step was the settlement of the Constitution. And as he was

quite determined in his own mind that the poor little Empress should

only be a puppet in the hands of her Chancellor, who was to act as Mayor

of the Palace (observe how well his historical learning stood him in

good stead on all occasions!), he decided that the revived Empire should

take the form of a strictly limited monarchy. He had some idea, indeed,

of proclaiming it as the "Holy Roman Empire (Limited);" but on second

thoughts it occurred to him that the phrase might be misinterpreted as

referring to the somewhat exiguous extent of the Andorran territory: and

as he wished it to be understood that the new State was an aggressive

Power, which contemplated the final absorption of all the other Latin

races, he wisely refrained from the equivocal title. However, he settled

the Constitution on a broad and liberal basis, after the following

fashion. I quote from his rough draft-sketch, the completed document

being too long for insertion in full.

"The supreme authority resides in the Sovereign and the Folk Mote. The

Sovereign reigns, but does not govern (at present). The Folk Mote has

full legislative and deliberative powers. It consists of fourteen

members, chosen from the fourteen wards of East and West Andorra.

(Members for Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy may hereafter be added,

raising the total complement to eighteen.) The right of voting is

granted to all persons, male or female, above eighteen years of age. The

executive power rests with the Chancellor of the Empire, who acts in

the name of the Sovereign. He possesses a right of veto on all acts of

the Folk Mote. His office is perpetual. Vivat Imperatrix!"

This Constitution was proposed to a Public Assembly or Comitia of the

Andorran people, and was immediately carried nem. con. Enthusiasm was

the order of the day: Don Pedro was a handsome young man, of personal

popularity: the ladies of Andorra were delighted with any scheme of

government which offered them a vote: and the men had all a high opinion

of Don Pedro's learning. So nobody opposed a single clause of the

Constitution on any ground.

The next step to be taken consisted in gaining the affections of the

Empress. But here Don Pedro found to his consternation that he had

reckoned without his hostess. It is an easy thing to make a revolution

in the body politic, but it is much more serious to attempt a revolution

in a woman's heart. Her Majesty's had long been bestowed elsewhere. It

is true she had encouraged Don Pedro's attentions on his first momentous

visit, but that might be largely accounted for on political grounds. It

is true also that she was still quite ready to carry on an innocent

flirtation with her handsome young Chancellor when he came to deliberate

upon matters of state, but that she had often done before with the

lout of an actor who took the part of Fritz. "Prince," she would say,

with one of her sunny smiles, "do just what you like about the

Permissive Prohibitory Bill, and let us have a glass of sparkling

Sillery together in the Council Chamber. You and I are too young, and,

shall I say, too good-looking, to trouble our poor little heads about

politics and such rubbish. Youth, after all, is nothing without

champagne and love!"

And yet her heart--her heart was over the sea. During one of her

starring engagements among the Central American States, Signorita

Obrienelli had made the acquaintance of Don Carlos Montillado, eldest

son of the President of Guatemala. A mutual attachment had sprung up

between the young couple, and had taken the practical form of bouquets,

bracelets, and champagne suppers; but, alas! the difference in their

ranks had long hindered the fulfilment of Don Carlos's anxious vows. His

Excellency the President constantly declared that nothing could induce

him to consent to a marriage between his son and a strolling actress--in

such insolent terms did the wretch allude to the future occupant of an

Imperial throne! Now, however, all was changed. Fate had smiled upon the

happy lovers, and Don Carlos was already on his way to Andorra as

Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the

Guatemalan Republic to the renovated Empire. The poor Chancellor

discovered too late that he had baited a hook for his own destruction.

However, he did not yet despair. To be sure the Empress, young,

beautiful, and with a magnificent soprano voice, had seated herself

firmly in the hearts of her susceptible subjects. Besides, her engaging

manners, marked by all the charming abandon of the stage, allowed her

to make conquests freely among her lieges, each of whom she encouraged

in turn, while smiling slily at the discarded rivals. Still, Don Pedro

took heart once more. "Revolution enthroned her," he muttered between

his teeth, "and counter-revolution shall disenthrone her yet. These

silly people will smirk and bow while she pretends to be in love with

every one of them from day to day; but when once the young Guatemalan

has carried off the prize they will regret their folly, and turn to the

Chancellor, whose heart has always been fixed upon the welfare of


With this object in view, the astute politician worked harder than ever

for the regeneration of the State. His policy falls under two heads, the

External and the Internal. Each head deserves a passing mention from the

laborious historian.

Don Pedro's External Policy consisted in the annexation of France,

Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and the amalgamation of the Latin races.

Accordingly, he despatched Ambassadors to the courts of those four

Powers, informing them that the Holy Roman Empire had been resuscitated

in Andorra, and inviting them to send in their adhesion to the new

State. In that case he assured them that each country should possess a

representative in the Imperial Folk Mote on the same terms as the

several wards of Andorra itself, and that the settlement of local

affairs should be left unreservedly to the minor legislatures, while the

Chancellor of the Empire in person would manage the military and naval

forces and the general executive department of the whole Confederation.

As the four Powers refused to take any notice of Don Pedro's manifesto,

the Chancellor declared to the Folk Mote his determination of treating

them as recalcitrant rebels, and reducing them by force of arms.

However, the Andorran army not being thoroughly mobilized, and indeed

having fallen into a state of considerable demoralization, the ambitious

prince decided to postpone the declaration of war sine die; and his

Foreign Policy accordingly stood over for the time being.

Don Pedro's Internal Policy embraced various measures of Finance,

Electoral Law, Public Morals, and Police Regulation.

The financial position of Andorra was now truly deplorable. In addition

to the expenses of the Imperial Election, and the hire of post-horses

for the Bishop of Urgel to attend the coronation, it cannot be denied

that the Empress had fallen into most extravagant habits. She insisted

upon drinking Veuve Clicquot every day for dinner, and upon ordering

large quantities of olives farcies and pate de foie gras, to which

delicacies she was inordinately attached. She also sent to a Parisian

milliner for two new bonnets, and had her measure taken for a poult de

Lyon dress. These expensive tastes, contracted upon the stage, soon

drained the Andorran Exchequer, and the Folk Mote was at its wits' end

to devise a Budget. One radical member had even the bad taste to call

for a return of Her Majesty's millinery bill; but this motion the House

firmly and politely declined to sanction. At last Don Pedro stepped in

to solve the difficulty, and proposed an Act for the Inflation of the


Inflation is a very simple financial process indeed. It consists in

writing on a small piece of white paper, "This is a Dollar," or, "This

is a Pound," as the case may be, and then compelling your creditors to

accept the paper as payment in full for the amount written upon its

face. The scheme met with perfect success, and Don Pedro was much

bepraised by the press as the glorious regenerator of Andorran Finance.

Among the Chancellor's plans for electoral reform the most important was

the Bill for the Promotion of Infant Suffrage. Don Pedro shrewdly argued

that if you wished to be popular in the future, you must enlist the

sympathies of the rising generation by conferring upon them some signal

benefit. Hence his advocacy of Infant Suffrage. In his great speech to

the Folk Mote upon this important measure, he pointed out that the

brutal doctrine of an appeal to force in the last resort ill befitted

the nineteenth century. Many infants owned property; therefore they

ought to be represented. Their property was taxed; no taxation without

representation; therefore they ought to be represented. Great cruelties

were often practised upon them by their parents, which showed how futile

was the argument that their parents vicariously represented them;

therefore they ought to be directly represented. An honourable member on

the Opposition side had suggested that dogs were also taxed, and that

great cruelties were occasionally practised upon dogs. Those facts were

perfectly true, and he could only say that they proved to him the

thorough desirability of insuring representation for dogs at some future

day. But we must not move too fast. He was no hasty radical, no violent

reconstructionist; he preferred, stone by stone, to build up the sure

and perfect fabric of their liberties. So he would waive for the time

being the question concerning the rights of dogs, and only move at

present the third reading of the Bill for the Promotion of Infant

Suffrage. A division was hardly necessary. The House passed the Act by a

majority of twelve out of a total of fourteen members.

The Bills for the Gratuitous Distribution of Lollipops, for the

Wednesday and Saturday Whole Holidays, and for the Total Abolition of

Latin Grammar, followed as a matter of course. The minds of the infant

electors were thus thoroughly enlisted on the Chancellor's side.

As to Moral Regeneration, that was mainly ensured by the Act for the

Absolute Suppression of the Tea Trade. No man, said the Chancellor, had

a right to endanger the health and happiness of his posterity by the

pernicious habit of tea-drinking. Alcohol they had suppressed, and

tobacco they had suppressed; but tea still remained a plague-spot in

their midst. It had been proved that tea and coffee contained poisonous

alkaloid principles, known as theine and caffeine (here the Chancellor

displayed the full extent of his chemical learning), which were all but

absolutely identical with the poisonous principles of opium, prussic

acid, and atheistical literature generally. It might be said that this

Bill endangered the liberty of the subject. No man had a greater respect

for the liberty of the subject than he had; he adored, he idolized, he

honoured with absolute apotheosis the liberty of the subject; but in

what did it consist? Not, assuredly, in the right to imbibe a venomous

drug, which polluted the stream of life for future generations, and was

more productive of manifold diseases than even vaccination itself.

"Tea," cried the orator passionately, raising his voice till the fresh

whitewash on the ceiling of the Council Chamber trembled with

sympathetic emotion; "Tea, forsooth! Call it rather strychnine! Call it

arsenic! Call it the deadly Upas-tree of Java (Antiaris toxicaria,

Linnaeus)"--what prodigious learning!--"which poisons with its fatal

breath whoever ventures to pass beneath its baleful shadow! I see it

driving out of the field the harmless chocolate of our forefathers; I

see it forcing its way into the earliest meal of morning, and the latest

meal of eve. I see it now once more swarming over the Pyrenees from

France, with Paris fashions and bad romances, to desecrate the sacred

hour of five o'clock with its newfangled presence. The infant in arms

finds it rendered palatable to his tender years by the insidious

addition of copious milk and sugar; the hallowed reverence of age

forgets itself in disgraceful excesses at the refreshment-room of

railway stations. This is the ubiquitous pest which distils its venom

into every sex and every age! This is the enchanted chalice of the

Cathaian Circe which I ask you to repel to-day from the lips of the

young, the pure, and the virtuous!"

It was an able and eloquent effort; but even the Chancellor's powers

were all but overtasked in so hard a struggle against ignorance and

prejudice. Unhappily, several of the members were themselves secretly

addicted to that cup of five o'clock tea to which Don Pedro so feelingly

alluded. In the end, however, by taking advantage of the temporary

absence of three senators, who had gone to indulge their favourite vice

at home, the Bill triumphantly passed its third reading by an

overwhelming majority of chocolate drinkers, and became forthwith the

law of the Holy Roman Empire.

Meanwhile Don Carlos Montillado had crossed the stormy seas in safety,

and arrived by special mule at the city of Andorra. He took up his

quarters at the Guatemalan Embassy, and immediately sent his card to the

Empress and the Chancellor, requesting the honour of an early


The Empress at once despatched a note requesting Don Carlos to present

himself without delay in the private drawing-room of the Palace. The

happy lover and ambassador flew to her side, and for half an hour the

pair enjoyed the delicious Paradise of a mutual attachment. At the end

of that period Don Pedro presented himself at the door.

"Your Majesty," he exclaimed in a tone of surprise, "this is a most

irregular proceeding. His Excellency the Guatemalan Ambassador should

have called in the first instance upon the Imperial Chancellor."

"Prince," replied the Empress firmly, "I refuse to give you audience at

present. I am engaged on private business--on strictly private

business--with his Excellency."

"Excuse me," said the Chancellor blandly, "but I must assure your


"Leave the room, Prince," said the Empress, with an impatient gesture.

"Leave the room at once!"

"Leave the room, fellow, when a lady speaks to you," cried the impetuous

young Guatemalan, drawing his sword, and pushing Don Pedro bodily out of

the door.

The die was cast. The Rubicon was crossed. Don Pedro determined on a

counter-revolution, and waited for his revenge. Nor had he long to wait.

Half an hour later, as Don Carlos was passing out of the Palace on his

way home to dress for dinner, six stout constables seized him by the

arms, handcuffed him on the spot, and dragged him off to the Imperial

prison. "At the suit of his Excellency the Chancellor," they said in

explanation, and hurried him away without another word.

The Empress was furious. "How dare you?" she shrieked to Don Pedro.

"What right have you to imprison him--the accredited representative of a

Foreign Power?"

"Excuse me," answered Don Pedro, in his smoothest tone. "Article 39 of

the Penal Code enacts that the person of the Chancellor is sacred, and

that any individual who violently assaults him, with arms in hand, may

be immediately committed to prison without trial, by her Majesty's

command. Article 40 further provides that Foreign Ambassadors and other

privileged persons are not exempt from the penalties of the previous


"But, sir," cried the angry little Empress (she was too excited now to

remember that Don Pedro was a Prince), "I never gave any command to have

Don Carlos imprisoned. Release him at once, I tell you."

"Your Majesty forgets," replied the Chancellor quietly, "that by Article

I of the Constitution the Sovereign reigns but does not govern. The

prerogative is solely exercised through the Chancellor. L'etat, c'est

moi!" And he struck an attitude.

"So you refuse to let him out!" said the Empress. "Mayn't I marry who I

like? Mayn't I even settle who shall be my own visitors?"

"Certainly not, your Majesty, if the interests of the State demand that

it should be otherwise."

"Then I'll resign," shrieked out the poor little Empress, with a burst

of tears. "I'll withdraw. I'll retire. I'll abdicate."

"By all means," said the Chancellor coolly. "We can easily find another

Sovereign quite as good."

The shrewd little ex-actress looked hard into Don Pedro's face. She was

an adept in the art of reading emotions, and she saw at once what Don

Pedro really wished. In a moment she had changed front, and stood up

once more every inch an Empress. "No, I won't!" she cried; "I see you

would be glad to get rid of me, and I shall stop here to baffle and

thwart you; and I shall marry Carlos; and we shall fight it out to the

bitter end." So saying, she darted out of the room, red-eyed but

majestic, and banged the door after her with a slam as she went.

Henceforward it was open war between them. Don Pedro did not dare to

depose the Empress, who had still a considerable body of partisans

amongst the Andorran people; but he resolutely refused to release the

Guatemalan legate, and decided to accept hostilities with the Central

American Republic, in order to divert the minds of the populace from

internal politics. If he returned home from the campaign as a successful

commander, he did not doubt that he would find himself sufficiently

powerful to throw off the mask, and to assume the Imperial purple in

name as well as in reality.

Accordingly, before the Guatemalan President could receive the news of

his son's imprisonment, Don Pedro resolved to prepare for war. His first

care was to strengthen the naval resources of his country. The

Opposition--that is to say, the Empress's party--objected that Andorra

had no seaboard. But Don Pedro at once overruled that objection, by dint

of several parallel instances. The Province of Upper Canada (now

Ontario, added the careful historical student) had no seaboard, yet the

Canadians placed numerous gunboats on the great lakes during the war of

1812. (What research!) Again, the Nile, the Indus, the Ganges, and many

other great rivers had been the scene of important naval engagements as

early as B.C. 1082, which he could show from the evidence of papyri

now preserved in the British Museum. (What universal knowledge!) The

objection was frivolous. But, answered the Opposition, Andorra has

neither lakes nor navigable rivers. This, Don Pedro considered, was mere

hair-splitting. Perhaps they would tell him next it had no gutters or

water-butts. Besides, we must accommodate ourselves to the environment.

(This, you see, conclusively proves that the Chancellor had read Mr.

Herbert Spencer, and was thoroughly well up in the minutiae of the

Evolutionist Philosophy.) Had they never looked into their Thucydides?

Did they not remember the famous holkos, or trench, whereby the

Athenian triremes were lifted across the Isthmus of Corinth? Well, he

proposed in like manner to order a large number of ironclads from an

eminent Glasgow firm, to pull them overland up the Pyrenees, and to

plant them on the mountain tops around Andorra as permanent batteries.

That was what he meant by adaptation to the environment.

So the order was given to the eminent Glasgow firm, who forthwith

supplied the Empire with ten magnificent Clyde-built ironclads, having

14-inch plates, and patent double-security rivets: mounting twelve

eighty-ton guns apiece, and fitted up with all the latest Woolwich

improvements. These vessels were then hauled up the mountains, as Don

Pedro proposed; and there they stood, on the tallest neighbouring

summits, in very little danger of going to the bottom, as the ironclads

of other Powers are so apt to do. In return, Don Pedro tendered payment

by means of five million pounds Inflated Currency, which he assured the

eminent ship-builders were quite as good as gold, if not a great deal

better. The firm was at first inclined to demur to this mode of payment;

but Don Pedro immediately retorted that they did not seem to understand

the Currency Question: and as this is an imputation which no gentleman

could endure for a moment, the eminent ship-builders pocketed the

inflated paper at once, and pretended to think no more about it.

However, there was one man among them who rather mistrusted inflation,

because, you see, his education had been sadly neglected, especially as

regards the works of American Political Economists, in which Don Pedro

was so deeply versed. Now, this ignorant and misguided man went straight

off to the Stock Exchange with his share of the five millions, and

endeavoured to negotiate a few hundred thousands for pocket-money. But

it turned out that all the other Stock Exchange magnates were just as

ill-informed as himself with respect to inflation and the Currency

Question at large: and they persisted in declaring that a piece of

paper is really none the better for having the words "This is a Pound"

written across its face. So the eminent ship-builder returned home

disconsolate, and next day instituted proceedings in Chancery against

the Holy Roman Empire at Andorra for the recovery of five million pounds

sterling. What came at last of this important suit you shall hear in the


Meanwhile, poor Don Carlos remained incarcerated in the Imperial prison,

and preparations for war went on with vigour and activity, both in

Andorra and Guatemala. Naturally, the greatest excitement prevailed

throughout Europe, and especially in the sympathetic Republic of San

Marino. Very different views of the situation were expressed by the

various periodicals of that effusive State. The Matutinal Agitator

declared that Andorra under the Obrienelli dynasty had become a

dangerously aggressive Power, and that no peace could be expected in

Europe until the Andorrans had been taught to recognize their true

position in the scale of nations. The Vespertinal Sentimentalist, on

the other hand, looked upon the Guatemalans as wanton disturbers of the

public quietude, and considered Andorra in the favourable light of an

oppressed nationality. The Hebdomadal Tranquillizer, which treated

both sides with contempt--avowing that it held the Andorrans to be

little better than lawless brigands, in the last stage of bankruptcy;

and the Guatemalans to be mere drunken half-castes, incapable of attack

or defence for want of men and money--this lukewarm and mean-spirited

journal, I say, was treated with universal contumely as a wretched

time-server, devoid of human sympathies and of proper cosmopolitan

expansiveness. At length, however, through the good offices of the San

Marino Government, both Powers were induced to lay aside the thought of

needless bloodshed, and to discuss the terms of a mutual understanding

at a Pan-Hispanic Congress to be held in the neutral metropolis of


Invitations to attend the Congress were issued to all the

Spanish-speaking nations on both sides of the Atlantic. There were a few

trifling refusals, it is true, as Spain, Mexico, and the South American

States declined to send representatives to the proposed meeting: but

still a goodly array of plenipotentiaries met to discuss the terms of

peace. Envoys from Andorra, from Guatemala, and from the other Central

American Republics--one of whom was of course a Chevalier of the Exalted

Order of the Holy Rose of Honduras, while another represented the latest

President of Nicaragua--sat down by the side of a coloured marquis from

San Domingo, and a mulatto general who presented credentials from the

Republic of Cuba--since unhappily extinct. Thus it will be seen at a

glance that the Congress wanted nothing which could add to its imposing

character, either as an International Parliament or as an expression of

military Pan-Hispanic force. Europe felt instinctively that its

deliberations were backed up by all the vast terrestrial and naval

armaments of its constituent Powers.

But while Don Pedro was pulling the wires of the Monaco convention (by

telegraph) from his headquarters at Andorra--he could not himself have

attended its meeting, lest his august Sovereign should embrace the

opportunity of releasing the captive Guatemalan and so stopping his

hopes of future success--he had to contend at home, not only with the

covert opposition of the brave little Empress, but also with the open

rebellion of a disaffected minority. The five wards which constitute

East Andorra had long been at secret variance with the nine wards of

West Andorra; and they seized upon this moment of foreign complications

to organize a Home Rule party, and set on foot a movement of secession.

After a few months of mere parliamentary opposition, they broke at last

into overt acts of treason, seized on three of Don Pedro's ironclads,

and proclaimed themselves a separate government under the title of the

Confederate Wards of Andorra. This last blow almost broke Don Pedro's

heart. He had serious thoughts of giving up all for lost, and retiring

into a monastery for the term of his natural life.

As it happened, however, the Chancellor was spared the necessity for

that final humiliation, and the Pan-Hispanic Congress was relieved of

its arduous duties by the sudden intervention of a hitherto passive

Power. Great Britain woke at last to a sense of her own prestige and the

necessities of the situation. The Court of Chancery decided that the

Inflated Currency was not legal tender, and adjudicated the bankrupt

state of Andorra to the prosecuting creditors, the firm of eminent

ship-builders at Glasgow. A sheriff's officer, backed by a company of

British Grenadiers, was despatched to take possession of the territory

in the name of the assignees, and to repel any attempt at armed


Political considerations had no little weight in the decision which led

to this imposing military demonstration. It was felt that if we

permitted Guatemala to keep up a squadron of ironclads in the Caribbean,

a perpetual menace would overshadow our tenure of Jamaica and Barbadoes:

while if we suffered Andorra to overrun the Peninsula, our position at

Gibraltar would not be worth a fortnight's purchase. For these reasons

the above-mentioned expeditionary force was detailed for the purpose of

attaching the insolent Empire, liberating the imprisoned Guatemalan, and

entirely removing the casus belli. It was hoped that such prompt and

vigorous action would deter the Central American States from their

extensive military preparations, which had already reached to several

pounds of powder and over one hundred stand of Martini-Henry rifles.

Our demonstration was quite as successful as the "little wars" of Great

Britain have always been. Don Pedro made some show of resistance with

his eighty-ton guns; but finding that the contractors had only supplied

them with wooden bores, he deemed it prudent at length to beat a

precipitate retreat. As to the poor little Empress, she had long learned

to regard herself as a cypher in the realm over which she reigned but

did not govern; and she was therefore perfectly ready to abdicate the

throne, and resign the crown jewels to the sheriff's officer. She did so

with the less regret, because the crown was only aluminium, and the

jewels only paste--being, in fact, the identical articles which she had

worn in her theatrical character as the Grand-Duchess of Gerolstein. The

quondam republic was far from rich, and it had been glad to purchase

these convenient regalia from the property-man at the theatre on the

eventful morning of the Imperial Coronation.

Don Carlos was immediately liberated by the victorious troops, and

rushed at once into the arms of his inamorata. The Bishop of Urgel

married them as private persons on the very same afternoon. The

ex-Empress returned to the stage, and made her first reappearance in

London, where the history of her misfortunes, and the sympathy which the

British nation always extends to the conquered, rapidly secured her an

unbounded popularity. Don Carlos practised with success on the violin,

and joined the orchestra at the same house where his happy little wife

appeared as prima donna. Senor Montillado the elder at first announced

his intention of cutting off his son with a shilling; but being shortly

after expelled from the Presidency of the Guatemalan Republic by one of

the triennial revolutions which periodically diversify life in that

volcanic state, he changed his mind, took the mail steamer to

Southampton, and obtained through his son's influence a remunerative

post as pantaloon at a neighbouring theatre.

The eminent ship-builders took possession of East and West Andorra,

quelled the insurrectionary movement of the Confederate Wards, and

brought back the ten ironclads, together with the crown jewels and other

public effects. On the whole, they rather gained than lost by the

national bankruptcy, as they let out the conquered territory to the

Andorran people at a neat little ground-rent of some L20,000 per annum.

Don Pedro fled across the border to Toulouse, where he obtained

congenial employment as clerk to an avoue. He was also promptly elected

secretary to the local Academy of Science and Art, a post for which his

varied attainments fit him in the highest degree. He has given up all

hopes of the resuscitation of the Holy Roman Empire, and is now engaged

to a business-like young woman at the Cafe de l'Univers, who will

effectually cure him of all lingering love for transcendental politics.

Finally, if any hypercritical person ventures to assert that this

history is based upon a total misconception of the Holy Roman Empire

question--that I am completely mistaken about Francis II., utterly wrong

about Otto the Great, and hopelessly fogged about Henry the Fowler--I

can only answer, that I take these statements as I find them in the

note-books of Don Pedro, and the printed debates of the Andorran Folk

Mote. Like a veracious historian, I cannot go beyond my authorities. But

I think you will agree with me, my courteous reader, that the dogmatic

omniscience of these historical critics is really beginning to surpass

human endurance.