For learning. For inspiration. Or just for fun.
A King-Sized Conspiracy : Rudolf Rassendyll is on holiday in Ruritania when he stumbles across a plot by the King’s brother to steal the crown.
A King-Sized Conspiracy

Abridged from ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ (1894), by Anthony Hope.

It is the eve of the coronation of the King of Ruritania, and his loyal courtiers have discovered him unconscious, drugged by his wicked brother Michael. But it just so happens that Rudolf Rassendyll, a British holidaymaker, is in the capital, and he looks exactly like the King...

FOR a moment or two we were all silent; then Sapt, knitting his bushy grey brows, took his pipe from his mouth and said to me:

“As a man grows old he believes in Fate. Fate sent you here. Fate sends you now to Strelsau.”

I staggered back, murmuring “Good God!”

Fritz looked up with an eager, bewildered gaze.

“Impossible!” I muttered. “I should be known.”

“It’s a risk — against a certainty,” said Sapt. “If you shave, I’ll wager you’ll not be known.* It’s your life, you know, if you’re known — and mine — and Fritz’s here. But, if you don’t go, I swear to you Black Michael will sit tonight on the throne, and the King lie in prison or his grave.”

The clock ticked fifty times, and sixty and seventy times, as I stood in thought. Then I suppose a look came over my face, for old Sapt caught me by the hand, crying: “You’ll go?”

“Yes, I’ll go,” said I, and I turned my eyes on the prostrate figure of the King on the floor.

* The king had recently shaved his beard off; Rassendyll had a luxurious moustache.

Abridged from ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ (1894), by Anthony Hope.

More like this

Extracts from Literature (93) Fiction (83)

Picture: © Ricardo Liberato, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
A night-time view of the city of Prague in the Czech Republic, a likely inspiration for Strelsau, capital of Ruritania.
Next
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930)

Amazon Books

Featured Music

Letters Game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: High Tiles Games with Words

Numbers Game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Target Number (Mental Arithmetic Game) Mental Arithmetic

Selected Stories
The experienced nurse could not stop saving lives, even at the cost of her own.
In a translation from the Authorised Version of the Bible, published in 1611, St Mark recounts the discovery of Christ’s empty tomb.
Based on a fable by
Aesop of Samos
Some people disparage what they can’t have.
Music by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
(1833-1897)
Despite setback after setback, Stanford was determined to hear his music played in public.
Based on a
Byzantine Tradition
A very unusual monastery with some very unusual protectors.
William Murdoch’s experiments with steam traction impressed his next-door neighbour, with world-changing results.