Okay, so no one liked my attempt at ' Romance Novel' spoofing.. Fair Enuff...How's 'Bout we try a " Boys Own " bit.. An old time adventure...plot's a bit hoary. writing on the fly , you can't be too inventive and must pull something from the stockpile.. but.. Chapter One: A Letter Home The Palace, St. Petersburg My Dear Miller: - You letter, which was a short as old Canfield's temper, reached me in Berlin as I was starting for here. I'm off to Khiva, this wise. You'll remember my old yarn about the Czar having saved my life years ago in a pig-sticking do in Germany - he shoved or kicked me into a bush just in the nick of time when the brute made his rush - and how we then discovered the strong resemblance between us? Weill, it's still true, and things have been happening in consequence. I ran across Burnaby's book about Khiva a while back and resolved to go there. He says that three Tartars can eat a whole sheep at a single meal, and I want to see if it's true. Any onl tag's good enough excuse for a globe-trotter, so I wrote to the Czar, reminded him of the pig incident, and asked permission to go East. As a result, I'm here as his guest; we've had a chat over the old time, and I'm to go where, when and how I like all over his dominions. he's an awfully decent sort, and I'm in for a real good time. But it's been a queer show. There's a woman in it of course - and a glorious woman too. A tall, queenly creature as handsome as a Greek, with the free carriage of one of our own Canadian girls. I saw her on the train, or rather she saw me and seemed particularly interested in me, and it was suiting me very nicely when out came the reason. We stopped at a station some miles from the capital, and as the girl and I were separated from the rest of the people, she said in an undertone - ' Your Majesty does not count the risks of travelling incognito, alone?' ' there are pleasures to counterbalance any risks, mademoiselle,' I answered ' Your solicitude is one of them. ' And I smiled partly at her amazing mistake and partly because she was so pretty. Then to put myself right, I added: ' but you mistake, I am no Majesty. I am a Canadian, Harper C. Dever is my name.' She lifted an eyebrow and smiled again, in obvious disbelief, and replied in French - ' A Canadian who understands Russian, speaks French and resembles His Najesty the Czar ' ' A Canadian who would gladly welcome an opportunity of seeing you again, mademoiselle. ' ' A Canadian who does not desire it more fervently than I. meanwhile, accept my warning ,sire.' She spoke with intense earnestness, and then left the train. How's that for an adventure, eh? But that was only scene one. I sat thinking it over until the train ran into the station at St. Petersburg, and then came scene two. the moment I stepped from the cars I saw that considerable preparations had been made to receive someone of importance, and while I stood looking about for him an old man, tightly bound in a somewhat rich uniform, with two or three companion volumes in attendance and a shelf of soldiers behind, came up to me. he waved everybody else out of earshot, and then with an almost reverential salute, said in a low voice - ' Mr. Dever, I am sure. ' 'Yes, that's my name.' ' Allow me to welcome you to the capital in my august master's name. I am Prince Kalkov, and His Majesty has instructed me to conduct you to the Palace. Will you accompany me?' By this time the people on the platform had begun to show considerable interest in the proceedings, to my intense amusement, and came crowding around a bit. ' I shall be dleighted,' I replied; and accordingly the Prince gave a word of command to those in attendance, a guard of soldiers was formed, and I was in this way escorted to the first of a string of carriages in waiting. 'To the Palace at full gallop! ' called the Prince in a tone loud enough to reach the bystanders. Someone raised a shout of ' God save the emperor,' and in anoterh minute we were off to the accompayment of loud cries and ringing cheers from the crowd, which was by this time a pretty big one. that was my sensational entrance into the capital. Here I am at the Czar's Palace, and from what Ican judge there's a great deal more of the same kind to follow. Comic opera with a dash of mysticism seems about a fair description of things up to now. More, when I've time to write. By the way, couldn't you have managed to leave Bay Street and the dollar raking process for a while and mmet me on my return? I mean to go on from Khiva through India to China. Come and l;unch with me say in Pekin, and have a time among the pigtails, Wire me at the British Legation and our people will forward to me. Seriously, you might do many things worse. Your old Friend, Harper C. Dever. P.S. I'm not kidding about the Pekin business. Come and meet me like a good fellow. and hang Bay Street. HCD.