The tin princess, p.1
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       The Tin Princess, p.1

         Part #4 of Sally Lockhart series by Philip Pullman
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The Tin Princess


  THE TIN PRINCESS

  PHILIP PULLMAN

  By Philip Pullman

  The Sally Lockhart Quartet

  The Ruby in the Smoke The Shadow in the North The Tiger in the Well The Tin Princess

  His Dark Materials

  Northern Lights

  The Subtle Knife

  The Amber Spyglass Lyra's Oxford

  Once Upon a Time in the North The New Cut Gang

  Thunderbolt's Waxwork The Gas-Fitters' Ball Contemporary Novels

  The Broken Bridge The Butterfly Tattoo The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ Books with Pictures and Fairy Tales

  The Scarecrow and his Servant Spring-Heeled Jack Count Karlstein

  The Firework Makers' Daughter I Was A Rat!

  Puss in Boots

  Mossycoat

  Aladdin

  Clockwork

  Grimm Tales: For Young and Old Plays

  Frankenstein (adaptation)

  Sherlock Holmes and the Limehouse Horror

  THE TIN PRINCESS

  PHILIP PULLMAN

  A SALLY LOCKHART MYSTERY

  About the Author

  Born in Norwich in 1946, Philip Pullman is a world-renowned writer. His novels have won every major award for children's fiction, and are now also established as adult bestsellers. The His Dark Materials trilogy came third in the BBC's "Big Read" competition to find the nation's favourite book. In 2005 he was awarded the Astrid Lingren Memorial Award, the world's biggest prize for children's literature. Philip is married with two grown-up children, and lives in Oxford.

  "Stories are the most important thing in the world. Without stories, we wouldn't be human beings at all"

  PHILIP PULLMAN

  For Gordon Dennis, with gratitude and affection

  Thanks to Tom for help with the family tree

  Contents

  CERTAIN ITEMS OF HISTORICAL INTEREST 1882

  MAJOR CHARACTERS IN THE TIN PRINCESS

  MAP OF RAZKAVIA

  FAMILY TREE OF THE RULING HOUSE OF RAZKAVIA

  Chapter OneTHE INFERNAL MACHINE

  Chapter TwoMRS GOLDBERG

  Chapter ThreeTHE IRISH GUARDS

  Chapter FourTHE ALHAMBRA THEATRE

  Chapter FiveETIQUETTE

  Chapter SixEAGLES AND BIRDLIME

  Chapter SevenWHIRLPOOL

  Chapter EightTHE CORONATION

  Chapter NineDISPOSITIONS

  Chapter TenTHE MAP ROOM

  Chapter ElevenINSIDE THE GROTTO

  Chapter TwelveSTATECRAFT

  Chapter ThirteenTHE LITTLE GLASS GLOBE

  Chapter FourteenBETRAYAL

  Chapter FifteenSAUCEPAN

  Chapter SixteenWOOL

  Chapter SeventeenTHE FUNICULAR RAILWAY

  Chapter EighteenWOLFLIGHT

  Chapter NineteenGHOSTS

  Chapter TwentyTHE SWISS CLINIC

  Major characters in

  THE TIN PRINCESS

  REBECCA WINTER (BECKY),

  aged sixteen

  JAMES TAYLOR (JIM),

  a consulting detective

  MISS ADELAIDE BEVAN,

  a young woman living in St John'sWood HERR STRAUSS,

  otherwise Prince Rudolf of Razkavia

  SALLY GOLDBERG,

  a financial consultant

  DANIEL GOLDBERG,

  Sally's husband, a political journalist lIAM, CHARLIE, SEAN,

  and other members of a street gang known as the Irish Guards COUNT THALGAU

  Razkavian Ambassador to the Court of St James (i.e. to Great Britain) COUNTESS THALGAU

  FRAUWINTER,

  Becky's mother, an artist

  CARMEN ISABELLA RUIZ Y SOLER,

  an actress

  PRINCE OTTO VON BISMARCK,

  Chancellor of Germany

  HERR GERSON VON BLEICHRODER,

  a Berlin banker

  JULIUS,

  Bleichroder's secretary

  KING WILHELM OF RAZKAVIA,

  Prince Rudolf's father

  BARON GODEL,

  Chamberlain, Head of the Royal Household Karl von GaisberG,

  a student, member of the Richterbund Glatz

  a student over-excited by politics

  COUNT OTTO VON SCHWARTZBERG,

  Prince Rudolf's cousin, a huntsman

  ANTON, FRIEDRICH, FRITZ, HANS, HEINRICH, JAN, MICHAEL, WILLI,

  students, members of the Richterbund HERR ALOIS EGGER,

  a cigar merchant

  THE ARCHBISHOP OF RAZKAVIA

  FRAU BUSCH

  a huntsman's widow

  HERR BANGEMANN,

  a clerk in the Razkavian Ministry of Foreign Affairs PRINCE LEOPOLD

  MATYAS,

  landlord of the Cafe Florestan

  PRIVATE SCHWEIGNER

  a sentry of the Eagle Guard

  CORPORAL KOGLER,

  a sentry of the Eagle Guard

  MIROSLAV AND JOSEF,

  two elderly brothers who are river-thieves ... and various servants, soldiers, citizens, diplomats, doctors, ticket-collectors, mining engineers, Palace officials, butcher's boys, funicular railway station-members, clerks, musicians, telegraph operators, landladies and assassins.

  Chapter One

  THE INFERNAL MACHINE

  Rebecca Winter, talented, cheerful, and poor, had arrived at the age of sixteen without once seeing a bomb go off. That was not hard to do; London, in 1882, was no more explosive than it is now; though it was not less explosive, either, dynamite being already a vigorous instrument of politics.

  However, on this fine May morning, Becky was not thinking of bombs. The sun was bright and the sky was dotted with fat little clouds like dabs of flake white on a wash of ultramarine, and Becky was walking down a tree-lined road in St John's Wood in north London, thinking about German verbs. She was on her way to meet her new pupil - her first pupil, in fact; and she was anxious to make a good impression and acquit herself well.

  Her cloak was a little shabby and her bonnet was unfashionable, and there was a hole in the sole of her right boot. But that didn't matter. The road was dry and the air was fresh, and that young man in the straw boater had given her what might have been an interested look, and Becky felt splendid, for she was an independent woman - or nearly, anyway. Her head high, she ignored the speculative young man in the boater, checked the road sign, and turned up into an avenue lined with comfortable villas.

  German was Becky's first language. Her second was English, her third Italian, her fourth French, her fifth Spanish; she was in the process of mastering Russian, and she could swear in Polish and Lithuanian. She lived with her mother and grandmother in a plain boarding-house in the most modest corner of Maida Vale, where her mother worked as an illustrator of cheap novels and sensational periodicals. They had lived there ever since they'd been forced into exile from central Europe, when Becky was three, sustained by each other's diligence and by the local network of exiles from their own country and others: a poor, noisy, quarrelsome, generous, vigorously-gifted bunch of people from almost every country in Europe. It was as natural to Becky to think in several languages as it was to assume that she would have to earn a living; it seemed only sensible to put the two things together.

  At the same time, she chafed at the limitations hemming her in. Like all people with an unromantic appearance (just on the sturdy side of plump, with bright, black inquisitive eyes, cheeks that flushed too easily, unruly dark hair), she had, she was sure, the soul of a brigand. She hungered for romance. The only romance she'd known so far had been a liaison with a butcher's boy when she was twelve. He had sold her a cigarette in exchange for a kiss, but she hadn't even smoked it all, because he said it was dangerous for women to smoke cigarettes in case they went mad. So they sat in the
bushes and shared it, and she was sick over his boots, which served him right. Somehow, though, it hadn't satisfied her soul. She longed for cutlasses, pistols and brandy; she had to make do with coffee, and pencils, and verbs.

  But there was a consolation in the verbs. She was genuinely fascinated by how languages worked, and if she couldn't live with a band of robbers in a Sicilian cave, she was prepared to study linguistics and philology at university. But that cost money. So she had done what many of her fellow exiles did, and placed an advertisement offering her services as a language tutor, specializing in German and Italian.

  It had drawn a reply almost at once.

  It was a curious reply, too. A young gentleman, who had insisted on speaking English though it was clear to both Becky and her mother that he'd have been happier in German, had engaged her to come each morning to his villa at Number 43 Church Road, St John's Wood, and tutor a Miss Bevan. The money he offered was ample, his embarrassment (he was a very young man) was plain. Becky and her mother had spent hours afterwards speculating about him. Becky was sure he was an anarchist; her mother was equally sure that he was a nobleman, or even a prince.

  "I have seen princes, and you have not," she said. "Believe me, he's a prince. And as for her..."

  They couldn't begin to guess about Miss Bevan. Was she young? Old? A child? A beautiful, sinister spy?

  Well, Becky thought, she'd soon find out. She turned into Church Road, and was about to open the gate of Number 43, which was a white-painted villa with a front path shadowed by heavy laurels, when someone said, "Excuse me, miss."

  She stopped in surprise. It was the young man in the straw boater. How had he arrived in front of her?

  He was in his early twenties, with a vivid, intelligent expression, green eyes, and hair the same colour as his hat. There was an air about him she couldn't quite place: he was a gentleman, to judge by his appearance, but something about his confident manner spoke of acquaintance with stables, and stage doors, and low public houses.

  "Yes?" she said.

  "Do you happen to know the young lady who lives in this house?"

  "Miss Bevan? As a matter of fact, no, not yet. I've been engaged to teach her German. But who are you? And what business is it of yours?"

  He produced a card from his waistcoat pocket. It said J. Taylor, Consulting Detective, and gave the address of a photographic firm in Twickenham. Becky felt slightly unreal.

  "You're a detective? What on earth are you detecting?"

  "I think your Miss Bevan might be someone I've been looking for," he said. "I'm sorry to take up your time. May I ask your name?"

  "Miss Rebecca Winter," Becky said frostily. "Excuse me, please."

  He stood aside with a slight satirical bow, replaced his straw hat at a jaunty angle, and walked away. Becky blinked, took a deep breath, walked up the path and rang the bell.

  A pert maid let Becky in, and let her know by a glance what she thought of her figure. Becky could raise a disdainful eyebrow when she wanted to, and she did so now, spoiling the effect slightly by tripping on the rug at the foot of the stairs.

  "Wait in here," said the maid, showing her into a sitting room off the landing, and shutting the door behind her.

  Becky found herself in a pretty little room facing the front of the house. The window was open, and Becky could see the blue sky and green leaves, and smell the fresh air. The furniture was expensive, but too big, and crowded the room oppressively. There were no books, and the pictures were dull; the only interesting thing in the room was a stereoscope. Becky picked it up and looked at the slide in the frame. It was a picture of a little girl in ragged clothes sitting on the knee of a thin man with a huge moustache, and printed on the back were the words of a sentimental song.

  "What the bloody hell are you doing?"

  Becky nearly dropped it, and spun around to see a young woman in the doorway, sharp and dark and suspicious.

  "I'm sorry," Becky said. "Miss Bevan, I presume."

  "Who are you?"

  "Miss Winter. Becky Winter. Your tutor."

  "What were you doing with that?" she said, frowning at the stereoscope.

  "I just love stereographs. I know I shouldn't have touched it."

  "H'mm," said Miss Bevan, and came into the room. She looked Becky up and down, and then sat in an armchair by the open window, leaning back languidly and watching Becky with lazy, suspicious amusement.

  She wasn't altogether pretty; she was too thin for that, and there was a sharpness about her face, and something challenging in her manner, and she was gaudily overdressed, and her voice was harsh and cockney - but there was some quality about her that Becky couldn't help being caught by, a hint of vulnerability, a softness under the scorn; and her eyes were lovely, dark and enormous; and she moved with the grace of a cat.

  "What's this tutoring lark then?" she said.

  "I was engaged by a Herr Strauss to come and teach you German."

  "Prove it."

  Becky blinked. "But didn't you know?"

  "Anyone could come in here and spin a yarn like that. You might be an assassin or summing. You might have a gun in that bag of yours. How do I know who you are?"

  "Oh, really - I've got books in here, look. Didn't he tell you I was coming?"

  "Might've."

  Miss Bevan stretched lithely and relaxed again. She wasn't really suspicious, Becky thought; just bored. She looked about nineteen or twenty, and now Becky had seen her, she could guess at the relationship between her and the mysterious Herr Strauss. St John's Wood was notorious as a place where rich gentlemen used to set up their mistresses in households of their own.

  "What you blushing for?" inquired Miss Bevan.

  "I'm not. Look, we'd better begin. Have you done any German--"

  "Oh, pooh. Who was that bloke at the gate?"

  "The young man in the straw hat? A detective. He gave me his card."

  She handed it to Miss Bevan, who frowned at it and dropped it on the bamboo table beside her.

  "Detective," she said wearily. "Tosh. Probably a reporter. Here, can you play Halma?"

  "Yes, but--"

  "Or what about this 'un here? I got it Monday, and I ain't played it yet. I forget what it's called..."

  She jumped up and reached to a shelf which was full of coloured cardboard boxes of children's board games.

  "I plays 'em with Herr Strauss of an evening," she said. "What's this one called?"

  She was squinting at it as if she were too vain to wear spectacles.

  "It's called Ludo, or Parcheesi," Becky said. "But hadn't we--"

  "D'you know how to play it?"

  "Well, we could read the instructions, but hadn't I better start teaching you German? After all, Herr Strauss is paying me to."

  "How much?"

  "Half a crown for an hour."

  "Well, I'll pay you twice that to play Halma with me. Go on."

  "No. I'll play with you for nothing, but I must teach you as well. I made an agreement with Herr Strauss."

  Miss Bevan scowled and slumped back on the sofa. She eyed Becky appraisingly.

  "You're honest, ain't yer?" she said.

  "I don't know. I've never been tempted to be dishonest. Why?"

  "Shall I tell you a secret?"

  "If you like. But you hardly know me."

  "I don't know anyone else," said Miss Bevan bitterly. "Only the cook and the bootboy and the parlourmaid, sly scheming bitch that she is, and I wouldn't tell her the time of day, even s'posing I knew it. No, it's driving me wild, cooped up here like a hen. I can't read and I can't write..."

  "Is that the secret?"

  "That's part of it. The Prince ought to've got you to teach me that, instead of German."

  "The Prince?" said Becky. "D'you mean Herr Strauss? Is that the rest of the secret?"

  "Part of the rest. You guessed anyway, didn't yer?"

  "My mother did. Prince what, of where?"

  "Prince Rudolf of Razkavia. Bet you never heard of it
."

  Becky blinked, and felt a little breathless. "Yes. I have heard of it. But why ... I mean ... I thought..."

  "And he's in danger. I don't know as he ought to've trusted you. I don't know as I ought. You might be a socialist, or worse."

  "What's wrong with socialists?" Becky said, dazed.

  "I hate 'em. I'm a Conservative - always have been."

  "But you haven't even got a vote!"

  "Huh! You don't need a vote to prove you're loyal. If people vote for socialism, then they obviously don't know what's good for 'em. It's kings and queens and princes we ought to have. And Conservatives. And princesses. Even if they can't bloody read..."

  Becky was sure that she'd misheard. "Wait a minute. Did you say princess?"

  "Yeah. We're married, him and me. I'm a princess."

  Becky stared.

  Miss Bevan gave a short laugh. "Look, I'll prove it," she said, and got up from the sofa to open a drawer in the walnut bureau.

  She brought out a piece of paper which, Becky saw when she unfolded it, was a certificate of marriage. The wedding had taken place in St Patrick's Catholic Church in Hickson Street, Manchester, between Miss Adelaide Bevan and His Royal Highness Prince Rudolf Eugen Wilhelm August Josef von und zu Eschten und Rittersthal. The witnesses were a Mr Albert Suggs and Miss Emily Thwaite. The Prince had signed himself Rudolf; she had signed herself even more simply X.

  "Is that the right one? I ain't given you the laundry list by mistake?"

  She sounded bitter. Becky handed the certificate back, wondering if she ought to curtsy.

  "I'm flabbergasted," she said.

  "Are you. Well, I'm buggered. I just dunno what I'm going to do."

  "But how ... why...?"

  "He insisted. And he's such a nice man. When you seen and done all the things I have, you don't say no when you get a chance of something better. I should of, though. I know I should of."

  "But ... why Manchester?"

  "Out of the way, see. It had to be a Catholic church, naturally, and he didn't want anyone to find out and prevent it, so that meant we couldn't do it in London, just in case. We went to this poky little dusty church behind a factory. Them witnesses, we just fetched 'em in off the street, they didn't know nothing about it. And the priest was a doddery old man smelling of whisky. He kept wiping his nose on his sleeve and hoping we wouldn't notice. But it's legal. Everything's watertight. I'm a blooming princess, Becky. Can I call you Becky? You don't have to call me Your Highness. Adelaide'll do."

  "But ... does anyone else know about it? What about the Royal Family? Or the Court? Or the people? What are they going to say when they find out?"

 
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