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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Slim Princess - Chapter 2. Kalora's Affliction
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The Slim Princess - Chapter 2. Kalora's Affliction Post by :MSCOTT Category :Long Stories Author :George Ade Date :May 2012 Read :1941

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The Slim Princess - Chapter 2. Kalora's Affliction

CHAPTER II. KALORA'S AFFLICTION

If it had been planned to make this an old-fashioned discursive novel, say of the Victor Hugo variety, the second chapter would expend itself upon a philosophical discussion of Fat and a sensational showing of how and why the presence or absence of adipose tissue, at certain important crises, had altered the destinies of the whole race.

The subject offers vast possibilities. It involves the physical attractiveness of every woman in History and permits one to speculate wildly as to what might have happened if Cleopatra had weighed forty pounds heavier, if Elizabeth had been a gaunt and wiry creature, or if Joan of Arc had been so bulky that she could not have fastened on her armor.

The soft layers which enshroud the hard machinery of the human frame seem to arrive in a merely incidental or accidental sort of way. Yet once they have arrived they exert a mysterious influence over careers. Because of a mere change in contour, many a queen has lost her throne. It is a terrifying thought when one remembers that fat so often comes and so seldom goes.

It has been explained that in Morovenia, obesity and feminine beauty increased in the same ratio. The woman reigning in the hearts of men was the one who could displace the most atmosphere.

Because of the fashionableness of fat, Count Selim Malagaski, Governor-General of Morovenia, was very unhappy. He had two daughters. One was fat; one was thin. To be more explicit, one was gloriously fat and the other was distressingly thin.

Jeneka was the name of the one who had been blessed abundantly. Several of the younger men in official circles, who had seen Jeneka at a distance, when she waddled to her carriage or turned side-wise to enter a shop-door, had written verses about her in which they compared her to the blushing pomegranate, the ripe melon, the luscious grape, and other vegetable luxuries more or less globular in form.

No one had dedicated any verses to Kalora. Kalora was the elder of the two. She had come to the alarming age of nineteen and no one had started in bidding for her.

In court circles, where there is much time for idle gossip, the most intimate secrets of an important household are often bandied about when the black coffee is being served. The marriageable young men of Morovenia had learned of the calamity in Count Malagaski's family. They knew that Kalora weighed less than one hundred and twenty pounds. She was tall, lithe, slender, sinuous, willowy, hideous. The fact that poor old Count Malagaski had made many unsuccessful attempts to fatten her was a stock subject for jokes of an unrefined and Turkish character.

Whereas Jeneka would recline for hours at a time on a shaded veranda, munching sugary confections that were loaded with nutritious nuts, Kalora showed a far-western preference for pickles and olives, and had been detected several times in the act of bribing servants to bring this contraband food into the harem.

Worse still, she insisted upon taking exercise. She loved to play romping games within the high walls of the inclosure where she and the other female attaches of the royal household were kept penned up. Her father coaxed, pleaded and even threatened, but she refused to lead the indolent life prescribed by custom; she scorned the sweet and heavy foods which would enable her to expand into loveliness; she persistently declined to be fat.

Kalora's education was being directed by a superannuated professor named Popova. He was so antique and book-wormy that none of the usual objections urged against the male sex seemed to hold good in his case, and he had the free run of the palace. Count Selim Malagaski trusted him implicitly. Popova fawned upon the Governor-General, and seemed slavish in his devotion. Secretly and stealthily he was working out a frightful vengeance upon his patron. Twenty years before, Count Selim, in a moment of anger, had called Popova a "Christian dog."

In Morovenia it is flattery to call a man a "liar." It is just the same as saying to him, "You belong in the diplomatic corps." It is no disgrace to be branded as a thief, because all business transactions are saturated with treachery. But to call another a "Christian dog" is the thirty-third degree of insult.

Popova writhed in spirit when he was called "Christian," but he covered his wrath and remained in the nobleman's service and waited for his revenge. And now he was sacrificing the innocent Kalora in order to punish the father. He said to himself: "If she does not fatten, then her father's heart will be broken, and he will suffer even as I have suffered from being called Christian."

It was Popova who, by guarded methods, encouraged her to violent exercise, whereby she became as hard and trim as an antelope. He continued to supply her with all kinds of sour and biting foods and sharp mineral waters, which are the sworn enemies of any sebaceous condition. And now that she was nineteen, almost at the further boundary of the marrying age, and slimmer than ever before, he rejoiced greatly, for he had accomplished his deep and malign purpose, and laid a heavy burden of sorrow upon Count Selim Malagaski.

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