Beverly of Graustark (George Barr McCutcheon, 1904)

Beverly Calhoun, southern belle, is in Graustark visiting her friend, Princess Yetive. Neighboring Dawsbergen has just had a coup and Prince Dantan is in hiding — Gabriel having taking the throne. On the road from St. Petersberg, Beverly is abandoned by her escorts and falls in with a gang of rather polite vagabonds, lead by a man called Baldos. They mistake her for the princess and she finds it prudent to play along.

Once in the capital city of Edelweiss, Baldos is made a royal guard, with Beverly still maintaining that she’s Yetive and falling increasingly in love with the stranger. Count Marlanx is suspicious that Baldos is a spy. Further, he wants to make Beverly his sixth wife. When his attempts at murder and blackmail fail, he’s exiled from Graustark. Revealing herself for who she really is, Beverly professes her love to Baldos, who it turns out was secretly Prince Danton. What’s more, Gabriel has been apprehended and Danton is restored to the throne.

Inscription: on the flyleaf, “To my husband, Christmas, 1908”.

Truxton King (George Barr McCutcheon, 1909)

Truxton King, son of an American steel tycoon, travels the world in search of adventure. He finds it in the tiny Eastern European principality of Graustark. This is one of many sequels to Graustark. I’ve already read one of them, The Prince of Graustark. That was a very light romance novel and I expected this to be one as well, but no, it’s rather dark and political.

Robin, the prince, is only seven years old, he having ascended the throne after his parents died in a train wreck. He has regents, but his primary guide is John Tullis, an American who was his father’s closest friend. Graustark has embarked on a rail project that would link Russia to Afghanistan. Russia is eager to invest — indeed, they’re eager to take a controlling share of the company, and it’s for that reason that Tullis maintains it would be wise for Graustark to seek more friendly investors in France and England.

Truxton has been smitten by the armorer’s niece, who he’s sure is a noblewoman in disguise. She was, at least, a gentlewoman in former times, but now she’s a member of the Committee of Ten, who aim to start a Bolshevik revolution in Graustark. Taking him for a spy, Truxton is captured and threatened with execution. Meanwhile, the disgraced and exiled Count Marlanx plots to install himself on the throne by kidnapping Tullis’s sister and leading away a large part of Graustark’s army on a wild goose chase in the mountains, leaving the city virtually undefended.

Truxton and Loraine (the sister) find themselves in the same holding cell in the Committee of Ten’s underground bunker — Marlanx is using them for his own aims by claiming to be a revolutionist himself. The two escape, but can they save little Prince Robin from assassination, Marlanx from capturing Graustark, and Russia from buying it out from under them?

Inscriptions: “~Papa~, From Clara May, Dec. 25, 1913”, on the front flyleaf. On page 19, someone who I can only assume is Clara May’s papa has written “E.N. Phinney -1913-” along the right margin.

The Prince of Graustark (George Barr McCutcheon, 1914)

William W. Blithers is the richest man in the world. He’s accustomed to getting what he wants, and right now what he wants is to see his daughter a princess. Conveniently, the small eastern European country of Graustark is in a bad way financially and Prince Robin happens to be a bachelor. The ten million dollars spent to buy their debt is nothing to Blithers. What isn’t nothing is Maud’s opinions on the matter: she wants nothing to do with Robin and refuses even to meet him. Graustark, meanwhile, is dead set on their prince’s marriage to the princess of neighboring Dawsbergen.

Robin, traveling incognito as private citizen R. Schmidt, falls in love with a woman who travels under the equally assumed name B. Guile. His handlers know full well who Miss Guile must be and try everything in their power to separate them, but Robin has found his wife, even if it means abdicating the throne for her.

Delightful twist ending that’s not at all as expected, despite the chapter’s name.

Inscription: Signed Thurl W. Wilson on the front flyleaf. The ink wasn’t blotted, so the name’s mirrored on the endpaper as well.