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The Emperor of Elam

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The Emperor of Elam

by H G Dwight

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Novella
Recommended Adaptation Length: Two Hours

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


“But tell me,” he went on presently, “how is it, if I may ask, that you didn’t happen to go in the steamer too, with your Monsieur Guy? You do not look to me either old or incapable.”

There it was, the same question, which really seemed to need no answer at first, but which somehow became harder to answer every time! Why was it? And how could it spoil so good a cognac?

“How is it?” repeated Gaston. “It is, Monsieur, that France is a great lady who does not derange herself for a simple vagabond like Gaston, or about whose liaisons or quarrels it is not for Gaston to concern himself. This great lady has naturally not asked my opinion about this quarrel. But if she had, I would have told her that it is very stupid for everybody in Europe to begin shooting at each other. Why? Simply because it pleases ces messieurs the Austrians to treat ces messieurs the Serbs de haut en bas! What have I to do with that? Besides, this great lady is very far away, and by the time I arrive she will have arranged her affair. In the meantime there are many others, younger and more capable than I, whose express business it is to arrange such affairs. Will one piou-piou more or less change the result of one battle? Of course not! And if I should lose my hand or my head, who would buy me another? Not France! I have seen a little what France does in such cases. My own father left his leg at Gravelotte, together with his job and my mother’s peace. I have seen what happened to her, and how it is that I am a vagabond–about whom France has never troubled herself.” He shouted it over his shoulder, above the noise of the motor, with an increasing loudness. “Also,” he went on, “I have duties not so far away as France. Up there, at Sheleilieh, there will perhaps be next month a little Gaston. If I go away, who will feed him? I have not the courage of Monsieur, who separates himself so easily from objects of virtue. Voilà!”


We glanced at this story, but haven’t read it.  At quick glance, it’s hard to tell — is this a French Revolution story? Certainly there’s mention of war, and a lady…and honor. The story is long enough to suggest there’s a modicum of plot.  Worth a look.


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