The story unfolds with Rose, (Rudolf Rassendyll’s sister-in-law) telling Rudolf that heneeds to get himself a job.Rudolf’s brother, (Robert) finds an interesting job for him as an “
” to Sir JacobBorrodaile. Borrodaile will be the Ambassador of Ruritania in six months’ time.Ruritania,located in central Europe is the only country, Rudolf has not visited. So, hefeels happy with the idea.Rudolf decides to visit Ruritania and to join the merriment of the coronation of KingRudolf the Fifth since he has six months before taking up his new position.
Rudolf travels by train from London. The train stops at Paris for an hour, where he meetshis old friend, George. Rassendyll sees Antionette de Mauban, a rich widow, who is on her way to Strelsau for the coronation. Antionette de Mauban is very fond of DukeMichael.Rassendyll notices that the customs officer stares at him. He thinks it is because of hishair which looks
flaming red. The newspaper reports that the coronation date is postponed . The new date is a day after tomorrow (Wednesday).Strelsau is packed with people and there is no accommodation
or lodging available.Rassendyll decides to stop at Zenda, a small town, 50 miles away from the capital.Rassendyll stays in an inn in Zenda. He sees the famous castle of Zenda. He is happy to be in the inn, with hospitable people (inn keeper and daughter).Rassendyll learns about Duke Michael and the King. The King is staying in the Duke’shunting lodge in Zenda while the Duke is making the necessary coronation arrangementsin Strelsau.Johann, the Duke’s forest guard enters the inn and is astonished to seeRassendyll.Rassendyll learns from the inn keeper’s daughter that the King’s hair is of the exact colour with his. The Royal family members of Ruritania have red hair!
Rassendyll goes for a walk and gets closer to the
famous old castle of Zenda.Rassendyllfeels so
carefree. He falls asleep after the
tiring walk.Rassendyll wakes up to find two men looking at him with deep interest. They are ColonelSapt and Fritz Von Tarlenheim, who serve the King of Ruritania.Colonel Sapt informs Rassendyll that he resembles the King.The Englishman (Rassendyll) comes face-to-face with the King of Ruritania. Both of them look alike. They have the same physical characteristics
– red hair, long nose, blueeyes. They are of the same height too. The only difference between the two is Rassendyllis bearded while the King is clean-shaven .Both Colonel Sapt and Fritz Von Tarlenheim inform that Rassendyll should not go toStrelsau. His life would be in danger if he is seen in Strelsau.The King invites Rassendyll for dinner. Black Michael sends a complimentary
bottle of wine and the King drinks it to the last drop.