The little man, whose name was Auberon Quin, had an appearance compounded of a baby and an owl. His round head, round eyes, seemed to have been designed by nature playfully with a pair of compasses. When he entered a room of strangers, they mistook him for a small boy, and they wanted to take him on their knees, until he spoke -- when they perceived that a boy would have been more intelligent!
This is London, England -- yet a London, England, of a distant future when a great cosmopolitan civilization has taken control of the world -- and all is ruled by the King.
Strangely, though, each new King of England is chosen from an official rotating list! And who is to be next?
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), author of poetry, history and plays, began his career as a novelist with this 1904 extrapolation into a future London -- a gray, regulated, repetitious London . . . into which an element of surprise has quietly appeared, threatening to alter everything for good -- or ill.