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Title: Four and Twenty Fairy Tales - Selected From Those of Perrault, and other Popular Writers
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Four and Twenty Fairy Tales - Selected From Those of Perrault, and other Popular Writers" ***

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                         Fairy Tales.



                   [Illustration: PERRAULT]



                        FOUR AND TWENTY

                          FAIRY TALES.

                     SELECTED FROM THOSE OF

              PERRAULT, AND OTHER POPULAR WRITERS.


                           TRANSLATED

                        BY J. R. PLANCHÉ.


       WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY GODWIN, CORBOULD, AND HARVEY.


                             LONDON:
              G. ROUTLEDGE & CO., FARRINGDON STREET.
                   NEW YORK: 18, BEEKMAN STREET.
                              1858.

                [_This Translation is Copyright._]



                             LONDON:
          SAVILL AND EDWARDS, PRINTERS, CHANDOS STREET,
                          COVENT GARDEN.



                                TO

                            THE AUTHOR

                                OF

                   "A TRAP TO CATCH A SUNBEAM,"

                            THIS VOLUME

                           Is Inscribed,

                    BY HER AFFECTIONATE FATHER,

                           J. R. PLANCHÉ.



CONTENTS.


                                                        PAGE

  PREFACE                                                 ix

  BLUE BEARD                                               3

  THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD                          8

  MASTER CAT; OR, PUSS IN BOOTS                           17

  CINDERELLA; OR, THE LITTLE GLASS SLIPPER                22

  RIQUET WITH THE TUFT                                    28

  LITTLE THUMBLING                                        35

  PERFECT LOVE                                            47

  ANGUILLETTE                                             75

  YOUNG AND HANDSOME                                     108

  THE PALACE OF REVENGE                                  131

  THE PRINCE OF LEAVES                                   145

  THE FORTUNATE PUNISHMENT                               163

  FAIRER THAN A FAIRY                                    183

  THE GOOD WOMAN                                         203

  THE STORY OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST                      225

  PRINCESS MINUTE AND KING FLORIDOR                      329

  THE IMPOSSIBLE ENCHANTMENT                             336

  BLEUETTE AND COQUELICOT                                358

  PRINCESS CAMION                                        375

  PRINCESS LIONETTE AND PRINCE COQUERICO                 416

  PRINCE DÉSIR                                           477

  PRINCE CHÉRI                                           483

  THE WIDOW AND HER TWO DAUGHTERS                        494

  PRINCE FATAL AND PRINCE FORTUNÉ                        498

  APPENDIX                                               509



PREFACE.


The success attending the publication of a new translation of the
Fairy Tales of the Countess d'Aulnoy has justified the publishers in
believing that an equally faithful version of some of the most popular
stories of her contemporaries and immediate successors, similarly
annotated, might meet with as favourable a reception. I have therefore
selected twenty-four of the best Fairy Tales, according to my judgment,
remaining in the _Cabinet des Fées_, commencing with those of Charles
Perrault, the earliest, and terminating with some of Madame Leprince
de Beaumont, the latest French writer of European celebrity in that
particular class of literature. Independently of the fact that, with
the exception of those of Madame de Beaumont, few if any in the present
volume have ever been placed in their integrity before the English
reader, I trust that the chronological order I have observed in their
arrangement will give them a novel interest in the eyes of those
"children of a larger growth," who are not ashamed to confess, with La
Fontaine--

    Si "_Peau d'ane_" m'étoit conté
    J'y prendrais un plaisir extrême.

Or with the great Reformer, Martin Luther--

 "I would not for any quantity of gold part with the wonderful tales
 which I have retained from my earliest childhood or have met with in
 my progress through life."

The reader will by this arrangement observe, in a clearer way than
probably he has yet had an opportunity of doing, the rise, progress,
and decline of the genuine Fairy Tale--so thoroughly French in its
origin, so specially connected with the age of that "Grand Monarque"
whose reign presents us, in the graphic pages of St. Simon and
Dangeau, with innumerable pictures of manners and customs, dresses and
entertainments, the singularity, magnificence, profusion, and extent
of which scarcely require the fancy of a d'Aulnoy to render fabulous.
In my introduction to the tales of that "lively and ingenious lady,"
I have already shown the progress of the popularity of this class
of composition; but in the present volume it will be seen how, in
the course of little more than half a century, the Fairy Tale, from
a fresh, sparkling, simple yet arch version of a legend as old as
the monuments of that Celtic race by whom they were introduced into
Gaul, became first elaborated into a novel, comprising an ingenious
plot, with an amusing exaggeration of the manners of the period;
next, inflated into a preposterous and purposeless caricature of its
own peculiarities; and finally, denuded of its sportive fancy, its
latent humour, and its gorgeous extravagance, subsided into the dull
common-place moral story, which, taking less hold of the youthful
imagination, was, however laudable in its intention, a very ineffective
substitute for the merry monitors it vainly endeavoured to supersede.
Too much like a lesson for the child, it was too childish for the man.
The Fairies were dismissed in consequence of the incapacity of the
writers to employ them; but they were not to be annihilated. They still
live in their own land, to laugh at those mortals who will not laugh
with them and learn while they laugh. Modern art may vainly invoke
them to perform fresh marvels, but enough power still exists in their
old spells to enchant youth, amuse manhood, and resuscitate age; and,
despite the hypercritic and the purist, they will continue to exercise
their magic influence over the human mind so long as it is capable of
appreciating wit, fancy, and good feeling. As Mademoiselle Lheritier
wrote two hundred years ago--

    Ils ne sont pas aisées à croire,
    Mais tant que dans le monde on verra des enfans,
    Des mères et des mères-grands
    On en gardera la memoire.



                         CHARLES PERRAULT.



BLUE BEARD.


Once on a time there was a man who had fine town and country houses,
gold and silver plate, embroidered furniture, and coaches gilt all
over; but unfortunately, this man had a blue beard, which made him
look so ugly and terrible, that there was not a woman or girl who did
not run away from him. One of his neighbours, a lady of quality, had
two daughters, who were perfectly beautiful. He proposed to marry one
of them, leaving her to choose which of the two she would give him.
Neither of them would have him; and they sent him from one to the
other, not being able to make up their minds to marry a man who had a
blue beard. What increased their distaste to him was, that he had had
several wives already, and nobody knew what had become of them.

Blue Beard, in order to cultivate their acquaintance, took them, with
their mother, three or four of their most intimate friends, and some
young persons who resided in the neighbourhood, to one of his country
seats, where they passed an entire week. Nothing was thought of but
excursions, hunting and fishing, parties, balls, entertainments,
collations; nobody went to bed; the whole night was spent in merry
games and gambols. In short, all went off so well, that the youngest
daughter began to find out that the beard of the master of the house
was not as blue as it used to be, and that he was a very worthy man.
Immediately upon their return to town the marriage took place. At the
end of a month Blue Beard told his wife that he was obliged to take a
journey, which would occupy six weeks at least, on a matter of great
consequence; that he entreated she would amuse herself as much as she
could during his absence; that she would invite her best friends, take
them into the country with her if she pleased, and keep an excellent
table everywhere.

"Here," said he to her, "are the keys of my two great store-rooms;
these are those of the chests in which the gold and silver plate is
kept, that is only used on particular occasions; these are the keys of
the strong boxes in which I keep my money; these open the caskets that
contain my jewels; and this is the pass-key of all the apartments. As
for this little key, it is that of the closet at the end of the long
gallery, on the ground floor. Open everything, and go everywhere except
into that little closet, which I forbid you to enter, and I forbid you
so strictly, that if you should venture to open the door, there is
nothing that you may not have to dread from my anger!" She promised to
observe implicitly all his directions, and after he had embraced her,
he got into his coach and set out on his journey.

The neighbours and friends of the young bride did not wait for her
invitation, so eager were they to see all the treasures contained in
the mansion, not having ventured to enter it while the husband was at
home, so terrified were they at his blue beard. Behold them immediately
running through all the rooms, closets, and wardrobes, each apartment
exceeding the other in beauty and richness. They ascended afterwards to
the store-rooms, where they could not sufficiently admire the number
and elegance of the tapestries, the beds, the sofas, the cabinets,
the stands,[1] the tables, and the mirrors in which they could see
themselves from head to foot, and that had frames some of glass,[2]
some of silver, and some of gilt metal, more beautiful and magnificent
than had ever been seen. They never ceased enlarging upon and envying
the good fortune of their friend, who in the meanwhile was not in the
least entertained by the sight of all these treasures, in consequence
of her impatience to open the closet on the ground floor.

Her curiosity increased to such a degree that, without reflecting how
rude it was to leave her company, she ran down a back staircase in such
haste that twice or thrice she narrowly escaped breaking her neck.
Arrived at the door of the closet, she paused for a moment, bethinking
herself of her husband's prohibition, and that some misfortune might
befall her for her disobedience; but the temptation was so strong
that she could not conquer it. She therefore took the little key and
opened, tremblingly, the door of the closet. At first she could discern
nothing, the windows being closed; after a short time she began to
perceive that the floor was all covered with clotted blood, in which
were reflected the dead bodies of several females suspended against
the walls. These were all the wives of Blue Beard, who had cut their
throats one after the other. She was ready to die with fright, and the
key of the closet, which she had withdrawn from the lock, fell from
her hand. After recovering her senses a little, she picked up the key,
locked the door again, and went up to her chamber to compose herself;
but she could not succeed, so greatly was she agitated. Having observed
that the key of the closet was stained with blood, she wiped it two
or three times, but the blood would not come off. In vain she washed
it, and even scrubbed it with sand and free-stone, the blood was still
there, for the key was enchanted, and there were no means of cleaning
it completely: when the blood was washed off one side, it came back on
the other.

Blue Beard returned that very evening, and said that he had received
letters on the road informing him that the business on which he was
going had been settled to his advantage. His wife did all she could
to persuade him that she was delighted at his speedy return. The next
morning he asked her for his keys again; she gave them to him; but her
hand trembled so, that he had not much difficulty in guessing what had
occurred. "How comes it," said he, "that the key of the closet is not
with the others?" "I must have left it," she replied, "upstairs on my
table." "Fail not," said Blue Beard, "to give it me presently." After
several excuses, she was compelled to produce the key. Blue Beard
having examined it, said to his wife, "Why is there some blood on
this key?" "I don't know," answered the poor wife, paler than death.
"You don't know?" rejoined Blue Beard. "I know well enough. You must
needs enter the closet. Well, madam, you shall enter it, and go take
your place amongst the ladies you saw there." She flung herself at her
husband's feet, weeping and begging his pardon, with all the signs of
true repentance for having disobeyed him. Her beauty and affliction
might have melted a rock, but Blue Beard had a heart harder than a
rock. "You must die, madam," said he, "and immediately." "If I must
die," she replied, looking at him with streaming eyes, "give me a
little time to say my prayers." "I give you half a quarter of an hour,"
answered Blue Beard, "but not a minute more." As soon as he had left
her, she called her sister, and said to her, "Sister Anne" (for so she
was named), "go up, I pray thee, to the top of the tower, and see if my
brothers are not coming. They have promised me that they would come to
see me to-day; and if you see them, sign to them to make haste." Sister
Anne mounted to the top of the tower, and the poor distressed creature
called to her every now and then, "Anne! sister Anne! dost thou not see
anything coming?" And sister Anne answered her, "I see nothing but the
sun making dust, and the grass growing green."

In the meanwhile Blue Beard, with a great cutlass in his hand, called
out with all his might to his wife, "Come down quickly, or I will come
up there." "One minute more, if you please," replied his wife; and
immediately repeated in a low voice, "Anne! sister Anne! dost thou not
see anything coming?" And sister Anne replied, "I see nothing but the
sun making dust, and the grass growing green." "Come down quickly,"
roared Blue Beard, "or I will come up there." "I come," answered
his wife, and then exclaimed, "Anne! sister Anne! dost thou not see
anything coming?" "I see," said sister Anne, "a great cloud of dust
moving this way." "Is it my brothers?" "Alas! no, sister, I see a flock
of sheep." "Wilt thou not come down?" shouted Blue Beard. "One minute
more," replied his wife, and then she cried, "Anne! sister Anne! dost
thou not see anything coming?" "I see," she replied, "two horsemen
coming this way; but they are still at a great distance." "Heaven be
praised!" she exclaimed, a moment afterwards. "They are my brothers! I
am making all the signs I can to hasten them." Blue Beard began to roar
so loudly that the whole house shook again. The poor wife descended,
and went and threw herself, with streaming eyes and dishevelled
tresses, at his feet.

"It is of no use," said Blue Beard. "You must die!" Then seizing her by
the hair with one hand, and raising his cutlass with the other, he was
about to cut off her head. The poor wife turned towards him, and fixing
upon him her dying eyes, implored him to allow her one short moment
to collect herself. "No, no," said he; "recommend thyself heartily to
Heaven." And lifting his arm---- At this moment there was so loud a
knocking at the gate, that Blue Beard stopped short. It was opened,
and two horsemen were immediately seen to enter, who, drawing their
swords, ran straight at Blue Beard. He recognised them as the brothers
of his wife--one a dragoon, the other a musqueteer, and, consequently,
fled immediately, in hope to escape; but they pursued him so closely,
that they overtook him before he could reach the step of his door,
and, passing their swords through his body, left him dead on the spot.
The poor wife was almost as dead as her husband, and had not strength
to rise and embrace her brothers. It was found that Blue Beard had no
heirs, and so his widow remained possessed of all his property. She
employed part of it in marrying her sister Anne to a young gentleman
who had long loved her; another part, in buying captains' commissions
for her two brothers, and with the rest she married herself to a very
worthy man, who made her forget the miserable time she had passed with
Blue Beard.

    Provided one has common sense,
    And of the world but knows the ways,
    This story bears the evidence
    Of being one of bygone days.
    No husband now is so terrific,
    Impossibilities, expecting:
    Though jealous, he is still pacific,
    Indifference to his wife affecting.
    And of his beard, whate'er the hue,
    His spouse need fear no such disaster.
    Indeed, 'twould often puzzle you
    To say which of the twain is master.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Gueridons, _i.e._, stands to place lights or china upon.
The word is now used to signify any small round table with one foot;
but the old-fashioned stand, which was higher than a table, and its top
not bigger than a dessert plate, is occasionally to be met with.

[2] Looking-glasses with frames of the same material were much
in vogue at that period. Of silver-framed mirrors some magnificent
specimens remain to us at Knowle Park, Kent.



THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD.


Once upon a time there was a King and a Queen, who were so vexed at
not having any children--so vexed, that one cannot express it. They
visited all the baths in the world. Vows, pilgrimages, everything was
tried, and nothing succeeded. At length, however, the Queen was brought
to bed of a daughter. There was a splendid christening. For godmothers
they gave the young Princess all the Fairies they could find in the
country (they found seven), in order that each making her a gift,
according to the custom of Fairies in those days, the Princess would,
by these means, become possessed of all imaginable perfections. After
the baptismal ceremonies all the company returned to the King's palace,
where a great banquet was set out for the Fairies. Covers were laid
for each, consisting of a magnificent plate, with a massive gold case,
containing a spoon, a fork, and a knife of fine gold, enriched with
diamonds and rubies. But as they were all taking their places at the
table, there was seen to enter an old Fairy, who had not been invited,
because for upwards of fifty years she had never quitted the tower she
resided in, and it was supposed she was either dead or enchanted.

The King ordered a cover to be laid for her; but there was no
possibility of giving her a massive gold case such as the others had,
because there had been only seven made expressly for the seven Fairies.
The old lady thought she was treated with contempt, and muttered some
threats between her teeth. One of the young Fairies, who chanced to be
near her, overheard her, and imagining she might cast some misfortune
on the little Princess, went, as soon as they rose from table, and hid
herself behind the hangings, in order to have the last word, and be
able to repair, as fast as possible, any mischief the old woman might
do. In the meanwhile, the Fairies began to endow the Princess. The
youngest, as her gift, decreed that she should be the most beautiful
person in the world; the next Fairy, that she should have the mind of
an angel; the third, that she should evince the most admirable grace
in all she did; the fourth, that she should dance to perfection; the
fifth, that she should sing like a nightingale; and the sixth, that she
should play on every instrument in the most exquisite manner possible.
The turn of the old Fairy having arrived, she declared, while her head
shook more with malice than with age, that the Princess should pierce
her hand with a spindle, and die of the wound. This terrible fate
made all the company tremble, and there was not one of them who could
refrain from tears. At this moment the young Fairy issued from behind
the tapestry, and uttered aloud these words: "Comfort yourselves, King
and Queen--your daughter shall not die of it. It is true that I have
not sufficient power to undo entirely what my elder has done. The
Princess will pierce her hand with a spindle; but, instead of dying,
she will only fall into a deep slumber, which will last one hundred
years, at the end of which a King's son will come to wake her."

The King, in hope of avoiding the misfortune predicted by the old
Fairy, immediately caused an edict to be published, by which he
forbade any one to spin with a spindle, or to have spindles in their
possession, under pain of death.

At the end of fifteen or sixteen years, the King and Queen, being
absent at one of their country residences, it happened that the
Princess, while running one day about the castle, and from one chamber
up to another, arrived at the top of a tower, and entered a little
garret, where an honest old woman was sitting by herself, spinning
with her distaff and spindle. This good woman had never heard of the
King's prohibition with respect to spinning with a spindle. "What are
you doing there?" asked the Princess. "I am spinning, my fair child,"
answered the old woman, who did not know her. "Oh, how pretty it is!"
rejoined the Princess. "How do you do it? Give it to me, that I may see
if I can do it as well." She had no sooner taken hold of the spindle,
than, being very hasty, a little thoughtless, and, moreover, the
sentence of the Fairies so ordaining it, she pierced her hand with the
point of it, and fainted away. The good old woman, greatly embarrassed,
called for help. People came from all quarters; they threw water in
the Princess's face; they unlaced her stays; they slapped her hands;
they rubbed her temples with Queen of Hungary's water,[3] but nothing
could bring her to. The King, who had run upstairs at the noise, then
remembered the prediction of the Fairies, and, wisely concluding that
this must have occurred as the Fairies said it would, had the Princess
conveyed into the finest apartment in the palace, and placed on a bed
of gold and silver embroidery. One would have said she was an angel, so
lovely did she appear--for her swoon had not deprived her of her rich
complexion: her cheeks preserved their crimson, and her lips were like
coral. Her eyes were closed, but they could hear her breathe softly,
which showed that she was not dead. The King commanded them to let her
repose in peace until the hour arrived for her waking. The good Fairy
who had saved her life, by decreeing that she should sleep for an
hundred years, was in the Kingdom of Mataquin, twelve thousand leagues
off, when the Princess met with her accident; but she was informed of
it instantly by a little dwarf, who had a pair of seven-league boots
(that is, boots which enabled the wearer to take seven leagues at a
stride[4]). The Fairy set out immediately and an hour afterwards they
saw her arrive in a fiery chariot, drawn by dragons. The King advanced,
to hand her out of the chariot. She approved of all he had done; but,
as she had great foresight, she considered that, when the Princess
awoke, she would feel considerably embarrassed at finding herself all
alone in that old castle; so this is what the Fairy did. She touched
with her wand everybody that was in the castle (except the King and
Queen): governesses, maids of honour, women of the bed-chamber,
gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks, scullions, boys, guards, porters,
pages, footmen; she touched also the horses that were in the stables,
with their grooms, the great mastiffs in the court-yard, and little
Pouste, the tiny dog of the Princess, that was on the bed, beside her.
As soon as she had touched them, they all fell asleep, not to wake
again until the time arrived for their mistress to do so, in order
that they might be all ready to attend upon her when she should want
them. Even the spits that had been put down to the fire, laden with
partridges and pheasants, went to sleep, and the fire itself also.

All this was done in a moment; the fairies never lost much time over
their work. After which, the King and Queen, having kissed their
dear daughter without waking her, quitted the Castle, and issued a
proclamation forbidding any person, whosoever, to approach it. These
orders were unnecessary, for in a quarter of an hour there grew up
around the Park so great a quantity of trees, large and small, of
brambles and thorns, interlacing each other, that neither man nor beast
could get through them, so that nothing more was to be seen than the
tops of the Castle turrets, and they only at a considerable distance.
Nobody doubted but that was also some of the Fairy's handiwork, in
order that the Princess might have nothing to fear from the curiosity
of strangers during her slumber.

At the expiration of an hundred years, the son of the King at that
time upon the throne, and who was of a different family to that of the
sleeping Princess, having been hunting in that neighbourhood, inquired
what towers they were that he saw above the trees of a very thick wood.
Each person answered him according to the story he had heard. Some
said that it was an old castle, haunted by ghosts. Others, that all
the witches of those parts held their Sabbath in it. The more general
opinion was, that it was the abode of an ogre; and that he carried
thither all the children he could catch, in order to eat them at his
leisure, and without being pursued, having alone the power of making
his way through the wood. The Prince did not know what to believe about
it, when an old peasant spoke in his turn, and said to him, "Prince,
it is more than fifty years ago since I heard my father say that there
was in that Castle the most beautiful Princess that was ever seen.
That she was to sleep for a hundred years, and would be awakened by
a King's son for whom she was reserved." The young Prince, at these
words, felt himself all on fire. He believed, without hesitation, that
he was destined to accomplish this famous adventure; and, impelled by
love and glory, resolved to see what would come of it, upon the spot.
Scarcely had he approached the wood, when all those great trees, all
those brambles and thorns made way for him to pass of their own accord.
He walked towards the Castle, which he saw at the end of a long avenue
he had entered, and what rather surprised him was, that he found none
of his people had been able to follow him, the trees having closed
up again as soon as he had passed. He continued, nevertheless, to
advance; a young and amorous prince is always courageous. He entered
a large fore-court, where everything he saw was calculated to freeze
his blood with terror. A frightful silence reigned around. Death
seemed everywhere present. Nothing was to be seen but the bodies of
men and animals stretched out apparently lifeless. He soon discovered,
however, by the shining noses and red faces of the porters, that they
were only asleep; and their goblets, in which still remained a few
drops of wine, sufficiently proved that they had dosed off whilst
drinking. He passed through a large court-yard paved with marble; he
ascended the staircase. He entered the guard-room, where the guards
stood drawn up in line, their carbines shouldered, and snoring their
loudest. He traversed several apartments, with ladies and gentlemen
all asleep; some standing, others seated. He entered a chamber covered
with gold, and saw on a bed, the curtains of which were open on each
side, the most lovely sight he had ever looked upon--a Princess, who
seemed to be about fifteen or sixteen, the lustre of whose charms gave
her an appearance that was luminous and supernatural. He approached,
trembling and admiring, and knelt down beside her. At that moment, the
enchantment being ended, the Princess awoke, and gazing upon the Prince
with more tenderness than a first sight of him seemed to authorize, "Is
it you, Prince?" said she; "you have been long awaited." The Prince,
delighted at these words, and still more by the tone in which they were
uttered, knew not how to express to her his joy and gratitude.

  [Illustration: The Sleeping Beauty.--P. 12.]

He assured her he loved her better than himself. His language was not
very coherent, but it pleased the more. There was little eloquence,
but a great deal of love. He was much more embarrassed than she was,
and one ought not to be astonished at that. The Princess had had time
enough to consider what she should say to him, for there is reason to
believe (though history makes no mention of it) that, during her long
nap, the good Fairy had procured her the pleasure of very agreeable
dreams. In short, they talked for four hours without having said half
what they had to say to each other.

In the meanwhile, all the Palace had been roused at the same time
as the Princess. Everybody remembered their duty, and, as they were
not all in love, they were dying with hunger. The lady-in-waiting,
as hungry as any of them, became impatient, and announced loudly to
the Princess that the meat was on the table. The Prince assisted the
Princess to rise; she was full dressed, and most magnificently, but
he took good care not to hint to her that she was attired like his
grandmother, and wore a stand-up collar.[5] She looked, however, not
a morsel the less lovely in it. They passed into a hall of mirrors,
in which they supped, attended by the officers of the Princess.
The violins and hautbois played old but excellent pieces of music,
notwithstanding it was a hundred years since they had been performed by
anybody; and after supper, to lose no time, the grand Almoner married
the royal lovers in the chapel of the Castle.

Early next morning the Prince returned to the city, where his father
was in great anxiety about him. The Prince told him that he had lost
himself in the forest whilst hunting, and that he had slept in a
woodcutter's hut, who had given him some black bread and cheese for
his supper. The King, his father, who was a simple man, believed him,
but his mother was not so easily satisfied; and observing that he went
hunting nearly every day, and had always some story ready as an excuse,
when he had slept two or three nights away from home, she no longer
doubted but that he had some mistress, for he lived with the Princess
for upwards of two years, and had two children by her; the first, which
was a girl, was named Aurora, and the second, a son, was called Day,
because he was still more beautiful than his sister.

The Queen often said to her son, in order to draw from him some
avowal, that he ought to form some attachment; but he never ventured
to trust her with his secret. He feared her, although he loved her,
for she was of the race of Ogres, and the King had married her only
on account of her great wealth. It was even whispered about the Court
that she had the inclinations of an Ogress, and that when she saw
little children passing, she had the greatest difficulty in restraining
herself from pouncing upon them. The Prince, therefore, would never say
one word about his adventure. On the death of the King, however, which
happened two years afterwards, the Prince being his own master, he
made a public declaration of his marriage, and went in great state to
bring the Queen, his wife, to the palace. She made a magnificent entry
into the capital with her two children, one on each side of her. Some
time afterwards, the King went to war with his neighbour, the Emperor
Cantalabute. He left the regency of the kingdom to the Queen, his
mother, earnestly recommending to her care his wife and his children.
He was likely to be all the summer in the field, and as soon as he was
gone, the Queen-mother sent her daughter-in-law and the children to
a country house in the wood, that she might more easily gratify her
horrible longing. She followed them thither a few days after, and said
one evening to her Maître d'Hôtel, "I will eat little Aurora for dinner
to-morrow." "Ah, Madam!" exclaimed the Maître d'Hôtel. "I will," said
the Queen (and she said it in the tone of an Ogress longing to eat
fresh meat), "and I will have her served up with _sauce Robert_."[6]
The poor man seeing plainly an Ogress was not to be trifled with, took
his great knife and went up to little Aurora's room. She was then about
four years old, and came jumping and laughing to throw her arms about
his neck, and ask him for sweetmeats. He burst into tears, the knife
fell from his hands, and he went down again into the kitchen court and
killed a little lamb, and served it up with so delicious a sauce, that
his mistress assured him she had never eaten anything so excellent. In
the meanwhile, he had carried off little Aurora, and given her to his
wife, to conceal her in the lodging which she occupied at the further
end of the kitchen court.

A week afterwards, the wicked Queen said to her Maître d'Hôtel, "I
will eat little Day for supper." He made no reply, being determined to
deceive her as before. He went in search of little Day, and found him
with a tiny foil in his hand, fencing with a great monkey, though he
was only three years old. He carried him to his wife, who hid him where
she had hidden his sister, and then cooked a very tender little kid in
the place of little Day, and which the Ogress thought wonderfully good.
All went well enough so far, but one evening this wicked Queen said to
the Maître d'Hôtel, "I would eat the Queen with the same sauce that
I had with her children." Then, indeed, did the poor Maître d'Hôtel
despair of being again able to deceive her. The young Queen was turned
of twenty, without counting the hundred years she had slept; her skin
was a little tough, though it was white and beautiful, and where was he
to find in the menagerie an animal that would pass for her.

He resolved that, to save his own life, he would cut the Queen's
throat, and went up to her apartment with the determination to execute
his purpose at once. He worked himself up into a passion, and entered
the young Queen's chamber poniard in hand. He would not, however, take
her by surprise, but repeated, very respectfully, the order he had
received from the Queen-mother. "Do it! do it!" said she, stretching
out her neck to him. "Obey the order that has been given to you. I
shall again behold my children, my poor children, that I loved so
dearly." She had imagined them to be dead ever since they had been
carried off without explanation. "No, no, Madam!" replied the poor
Maître d'Hôtel, touched to the quick, "you shall not die, and you shall
see your children again, but it shall be in my own house, where I have
hidden them; and I will again deceive the Queen-mother by serving up
to her a young hind in your stead." He led her forthwith to his own
apartments, where leaving her to embrace her children and weep with
them, he went and cooked a hind, of which the Queen ate at her supper,
with as much appetite as if it had been the young Queen. She exulted
in her cruelty, and intended to tell the King, on his return, that some
ferocious wolves had devoured the Queen his wife, and her two children.

One evening that she was prowling, as usual, round the courts and
poultry yards of the Castle, to inhale the smell of raw flesh, she
overheard little Day crying in a lower room, because the Queen, his
mother, was about to whip him for having been naughty, and she also
heard little Aurora begging forgiveness for her brother. The Ogress
recognised the voices of the Queen and her children, and, furious at
having been cheated, she gave orders, in a tone that made everybody
tremble, that the next morning early there should be brought into the
middle of the court a large copper, which she had filled with toads,
vipers, adders, and serpents, in order to fling into it the Queen, her
children, the Maître d'Hôtel, his wife, and his maid servant. She had
commanded that they should be brought thither with hands tied behind
them. There they stood, and the executioners were preparing to fling
them into the copper, when the King, who was not expected so early,
entered the court-yard on horseback. He had ridden post, and in great
astonishment inquired what was the meaning of that horrible spectacle?
Nobody dared to tell him, when the Ogress, enraged at the sight of the
King's return, flung herself head foremost into the copper, and was
devoured in an instant by the horrid reptiles she had caused it to
be filled with. The King could not help being sorry for it; she was
his mother, but he speedily consoled himself in the society of his
beautiful wife and children.

    Some time for a husband to wait
    Who is young, handsome, wealthy, and tender,
    May not be a hardship too great
    For a maid whom love happy would render.
    But to be for a century bound
    To live single, I fancy the number
    Of Beauties but small would be found
    So long who could patiently slumber.
    To lovers who hate time to waste,
    And minutes as centuries measure,
    I would hint, Those who marry in haste
    May live to repent it at leisure.
    Yet so ardently onwards they press,
    And on prudence so gallantly trample,
    That I haven't the heart, I confess,
    To urge on them Beauty's example.


FOOTNOTES:

[3] A celebrated distillation of spirit of wine upon rosemary,
so-called from the receipt, purporting to have been written by a Queen
Elizabeth of Hungary, and first published at Frankfort in 1659.

[4] From the explanation contained in this parenthesis, it is
probable that we have here the earliest mention of these celebrated
articles in a French story; _Jack the Giant-killer_ and _Jack and the
Bean-stalk_ being of English origin.

[5] _Collet-monté._ The contemporary of the ruff. In the reign
of Louis the Fourteenth it was succeeded by the _collet-rabattu_, and
totally discarded before his decease.

[6] A sauce piquante, as ancient as the fifteenth century,
being one of the seventeen sauces named by Taillevant, chief cook to
Charles VII. of France, in 1456.



MASTER CAT;

OR,

PUSS IN BOOTS.


A Miller bequeathed to his three sons all his worldly goods, which
consisted only of his mill, his ass, and his cat. The division was
speedily made. Neither notary nor attorney were called in; they would
soon have eaten up all the little patrimony. The eldest had the mill;
the second son, the ass; and the youngest had nothing but the cat. The
latter was disconsolate at inheriting so poor a portion. "My brothers,"
said he, "may earn an honest livelihood by entering into partnership;
but, as for me, when I have eaten my Cat, and made a muff of his skin,
I must die of hunger." The Cat, who had heard this speech, but without
appearing to do so, said to him, with a sedate and serious air, "Do
not afflict yourself, master; you have only to give me a bag and get a
pair of boots made for me, to go amongst the bushes in, and you will
see that you are not so badly left as you believe." Though the Cat's
master did not place much confidence in this assertion, he had seen him
play such cunning tricks in catching rats and mice, when he would hang
himself up by the heels, or lie in the flour as if he were dead, that
he was not altogether hopeless of being assisted by him in his distress.

As soon as the Cat had what he asked for, he pulled on his boots
boldly, and hanging the bag round his neck, he took the strings of
it in his fore paws, and went into a warren where there were a great
number of rabbits. He put some bran and some sow-thistles in his bag,
and stretching himself out as if he were dead, he waited till some
young rabbit, little versed in the wiles of the world, should come and
ensconce himself in the bag, in order to eat what he had put into it.
He had hardly laid down before he was gratified. A young scatterbrain
of a rabbit entered the bag, and Master Cat instantly pulling the
strings, caught it and killed it without mercy. Proud of his prey, he
went to the King's Palace, and demanded an audience. He was ushered
up to his Majesty's apartment, into which having entered, he made a
low bow to the King, and said to him, "Sire, here is a wild rabbit,
which my Lord the Marquis de Carabas (such was the name he took a fancy
to give to his master) has ordered me to present, with his duty, to
your Majesty." "Tell your master," replied the King, "that I thank
him, and that he has given me great pleasure." Another day he went
and hid himself in the wheat, holding the mouth of his bag open, as
usual, and as soon as a brace of partridges entered it, he pulled the
strings, and took them both. He went immediately and presented them
to the King, in the same way that he had the wild rabbit. The King
received with equal gratification the brace of partridges, and gave
him something to drink his health. The Cat continued in this manner
during two or three months to carry to the King, every now and then,
presents of game from his master. One day when he knew the King was
going to drive on the banks of the river, with his daughter, the most
beautiful Princess in the world, he said to his master, "If you will
follow my advice, your fortune is made; you have only to go and bathe
in a part of the river I will point out to you, and leave the rest to
me." The Marquis de Carabas did as his cat advised him, without knowing
what good would come of it. While he was bathing, the King passed by,
and the Cat began to shout with all his might, "Help! help! My Lord
the Marquis de Carabas is drowning!" At this cry, the King looked out
of the coach window, and recognising the cat who had so often brought
game to him, ordered his guards to fly to the help of my Lord the
Marquis de Carabas. Whilst they were getting the poor Marquis out of
the river, the Cat approaching the royal coach, told the King that
during the time his master was bathing, some robbers had come and
carried off his clothes, although he had called "Thieves!" as loud
as he could. The rogue had hidden them himself under a great stone.
The King immediately ordered the officers of his wardrobe to go and
fetch one of his handsomest suits for my Lord the Marquis de Carabas.
The King embraced him a thousand times, and as the fine clothes they
dressed him in set off his good looks (for he was handsome and well
made), the King's daughter found him much to her taste; and the Marquis
de Carabas had no sooner cast upon her two or three respectful and
rather tender glances, than she fell desperately in love with him.
The King insisted upon his getting into the coach, and accompanying
them in their drive. The Cat, enchanted to see that his scheme began
to succeed, ran on before, and having met with some peasants who were
mowing a meadow, said to them, "You, good people, who are mowing here,
if you do not tell the King that the meadow you are mowing belongs to
my Lord the Marquis de Carabas, you shall be all cut into pieces as
small as minced meat!" The King failed not to ask the mowers whose
meadow it was they were mowing? "It belongs to my Lord the Marquis de
Carabas," said they altogether, for the Cat's threat had frightened
them. "You perceive, Sire," rejoined the Marquis, "it is a meadow which
yields an abundant crop every year." Master Cat, who kept in advance
of the party, came up to some reapers, and said to them, "You, good
people, who are reaping, if you do not say that all this corn belongs
to my Lord the Marquis de Carabas, you shall be all cut into pieces as
small as minced meat!" The King, who passed by a minute afterwards,
wished to know to whom all those cornfields belonged that he saw there.
"To my Lord the Marquis de Carabas," repeated the reapers, and the King
again wished the Marquis joy of his property. The Cat, who ran before
the coach, uttered the same threat to all he met with, and the King
was astonished at the great wealth of my Lord the Marquis de Carabas.
Master Cat at length arrived at a fine Château, the owner of which was
an Ogre, the richest that was ever known, for all the lands through
which the King had driven were held of the Lord of this Château. The
Cat took care to inquire who the Ogre was, and what he was able to do;
and then requested to speak with him, saying that he would not pass
so near his Château without doing himself the honour of paying his
respects to him. The Ogre received him as civilly as an Ogre could, and
made him sit down. "They assure me," said the Cat, "that you possess
the power of changing yourself into all sorts of animals; that you
could, for instance, transform yourself into a lion, or an elephant."
"'Tis true," said the Ogre, brusquely, "and to prove it to you, you
shall see me become a lion." The Cat was so frightened at seeing a
lion before him, that he immediately scampered up into the gutter, not
without trouble and danger, on account of his boots, which were not
fit to walk on the tiles with. A short time afterwards, the Cat having
perceived that the Ogre had resumed his previous form, descended,
and admitted that he had been terribly frightened. "They assure me,
besides," said the Cat, "but I cannot believe it, that you have also
the power to assume the form of the smallest animal; for instance, to
change yourself into a rat or a mouse. I confess to you I hold that
to be utterly impossible." "Impossible!" replied the Ogre; "you shall
see!" and immediately changed himself into a mouse, which began to run
about the floor. The Cat no sooner caught sight of it than he pounced
upon and devoured it. In the meanwhile, the King, who saw from the
road the fine Château of the Ogre, desired to enter it. The Cat, who
heard the noise of the coach rolling over the drawbridge, ran to meet
it, and said to the King, "Your Majesty is welcome to the Château of
my Lord the Marquis de Carabas." "How, my Lord Marquis," exclaimed the
King, "this Château also belongs to you? Nothing can be finer than
this court-yard, and all these buildings that surround it. Let us see
the inside of it, if you please." The Marquis handed out the young
Princess, and following the King, who led the way upstairs, entered a
grand hall, where they found a magnificent collation, which the Ogre
had ordered to be prepared for some friends who were to have visited
him that very day, but who did not presume to enter when they found the
King was there. The King, as much enchanted by the accomplishments of
my Lord the Marquis de Carabas as his daughter, who doted upon him, and
seeing the great wealth he possessed, said to him, after having drunk
five or six bumpers, "It depends entirely on yourself, my Lord Marquis,
whether or not you become my son-in-law." The Marquis, making several
profound bows, accepted the honour the King offered him; and on the
same day was united to the Princess. The Cat became a great lord, and
never again ran after mice, except for his amusement.

          Be the advantage ne'er so great
          Of owning a superb estate,
          From sire to son descended.
          Young men oft find, on industry,
          Combined with ingenuity,
          They'd better have depended.

ALSO

    If the son of a Miller so quickly could gain
    The heart of a Princess, it seems pretty plain,
    With good looks and good manners, and some aid from dress,
    The humblest need not quite despair of success.



CINDERELLA;

OR,

THE LITTLE GLASS SLIPPER.


Once on a time there was a gentleman who took for a second wife the
haughtiest and proudest woman that had ever been seen. She had two
daughters of the same temper, and who resembled her in everything. The
husband, on his side, had a daughter, but whose gentleness and goodness
were without parallel. She inherited them from her mother, who was the
best creature in the world. The wedding was hardly over before the
stepmother's ill-humour broke out. She could not abide the young girl,
whose good qualities made her own daughters appear more detestable.
She employed her in all the meanest work of the house. It was she who
cleaned the plate, and the stairs, who scrubbed Madame's chamber, and
those of Mesdemoiselles, her daughters. She slept at the top of the
house, in a loft, on a wretched straw mattress, while her sisters
occupied rooms, beautifully floored, in which were the most fashionable
beds, and mirrors wherein they could see themselves from head to foot.
The poor girl bore everything with patience, and did not dare complain
to her father, who would only have scolded her, as his wife governed
him entirely. When she had done her work, she went and placed herself
in the chimney-corner, and sat down amongst the cinders, which caused
her to be called by the household in general Cindertail. The second
daughter, however, who was not so rude as her elder sister, called her
Cinderella. Notwithstanding, Cinderella, in her shabby clothes, looked
a thousand times handsomer than her sisters, however magnificently
attired.

It happened that the King's son gave a ball, and invited to it
all persons of quality. Our two young ladies were included in the
invitation, for they cut a great figure in the neighbourhood. Behold
them in great delight, and very busy choosing the most becoming gowns
and head-dresses. A new mortification for Cinderella, for it was she
who ironed her sisters' linen, and set their ruffles. Nothing was
talked of but the style in which they were to be dressed. "I," said
the eldest, "will wear my red velvet dress and my English point-lace
trimmings." "I," said the youngest, "shall only wear my usual
petticoat; but to make up for that, I shall put on my gold-flowered
mantua, and my necklace of diamonds, which are none of the poorest."
They sent for a good milliner to make up their double-frilled caps,
and bought their patches of the best maker. They called Cinderella to
give them her opinion, for she had excellent taste. Cinderella gave
them the best advice in the world, and even offered to dress their
heads for them, which they were very willing she should do; and whilst
she was about it, they said to her, "Cinderella, shouldst thou like
to go to the ball?" "Alas! Mesdemoiselles, you make game of me; that
would not befit me at all." "Thou art right, they would laugh immensely
to see a Cindertail at a ball!" Any other but Cinderella would have
dressed their heads awry, but she was good natured, and dressed them to
perfection. They could eat nothing for nearly two days, so transported
were they with joy. More than a dozen laces were broken in making
their waists as small as possible, and they were always before their
looking-glasses. At last the happy day arrived. They set off, and
Cinderella followed them with her eyes as long as she could. When they
were out of sight, she began to cry. Her godmother, who saw her all in
tears, inquired what ailed her. "I should so like--I should so like--"
she sobbed so much that she could not finish the sentence. "Thou
wouldst so like to go to the ball--Is not that it?" "Alas! yes," said
Cinderella, sighing. "Well, if thou wilt be a good girl, I will take
care thou shalt go." She led her into her chamber, and said to her, "Go
into the garden and bring me a pumpkin." Cinderella went immediately,
gathered the finest she could find, and brought it to her godmother,
unable to guess how the pumpkin could enable her to go to the ball.
Her godmother scooped it out; and, having left nothing but the rind,
struck it with her wand, and the pumpkin was immediately changed into
a beautiful coach gilt all over. She then went and looked into the
mouse-trap, where she found six mice, all alive. She told Cinderella
to lift the door of the mouse-trap a little, and to each mouse, as it
ran out, she gave a tap with her wand, and the mouse was immediately
changed into a fine horse, thereby producing a handsome team of six
horses, of a beautiful dappled mouse-grey colour. As she was in some
difficulty as to what she should make a coachman of, Cinderella said,
"I will go and see if there be not a rat in the rat-trap; we will make
a coachman of him." "Thou art right," said her godmother. "Go and see."
Cinderella brought her the rat-trap, in which there were three great
rats. The Fairy selected one from the three, on account of its ample
beard, and having touched it, it was changed into a fat coachman, who
had the finest moustaches that ever were seen. She then said, "Go into
the garden, thou wilt find there, behind the watering-pot, six lizards,
bring them to me." She had no sooner brought them than the godmother
transformed them into six footmen, who immediately jumped up behind the
coach, with their liveries all covered with lace, and hung on to it as
if they had done nothing else all their lives. The Fairy then said to
Cinderella, "Well, there is something to go to the ball in. Art thou
not well pleased?" "Yes; but am I to go in these dirty clothes?" Her
godmother only touched her with her wand, and in the same instant her
dress was changed to cloth of gold and silver, covered with jewels. She
then gave her a pair of glass slippers, the prettiest in the world.
When she was thus attired, she got into the coach; but her godmother
advised her, above all things, not to stay out past midnight--warning
her, that if she remained at the ball one minute longer, her coach
would again become a pumpkin; her horses, mice; her footmen, lizards;
and her clothes resume their old appearance. She promised her godmother
she would not fail to leave the ball before midnight, and departed, out
of her senses with joy.

The King's son, who was informed that a grand Princess had arrived
whom nobody knew, ran to receive her. He handed her out of the coach
and led her into the hall, where the company was assembled. There was
immediately a dead silence; they stopped dancing, and the fiddlers
ceased to play, so engrossed was every one in the contemplation of the
great attractions of the unknown lady. Nothing was heard but a low
murmur of "Oh! how lovely she is!" The King himself, old as he was,
could not take his eyes from her, and observed to the Queen, that it
was a long time since he had seen so beautiful and so amiable a person.
All the ladies were intently occupied in examining her head-dress
and her clothes, that they might have some like them the very next
day, provided they could find materials as beautiful, and workpeople
sufficiently clever to make them up.

The King's son conducted her to the most honourable seat, and then led
her out to dance. She danced with so much grace that their admiration
of her was increased. A very grand supper was served, of which the
Prince ate not a morsel, so absorbed was he in contemplation of her.
She seated herself beside her sisters, and showed them a thousand
civilities. She shared with them the oranges and citrons which the
Prince had given to her; at which they were much surprised, for she
appeared a perfect stranger to them. Whilst they were in conversation
together, Cinderella heard the clock strike three-quarters past eleven.
She immediately made a profound curtsey to the company, and departed
as quickly as she could. As soon as she had reached home, she went
to find her godmother; and after having thanked her, said she much
wished to go to the ball again the next day, because the King's son
had invited her. While she was occupied in telling her godmother all
that had passed at the ball, the two sisters knocked at the door.
Cinderella went and opened it--"How late you are!" said she to them,
yawning, rubbing her eyes, and stretching herself as if she had but
just awoke. She had not, however, been inclined to sleep since she had
left them. "Hadst thou been at the ball," said one of her sisters to
her, "thou wouldst not have been weary of it. There came to it the most
beautiful Princess--the most beautiful that ever was seen. She paid us
a thousand attentions. She gave us oranges and citrons." Cinderella was
beside herself with delight. She asked them the name of the Princess;
but they replied that nobody knew her; that the King's son was much
puzzled about it, and that he would give everything in the world to
know who she was. Cinderella smiled and said, "She was very handsome,
then? Heavens! how fortunate you are!--Could not I get a sight of her?
Alas! Mademoiselle Javotte, lend me the yellow gown you wear every
day?" "Truly," said Mademoiselle Javotte, "I like that! Lend one's gown
to a dirty Cindertail like you!--I must be very mad indeed!" Cinderella
fully expected this refusal, and was delighted at it, for she would
have been greatly embarrassed if her sister had lent her her gown.

The next day the two sisters went to the ball, and Cinderella also,
but still more splendidly dressed than before. The King's son never
left her side, or ceased saying tender things to her. The young lady
was much amused, and forgot what her godmother had advised her, so
that she heard the clock begin to strike twelve when she did not even
think it was eleven. She rose and fled as lightly as a fawn. The Prince
followed her, but could not overtake her. She dropped one of her glass
slippers, which the Prince carefully picked up. Cinderella reached home
almost breathless, without coach or footmen, and in her shabby clothes,
nothing having remained of all her finery, except one of her little
slippers, the fellow of that she had let fall. The guards at the palace
gate were asked if they had not seen a Princess go out; they answered
that they had seen no one pass but a poorly-dressed girl, who had more
the air of a peasant than of a lady. When the two sisters returned from
the ball, Cinderella asked them if they had been as much entertained as
before, and if the beautiful lady had been present. They said yes, but
that she had fled as soon as it had struck twelve, and so precipitately
that she had let fall one of her little glass slippers, the prettiest
in the world; that the King's son had picked it up; that he had done
nothing but gaze upon it during the remainder of the evening; and
that, undoubtedly, he was very much in love with the beautiful person
to whom the little slipper belonged. They spoke the truth; for a few
days afterwards the King's son caused it to be proclaimed by sound
of trumpet that he would marry her whose foot would exactly match
with the slipper. They began by trying it on the Princesses, then on
the Duchesses, and so on throughout all the Court; but in vain. It
was taken to the two sisters, who did their utmost to force one of
their feet into the slipper, but they could not manage to do so.
Cinderella, who witnessed their efforts and recognised the slipper,
said, laughingly, "Let me see if it will not fit me." Her sisters began
to laugh and ridicule her. The gentleman who had been entrusted to try
the slipper, having attentively looked at Cinderella and found her to
be very handsome, said that it was a very proper request, and that he
had been ordered to try the slipper on all girls without exception. He
made Cinderella sit down, and putting the slipper to her little foot,
he saw it go on easily and fit like wax. Great was the astonishment
of the two sisters, but it was still greater when Cinderella took the
other little slipper out of her pocket and put it on her other foot. At
that moment the godmother arrived, who having given a tap with her wand
to Cinderella's clothes, they became still more magnificent than all
the others she had appeared in. The two sisters then recognised in her
the beautiful person they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves
at her feet to crave her forgiveness for all the ill-treatment she had
suffered from them. Cinderella raised and embracing them, said that she
forgave them with all her heart, and begged them to love her dearly for
the future. They conducted her to the young Prince, dressed just as she
was. He found her handsomer than ever, and a few days afterwards he
married her. Cinderella, who was as kind as she was beautiful, gave her
sisters apartments in the palace, and married them the very same day to
two great lords of the court.

    Beauty in woman is a treasure rare
    Which we are never weary of admiring;
    But a sweet temper is a gift more fair
    And better worth the youthful maid's desiring.
    That was the boon bestowed on Cinderella
    By her wise Godmother--her truest glory.
    The rest was "nought but leather and prunella."
    Such is the moral of this little story--
    Beauties, that charm becomes you more than dress,
    And wins a heart with far greater facility.
    In short, in all things to ensure success,
    The real Fairy gift is Amiability!

ALSO

    Talent, courage, wit, and worth
    Are rare gifts to own on earth.
    But if you want to thrive at court--
    So, at least, the wise report--
    You will find you need some others,
    Such as god-fathers or mothers.



RIQUET WITH THE TUFT.


Once upon a time there was a Queen, who was brought to bed of a son
so ugly and so ill-shaped that it was for a long time doubtful if he
possessed a human form. A Fairy, who was present at his birth, affirmed
that he would not fail to be amiable, as he would have much good-sense.
She added, even, that he would be able, in consequence of the gift she
had endowed him with, to impart equal intelligence to the person he
should love best. All this consoled the poor Queen a little, who was
much distressed at having brought into the world so hideous a little
monkey. It is true that the child was no sooner able to speak than he
said a thousand pretty things, and that there was in all his actions an
indescribable air of intelligence which charmed one. I had forgotten
to say that he was born with a little tuft of hair on his head, which
occasioned him to be named Riquet with the Tuft; for Riquet was the
family name.

At the end of seven or eight years, the Queen of a neighbouring kingdom
was brought to bed of two daughters. The first that came into the
world was fairer than day. The Queen was so delighted, that it was
feared her great joy would prove hurtful to her. The same Fairy who had
assisted at the birth of little Riquet with the Tuft was present upon
this occasion, and to moderate the joy of the Queen, she declared to
her that this little Princess would have no mental capacity, and that
she would be as stupid as she was beautiful. This mortified the Queen
exceedingly; but a few minutes afterwards she experienced a very much
greater annoyance, for the second girl she gave birth to, proved to
be extremely ugly. "Do not distress yourself so much, Madam," said
the Fairy to her. "Your daughter will find compensation; she will have
so much sense that her lack of beauty will scarcely be perceived."
"Heaven send it may be so," replied the Queen; "but are there no means
of giving a little sense to the eldest, who is so lovely?" "I can
do nothing for her, Madam, in the way of wit," said the Fairy, "but
everything in that of beauty; and as there is nothing in my power that
I would not do to gratify you, I will endow her with the ability to
render beautiful the person who shall please her."

As these two Princesses grew up, their endowments increased in the
same proportion, and nothing was talked of anywhere but the beauty of
the eldest and the intelligence of the youngest. It is true that their
defects also greatly increased with their years. The youngest became
uglier every instant, and the eldest more stupid every day. She either
made no answer when she was spoken to, or she said something foolish.
With this she was so awkward, that she could not place four pieces of
china on a mantel-shelf without breaking one of them, nor drink a glass
of water without spilling half of it on her dress. Notwithstanding the
great advantage of beauty to a girl, the youngest bore away the palm
from her sister nearly always, in every society. At first they gathered
round the handsomest, to gaze at and admire her; but they soon left her
for the wittiest, to listen to a thousand agreeable things; and people
were astonished to find that, in less than a quarter of an hour, the
eldest had not a soul near her, and that all the company had formed
a circle round the youngest. The former, though very stupid, noticed
this, and would have given, without regret, all her beauty for half
the sense of her sister. The Queen, discreet as she was, could not
help reproaching her frequently with her folly, which made the poor
Princess ready to die of grief. One day that she had withdrawn into a
wood to bewail her misfortune, she saw a little man approach her, of
most disagreeable appearance, but dressed very magnificently. It was
the young Prince Riquet with the Tuft, who, having fallen in love with
her from seeing her portraits, which were sent all round the world,
had quitted his father's kingdom to have the pleasure of beholding and
speaking to her. Enchanted to meet her thus alone, he accosted her with
all the respect and politeness imaginable. Having remarked, after
paying the usual compliments, that she was very melancholy, he said to
her, "I cannot comprehend, Madam, how a person so beautiful as you are
can be so sad as you appear; for though I may boast of having seen an
infinity of lovely women, I can avouch that I have never beheld one
whose beauty could be compared to yours." "You are pleased to say so,
Sir," replied the Princess; and there she stopped. "Beauty," continued
Riquet, "is so great an advantage, that it ought to surpass all others;
and when one possesses it, I do not see anything that could very much
distress you." "I had rather," said the Princess, "be as ugly as you,
and have good sense, than possess the beauty I do, and be as stupid
as I am." "There is no greater proof of good sense, Madam, than the
belief that we have it not; it is the nature of that gift, that the
more we have, the more we believe we are deficient of it." "I do not
know how that may be," said the Princess, "but I know well enough that
I am very stupid, and that is the cause of the grief which is killing
me." "If that is all that afflicts you, Madam, I can easily put an end
to your sorrow." "And how would you do that?" said the Princess. "I
have the power, Madam," said Riquet with the Tuft, "to give as much
wit as any one can possess to the person I love the most; and as you,
Madam, are that person, it will depend entirely upon yourself whether
or not you will have so much wit, provided that you are willing to
marry me." The Princess was thunderstruck, and replied not a word. "I
see," said Riquet with the Tuft, "that this proposal pains you; and I
am not surprised at it; but I give you a full year to consider of it."
The Princess had so little sense, and at the same time was so anxious
to have a great deal, that she thought the end of that year would never
come; so she accepted at once the offer that was made her. She had no
sooner promised Riquet with the Tuft that she would marry him that day
twelve months, than she felt herself to be quite another person to what
she was previously. She found she possessed an incredible facility of
saying anything she wished, and of saying it in a shrewd, yet easy and
natural manner. She commenced on the instant, and kept up a sprightly
conversation with Riquet with the Tuft, during which she chatted away
at such a rate, that Riquet with the Tuft began to believe he had given
her more wit than he had kept for himself. When she returned to the
Palace, the whole Court was puzzled to account for a change so sudden
and extraordinary, for in proportion to the number of foolish things
they had heard her say formerly, were the sensible and exceedingly
clever observations she now gave utterance to. All the Court was in a
state of joy which is not to be conceived. The younger sister alone
was not very much pleased, as no longer possessing over her elder
sister the advantage of wit, she now only appeared, by her side,
as a very disagreeable-looking person. The King was now led by his
eldest daughter's advice, and sometimes even held his Council in her
apartment. The news of this alteration having spread abroad, all the
young Princes of the neighbouring kingdoms exerted themselves to obtain
her affection, and nearly all of them asked her hand in marriage; but
she found none of them sufficiently intelligent, and she listened to
all of them without engaging herself to any one.

At length arrived a Prince so rich, so witty, and so handsome, that
she could not help feeling an inclination for him. Her father, having
perceived it, told her that he left her at perfect liberty to choose a
husband for herself, and that she had only to make known her decision.
As the more sense we possess, the more difficulty we find in making up
one's mind positively on such a matter, she requested, after having
thanked her father, that he would allow her some time to think of it.
She went, by chance, to walk in the same wood where she had met with
Riquet with the Tuft, in order to ponder with greater freedom on what
she had to do. While she was walking, deep in thought, she heard a dull
sound beneath her feet, as of many persons running to and fro, and
busily occupied. Having listened more attentively, she heard one say,
"Bring me that saucepan;" another, "Give me that kettle;" another, "Put
some wood on the fire." At the same moment the ground opened, and she
saw beneath her what appeared to be a large kitchen, full of cooks,
scullions, and all sorts of servants necessary for the preparation of a
magnificent banquet. There came forth a band of from twenty to thirty
cooks, who went and established themselves in an avenue of the wood
at a very long table, and who, each with larding-pin in hand and _the
queue de renard_[7] behind the ear, set to work, keeping time to a
melodious song.

The Princess, astonished at this sight, inquired for whom they were
working. "Madam," replied the most prominent of the troop, "for Prince
Riquet with the Tuft, whose marriage will take place to-morrow." The
Princess, still more surprised than she was before, and suddenly
recollecting that it was just a twelvemonth from the day on which
she had promised to marry Prince Riquet with the Tuft, was lost in
amazement. The cause of her not having remembered her promise was, that
when she made it she was a fool, and on receiving her new mind, she
forgot all her follies. She had not taken thirty steps in continuation
of her walk, when Riquet with the Tuft presented himself before her,
gaily and magnificently attired, like a Prince about to be married.
"You see, Madam," said he, "I keep my word punctually, and I doubt not
but that you have come hither to keep yours, and to make me, by the
gift of your hand, the happiest of men." "I confess to you, frankly,"
replied the Princess, "that I have not yet made up my mind on that
matter, and that I do not think I shall ever be able to do so to your
satisfaction." "You astonish me, Madam," said Riquet with the Tuft.
"I have no doubt I do," said the Princess; "and assuredly, had I to
deal with a stupid person--a man without mind,--I should feel greatly
embarrassed. 'A Princess is bound by her word,' he would say to me,
'and you must marry me, as you have promised to do so.' But as the
person to whom I speak is the most sensible man in all the world, I
am certain he will listen to reason. You know that, when I was no
better than a fool, I nevertheless could not resolve to marry you--how
can you expect, now that I have the sense which you have given me,
and which renders me much more difficult to please than before, that
I should take a resolution to-day which I could not do then? If you
seriously thought of marrying me, you did very wrong to take away
my stupidity, and enable me to see clearer than I saw then." "If a
man without sense," replied Riquet with the Tuft, "should meet with
some indulgence, as you have just intimated, had he to reproach you
with your breach of promise, why would you, Madam, that I should not
be equally so in a matter which affects the entire happiness of my
life? Is it reasonable that persons of intellect should be in a worse
condition than those that have none? Can you assert this--you who have
so much and have so earnestly desired to possess it? But let us come to
the point, if you please. With the exception of my ugliness, is there
anything in me that displeases you? Are you dissatisfied with my birth,
my understanding, my temper, or my manners?"

"Not in the least," replied the Princess; "I admire in you everything
you have mentioned." "If so," rejoined Riquet with the Tuft, "I shall
be happy, as you have it in your power to make me the most agreeable
of men." "How can that be done?" said the Princess. "It can be done,"
said Riquet with the Tuft, "if you love me sufficiently to wish that
it should be. And in order, Madam, that you should have no doubt about
it, know that the same fairy, who, on the day I was born, endowed me
with the power to give understanding to the person I chose, gave you
also the power to render handsome the man you should love, and on whom
you were desirous to bestow that favour." "If such be the fact," said
the Princess, "I wish, with all my heart, that you should become the
handsomest Prince in the world, and I bestow the gift on you to the
fullest extent in my power."

The Princess had no sooner pronounced these words, than Riquet with the
Tuft appeared to her eyes, of all men in the world, the handsomest,
the best made, and most amiable she had ever seen. There are some who
assert that it was not the spell of the Fairy, but love alone that
caused this metamorphosis. They say that the Princess, having reflected
on the perseverance of her lover--on his prudence, and all the good
qualities of his heart and mind, no longer saw the deformity of his
body nor the ugliness of his features--that his hunch appeared to her
nothing more than the effect of a man shrugging his shoulders, and that
instead of observing, as she had done, that he limped horribly, she saw
in him no more than a certain lounging air, which charmed her. They say
also that his eyes, which squinted, seemed to her only more brilliant
from that defect, which passed in her mind for a proof of the intensity
of his love, and, in fine, that his great red nose had in it something
martial and heroic. However this may be, the Princess promised on
the spot to marry him, provided he obtained the consent of the King,
her Father. The King, having learned that his daughter entertained a
great regard for Riquet with the Tuft, whom he knew also to be a very
clever and wise prince, accepted him with pleasure for a son-in-law.
The wedding took place the next morning, as Riquet with the Tuft had
foreseen, and, according to the instructions which he had given a long
time before.

    No beauty, no talent, has power above
    Some indefinite charm discern'd only by love.


FOOTNOTES:

[7] See Appendix.



LITTLE THUMBLING.


Once upon a time there was a Woodcutter and his wife who had seven
children, all boys; the eldest was but ten years old, and the youngest
only seven. People wondered that the Woodcutter had had so many
children in so short a time; but the fact is, that his wife not only
had them very fast, but seldom presented him with less than two at a
birth. They were very poor, and their seven children troubled them
greatly, as not one of them was yet able to gain his livelihood. What
grieved them still more was that the youngest was very delicate, and
seldom spoke, which they considered a proof of stupidity instead of
good sense. He was very diminutive, and, when first born, scarcely
bigger than one's thumb, which caused them to call him Little Thumbling.

This poor child was the scapegoat of the house, and was blamed for
everything that happened. Nevertheless he was the shrewdest and most
sensible of all his brothers, and if he spoke little, he listened
a great deal. There came a very bad harvest, and the famine was so
severe that these poor people determined to get rid of their children.
One evening, when they were all in bed, and the Woodman was sitting
over the fire with his wife, he said to her, with an aching heart,
"Thou seest clearly that we can no longer find food for our children.
I cannot let them die of hunger before my eyes, and I am resolved to
lose them to-morrow in the wood, which will be easily done, for whilst
they are occupied in tying up the faggots, we have but to make off
unobserved by them." "Ah!" exclaimed the Woodcutter's wife, "Canst
thou have the heart to lose thine own children?" Her husband in vain
represented to her their exceeding poverty; she could not consent to
the deed. She was poor, but she was their mother. Having, however,
reflected on the misery it would occasion her to see them die of
hunger, she at length assented, and went to bed weeping.

Little Thumbling heard everything they had said, for having
ascertained, as he lay in his bed, that they were talking of their
affairs, he got up quietly, and slipped under his father's stool to
listen, without being seen. He went to bed again, and slept not a wink
the rest of the night, thinking what he should do. He rose early and
repaired to the banks of a rivulet, where he filled his pockets with
small white pebbles, and then returned home. They set out all together,
and Little Thumbling said nothing of what he had heard to his brothers.
They entered a very thick forest, wherein, at ten paces distant, they
could not see one another. The Woodcutter began to cut wood, and
his children to pick up sticks to make faggots with. The father and
mother, seeing them occupied with their work, stole away gradually, and
then fled suddenly by a small winding path. When the children found
themselves all alone, they began to scream and cry with all their
might. Little Thumbling let them scream, well knowing how he could
get home again, for as he came he had dropped all along the road the
little white pebbles he had in his pockets. He said to them then, "Fear
nothing, brothers, my father and mother have left us here, but I will
take you safely home, only follow me." They followed him, and he led
them back to the house by the same road that they had taken into the
forest. They feared to enter immediately, but placed themselves close
to the door to listen to the conversation of their father and mother.

Just at the moment that the Woodcutter and his wife arrived at home,
the lord of the manor sent them ten crowns which he had owed them a
long time, and which they had given up all hope of receiving. This was
new life to them, for these poor people were actually starving. The
Woodcutter sent his wife to the butcher's immediately. As it was many
a day since they had tasted meat, she bought three times as much as
was necessary for the supper of two persons. When they had satisfied
their hunger, the Woodcutter's wife said, "Alas! where now are our
poor children; they would fare merrily on what we have left. But it
was thou, Guillaume, who wouldst lose them. Truly did I say we should
repent it. What are they now doing in the forest! Alas! Heaven help
me! the wolves have, perhaps, already devoured them! Inhuman that thou
art, thus to have destroyed thy children!" The Woodcutter began to lose
his temper, for she repeated more than twenty times that they should
repent it, and that she had said they would. He threatened to beat her
if she did not hold her tongue. It was not that the Woodcutter was
not, perhaps, even more sorry than his wife, but that she made such a
noise about it, and that he was like many other men who are very fond
of women who can talk well, but are exceedingly annoyed by those whose
words always come true. The wife was all in tears. "Alas! where are
now my children, my poor children?" She uttered this, at length, so
loudly, that the children, who were at the door, heard her, and began
to cry altogether, "We are here! we are here!" She ran quickly to open
the door to them, and, embracing them, exclaimed, "How happy I am to
see you again, my dear children; you are very tired and hungry. And how
dirty thou art, Pierrot; come here and let me wash thee." Pierrot was
her eldest son, and she loved him better than all the rest because he
was rather red-headed, and she was slightly so herself. They sat down
to supper, and ate with an appetite that delighted their father and
mother, to whom they related how frightened they were in the forest,
speaking almost always all together. The good folks were enchanted to
see their children once more around them, and their joy lasted as long
as the ten crowns; but when the money was spent they relapsed into
their former misery, and resolved to lose the children again, and to do
so effectually they determined to lead them much further from home than
they had done the first time.

They could not talk of this so privately, but that they were overheard
by Little Thumbling, who reckoned upon getting out of the scrape by the
same means as before; but though he got up very early to collect the
little pebbles, he could not succeed in his object, for he found the
house door double locked. He knew not what to do, when the Woodcutter's
wife, having given them each a piece of bread for their breakfast, it
occurred to him that he might make the bread supply the place of the
pebbles by strewing crumbs of it along the path as they went, and so
he put his piece in his pocket. The father and mother led them into
the thickest and darkest part of the forest; and as soon as they had
done so, they gained a by-path, and left them there. Little Thumbling
did not trouble himself much, for he believed he should easily find
his way back by means of the bread which he had scattered wherever he
had passed; but he was greatly surprised at not being able to find a
single crumb. The birds had eaten it all up! Behold the poor children
then, in great distress, for the further they wandered the deeper they
plunged into the forest. Night came on, and a great wind arose, which
terrified them horribly. They fancied they heard on every side nothing
but the howling of wolves, hastening to devour them. They scarcely
dared to speak or look behind them. It then began to rain so heavily
that they were soon drenched to the skin; they slipped at every step,
tumbling into the mud, out of which they scrambled in a filthy state,
not knowing what to do with their hands. Little Thumbling climbed up
a tree to try if he could see anything from the top of it. Having
looked all about him, he saw a little light like that of a candle,
but it was a long way on the other side of the forest. He came down
again, and when he had reached the ground he could see the light no
longer. This distressed him greatly; but having walked on with his
brothers for some time in the direction of the light, he saw it again
on emerging from the wood. At length they reached the house where the
light was, not without many alarms, for they often lost sight of it,
and always when they descended into the valleys. They knocked loudly at
the door, and a good woman came to open it. She asked them what they
wanted. Little Thumbling told her they were poor children who had lost
their way in the forest, and who begged a night's lodging for charity.
The woman, seeing they were all so pretty, began to weep, and said
to them, "Alas! my poor children, whither have you come? Know that
this is the dwelling of an Ogre who eats little boys!" "Alas, Madam!"
replied Little Thumbling, who trembled from head to foot, as did all
his brothers; "what shall we do?--It is certain that the wolves of the
forest will not fail to devour us to-night, if you refuse to receive us
under your roof, and that being the case, we had rather be eaten by
the gentleman; perhaps he may have pity upon us, if you are kind enough
to ask him." The Ogre's wife, who fancied she could contrive to hide
them from her husband till the next morning, allowed them to come in,
and led them where they could warm themselves by a good fire, for there
was a whole sheep on the spit roasting for the Ogre's supper. Just as
they were beginning to get warm, they heard two or three loud knocks
at the door. It was the Ogre who had come home. His wife immediately
made the children hide under the bed, and went to open the door. The
Ogre first asked if his supper was ready and if she had drawn the wine,
and with that he sat down to his meal. The mutton was all but raw, but
he liked it all the better for that. He sniffed right and left, saying
that he smelt fresh meat. "It must be the calf I have just skinned that
you smell," said his wife. "I smell fresh meat, I tell you once more,"
replied the Ogre, looking askance at his wife; "there is something
here that I don't understand." In saying these words, he rose from the
table and went straight to the bed--"Ah!" he exclaimed, "it is thus,
then, thou wouldst deceive me, cursed woman! I know not what hinders me
from eating thee also! It is well for thee that thou art an old beast!
Here is some game, which comes in good time for me to entertain three
Ogres of my acquaintance who are coming to see me in a day or two." He
dragged them from under the bed one after the other. The poor children
fell on their knees, begging mercy; but they had to deal with the
most cruel of all the Ogres, and who, far from feeling pity for them,
devoured them already with his eyes, and said to his wife they would be
dainty bits, when she had made a good sauce for them. He went to fetch
a great knife, and as he returned to the poor children, he whetted it
on a long stone that he held in his left hand. He had already seized
one, when his wife said to him, "What would you do at this hour of the
night? will it not be time enough to-morrow?" "Hold thy peace," replied
the Ogre, "they will be the more tender." "But you have already so
much meat," returned his wife; "Here is a calf, two sheep, and half a
pig." "Thou art right," said the Ogre; "give them a good supper, that
they may not fall away, and then put them to bed." The good woman was
enchanted, and brought them plenty for supper, but they couldn't eat,
they were so paralysed with fright. As for the Ogre, he seated himself
to drink again, delighted to think he had such a treat in store for his
friends. He drained a dozen goblets more than usual, which affected his
head a little, and obliged him to go to bed.

The Ogre had seven daughters who were still in their infancy. These
little Ogresses had the most beautiful complexions, in consequence of
their eating raw flesh like their father; but they had very small,
round, grey eyes, hooked noses, and very large mouths, with long teeth,
exceedingly sharp, and wide apart. They were not very vicious as yet;
but they promised fairly to be so, for they already began to bite
little children, in order to suck their blood. They had been sent to
bed early, and were all seven in a large bed, having each a crown of
gold on her head. In the same room was another bed of the same size.
It was in this bed that the Ogre's wife put the seven little boys to
sleep, after which she went to sleep with her husband.

Little Thumbling, who had remarked that the Ogre's daughters had golden
crowns on their heads, and who feared that the Ogre might regret that
he had not killed him and his brothers that evening, got up in the
middle of the night, and, taking off his own nightcap and those of his
brothers, went very softly and placed them on the heads of the Ogre's
seven daughters, after having taken off their golden crowns, which he
put on his brothers and himself, in order that the Ogre might mistake
them for his daughters, and his daughters for the boys whose throats he
longed to cut.

Matters turned out exactly as he anticipated, for the Ogre awaking at
midnight, regretted having deferred till the morning what he might
have done the evening before. He therefore jumped suddenly out of bed,
and seizing his great knife, "Let us go," said he, "and see how our
young rogues are by this time; we won't make two bites at a cherry."
Therewith he stole on tiptoes up to his daughters' bed-room, and
approached the bed in which lay the little boys, who were all asleep
except Thumbling, who was dreadfully frightened when the Ogre placed
his hand upon his head to feel it, as he had in turn felt those of all
his brothers.

The Ogre, who felt the golden crowns, said, "Truly, I was about to do
a pretty job! It's clear I must have drunk too much last night." He
then went to the bed where his daughters slept, and having felt the
little nightcaps that belonged to the boys. "Aha!" cried he. "Here
are our young wags! Let us to work boldly!" So saying, he cut without
hesitation the throats of his seven daughters. Well satisfied with this
exploit, he returned and stretched himself beside his wife. As soon as
Little Thumbling heard the Ogre snoring, he woke his brothers, and bade
them dress themselves quickly and follow him. They went down softly
into the garden and jumped over the wall. They ran nearly all night
long, trembling all the way, and not knowing whither they were going.

The Ogre, awaking in the morning, said to his wife, "Get thee up stairs
and dress the little rogues you took in last night." The Ogress was
astonished at the kindness of her husband, never suspecting the sort
of dressing he meant her to give them, and fancying he ordered her to
go and put on their clothes; she went up stairs, where she was greatly
surprised to find her daughters murdered and swimming in their blood.
The first thing she did was to faint (for it is the first thing that
almost all women do in similar circumstances). The Ogre, fearing that
his wife would be too long about the job he had given her to do, went
upstairs to help her. He was not less surprised than his wife, when he
beheld this frightful spectacle. "Hah! what have I done?" he exclaimed.
"The wretches shall pay for it, and instantly!" He then threw a jugfull
of water in his wife's face, and having brought her to, said, "Quick!
give me my seven-league boots, that I may go and catch them." He set
out, and after running in every direction, came at last upon the track
of the poor children, who were not more than a hundred yards from their
father's house. They saw the Ogre striding from hill to hill, and who
stepped over rivers as easily as if they were the smallest brooks.
Little Thumbling, who perceived a hollow rock close by where they were,
hid his brothers in it, and crept in after them, watching all the while
the progress of the Ogre. The Ogre, feeling very tired with his long
journey to no purpose (for seven-league boots are very fatiguing to the
wearer), was inclined to rest, and by chance sat down on the very rock
in which the little boys had concealed themselves. As he was quite worn
out, he had not rested long before he fell asleep, and began to snore
so dreadfully that the poor children were not less frightened than they
were when he took up the great knife to cut their throats.

Little Thumbling was not so much alarmed, and told his brothers to run
quickly into the house while the Ogre was sound asleep, and not to
be uneasy about him. They took his advice and speedily reached home.
Little Thumbling having approached the Ogre, gently pulled off his
boots, and put them on directly. The boots were very large and very
long; but as they were fairy boots, they possessed the quality of
increasing or diminishing in size according to the leg of the person
who wore them, so that they fitted him as perfectly as if they had been
made for him. He went straight to the Ogre's house, where he found his
wife weeping over her murdered daughters. "Your husband," said Little
Thumbling to her, "is in great danger, for he has been seized by a band
of robbers, who have sworn to kill him if he does not give them all his
gold and silver. At the moment they had their daggers at his throat
he perceived me, and entreated me to come and tell you the situation
he was in, and bid you give me all his ready cash, without keeping
back any of it, as otherwise they will kill him without mercy. As time
pressed, he insisted I should take his seven-league boots, which you
see I have on, in order that I might make haste, and also that you
might be sure I was not imposing upon you."

The good woman, very much alarmed, immediately gave him all the money
she could find, for the Ogre was not a bad husband to her, although he
ate little children. Little Thumbling, thus laden with all the wealth
of the Ogre, hastened back to his father's house, where he was received
with great joy.

There are many persons who differ in their account of this part of
the story, and who pretend that Little Thumbling never committed this
robbery, and that he only considered himself justified in taking the
Ogre's seven-league boots, because he used them expressly to run after
little children. These people assert that they have heard it from good
authority, and that they have even eaten and drunk in the Woodcutter's
house. They assure us that when Little Thumbling had put on the Ogre's
boots, he went to Court, where he knew they were in much trouble about
an army which was within two hundred leagues of them, and anxious to
learn the success of a battle that had been fought. They say he went
to seek the King, and told him that if he desired it, he would bring
him back news of the army before the end of the day. The King promised
him a large sum of money if he did so. Little Thumbling brought news
that very evening, and this first journey having made him known, he
got whatever he chose to ask; for the King paid most liberally for
taking his orders to the army, and numberless ladies gave him anything
he chose for news of their lovers, and they were his best customers.
He occasionally met with some wives who entrusted him with letters
for their husbands, but they paid him so poorly, and the amount was
altogether so trifling, that he did not condescend to put down amongst
his receipts what he got for that service. After he had been a courier
for some time, and saved a great deal of money, he returned to his
father, where it is impossible to imagine the joy of his family at
seeing him again. He made them all comfortable. He bought newly-made
offices for his father and his brothers, and by these means established
them all, making his own way at Court at the same time.

    Often is the handsome boy
    Made, alone, his father's joy;
    While the tiny, timid child
    Is neglected or reviled.
    Notwithstanding, sometimes he
    Lives, of all, the prop to be.



THE COUNTESS DE MURAT.



PERFECT LOVE.


In one of those agreeable countries subject to the Empire of the
Fairies, reigned the redoubtable Danamo. She was learned in her art,
cruel in her deeds, and proud of the honour of being descended from
the celebrated Calypso, whose charms had the glory and the power, by
detaining the famous Ulysses, to triumph over the prudence of the
conquerors of Troy.

She was tall, fierce-looking, and her haughty spirit had with much
difficulty been subjected to the rigid laws of Hymen. Love had never
been able to reach her heart, but the idea of uniting a flourishing
kingdom to that of which she was Queen, and another which she had
usurped, had induced her to marry an old monarch, who was one of her
neighbours.

He died a few years after his marriage, and left the Queen with one
daughter, named Azire. She was exceedingly ugly, but did not appear so
in the eyes of Danamo, who thought her charming, perhaps because she
was the very image of herself. She was heiress also to three kingdoms,
a circumstance which softened down many defects, and her hand was
sought in marriage by all the most powerful princes of the adjacent
provinces. Their eagerness, joined to the blind affection of Danamo,
rendered her vanity insupportable. She was ardently besought--she must,
therefore, be worthy of such solicitation. It was thus that the Fairy
and the Princess reasoned in their own minds, and enjoyed the pleasure
of deceiving themselves. Meanwhile, Danamo thought only of rendering
the happiness of the Princess as perfect as she considered was her due,
and, with this object, brought up in her palace a young Prince, the son
of her brother.

His name was Parcin Parcinet. He had a noble bearing, a graceful
figure, a profusion of beautiful fair hair. Love might have been
jealous of his power, for that deity had never, amongst his
golden-pointed arrows, any so certain to triumph irresistibly over
hearts as the fine eyes of Parcin Parcinet. He could do everything well
that he chose to undertake--danced and sang to perfection, and bore
off all the prizes in the tournament whenever he took the trouble to
contend for them.

This young Prince was the delight of the Court, and Danamo, who had her
motives for it, made no objection to the homage and admiration which he
received.

The King who was the father of Parcinet was the Fairy's brother. She
declared war against him without even seeking for a reason. The King
fought valiantly, at the head of his troops; but what could any army
effect against the power of so skilful a Fairy as Danamo? She allowed
the victory to remain in doubt only long enough for her unfortunate
brother to fall in the combat. As soon as he was dead, she dispersed
all her enemies with one stroke of her wand, and made herself mistress
of the kingdom.

Parcin Parcinet was at that time still in his cradle. They brought him
to Danamo. It would have been in vain to attempt hiding him from a
Fairy. He already displayed those seductive graces which win the heart.
Danamo caressed him, and a few days afterwards took him with her to her
own dominions.

The Prince had attained the age of eighteen, when the Fairy, desirous
at length of executing the designs which she had so many years
contemplated, resolved to marry Parcin Parcinet to the Princess, her
daughter. She never for a moment doubted the infinite delight which
that young Prince, born to a throne, and condemned by misfortune to
remain a subject, would feel at becoming in one day the sovereign of
three kingdoms. She sent for the Princess, and revealed to her the
choice she had made of a husband for her. The Princess listened to
this disclosure with an emotion which caused the Fairy to believe that
this resolution in favour of Parcin Parcinet was not agreeable to
her daughter. "I see clearly," she said to her, as she perceived her
agitation increasing, "that thou hast much more ambition, and wouldst
unite with thine own empire that of one of those kings who have so
often proposed for thee; but where is the King whom Parcin Parcinet
cannot conquer? In courage he surpasses them all. The subjects of so
perfect a prince might one day rebel in his favour. In giving thee to
him I secure to thee the possession of his kingdom. As to his person,
it is unnecessary to speak--thou knowest that the proudest beauties
have not been able to resist his charms." The Princess, suddenly
flinging herself at the feet of the Fairy, interrupted her discourse,
and confessed to her that her heart had not been able to defy the young
victor, famous for so many conquests. "But," added she, blushing, "I
have given a thousand proofs of my affection to the insensible Parcin
Parcinet, and he has received them with a coldness which distracts me."
"'Tis because he dares not raise his thoughts so high as thee," replied
the haughty Fairy. "He fears, no doubt, to offend me, and I appreciate
his respect."

This flattering idea was too agreeable to the inclination and the
vanity of the Princess for her not to be persuaded of its truth. The
Fairy ended by sending for Parcin Parcinet. He came, and found her in
a magnificent cabinet, where she awaited him with the Princess, her
daughter. "Call all thy courage to thy assistance," said she to him as
soon as he appeared--"not to support affliction, but to prevent being
overcome by thy good fortune. Thou art called to a throne, Parcin
Parcinet, and to crown thy happiness, thou wilt mount that throne by
espousing my daughter." "I, Madam!" exclaimed the young Prince, with an
astonishment in which it was easy to perceive that joy had no share, "I
espouse the Princess," continued he, retreating a few paces. "Hah! what
deity is meddling with my fate? Why does he not leave the care of it to
the only one from whom I implore assistance?"

These words were uttered by the Prince with a vehemence in which
his heart took too much part to allow it to be controlled by his
prudence. The Fairy imagined that the unhoped-for happiness had driven
Parcin Parcinet out of his wits; but the Princess loved him, and love
sometimes renders lovers more keen sighted than even wisdom. "From
what deity, Parcin Parcinet," said she to him with emotion, "do you
implore assistance so fondly? I feel too deeply that I have no share
in the prayers you address to him." The young Prince, who had had
time to recover from his first surprise, and who was conscious of the
imprudence he had committed, summoned his brain to the assistance
of his heart. He answered the Princess with more gallantry than she
had hoped for, and thanked the Fairy with an air of dignity that
sufficiently proved him to be worthy not only of the empire that was
offered him, but of that of the whole world.

Danamo and her proud daughter were satisfied with his expressions,
and they settled everything before they left the apartment, the Fairy
deferring the wedding-day a short time, only to give opportunity to all
her Court to prepare for this grand solemnity.

The news of the marriage of Parcin Parcinet and Azire was spread
throughout the Palace the moment they had quitted the Queen's cabinet.
Crowds came to congratulate the Prince. However unamiable the Princess,
it was to high fortune she conducted him. Parcin Parcinet received
all these honours with an air of indifference, which surprised his
new subjects the more, for that they detected beneath it extreme
affliction and anxiety. He was compelled, however, to endure for the
rest of the day the eager homage of the whole Court, and the ceaseless
demonstrations of affection lavished upon him by Azire.

What a situation for a young Prince, a prey to the keenest anguish.
Night seemed to him to have delayed its return a thousand times longer
than usual. The impatient Parcin Parcinet prayed for its arrival.
It came at length. He quitted precipitately the place in which he
had suffered so much. He retired to his own apartments, and, having
dismissed his attendants, opened a door which led into the Palace
Gardens, and hurried through them, followed only by a young slave.

A beautiful, but not very extensive, river ran at the end of the
gardens, and separated from the magnificent Palace of the Fairy a
little Château, flanked by four towers, and surrounded by a tolerably
deep moat, which was filled by the river aforesaid. It was to this
fatal spot that the vows and sighs of Parcin Parcinet were incessantly
wafted.

What a miracle was confined in it! Danamo had the treasure carefully
guarded within it. It was a young Princess, the daughter of her
sister, who, dying, had confided her to the charge of the Fairy. Her
beauty, worthy the admiration of the universe, appeared too dangerous
to Danamo to allow her to be seen by the side of Azire. Permission was
occasionally accorded to the charming Irolite (so was she named), to
come to the Palace, to visit the Fairy and the Princess her daughter,
but she had never been allowed to appear in public. Her dawning
beauties were unknown to the world, but there was one who was not
ignorant of them. They had met the eyes of Parcin Parcinet one day at
the apartments of the Princess Azire, and he had adored Irolite from
the moment that he had seen her. Their near relationship afforded no
privilege to that young Prince; from the time Irolite ceased to be an
infant the pitiless Danamo suffered no one to behold her.

Nevertheless Parcin Parcinet burned with a flame as ardent as such
charms as Irolite's could not fail to kindle. She was just fourteen.
Her beauty was perfect. Her hair was of a charming colour. Without
being decidedly dark or fair, her complexion had all the freshness
of spring. Her mouth was lovely, her teeth admirable, her smile
fascinating. She had large hazel eyes, sparkling and tender, and her
glances appeared to say a thousand things which her young heart was
ignorant of.

She had been brought up in complete solitude. Near as was the Palace of
the Fairy to the Château in which she dwelt, she saw no more persons
than she might have seen in the midst of deserts. Danamo's orders to
this effect were strictly followed. The lovely Irolite passed her days
amongst the women appointed to attend her. They were few in number,
but little as were the advantages to be gained in so solitary and
circumscribed a Court, Fame, which feared not Danamo, published such
wonders of this young Princess, that ladies of the highest rank were
eager to share the seclusion of the youthful Irolite. Her appearance
confirmed all that Fame had reported. They were always finding some new
charm to admire in her.

A governess of great intelligence and prudence, formerly attached to
the Princess who was the mother of Irolite, had been allowed to remain
with her, and frequently bewailed the rigorous conduct of Danamo
towards her young mistress. Her name was Mana. Her desire to restore
the Princess to the liberty she was entitled to enjoy, and the position
she was born to occupy, had induced her to favour the love of Parcin
Parcinet. It was now three years since he had contrived to introduce
himself one evening into the Château in the dress of a slave. He found
Irolite in the garden, and declared his passion for her. She was then
but a charming child. She loved Parcin Parcinet as if he had been her
brother, and could not then comprehend the existence of any warmer
attachment. Mana, who was rarely absent from the side of Irolite,
surprised the young Prince in the garden; he avowed to her his love
for the Princess, and the determination he had formed to perish, or
to restore her one day to liberty, and then to seek, by a personal
appeal to his former subjects, a glorious means of revenging himself on
Danamo, and of placing Irolite upon the throne.

The noble qualities which were daily developed in the nature of
Parcin Parcinet, might have rendered probable his success in still
more difficult undertakings, and it was also the only hope of rescue
which offered itself to Irolite. Mana allowed him to visit the Château
occasionally after nightfall. He saw Irolite only in her presence, but
he spoke to her of his love, and never ceased endeavouring, by tender
words and devoted attentions, to inspire her with a passion as ardent
as his own. For three years Parcin Parcinet had been occupied solely
with this passion. Nearly every night he visited the Château of his
Princess, and all his days he passed in thinking of her. We left him on
his road through Danamo's gardens, followed by a slave, and absorbed in
the despair to which the determination of the Fairy had reduced him. He
reached the river's bank: a little gilded boat, moored to the shore,
in which Azire sometimes enjoyed an excursion on the water, enabled
the enamoured Prince to cross the stream. The slave rowed him over,
and as soon as Parcin Parcinet had ascended the silken ladder which
was thrown to him from a little terrace that extended along the entire
front of the Château, the faithful servant rowed the boat back to its
mooring-place, and remained with it there until a signal was made to
him by his master. This was the waving, for a few minutes, of a lighted
flambeau on the terrace.

This evening the Prince took his usual route, the silken ladder was
thrown to him, and he reached, without any obstacle, the apartment of
the youthful Irolite. He found her stretched on a couch, and bathed
in tears. How beautiful did she appear to him in her affliction. Her
charms had never before affected the young Prince so deeply.

"What is the matter, my Princess?" asked he, flinging himself on his
knees before the couch on which she lay. "What can have caused these
precious tears to flow? Alas!" he continued, sighing, "have I still
more misfortunes to learn here?" The young lovers mingled their tears
and sighs, and were forced to give full vent to their sorrow before
they could find words to declare its cause. At length the young Prince
entreated Irolite to tell him what new severity the Fairy had treated
her with. "She would compel you to marry Azire," replied the beautiful
Irolite, blushing; "which of all her cruelties could cause me so much
agony?" "Ah! my dear Princess," exclaimed the Prince, "you fear I
shall marry Azire! My lot is a thousand times more happy than I could
have imagined it!" "Can you exult in your destiny," sadly rejoined
the Princess, "when it threatens to separate us? I cannot express to
you the tortures that I suffer from this fear! Ah, Parcin Parcinet,
you were right! The love I bear to you is far different from that I
should feel for a brother!" The enamoured Prince blessed Fortune for
her severities; never before had the young heart of Irolite appeared
to him truly touched by love, and now he could no longer doubt having
inspired her with a passion as tender as his own. This unlooked-for
happiness renewed all his hopes. "No!" he exclaimed with rapture; "I no
longer despair of overcoming our difficulties, since I am convinced of
your affection. Let us fly, my Princess. Let us escape from the fury of
Danamo and her hateful daughter. Let us seek a home more favourable to
the indulgence of that love, in which alone consists our happiness!"
"How!" rejoined the young Princess with astonishment. "Depart with you!
And what would all the kingdom say of my flight?" "Away with such idle
fears, beautiful Irolite," interrupted the impatient Parcin Parcinet,
"everything urges us to quit this spot. Let us hasten--" "But whither?"
asked the prudent Mana, who had been present during the entire
interview, and who, less pre-occupied than these young lovers, foresaw
all the difficulties in the way of their flight. "I have plans which I
will lay before you," answered Parcin Parcinet; "but how did you become
so soon acquainted here with the news of the Fairy's Court?" "One of
my relatives," replied Mana, "wrote to me the instant that the rumour
was circulated through the Palace, and I thought it my duty to inform
the Princess." "What have I not suffered since that moment!" said the
lovely Irolite. "No, Parcin Parcinet, I cannot live without you!" The
young Prince, in a transport of love, and enchanted by these words,
imprinted on the beautiful hand of Irolite a passionate and tender
kiss, which had all the charms of a first and precious favour. The day
began to dawn, and warned Parcinet, too soon, that it was time for
him to retire. He promised the Princess he would return the following
night to reveal his plans for their escape. He found his faithful
slave in waiting with the boat, and returned to his apartments. He was
enraptured with the delight of being beloved by the fair Irolite, and
agitated by the obstacles which he clearly perceived would have to be
surmounted, sleep could neither calm his anxiety, nor make him for one
moment forget his happiness.

The morning sun had scarcely lighted his chamber, when a dwarf
presented him with a magnificent scarf from the Princess Azire, who in
a note, more tender than Parcin Parcinet would have desired, entreated
him to wear it constantly from that moment. He returned an answer which
it embarrassed him much to compose; but Irolite was to be rescued,
and what constraint would he not have himself endured to restore her
to liberty. He had no sooner dismissed the dwarf than a giant arrived
to present him, from Danamo, with a sabre of extraordinary beauty.
The hilt was formed by a single stone, more brilliant than a diamond,
and which emitted so dazzling a lustre that it would light the way by
night. Upon its blade were engraven these words--

 "For the hand of a conqueror."

Parcin Parcinet was pleased with this present. He went to thank the
Fairy for it, and entered her apartment, wearing the marvellous sabre
she had sent him, and the beautiful scarf he had received from Azire.
The assurance of Irolite's affection for him had relieved him from all
anxiety, and filled his bosom with that gentle and perfect happiness
which is born of mutual love. An air of joy was apparent in all his
actions. Azire attributed it to the effect of her own charms, and the
Fairy to satisfied ambition. The day passed in entertainments which
could not diminish the insupportable length of it to Parcin Parcinet.
In the evening they walked in the Palace gardens, and were rowed on
that very river with which the Prince was so well acquainted. His heart
beat quickly as he stepped into that little boat. What a difference
between the pleasure to which it was accustomed to bear him, and the
dreary dulness of his present position. Parcin Parcinet could not help
casting frequent glances towards the dwelling of the charming Irolite.
She did not make her appearance upon the terrace of the Château,
for there was an express order that she was not to be permitted to
leave her chamber, whenever the Fairy or Azire was on the water. The
latter, who narrowly watched all the Prince's actions, observed that
he often looked in that direction. "What are you gazing at, Prince?"
said she. "Amidst all the honours that surround you, is the prison of
Irolite deserving so much attention?" "Yes, Madam," replied the Prince,
very imprudently, "I feel for those who have not drawn on themselves
by their own misconduct the misfortunes they endure." "You are too
compassionate," replied Azire, contemptuously; "but to relieve your
anxiety," added she, lowering her voice, "I can inform you that Irolite
will not long continue a prisoner." "And what is to become of her,
then?" hastily inquired the young Prince. "The Queen will marry her
in a few days to Prince Ormond," answered Azire. "He is, as you know,
a kinsman of ours; and, agreeable to the Queen's intentions, the day
after the nuptials he will conduct Irolite to one of his fortresses,
from whence she will never return to the Court." "How!" exclaimed
Parcin Parcinet, with extraordinary emotion; "will the Queen bestow
that beautiful Princess on so frightful a Prince, and whose vices
exceed even his ugliness? What cruelty!"--The latter word escaped his
lips despite himself: but he could no longer be false to his courage
and his heart. "Methinks it is not for you, Parcin Parcinet," retorted
Azire, haughtily, "to complain of the cruelties of Danamo."

This conversation would, no doubt, have been carried too far for the
young Prince, whose safety lay in dissimulation; when, fortunately for
Parcin Parcinet, some of the ladies in waiting on Azire approached
her, and a moment afterwards the Fairy having appeared on the bank
of the river, Azire signified her desire to rejoin her. On landing,
Parcin Parcinet pretended indisposition in order to obtain at least the
liberty of lamenting alone his new misfortunes.

The Fairy, and more particularly Azire, testified great anxiety
respecting his illness. He returned to his own apartments. There he
indulged in a thousand complaints against destiny for the ills it
threatened to inflict on the charming Irolite, abandoned himself to
all his grief and all his passion, and beginning at length to seek
consolation for sufferings so agonizing to a faithful lover, wrote
a letter full of the most moving phrases that his affection could
dictate, to one of his Aunts, who was a Fairy as well as Danamo, but
who found as much pleasure in befriending the unfortunate as Danamo did
in making them miserable. Her name was Favourable. The Prince explained
to her the cruel situation to which love and fate had reduced him,
and not being able to absent himself from the Court of Danamo without
betraying the design he had formed, he sent his faithful slave with the
letter to Favourable. When every one had retired to rest, he left his
apartment as usual, crossed the gardens alone, and stepping into the
little boat, took up one of the oars without knowing whether or not he
could manage to use it: but what cannot love teach his votaries? He
can instruct them in much more difficult matters. He enabled Parcin
Parcinet to row with as much skill and rapidity as the most expert
waterman. He entered the Château, and was much surprised to find no
one but the prudent Mana, weeping bitterly in the Princess's chamber.
"What afflicts you, Mana?" asked the Prince, eagerly; "and where is my
dear Irolite?" "Alas! my Lord," replied Mana, "she is no longer here.
A troop of the Queen's Guards, and some women, in whom she apparently
confides, removed the Princess from the Castle about three or four
hours ago."

Parcin Parcinet heard not the last of these sad words. He had sunk
insensible on the ground the instant he learned the departure of the
Princess. Mana, with great difficulty, restored him to consciousness.
He recovered from his swoon only to give way to a sudden paroxysm
of fury. He drew a small dagger from his girdle, and had pierced his
heart, if the prudent Mana, dragging back his arm as best she could,
and falling at the same time on her knees, had not exclaimed--"How,
my Lord! would you abandon Irolite? Live to save her from the wrath
of Danamo. Alas! without you, how will she find protection from the
Fairy's cruelty?" These words suspended for a moment the despair of
the wretched Prince. "Alas!" replied he, shedding tears, which all
his courage could not restrain, "whither have they borne my Princess?
Yes, Mana! I will live to enjoy at least the sad satisfaction of dying
in her defence, and in avenging her on her enemies!" After these
words, Mana conjured him to quit the fatal building to avoid fresh
misfortunes. "Hasten, Prince," said she to him; "how know we that the
Fairy has not here some spy ready to acquaint her with everything that
passes within these walls? Be careful of a life so dear to the Princess
whom you adore. I will let you know all that I can contrive to learn
respecting her."

The Prince departed after this promise, and regained his chamber,
oppressed with all the grief which so tender and so luckless a passion
could inspire. He passed the night on a couch on which he had thrown
himself on entering the room. Daybreak surprised him there: and the
morning was advanced some hours, when he heard a noise at his chamber
door. He ran to it with the eager impatience which we feel when we
await tidings in which the heart is deeply interested. He found
his people conducting to him, a man who desired to speak with him
instantly. He recognised the messenger as one of Mana's relations, who
placed in the hand of Parcin Parcinet a letter which he took with him
into his cabinet to read, in order to conceal the emotion its receipt
excited in him. He opened it hastily, having observed it was in Mana's
handwriting, and found these words:--

"Mana, to the greatest Prince in the world. Be comforted, my Lord;
our Princess is in safety, if such an expression be allowable, so
long as she is subjected to the power of her enemy. She requested
Danamo to permit my attendance on her, and the Fairy consented that I
should rejoin her. She is confined in the Palace. Yesterday evening
the Queen caused her to be brought into her cabinet, ordered her to
look upon Prince Ormond as one who would be in a few days her husband,
and presented to her that Prince so unworthy of being your rival. The
Princess was so distressed that she could answer the Queen only by
tears. They have not yet ceased to flow. It is for you, my Lord, to
find, if possible, some means of escape from the impending calamity."

At the foot of the letter were the following lines, written with a
trembling hand, and some of the words being nearly effaced. "How I pity
you, my dear Prince; your sufferings are more terrible to me than my
own. I spare your feelings the recital of what I have endured since
yesterday. Why was I born to disturb your peace? Alas! had you never
known me, perhaps you might have been happy."

What mingled emotions of joy and grief agitated the heart of the young
Prince in reading this postscript. What kisses did he not imprint
on this precious token of the love of the divine Irolite! He was so
excited that it was with the greatest difficulty in the world that he
succeeded in writing a coherent answer. He thanked the prudent Mana;
he informed the Princess of the assistance he expected from the Fairy
Favourable; and what did he not say to her of his grief or his love!
He then took the letter to Mana's kinsman, and presented him with a
clasp set with jewels of inestimable beauty and value, as an earnest of
the reward he had deserved, for the pleasure he had given him. Mana's
kinsman had scarcely departed, when the Queen and Princess Azire sent
to enquire how the Prince had passed the night. It was easily seen by
his countenance that he was not well. He was entreated to return to his
bed, and as he felt he should be under less restraint there than in the
company of the Fairy, he consented to do so.

After dinner, the Queen came to see him, and spoke to him of the
marriage of Irolite and Prince Ormond as of a matter she had decided
upon. Parcin Parcinet, who had at length made up his mind to control
himself, so as not to awaken suspicions which might frustrate his
designs, pretended to approve of the Fairy's intentions, and only
requested her to await his perfect recovery, as it was his wish to be
present at the festivities which would take place on the occasion of
these grand nuptials. The Fairy and Azire, who were in despair about
his illness, promised him everything he desired; and Parcin Parcinet
thus retarded, for some days at least, the threatened marriage of
Irolite. His conversation with Azire, when on the water with her, had
hastened the approach of that misfortune to the beautiful Princess he
loved so tenderly. Azire had related to the Queen the words of Parcin
Parcinet, and the pity he had expressed for Irolite. The Queen, who
never paused in the execution of what she had determined on, sent that
very evening for Irolite, and decided, in conjunction with Azire, that
the marriage of the former should immediately take place, and that her
departure should be expedited before Parcin Parcinet was established in
the higher authority his match with Azire would invest him with. Before
ten days had expired, however, the Prince's faithful slave returned
from his mission. With what delight did the Prince discover in the
letter Favourable had written to him, the proofs of her compassion and
of her friendship for him and for Irolite. She sent him a ring made of
four separate metals, gold, silver, brass, and iron. This ring had the
power to save him four times from the persecution of the cruel Danamo,
and Favourable assured the Prince that the Fairy would not order him
to be pursued more often than that ring was able to protect him. These
good tidings restored the Prince to health, and he sent with all
speed for Mana's kinsman. He entrusted him with a letter for Irolite,
informing her of the success they might hope for. There was no time to
be lost. The Queen had determined the wedding of Irolite should take
place in three days. That evening there was to be a ball given by the
Princess Azire. Irolite was to be present. Parcin Parcinet could not
endure the idea of appearing "_en négligé_," as his recent illness
might have permitted him, he dressed himself in the most magnificent
style, and looked more brilliant than the sun. He dared not at first
speak to the fair Irolite; but what did not their eyes discourse when
occasionally, they ventured to glance at each other. Irolite was in the
most beautiful costume in the world. The Fairy had presented her with
some marvellous jewels, and as she had only four days to remain in the
palace, Danamo had resolved, during that short period, to treat her
with all due honour. Her beauty, which had hitherto been unadorned, in
such splendour, appeared wonderful to the whole court, and, above all,
to the enamoured Parcin Parcinet. He even imagined he could read in
some joyous flashes of her bright eyes an acknowledgment that she had
received his letter. Prince Ormond addressed Irolite frequently; but
he was so ill-looking, notwithstanding the gold and jewels with which
he was burthened, that he was not a rival worth the jealousy of the
young Prince. The ball was nearly over, when Parcin Parcinet, carried
away by his love, wished with intense ardour for an opportunity to
speak for one moment to his Princess. "Cruel Queen, and thou, also,
hateful Azire!" he mentally exclaimed; "will ye still longer deprive
me of the delightful pleasure of repeating a thousand times to the
beautiful Irolite that I adore her! Jealous witnesses of my happiness,
why do ye not quit this spot? Love can only triumph in your absence."
Scarcely had Parcin Parcinet formed this wish, than the Fairy, feeling
rather faint, called to Azire, and passed with her into an adjoining
apartment, followed by Ormond. Parcin Parcinet had on his finger the
ring which the fairy Favourable had sent him, and which had the power
to rescue him four times from the persecutions of Danamo. He should
have reserved such certain help for the most pressing necessity; but
when did violent love obey the dictates of prudence?

The young Prince was convinced by the sudden departure of the Fairy and
Azire, that the ring had begun to favour his love. He flew to the fair
Irolite. He spoke to her of his affection in terms more ardent than
eloquent. He felt that he had perhaps invoked the spell of Favourable
too thoughtlessly; but could he regret an imprudence which obtained
for him the sweet gratification of speaking to his dear Irolite?
They agreed as to the place and hour at which, the next day, they
would meet, to fly from their painful bondage. The Fairy and Azire,
after some time, returned to the ball-room. Parcin Parcinet separated
with regret from Irolite. He looked at the fatal ring, and perceived
that the iron had mixed with the other metals, and was no longer
distinguishable, he therefore saw too clearly that he had only three
more wishes to make. He resolved to render them more truly serviceable
to the Princess than the first had been. He confided the secret of his
flight to no one but his faithful slave, and passed the rest of the
night in making all the necessary preparations. The next morning he
calmly presented himself to the Queen, and appeared even in better
spirits than usual. He jested with Prince Ormond on his marriage, and
conducted himself in such a manner as to lull all suspicions, had any
existed as to his intentions. Two hours after midnight he repaired to
the Fairy's Park; he found there his faithful slave, who, in obedience
to his master's orders, had brought thither four of his horses. The
Prince was not kept long waiting. The lovely Irolite appeared, walking
with faltering steps, and leaning upon Mana. The young Princess felt
some pain in taking this course. It had needed all the cruelties of
Danamo, and all the bad qualities of Ormond, to induce her to do so.
Love alone had not sufficed to persuade her.

It was autumn. The night was beautiful, and the moon, with a host of
brilliant stars, illuminated the sky, shedding around a more charming
light than that of day. The Prince eagerly advanced to meet his
beloved, there was no time for long speeches, Parcin Parcinet tenderly
kissed the hand of Irolite and assisted her to mount her horse.
Fortunately she rode admirably. It was one of the amusements she had
taken pleasure in during her captivity. She had frequently ridden with
her attendants in a little wood close to the Château she resided in,
and of which the Fairy allowed her the range. Parcin Parcinet, after
the interchange of a few words with the Princess, mounted his own
horse. The other two were for Mana and the faithful slave. The Prince
then drawing the brilliant sabre he had received from the Fairy, swore
on it to adore the beautiful Irolite as long as he should live, and to
die, if it were necessary, in defending her from her enemies. They then
set out, and it seemed as if the Zephyrs were in league with them, or
that they mistook Irolite for Flora, for they accompanied them in their
flight.

Morning disclosed to Danamo the unexpected event. The ladies in
attendance on Irolite were surprised that she slept so much later than
usual; but, in obedience to the orders the prudent Mana had given them
over-night, they did not venture to enter the Princess's apartment
without being summoned by her. Mana slept in Irolite's chamber, and
they had quitted it by a small door that opened into a court-yard of
the Palace that was very little frequented. This door was in Irolite's
cabinet. It had been fastened up, but, with a little trouble, in two or
three evenings, they had found means to open it. The Queen at length
sent orders for Irolite to come to her. The Fairy's commands were not
to be disobeyed by any one. They accordingly knocked at the chamber
door of the Princess. They received no answer. Prince Ormond arrived.
He came to conduct Irolite to the Queen, and was much surprised to find
them knocking loudly at the door. He caused it to be broken open. They
entered, and finding the little door of the cabinet had been forced,
no longer doubted that the Princess had fled the Palace. They bore
these tidings to the Queen, who trembled with rage at hearing them. She
ordered a search to be made everywhere for Irolite, but in vain did
they endeavour to obtain a clue to her evasion, no one knew anything
about it. Prince Ormond himself set out in pursuit of Irolite. The
Fairy's Guards were despatched in all haste, and in every direction it
was thought possible she might have taken. It was observed, however, by
Azire, that amidst this general agitation, Parcin Parcinet had not made
his appearance. She sent an urgent message to him, and jealousy opening
her eyes, she felt certain that the Prince had carried off Irolite,
although she had not until that moment suspected he was in love with
her. The Fairy could not believe it; but she hastened to consult her
books, and discovered that Azire's suspicion was but too well founded.

In the meanwhile that Princess having learned that Parcin Parcinet was
not in his apartments, and could not be found anywhere in the Palace,
sent some one to the Château in which Irolite had so long resided, to
see if they could find any evidence that would convict or acquit the
Prince. The prudent Mana had taken care to leave nothing in it that
could betray the understanding that had existed between Irolite and
Parcin Parcinet; but they found near the seat on which the Prince had
lain so long insensible, the scarf Azire had given to him. It had been
unfastened during his swoon, and the Prince and Mana, absorbed in their
grief, had neither of them subsequently observed it. What were the
feelings of the haughty Azire at the sight of this scarf? Her love and
her pride were equally wounded. She was exasperated beyond measure.
She flung into the Fairy's prisons all who had been in the service of
Irolite or of the Prince. Parcin Parcinet's ingratitude to the Queen
also goaded her naturally furious temper into madness, and she would
have willingly parted with one of her kingdoms to be revenged on the
two lovers.

  [Illustration: Perfect Love.--P. 63.]

Meanwhile the fugitives were hotly pursued: Ormond and his troop found
everywhere fresh horses in readiness for them by the Fairy's orders.
Those of Parcin Parcinet were fatigued, and their speed no longer
answered to the impatience of their master. As they issued from a
forest, Ormond appeared in sight. The first impulse of the young Prince
was to attack his unworthy rival. He was spurring towards him with his
hand on the hilt of his sword, when Irolite exclaimed, "Prince! Rush
not into useless danger! Obey the orders of Favourable!" These words
calmed the anger of Parcin Parcinet, and in obedience to his Princess,
and to the Fairy, he wished that the beautiful Irolite was safe from
the persecution of the cruel Queen. He had scarcely formed the wish,
when the earth opened between him and Ormond, and presented to his
sight a little misshapen man in a very magnificent dress, who made a
sign to him to follow him. The descent was easy on his side, he rode
down it accompanied by the fair Irolite. Mana and the faithful slave
followed them, and the earth reclosed above them. Ormond, astonished at
so extraordinary an event, returned with all speed to inform Danamo.

Meanwhile our young lovers followed the little man down a very dark
road, at the end of which they found a vast Palace, lighted only by a
great quantity of lamps and flambeaux. They were desired to dismount,
and entered a Hall of prodigious magnitude. The roof was supported by
columns of shining earth covered with golden ornaments. The walls were
of the same material. A little man all covered with jewels was seated
at the end of the Hall on a golden throne surrounded by a great number
of persons as misshapen as the one who had conducted the Prince to that
spot. As soon as the latter appeared leading the charming Irolite, the
little man rose from his throne and said, "Approach, Prince. The great
Fairy Favourable, who has long been a friend of mine, has requested
me to save you from the cruelties of Danamo. I am the King of the
Gnomes. You and the fair Princess who accompanies you are welcome
to my Palace." Parcin Parcinet thanked him for the succour he had
afforded them. The King and all his subjects were enchanted with the
beauty of Irolite. They looked upon her as a star that had descended
to illuminate their abode. A magnificent banquet was served up to the
Prince and Princess. The King of the Gnomes did the honours. Music
of a very melodious, though somewhat barbaric, character, formed the
entertainment of the evening. They sang the charms of Irolite, and the
following verses were frequently repeated:--

    What lovely star hath left its sphere
    This subterranean realm to cheer?
    Beware! for in its dazzling light
    Is more than danger to the sight.
    The while its lustre we admire
    It sets the gazer's heart on fire.

After the concert the Prince and Princess were each conducted to
magnificent apartments. Mana and the faithful slave attended on them.
The next morning they were shown all over the King's Palace. He was
master of all the treasures contained in the bosom of the earth. It
was impossible to add to his riches. They presented a confused mass
of beautiful things; but art was wanting everywhere. The Prince and
Princess remained for a week in this subterranean region. Such was
the order of Favourable to the King of the Gnomes. During this time
entertainments were made for the Princess and her lover, which, though
not very tasteful, were exceedingly magnificent. The eve of their
departure, the King, to commemorate their sojourn in his empire,
caused statues of them to be erected, one on each side of his throne.
They were of gold, and the pedestals of white marble. The following
inscription, formed with diamonds, was upon the pedestal of the
Prince's statue:--

    "We desire no longer to behold the sun,--
            We have seen this Prince;
    He is more beautiful and more brilliant."

And on that of the Princess were these words, formed in a similar
manner:--

        "To the immortal glory
        Of the Goddess of Beauty.
        She descended to this spot
    Under the form and name of Irolite."

The ninth day they presented the Prince with the most beautiful horses
in the world. Their harness was of gold entirely covered with diamonds.
He quitted the gloomy abode of the Gnomes with his little troop, after
having expressed his gratitude to the King. He found himself again on
the very spot where Ormond had confronted him. He looked at his ring,
and perceived that only the silver and brazen portions of it were
discernible. He resumed his journey with the charming Irolite, and made
all speed to reach the abode of Favourable, where at length they might
feel themselves in safety, when all on a sudden, as they emerged from
a valley, they encountered a troop of Danamo's guards, who had not
given up the pursuit. The soldiers prepared to rush upon them, when the
Prince wished, and instantly a large piece of water appeared between
the party of Parcin Parcinet and that of the Fairy. A beautiful nymph,
half naked, in a little boat made of interwoven rushes, was seen in
the middle of it. She approached the shore, and requested the Prince
and Princess to enter the boat. Mana and the slave followed them. The
horses remained in the plain, and the little boat suddenly sinking,
the Fairy's Guards believed that the fugitives had perished in their
attempt to escape. But at the same moment they found themselves in
a Palace, the walls of which were only great sheets of water, which
incessantly falling with perfect regularity, formed halls, apartments,
cabinets, and surrounded gardens, in which a thousand fountains of
the most extraordinary shapes marked out the lines of the parterres.
Only the Naiades, in whose empire they were, could inhabit this
Palace, as beautiful as it was singular. To offer, therefore, a more
substantial dwelling to the Prince and the fair Irolite, the Naiade
who was their conductor led them into some grottoes of shell-work,
where coral, pearls, and all the treasures of the deep, were seen in
dazzling profusion. The beds were of moss. An hundred dolphins guarded
the grotto of Irolite, and twenty whales that of Parcin Parcinet.
The Naiades admired the beauty of the Princess, and more than one
Triton was jealous of the looks and attentions which were bestowed
on the young Prince. They served up in the grotto of the Princess a
superb collation composed of all sorts of iced fruits. Twelve Syrens
endeavoured with their sweet and charming songs to calm the anxiety of
the young Prince and the fair Irolite. The concert finished with these
verses:--

    Wherever with Love for our leader we stray,
    To render us happy he knows the sweet way.
    Rejoice, Perfect Lovers, who here, in his name
    The floods may defy to extinguish your flame.

In the evening there was a banquet, at which nothing was served but
fish, but of most extraordinary size and exquisite flavour. After
the banquet the Naiades danced a ballet in dresses of fish-scales of
various colours, which had the most beautiful effect in the world. The
horns of Tritons, and other instruments unknown to mortals, performed
the music, which, though strange, was novel and very agreeable.

Parcin Parcinet and the beautiful Irolite remained four days in this
empire. Such were the commands of Favourable. The fifth day the
Naiades assembled in crowds to escort the Prince and Princess. The two
lovers were placed in a little boat made of a single shell, and the
Naiades, half out of the water, accompanied them as far as the border
of a river, where Parcin Parcinet found his horses waiting for him,
and recommenced his journey with the more haste, as he perceived, on
examining his ring, that the silver had disappeared, and that nothing
remained but the brass; they were, however, but a short distance
from the wished-for dwelling of the Fairy Favourable. They travelled
unmolested for three more days; but on the fourth morning they saw
weapons glitter in the distance in the rays of the rising sun, and as
those who bore them advanced, they recognised Prince Ormond and his
band. Danamo had sent them back in pursuit with orders not to leave
them when seen again, nor to quit the spot where anything extraordinary
might occur to them, and, above all things, to endeavour to engage
Parcin Parcinet in single combat. Danamo had correctly imagined, from
the account of Ormond, that a Fairy protected the Prince and Princess;
but her science was so great, that she did not despair of conquering,
by spells more potent than her antagonist could cast around them.
Ormond, delighted at beholding again the Prince and Irolite, whom he
had sought with so much toil and anxiety, galloped, sword in hand, to
encounter Parcin Parcinet, according to the commands of the Fairy.
The young Prince also drew his sabre with so fierce an air, that
Ormond more than once felt inclined to waver in his course; but Parcin
Parcinet, observing Irolite bathed in tears, touched at the sight,
formed his fourth wish, and instantly a great fire rising almost to the
clouds, separated him from his enemy. This fire made Ormond and his
troop fall back, while the young Prince and Irolite, closely followed
by the faithful slave and the prudent Mana, found themselves in a
Palace, the first sight of which greatly alarmed the fair Irolite.

It was entirely of flame; but her alarm subsided as she perceived that
she felt no more heat than from the rays of the sun, and that this
flame had only the brilliancy and blaze of fire, without its more
insupportable qualities. Crowds of young and beautiful personages,
in dresses over which light flames appeared to wanton, presented
themselves to receive the Princess and her lover. One amongst them,
whom they imagined to be the Queen of those regions, by the respect
that was paid to her, accosted them, saying, "Come, charming Princess,
and you also, handsome Parcin Parcinet; you are in the Kingdom of
Salamanders. I am its Queen, and it is with pleasure I have undertaken
to conceal you for seven days in my Palace, according to the commands
of the Fairy Favourable. I would only that your stay here might be
of longer duration." After these words they were led into a large
apartment, all of flames, like the rest of the Palace, and in which a
light shone brighter than that of day. The Queen gave that evening a
grand supper, composed of every delicacy, and well served.

After the feast they repaired to a terrace, to witness a display of
fireworks of marvellous beauty and great singularity of design, which
were let off in a large court-yard of the Palace of Salamanders. Twelve
Cupids were seen upon as many columns of various coloured marbles. Six
of them appeared to be drawing their bows, and the other six bore a
large shield, on which these words were written in letters of fire:--

    Irolite, that matchless fair!
    Conqueror is everywhere.
    In vain our flaming arrows fly;
    Those that issue from her eye
    Burn more fiercely, yet are found
    Cherished in the hearts they wound.

The young Princess blushed at her own fame, and Parcin Parcinet was
enchanted that the Salamanders considered her as beautiful as she
appeared to him. Meanwhile, the Cupids shot their flaming arrows,
which, crossing each other in the air, formed in a thousand places the
initials of the lovely name of Irolite, and rose up to the Heavens.

The seven days she remained in the Palace were passed in similar
pleasures. Parcin Parcinet remarked that all the Salamanders were witty
and charmingly vivacious, very gallant and affectionate. The Queen
herself appeared not to be exempt from the influence of the tender
passion, but to be enamoured of a young Salamander of wonderful beauty.

The eighth day they quitted with regret a retreat so congenial to their
feelings. They found themselves in a lovely country. Parcin Parcinet
looked at his ring, and discovered engraved upon the metals, which were
now all four mixed together, the following words:--

 "You have wished too soon."

These words sadly afflicted the Prince and Princess, but they were now
so near the abode of the Fairy Favourable, that they were in hopes of
arriving there before evening. This reflection consoled them, and they
proceeded, invoking Fortune and Love; but, alas! they are frequently
treacherous conductors. Parcin Parcinet was, in short, on the point of
entering the dominions of the Fairy Favourable; but Ormond, obeying
the commands of Danamo, had not retired far from the spot where the
fire had risen between him and his rival. He had encamped, with his
party, behind a wood, and his sentinels, who kept incessant watch,
brought him word that the Prince and Princess had re-appeared in the
plain. He ordered his men to mount, and about sunset encountered the
unfortunate Prince and the divine Irolite. Parcin Parcinet was not
dismayed at the numbers that fell upon him altogether. He charged them
with a courage that daunted them. "I fulfil my promise, beautiful
Irolite," he exclaimed, as he drew his sabre; "I will die for you or
deliver you from your enemies!" With these words he made a blow at the
foremost, and felled him to the earth. But oh, unexpected misfortune!
the wonderful sabre, which was the gift of the Fairy Danamo, flew into
a thousand pieces. She had foreseen this result of the combat. Whenever
she made a present of weapons, she charmed them in so peculiar a
manner, that the instant they were employed against her, the first blow
shivered them to pieces.

Parcin Parcinet, then disarmed, could not make any prolonged
resistance. He was overwhelmed by numbers, taken, laden with chains,
and the young Irolite shared his fate. "Ah, Fairy Favourable,"
mournfully ejaculated the Prince, "abandon me to all the severity of
Danamo, but save the fair Irolite!" "You have disobeyed the Fairy,"
replied a youth of surprising beauty, who appeared in the air. "You
must suffer the penalty. Had you not been so prodigal of her favour,
we should to-day have saved you for ever from the cruelties of
Danamo. All the Empire of the Sylphs laments being deprived of the
glory of securing happiness to so charming a Prince and so beautiful
a Princess." So saying, he vanished, and Parcin Parcinet groaned at
the recollection of his imprudence: he seemed insensible to his own
misfortunes, but how deeply did he feel those of Irolite! His remorse
at having been the cause of them would have destroyed him, had not
Destiny resolved that he should live to suffer still more cruel agony.

The young Irolite displayed a courage worthy of the illustrious race
from which she had descended, and the pitiless Ormond, far from being
affected at so touching a spectacle, strove to aggravate the misery he
occasioned them. He had the prisoners separated, and so deprived them
of the melancholy pleasure of mingling their tears over their departed
hopes. Their wretched journey ended, they were taken to the palace of
the wicked Fairy. She felt a malignant joy at seeing the young Prince
and Princess in a state that would have awakened pity in the heart of
any other creature. Even Azire commiserated Parcin Parcinet, but did
not dare to evince it before the Fairy. "I shall at length, then," said
the cruel Queen, addressing herself to the Prince, "have the pleasure
of revenging myself for thy ingratitude. Go! In lieu of ascending
the throne my favour had destined thee, enter the prison on the sea,
in which thou shalt end thy wretched life in frightful tortures." "I
prefer the most horrible dungeon," replied the Prince, looking proudly
at her, "to the favours of so unjust a Queen as thou art!" These words
increased the irritation of the Fairy. She had expected to see him
humble himself at her feet. She sent him instantly to the prison she
had fixed upon. Irolite wept as he was dragged away; Azire could not
suppress her sighs, and all the Court mourned in secret the merciless
sentence. As for the beautiful Irolite, the Queen had her removed to
the Château in which she had previously so long resided, placed a
strict guard upon her, and treated her with all the inhumanity of which
she was capable.

The prison to which they conveyed the Prince was a frightful tower
in the midst of the sea, built on a little desert island. They shut
him up in it, laden with irons, and treated him with all the severity
imaginable. What an abode for a Prince worthy to reign over the
universe! To think of Irolite was his sole occupation. He invoked the
help of the Fairy Favourable for his dear Princess alone, and wished
a thousand times a day, to expiate by death the only injury he had
done her. His faithful slave had been consigned to the same prison,
but he had not the satisfaction of serving his illustrious master, and
Parcin Parcinet had about him none but fierce soldiers, devoted to the
Fairy, who nevertheless, while obeying her orders, respected, despite
themselves, the unfortunate captive. His youth, his beauty, and, above
all, his courage, excited in them an admiration which compelled them
to regard him as a man very superior to all others. The prudent Mana
had been dragged to the Château in which they had immured Irolite,
as the Prince's faithful slave had been to the prison on the sea.
Danamo's women alone approached the Princess, and by the Fairy's orders
overwhelmed her every moment with new misery, by their accounts of the
sufferings of Parcin Parcinet. The distresses of her lover made Irolite
forget her own, and everything renewed her tears in that spot where she
had so often heard that charming Prince swear to her eternal fidelity.
"Alas!" she murmured to herself, "why have you been so faithful, my
dear Prince? Your inconstancy would have killed me; but what of that,
you would have lived, and been happy!"

After three months' suffering, Danamo, who had employed that period
in the preparation of a spell of extraordinary power, sent to Irolite
one morning a couple of lamps, one of gold, the other of crystal,
commanding her to keep one of the two always burning, but leaving her
to choose which she would light. Irolite, with her natural docility,
sent word that she would obey the Fairy's orders, without even seeking
to comprehend their object.

She carried the two lamps carefully to a cabinet. The golden one was
lighted when she received it, and therefore she allowed it to burn
throughout that day and night, and the next morning she lighted the
other. In this manner she continued to obey the Fairy, lighting the
lamps alternately for fifteen days, when her health became seriously
affected. She attributed her failing strength to her sorrow, and,
to increase her grief, they informed her that Parcin Parcinet was
exceedingly ill. What tidings for Irolite! Her deep distress, her utter
prostration, affected all her attendants. One evening, when the rest
were asleep, one of them softly approached the Princess, and seeing her
about to light the crystal lamp, said to her, "Extinguish that fatal
light, your existence depends upon it. Save the life of one so lovely
from the cruel designs of Danamo." "Alas!" feebly replied the wretched
Irolite, "she has rendered my life so miserable, that it is but kind
of the Fairy to afford me such means of ending it; but," added she,
with an emotion which brought back the colour to her pale cheeks, "what
life depends upon the golden lamp, which I have been equally careful to
light in its turn?" "That of Parcin Parcinet," answered the confidante
of Danamo, for the woman was but obeying her orders in thus speaking to
the Princess. The wicked Fairy wished to torment her by this revelation
of the cruel task she had imposed upon her. At this intelligence her
agony at having unconsciously hastened the termination of her lover's
existence, deprived her for some considerable time of her senses. On
recovering them, she at the same time returned to her despair. "Hateful
Fairy!" she exclaimed, as soon as she had power to speak, "Barbarous
Fairy! will not my death satisfy thy vengeance? Wouldst thou condemn
me, inhuman, to destroy with my own hand a Prince so dear to me, and so
worthy of the most perfect and tender affection? But death, a thousand
times more merciful than thou art, will soon deliver me from all the
tortures which thy wrath hath invented, to rack such fond and faithful
hearts."

The young Princess wept incessantly over the fatal lamp, on which
depended the life of Parcin Parcinet, and from that moment only lighted
the one that wasted her own. That she saw burn with joy, regarding it
as a sacrifice to love, and to her lover. In the meanwhile the wretched
Prince was a prey to tortures, which surpassed even his powers of
endurance. By command of the Fairy, one of his guards, feigning to
pity the misfortunes of the illustrious prisoner, informed him that
Irolite had consented to marry Prince Ormond, a few days after he
(Parcin Parcinet) had been consigned to the frightful dungeon in which
he still languished. That the Princess had appeared quite happy since
her marriage, that she had been present at all the entertainments given
in celebration of it, and had finally quitted the country with her
husband. This was the only misfortune the Prince had not anticipated,
and it was also the only one too heavy for him to bear. "What!" he
exclaimed, despairingly, "Thou art faithless to me, dear Irolite! Thou
art the bride of Ormond! Thou hast not even pitied my misfortunes. Thou
hast but thought how to end those my love brought upon thyself. Live
happy, ungrateful Irolite! Inconstant as thou art, I still adore thee,
and desire but to die for love, as thou wouldst not I should have the
glory of dying for thee!"

Whilst Parcin Parcinet was plunged in this affliction, and the tender
Irolite wasted her own life to prolong that of her lover, Danamo was
moved by the despair of Azire, who was dying with sorrow for the
sufferings of Parcin Parcinet. The cruel Fairy perceived at length
that, to save the life of her child, it was necessary to pardon the
Prince, to permit Azire to visit him, and to promise him all the
benefits that had previously awaited him, provided he consented to
marry her, and the Fairy determined to put Irolite to death, the moment
the Prince had accepted that offer.

The hope of again beholding Parcin Parcinet restored Azire to life,
and the Fairy allowed her to send to Irolite's Château for the golden
lamp, which she desired to keep in her own custody, that she might be
certain it was not lighted. This mandate seemed more cruel than all
the others to the afflicted Irolite. What anxiety did she not endure
respecting the fate of Parcin Parcinet. "Do not distress yourself so
much about the Prince," said the women in attendance upon her, "he is
going to marry the Princess Azire, and it is she who, interested in the
preservation of his life, has sent for the lamp on which it depends."

The torments of jealousy had as yet been wanting, to complete the
misery of the unfortunate Irolite. At these words she felt them waking
in her heart. In the meanwhile Azire had visited the Prince, and
offered him her hand and her kingdoms; then, pretending to be ignorant
that he had been told that Irolite had married Ormond, she endeavoured
to convince him by citing this example, that he had been more than
sufficiently constant. Parcin Parcinet, to whom nothing was valuable
without the charming Irolite, preferred his prison and his sufferings
to liberty and sovereignty. Azire was distracted at his refusal, and
her affliction rendered her almost as unhappy as he was.

During this time the Fairy Favourable, who had hitherto boasted of
her insensibility to love, had found it impossible to resist the
attractions of a young Prince residing at her Court. He had conceived
a passion for her. The Fairy had considerable difficulty in bringing
herself to let him know that his attentions had conquered her pride.
At length, however, she yielded to the desire of acquainting him with
his triumph. The pleasure of conversing with those we love appeared to
her then so charming and so desirable, that, excusing the fault she had
so severely punished, she repaired, in all haste, to the assistance of
Parcin Parcinet and the beautiful Irolite.

A little later, and her aid would have been useless. The fatal lamp
of Irolite had but six days longer to burn, and the grief of Parcin
Parcinet was rapidly terminating his existence, when the Fairy
Favourable arrived at the Palace of Danamo. She was by far the most
powerful, and made herself obeyed despite the anger of the wicked
Fairy. The Prince was released from prison; but he would not quit it
until he was assured by Favourable that the fair Irolite might still
be his bride. He appeared, notwithstanding his pallor, more beautiful
than the day, the light of which he was once more permitted to behold.
He repaired, with the Fairy Favourable, to the Château of his Princess.
Her lamp emitted but a feeble light, and the dying Irolite would not
allow them to extinguish it until she had been assured of the fidelity
of her now happy lover. There are no words capable of expressing the
perfect joy experienced by the fond pair at this meeting. The Fairy
Favourable restored them in an instant to all their former health and
beauty, and endowed them with long life and constant felicity. Their
affection she found it impossible to increase. Danamo, furious at
beholding her authority thus overthrown, perished by her own hand. The
fate of Azire and of Ormond was left by the Prince to the decision of
Irolite. The only vengeance she took upon them was uniting them in
marriage, and Parcin Parcinet, as generous as he was constant, would
only receive his father's kingdom, leaving Azire to reign over those of
Danamo.

The nuptials of the Prince and the divine Irolite were celebrated
with infinite magnificence, and after duly expressing their gratitude
to the Fairy Favourable, and heaping rewards on the slave and the
prudent Mana, they departed for their kingdom, where the Prince and the
charming Irolite enjoyed the rare happiness of loving as fondly and
truly in prosperity as they had done in adversity.



ANGUILLETTE.


To whatever greatness Destiny may elevate those it favours, there is no
worldly felicity exempt from serious sorrow. One cannot be acquainted
with Fairies, and be ignorant that the most skilful amongst them have
failed to discover a charm which would secure them from the misfortune
of being compelled to change their shape some few days in every month,
for that of some animal, terrestrial, celestial, or aquatic.

During that dangerous period, when they are completely at the mercy of
mankind, they have frequently great difficulty in saving themselves
from the perils to which that stern necessity exposes them.

One amongst them, who had changed herself into an Eel, was
unfortunately taken by fishermen, and flung immediately into a small
square tank in the midst of a beautiful meadow, wherein they kept
the fish that were daily required for the table of the King of that
country. Anguillette (so was the Fairy named) found in her new abode a
great many fine fish destined, like herself, to live but a few hours.
She had heard the fishermen say to one another, that that very evening
the King purposed to give a grand banquet, for the which these fine
fish had been carefully selected.

What tidings for the unfortunate Fairy! She accused the Fates of
cruelty a thousand times! She sighed most sadly; but after hiding
herself for some time at the very bottom of the water, in order to
bewail her misfortune in solitude, the desire to escape if possible
from so urgent a peril, induced her to look about her in every
direction to see if she could not by some means get out of the
reservoir, and regain the river which ran at no great distance from
that spot. But the Fairy looked in vain. The tank was too deep for her
to hope to get out of it without help, and her distress was augmented
by seeing the fishermen who had taken her again approaching. They
began to throw in their nets, and Anguillette, by avoiding them with
great cunning, retarded for a few moments the death that awaited her.
The youngest of the King's daughters was walking at that time in the
meadow. She approached the tank to amuse herself by seeing the men fish.

The sun, about to set, shone brilliantly on the water. The skin of
Anguillette, which was very glossy, glittered in its rays as if partly
gilt and of all the colours of the rainbow. The young Princess caught
sight of her, and thinking her exceedingly beautiful, ordered the
fishermen to try and catch that Eel for her. They obeyed, and the
unfortunate Fairy was speedily placed in the hands of the person who
would decide her fate.

When the Princess had contemplated Anguillette for a few moments, she
was touched with compassion, and running to the riverside, put her
gently into the water. This unexpected service filled the Fairy's heart
with gratitude. She appeared on the surface, and said to the Princess,
"I owe you my life, generous Plousine (such was her name), but it is
most fortunate for you that I do so. Be not afraid," she continued,
observing the young Princess about to run away. "I am a Fairy, and will
prove the truth of my words by heaping an infinite number of favours
upon you."

As people were accustomed in those days to behold Fairies, Plousine
recovered from her first alarm, and listened with great attention to
the agreeable promises of Anguillette. She even began to answer her;
but the Fairy interrupting her, said, "Wait till you have profited by
my favour before you express your acknowledgments. Go, young Princess,
and return to this spot to-morrow morning. Think, in the meantime, what
you would wish for, and whatever it may be I will grant it. You may, at
your choice, possess the most perfect and bewitching beauty, the finest
and most charming intellect, or incalculable riches." After these
words, Anguillette sank to the bottom of the river, and left Plousine
highly gratified with her adventure.

She determined not to tell any one what had befallen her, "For," said
she, to herself, "if Anguillette should deceive me, my sisters will
believe that I invented this story."

After this little reflection, she hastened to rejoin her suite, which
was composed of only a few ladies. She found them looking for her.

The young Plousine was occupied all the succeeding night in thinking
what should be her choice. Beauty almost turned the scale; but as she
had sufficient sense to desire still more, she finally determined to
request that favour of the Fairy.

She rose with the sun, and ran to the meadow under the pretence of
gathering flowers to make a garland, as she said, to present to the
Queen, her mother, at her levée. Her attendants dispersed themselves
about the meadow to cull the freshest and most beautiful of the flowers
with which it was everywhere enamelled.

Meanwhile, the young Princess hastened to the riverside, and found upon
the spot where she had seen the Fairy, a column of white marble, of
the most perfect purity. An instant afterwards, the column opened and
the Fairy emerged from it, and appeared to the Princess no longer as
a fish, but as a tall and beautiful woman, of majestic demeanour, and
whose robes and head-dress were covered with jewels.

"I am Anguillette," said she to the young Princess, who gazed upon her
with great attention; "I come to fulfil my promise. You have chosen
intellectual perfection, and you shall possess it from this very
moment. You shall have so much sense as to be envied by those who till
now have flattered themselves they were specially endowed with it."

The youthful Plousine, at these words, felt a considerable alteration
taking place in her mind. She thanked the Fairy with an eloquence that
till then she had been a stranger to.

The Fairy smiled at the astonishment the Princess could not conceal at
her own powers of expression. "I am so much pleased with you," said the
benignant Anguillette, "for making the choice you have done, in lieu
of preferring beauty of person, which has such charms for one of your
sex and age, that to reward you, I will add the gift of that loveliness
you have so prudently foregone. Return hither to-morrow, at the same
hour,--I give you till then to choose the style of beauty you would
possess."

The Fairy disappeared, and left the young Plousine still more
impressed with her good fortune. Her choice of superior intellect was
dictated by reason, but the promise of surpassing beauty flattered her
heart, and that which touches the heart is always felt most deeply.

On quitting the riverside, the Princess took the flowers presented
to her by her attendants, and made a very tasteful garland with
them, which she carried to the Queen; but what was her Majesty's
astonishment, that of the King, and of all the Court, to hear Plousine
speak with an elegance and a fluency which captivated every heart.

The Princesses, her sisters, vainly endeavoured to contest her mental
superiority; they were compelled to wonder at and admire it.

Night came. The Princess, occupied with the expectation of becoming
beautiful, instead of retiring to rest, passed into a cabinet hung with
portraits, in which, under the form of goddesses, were represented
several of the Queens and Princesses of her family. All these were
beauties, and she indulged a hope that they would assist her in
deciding on a style of beauty worthy to be solicited from a Fairy. The
first that met her sight was a Juno. She was fair and had a presence
such as should distinguish the Queen of the Gods. Pallas and Venus
stood beside her. The subject of the picture was the Judgment of Paris.

The noble haughtiness of Pallas excited the admiration of the young
Princess; but the loveliness of Venus almost decided her choice.
Nevertheless, she passed on to the next picture, in which was seen
Pomona reclining on a couch of turf, beneath trees laden with the
finest fruits in the world. She appeared so charming, that the
Princess, who since morning had become acquainted with all their
stories, was not surprised that a God had taken various forms in order
to please her.

Diana next appeared, attired as the poets represent her, the quiver
slung behind her, and the bow in her hand. She was pursuing a stag, and
followed by a numerous band of Nymphs.

Flora attracted her attention a little further off. She appeared to be
walking in a garden, the flowers of which, although exquisite, could
not be compared to the bloom of her complexion. Next came the Graces,
beautiful and enchanting. This picture was the last in the room.

But the Princess was struck by that which was over the mantel-piece.
It was the Goddess of Youth. A heavenly air was shed over her whole
person. Her tresses were the fairest in the world; the turn of her head
was most graceful, her mouth charming, her figure perfectly beautiful,
and her eyes appeared much more likely to intoxicate than the nectar
with which she seemed to be filling a cup.

"I will wish," exclaimed the young Princess, after she had contemplated
with delight this lovely portrait, "I will wish to be as beautiful as
Hebe, and to remain so as long as possible."

After this determination she returned to her bed-chamber, where the day
she awaited seemed to her impatience as if it would never dawn.

At length it came, and she hastened again to the riverside. The Fairy
kept her word. She appeared, and threw a few drops of water in the face
of Plousine, who became immediately as beautiful as she had desired to
be.

Some sea-gods had accompanied the Fairy. Their applause was the first
effect produced by the charms of the fortunate Plousine. She looked at
her image in the water, and could not recognise herself. Her silence
and her astonishment were for the moment the only indications of her
thankfulness.

"I have fulfilled all your wishes," said the generous Fairy. "You
ought to be content; but I shall not be so if my favours do not far
exceed your desires. In addition to the wit and beauty I have endowed
you with, I bestow on you all the treasures at my disposal. They are
inexhaustible. You have but to wish whenever you please for infinite
wealth, and at the same moment you will acquire it, not only for
yourself, but for all those you may deem worthy to possess it."

The Fairy disappeared, and the youthful Plousine, now as lovely as
Hebe, returned to the palace. Everybody who met her was enchanted. They
announced her arrival to the King, who was himself lost in admiration
of her, and it was only by her voice and her talent that they
recognised the amiable Princess. She informed the King that a Fairy
had bestowed all those precious gifts upon her; and she was no longer
called anything but Hebe, in consequence of her perfect resemblance to
the portrait of that Goddess. What new causes were here to engender
the hatred of her sisters against her! The beauties of her mind had
excited their jealousy much less than those of her person.

All the Princes who had been attracted by their charms became faithless
to them without the least hesitation. In like manner were all the other
Court beauties abandoned by their admirers. No tears or reproaches
could stop the flight of those inconstant lovers, and this conduct,
which then appeared so singular, has since, it is said, become a common
custom.

Hebe inflamed all hearts around her, while her own remained insensible.

Notwithstanding the hatred her sisters evinced towards her, she
neglected nothing that she thought might please them. She wished for
so much wealth for the eldest--and to wish and to give were the same
thing to her,--that the greatest Sovereign in that part of the world
requested the hand of that Princess in marriage, and the nuptials were
celebrated with incredible magnificence. The King, Hebe's father,
desired to take the field with a great army. The wishes of his
beautiful daughter caused him to succeed in all his enterprises, and
his kingdom was filled with such immense wealth, that he became the
most formidable of all the monarchs in the universe.

The divine Hebe, however, weary of the bustle of the Court, was anxious
to pass a few months in a pleasant mansion a short distance from the
capital. She had excluded from it all magnificence, but everything
about it was elegant, and of a charming simplicity. Nature alone had
taken care to embellish the walks, which Art had not been employed
to form. A wood, the paths through which had something wild in their
scenery, intersected by rivulets and little torrents that formed
natural cascades, surrounded this beautiful retreat.

The youthful Hebe often walked in this solitary wood. One day, when her
heart felt more than usually oppressed with a tedium and lassitude to
which she was now constantly subject, she endeavoured to ascertain the
reason of it. She seated herself on the turf, beside a rivulet that
with gentle murmur courted meditation.

"What sorrow is it," she asked herself, "that comes thus to trouble the
excess of my happiness? What Princess in all the universe is blest with
a lot so perfect as mine? The beneficence of the Fairy has accorded
me all I wished for. I can heap treasures upon all who surround me. I
am adored by all who behold me, and my heart is a stranger to every
painful emotion. No! I cannot imagine whence arises the insupportable
weariness which has for some time past detracted from the happiness of
my life."

The young Princess was incessantly occupied by this reflection. At
length she determined to go to the bank of Anguilette's river, and
endeavour to obtain an interview with her.

The Fairy, accustomed to indulge her inclinations, appeared on the
surface of the water. It happened to be one of the days when she was
changed into a fish.

"It always gives me pleasure to see you, young Princess," said she
to Hebe. "I know you have been passing some time in a very solitary
dwelling, and you appear to me in a languishing state, which does not
at all correspond with your good fortune. What hails you, Hebe? Confide
in me." "There is nothing the matter," replied the young Princess,
with some embarrassment. "You have showered too many benefits upon
me for anything to be wanting to a felicity which is your own work."
"You would deceive me," rejoined the Fairy; "I see it easily. You are
no longer satisfied. Yet what more can you desire? Deserve my favour
by a frank confession," added the gracious Fairy, "and I promise you
I will again fulfil your wishes." "I know not what I wish," replied
the charming Hebe. "But nevertheless," she continued, casting down
her beautiful eyes, "I feel a lack of something, and that, whatever
it may be, it is that which is absolutely essential to my happiness."
"Ah!" exclaimed the Fairy, "it is love that you are sighing for. That
passion alone could inspire you with such strange ideas. Dangerous
disposition!" continued the prudent Fairy. "You sigh for love--you
shall experience it. Hearts are but too naturally disposed to be
affected by it. But I warn you that you will vainly invoke me to
deliver you from the fatal passion you believe to be so sweet a
blessing. My power does not extend so far."

"I care not," quickly replied the Princess, smiling and blushing at
the same moment. "Alas! of what value to me are all the gifts you have
bestowed upon me, if I cannot in turn make with them the happiness of
another?" The Fairy sighed at these words, and sank to the bottom of
the river.

Hebe retraced her steps to the wilderness, her heart filled with a hope
which already began to dissipate her melancholy. The warnings of the
Fairy caused her some anxiety; but her prudent reflections were soon
banished by others, as dangerous as they were agreeable.

On reaching home she found a courier awaiting her with a message from
the King, commanding her return to the Court that very day, in order
that she might be present at an entertainment in preparation for the
succeeding one. She took her departure accordingly, a few hours after
the receipt of the message, and returned to the Court, where she was
received with great pleasure by the King and Queen; who informed her
that a foreign Prince, upon his travels, having arrived there a few
days previously, they had determined to give him a fête, that he might
talk in other countries of the magnificence displayed in their kingdom.

The youthful Hebe, obeying a presentiment of which she was unconscious,
first inquired of the Princess, her sister, if the foreigner was
handsome. "I never yet saw any one that could be compared to him,"
answered the Princess. "Describe, him to me," said Hebe, with emotion.
"He is such as they paint heroes," replied Ilerie. "His form is
graceful; his demeanour noble; his eyes are full of a fire that has
already made more than one indifferent beauty at this Court acknowledge
their power. He has the finest head in the world; his hair is dark
brown; and the moment he appears, he absorbs the attention of all
beholders."

"You draw a most charming portrait of him," said the youthful Hebe; "is
it not a little flattered?" "No, sister," replied the Princess Ilerie,
with a sigh she could not suppress. "Alas! you will find him, perhaps,
but too worthy of admiration."

The Queen retired, and the beautiful Hebe, as soon as she had time to
examine her heart, perceived that she had lost that tranquillity of
which, till now, she had not known the value.

"Anguillette!" she exclaimed, as soon as she was alone. "Alas! what is
this object which you have allowed to present itself to my sight? Your
prudent counsels are rendered vain by its presence. Why do you not
give me strength enough to resist such attractive charms? It may be,
however, that their power surpasses that of any Fairy."

Hebe slept but little that night. She rose very early, and the thought
of how she should dress herself for the fête that evening occupied her
the whole day, to a degree she had been previously a stranger to, for
it was the first time she had felt an anxiety to please.

The young foreigner, actuated by the same desire, neglected nothing
that might make him appear agreeable to the eyes of the charming
Hebe. The Princess Ilerie was equally solicitous of conquest. She
possessed a thousand attractions, and when Hebe was not beside her,
she was considered the most beautiful creature in the world; but Hebe
outshone every one. The Queen gave a magnificent ball that evening;
it was succeeded by a marvellous banquet. The young foreigner would
have been struck by its prodigious splendour, if he could have looked
at anything besides Hebe. After the banquet, a novel and brilliant
illumination shed another daylight over the palace gardens. It was
summer-time; the company descended into the gardens for the pleasure of
an evening promenade. The handsome foreigner conducted the Queen; but
this honour did not compensate him for being deprived of the company
of his Princess, even for a few moments. The trees were decorated with
festoons of flowers, and the lamps which formed the illumination were
disposed in a manner to represent, in every direction, bows, arrows,
and other weapons of Cupid, together, in some places, with inscriptions.

The company entered a little grove, illuminated like the rest of the
gardens, and the Queen seated herself beside a pleasant fountain,
around which had been arranged seats of turf, ornamented with garlands
of pinks and roses. Whilst the Queen was engaged in conversation with
the King and a host of courtiers that surrounded them, the Princesses
amused themselves by reading the sentences formed by small lamps under
the various devices. The handsome foreigner was at that moment close
to the beautiful Hebe. She turned her eyes towards a spot in which
appeared a shower of darts, and read aloud these words, which were
displayed beneath them:--

 "Some are inevitable."

"They are those which are shot from the eyes of the divine Hebe,"
quickly added the Prince, looking at her tenderly. The Princess heard
him, and felt confused; but the Prince drew from her embarrassment a
happy augury for his love, as it appeared unmingled with anger. The
fête terminated with a thousand delightful novelties. The charms of the
stranger had touched too sensibly the heart of Ilerie for her to be
long without perceiving that he loved another. The Prince had paid her
some attention previous to the arrival of Hebe at Court; but since he
had seen the latter, he had been wholly engrossed by his passion.

In the meanwhile the young stranger endeavoured, by every proof of
affection, to touch the heart of the beautiful Princess. He was
devoted, amiable--her fate compelled her to love, and the Fairy
abandoned her to the inclinations of her heart. What excuses for
yielding! She could no longer struggle against herself. The charming
Stranger had informed her that he was the son of a King, and that his
name was Atimir. This name was known to the Princess. The Prince had
performed wonders in a war between the two kingdoms; and as they had
always been opposed to each other, he had not chosen to appear at the
Court of Hebe's royal father under his real name.

The young Princess, after a conversation during which her heart fully
imbibed the sweet and dangerous poison of which the Fairy had warned
her, gave permission to Atimir to disclose to the King his rank and his
love. The young Prince was transported with delight; he flew to the
King's apartments, and urged his suit with all the eloquence his love
could inspire him with.

The King conducted him to the Queen. This proposed marriage, assuring
the establishment of a lasting peace between the two kingdoms, the
hand of the beautiful Hebe was promised to her happy lover as soon
as he had received the consent of the King, his father. The news was
soon circulated, and the Princess Ilerie suffered anguish equal to her
jealousy. She wept--she groaned; but it was necessary to control her
emotion and conceal her vain regrets.

The beautiful Hebe and Atimir now saw each other continually; their
affection increased daily, and in those happy days the young Princess
could not imagine why the Fairies did not employ all their skill to
make mortals fall in love when they wished to insure their felicity.

An ambassador from Atimir's royal father arrived at Court. He had
been awaited with the utmost impatience. He was the bearer of the
required consent, and preparations were immediately commenced for the
celebration of those grand nuptials. Atimir had therefore no longer any
reason for anxiety--a dangerous state for a lover one desires to retain
faithful.

As soon as the Prince felt certain of his happiness, he became less
ardent. One day that he was on his way to meet the fair Hebe in the
palace gardens, he heard the voices of females in conversation in
a bower of honeysuckles. He caught the sound of his name, and this
awakened his curiosity to know more. He approached the bower softly,
and easily recognised the voice of the Princess Ilerie. "I shall
die before that fatal day, my dear Cléonice," said she, to a young
person seated beside her. "The gods will not permit me to behold the
ungrateful object of my love united to the too fortunate Hebe. My
torments are too keen to endure much longer." "But, madam," replied
her female companion, "Prince Atimir is not faithless; he has never
avowed love for you. Destiny alone is to blame for your misfortunes,
and amongst all the princes who adore you, you might find, perhaps, one
more amiable than he is, did not a fatal prepossession engross your
heart." "More amiable than him!" rejoined Ilerie. "Is there such a
being in the universe? Powerful Fairy!" she added, with a sigh, "of all
the blessings with which you have laden the fortunate Hebe, I but covet
that of Atimir's devoted attachment to her." The words of the Princess
were interrupted by her tears. Ah! how happy would she have been had
she known how much those tears had moved the heart of Atimir!

She rose to leave the bower, and the Prince hid himself behind some
trees to escape observation. The tears and the love of Ilerie had
affected him deeply, but he imagined they were but the emotions of pity
which he felt for a beautiful Princess whom he had unintentionally
made so miserable. He proceeded to join Hebe, and the contemplation of
her charms banished for the moment all other thoughts from his mind.
In passing through the gardens, as he returned with the Princess Hebe
to the Palace, he trod upon something which attracted his attention.
He picked it up, and found it was a set of magnificent tablets. It was
not far from the bower in which he had overheard the conversation of
Ilerie and her attendant. He feared if Hebe saw the tablets, she would
obtain some knowledge of his adventure. He hid them, therefore, without
her having observed them. She happened at that moment to be occupied in
re-adjusting some ornament in her head-dress.

That evening Ilerie did not make her appearance in the Queen's
apartments. It was reported that she had felt indisposed on returning
from her walk. Atimir perfectly understood that her object was to
conceal the agitation to which he had seen her a prey in the bower of
honeysuckles. This reflection increased his compassion for her.

As soon as he had retired to his own chamber he opened the tablets he
had picked up. On the first leaf he saw a cipher formed of a double A,
crowned with a wreath of myrtle, and supported by two little Cupids,
one of whom appeared to be wiping the tears from his cheeks with the
end of the ribbon that bandaged his eyes, and the other breaking his
arrows. The sight of this cipher agitated the young Prince. He knew
that Ilerie drew admirably. He turned over the leaf quickly to gain
further information, and on the opposite side found the following
lines:-

    Hither all-conquering Love thy footsteps led;
    At thy first glance sweet peace my bosom fled;
    Oh, cruel one, to try on me the dart
    With which you meant to wound another's heart!

The handwriting, which he recognised, but too clearly proved to him
that the tablets were those of the Princess Ilerie. He was affected
by the great tenderness of these sentiments, which far from being
nourished by his love and attentions, were not even encouraged by hope.
These verses reminded him that previous to the arrival of Hebe at Court
he had thought Ilerie lovely. He began to consider himself unfaithful
to that Princess, and he became too seriously so to the charming Hebe.

He struggled, however, against these first emotions; but his heart was
accustomed to range, and so dangerous a habit is rarely corrected.

He threw Ilerie's tablets on a table, resolving not to look at them any
more; but he took them up again a moment afterwards, despite himself,
and found in them a thousand things which completed the triumph of
Ilerie over the divine Hebe.

The Prince's heart was occupied all night by conflicting feelings. In
the morning he waited on the King, who named the day he had fixed on
for his marriage with Hebe. Atimir replied with an embarrassment which
the King mistook for a proof of his passion--(how little do we know
of the human heart!) It was the effect of his inconstancy! The King
desired to visit the Queen; the Prince was obliged to follow him. He
had been there but a short time when the Princess Ilerie appeared with
an air of melancholy which made her more lovely in the eyes of the
inconstant Atimir, who was aware of its cause. He approached her, and
talked to her for some time. He gave her to understand that he was no
longer ignorant of her affection for him. He spoke with ardour of his
feelings for her. It was too much for Ilerie. Ah! how is it possible to
receive calmly the assurance of so great so unexpected a happiness.

The charming Hebe entered the Queen's apartments shortly afterwards.
Her sight brought the blood into the cheeks both of the Princess
Ilerie and of the fickle Atimir. "How beautiful she is!" exclaimed
Ilerie, looking at the Prince with an emotion she could not conceal.
"Avoid her, sir, or end at once my existence." The Prince had not
power to answer her. Hebe approached them with a grace and charm
which unconsciously loaded with reproaches the ungrateful Atimir. He
could not long endure his position. He quitted the Princess, saying
that he was anxious to despatch a courier to his father. She was so
prepossessed in his favour that she never noticed some eloquent glances
at Ilerie, which he cast on leaving her.

While Ilerie triumphed in secret, the beautiful Hebe learned from the
King and Queen that in three days she was to be the bride of Atimir.
How unworthy was he of the sensations which this news awakened in the
heart of the lovely Hebe.

The faithless Prince, though pre-occupied by his new passion, passed
part of the day in Hebe's company. Ilerie was present, and was a
thousand times ready to die with jealousy. Her love had redoubled since
she had entertained hope.

On returning to his own apartments in the evening, the Prince was
presented with a note by an unknown messenger. He opened it hastily,
and found in it these words:--

"I yield to a passion a thousand times stronger than my reason. Since I
can no longer attempt to conceal sentiments which chance has revealed
to you, come, Prince, come, and learn the determination to which I am
driven by the love you have inspired me with. Oh, how happy will it be
for me if it cost me but my life!"

The bearer of the note informed the Prince that he was commissioned to
conduct him to the spot where the Princess Ilerie awaited him. Atimir
did not hesitate a moment to follow him, and after several turnings,
he was introduced into a little pavilion at the end of a very dark
avenue. The interior of the pavilion was sufficiently lighted. He found
in it Ilerie with one of her attendants; the rest were walking in the
gardens. When she had retired to this apartment, no one entered it
without her orders. Ilerie was seated on a pile of cushions of crimson
and gold embroidery. Her dress was rich and elegant, the material being
of yellow and silver tissue. Her hair, which was black and exceedingly
beautiful, was ornamented with ribbons of the same colour as the dress,
and ties of yellow diamonds. At her sight, Atimir could not persuade
himself that infidelity was a crime. He knelt at her feet, and Ilerie,
gazing upon him with a tenderness sufficiently indicative of the
emotion of her heart, said, "Prince, I have not caused you to come
hither in order to persuade you to break off your marriage; I know too
well it is determined upon, and the expressions with which you have
endeavoured to alleviate my misfortune and flatter my affection do not
induce me to believe that you would abandon Hebe for me; but," she
continued, with a gush of tears, which completed the conquest of the
heart of Atimir, "I will not endure the life which you have rendered
so wretched. I will sacrifice it without regret to my love, and this
poison," she added, showing a little box which she had in her hand,
"will save me from the fearful torment of seeing you the husband of
Hebe."

"No, beautiful Ilerie!" exclaimed the fickle Prince, "I will never be
her husband. I will abandon all for your sake; I love you a thousand
times better than I loved Hebe; and despite my duty and my faith so
solemnly plighted, I am ready to fly with you to a spot where no
obstacle shall exist to our happiness." "Ah, Prince!" said Ilerie, with
a sigh, "can I confide, then, in one so faithless?" "He will never be
faithless to you," rejoined Atimir. "And the King, your father, who
gave Hebe to me, will not refuse to sanction my union with the lovely
Ilerie, when she is already mine." "Away, then, Atimir," said the
Princess, after a few minutes' silence. "Let us hasten whither our
destiny leads us. Whatever misery the step entails on me, nothing can
weigh against the sweet delights of loving and being beloved."

After these words, they consulted together respecting their flight.
There was no time to lose. They determined to depart the following
night. They separated with regret, and, notwithstanding the vows of
Atimir, Ilerie still feared the power of Hebe's attractions. The rest
of that night and all the next day she was a prey to that anxiety.

In the meanwhile, the Prince hurriedly gave all the necessary orders
for keeping his departure secret, and the next day, as soon as
everybody in the palace had retired to their apartments, he hastened
to join Ilerie in the pavilion in the garden, where she awaited him,
attended only by Cléonice. They set out, and made incredible haste to
pass the frontiers of the kingdom.

The following morning the news was made public, by a letter which
Ilerie had written to the Queen, and another which Atimir had addressed
to the King. They were couched in touching language, and it was easy to
perceive that love had dictated them. The King and Queen were extremely
enraged; but no words can express the agony of the unfortunate and
charming Hebe. What despair! what tears! what petitions to the Fairy
Anguillette to terminate torments equal to the most cruel she had
predicted! But the Fairy kept her word. In vain did Hebe seek the
riverside. Anguillette did not appear, and she abandoned herself to all
the horrors of desperation. The Princes who had been discouraged by the
success of the ungrateful Atimir now felt their hopes revive; but their
attentions and professions only increased the torture of the faithful
Hebe.

The King ardently desired that she should select for herself a husband,
and had several times urged her to do so; but that duty appeared
too cruel to her affectionate heart. She determined to fly from her
father's kingdom; but, before her departure, she went once more in
search of Anguillette. The Fairy could no longer resist the tears of
the beautiful Hebe. She appeared to her, and at her sight the Princess
wept still more, and had not the power to speak to her.

"You have now experienced," said the Fairy, "what that fatal pleasure
which I would never willingly have accorded to you is; but Atimir has
too severely punished you, Hebe, for your neglect of my advice. Go!
Fly these scenes, where everything recalls to you the remembrance of
your love. You will find a vessel on the coast, which will bear you to
the only spot in the world where you can be cured of your unfortunate
attachment; but take care," added Anguillette, raising her voice, "when
your heart shall have regained its tranquillity, that you never seek
to behold again the faithless Atimir, or it will cost you your life!"
Hebe wished more than once to see that Prince again at whatever price
Love might compel her to pay for that gratification; but a whisper
of Reason, and respect for her own honour, induced her to accept the
Fairy's offer. She thanked her for this last favour, and departed the
next morning for the sea-coast, followed by such of her women as she
had most confidence in.

She found the vessel Anguillette had promised her. It was gilt all
over. The masts were of marqueterie of the most admirable pattern; the
sails, of rose-colour and silver tissue; and in every part of it was
inscribed the word "Liberty." The crew were attired in dresses of the
same colours as the sails. All appeared to breathe in this atmosphere
the sweet air of freedom.

The Princess entered a magnificent cabin. The furniture was admirable,
and the paintings perfect. She was as much a prey to sorrow in this new
abode as she was in her father's Court. They strove in vain to amuse
her by a thousand pleasures; she was not yet in a state of mind to pay
the slightest attention to them.

One day while she was contemplating a painting in her cabin, which
represented a landscape, she remarked in it a young shepherd, who, with
a smiling countenance, was depicted cutting nets to set at liberty a
great number of birds that had been caught in them, and some of these
little creatures seemed to be soaring to the skies with marvellous
velocity. All the other pictures displayed similar subjects. None
suggested an idea of love, and all appeared to boast the charms of
Liberty. "Alas!" exclaimed the Princess, sorrowfully, "will my heart
never enjoy that sweet happiness which reason prays for so often in
vain?"

The unfortunate Hebe thus passed her days, struggling between her love
and her desire to forget it. The ship had been a month at sea without
touching anywhere, when one morning that the Princess was on deck she
saw land at a distance, which appeared to be that of a very lovely
country. The trees were of surprising height and beauty, and as the
vessel neared them, she perceived they were covered with birds of the
most brilliant plumage, whose songs made a charming concert. Their
notes were very soft, and it appeared as if they were afraid of making
too much noise. They landed on this beautiful shore. The Princess
descended from the vessel, followed by her women, and from the moment
she breathed the air of this island, some unknown power seemed to set
her heart at rest, and she fell into an agreeable slumber, which for a
short time sealed up her beautiful eyes.

This pleasant country, to which she was a stranger, was the Peaceful
Island. The Fairy Anguillette, a near relation of the Princes who
reigned in these parts, had conferred upon it, for two thousand years,
the happy power of curing unfortunate attachments. It is confidently
asserted that it still possesses that power; but the difficulty is to
find the island.

The Prince who reigned in it at that period, was descended in a right
line from the celebrated Princess Carpillon and her charming husband,
of whom a modern Fairy, wiser and more polished than those of ancient
times, has so gracefully recounted the wonderful adventures.[8]

While the fair Hebe enjoyed a repose, the sweetness of which she had
not tasted for six months, the Prince of the Peaceful Island was taking
an airing in the wood that fringed the shore. He was seated in his car,
drawn by four young white elephants, and surrounded by a portion of
his Court. The sleeping Princess attracted his attention. Her beauty
astonished him. He descended from his car with a haste and vivacity
unusual to his nature. He felt at the sight of her all the love which
the charms of Hebe were worthy to inspire. The noise awoke her, and
on opening her lovely eyes, she was struck by a thousand beauties in
the young Prince. He was of the same age as Hebe--just nineteen. He
was perfectly handsome, his figure full of grace, his height above
the ordinary standard, and his hair, which fell in rich curls down to
his waist, was of the same colour as Hebe's. His dress was composed
of feathers of a thousand different colours, over which he wore a
sort of mantle, with a train all made of swan's-down, and fastened on
his shoulders by the finest jewels in the world. His girdle was of
diamonds, from which hung by golden chains a small sabre, the hilt and
sheath of which were entirely covered with rubies. A sort of helmet,
made of feathers like the rest of his attire, crowned his handsome
head, and on one side of it, fastened by a diamond of prodigious size,
was a plume of heron's feathers, which added greatly to the effect of
his appearance.

The Prince was the first object that presented itself to the eyes
of the young Princess at her waking. He appeared worthy of her
observation, and for the first time in her life she looked upon another
than Atimir with some interest.

"Everything assures me," said the Prince of the Peaceful Island to
the Princess, "that you can be no other than the divine Hebe. Alas!
who else could possess so many charms?" "Who, my Lord," replied the
young Princess, blushing, as she rose to her feet, "could have so soon
informed you of my having landed on this island?" "A powerful Fairy,"
answered the young monarch, "who, desirous of making me the happiest
Prince in the world, and this country the most fortunate, had promised
to lead you hither, and had even permitted me to indulge in the
proudest hopes; but I am too well aware," he added, with a sigh, "that
my fate depends much more upon your favour than upon hers."

After this speech, to which she replied with much propriety, the
Prince requested her to enter his car, that she might be conducted to
the palace; and out of respect to her, he would have declined taking
his place in it, but as she had gathered from his language and his
attendants that he was the sovereign of the island, she insisted on
his seating himself beside her. Never had two such beautiful persons
been seen in the same car. All the Prince's courtiers at the sight
involuntarily burst into a tumult of applause. On the road, the young
Prince entered into conversation with Hebe, with great animation and
tenderness; and the Princess, happy to find her heart once more at
ease, had recovered all her natural vivacity.

They reached the palace; it was not far from the sea-coast. It was
approached through long and beautiful avenues, bordered by canals of
running water. It was built entirely of ivory and roofed with agate.

The Prince's guards were drawn up in line in all the courts. In the
first, they were clothed with yellow feathers, and carried quivers,
bows and arrows of silver. In the second, they were all clothed with
flame-coloured feathers, and wore sabres with golden hilts, and sheaths
ornamented with turquoises. The royal party entered the third court,
in which the guards were dressed in white feathers, and held in their
hands demi-lances painted and gilt, and entwined with garlands of
flowers. There was never any war in that country, so that they did not
carry any formidable weapons.

The Prince, descending from his car, led the lovely Hebe to a
magnificent apartment. His Court was numerous, the ladies were
beautiful; the men gallant and graceful; and although everybody in the
Island was dressed in feathers only, they evinced so much taste in the
arrangement of the colours, that the effect was very agreeable.

That evening, the Prince of the Peaceful Island gave a superb banquet
to the beautiful Hebe, which was followed by a concert of flutes,
lutes, theorbos and harpsichords. In that country they were not fond of
any noisy instruments. The music was very charming; when it had lasted
some time, a very sweet voice sang the following words:--

    Ever to be thy beauty's slave I swear,
      Nor can my heart conceive a happier state
    Than constant bondage in a chain so fair--
      Faithful as fond--on thee depends my fate.

The Prince gazed on Hebe while this tender air was sung, with an
expression which persuaded her that the verses but declared his own
sentiments.

When the concert was over, the Prince of the Peaceful Island, as it was
late, led the Princess to the apartment selected for her. It was the
most beautiful room in the palace. She found in it a great many ladies,
who had been chosen by the Prince to have the honour of attending upon
her.

The Prince quitted the beautiful Hebe the most enamoured of men. The
Princess retired to rest, the ladies of the Court withdrew, and no one
remained in the bed-chamber except the attendants she had brought with
her. "Who could have believed it?" said she to them, as soon as they
were left together, "my heart is tranquil. What deity has appeased my
sufferings? I no longer love Atimir. I can think that he is the husband
of Ilerie without dying of grief. Is not all this a dream which passes
around me? No," she continued, after a moment's pause; "for even my
dreams were never so free from agitation." She then returned thanks a
thousand times to Anguillette, and fell asleep.

When she awoke the next morning the Fairy appeared to her with a
gracious smile upon her countenance, which she had not seen her wear
since the fatal day she had requested the gift of love. "At length,"
said the kind Fairy, "I have fortunately brought you hither. Your heart
is free, and therefore it may be happy. I have cured you of a baneful
passion; but, Hebe, may I trust that the fearful torments to which you
have been exposed will sufficiently induce you to shun for ever those
places in which you might chance to meet the ungrateful Atimir." What
promises did not the young Princess make to the Fairy! How repeatedly
did she abjure love and her faithless lover! "Remember, at least, your
promises," rejoined the Fairy, with an air that inspired respect. "You
will perish with Atimir should you ever seek again to behold him;
but everything around you here ought to prevent your entertaining a
desire so fatal to your existence. I will no longer conceal from you
what I have determined upon in your favour. The Prince of the Peaceful
Island is my kinsman. I protect him and his empire. He is young, he
is amiable, and no Prince in the world is so worthy of being your
husband. Reign, then, fair Hebe, in his heart and over his realm. Your
royal father consents to your union. I was in his palace yesterday. I
informed him and the Queen of your present position, and they gave me
full power to care for your future fortunes."

The Princess was greatly tempted to ask the Fairy what news had been
heard of Atimir and Ilerie since her departure, but she dared not,
after so many favours, run the risk of displeasing her. She employed to
thank her all the eloquence the Fairy had gifted her with.

Her attendants now entered the chamber, and the Fairy disappeared. As
soon as Hebe had arisen, twelve children of the most perfect beauty,
dressed as Cupids, brought to her from the Prince twelve crystal
baskets, filled with the most brilliant and fragrant flowers in the
world. These flowers covered sets of jewels of all colours and of
marvellous beauty. In the first basket presented to her, she found a
note containing these lines:--

            TO THE DIVINE HEBE.

    That I adored thee yesterday I swore
    An hundred times; and broken ne'er can be
    The vows I uttered from my fond heart's core;
    For Love himself dictated them to me,
    And beauty such as thine ensureth constancy.

After what the Fairy had ordained, the Princess comprehended that she
ought to receive these attentions from her new admirer as those of a
Prince who was shortly to be her husband.

She received the little Cupids very graciously, and they had scarcely
taken their departure, when twenty-four dwarfs, fancifully, but
magnificently attired, appeared, bearing other presents. They consisted
of dresses made entirely of feathers; but the colours, the work, and
the jewels with which they were ornamented were so beautiful, that the
Princess admitted she had never seen anything so elegant.

She chose a rose-coloured dress to wear that day. Her head-dress
was composed of plumes of the same colour. She appeared so charming
with these new ornaments, that the Prince of the Peaceful Island,
who came to see her as soon as she was dressed, felt his passion for
her redoubled. All the Court hastened to admire the Princess. In the
evening the Prince proposed to the fair Hebe to descend into the
palace gardens, which were admirably laid out.

During the promenade, the Prince informed Hebe that the Fairy had, for
the last four years, led him to expect that Princess's arrival in the
Peaceful Island; "but shortly after that period," added the Prince, "on
my pressing her to fulfil her promise, she appeared distressed, and
said to me, 'The Princess Hebe is destined by her father to another;
but if my science does not deceive me, she will not marry the Prince
who has been chosen for her husband. I will let you know the issue.'
Some months afterwards the Fairy returned to the island. 'Fate favours
you,' said she to me: 'the Prince who was to have married Hebe will
not be her husband, and in a short time you will behold here the most
beautiful Princess in the world.'"

"It is true," replied Hebe, blushing, "that I was to have married the
son of a King whose dominions were adjacent to those of my father;
but, after several events, the love he conceived for the Princess, my
sister, induced him to fly with her from my father's kingdom."

The Prince of the Peaceful Island said a thousand tender things to the
beautiful Hebe respecting the happy destiny which, in accordance with
the Fairy's desire, had brought the Princess into his dominions. She
listened to him with greater pleasure, as it interrupted her account of
her own adventures, for she feared she could not speak of her faithless
lover without the Prince's observing how great had been her affection
for him.

The Prince of the Peaceful Island led Hebe into a grotto, highly
decorated, and embellished by wonderful fountains. The further end
of the grotto was dark; there were a great many niches in it, filled
with statues of nymphs and shepherds, but they could scarcely be
distinguished in the obscurity. As soon as the Princess had remained a
few minutes in the grotto, she heard some agreeable music. A sudden and
very brilliant illumination disclosed to her that it was a portion of
these statues who were performing this music, whilst the rest advanced,
and danced before her a very elegant and well-conceived ballet. It was
intermixed with sweet and tender songs.

They had placed all the actors in this divertissement in the depths of
the grotto, to surprise the Princess more agreeably.

After the ballet wild men appeared, and served up a superb collation
under an arbour of jasmine and orange flowers.

The entertainment had nearly reached its termination, when suddenly the
Fairy Anguillette appeared in the air, seated in a car drawn by four
monkeys. She descended, and announced to the Prince of the Peaceful
Island a delightful piece of good fortune, by apprising him that it
was her desire he should become the husband of Hebe, and that that
beautiful Princess had promised her consent.

The Prince, transported with joy, was uncertain at the moment whether
his first thanks were due to Hebe or to Anguillette; and although joy
does not inspire one with such affecting expressions as sorrow, he
nevertheless acquitted himself with much talent and grace.

The Fairy determined not to leave the Prince and Princess before the
day fixed for their union. It was to be in three days. She made superb
presents to the fair Hebe and to the Prince of the Peaceful Island, and
at length, on the day she had named, they repaired, followed by their
whole Court and an infinite number of the inhabitants of the Island, to
the temple of Hymen.

It was constructed simply of branches of olive and palmtrees
interlaced, and which, by the power of the Fairy, never withered.

Hymen was therein represented by a statue of white marble, crowned with
roses, elevated on an altar, decorated only with flowers, and leaning
on a little Cupid of exquisite beauty, who, with a smiling countenance,
presented to him a crown of myrtle.

Anguillette, who had erected this temple, resolved that everything in
it should be marked by the greatest simplicity, to show that love alone
could render Hymen happy. The difficulty is to unite them. As it was a
miracle worthy the power of a Fairy, she had joined them indissolubly
in the Peaceful Island, and, contrary to the custom in other kingdoms,
one could there be married, and remain fond and faithful.

In this temple of Hymen the fair Hebe, led by Anguillette, plighted her
troth to the Prince of the Peaceful Island, and received his vows with
pleasure. She did not feel for him the same involuntary inclination
which she had done for Atimir; but her heart, being at that moment free
from passion, she received this husband, by command of the Fairy, as a
Prince worthy of her by his personal merit, and still more so by the
affection he bore to her.

The marriage was celebrated by a thousand splendid entertainments, and
Hebe found herself happy with a Prince who adored her.

In the meanwhile the King, Hebe's father, had received some ambassadors
from Atimir, who sent them to request permission for him to espouse
Ilerie. The King, Atimir's father, was dead, and that Prince was
consequently absolute master in his own country. The hand of the
Princess he had carried off was accorded to him with joy. After the
marriage Queen Ilerie sent other ambassadors to her royal parents
to request permission for her to revisit their Court, and to obtain
their forgiveness for the fault which love had caused her to commit,
and which the merit of Atimir might be pleaded in excuse of. The
King consented, and Atimir proceeded to the Palace with his bride.
A thousand entertainments marked the day of their arrival. Shortly
afterwards the fair Hebe and her charming husband sent ambassadors also
to the King and Queen, to announce their marriage to them. Anguillette
had already informed them of the event, but they did not on that
account receive the ambassadors with less delight or distinction.

Atimir was with the King when they were introduced to their first
audience. The lovely form of Hebe could never be effaced from a heart
in which she had reigned with such supreme power. Atimir sighed, in
spite of himself, at the recital of the happiness of the Prince of the
Peaceful Island. He even accused Hebe of being inconstant, forgetting
how much reason he had given her for becoming so.

The ambassadors of the Prince of the Peaceful Island returned to their
sovereign laden with honours and presents. They related to the Princess
how much delight the King and Queen had manifested at the tidings of
her happy marriage. But, oh! too faithful chroniclers, they informed
her at the same time that the Princess Ilerie and Atimir were at the
Court. These names, so dangerous to her peace, renewed her anxiety.
She was happy; but can mortals command uninterrupted felicity?

She could not resist her impatience to return to the Court of the King,
her father. It was only, she said, to see once more him and her mother.
She believed this herself; and how often, when we are in love, do we
mistake our own feelings!

Notwithstanding the threats uttered by the Fairy, in order to prevent
her from revisiting the spot where she might again behold Atimir, she
proposed this voyage to the Prince of the Peaceful Island. At first
he refused. Anguillette had forbidden him to let Hebe go out of his
dominions. She continued to press him. He adored her, and was ignorant
of the passion she had formerly entertained for Atimir. Is it possible
to refuse anything to those we love?

He hoped to please Hebe by his blind obedience. He gave orders for
their departure, and never was there seen such magnificence as was
displayed in his equipage and on board his vessels.

The sage Anguillette, indignant at the little respect paid by Hebe and
the Prince of the Peaceful Island to her instructions, abandoned them
to their destiny, and did not make her appearance to renew the prudent
advice by which they had so little profited.

The Prince and Princess embarked, and after a very prosperous voyage,
arrived at the Court of Hebe's father. The King and Queen were
extremely delighted to behold once more that dear Princess. They were
charmed with the Prince of the Peaceful Island: they celebrated the
arrival of the royal pair by a thousand entertainments throughout the
kingdom. Ilerie trembled on hearing of the return of Hebe. It was
decided that they should meet, and that no reference whatever should be
made to past events.

Atimir requested to be allowed to see Hebe. It appeared to Ilerie,
indeed, that he preferred his request with a little too much eagerness.

The Princess Hebe blushed when he entered her apartment, and they both
felt an embarrassment out of which all their presence of mind could not
extricate them.

The King, who was present, remarked it. He joined in their
conversation; and to render the visit shorter, proposed to the Princess
to descend into the Palace Gardens.

Atimir dared not offer his hand to Hebe. He bowed to her respectfully,
and retired.

But what thoughts and what feelings did he not carry away with him in
his heart! All the deep and tender passion he had formerly felt for
Hebe was rekindled in a moment. He hated Ilerie; he hated himself.
Never was infidelity followed by so much repentance, nor by so much
suffering.

In the evening he went to the Queen's apartments. The Princess Hebe
was there. He had no eyes but for her. He sought assiduously for
an opportunity of speaking to her. She continued to avoid him; but
her glances were too clearly comprehended by him for his peace. He
persisted for some time in compelling her to observe that her eyes had
regained their former empire over him.

Hebe's heart was alarmed by it. Atimir appeared to her still too
charming. She determined to shun him as carefully as he sought her. She
never spoke to him but in presence of the Queen, and then only when she
could not possibly avoid it. She resolved also to advise the Prince of
the Peaceful Island to return speedily to his own kingdom. But with
what difficulty do we endeavour to fly from those we love!

One evening that she was reflecting on this subject, she shut herself
up in her cabinet, in order to indulge in her musings without
interruption. She found in her pocket a note, which had been slipped
into it unperceived by her, and the handwriting of Atimir, which she
recognised, threw her into an agitation which cannot be described. She
considered she ought not to read it; but her heart triumphed over her
reason, and opening it she found these lines:--

    No more my love can to your heart appeal--
    For me indifference alone you feel.
    Your heart, fair Hebe, faithless is in turn,
    So soon my fatal falsehood could it learn.
    Alas, why can you not, with equal speed,
    Back to its early faith the truant lead?

    The happy time is past when Hebe fair,
    Love's pains and pleasures deigned with me to share.
    Both have their fetters broken, it is true,
    But I my bondage hasten to renew.
    Alas! for my sad fault must I atone,
    By languishing in this sweet chain alone?

"Ah, cruel one!" exclaimed the Princess. "What have I done to you that
you seek to rekindle in my soul a passion which has cost me so much
agony?" The tears of Hebe interrupted her utterance.

In the meanwhile Ilerie was tortured by a jealousy which was but too
well founded. Atimir, carried away by his passion, lost all control
over himself. The Prince of the Peaceful Island began to perceive his
attachment to Hebe; but he was desirous of examining more narrowly the
conduct of Atimir before he spoke to the Princess on the subject. He
adored her with unabating constancy, and feared by his remarks to draw
her attention to the passion of his rival.

A few days after Hebe had received Atimir's note, a tournament was
proclaimed. The Princes, and all the young noblemen of the Court, were
invited to break a lance in honour of the ladies.

The King and Queen honoured the tournament with their presence. The
fair Hebe and the Princess Ilerie were to confer the prizes with their
own hands. One was a sword, the hilt and sheath of which were entirely
covered with jewels of extraordinary beauty. The other, a bracelet of
brilliants of the finest water.

All the knights entered for the lists made their appearance with
marvellous magnificence, and mounted on the finest horses in the world.
Each wore the colours of his mistress, and on their shields were
pictured gallant devices, expressive of the sentiments of their hearts.

The Prince of the Peaceful Island was superbly attired, and rode a
dun-coloured horse with black mane and tail of incomparable beauty. In
all his appointments rose colour was predominant. It was the favourite
colour of Hebe. An ample plume of the same hue floated above his light
helmet. He drew down the applause of all the spectators, and looked so
handsome in his brilliant armour, that Hebe mentally reproached herself
a thousand times for entertaining such feelings as the unhappiness of
another had inspired her with.

The retinue of the Prince of the Peaceful Island was numerous. They
were all attired according to the fashion of their country. Everything
around him was elegant and costly. An esquire bore his shield, and all
were eager to examine the device.

It was a heart pierced with an arrow; a little Cupid was depicted
shooting many others at it to inflict fresh wounds, but all except the
first appeared to have been shot in vain. Beneath were these words:--

 "I fear no others."

The colour and the device of the Prince of the Peaceful Island,
rendered it obvious that it was as the champion of the fair Hebe he had
chosen to enter the lists.

The spectators were still admiring his magnificent array, when Atimir
appeared, mounted on a proud and fiery steed, entirely black. The
prevailing colour of the dress he had assumed for that day was what is
usually termed "dead-leaf," unadorned with gold, silver, or jewels; but
on his helmet he wore a tuft of rose-coloured feathers, and although he
affected great negligence in his attire, he was so handsome, and bore
himself so proudly, that from the moment he entered the lists no one
looked at anything else. On his shield, which he carried himself, was
painted a Cupid trampling upon some chains, while at the same time he
was loading himself with others that were heavier. Around the figure
were these words:--

 "These alone are worthy of me."

The train of Atimir were attired in dead-leaf and silver, and on them
he had showered jewels. It was composed of the principal noblemen of
his Court, and although they were all fine-looking men, it was easy
to see by the air of Atimir that he was born to command them. It is
impossible to describe the various emotions which the sight of Atimir
awakened in the hearts of Hebe and Ilerie, and the poignant jealousy
which the Prince of the Peaceful Island felt when he saw floating over
the helmet of Atimir, a plume of the same colour as his own.

The motto of his device kindled his anger into a fury, which he
controlled for the moment, only to choose a better time to vent it on
his rival.

The King and Queen saw clearly enough the audacity and imprudence of
Atimir, and were exceedingly angry with him; but it was not the time to
show it.

The tilting was commenced amidst a flourish of trumpets which rent
the air. It was exceedingly good. All the young knights made proof of
their skill. The Prince of the Peaceful Island, although a prey to his
jealousy, signalized himself particularly, and remained conqueror.

Atimir, who was aware that the prize for the first encounter would be
given by Ilerie, did not present himself to dispute the victory with
the Prince of the Peaceful Island. The judges of the field declared
the latter victor; and, amidst the acclamation and applause of all the
spectators, he advanced with the greatest possible grace to the spot
where the Royal Family were seated, to receive the diamond bracelet.

The Princess Ilerie presented it to him. He received it with due
respect, and having saluted the King, Queen, and Princesses, returned
to his place in the lists.

The mournful Ilerie had too clearly observed the contempt with which
the fickle Atimir had treated the prize destined to be accorded by
her hand. She sighed sadly, while the fair Hebe felt a secret joy
which reason vainly endeavoured to stifle in her heart. Other courses
were run with results similar to those which had preceded them. The
Prince of the Peaceful Island, animated by the presence of Hebe,
performed wonders, and was a second time conqueror; but Atimir, weary
of beholding the glory of his rival, and flattered by the idea of
receiving the prize from the hand of Hebe, presented himself at the
opposite end of the lists.

The rivals gazed at each other fiercely, and the impending encounter
between two such great Princes was distinguished by the fresh agitation
which it excited in the two Princesses. The Princes ran their course
with equal advantage. Each broke his lance fairly without swerving in
his saddle. The acclamations were redoubled, and the Princes, without
giving their horses time to breathe, returned to their places, received
fresh lances, and ran a second course with the same address as the
first. The King, who feared to see Fortune give the victory to either
of these rivals, and in order to spare the feelings of both, sent in
all haste to them to say that they ought to be satisfied with the glory
they had acquired, and to request them to let the tilting terminate for
that day with the course they had just run.

The King's messenger having approached them, they listened with
impatience to the royal request, particularly Atimir, who, seizing the
first opportunity to reply, said, "Go, tell the King that I should be
unworthy the honour he does me in taking an interest in my glory, if I
could remain satisfied without conquest."

"Let us see," rejoined the Prince of the Peaceful Island, clapping
spurs to his horse, "who best deserves the esteem of the King and the
favours of Fortune!"

The King's messenger had not retraced his steps to the royal balcony
before the two rivals, animated by stronger feelings than the mere
desire to carry off the prize of the joust, had met in full career.

Fortune favoured the audacious Atimir: he was the conqueror. The horse
of the Prince of the Peaceful Island, fatigued with the many severe
courses he had run, fell, and rolled his master in the dust.

What joy for Atimir! and what fury for the unfortunate Prince of the
Peaceful Island! Leaping to his feet again instantly, and advancing
to his rival before any one could reach to part them,--"Thou hast
conquered me in these games, Atimir," said he, with an air which
sufficiently expressed his wrath, "but it is with the sword that our
quarrel must be decided." "Willingly," replied the haughty Atimir.
"I will await thee to-morrow at sunrise in the wood that borders the
palace gardens." The Judges of the Field joined them as these last
words were uttered, and the Princes mutually affected unconcern, for
fear the King should suspect and frustrate their intentions. The Prince
of the Peaceful Island remounted his horse, and rode with all the speed
he could urge it to, from the fatal spot where he had been defeated by
Atimir. In the meanwhile that Prince proceeded to receive the prize
of the joust from the hand of Hebe, who presented it to him with a
confusion sufficiently betraying the conflicting emotions in her bosom;
while Atimir, in receiving it, displayed all the extravagancies of a
passionate lover.

The King and Queen, who kept their eyes upon him, could not fail to
observe this, and returned to the Palace much discontented with the
termination of the day. Atimir, occupied only by his passion, left
the lists, forbidding any of his train to accompany him; and Ilerie,
smarting with grief and jealousy, retired to her apartments.

What then were the feelings of Hebe! "I must depart," she said to
herself. "What other remedy is there for the evil I anticipate?"

In the meanwhile, the King and the Queen determined to request Atimir
would return to his own dominions, to avoid the painful consequences
which his love might entail upon them. They resolved also to make the
same proposition to the Prince of the Peaceful Island, in order not to
show any preference for either; but ah! too tardy prudence! whilst they
were deliberating how best to secure the departure of the two Princes,
the rivals were preparing to meet in mortal combat.

Hebe, on returning from the lists, immediately inquired for the Prince
of the Peaceful Island. She was answered that he was in the palace
gardens; that he had desired he might not be followed, and that he
appeared very melancholy. The fair Hebe thought it was her duty to seek
and console him for the slight mischances which had happened to him,
and therefore, without staying a moment in her own apartment, descended
into the gardens, followed only by a few of her women.

In the course of her search for the Prince of the Peaceful Island, she
entered a shady alley, and came suddenly on the enamoured Atimir, who,
transported by his passion, and listening only to its promptings, threw
himself on his knees at a short distance from the Princess, and drawing
the sword which he had that day received from her hand, exclaimed,
"Hear me, beautiful Hebe! or see me die at your feet!"

Hebe's attendants, terrified by the actions of the Prince, rushed upon
him, and endeavoured to force from his grasp the sword, the point of
which he had directed towards himself with desperate resolution. Hebe,
the unhappy Hebe, would have flown from the spot; but how many reasons
concurred to detain her near him she loved!

The desire to suppress the scandal this adventure might create; the
intention to implore Atimir to endeavour to stifle a passion which
was so perilous to them; the pity naturally awakened by so affecting
an object,--everything, in short, conspired to arrest her flight. She
approached the Prince. Her presence suspended his fury. He let fall
his sword at the feet of the Princess. Never was so much agitation,
so much love, so much anguish, displayed in an interview that lasted
but a few minutes. No words can express the feelings of those wretched
lovers during that brief period. Hebe, alarmed at finding herself in
the company of Atimir, almost, perhaps, in sight of the Prince of
the Peaceful Island, made a great effort to depart, and left him
with a command never to see her more. What an order for Atimir! But
for the recollection of the combat to which he had been challenged
by the Prince of the Peaceful Island, he would have turned his sword
an hundred times against his own breast; but he trusted to perish in
revenging himself on his rival.

In the meanwhile, the fair Hebe shut herself up in her own chamber,
to avoid more surely the sight of Atimir. "Relentless Fairy," she
cried, "thou didst only predict my death as the consequence of my again
beholding this unhappy Prince; but the tortures I suffer are a much
more dreadful penalty." Hebe sent her attendants to seek for the Prince
of the Peaceful Island in the gardens, and throughout the Palace; but
he was nowhere to be found, and she became extremely anxious on his
account. They hunted for him all night long, but in vain, for he had
concealed himself in a little rustic building in the middle of the
wood, to be more certain that no one could prevent his proceeding to
the spot fixed on for the combat. He was on the ground at sunrise, and
Atimir arrived a few minutes afterwards. The two rivals, impatient
for revenge and victory, drew their swords. It was the first time the
Prince of the Peaceful Island had wielded his in earnest, for war was
unknown in his island.

He proved, however, not a less redoubtable antagonist on that account
to Atimir. He had little skill, but much bravery, and great love. He
fought like a man who set no value on his life, and Atimir worthily
sustained in this combat the high reputation he had previously
acquired. The Princes were animated by too many vindictive feelings
for their encounter not to terminate fatally. After having fought with
equal advantage for a considerable period, they dealt each other at the
same instant so furious a blow, that both fell to the earth which was
speedily red with their blood.

The Prince of the Peaceful Island fainted with the loss of his; and
Atimir, mortally wounded, uttered but the name of Hebe as he expired
for her sake.

One of the parties in search of the Prince of the Peaceful Island
arrived on the spot, and were horror-struck at the sight of this cruel
spectacle.

The Princess Hebe, urged by her anxiety, had descended into the
gardens. She hastened towards the place from whence she heard the
exclamations of her people, who uttered in confusion the names of the
two Princes, and beheld these fatal and affecting objects. She believed
the Prince of the Peaceful Island was dead as well as Atimir, and at
that moment there was little difference to be distinguished between
them. "Precious lives," exclaimed Hebe, despairingly, after gazing for
an instant on the unfortunate Princes,--"precious lives, which have
been sacrificed for me; I hasten to avenge you by the termination of my
own!" With these words she flung herself upon the fatal sword Atimir
had received from her hands, and buried the point in her bosom before
her people, astonished at this dreadful scene, had power to prevent her.

She expired, and the Fairy Anguillette, moved by so much misery despite
of all the obstacles her science had enabled her to raise, appeared
on the spot which had witnessed the destruction of these beautiful
beings. The Fairy upbraided Fate, and could not restrain her tears.
Then hastening to succour the Prince of the Peaceful Island, who she
knew was still breathing, she healed his wound, and transported him in
an instant to his own island, where, by the miraculous power she had
conferred on it, the Prince consoled himself for his loss, and forgot
his passion for Hebe.

The King and Queen, who had not the advantage of such assistance,
gave themselves up entirely to their sorrow; and time only brought
them consolation. As to Ilerie, nothing could exceed her despair. She
remained constant to her grief, and to the memory of the ungrateful
Atimir.

Meanwhile, Anguillette, having transported the Prince of the Peaceful
Island to his dominions, touched with her wand the sad remains of the
charming Atimir and the lovely Hebe. At the same instant they were
transformed into two trees of the most perfect beauty. The Fairy gave
them the name of _Charmes_,[9] to preserve for ever the remembrance of
the charms which had been so brilliantly displayed in the persons of
these unfortunate lovers.


FOOTNOTES:

[8] This compliment, so deservedly paid to the Countess
d'Aulnoy, proves that this story was written after the production of
that lady's popular fairy tale entitled "La Princesse Carpillon."

[9] _Charmes_ is the French name for that species of elm
called the yok elm.



YOUNG AND HANDSOME.


Once on a time there was a potent Fairy, who endeavoured to resist
the power of Love; but the little god was more potent than the Fairy.
He touched her heart without even employing all his power. A handsome
Knight arrived at the Court of the Fairy in search of adventures. He
was amiable, the son of a king, and had acquired renown by a thousand
noble achievements. His worth was known to the Fairy. Fame had wafted
the report of it even into her dominions.

The person of the young Prince corresponded so entirely with his high
reputation, that the Fairy, moved by so many charms, accepted in a very
short time the proposals which the handsome Knight made to her. The
Fairy was beautiful, and he was sincerely in love with her. She married
him, and by that marriage made him the richest and most powerful King
in the world. They lived a long time most happily together after their
union.

The Fairy grew old, and the King, her husband, although he kept pace
with her in years, ceased to love her as soon as her beauty had
departed. He attached himself to some young beauties of his Court, and
the Fairy was tormented by a jealousy which proved fatal to several
of her rivals. She had had but one daughter by her marriage with the
handsome Knight. She was the object of all her tenderness, and was
worthy of the affection lavished on her.

The Fairies, who were her relations, had endowed her from her birth
with the finest intelligence, the sweetest beauty, and with graces
still more charming than beauty. Her dancing surpassed anything that
had ever been seen, and her voice subdued all hearts.

Her form was perfect symmetry. Without being too tall, her appearance
was noble. Her hair was of the most beautiful black in the world. Her
mouth small and exquisitely formed, her teeth of surprising whiteness.
Her lovely eyes were black, sparkling, and expressive, and never did
glances so piercing and yet so tender awaken love in the bosoms of all
beholders.

The Fairy had named her Young and Handsome. She had not as yet endowed
her herself. She had postponed that favour in order to judge the
better in process of time by what sort of benefit she could ensure the
happiness of a child that was so dear to her.

The King's inconstancies were an eternal source of affliction to the
Fairy. The misfortune of ceasing to be loved induced her to believe
that the most desirable of blessings was to be always lovely. And this,
after a thousand reflections, was the gift she bestowed on Young and
Handsome. She was then just sixteen: and the Fairy employed all her
science in the formation of a spell which should enable the Princess to
remain for ever exactly as she appeared at that moment. What greater
benefit could she bestow on Young and Handsome than the happiness of
never ceasing to be like herself? The Fairy lost the King, her husband,
and although he had been long unfaithful to her, his death caused her
such deep sorrow, that she resolved to abandon her empire, and to
retire to a castle which she had built in a country quite a desert, and
surrounded by so vast a forest that the Fairy alone could find her way
through it.

This resolution sadly afflicted Young and Handsome. She wished not to
quit her mother; but the Fairy peremptorily commanded her to remain;
and before she returned to her wilderness, she assembled in the most
beautiful palace in the world all the pleasures and sports she had long
banished, and composed from them a Court for Young and Handsome, who in
this agreeable company gradually consoled herself for the absence of
the Fairy.

All the Kings and Princes who considered themselves worthy of her (and
in those days people flattered themselves much less than they do now)
came in crowds to the Court of Young and Handsome, and endeavoured by
their attentions and their professions to win the heart of so lovely a
Princess.

Never had anything equalled the magnificence and amusements of the
palace of Young and Handsome. Each day was distinguished by some new
entertainment. Everybody composing it was happy, except her lovers,
who adored her without hope. She looked with favour upon none; but
they saw her daily, and her most indifferent glances were sufficiently
attractive to detain them there for ever.

One day Young and Handsome, content with the prosperity and popularity
of her reign, wandered into a pleasant wood, followed only by some
of her nymphs, the better to enjoy the charm of solitude. Absorbed
by agreeable reflections, (what could she think of that would not be
agreeable?) she emerged from the wood unconsciously, and walked towards
a charming meadow enamelled with thousands of flowers.

Her beautiful eyes were occupied in contemplating a hundred various and
pleasing objects, when they lighted in turn on a flock of sheep which
was quietly feeding in the meadow on the bank of a little brook that
murmured sweetly as it rippled over the pebbles in its path. It was
overshadowed by a tuft of trees. A young shepherd, stretched on the
grass beside the rivulet, was calmly sleeping; his crook was leaning
against a tree, and a pretty dog, which appeared to be more a favourite
of its master than the guardian of his flock, lay close to the shepherd.

Young and Handsome approached the brook, and cast her eyes upon the
youth. What a beautiful vision! Cupid himself sleeping in the arms of
Psyche did not display such charms.

The young Fairy stood gazing, and could not restrain some gestures
of admiration, which were quickly succeeded by more tender emotions.
The handsome shepherd appeared to be about eighteen, of a commanding
form; his brown hair, naturally curling, fell in wavy locks upon his
shoulders, and was in perfect harmony with the most charming face in
the world. His eyes, closed in slumber, concealed from the Fairy,
beneath their lids, new fires reserved by Love to redouble her passion
for the shepherd.

Young and Handsome felt her heart agitated by an emotion to which it
had hitherto been a stranger, and it was no longer in her power to stir
from the spot.

Fairies possess the same privilege as goddesses. They love a shepherd
when he is loveable, just as if he were the greatest monarch in the
universe. For all classes of mortals are equally beneath them.

Young and Handsome found too much pleasure in her new sensations to
endeavour to combat them. She loved fondly, and from that moment only
indulged in the happy idea of being loved in return. She did not dare
to wake the handsome shepherd, for fear he should remark her agitation;
and pleasing herself with the notion of discovering her love for him in
a gallant and agreeable manner. She rendered herself invisible to enjoy
the astonishment she was about to cause him.

Immediately arose a strain of enchanting music. What an exquisite
symphony! It went straight to the heart. The delicious sound awoke
Alidor (such was the name of the handsome shepherd), who for some
moments imagined he was in an agreeable dream; but what was his
surprise when, on rising from the grass on which he had been lying, he
found himself attired in the most tasteful and magnificent fashion.
The colours of his dress were yellow and grey, laced with silver.
His wallet was embroidered all over with the initials of Young and
Handsome, and suspended by a band of flowers. His crook was of the most
marvellous workmanship, ornamented with precious stones of different
colours set in elegant devices. His hat was composed entirely of
jonquils and blue hyacinths most ingeniously woven together.

Delighted and astonished at his new attire, he gazed at himself
reflected in the neighbouring stream. Young and Handsome, meanwhile,
feared an hundred times for him the fate of the beautiful Narcissus.

The wonder of Alidor was still further increased at seeing his sheep
covered with silk whiter than snow, in lieu of their ordinary fleeces,
and adorned with a thousand knots of ribbons of various colours.

His favourite ewe was more decorated than any of the others. She came
skipping over the grass to him, appearing proud of her ornaments.

The shepherd's pretty dog had a golden collar, on which bands of small
emeralds formed these four lines:--

    Alas! how many fears and doubts alarm
    The maiden who on love her hopes would rest;
    A look, a word, her youthful heart may charm,
    But constancy alone can make it blest.

The handsome shepherd judged by these verses that he was indebted to
Love for his agreeable adventure. The sun, by this time, had set.
Alidor, absorbed in a delightful reverie, bent his steps towards his
cottage. He did not observe any change in its exterior, but he had
scarcely crossed the threshold when a delicious fragrance announced to
him some agreeable novelty. He found the walls of his little hut hung
with a tissue of jasmine and orange flowers. The curtains of his bed
were of the same materials, looped up by garlands of pinks and roses.
An agreeable atmosphere kept all these flowers perfectly fresh and
beautiful.

The floor was of porcelain, on which were represented the stories of
all the goddesses who had been in love with shepherds. Alidor observed
this;--he was very intelligent. The shepherds of that country were not
ordinary shepherds. Some of them were descended from Kings or great
Princes, and Alidor could trace his pedigree up to a Sovereign who had
long sat on the throne of those realms before they became a portion of
the dominions of the Fairies.

Up to this period the handsome shepherd had been insensible to the
charms of Love; but he now began to feel, even without having as yet
distinguished the particular object, that his young heart burned to
surrender itself a prisoner. He was dying with impatience to become
acquainted with the Goddess or Fairy who had bestowed upon him such
tasteful and beautiful proofs of her affection. He paced his chamber
with a sweet anxiety which he had never before experienced. As night
fell, an agreeable illumination appeared to shed a new daylight
throughout the cottage. The musings of Alidor were interrupted by
the sight of a rich and delicate banquet, which was served up to him
by invisible hands. "What!" exclaimed the shepherd, smiling; "still
new pleasures, and no one to partake them with me?" His little dog
attempted to play with him, but he was too much pre-occupied to
encourage his gambols.

Alidor seated himself at the table. A little Cupid appeared and
presented him with wine in a cup made of one entire diamond. The
shepherd made a tolerable supper for the hero of such adventures. He
endeavoured to question the little Cupid; but, instead of answering,
the boy shot arrows at him, which, the moment they struck, became drops
of exquisitely scented water. Alidor comprehended clearly by this sport
that the little Cupid was forbidden to explain the mystery. The table
disappeared as soon as Alidor had ceased eating, and the little Cupid
flew away.

A charming symphony stole upon the ear, awaking a thousand tender
sensations in the heart of the young shepherd. His impatience to
learn to whom he was indebted for all these pleasures increased every
instant, and it was with great joy he heard a voice sing the following
words:--

    Under what form, Love, wilt thou cast thy dart
    At the young shepherd who enthrals my heart?
    Once should he know he is the master there,
    Will he my form and face account less fair?
    Of my affection he will be too sure,
    But that may not his love for me secure.
    With greater power to charm, my smiles endue,
    I need no aid to make me fond or true.

"Appear, thou charming being!" exclaimed the shepherd; "and by your
presence crown my happiness. I believe you to be too beautiful to fear
that I should ever be faithless."

No answer was returned to this adjuration. The music ceased shortly
afterwards; a profound silence reigned in the cottage and invited the
shepherd to sweet repose. He threw himself on his bed, but it was some
time before he could sleep, agitated as he was by his curiosity and his
new-born passion.

The song of the birds awoke him at daybreak. He quitted his cottage and
led his pretty flock to the same spot where the preceding day his good
fortune had commenced. Scarcely had he seated himself beside the brook,
when a canopy, composed of a most brilliant stuff of flame-colour and
gold was attached to the branches of the nearest trees to shelter
Alidor from the rays of the sun. Some young shepherds and pretty
shepherdesses of the neighbourhood arrived at the spot. They were in
search of Alidor. His canopy, his flock, and his dress excited in them
great astonishment.

They advanced hastily, and eagerly asked him the origin of all these
marvels. Alidor smiled at their surprise, and recounted to them what
had occurred to him. More than one shepherd felt jealous, and more
than one shepherdess reddened with mortification. There were few of the
latter in those parts who had not had designs upon the heart of the
handsome shepherd, and a goddess or a fairy appeared to them by far too
dangerous a rival.

Young and Handsome, who rarely lost sight of her shepherd, endured with
considerable impatience the conversation of the shepherdesses. Some
amongst them were very charming, and one so lovely that she might be a
formidable rival even to a goddess.

The indifference with which Alidor treated them all re-assured the
young Fairy. The shepherdesses quitted Alidor reluctantly, and led
their flocks further into the meadow.

Shortly after they had departed, leaving only a few shepherds with
Alidor, a delicious banquet appeared, set out upon a marble table.
Seats of green turf arose around it, and Alidor invited his friends,
the shepherds who had come to join him, to share his repast. On seating
themselves at the table, they discovered that they were all attired in
handsome dresses, though less magnificent than that of Alidor, which at
the same moment became dazzling with jewels.

The neighbouring echoes were suddenly awakened by rustic, but graceful,
music, and a voice was heard singing the following words:--

    Of Alidor, envy the pleasure supreme,
    He only could love to this bosom impart;
    Ye shepherds, who beauty and worth can esteem,
    Do honour to him as the choice of my heart.

The astonishment of the shepherds increased every moment. A troop of
young shepherdesses approached the banks of the rivulet. The melody of
the music was not so much the attraction which led them to this spot,
as the desire to see Alidor. They began to dance beneath the trees,
forming an agreeable little _bal-champêtre_.

The young Fairy, who was present all the time, but invisible, assumed
in an instant, with six of her nymphs, the prettiest shepherdesses'
dresses that had ever been seen. Their only ornaments were garlands of
flowers. Their crooks were adorned with them, and Young and Handsome,
with a simple wreath of jonquils, which produced a charming effect in
her beautiful black hair, appeared the most enchanting person in the
world. The arrival of these fair shepherdesses surprised the whole
company. All the beauties of the district felt mortified. There was not
a shepherd who did not eagerly exert himself to do the honours of the
_fête_ to the new-comers.

Young and Handsome, though unknown to them as a Fairy, did not receive
less respect or attract less attention. The sincerest homage is always
paid to beauty. Young and Handsome felt flattered by the effect of her
charms unaided by the knowledge of her dignity.

As to Alidor, the instant she appeared amongst them, forgetting that
the love which a goddess or a fairy bore to him bound him to avoid
anything that might be displeasing to her, he flew towards Young
and Handsome, and accosting her with the most graceful air in the
world:--"Come, beautiful shepherdess," said he, "come and occupy a
place more worthy of you. So exquisite a person is too superior to
all other beauties to remain mingled with them." He offered his hand,
and Young and Handsome, delighted with the sentiments which the sight
of her had begun to awaken in the breast of her shepherd, allowed
herself to be led by Alidor beneath the canopy which had been attached
to the trees as soon as he had arrived at the spot that morning. A
troop of young shepherds brought, by his orders, bundles of flowers
and branches, and constructed with them a little throne, on which
they seated Young and Handsome. Alidor laid himself at her feet. Her
nymphs seated themselves near her, and the rest of the party formed a
large circle, in which everybody took their places according to their
inclinations.

This spot, adorned with so much beauty, presented the most agreeable
spectacle in the world. The murmur of the brook mingled with the music,
and it seemed as if all the birds in the neighbourhood had assembled
there to take their parts in the concert. A great number of shepherds
advanced, in separate groups, to pay their court to Young and Handsome.
One amongst them, named Iphis, approaching the young Fairy, said to
her, "However distinguished may be the place Alidor has induced you
to accept, it is one, perhaps, very dangerous to occupy." "I believe
so," answered the Fairy, with a smile that had power to captivate all
hearts. "The shepherdesses of this village will find it difficult
to forgive me the preference which Alidor appears to have accorded
to me amongst so many beauties more deserving of it." "No," rejoined
Iphis; "our shepherdesses will be more just; but Alidor is beloved
by a goddess." And thereupon Iphis related to Young and Handsome the
adventure which had befallen the beautiful shepherd. When he had
finished his story, the young Fairy, turning towards Alidor with a
gracious air, said to him, "I do not desire to provoke so terrible an
enemy as the goddess by whom you are beloved. Evidently she did not
intend me to occupy this position, and therefore I resign it to her."

She rose as she said these words, but Alidor, gazing fondly upon her,
exclaimed, "Stay, lovely shepherdess; there is no goddess whose love
I would not sacrifice for the delight of adoring you; and she of whom
Iphis speaks is not over wise, at least in matters of the heart,
since she has permitted me to behold you!" Young and Handsome could
not make any reply to Alidor. The shepherds at that moment came to
request her to dance, and never was more grace displayed than on this
occasion. Alidor was her partner, who surpassed himself. Never had the
most magnificent _fêtes_ at the Court of Young and Handsome afforded
her so much pleasure as this rural entertainment. Love embellishes
every spot in which we behold the object of our affections. Alidor
felt his passion increasing every instant, and made a thousand vows
to sacrifice all the goddesses and fairies in the world to the ardent
love with which his shepherdess had inspired him. Young and Handsome
was delighted with the evident attachment of the beautiful shepherd;
but she wished to make a momentary trial of his affection. Iphis was
amiable, and, if Alidor had not been present, would no doubt have
been much admired. The young Fairy spoke to him twice or thrice very
graciously, and danced several times with him.

Alidor burned with a jealousy as intense as his love. Young and
Handsome observed it, and feeling more sure of her shepherd's heart,
she ceased paining it, spoke no more to Iphis during the rest of the
day, and bestowed on Alidor her most encouraging glances. Heavens! what
glances! they would have filled the most insensible hearts with love.

Evening having arrived, the lovely company separated with regret.
A thousand sighs followed Young and Handsome, who forbade any of
the shepherds to accompany her; but she promised Alidor, in a few
brief words, that he should see her again in the meadows the next
morning. She departed, followed by her nymphs and watched by the
shepherds, who were in hopes that, by following her at a distance,
they might discover, without her perceiving them, the village to
which these divine beings belonged; but the moment that Young and
Handsome had entered a little wood which concealed her from the sight
of the shepherds, she rendered herself and her nymphs invisible, and
they amused themselves for some time in seeing the shepherds vainly
endeavouring to trace the road they had taken. Young and Handsome
observed with pleasure that Alidor was amongst the most eager of the
party.

Iphis was in despair that he had not followed them closely enough, and
several of the shepherds, who had been captivated by the nymphs, passed
half of the night in hunting the woods and the neighbourhood. Some
authors have asserted that the nymphs, following the example of the
young Fairy, thought some of these shepherds more charming than all the
kings they had ever seen in their lives.

Young and Handsome returned to her palace, and, although a Fairy,
always occupied by a thousand different affairs, might absent herself
without causing much surprise, she found all her lovers exceedingly
uneasy at not having seen her the whole day, but not one of them
ventured to reproach her for it. It was necessary to be a very
submissive and respectful suitor in the palace of Young and Handsome,
or she would speedily issue an order for him to quit her Court. Her
admirers did not even dare to speak to her of their passion. It was
only by their attentions, their respect, and their constancy, that they
could hope eventually to touch her heart.

Young and Handsome appeared little interested in what was passing
around. She ate scarcely any supper, fell into frequent fits of musing,
and the princes, her lovers, attentive to all her actions, imagined
that they heard her sigh several times. She dismissed all the Court
very early, and retired to her apartments.

When one is looking forward to a meeting with those we love, everything
that presents itself in the interim appears very poor and very
troublesome.

The young Fairy, with the nymphs who had followed her all the day,
concealed in a cloud, were transported in an instant to the hut of the
handsome shepherd. He had returned to it, very much vexed at not being
able to ascertain the road his divine shepherdess had taken. Everything
in his cottage was as charming as when he had left it; but as in musing
he cast his eyes upon the floor of his little chamber, he perceived
a change in it. In lieu of paintings from the stories of goddesses
who had been in love with shepherds, he perceived the subjects were
composed of terrible examples of unfortunate lovers who had proved
unworthy of the affection of those divinities.

"You are right," exclaimed the handsome shepherd, on observing these
little pictures; "you are right, Goddess. I deserve your anger; but
wherefore did you permit so lovely a shepherdess to present herself to
my sight? Alas! what divinity could defend a heart from the effects of
such charms!" Young and Handsome had arrived in the cottage when Alidor
uttered these words. She felt all the tenderness of them, and her
affection was redoubled by them.

As on the previous day, a magnificent repast appeared, but Alidor did
not enjoy it as he did the first. He was in love, and even a little
jealous; for it often recurred to him that his shepherdess had spoken
with some interest to Iphis. The promise, however, that she had made
him, that he should see her the next day in the meadow, soothed a
little his vexation.

The little Cupid waited on him during his repast, but Alidor, occupied
by his new anxiety, spoke not a word to him. The table disappeared,
and the child, approaching Alidor, presented him with two magnificent
miniature cases, and then flew away.

The handsome shepherd opened one of the cases hastily. It contained the
portrait of a young female of such perfect beauty, that imagination can
scarcely conceive it. Under this marvellous miniature was written, in
letters of gold--

 "Thy happiness depends on her affection."

"One must have seen my shepherdess," said Alidor, gazing on this
beautiful portrait, "not to be enchanted by so lovely a person." He
closed the case, and flung it carelessly on a table.

He then opened the other case which the little Cupid had given to him;
but what was his astonishment at the sight of the portrait of his
shepherdess, resplendent with all the charms that had made so lively an
impression on his heart!

She was painted as he had seen her that very day--her hair dressed
with flowers, and the little that appeared of her dress was that of
a shepherdess. The handsome shepherd was so transported with his
love, that he gazed on it for a long time without perceiving that the
following words were written beneath the portrait:--

 "Forget her attractions, or thy love will be fatal to thee."

"Alas!" exclaimed Alidor, "without her could there be any happiness?"
This ecstasy delighted Young and Handsome. The beautiful face he had
contemplated unmoved was only a fancy portrait. The young Fairy was
desirous of ascertaining whether her shepherd would prefer her to so
beautiful a person, and who appeared to be a goddess or a fairy.

Convinced of the love of Alidor, she returned to her palace, after
having assembled her nymphs by a signal that had been agreed upon. It
was the illumination of the sky by some harmless lightning, and since
that time such is often to be seen on a summer evening, unaccompanied
by thunder. The nymphs rejoined her: they had also desired to hear
something more of their lovers. Some of them were sufficiently pleased.
They had found their swains occupied with recollections of them, and
speaking of them with ardour, but others were less satisfied with the
effect of their beauty. They found their shepherds fast asleep. A man
may sometimes appear very much in love during the day, who is not
sufficiently so for his passion to keep him awake all night.

The young Fairy retired to rest as soon as she arrived at her palace,
charmed with the sincere affection of her shepherd. She had no other
anxiety than the agreeable one arising from her impatience to see him
again. As to Alidor, he slept a little, and without alarming himself at
the warnings which he had read beneath the two miniatures. He thought
only of returning to the meadow: he hoped to see his shepherdess there
during the day. It seemed to him that he could not get there soon
enough.

He led his charming flock to the fortunate spot where he had seen Young
and Handsome; his pretty dog took good care of it. The comely shepherd
could think of nothing but his shepherdess.

Young and Handsome was, much against her will, occupied that morning
receiving the ambassadors of several neighbouring monarchs. Never were
audiences so short; yet, notwithstanding, a considerable portion of the
day passed in the performance of these tiresome ceremonies. The young
Fairy suffered as much as her shepherd, whose keen impatience caused
him a thousand torments.

The sun had set. Alidor had no longer any hope of seeing his
shepherdess that day. How great was his grief!

He deplored his fate. He sighed incessantly. He made verses on her
absence, and with the ferrule of his crook engraved them on the trunk
of a young elm.

    You on whom Venus looks with envious eyes,
    While round your steps her truant Graces play,--
    You on whose glances Cupid so relies
    That he has thrown all other darts away;
    How wretched in your absence must I be
    Who prize you ev'ry earthly bliss above!--
    And yet my sorrow has a charm for me,
    Its gloom is but the shadow of my love.

As he finished carving these lines, Young and Handsome appeared
in the meadow at a distance, with her nymphs all still attired as
shepherdesses. Alidor recognised her a long way off. He ran--he flew
towards Young and Handsome, who received him with a smile so charming,
that it would have increased the felicity of the gods themselves.

He told his love to her with an ardour capable of persuading a heart
less tenderly inclined towards him than that of the young Fairy. She
desired to see what he had carved on the tree, and was charmed with
the talent and affection of her shepherd. He related to her all that
happened to him the preceding evening, and offered a thousand times to
follow her to the end of the world to fly from the love which a goddess
or a fairy had unfortunately conceived for him. "My loss would be too
great should you fly from that fairy," replied Young and Handsome, in
her sweetest manner. "It is no longer necessary for me to disguise my
sentiments from you, as I am convinced of the sincerity of yours. It
is I, Alidor!" continued the charming Fairy--"It is I who have given
you these proofs of an affection which, if you continue faithful to me,
will ensure your happiness and mine for ever!"

The handsome shepherd, transported with love and joy, flung himself at
her feet, his silence appeared more eloquent to the young Fairy than
the most finished oration. She bade him rise, and he found himself
superbly attired. The Fairy then touching the ground with her crook,
there appeared a magnificent car, drawn by twelve white horses of
surpassing beauty. They were harnessed four abreast. Young and Handsome
stepped into the car, and caused the comely shepherd to take his seat
beside her. Her nymphs found room in it also, and as soon as they had
all taken their places, the beautiful horses, who had no occasion for
a driver to intimate to them the intentions of their mistress, swiftly
conveyed the whole party to a favourite château belonging to the young
Fairy. She had adorned it with everything that her art could furnish
her with in the way of wonders. It was called the Castle of Flowers,
and was the most charming residence in the world.

The young Fairy and her happy lover arrived with the attendant nymphs
in a spacious court-yard, the walls of which were formed out of thick
hedges of jasmines and lemon-trees. They were only breast-high. Beneath
them ran a lovely river, which encompassed the court-yard; beyond it a
charming grove, and then fields stretching as far as the eye could see,
through which the said river made a thousand windings, as unwilling to
quit so beautiful a home.

The castle was more to be admired for its architecture than for its
size. It contained twelve apartments, each of which had its peculiar
beauty. They were very spacious; but there was not room enough in them
for the residence of Young and Handsome, and all her Court, which was
the most numerous and magnificent in the universe. The young Fairy used
this castle but as a place of retreat. She was accompanied thither
generally by only her most favourite nymphs and the officers of her
household.

She led the shepherd into the Myrtle Room. All the furniture was made
of myrtles in continual blossom, interlaced with an art that displayed
the power and good taste of the young Fairy, even in the most simple
things. All the rooms in the castle were furnished in the same manner,
with flowers only. The air breathed in them was always fragrant and
pure.

Young and Handsome, by her power, had banished for ever from the spot
the rigours of winter, and if the heats of summer were ever permitted
to penetrate these agreeable bowers, it was only to render more
enjoyable the beautiful baths attached to the building, which were
delicious.

The apartment was of white and blue porphyry, exquisitely sculptured;
the baths being of the most curious and agreeable forms. That in which
Young and Handsome bathed, was made out of a single topaz, and placed
on a platform in an alcove of porcelain. Four columns, composed of
amethysts of the most perfect beauty, supported a canopy of magnificent
yellow and silver brocade, embroidered with pearls. Alidor, absorbed
by the happiness of beholding the charming Fairy, and remarking her
affection for him, scarcely noticed all these marvels.

A delightful and tender conversation detained these happy lovers for
a long time in the Myrtle Room. A splendid supper was served in the
Jonquil Saloon. An elegant entertainment followed. The nymphs acted to
music the loves of Diana and Endymion.

Young and Handsome forgot to return to her palace, and passed the
night in the Narcissus Chamber. Alidor, entranced with love, was long
before he tasted the sweets of slumber in the Myrtle Room, to which he
was conducted by the nymphs, on the termination of the entertainment.
Young and Handsome, who forbore to use her power to calm such agreeable
emotions, also laid awake till nearly daybreak.

Alidor, impatient to behold again the charming Fairy, awaited the happy
moment for some time in the Jonquil Saloon. He had neglected nothing
in his attire which could add a grace to his natural attractions.
Young and Handsome appeared a thousand times more lovely than Venus.
She passed a part of the day with Alidor and the nymphs in the garden
of the castle, the beauties of which surpassed the most marvellous
description. There was an agreeable little _fête champêtre_ in a
delicious grove, wherein Alidor, during a favourable opportunity, had
the sweet pleasure of professing his ardent love to Young and Handsome.

She desired, that same evening, to return to her palace; but promised
Alidor to come back to him the next day. Never has an absence of a
few hours been honoured by so many regrets. The handsome shepherd
passionately desired to follow the young Fairy, but she commanded him
to remain in the Castle of Flowers. She wished to hide her attachment
from the eyes of all her Court. No one entered this castle without her
order, and she had no fear that her nymphs would disclose her secret.
The secrets of a Fairy are always safe. They are never divulged; the
punishment would follow the offence too swiftly.

Young and Handsome asked Alidor for the pretty dog which had always
followed him, that she might take it with her. Everything is dear to us
that pleases those we love.

After the departure of the young Fairy, the shepherd, to indulge in
his anxiety, rather than to dissipate it, plunged deeper into the
woods to muse on his adorable mistress. In a little meadow, enamelled
with flowers, and watered by an agreeable spring, which arose near the
middle of the wood, he perceived his flock gambolling in the grass. It
was watched by six young female slaves, with handsome features, dressed
in blue and gold, with golden chains and collars. His favourite sheep
recognised her master and ran to him. Alidor caressed her, and was
deeply touched by the attentions of Young and Handsome to everything
which concerned him.

The young slaves showed Alidor their hut. It was not far from the spot,
at the end of a beautiful and very shady alley. This little dwelling
was built of cedar. The initials of Young and Handsome and Alidor
entwined together, appeared in every part of it, formed with the rarest
woods. The following inscription was written in letters of gold upon a
large turquoise:--

    Let the flock of him I love
    In these meads for ever rove.
    By that Shepherd loved, the lot
    Of the Gods I envy not.

The handsome shepherd returned to the Castle of Flowers, enchanted by
the kindness of the young Fairy. He declined any entertainment that
evening. When absent from those we love, what care we for amusements!

Young and Handsome returned the next day, as she had promised, to her
happy lover. What joy was theirs to behold each other again! All the
power of the young Fairy had never procured for her so much felicity.

She passed nearly all her time at the Castle of Flowers, and rarely now
appeared at Court. In vain did the princes, her suitors, grieve almost
to death at her absence, everything was sacrificed to the fortunate
Alidor.

But could so sweet a happiness last long untroubled? Another Fairy,
besides Young and Handsome, had seen the beautiful shepherd, and felt
her heart also touched by his charms.

One evening that Young and Handsome had gone to show herself for
a few moments to her Court, Alidor, engrossed by his passion, sat
deeply musing in the Jonquil Saloon, when his attention was awakened
by a slight noise at one of the windows, and on looking towards it he
perceived a brilliant light, and the next moment he saw on a table,
near which he was seated, a little creature about half a yard high,
very old, with hair whiter than snow, a standing collar, and an
old-fashioned farthingale. "I am the Fairy Mordicante," said she to
the handsome shepherd; "and I come to announce to thee a much greater
happiness than that of being beloved by Young and Handsome." "What can
that be?" inquired Alidor, with a contemptuous air. "The gods have none
more perfect for themselves!" "It is that of pleasing me," replied the
old Fairy, haughtily. "I love thee, and my power is far greater than
that of Young and Handsome, and almost equals that of the Gods. Abandon
that young Fairy for me. I will revenge thee on thine enemies, and on
all whom thou wouldst injure."

"Thy favours are useless to me," answered the young shepherd, with a
smile; "I have no enemies, and I would injure no one; I am too well
satisfied with my own lot; and if the charming Fairy I adore were but a
simple shepherdess, I could be as happy with her in a cottage as I am
now in the loveliest palace in the world." At these words the wicked
Fairy became suddenly as tall and as large as she had hitherto been
diminutive, and disappeared making a horrible noise.

The next morning, Young and Handsome returned to the Castle of Flowers.
Alidor related his adventure. They both knew the Fairy Mordicante.
She was very aged, had always been ugly, and exceedingly susceptible.
Young and Handsome and her happy lover made a thousand jokes upon her
passion, and never for a moment felt the least uneasiness as to the
consequences of her fury.

Can one be a happy lover and think of future misfortunes?

A week afterwards, Young and Handsome and the lovely shepherd took an
excursion in a fine barge, gilt all over, on the beautiful river which
encircled the Castle of Flowers, followed by all their little Court
in the prettiest boats in the world. The barge of Young and Handsome
was shaded by a canopy formed of a light blue and silver tissue. The
dresses of the rowers were of the same material. Other small boats,
filled with excellent musicians, accompanied the happy lovers, and
performed some agreeable airs. Alidor, more enamoured than ever, could
gaze on nothing but Young and Handsome, whose beauty appeared that day
more charming than can be described.

In the midst of their enjoyment they saw twelve Syrens rise out of the
water, and a moment afterwards twelve Tritons appeared, and joining the
Syrens, encircled with them the little barque of Young and Handsome.
The Tritons played some extraordinary airs on their shells, and the
Syrens sang some graceful melodies, which for a while entertained the
young Fairy and the beautiful shepherd. Young and Handsome, who was
accustomed to wonders, imagined that it was some pageant which had
been prepared by those whose duty it was to contribute to her pleasure
by inventing new entertainments; but all on a sudden these perfidious
Tritons and Syrens, laying hold of the young Fairy's boat, dragged it
under water.

The only danger which Alidor feared was that which threatened the
young Fairy. He attempted to swim to her, but the Tritons carried him
off despite his resistance, and Young and Handsome, borne away by the
Syrens in the meanwhile, was transported into her palace.

One Fairy having no power over another, the jealous Mordicante was
compelled to limit her vengeance to the making Young and Handsome
endure all the misery so cruel a bereavement would necessarily
occasion. In the meanwhile Alidor was conveyed by the Tritons to a
terrible castle guarded by winged dragons. It was there that Mordicante
had determined to make herself beloved by the beautiful shepherd,
or to be revenged on him for his disdain. He was placed in a very
dark chamber. Mordicante, blazing with the most beautiful jewels in
the world, appeared to him, and professed her affection for him. The
shepherd, exasperated at being torn from Young and Handsome, treated
the wicked Fairy with all the contempt she deserved. What could equal
the rage of Mordicante? But her love was still too violent to permit
her to destroy the object of it. After detaining Alidor several days
in this frightful prison, she resolved to endeavour to conquer the
faithful shepherd by new artifices. She transported him suddenly to
a magnificent palace. He was served with a sumptuousness which had
not been exceeded in the Castle of Flowers. Endeavours were made to
dissipate his grief by a thousand agreeable entertainments, and the
most beautiful nymphs in the universe, who composed his Court, appeared
to dispute with each other the honour of pleasing him. Not a word more
was said to him respecting the passion of the wicked Fairy; but the
faithful shepherd languished in the midst of luxury, and was in no less
despair at his separation from Young and Handsome, when witnessing the
gayest entertainments, than he had been whilst immured in his dreadful
prison.

Mordicante trusted, however, that the absence of Young and Handsome,
the continual round of pleasures provided for Alidor's amusement, and
the presence of so many charming women, would at length overcome the
fidelity of the shepherd; and her object in surrounding him with so
many beautiful nymphs, was but to take herself the figure of the one
which might most attract his attention. With this view, she mingled
amongst them in disguise, sometimes appearing as the most charming
brunette, and at others as the fairest beauty in the universe.

Love, who is all-powerful in human hearts, had subdued for a time her
natural cruelty; but desperation at being unable to shake the constancy
of Alidor re-awakened her fury so powerfully, that she determined to
destroy the charming shepherd, and make him the victim of the faithful
love he cherished for Young and Handsome. One day, without being
seen, she was watching him in a beautiful gallery, the windows of
which opened upon the sea; Alidor, leaning over a balustrade, mused in
silence for a considerable time. But, at length, after a heavy sigh, he
uttered such tender and touching lamentations, depicting so vividly his
passion for the young Fairy, that Mordicante, transported with fury,
appeared to him in her natural shape; and, after having loaded him with
reproaches, caused him to be carried back to his prison, and announced
to him that in three days he should be sacrificed to her hatred, and
that the most cruel tortures should avenge her slighted affection.

Alidor regretted not the loss of a life which had become insupportable
to him, deprived of Young and Handsome; and satisfied that he had
nothing to fear on her account from the wrath of Mordicante, the power
of the young Fairy being equal to hers, he calmly awaited the death he
had been doomed to.

In the meanwhile, Young and Handsome, as faithful as her shepherd,
mourned over his loss. The Syrens who had wafted her back to her palace
had disappeared as soon as their task was accomplished, and the young
Fairy was convinced that it was the cruel Mordicante who had bereft her
of Alidor. The excess of her grief proclaimed at the same time to all
her Court, her love for the young shepherd, and her loss of him.

How many monarchs were envious of the misery even into which the wicked
Fairy had precipitated Alidor? What vexation for these enamoured
princes to learn that they had a beloved rival, and to behold Young and
Handsome occupied only in weeping for this fortunate mortal! His loss,
however, revived their hopes. They had discovered at last that Young
and Handsome could feel as well as inspire affection. They redoubled
their attentions. Each flattered himself with the sweet hope to occupy
some day the place of that fortunate lover; but Young and Handsome,
inconsolable for the absence of Alidor, and worried by the advances of
his rivals, abandoned her Court, and retired to the Castle of Flowers.
The sight of those charming scenes, where everything recalled to her
heart the recollection of the lovely shepherd, increased her melancholy
and her affection.

One day, as she was walking in her beautiful gardens, and gazing on
the various objects with which they were adorned, she exclaimed aloud,
"Alas! ye were formerly my delight; but I am now too much absorbed
by my sorrow to take any further interest in your embellishment."
As she ceased speaking, she heard the murmur of a gentle breeze
that, agitating the flowers of this beautiful garden, arranged them
instantaneously in various forms. First, they represented the initials
of Young and Handsome; then those of another name, which she was not
acquainted with; and a moment afterwards, they formed distinctly entire
words, and Young and Handsome, astonished at this novelty, read these
verses, written in so singular a fashion:--

    Bid fond Zephyr tend thy bowers,
    At his breath awake the flowers.
    Thus for Flora, every morn,
    Doth he mead and grove adorn.
    How much more his pride 'twould be,
    Fairer Nymph, to sigh for thee!

Young and Handsome was pondering on these verses, when she saw the
Deity named in them appear in the air, and hasten to declare his
passion to her. He was in a little car of roses, drawn by a hundred
white canary birds, harnessed ten and ten, with strings of pearl. The
car approached the earth, and Zephyr descended from it close to the
young Fairy. He addressed her with all the eloquence of a very charming
and very gallant Divinity; but the young Fairy, in lieu of feeling
flattered by so brilliant a conquest, replied to him like a faithful
lover. Zephyr was not disheartened by the coldness of Young and
Handsome. He hoped to soften her by his attentions. He paid his court
to her most assiduously, and neglected nothing that he thought could
please her.

The glory of Alidor was now complete. He had a God for his rival, and
was preferred to him by Young and Handsome.

Nevertheless, this fortunate mortal was on the point of being destroyed
by the fury of Mordicante. A year had nearly elapsed since the young
Fairy and the beautiful shepherd had been torn from each other, when
Zephyr, who had given up all hopes of shaking the constancy of Young
and Handsome, and was moved by the tears which he saw her unceasingly
shed for the loss of Alidor, exclaimed one day, on finding her more
depressed than usual, "Since it is no longer possible for me to
flatter myself, charming Fairy, that I shall ever have the good fortune
to gain your affections, I am desirous of contributing at least to your
felicity. What can I do to make you happy?"

  [Illustration: Young and Handsome.--P. 128.]

"To make me happy," replied Young and Handsome, with a look so full of
tenderness that it was enough to revive all the love of Zephyr, "you
must restore to me my Alidor. I am powerless against another Fairy,
but you, Zephyr, you are a God, and can destroy all the spells of my
cruel rival!" "I will endeavour," rejoined Zephyr, "to subdue the
tender sentiments you have inspired me with sufficiently to enable me
to render you an agreeable service." So saying, he flew away, leaving
Young and Handsome to indulge in a sweet hope. Zephyr did not deceive
her. He was not in the habit of loving for any length of time, without
the certainty of eventual success; and it was evident to him that the
young Fairy was too constant for him to hope that he could ever make
her forget Alidor; he therefore flew to the horrible prison where the
beautiful shepherd awaited nothing less than death. An impetuous wind,
swelled by six northern breezes, that had accompanied Zephyr, blew open
in an instant the gates of the dungeon, and the beautiful shepherd,
enveloped in a very brilliant cloud, was wafted to the Castle of
Flowers.

Zephyr, after he had seen Alidor, was less surprised at the constancy
of Young and Handsome; but he did not make himself visible to the
shepherd until he had restored him to the charming Fairy.

Who could describe the perfect joy of Alidor and Young and Handsome at
seeing each other once more? How lovely each appeared, and how fondly
was each beloved! What thanks did not these fortunate lovers render
to the Deity who had secured their happiness. He left them shortly
afterwards to return to Flora.

Young and Handsome was anxious that all her Court should share in her
felicity. They celebrated it by a thousand festivities throughout her
empire, despite the vexation of the princes, her less fortunate lovers,
who were the spectators of the triumphs of the beautiful shepherd.

In order to have nothing more to fear for Alidor from the wrath of
Mordicante, Young and Handsome taught him the Fairy Art, and presented
him with the gift of continual youth. Having thus provided for his
happiness, she next considered his glory. She gave him the Castle of
Flowers, and caused him to be acknowledged king of that beautiful
country, over which his ancestors had formerly reigned. Alidor became
the greatest monarch in the universe, on the same spot where he had
been the most charming shepherd. He loaded all his old friends with
favours; and, retaining for ever his charms, as well as Young and
Handsome, we are assured that they loved each other eternally, and that
Hymen would not disturb a passion which formed the happiness of their
existence.



THE PALACE OF REVENGE.


Once on a time there was a King and Queen of Iceland, who, after twenty
years of married life, had a daughter. Her birth gave them the greatest
pleasure, as they had so long despaired of having children to succeed
to their throne. The young Princess was named Imis; her dawning charms
promised from her infancy all the wonderful beauty which shone with so
much brilliancy when she arrived at a maturer age.

No one in the universe would have been worthy of her had not Cupid,
who thought it a point of honour to subject to his empire, some day,
so marvellous a person, taken care to cause a Prince to be born in the
same Court equally charming with that lovely Princess. He was called
Philax, and was the son of a brother of the King of Iceland. He was two
years older than the Princess, and they were brought up together with
all the freedom natural to childhood and near relationship. The first
sensations of their hearts were mutual admiration and affection. They
could see nothing so beautiful as themselves, consequently they found
no attraction in the world that could interfere with the passion each
felt for the other, even without yet knowing its name.

The King and Queen saw this dawning affection with pleasure. They loved
young Philax. He was a Prince of their blood, and no child had ever
awakened fairer hopes. Everything seemed to favour the designs of Cupid
to render Prince Philax some day the happiest of men. The Princess was
about twelve years old when the Queen, who was exceedingly fond of
her, desired to have her daughter's fortune told by a Fairy, whose
extraordinary science was at that time making a great sensation.

She set out in search of her, taking with her Imis, who, in her
distress at parting with Philax, wondered a thousand and a thousand
times how anybody could trouble themselves about the future when the
present was so agreeable. Philax remained with the King, and all the
pleasures of the Court could not console him for the absence of the
Princess.

The Queen arrived at the Fairy's castle. She was magnificently
received; but the Fairy was not at home. Her usual residence was on the
summit of a mountain at some distance from the castle, where she lived
all alone and absorbed in that profound study which had rendered her
famous throughout the world.

As soon as she heard of the Queen's arrival, she returned to the
castle. The Queen presented the Princess to her, told her her name
and the hour of her birth, which the Fairy knew as well as she did,
though she had not been present at it. The Fairy of the Mountain knew
everything. She promised the Queen an answer in two days, and then
returned to the summit of the mountain. On the morning of the third day
she came back to the castle, bade the Queen descend into the garden,
and gave her some tablets of palm leaves closely shut, which she was
ordered not to open except in the presence of the King.

The Queen, to satisfy her curiosity in some degree, asked her several
questions respecting the fate of her daughter. "Great Queen," replied
the Fairy of the Mountain, "I cannot precisely tell you what sort of
misfortune threatens the Princess. I perceive only that love will
have a large share in the events of her life, and that no beauty
ever inspired such violent passions as that of Imis will do." It was
not necessary to be a fairy to foresee that the Princess would have
admirers. Her eyes already seemed to demand from all hearts the love
which the Fairy assured the Queen would be entertained for her. In
the meanwhile Imis, much less uneasy about her future destiny than at
being separated from Philax, amused herself by gathering flowers; but
thinking only of his love, and in her impatience to depart, she forgot
the bouquet she had begun to compose, and unconsciously flung away the
flowers she had amassed at first with delight. She hastened to rejoin
the Queen, who was taking her leave of the Fairy of the Mountain.
The Fairy embraced Imis, and gazing on her with the admiration she
deserved--"Since it is impossible for me," she exclaimed, after a
short silence, which had something mysterious in it--"since it is
impossible for me, beautiful Princess, to alter in your favour the
decrees of destiny, I will at least endeavour to enable you to escape
the misfortunes it prepares for you." So saying, she gathered with her
own hands a bunch of lilies of the valley, and addressing the youthful
Imis--"Wear always these flowers which I give to you," said she; "they
will never fade, and as long as you have them about your person, they
will protect you from all the ills with which you are threatened by
Fate." She then fastened the bouquet on the head-dress of Imis, and the
flowers, obedient to the wishes of the Fairy, were no sooner placed in
the hair of the Princess, than they adjusted themselves, and formed
a sort of aigrette, the whiteness of which seemed only to prove that
nothing could eclipse that of the complexion of the fair Imis.

The Queen took her departure, after having thanked the Fairy a thousand
times, and went back to Iceland, where all the Court impatiently
awaited the return of the Princess. Never did delight sparkle with more
brilliancy and beauty than in the eyes of Imis and of her lover. The
mystery involved in the plume of lilies of the valley was revealed to
the King alone. It had so agreeable an effect in the beautiful brown
hair of the Princess, that everybody took it simply for an ornament
which she had herself culled in the gardens of the Fairy.

The Princess said much more to Philax about the grief she felt at her
separation from him than about the misfortunes which the Fates had
in store for her. Philax was, nevertheless, alarmed at them; but the
happiness of being together was present, the evils, as yet, uncertain.
They forgot them, and abandoned themselves to the delight of seeing
each other again.

In the meanwhile, the Queen recounted to the King the events of her
journey, and gave him the Fairy's tablets. The King opened and found in
them the following words, written in letters of gold:--

    Fate for Imis hides despair
    Under hopes that seem most fair;
    She will miserable be,
    Through too much felicity.

The King and Queen were much distressed at this oracle, and vainly
sought its explanation. They said nothing about it to the Princess,
in order to spare her an unnecessary sorrow. One day that Philax was
gone hunting, a pleasure he indulged in frequently, Imis was walking
by herself in a labyrinth of myrtles. She was very melancholy because
Philax was so long absent, and reproached herself for giving way
to an impatience which he did not partake. She was absorbed in her
thoughts, when she heard a voice, which said to her, "Why do you
distress yourself, beautiful Princess? If Philax is not sensible of
the happiness of being beloved by you, I come to offer you a heart a
thousand times more grateful--a heart deeply smitten by your charms,
and a fortune sufficiently brilliant to be desired by any one except
yourself, to whom the whole world is subject." The Princess was much
surprised at hearing this voice. She had imagined herself alone in
the labyrinth, and, as she had not uttered a word, she was still more
astonished that this voice had replied to her thoughts. She looked
about her, and saw a little man appear in the air, seated upon a
cockchafer. "Fear not, fair Imis," said he to her; "you have no lover
more submissive than I am; and although this is the first time that
I have appeared to you, I have long loved you, and daily gazed upon
you." "You astonish me!" replied the Princess. "What! You have daily
beheld me, and you know my thoughts? If so, you must be aware that it
is useless to love me. Philax, to whom I have given my heart, is too
charming ever to cease being its master, and although I am displeased
with him, I never loved him so much as I do at this moment. But tell me
who you are, and where you first saw me." "I am Pagan the Enchanter,"
replied he, "and have power over everybody but you. I saw you first
in the gardens of the Fairy of the Mountain. I was hidden in one of
the tulips you gathered. I took for a happy omen the chance which had
induced you to choose the flower I was concealed in. I flattered myself
that you would carry me away with you; but you were too much occupied
with the pleasure of thinking of Philax. You threw away the flowers
as soon as you had gathered them, and left me in the garden the most
enamoured of beings. From that moment I have felt that nothing could
make me happy but the hope of being loved by you. Think favourably of
me, fair Imis, if it be possible, and permit me occasionally to remind
you of my affection." With these words he disappeared, and the Princess
returned to the palace, where the sight of Philax dissipated the alarm
she had felt at this adventure. She was so eager to hear him excuse
himself for the length of time he had been hunting, that she had nearly
forgotten to inform him of what had occurred to her; but at last she
told him what she had seen in the labyrinth of myrtles.

The young Prince, notwithstanding his courage, was alarmed at the
idea of a winged rival, with whom he could not dispute the hand of
the Princess upon equal terms. But the plume of lilies of the valley
guaranteed him against the effect of enchantments, and the affection
Imis entertained for him would not permit him to fear any change in her
heart.

The day after the adventure in the labyrinth, the Princess, on awaking,
saw fly into her chamber twelve tiny nymphs, seated on honey-bees, and
bearing in their hands little golden baskets. They approached the bed
of Imis, saluted her, and then went and placed their baskets on a table
of white marble, which appeared in the centre of the apartment. As soon
as the baskets were set upon it, they enlarged to an ordinary size.
The nymphs having quitted them, again saluted Imis, and one of them,
approaching the bed nearer than the rest, let something fall upon it,
and then they all flew away.

The Princess, despite the astonishment which so strange a sight
occasioned, took up what the nymph had dropped beside her. It was an
emerald of marvellous beauty. It opened the moment the Princess touched
it, and she found it contained a rose leaf, on which she read these
verses.

    Let the world learn, to its surprise,
    The wondrous power of thine eyes.
    Such is the love I bear to thee,
    It makes e'en torture dear to me.

The Princess could not recover from her astonishment. At length she
called to her attendants, who were as much surprised as Imis at the
sight of the table and the baskets. The King, the Queen, and Philax
hastened to the spot on the news of this extraordinary event. The
Princess, in her relation of it, suppressed nothing except the letter
of her lover. She considered she was not bound to reveal that to any
one but Philax. The baskets were carefully examined, and were found to
be filled with jewels of extraordinary beauty, and of so great a value
as to double the astonishment of the spectators.

The Princess would not touch one of them, and having found an instant
when nobody was listening, she drew near to Philax and gave him the
emerald and the rose leaf. He read his rival's letter with much
disquietude. Imis, to console him, tore the rose leaf to pieces before
his face; but ah! how dearly did they pay for that act!

Some days elapsed without the Princess hearing anything of Pagan. She
fancied that her contempt for him would extinguish his passion, and
Philax flattered himself by indulging in a like belief. That Prince
returned to the chase as usual. He halted alone by the side of a
fountain, to refresh himself. He had about him the emerald which the
Princess had given him, and recollecting with pleasure the little value
she set on it, he drew it from his pocket to look at it. But scarcely
had he held it a moment in his hand when it slipped through his
fingers, and, as soon as it touched the ground, changed into a chariot.
Two winged monsters issued from the fountain and harnessed themselves
to it. Philax gazed on them without alarm, for he was incapable of
fear, but he could not avoid feeling some emotion when he found himself
transported into the chariot by an irresistible power, and at the same
moment raised into the air, through which the winged monsters caused
the chariot to fly with a prodigious rapidity. In the meanwhile night
came, and the huntsmen, after searching throughout the wood in vain for
Philax, repaired to the Palace, whither they imagined he might have
returned alone; but he was not to be found there, nor had any one seen
him since he had set out with them for the chase.

The King commanded them to go back and renew their search for the
Prince. All the Court shared in his Majesty's anxiety. They returned to
the wood, they ran in every direction around it, and did not retrace
their steps to the Palace before daybreak, but without having obtained
the least intelligence of the Prince. Imis had passed the night in
despair at her lover's absence, of which she could not comprehend
the cause. She had ascended a terrace of the Palace to watch for the
return of the party that had gone in search of Philax, and flattered
herself she should see him arrive in their company; but no words can
express the excess of her affliction when no Philax appeared, and she
was informed that it had been impossible to ascertain what had become
of him. She fainted; they carried her into the Palace, and one of her
women, in her haste to undress and put her to bed, took out of the hair
of the Princess the plume of lilies of the valley which preserved her
from the power of enchantments. The instant it was removed a dark cloud
filled the apartment, and Imis disappeared. The King and Queen were
distracted at this loss, and nothing could ever console them.

The Princess, on recovering from her swoon, found herself in a chamber
of various-coloured coral, floored with mother-of-pearl, and surrounded
by nymphs, who waited upon her with the most profound respect. They
were very beautiful, and magnificently and tastefully attired. Imis
first asked them where she was. "You are in a place where you are
adored," said one of the nymphs to her. "Fear nothing, fair Princess,
you will find in it everything you can desire." "Philax is here,
then!" exclaimed the Princess, her eyes sparkling with joy. "I desire
only the happiness of seeing him again." "You cherish too long the
recollection of an ungrateful lover," said Pagan, at the same moment
rendering himself visible to the Princess, "and as that Prince has
deserted you, he is no more worthy your affection. Let resentment and
respect for your own pride combine with the passion I entertain for
you. Reign for ever in these regions, lovely Princess; you will find in
them immense treasures, and all imaginable delights will attend your
steps." Imis replied to Pagan's address with tears alone. He left her,
fearing to embitter her grief. The nymphs remained with her, and used
all their endeavours to console her. A magnificent repast was served up
to her. She refused to eat; but at length, on the following morning,
her desire to behold Philax once more made her resolve to live. She
took some food, and the nymphs, to dissipate her sorrow, conducted
her through various portions of the Palace. It was built entirely of
shining shells, mixed with precious stones of different colours, which
produced the finest effect in the world; all the furniture was of gold,
and of such wonderful workmanship that you might easily see it could
only have come from the hands of Fairies.

After they had shown Imis the Palace, the nymphs led her into the
gardens, which were of a beauty not to be described. She found in them
a very brilliant car, drawn by six stags, who were driven by a dwarf.
She was requested to enter the car. Imis complied; the nymphs seated
themselves at her feet. They were driven to the seaside, where a nymph
informed the Princess that Pagan, who reigned in this island, had
made it by the power of his art the most beautiful in the universe.
The sound of instruments interrupted the narration of the nymph.
The sea appeared to be entirely covered with little boats, built of
flame-coloured coral, and filled with everything that could be required
to compose a brilliant aquatic entertainment. In the midst of the small
craft, there was a barque of much larger size, on which the initials of
Imis were seen in every part, formed with pearls. It was drawn by two
dolphins. It approached the shore. The Princess entered it, accompanied
by her nymphs. As soon as she was on board, a superb collation appeared
before her, and her ears were regaled at the same time by exquisite
music which proceeded from the boats around her. Songs were sung, of
which her praise alone was the theme. But Imis paid no attention to
anything. She remounted her car, and returned to the Palace overwhelmed
with sadness. In the evening Pagan again presented himself. He found
her more insensible to his love than ever; but he was not discouraged,
and trusted to the effect of his constancy. He had yet to learn that in
love the most faithful are not always the most happy.

Every day he offered the Princess entertainments worthy of exciting the
admiration of all the world, but which were lost upon her for whom they
were invented. Imis thought of nothing but the absence of her lover.

That unhappy Prince had been transported in the meanwhile, by the
winged monsters, into a forest which belonged to Pagan. It was called
the Dismal Forest. As soon as Philax had arrived in it, the emerald
chariot and the monsters disappeared. The Prince, surprised by this
adventure, summoned up all his courage to his assistance, and it was
the only aid on which he could reckon in that place. He first explored
several of the roads through the forest. They were dreadful, and the
sun never penetrated their gloom. No human being was to be found in
them; not an animal even of any description; it seemed as though the
beasts themselves had a horror of this dreary dwelling.

Philax lived upon the wild fruit he found in it. He passed his days
in the deepest sorrow. The loss of the Princess distracted him, and
sometimes, with his sword, which he had retained, he occupied himself
with carving the name of Imis on the trunks of the trees, which were
not adapted for so tender a practice; but when we are truly in love we
frequently make things serviceable to our passion which appear to be
least favourable for the purpose.

The Prince continued daily to travel through the forest, and he had
been nearly a year on his journey, when one night he heard some
plaintive voices, but could not distinguish any words. Alarming as
these wailing sounds were at such an hour and in a place where the
Prince had never yet met with mortal soul, the desire to be no longer
alone, and to find at least some one as wretched as himself with whom
he could weep over the misfortunes that had befallen them, made him
wait with impatience for morning, when he might seek out the persons
whose voices he had heard. He walked towards that part of the forest
whence he fancied the sounds had proceeded, but hunted all day in vain;
at length, however, towards evening, he discovered, in a spot which
was clear of trees, the ruins of a castle which appeared to have been
of great size and magnificence. He entered a court-yard, the walls
of which were of green marble, and seemed still tolerably perfect.
He found in it nothing but trees of prodigious height, standing
irregularly in various parts of the enclosure. He advanced towards a
spot where he perceived something elevated upon a pedestal of black
marble. It proved to be a confused pile of armour and weapons, heaped
one upon the other: helmets, shields, and swords of an ancient form,
which composed a sort of ill-arranged trophy. He looked for some
inscription which might inform him to whom these arms had formerly
appertained. He found one engraved on the pedestal. Time had nearly
effaced the characters, and it was with much difficulty that he
deciphered these words:--

  TO THE IMMORTAL RECOLLECTION OF THE GLORY OF THE FAIRY CEORA.

                          IT WAS HERE
                     THAT ON THE SAME DAY
                   SHE TRIUMPHED OVER CUPID
              AND PUNISHED HER FAITHLESS LOVERS.

This inscription did not afford Philax all the information he desired;
he therefore would have continued his search through the forest if
night had not overtaken him. He seated himself at the foot of a
cypress, and scarcely had been there a moment, before he heard the same
voices which had attracted his attention the previous evening. He was
not so much surprised at this as at perceiving that it was the trees
themselves which uttered these complaints, just as if they had been
human beings. The Prince arose, drew his sword, and struck with it the
cypress which was nearest to him. He was about to repeat the blow, when
the tree exclaimed, "Hold! hold! Assault not an unhappy Prince who is
no longer in a state to defend himself!" Philax stayed his hand, and
becoming accustomed to this supernatural circumstance, inquired of the
cypress by what miracle it was thus a man and a tree at the same time.
"I am willing to inform you," replied the cypress; "and as, during two
thousand years, this is the first opportunity Fate has afforded me of
relating my misfortunes, I will not lose it. All the trees you behold
in this court-yard were princes, renowned in their time for the rank
they held in the world, and for their valour. The Fairy Ceora reigned
in this country. She was beautiful, but her science rendered her more
famous than her beauty. She therefore made use of other charms to
subject us to her sway. She had become enamoured of the young Oriza, a
prince, whose admirable qualities rendered him worthy of a better fate.
I should premise to you," added the cypress, "it is the oak which you
see beside me." Philax looked at the oak, and heard it breathe a heavy
sigh, drawn from it, no doubt, by the recollection of its misfortune.
"To attract this prince to her Court," continued the cypress, "the
Fairy caused a tournament to be proclaimed. We all hastened to seize
this opportunity of acquiring glory. Oriza was one of the princes who
disputed the prize. It consisted of fairy armour which would render
the wearer invulnerable. Unfortunately, I was the conqueror. Ceora,
irritated that Fate had not favoured her inclinations, resolved to
avenge herself upon us. She enchanted the looking-glasses, with
which a gallery of her castle was entirely lined. Those who saw her
reflected but once in these fatal mirrors, could not resist feeling
for her the most violent passion. It was in this gallery she received
us the day after the tournament. We all saw her in these mirrors,
and she appeared to us so beautiful, that those amongst us who had
hitherto been indifferent to love, ceased to be so from that instant;
and those who were in love with others became as suddenly faithless.
We no longer thought of leaving the Fairy's palace: our only anxiety
was to please her. In vain did state affairs demand our presence in
our own dominions; nothing seemed of consequence to us save the hope
of being beloved by Ceora. Oriza was the only one she favoured, and
the passion of the other princes but gave the Fairy opportunities of
sacrificing them to this lover who was so dear to her, and caused the
fame of her beauty to be spread throughout the world. Love appeared for
some time to have softened the cruel nature of Ceora; but at the end
of four or five years she displayed her former ferocity. She revenged
herself on the kings, her neighbours, for the smallest slight by the
most horrible murders, and abusing the power which her enchantments
gave her over us, she made us the ministers of her cruelties. Oriza
strove in vain to prevent her injustice. She loved him; but she would
not obey him. Having returned one day from fighting and subduing a
giant whom I had challenged by her orders, I caused the arms of the
vanquished to be brought into her presence. She was alone in the
Gallery of Looking-glasses. I laid the giant's spoils at her feet, and
pleaded my passion to her with inconceivable ardour, augmented, no
doubt, by the power of the enchantment by which I was surrounded. But
far from evincing the least gratitude for the success of my combat,
or for the love I felt for her, Ceora treated me with the utmost
contempt; and, retiring into a boudoir, left me alone in the gallery,
in an indescribable state of despair and rage. I remained there some
time, not knowing what resolution to take; for the enchantments of
the Fairy did not permit us to fight with Oriza. Careful of the life
of her lover, the cruel Ceora excited our jealousy, but took from
us the natural desire to revenge ourselves on a fortunate rival. At
length, after having paced the gallery for some time, I remembered that
it was in this place I had first fallen in love with the Fairy, and
exclaimed, 'It is here that I first felt that fatal passion which now
fills me with despair; and you, wretched mirrors, who have so often
represented the unjust Ceora to me, with a beauty which has enslaved my
heart and reason, I will punish you for the crime of offering her to
my view with too great attraction.' At these words, snatching up the
giant's club, which I had brought to present to the Fairy, I dashed the
mirrors to pieces. No sooner were they broken than I felt even greater
hatred for Ceora than I had formerly felt love for her. The princes,
my rivals, felt at the same moment their charms broken, and Oriza
himself was ashamed of the love which the Fairy had for him. Ceora in
vain attempted to retain her lover by her tears; he was insensible
to her grief, and in spite of her cries, we set out all together,
determined to fly from the terrible place, but in passing through the
court-yard, the sky appeared to be on fire; a frightful clap of thunder
was heard, and we found it was impossible for us to move. The Fairy
appeared in the air, riding on a great serpent, and addressing us in
a tone of voice which betrayed her rage,--'Inconstant princes,' said
she, 'I am about to punish you, by a torture which will never end, for
the crime you have committed in breaking my chains, which were too
great an honour for you to bear; and as for you, ungrateful Oriza, I
triumph after all in the love you have felt for me. Content with this
victory, I shall visit you with the same misfortune as your rivals; and
I command,' added she, 'in memory of this adventure, that when the use
of mirrors shall be known to all the world, the breaking of these fatal
glasses shall always be a certain sign of the infidelity of a lover.'
The Fairy disappeared in the air after having pronounced these words.
We were changed into trees; but the cruel Ceora, no doubt with the idea
of increasing our suffering, left us our reason. Time has destroyed the
superb castle, which was the victim of our misfortune; and you are the
only visitor we have seen during the two thousand years that we have
been in this frightful forest."

Philax was about to reply to this speech of the cypress tree, when he
was suddenly transported into a beautiful garden; he there found a
lovely nymph, who approached him with a gracious air, saying, "If you
wish it, Philax, I will allow you in three days to see the Princess
Imis."

The Prince, transported with joy at so unexpected a proposition, threw
himself at her feet to express his gratitude. At that same moment
Pagan was in the air, concealed in a cloud with the Princess Imis: he
had told her a thousand times that Philax was unfaithful, but she had
always refused, on the word of a jealous lover, to believe it. He now
conducted her to this spot, he said, to convince her of the fickleness
of the Prince she so unjustly preferred to him. The Princess saw Philax
throw himself, with an air of extreme delight, at the feet of the
nymph; and was in despair that she could no longer deceive herself on
a point which she feared to believe more than anything in the world.
Pagan had placed her at a distance from the earth, which prevented her
hearing what Philax and the nymph said; and it was by his orders that
the latter had presented herself to him.

Pagan led Imis back to his island, where after having convinced her of
the infidelity of Philax, he found he had only redoubled the grief of
that beautiful Princess without rendering her at all more favourable to
himself.

In despair at finding this pretended infidelity, from which he had
expected so much success, was useless to him, he resolved to be
revenged on the constancy of the lovers: he was not cruel, like the
Fairy Ceora, his ancestress, so he bethought him of a different
punishment to that with which she had visited her unfortunate lovers.
He did not wish to destroy either the Princess, whom he had so tenderly
loved, nor even Philax, whom he had already made suffer so much; so,
confining his revenge to the destruction of a passion which had so
opposed his own, he erected in his island a Crystal Palace, and took
care to put into it everything that would render life agreeable but the
means of leaving it; he shut up in it nymphs and dwarfs to wait on Imis
and her lover; and, when everything was prepared for their reception,
he transported them both there. They at first thought themselves on
the summit of happiness, and blessed Pagan a thousand times for the
mildness of his anger. As for Pagan, although at first he could not
bear to see them together, he expected that this spectacle would one
day be less painful to him. But in the meanwhile, he departed from the
Crystal Palace, after having, with a stroke of his wand, engraved on it
this inscription:--

        Absence, danger, pleasure, pain,
        Were all employ'd, and all in vain,
        Imis' and Philax' hearts to sever.
        Pagan, whose power they dared defy,
        Condemned them, for their constancy,
        To dwell together here for ever!

They say that at the end of some years, Pagan was as much avenged as
he desired to be; and that the beautiful Imis and Philax fulfilled
the prediction of the Fairy of the Mountain, by wishing as fervently
to recover the aigrette of lilies in order to destroy the agreeable
enchantment, as they had formerly desired to preserve it as a safeguard
against the evils which had been foretold would befal them.

    Until that moment a fond pair, so blest,
    Had cherished in their hearts Love's constant fire:
    But Pagan taught them by that fatal test,
    That e'en of bliss the human heart could tire.



THE PRINCE OF LEAVES.


In one of those parts of the world, commonly called Fairyland, on which
poets alone have the right to bestow names, there formerly reigned a
King so renowned for his rare qualities, that he attracted the esteem
and admiration of all the Princes of his time. He had, many years
past, lost his wife, the Queen, who had never brought him a son; but
he had ceased to desire one since the birth of a daughter of such
marvellous beauty, that from the moment she was born he lavished all
his affection and tenderness upon her. She was named Ravissante, by a
Fairy, a near relative of the Queen, who predicted that the wit and the
charms of the young Princess would surpass all that had ever before
been known or even could be expected from her present beauty; but she
added to this agreeable prediction, that the perfect felicity of the
Princess would depend entirely on her heart remaining faithful to its
first love. In such a case, who can feel assured of a happy destiny?
The King, who desired nothing so much as the happiness of Ravissante,
heartily wished that it had been attached to any other condition,--but
we cannot command our own fates. He begged the Fairy, a thousand times,
to bestow on the young Ravissante the gift of constancy, as he had
seen her give to others the gifts of intelligence and of beauty. But
the Fairy, who was sufficiently wise not to deceive him respecting the
extent of her power, frankly informed the King that it did not extend
to the qualities of the heart. She, however, promised to use her utmost
endeavour to impress the young Princess with the sentiments that would
be likely to ensure her happiness. Upon the faith of this promise, the
King confided Ravissante to her care from the time she attained her
fifth year, preferring to deprive himself of the pleasure of seeing her
rather than run any risk of marring her fortune. The Fairy therefore
carried off the little Princess, who was very soon consoled for leaving
the Court of her father, by the delight and novelty of passing through
the air in a brilliant little car.

On the fourth day after her departure the flying car stopped in the
middle of the sea, upon a rock of a prodigious size--it was one entire
shining stone, the colour of which was exactly that of the sky. The
Fairy remarked with pleasure that the young Ravissante was enchanted
with this colour, and she drew from it a happy omen for the future,
as it was the colour which signifies fidelity. Shortly after they had
landed on it, the Fairy touched the rock with a golden wand which she
held in her hand. The rock immediately opened, and Ravissante found
herself with the Fairy, in the most beautiful palace in the world;
the walls were of the same material as the rock, and the same colour
prevailed in all the paintings and furniture, but it was so ingeniously
mixed with gold and precious stones, that far from wearying the
eye, it equally pleased in all. The young Ravissante dwelt in this
agreeable palace, with several beautiful maidens, whom the Fairy had
transported from various countries to attend on and amuse the Princess,
and she passed her infancy in the enjoyment of every pleasure suited
to her age. When she had attained her fourteenth year the Fairy again
consulted the stars, in order to learn precisely when the heart of
Ravissante would be touched with a passion which pleases even more
than it alarms, however formidable it may appear to some; and she read
distinctly in the stars that the fatal time approached when the destiny
of the young Princess would be fulfilled. The Fairy had a nephew who
was indescribably dear to her: he was of the same age as Ravissante,
born on the same day and at the same hour. She had found, in consulting
the stars also for him, that they promised him the same fate as the
Princess--that is to say, perfect happiness, provided he possessed
fidelity which nothing could vanquish. In order to make him both loving
and faithful she had only to let him behold Ravissante. No one could
resist her eyes, and the Fairy hoped that the attentions of the young
Prince would one day touch her heart. He was the son of a King, brother
of the Fairy; he was amiable; and the young Princess not only had never
had a lover, she had not even seen a man since she had lived on the
rock. The Fairy consequently flattered herself that the novelty of the
pleasure of being tenderly beloved would perhaps inspire the Princess
with a feeling of love in return. She therefore transported the Prince,
who was named Ariston, to the same rock which served both as palace
and prison for the beautiful Ravissante. He there found her amusing
herself with the young maidens of her Court, by weaving garlands of
flowers in a forest of blue hyacinths, where they were then walking,
for the Fairy, in bestowing on the rock the power of producing plants
and trees, had limited the colour of them to that of the rock itself.
She had already, some time since, apprised the Princess that Prince
Ariston would soon visit the island, and she had added, in speaking
of the Prince, everything that she thought likely to prejudice her in
his favour; but she deceived herself this time; and on the arrival of
Ariston, she observed nothing of that emotion or surprise which is the
usual presage of a tender passion. As for the Prince, his sentiments
were in perfect accordance with the wishes of the Fairy: he became
passionately in love from the moment he first set eyes on Ravissante;
and it was not possible to see her without adoring her, for never were
grace and beauty so perfectly united as in the person of this amiable
princess. She had the most exquisite complexion, and her dark brown
hair added to its dazzling whiteness; her mouth had infinite charms,
her teeth were more purely white than pearls; her eyes, the most
beautiful in the world, were deep blue, and they were so brilliant, and
at the same time so touching in their expression, that it was hardly
possible to sustain their glances without yielding the heart at once
to the fatal power which love had bestowed on them. She was not very
tall, but perfectly beautiful, and all her movements were peculiarly
graceful. Everything she did and said pleased invariably, and often a
smile or a single word sufficed to prove that the charms of her mind
equalled those of her person.

Such, and a thousand times more amiable than I can paint her, it had
indeed been difficult for Ariston not to have become distractedly in
love; but the Princess received his attentions with indifference, and
did not appear in the least touched by them. The Fairy remarked it, and
felt a grief which was only surpassed by that of the Prince. She had
remarked in the stars that he who was destined to possess Ravissante
would extend his power not only over the earth, but even over the sea.
Therefore her ambition made her wish that her nephew should touch the
heart of the Princess as much as he desired the same effect from his
love. She thought, however, that if the Prince were as learned as she
was in the magic art, he might perhaps find some mode of rendering
himself more attractive in the eyes of Ravissante; but the Fairy, who
had never loved, was ignorant that the art of pleasing is not always
to be discovered, although sought for with the utmost ardour and
eagerness. She taught the Prince, therefore, in a short time, all those
sciences which are known only to the fairies. He had no pleasure in
learning them, nor had he any idea of employing them but with regard
to his passion for Ravissante. He began to make use of them by giving
every day a new fête to the Princess. She admired the wonders produced,
she deigned even sometimes to praise what appeared the most gallant in
these efforts of the Prince to please her; but after all, she received
his devotion and his attentions as the just homage due to her beauty,
and she considered them amply repaid by her condescending to receive
them without anger.

Ariston began to despair of the success of his passion, but he was too
speedily obliged to confess that this very time, which he complained
of so justly, and in which he felt so keenly the hopelessness of his
love, had, notwithstanding, been the most happy period of his life.
A year after his arrival on the island he celebrated the return of
that memorable day on which he had first beheld Ravissante. In the
evening he gave her a fête in the forest of hyacinths. Marvellous music
was heard in every part of the forest without any one being able to
discover from whence the sounds proceeded. All that was sung by these
invisible musicians tenderly expressed the love of Ariston for the
Princess; they concluded their admirable concert by these words, which
were repeated several times:--

    Nor reason nor relentless Fate
    My sufferings can terminate!
    Without one ray of hope to cheer,
    I feel my heart consuming here.
    How great his power Love never knew
    Till from those eyes his arrows flew.

After the music, there appeared suddenly an elegant collation under
a tent of silver gauze, elegantly looped up with ropes of pearls; it
was open on the side towards the sea, which bounded the forest in that
direction; and was illuminated by a great number of chandeliers formed
of brilliants, which emitted an effulgence nearly equal to that of the
sun. It was by this light that the nymphs of the court of Ravissante
pointed out to her an inscription at the entrance of the pavilion,
written in letters of gold upon a ruby of immense magnitude, supported
by twelve little cupids, who flew away as soon as the Princess had
heard this inscription read, which consisted of these lines:--

    Where'er throughout the world those lovely eyes
    May the devoted hearts of men enchain,
    For one as true as in this desert sighs
    Those lovely eyes may search, sweet maid, in vain.
    But through that world your glory to proclaim,
    And every mortal to your altar bring,
    Princess, we haste to bid the trump of Fame
    With praise of beauty so divine to ring.

The fête continued, and Prince Ariston had at least the pleasure
of engrossing the leisure of the Princess, if he could not occupy
her heart. But he was deprived even of this gratification by a
surprising spectacle which appeared far out at sea, and attracted
the curiosity and attention of Ravissante and of all the court. The
object approached, and they distinguished that it was an arbour formed
of interlaced myrtle and laurel branches, closed on all sides, and
propelled with great rapidity by an infinite number of winged fish.
This sight was the more novel to Ravissante as she had never before
seen anything of the colour of this arbour. The Fairy having foreseen
that it would cause some misfortune to her nephew, had absolutely
banished it from her island. The Princess watched for the approach
of the strange object with an impatience which appeared to Ariston a
bad omen for his love. She had not long to wait, for the winged fish
brought the arbour in a few moments to the foot of the rock, and the
attention of the young Princess and of all the Court was redoubled.

The arbour opened, and out of it came a young man of marvellous beauty,
who appeared about sixteen or seventeen years of age. He was clothed
in branches of myrtle, curiously interlaced, with a scarf composed of
various-coloured roses. This handsome stranger experienced as much
astonishment as he occasioned. The beauty of Ravissante did not leave
him at liberty to amuse himself by observing the rest of the splendid
scene, the brilliancy of which had attracted him from a distance. He
approached the Princess with a grace which she had never observed but
in herself. "I am so surprised," said he to her, "at all I find on
these shores, that I have lost the power of expressing my astonishment.
Is it possible," continued he, "that such a goddess (for a goddess you
surely must be) has not temples throughout the universe?" "I am not a
goddess," said Ravissante, colouring; "I am an unfortunate princess
banished from the states of the King, my father, to avoid I know not
what misfortune, which they assure me has been predicted from the
moment of my birth." "You appear to me much more formidable," replied
the handsome stranger, "than those stars which may have some evil
influence on your fate, and over what misfortune could not such perfect
beauty triumph! I feel that it can vanquish everything," he added,
sighing, "since it has conquered in a moment a heart which I had always
flattered myself should remain insensible; but, Madam," continued he,
without giving her time to reply, "I must, against my will, withdraw
from this charming place, where I see you only, and where I have lost
my peace of mind; I will return soon, if Cupid prove favourable to me."
After these words, he re-entered the arbour, and in a few moments he
was lost to sight.

Prince Ariston was so astounded and distressed by this adventure, that
he had not at first the strength to speak; a rival had appeared in a
manner as wonderful as unexpected; this rival had seemed to him only
too charming, and he thought he had observed in the beautiful eyes of
the Princess, whilst the stranger addressed her, a languor which he
had often desired to see, but which till then he had never detected.
Agonized by a despair which he dared not betray, he conducted
Ravissante to the Palace, where she passed part of the night, occupied
by the recollection of her agreeable adventure, and made her nymphs
relate each circumstance over and over again, as though she had not
been herself present. As for Prince Ariston, he went to consult the
Fairy, who, he hoped, might possess some charm to allay the violent
grief under which he laboured; but she had no antidote for jealousy,
and they do say none has ever been discovered to this day. The Prince
and the Fairy, however, redoubled their enchantments to defend the
entrance to the rock from this formidable stranger, whom they took
for a magician. They surrounded the island with frightful monsters,
who occupied a great space on the sea, and who, excited by their own
natural ferocity, and by the power of the spell, seemed to assure
Ariston and the Fairy that it would be an impossibility to take from
them the beautiful Princess whom they so jealously guarded. Ravissante
seemed to feel more vividly the power of the charms of the handsome
stranger by the grief which she experienced at the obstacles opposed
to his return to the island; and she resolved, at all events, to be
revenged on Prince Ariston. She began to hate him, and that alone was
ample vengeance. Ariston was inconsolable at finding he had provoked
the hatred of Ravissante by a passion which it appeared to him should
have produced just the contrary effect. The Princess mourned in secret
the forgetfulness of the stranger: it appeared to her that love should
have ere this made him keep his promise to return. Sometimes, also, she
ceased to desire it, when she remembered the dangers with which Ariston
and the Fairy had surrounded the approach to the island. One day that
she was occupied in these various reflections whilst walking alone on
the sea-shore--for Ariston dared not, as formerly, follow her, and the
Princess refused even to attend the fêtes with which he was accustomed
to entertain her,--she arrived at the same spot which the adventure
with the unknown visitor had rendered so remarkable, and was struck
by the appearance of a tree of extraordinary beauty floating towards
the rock. The colour, which was the same as that of the myrtle arbour
of the stranger, gave her a sensation of joy. The tree approached the
rock, and the monsters attempted to defend the entrance, but a little
breeze agitated the leaves of the tree, and having blown off a few,
and driven them against the monsters, they yielded to these light and
harmless weapons, and even ranged themselves with a show of respect in
a circle around the tree, which approached the rock without further
impediment, and opened, disclosing to view the stranger seated on a
throne of verdure; he rose precipitately at the sight of Ravissante,
and spoke to her with so much eloquence and so much love, that after
she had in a few words acquainted him with her history, she could not
conceal from him that she was touched by his devotion, and rejoiced
at his return. "But," said she, "is it fair that you should know the
sentiments with which you have inspired me before I am informed of the
name even of him who has called them forth?"

"I had no intention of concealing it from you," replied the charming
unknown; "but when near you, one can speak of nothing but you; however,
as you wish to know, I obey you, and beg to acquaint you that I am
called the Prince of Leaves: I am the son of Spring and of a sea nymph,
a relation of Amphitrite, which is the cause of my power extending over
the sea: my empire comprises all parts of the earth which recognise
the influence of Spring; but I chiefly inhabit a happy island where
the gentle season which my father bestows reigns perpetually. There
the air is always pure, the fields ever covered with flowers; the sun
never scorches, but only approaches sufficiently near to illuminate
it; night is banished, and it is therefore called the Island of Day.
It is inhabited by a people as amiable as the climate is agreeable.
It is in this place that I offer you an empire, sweet and calm, and
where my heart above all things will acknowledge your sovereignty. You
must, however, beautiful Princess, consent to be carried off from this
rock, where you are retained in veritable bondage: notwithstanding the
honours they pay you with a view to disguise the real state of the
case." Ravissante could not, however, make up her mind to follow the
Prince of Leaves into his empire, in spite of the fear which she had
of the power of the Fairy, and the suggestions of her love; she hoped
that her perseverance in rejecting the vows of Ariston, would at length
cause him to resolve to conquer his passion, and that the Fairy would
then restore her to her father, from whom the Prince of Leaves might
demand her hand.

  [Illustration: The Prince of Leaves.--P. 152.]

"But I should at least wish," said she to him, "to be able to send
you word of what happens in this island, and I know not how that is
possible, as everything I do is suspected and watched." "I will leave
with you here," said the Prince, "the subjects of a friend of mine,
who is also a prince. They will constantly attend on you, and by them
you can often send me intelligence; but remember, beautiful Princess,
with what impatience I shall wait for it!" After these words, he
approached the tree which had conveyed him, and having touched some of
the leaves, two butterflies appeared, the one white and flame-colour,
the other yellow and light-grey--the most beautiful in the world. As
Ravissante gazed on them, the Prince of Leaves said, smiling, "I see
you are surprised at the appearance of the confidants I give you;
but these butterflies are not merely what they appear to be; it is a
mystery which they will explain if you will permit them to talk to
you." As he spoke, Ravissante perceived in the distance some of her
nymphs, who came to seek her in her solitude, and she begged the Prince
of Leaves to re-embark; he obeyed, notwithstanding the infinite regret
he felt at quitting her, but he did not depart quickly enough to avoid
observation; they informed Ariston and the Fairy of his return to the
island, and from that moment, in order to take away from the beautiful
Ravissante the means, and even the hope of seeing him again, they
erected a tower on the summit of the rock formed of the same stone;
and in order to render it more entirely secure, as the guard of living
monsters had proved insufficient, they caused the tower and rock to be
invisible to all those who should come to seek her, not daring again
to trust to ordinary enchantments. Ravissante was in despair at being
immured in so cruel and impregnable a prison. Prince Ariston had not
concealed from her that he had rendered it invisible; he had even
attempted to make her accept this care for her safety as a proof of
his tender devotion; but Ravissante felt her hatred and contempt for
him increase daily, and he dared no longer enter her presence. The
butterflies, however, had not quitted her, and she often regarded them
with pleasure as having come from the Prince of Leaves. One day that
she was still more sad than usual, and musing, on a terrace at the top
of the tower, the flame-coloured butterfly flew on to one of the vases
filled with flowers, which ornamented the balustrade. "Why," said he,
all of a sudden to the Princess, "do you not send me to the Prince of
Leaves, he will undoubtedly come to your relief?" Ravissante was at
first so astonished at hearing the butterfly speak, although her lover
had prepared her for the novelty, that she was for some minutes unable
to answer; however, the name of the Prince of Leaves assisting to
dissipate her surprise, "I was so astonished," said she at length, "to
hear a butterfly speak like ourselves, that I could not sooner reply
to you. I can well believe that you could go to apprise the Prince of
Leaves of my misfortune, but what can he do?--only distress himself
uselessly. He cannot find me in a place which the cruelty of my enemies
has taken care to render invisible."

"It is less so than you think," replied the yellow butterfly, flying
round the Princess in order to join in the conversation: "a little
while ago, I surveyed your prison, I flew and even swam round it; it
disappears when one is on the water, but when one is elevated in the
air it ceases to be invisible. No doubt the Fairy did not consider that
road so easy as to require the same defence as that by the sea. I was
about to give you this hint," continued the butterfly, "when my brother
broke the silence which we have hitherto preserved." This agreeable
piece of news restored hope to the Princess. "Is it possible," said
she, "that Ariston can have neglected any precaution which could
gratify his cruelty and his love? No doubt his power, like that of the
Fairy, which is unbounded over earth and sea, does not extend to the
air." This was precisely the reason which had prevented the Prince and
the Fairy from rendering the tower and the rock invisible from the
sky. "But," added Ravissante, after some minutes' reflection, "can the
Prince of Leaves have any power in the air?" "No, Madam," replied the
flame-coloured butterfly, "he can do nothing, and your prison would be
invisible to him though he be a demi-god, as it would be to a mortal;
but--" "The Prince will then be as miserable as myself," interrupted
the sorrowful Ravissante, bursting into a flood of tears, which added
to her beauty, and which affected extremely the two butterflies; "and
I feel I shall be more distressed at his sorrows than at my own!
What ought I, then, to do?" continued she, sighing. "Send me off at
once," replied the flame-coloured butterfly, briskly; "I will go and
apprise the Prince of Leaves of your misfortunes, and he will come
to the rescue: although his power does not extend to the air, he has
a prince amongst his friends who can do anything in it, and of whom
he can dispose as of himself--but my brother can inform you of all
this during my absence. Adieu, beautiful Princess," continued the
butterfly, flying over the balustrade; "cease to weep, and count on my
diligence, I will fly as rapidly as your wishes." After these words,
the butterfly was lost in the air; and the Princess felt that charming
and lively sensation of joy which the hope of soon beholding a beloved
one inspires. She returned to her apartment, and the yellow butterfly
followed her; she was extremely impatient to know from what prince her
lover hoped for assistance; to end her doubts, she begged the yellow
butterfly to tell her all that could contribute to augment or flatter
her hopes. She placed him on a little basket of flowers, which she
carried to a table near her, and the butterfly, who considered it an
honour to please her, commenced his recital.

"Near the Island of Day, where the Prince of Leaves reigns, there is
another, smaller but equally agreeable; the ground there is always
covered with flowers, and they affirm that it is a boon granted to our
country by Flora, to immortalize the memory of the happy days when she
came there to find Zephyr: for they contend that it was on our island
that they used to meet, when their love was still new and secret. It
is called the "Island of Butterflies." The inhabitants are not of the
form that you see me under. They are little winged men, very pretty,
very gallant, very amorous, and so volatile that they hardly love
the same thing for even one day. Whilst the golden age reigned on
the earth, Cupid, who at that time flattered himself that the hearts
of all mankind would be ever fond and faithful, feared that by the
facility with which we flew about the world, we might teach mortals
the agreeable art of changing in love, which this god called an error
capable of utterly destroying the happiness of his empire. In order to
interdict all communication between us and the rest of the universe,
he came to our island, touched the ground with one of his arrows,
and rising again upon a brilliant cloud which had borne him thither,
'If again,' said he, to the inhabitants of the island, 'you wish to
traverse the air, like the gods, I have taken sure means of vengeance;
you can no longer, by your dangerous society, trouble the happiness
of my empire.' After these words he disappeared. The threats of Cupid
did not, however, take from the Butterflies the desire for change,
nor even for flying, if it was only for the pleasure of occasionally
quitting the earth. Some of them mounted into the air, and found that
they had the same facility as they possessed before Cupid had forbidden
them to do so; but as soon as they passed the limits of the Island
they were changed into little insects, such as you now behold me, all
of different colours, avenging Cupid having intended to mark by this
variety how much they were given to inconstancy. Surprised at their
metamorphosis, they returned to our island, and as soon as they touched
the ground they were restored to their original form. Since that fatal
time the vengeance of Cupid has always continued amongst us; when we
quit the earth, nothing of our nature, as men, remains, except our
mind and the liberty of speaking like them; but we have never made use
of it out of our island, not choosing to make this act of vengeance
celebrated by publishing it ourselves to the universe, or to alarm
those who, like us, are inclined to inconstancy. We have, however, the
pleasure of seeing, in our travels through the world, that fate has
revenged us on Cupid without our assistance; for Inconstancy reigns
with equal power to his own in the whole extent of his empire. Some
centuries after this change took place in the realm of the butterflies,
the Sun, that seemed to take pleasure in making it bring forth flowers,
was so enchanted with his handiwork, that he fell in love with a rose
of extraordinary beauty; he was tenderly beloved by her, and she
sacrificed to him all the care bestowed on her by the zephyrs. At the
end of some time the rose became of a different form to the rest; the
Sun immediately caused others to blow, resembling her, in order that
she might be less remarked in this quantity of flowers, which then
appeared a new kind of plant. It has since been called 'the rose of
a hundred leaves.' At length, from the Sun and this rose sprung a
demi-god, whom the Sun destined to reign for ever in our island. Until
then we had had no sovereign, but the son of a god who favoured so
constantly our earth was received as our ruler with extreme joy; they
called him the Prince of the Butterflies. It is this Prince, beautiful
Princess, who can assist you in the air, and whom the adventure I am
about to relate has rendered such a fast friend of the Prince of Leaves.

"In a country far removed from that of the butterflies there reigns a
Fairy, who dwells in a very dark cavern: they call her the Fairy of
the Grotto. She is of an immense size; her complexion is a mixture
of blue, green, and yellow. Her face is almost as formidable as her
power, and she is so dreaded by mortals that there is not one bold
enough to approach the country which she inhabits. One day the Prince
of the Butterflies, travelling for his pleasure in the neighbourhood
of his empire, perceived the Fairy, and surprised at this rencontre
he followed her for some time to see what would become of so fearful
a monster. She did not remark that she was observed, for the Prince,
although the offspring of the Sun, had not been able to obtain from
fate the liberty of travelling under any other form than that which
we all took on leaving the kingdom, because he was born since the
time when Cupid had made us feel his vengeance. However, he was not
inconstant, like all his subjects, and Cupid, by way of showing him
a little favour on that account, had permitted him, when he changed
his form, to be of one colour only, and that colour should be the one
which signifies Fidelity. Under this form he followed the Fairy as
far as he pleased, and he saw her enter her dismal abode. Impelled
by curiosity, he flew in after her; but what a sight awaited him at
the bottom of this cavern! He there saw a young lady, more beautiful
and more brilliant than the day, reclining on a bed of turf, and who
appeared in extreme grief. From time to time she dried the tears
which fell from her lovely eyes; her distress and the languor of her
appearance added to her charms. The Prince of the Butterflies remained
so entranced by this spectacle, that he forgot the form under which he
appeared, and only remembered that he was desperately in love, and that
he was burning to say so. He was roused from this sweet reverie by the
awful voice of the Fairy, who spoke to the young lady with frightful
severity. This filled his heart with sorrow and anger, as well as with
despair, at not daring to express either one or the other. The Fairy,
who by a natural restlessness could not remain long in the same place,
went out of the cavern; the Prince then approached the young person
with whom he was so charmed; he flew round her, and wishing to enjoy
the only liberty which his form permitted, he alighted on her hair,
which was the fairest in the world, and at length upon her cheek. He
was dying to tell her how much he was touched with her beauty and her
grief, but by what means could he convince her that he was son of the
Sun, without being able to appear before her in his own form; and how
could he inform her of the vengeance of Cupid, and the inconstancy
so natural to the inhabitants of the island, at the very time that
he wished to persuade her that he would never cease to love her? He
remained several days in the cavern, or in the forest with which it was
surrounded; he could not resolve to quit this beauty that he so adored,
and although he dared not speak to her, he saw her, and that was enough
to make him prefer this hideous abode to the agreeable scenes where
he had the pleasure of reigning, and of being acknowledged the most
beautiful Prince in the world.

"During the time he remained with this young creature he always saw
the Fairy treat her with incredible inhumanity, and he learnt from
their conversation that this beautiful person was the Princess of the
Linnets, whom the Fairy, being a relative, had carried off at a tender
age, in order more easily to usurp her kingdom, which was a little
island situated near to that of the Butterflies. He had heard of the
Princess having been carried away, and that no one knew what had become
of her. This country was called the Land of the Linnets, on account
of the great quantity of those little birds that was found there. The
Prince of the Butterflies pitied sincerely this unfortunate Princess,
and, in the hope of being able to deliver her, he determined at length
to tear himself away from her. He flew to the Island of Day without
resting for a moment; he there found the Prince of Leaves, with whom
he was united in the most tender bond of friendship, and who was about
to pass a part of the year in the Island of Butterflies. He related
his adventure to the Prince, and after discussing every means by which
it would be possible to set the young Princess at liberty, the Prince
of Leaves resolved to go himself into the forest of the Fairy, to
inform the Princess of the Linnets of the violent love which the Prince
of the Butterflies felt for her, and the reason which would always
prevent that unfortunate sovereign from appearing before her under
his proper form, unless she consented to be transported to the Island
of Butterflies. But the Prince of Leaves appeared to his friend too
formidable a rival to be entrusted with the commission; for he feared,
with reason, that the Princess might be more touched by the charms of
so perfect a prince than by the recital of the love entertained for
her by another prince whom she had never seen nor even heard speak.
He deplored the cruelty of his destiny, and sought some other mode of
declaring his love to the Princess, but without success.

"None but a demi-god could approach the dwelling of the Fairy without
feeling immediately the direful effect of her fury. He embarked,
therefore, with the Prince of Leaves, agitated by a jealous fear.
It appeared to him that this Prince could not preserve for a single
moment, on beholding the beautiful Princess, the insensibility on which
he had always piqued himself.

"Cupid, touched at the sad state to which he was reduced, wished at
least to re-assure him on this point, and at the same time triumph over
the insensible heart of the Prince of Leaves. It was by you, beautiful
Princess," continued the Butterfly, "that the God expected to gain this
victory, and you alone are worthy of it.

"It was on the same day that the two princes embarked that they saw
from afar, upon this rock, an illumination so brilliant, that the
Prince of Leaves, impelled by his destiny more than by curiosity,
ordered the winged fish which conducted the arbour of myrtle in
which he travelled, to approach the spot from which the bright light
emanated. You know the remainder of this adventure. The Prince of
Leaves found you in the forest of hyacinths, and left at your feet the
liberty which he had held so dear, and which, till that moment, he
had always preserved. Hurried away by the impatience of the Prince of
the Butterflies, who had suffered nothing but regret at the delay, he
tore himself, with infinite pain, from a spot where his heart and his
wishes would have made him desire to remain for ever. They continued
their voyage, and the Prince of the Butterflies was so delighted to see
that the Prince of Leaves was so deeply in love, and so far from being
likely to become his rival, that he did not doubt of its being a happy
omen, and that he might count on a successful issue to his enterprise.

"They arrived in the forest of the Fairy of the Grotto; they entered
her dreary abode, and Cupid, who had resolved to favour them, caused
them to find the Princess of the Linnets alone and asleep. There was
no time to be lost--the Prince of Leaves carried her off in the myrtle
arbour, whilst the Prince of the Butterflies followed.

"The Fairy returned at this moment; she uttered the most horrible
shrieks at the sight of this abduction; she thought she could prevent
it by her art, and revenge herself on those who had thus dared to
rescue the Princess of the Linnets. But her enchantments were powerless
over the Prince of Leaves, who soon was far away from the dismal shore.
In the meanwhile the Princess awoke, and was agreeably surprised at
finding herself where she was, and at the presence of the Prince of
Leaves. But it was an agreeable surprise, which increased when that
Prince conversed with her, and informed her of the effect of her
beauty, and that she would henceforth, being delivered from the tyranny
of the Fairy, reign in her own empire, and in one also even finer than
her own. The Prince of the Butterflies then spoke of his love with
so much vivacity and tenderness, that the Princess felt excessive
curiosity to see him in his true form, of which she confessed to have
formed a very exalted idea from the time she heard his voice. They
continued to float on, and after some days arrived at the Island of
Butterflies, when the Prince hastened to land, in order to appear at
length in his own person to the Princess. The Princess of Linnets then
sent to inform her subjects in her own island of her adventures: they
flocked to see her, and it was in their presence that she accepted the
heart and empire of the happy Prince of the Butterflies. The Prince of
Leaves, however, left her immediately that he had safely conducted her
to that island, in order to return hither, beautiful Princess, where
his anxiety and his ardent love made him impatient to be."

Ravissante listened with extreme attention to the Butterfly, when
she saw Prince Ariston enter her chamber with such fury in his
countenance, that she dreaded its effects. "Fate threatens me," he
cried, on entering; "and as it is with some great misfortune, it must,
no doubt, be that of losing you; none other would affect my heart, or
be worthy of being so predicted. See, Madam," he continued, addressing
Ravissante, "the colour which the walls of this tower are assuming--it
is a certain sign of approaching misfortune!"

As the misfortunes of Ariston were a happiness to Ravissante, she
looked without distress at that which he pointed out to her notice,
and perceived, indeed, that the blue stones were losing their original
colour, and beginning to turn green. She was delighted to see this,
as she augured from it the certain approach of the Prince of Leaves.
The joy which the unhappy Ariston remarked in her eyes redoubled his
despair. What did he not then say to Ravissante? And rendered sincere
by the excess of his grief, he told her that his love was so great
as not to allow of his ceasing to adore her, although he was sure of
being miserable all his life. "I cannot doubt it," said he to the
Princess, "for the Fates foretold to me as to you--that I should always
be miserable if I were not always faithful to the first impressions
love made on my heart. And by what means could I ever obey this cruel
mandate? After one has seen you, however he may have loved before, he
must forget everything--even the preservation of his own happiness in
loving and seeking to please you. A young princess of the Court of the
King, my father, once appeared to me worthy of my regard. I thought
fully that I should be sighing to return to her after remaining here
for a short time; but the first sight of you subverted all my previous
plans. My reason and my heart were equally inclined for the change, and
I thought nothing impossible to the tender love with which you inspired
me. I flattered myself even that it might overcome fate; but your
austerity, which never relaxed, has taught me that I was deceived, and
that there remains for me no other hope but that of dying speedily for
your sake."

The Prince Ariston finished speaking these words, which made Ravissante
even think him worthy of some pity, when they saw in the air a throne
of foliage, supported by an immense number of butterflies. One
amongst them, which was entirely blue, and by whose colour Ravissante
recognised the son of the Sun, flew to her, and said, "Come, beautiful
Princess, to-day you shall resume your liberty, and make the most
amiable Prince in the world happy."

The butterflies placed the throne near Ravissante; she seated herself
on it, and they bore her away. Ariston, distracted at the loss of the
Princess, in a paroxysm of despair, flung himself into the sea. The
Fairy immediately abandoned the rock which this suicide had rendered
so fatal and melancholy; and to mark her fury, she shivered both it
and the tower into a thousand pieces by a clap of thunder, and the
fragments were carried by the wind and waves to different sea-coasts.
It is of this species of stone that they now make rings, which they
call turquoise. Those which are still called "de la Vieille Roche" are
made of the remains of this shattered rock, and the others are only
stones which resemble them. The remembrance of the misfortune predicted
to Prince Ariston by the change of colour in the walls of the tower has
descended to our time. They say still that these rings become green
when any misfortune is about to happen to the wearers, and that these
misfortunes are generally connected with love affairs.

Whilst the Fairy gave vent to her grief by the destruction of the
island, the Prince of the Butterflies, satisfied at having rendered to
the Prince of Leaves a similar service to that he had received from
him, conducted the beautiful Ravissante, flying before her, to a boat
of rushes, ornamented with garlands of flowers, in which the Prince
of Leaves awaited her with all the impatience which the violence of
his love inspired. It is impossible to convey an idea of the pleasure
he felt at the arrival of the Princess; never were joy and love so
apparent as in the heart and language of this Prince. He sailed
immediately to the Island of Day. The Prince of the Butterflies flew
off to rejoin the amiable Princess of Linnets as speedily as possible.
Ravissante sent two butterflies to the King, her father, to inform him
of her good fortune; the good King thanked the Fates, and set out as
soon as he could for the Island of Day, where the Prince of Leaves and
Ravissante reigned with all imaginable felicity, and were always happy,
because they never ceased to be fond and faithful.

    The lot of Ravissante with envy view--
    Born to be blest could she prove only true.
    How many hapless lovers had succeeded,
    Had constancy been all their idols needed!



THE FORTUNATE PUNISHMENT.


There was once upon a time a King, who fell desperately in love with a
Princess of his Court. As soon as he loved her he told her so. Kings
are more privileged than common lovers. The Princess was not offended
at a love which might place her on the throne, and the King found
her as virtuous as she was charming. He married her: the wedding was
incredibly magnificent; and what was even more remarkable, he became a
husband without ceasing to be a lover. The felicity of this love-match
was only disturbed by the fact of their having no children to succeed
to their happiness and to their kingdom. The King, in order to obtain
at least the comfort of hope on this point, resolved to consult a
fairy, whom he believed to be particularly friendly. She was called
Formidable, although she had not always been so to the King. It is said
even that in the old collections of the time in that country are to be
found ballads which tell a great deal about them. So bold have poets
been in all ages! For the Fairy was very much respected, and appeared
so stern that it was almost impossible to imagine she could ever have
felt the power of love; but where are the hearts that escape? The
King, who had always been very gallant, and who had a great deal of
discernment, was well aware that appearances are often very deceptive.
He had first met with Formidable in a wood where he had been hunting;
she appeared to his eyes under a form so graceful, and with so charming
an air, that the King did not doubt for a moment her desire to please:
it is seldom such charms are displayed without that intention. The
King fell in love with her; the Fairy felt more pleasure in being
loved than in always inspiring terror. This affection lasted several
years; but one day when she reckoned on the heart of her lover as on a
property it was impossible for her to lose, she let the King see her
in her real form: she was no longer young or handsome. She repented
immediately when she perceived by the altered expression of the King's
face that she had been too confident of her power, and discovered that,
however tender hearts may be, they cannot excite or retain love if
they are not united with an agreeable person. The King was ashamed at
finding he had been in love with only an imaginary beauty; he ceased
to love the Fairy, and thenceforth only treated her with attention and
respect. Formidable, with a pride that was natural to her, assumed so
well the appearance of being contented with the esteem of the King,
that she persuaded him she was one of his best friends. She even went
to his wedding, in company with all the other fairies of the country,
who were invited, in order not to give any one reason to fancy from her
refusal that she had any dislike to the marriage.

The King, therefore, counting on the friendship of his old
mistress, went to visit her in her residence, which was a palace of
flame-coloured marble in the midst of a vast forest. The approach to
it was by an avenue of immense length, bordered on both sides by a
hundred flame-coloured lions. Formidable liked only this colour, and
she had therefore by her magic art caused all the animals born in the
forest to be of the same hue. At the end of the avenue was a large
square, wherein a troop of Moors, clothed in flame-colour and gold,
magnificently armed, kept perpetual guard.

The King traversed the forest alone; he knew the way perfectly well; he
even passed through the avenue of lions without danger, for he threw
them, as he entered, some ranunculuses, which the Fairy had formerly
given him to use when passing those terrible beasts. As soon as the
King had thrown them those beautiful flowers, they became gentle and
quiet. He at length reached the Moorish guard, who at first bent their
bows at him, but the King threw them some pomegranate blossoms, which
he had received from the Fairy with the ranunculuses, and the Moors
shot their arrows into the air, and drew themselves up in line to
allow him to pass. He entered the palace of Formidable: she was in a
saloon, seated on a throne of rubies, in the midst of twelve Moorish
women, clothed in flame-coloured gauze and gold. The Fairy's dress was
of the same fashion and colour, but so covered with precious stones
that it shone like the sun; yet it did not make her appear any the
more beautiful. The King looked and listened for a few minutes before
he entered the saloon. Near the Fairy was a quantity of books on a
table of red marble: he saw that she took one and began to instruct
the slaves in those secrets which render fairies so powerful; but
Formidable taught them none but such as would be inimical to the
happiness and comfort of mankind; she took good care to prevent their
learning anything that would contribute to human felicity. The King
felt he hated the Fairy; and entering the apartment, interrupted
the fatal lesson, and surprised Formidable by his appearance; but
recovering herself immediately, she dismissed her Moors, and regarding
the King with an air of pride and anger,--"What seek you here,
inconstant Prince?" she exclaimed. "Wherefore do you come to disturb
by your odious presence the repose I endeavour to obtain in this
seclusion?" The King was quite surprised by so unexpected a mode of
address; and the Fairy, opening one of the books, continued: "I see
clearly what you want. Yes, you shall have a daughter by this Princess
whom you have so unjustly preferred to me, but do not hope to be happy:
it is time for me to be avenged. The daughter that shall be born to you
ere long shall be as much hated by all the world as I formerly loved
you!" The King did everything in his power to soften the anger of the
Fairy; but it was useless; hatred had succeeded to love, and nothing
but love could soften the Fairy's heart; for pity and generosity were
sentiments quite unknown to her. She haughtily commanded the King to
leave the palace, and opening a cage, a flame-coloured parrot flew out.
"Follow this bird," said she to the King, "and bless my clemency for
not delivering you to the fury of my lions and guards."

The bird flew off, and the King followed, and was conducted by a road
hitherto unknown to him, and much shorter than the one he had come by,
into his own kingdom. The Queen, who on his return remarked his extreme
sadness, begged to know the reason so importunately, that the King
at length told her of the cruel prediction of the Fairy, but without
informing her of all that had occurred between them in former times,
in order not to add to the troubles of his beautiful wife. This young
Princess knew that one fairy could not positively prevent anything
predicted by another of her own class, but that she might mitigate the
punishment which that other had inflicted.

"I shall go," said the Queen, "in search of Lumineuse, Sovereign of
the Happy Empire; she is a celebrated fairy who delights in protecting
the unfortunate. She is a relation of mine; she has ever favoured me,
and she even predicted the good fortune to which love would lead me."
The King quite approved of the expedition of the Queen, and hoped much
from it. Her equipage being ready, she set off to seek Lumineuse. The
Fairy bore this name because her beauty was so dazzling that it was
hardly possible to endure the brilliancy of it, and the grandeur of her
soul quite equalled her extreme loveliness. The Queen arrived in a vast
plain, and perceived, at a great distance, a large tower; but although
it was in sight, it was very long before she could approach it, owing
to the many windings in the road. It was built of white marble, and had
no doors, but arched windows of crystal; a beautiful river, of which
the waves appeared of liquid silver, bathed the foot of the tower, and
wound nine times around it. The Queen, with all her Court, arrived on
the bank of the river, at the point where it began its first circle
round the dwelling of the Fairy. The Queen crossed it on a bridge of
white poppies, which the power of Lumineuse had rendered as safe and
as durable as if it had been built of brass. But although it was only
made of flowers, it was nevertheless to be feared, for it had the power
of putting people to sleep for seven years who attempted to pass it
contrary to the wish of the Fairy. The Queen perceived on the other
side of the bridge, six young men, magnificently attired, sleeping on
beds of moss, under tents of foliage. These were princes enamoured of
the Fairy: and as she never would hear love spoken of, she had not
allowed them to pass any farther. The Queen, after having crossed the
bridge, found herself in the first spot which the river left free; it
was occupied by a charming labyrinth of laurestinus and jasmine; there
were none but white, for that was the colour Lumineuse preferred. After
having admired this lovely maze, and easily threaded its paths, which
were only difficult for those the Fairy did not wish should enter her
agreeable dwelling, the Queen again crossed the river by a bridge of
white anemones; it took at this place its second turn, and the space
which it left before it made its third circle was occupied by a forest
of acacias always in full bloom; the roads through it were charming,
and so overshadowed that the rays of the sun never penetrated; a number
of white doves whose plumage might have put the snow to shame were seen
in all directions, and the trees were covered with countless white
canary-birds, that made a delicious concert. Lumineuse, with a touch
of her wand, had taught them the most beautiful and charming songs in
the world. They left this lovely forest by a bridge of tube-roses, and
they then entered a fair plain, wooded with trees laden with such fine
and delicious fruit, that the least of them would have put to shame the
famous gardens of the Hesperides. Every evening the Queen found the
most beautiful tents in the world prepared for her, and a magnificent
repast was served as soon as she arrived, without her seeing any of
the skilful and active officers who prepared it. The Fairy, who had
learnt by her books of the arrival of the Queen, took care that her
journey should not be in the least degree fatiguing to her. The Queen,
leaving this marvellous spot, passed the river again, by a bridge of
white pinks, and entered the park of the Fairy. It was as beautiful as
all the rest. The Fairy sometimes came to hunt there; it was filled
with an infinite number of white stags and does, with other animals of
the same colour; a pack of white greyhounds were scattered over the
park, and lying on the turf with the deer and white rabbits, and other
animals usually wild, but they were not so in this place, the art of
the Fairy had tamed them; and when the dogs chased some beast for the
amusement of Lumineuse, it appeared as if they understood it was only
in play, for while they hunted it in the best style, they never did
the animal any harm. In this place, the river made its fifth circuit
round the dwelling of the Fairy. The Queen, in quitting the park,
crossed the water on a bridge of white jasmine, and found herself in
a charming hamlet. All the little cottages were built of alabaster.
The inhabitants of this pleasant place were subjects of the Fairy,
and tended her flocks; their garments were of silver gauze; they were
crowned with chaplets of flowers; and their crooks were brilliantly
studded with precious stones. All the sheep were of surprising
whiteness; all the shepherdesses were young and handsome; and Lumineuse
loved the colour of white too well to have forgotten to bestow on them
a complexion so beautiful that even the sun itself seemed to have only
helped to render it more dazzling. All the shepherds were amiable, and
the sole fault that could be found with this agreeable country was that
there was not a single brunette to be seen there. The shepherdesses
came to receive the Queen, and presented her with porcelain vases,
filled with the most beautiful flowers in the world. The Queen and all
her Court were charmed with their agreeable journey, and drew from it a
happy presage of obtaining what she desired of the Fairy.

As she was about to leave the hamlet, a young shepherdess advanced
towards the Queen, and presented her with a little white greyhound on
a cushion of white velvet, embroidered with silver and pearls: it was
hardly possible to distinguish the dog from the cushion, the colour
was so exactly the same. "The Fairy Lumineuse, Sovereign of the Happy
Empire," said the young shepherdess to the Queen, "has commanded me to
present you, in her name, with 'Blanc-blanc,' which is the name of this
little greyhound; she has the honour of being beloved by Lumineuse,
whose art has made a marvel of her, and who has commanded her to
conduct you to the tower. You will have nothing to do, Princess, but to
let her go, and follow."

The Queen received the little dog with much pleasure, and was charmed
at the attentions shown her by the Fairy. She caressed Blanc-blanc,
who, after having returned her endearments with much intelligence and
grace, jumped lightly to the ground, and began to frisk before the
Queen, who followed her with all her Court. They arrived at the bank
of the river, which there made its sixth turn, and were surprised to
find no bridge by which to cross it. The Fairy did not wish to be
troubled by the shepherds in her retreat, so there was never a bridge
at that point, except when she desired herself to pass or to receive
any of her friends. The Queen was pondering on this adventure, when
she heard Blanc-blanc bark three times; immediately a light breeze
agitated the trees on the banks of the river, and shook from them such
a great quantity of orange-flowers into the water, that they formed
a bridge of themselves, and the Queen crossed the river by it. She
rewarded Blanc-blanc by caresses, and found herself in an avenue of
myrtles and orange-trees, which having traversed without any feeling
of fatigue, although it was an immense length, she found herself again
on the bank of the river, which made its seventh turn at that spot.
She saw no bridge, but the adventure of the morning re-assured her.
Blanc-blanc struck the ground three times with her little paw, and in
a moment there appeared a bridge of white hyacinths. The Queen crossed
it, and entered a meadow enamelled with flowers. Her beautiful tents
were already pitched in it. She rested a short time, and then resumed
her journey, till she again found herself on the bank of the river.
There was again no means of crossing it; but Blanc-blanc advanced and
drank a little of the beautiful stream, whereupon a bridge of white
roses appeared, and the Queen was thereby enabled to enter the garden
of the Fairy. It was so filled with wonderful flowers, extraordinary
fountains, and statues of superior beauty, that it is impossible to
give an exact description of it. If the Queen had not felt the utmost
impatience to avert the evils with which the cruel Formidable menaced
her, she would have lingered some time in this charming place. All the
Court left it with regret; but they were obliged to follow Blanc-blanc,
who conducted the Queen to the spot where the river made its last
circuit round the dwelling of Lumineuse. The Queen then saw the Palace
of the Fairy quite near to her. Nothing but the river divided her from
it. She gazed on it with pleasure as the goal of her journey, and read
this inscription, written on the tower in letters of gold:--

    Of perfect bliss behold the charming seat,
    By Lumineuse to pleasure dedicated.
    Love only may not enter this retreat,
    Although 'twould seem for Love alone created.

This inscription had been composed in honour of Lumineuse by the most
celebrated fairies of her time. They had wished to leave to posterity
the expression of their friendship and esteem for her. Whilst the Queen
thus amused herself on the banks of the river, Blanc-blanc swam across
the stream, and diving brought up a shell of mother-of-pearl, which she
again let fall into the water. At this signal six beautiful nymphs,
in brilliant attire, opened a large crystal window, and a staircase of
pearls issued from it and slowly approached the Queen. Blanc-blanc ran
up it quickly, till the arrival at the window of the Fairy, and entered
the tower: the Queen followed, but as she ascended, the steps of the
pretty staircase which she had mounted disappeared behind her, and
prevented any one else from following her. She entered the beautiful
tower of Lumineuse, and the window was immediately closed.

All the suite of the Queen were in despair when they lost sight of
her, and found they were unable to follow, for they loved her most
sincerely; their lamentations were heard even in the place where
Lumineuse conversed with the Queen, and in order to re-assure these
unfortunates, the Fairy sent one of her nymphs to conduct them to the
hamlet, where they could await the return of the Queen. The staircase
of pearls re-appeared and revived their hopes; the nymph descended,
and the Queen from the window commanded them to follow and obey the
messenger. The Queen remained with the Fairy, who entertained her
with prodigious magnificence, and with a charm of manner which won
all hearts. The Queen stayed with her for three days, which were not
sufficient, however, for the inspection of all the marvels of the
tower of Lumineuse; it would have taken centuries to see and admire
everything which the Fairy had to show. The fourth day Lumineuse,
after having laden the Queen with presents as elegant as they were
magnificent, said to her, "Beautiful Princess, I am sorry not to be
able to repair the misfortune with which Formidable threatens you; but
that is the fault of destiny, which allows us to bestow good gifts
on those whom we favour, but forbids us to undo or avert the evils
inflicted by other fairies. However, to console you for the misfortune
that has been predicted for you, I promise that before a year be over,
you shall have a daughter so beautiful that all those who behold her
shall be enchanted with her, and I will take care," added the Fairy,
"to cause a Prince to be born who shall be worthy of her hand."

So favourable a prophecy made the Queen forget for a time the hatred of
Formidable, and the misfortune she had threatened her with. Lumineuse
did not tell the Queen the reason of Formidable being her enemy.
Fairies, even when they quarrel amongst themselves, keep jealously
secret everything which would render them contemptible in the eyes of
mortals, and 'tis said they are the only women who have the generosity
not to speak ill of one another. After a thousand thanks on the part
of the Queen, Lumineuse ordered twelve of her nymphs to take charge
of the presents, and to conduct the Queen to the hamlet, she herself
accompanying her as far as the staircase of pearls, which appeared as
soon as they opened the window. When the Queen and nymphs were at the
foot of the stairs they saw a silver car drawn by six white hinds:
their harness was covered with diamonds; a young child, lovely as the
day, drove the car, and the nymphs followed on white horses which might
have vied in beauty with those of the sun. In this elegant equipage the
Queen arrived at the hamlet; she there found all her Court, who were
rejoiced to see her again; the nymphs then took leave of the Queen, and
presented her with the twelve beautiful animals enchanted by the Fairy,
so that they were never tired, informing her that Lumineuse begged she
would offer them in her name to the King. The Queen, overwhelmed by
the kindness of the Fairy, returned to her kingdom; the King met and
received her at the frontier; he was so charmed at her return, and
the agreeable news which she announced on the part of Lumineuse, that
he ordered public rejoicings, the renown of which reached the ear of
Formidable, and thereby redoubled her hate and anger against the King.

Soon after the return of the Queen she found she was about to become
a mother, and felt assured that the beautiful Princess who was to
charm all hearts would be ere long presented to the King by her, for
Lumineuse had promised her birth should take place before the end of
the year, and Formidable had not prescribed the time when her vengeance
should be accomplished; but she had no idea of postponing it long. The
Queen gave birth to two princesses, and did not doubt for a moment
which was the daughter promised to her by Lumineuse, from the eagerness
she felt to embrace the one which first saw the light. She found her
quite worthy of the praises of the Fairy; nothing in the world could
be so beautiful; the King and all who were present hastened to admire
the first-born little Princess, and they entirely forgot the other;
but the Queen, judging by the general neglect, that the prediction of
Formidable was also accomplished, gave orders several times that the
same care should be taken of her as of the eldest.

The waiting-women obeyed with a repugnance which they could not
overcome, and for which the King and Queen dared scarcely blame them,
as they felt the same themselves. Lumineuse arrived with all speed,
upon a cloud, and named the beautiful Princess Aimée, significant of
the destiny which she had promised her. The King paid Lumineuse all the
respect she deserved. She promised the Queen always to protect Aimée,
but she bestowed on her no gift, for she had already given her all in
her power. As for the other Princess, it was in vain that the King gave
her the name of one of his provinces; insensibly every one accustomed
themselves to call her Naimée, in cruel contradistinction to her sister
Aimée. When the two Princesses had attained the age of twelve years,
Formidable desired them to be sent away from the Court, in order,
as she said, to diminish the love and the hate which they inspired.
Lumineuse let Formidable have her way; she was sure that nothing
would prevent the beautiful Aimée from reigning in the kingdom of her
father, and in the hearts of his subjects. She had endowed her with
such charms that no one could see her and have any doubt about it. The
King, in the hope of appeasing the hatred of Formidable, which extended
to all his family, resolved to obey her. He therefore sent the two
young Princesses, with a youthful and agreeable Court, to a marvellous
castle which he possessed in a remote part of his empire: it was called
the Castle of Portraits, and was a place worthy of the learned fairy
who had built it four thousand years before. The gardens and all the
promenades surrounding it were lovely, but the most remarkable thing
was the gallery, of immense length, which contained portraits of all
the princes and princesses of the blood royal of that and all the
neighbouring countries. As soon as they attained their fifteenth year
their portraits were placed here, painted with an art which could be
but feebly imitated by any but a fairy. This custom was to be observed
until the time when the most beautiful princess in all the world should
enter the castle.

This gallery was divided into two vast and magnificent apartments: the
two Princesses occupied them; they had the same masters, the same
education; they taught nothing to the charming Aimée which was not also
taught to her sister; but Formidable came and instilled lessons into
the latter which spoilt all the rest, while Lumineuse, on her side,
rendered Aimée, by her instructions, worthy of the admiration of the
whole universe. After the Princesses had been in this castle, excluded
from the Court for three years, they heard one day a strange noise,
which was followed by the sound of charming music; they looked about
everywhere to find from whence the noise and the concert proceeded,
when they perceived three portraits occupying three places which a
moment before had been vacant. The first represented a lady being
crowned by two Cupids with flowers, one of whom regarded the beautiful
portrait with all the attention it merited, and seemed to have
forgotten to let fly an arrow at it which was fixed in his bent bow;
the other held a little streamer, on which were these verses:--

    Aimée received from Nature at her birth
    Those beauties which immortal are, alone.
    The Graces added loveliness to worth,
    And Venus yielded up to her her zone.

It was not necessary to announce this as the portrait of the beautiful
Aimée; one saw in it all her features depicted with that charming grace
which attracted every heart; she had an exquisitely fair complexion,
the most beautiful colour in the world, a round face, lovely light
hair, blue eyes, which shone with so much brightness that those who had
the pleasure of seeing them thought it useless that Lumineuse should
have bestowed on Aimée a gift which she was sure of possessing from
her own personal beauty: her mouth was charming, her teeth as white
as her skin, and Venus seemed to have given her the power of smiling
like herself. It was this divine portrait which occupied the end of the
gallery. The second was that of Naimée: she was fair, and did not want
beauty; but notwithstanding, like the original, the portrait failed to
please. These words were inscribed beneath it in letters of gold:--

    Naimée, of more than common charms possest,
    Can in no mortal heart a dwelling find.
    Learn that in vain we are with beauty blest,
    Wanting the rarer graces of the mind.

These two portraits occupied all the attention of the two Princesses
and of their juvenile Court, when Aimée, who was not proud of her own
personal charms, and leaving to the others the task of admiring them,
turned her eyes towards the third portrait, which had appeared at the
same time with her own. She found it well worth looking at. It was that
of a young Prince, a thousand times handsomer than Cupid himself; he
had more the air of a god than a mortal; his black hair fell in large
curls on his shoulders, and his eyes bespoke as much intelligence as
his person displayed manly beauty. These words were written underneath
the portrait:--"This is the Prince of the Pleasant Island." Its beauty
surprised everybody, but it affected the lovely Aimée particularly--her
young heart experienced an unknown emotion; and Naimée even, at the
sight of this handsome portrait, found she was not exempt from a
passion which she could not herself inspire. The adventure itself did
not so much astonish any one, for they were accustomed to see wonderful
things in that country. The King and Queen came to the Castle to visit
the Princesses, and had a great many copies made of their portraits,
which they sent to all the neighbouring kingdoms. But Aimée, as soon as
she was alone, carried away by an involuntary impulse, returned to the
gallery of portraits, where that of the Prince of the Pleasant Island
engrossed all her attention, and was every way worthy of it.

Naimée, who had nothing in common with her sister, save an equal
admiration of the portrait of the Prince, also passed nearly all her
time in the gallery. This growing passion so increased the hatred of
Naimée for her sister, that not being able herself to injure her, she
incessantly implored the fairy Formidable to punish her for possessing
superior charms. The cruel Fairy never neglected an opportunity of
doing harm; so, following her own inclination, while yielding to the
solicitations of Naimée, she went in search of the amiable Princess,
who was walking on the bank of the river which flowed at the foot
of the Castle of Portraits: "Go!" said Formidable to her, touching
her with an ebony wand which she carried in her hand,--"Go! Follow
continually the winding of this river, until the day when thou shalt
meet a person who hates thee more than I do, and until that hour
thou shalt not stop to rest in any place in the world!" The Princess,
at this terrible order, began to weep. Such tears! In all the
universe no heart but that of Formidable could be found incapable of
being softened by them. Lumineuse hastened to the assistance of the
beautiful and unhappy Aimée. "Be comforted," said she; "the journey to
which Formidable has condemned thee shall terminate in a delightful
adventure, and during it thou shalt have nothing but pleasure." Aimée,
after this favourable prediction, departed with one single regret,
which was that she should see no more the beautiful portrait of the
Prince of the Pleasant Island; but she dared not express her sorrow
to the Fairy. She therefore set out on her journey, and everything
appeared sensible of her charms. None but the gentlest airs breathed
in the places through which she passed. Everywhere she found nymphs
ready to wait on her with the utmost respect; the meadows were covered
with flowers at her approach; and when the sun became too powerful, the
trees increased their foliage to protect her from its beams.

While the beautiful Princess made so pleasant a journey, Lumineuse
did not merely limit her exertions to neutralizing the evil designs
of Formidable; she sought Naimée, and striking her with an ivory
wand--"Begone!" said she. "Follow in thy turn the banks of the river,
and never shalt thou rest until thou shalt find a person who loves thee
as much as thou deservest to be hated!" Naimée departed, and no one
regretted her absence.

Even Formidable, who was always well pleased when she caused pain,
thought no more of Naimée, and did not condescend to protect her any
longer. The two Princesses thus continued their journey, Naimée with
all the fatigue possible, the most beautiful flowers changing into
thorns in her path; and the lovely Princess, with all the pleasures
which Lumineuse had led her to hope for,--indeed, she found them still
greater than she had expected.

At the close of a beautiful day, at the hour when the sun sank to rest
in the arms of Thetis, Aimée seated herself on the bank of the river.
Immediately an infinite number of flowers, springing up around her,
formed a sort of couch, the charms of which she would have admired
for a much longer time had she not perceived an object on the river
which prevented her from thinking of anything else; it was a little
boat made of amethyst, ornamented with a thousand streamers of the same
colour, inscribed with cyphers and gallant devices. Twelve young men,
clothed in light garments of grey and silver, crowned with garlands
of amaranths, rowed with so much diligence, that the boat was very
soon sufficiently close to the shore to allow Aimée to remark its
various beauties. It was with a feeling of agreeable surprise that
she perceived in every part of it her name and her initials. A moment
after, the Princess recognised her portrait upon a little altar of
topaz, raised in the centre of the boat; and beneath the portrait she
read these words.

 "If this be not love, what is it?"

After the first emotion of surprise and admiration, she feared to see
the stranger land who appeared to be so very gallant. "Everything
informs me of the love of an unknown admirer," said Aimée to herself;
"but I feel that the Prince of the Pleasant Island is alone worthy
to inspire me with that sentiment which I too plainly perceive is
entertained for me by another. Fatal portrait!" she exclaimed; "why did
destiny present it to my view at a time when, so far from defending
myself from its influence, I was even ignorant that it was possible to
love anything more tenderly than flowers."

This reflection was followed by many sighs, and she would have remained
longer buried in her sweet reverie, if the agreeable sound of divers
instruments had not roused her from it. She looked towards the boat
from whence these pleasing sounds proceeded. A man, whose face she
could not see, clothed in a robe of that same magnificent colour which
was displayed in his entire equipage, appeared to be entirely occupied
in the contemplation of her portrait, whilst six beautiful nymphs
formed a charming concert, and accompanied these words, which were sung
by him who did not take his eyes off the picture of the Princess. The
air was Duboulai's:--[10]

    Let all things witness to my passion bear,
    And vaunt the beauties of my matchless fair!
    Aimée more charms than Venus' self displays!
    Ye Nymphs in turn your tuneful voices raise.
    Let all things witness to my passion bear,
    And vaunt the beauties of my matchless fair!

    The Graces gladly quit the Queen of Love
    To follow one whose smile far more they prize.
    To see and serve her is a bliss above
    All that the gods can offer in the skies.
    Aimée more charms, &c.

    One glance from her sweet eyes my heart subdued.
    All yield to her! all to her empire bow!
    And till the moment man her beauty viewed
    None could have loved as all the world must now!
    Aimée more charms, &c.

The sweetness of the music detained the beautiful Aimée on the bank of
the river. When it was finished, the stranger turned his face towards
her, and enabled her to recognise, with as much confusion as pleasure,
the agreeable features of the Prince of the Pleasant Island. What a
surprise, what joy to see this charming Prince, and to find he thought
of nothing but her! One must know how to love as they did in the days
of the Fairies, to understand all that the young Princess felt.

The Prince of the Pleasant Island was equally astonished. He hastened
to land on the fortunate shore which presented to his view the divine
Aimée. She had not the heart to fly from so perfect a prince, though
she upbraided fate a thousand times for her own weakness. On such
occasions fate generally bears the blame.

It is impossible to express what the young lovers said to each other.
Often, indeed, they understood each other without speaking. Lumineuse,
who had conducted to this place both the pretty boat and the steps of
Aimée, appeared all at once to re-assure the timid Princess, who had at
length made up her mind to avoid so charming and dangerous a Prince.
She told them that they were destined to love each other, and to be for
ever united. "But," added the Fairy, "before this happy time arrives,
you must finish the journey commanded by Formidable."

It is impossible to disobey the Fairies; so the beautiful Aimée and
the Prince were satisfied with the pleasure of being together, and
felt that anything which did not separate them was only too delightful.
They continued, therefore, their route, sometimes in the pretty boat,
sometimes wandering on foot through a vast, but beautiful wilderness,
which the river fertilized with its waters. It was in this tranquil
seclusion that the Prince of the Pleasant Island completely lost his
peace of mind. He informed the beautiful Princess of all he had felt
for her since the happy day when her divine portrait had been brought
to his Court, and that one morning as he was walking on the banks of
the river, and dreaming of her, Lumineuse had appeared, and, showing
him the amethyst boat, commanded him to embark in it, promising him
success in his voyage and a favourable issue to his love. Whilst the
Prince and the beautiful Aimée obeyed the orders of Formidable, their
affection increased each day. They became so happy, that they dreaded
arriving at the end of their journey, for fear of being occupied with
anything else but their love. Naimée, meanwhile, also continued her
painful progress.

The course of the river which the two Princesses followed conducted
them insensibly to the Pleasant Island, and they arrived there exactly
at the same moment. Lumineuse did not fail to be present also. She
informed Aimée that the revenge of Formidable was accomplished,
because, in meeting her sister, she had found the only person in the
world who could hate her. "And the journey of Naimée is also finished,
then," said the beautiful Princess, "for nothing has been able to
diminish my regard for her." She then begged the Fairy to mitigate, if
possible, the sad fate of her sister; but this favour was useless to
Naimée. The moment she saw the Prince of the Pleasant Island, whom she
recognised easily as the original of the exquisite portrait which had
touched her heart, and heard him tell Lumineuse that the time of his
marriage with Aimée approached, she threw herself into that river, the
course of which she had followed for twelve months with so much pain,
yet without having resorted to self-destruction; but the woes of love
affect us more deeply than any other misfortunes.

Lumineuse, who saw the Princess plunge into the water, changed her
into a little animal, which evinces still, by its manner of walking,
the contrariness of the unhappy Naimée. Her fate followed her even
after death, for she was not regretted. It cost Aimée, however, a few
tears; but what troubles could not be consoled by the Prince of the
Pleasant Island? She was so engrossed by his affection, that she cared
but little for the fêtes which they gave to celebrate her arrival in
the kingdom, and the Prince himself took but a trifling share in them.
When one is really in love, there is no true pleasure but that of being
loved in return.

The King and Queen, apprised by Lumineuse of what had occurred,
hastened to rejoin their amiable daughter; and in their presence the
generous Fairy declared that the lovely Aimée had had the honour of
putting an end to the adventure of the Castle of Portraits, because
nothing had ever appeared so beautiful as herself in all the world.

The love of the Prince of the Pleasant Island was too violent to endure
delay, so he begged the King and Queen to consent to the fulfilment of
his happiness. Lumineuse herself honoured with her presence a day so
fair and so much desired. The nuptials were celebrated with all the
magnificence which might be expected from fairies and kings; but happy
as was the day, I will not attempt a description of it, for, however
agreeable to the lovers themselves, a wedding is almost always a dull
affair to the general company.

    While Love in turn upon the tender strings
    Of human hearts with hope and fear can play,
    Lovers and poets have a thousand things,
    More or less sweet and eloquent, to say.
    But soon as entered Hymen's happy state
    Apollo and the Muses all seem dumb.
    Of author and of husband 'tis the fate
    To fail in an Epithalamium!


FOOTNOTES:

[10] A Michel Duboulay, or Duboulai, was the author of two
operas, entitled, _Zephyr et Flore_ and _Orphée_; but the music of
these is said to have been composed by Lulli.



MADEMOISELLE DE LA FORCE.



FAIRER THAN A FAIRY.


There was once upon a time, in Europe, a King, who having already
several children by a princess whom he had married, took it into his
head to travel from one end of his kingdom to the other. He passed
his time in visiting one province after another very pleasantly; but
while he was staying in a beautiful castle at the extremity of his
dominions, the Queen, his wife, was brought to bed there of a daughter,
who appeared so exceedingly lovely at the moment of her birth, that the
courtiers, either on account of the child's beauty, or to ingratiate
themselves with the parents, named her "Fairer than a Fairy;" and it
will be seen how well she merited so illustrious a title. The Queen
had scarcely recovered, when she was obliged to follow the King, her
husband, who had departed in haste to defend a distant province which
his enemies had invaded.

Little Fairer than a Fairy was left behind with her governess and the
ladies who attended on her; they brought her up with the utmost care,
and as her father was involved in a long and cruel war, she had plenty
of time during his absence to increase in stature and beauty. That
beauty rendered her famous in all the surrounding countries; nothing
else was spoken of, and at twelve years old she might more easily be
taken for a divinity than for a mortal. One of her brothers came to see
her during a truce, and conceived the most perfect affection for her.

Meanwhile, however, the fame of her beauty and the name she bore so
irritated the fairies against her, that there was nothing they did not
think of to revenge themselves on her, for the presumption implied by
such a title, and to destroy a beauty of which they were so jealous.

The Queen of the Fairies was not one of those good fairies who are
the protectors of virtue, and who have no pleasure but in doing good.
Many centuries having elapsed since she had attained royalty by her
profound learning and art, her great age had caused her to dwindle in
stature, and she was now only called by the nickname of Nabote. Nabote
accordingly summoned a council, and made known to them her resolution
to avenge, not only the beauties of her own court, but those of the
entire world; that she had determined to go and see for herself, and
carry off this paragon whose reputation was so injurious to their
charms. It was no sooner said than done. She set out, and, clothed in a
very plain garb, transported herself to the castle which contained this
marvellous creature. She soon made herself at home in it, and induced
by her cunning the ladies of the Princess to receive her amongst them.
But Nabote was struck with astonishment when, after having carefully
examined the castle, she discovered by means of her art that it had
been constructed by a great magician, and that he had endowed it with
a virtue by the power of which no one could leave its walls or the
surrounding pleasure-grounds but of their own free will, and that
it was not possible to use any sort of enchantment against those
persons who inhabited it. This secret was not unknown to the governess
of Fairer than a Fairy, who, well aware of the invaluable treasure
committed to her charge, still felt no alarm on her account, knowing
that no one in the world could take from her this young princess,
so long as she should not go outside the castle or the gardens. She
had expressly forbidden her to do so, and Fairer, who had already a
large share of discretion, had never failed in taking this precaution.
A thousand lovers had made fruitless efforts to carry her off; but
knowing herself secure within those limits, she did not fear their
violence.

Nabote did not require much time to insinuate herself into her good
graces; she taught her to do beautiful kinds of work, and rendered her
lessons agreeable by recounting pleasant stories. She neglected nothing
which could divert her, and naturally pleased her so much, that at
length one was never seen without the other.

Amidst all her attentions, however, Nabote was not less occupied with
her schemes of revenge; she sought for an opportunity of inducing
Fairer than a Fairy, by some cunning pretence, only to put her foot
over the threshold of one of the castle gates. She was always prepared
to pounce on and fly away with her. One day that she had led her into
the garden, and the young maidens of her Court, having gathered some
flowers, had crowned with them the beautiful head of Fairer than a
Fairy, Nabote opened a little door which led into the fields, and
passing out at it, played an hundred antics, which caused the Princess
and the young folks who surrounded her to laugh heartily. All at once
the wicked Nabote pretended to be taken ill, and the next minute she
fell down, as if swooning away. Some of the young maidens ran to assist
her, and Fairer flew also to her side. But hardly had the unhappy child
passed the fatal gate than Nabote sprang up, seized her with a powerful
arm, and making a circle with her wand, a thick black fog arose, which
dispersing again almost immediately, the ground was seen to open
and two moles emerged, with wings formed of rose-leaves, drawing an
ebony car, and Nabote placing herself in it with Fairer than a Fairy,
it ascended into the air, and cleaving it with incredible velocity,
disappeared entirely from the sight of the young maidens, who by their
cries and tears soon announced to all the castle the loss they had
sustained.

Fairer than a Fairy only recovered from her first astonishment to
fall into another still more fearful; the rapidity with which the car
passed through the air had so bewildered her that she almost lost
consciousness; at length, reviving a little, she cast down her eyes.
What was her alarm to find nothing beneath her but the vast extent of
the shoreless ocean. She uttered a piercing cry, turned round, and
seeing near her her dear Nabote, she embraced her tenderly and held her
close in her arms as one naturally would to re-assure oneself. But the
Fairy repulsed her rudely:--"Off! audacious child," said she. "Behold
in me your mortal foe. I am the Queen of the Fairies, and you are about
to pay to me the penalty of your insolence in assuming the proud name
which you bear."

Fairer, trembling at these words more than if a thunderbolt had fallen
at her feet, felt greater alarm at them than at the dreadful road she
was travelling. At length, however, the car alighted in the midst
of the magnificent court-yard of the most superb palace that ever
was seen. The sight of so beautiful a palace somewhat re-assured the
timid Princess, especially when she descended from the car, and she
saw an hundred young beauties, who came with much deference to pay
their respects to the Fairy. So charming a residence did not appear to
announce misfortune to her. She had also one consolation which does
not fail to flatter one in similar situations: she remarked that all
those beautiful persons were struck with admiration on beholding her,
and she heard a confused murmur of praise and envy which gratified her
marvellously.

But how speedily was this little feeling of vanity extinguished! Nabote
imperiously commanded them to strip Fairer of her beautiful clothes,
thinking thereby to take from her a portion of her charms. They pulled
them off, accordingly, but only to increase the fury of Nabote, for
what beauties were then disclosed to view, and to what shame did they
put all the fairies in the world! They re-clothed her in old shabby
garments. But in this state, one would have said her natural and
simple loveliness was determined to show how independent it was of the
assistance of the most costly ornaments; never did she appear more
charming! Nabote then ordered them to conduct her to the place which
she had prepared for her, and to set her her task. Two fairies took her
and made her pass through the most beautiful and sumptuous apartments
that could possibly be seen. Fairer noticed them, in spite of her
misery, and said to herself, "Whatever torments they may prepare for
me, my heart tells me I shall not always be miserable in this beautiful
palace."

They made her descend a large staircase of black marble, which had more
than a thousand steps: she thought she was going into the bowels of
the earth, or rather, that they were conducting her into the infernal
regions. At length they entered a small cabinet, wainscoted with ebony,
where they told her she would have to sleep on a little straw, and that
there was an ounce of bread with a cup of water for her supper. From
thence they made her pass into a great gallery, the walls of which
were entirely composed of black marble, and which had no light but
that afforded by five lamps of jet, which threw a sombre glare over
the place, more alarming than cheering. These gloomy walls were hung
with cobwebs from top to bottom, and such was their peculiarity, that
the more they were swept away the more they multiplied. The two fairies
told the Princess that this gallery must be swept clean by break of
day, or that she would be made to suffer the most frightful torments,
and after placing a ladder, and giving her a broom of rushes, they bade
her set to work, and left her.

Fairer than a Fairy sighed, and not knowing the peculiarity of those
cobwebs, courageously resolved, notwithstanding the great length of
the gallery, to execute the task imposed on her. She took her broom,
and mounted the ladder nimbly, but, O Heavens! what was her surprise
when, as she endeavoured to sweep the marble and clear off the cobwebs,
she found they increased in proportion to her exertions! She fatigued
herself by persevering for some time, but perceiving sorrowfully, at
length, that it was all in vain, she threw down her broom, descended
the ladder, and seating herself on the last step of it, began to weep
bitterly, and to foresee the extent of her misfortune. Her sobs came
at length so fast that she could no longer support herself, when,
raising her head a little, her eyes were dazzled by a brilliant light.
The gallery was in an instant illuminated from end to end, and she saw
kneeling before her a youth so beautiful and charming, that at the
first glance she took him for Cupid, but she remembered that Love is
always painted naked, and this handsome youth was dressed in a suit
of clothes covered with jewels. She was not sure, also, that all the
light she perceived did not proceed from his eyes, so beautiful and
brilliant did they appear to her. This young man continued to gaze upon
her, still kneeling. She felt inclined to kneel too. "Who art thou?"
she exclaimed, in amazement. "Art thou a God? Art thou Love?" "I am not
a God," he replied, "but I have more love in me than is to be found in
heaven or earth beside. I am Phratis, son of the Queen of the Fairies,
who loves you and will aid you." Then, taking up the broom which she
had thrown down, he touched all the cobwebs, which immediately turned
to cloth-of-gold of marvellous workmanship, the lamps becoming bright
and shining; Phratis then, giving a golden key to the Princess, said,
"In the principal panel of your cell you will find a lock; open it
gently. Adieu, I must retire for fear of being suspected: go to rest;
you will find all that is necessary for your repose." Then placing one
knee on the ground, he respectfully kissed her hand and disappeared.

Fairer, more surprised at this adventure than at anything else which
had happened to her during the day, re-entered her little apartment,
and looked about for the lock of which he had spoken, when, on
approaching the wainscot, she heard the most gentle voice in the
world apparently deploring some misfortune, and she imagined it must
proceed from some wretched being persecuted as she was. She listened
attentively. "Alas! what shall I do?" said the voice. "They bid me
change this bushel of acorns into oriental pearls!" Fairer than a
Fairy, less astonished than she would have been two hours before,
struck two or three times on the panel, and said pretty loudly, "If
they impose hard tasks in this place, miracles are at the same time
performed here--therefore, hope! But tell me, I pray, who you are, and
I will tell you who I am." "It is more agreeable to me to satisfy your
curiosity than to continue my employment," replied the other person.
"I am the daughter of a King; they say I was born charming, but the
fairies did not assist at my birth, and you know they are cruel to
those whom they have not taken under their protection directly they
come into the world." "Ah! I know it too well," replied Fairer; "I
am handsome, like yourself, the daughter of a King, and unfortunate,
because I am agreeable without the assistance of their gifts." "We
are, then, companions in misfortune," returned the other. "But are
you in love?" "Not far from it," said Fairer, in a low voice; "but
continue your story," said she aloud, "and do not question me more."
"I was considered," continued the other, "the most charming creature
that had ever existed, and everybody loved me and wished to possess
me: they called me Désirs; my will was law, and I was treasured in
all hearts. A young prince, the most enthusiastic of my adorers,
abandoned everything for me. My encouragement of his hopes transported
him with delight. We were about to be united for ever, when the
fairies, jealous at beholding me the object of universal admiration,
and detesting the sight of attractions which they had not bestowed,
carried me off one day in the midst of my triumphs, and consigned me
to this horrid place. They have threatened that they will strangle me
to-morrow morning if I have not performed a preposterous task which
they have imposed upon me. Now, tell me quickly, who are you?" "I have
told you all," replied Fairer, "but my name. They call me Fairer than
a Fairy." "You must, then, be very beautiful," replied the Princess
Désirs; "I should like excessively to see you." "I am quite as anxious
to see you," replied Fairer. "Is there a door hereabouts, for I have
a little key which perhaps may be of use to you." Looking narrowly
round, she discovered one which she was able to open, and pushing it,
the two Princesses met face to face, and were equally surprised at the
marvellous beauty of each other.

After embracing affectionately, and saying many civil things to
one another, Fairer began to laugh at seeing the Princess Désirs
continually rubbing her acorns with a little white stone, as she had
been ordered to do. She told her of the task which they had imposed
upon her, and how miraculously she had been assisted by a charming
unknown being! "But who can it be?" said the Princess Désirs. "I think
it is a man," replied Fairer. "A man!" cried Désirs. "You blush--you
love him!" "No, not yet," replied Fairer; "but he has told me he loves
me; and if he loves me as he says, he shall assist you." Hardly had
she uttered these words, when the bushel measure began to shake, and
agitating the acorns, as the oak on which they had grown might have
done, they were instantly changed into the most beautiful pear-shaped
pearls of the first water. It was one of these which Cleopatra
dissolved in wine at the costly banquet she made for Mark Antony.

The two Princesses were delighted at the exchange, and Fairer than a
Fairy, who began to be accustomed to wonders, leading Désirs by the
hand, returned into her own chamber, and finding the panel containing
the lock of which the stranger had spoken, she opened it with her
golden key, and entered an apartment, the magnificence of which both
surprised and affected her, as she saw in everything it contained the
attention of her lover. It was strewn with the most beautiful flowers,
and exhaled a divine perfume. At one end of this charming room there
was a table covered with all that could gratify the most refined taste,
and two fountains of liqueurs which flowed into basins of porphyry.
The young Princesses seated themselves in two ivory chairs, enriched
with emeralds; they ate with a good appetite, and when they had supped,
the table disappeared, and in its place arose a delicious bath, into
which they stepped together. At a few paces from them they observed
a superb toilet-table, and large baskets of gold wire full of linen
of such exquisite purity that it made them long to make use of it. A
bed of singular form and extraordinary richness, occupied the further
end of this marvellous chamber, which was lined with orange-trees in
golden boxes studded with rubies, while rows of cornelian columns
sustained the sumptuous roof, divided only by immense crystal mirrors
which reached from the ground to the ceiling. Several consoles, of rare
materials, supported vases of precious stones, filled with all sorts of
flowers.

The Princess Désirs admired the good fortune of her companion,
and, turning to her, observed, "Your lover is indeed gallant; he
can do much, and he will do everything for you; your happiness is
extraordinary." A clock striking midnight repeated at each stroke the
name of Phratis. Fairer than a Fairy coloured, and threw herself on the
couch. She trusted to repose, but her sleep was troubled by the image
of Phratis.

The next morning there was great astonishment in the Court of
the Fairies at seeing the gallery so richly decorated, and the
bushel-measure full of beautiful pearls. They had hoped to punish the
young Princesses: their cruelty was disappointed. They found each
alone in her little chamber. After consulting together again, in order
to devise some tasks which could not possibly be accomplished, they
told Désirs to go to the sea-shore and write on the sand, with express
orders to take care that what she wrote there could never be effaced.
And they commanded Fairer to go to the foot of Mount Adventurous, to
fly to the top, and bring them a vase full of the water of immortality.
For this purpose they gave her a quantity of feathers and wax, in
hopes that, by making wings for herself, she might perish like another
Icarus. Désirs and Fairer looked at each other on hearing these
dreadful commands, and, embracing tenderly, they separated, as if
taking an eternal farewell. The fairies conducted one to the sea-shore
and the other to the foot of Mount Adventurous.

When Fairer was left by herself she took the feathers and wax, and
made some vain attempts to form wings with them. After having worked
for some time most ineffectually, her thoughts reverted to Phratis. "If
you loved me," said she, "you would come to my assistance." Hardly had
she finished the last word when she saw him stand before her, looking
a thousand times more beautiful than on the preceding night. The full
light of day was an advantage to him. "Do you doubt my affection?" said
he. "Is anything difficult to him who loves you?" He then requested
her to take off some portion of her dress, and having kissed her hand
as a recompense, he transformed himself suddenly to an eagle. She was
rather sorry to see so charming a person thus metamorphosed, but,
placing himself at her feet, he extended his wings, and made her easily
comprehend his design. Reclining upon him, she encircled his proud neck
with her beautiful arms, and he rose with her gently into the air.
It would be difficult to say which was the most gratified--she, at
escaping death in the execution of the order given her, or he, at being
permitted to bear such a precious burden.

He carried her gently to the summit of the mountain, where she heard
an harmonious concert warbled by a thousand birds that came to render
homage to the divine bird which bore her. The top of this mountain was
a flowery plain, surrounded by fine cedars, in the midst of which was a
little stream, whose silvery waves rolled over golden sands strewn with
brilliant diamonds. Fairer than a Fairy knelt down, and first of all
took some of this precious water in her hand, and drank it. After this
she filled her vase, and, turning towards her eagle, said, "Ah, how I
wish that Désirs had some of this water!" Scarcely had she spoken these
words than the Eagle flew down, took one of the slippers of Fairer,
and returning with it, filled it with water, and carried it to the
sea-shore, where the Princess Désirs was occupied in fruitless attempts
to write indelibly on the sand.

The Eagle returned to Fairer, and resumed his beautiful burden. "Alas!"
said she, "what is Désirs doing? Take me to her." He obeyed. They found
her still writing, and as fast as she wrote, a wave came and effaced
what she had written. "What cruelty," said the Princess to Fairer,
"to command what it is impossible to accomplish! I imagine, from the
strange mode of your conveyance, that you have succeeded." Fairer
alighted, and, moved by the misfortune of her companion, she turned
towards her lover, and thus addressed him, "Give me proof of your
omnipotence." "Or rather of my love," interrupted the Prince, resuming
his proper form. Désirs, observing the beauty and grace of his person,
cast on him a look of surprise and delight. Fairer coloured, and by
a movement over which she had no control, placed herself before him
so as to hide him from her companion. "Do as you are told," continued
she, with a charming air of uneasiness. Phratis knew his happiness, and
wishing to terminate as speedily as possible her trouble, "Read," said
he, and disappeared swifter than a flash of lightning.

At the same instant a wave broke at the feet of Fairer, and in retiring
left behind a brazen tablet, as firmly fixed in the sand as if it had
been there from all eternity, and would remain immovable to the end of
the world. As she looked at it, she perceived letters forming on it,
deeply engraved, which composed these lines:--

    The vows of common love in sand are traced,
    And, even 'graved in brass, may be effaced;
    But those which are inspired by your bright eyes,
    In starry words are written in the skies.
    Nought can destroy those characters divine,
    Eternal as the heavens in which they shine.

"I understand," cried Désirs: "he who loves you, must always love!
How well your charming swain expresses his feelings." She then
embraced Fairer than a Fairy, who soon, in her arms, recovered from
the confusion occasioned by the little feeling of jealousy she had
experienced, and confessed it to her friend, who accused her of it;
and both, confirmed in their friendship, abandoned themselves to the
pleasure of an agreeable and affectionate conversation.

Queen Nabote sent messengers to the foot of the mountain to find what
was become of Fairer than a Fairy. They found the scattered feathers,
and a part of her clothes, and consequently believed she had been
dashed to pieces, as they desired.

Full of this idea, the fairies ran to the sea-shore; they exclaimed at
the sight of the brazen tablet, and were overwhelmed at perceiving the
two Princesses calmly seated in conversation on a jutting piece of
rock. They called to them. Fairer presented her vase full of the water
of immortality, and laughed in secret with Désirs at the fury of the
fairies.

The Queen was not to be jested with. She knew that a power as great
as her own must have assisted them, and her rage increased to such a
pitch, that without hesitating an instant, she determined on effecting
their ruin by a final and most cruel trial.

Désirs was condemned to go on the morrow to the Fair of Time, to fetch
the Rouge of Youth, and Fairer than a Fairy to proceed to the Wood of
Wonders, and capture the Hind with Silver Feet.

The Princess Désirs was conducted to a vast plain, at the end of which
was an immense building, divided into galleries full of shops so superb
that no comparison could be found for them but in the recollections of
the magnificent entertainments at Marly.[11] These shops were kept by
young and agreeable fairies, assisted by their favoured lovers.

As soon as Désirs appeared, her charms fascinated everybody. She took
possession of all hearts. In the first shops she entered she excited
much commiseration by asking for the Rouge of Youth. None would tell
her where to find it, because, when it was not a fairy who came in
search of it, it was a sure sign of torment to the person who was
charged with this dangerous commission. The good fairies told Désirs
to return, and to inquire no further for what she sought. She was so
beautiful that they ran before her wherever she went, in order to gaze
at her. Her ill-luck, however, led her to the shop of a wicked fairy.
Hardly had she asked for the Rouge of Youth, on the part of the Queen
of the Fairies, than, darting a terrible glance at her, she told her
that she had it, and that she would give it her the next morning, and
ordered her to enter a room and wait till it was prepared for her. They
led her into a dark and pestilential place, where she could not see her
hand before her. She was overcome with terror. "Ah!" she exclaimed,
"charming lover of Fairer than a Fairy, haste to my rescue, or I am
lost!"

But he was deaf to her appeal, or unable to act as he had done in
other places. Désirs tormented herself half the night and slept the
remainder, when she was awakened by a good-looking girl, who brought
her a little food, telling her that it was sent her by the favourite
of the Fairy, her mistress, who was resolved to assist her, and that
it would be fortunate for her if such were the case, because the Fairy
had sent for an evil spirit, who, by breathing on her face, would make
her hideous, and in that frightful state she would be ignominiously
sent back to the Queen of the Fairies, who, with all her Court, would
triumph in her misfortunes.

The Princess Désirs felt frightened to death at this threat of losing
in a moment all her beauty, and wished rather to die outright. Her
agony was horrible; she groped about her dark prison in vain hope of
discovering some mode of escape, when some one took her by the arm,
and she felt in her heart a sensation of pleasure. She was gently led
towards a spot where she began to perceive a little light, and when
her eyes became accustomed to it, she was struck by the appearance
of what was to her the most charming object in the world, for she
recognised that dear Prince who loved her so truly, and from whom
they had separated her on the eve of her wedding. Her transport, her
delight, was extreme. "Is it you?" she exclaimed a hundred times.
At length, when fully persuaded of the fact, and forgetting all her
own troubles--"But are you the favourite of this wretched Fairy?"
she continued. "Is it with this fine title that I again behold you."
"Undoubtedly," replied he; "and we shall owe to it the end of our
troubles, and the certainty of our happiness."

He then recounted to her how, in despair at her being carried off, he
had gone to seek a wise old man, who had informed him where she was,
and assured him that he would never recover her but in the Kingdom
of the Fairies; that he had furnished him with the means of finding
it, but that he had been arrested in his pursuit of her by this cruel
Fairy, who had fallen in love with him; that, following the advice of
the sage, he had dissembled, and by his docility had obtained such an
influence over her, that he had the care of all her treasure, and was
the minister of all her power; that she had just departed on a journey
of six thousand leagues; that she would not return for twelve days;
and that, therefore, they should lose no time in escaping; that he
was going into his cabinet to fetch a part of the gem of the ring of
Gyges[12]; that she should put it on, and thereby becoming invisible,
she could pass anywhere: as for himself, he could show himself as he
pleased. "Do not forget," said she, "the Rouge of Youth; I wish to put
some on, and to give some to one of my companions."

The Prince smiled. "Whither shall we go?" continued she. "To the Queen
of the Fairies," he replied. "No, that will never do," she exclaimed;
"we shall perish there!" "The sage who counselled me," pursued he,
"told me to lead you back to the place from whence you came last, if
I wished to be assured of happiness: he has never yet deceived me in
anything whatever." "Well, then, so be it," said Désirs; "we will go
there."

The Prince brought her a valuable box, in which was the Rouge of
Youth; and with the hope of making herself appear more beautiful still
in the eyes of her lover, she rubbed some hastily all over her face,
forgetting that she was invisible by means of the gem which he had
given her. She took him by the arm. They traversed in this manner the
whole of the Fair, and were soon close to the palace of the Queen.
There the Prince resumed the gem of Gyges. The beautiful Désirs became
visible, and he became invisible, to the great regret of the Princess,
whom he took by the arm in his turn, and presented her before Nabote
and her Court. All the fairies looked at each other in excessive
astonishment at seeing Désirs return with the Rouge of Youth, and the
Queen, frowning awfully, desired them to guard her strictly. "Our arts
are vain," said she. "We must put her to death, without trying any more
experiments."

The sentence was pronounced. Désirs trembled with fear; her lover
re-assured her as much as he could.

But we must return to Fairer than a Fairy. They had conducted her to
the Wood of Wonders, and here is the reason why they had condemned her
to chase the Silver-footed Hind:--

Once upon a time there had been a Queen of the Fairies who had
succeeded in due course to that grand title; she was beautiful, good,
and wise. She had had several lovers, whose affections and attentions
had, however, been lost upon her. Entirely occupied in protecting
virtue, she found no amusement in listening to the sighs of her
adorers. There was one whom her coldness rendered the most unhappy,
because he loved her better than any of the others.

One day, seeing that he could not move her to pity him, he protested,
in his despair, that he would kill himself. She was not affected even
at this threat, considering it merely as one of those extravagances
in which lovers sometimes indulge, but which never have any serious
result. However, some time after, he really did throw himself into the
sea.

A sage, who had brought up this young man, complained to the supreme
authorities, and the insensible Fairy was condemned to do penance for
her severity in the form of a hind, for the term of one hundred years,
unless an accomplished beauty could be found, who, by venturing to hunt
her for ten days in the Wood of Wonders, could take her and restore her
to her original shape. Forty years had already elapsed since she had
been first transformed.

At the commencement of her penance several beauties had risked the
trial of this fine adventure, from which so much honour was to be
derived. Each hoped to be the fortunate huntress; but as they lost
themselves in the pursuit, and at the end of ten days were no more
heard of, this ardour began to cool, and for some time past no beauty
had voluntarily offered herself; those who had recently undertaken the
task being condemned to it by the Fairies, in order to ensure their
destruction. It was, thus, to get rid of Fairer that they led her to
the Wood of Wonders. They gave her a small portion of food, for form's
sake, and placed in her hand a silken cord, with a running noose to
catch the deer. That was all her outfit for the chase. She deposited
what they gave her at the foot of a tree, and when she found herself
alone she cast a look round this vast forest, in the profound silence
and solitude of which she saw nothing but despair.

She was anxious to remain at the skirt of the forest, and not to enter
it too far, so in order to know the spot again, she placed a mark
at the point from which she started. But, alas! how did she deceive
herself! Every one lost themselves in this forest, without being
able to issue from it. In one of the paths she caught sight of the
Silver-footed Hind walking slowly. She approached it, with her silken
cord in her hand, thinking to take it; but the deer, feeling itself
pursued, started off at full speed, stopping from time to time, and
turning its head towards Fairer. They were in sight of each other all
day without being any nearer. At last night separated them.

The poor huntress was very tired and very hungry, but she no longer
knew where to find the little provision she had had given her, and
there was nothing but the hard ground for her to repose upon. She
lay down, therefore, very sadly, under a tree; she could not sleep
for a long time--she was frightened; the least thing alarmed her: a
leaf shaken by the wind made her tremble. In this miserable state she
turned her thoughts on her lover, and called him several times; but
finding him fail her in her great distress, she exclaimed, with tears
in her eyes, "Phratis! Phratis! you have abandoned me!" She was just
dropping asleep, when she felt a movement beneath her, and it seemed to
her as though she was in the best bed in the world. She slept soundly
for a considerable time, without any interruption. She was awoke in
the morning by the song of a thousand nightingales, and, turning her
beautiful eyes around, she found she was raised two feet from the
earth, the turf having sprung up under her lovely form, and thus made
a delicious couch. A large orange-tree threw its branches over her
like a tent, and she was covered with flowers. By her side were two
turtle-doves, who announced to her, by their love for each other, what
she might hope for with Phratis. The ground was entirely covered with
strawberries and all sorts of excellent fruits; she ate of them, and
found herself as well satisfied and as much strengthened by them as
though they had been the richest and best kind of meats. A stream which
flowed close by served to allay her thirst. "Oh, ye tender cares of my
lover," cried she, when she had refreshed herself, "how much I needed
you! I murmur no longer. Give me less, dearest, and let me see you!"

She would have continued in this strain had she not perceived,
stretched close to her, the Silver-footed Hind, quietly gazing at her.
She thought this time she must catch it: with one hand she held out
to it a bunch of grass, and with the other grasped the cord; but the
deer bounded lightly away, and when it had gone a short distance, it
stopped, and looked back at her. It kept up this game all day. Another
night came, and passed like the one before it. She awoke under similar
circumstances, and four days and nights elapsed in the like manner.
At length, on the fifth morning, Fairer than a Fairy, on opening her
eyes, thought she saw a light more brilliant than that of day, when she
perceived, in those of her lover, seated near her, all the affection
with which she had inspired him. He fervently kissed one of her feet;
his presence and this respectful action gratified her greatly. "You
are there, then," said she. "If I have not beheld you all these days,
I have, at all events, received the proofs of your goodness." "Say of
my love, Fairer than a Fairy," replied he. "My mother suspects that it
is I who assist you: she has placed me in confinement. I have escaped a
moment, by means of a fairy of my acquaintance. Adieu! I came only to
encourage you. You shall see me this evening, and if fortune smiles,
to-morrow we shall be happy." He departed, and she hunted again all
day. When night came, she perceived near her a little light, which
sufficed to show her her lover. "Here is my illuminated wand," said he:
"place it before you, and go without fear wherever it will lead you.
Where it stops you will perceive a great heap of dry leaves; set fire
to it, enter the place; you will see and you will find the skin of a
beast; burn it. The stars, our friends, will do the rest. Adieu!"

Fairer than a Fairy would have desired far more ample instructions;
but seeing there was no remedy, she placed the wand before her, which
showed her the way. She followed it nearly two hours, very much vexed
at doing nothing else. It stopped at last, and there, truly enough, she
perceived a large heap of dried leaves, to which she did not fail to
set fire. The light was soon so great that she could see a very high
mountain, in which she observed an opening half hid by brambles. She
separated them with her wand, and entered a dark hole; but soon after
she found herself in a vast saloon, of admirable architecture, and
lighted with numberless lamps. But what struck her with the greatest
astonishment was the sight of the skins of several wild and terrible
beasts, hung on golden hooks, which at first she mistook for the
beasts themselves. She turned away her eyes with horror, and they
were arrested in the centre of the saloon by the sight of a beautiful
palm-tree, upon one of the branches of which was suspended the skin
of the Hind with the silver feet. Fairer than a Fairy was enchanted
at seeing it, and taking it down with the aid of her wand, she
carried it quickly to the fire which she had lighted at the entrance
of the cavern. It was consumed in a moment, and re-entering joyfully
the saloon, she penetrated into several magnificent apartments. She
stopped in one, where she saw several small couches placed upon Persian
carpets, and one more beautiful than the rest under a canopy of
cloth-of-gold. But she had not much time to contemplate arrangements
which appeared to her singular, for she heard hearty peals of laughter
and several persons in loud conversation. Fairer than a Fairy turned
her steps in the direction from which the sounds proceeded, and entered
a wonderful place, where she found fifteen young ladies of celestial
beauty.

She did not surprise them less than she was surprised herself: the
extreme loveliness of her appearance took away their breath, and a deep
silence succeeded to cries of admiration. But one of these beautiful
persons, more beautiful than all the rest, advanced, with a smiling
air, towards our charming Princess. "You are my deliverer," said she,
addressing her; "I cannot doubt it; no one can enter here who is not
clothed in the skin of one of the beasts which you saw at the entrance
of the cavern; that has been the fate of all these beautiful persons
whom you see with me. After ten days of useless pursuit of me, they
were changed into so many animals during the day; but at night we
resume our human forms: and you, charming Princess, if you had not
delivered me, would have been changed into a white rabbit." "A white
rabbit!" exclaimed Fairer. "Ah, Madam, it is indeed better that I
should preserve my ordinary form, and that so wonderful a person as you
should be no longer a deer." "You have restored us all to liberty,"
replied the Fairy; "let us now pass the rest of the night as joyously
as may be, and to-morrow we will go to the Palace, and fill all the
Court with astonishment."

It is impossible to express the joy which resounded in this charming
spot, and the delight which all these young persons felt at the sweet
sensation of finding themselves once more in the land of the living,
so to speak--they were all still of the same age as when they commenced
their unfortunate chase in the Wood of Wonders, and the eldest was not
yet twenty.

The Fairy desired to take three or four hours' repose. She made Fairer
lie down beside her, and relate her adventures. She did so with so
touching a voice, her discourse was so unaffected and so full of truth,
that she engaged the Fairy without reserve to assist her love and
render her happy. She did not forget to speak to her of Désirs, and the
Fairy was immediately interested in her favour.

They went to sleep, after a long conversation, which they had agreeably
interrupted, from time to time, by the interchange of affectionate
caresses.

The next day they all set out for the Palace, wishing pleasantly
to surprise the fairies. They quitted, without regret, the Wood of
Wonders, and quickly arrived at the Palace. As they approached the
inner court, they heard a thousand melodious sounds, which composed
an excellent concert. "Here is a fête going on," said the Fairy; "we
have arrived _à propos_;" and advancing, they found the court filled
with an incredible number of people. The Fairy caused the gate to be
opened, and entered with her train. The first persons who recognised
her, uttered the loudest exclamations of delight, and the cause of this
great joy was quickly made known to the multitude. But on advancing,
the Fairy was struck by a strange spectacle. She saw a young girl more
lovely than the Graces, and with the form of Venus, bound to a stake
near a pile of wood, where apparently she was about to be burnt to
death.

Fairer than a Fairy uttered a loud cry, as she recognised Désirs; but
she was much astonished when, at the same moment, she lost sight of
her, and a young man appeared in her place, so handsome and so well
made that one might never be tired of looking at him. At this sight
Fairer uttered a still louder cry, and running towards him, without
any regard to appearances, she flung herself on his neck, exclaiming
a thousand times, "It is my brother! it is my brother." It was her
brother, who was also the fortunate lover of Princess Désirs, and who,
fearing they would put her to death, had given her the Gem of Gyges to
rescue her from the cruelty of Queen Nabote, and by so doing, became
himself visible.

The brother and sister lavished a hundred caresses on each other; the
invisible Désirs added hers, and her voice was heard, although she
was not to be seen, whilst the fairies, in unparalleled astonishment,
expressed in every variety of manner their rapture at again beholding
their virtuous Queen. The good fairies came and threw themselves at
her feet, kissing her hand and her garments. Some wept, some were
unable to speak; each testified her joy according to her peculiar
character. The bad fairies, the partisans of Nabote, also pretended to
be delighted, and policy gave an air of sincerity to their hypocritical
demonstrations. Nabote herself, in despair at this return, controlled
herself with an art of which she alone was capable. She offered at
once to resign her power to the rightful sovereign, who, with a grave
and majestic air, demanded of her why the young girl whom she had seen
bound to the stake merited such a punishment, and since when they had
been accustomed to celebrate a cruel execution by fêtes and sports.
Nabote excused herself very lamely, and the Queen listened impatiently
when the lover of Désirs spoke thus: "They punish this Princess," said
he, "because she is too amiable; they torment for the same reason the
Princess my sister. They were both born as handsome as you now behold
them." He then begged his lady-love to cover up the Gem of Gyges, and
she immediately appeared again. Désirs charmed all who saw her. "They
are beautiful," pursued he; "they possess a thousand virtues which
they do not derive from the fairies; that is why they are roused up
to persecute them. What injustice, to tyrannize over all those whose
charms do not emanate from yourselves." The Prince paused: the Queen
turned towards the assembly with an agreeable air. "I demand," said
she, "that these three persons shall be given up to me; they shall
enjoy the most happy fate that can fall to the lot of mortals. I owe
much to Fairer than a Fairy, and she shall be rewarded for the service
she has done me by uninterrupted felicity. You shall continue to reign,
Madam," added she, turning to Nabote: "this empire is sufficiently
large for you and me. Go to the Beautiful Islands, which belong to you.
Leave me your son; I will share my power with him, and I will marry him
to Fairer than a Fairy; this union will reconcile us to one another."

Nabote was enraged at all these decisions of the Queen, but it was of
no use to complain, she was not the strongest. She had but to obey.
She was about to do so with a bad grace, when the beautiful Phratis
arrived, followed by a gallant train of youths who composed his Court;
he came to pay his homage to the Queen, and manifest his joy at her
return. But in passing, he cast a look at Fairer than a Fairy, and made
her comprehend by his passionate glances that she was the first object
of his devotion.

The Queen embraced him, and presented him to Fairer, begging him to
accept her at her hands. There is no need to say he obeyed joyfully,
exclaiming with transport,

    "Oh Love! for all my tender care and aid,
    By this rich guerdon I am overpaid!"

The two marriages were celebrated on the same day. Both couples were
so happy, that 'tis said they are the only pairs who have ever really
gained the golden Vine,[13] and that those who have been since named as
having done so are purely fabulous personages.

Thus innocence triumphs over the misfortunes with which it is assailed.
Envy and jealousy only serve to increase its lustre; and often the
justice of Heaven renders its possessors happier for the trials they
have undergone. There is a Providence which watches over the conduct of
mortals, and delights in rewarding the worthy, even in this world.


FOOTNOTES:

[11] A favourite palace of Louis XIV., four leagues west
of Paris, and the scene of many celebrated entertainments. It was
destroyed in the Revolution of 1789.

[12] A shepherd who, according to the story told by Plato, was
possessed of a ring which he took off the finger of a dead man enclosed
in the body of a brazen horse, and which rendered the wearer invisible.
By means of this ring he became King of Lydia.

[13] _La vigne d'or_, more commonly _la vigne de l'évêque_.
"On dit d'un mari et d'une femme qui passent la première année de leur
mariage sans s'en repentir, qu'ils auront la vigne de l'evêque."--P.
J. Le Roux, _Dictionnaire Comique_. In the only English version I have
seen of this story, "the golden vine" is of course transformed into
"the flitch of bacon."



THE GOOD WOMAN.


There was once upon a time a Good Woman, who was kind, candid, and
courageous. She had experienced all the vicissitudes which can agitate
human existence.

She had resided at Court, and had endured all the storms to which it
is so subject:--treasons, perfidies, infidelities, loss of wealth,
loss of friends. So that, disgusted with dwelling in a place in which
dissimulation and hypocrisy have established their empire, and weary
of an intercourse wherein hearts never appear as they really are, she
resolved to quit her own country and go to a distance, where she could
forget the world, and where the world would hear no more of her.

When she believed herself far enough off, she built a small house in
an extremely agreeable situation. All she could then do was to buy a
little flock of sheep, which furnished her with food and clothing.

She had hardly made trial of this mode of life before she found herself
perfectly happy. "There is, then, some state of existence in which
one may enjoy content," said she; "and the choice I have made leaves
me nothing to desire." She passed each day in plying her distaff and
tending her flock. She would sometimes have liked a little society, but
she feared the danger of it. She was insensibly becoming accustomed
to the life she led, when one day, as she was endeavouring to collect
her little flock, it began to scatter itself over the country and
fly from her. In fact, it fled so fast that in a very short time she
could scarcely see one of her sheep. "Am I a devouring wolf?" cried
she: "what means this wonder?" She called to a favourite ewe, but it
appeared not to know her voice. She ran after it, exclaiming, "I
will not care for losing all the rest of the flock if thou dost but
remain to me!" But the ungrateful creature continued its flight, and
disappeared with the rest.

The Good Woman was deeply distressed at the loss she had sustained.
"I have now nothing left," cried she; "maybe I shall not find even
my garden; or my little cottage will be no longer in its place." She
returned slowly, for she was very tired with the race she had had. She
lived upon fruit and vegetables for some time after exhausting a small
stock of cheese.

She began to see the end of all this. "Fortune," said she, "thou hast
in vain sought to persecute me even in this remote spot; thou canst not
prevent me from being ready to behold the gates of death without alarm,
and after so much trouble I shall descend with tranquillity into those
peaceful shades."

She had nothing more to spin, she had nothing more to eat: leaning on
her distaff, she bent her steps towards a little wood, and looking
round for a place to rest in, she was astonished at seeing run towards
her three little children, more beautiful than the fairest day. She
was delighted to see such charming company. They loaded her with a
hundred caresses, and as she seated herself on the ground, in order to
receive them more conveniently, one threw its little arms round her
neck, the other encircled her waist from behind, and the third called
her "mother." She waited a long time, to see if some one would not come
to fetch them, believing that those who had led them thither would not
fail to return for them. All the day passed without her seeing any one.

She resolved to take them to her own home, and thought Heaven had sent
her this little flock instead of the one she had lost. It was composed
of two girls, who were only two or three years old, and a little boy of
five. Each had a little ribbon round its neck, to which was attached
a small jewel. One was a golden cherry enamelled with crimson, and
engraved with the name of "Lirette." She thought that this must be
the name of the little girl who wore it, and she resolved to call her
by it. The other was a medlar, on which was written "Mirtis;" and the
little boy had an almond of green enamel, around which was written
"Finfin." The Good Woman felt perfectly satisfied that these were their
names.

The little girls had some jewels in their head-dresses, and more than
enough to put the Good Woman in easy circumstances. She had very soon
bought another flock, and surrounded herself with everything necessary
for the maintenance of her interesting family. She made their winter
clothing of the bark of trees, and in the summer they had white cotton
dresses of the finest bleaching.

Young as they were, they tended their flock. And this time the flock
was faithful, and was more docile and obedient to them than towards the
large dogs which guarded them; and these dogs were also gentle, and
attached to the children. They grew visibly, and passed their days most
innocently; they loved the Good Woman, and were all three excessively
fond of each other. They occupied themselves in tending their sheep,
fishing with a line, spreading nets to catch birds, working in a little
garden of their own, and employed their delicate hands in cultivating
flowers.

There was one rose-tree, which the young Lirette was especially fond
of; she watered it often, and took the greatest care of it; she thought
nothing so beautiful as a rose, and loved it above all other flowers.
She had a fancy one day to open a bud, and try to find its heart, when
in so doing she pricked her finger with a thorn. The pain was sharp,
and she began to cry; the beautiful Finfin, who very seldom left her,
approached, and began to cry too, at seeing her suffer. He took her
little finger, pressed it, and squeezed the blood gently from it.

The Good Woman, who saw their alarm at this accident, approached, and
learning the cause of it, "Why so inquisitive" said she; "why destroy
the flower you loved so much?" "I wanted its heart," replied Lirette.
"Such desires are always fatal," replied the Good Woman. "But, mother,"
pursued Lirette, "why has this flower, which is so beautiful, and
which pleases me so much, thorns?" "To show you," said the Good Woman,
"that we must distrust the greater part of those things which please
our eyes, and that the most agreeable objects hide snares which may be
to us most deadly." "How?" replied Lirette. "Must one not then love
everything which is pleasant?" "No, certainly," said the Good Woman,
"and you must take good care not to do so." "But I love my brother with
all my heart," replied she; "he is so handsome and so charming." "You
may love your brother," replied her mother; "but if he were not your
brother you ought not to love him."

Lirette shook her head, and thought this rule very hard. Finfin
meanwhile was still occupied with her finger; he squeezed on the wound
the juice of the rose-leaves, and wrapped it in them. The Good Woman
asked him why he did that? "Because I think," said he, "that the remedy
may be found in the same thing which has caused the evil." The Good
Woman smiled at this reason. "My dear child," replied she, "not in
this case." "I thought it was in all cases," said he; "for sometimes,
when Lirette looks at me, she troubles me greatly; I feel quite
agitated; and the moment after those same looks cause me a pleasure
which I cannot express to you. When she scolds me sometimes, I am very
wretched; but let her speak at length one gentle word to me, I am all
joy again."

The Good Woman wondered what these children would think of next; she
did not know their relation to each other, and she dreaded their loving
each other too much. She would have given anything to learn if they
were brother and sister; her ignorance on this point caused her great
anxiety, but their extreme youth re-assured her. Finfin was already
full of attention to the little Lirette; he loved her much better
than Mirtis. He had at one time given her some young partridges, the
prettiest in the world, which he had caught. She reared one, which
became a fine bird, with very beautiful plumage; Lirette loved it
excessively, and gave it to Finfin. It followed him everywhere, and he
taught it a thousand diverting tricks. He had one day taken it with
him when going to tend his flock; on returning home he could not find
his partridge; he sought for it everywhere, and distressed himself
greatly at its loss. Mirtis tried to console him, but without success.
"Sister," he replied, "I am in despair. Lirette will be angry; all
you say to me does not diminish my grief." "Well, brother," said she,
"we will get up very early to-morrow and go in search of another; I
cannot bear to see you so miserable." Lirette arrived as she said this,
and having learnt the cause of Finfin's sorrow, she began to smile.
"My dear brother," said she to him, "we will find another partridge;
it is nothing but the state in which I see you that gives me pain."
These words sufficed to restore serenity and calm to the heart and
countenance of Finfin.

"Why," said he to himself, "could Mirtis not restore my spirits, with
all her kindness, while Lirette has done it with a single little word?
Two is one too many--Lirette is enough for me." On the other hand,
Mirtis saw plainly that her brother made a difference between her and
Lirette. "We are not enough here, being three," said she. "I ought
to have another brother, who would love me as much as Finfin does my
sister."

Lirette was now twelve years old, Mirtis thirteen, and Finfin fifteen,
when one evening, after supper, they were all seated in front of the
cottage with the Good Woman, who instructed them in a hundred agreeable
things. The youthful Finfin, seeing Lirette playing with the jewel on
her neck, asked his dear mamma what it was for? She replied that she
had found one on each of them when they fell into her hands. Lirette
then said, "If mine would but do as I tell it, I should be glad." "And
what would you have it do?" asked Finfin. "You will see," said she; and
then taking the end of the ribbon, "Little cherry," she continued, "I
should like to have a beautiful house of roses."

At the same moment they heard a slight noise behind them. Mirtis turned
round first, and uttered a loud cry; she had cause; for instead of the
cottage of the Good Woman, there appeared one of the most charming that
could possibly be seen. It was not lofty, but the roof was formed of
roses that would bloom in winter as well as in summer. They entered it,
and found the most agreeable apartments, furnished magnificently. In
the midst of each room was a rose-tree in full flower, in a precious
vase; and in the first which they entered, they found the partridge
Finfin had lost, which flew on to his shoulder and gave him an hundred
caresses.

"Is it only to wish?" said Mirtis; and taking the ribbon of her jewel
in her hand, "Little medlar," she continued, "give us a garden more
beautiful than our own." Hardly had she finished speaking, when a
garden was presented to their view of extraordinary beauty, and in
which everything that could be imagined to delight the senses appeared
in the highest perfection.

The young folks began immediately to run through the beautiful alleys,
amongst the flower-beds and round about the fountains.

"Do you wish something, brother," said Lirette. "But I have nothing
to wish for," said he; "except to be loved by you as much as you are
loved by me." "Oh," replied she, "my heart can satisfy you on that
point. That does not depend on your almond." "Well, then," said Finfin,
"almond, little almond, I wish that a great forest should rise near
here, in which the King's son shall come to hunt, and that he shall
fall in love with Mirtis."

"What have I done to you," replied the beautiful girl. "I do not wish
to leave the innocent life which we lead." "You are right, my child,"
said the Good Woman, "and I admire the wisdom of your sentiments;
besides which, they say that this King is a cruel usurper, who has put
to death the rightful sovereign and all his family: perhaps the son may
be no better than his father."

The Good Woman, however, was quite astonished at the strange wishes
of these wonderful children, and knew not what to think of them. When
night was come, she retired into the house of roses, and in the morning
she found that there was a large forest close to the house. It formed a
fine hunting ground for our young shepherds. Finfin often hunted down
in it deer, harts, and roebucks.

He gave a fawn whiter than snow to the lovely Lirette; it followed her
as the partridge followed Finfin; and when they were separated for a
short period, they wrote to each other, and sent their notes by these
messengers. It was the prettiest thing in the world.

The little family lived thus tranquilly, occupied with different
employments, according to the seasons. They always attended to their
flocks, but in the summer their occupations were most pleasant. They
hunted much in the winter; they had bows and arrows, and sometimes went
such long distances that they returned, with slow steps and almost
frozen, to the house of roses.

The Good Woman would receive them by a large fire; she did not know
which to begin to warm first. "Lirette, my daughter Lirette," she
would say, "place your little feet here." And taking Mirtis in her
arms,--"Mirtis, my child," continued she, "give me your beautiful hands
to warm; and you my son, Finfin, come nearer." Then, placing them
all three on a sofa, she would pay them every attention in the most
charming and gentle manner.

Thus they passed their days in peace and happiness. The Good Woman
wondered at the sympathy between Finfin and Lirette, for Mirtis was
as beautiful, and had no less amiable qualities; but certainly Finfin
did not love her as fervently as the other. "If they are brother and
sister, as I believe," said the Good Woman, "by their matchless beauty,
what shall I do? They are so similar in everything, that they must
assuredly be of the same blood. If it be so, this affection is very
dangerous; if not, I might render it legitimate by letting them marry;
and they both love me so much, that their union would ensure joy and
peace to my declining days."

In her uncertainty, she had forbidden Lirette, who was fast advancing
to womanhood, to be ever alone with Finfin, and for better security
she had ordered Mirtis to be always with them. Lirette obeyed her with
perfect submission, and Mirtis did also as she had commanded her. The
Good Woman had heard speak of a clever fairy, and resolved to go in
search of her, and endeavour to enlighten herself respecting the fate
of these children.

One day, when Lirette was slightly indisposed, and Mirtis and Finfin
were out hunting, the Good Woman thought it a convenient opportunity to
go in search of Madam Tu-tu, for such was the name of the fairy. She
left Lirette, therefore, at the House of Roses; but she had not got far
on her way before she met Lirette's fawn, which was going towards the
forest, and at the same time she saw Finfin's partridge coming from it.
They joined each other close to her. It was not without astonishment
that she saw round the neck of each a little ribbon, with a paper
attached. She called the partridge, which flew to her, and taking the
paper from it, she read these lines:--

    To Lirette, dear bird, repair--
    Absent from her sight I languish,--
    All my love to her declare--
    Secret joy and silent anguish.
    Much too cold her heart, I fear,
    Such a passion e'er to know
    Were I to her but half as dear,
    No greater bliss I'd crave below.

"What words!" cried the Good Woman,--"what phrases! Simple friendship
does not express itself with so much warmth." Then stopping the fawn,
which came to lick her hand, she unfastened the paper from its neck,
opened it, and found in it these words:--

    The sun is setting,--you are absent yet,
    Although you left me by its earliest light!
    Return, dear Finfin; surely you forget--
    Without you, day to me is endless night!

"Just as they did when I was in the world," continued the Good Woman;
"who could have taught Lirette so much in this desert? What can I do to
cut betimes the root of so pernicious an evil?" "Eh, Madam, what are
you so anxious about?" said the partridge; "let them alone--those who
conduct them know better than you."

The Good Woman remained speechless: she knew well that the partridge
spoke by means of supernatural art. The notes fell from her hands in
her fright; the fawn and the partridge picked them up: the one ran and
the other flew; and the partridge called so often "Tu-tu," that the
Good Woman thought it must be that powerful fairy who had caused it to
speak. She recovered herself a little after this reflection, but not
feeling equal to the journey she had undertaken, she retraced her steps
to the House of Roses.

Meanwhile Finfin and Mirtis had hunted the livelong day, and, being
tired, they had placed their game on the ground, and sat down to rest
under a tree, where they fell asleep.

The King's son also hunted that day in the forest. He missed his suite,
and came to the place where our young shepherd and shepherdess were
reposing. He contemplated them for some time with wonder. Finfin had
made a pillow of his game-bag, and the head of Mirtis reclined on the
breast of Finfin.

The Prince thought Mirtis so beautiful, that he precipitately
dismounted from his horse to examine her features with more attention.
He judged, by their scrips and the simplicity of their apparel, that
they were only some shepherd's children. He sighed from grief, having
already sighed from love, and this love, even, was followed in an
instant by jealousy. The position in which he found these young people
made him believe that such familiarity could only result from the
affection which united them.

  [Illustration: The Good Woman.--P. 210.]

In this uneasy state of mind, not being able to tolerate their
prolonged repose, he touched the handsome Finfin with his spear. He
started up, and, seeing a man before him, he passed his hand over the
face of Mirtis, and awoke her, calling her "sister," a name which
dissipated in a moment the alarm of the young Prince.

Mirtis rose up, quite astonished; she had never seen any one but
Finfin. The young Prince was the same age as herself. He was superbly
attired, and had a face full of charming expression.

He began saying many sweet things to her. She listened to him with a
pleasure which she had never before experienced, and she responded to
them in a simple manner, full of grace. Finfin saw that it was getting
late, and the fawn having arrived with Lirette's letter, he told his
sister it was time to go home. "Come, brother," said she to the young
Prince, giving him her hand, "come with us into the House of Roses."
For as she believed Finfin to be her brother, she thought that every
one who was handsome, like him, must be her brother also.

The young Prince did not require much pressing to follow her. Finfin
threw on the back of his fawn the game he had shot, and the handsome
Prince carried the bow and the game-bag of Mirtis.

In this order they arrived at the House of Roses. Lirette came out to
meet them. She gave the Prince a smiling reception, and turning towards
Mirtis, "I am delighted," said she, "that you have had such good sport."

They went all together to seek the Good Woman, to whom the Prince made
known his high birth. She paid due attention to so illustrious a guest,
and gave him a handsome apartment. He remained two or three days with
her, and this was long enough to complete his conquest by Mirtis,
according to Finfin's request to his little almond.

Meanwhile, the suite of the Prince had been much surprised at his
absence. They had found his horse, and they believed that some
frightful accident had befallen him. They sought him everywhere, and
the wicked King, who was his father, was in a great fury at their not
being able to find him. The Queen, his mother, who was very amiable,
and sister of the King whom her husband had cruelly murdered, was in
an inconceivable state of grief at the loss of her son.

In her extreme distress, she sent secretly in search of Madam Tu-tu,
who was an old friend of hers, but whom she had not seen for some
time, because the King hated her, and had done her much injury
with a person she dearly loved. Madam Tu-tu arrived, without being
perceived, in the cabinet of the Queen. After they had embraced each
other affectionately--for there is not much difference between a Queen
and a Fairy, they having almost equal power,--the Fairy Tu-tu told
her that she would very soon see her son. She begged her not to make
herself uneasy, and not to be at all distressed at anything that might
happen--that either she was very much deceived, or she could promise
her a delight which was quite unexpected by her, and that she would be
one day the happiest of creatures.

The King's people made so many inquiries for the Prince, and sought him
with so much care, that at length they found him at the House of Roses.

They led him back to the King, who scolded him brutally, as though he
were not the most beautiful youth in the world. He remained very sad
at the Court of his father, and thinking of his beautiful Mirtis. At
length his grief was so visible on his countenance, that he was obliged
to take his mother into his confidence, who consoled him extremely.
"If you will mount your beautiful palfrey," said he, "and come to the
House of Roses, you will be charmed with what you will see." The Queen
consented willingly, and took her son with her, who was enchanted at
seeing his dear mistress again.

The Queen was astonished at the great beauty of Mirtis, and also at
that of Lirette and Finfin. She embraced them with as much tenderness
as if they had been all her own children, and conceived an immense
friendship from that moment for the Good Woman. She admired the house,
the garden, and all the curiosities she saw there. When she returned,
the King desired her to give an account of her journey; she did so
naturally, and he took a great fancy to go also and see the wonders
which she described. His son asked permission to accompany him; he
consented with a sullen air, for he never did anything with a good
grace. As soon as he saw the House of Roses he coveted it; he paid
not the least attention to the charming inhabitants of this beautiful
place, and, by way of commencing to take possession of their property,
he said that he would sleep there that evening.

The Good Woman was very much vexed at such a resolution. She heard an
uproar, and saw a disorder in her household, which frightened her.
"What has become," cried she, "of the happy tranquillity which I once
enjoyed here! The least breath of fortune destroys all the calm of
life!"

She gave the King an excellent bed, and withdrew into a corner of the
dwelling with her little family. The wicked King went to bed, but found
it impossible to go to sleep, and opening his eyes, he saw at the
foot of his couch a little old woman, who was not half a yard high,
and about as broad; she had great spectacles, which covered all her
face, and she made frightful grimaces at him. The base are generally
cowards. He was in a terrible fright, and felt at the same time a
thousand points of needles pricking him all over. In this tormenting
state of body and mind, he was kept awake the entire night, and made
a great noise about it. The King stormed and swore in language which
was not at all consistent with his dignity. "Sleep, sleep, sire," said
the partridge, "or let us sleep: if the condition of royalty is so
full of anxiety, I prefer being a partridge to being king." The King
was more than ever alarmed at these words; he commanded them to seize
the partridge, which roosted in a porcelain vase; but she flew away
at this order, beating his face with her wings. He still saw the same
vision, and felt the same prickings; he was dreadfully frightened, and
his anger became more furious. "Ah!" said he, "it is a spell of this
sorceress, whom they call the Good Woman. I will rid myself of her and
all her race by putting them to death!"

He got up, not being able to rest in bed; and as soon as day broke,
he commanded his guards to seize all the innocent little family, and
fling them into dungeons. He had them dragged before him, that he
might witness their despair. Those charming faces, bedewed with tears,
touched him not; on the contrary, he felt a malignant joy at the sight.
His son, whose tender heart was rent by so sad a spectacle, could not
turn his eyes upon Mirtis without an agony which nothing could exceed.
A true lover, on such occasions, suffers more than the person beloved.

They seized these poor innocents, and were leading them away, when the
young Finfin, who had no arms with which to oppose these barbarians,
took the ribbon on a sudden from his neck. "Little almond," cried he,
"I wish that we were out of the power of the King!" "And with his
greatest enemies, my dear cherry!" continued Lirette. "And that we
might take away with us the handsome Prince, my medlar!" added Mirtis.
They had hardly uttered these words when they found themselves with
the Prince, the partridge, and the fawn, all together in a car, which
rising with them in the air, they soon lost sight of the King and the
House of Roses.

Mirtis had no sooner expressed her wish than she repented of it. She
knew well that she had inconsiderately allowed herself to be carried
away by an impulse of which she was not the mistress; therefore, during
all the journey, she kept her eyes cast down, and felt much abashed.
The Good Woman gave her a severe glance. "My daughter," said she, "you
have not done well to separate the Prince from his father; however
unjust he may be, he ought not to leave him." "Ah, Madam," replied the
Prince, "do not complain that I have the happiness of following you. I
respect the King, my father; but I should have left him a hundred times
had it not been for the virtue, the kindness, and tenderness of the
Queen, my mother, which have always detained me."

As he finished these words, they found themselves in front of a
beautiful palace, where they alighted and were received by Madam Tu-tu.
She was the most lovely person in the world--young, lively, and gay.
She paid them a hundred compliments, and confessed to them that it
was she who had given them all the pleasures which they had enjoyed
in their lives, and had also bestowed on them the cherry, the almond,
and the medlar, the virtues of which were at an end, as they had now
arrived in her dominions. Then, addressing the Prince in private, she
told him that she had heard speak a thousand times of the annoyance
he had met with from his father; but, in order that he should not
attribute to her any evil that might hereafter befal the King, she
frankly admitted she had played him some tricks, but that was the full
extent of her vengeance.

After that, she assured them that they would be all very happy with
her; that they should have flocks to keep, crooks, bows, arrows, and
fishing-rods, in order that they might amuse themselves in a hundred
different ways. She gave them shepherds' dresses of the most elegant
description, including the Prince with the others,--their names and
devices being on their crooks; and that very evening the young Prince
exchanged crooks with the charming Mirtis.

The next day Madame Tu-tu led them to the most delightful promenade in
the world, and showed them the best pasturage for their sheep, and a
fine country for the chase.

"You can go," said she, "on this side as far as that beautiful river,
but never to the opposite shore; and you may hunt in this wood; but
beware," said she, "of passing a great oak, which is in the midst of
the forest; it is very remarkable, for it has roots and trunk of iron.
If you go beyond it, misfortunes may happen to you, from which I cannot
protect you; and, besides that, I should not perhaps be in a position
to assist you promptly, for a fairy has plenty of occupation."

The young shepherds assured her that they would do exactly as she
prescribed; and all four, leading their flocks into the meadows, left
Madam Tu-tu alone with the Good Woman. She remarked some anxiety in her
manner. "What is the matter, madam?" said the Fairy; "what cloud has
come over your mind?" "I will not deny," said the Good Woman, "that
I am uneasy at leaving them all thus together. I have for some time
perceived with sorrow that Finfin and Lirette love each other more
than is desirable, and here, to add to my trouble, another attachment
springs up: the Prince and Mirtis do not dislike each other, and I fear
to leave their youth exposed to the wandering of their hearts."

"You have brought up these two young girls so well," replied Madam
Tu-tu, "that you need fear nothing: I will answer for their discretion;
I will enlighten you as to their destiny."

She then informed her that Finfin was the son of the wicked King, and
brother of the young Prince; that Mirtis and Lirette were sisters, and
daughters of the deceased King, who had been murdered, and who was the
brother of the Queen, whom the cruel usurper had married,--so that
these four young persons were near relations; that the wicked King had
ascended the throne after having committed a hundred atrocities, which
he wished to crown by the murder of the two Princesses; that the Queen
did all she could to prevent him, and not being able to succeed, she
had called her (the Fairy) to her assistance; that she then told the
Queen she would save them, but that she could only do so by taking with
them her eldest son; that she undertook to promise she should see them
again some day in happiness; that on those conditions, the Queen had
consented to a separation, which appeared at first very hard; that she
had carried them all three off, and that she had confided them to the
care of the Good Woman as the person most worthy of such an office.

After this the Fairy begged her to be at ease, assuring her that the
union of these young Princes would restore peace to the kingdom,
wherein Finfin would reign with Lirette. The Good Woman listened to
this discourse with great interest; but not without letting fall
some tears. Madam Tu-tu was surprised at this emotion, and asked the
cause. "Alas!" said she, "I fear they will lose their innocence by
this grandeur to which they will be elevated, and that so brilliant a
fortune will corrupt their virtue."

"No," replied the Fairy, "do not fear so great a misfortune; the
principles you have instilled into them are too excellent. It is
possible to be a king and yet an honest man. You know that there is one
in the universe who is the model of perfect monarchs.[14] Therefore set
your mind at rest; I shall be with you as much as possible, and I hope
you will not be melancholy here."

The Good Woman believed her, and after a short time felt perfectly
satisfied. The young shepherds were so happy also that they desired
nothing but the continuance of their agreeable mode of life. Their
pleasures, although tranquil, were not without interest: they saw each
other every day, and the days only appeared to them too short.

The bad King learnt that they were with Madam Tu-tu, but all his power
could not take them away from her. He knew by what magic spells she
protected them; he saw clearly that he could only get the better of
them by stratagem; he had not been able to inhabit the House of Roses
in consequence of the continual tricks played on him by Madam Tu-tu; he
hated her more than ever, as well as the Good Woman; and his hatred now
extended also to his son.

He employed all kinds of artifice in order to get into his power
some one of the four young shepherds, but his art did not extend to
the dominions of Madam Tu-tu. One unlucky day (there are some which
we cannot avoid), these amiable shepherds had bent their steps in the
direction of the fatal oak, when the beautiful Lirette perceived upon
a tree, about twenty paces distant, a bird of such rare plumage, that
she let fly an arrow at it on the impulse of the moment, and seeing the
bird fall dead, ran to pick it up. All this was done instantaneously,
and without reflection; but the poor Lirette found, to her cost, that
she was caught herself. It was impossible for her to return; she
desired, but had no power to do so. She discovered her error, and
all she could do was to extend her arms for pity to her brothers and
sisters. Mirtis began to cry, and Finfin, without hesitation, ran to
her. "I will perish with you," he cried, and in a moment had joined her.

Mirtis wished to follow them, but the young Prince detained her. "Let
us go and apprise Madame Tu-tu of this," said he; "that is the best
assistance we can render them." At the same moment they saw the people
of the wicked King seize them, and all they could do was to cry adieu
to each other.

The King had caused this beautiful bird to be placed there by his
hunters, to serve as a snare for the shepherds: he fully expected what
had come to pass. They led Lirette and Finfin before the cruel monarch,
who abused them terribly, and had them confined in a dark and strong
prison: it was then they began to lament that their little cherry and
almond had lost their virtue. The fawn and the partridge sought for
them, but the fawn not being able to see them, shed some tears of
grief, and finding the King had given orders that she should be taken
and burnt alive, she saved herself by running fast to Mirtis. The
partridge was more fortunate, for she saw them every day through the
grating of their prison: happily for them, the King had not thought of
separating them. When one loves, it is a pleasure to suffer together.

The partridge flew back every day, and came to tell the news to Madame
Tu-tu, the Good Woman, and Mirtis. Mirtis was very unhappy, and without
the handsome Prince she would have been inconsolable. She resolved to
write to these poor captives by the faithful partridge, and hung a
little bottle of ink to her neck, with some paper, and put a pen in her
beak. The good partridge, thus loaded, presented herself at the bars of
the prison, and it was a great delight to our young shepherds to see
her again. Finfin put out his hand and took from her all she brought
him, after which they began to read as follows:[15]

          _Mirtis and the Prince to Lirette and Finfin._

 "Know you how we languish during this cruel separation; that we sigh
 incessantly, and that perhaps it may kill us. We should already have
 died, had we not been sustained by hope. That hope has supported us
 ever since Madam Tu-tu has assured us that you still lived. Believe
 us, dear Lirette and Finfin, we shall meet again, despite of malice,
 and be happy."

This letter had a powerful effect on the minds of Lirette and Finfin.
They were filled with joy, and wrote immediately this reply:--

           _Lirette and Finfin to Mirtis and the Prince._

 "We have received your letter with extreme pleasure. It has rejoiced
 us more than we could have anticipated. In these regions of horror
 our torments would be insupportable, but for the sweet consolation we
 derive from each other's presence. Near the object of our affections,
 we are insensible to pain, and love renders everything delightful.
 Adieu, dear Prince, adieu, Mirtis. Encourage your mutual passion. Be
 always inspired by a tender fidelity. You hold out a hope to us in
 which we participate. The greatest blessing which can occur to us will
 be accompanied by your presence."

Finfin having attached this note to the neck of the partridge, she
flew away with it very quickly. The young shepherds received great
consolation from it, but the Good Woman could not be comforted from
the moment she had been separated from those so dear to her, and
whom she knew to be in so much peril. "How quickly my happiness has
vanished," said she to Madame Tu-tu; "I seem to have been born only
to be continually agitated. I thought I had taken the only means for
ensuring my repose; how purblind are mortals!" "And do you not know,"
replied the Fairy, "that there is no state of existence in this world
in which one can live always happily." "I do," replied the Good Woman,
mournfully; "and if one cannot find happiness in one's self, it is
seldom found elsewhere. But, Madam, consider the fate of my children, I
beg of you!" "They have not remembered the orders I gave them," replied
Madame Tu-tu; "but let us think of a remedy."

Madame Tu-tu entered her library with the Good Woman. She read nearly
all the night, and having at length taken down and opened a large book,
which she had frequently passed over, although its sides were covered
with plates of gold, she appeared plunged, on a sudden, into a state
of excessive sadness. After some time, and just as day was breaking,
the Good Woman observing a few tears fall on the leaves of the book,
took the liberty to ask the cause of the Fairy's sorrow. "I grieve,"
said she, "at the irrevocable decree of Fate, which I have learned from
these pages, and which I shudder and tremble to acquaint you with."
"Are they dead?" cried the Good Woman. "No," pursued Madame Tu-tu; "but
nothing can save them, unless you or I go and present ourselves to the
King, and satisfy his vengeance. I confess the truth to you, Madam,"
continued the Fairy, "that I do not feel sufficient affection for them,
nor enough courage, to go thus and expose myself to his fury, and I
question, also, if any one could be found capable of such a sacrifice."
"Pardon me, Madam," replied the Good Woman, with great firmness; "I
will go seek this King; no sacrifice is too great for me that will save
my children. I will pour out for them, with all my heart, every drop of
blood which I have in my veins."

Madam Tu-tu could not sufficiently admire so grand a resolution; she
promised to assist her in every way in her power; but that she found
herself limited in this instance, in consequence of the fault which
they had committed. The Good Woman took leave of her, and would not
acquaint Mirtis or the Prince with her design, for fear of affecting
them and weakening her own determination. She set out with the
partridge flying by her side; and as they passed the iron oak, the
partridge snatched with her beak a little moss from its trunk, and
placed it in the hands of the Good Woman. "When you are in the greatest
peril which can befall you," said she to her, "throw this moss at the
feet of the King." The Good Woman treasured up these words, and hardly
had she advanced some steps when she was seized by some of the wicked
King's soldiers, whom he always kept in readiness on the outskirts of
the domain of Madam Tu-tu. They led her before him. "I have thee at
last, wicked creature!" said he; "I will put thee to death by the most
cruel torture!" "I came but for that purpose," replied she, "and thou
mayst exercise thy cruelty as thou wilt on me, only spare my children,
who are so young and incapable of having offended thee. I offer thee
my life for theirs." All who heard these words were filled with pity
at her magnanimity; the King alone was unmoved. The Queen, who was
present, shed a torrent of tears. The King was so indignant with
her that he would have killed her, if her attendants had not placed
themselves between them. She fled, uttering piercing cries.

The barbarous King caused the Good Woman to be shut up, ordering them
to feed her well, in order to render approaching death more frightful
to her. He commanded them to fill a pit with snakes, vipers, and
serpents, promising himself the pleasure of precipitating the Good
Woman into it. What a horrible mode of execution! It makes one shudder
to think of it!

The officers of this unjust Prince obeyed him with regret; and when
they had fulfilled this frightful order, the King came to the spot.
They were about to bind the Good Woman, when she begged them not to do
so, assuring them that she had sufficient courage to meet death with
her hands free; and, feeling she had no time to lose, she approached
the King, and threw the moss at his feet. He was at that moment close
to the frightful gulf, and stepping forward to inspect it again with
pleasure, his feet slipped on the moss, and he fell in. Hardly had he
reached the bottom of the pit, when the sanguinary reptiles darted upon
him, and stung him to death, and the Good Woman, at the same instant,
found herself in company with her dear partridge in the House of Roses.

Whilst these things were happening, Finfin and Lirette were almost dead
with misery in their fearful prison; their innocent affection alone
kept them alive. They were saying very sad and very affecting things to
each other, when they perceived on a sudden the doors of their dungeon
open and admit Mirtis, the handsome Prince, and Madam Tu-tu, who threw
themselves on their necks, and who, though speaking all at once, failed
not, in the midst of this joyful confusion, to announce the death of
the King. "He was your father, Finfin, as well as that of the Prince,"
said Madam Tu-tu; "but he was unnatural and tyrannical, and would a
hundred times have put the Queen, your dear mother, to death. Let us go
to seek her." They did so. Her amiable nature made her feel some regret
at the death of the King, her husband. Finfin and the Prince also paid
all decent respect to his memory. Finfin was acknowledged King, and
Mirtis and Lirette Princesses. They went all together to the House of
Roses, to see the generous Good Woman, who thought she should die of
joy in embracing them. They all acknowledged that they owed their lives
to her, and more than their lives, as they were indebted to her for
their happiness also.

From that moment they considered themselves perfectly happy. The
marriages were celebrated with great pomp. King Finfin espoused the
Princess Lirette, and Mirtis the Prince. When these splendid nuptials
were over, the Good Woman asked permission to retire to the House of
Roses. They were very unwilling to consent to this, but yielded to her
sincere wish. The widowed Queen also desired to pass the rest of her
life with the Good Woman, and the partridge and the fawn did likewise.
They were quite disgusted with the world, and found tranquillity in
that charming retreat. Madam Tu-tu often went to visit them, as did the
King and Queen, the Prince and Princess.

Happy those who can imitate the actions of the Good Woman. Such
grandeur of soul must ever meet due reward. Little do they fear being
wrecked on the shoals of Fortune, who can give up all with so much
courage. Discretion, Sense, Virtue--what may not mortals owe to you,
their truest friends in need.


FOOTNOTES:

[14] Louis XIV., "Le Grande Monarque."

[15] I have not thought it necessary to run into rhyme the
exceedingly prosaic effusions of the two pairs of lovers.



MADAME DE VILLENEUVE.



THE STORY

OF

THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.


In a country very far from this is to be seen a great city wherein
trade flourishes abundantly. It numbered amongst its citizens a
merchant, who succeeded in all his speculations, and upon whom Fortune,
responding to his wishes, had always showered her fairest favours. But
if he had immense wealth, he had also a great many children, his family
consisting of six boys and six girls. None of them were settled in
life: the boys were too young to think of it; the girls, too proud of
their fortunes, upon which they had every reason to count, could not
easily determine upon the choice they should make. Their vanity was
flattered by the attentions of the handsomest young gentlemen. But a
reverse of fortune which they did not at all expect, came to trouble
their felicity. Their house took fire; the splendid furniture with
which it was filled, the account books, the notes, gold, silver, and
all the valuable stores which formed the merchant's principal wealth,
were enveloped in this fatal conflagration, which was so violent
that very few of the things could be saved. This first misfortune
was but the forerunner of others. The father, with whom hitherto
everything had prospered, lost at the same time, either by shipwreck
or by pirates, all the ships he had at sea; his correspondents made
him a bankrupt, his foreign agents were treacherous; in short, from
the greatest opulence, he suddenly fell into the most abject poverty.
He had nothing left but a small country house, situated in a lonely
place, more than a hundred leagues from the city in which he usually
resided. Impelled to seek a place of refuge from noise and tumult, he
took his family to this retired spot, who were in despair at such a
revolution. The daughters of this unfortunate merchant were especially
horrified at the prospect of the life they should have to lead in this
dull solitude. For some time they flattered themselves that, when
their father's intention became known, their lovers, who had hitherto
sued in vain, would be only too happy to find they were inclined to
listen to them. They imagined that the many admirers of each would be
all striving to obtain the preference. They thought if they wished
only for a husband they would obtain one; but they did not remain
very long in such a delightful illusion. They had lost their greatest
attractions when, like a flash of lightning, their father's splendid
fortune had disappeared, and their time for choosing had departed with
it. Their crowd of admirers vanished at the moment of their downfall;
their beauty was not sufficiently powerful to retain one of them.
Their friends were not more generous than their lovers. From the hour
they became poor, every one, without exception, ceased to know them.
Some were even cruel enough to impute their misfortunes to their own
acts. Those whom the father had most obliged were his most vehement
calumniators: they reported that all his calamities were brought on by
his own bad conduct, his prodigality, and the foolish extravagance of
himself and his children.

This wretched family, therefore, could not do better than depart
from a city wherein everybody took a pleasure in insulting them in
their misfortunes. Having no resource whatever, they shut themselves
up in their country house, situated in the middle of an almost
impenetrable forest, and which might well be considered the saddest
abode in the world. What misery they had to endure in this frightful
solitude! They were forced to do the hardest work. Not being able
to have any one to wait upon them, this unfortunate merchant's sons
were compelled to divide the servant's duties amongst them, as well
as to exert themselves in every way that people must do who have to
earn their livelihood in the country. The daughters, on their part,
had sufficient employment. Like the poor peasant girls, they found
themselves obliged to employ their delicate hands in all the labours
of a rural life. Wearing nothing but woollen dresses, having nothing
to gratify their vanity, existing upon what the land could give them,
limited to common necessaries, but still retaining a refined and dainty
taste, these girls incessantly regretted the city and its attractions.
The recollection even of their younger days passed so rapidly in a
round of mirth and pleasure was their greatest torment. The youngest
girl, however, displayed greater perseverance and firmness in their
common misfortune. She bore her lot cheerfully, and with a strength
of mind much beyond her years: not but what, at first, she was truly
melancholy. Alas! who would not have felt such misfortunes. But, after
deploring her father's ruin, could she do better than resume her former
gaiety, make up her mind to the position she was placed in, and forget
a world which she and her family had found so ungrateful, and the
friendship of which she was so fully persuaded was not to be relied
upon in the time of adversity?

Anxious to console herself and her brothers, by her amiable disposition
and sprightliness, there was nothing she did not do to amuse them.
The merchant had spared no cost in her education, nor in that of her
sisters. At this sad period she derived all the advantage from it she
desired. As she could play exceedingly well upon various instruments,
and sing to them charmingly, she asked her sisters to follow her
example, but her cheerfulness and patience only made them more
miserable. These girls, who were so inconsolable in their ill fortune,
thought their youngest sister showed a poor and mean spirit, and even
silliness, to be so merry in the state it had pleased Providence to
reduce them to. "How happy she is," said the eldest; "she was intended
for such coarse occupations. With such low notions, what would she
have done in the world?" Such remarks were unjust. This young person
was much more fitted to shine in society than either of them. She was
a perfectly beautiful young creature, her good temper rendered her
adorable. A generous and tender heart was visible in all her words and
actions. Quite as much alive to the reverses that had just overwhelmed
her family as either of her sisters, by a strength of mind which is not
common in her sex, she concealed her sorrow, and rose superior to her
misfortunes. So much firmness was considered to be insensibility. But
one can easily appeal from a judgment pronounced by jealousy.

Every intelligent person, who saw her in her true light, was eager to
give her the preference over her sisters. In the midst of her greatest
splendour, although distinguished by her merit, she was so handsome
that she was called "The Beauty." Known by this name only, what more
was required to increase the jealousy and hatred of her sisters? Her
charms, and the general esteem in which she was held, might have
induced her to hope for a much more advantageous establishment than
her sisters; but feeling only for her father's misfortunes, far from
retarding his departure from a city in which she had enjoyed so much
pleasure, she did all she could to expedite it. This young girl was as
contented in their solitude as she had been in the midst of the world.
To amuse herself in her hours of relaxation, she would dress her hair
with flowers, and, like the shepherdesses of former times, forgetting
in a rural life all that had most gratified her in the height of
opulence, every day brought to her some new innocent pleasure.

Two years had already passed, and the family began to be accustomed
to a country life, when a hope of returning prosperity arrived to
discompose their tranquillity. The father received news that one of
his vessels, that he thought was lost, had safely arrived in port,
richly laden. His informants added, they feared the factors would
take advantage of his absence, and sell the cargo at a low price, and
by this fraud make a great profit at his expense. He imparted these
tidings to his children, who did not doubt for an instant but that
they should soon be enabled to return from exile. The girls, much
more impatient than the boys, thinking it was unnecessary to wait
for more certain proof, were anxious to set out instantly, and to
leave everything behind them. But the father, who was more prudent,
begged them to moderate their delight. However important he was to
his family at a time when the labours of the field could not be
interrupted without great loss, he determined to leave his sons to get
in the harvest, and that he would set out upon this long journey. His
daughters, with the exception of the youngest, expected they would
soon be restored to their former opulence. They fancied that, even if
their father's property would not be considerable enough to settle them
in the great metropolis, their native place, he would at least have
sufficient for them to live in a less expensive city. They trusted
they should find good society there, attract admirers, and profit
by the first offer that might be made to them. Scarcely remembering
the troubles they had undergone for the last two years, believing
themselves to be already, as by a miracle, removed from poverty into
the lap of plenty, they ventured (for retirement had not cured them
of the taste for luxury and display) to overwhelm their father with
foolish commissions. They requested him to make purchases of jewelry,
attire, and head-dresses. Each endeavoured to outvie the other in her
demands, so that the sum total of their father's supposed fortune would
not have been sufficient to satisfy them.

Beauty, who was not the slave of ambition, and who always acted with
prudence, saw directly that if he executed her sisters' commissions,
it would be useless for her to ask for anything. But the father,
astonished at her silence, said, interrupting his insatiable daughters,
"Well, Beauty, dost thou not desire anything? What shall I bring thee?
what dost thou wish for? Speak freely." "My dear papa," replied the
amiable girl, embracing him affectionately, "I wish for one thing more
precious than all the ornaments my sisters have asked you for; I have
limited my desires to it, and shall be only too happy if they can be
fulfilled. It is the gratification of seeing you return in perfect
health." This answer was so unmistakeably disinterested, that it
covered the others with shame and confusion. They were so angry, that
one of them, answering for the rest, said with bitterness, "This child
gives herself great airs, and fancies that she will distinguish herself
by these affected heroics. Surely nothing can be more ridiculous."
But the father, touched by her expressions, could not help showing
his delight at them; appreciating, too, the feeling which induced her
to ask nothing for herself, he begged she would choose something; and
to allay the ill-will that his other daughters had towards her, he
observed to her that such indifference to dress was not natural at her
age--that there was a time for everything. "Very well, my dear father,"
said she, "since you desire me to make some request, I beg you will
bring me a rose; I love that flower passionately, and since I have
lived in this desert I have not had the pleasure of seeing one." This
was to obey her father, and at the same time to avoid putting him to
any expense for her.

At length the day arrived, that this good old man was compelled to
leave his family. He travelled as fast as he could to the great city to
which the prospect of a new fortune recalled him. But he did not meet
with the benefits he had hoped for. His vessel had certainly arrived;
but his partners, believing him to be dead, had taken possession of
it, and all the cargo had been disposed of. Thus, instead of entering
into the full and peaceable possession of that which belonged to him,
he was compelled to encounter all sorts of chicanery in the pursuit of
his rights. He overcame them, but after more than six months of trouble
and expense, he was not any richer than he was before. His debtors
had become insolvent, and he could hardly defray his own costs. Thus
terminated this dream of riches.

To add to his disagreeables, he was obliged, on the score of economy,
to start on his homeward journey at the most inconvenient time, and in
the most frightful weather. Exposed on the road to the piercing blasts,
he thought he should die with fatigue; but when he found himself within
a few miles of his house (which he did not reckon upon leaving for such
false hopes, and which Beauty had shown her sense in mistrusting) his
strength returned to him. It would be some hours before he could cross
the forest; it was late, but he wished to continue his journey. He
was benighted, suffering from intense cold, buried, one might say, in
the snow, with his horse; not knowing which way to bend his steps, he
thought his last hour had come: no hut in his road, although the forest
was filled with them. A tree, hollowed by age, was the best shelter he
could find, and only too happy was he to hide himself in it. This tree
protecting him from the cold, was the means of saving his life; and the
horse, a little distance from his master, perceiving another hollow
tree, was led by instinct to take shelter in that.

The night, in such a situation, appeared to him to be never-ending;
furthermore, he was famished, frightened at the roaring of the wild
beasts, that were constantly passing by him. Could he be at peace for
an instant? His trouble and anxiety did not end with the night. He
had no sooner the pleasure of seeing daylight than his distress was
greater. The ground appeared so extraordinarily covered with snow, no
road could he find--no track was to be seen. It was only after great
fatigue and frequent falls, that he succeeded in discovering something
like a path upon which he could keep his footing.

Proceeding without knowing in which direction, chance led him into
the avenue of a beautiful castle, which the snow seemed to have
respected. It consisted of four rows of orange-trees, laden with
flowers and fruit. Statues were seen here and there, regardless of
order or symmetry--some were in the middle of the road, others among
the trees--all after the strangest fashion; they were of the size of
life, and had the colour of human beings, in different attitudes, and
in various dresses, the greatest number representing warriors. Arriving
at the first court-yard, he perceived a great many more statues. He was
suffering so much from cold that he could not stop to examine them. An
agate staircase, with balusters of chased gold, first presented itself
to his sight: he passed through several magnificently furnished rooms;
a gentle warmth which he breathed in them renovated him. He needed
food; but to whom could he apply? This large and magnificent edifice
appeared to be inhabited only by statues. A profound silence reigned
throughout it; nevertheless it had not the air of an old palace that
had been deserted. The halls, the rooms, the galleries were all open;
no living thing appeared to be in this charming place.

Weary of wandering over this vast dwelling, he stopped in a saloon,
wherein was a large fire. Presuming that it was prepared for some one,
who would not be long in appearing, he drew near the fireplace to warm
himself; but no one came. Seated on a sofa near the fire, a sweet sleep
closed his eyelids, and left him no longer in a condition to observe
the entrance of any one. Fatigue induced him to sleep; hunger awoke
him; he had been suffering from it for the last twenty-four hours.
The exercise that he had taken ever since he had been in this palace
increased his appetite. When he awoke and opened his eyes, he was
astonished to see a table elegantly laid. A light repast would not have
satisfied him; but the viands, magnificently dressed, invited him to
eat of everything.

His first care was to utter in a loud voice his thanks to those from
whom he had received so much kindness, and he then resolved to wait
quietly till it pleased his host to make himself known to him. As
fatigue caused him to sleep before his repast, so did the food produce
the same effect, and his repose was longer and more powerful; in fact,
this second time he slept for at least four hours. Upon awaking, in
the place of the first table he saw another of porphyry, upon which
some kind hand had set out a collation consisting of cakes, preserved
fruits, and liqueurs. This was likewise for his use. Profiting,
therefore, by the kindness shown him, he partook of everything that
suited his appetite, his taste, and his fancy.

Finding at length no one to speak to, or to inform him whether
this palace was inhabited by a man or by a God, fear began to take
possession of him, for he was naturally timid. He resolved, therefore,
to repass through all the apartments, and overwhelm with thanks the
Genius to whom he was indebted for so much kindness, and in the most
respectful manner solicit him to appear. All his attentions were
useless: no appearance of servants, no result by which he could
ascertain that the palace was inhabited. Thinking seriously of what he
should do, he began to fancy, for what reason he could not imagine,
that some good spirit had made this mansion a present to him, with
all the riches that it contained. This idea seemed like inspiration,
and without further delay, making a new inspection of it, he took
possession of all the treasures he could find. More than this, he
settled in his own mind what share of it he should allow to each of his
children, and selected the apartments which would particularly suit
them, enjoying the delight beforehand which his journey would afford
them. He entered the garden, where, in spite of the severity of the
winter, the rarest flowers were exhaling the most delicious perfume in
the mildest and purest air. Birds of all kinds blending their songs
with the confused noise of the waters, made an agreeable harmony.

The old man, in ecstasies at such wonders, said to himself, "My
daughters will not, I think, find it very difficult to accustom
themselves to this delicious abode. I cannot believe that they will
regret, or that they will prefer the city to this mansion. Let me set
out directly," cried he, in a transport of joy rather uncommon for
him; "I shall increase my happiness in witnessing theirs: I will take
possession at once."

Upon entering this charming castle he had taken care, notwithstanding
he was nearly perished, to unbridle his horse and let him wend his
way to a stable which he had observed in the fore-court. An alley,
ornamented by palisades, formed by rose-bushes in full bloom, led to
it. He had never seen such lovely roses. Their perfume reminded him
that he had promised to give Beauty a rose. He picked one, and was
about to gather enough to make half-a-dozen bouquets, when a most
frightful noise made him turn round. He was terribly alarmed upon
perceiving at his side a horrible beast, which, with an air of fury,
laid upon his neck a kind of trunk, resembling an elephant's, and said,
with a terrific voice, "Who gave thee permission to gather my roses?
Is it not enough that I kindly allowed thee to remain in my palace.
Instead of feeling grateful, rash man, I find thee stealing my flowers!
Thy insolence shall not remain unpunished." The good man, already too
much overpowered by the unexpected appearance of this monster, thought
he should die of fright at these words, and quickly throwing away
the fatal rose. "Ah! my Lord," said he, prostrating himself before
him, "have mercy on me! I am not ungrateful! Penetrated by all your
kindness, I did not imagine that so slight a liberty could possibly
have offended you." The monster very angrily replied, "Hold thy tongue,
thou foolish talker. I care not for thy flattery, nor for the titles
thou bestowest on me. I am not 'my Lord;' I am The Beast; and thou
shalt not escape the death thou deservest."

The merchant, dismayed at so cruel a sentence, and thinking that
submission was the only means to preserve his life, said, in a truly
affecting manner, that the rose he had dared to take was for one of his
daughters, called Beauty. Then, whether he hoped to escape from death,
or to induce his enemy to feel for him, he related to him all his
misfortunes; he told him the object of his journey, and did not omit to
dwell on the little present he was bound to give Beauty; adding, that
was the only thing she had asked for, while the riches of a king would
hardly have sufficed to satisfy the wishes of his other daughters; and
so came to the opportunity which had offered itself to satisfy the
modest desire of Beauty, and his belief that he could have done so
without any unpleasant consequences; asking pardon, moreover, for his
involuntary fault. The Beast considered for a moment, then, speaking
in a milder tone, he said to him, "I will pardon thee, but upon
condition that thou wilt give me one of thy daughters--I require some
one to repair this fault." "Just Heaven!" replied the merchant; "how
can I keep my word? Could I be so inhuman as to save my own life at the
expense of one of my children's; under what pretext could I bring her
here?" "There must be no pretext," interrupted the Beast. "I expect
that whichever daughter you bring here she will come willingly, or I
will not have either of them. Go; see if there be not one amongst them
sufficiently courageous, and loving thee enough, to sacrifice herself
to save thy life. Thou appearest to be an honest man. Give me thy word
of honour to return in a month. If thou canst decide to bring one of
them back with thee, she will remain here and thou wilt return home. If
thou canst not do so, promise me to return hither alone, after bidding
them farewell for ever, for thou wilt belong to me. Do not fancy,"
continued the Monster, grinding his teeth, "that by merely agreeing
to my proposition thou wilt be saved. I warn thee, if thou thinkest
so to escape me, I will seek for thee, and destroy thee and thy race,
although a hundred thousand men appear to defend thee."

The good man, although quite convinced that he should not vainly put to
the proof the devotion of his daughters, accepted, nevertheless, the
Monster's proposition. He promised to return to him at the time named,
and give himself up to his sad fate, without rendering it necessary
for the Beast to seek for him. After this assurance he thought himself
at liberty to retire and take leave of the Beast, whose presence was
most distressing to him. The respite was but brief, yet he feared he
might revoke it. He expressed his anxiety to depart; but the Beast told
him he should not do so till the following day. "Thou wilt find," said
he, "a horse ready at break of day. He will carry thee home quickly.
Adieu--go to supper, and await my orders."

The poor man, more dead than alive, returned to the saloon in which
he had feasted so heartily. Before a large fire his supper, already
laid, invited him to sit and enjoy it. The delicacy and richness of
the dishes had no longer, however, any temptation for him. Overwhelmed
by his grief, he would not have seated himself at the table, but that
he feared that the Beast was concealed somewhere, and observing him,
and that he would excite his anger by any slight of his bounty. To
avoid further disaster, he made a momentary truce with his grief, and,
as well as his afflicted heart would permit, he tasted, in turn, the
various dishes. At the end of the repast a great noise was heard in the
adjoining apartment, and he did not doubt that it was his formidable
host. As he could not manage to avoid his presence, he tried to recover
from the alarm which this sudden noise had caused him. At the same
moment, the Beast, who appeared, asked him abruptly if he had made a
good supper. The good man replied, in a modest and timid tone, that he
had, thanks to his attention, eaten heartily. "Promise me," replied
the Monster, "to remember your word to me, and to keep it as a man of
honour, in bringing me one of your daughters."

The old man, who was not much entertained with this conversation, swore
to him that he would fulfil what he had promised, and return in a month
alone or with one of his daughters, if he should find one who loved
him sufficiently to follow him on the conditions he must propose to
her. "I warn thee again," said the Beast, "to take care not to deceive
her as to the sacrifice which thou must exact from her, or the danger
she will incur. Paint to her my face such as it is. Let her know what
she is about to do: above all, let her be firm in her resolution.
There will be no time for reflection when thou shalt have brought her
hither. There must be no drawing back: thou wilt be equally lost,
without obtaining for her the liberty to return." The merchant, who was
overcome at this discourse, reiterated his promise to conform to all
that was prescribed to him. The Monster, satisfied with his answer,
ordered him to retire to rest, and not to rise till he should see the
sun, and hear a golden bell.

"Thou wilt breakfast before setting out," said he again; "and thou
mayest take a rose with thee for Beauty. The horse which shall bear
thee will be ready in the court-yard. I reckon on seeing thee again
in a month, if thou art an honest man. If thou failest in thy word,
I shall pay thee a visit." The good man, for fear of prolonging a
conversation already too painful to him, made a profound reverence to
the Beast, who told him again not to be anxious respecting the road by
which he should return; as at the time appointed the same horse which
he would mount the next morning would be found at his gate, and would
suffice for his daughter and himself.

However little disposition the old man felt for sleep, he dared not
disobey the orders he had received. Obliged to lie down, he did not
rise till the sun began to illumine the chamber. His breakfast was
soon despatched, and he then descended into the garden to gather the
rose which the Beast had ordered him to take to Beauty. How many tears
this flower caused him to shed. But the fear of drawing on himself new
disasters made him constrain his feelings, and he went, without further
delay, in search of the horse which had been promised him. He found on
the saddle a light but warm cloak. As soon as the horse felt him on his
back, he set off with incredible speed. The merchant, who in a moment
lost sight of this fatal palace, experienced as great a sensation of
joy as he had on the previous evening felt in perceiving it, with this
difference, that the delight of leaving it was embittered by the cruel
necessity of returning to it.

"To what have I pledged myself?" said he, whilst his courser carried
him with a velocity and a lightness which is only known in fairy land.
"Would it not be better that I should become at once the victim of this
monster who thirsts for the blood of my family? By a promise I have
made, as unnatural as it is indiscreet, I have prolonged my life. Is
it possible that I could think of extending my days at the expense of
those of my daughters? Can I have the barbarity to lead one to him,
to see him, no doubt, devour her before my eyes?" But all at once,
interrupting himself, he cried, "Miserable wretch that I am, what
have I to fear? If I could find it in my heart to silence the voice
of nature, would it depend on me to commit this cowardly act? She
must know her fate and consent to it. I see no chance that she will
be inclined to sacrifice herself for an inhuman father, and I ought
not to make such a proposition to her. It is unjust. But even if the
affection which they all entertain for me should induce one to devote
herself, would not a single glance at the Beast destroy her constancy,
and I could not complain. Ah! too imperious Beast," exclaimed he, "thou
hast done this expressly! By putting an impossible condition to the
means thou offerest me to escape thy fury, and obtain the pardon of
a trifling fault, thou hast added insult to injury! But," continued
he, "I cannot bear to think of it. I hesitate no longer; and I would
rather expose myself without turning away from thy rage, than attempt a
useless mode of escape, which my paternal love trembles to employ. Let
me retrace," said he, "the road to this frightful palace, and without
deigning to purchase so dearly the remnant of a life which can never be
but miserable--without waiting for the month which is accorded me to
expire,--return and terminate this day my miserable existence!"

  [Illustration: Beauty and the Beast.--P. 236.]

At these words he endeavoured to retrace his steps, but he found
it impossible to turn the bridle of his horse. Allowing himself,
therefore, against his will, to be carried forward, he resolved at
least to propose nothing to his daughters. Already he saw his house
in the distance, and strengthening himself more and more in his
resolution, "I will not speak to them," he said, "of the danger which
threatens me: I shall have the pleasure of embracing them once more; I
shall give them my last advice; I will beg them to live on good terms
with their brothers, whom I shall also implore not to abandon them."

In the midst of this reverie, he reached his door. His own horse, which
had found its way home the previous evening, had alarmed his family.
His sons, dispersed in the forest, had sought him in every direction;
and his daughters, in their impatience to hear some tidings of him,
were at the door, in order to obtain the earliest intelligence. As he
was mounted on a magnificent steed, and wrapt in a rich cloak, they
could not recognise him, but took him at first for a messenger sent by
him, and the rose which they perceived attached to the pummel of the
saddle made them perfectly easy on his account.

When this afflicted father, however, approached nearer, they recognised
him, and thought only of evincing their satisfaction at seeing him
return in good health. But the sadness depicted in his face, and his
eyes filled with tears, which he vainly endeavoured to restrain,
changed their joy into anxiety. All hastened to inquire the cause of
his trouble. He made no reply but by saying to Beauty, as he presented
her with the rose, "There is what thou hast demanded of me, but thou
wilt pay dearly for it, as well as the others." "I was certain,"
exclaimed the eldest, "and I was saying, this very moment, that she
would be the only one whose commission you would execute. At this time
of the year, a rose must have cost more than you would have had to
pay for us all five together; and, judging from appearances, the rose
will be faded before the day is ended: never mind, however, you were
determined to gratify the fortunate Beauty at any price." "It is true,"
replied the father, mournfully, "that this rose has cost me dear, and
more dear than all the ornaments which you wished for would have done.
It is not in money, however; and would to Heaven that I might have
purchased it with all I am yet worth in the world."

These words excited the curiosity of his children, and dispelled the
resolution which he had taken not to reveal his adventure. He informed
them of the ill-success of his journey, the trouble which he had
undergone in running after a chimerical fortune, and all that had taken
place in the palace of the Monster. After this explanation, despair
took the place of hope and of joy.

The daughters seeing all their projects annihilated by this
thunderbolt, uttered fearful cries; the brothers, more courageous, said
resolutely that they would not suffer their father to return to this
frightful castle; that they were bold enough to deliver the earth from
this horrible Beast, even supposing he should have the temerity to come
in search of him. The good man, although moved at their affliction,
forbad them to commit violence, telling them, that as he had given his
word, he would kill himself rather than fail to keep it.

Notwithstanding this, they sought for expedients to save his life; the
young men, full of courage and filial affection, proposed that one
of them should go and offer himself as a victim to the wrath of the
Beast; but the monster had said positively and explicitly that he would
have one of the daughters, and not one of the sons. The brave brothers
grieved that their good intentions could not be acted upon, then did
what they could to inspire their sisters with the same sentiments. But
their jealousy of Beauty was sufficient to raise an invincible obstacle
to such heroic action.

"It is not just," said they, "that we should perish in so frightful a
manner for a fault of which we are not guilty. It would be to render
us victims to Beauty, to whom they would be very glad to sacrifice
us; but duty does not require such a sacrifice. Here is the fruit of
the moderation and perpetual preaching of this unhappy girl! Why did
she not ask, like us, for a good stock of clothes and jewels. If we
have not had them, it has at all events cost nothing for asking, and
we have no cause to reproach ourselves for having exposed the life of
our father by indiscreet demands. If, by an affected disinterestedness,
she had not sought to distinguish herself, as she is in all things
more favoured than we, he would have, no doubt, found enough money to
content her. But she must needs, by her singular caprice, bring on us
all this misfortune. It is she who has caused it, and they wish us
to pay the penalty. We will not be her dupe. She has brought it on
herself, and she must find the remedy."

Beauty, whose grief had almost deprived her of consciousness,
suppressing her sobs and sighs, said to her sisters, "I am the cause
of this misfortune; it is I alone who must repair it. I confess it
would be unjust to allow you to suffer for my fault. Alas! it was,
notwithstanding, an innocent wish. Could I foresee that the desire to
have a rose when we were in the middle of summer would be punished so
cruelly? The fault is committed, however; whether I am innocent or
guilty, it is just that I should expiate it. It cannot be imputed to
any one else. I will risk my life," pursued she, in a firm tone, "to
release my father from his fatal engagement. I will go to find the
Beast; too happy in being able to die in order to preserve the life of
him from whom I received mine, and to silence your murmurs. Do not fear
that anything can turn me from my purpose; but I pray you during this
month to do me the favour to spare me your reproaches."

So much firmness in a girl of her age surprised them all much; and
the brothers, who loved her tenderly, were moved at her resolution.
They paid her infinite attention, and felt the loss they were about to
sustain. But it was requisite to save the life of a father; this pious
motive closed their mouths; and well persuaded that it was a thing
decided on, far from thinking of combating so generous a purpose, they
contented themselves by shedding tears, and giving their sister all
the praise which her noble resolution merited, all the more from her
being only sixteen years of age, and having the right to regret a life
which she was about to sacrifice in so cruel a manner. The father
alone would not consent to the design of his youngest daughter; but the
others reproached him insolently with the charge that Beauty alone was
cared for by him, in spite of the misfortune which she had caused, and
that he was sorry that it was not one of the elders who should pay for
her imprudence.

This unjust language forced him to desist; besides, Beauty assured him
that if he would not accept the exchange, she would make it in spite of
him, for she would go alone to seek the Beast, and so perish without
saving him. "How do we know," said she, forcing herself to assume more
tranquillity than she really felt; "perhaps the dreadful fate which
appears to await me conceals another as happy as this seems terrible?"

Her sisters, hearing her speak thus, smiled maliciously at the wild
idea; they were enchanted at the delusion in which they believed her
to be indulging. But the old man, conquered by all her reasons, and
remembering an ancient prediction, by which he had learnt that this
daughter should save his life, and that she should be a source of
happiness to all her family, ceased to oppose the will of Beauty.
Insensibly they began to speak of their departure as a thing almost
indifferent. It was she who gave the tone to the conversation, and in
their presence she appeared to consider it as a happy event; it was
only, however, to console her father and brothers, and not to alarm
them more than necessary. Although discontented with the conduct of her
sisters towards her, who appeared even impatient to see her depart,
and thought the month passed too slowly, she had the generosity to
divide all her little property and the jewels which she had at her own
disposal amongst them.

They received with pleasure this new proof of her generosity, but
without abating their hatred of her. An extreme joy took possession of
their hearts when they heard the horse neigh which was sent to carry
away a sister whose amiability their jealous natures would not allow
them to perceive. The father and the sons alone were so afflicted
that they could not contain themselves at this fatal moment. They
proposed to strangle the horse. Beauty, however, preserving all her
tranquillity, showed them again on this occasion the absurdity of such
a design, and the impossibility of executing it. After having taken
leave of her brothers, she embraced her hard-hearted sisters, taking
such a tender farewell of them that she drew from them some tears, and
they believed, for the space of a few minutes, that they were almost as
much afflicted as their brothers.

During these brief, yet lingering leave-takings, the good man, hurried
by his daughter, had mounted his horse. She placed herself behind him
with as much alacrity as though she were going to make an agreeable
journey. The animal rather flew than walked. But this extreme speed did
not inconvenience her in the least; the paces of this singular horse
were so gentle that Beauty felt no more shaken by him than she would
have been by the breath of a zephyr.

In vain, during the journey, did her father offer a hundred times to
allow her to dismount, and to go himself alone to find the Beast.
"Consider, my dear child," said he; "there is still time. This Monster
is more terrible than thou canst imagine. However firm thy resolution
may be, I cannot but fear it will fail on beholding him; then it will
be too late; thou wilt be lost, and we shall both perish together."

"If I went," replied Beauty, "to seek this terrible Beast with the hope
of being happy, it is not impossible that that hope would fail me at
the sight of him; but as I reckon on a speedy death, and believe it to
be unavoidable, what does it signify whether he who shall destroy me be
agreeable or hideous."

Conversing thus, night closed around them, but the horse went quite
as fast in the darkness. It was, however, suddenly dissipated by a
most unexpected spectacle. This was caused by the discharge of all
kinds of beautiful fireworks--flowerpots, catherine-wheels, suns,
bouquets,--which dazzled the eyes of our travellers. This agreeable and
unlooked-for illumination lighted up the entire forest, and diffused a
gentle heat through the air, which was become desirable, for the cold
in this country was more keenly felt in the night than by day.

By this charming light the father and daughter found themselves in
an avenue of orange-trees. At the moment that they entered it the
fireworks ceased. The illumination was, however, continued by all the
statues having in their hands lighted torches. Besides these, lamps
without number covered the front of the palace, symmetrically arranged
in forms of true-lover's knots and crowned cyphers, consisting of
double LL's and double BB's.[16] On entering the court they were
received by a salute of artillery, which, added to the sound of a
thousand instruments of various kinds, some soft, some warlike, had a
fine effect.

"The Beast must be very hungry indeed," said Beauty, half-jestingly,
"to make such grand rejoicings at the arrival of his prey." However,
in spite of her agitation at the approach of an event which, according
to all appearance, was about to be fatal to her, she could not avoid
paying attention to the magnificent objects which succeeded each other,
and presented to her view the most beautiful spectacle she had ever
seen, nor help saying to her father that the preparations for her death
were more brilliant than the bridal pomp of the greatest king in the
world.

The horse stopped at the foot of the flight of steps. She alighted
quickly, and her father, as soon as he had put foot to the ground,
conducted her by a vestibule to the saloon in which he had been so
well entertained. They found there a large fire, lighted candles which
emitted an exquisite perfume, and, above all, a table splendidly
served. The good man, accustomed to the manner in which the Beast
regaled his guests, told his daughter that this repast was intended
for them, and that they were at liberty to avail themselves of it.
Beauty made no difficulty, well-persuaded that it would not hasten
her death. On the contrary, she imagined that it would make known
to the Beast the little repugnance she had felt in coming to see
him. She hoped that her frankness might be capable of softening him,
and even that her adventure might be less sad than she had at first
apprehended. The formidable Monster with which she had been menaced did
not show himself, and the whole palace spoke of joy and magnificence.
It appeared that her arrival had caused these demonstrations, and it
did not seem probable that they could have been designed for a funeral
ceremony.

Her hope did not last long, however. The Monster made himself heard.
A frightful noise, caused by the enormous weight of his body, by the
terrible clank of his scales, and an awful roaring, announced his
arrival. Terror took possession of Beauty. The old man, embracing his
daughter, uttered piercing cries. But recovering herself in a moment,
she suppressed her agitation. Seeing the Beast approach, whom she
could not behold without a shudder, she advanced with a firm step,
and with a modest air saluted him very respectfully. This behaviour
pleased the Monster. After having contemplated her, he said to the old
man, in a tone which, without being one of anger, might, however, fill
with terror the boldest heart, "Good evening, my good friend;" and
turning to Beauty, he said also to her, "Good evening, Beauty." The old
man, fearing every instant that something awful would happen to his
daughter, had not the strength to reply. But Beauty, without agitation
and in a sweet and firm voice, said, "Good evening, Beast." "Do you
come here voluntarily?" inquired the Beast; "and will you consent to
let your father depart without following him?" Beauty replied that she
had no other intention. "Ah! and what do you think will become of you
after his departure?" "What it may please you," said she; "my life is
at your disposal, and I submit blindly to the fate which you may doom
me to."

"I am satisfied with your submission," replied the Beast; "and as it
appears that they have not brought you here by force, you shall remain
with me. As for thee, good man," said he to the merchant, "thou shalt
depart to-morrow, at daybreak; the bell will warn you; delay not after
thy breakfast; the same horse will reconduct thee. But," added he,
"when thou shalt be in the midst of thy family, dream not of revisiting
my palace, and remember it is forbidden thee for ever. You, Beauty,"
continued the Monster, addressing her, "conduct your father into
the adjoining wardrobe, and choose anything which both of you think
will give pleasure to your brothers and sisters. You will find two
trunks; fill them. It is right that you should send them something of
sufficient value to oblige them to remember you."

In spite of the liberality of the Monster, the approaching departure
of her father sensibly affected Beauty, and caused her extreme
grief; however, she determined to obey the Beast, who quitted them,
after having said, as he had done on entering, "Good-night, Beauty;
good-night, good man." When they were alone, the good man, embracing
his daughter, wept without ceasing. The idea of leaving her with the
Monster was a most cruel trial to him. He repented having brought her
into that place. The gates were open; he wished to lead her away again,
but Beauty impressed upon him the danger and consequences of such a
proceeding.

They entered the wardrobe which had been indicated to them; they were
surprised at the treasures it contained. It was filled with apparel so
superb that a Queen could not wish for anything more beautiful, or in
better taste. Never was a warehouse better filled.

When Beauty had chosen the dresses she thought the most suitable, not
to the present situation of the family, but proportioned to the riches
and liberality of the Beast, who was the donor, she opened a press,
the door of which was of rock crystal, mounted in gold. Although such
a magnificent exterior prepared her to find it contain some rare and
precious treasures, she saw such a mass of jewels of all kinds, that
her eyes could hardly support the brilliancy of them. Beauty, from a
feeling of obedience, took without hesitation, a prodigious quantity,
which she divided as well as she could amongst the lots she had already
made.

On opening the last cabinet, which was no less than a cabinet filled
with pieces of gold, she changed her mind. "I think," said she to
her father, "that it will be better to empty these trunks, and to
fill them with coin, which you can give to your children according to
your pleasure. By this means you will not be obliged to confide your
secret to any one, and your riches will be possessed by you without
danger. The advantage that you would derive from the possession of
these jewels, although their value might be more considerable, would
be attended by inconvenience. In order to profit by them you would be
forced to sell them, and to trust them to persons who would only look
on you with envious eyes. Your confidence in them might even prove
fatal to you, whilst gold pieces of current coin will place you,"
continued she, "beyond the reach of any misfortune, by giving you the
means of acquiring land and houses, and purchasing rich furniture,
ornaments, and precious stones."

The father approved her forethought. But wishing to take for his
daughters some dresses and ornaments, in order to make room for them
as well as the gold, he took out of the trunks what he had selected
for his own use. The great quantity of coin which he put in did not
fill them, however. They were composed of folds which stretched at
pleasure. He found room for the jewels which he had displaced, and,
in fact, these trunks contained more than he could even wish for. "So
much money," said he to his daughter, "will place me in a position to
sell my jewels at my own convenience. Following thy counsel, I will
hide my wealth from the world, and even from my children. If they knew
me to be as rich as I shall be, they would torment me to abandon my
country life, which, however, is the sole one wherein I have found
happiness, and not experienced the perfidy of false friends, with whom
the world is filled." But the trunks were so immensely heavy, that an
elephant would have sunk under their weight, and the hope which he had
begun to cherish appeared to him a dream, and nothing more. "The Beast
mocks us," said he, "and feigns to give me wealth, which he makes it
impossible for me to carry away."

"Suspend your judgment," replied Beauty; "you have not provoked his
liberality by any indiscreet request nor by any greedy or interested
looks. Raillery would be without point. I think, as the Monster has
bestowed it on you, that he will certainly find the means of allowing
you to enjoy it. We have only to close the trunks, and leave them here.
No doubt he knows by what coach to send them."

Nothing could be more prudent than this advice. The good man,
conformably to it, re-entered the saloon with his daughter. Seated
together on the sofa, they saw the breakfast instantly served. The
father ate with more appetite than he had done the preceding night.
That which had come to pass had diminished his despair and revived his
confidence. He would have departed without concern if the Beast had
not had the cruelty to make him understand that he must not dream of
seeing his palace again, and that he must wish his daughter an eternal
farewell. There is no evil but death without remedy. The good man was
not completely stunned by this order. He flattered himself that it
would not be irrevocable, and this hope prepared him to quit his host
with tolerable satisfaction. Beauty was not so well satisfied. Little
persuaded that a happy future was prepared for her, she feared that the
rich presents with which the Monster loaded her family was but the
price of her life, and that he would devour her immediately that he
should be alone with her, or at least that a perpetual prison would be
her fate, and that her only companion would be this frightful Monster.

This reflection plunged her into a profound reverie, but a second
stroke of the bell warned them that it was time to separate. They
descended into the court, where the father found two horses, the one
loaded with the two trunks, and the other destined for himself. The
latter, covered with a good cloak, and the saddle having two bags
attached to it full of refreshments, was the same which he had ridden
before. So much attention on the part of the Beast again supplied them
with subject of conversation; but the horses, neighing and stamping
with their hoofs, made known to them that it was time to part.

The merchant, afraid of irritating the Beast by his delay, bade his
daughter an eternal farewell. The two horses set off faster than the
wind, and Beauty instantly lost sight of them. She mounted in tears to
the chamber which was appropriated to her, where for some time she was
lost in sad reflections.

At length, being overcome with sleep, she felt a wish to seek repose,
which, during a month past, she had not enjoyed. Having nothing better
to do, she was about to go to bed, when she perceived on the table a
service of chocolate prepared. She took it, half asleep, and her eyes
almost immediately closed. She fell into a quiet slumber, which since
the moment she had received the fatal rose had been unknown to her.

During her sleep, she dreamt that she was on the bank of a canal, a
long way off, the two sides of which were ornamented with two rows of
orange trees and flowering myrtles of immense size, where, engrossed
with her sad situation, she lamented the misfortune which condemned her
to pass her days in this place without hope of ever leaving it.

A young man, beautiful as Cupid is painted, in a voice which touched
her heart, then said--"Do not, Beauty, believe thou wilt be as unhappy
as it now appears to thee. It is in this place that thou wilt receive
the recompence which they have elsewhere unjustly denied thee. Let thy
penetration assist thee to extricate me from the appearance which
disguises me. Judge in seeing me if my company is contemptible, and
ought not to be preferred to a family unworthy of thee. Wish, and all
thy desires shall be fulfilled. I love thee tenderly; thou alone canst
bestow happiness on me by being happy thyself. Never deny me this.
Excelling all other women as far in the qualities of thy mind as thou
excellest them in beauty, we shall be perfectly happy together."

This charming apparition then kneeling at her feet, made her the most
flattering promises in the most tender language. He pressed her in the
warmest terms to consent to his happiness, and assured her that she
should be entirely her own mistress.

"What can I do?" said she to him with eagerness.

"Follow the first impulse of gratitude," said he. "Judge not by thine
eyes, and, above all, abandon me not, but release me from the terrible
torment which I endure."

After this first dream, she fancied she was in a magnificent cabinet
with a lady, whose majestic mien and surprising beauty created in
her heart a feeling of profound respect. This lady said to her in an
affectionate tone--"Charming Beauty, regret not that thou hast left;
a more illustrious fate awaits thee; but if thou wouldst deserve it,
beware of allowing thyself to be prejudiced by appearances." Her sleep
lasted more than five hours, during which time she saw the young man in
a hundred different places, and under a hundred different circumstances.

Sometimes he offered her a fine entertainment; sometimes he made the
most tender protestations to her. How pleasant her sleep was! She would
have wished to prolong it, but her eyes, open to the light, could not
be induced to close again, and Beauty believed she had only had an
agreeable dream.

A clock struck twelve, repeating twelve times her own name, which
obliged her to rise. She then saw a toilet-table covered with
everything necessary for a lady. After having dressed herself with a
feeling of pleasure of which she did not imagine the cause, she passed
into the saloon, where her dinner was served.

When one eats alone, a repast is very soon over. On returning to her
chamber, she threw herself on the sofa; the young man of whom she
had dreamt again presented himself to her thoughts. "'I can make thy
happiness,' were his words. Probably this horrible Beast, who appears
to command all here, keeps him in prison. How can he be extricated?
They repeated to me that I was not to be deceived by appearances. I
understand nothing; but how foolish I am! I amuse myself by seeking for
reasons to explain an illusion formed by sleep, and which my waking
has destroyed. I ought not to pay attention to it. I must only occupy
myself with my present fate, and seek such amusements as will prevent
my being overcome by melancholy."

Shortly afterwards she began to wander through the numerous apartments
of the palace. She was enchanted with them, having never seen
anything so beautiful. The first that she entered was a large cabinet
of mirrors. She saw herself reflected on all sides. At length a
bracelet, suspended to a girandole, caught her sight. She found on it
the portrait of the handsome Cavalier, just as she had seen him in
her sleep. How was it she recognised him immediately? His features
were already too deeply impressed on her mind, and, perhaps, in her
heart. With joyful haste she placed the bracelet on her arm, without
reflecting whether this action was correct. From this cabinet, having
passed into a gallery full of pictures, she there found the same
portrait the size of life, which appeared to regard her with such
tender attention, that she coloured, as if this picture had been the
person himself; or that she had had witnesses of her thoughts.

Continuing her walk, she found herself in a saloon filled with
different kinds of instruments. Knowing how to play on almost all, she
tried several, preferring the harpsichord to the others, because it was
a better accompaniment for the voice. From this saloon, she entered
another gallery, corresponding to that in which were the paintings.
It contained an immense library. She liked reading, and since her
sojourn in the country she had been deprived of this pleasure. Her
father, by the confusion of his affairs, had found himself obliged to
sell his books. Her great taste for study could easily be satisfied
in this place, and would guarantee her against the dulness consequent
on solitude. The day passed before she could see everything. At the
approach of night, all the apartments were illuminated by perfumed
wax-lights, placed in lustres either transparent or of different
colours, and not of crystal, but made of diamonds and rubies.

At the usual hour, Beauty found her supper served, with the same
delicacy and neatness as before. No human figure presented itself to
her view; her father had told her she would be alone. This solitude
began no longer to trouble her, when the Beast made himself heard.
Never having yet found herself alone with him, ignorant how this
interview would pass off, fearing even that he only came to devour her,
is it any wonder that she trembled? But on the arrival of the Beast,
whose approach was by no means furious, her fears were dissipated.
This monstrous giant said, roughly, "Good evening, Beauty." She
returned his salutation in the same terms, with a calm air, but a
little tremulously. Amongst the different questions which the monster
put to her, he asked how she amused herself? Beauty replied, "I have
passed the day in inspecting your palace, but it is so vast that I
have not had time to see all the apartments, and the beauties which it
contains." The Beast asked her, "Do you think you can get accustomed to
living here?" The girl replied, politely, that she could live without
trouble in so beautiful an abode. After an hour's conversation, Beauty
discovered that the terrible tone of his voice was attributable only
to the nature of the organ; and that the Beast was more inclined to
stupidity than to ferocity. At length he asked her bluntly if she would
marry him. At this unexpected demand, her fears were renewed, and
uttering a terrible shriek, she could not help exclaiming, "O! Heavens,
I am lost!"

"Not at all," replied the Beast, quietly; "but without frightening
yourself, reply properly. Say precisely 'yes' or 'no.'" Beauty replied,
trembling, "No, Beast." "Well, as you object, I will leave you,"
replied the docile Monster. "Good evening, Beauty." "Good evening,
Beast," said the frightened girl, with much satisfaction. Extremely
relieved by finding that she had no violence to fear, she lay quietly
down and went to sleep. Immediately her dear unknown returned to her
mind. He appeared to say to her, tenderly, "How overjoyed I am to see
you once more, dear Beauty, but what pain has your severity caused
me? I know that I must expect to be unhappy for a long time." Her
ideas again changed, the young man appeared to offer her a crown, and
sleep presented him to her in a hundred different manners. Sometimes
he seemed to be at her feet, sometimes abandoning himself to the
most excessive delight, at others shedding a torrent of tears, which
touched the depths of her soul. This mixture of joy and sadness lasted
all the night. On waking, having her imagination full of this dear
object, she sought for his portrait, to compare it once more with her
recollections, and to see if she were not deceived. She ran to the
picture gallery, where she recognised him still more perfectly. How
long she was admiring him! but feeling ashamed of her weakness, she
contented herself at length by looking at the miniature on her arm.

At length, to put an end to these tender reflections, she descended
into the garden, the fine weather seeming to invite her to a stroll.
Her eyes were enchanted; they had never seen anything in nature so
beautiful. The groves were ornamented with admirable statues and
numberless fountains, which cooled the air, and shot up to such a
height that the eye could scarcely follow them.

What surprised her most was, that she recognised the places wherein she
had dreamt she had seen the unknown. Especially at the sight of the
grand canal, bordered with orange and myrtle trees, she could not but
think of her vision, which appeared no longer a fiction. She thought to
explain the mystery by imagining that the Beast kept some one shut up
in his palace. She resolved to be enlightened on the subject that same
evening, and to question the Monster, from whom she expected a visit
at the usual hour. She walked for the rest of the day, as long as her
strength permitted, without being able to see all.

The apartments which she had not been able to inspect the evening
before, were no less worthy of her admiration than the others. Besides
the instruments and curiosities with which she was surrounded, she
found in another cabinet plenty to occupy her. It was filled with
purses, and shuttles for knotting, scissors for cutting out, and fitted
up for all sorts of ladies' work; in fact, everything was to be found
there.

In this gallery care had been taken to place a cage filled with rare
birds, all of which, on the arrival of Beauty, formed an admirable
concert. They came also and perched on her shoulders, and these loving
little creatures vied with each other as to which should nestle closest
to her. "Amiable prisoners," said she, "I think you charming, and I am
vexed that you should be so far from my apartment, I should often like
the pleasure of hearing you sing."

What was her surprise, when as she said these words, she opened a door
and found herself in her own chamber, which she believed was very
distant from this gallery, having only arrived in it after turning
and threading a labyrinth of apartments which composed this pavilion.
A panel which had concealed from her the neighbourhood of the birds,
opened into the gallery, and was very convenient, as it completely shut
out the noise of them when quiet was desirable.

Beauty, continuing her route, perceived another feathered group; these
were parrots of all kinds and of all colours. All at her approach began
to chatter. One said, "Good day" to her; the other asked her for some
breakfast; one more gallant begged a kiss; several sang opera airs,
others declaimed verses composed by the best authors; and all exerted
themselves to entertain her. They were as gentle and as affectionate
as the inhabitants of the aviary. Their presence was a real pleasure
to her. She was delighted to find something she could talk with, for
silence was not agreeable to her. She put several questions to some of
them, who answered her like very intelligent creatures. She selected
one from amongst them as the most amusing. The others, jealous of this
preference, complained sadly. She consoled them by some caresses, and
the permission to pay her a visit whenever they pleased. Not far from
this spot she saw a numerous troop of monkeys of all sizes, great and
small, sapajous,[17] some with human faces, others with beards, blue,
green, black, and crimson. They advanced to meet her at the door of
their apartment, which she had by chance arrived at. They made her low
bows, accompanied by countless capers, and testified, by action, how
highly sensible they were of the honour she had done them.

To celebrate her visit, they danced upon the tight-rope, and bounded
about with a skill and an agility beyond example. Beauty was much
pleased with the monkeys, but she was disappointed at not finding
anything which could enlighten her respecting the handsome unknown.
Losing all hope of doing so, and looking upon her dream as altogether
an illusion, she did her best to drive the recollection of it from
her mind; but her efforts were vain. She praised the monkeys, and,
caressing them, said she should like some of them to follow her and
keep her company. Instantly two tall young apes, in court dresses, who
appeared to have been only waiting for her orders, advanced and placed
themselves with great gravity beside her. Two sprightly little monkeys
took up her train as her pages. A facetious baboon, dressed as a
Spanish gentleman of the chamber, presented his paw to her, very neatly
gloved, and accompanied by this singular cortège, Beauty proceeded
to the supper table. During her meal the smaller birds whistled, in
perfect tune, an accompaniment to the voices of the parrots, who sang
the finest and most fashionable airs.

During the concert, the monkeys, who had taken upon themselves the
right of attending upon Beauty, having in an instant settled their
several ranks and duties, commenced their service, and waited on her in
full state, with all the attention and respect that officers of a royal
household are accustomed to pay to queens.

On rising from table, another troop proceeded to entertain her with a
novel spectacle. They were a sort of company of actors, who played a
tragedy in the most extraordinary fashion. These Signor Monkeys and
Signora Apes, in stage dresses covered with embroidery, pearls, and
diamonds, executed all the actions suitable to the words of their
parts, which were spoken with great distinctness and proper emphasis
by the parrots; so cleverly, indeed, that it was necessary to be
assured that these birds were concealed in the wig of one actor or
under the mantle of another, not to believe that these new-fashioned
tragedians were speaking themselves. The drama appeared to have been
written expressly for the actors, and Beauty was enchanted. At the end
of the tragedy, one of the performers advanced and paid Beauty a very
well-turned compliment, and thanked her for the indulgence with which
she had listened to them. All then departed, except the monkeys of her
household, and those selected to keep her company.

After supper, the Beast paid her his usual visit, and after the same
questions and the same answers, the conversation ended with a "Good
night, Beauty." The Lady-Apes of the bed-chamber undressed their
mistress, put her to bed, and took care to open the window of the
aviary, that the birds, by a warbling much softer than their songs
by day, might induce slumber, and afford her the pleasure of again
beholding her lover. Several days passed without her experiencing any
feeling of dulness. Every moment brought with it fresh pleasures. The
monkeys, in three or four lessons, succeeded each one in teaching a
parrot, who, acting as an interpreter, replied to Beauty's questions
with as much promptitude and accuracy as the monkeys themselves had
done by gestures. In fine, Beauty found nothing to complain of but the
obligation of enduring every evening the presence of the Beast; but his
visits were short, and it was undoubtedly to him that she was indebted
for the enjoyment of all imaginable amusements.

The gentleness of the monster occasionally inspired Beauty with the
idea of asking some explanation respecting the person she saw in
her dreams; but sufficiently aware that he was in love with her,
and fearing by such questioning to awaken his jealousy, she had the
prudence to remain silent, and did not venture to satisfy her curiosity.

By degrees she had visited every apartment in this enchanted palace:
but one willingly returns to the inspection of things which are rare,
singular, and costly. Beauty turned her steps towards a great saloon,
which she had only seen once before. This room had four windows in it
on each side. Two only were open, and admitted a glimmering light.
Beauty wished for more light, but in lieu of obtaining any by opening
another window, she found it only looked into some enclosed space,
which, although large, was obscure, and her eyes could distinguish
nothing but a distant gleam, which appeared to reach them through the
medium of a very thick crape. Whilst pondering for what purpose this
place could have been designed, she was suddenly dazzled by a brilliant
illumination. The curtain rose and discovered to Beauty a theatre,
exceedingly well lighted. On the benches and in the boxes she beheld
all that was most handsome and well made of either sex.[18] A sweet
symphony, which instantly commenced, terminated only to permit other
actors than monkey and parrot performers to represent a very fine
tragedy, which was followed by a little piece, quite equal in its own
style to that which had preceded it. Beauty was fond of plays. It was
the only pleasure she had regretted when she left the city. Desiring
to ascertain what sort of material the hangings of the box next to her
were made of, she found herself prevented doing so by a glass which
separated them, and thereby discovered that what she had seen were not
the actual objects, but a reflection of them by means of this crystal
mirror, which thus conveyed to her sight all that was passing on the
stage of the finest city in the world. It is a master-stroke in optics
to be able to reflect from such a distance. She remained in her box
some time after the play was over, in order to see the fine company go
out. The darkness that gradually ensued compelled her to think of other
matters. Satisfied with this discovery, of which she promised to avail
herself often, she descended into the gardens. Prodigies were becoming
familiar to her. She rejoiced to find they were all performed for her
advantage and amusement.

After supper, the Beast came, as usual, to ask her what she had been
doing during the day. Beauty gave him an exact account of all her
amusements, and told him she had been to the play. "Do you like it?"
inquired the dull creature. "Wish for whatever you please, you shall
have it. You are very handsome." Beauty smiled to herself at the coarse
manner in which he paid her compliments; but what she did not smile at
was the usual question, and the words, "Will you marry me?" put an end
to her good humour. She had only to answer "No;" but, nevertheless,
his docility during this last interview did not re-assure her. Beauty
was alarmed at it. "What is to be the end of all this?" she said to
herself. "The question he puts to me every time, 'Will I marry him?'
proves that he persists in loving me: his bounty to me confirms it.
But though he does not insist on my compliance, nor show any signs
of resentment at my refusal, who will be answerable to me that he
do not eventually lose his patience, and that my death will not be
the consequence?" These reflections rendered her so thoughtful that
it was almost daylight before she went to bed. The unknown, who but
awaited that moment to appear, reproached her tenderly for her delay.
He found her melancholy, lost in thought, and inquired what could have
displeased her in such a place. She answered that nothing displeased
her, except the Monster whom she saw every evening. She should have
become accustomed to him, but he was in love with her, and this love
made her apprehensive of some violence. "By the foolish compliments
he pays me," said Beauty to her lover, "I find he desires to marry
me. Would you advise me to consent? Alas! were he as charming as he
is frightful, you have rendered my heart inaccessible to him and to
all others; and I do not blush to own that I can love no one but you."
So sweet a confession could but flatter the unknown, yet he replied
to her only by saying, "Love him who loves you. Do not be misled by
appearances, and release me from prison." These words, continually
repeated without any explanation, caused Beauty infinite distress.
"What would you that I should do?" said she to him. "I would restore
you to liberty at any price; but my desire is vain while you abstain
from furnishing me with the means to put it in practice." The unknown
made her some answer, but of so confused a nature that she could not
comprehend it. A thousand extravagant fancies passed before her eyes.
She saw the Monster on a throne all blazing with jewels; he called to
her and invited her to sit beside him. A moment afterwards, the unknown
compelled him precipitately to descend, and seated himself in his
place. The Beast regaining the advantage, the unknown disappeared in
his turn. He spoke to her from behind a black veil, which changed his
voice, and rendered it horrible.

All her sleep passed in this manner, and yet, notwithstanding the
agitation it caused her, she felt it was too soon over, as her
awakening deprived her of the sight of the object of her affections.
After she had finished dressing, various sorts of work, books, and
animals occupied her attention until the hour when the play began. She
arrived just in time, but she was not at the same theatre. It was the
opera,[19] and the performance commenced as soon as she was seated.
The spectacle was magnificent, and the spectators were not less so.
The mirrors represented to her distinctly the most minute details of
the dresses even of the people in the pit. Delighted to behold human
forms and faces, many of which she recognised as those of persons she
knew, it would have been a still greater pleasure to her could she have
spoken to them, so that they could have heard her.

More gratified with this day's entertainment than with that of the
preceding, the rest of it passed in the same way that each had done
since she had been in that palace. The Beast came in the evening,
and after his visit she retired, as usual. The night resembled
former nights,--that is, it was passed in agreeable dreams. When
she awoke, she found the same number of domestics to wait upon her;
but after dinner her occupations were different. The day before, on
opening another of the windows, she had found herself at the opera.
To diversify her amusements, she now opened a third window, which
displayed to her all the pleasures of the Fair of St. Germain,[20] much
more brilliant then than it is at the present day. But as the hour had
not quite arrived when the best company resorted to it, she had leisure
to observe and examine everything. She saw the rarest curiosities, the
most extraordinary productions of nature and works of art. The minutest
trifles were visible to her. The puppet-show was not unworthy of her
attention,[21] whilst waiting for more refined entertainments. The
comic opera was in its splendour.[22] Beauty was very much delighted.
At the termination of the performances, she saw all the well-dressed
people visiting the tradesmen's shops. She recognised amongst the crowd
several professional gamesters, who flocked to this place as their
workshop.

She observed persons who, having lost their money by the cleverness
of those they played with, went out with less joyous countenances than
they exhibited as they entered. The prudent gamblers, who did not stake
their whole fortunes on the hazard of a card, and who played to profit
by their skill, could not conceal from Beauty their sleight of hand.
She longed to warn the victims of the tricks they were plundered by;
but at a distance from them of more than a thousand leagues it was not
in her power to do so. She heard and saw everything distinctly, without
its being possible for her to make herself heard or seen by others.
The reflections and echoes which conveyed to her all these sights
and sounds had no returning power. Placed above the air and wind,
everything came to her like a thought. The consideration of this fact
deterred her from making vain attempts.

It was past midnight before she thought it was time to retire. The
need of some refreshment might have hinted to her the lateness of the
hour; but she had found in her box liqueurs and baskets filled with
everything requisite for a collation. Her supper was light and of
short duration; she was in a hurry to go to bed. The Beast observed
her impatience, and came merely to say good-night, that she might have
more time to sleep and the Unknown liberty to reappear. The following
days resembled each other. She found in her windows an inexhaustible
source of fresh entertainments. The first of the other three afforded
her the pleasure of witnessing Italian comedy;[23] the second, a
sight of the Tuileries, the resort of all the most distinguished and
handsome of both sexes. The last window was very far from being the
least agreeable. It enabled her to see everything of consequence that
was going on in the world. The scene was amusing and interesting in all
sorts of ways. Sometimes it was the reception of a grand embassy, at
others the marriage of some illustrious personages, and occasionally
some exciting revolutions. She was at this window during the last
revolt of the Janizaries, and witnessed the whole of it to the very end.

At all times she was certain to find something here to entertain her.
The weariness she had felt at first in listening to the Beast had
entirely departed. Her eyes had become accustomed to his ugliness. She
was prepared for his foolish questions, and if their conversations had
lasted longer, perchance she would have not been displeased; but four
or five sentences, always the same, uttered in a coarse manner, and
productive only of a "Yes" or "No," were not much to her taste.

As the slightest desires of Beauty appeared to be anticipated, she
bestowed more care upon her toilet, although certain that no one could
see her. But she owed this attention to herself, and it was a pleasure
to her to dress herself in the habits of all the various nations on the
face of the earth. She could do this the more easily, as her wardrobe
furnished her with everything she chose, and presented her every day
with some novelty. Contemplating her mirror in these various dresses,
it revealed to her that she was to be admired in all lands; and her
attendant animals, each according to their talent, repeated to her
unceasingly the same fact--the monkeys by their actions, the parrots by
their language, and the other birds by their songs.

So delightful a life ought to have perfectly contented her, but we
weary of everything. The greatest happiness fades when it is continual,
derived always from the same source, and we find ourselves exempted
from fear and from hope. Beauty had experienced this. The remembrance
of her family arose to trouble her in the midst of her prosperity. Her
happiness could not be perfect as long as she was denied the pleasure
of informing her relations of it.

As she had become more familiar with the Beast, either from the
habit of seeing him or from the gentleness which she had discovered
in his nature, she thought she might venture to ask him a question.
She did not take this liberty, however, until she had obtained from
him a promise that he would not be angry. The question she put to
him was, "Were they the only two persons in that castle?" "Yes, I
protest to you," replied the Beast, in a rather excited tone; "and I
assure you that you and I, the monkeys, and the other animals, are the
only breathing creatures in this place." The Beast said no more, and
departed more abruptly than usual.

Beauty had asked this question only with a view of ascertaining whether
her lover was not confined in the palace. She would have wished to see
and speak with him. It was a happiness she would have purchased at the
price of her own liberty and of all the pleasures by which she was
surrounded. That charming youth existing only in her imagination, she
now looked upon this palace as a prison which would be one day her tomb.

These melancholy ideas crowded also upon her mind at night. She dreamed
she was on the banks of a great canal; she was weeping, when her dear
Unknown, alarmed at her sad state, said to her, pressing her hand
tenderly between his own, "What is the matter, my beloved Beauty?
Who can have offended you, and what can possibly have disturbed your
tranquillity? By the love I bear you, I conjure you to explain the
cause of your distress. Nothing shall be refused to you. You are sole
sovereign here--everything is at your command. Whence arises the sorrow
that overpowers you? Is it the sight of the Beast that afflicts you?
You must be relieved from it!" At these words Beauty imagined she saw
the Unknown draw a dagger, and prepare to plunge it in the throat
of the Monster, who made no attempt to defend himself, but, on the
contrary, offered his neck to the blow with a submission and a calmness
which caused the beautiful dreamer to fear the Unknown would accomplish
his purpose before she could endeavour to prevent him, notwithstanding
she had instantly risen to protect the Beast. The instant she saw
her efforts likely to be anticipated, she exclaimed, with all her
might, "Hold, barbarian! Harm not my benefactor, or else kill me!"
The Unknown, who continued striking at the Beast, notwithstanding the
shrieks of Beauty, said to her, angrily, "You love me, then, no longer,
since you take the part of this Monster, who is an obstacle to my
happiness!" "You are ungrateful," she replied, still struggling with
him; "I love you more than my life, and I would lose it sooner than
cease to love you. You are all the world to me, and I would not do you
the injustice to compare you with any other treasure it possesses. I
would, without a sigh, abandon all it could offer me, to follow you
into the wildest desert. But this tender affection does not stifle my
gratitude. I owe everything to the Beast. He anticipates all my wishes:
it is to him I am indebted for the joy of knowing you, and I would die
sooner than endure seeing you do him the slightest injury."

After several similar struggles the objects vanished, and Beauty
fancied she saw the lady who had appeared to her some nights before,
and who said to her, "Courage, Beauty; be a model of female generosity;
show thyself to be as wise as thou art charming; do not hesitate to
sacrifice thy inclination to thy duty. Thou takest the true path
to happiness. Thou wilt be blest, provided thou art not misled by
deceitful appearances."

When Beauty awoke she pondered on this mysterious vision, but it still
remained an enigma to her. Her desire to see her father superseded,
during the day, the anxiety caused by these dreams of the Monster and
the Unknown. Thus, neither tranquil at night nor contented by day,
although surrounded by the greatest luxuries, the only distraction she
could find was in the theatre. She went to the Italians, but after
the first scene she quitted that performance for the Opera, which she
left almost as quickly. Her melancholy followed her everywhere. She
frequently opened each of the six windows as many times without finding
one minute's respite from her cares. Days and nights of equal and
unceasing agitation began seriously to affect her appearance and her
health.

She took great pains to conceal from the Beast the sorrow which preyed
upon her; and the Monster, who had frequently surprised her with the
tears in her eyes, upon hearing her say that she was only suffering
from a headache, pressed his inquiries no further. One evening,
however, her sobs having betrayed her, and feeling it impossible longer
to dissimulate, she acknowledged to the Beast, who begged to know what
had caused her afflictions, that she was yearning to see her family.
At this declaration the Beast sank down without power to sustain
himself, and heaving a deep sigh, or rather uttering a howl that might
have frightened any one to death, he replied, "How, Beauty! would you,
then, abandon an unfortunate Beast? Could I have imagined you possessed
so little gratitude? What have I left undone to make you happy? Should
not the attentions I have paid you preserve me from your hatred? Unjust
as you are, you prefer the house of your father and the jealousy of
your sisters to my palace and my affections. You would rather tend the
flocks with them than enjoy with me all the pleasures of existence.
It is not love for your family, but antipathy to me, that makes you
anxious to depart."

"No, Beast," replied Beauty, timidly and soothingly; "I do not hate
you, and should regret to lose the hope of seeing you again; but I
cannot overcome the desire I feel to embrace my relations. Permit
me to go away for two months, and I promise you that I will return
with pleasure to pass the rest of my days with you, and never ask you
another favour."

While she spoke the Beast stretched on the ground, his head thrown
back, only evinced that he still breathed by his sorrowful sighs. He
answered her in these words: "I can refuse you nothing; but it will
perhaps cost me my life. No matter. In the cabinet nearest to your
apartment you will find four chests. Fill them with anything you like
for yourself or for your family. If you break your word you will repent
it, and regret the death of your poor Beast when it will be too late.
Return at the end of two months, and you will still see me alive. For
your journey back to me you will need no equipage. Merely take leave of
your family the previous night before you retire to rest, and when you
are in bed turn your ring, the stone inside your hand, and say, with
a firm voice, 'I desire to return to my palace, and behold my Beast
again.' Good-night; fear nothing; sleep in peace. You will see your
father early to-morrow morning. Adieu, Beauty."

As soon as she was alone she hastened to fill the chests with all
the treasures and beautiful things imaginable. They only appeared to
be full when she was tired of putting things into them. After these
preparations, she went to bed. The thoughts of seeing her family so
soon kept her awake great part of the night, and sleep only stole upon
her towards the hour when she should have been stirring. She saw in
her dreams her amiable Unknown, but not as formerly. Stretched upon a
bed of turf, he appeared a prey to the keenest sorrow. Beauty, touched
at seeing him in such a state, flattered herself she could alleviate
his profound affliction by requesting to know the cause of it; but her
lover, casting on her a look full of despair, said, "Can you ask me
such a question, inhuman girl? Are you not aware that your departure
dooms me to death?" "Abandon not yourself to sorrow, dear Unknown,"
replied she, "my absence will be brief. I wish but to undeceive my
family respecting the cruel fate they imagine has befallen me. I return
immediately afterwards to this palace. I shall leave you no more. Ah!
could I abandon a residence in which I so delight! Besides, I have
pledged my word to the Beast, that I will return. I cannot fail to keep
it; and why must this journey separate us? Be my escort. I will defer
my departure another day, in order to obtain the Beast's permission. I
am sure he will not refuse me. Agree to my proposal, and we shall not
part. We will return together; my family will be delighted to see you,
and I will answer for their showing you all the attention you deserve."
"I cannot accede to your wishes," replied the Unknown, "unless you
determine never to return hither. It is the only means of enabling me
to quit this spot. How will you decide? The inhabitants of this palace
have no power to compel you to return. Nothing can happen to you beyond
the knowledge that you have grieved the Beast." "You do not consider,"
rejoined Beauty, quickly, "that he assured me he should die if I broke
my word to him." "What matters it to you?" retorted the lover; "is it
to be counted a misfortune that your happiness should cost only the
life of a monster? Of what use is he to the world? Will any one be a
loser by the destruction of a being who appears upon earth only to be
the horror of all nature?" "Ha!" exclaimed Beauty, almost angrily,
"know that I would lay down my life to save his, and that this Monster,
who is only one in form, has a heart so humane, that he should not
be persecuted for a deformity which he refrains from rendering more
hideous by his actions. I will not repay his kindness with such black
ingratitude."

The Unknown, interrupting her, inquired what she would do if the
Monster endeavoured to kill him; and, if it were decreed that one of
them must slay the other, to which would she afford assistance? "I love
you only," she replied; "but extreme as is my affection for you, it
cannot weaken my gratitude to the Beast, and if I found myself placed
in so fatal a position, I would escape the misery which the result of
such a combat would inflict on me, by dying by my own hand. But why
indulge in such dreadful suppositions? However chimerical, the idea
freezes my blood. Let us change the conversation."

She set him the example, by saying all that an affectionate girl could
say, most flattering to her lover. She was not restrained by the rigid
customs of society, and slumber left her free to act naturally. She
acknowledged to him her love with a frankness which she would have
shrunk from when in full possession of her reason. Her sleep was of
long duration, and when she awoke she feared the Beast had failed in
his promise to her. She was in this uncertainty when she heard the
sound of a human voice which she recognised. Undrawing her curtains
precipitately, what was her surprise when she found herself in a
strange apartment, the furniture of which was not near so superb as
that in the Palace of the Beast. This prodigy induced her to rise
hastily, and open the door of her chamber. The next room was equally
strange to her; but what astonished her still more, was to find in it
the four chests she had filled the previous evening. The transport of
herself and her treasures was a proof of the power and bounty of the
Beast; but where was she? She could not imagine; when at length she
heard the voice of her father, and rushing out, she flung her arms
round his neck. Her appearance astounded her brothers and sisters.
They stared at her as at one come from the other world. All her family
embraced her with the greatest demonstrations of delight; but her
sisters, in their hearts, were vexed at beholding her. Their jealousy
was not extinguished. After many caresses on both sides, the good man
desired to speak with her privately, to learn from her own lips all the
circumstances of so extraordinary a journey, and to inform her of the
state of his own fortune, of which he had set apart a large share for
herself. He told her that on the evening of the same day that he had
left the Palace of the Beast, he had reached his own house without
the least fatigue. That on the road he had cogitated how he could
best manage to conceal his trunks from the sight of his children, and
wished that they could be carried without their knowledge into a little
cabinet adjoining his bed-chamber, of which he alone had the key: that
he had looked upon this as an impossibility; but that, on dismounting
at his door, he found the horse on which his trunks had been placed
had run away, and therefore saw himself suddenly spared the trouble
of hiding his treasures. "I assure thee," said the old man to his
daughter, "that the loss of these riches did not distress me. I had not
possessed them long enough to regret them greatly; but the adventure
appeared to me a gloomy prognostic of my fate. I did not hesitate to
believe that the perfidious Beast would act in the same manner by thee.
I feared that the favours he conferred upon thee would not be more
durable. This idea caused me great anxiety. To conceal it, I feigned to
be in need of rest,--it was only to abandon myself without restraint to
my grief. I looked upon thy destruction as certain, but my sorrow was
soon dissipated. The sight of the trunks I thought I had lost renewed
my hopes of thy happiness. I found them placed in my little cabinet,
precisely where I had wished them to be. The keys of them, which I
had forgotten and left behind me on the table in the saloon wherein
we had passed the night, were in the locks. This circumstance, which
afforded me a new proof of the kindness of the Beast, and his constant
attention, overwhelmed me with joy. It was then that, no longer
doubting the advantageous result of thy adventure, I reproached myself
for entertaining such unjust suspicions of the honour of that generous
Monster, and craved his pardon a hundred times for the abuse which, in
my distress, I had mentally lavished upon him.

"Without informing my children of the extent of my wealth, I contented
myself with distributing amongst them the presents thou hadst sent
them, and showing them some jewels of moderate value. I afterwards
pretended to have sold them, and have employed the money in various
ways for the improvement of our income. I have bought this house; I
have slaves, who relieve us from the labours to which necessity had
subjected us. My children lead an easy life,--that is all I care for.
Ostentation and luxury drew upon me, in other days, the hatred of the
envious; I should incur it again did I live in the style of a very
wealthy man. Many offers have been made to thy sisters, Beauty; I am
about to marry them off immediately, and thy fortunate arrival decides
me. Having given to them such portions of the wealth thou hast brought
to me, as thou shalt think fit, and relieved of all care for their
establishment, we will live, my daughter, with thy brothers, whom thy
presents were not able to console for thy loss; or, if thou prefer it,
we two will live together independently of them."

Beauty, affected by the kindness of her father, and the assurance he
gave her of the love of her brothers, thanked him tenderly for all his
offers, and thought it would be wrong to conceal from him the fact
that she had not come to stay with him. The good man, distressed to
learn that he should not have the support of his child in his declining
years, did not, however, attempt to dissuade her from the fulfilment of
a duty which he acknowledged indispensable.

Beauty, in her turn, related to him all that had happened to her since
they parted. She described to him the pleasant life she led. The good
man, enraptured at the charming account of his daughter's adventures,
heaped blessings on the head of the Beast. His delight was much greater
still when Beauty, opening the chests, displayed to him the immense
treasures they contained, and satisfied him that he was at liberty
to dispose of those which he had brought himself, in favour of his
daughters, as he would possess, in these last proofs of the Beast's
generosity, ample means to live merrily with his sons. Discovering in
this Monster too noble a mind to be lodged in so hideous a body, he
deemed it his duty to advise his daughter to marry him, notwithstanding
his ugliness. He employed even the strongest arguments to induce her to
take that step.

"Thou shouldst not take counsel from thine eyes alone," said he to
her. "Thou hast been unceasingly exhorted to let thyself be guided by
gratitude. By following her inspirations thou art assured thou wilt be
happy. It is true these warnings are only given thee in dreams; but
these dreams are too significant and too frequent to be attributed
to chance. They promise thee great advantages, enough to conquer thy
repugnance. Therefore, the next time that the Beast asks thee if thou
wilt marry him, I advise thee not to refuse him. Thou hast admitted to
me that he loves thee tenderly: take the proper means to make thy union
with him indissoluble. It is much better to have an amiable husband
than one whose only recommendation is a handsome person. How many girls
are compelled to marry rich brutes, much more brutish than the Beast,
who is only one in form, and not in his feelings or his actions."

Beauty admitted the reason of all these arguments; but to resolve to
marry a monster so horrible in person and who seemed as stupid as he
was gigantic, appeared to her an impossibility. "How can I determine,"
replied she to her father, "to take a husband with whom I can have no
sympathy, and whose hideousness is not compensated for by the charms
of his conversation? no other object to distract my attention, and
relieve that wearisome companionship; not to have the pleasure of being
sometimes absent from him; to hear nothing beyond five or six questions
respecting my health or my appetite, followed by a 'Good-night,
Beauty,' a chorus which my parrots know by heart, and repeat a hundred
times a day. It is not in my power to endure such a union, and I would
rather perish at once than be dying every day of fright, sorrow,
disgust, and weariness. There is nothing to plead in his favour, except
the consideration he evinces in paying me very short visits, and
presenting himself before me but once in four-and-twenty hours. Is that
enough to inspire one with affection?"

The father admitted that his daughter had reason on her side, but
observing so much civility in the Beast, he could not believe him to be
as stupid as she represented him. The order, the abundance, the good
taste that was discernible through his palace, were not, according to
his thinking, the work of a fool. In fact, he found him worthy of the
consideration of his daughter, and Beauty might have felt more inclined
to listen to the Monster, had not her nocturnal lover's appearance
thrown an obstacle in the way. The comparison she drew between these
two admirers could not be favourable to the Beast. The old man himself
was fully aware of the great distinction which must be made between
them. Notwithstanding, he tried by all manner of means to overcome her
repugnance. He recalled to her the advice of the lady who had warned
her not to be prejudiced by appearances, and whose language seemed to
imply that this youth would only make her miserable.

It is easier to reason with love than to conquer it. Beauty had not the
power to yield to the reiterated requests of her father. He left her
without having been able to persuade her. Night, already far advanced,
invited her to repose, and the daughter, although delighted to see her
father once more, was not sorry that he left her at liberty to retire
to rest. She was glad to be alone. Her heavy eyelids inspired her
with the hope that in slumber she would soon again behold her beloved
Unknown. She was eager to enjoy this innocent pleasure. A quickened
pulsation evinced the joy with which her gentle heart would greet that
pleasant vision; but her excited imagination, while representing to her
the scenes in which she had usually held sweet converse with that dear
Unknown, had not sufficient power to conjure up his form to her as she
so ardently desired.

She awoke several times, but on falling asleep again no cupids
fluttered round her couch. In a word, instead of a night full of sweet
thoughts and innocent pleasures, which she had counted on passing in
the arms of sleep, it was to her one of interminable length and endless
anxiety. She had never known any like it in the Palace of the Beast,
and the day, which she at last saw break with a mingled feeling of
satisfaction and impatience, came opportunely to relieve her from this
weariness.

Her father, enriched by the liberality of the Beast, had quitted his
country house, and in order to facilitate the establishment of his
daughters, resided in a very large city, where his new fortune obtained
for him new friends, or rather new acquaintances. Amidst the circle
who visited him the tidings soon spread that his youngest daughter
had returned. Everybody evinced an equal impatience to see her, and
were each as much charmed with her intellect as with her beauty.
The peaceful days she had passed in her desert palace, the innocent
pleasures which a gentle slumber had invariably procured her, the
thousand amusements which succeeded, so that dullness could never take
possession of her spirit,--in brief, all the attentions of the Monster
had combined to render her still more beautiful and more charming than
she was when her father first parted from her.

She was the admiration of all who saw her. The suitors to her sisters,
without condescending to excuse their infidelity by the slightest
pretext, fell in love with her, and attracted by the power of her
charms, deserted, without a blush, their former mistresses. Insensible
to the marked attentions of a crowd of adorers, she neglected nothing
that could discourage them and induce them to return to the previous
objects of their affection; but, notwithstanding all her care, she
could not escape the jealousy of her sisters.

The inconstant lovers, far from concealing their new passion, invented
every day some fresh entertainment, with the view of paying their
court to her. They entreated her even to bestow the prize in the games
which took place in her honour; but Beauty, who could not be blind to
the mortification she was causing her sisters, and yet was unwilling
to refuse utterly the favour they implored so ardently, and in so
flattering a manner, found means to satisfy them all, by declaring
that she would, alternately with her sisters, present the prize to
the victor. What she selected was a flower, or some equally simple
guerdon. She left to her elder sisters the honour of giving, in their
turn, jewels, crowns of diamonds, costly weapons, or superb bracelets,
presents which her liberal hand supplied them with, but for which she
would not take the slightest credit. The treasures lavished on her
by the Monster left her in want of nothing. She divided between her
sisters everything she had brought that was most rare and elegant.
Bestowing nothing but trifles herself, and leaving them the pleasure
of giving largely, she counted on securing for them the love as well
as the gratitude of the youthful combatants. But these lovers sought
only to gain her heart, and the simplest gift from her hand was more
precious to them than all the treasures that were prodigally heaped
upon them by the others.

The amusements she partook of amongst her family, though vastly
inferior to those she enjoyed in the Palace of the Beast, entertained
her sufficiently to prevent the time hanging heavily on her hands. At
the same time, neither the gratification of seeing her father, whom she
tenderly loved, nor the pleasure of being with her brothers, who in
a hundred ways studied to prove to her the extent of their affection,
nor the delight of conversing with her sisters, of whom she was very
fond, though they were not so of her, could prevent her regretting her
agreeable dreams. Her Unknown (greatly to her sorrow) came not, when
she slumbered under her father's roof, to address her in the tenderest
language; and the court paid to her by those who had been the admirers
of her sisters, did not compensate for the loss of that pleasing
illusion. Had she even been of a nature to feel flattered by such
conquests, she would still have distinguished an immense difference
between their attentions, or those of the Beast, and the devotion of
her charming Unknown.

Their assiduities were received by her with the greatest indifference;
but Beauty perceiving that, notwithstanding her coolness, they were
obstinately bent on rivalling each other in the task of proving to
her the intensity of their passion, thought it her duty to make
them clearly understand they were losing their time. The first she
endeavoured to undeceive was one who had courted her eldest sister. She
told him that she had only returned for the purpose of being present at
the marriage of her sisters, particularly that of her eldest sister,
and that she was about to press her father to settle it immediately.
Beauty found that she had to deal with a man who saw no longer any
charms in her sister. He sighed alone for her, and coldness, disdain,
the threat to depart before the expiration of the two months--nothing,
in short, could discourage him. Much vexed at having failed in her
object, she held a similar conversation with the others, whom she had
the mortification to find equally infatuated.

To complete her distress, her unjust sisters, who looked upon her as a
rival, conceived a hatred to her which they could not dissemble; and
whilst Beauty was deploring the too great power of her charms, she
had the misery of learning that her new adorers, believing each to be
the cause of the other's rejection, were bent, in the maddest way, on
fighting it out amongst themselves. All these annoyances induced her to
determine upon returning sooner than she had contemplated.

Her father and brothers did all they could to detain her; but the slave
of her word, and firm in resolution, neither the tears of the one nor
the prayers of the others could prevail upon her. All that they could
extort from her was, that she would defer her departure as long as
she could. The two months had nearly expired, and every morning she
determined to bid adieu to her family, without having the heart when
night arrived to say farewell. In the combat between her affection and
her gratitude, she could not lean to the one without doing injustice to
the other. In the midst of her embarrassment, it needed nothing less
than a dream to decide her. She fancied she was at the Palace of the
Beast, and walking in a retired avenue, terminated by a thicket full
of brambles, concealing the entrance to a cavern, out of which issued
horrible groans. She recognised the voice of the Beast, and ran to his
assistance. The Monster, who, in her dream, appeared stretched upon the
ground and dying, reproached her with being the cause of his death,
and having repaid his affection with the blackest ingratitude. She
then saw the lady who had before appeared to her in her sleep, and who
said to her in a severe tone, that it would be her destruction if she
hesitated any longer to fulfil her engagements; that she had given her
word to the Beast that she would return in two months; that the time
had expired; that the delay of another day would be fatal to the Beast;
that the trouble she was creating in her father's house, and the hatred
of her sisters, ought to increase her desire to return to the Palace of
the Beast, where everything combined to delight her. Beauty, terrified
by this dream, and fearing to be the cause of the death of the Beast,
awoke with a start, and went immediately to inform her family that she
could no longer delay her departure. This intelligence produced various
effects. Her father's tears spoke for him; her brothers protested that
they would not allow her to leave them; and her lovers, in despair,
swore they would not suffer the house to be robbed of its brightest
ornament. Her sisters alone, far from appearing distressed at her
departure, were loud in praise of her sense of honour; and affecting
to possess the same virtue themselves, had the audacity to assure her
that if they had pledged their words to the Beast as she had done,
they should not have suffered his ugliness to have interfered with
their feelings of duty, and that they should have long ere that time
been on their road back to the marvellous palace. It was thus they
endeavoured to disguise the cruel jealousy that rankled in their
hearts. Beauty, however, charmed by their apparent generosity, thought
only of convincing her brothers and her lovers of the obligation she
was under to leave them; but her brothers loved her too much to consent
to her going, and her lovers were too infatuated to listen to reason.
All of them being ignorant of the mode in which Beauty had arrived at
her father's house, and never doubting but that the horse which first
conveyed her to the Palace of the Beast would be sent to take her back
again, resolved amongst themselves to prevent it.

Her sisters, who only concealed their delight by the affectation of a
sentiment of horror, as they perceived the hour approach for Beauty's
departure, were frightened to death lest anything should occur to
delay her; but Beauty, firm in her resolution, knowing whither duty
called her, and having no more time to lose, if she would prolong the
existence of the Beast, her benefactor, at nightfall took leave of her
family, and of all those who were interested in her destiny.

She assured them that whatever steps they took to prevent her
departure, she should, nevertheless, be in the Palace of the Beast the
next morning before they were stirring; that all their schemes would
be fruitless; and that she had determined to return to the Enchanted
Palace. She did not forget, on going to bed, to turn her ring. She
slept very soundly, and did not awake until the clock in her chamber,
striking noon, chimed her name to music. By that sound she knew that
her wishes were accomplished. As soon as she evinced a disposition to
rise, her couch was surrounded by all the animals who had been so eager
to serve her, and who unanimously testified their gratification at her
return, and expressed the sorrow they had felt at her long absence.

The day seemed to her longer than any she had previously passed in that
Palace, not so much from regret for those she had quitted as from her
impatience again to behold the Beast, and to say everything she could
to him in the way of excuse for her conduct. She was also animated by
another desire,--that of again holding in slumber one of those sweet
conversations with her dear Unknown, a pleasure she had been deprived
of during the two months she had passed with her family, and which
she could not enjoy anywhere but in that Palace. The Beast and the
Unknown were, in short, alternately the subjects of her reflections.
One moment she reproached herself for not returning the affection of a
lover who, under the form of a monster, displayed so noble a mind; the
next she deplored having set her heart upon a visionary object, who had
no existence except in her dreams. She began to doubt whether she ought
to prefer the imaginary devotion of a phantom to the real affection
of the Beast. The very dream in which the Unknown appeared to her was
invariably accompanied by warnings not to trust to sight. She feared
it was but an idle illusion, born of the vapours of the brain, and
destroyed by light of day.

Thus undecided, loving the Unknown, yet not wishing to displease the
Beast, and seeking repose from her thoughts in some entertainment,
she went to the French Comedy[24], which she found exceedingly poor.
Shutting the window abruptly, she hoped to be better pleased at the
Opera. She thought the music miserable. The Italians were equally
unable to amuse her. Their comedy appeared to her to want smartness,
wit and action. Weariness and distaste accompanied her everywhere, and
prevented her taking pleasure in anything.

The gardens had no attractions for her. Her Court endeavoured to
entertain her, but the monkeys lost their labour in frisking, and the
parrots and other birds in chattering and singing. She was impatient
for the visit of the Beast, the noise of whose approach she expected
to hear every instant. But the hour so much desired came without the
appearance of the Monster. Alarmed, and almost angry at his delay, she
tried in vain to account for his absence. Divided through hope and
fear, her mind agitated, her heart a prey to melancholy, she descended
into the gardens, determined not to re-enter the Palace till she had
found the Beast. No trace of him could she discover anywhere. She
called him. Echo alone answered her. Having passed more than three
hours in this disagreeable exercise, overcome by fatigue, she sank upon
a garden seat. She imagined the Beast was either dead or had abandoned
the place.

  [Illustration: Beauty and the Beast.--P. 273.]

She saw herself alone in that Palace, without the hope of ever leaving
it. She regretted her conversations with the Beast, unentertaining as
they had been to her, and what appeared to her extraordinary, even
to discover she had so much feeling for him. She blamed herself for
not having married him, and considering she had been the cause of his
death (for she feared her too long absence had occasioned it), heaped
upon herself the keenest and most bitter reproaches. In the midst of
her miserable reflections she perceived that she was seated in that
very avenue in which, during the last night she had passed under her
father's roof, she had dreamed she saw the Beast expiring in some
strange cavern. Convinced that chance had not conducted her to this
spot, she rose and hurried towards the thicket, which she found was not
impenetrable. She discovered another hollow, which appeared to be that
she had seen in her dream. As the moon gave but a feeble light, the
monkey pages immediately appeared with a sufficient number of torches
to illuminate the chasm, and to reveal to her the Beast stretched upon
the earth, as she thought, asleep. Far from being alarmed at his sight,
Beauty was delighted, and, approaching him boldly, placed her hand
upon his head, and called to him several times; but finding him cold
and motionless, she no longer doubted he was dead, and consequently
gave utterance to the most mournful shrieks and the most affecting
exclamations.

The assurance of his death, however, did not prevent her from making
every effort to recall him to life. On placing her hand on his heart
she felt, to her great joy, that it still beat. Without further
delay, Beauty ran out of the cave to the basin of a fountain, where,
taking up some water in her joined hands, she hastened back with it,
and sprinkled it upon him; but as she could bring very little at a
time, and spilt some of it before she could return to the Beast, her
assistance had been but meagre if the monkey courtiers had not flown
to the Palace, and returned with such speed that in a moment she was
furnished with a vase for water, as well as with proper restoratives.
She caused him to smell them and swallow them, and they produced so
excellent an effect that he soon began to move and show some kind of
consciousness. She cheered him with her voice and caressed him as he
recovered. "What anxiety have you caused me?" said she to him, kindly;
"I knew not how much I loved you. The fear of losing you has proved to
me that I was attached to you by stronger ties than those of gratitude.
I vow to you that I had determined to die if I had failed in restoring
you to life." At these tender words the Beast, feeling perfectly
revived, replied, in a voice which was still feeble, "It is very kind
of you, Beauty, to love so ugly a monster, but you do well. I love you
better than my life. I thought you would never return: it would have
killed me. Since you love me I will live. Retire to rest, and assure
yourself that you will be as happy as your good heart renders you
worthy to be."

Beauty had never before heard so long a speech from the Beast. It
was not very eloquent, but it pleased, from its gentleness and the
sincerity observable in it. She had expected to be scolded, or at
least to have been reproached. She had from this moment a better
opinion of his disposition. No longer thinking him so stupid, she even
considered his short answers a proof of his prudence, and, more and
more prepossessed in his favour, she retired to her apartment, her mind
occupied with the most flattering ideas. Extremely fatigued, she found
there all the refreshments she needed. Her heavy eyelids promised her
a sweet slumber. Asleep almost as soon as her head was on her pillow,
her dear Unknown failed not to present himself immediately. What
tender words did he not utter to express the pleasure he experienced
at seeing her again? He assured her that she would be happy; that it
only remained to her to follow the impulse of her good heart. Beauty
asked him if her happiness was to arise from her marriage with the
Beast. The Unknown replied that it was the only means of securing it.
She felt somewhat annoyed at this. She thought it even extraordinary
that her lover should advise her to make her rival happy. After this
first dream, she thought she saw the Beast dead at her feet. An instant
afterwards the Unknown re-appeared, and disappeared again as instantly,
to give place to the Beast. But what she observed most distinctly was
the Lady, who seemed to say to her, "I am pleased with thee. Continue
to follow the dictates of reason, and trouble thyself about naught.
I undertake the task of rendering thee happy." Beauty, although
asleep, appeared to acknowledge her partiality to the Unknown and her
repugnance to the Monster, whom she could not consider loveable. The
Lady smiled at her objections, and advised her not to make herself
uneasy about her affection for the Unknown, for that the emotions she
felt were not incompatible with the resolution she had formed to do her
duty; that she might follow her inclinations without resistance, and
that her happiness would be perfected by espousing the Beast.

This dream, which only ended with her sleep, furnished her with an
inexhaustible source of reflection. In this vision, as in those which
had preceded it, she found more coherence than is usually displayed
in dreams, and she therefore determined to consent to this strange
union. But the image of the Unknown rose unceasingly to trouble her.
It was the sole obstacle, but not a slight one. Still uncertain as
to the course she ought to take, she went to the Opera, but without
terminating her embarrassment. At the end of the performance she sat
down to supper. The arrival of the Beast was alone capable of deciding
her.

Far from reproaching her for her long absence, the Monster, as if
the pleasure of seeing her had made him forget his past distresses,
appeared, on entering Beauty's apartment, to have no other anxiety
but that of ascertaining if she had been much amused, if she had been
well received, and if her health had been good. She answered these
questions, and added politely that she had paid dearly for all the
pleasures his care had enabled her to enjoy, by the cruel pain she had
endured on finding him in so sad a state on her return.

The Beast briefly thanked her, and then being about to take his leave,
asked her, as usual, if she would marry him. Beauty was silent for a
short time, but at last making up her mind, she said to him, trembling,
"Yes, Beast, I am willing, if you will pledge me your faith, to give
you mine." "I do," replied the Beast, "and I promise you never to
have any wife but you." "Then," rejoined Beauty, "I accept you for my
husband, and swear to be a fond and faithful wife to you."

She had scarcely uttered these words when a discharge of artillery was
heard, and that she might not doubt it being a signal of rejoicing, she
saw from her windows the sky all in a blaze with the light of twenty
thousand fireworks, which continued rising for three hours. They formed
true-lovers' knots, while on elegant escutcheons appeared Beauty's
initials, and beneath them, in well-defined letters, "Long live Beauty
and her Husband." After this display had terminated, the Beast took his
departure, and Beauty retired to rest. No sooner was she asleep than
her dear Unknown paid her his usual visit. He was more richly attired
than she had ever seen him. "How deeply am I obliged to you, charming
Beauty," said he. "You have released me from the frightful prison in
which I have groaned for so long a time. Your marriage with the Beast
will restore a king to his subjects, a son to his mother, and life to a
whole kingdom. We shall all be happy."

Beauty, at these words, felt bitterly annoyed, perceiving that the
Unknown, far from evincing the despair such an engagement as she had
entered into should have caused him, gazed on her with eyes sparkling
with extreme delight. She was about to express her discontent to him,
when the Lady, in her turn, appeared in her dream.

"Behold thee victorious," said she. "We owe everything to thee, Beauty.
Thou hast suffered gratitude to triumph over every other feeling. None
but thou would have had the courage to keep their word at the expense
of their inclination, nor to have perilled their life to have saved
that of their father. In return for this, there are none who can ever
hope to enjoy such happiness as thy virtue has won for thee. Thou
knowest at present little, but the rising sun shall tell thee more."
When the Lady had disappeared, Beauty again saw the unknown youth, but
stretched on the earth as dead. All the night passed in such dreams;
but they had become familiar to her, and did not prevent her from
sleeping long and soundly. It was broad daylight when she awoke. The
sun streamed into her apartment with more brilliancy than usual: her
monkeys had not closed the shutters. Believing the sight that met her
eyes but a continuation of her dreams, and that she was sleeping still,
her joy and surprise were extreme at discovering that it was a reality,
and that on a couch beside her lay, in a profound slumber, her beloved
Unknown, looking a thousand times more handsome than he had done in
her vision. To assure herself of the fact, she arose hastily and took
from off her toilet-table the miniature she usually wore on her arm;
but she could not have been mistaken. She spoke to him, in the hope of
awaking him from the trance into which he seemed to have been thrown by
some wonderful power. Not stirring at her voice, she shook him by the
arm. This effort was equally ineffectual, and only served to convince
her that he was under the influence of enchantment, and that she must
await the end of the charm, which it was reasonable to suppose had an
appointed period.

How delighted was she to find herself betrothed to him who alone had
caused her to hesitate, and to find that she had done from duty that
which she would have done from inclination. She no longer doubted the
promise of happiness which had been made to her in her dreams. She
now knew that the Lady had truly assured her that her love for the
Unknown was not incompatible with the affection she entertained for the
Beast, seeing that they were one and the same person. In the meanwhile,
however, her husband never woke. After a slight meal she endeavoured to
pass away the time in her usual occupations, but they appeared to her
insipid. As she could not resolve to leave her apartments, nor bear to
sit idle, she took up some music, and began to sing. Her birds hearing
her, joined their voices to hers, and made a concert, the more charming
to her as she expected every moment it would be interrupted by the
awakening of her husband, for she flattered herself she could dissolve
the spell by the harmony of her voice. The spell was soon broken, but
not by the means she imagined. She heard the sound of a chariot rolling
beneath the windows of her apartment, and the voices of several persons
approaching. At the same moment the monkey Captain of the Guard, by the
beak of his parrot Interpreter, announced the visit of some ladies.
Beauty, from her windows, beheld the chariot that brought them. It was
of an entirely novel description, and of matchless beauty. Four white
stags, with horns and hoofs of gold, superbly caparisoned, drew this
equipage, the singularity of which increased Beauty's desire to know
who were the owners of it.

By the noise, which became louder, she was aware that the ladies had
nearly reached the ante-chamber. She considered it right to advance
and receive them. She recognised in one of them the Lady she had been
accustomed to behold in her dreams. The other was not less beautiful.
Her high and distinguished bearing sufficiently indicated that she was
an illustrious personage. She was no longer in the bloom of youth,
but her air was so majestic that Beauty was uncertain to which of the
two strangers she ought first to address herself. She was still under
this embarrassment, when the one with whose features she was already
familiar, and who appeared to exercise some sort of superiority over
the other, turning to her companion, said, "Well, Queen, what think you
of this beautiful girl? You owe to her the restoration of your son to
life, for you must admit that the miserable circumstances under which
he existed could not be called living. Without her, you would never
again have beheld this Prince. He must have remained in the horrible
shape to which he had been transformed, had he not found in the world
one only person who possessed virtue and courage equal to her beauty.
I think you will behold with pleasure the son she has restored to you
become her husband. They love each other, and nothing is wanting to
their perfect happiness but your consent. Will you refuse to bestow it
on them?" The Queen, at these words, embracing Beauty affectionately,
exclaimed, "Far from refusing my consent, their union will afford
me the greatest felicity! Charming and virtuous child, to whom I am
under so many obligations, tell me who you are, and the names of the
sovereigns who are so happy as to have given birth to so perfect a
Princess?"

"Madam," replied Beauty, modestly, "it is long since I had a mother; my
father is a merchant more distinguished in the world for his probity
and his misfortunes than for his birth." At this frank declaration, the
astonished Queen recoiled a pace or two, and said, "What! you are only
a merchant's daughter? Ah, great Fairy!" she added, casting a mortified
look on her companion, and then remained silent; but her manner
sufficiently expressed her thoughts, and her disappointment was legible
in her eyes.

"It appears to me," said the Fairy, haughtily, "that you are
discontented with my choice. You regard with contempt the condition of
this young person, and yet she was the only being in the world who was
capable of executing my project, and who could make your son happy."
"I am very grateful to her for what she has done," replied the Queen;
"but, powerful spirit," she continued, "I cannot refrain from pointing
out to you the incongruous mixture of that noblest blood in all the
world which runs in my son's veins with that of the obscure race from
which the person has sprung to whom you would unite him. I confess I am
little gratified by the supposed happiness of the Prince, if it must be
purchased by an alliance so degrading to us, and so unworthy of him.
Is it impossible to find in the world a maiden whose birth is equal
to her virtue? I know many excellent princesses by name; why am I not
permitted to hope that I may see him the possessor of one of those?"

At this moment the handsome Unknown appeared. The arrival of his mother
and the Fairy had aroused him, and the noise they had made was more
effective than all the efforts of Beauty; such being the nature of the
spell. The Queen held him a long time in her arms, without speaking a
word. She found again a son whose fine qualities rendered him worthy of
all her affection. What joy for the Prince to see himself released from
a horrible form, and a stupidity more painful to him because it was
affected and had not obscured his reason. He had recovered the liberty
to appear in his natural form by means of the object of his love, and
that reflection made it still more precious to him.

After the first transports which nature inspired him with at the sight
of his mother, the Prince hastened to pay those thanks to the Fairy
which duty and gratitude prompted. He did so in the most respectful
terms, but as briefly as possible, in order to be at liberty to turn
his attentions towards Beauty. He had already, by tender glances,
expressed to her his feelings, and was about to confirm with his lips,
in the most touching language, what his eyes had spoken, when the Fairy
stopped him, and bade him be the judge between her and his mother.
"Your mother," said she, "condemns the engagement you have entered into
with Beauty. She considers that her birth is too much beneath yours.
For my part, I think that her virtues make up for that inequality. It
is for you, Prince, to say with which of us your own feelings coincide;
and that you may be under no restraint in declaring to us your real
sentiments, I announce to you that you have full liberty of choice.
Although you have pledged your word to this amiable person, you are
free to withdraw it. I will answer for her, that Beauty will release
you from your promise without the least hesitation, although, through
her kindness, you have regained your natural form; and I assure you
also that her generosity will cause her to carry disinterestedness
to the extent of leaving you at liberty to dispose of your hand in
favour of any person on whom the Queen may advise you to bestow
it.--What say you, Beauty?" pursued the Fairy, turning towards her;
"have I been mistaken in thus interpreting your sentiments? Would you
desire a husband who would become so with regret?" "Assuredly not,
Madam," replied Beauty. "The Prince is free. I renounce the honour
of being his wife. When I accepted him, I believed I was taking pity
on something below humanity. I engaged myself to him only with the
object of conferring on him the most signal favour. Ambition had no
place in my thoughts. Therefore, great Fairy, I implore you to exact
no sacrifice from the Queen, whom I cannot blame for the scruples she
entertains under such circumstances." "Well, Queen, what say you to
that?" inquired the Fairy, in a disdainful and displeased tone. "Do
you consider that princesses, who are so by the caprice of fortune,
better deserve the high rank in which it has placed them than this
young maiden? For my part, I think she should not be prejudiced by
an origin from which she has elevated herself by her conduct." The
Queen replied with some embarrassment, "Beauty is incomparable! Her
merit is infinite; nothing can surpass it; but, madam, can we not find
some other mode of rewarding her? Is it not to be effected without
sacrificing to her the hand of my son?" Then turning to Beauty, she
continued, "Yes, I owe you more than I can pay. I put, therefore, no
limit to your desires. Ask boldly, I will grant you everything, with
that sole exception; but the difference will not be great to you.
Choose a husband from amongst the nobles of my Court. However high in
rank, he will have cause to bless his good fortune, and for your sake I
will place him so near the throne that your position will be scarcely
less enviable."

"I thank you, Madam," replied Beauty; "but I ask no reward from you. I
am more than repaid by the pleasure of having broken the spell which
had deprived a great prince of his mother and of his kingdom. My
happiness would have been perfect if I had rendered this service to my
own sovereign. All I desire is that the Fairy will deign to restore me
to my father."

The Prince, who, by order of the Fairy, had been silent throughout this
conversation, was no longer master of himself, and his respect for the
commands he had received, failed to restrain him. He flung himself at
the feet of the Fairy and of his mother, and implored them, in the
strongest terms, not to make him more miserable than he had been, by
sending away Beauty, and depriving him of the happiness of being her
husband. At these words, Beauty, gazing on him with an air full of
tenderness, but mingled with a noble pride, said, "Prince, I cannot
conceal from you my affection. Your disenchantment is a proof of it,
and I should in vain endeavour to disguise my feelings. I confess
without a blush, that I love you better than myself. Why should I
dissimulate? We may disavow evil impulses; but mine are perfectly
innocent, and are authorised by the generous Fairy to whom we are both
so much indebted. But if I could resolve to sacrifice my feelings when
I thought it my duty to do so for the Beast, you must feel assured that
I shall not falter on this occasion when it is no longer the interest
of the Monster that is at stake, but your own. It is enough for me to
know who you are, and that I am to renounce the glory of being your
wife. I will even venture to say, that if, yielding to your entreaties,
the Queen should grant the consent you ask, it would not alter the
case, for in my own reason, and even in my love, you would meet with
an insurmountable obstacle. I repeat that I ask no favour but that of
being allowed to return to the bosom of my family, where I shall for
ever cherish the remembrance of your bounty and your affection."

"Generous Fairy!" exclaimed the Prince, clasping her hands in
supplication, "for mercy's sake, do not allow Beauty to depart! Make
me, rather, again the Monster that I was, for then I shall be her
husband. She pledged her word to the Beast, and I prefer that happiness
to all those she has restored me to, if I must purchase them so dearly!"

The Fairy made no answer; she but looked steadily at the Queen, who was
moved by so much true affection, but whose pride remained unshaken. The
despair of her son affected her, yet she could not forget that Beauty
was the daughter of a merchant, and nothing more. She, notwithstanding,
feared the anger of the Fairy, whose manner and silence sufficiently
evinced her indignation. Her confusion was extreme. Not having power
to utter a word, she feared to see a fatal termination to a conference
which had offended the protecting spirit. No one spoke for some
minutes, but the Fairy at length broke the silence, and casting an
affectionate look upon the lovers, she said to them, "I find you
worthy of each other. It would be a crime to part two such excellent
persons. You shall not be separated, I promise you; and I have
sufficient power to fulfil my promise." The Queen shuddered at these
words, and would have made some remonstrance, but the Fairy anticipated
her by saying, "For you, Queen, the little value you set upon virtue,
unadorned by the vain titles which alone you respect, would justify me
in heaping on you the bitterest reproaches. But I excuse your fault,
arising from pride of birth, and I will take no other vengeance beyond
doing this little violence to your prejudices, and for which you will
not be long without thanking me." Beauty, at these words, embraced
the knees of the Fairy, and exclaimed, "Ah, do not expose me to the
misery of being told all my life that I am unworthy of the rank to
which your bounty would elevate me. Reflect that this Prince, who now
believes that his happiness consists in the possession of my hand may
very shortly perhaps be of the same opinion as the Queen." "No, no,
Beauty, fear nothing," rejoined the Fairy. "The evils you anticipate
cannot come to pass. I know a sure way of protecting you from them,
and should the Prince be capable of despising you after marriage, he
must seek some other reason than the inequality of your condition.
Your birth is not inferior to his own. Nay, the advantage is even
considerably on your side, for the truth is," said she, sternly, to the
Queen, "that you behold your niece; and what must render her still more
worthy of your respect is, that she is mine also, being the daughter of
my sister, who was not, like you, a slave to rank which is lustreless
without virtue.

"That Fairy, knowing how to estimate true worth, did your brother, the
King of the Happy Island, the honour to marry him. I preserved this
fair fruit of their union from the fury of a Fairy who desired to be
her step-mother. From the moment of her birth I destined her to be the
wife of your son. I desired, by concealing from you the result of my
good service, to give you an opportunity of showing your confidence in
me. I had some reason to believe that it was greater than it appears to
have been. You might have relied upon me for watching over the destiny
of the Prince. I had given you proofs enough of the interest I took
in it, and you needed not to have been under any apprehension that I
should expose him to anything that would be disgraceful to himself or
to you. I feel persuaded, Madam," continued she, with a smile which
had still something of bitterness in it, "that you will not object to
honour us with your alliance."

The Queen, astonished and embarrassed, knew not what to answer. The
only way to atone for her fault was to confess it frankly, and evince
a sincere repentance. "I am guilty, generous Fairy," said she. "Your
bounties should have satisfied me that you would not suffer my son to
have formed an alliance unworthy of him. But pardon, I beseech you, the
prejudices of my rank, which urged that royal blood could not marry
one of humbler birth without degradation. I acknowledge that I deserve
you should punish me by giving to Beauty a mother-in-law more worthy
of her; but you take too kind an interest in my son to render him the
victim of my error. As to you, dear Beauty," she continued, embracing
her tenderly, "you must not resent my resistance. It was caused by my
desire to marry my son to my niece, whom the Fairy had often assured me
was living, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary. She had
drawn so charming a portrait of her, that without knowing you, I loved
you dearly enough to risk offending the Fairy, in order to preserve to
you the throne and the heart of my son." So saying, she recommenced her
caresses, which Beauty received with respect.

The Prince, on his part, enraptured at this agreeable intelligence,
expressed his delight in looks alone.

"Behold us all satisfied," said the Fairy; "and now, to terminate this
happy adventure, we only need the consent of the royal father of the
Princess; but we shall shortly see him here." Beauty requested her to
permit the person who had brought her up, and whom she had hitherto
looked upon as her father, to witness her felicity. "I admire such
consideration," said the Fairy; "it is worthy a noble mind, and as
you desire it, I undertake to inform him." Then taking the Queen by
the hand, she led her away, under the pretext of showing her over the
enchanted Palace. It was to give the newly-betrothed pair the liberty
of conversing with each other for the first time without restraint or
the aid of illusion. They would have followed, but she forbade them.
The happiness in store for them inspired each with equal delight. They
could not entertain the least doubt of their mutual affection.

Their conversation, confused and unconnected, their protestations a
hundred times repeated, were to them more convincing proofs of love
than the most eloquent language could have afforded. After having
exhausted all the expressions that passion suggests under such
circumstances to those that are truly in love, Beauty inquired of her
lover by what misfortune he had been so cruelly transformed into a
beast. She requested him also to relate to her all the events of his
life preceding that shocking metamorphosis.

The Prince, whose recovery of his natural form had not lessened his
anxiety to obey her, without more ado commenced his narrative in the
following words:--


THE STORY OF THE BEAST.

The King, my father, died before I was born. The Queen would never have
been consoled for his loss if her interest for the child she bore had
not struggled with her sorrow. My birth caused her extreme delight. The
sweet task of rearing the fruit of the affection of so dearly-beloved
a husband was destined to dissipate her affliction. The care of my
education and the fear of losing me occupied her entirely. She was
assisted in her object by a Fairy of her acquaintance, who showed the
greatest anxiety to preserve me from all kinds of accidents. The Queen
felt greatly obliged to her, but she was not pleased when the Fairy
asked her to place me entirely in her hands. The Fairy had not the best
of reputations--she was said to be capricious in her favours. People
feared more than they loved her; and even had my mother been perfectly
convinced of the goodness of her nature, she could not have resolved to
lose sight of me.

By the advice, however, of prudent persons, and for fear of suffering
from the fatal effects of the resentment of this vindictive Fairy,
she did not flatly refuse her. If voluntarily confided to her care
there was no reason to suppose she would do me any injury. Experience
had proved that she took pleasure in hurting those only by whom she
considered herself offended. The Queen admitted this, and was only
reluctant to forego the pleasure of gazing on me continually with a
mother's eyes, which enabled her to discover charms in me I owed solely
to her partiality.

She was still irresolute as to the course she should adopt, when a
powerful neighbour imagined it would be an easy matter for him to seize
upon the dominions of an infant governed by a woman. He invaded my
kingdom with a formidable army. The Queen hastily raised one to oppose
him, and, with a courage beyond that of her sex, placed herself at the
head of her troops, and marched to defend our frontiers. It was then
that, being compelled to leave me, she could not avoid confiding to
the Fairy the care of my education. I was placed in her hands after
she had sworn by all she held most sacred that she would, without the
least hesitation, bring me back to the Court as soon as the war was
over, which my mother calculated would not last more than a year at the
utmost. Notwithstanding, however, all the advantages she gained over
the enemy, she found it impossible to return to the capital so soon as
she expected. To profit by her victory, after having driven the foe out
of our dominions, she pursued him in his own.

She took entire provinces, gained battle after battle, and finally
reduced the vanquished to sue for a degrading peace, which he obtained
only on the hardest conditions. After this glorious success, the Queen
returned triumphantly, and enjoyed in anticipation the pleasure of
beholding me once more; but having learned upon her march that her
base foe, in violation of the treaty, had surprised and massacred our
garrisons, and repossessed himself of nearly all the places he had
been compelled to cede to us, she was obliged to retrace her steps.
Honour prevailed over the affection which drew her towards me, and she
resolved never to sheathe the sword till she had put it out of her
enemy's power to perpetrate more treachery. The time employed in this
second expedition was very considerable. She had flattered herself that
two or three campaigns would suffice; but she had to contend with an
adversary as cunning as he was false. He contrived to excite rebellion
in some of our own provinces, and to corrupt entire battalions, which
forced the Queen to remain in arms for fifteen years. She never thought
of sending for me. She was always flattering herself that each month
would be the last she should be absent, and that she was on the point
of seeing me again.

In the meanwhile, the Fairy, in accordance with her promise, had paid
every attention to my education. From the day she had taken me out
of my kingdom, she had never left me, nor ceased to give me proof of
the interest she felt in all that concerned my health and amusement.
I evinced by my respect for her how sensible I was of her kindness. I
showed her the same deference, the same attention that I should have
shown to my mother, and gratitude inspired me with as much affection
for her.

For some time she appeared satisfied with my behaviour; but one day,
without imparting to me the motive, she set out on a journey, from
which she did not return for some years, and when she did return,
struck with the effect of her care of me, she conceived for me an
affection differing from that of a mother. She had previously permitted
me to call her by that name, but now she forbade me. I obeyed her
without inquiring what were her reasons, or suspecting what she was
about to exact from me.

I saw clearly that she was dissatisfied; but could I imagine why she
continually complained of my ingratitude? I was the more surprised at
her reproaches as I did not feel I deserved them. They were always
followed or preceded by the tenderest caresses. I was not old enough to
comprehend her. She was compelled to explain herself. She did so one
day when I evinced some sorrow, mingled with impatience, respecting the
continued absence of the Queen. She reproached me for this, and on my
assuring her that my affection for my mother in nowise interfered with
that I owed to herself, she replied that she was not jealous, although
she had done so much for me, and had resolved to do still more; but
that, to enable her to carry out her designs in my favour with greater
freedom, it was requisite, she added, that I should marry her; that she
did not desire to be loved by me as a mother, but as an admirer; that
she had no doubt of my gratitude to her for making this proposal, or of
the great joy with which I should accept it, and that, consequently,
I had only to abandon myself to the delight with which the certainty
of becoming the husband of a powerful fairy, who could protect me from
all dangers, assure me an existence full of happiness, and cover me
with glory, must naturally awaken.

I was sadly embarrassed by this proposition. I knew enough of the
world in my own country, to be aware that amongst the wedded portion
of the community the happiest were those whose ages and characters
assimilated, and that many were much to be pitied who, marrying under
opposite circumstances, had found antipathies existing between them
which were the source of constant misery.

The Fairy being old and of a haughty disposition, I could not flatter
myself that my lot would be so agreeable as she predicted. I was far
from entertaining for her such feelings as one should for the woman
with whom we intend to pass our days; and besides, I was not inclined
to enter into any such engagement at so early an age. My only desire
was to see the Queen again, and to signalize myself at the head of her
forces. I sighed for liberty; that was the sole boon that would have
gratified me, and the only one the Fairy would not grant.

I had often implored her to allow me to share the perils to which I
knew the Queen exposed herself for the protection of my interests,
but my prayers had hitherto been fruitless. Pressed to reply to the
astounding declaration she had made to me, I, in some confusion,
recalled to her that she had often told me that I had no right to
dispose of my hand without the commands of my mother, and in her
absence. "That is exactly my opinion," she replied; "I do not wish you
to do otherwise; I am satisfied that you should refer the matter to the
Queen."

I have already informed you, beautiful Princess, that I had been unable
to obtain from the Fairy permission to seek the Queen, my mother. The
desire she now had to receive her sanction, which she never doubted
she should obtain, obliged her to grant, even without my asking, that
which she had always denied me; but it was on the condition, by no
means agreeable to me, that she should accompany me. I did what I could
to dissuade her, but found it impossible, and we set out together with
a numerous escort. We arrived upon the eve of a decisive action. The
Queen had manœuvred with such skill that the next day was certain
to decide the fate of the enemy, who would have no resource if he lost
the battle. My presence created great pleasure in the camp, and gave
additional courage to our troops, who drew a favourable augury from my
arrival. The Queen was ready to die with joy; but this first transport
of delight was succeeded by the greatest alarm. Whilst I exulted in the
hope of acquiring glory, the Queen trembled at the danger to which I
was about to expose myself. Too generous to endeavour to prevent me,
she implored me by all her affection, to take as much care of myself
as honour would permit, and entreated the Fairy not to abandon me on
that occasion. Her solicitations were unnecessary. The too susceptible
Fairy was as much alarmed as the Queen, for she possessed no spell
which could protect me from the chances of war. However, by instantly
inspiring me with the art of commanding an army, and the prudence
requisite for so important an office, she achieved much. The most
experienced captains were surprised at me. I remained master of the
field. The victory was complete. I had the happiness of saving the
Queen's life, and of preventing her from being made prisoner of war.
The enemy was pursued with such vigour that he abandoned his camp, lost
his baggage, and more than three-fourths of his army, while the loss
on our side was inconsiderable. A slight wound which I had received
was the only advantage the foe could boast of; but the Queen, fearing
that if the war continued some more serious mischief might befal me, in
opposition to the desire of the whole army, to which my presence had
imparted fresh spirit, made peace on more advantageous terms than the
vanquished had ventured to hope for.

A short time afterwards we returned to our capital, which we entered
in triumph. My occupation during the war, and the continual presence
of my ancient adorer, had prevented me from informing the Queen of
what had occurred. She was, therefore, completely taken by surprise
when the Fairy told her, in so many words, that she had determined to
marry me immediately. This declaration was made in this very Palace,
but which was at that time not so superb as it is at present. It had
been a country residence of the late King, which a thousand occupations
had prevented his embellishing. My mother, who cherished everything
that he had loved, had selected it in preference to any other as a
place of retirement after the fatigues of the war. At the avowal of the
Fairy, unable to control her first feelings, and unused to dissemble,
she exclaimed, "Have you reflected, Madam, on the absurdity of the
arrangement you propose to me!" In truth it was impossible to conceive
one more ridiculous. In addition to the almost decrepit old age of the
Fairy, she was horribly ugly. Nor was this the effect of time. If she
had been handsome in her youth, she might have preserved some portion
of her beauty by the aid of her art; but naturally hideous, her power
could only invest her with the appearance of beauty for one day in each
year, and that day ended, she returned to her former state.

The Fairy was surprised at the exclamation of the Queen. Her self-love
concealed from her all that was actually horrible in her person, and
she calculated that her power sufficiently compensated for the loss
of a few charms of her youth. "What do you mean," said she to the
Queen, "by an absurd arrangement! Consider, that it is imprudent in
you to make me remember what I have condescended to forget. You ought
only to congratulate yourself on possessing a son so amiable that his
merit induces me to prefer him to the most powerful Genii in all the
elements; and as I have deigned to descend to him, accept with respect
the honour I am good enough to confer on you, and do not give me time
to change my mind."

The Queen, as proud as the Fairy, had never conceived that there was a
rank on earth higher than the throne. She valued little the pretended
honour which the Fairy offered her. Having always commanded every one
who approached her, she by no means desired to have a daughter-in-law
to whom she must herself pay homage. Therefore, far from replying to
her, she remained motionless, and contented herself with fixing her
eyes upon me. I was as much astounded as she was, and fixing my eyes on
her in the same manner, it was easy for the Fairy to perceive that our
silence expressed sentiments very opposite to the joy with which she
would have inspired us.

"What is the meaning of this?" said she, sharply. "How comes it that
mother and son are both silent? Has this agreeable surprise deprived
you of the power of speech? or are you blind and rash enough to reject
my offer? Say, Prince," said she to me, "are you so ungrateful and so
imprudent as to despise my kindness? Do you not consent to give me
your hand this moment?"

"No, Madam, I assure you," replied I, quickly. "Although I am sincerely
grateful to you for past favours, I cannot agree to discharge my debt
to you by such means; and, with the Queen's permission, I decline to
part so soon with my liberty. Name any other mode of acknowledging your
favours, and I will not consider it impossible; but as to that you
have proposed, excuse me if you please, for----" "How! insignificant
creature!" interrupted the Fairy, furiously. "Thou darest to resist me!
And you, foolish Queen! you see, without anger, this conduct--What do
I say? without anger! It is you who authorize it! For it is your own
insolent looks that have inspired him with the audacity to refuse me!"

The Queen, already stung by the contemptuous language of the Fairy, was
no longer mistress of herself, and accidentally casting her eyes on a
looking-glass, before which we happened to be standing at the moment,
the wicked Fairy thus provoked her: "What answer can I make you," said
she, "that you ought not to make to yourself? Deign to contemplate,
without prejudice, the object this glass presents to you, and let it
reply for me." The Fairy easily comprehended the Queen's insinuation.
"It is the beauty, then, of this precious son of yours that renders
you so vain," said she to her, "and has exposed me to so degrading a
refusal! I appear to you unworthy of him. Well," she continued, raising
her voice furiously, "having taken so much pains to make him charming,
it is fit that I should complete my work, and that I should give you
both a cause, as novel as remarkable, to make you remember what you owe
to me. Go, wretch!" said she to me; "boast that thou hast refused me
thy heart and thy hand. Give them to her thou findest more worthy of
them than I am." So saying, my terrible lover struck me a blow on the
head. It was so heavy that I was dashed to the ground on my face, and
felt as though I were crushed by the fall of a mountain. Irritated by
this insult, I struggled to rise, but found it impossible. The weight
of my body had become so great that I could not lift myself; all that
I could do was to sustain myself on my hands, which had in an instant
become two horrible paws, and the sight of them apprised me of the
change I had undergone. My form was that in which you found me. I cast
my eyes for an instant on that fatal glass, and could no longer doubt
my cruel and sudden transformation.

My despair rendered me motionless. The Queen at this dreadful sight was
almost out of her mind. To put the last seal upon her barbarity, the
furious Fairy said to me, in an ironical tone, "Go make illustrious
conquests, more worthy of thee than an august Fairy. And as sense
is not required when one is so handsome, I command thee to appear
as stupid as thou art horrible, and to remain in this state until
a young and beautiful girl shall, of her own accord, come to seek
thee, although fully persuaded thou wilt devour her. She must also,"
continued the Fairy, "after discovering that her life is not in danger,
conceive for thee a sufficiently tender affection to induce her to
marry thee. Until thou canst meet with this rare maiden it is my
pleasure that thou remain an object of horror to thyself and to all who
behold thee. As for you, too happy mother of so lovely a child," said
she to the Queen, "I warn you that if you acknowledge to any one that
this monster is your son, he shall never recover his natural shape.
Neither interest, nor ambition, nor the charms of his conversation,
must assist to restore him to it. Adieu! Do not be impatient; you will
not have long to wait. Such a darling will soon find a remedy for his
misfortune." "Ah, cruel one!" exclaimed the Queen, "if my refusal has
offended you, let your vengeance light on me. Take my life, but do not,
I conjure you, destroy your own work." "You forget yourself, great
Princess," replied the Fairy, in an ironical tone, "you demean yourself
too much. I am not handsome enough for you to condescend to entreat
me; but I am firm in my resolutions. Adieu, powerful Queen; adieu,
beautiful Prince; it is not fair that I should longer annoy you with
my hateful presence. I withdraw; but I have still charity enough to
warn thee," addressing herself to me, "that thou must forget who thou
art. If thou sufferest thyself to be flattered by vain respects or by
pompous titles, thou art lost irretrievably! And thou art equally lost
if thou shouldst dare to avail thyself of the intellect I leave thee
possessed of, to shine in conversation."

With these words she disappeared, and left the Queen and me in a state
which can neither be described nor imagined. Lamentations are the
consolation of the unhappy; but our misery was too great to seek relief
in them. My mother determined to stab herself, and I to fling myself in
the adjacent canal. Without communicating our intentions to each other,
we were on the point of executing these fatal designs, when a female
of majestic mien, and whose manner inspired us with profound respect,
appeared, and bade us remember that it was cowardice to succumb to the
greatest misfortunes, and that with time and courage there was no evil
that could not be remedied. The Queen, however, was inconsolable; tears
streamed from her eyes, and not knowing how to inform her subjects that
their sovereign was transformed into a horrible monster, she abandoned
herself to the most fearful despair. The Fairy (for she was one, and
the same whom you have seen here), knowing both her misery and her
embarrassment, recalled to her the indispensable obligation she was
under to conceal from her people this dreadful adventure, and that in
lieu of yielding to despair, it would be better to seek some remedy for
the mischief.

"Is there one to be found," exclaimed the Queen, "which is powerful
enough to prevent the fulfilment of a Fairy's sentence?" "Yes, Madam,"
replied the Fairy, "there is a remedy for everything. I am a Fairy as
well as she whose fury you have just felt the effects of, and my power
is equal to hers. It is true that I cannot immediately repair the
injury she has done you, for we are not permitted to act directly in
opposition to each other. She who has caused your misfortune is older
than I am, and age has amongst us a particular title to respect. But as
she could not avoid attaching a condition upon which the spell might
be broken, I will assist you to break it. I grant that it will be a
difficult task to terminate this enchantment; but it does not appear to
me to be impossible. Let me see what I can do for you by the exertion
of all the means in my power."

Upon this she drew a book from under her robe, and after taking a
few mysterious steps, she seated herself at a table, and read for a
considerable time with such intense application that large drops of
perspiration stood on her forehead. At length she closed the book
and meditated profoundly. The expression of her countenance was so
serious that for some time we were led to believe that she considered
my misfortune irreparable; but recovering from a sort of trance, and
her features resuming their natural beauty, she informed us that she
had discovered a remedy for our disasters. "It will be slow," said she,
"but it will be sure. Keep your secret; let it not transpire, so that
any one can suspect you are concealed beneath this horrible disguise,
for in that case you will deprive me of the power of delivering you
from it. Your enemy flatters herself you will divulge it; it is for
that reason she did not take from you the power of speech."

The Queen declared that the condition was an impossible one, as two
of her women had been present at the fatal transformation, and had
rushed out of the apartment in great terror, which must have excited
the curiosity of the guards and the courtiers. She imagined that the
whole Court was by this time aware of it, and that all the kingdom,
and even all the world, would speedily receive the intelligence; but
the Fairy knew a way to prevent the disclosure of the secret. She made
several circles, now solemnly, now rapidly, uttering words of which we
could not comprehend the meaning, and finished by raising her hand in
the air in the style of one who is pronouncing an imperative order.
This gesture, added to the words she had uttered, was so powerful,
that every breathing creature in the Palace became motionless, and
was changed into a statue. They are all still in the same state. They
are the figures you behold in various directions and in the very
attitudes they had assumed at the instant the Fairy's potent spell
surprised them. The Queen, who at that moment cast her eyes upon the
great court-yard, observed this change taking place in a prodigious
number of persons. The silence which suddenly succeeded to the stir
of a multitude, awoke a feeling of compassion in her heart for the
many innocent beings who were deprived of life for my sake; but the
Fairy comforted her by saying that she would only retain her subjects
in that condition as long as their discretion was necessary. It was a
precaution she was compelled to take, but she promised she would make
up to them for it, and that the period they passed in that state would
not be added to the years allotted to their existence. "They will be so
much the younger," said the Fairy to the Queen; "so cease to deplore
them, and leave them here with your son. He will be quite safe, for
I have raised such thick fogs around this Castle, that it will be
impossible for any one to enter it but when we think fit. I will convey
you," she continued, "where your presence is necessary. Your enemies
are plotting against you. Be careful to proclaim to your people that
the Fairy who educated your son retains him near her for an important
purpose, and keeps with her also all the persons who were in attendance
on you."

It was not without shedding a flood of tears that my mother could
force herself to leave me. The Fairy renewed her assurances to her
that she would always watch over me, and protested that I had only to
wish, and to see the accomplishment of my desires. She added that my
misfortunes would shortly end, provided neither the Queen nor I raised
up an obstacle by some act of imprudence. All these promises could
not console my mother. She wished to remain with me, and to leave the
Fairy, or any one she might consider the most proper person, to govern
the kingdom; but fairies are imperious, and will be obeyed. My mother,
fearing by a refusal to increase my miseries and deprive me of the aid
of this beneficent spirit, consented to all she insisted on. She saw
a beautiful car approach; it was drawn by the same white stags that
brought her here to day. The Fairy made the Queen mount by her side.
She had scarcely time to embrace me, her affairs demanded her presence
elsewhere, and she was warned that a longer sojourn in this place would
be prejudicial to me. She was transported with extraordinary velocity
to the spot where her army was encamped. They were not surprised to see
her arrive with this equipage. Everybody believed her to be accompanied
by the old Fairy, for the one who was with her kept herself unseen,
and departed again immediately to return to this place, which, in an
instant, she embellished with everything that her imagination could
suggest and her art supply.

This good-natured Fairy permitted me also to add whatever I fancied
would please me, and after having done for me all she could, she
left me with exhortations to take courage, and promising to come
occasionally and impart to me such hopes as she might entertain of a
favourable issue to my adventure.

I seemed to be alone in the Palace. I was only so to sight. I was
served as if I were in the midst of my courtiers, and my occupations
were nearly the same as those which were afterwards yours. I read,
I went to the play, I cultivated a garden which I had made to amuse
me, and found something agreeable in everything I undertook. What I
planted arrived at perfection in the same day. It took no more time to
produce the bower of roses to which I am indebted for the happiness of
beholding you here.

My benefactress came very often to see me. Her presence and her
promises alleviated my distresses. Through her, the Queen received news
of me, and I news of the Queen. One day I saw the Fairy arrive with
joy sparkling in her eyes. "Dear Prince," said she to me, "the moment
of your happiness approaches!" She then informed me that he whom you
believed to be your father had passed a very uncomfortable night in
the forest. She related to me, in a few words, the adventure which had
caused him to undertake the journey, without revealing to me your real
parentage. She apprized me that the worthy man was compelled to seek an
asylum from the misery he had endured during four-and-twenty hours.

"I go," said she, "to give orders for his reception. It must be an
agreeable one. He has a charming daughter. I propose that she shall
release you. I have examined the conditions which my cruel companion
has attached to your disenchantment. It is fortunate that she did not
ordain that your deliverer should come hither out of love for you. On
the contrary, she insisted that the young maiden should expect no less
than death, and yet expose herself to it voluntarily. I have thought
of a scheme to oblige her to take that step. It is to make her believe
the life of her father is in danger, and that she has no other means of
saving him. I know that in order to spare her father any expense on her
account, she has asked him only to bring her a rose, whilst her sisters
have overwhelmed him with extravagant commissions. He will naturally
avail himself of the first favourable opportunity. Hide yourself in
this arbour, and seizing him the instant he attempts to gather your
roses, threaten him that death will be the punishment of his audacity,
unless he give you one of his daughters; or, rather, unless she
sacrifice herself, according to the decree of our enemy. This man has
five daughters besides the one I have destined for you; but not one of
them is sufficiently magnanimous to purchase the life of their father
at the price of their own. Beauty is alone capable of so grand an
action."

I executed exactly the Fairy's commands. You know, lovely Princess,
with what success. The merchant, to save his life, promised what I
demanded. I saw him depart without being able to persuade myself that
he would return with you. I could not flatter myself that my desire
would be fulfilled. What torment did I not suffer during the month he
had requested me to allow him. I longed for its termination only to be
certain of my disappointment. I could not imagine that a young, lovely,
and amiable girl would have the courage to seek a monster, of whom she
believed she was doomed to be the prey. Even supposing her to have
sufficient fortitude to devote herself, she would have to remain with
me without repenting the step she had taken, and that appeared to me
an invincible obstacle. Besides, how could she behold me without dying
with affright? I passed my miserable existence in these melancholy
reflections, and never was I more to be pitied. The month, however,
elapsed, and my protectress announced to me your arrival. You remember,
no doubt, the pomp with which you were received. Not daring to express
my delight in words, I endeavoured to prove it to you by the most
magnificent signs of rejoicing. The Fairy, ceaseless in her attentions
to me, prohibited me from making myself known to you. Whatever terror I
might inspire you with, or whatever kindness you might show me, I was
not permitted to seek to please you, nor to express any love for you,
nor to discover to you in any way who I was. I could have recourse,
however, to excessive good-nature, as, fortunately, the malignant Fairy
had forgotten to forbid my giving you proof of that.

These regulations seemed hard to me, but I was compelled to subscribe
to them, and I resolved to present myself before you only for a few
moments every day, and to avoid long conversations, in which my heart
might betray its tenderness. You came, charming Princess, and the first
sight of you produced upon me a diametrically opposite effect to that
which my monstrous appearance must have done upon you. To see you was
instantly to love you. Entering your apartment, tremblingly, my joy was
excessive to find that you could behold me with greater intrepidity
than I could behold myself. You delighted me infinitely when you
declared that you would remain with me. An impulse of self-love, which
I retained even under that most horrible of forms, led me to believe
that you had not found me so hideous as you anticipated.

Your father departed satisfied. But my sorrow increased as I
reflected that I was not allowed to win your favour in any way
except by indulging the caprices of your taste. Your demeanour, your
conversation, as sensible as it was unpretending, everything in you
convinced me that you acted solely on the principles dictated to you by
reason and virtue, and that consequently I had nothing to hope for from
a fortunate caprice. I was in despair at being forbidden to address you
in any other language than that which the Fairy had dictated, and which
she had expressly chosen as coarse and stupid.

In vain did I represent to her it was unnatural to expect you would
accept my proposition to marry you. Her answer was always, "Patience,
perseverance, or all is lost." To recompense you for my silly
conversation, she assured me she would surround you with all sorts of
pleasures, and give me the advantage of seeing you continually, without
alarming you, or being compelled to say rude and impertinent things to
you. She rendered me invisible, and I had the gratification of seeing
you waited on by spirits who were also invisible, or who presented
themselves to you in the shapes of various animals.

More than this, the Fairy caused you to behold my natural form in your
nightly slumbers, and in portraits by day, and made it speak to you
in your dreams as I should have spoken to you myself. You obtained
a confused idea of my secret and my hopes, which she urged you to
realize, and by the means of a starry mirror I witnessed all your
interviews, and read in it either all you imagined you uttered or all
that you actually thought. This position, however, did not suffice
to render me happy. I was only so in a dream, and my sufferings were
real. The intense affection with which you had inspired me obliged me
to complain of the restraint under which I lived; but my state was
much more wretched when I perceived that these beautiful scenes had
no longer any charms for you. I saw you shed tears, which pierced
my heart, and would have destroyed me. You asked me if I was alone
here, and I was on the verge of discarding my feigned stupidity, and
assuring you by the most passionate vows of the fact. They would have
been uttered in terms that would have surprised you, and caused you to
suspect that I was not so coarse a brute as I pretended to be. I was
on the point even of declaring myself, when the Fairy, invisible to
you, appeared before me. By a threatening gesture, which terrified me,
she found a way to close my lips. O, heavens! by what means did she
impose silence upon me? She approached you with a poniard in her hand,
and made signs to me that the first word I uttered would cost you your
life. I was so frightened that I naturally relapsed into the stupidity
she had ordered me to affect.

My sufferings were not yet at an end. You expressed a desire to visit
your father. I gave you permission without hesitation. Could I have
refused you anything? But I regarded your departure as my death-blow,
and without the assistance of the Fairy I must have sunk under it.
During your absence that generous being never quitted me. She saved
me from destroying myself, which I should have done in my despair,
not daring to hope that you would return. The time you had passed in
this Palace rendered my condition more insupportable than it had been
previously, because I felt I was the most miserable of all men, without
the hope of making it known to you.

My most agreeable occupation was to wander through the scenes which
you had frequented, but my grief was increased by no longer seeing
you there. The evenings and hours when I used to have the pleasure of
conversing with you for a moment, redoubled my afflictions, and were
still more painful to me. Those two months, the longest I had ever
known, ended at last, and you did not return. It was then my misery
reached its climax, and that the Fairy's power was too weak to prevent
my sinking under my despair. The precautions she took to prevent my
attempting my life were useless. I had a sure way which eluded her
power. It was to refrain from food. By the potency of her spells she
contrived to sustain me for some time, but having exhausted all her
secrets, I grew weaker and weaker, and finally had but a few moments to
breathe, when you arrived to snatch me from the tomb.

Your precious tears, more efficacious than all the cordials of the
disguised Genii who attended on me, delayed my soul upon the point of
flight. In learning from your lamentations that I was dear to you, I
enjoyed perfect felicity, and that felicity was at its height when you
accepted me for your husband. Still I was not permitted to divulge to
you my secret, and the Beast was compelled to leave you without daring
to disclose to you the Prince. You know the lethargy into which I fell,
and which ended only with the arrival of the Fairy and the Queen. On
awaking I found myself as you behold me, without being aware of how the
change took place.

You have witnessed what followed, but you could only imperfectly judge
of the pain which the obstinacy of my mother caused me in opposing
a marriage so suitable and so glorious for me. I had determined,
Princess, rather to be a monster again than to abandon the hope of
being the husband of so virtuous and charming a maiden. Had the secret
of your birth remained for ever a mystery to me, love and gratitude
would not less have assured me that in possessing you I was the most
fortunate of men!

       *       *       *       *       *

The Prince thus ended his narration, and Beauty was about to speak,
when she was prevented by a burst of loud voices and warlike
instruments, which, however, did not appear to announce anything
alarming. The Prince and Princess looked out of the window, as did also
the Fairy and the Queen who returned from their promenade. The noise
was occasioned by the arrival of a personage who, according to all
appearances, could be no less than a king. His escort was obviously
a royal one, and there was an air of majesty in his demeanour which
accorded with the state that accompanied him. The fine form of this
sovereign, although of a certain age, testified that there had been few
who could have equalled him in appearance when in the flower of his
youth. He was followed by twelve of his body-guard, and some courtiers
in hunting-dresses, who appeared as much astonished as their master
to find themselves in a castle till now quite unknown to them. He
was received with the same honours that would have been paid to him
in his own dominions, and all by invisible beings. Shouts of joy and
flourishes of trumpets were heard, but no one was to be seen.

The Fairy, immediately on beholding him, said to the Queen, "Here is
the King your brother, and the father of Beauty. He little expects
the pleasure of seeing you both here. He will be so much the more
gratified, as you know he believes that his daughter has been long
dead. He mourns her still, as he also does his wife, of whom he retains
an affectionate remembrance." These words increased the impatience of
the Queen and the young Princess to embrace this monarch. They reached
the court-yard just as he dismounted. He saw, but could not recognize
them; not doubting, however, that they were advancing to receive him,
he was considering how and in what terms he should pay his compliments
to them, when Beauty, flinging herself at his feet, embraced his knees,
and called him "Father!"

The King raised her and pressed her tenderly in his arms, without
comprehending why she addressed him by that title. He imagined she must
be some orphan Princess, who sought his protection from some oppressor,
and who made use of the most touching expression in order to obtain
her request. He was about to assure her that he would do all that lay
in his power to assist her, when he recognized the Queen his sister,
who, embracing him in her turn, presented her son to him. She then
informed him of some of the obligations they were under to Beauty, and
especially of the frightful enchantment that had just been terminated.
The King praised the young Princess, and desired to know her name,
when the Fairy, interrupting him, asked if it was necessary to name
her parents, and if he had never known any one whom she resembled
sufficiently to enable him to guess them. "If I judged only from her
features," said he, gazing upon her earnestly, and not being able to
restrain a few tears, "the title she has given to me is legitimately
my due; but notwithstanding that evidence, and the emotion which her
presence occasions me, I dare not flatter myself that she is the
daughter whose loss I have deplored; for I had the most positive proof
that she had been devoured by wild beasts. Yet," he continued, still
examining her countenance, "she resembles perfectly the tender and
incomparable wife whom death has deprived me of. Oh, that I could but
venture to indulge in the delightful hope of beholding again in her the
fruit of a happy union, the bonds of which were too soon broken!"

"You may, my liege," replied the Fairy; "Beauty is your daughter. Her
birth is no longer a secret here. The Queen and Prince know who she is.
I caused you to direct your steps this way on purpose to inform you;
but this is not a fitting place for me to enter into the details of
this adventure. Let us enter the Palace. After you have rested yourself
there a short time I will relate to you all you desire to know. When
you have indulged in the delight which you must feel at finding a
daughter so beautiful and so virtuous I will communicate to you another
piece of intelligence, which will afford you equal gratification."

The King, accompanied by his daughter and the Prince, was ushered by
the monkey officers into the apartment destined for him by the Fairy,
who took this opportunity of restoring to the statues the liberty
of relating what they had witnessed. As their fate had excited the
compassion of the Queen, it was from her hands that the Fairy desired
they should receive the benefit of re-animation. She placed her wand
in the Queen's hand, who, by her instructions, described with it seven
circles in the air, and then pronounced these words: "Be re-animated.
Your King is restored to you." All the statues immediately began to
move, walk, and act as formerly, retaining only a confused idea of what
had happened to them.

After this ceremony the Fairy and the Queen returned to the King, whom
they found in conversation with Beauty and the Prince, caressing each
in turn, and most fondly his daughter, of whom he inquired a hundred
times how she had been preserved from the wild beasts who had carried
her off, without remembering that she had answered him from the first
that she knew nothing about it, and had been ignorant even of the
secret of her birth.

The Prince also talked without being attended to, repeating a hundred
times the obligations he was under to Princess Beauty. He desired to
acquaint the King with the promises which the Fairy had made him,
that he should marry the Princess, and to beg he would not refuse his
cheerful consent to the alliance. This conversation and these caresses
were interrupted by the entrance of the Queen and the Fairy. The King,
who had recovered his daughter, fully appreciated his happiness, but
was as yet ignorant to whom he was indebted for this precious gift.

"It is to me," said the Fairy; "and I alone can explain to you the
adventure. I shall not limit my benefits to the recital of that alone.
I have other tidings in store for you, not less agreeable. Therefore,
great King, you may note this day as one of the happiest of your
life." The company, perceiving that the Fairy was about to commence
her narration, evinced by their silence the great attention they
were anxious to pay to it. To satisfy their curiosity the Fairy thus
addressed the King:--

"Beauty, my liege, and perhaps the Prince, are the only persons present
who are not acquainted with the laws of the Fortunate Island. It is
necessary I should explain those laws to them. The inhabitants of
that island, and even the King himself, are allowed perfect liberty
to marry according to their inclinations, in order that there may be
no obstacle whatever to their happiness. It was in virtue of this
privilege that you, Sire, selected for your wife a young shepherdess
whom you met one day when you were hunting. Her beauty and her good
conduct were considered by you deserving of that honour. You raised
her to the throne, and placed her in a rank from which the lowliness
of her birth seemed to have excluded her, but of which she was worthy,
by the nobleness of her character and the purity of her mind. You know
that you had continual reasons to rejoice in the selection you had
made. Her gentleness, her obliging disposition, and her affection for
you, equalled the charms of her person. But you did not long enjoy the
happiness of beholding her. After she had made you the father of Beauty
you were under the necessity of travelling to the frontiers of your
kingdom, to suppress some revolutionary demonstrations of which you
had received intimation. During this period you lost your dear wife,
an affliction which you felt the more sensibly because, in addition to
the love with which her beauty had inspired you, you had the greatest
respect for the many rare qualities that adorned her mind. Despite
her youth and the little education she had received, you found her
naturally endowed with profound judgment, and your wisest ministers
were astonished at the excellent advice she gave you, and the policy by
which she enabled you to succeed in all your undertakings."

The King, who still brooded over his affliction, and to whose
imagination the death of that dear wife was ever present, could not
listen to this account without being sensibly affected, and the Fairy,
who observed his emotion, said, "Your feelings prove that you deserved
that happiness. I will no longer dwell on a subject that is so painful
to you, but I must reveal to you that the supposed shepherdess was a
Fairy, and my sister, who, having heard that the Fortunate Island was
a charming country, and also much praise of its laws and of the gentle
nature of your government, was particularly anxious to visit it. The
dress of a shepherdess was the only disguise she assumed, intending to
enjoy for a short time a pastoral life. You encountered her in her new
abode. Her youth and beauty touched your heart. She yielded to a desire
to discover whether the qualities of your mind equalled those she found
in your person. She trusted to her condition and power as a Fairy,
which could place her at a wish beyond the reach of your assiduities if
they became too importunate, or if you should presume to take advantage
of the humble position in which you found her. She was not alarmed at
the sentiments with which you might inspire her, and persuaded that her
virtue was sufficient to guarantee her against the snares of love, she
attributed her sensations to a simple curiosity to ascertain if there
were still upon the earth men capable of loving virtue unembellished
by exterior ornaments, which render it more brilliant and respectable
to vulgar souls than its own intrinsic merit, and frequently, by
their fatal attractions, obtain the reputation of virtue for the most
abominable vices.

"Under this illusion, far from retreating to our common asylum, as she
had at first proposed, she chose to inhabit a little cottage she had
raised for herself in the solitude in which you met her, accompanied
by a phantom, representing her mother. These two persons appeared to
live there upon the produce of a pretended flock that had no fear of
the wolves, being, in fact, genii in that form. It was in that cottage
she received your attentions, which produced all the effect you could
desire. She could not resist the offer you made her of your crown. You
now know the extent of the obligations you were under to her at a time
when you imagined she owed everything to you, and were satisfied to
remain in that error.

"What I now tell you is a positive proof that ambition had no share in
the consent she accorded to your wishes. You are aware that we look
upon the greatest kingdoms but as gifts which we can bestow on any
one at our pleasure. But she appreciated your generous behaviour, and
esteeming herself happy in uniting herself to so excellent a man, she
rashly entered into that engagement without reflecting on the danger
which she thereby incurred. For our laws expressly forbid our union
with those who have not as much power as ourselves, more especially
when we have not arrived at that age when we are privileged to exercise
our authority over others, and enjoy the right of presiding in our
turn. Previous to that time we are subordinate to our elders, and that
we may not abuse our power, we have only the liberty of disposing of
our hands in favour of some spirit or sage whose knowledge is at least
equal to our own. It is true that after that period we are free to form
what alliance we please; but it is seldom that we avail ourselves of
that right, and never without scandal to our order. Those who do are
generally old fairies, who almost always pay dearly for their folly;
for they marry young men, who despise them, and, although they are
not punished as criminals, they are sufficiently punished by the bad
conduct of their husbands, on whom they are not permitted to avenge
themselves.

"It is the only penalty imposed upon them. The disagreements which
almost invariably follow the indiscretion they have committed takes
from them the desire of revealing to those profane persons from whom
they expected respect and attention the great secrets of art. My
sister, however, was not placed in either of these positions. Endowed
with every charm that could inspire affection, she was not of the
required age; but she consulted only her love. She flattered herself
she could keep her marriage a secret. She succeeded in so doing for a
short time. We rarely make inquiries about those who are absent. Each
is occupied with her own affairs, and we fly through the world, doing
good or ill, according to our inclinations, without being obliged at
our return to account for our actions, unless we have been guilty of
some act which causes us to be talked about, or that some beneficent
fairy, moved by the unjust persecution of some unfortunate mortal, lays
a complaint against the offender. In short, there must arise some
unforeseen event to occasion us to consult the general book in which
all we do is written at the same instant without the aid of hands.
Saving these occasions, we have only to appear in the general assembly
three times in the year; and, as we travel very swiftly, the affair
does not occupy more than a couple of hours.

"My sister was obliged to give light to the throne (such is our phrase
for the performance of that duty). On such occasions, she arranged for
you a hunting party at some distance, or a journey of pleasure, and
after your departure she feigned some indisposition, to remain alone in
her cabinet, or that she had letters to write, or that she wished to
repose. Neither in the palace nor amongst us was there any suspicion
of that which it was so much her interest to conceal. This mystery,
however, was not one for me. The consequences were dangerous, and I
warned her of them; but she loved you too much to repent the step she
had taken. Desiring even to justify it in my eyes, she insisted that I
should pay you a visit.

"Without flattering you, I confess that, if the sight of you did not
compel me entirely to excuse her weakness, it at least diminished
considerably my surprise at it, and increased the zeal with which I
laboured to keep it a secret. Her dissimulation was successful for two
years; but at length she betrayed herself. We are obliged to confer
a certain number of favours on the world generally, and to return an
account of them. When my sister gave in hers, it appeared that she
had limited her excursions and her benefits to the confines of the
Fortunate Island.

"Several of our ill-natured fairies blamed this conduct, and our Queen,
in consequence, demanded of her why she had restricted her benevolence
to this small corner of the earth, when she could not be ignorant that
a young fairy was bound to travel far and wide, and manifest to the
universe at large our pleasure and our power.

"As this was no new regulation, my sister could not murmur at the
enforcement of it, nor find a pretext for objecting to obey it. She
promised, therefore, to do so; but her impatience to see you again, the
fear of her absence being discovered at the Palace, the impossibility
of acting secretly on a throne, did not permit her to absent herself
long enough and often enough to fulfil her promise; and at the next
assembly she could hardly prove that she had been out of the Fortunate
Island for a quarter of an hour.

"Our Queen, greatly displeased with her, threatened to destroy that
island, and so prevent her continuing to violate our laws. This threat
agitated her so greatly that the least sharp-sighted fairy could see
to what a point she carried her interest for that fatal island, and
the wicked fairy who turned the Prince here present into a frightful
monster, was convinced by her confusion that, on opening the great
book, she should find in it an important entry which would afford
some exercise to her propensities for mischief. 'It is there,' she
exclaimed, 'that the truth will appear, and that we shall learn what
has really been her occupation!' and with these words, she opened the
volume before the whole assembly, and read the details of all that had
taken place during the last two years in a loud and distinct voice.

"All the fairies made an extraordinary uproar on hearing of this
degrading alliance, and overwhelmed my wretched sister with the most
cruel reproaches. She was degraded from our order, and condemned to
remain a prisoner amongst us. If her punishment had consisted of the
first penalty only, she would have consoled herself; but the second
sentence, far more terrible, made her feel all the rigour of both.
The loss of her dignity little affected her; but, loving you fondly,
she begged, with tears in her eyes, that they would be satisfied with
degrading her, and not deprive her of the pleasure of living as a
simple mortal with her husband and her dear daughter.

"Her tears and supplications touched the hearts of the younger judges,
and I felt, from the murmur that arose, that if the votes had been
collected at that instant, she would certainly have escaped with a
reprimand. But one of the eldest, who, from her extreme decrepitude had
obtained amongst us the name of 'the Mother of the Seasons,' did not
give the Queen time to speak and admit that pity had touched her heart
as well as the others'.

"'There is no excuse for this crime,' cried the detestable old
creature, in her cracked voice. 'If it is permitted to go unpunished,
we shall be daily exposed to similar insults. The honour of our order
is absolutely involved in it. This miserable being, attached to earth,
does not regret the loss of a rank which elevated her a hundred
degrees higher above monarchs than they are above their subjects. She
tells us that her affections, her fears, and her wishes, all turn
upon her unworthy family. It is through them we must punish her. Let
her husband deplore her! Let her daughter, the shameful fruit of her
illegal marriage, become the bride of a monster, to expiate the folly
of a mother who could allow herself to be captivated by the frail and
contemptible beauty of a mortal!'

"This cruel speech revived the severity of many who had been previously
inclined to mercy. Those who continued to pity her being too few to
offer any opposition, the sentence was approved of in its integrity;
and our Queen herself, whose features had indicated a feeling of
compassion, resuming their severity, confirmed the majority of votes
in favour of the motion of the ill-natured old Fairy. My sister,
however, in her endeavours to obtain a revocation of this cruel decree,
to propitiate her judges, and to excuse her marriage, had drawn so
charming a portrait of you, that it inflamed the heart of the fairy
Governess of the Prince (she who had opened the great volume); but this
dawning passion only served to increase the hatred which that wicked
Fairy already bore to your unfortunate wife.

"Unable to resist her desire to see you, she concealed her passion
under the colour of a pretext that she was anxious to ascertain if
you deserved that a fairy should make such a sacrifice for you as my
sister had done. As she had obtained the sanction of the assembly to
her guardianship of the Prince, she could not have ventured to quit
him for any length of time if the ingenuity of love had not inspired
her with the idea of placing a protecting genius and two inferior and
invisible fairies to watch over him in her absence. After taking this
precaution, there was nothing to prevent her following her inclination,
which speedily carried her to the Fortunate Island. In the meanwhile,
the women and officers of the imprisoned Queen, surprised that she did
not come out of her private cabinet, became alarmed. The express orders
she had given them not to disturb her, induced them to pass the night
without knocking at the door; but impatience at last taking place of
all other considerations, they knocked loudly, and no one answering,
they forced the doors, under the impression that some accident had
happened to her. Although they had prepared themselves for the worst,
they were not the less astonished at perceiving no trace of her. They
called her, they hunted for her in vain. They could discover nothing
to appease the despair into which her disappearance had plunged them.
They imagined a thousand reasons for it, each more absurd than the
other. They could not suspect her evasion to be voluntary. She was
all-powerful in your kingdom. The sovereign jurisdiction you had
confided to her was not disputed by any one. Everybody obeyed her
cheerfully. The affection you had for each other, that which she
entertained for her daughter and for her subjects, who adored her,
prevented them from supposing she had fled. Where could she go to be
more happy? On the other hand, what man would have dared to carry off
a queen from the midst of her own guards, and the centre of her own
palace? Such a ravisher must have left some indications of the road he
had taken.

"The disaster was certain, although the causes of it were unknown.
There was another evil to dread; namely, the feelings with which
you would receive this fatal news. The innocence of those who were
responsible for the safety of the Queen's person by no means satisfied
them that they should not feel the effects of your wrath. They felt
they must either fly the kingdom, and thereby appear guilty of a crime
they had not committed, or they must find some means of hiding this
misfortune from you.

"After long deliberation, they could imagine no other than that of
persuading you the Queen was dead, and this plan they put instantly
into execution. They sent off a courier to inform you that she had been
suddenly taken ill; a second followed a few hours afterwards, bearing
the news of her death, in order to prevent your love inducing you to
return post-haste to Court. Your appearance would have deranged all the
measures they had taken for general security. They paid to the supposed
defunct all the funeral honours due to her rank, to your affection,
and the sorrow of a people who adored her, and who wept her loss as
sincerely as yourself.

"This cruel adventure was always kept a profound secret from you,
although it was known to every other inhabitant of the Fortunate
Island. The first astonishment had given publicity to the whole affair.
The affliction you felt at this loss was proportionate to your love;
you found no consolation except in the innocent caresses of your
infant daughter, whom you sent for to be with you. You determined
never again to be separated from her; she was charming, and presented
you continually with a living portrait of the Queen, her mother. The
hostile Fairy, who had been the original cause of all this trouble by
opening the great book in which she discovered my sister's marriage,
had not come to see you without paying the price of her curiosity.
Your appearance had produced the same effect upon her heart as it had
previously done on that of your wife, and instead of this experience
inducing her to excuse my sister, she ardently desired to commit the
same fault. Hovering about you invisibly, she could not resolve to
quit you. Beholding you inconsolable, she had no hope of success, and
fearing to add the shame of your refusal to the pain of disappointment,
she did not dare make herself known to you; on the other hand,
supposing she did appear, she imagined that by skilful manœuvring,
she might accustom you to see her, and perhaps in time induce you to
love her. But to effect this, she must be introduced to you; and after
much pondering to find some decorous way of presenting herself, she
hit on one. There was a neighbouring Queen who had been driven out of
her dominions by a usurper, who had murdered her husband. This unhappy
Princess was ranging the world to find an asylum and an avenger. The
Fairy carried her off, and having deposited her in a safe place, put
her to sleep, and assumed her form. You beheld, Sire, that disguised
Fairy fling herself at your feet, and implore your protection and
assistance to punish the assassin of a husband whom she professed she
regretted as deeply as you did your Queen. She protested that her love
for him alone impelled her to this course, and that she renounced, with
all her heart, a crown which she offered to him who should avenge her
dear husband.

"The unhappy pity each other. You interested yourself in her
misfortunes the more readily for that she wept the loss of a beloved
spouse, and that mingling her tears with yours, she talked to you
incessantly of the Queen. You gave her your protection, and lost no
time in re-establishing her authority in the kingdom she pretended
to, by punishing the rebels and the usurper she seemed to desire; but
she would neither return to it nor quit you. She implored you, for
her own security, to govern the kingdom in her name, as you were too
generous to accept it as a gift from her, and to permit her to reside
at your Court. You could not refuse her this new favour. She appeared
to be necessary to you for the education of your daughter, for the
cunning Fairy knew well enough that child was the sole object of your
affection. She feigned an exceeding fondness for her, and had her
continually in her arms. Anticipating the request you were about to
make to her, she earnestly begged to be permitted to take charge of her
education, saying that she would have no heir but that dear child, whom
she looked on as her own, and who was the only being she loved in the
world; because she said she reminded her of a daughter she had had by
her husband, and who perished along with him.

"The proposal appeared to you so advantageous that you did not hesitate
to entrust the Princess to her care, and to give her full authority
over her. She acquitted herself of her duties to perfection, and by her
talent and her affection obtained your implicit confidence and your
love as for a tender sister. This was not sufficient for her: all her
anxiety was but to become your wife. She neglected nothing to gain this
end; but even had you never been the husband of the most beautiful of
fairies, she was not formed to inspire you with love. The shape she had
assumed could not bear comparison with hers into whose place she would
have stolen. It was extremely ugly, and being naturally so herself, she
had only the power of appearing beautiful one day in the year.

"The knowledge of this discouraging fact convinced her that to succeed
she must have recourse to other charms than those of beauty. She
intrigued secretly to oblige the people and the nobility to petition
you to take another wife, and to point her out to you as the desirable
person; but certain ambiguous conversations she had held with you, in
order to sound your inclinations, enabled you easily to discover the
origin of the pressing solicitations with which you were importuned.
You declared positively that you would not hear of giving a step-mother
to your daughter, nor lower her position, by making her subordinate
to a queen, from that which she held as the highest person next to
yourself in the kingdom, and the acknowledged heir to your throne. You
also gave the false Queen to understand that you should feel obliged by
her returning to her own dominions immediately, and without ado, and
promised her that when she was settled there you would render her all
the services she could expect from a faithful friend and a generous
neighbour; but you did not conceal from her that if she did not take
this course willingly, she ran the risk of being compelled to do so.

"The invincible obstacle you then opposed to her love threw her into a
terrific rage, but she affected so much indifference about the matter
that she succeeded in persuading you that her attempt was caused by
ambition, and the fear that eventually you might take possession of her
dominions, preferring, notwithstanding the earnestness with which she
had appeared to offer them to you, to let you believe she was insincere
in that case, rather than you should suspect her real sentiments. Her
fury was not less violent because it was suppressed. Not doubting that
it was Beauty who, more powerful in your heart than policy, caused you
to reject the opportunity of increasing your empire in so glorious a
manner, she conceived for her a hatred as violent as that which she
felt for your wife, and resolved to get rid of her, fully believing
that if she were dead, your subjects, renewing their remonstrances,
would compel you to change your state, in order to leave a successor
to the throne. The good soul was anything but of an age to present you
with one; but that she cared little about. The Queen, whose resemblance
she had assumed, was still young enough to have many children, and her
ugliness was no obstacle to a royal and political alliance.

"Notwithstanding the official declaration you had made, it was
thought that if your daughter died you would yield to the continual
representations of your council. It was believed, also, that your
choice would fall upon this pretended Queen; and that idea surrounded
her with numberless parasites. It was her design, therefore, by the aid
of one of her flatterers, whose wife was as base as her husband, and
as wicked as she was herself, to make away with your daughter. She had
appointed this woman governess to the little Princess. These wretches
settled between them that they would smother her, and report that she
had died suddenly; but for more security they decided to commit this
murder in the neighbouring forest, so that nobody could surprise them
in the execution of this barbarous deed. They counted on no one having
the slightest knowledge of it, and that it would be impossible to blame
them for not having sought for assistance before she expired, having
the legitimate excuse that they were too far away from any. The husband
of the governess proposed to go in search of aid as soon as the child
was dead; and that no suspicion might be awakened, he was to appear
surprised at finding it too late when he returned to the spot where he
had left this tender victim of their fury, and he also rehearsed the
sorrow and consternation he was to affect.

"When my wretched sister saw herself deprived of her power and
condemned to a cruel imprisonment, she requested me to console you
and to watch over the safety of her child. It was unnecessary for her
to take that precaution. The tie which unites us, and the pity I felt
for her, would have sufficed to ensure you my protection, and her
entreaties could not increase the zeal with which I hastened to fulfil
her decrees.

"I saw you as often as I could, and as much as prudence permitted me,
without incurring the risk of arousing the suspicions of our enemy, who
would have denounced me as a Fairy in whom sisterly affection prevailed
over the honour of her order, and who protected a guilty race. I
neglected nothing to convince all the Fairies that I had abandoned my
sister to her unhappy fate, and, by so doing, trusted to be more at
liberty to serve her. As I watched every movement of your perfidious
admirer, not only with my own eyes, but those of the Genii, who were
my servants, her horrible intentions were not unknown to me. I could
not oppose her by open force; and though it would have been easy for
me to annihilate those into whose hands she had delivered the little
innocent, prudence restrained me; for, had I carried off your daughter,
the malignant Fairy would have retaken her from me, without its being
possible for me to defend her.

"It is a law amongst us that we must be a thousand years old before we
can dispute the power of the ancient fairies, or at any rate we must
have become serpents. The perils which accompany the latter condition
cause us to call it the Terrible Act. The bravest amongst us shudder at
the thought of undertaking it. We hesitate a long time before we can
resolve to expose ourselves to its consequences; and without the urgent
motive of hatred, love, or vengeance, there are few who do not prefer
waiting for time to make them Elders than to acquire their privilege
by that dangerous transformation, in which the greater number are
destroyed. I was in this position. I wanted ten years of the thousand,
and I had no resource but in artifice. I employed it successfully.
I took the form of a monstrous she-bear, and, hiding myself in the
forest selected for the execution of this detestable deed, when the
wretches arrived to fulfil the barbarous order they had received, I
flung myself upon the woman who had the child in her arms, and who
had already placed her hand on its mouth. Her fright made her drop
the precious burden, but she was not allowed to escape so easily; the
horror I felt at her unnatural conduct inspired me with the ferocity of
the brute I had assumed the form of. I strangled her, as well as the
traitor who accompanied her, and I carried off Beauty, after having
rapidly stripped off her clothes and dyed them with the blood of her
enemies. I scattered them also about the forest, taking the precaution
to tear them in several places, so that they should not suspect the
Princess had escaped; and I withdrew, delighted at having succeeded so
completely.

"The Fairy believed her object had been attained. The death of her two
accomplices was an advantage to her. She was mistress of her secret,
and the fate they had met with was but what she had herself destined
them to, in recompense of their guilty services. Another circumstance
was also favourable to her. Some shepherds who had seen this affair
from a distance ran for assistance, which arrived just in time to see
the infamous wretches expire, and prevent the possibility of suspicion
that she had any part in it.

"The same circumstances were equally favourable to my enterprise. The
wicked Fairy was as fully convinced as the people by them. The event
was so natural, that she never doubted it. She did not even condescend
to exert her skill to satisfy herself of the fact. I was delighted at
her fancied security. I should not have been the strongest had she
attempted to recover little Beauty, because, in addition to the reasons
which made her my superior, and which I have explained to you, she
possessed the advantage of having received that child from you. You
had deputed to her your authority, which you alone could re-assume,
and short of your wresting her yourself out of her hands, nothing
could interfere with the control she had a right to exercise over the
Princess till she was married.

"Preserved from this anxiety, I found myself overwhelmed by another, on
recollecting that the Mother of the Seasons had condemned my niece to
marry a monster; but she was then not three years old, and I flattered
myself I should be able, by study, to discover some expedient to
prevent this curse being fulfilled to the letter, and to evade it by
some equivocation. I had plenty of time to ponder on it, and my first
care was, therefore, only to find some spot where I could place my
precious charge in safety.

"Profound secrecy was absolutely necessary to me. I dared not place
her in a castle, nor exercise for her benefit any of the magnificent
wonders of our art. Our enemy would have noticed it. It would have
awakened an anxiety, the consequences of which would have been fatal
to us. I thought it better to assume an humble garb, and confide the
infant to the care of the first person I met with, who appeared to me
to be an honest man, and under whose roof I could promise myself she
would enjoy the comforts of life.

"Chance soon favoured my intentions. I found what suited me exactly.
It was a small house in a village, the door of which was open. I
entered this cottage, which appeared to me that of a peasant in easy
circumstances. I saw by the light of a lamp three country women asleep
beside a cradle, which I concluded contained a baby. The cradle did
not at all correspond with the general simplicity of the apartment.
Everything about it was sumptuous. I imagined that its little occupant
was ill, and that the deep sleep into which its nurses had fallen was
the consequence of long watching over it. I approached silently, with
the intention of curing the infant, and anticipated with pleasure the
surprise of these women, on awaking, to find their invalid restored to
health, without knowing what to attribute it to. I was about to take
the child out of the cradle in order to breathe health into it; but my
good intentions were vain: it expired at the instant I touched it.

"I immediately conceived the idea of taking advantage of this
melancholy event, and substituting my niece for the dead child,
which, by good fortune, was also a girl. I lost no time in making the
exchange, and bearing away the lifeless infant, buried it carefully.
I then returned to the house, at the door of which I knocked long and
loudly, to awaken the sleepers.

"I told them, feigning a provincial dialect, that I was a stranger to
those parts, who was in want of a night's lodging. They good-naturedly
offered me one, and then went to look at their nursling, whom they
found quietly asleep, with all the appearance of being in perfect
health. They were astonished and delighted, not dreaming of the
deception I had practised upon them. They informed me that the child
was the daughter of a rich merchant; that one of their party had been
her nurse, and after having weaned her had restored her to her parents,
but that the child, having fallen ill in her father's house, had been
sent back to the country, in hope that the change of air would be of
service to her. They added, with satisfied countenances, that the
experiment had succeeded, and produced a better effect than all the
remedies which had been resorted to previous to its adoption. They
determined to carry her back to her father as soon as it was daylight,
in order to afford him, as early as possible, the gratification he
would derive from her restoration, for conducing to which, also, they
expected to receive a liberal reward, as the child was his particular
favourite, although the youngest of eleven.

"At sunrise they set out, and I feigned to continue my journey,
congratulating myself on having so well provided for my niece's safety.
To insure this object more completely, and induce the supposed father
still more to attach himself to the little girl, I assumed the form
of one of those women who go about telling fortunes, and arriving at
the merchant's door just as the nurses reached it with the child, I
followed them into the house. He received them with delight, and taking
the little girl in his arms, became the dupe of his paternal affection,
and fancied that the emotions simply caused by his kindly disposition
were the mysterious workings of nature at the sight of his offspring. I
seized this opportunity of increasing the interest he believed he had
in the child.

"'Look well upon this little one, my good gentleman,' said I, in the
usual language of the class to which by my dress I appeared to belong.
'She will be a great honour to thy family, she will bring thee immense
wealth, and save thy life and that of all thy children. She will be
so beautiful--so beautiful, that she will be called Beauty by all who
behold her.' As a reward for my prediction, he gave me a piece of gold,
and I withdrew, perfectly satisfied. I had no longer any reason for
residing with the race of Adam. To profit by my leisure, I returned
to Fairyland, resolving to remain in it some time. I passed my days
there quietly in consoling my sister, in giving her news of her dear
daughter, and in assuring her that, far from forgetting her, you
cherished her memory as fondly as you had formerly herself.

"Such, great King, was our situation whilst you were suffering under
the fresh calamity which had deprived you of your child, and renewed
all the affliction you had felt at the loss of her mother. Although
you could not positively accuse the person to whom you had confided
the infant of being the wilful cause of the accident, it was still
impossible for you not to look upon her with an evil eye; for though
it did not appear that she was guilty of intentional mischief, it was
certainly through her neglecting to see that the young Princess was
properly attended and protected that the event had proved fatal.

"After the first paroxysms of your grief had subsided, she flattered
herself that no obstacle would arise to prevent your espousing her.
She caused her emissaries to renew the proposal to you; but she was
undeceived, and her mortification was excessive, when you declared that
not only were your intentions unchanged respecting a second marriage,
but that even, could anything alter your determination, it would never
be in her favour. To this declaration you added a positive order for
her to quit the kingdom immediately. Her presence continually reminded
you of your child, and renewed your affliction. Such was the reason you
adduced for this step; but your principal object was to put an end to
the intrigues she was constantly carrying on in order to gain her end.

"She was furious; but she was obliged to obey without being able
to avenge herself. I had persuaded one of our ancient fairies to
protect you. Her power was considerable, for she joined to her age the
advantage of having been four times a serpent. In proportion to the
excessive peril incurred by that process, are the honours and powers
attached to it. This Fairy, out of consideration for me, took you under
her protection, and put it out of the power of your indignant lover to
do you any mischief.

"This disappointment was fortunate for the Queen, whose form she had
assumed. She awoke her from her magic slumber, and concealing from her
the criminal use she had made of her features, placed her conduct in
the best light before her.

"She expatiated on the value of her intercession with the King, and on
the trouble she had saved her, and gave her the best advice she could
how to maintain herself for the future in her proper person. It was
then that, to console herself for your indifference, the Fairy returned
to the young Prince and resumed her care of him. She became too fond
of him, and not being able to make herself beloved, she caused him to
suffer that terrible effect of her fury.

"In the meanwhile, I had insensibly arrived at the privileged age,
and my power was increased, but my desire to serve my sister and
yourself induced me to feel that still I had not sufficient. My sincere
friendship blinding me to the perils of "the Terrible Act," I resolved
to undertake it.

"I became a serpent, and passed fortunately through the ordeal. I was
then in a position to act openly in favour of those who were persecuted
by my malicious companions. If I cannot at all times entirely dissolve
their fatal spells, I can at least counteract them by my skill and by
my counsels.

"My niece was amongst the number of those whom I could not completely
favour. Not daring to discover all the interest I took in her, it
appeared to me that the best thing I could do was to allow her still
to pass as the merchant's daughter. I visited her under various forms,
and always returned satisfied. Her virtue and beauty equalled her good
sense. At the age of fourteen she had already given proof of great
fortitude during the changes of fortune which had befallen her supposed
father.

"I was delighted to find that the most cruel reverses had not been able
to affect her tranquillity. On the contrary, by her cheerfulness, by
the charm of her conversation, she had succeeded in restoring it to
the hearts of her father and her brothers; and I rejoiced to observe
also that her sentiments were worthy of her birth. These pleasant
reflections were, however, mingled with much bitterness, when I
remembered that, with so many perfections, she was destined to be the
wife of a monster. I toiled, I studied night and day to find some means
of saving her from so great a misfortune, and was in despair at finding
none.

"This anxiety did not prevent me, however, from paying occasional
visits to you. Your wife, who was deprived of that liberty, implored
me incessantly to go and see you; and, notwithstanding the protection
of our friend, her affectionate heart was continually alarmed about
you, and persuaded her that the instant I lost sight of you would be
the last of your life, and in which you would be sacrificed to the fury
of our enemy. This fear possessed her so strongly, that she scarcely
gave me a moment's rest. No sooner did I bring her news of you than she
supplicated me so earnestly to return to you, that it was impossible to
refuse her.

"Compassionating her anxiety, and more desirous to end it than to save
myself the trouble it gave me, I employed against my cruel companion
the same weapons she had made use of against you. I proceeded to open
the great book. By good fortune, it was at the very moment she was
holding that conversation with the Queen and Prince which terminated in
his transformation. I lost not a word of it, and my rapture was extreme
at finding that, in seeking to assure her vengeance, she neutralized,
without knowing it, the mischief which the Mother of the Seasons had
done us in dooming Beauty to be the bride of a monster.

"To crown our happiness, she added conditions so advantageous, that
it almost seemed as if she made them on purpose to oblige me, for she
thereby furnished my sister's daughter with an opportunity of proving
that she was worthy of being the issue of the purest of fairy-blood.

"The slightest sign or gesture expresses amongst us as much as it
would take an ordinary mortal three days to explain. I uttered but
one contemptuous word. It was enough to inform the assembly that our
enemy had pronounced her own sentence in that which she had caused ten
years before to be passed upon your wife. At the age of the latter,
the weakness of love was more natural than at the advanced period of
existence of a fairy of the highest order. I spoke of the base and
wicked actions which had accompanied that superannuated passion. I
urged that if so many infamous acts were allowed to pass unpunished,
mortals would be justified in saying that fairies existed in the world
but to dishonour nature and afflict the human race. Presenting the book
to them, I condensed this abrupt oration in the single word "Behold!"
It was not the less powerful in its effect.

"There were present also friends of mine, both young and old, who
treated the amorous fury as she deserved. She had not succeeded in
becoming your wife, and to that disgrace was now added degradation from
her order, and imprisonment, as in the case of the Queen of the Happy
Island.

"This council was held whilst she was with you, Madam, and your son. As
soon as she appeared amongst us, the result was communicated to her.
I had the pleasure to be present, after which, closing the book, I
descended rapidly from the middle region of air in which our empire is
situated, to combat the effect of the despair to which you were ready
to abandon yourselves. I performed my journey in as short a space of
time as I had occupied with my laconical address. I arrived soon enough
to promise you my assistance. All sorts of reasons combined to invite
me. Your virtues, your misfortunes, (said the Fairy, turning to the
Prince), the advantages they offered to Beauty made me see in you the
Monster that suited me. You appeared to me worthy of each other, and I
felt convinced that when you became acquainted, your hearts would do
each other mutual justice.

"You know," she continued, addressing the Queen, "what I have since
done to attain my object, and by what means I obliged Beauty to come
to this Palace, where the sight of the Prince, and her interviews with
him, in the dreams I conjured up for her, had the effect I desired.
They kindled love in her heart without diminishing her virtue or
weakening the sense of duty and gratitude which attached her to the
Monster. In short, I have happily brought my scheme to perfection.
Yes, Prince," pursued the Fairy, "you have no longer anything to fear
from your enemy. She is stripped of her power, and will never again
be able to injure you by other spells. You have exactly fulfilled the
conditions she imposed on you. Had you not done so, you would have
been still bound by them, notwithstanding her eternal degradation.
You have made yourself beloved without the aid of your rank or your
intelligence; and you, Beauty, are equally relieved from the curse
pronounced upon you by the Mother of the Seasons. You cheerfully
accepted a monster for your husband. She has nothing more to exact. All
now tends to your happiness."

       *       *       *       *       *

The Fairy ceased speaking, and the King threw himself at her feet.
"Great Fairy," he exclaimed, "how can I thank you for all the favours
you have heaped on my family? My gratitude for the benefits you have
bestowed on us far exceeds my power of expression; but, my august
sister," added he, "that title encourages me to ask more favours; for,
despite the obligations I am already under to you, I cannot avoid
confessing to you that I shall never be truly happy so long as I am
deprived of the presence of my beloved Fairy Queen. This account of
what she has done and what she has suffered for me would increase my
love and my affliction, were either of them capable of being augmented.
Ah, Madam," he added, "can you not crown all your benefactions by
enabling me to behold her?"

The question was useless. If the Fairy had had the power to have
afforded him that gratification, she was too willing to have waited for
the request: but she could not alter what the Council of the Fairies
had decreed. The young Queen being a prisoner in the middle regions
of air, there was not the shadow of a chance of his being enabled to
see her; and the Fairy was about to explain this to him kindly, and
to exhort him to await patiently some unforeseen events, of which she
might take advantage, when an enchanting melody stole upon their ears
and interrupted her. The King, his daughter, the Queen, and the Prince,
were in ecstasies, but the Fairy experienced another sort of surprise.
Such music indicated the triumph of some Fairy. She could not imagine
what Fairy had achieved a victory. Her fears suggested that it was the
old one, or the Mother of the Seasons, who in her absence had obtained,
the former her liberty, or the latter permission to persecute the
lovers afresh.

She was in this perplexity when it was agreeably ended by the presence
of her Fairy-sister, the Queen of the Happy Island, who suddenly
appeared in the centre of that charming group. She was no less lovely
than when the King, her husband, lost her. The monarch, who instantly
recognised her, making the respect he owed her yield to the love he
had cherished for her, embraced her with such transports of joy, that
the Queen herself was surprised at them.

The Fairy, her sister, could not imagine to what fortunate miracle she
was indebted for her liberty; but the royal Fairy informed her that she
owed her happiness solely to her own courage, which had impelled her
to hazard her own existence to preserve another's. "You are aware,"
said she to the Fairy, "that the daughter of our Queen was received
into the order at her birth; that her father was not a sublunary
being, but the sage Amadabak, whose alliance is an honour to the fairy
race, and whose sublime knowledge invests him with much higher powers.
Notwithstanding this, however, it was imperative for his daughter to
become a serpent at the end of her first hundred years. The fatal
period arrived, and our Queen, as tender a mother, and as anxious
respecting the fate of this dear infant as any ordinary parent could
be, could not resolve to expose her to the many chances of destruction
in that shape, the misfortunes of those who had perished being but
too notorious for her not to feel the greatest alarm. My wretched
situation depriving me of all hope of again beholding my affectionate
husband and my lovely daughter, I had conceived a perfect disgust for
a life which I was doomed to pass apart from them. Without the least
hesitation, therefore, I offered to become a crawling reptile in the
place of the young Fairy. I saw with delight a certain, prompt, and
honourable mode of delivering myself from all the miseries with which
I was overwhelmed, by death or by a glorious emancipation, which would
render me mistress of my own actions, and thereby enable me to rejoin
my husband.

"Our Queen hesitated as little to accept this offer, so gratifying to
her maternal affection, as I did to make it. She embraced me a hundred
times, and promised to restore me to liberty unconditionally, and
re-establish me in all my privileges, if I was fortunate enough to
pass unharmed through that perilous enterprise. I did do so, and the
fruit of my labours was enjoyed by the young Fairy, for whom I had been
the substitute. The success of my first trial encouraged me to make a
second for my own benefit. I underwent the transformation anew, and was
equally fortunate. This last act made me an Elder, and, consequently,
independent. I was not long in profiting by my liberty, and flying
hither to rejoin a family so dear to me."

As soon as the Fairy had finished her narrative, the embraces were
renewed by her affectionate auditors. It was a charming confusion, in
which each caressed the other almost without knowing what they were
about: beauty, particularly, enchanted at appertaining to such an
illustrious family, and no longer fearing to degrade the Prince, her
cousin, by causing him to form an alliance beneath him.

But although transported by the excess of her happiness, she did not
forget the worthy man whom she had formerly believed to be her father.
She recalled to her fairy aunt the promise she had made to her, that
he and his children should have the honour of being present at her
marriage. She was still speaking to her on this subject when they
saw from the window sixteen persons on horseback, most of whom had
hunting-horns, and appeared in considerable confusion. Their disorder
evidently arose from their horses having ran away with them. Beauty
instantly recognised them as the six sons of the worthy merchant, the
five daughters, and their five lovers.

Everybody but the Fairy was surprised at this abrupt entrance. Those
who made it were not less so, at finding themselves carried by the
speed of their unmanageable horses into a palace totally unknown to
them.

This is the way it happened. They were all out hunting, when their
horses, suddenly uniting themselves as in one squadron, galloped off
with them at such speed to the Palace that all their efforts to stop
them were perfectly useless.

Beauty, thoughtless of her present dignity, hastened to receive and
re-assure them. She embraced them all kindly. The good man himself
next appeared, but not in the same disorder. A horse had neighed and
scratched at his door. He had no doubt that it came to seek him by
order of his dear daughter. He mounted him without fear, and, perfectly
satisfied as to whither the steed would bear him, he was not at all
surprised to find himself in the court-yard of a Palace which he now
saw for the third time, and to which he felt convinced he had been
conducted to witness the marriage of Beauty and the Beast.

The moment he perceived her he ran to her with open arms, blessing
the happy moment that presented her again to his sight, and heaping
benedictions on the generous Beast who had permitted him to return;
he looked about for him in every direction, to offer him his most
humble thanks for all the favours he had heaped on his family, and
particularly on his youngest daughter. He was vexed at not seeing him,
and began to apprehend that his conjectures were erroneous. Still, the
presence of all his children seemed to support the idea he had formed,
as they would scarcely have been all assembled in that spot if some
solemn ceremony, such as that marriage, were not to be celebrated.

These reflections, which the good man made to himself, did not prevent
him from pressing Beauty fondly in his arms, and bathing her cheek with
tears of joy. After allowing due time for this first expression of his
feelings, "Enough, good man," said the Fairy. "You have sufficiently
caressed this Princess. It is time that, ceasing to regard her as a
father, you should learn that that title does not appertain to you, and
that you must now do her homage as your sovereign. She is the Princess
of the Happy Island, daughter of the King and Queen whom you see before
you. She is about to become the wife of this Prince. Here stands the
Prince's mother, sister of the King. I am a Fairy, her friend, and
the aunt of Beauty. As to the Prince," added the Fairy, observing the
expression of the good man's face, "he is better known to you than you
imagine; but he is much altered since you last saw him. In a word, he
was the Beast himself."

The father and his sons were enchanted at these wonderful tidings,
while the sisters felt a painful jealousy, but they endeavoured to
conceal it under the mask of a gratification which deceived no one. The
others, however, feigned to believe them sincere. As to the lovers, who
had been rendered inconstant by the hope of possessing Beauty, and who
had only returned to their first attachments on their despairing to
obtain her, they knew not what to think.

The merchant could not help weeping, without being able to tell
whether his tears were caused by the pleasure of seeing the happiness
of Beauty, or by the sorrow of losing so perfect a daughter. His sons
were agitated by similar feelings. Beauty, extremely affected by this
evidence of their love, entreated those on whom she now depended, as
well as the Prince, her future husband, to permit her to reward such
tender attachment. Her entreaty testified the goodness of her heart too
sincerely not to be listened to. They were laden with bounties, and by
permission of the King, the Prince, and the Queen, Beauty continued to
call them by the tender names of father, brothers, and even sisters,
though she was not ignorant that the latter were as little so in heart
as they were in blood. She desired they would all, in return, call her
by the name they were wont to do when they believed her to be a member
of their family. The old man and his children were appointed to offices
in the Court of Beauty, and enjoyed the pleasure of living continually
near her, in a station sufficiently exalted to be generally respected.
The lovers of her sisters, whose passion for Beauty might easily have
been revived, if they had not known it would be useless, thought
themselves too happy in being united to the good man's daughters, and
becoming allied to persons for whom Beauty retained so much goodwill.

All those she desired to be present at her wedding having arrived, the
celebration of it was no longer delayed. The festivities lasted many
days, and ended at length only because the fairy aunt of the young
bride pointed out to them the propriety of leaving that beautiful
retreat, and returning to their dominions, to show themselves to their
subjects.

It was quite time she should recall their kingdom to their recollection
and the indispensable duties which demanded their presence. Enraptured
with the scenes around them, entranced by the pleasure of loving and
expressing their love to each other, they had entirely forgotten their
royal state and the cares that attend it.

The newly-married pair, indeed, proposed to the Fairy that they should
abdicate, and resign their power into the hands of any one she should
select; but that wise being represented to them clearly that they were
under as great an obligation to fulfil the destiny which had confided
to them the government of a nation as that nation was to preserve for
them an unshaken loyalty.

They yielded to these just remonstrances, but the Prince and Beauty
stipulated that they should be allowed occasionally to visit that spot,
and cast aside for a while the cares inseparable from their station,
and that they should be waited on by the invisible Genii or the
animals who had attended them during the preceding years. They availed
themselves as often as possible of this liberty. Their presence seemed
to embellish the spot. All were eager to please them. The Genii awaited
their visits with impatience, and received them with joy, testifying in
a hundred ways the delight their return afforded them.

The Fairy, whose foresight neglected nothing, gave them a chariot,
drawn by twelve white stags with golden horns and hoofs, like those
she drove herself. The speed of these animals was almost greater than
that of thought; and, drawn by them, you could easily make the tour of
the world in two hours. By this means they lost no time in travelling.
They profited by every moment of leisure, and went frequently in this
elegant equipage to visit their father, the King of the Happy Island,
who had grown so young again through the return of his Fairy Queen,
that he equalled in face and form the Prince, his son-in-law. He felt
also equally happy, being neither less enamoured nor less eager to
prove to his wife his unceasing affection, while she, on her part,
responded to his love with all that tenderness which had previously
been the cause of so much misfortune to her.

She had been received by her subjects with transports of joy as great
as those of grief which her loss had occasioned them. She had always
loved them dearly, and her will being now unfettered, she proved as
much, by showering upon them for many centuries all the benefits they
could desire. Her power, assisted by the friendship of the Queen of
the Fairies, preserved the life, health, and youth of the King, her
husband, for ages. He only ceased to exist because no mortal can live
for ever.

The Queen and the Fairy, her sister, were equally attentive to Beauty,
her husband, the Queen, his mother, the old man, and all his family,
so that there never was known people who lived so long. The Queen,
mother of the Prince, caused this marvellous history to be recorded in
the archives of her kingdom and in those of the Happy Island, that it
might be handed down to posterity. They also disseminated copies of it
throughout the Universe, so that the world at large might never cease
to talk of the wonderful adventures of Beauty and the Beast.


FOOTNOTES:

[16] I have not thought it necessary to alter these initials,
signifying those of "La Belle."

[17] A South American tribe (genus _Erbus_), distinguished
from all other monkeys for their gentleness and intelligence. There are
many varieties,--the white-fronted, the horned, the large-headed, the
golden-footed, the weeper, &c., and their differences in colour are
very considerable.

[18] Perhaps an allusion to the New Theatre in the Rue des
Fosses, St. Germain. Vide page 272, note.

[19] At this period, the Grand Opera, or "Académie Royal de
Musique," under the direction of the celebrated Lulli, was located at
the Theatre du Palais Royal, which had been occupied by Molière from
1660 to his death in 1673. It was opened in 1674, with the opera of
_Alceste_, and destroyed by fire on the 6th of April, 1763.

[20] Of this celebrated Fair a notice will be found in the
notes to the Fairy Tales of Madame d'Aulnoy, page 65. It was visited by
the royal family, and may be said to have been the birthplace of the
opera comique and the vaudeville of France. It was suppressed in 1789.

[21] The most celebrated was that of Brioche, who is said to
have been the inventor of that species of entertainment.

[22] Le Sage and other equally celebrated authors wrote for
this theatre.

[23] The Italian company invited to France by Cardinal
Mazarin, from 1645 to 1680, performed at the Hôtel du Petit Bourbon,
the Théâtre du Palais Royal, and the Hôtel de Bourgogne, alternately
with the French comedians. On the removal of the latter company to the
Rue Quénégaud, the Italians remained in possession of the Hôtel de
Bourgogne until the performance of the _False Prude_, in 1697, gave
offence to Madame de Maintenon, and excited the anger of Louis XIV.,
who suppressed the Italian troop, and ordered seals to be placed on the
doors of their theatre. Having obtained an audience to remonstrate, the
King refused to listen to them, saying, "You have no reason to regret
that Cardinal Mazarin induced you to quit your country. You came to
France on foot, and have gained enough to return in a carriage."

They returned to Paris in 1716, at the invitation of the Duke of
Orleans, and took the title of Comédiens du Régent.

[24] After the death of Molière, in 1673, transferred to
the Rue Quénégaud. In 1680, the King gave the company the title of
"Comédiens du Roy," and granted them a pension of 12,000 livres; but
at the period at which this story was written, they had established
themselves, by an Order in Council, in a tennis-court in the Rue des
Fosses, St. Germain, where they erected a theatre after the designs of
D'Orbay, in which they remained till 1770.



THE COUNT DE CAYLUS.



PRINCESS MINUTE AND KING FLORIDOR.


There was, once upon a time, a King and Queen who died young, and left
a very fine empire to the Princess, their only daughter, who was then
but thirteen years of age. She imagined that she knew how to reign, and
all her good subjects persuaded themselves into the same idea, without
well knowing why: however, it is a profession which is not without its
difficulties.

The King and Queen had at least the consolation, when dying, of leaving
the Princess, their daughter, under the protection of a friendly fairy.
She was called Mirdandenne, and was a very good woman, but she added to
the defect of allowing herself to be prejudiced that of obstinacy in
continuing so. As for the little Princess, she was so very diminutive,
that they called her Minute.

Thus was this fine kingdom governed by prejudice and frivolity; for
the Princess had never been corrected in the taste which she showed
for trifles; and it was for her that all those little knickknacks were
invented, with which we have since been overwhelmed.

This Princess exhibited the grandeur of her ideas by an act which I
will select from a thousand such. She would not retain as General of
her forces, nay, even exiled from her Court, a veteran distinguished
for the services which he had rendered the State. And why? Because he
had appeared in her presence with a hat bound with silver when his coat
was laced with gold. She thought that a man who could be guilty of such
negligence at Court would be also, for the same reason, very capable
of allowing himself to be surprised by the enemy. The discernment which
she flattered herself as having shown in this instance, and the sound
judgment which the Fairy distinguished in her most frivolous ideas,
prove the existence of a delusion which would have been enough to turn
a stronger head.

There was near this great country a little kingdom, so very small that
I hardly know what to compare it to. A Queen Mother had for a long
time reigned over it, in the name of Prince Floridor; but this good
Queen died. Floridor, who was the most affectionate son possible, felt
this loss acutely, and always retained a feeling of gratitude for the
obligations he was under to her. One of the greatest was a perfect
education--the most perfect, the most rigid, as far as concerned the
body, which had rendered him as robust as active; and the mildest with
regard to his mind, to which she had given both accomplishments and
solidity. This young Prince was handsome and well formed. He governed
wisely, without abusing his despotic power. His desires were well
regulated--in a word, he would have been an amiable person in private
life. His subjects adored him, and the strangers who visited at the
Court agreed that he would have conferred happiness on the greatest
empire. But one thing they were not aware of was, that he owed to a
charming Ant a great number of his advantages. She had been attached to
him from his infancy.

At the death of the Queen the good Ant was his sole consolation. He
took no single step without going previously to consult this Ant, in
a wood in the palace gardens, which she had chosen as her residence.
He often abandoned the Court and its pleasures to go and converse with
her. No weather prevented his presenting himself to her, and however
severe might be the winter, she always came out of her anthill, which
was the best regulated for an hundred miles round, and gave him advice
full of prudence and wisdom.

You may easily have guessed that the pretty Ant of whom we speak was
a fairy. Her history, which dates back seven thousand years, will be
found brought down to the twenty-two thousandth year of the world at
the four hundred and sixtieth page of the volume for that year. It
would therefore have been easy for this Ant to give the King, whom she
loved so well, several kingdoms--for Fairies dispose of them at their
own pleasure,--but the Ant was prudent, and prudence is always guided
by justice. It was not that she did not heartily desire the advancement
of Floridor, but she wished him to employ no means to obtain it but
those that might increase the true glory with the love of which she had
inspired his heart.

The Ant was naturally patient: she waited for an opportunity to bring
to light the virtues of her pupil. The conduct of Minute, and the
prejudice of Mirdandenne, soon furnished her with one. They were
informed that the flame of revolt was kindled in the mighty kingdom of
Minute. When this news had been confirmed by all the newspapers, the
good fairy Ant desired King Floridor to set out, attended by a simple
groom, to assist the Queen, his neighbour. She gave him, at parting,
nothing but a common sparrow, a little knife, which is usually called
a _jambette_,[25] and a walnut-shell. "My gifts," said she, "appear
mean; but make yourself easy respecting them. They will be of service
in your need, and I hope you will be satisfied with them." He readily
assured her of that confidence which her former favours had rendered it
but just that he should place in her, and having bidden her tenderly
farewell, he set out on his journey; every inhabitant of his little
kingdom regretting his departure as much as if he had been a brother, a
son, or a bosom friend.

He arrived in the capital of Queen Minute's dominions; he found it in
a state of commotion, as they had heard that a neighbouring king was
advancing rapidly, followed by a terrible army. He was coming with
the design of seizing the kingdom. Floridor learnt that the Queen had
retired to a delightful residence she possessed near the capital, and
in which she had collected all sorts of brilliant gewgaws. She had,
however, a motive for this retirement: she wished to consider seriously
and decide, without being interrupted, whether the troops which the
Fairy had ordered to be levied to oppose the usurper should wear blue
or white cockades. The Queen was, notwithstanding, at this time twenty
years of age. King Floridor having ascertained the road which led to
this country-house, proceeded there with all speed. His handsome face
prejudiced Mirdandenne in his favour. The compliments which he paid
to the Queen and her only increased the good opinion which his first
appearance had inspired her with, and the offer of his services was all
the better received as the state was in a very embarrassed situation.
Minute appeared to Floridor to be charming.

From that moment the King fell desperately in love. The zeal and
alacrity always inseparable from that passion were displayed in his
words and actions, and shone in his eyes; and it was with extreme
care he investigated the existing position of affairs. He wished to
have recourse to the powers of Fairyland; but the blind prejudice of
Mirdandenne had induced her long before to give her wand to Minute,
with the idea of amusing her, and that Princess had made such a
prodigal use of it, that it was worn out, and had neither strength nor
virtue, particularly for important things. Floridor returned to the
capital, but found there neither fortifications nor munitions of war.

Meanwhile the invader advanced nearer and nearer. Floridor saw only a
rival in the person of the hostile king; and finding no other resource,
he was obliged to propose to the Queen to take flight, offering her
with pride an asylum in his dominions. Prudence suggested to him a line
of conduct which his courage condemned; but it was necessary to save
an unhappy sovereign, and he only made this proposition on condition
of his being allowed to return and expose himself to every danger, and
use every effort to restore to the Queen a throne which so legitimately
belonged to her, the moment he had placed her person in safety in his
little kingdom. Mirdandenne, convinced by all the King represented to
her, accepted the proposition; but the Queen only consented to depart
when they promised her that the horse she was to ride should have a
rose-coloured harness, and Floridor had agreed to present her with
the sparrow which the fairy Ant had given him on his leaving her. The
bird was soon given, but though the departure was urgent, they had to
wait till a harness such as the Queen wished for could be procured
from the city. It came at length, and Floridor and Minute, with no
other suite but Mirdandenne, took the road to the King's dominions.
Floridor was enchanted at being allowed to conduct Minute to his own
kingdom, and at believing himself to be useful to her he adored. To be
in love and a traveller are two things which make people exceedingly
talkative. Floridor, in announcing the limited extent of his states,
at which he sometimes blushed, could not refrain from speaking of the
obligations he owed to the good Ant. When he came, however, to the
details of their parting, the walnut, the little knife, and the sparrow
appeared to the Queen very singular presents. She was very anxious to
see the walnut: the King gave it to her without any scruples. As soon
as it was in her hand, she cried, "Heavens, what do I hear!" She put
her ear to it with the utmost attention, and then said, with surprise
mingled with curiosity, "I hear very distinctly little voices of men,
neighing of horses, trumpets, in short, a singular murmur. This is
the prettiest thing in the world!" she exclaimed. While the King was
himself occupied by that which amused her whom he loved, he perceived
the scouts of the revolted army close upon them, and consequently ready
to take them prisoners. At this perilous moment, by an involuntary
movement, he broke the walnut, and out of it he saw issue thirty
thousand effective men, horse, foot, and dragoons,[26] with artillery
and all the necessary munitions of war. He placed himself at their
head, and showing a bold front to the enemy, he made, without ever
striking a blow, the most beautiful retreat in the world; he took
possession in this way of the mountains he found on his road, and
saved the Queen from the hands of her rebellious subjects. After this
fine military manœuvre, which was not accomplished without much
fatigue, and alarm at the danger the Queen had incurred, they halted
several days on the mountain; but as all the country was up in arms,
they perceived, on recommencing their march, another army, much more
numerous than that which they had escaped, and which it would have been
the height of rashness to give battle to. In this cruel situation,
the Queen asked for the little knife which the Ant had given to him,
to use for some trifling purpose; but finding that it did not cut to
her fancy, she threw it away, saying, "There's a pleasant knife!" The
moment it touched the ground it made a considerable hole in it. The
King was struck with the talent of his _jambette_, and immediately cut
with it deep entrenchments all round the mountain, which rendered their
position impregnable.

When this operation was finished, which only occupied him the time
necessary to make the circuit, the sparrow he had presented to Minute
took wing, and flew to the summit of the mountain; then flapping its
wings, it cried, in a terrible voice, "Leave me alone to deal with
them; you are about to see a fine game. Let all descend the mountain,
march upon the enemy, and fear nothing." He was instantly obeyed, and
the sparrow raised the mountain as easily as if it had been a straw,
and traversing the air with it, he let it fall upon the army of the
enemy, crushing, no doubt, the greater part of them; the rest took
flight and left the passage free. The King, who was solely occupied
with the desire of seeing the Queen in safety, was anxious to put the
horses to their speed; but as the march of an army is necessarily
slow, he would have been glad if it had re-entered the walnut-shell.
Hardly had he formed the wish when it actually did so. He put it in
his pocket, and they arrived in the little kingdom, where the good Ant
received them with every mark of sincere friendship.

When Floridor had made every arrangement for the accommodation of
Minute, and was satisfied that she could want for nothing in the
palace, he began to think of his departure, and he did so more
cheerfully as the good Ant assured him of her attention to all that
concerned the Queen. During the journey he had lately performed, and
the short time he had passed in his own dominions, he had taken the
opportunity of declaring his passion to Minute, which she had been kind
enough to approve. At length he was obliged to leave her; their adieus
were tender, and Floridor set out with no other assistance but that
of a letter from Minute, addressed to her good and faithful subjects,
in which she required them to obey the commands of King Floridor
implicitly.

The good Ant neither gave him the walnut nor the little knife which
he had returned to her when he came back: the Queen only begged him
to accept from her hand the sparrow which he had given her, praying
that he would always carry it about with him, as well as a scarf of
_nonpareille_[27] which she had herself made for him. The King followed
exactly the same road that he had taken in conducting the Queen, not
only because lovers are gratified by seeing again the places which are
associated in their memories with those whom they love, but because it
was also the shortest cut.

When he was near the transplanted mountain, the sparrow, rising in
the air, took it up with the same facility as before, and carried it
back to the spot which it had formerly occupied. The sparrow then in
that terrible voice which he knew how to assume when he wished, said to
those whom he found shut up under the mountain, "Be faithful to Minute,
and do what King Floridor shall command you in her name." This singular
sparrow then disappeared.

The mountain, it seems, was hollow, so those who had found themselves
enclosed in it were as if under a bell; they had wanted for nothing
during the time of their imprisonment; all the soldiers and officers
who saw the light of day again with the utmost pleasure, ran in crowds
to Floridor, whose handsome countenance interested them, and looking
upon him as a demi-god, they were ready to worship him. The King,
moved by their obedience and the new vows of fidelity to the lawful
Queen, which they took at his hands, received their respects but
not their adoration, after having shown them the letter with which
he was charged. He made the army pass in review, and chose from it
fifty thousand of the finest men, and of those to whose devotion a
general's success is mostly due. He established in his new army a very
strict discipline, of which he was both the author and example; and it
was with these troops that he became invincible--that he defied the
countless forces of the usurper, whom he slew with his own hand in one
of the last battles, and whose death restored to Minute a kingdom which
she had entirely lost. Floridor marched through all the provinces of
this great state, and re-established the authority of Minute, whom he
then hastened to rejoin.

But what a change did he find in the character and mind of this lovely
Queen? The counsels of the good Ant, and, above all, Love, and the wish
to please and be worthy of Floridor, had completely corrected her only
fault. She was ashamed of having always done little things with great
assistance, whilst her lover had done such great things with so little.

They married, and lived happily ever after.


FOOTNOTES:

[25] A clasp or folding-knife.

[26] "_Tant Cavalerie, infanterie que dragons_" "Horse,
foot, and dragoons," was, within my recollection, a familiar phrase
expressive of any overpowering force or number. Dragoons were first
raised in France by the Marshal de Brisac in 1600, and being trained to
fight both on foot and horseback, were frequently in the seventeenth
century thus distinguished from the general cavalry and infantry.

[27] Narrow ribbon used to embroider silk, satin, or velvet
with, a favourite work of ladies in the last century; but, looking
at the character of Minute, it is probable the author meant a scarf
composed of nothing but the ribbon itself.



THE IMPOSSIBLE ENCHANTMENT.


Once upon a time there was a King who was very much beloved by his
subjects, and who was equally fond of them. This Monarch had a great
repugnance to marriage, and what was still more astonishing, love
had never made the slightest impression on his heart. His subjects,
however, pressed so strongly upon him the necessity of providing for
the succession to the throne, that the good King finally consented to
their request. But as no woman he had as yet seen, had awakened in him
the faintest inclination to marry her, he resolved to seek in foreign
lands that which his own had failed to present him with, and despite
the severe and satirical remarks of all his countrywomen, both handsome
and ugly, he set out on his travels, after having duly provided for
the maintenance of order and tranquillity in his dominions. He would
take no one with him but a single equerry, a very sensible man, but not
particularly brilliant. Such companions are not always the worst upon a
journey.

The King roamed in vain through several kingdoms, using all his best
endeavours to fall in love; but his time not being come, he retraced
his road to his own dominions, after two years' absence and fatigue, in
the same state of indifference as he left them.

  [Illustration: Impossible Enchantment.--P. 337.]

It happened, however, that in traversing a forest he heard a most
fearful squalling of cats. The worthy equerry did not know what to
think of such a commencement of an adventure. All the stories of
sorcerers that he had ever seen came into his head. As to the King,
he was unmoved by it. Courage and curiosity combined to induce him
to wait and see what would follow this strange and disagreeable
interruption. The noise coming nearer and nearer, they at length saw
an hundred Spanish cats rush by them through the Forest. You might
have covered them all with a cloak, so well did they run together and
so perfectly were they on the scent. They were closely followed by
two of the largest monkeys that ever were seen. They were dressed in
amaranth-coloured coats. Their boots were the prettiest and best made
in the world. They were mounted on two superb English bull-dogs, and
rode at full speed, blowing little toy-trumpets. The King, surprised at
such a sight, gazed at them with great attention, when a score of tiny
dwarfs appeared, some mounted on lynxes and leading relays of them,
others on foot with cats in couples. They were dressed in amaranth like
the huntsmen, which colour seemed to be the livery of the equipage. A
moment afterwards he perceived a young female as remarkable for her
beauty as for the proud air with which she rode a large tiger, whose
paces were admirable.

She passed the King full gallop, without stopping or even saluting him;
but though she hardly looked at him, he was enchanted with her, and his
heart was gone like a flash of lightning.

All in agitation, he perceived a dwarf who had lagged behind the rest
of the company. He addressed him with all that eagerness which the
curiosity of love to obtain some information respecting the object of
its admiration would naturally occasion. The dwarf informed him that
the lady he had just seen was the Princess Mutine, daughter of King
Prudent, in whose dominions they were at that moment. He told him,
also, that the Princess was exceedingly fond of the chase, and that the
pack he had seen pass was what she hunted rabbits with. The King asked
nothing further, except the nearest road to the Court of King Prudent.
The dwarf pointed it out to him, and spurred on his lynx to rejoin the
hunt, and the King, with the impatience of a new-born passion, gave the
spurs to his horse, and in less than two hours found himself in the
capital of King Prudent's dominions. He was presented to the King and
Queen, who received him with open arms, the more graciously on learning
his name and that of his empire.

The beautiful Mutine returned from the chase shortly after this
presentation. Hearing that the Princess had killed two rabbits, he
ventured to compliment her on so fine a day's sport, but the Princess
made no reply. He was rather surprised at her silence, but he was still
more so when he observed that during supper she was equally taciturn.
He noticed only that there were moments when she appeared about to
say something, but that either King Prudent or the Queen (who never
drank at the same time) immediately commenced speaking. This silence,
however, did not prevent the increase of his passion for Mutine. The
King retired to the handsome apartment which had been assigned to him,
and his worthy Equerry did not appear overjoyed when he found his royal
master so deeply in love. He did not even conceal from him that he was
sorry for it. "And why are you sorry?" inquired the King. "The Princess
is so beautiful; surely she is all I could desire." "She is beautiful,
I admit," replied the Equerry. "But to be happy, something is required
besides beauty. Pardon me, sire, but there is something harsh in the
expression of her features." "It is pride," said the King, "and very
becoming in so beautiful a woman." "Pride or ill-nature, whichever you
please; but the taste she exhibits in her amusements, and her choice
of so many mischievous animals, are to my mind convincing proofs of
a cruel disposition. Moreover, the care that is taken to prevent her
speaking is to me a very suspicious circumstance. The King, her father,
is not called Prudent for nothing. I don't fancy even her own name of
Mutine. It appears to me only a softening down or a diminutive of the
appellation which would truly be applied to her from the impression she
has made on me. For you know better than I do, that it is too common a
practice to gloss over the faults of persons of her rank."

The observations of the worthy Equerry were sensible enough, but
as objections only increase love in the hearts of all men, and
particularly in those of kings, who dislike being contradicted, this
monarch the very next morning demanded the hand of the Princess
in marriage. As the previous indifference of the King had become
notorious, the triumph of the charms of Mutine was complete. Her
hand was accorded to him--but on two conditions. The first, that the
marriage should take place the very next morning; the second, that
he should not speak to the Princess until she was his wife. On this
occasion the pretext for her silence was a solemn vow she had taken
in consequence of--the first thing that came into their heads: and
the enamoured King only saw in this circumstance the proof of a truly
religious feeling. Those great precautions formed a new theme for the
arguments of the Equerry, but they made no more impression than the
former did. The King, after listening to them, closed the conversation
by saying, "It has cost me a great deal of trouble to fall in love.
I have done so at last. What the deuce wouldst thou have? I mean to
remain in love."

The rest of that day and all the following was passed in dancing and
feasting. The Princess was present, and took her part in all the
entertainments without uttering a single word, and the first he heard
her pronounce was the fatal "Yes," which bound her to him for life. As
soon as she was married she threw off all restraint, and the first day
did not pass without her having very liberally distributed a volley
of abuse and a host of impertinences amongst her maids of honour. In
short, the mildest expressions she made use of in return for the most
particular services were characterized by rudeness and ill-temper. Even
the King, her husband, was not exempted from this sort of language; but
as he was very much in love, and, moreover, a good-natured man, he bore
it all patiently.

A few days after their marriage the newly-wedded pair took the road to
their own kingdom, and Mutine's departure was not regretted by any one
in her Father's. The cordial reception King Prudent had always given
to foreigners had no other motive than the hope of such a love as his
daughter's charms had succeeded in inspiring--a passion which was too
strong to pause for a better acquaintance with her mind and character.

The worthy Equerry had had too much reason for his remonstrances, and
the King perceived it too late. All the time the new Queen was on the
road she filled the hearts of her attendants with grief, anger, and
despair. But once arrived in her kingdom, her ill-temper and ill-nature
were redoubled. By the time she had been a month on her throne her
reputation was perfect. She was acknowledged unanimously as the worst
Queen in the world.

One day that she was taking an airing on horseback in a wood near the
Palace, she perceived an old woman walking in the high road. She was
very simply dressed. This good woman having made her the best curtsey
she could, continued her route; but the Queen, who was only waiting
for an occasion to give vent to her ill-humour, bade one of her pages
run after the old woman, and bring her back. As soon as she was in
her presence she said, "Thou art very impertinent to make me no lower
a curtsey! Dost thou not know I am the Queen? I am more than half
inclined to order my people to give thee an hundred lashes with their
stirrup-leathers." "Madam," said the old woman, "I never knew exactly
what difference there was in curtseys. It is clear I had no intention
of being disrespectful." "How!" exclaimed the Queen; "does she dare to
answer me? Tie her instantly to the tail of my horse. I will take her
with speed to the best dancing-master in the city, and he shall teach
her how to make me a curtsey."

The old woman begged for mercy whilst they tied her, but in vain. She
even boasted of the protection of the Fairies. The Queen heeded the
warning as little as the prayer. "I care for them as little as I do for
thee," she exclaimed, "and wert thou even thyself a Fairy, I would serve
thee the same way."

The old woman suffered herself patiently to be fastened to the tail of
the horse; but the instant the Queen would have given him the spur, he
became motionless. In vain she endeavoured to stick the rowels into his
side. He had become a horse of bronze. The cords which fastened the
old woman changed at the same moment to garlands of flowers, and the
old woman herself suddenly appeared eight feet high. Then fixing on
Mutine her fiery and disdainful eyes, she said to her, "Wicked woman!
unworthy of the royal title thou bearest, I desired to judge myself if
thou didst deserve the bad character they give thee in the world. I am
satisfied thou dost, and thou shalt soon see whether the fairies are as
little to be feared as thou fanciest." So saying, the Fairy Paisible
(for it was she herself) whistled through her fingers, and a chariot
was seen advancing, drawn by six of the most beautiful ostriches in the
world, and in this chariot they recognised the Fairy Grave, looking
more grave even than her name. She was at that time the Elder of the
Fairies, and presided in all cases affecting the Fairy community. Her
escort was composed of a dozen other Fairies, mounted on crop-tailed
dragons. Notwithstanding her astonishment at the appearance of the
Fairies, Queen Mutine retained the proud and malevolent expression
which was so natural to her.

When this brilliant company had descended and dismounted, the Fairy
Paisible related her adventure to them. The Fairy Grave, who was very
severe in the execution of her office, approved of Paisible's conduct,
and then gave it as her opinion that the Queen should be transformed
into the same metal as her horse; but the Fairy Paisible objected to
this, and with unequalled generosity, exerted herself to moderate all
the rigorous measures that were suggested for the punishment of the
Queen.

At length, thanks to the kind Fairy, she was condemned only to be her
slave until she was confined, for I had forgotten to tell you that she
was expecting to become a mother. This sentence, which was pronounced
in full court, decreed that, on her recovery, the Queen should be
permitted to return to her husband, and that the infant she had given
birth to should remain the slave of the Fairy in her place.

They were polite enough to announce to the King the sentence that had
been passed on his wife. He was compelled to give his assent to it.
What could the worthy Prince have done, supposing he had objected?

After this act of justice, the Fairies returned each one to her own
affairs. Paisible waited an instant the arrival of her equipage, which
she had sent for. It was a little car made of various coloured bugles,
drawn by six hinds, white as snow, with caparisons of green satin,
embroidered with gold. One touch of her wand changed the Queen's dress
into the habit of a slave. In this attire she was made to mount an
obstinate mule, and to follow, at a hard trot, the car of the Fairy.

After an hour's jolting, the Queen arrived at Paisible's mansion. As
you may easily believe, she was in great affliction, but her pride
prevented her from shedding a single tear. The Fairy sent her to work
in the kitchen, after giving her the name of Furieuse, that of Mutine
being too gentle for the wickedness she was inclined to.

"Furieuse," said the Fairy Paisible, "I have saved your life, and
perhaps conscience may hereafter reproach me for it. I will not give
you any heavy work to do, out of compassion for the unborn infant, who
you are aware is to become my slave. I will, therefore, remove you from
the kitchen, and set you only the task of sweeping my apartment, and
combing my little dog Christine." Furieuse knew there was no opposition
to be made to these commands. She took, therefore, the sensible course
of doing exactly as she was bid as long as she was able.

After some time, she gave birth to a Princess, as lovely as day; and
when her health was re-established, the Fairy lectured her severely
respecting her past life, exacted from her a promise to behave better
in future, and sent her back to the King her husband. One may imagine,
from the kindness shown by the Fairy Paisible to so wicked a woman,
what affectionate care she would take of the young Princess who was
left in her hands. She soon perfectly doated on her, and determined
to have her endowed by two fairies besides herself. She was a long
time deciding on the two godmothers she should select, for she feared
that the resentment they all felt against the mother might be extended
to the child. At length, she thought that the Fairies Divertisante
and Eveillée were amongst the best natured of them, and invited them
accordingly. They arrived in a Berlin,[28] made of Italian flowers,
drawn by six grey ponies with beautiful flame-coloured manes.
Eveillée's robe was composed of parrots' feathers, and her hair
was dressed en chien fou.[29] The Fairy Divertisante had a robe of
cameleon's skin, which made her appear alternately in every imaginable
colour.

Paisible gave them both a capital reception, and to insure their good
offices, I have been confidently informed, that (during the excellent
supper they sat down to) she managed to make them just merry enough
with wine. Having taken this wise precaution, she had the lovely infant
brought to them. It was in a cradle of rock crystal, and swathed in
clothes of scarlet embroidered with gold; but its beauty was an hundred
times more brilliant than its apparel.

The young Princess smiled at the Fairies, and made little attempts to
kiss them, which so pleased them that they determined to place her, as
far as it laid in their power, beyond the reach of the anger of their
Elders. They began by giving her the name of Galantine.

The Fairy Paisible then said to them, "You know that the punishments
we Fairies usually inflict, consist in changing beauty to ugliness,
intellect to imbecility, and in many cases resorting to transformation.
Now, as it is impossible for us to endow her with more than one gift
each, my advice is that one of you should bestow upon her beauty,
the other intelligence, and that I, for my part, should render it
impossible for any one to change her form."

This advice was adopted, and followed upon the spot. As soon as
Galantine was endowed, the two Fairies took their leave, and Paisible
gave all her attention to the education of the little Princess. Never
was such attention so well rewarded, for at four years of age her grace
and beauty had already begun to make a noise in the world. In fact,
they made too much noise, for the circumstances of the case having been
reported to the Council of Fairies, Paisible, one morning, saw the
Fairy Grave enter the court-yard of the Palace, mounted on a lion. She
wore a long robe, very full, and consequently very much plaited, of
sky-blue colour, and on her head a square cap of gold brocade.

Paisible recognised her with as much anxiety as vexation, for her
dress and the animal she rode proved that she came to promulgate some
decree: but when she perceived that she was followed by the Fairy
Rèveuse, mounted on a unicorn, and dressed in black morocco, faced
with changeable taffeta, and wearing also a square cap, she no longer
doubted that this visit had some very serious object.

In short, Fairy Grave, opening the business, said to her, "I am much
surprised at the conduct you have pursued towards Mutine. It is in
the name of the whole body of Fairies, whom she has insulted, that I
come to reprimand you. You were at liberty to forgive her offences
to yourself, but you had no right to pardon her for those which she
had committed against the entire community. Nevertheless, you treated
her with mildness and kindness during the time she resided with you.
I therefore come to do strict justice, and punish an innocent child
for the acts of a guilty mother. You have endowed her with beauty
and intelligence, and you have also raised an obstacle against her
transformation; but though I cannot deprive her of the gifts you have
bestowed upon her, I know how to prevent her deriving any advantage
from them as long as she lives. She shall never be able to get out of
an enchanted prison which I am about to build for her, until she shall
find herself in the arms of a lover who is beloved by her. It is my
business to take care that such an event shall never occur."

The enchantment consisted of a tower of great height and size, built of
shells of all colours, in the middle of the sea. On the lowest floor
there was a great bath-room, into which the water could be admitted
at pleasure. The bath was surrounded by steps and slabs, on which you
could walk with dry feet. The first floor was devoted to the apartment
of the Princess, and it was really a magnificent affair. The second was
divided into several rooms. In one you saw a fine library, in another
a wardrobe full of beautiful linen and superb dresses for all ages,
each more splendid than the other. A third was appropriated to music, a
fourth was entirely filled with the most agreeable wines and liqueurs,
and in the last (which was the largest of all), nothing was to be seen
but wet and dry sweetmeats, and preserves of every description, and all
sorts of pies and patties, which by the power of the enchantment were
kept always as warm as they were when first taken out of the oven. The
tower was terminated by a platform on which there was a garden laid out
full of the finest flowers, which were renewed and succeeded each other
unceasingly. In this garden was also seen a fruit tree of each sort, on
which as fast as you gathered one fruit another appeared in its place.
This lovely spot was ornamented by green arbours, rendered delicious by
the shade and fragrance of the flowering shrubs that formed them, and
the songs of the thousand birds that frequented them.

When the Fairies had placed Galantine in the tower, with a governess
named Bonnette, they remounted the whale that had taken them there,
and retiring a certain distance from this grand edifice, Fairy Grave,
by a tap of her wand on the water, assembled two thousand of the most
ferocious sharks[30] in the ocean, and ordered them to keep strict
watch around the tower, and tear in pieces every mortal who should be
rash enough to approach it; but as ships are not much afraid of sharks,
she also sent for a quantity of remoras,[31] and commanded them to form
an advanced guard, and stop, without exception, every vessel that by
design or accident shaped its course in that direction.

Fairy Grave felt so fatigued with having done so much in so short a
time, that she requested Fairy Rèveuse to fly to the top of the tower
and enchant the air about it so powerfully and completely that not
even a bird should be able to go near it. The Fairy obeyed; but as
she was an exceedingly absent being, she forgot some of the necessary
ceremonies, and made some few mistakes. If the enchantment of the
water had not been more perfect than that of the air, the safe keeping
of Galantine, which they took so much trouble about, would have been
greatly endangered by sea.

The good governess occupied every instant of her time in the proper
education of Galantine; and although she looked upon all the
accomplishments that the Princess acquired as completely thrown away
on one who would never have an opportunity of displaying them to the
world, she neglected nothing that could tend to the improvement of her
mind and the cultivation of her talents, in all imaginable arts and
sciences.

When the Princess had attained the age of twelve she appeared to the
governess a perfect prodigy. All the fine qualities she discovered in
her caused her deeply to deplore the sad fate imposed on so amiable a
person. Galantine, who knew nothing about herself, perceiving her one
day more melancholy than usual, entreated to know the reason of it so
urgently, that Bonnette related to her all her own history and that of
the Queen her mother.


Galantine was thunderstruck at this recital. "I had never before,"
she exclaimed, "reflected on my position. I fancied that when I was
old enough I should leave this retreat: but if I am condemned never
to do so, of what value is life to me? Better surely would it be for
me to die." The Princess, after this burst of grief, remained silent
for some time, then added, "You say, my dear Bonnette, that the spell
which is cast upon me cannot be broken until I shall love some one
who loves me. Is this so difficult a matter? I don't know what it
may be, but I would endure anything that could assist to release me
from this prison." Bonnette could not help smiling at the simplicity
of Galantine, and then answered, "To love and to be beloved, it is
necessary that some young Prince should enter this tower to see and
be seen by you, and that he should be one who intends to marry you,
otherwise his appearance here would not be correct; now you know that
it is not possible for any man to approach these walls. Have I not told
you all the precautions that have been taken by sea and by sky. You
must, therefore, my dear Galantine, make up your mind to pass your days
in this solitude."

This conversation produced a great change in the Princess. No
amusements had charms for her any longer. Her melancholy became
excessive. She passed her days in weeping and in devising plans to
escape from the tower.

One day that the Princess was sitting in her balcony, she saw an
extraordinary figure emerge from the water. She called Bonnette
immediately to come and observe it. It had the appearance of a man
with a bluish countenance, and ill-curled hair of a sea-green colour.
He approached the tower, and the sharks made no opposition to his
progress. "In my opinion," said the Governess, "it is a Mer-man." "A
man do you say," exclaimed Galantine; "let us go down to the gate of
the tower, we shall see him better there." As soon as they reached the
gate, the Mer-man stopped to gaze on the Princess, and at her sight
made several signs of admiration. He said something to her in a very
hoarse voice; but as he found his language was not understood, he had
recourse again to signs. He had in his hand a little rush-basket filled
with the rarest shells. He presented it to the Princess, who took it,
and in her turn made signs to thank him; but as night was coming on
she retired, and the Mer-man plunged under water.

As soon as Galantine had reached her own apartment, she said to her
Governess, sorrowfully, "I think that man frightful. Why did the
villainous sharks who guard me allow such an ugly man to pass them,
in preference to one who was better looking? for I suppose they are
not all like him." "Not any like him, I should say," replied Bonnette;
"and as to the sharks allowing him to pass, I presume that, being
inhabitants of the same element, they do not harm each other. They may
even be his relations, or at least friends."

A few days after this first adventure, Bonnette and Galantine were
attracted to one of the windows of the tower by what appeared to them
a singular sort of music, and which indeed proved to be so. There was
the same Mer-man that they had already seen, who, always up to his
waist in the water, and his head covered with reeds, blew with all his
might a species of conch-shell, the sound of which was something like
that of our ancient goat's horns. The Princess again descended to the
gate of the tower, and courteously accepted the coral and other marine
curiosities which he presented to her. After this second visit, he came
every day under the windows of the Princess, diving and grimacing, or
playing on the charming instrument I have described to you. Galantine
contented herself with curtseying to him in the balcony; but no longer
came down-stairs, notwithstanding the signs by which the Mer-man
implored her.

Some days afterwards, the Princess saw him appear in company with
another of his species of the other sex. Her hair was dressed with much
taste, and her voice was charming.

This addition to the company induced Galantine and Bonnette to descend
again to the gate of the tower. They were much surprised when the lady
(whom they now saw for the first time) after having tried several
languages, spoke to them in their own, and complimented Galantine on
her beauty. She perceived that the basement story, or bath-room, of
which I have spoken, was open and full of water. "Here," said she,
"is a place made expressly for our reception; for it is impossible
for us to live entirely out of our element." She immediately entered,
and reclined as one does in a bath, and her brother (for she was the
sister of the Mer-man) placed himself beside her in a similar attitude.
The Princess and her governess sat down on the steps which were
continued round the apartment.

"I suspect, madam," said the Syren, "that you have abandoned your
residence on the earth in consequence of being beset by crowds of
lovers. If that be really the cause of your retirement, you will not
obtain your object here; for my brother is already dying for love of
you, and when the inhabitants of our great city have perceived you, he
will certainly have them all for his rivals."

The brother, who imagined she was speaking of him, at that moment made
signs of assent with his head and his hands, and continued to do so
when she was not speaking of him at all.

The Syren expressed to her the regret of her brother at not being able
to make himself understood. "I am his interpreter," she continued,
"thanks to the languages which I was taught by a fairy." "You have
fairies, then, also amongst you?" said Galantine, accompanying the
question with a heavy sigh. "Yes, madam," replied the Syren, "we have
a few; but, if I am not deceived, you have suffered some injuries from
those who inhabit the earth? At least the sigh which escaped you would
justify me in so believing." The Princess, who had not been enjoined
secresy on the subject, recounted to the Syren all that Bonnette had
told her.

"You are much to be pitied," said the Syren, when Galantine had
finished her story. "Nevertheless your misfortunes may not be without
a remedy; but it is time to terminate my first visit." The Princess,
delighted at the hope she held out to her, said a thousand kind things
to her, and they separated with a promise to see one another frequently.

The Princess appeared charmed with this adventure. Independently of
the hope the Syren had inspired her with, it was much to have found
some one with whom it was possible to enjoy a little society. "We shall
make the acquaintance," said she to her governess, "of several of
these Mer-men, and they may not all be as hideous as the first we have
seen. At any rate we shall not be always alone." "Good heavens," said
Bonnette; "how easily young people do flatter themselves. I tell you
I am afraid of those folks. But what say you," continued she, "to the
handsome lover of whom you have made a conquest?" "I say that I shall
never love him," replied the Princess, "and that he is exceedingly
disagreeable to me; but," pursued she, "I would fain discover if he
cannot, by means of his relative the Fairy Marine, contrive to do
me some service." "I repeat to you," insisted Bonnette, "that those
odd-coloured faces and great fish-tails are alarming." But Galantine
being younger, was consequently bolder and less prudent.

The Syren came to see her several times, and always talked to her of
her brother's affection; the Princess, constantly occupied by her ideas
of escaping from prison, encouraged the conversation, and at length
induced the Syren to promise she would bring the Fairy Marine to pay
her an early visit, and that she would instruct her what to do.

The Fairy came with the Syren the very next morning; the Princess
received her as her liberator. Some short time after her arrival she
requested Galantine to show her over the Tower, and to take a turn with
her in the garden, for (with the assistance of two crutches) she could
manage to walk about, and as she was a Fairy, she was able to remain
out of the water as long as she pleased, only it was necessary for her
to moisten her forehead occasionally, for which purpose she always
carried a little silver fountain suspended from her girdle.

Galantine acceded to the request of the Fairy, and Bonnette remained in
the hall to entertain the rest of the company. When the Fairy and the
Princess had entered the garden, the former said, "Let us lose no time.
Let us see if there is anything I can do to serve you." Galantine told
her all her history, not omitting the smallest details; and the Fairy
then said to her, "I can do nothing for you, my dear Princess, on the
land, my power does not extend beyond my own element; but you have a
resource, and one in which I can assist you with all the art I possess.
If you will do Gluatin the honour to marry him, an honour which he most
ardently aspires to, you can come and live with us. I will teach you
in a moment to dive and to swim as well as we do. I will harden your
skin without blemishing its whiteness, and so prepare it, that the
coldness of the water, in lieu of inconveniencing you, shall give you
the greatest pleasure. My cousin," added she, "is, as you may suppose,
one of the best matches in the ocean, and I will do so much for him in
consideration of your alliance that nothing shall have ever equalled
your mutual happiness."

The Fairy spoke with so much fervour, that the Princess hesitated
to refuse, and requested a few days to consider. As they were about
to rejoin the company, they perceived a vessel in the distance. The
Princess had never before seen one so distinctly, as none had ever
ventured to come so near the Tower. They could easily distinguish
on the deck of this ship a young man reclining under a magnificent
pavilion, and who appeared to be very attentively surveying the Tower
by means of a telescope; but the distance was still too great for them
to see anything more.

The vessel beginning to recede, Galantine and the Fairy returned to the
company, the latter much pleased at the progress of her negotiation.
She told the Princess, on leaving her, that she should shortly come
again to know her answer.

As soon as the Fairy was gone, Galantine related to her governess
all that had passed between them. She was very sorry to see that her
pupil was half inclined to yield to the Fairy's persuasions. She was
dreadfully afraid of being compelled in her declining years to become
an old Syren herself. To avert all the misfortunes she foresaw, she hit
upon the following idea. As she could paint miniatures to perfection,
she set to work, and by the next morning produced one of a young man
with fair hair, dressed in large curls, the finest complexion in
the world, blue eyes, and his nose slightly _retroussé_; in fact,
presenting an assemblage of all the features that could compose a
charming portrait, and we shall see in the end that some supernatural
power must have assisted her in a work which she had undertaken solely
to show Galantine the difference between a man of the world and her
marine adorer, and so dissuade her from a marriage which was not at all
to her taste.

When she presented her work to her, the Princess was struck with
admiration, and asked her if it were possible that any man on earth
could resemble that portrait. Bonnette assured her that there were many
such, and some even handsomer. "I can scarcely believe it," replied
Galantine, "but alas, neither the original of this portrait, nor any
one like him, can ever be my husband. They will never see me, nor I
them as long as I live. Oh, how miserable is my fate!"

Nevertheless, Galantine passed the whole day in gazing on this
miniature. It had the effect Bonnette anticipated. It ruined Gluatin's
affairs, which had previously been put in pretty good train; but the
governess almost repented having painted so handsome a face, as the
Princess gave up eating and drinking in order to have more time to gaze
upon it. If ever a portrait was capable of inspiring a real passion, it
was assuredly in this case and under the circumstances here related.

The Fairy Marine returned a few days after the visit we have described,
to ascertain what were the intentions of Galantine; but this young
creature, engrossed by her new passion (for she was positively in love
with the portrait), could not control herself as prudence would have
suggested. She not only broke off with the Fairy abruptly, but, what
was worse, she exhibited so much contempt and aversion for Gluatin,
that the Fairy, indignant at the style of her refusal, left the
Princess with a determination to be revenged.

In the meanwhile the Princess had made a conquest she was unconscious
of. The vessel she had seen so near her residence had on board the
handsomest Prince in the world. He had heard of the Enchanted Tower,
and determined to go nearer to it than any one had yet done. He
possessed such excellent glasses, that in surveying the Tower, simply
from a motive of curiosity, he caught sight of the Princess, and the
best proof of the goodness of his glass, and that he must have seen her
distinctly is, that he fell desperately in love with her.

Like a young man and a new lover, two conditions in which nothing is
thought too hazardous, he was eager to cast anchor near the Tower,
lower a boat, and encounter all the dangers that the enchantment could
threaten him with; but all his crew upon their knees implored him not
to venture. His Equerry, who was more frightened than any, or whose
knowledge of the circumstances rendered him more competent to form an
opinion, was most eloquent. "You would lead us all to certain death,
my Lord," said he; "deign to return on shore, and I promise you to
go in search of the Fairy Commode. She is a relation of mine, and has
always been very fond of me. I will answer for her zeal and her skill.
I am perfectly sure she will do you good service." The Prince yielded,
but very reluctantly, to so many good arguments. He landed therefore
on the nearest point of land, and despatched his Equerry to find his
relative, and implore her protection and assistance. In the meanwhile
he ordered a tent to be pitched on the sea shore, and, glass in hand,
sat incessantly looking either at the Princess or at her prison, and
his imagination becoming more and more excited, often presented to him
its own creations for realities.

At the end of a few days the Equerry returned with the Fairy Commode.
The Prince received her with the greatest demonstrations of affection.
The Equerry had informed her during their journey of the state of the
case. "In order to lose no time," said she to the Prince, "I will
send a white pigeon, in which I place implicit confidence, to examine
the enchantment. If he finds a flaw in it anywhere, he shall enter
the garden that crowns the Tower, and I will order him to bring back
some flowers as a proof that he succeeded in finding an entrance.
If he can get in, I will soon find a way to introduce you." "But,"
said the Prince, "can I not, by means of your pigeon, send a note to
the Princess, declaring the passion with which she has inspired me?"
"Certainly you can," said Commode, "and I advise you to do so." The
Prince immediately wrote the following letter:--

              _"Prince Blondin to Princess Galantine._

 "I adore you, and I am aware of your destiny. If, beautiful Princess,
 you will deign to accept the homage of my heart, there is nothing I
 will not undertake to render myself the happiest of men by terminating
 your misfortunes.--BLONDIN."

When this note was written, they tied it round the neck of the Pigeon,
who only awaited his dispatches, for he had already received his
instructions. He rose gracefully into the air, and flew off as fast
as his wings would carry him; but when he approached the tower there
issued from it a furious wind that repelled him violently. He was not,
however, to be disheartened by such an obstacle, and after making many
circles round and round about the building, he discovered the weak
point which the Fairy Rèveuse had left in the enchantment. He slipped
through it instantly, and flew down into the garden to wait for the
Princess and to rest himself.

The Princess generally took her walk alone; from inclination, because
a passion engrossed her heart; from necessity, because the Governess
could no longer ascend to that height without great fatigue. As soon
as the Pigeon saw her appear, he flew to her in the most flattering
manner. Galantine caressed him, and seeing a rose-coloured ribbon round
his neck, she wondered what it was put there for. How great was her
surprise when she perceived the note! She read it, and this was the
answer she returned by the Pigeon:--

             _"Princess Galantine to Prince Blondin._

 "You say that you have seen me, and that you love me. I cannot love
 you, nor promise to love you, without having seen you. Send me your
 portrait by the same courier. If I return it to you, hope nothing;
 but if I keep it, be assured that in working for me you work for
 yourself.--GALANTINE."

She fastened this letter in the same manner as they had done that which
she had just received, and dismissed the Pigeon, who did not forget
that he was ordered to bring back a flower from the garden; but as he
was well aware of the importance lovers often attach to trifles, he
stole one from a bouquet the Princess wore in her bosom, and flew away.

The return of this bird gave the Prince such extreme delight, that,
but for the anxiety he was still under, he might perhaps have lost his
senses. He wanted to send the Pigeon back instantly with a miniature
of himself, which, by the greatest chance in the world, he happened to
have amongst his baggage; but the Fairy insisted on an hour's rest for
her courier, which the Prince employed in writing verses to send with
his portrait.

The Pigeon, duly furnished with miniature and verses, set out once
more for the tower. The Princess was not certain he would return so
soon, but she was looking out for him, notwithstanding. She was in the
garden, and had said nothing of this last adventure to her Governess,
for she began to feel that love of mystery and reserve with which a
first passion usually inspires one. She eagerly detached the miniature
from the Pigeon's neck, and her surprise was infinite when, on opening
the case, she discovered that the portrait of Prince Blondin perfectly
resembled that which Bonnette had painted from fancy. It was one of
those fortunate accidents which it is impossible to account for.

The delight of Galantine was extreme at making this agreeable
discovery; and to express in the prettiest possible way her own
sentiments, she took the Prince's miniature out of its case, put in its
place the one she thought best of the many which Bonnette had painted
of her, and immediately sent the Pigeon back with it, who began to be
rather fatigued, and would not long have been able to serve two lovers
who kept up a correspondence so uncommonly active.

Prince Blondin had kept his eyes constantly turned in the direction of
the tower, awaiting the return of his courier. At length he saw the
blessed Pigeon approaching; but what were his feelings as soon as he
could discern that the bird had fastened round his neck the same case
that he had taken away with him! He was nearly dying with grief. The
fairy, who had never left him, consoled him as well as she could, and
took herself from the Pigeon's neck the case, which he even refused
to look at. She opened it, and pointed out to him his error. In an
instant he went into a transport of joy that could only be compared
for its intensity to that he had just endured of affliction. "We will
lose no time," said Commode; "I can only make you happy by changing
you into a bird; but I will take care that you shall be re-transformed
at the right moment." The Prince, without hesitation, consented to the
transformation, and to anything else which could assist him to approach
the person he adored. The good Commode thereupon touched him with her
wand, and he became in an instant the prettiest little Humming-bird in
the world, joining to the attractions which nature has bestowed on that
charming bird that of being able to speak in the most agreeable way
possible.

The Pigeon received fresh orders to conduct him to the garden.
Galantine was astonished to see a bird she had no knowledge of; but his
being accompanied by the Pigeon put her heart in a flutter, and the
Humming-bird, flying to her, said, "Good morning, beautiful Princess."
She had never before heard a bird speak, and this novelty increased
the gratification with which she received this one. She took him on her
finger, and he immediately said to her "Kiss, kiss Colibri." She did
so with great pleasure, over and over again. I leave you to imagine if
the Prince was delighted, and if he was not at the same time very much
vexed that he was only a Humming-bird, for lovers are the only persons
in the world who are happy and miserable at the same time.

Commode, however, knew by her art that this was exactly the moment to
restore the Prince to his natural form, which she did so quickly that
the Princess, in the twinkling of an eye, found herself pressed to the
heart of a lover whom she loved.

The spell was broken. That instant the tower trembled and rocked to
his foundations. Its walls even began to open. Bonnette, who was
below-stairs, in the greatest alarm ascended to the terrace, at least
to perish with the Princess. The rocking of the tower increased as she
mounted the staircase, and when she arrived at the top and saw the
whole building lean over and on the verge of falling into the sea, she
fainted outright.

At the same moment the two fairies, Commode and Paisible, arrived in
a chariot of Venetian glass, drawn by six eagles of the largest size.
"Save yourselves quickly," they cried to the two lovers. "The tower is
falling, and you will perish with it." They leapt into the fairy car,
without having had time to say a word to each other; but the Prince
managed at the same moment to fling the Governess, still in her swoon,
into the bottom of the car. Scarcely had they begun to rise in the air,
when the tower toppled over, and, with a horrible noise, fell, a mass
of ruins, into the sea. The Fairy Marine, Gluantin, and his friends, in
order to be revenged on the Princess, had sapped the foundations.

Marine, perceiving that her designs were foiled by the intervention of
the two Fairies, determined to try if she could not by open war obtain
possession of Galantine. She suddenly formed an immense chariot out of
some exhalations, and, entering it with all her family, filled every
available space in it with oysters in their shells, fragments of rock,
stones, and other trifles of that description. With this chariot and
this ammunition she caused herself to be wafted by a high wind to
the sea-shore, to intercept the car of glass. She did even more--she
commanded all the wild ducks and sea-fowl of every sort for ten leagues
round to come in flocks to darken the air, and oppose the landing of
the Fairies. This order was executed with a quacking and squalling that
was insupportable.

Our two lovers thought themselves lost; but as they had a taste for
the destruction of enchantments, they wished to try what they could
do against this. The Fairies, however, did not consider it necessary.
Commode produced from the box-seat of the car a great quantity of
petards and rockets, which she had provided apparently for the purpose
of making a display of fireworks. But whatever might have been her
reason for bringing them, she now used them with much effect, for
she directed so many against these troublesome fowl, that they were
compelled to disperse. The enemy in the chariot then had recourse to
their last weapons. Not one of the Marine party doubted that, with the
oysters and stones, they should shatter the glass car to fragments in a
few moments. It was not a bad idea, and we may even presume that they
would have achieved their object if the Fairy Paisible had not taken
out of her pocket a burning-glass which she always carried about with
her.

It is best to be candid. I frankly admit that I never very clearly
understood for what purpose she constantly carried that particular
utensil. But she placed it, however, on this occasion, in such a
position that it speedily warmed her enemies after a fashion as new as
it was disagreeable. They uttered the most fearful shrieks, and the
exhalations being dispelled by the power of the sun, all the Marine
family, with the Fairy herself, were precipitated pell-mell into the
ocean, leaving our two victorious Fairies to continue their journey to
the dominions of Queen Mutine.

On arriving in them they found she was dead. She had endeavoured,
partly from fear of some new punishment, partly from conviction, to
control her temper. In this attempt she had swallowed so many violent
expressions, and stifled so many wicked impulses, that these prodigious
and continued efforts, after causing her several severe fits of
illness, at length terminated fatally.

She had been dead, indeed, some years. The good king who had married
her, quietly enjoyed the sweets of his widowhood; and though he had no
other children than the daughter whom he never expected to see again,
nothing in the world could have induced him to marry a second time.
He governed his estates very peacefully, and the good King Prudent,
Galantine's grandfather, had just arrived, notwithstanding his great
age, to pass the holidays with him.

What joy for these two worthy sovereigns. The whole Court soon
participated in it, as the news spread of the arrival of the Fairies
with a charming Princess, who was their King's daughter.

The marriage of the two lovers was fixed for the next morning. Couriers
were instantly dispatched in all directions, to beg the Fairies
generally to honour the nuptials with their presence. You may believe
that Fairy Grave was not forgotten. In short, they arrived from all
quarters. Festivities, balls, tournaments, grand banquets, succeeded
each other for many days. They bantered, and at the same time thanked,
Fairy Rèveuse, for the blunder she had made in her enchantments. She
defended herself by observing that lovers were always more ingenious
than magicians were skilful, and that to prevent their success it would
require an enchantment that was impossible.

I forgot to tell you that the Governess recovered from her swoon
immediately on her arriving at the Palace. In short, everybody was
satisfied, and the Fairies, after sharing in the festivities for
several days, departed, each to manage her own affairs, or to enjoy new
pleasures. Our lovers were always constant, and became the happiest
sovereigns on the face of the earth.


FOOTNOTES:

[28] A light sort of travelling carriage still in use abroad,
and so called from the city in which it was invented.

[29] Literally "mad dog fashion." One of the many extravagant
whims of the day.

[30] _Requin_, chien de mer, Landais. In Cotgrave, _requien_,
who describes it as "a certaine ravenous, rough-skinned, and
wide-mouthed fish, which is good meat." It is generally, however, the
name given to the white-shark, and said by some writers to be derived
from the word _Requiem_--a far-fetched allusion to the vast number of
victims to its voracity.

[31] The sea-lamprey, a small fish that, by adhering to the
keels of ships, was supposed to have the power of stopping them, or at
least of retarding their progress.



BLEUETTE AND COQUELICOT.


There was once upon a time a Fairy named Bonnebonne, who became
weary of the great offices in Fairy Land to which her character and
talents had elevated her. She retired from state affairs, and chose
for her retreat an island situated in the midst of a very beautiful
lake, bordered by the most rich, smiling, and luxuriant scenery. This
charming retreat was called the "Island of Happiness." It is known to
have existed; it is even believed by some to be always in the country
adjoining their own; but the geographers have not yet laid it down
in any map, and I have never read of any traveller fortunate enough
to land on it. It is sufficient for us, however, that we have a full
account of it in the annals of the Fairies.

Bonnebonne, as we have already stated, weary of the world, and not
caring to pay court to it, demanded of the Queen of the Fairies
permission to withdraw from it altogether, and went to reside in the
Island of Happiness. It was there that, with the finest library and all
the knowledge she had acquired in the world, she became the most clever
of all the fairies. She made all her neighbours happy, and gratitude
was the foundation of her authority. Independently of a natural
inclination to oblige, a sentiment which retirement from the great
world by no means tends to diminish, there is a great satisfaction in
seeing those around us happy.

In order to enjoy this real pleasure, and at the same time to avoid
being overwhelmed with foolish petitions, she had placed, at short
distances from each other, columns of white marble, to which those
addressed themselves who had either requests or complaints to make.
These columns were constructed in such a manner that, on speaking in a
whisper to them, they repeated every word distinctly, and in the same
tone of voice, in a cabinet of the castle. Bonnebonne had lodged in
this cabinet a niece whom she had brought up as a fairy, and who gave
her an account every evening of all that the columns had reported, and
the Fairy then pronounced her decisions.

The principal occupation of Bonnebonne was to educate and make children
happy: she gave them for breakfast as well as for luncheon everything
they could wish for in sweetmeats and pastry; but when they had been a
fortnight in this happy dwelling, they cared no more for sugar-plums,
but passed the day in running on the grass, gathering nuts in the
woods, or flowers in the gardens. They went on the lake in pretty
boats, which they rowed themselves--in short, they did all day just
whatever they liked, and happiness consists principally in liberty.
It is true that they had nurses and tutors, but they were generally
invisible. They informed Bonnebonne of anything their pupils had done
that was wrong, and for this she reprimanded the offender, but always
with mildness, for she was the most kind-hearted woman in the world.

Sometimes the nurses and preceptors made themselves visible, and on
these occasions they might be seen supping all together on the turf, or
dancing and singing, or amusing themselves in making toys and dolls;
in short, nothing had an air of severity in this happy abode, and no
one left it without the greatest regret. But as all must submit to
fate, and the Fairies themselves are obliged to obey it, when the young
people had attained a certain age--that is to say, twelve or fifteen
years,--and when the lessons of the Fairy had made a sort of impression
on the minds of her pupils, and she considered them sufficiently well
informed to enter into the world, she was obliged to send them home,
which she always did laden with caresses and presents, and assurances
of a friendship the proof of which she frequently gave them in the
after course of their lives.

Amongst the number of children confided to her care by their
parents, there was a little girl named Bleuette, so pretty and so
good that Bonnebonne preferred her to all the rest, and loved her
to distraction. She was affectionate without being troublesome, and
lively without being fatiguing; her face expressed the sweetness of
her character: her beauty increased with her age, and possessed that
peculiar brilliancy which is so dazzling. It is to her rare beauty that
we owe the familiar saying, still in use amongst us, when we speak of
anything which has dazzled us, "J'ai vu des Bleuettes."

A boy, about two years older than Bleuette, also inhabited the Island
of Happiness; he was called Coquelicot: his face was charming, it was
as bright as his mind, and his pretty little graceful ways were equally
pleasing to Bonnebonne. That which rendered both more charming was,
that in their infancy they became inseparable, and that the vivacity
of the one was tempered by the mildness and tenderness of the other.
Bonnebonne daily enjoyed observing the impression and progress which
true love makes upon innocence and ingenuousness. She was constantly
occupied in the study of it, and felt that all other happiness, which
she knew so well how to procure, could not be compared to it; indeed,
what felicity can be placed in the balance with that of two hearts
which love has united by similarity of taste and temper?

Coquelicot, quick as he was, perhaps, indeed, too soon excited, was
moderate and even mild in all that regarded Bleuette, who on her part,
was only animated and vivacious in matters which concerned Coquelicot.
The birth and progress of these sentiments had been their delight; the
sweet emotions which they exhibited were the charm of Bonnebonne's
existence, for she said to herself a hundred times, "Good Heavens! how
pretty are these poor children! How they love each other! How happy
they are; they never think of leaving my Island. Never have more happy
subjects inhabited my empire!"

On an evening of one of the most beautiful of summer days, all the
lovely children were playing and amusing themselves in different parts
of this enchanted residence, when all at once there appeared in the air
a car drawn by six flame-coloured griffins: the car was of the same
colour, relieved with black ornaments: it bore the Fairy Arganto. Her
hair was powdered brown with a slight sprinkle of red.[32]

Her dress was of the same colour as the car. Her griffins alighted
at the portico of the castle, whither Bonnebonne and her niece had
repaired to do the honours to the Fairy, and assist her to descend.
After the first compliments, Arganto confessed to Bonnebonne that not
being able to understand the pleasures of retirement, and disgusted by
some disagreements at Court, she had wished to judge for herself of
the pleasures and cares of a life like hers, and that, in order to be
perfectly enlightened on the subject, she had come to the resolution of
passing some days with her.

Bonnebonne kindly replied that she would willingly satisfy her, and
hide nothing from her. "The beauties of nature," added she, "are the
pictures which I study; its fruits are my treasures; its secrets the
object of my researches, and my pleasures are solely dependent on the
happiness of others. Infancy is the state of humanity which can be made
the most happy; you will find me, therefore, only surrounded by the
prettiest children nature has produced."

So saying, she led Arganto further into the Island, at each step
encountering troops of little children of both sexes and all ages,
whose natural manners inspired true gaiety; some danced, others played
at blindman's-buff, some amused themselves playing at "ladies and
gentlemen," in short they passed quickly from one fancy to another;
their characters were thus developed, and it was easy to imagine
what each would become at a more advanced age. Arganto thought this
recreation of Bonnebonne very poor; she judged of it as a person of
fashion, that is to say, with contempt. She told her companion that
she could not conceive the pleasure of such amusements, unless some
ingenuity was employed to improve them: it was in vain that Bonnebonne
eulogized them. She would not be persuaded; at length, continuing their
walk, they met Bleuette and Coquelicot, conversing together, who saw
nothing but themselves in nature, and who had no pleasure, no wish, no
occupation nor will but in common.

Bonnebonne called them, and they ran towards her with that confidence
and affection which her goodness and their gratitude had inspired them
with. Arganto was struck with the charms of their countenances, and
said as much to them; they blushed, and thanked the Fairy for each
other. "I agree," said she to Bonnebonne, "that nature could not
present a more agreeable picture than that of these lovely children;
but," continued she, "are they as intelligent as their features would
seem to denote?" "Most assuredly," replied Bonnebonne, "it may not
be perhaps the kind of intelligence to please you, for it is quite
natural. Besides this, they love each other more than they choose to
acknowledge, especially to a stranger." The Fairies then embraced them
a thousand times, and left them together.

Bonnebonne agreed with Arganto not to trouble herself about her during
her stay, but to occupy herself as usual with her studies; but the
latter could not help speaking of the impression which Bleuette and
Coquelicot had made on her, and she requested they might keep her
company.

Arganto was born wicked, and wickedness looks with impatience on the
happiness of others, and is always at work to destroy it, even if
with no other motive but that of doing mischief. Upon these fearful
principles, she employed the time of her visit in pointing out to
her young companions the poverty and insipidity of the place they
inhabited; they, whom nature had formed for the delight and ornament of
the most brilliant Court; and then she gave them a glowing description
of the abodes of kings. "You are enchanted," said she, continually,
"with the life which you lead; but do you know any other? The splendour
of the world, the fêtes which are given to beauty alone, the preference
which is at all times accorded to it, are the real triumphs of a pretty
girl;" it was thus she spoke to Bleuette. "And you," addressing herself
to Coquelicot, "with the spirit you possess, what would you not do at
Court? You certainly must be brave; and of what are you not capable?"

This wicked discourse made by degrees the impression which Arganto
wished upon the minds of these amiable children. They sought each
other's company as usual, but they found each other no longer occupied
with themselves alone: they began by self reproaches, and at length
made reciprocal confessions, for they could no longer talk of anything
else but the opinions of the Fairy. Love, and the hope of not being
separated, it is true, were the foundation of their projects; but
curiosity, and the novelty of all which Arganto had told them, and
above all, self-love, the poison of life, perverted at length their
innocent minds; they abandoned themselves to the wicked fairy, who,
in order to make them fall more easily into the snare she had laid
for them, did not neglect to destroy the respect and gratitude they
entertained for Bonnebonne, by telling them, "She is a provincial
fairy, whose taste is not at all refined. Her character not suiting the
Court, she is too happy to be able to keep you with her; she sacrifices
your fortunes to the pleasure and use which you are of to her." It was
by such discourse as this that she induced these children to become
ungrateful: she promised them not to forsake them, and assured them
that, being a more powerful fairy than Bonnebonne, they need not be
anxious about anything. She did even more,--she warned them of all that
the good fairy would say to them when she should learn the resolution
they had taken: in short, they promised to follow her after she had
again given them her word that they should not be separated.

When Arganto was well assured of the part they had taken, she said
to Bonnebonne that it was time she should cease to trouble her in
her retreat, and begged her, at the same time, to allow her to take
with her Bleuette and Coquelicot. The good Fairy, who had perceived
nothing, and who had no suspicion of the designs of Arganto, as she
had herself ordered them to pay court to and obey the Fairy, whilst
she was occupied in her cabinet, and above all, because a good heart
cannot imagine ingratitude: Bonnebonne, as I said before, consented
to Arganto's request, with the understanding, however, that the
proposition should please the young couple, feeling quite convinced
that they would never wish to leave her. The question was put to them
on the spot. What was the astonishment of Bonnebonne when they accepted
the proposal to abandon her and follow the Fairy! They set at nought
all her reasonings, so full of friendship and good advice; they were
too deeply prejudiced against her. Bonnebonne then said to them, with
mildness, "It is conviction which makes happiness. You would cease to
be happy in this abode, because you imagine greater felicity awaits you
in another country: depart, let nothing detain you," said she, with
tears in her eyes, "may you be contented."

Bleuette and Coquelicot were moved by this tender discourse, and on the
point of falling at the feet of this adorable fairy, and conjuring
her to forget that they had ever had the idea of separating from her;
but the emotion they felt at the moment made them both faint away, so
that the wickedness of Arganto was not required to counteract this
return of good feeling. She herself was touched by so tender a scene,
and at the moment almost repented having caused so much sorrow to three
persons, who were only to blame for placing too much confidence in her.
Not knowing exactly what to do, she prepared to set out alone, when
Bonnebonne said, "I might complain of the manner in which you have
abused the reception I have given you: but the great fruit of study and
of solitude is forgiveness of injuries. I am not, therefore, at all
affected by it myself, but I feel for the misfortune of these young
people--I love them both." "I will not take them away, then," replied
Arganto; "you see they have refused me, and you cannot doubt the
attachment they feel for you." "No," replied Bonnebonne, "I feel myself
compelled to beg you to take with you those I loved best in my retreat;
you have perverted them, their hearts are no longer what they were:
they would henceforth only live with me out of compliment. If they had
sufficient art to disguise it from me, could I be ignorant of their
thoughts? Take them, then, I conjure you, and at least protect them
amongst the dangers to which you expose them." "As you absolutely wish
it," replied Arganto, "I will do so." She then carried them, fainting
as they were, both into her car, and her griffins flying at a rapid
pace speedily landed them in the Kingdom of Errors.

The King who governed it at that time thought himself the greatest of
princes. Flattery had persuaded him that he was descended from the
gods. In consequence of this idea he caused himself to be worshipped
by his subjects. His throne of gold and precious stones, upon which he
only appeared once a month, was surrounded by tigers and elephants,
bound with chains of the same precious materials, and covered with
superb embroidery. Without entering into further details of the
ceremonies of this court, suffice it to say, the King exhibited upon
every occasion all the ostentation with which a crown could inspire
him. Arganto was his best friend, the partaker of his pleasures, and it
was into the superb palace which she possessed at his court that she
conducted Bleuette and Coquelicot.

The moment they recovered from their swoon they had the pleasure of
seeing each other. The magnificence of the place in which they found
themselves astonished them. Their uncertainty did not last long:
Arganto entered to dissipate it. They immediately asked her to give
them some news of Bonnebonne. The Fairy informed them that Bonnebonne
had consented to their advancement, and had herself conjured her to
take them away. Bleuette and Coquelicot were comforted by this account,
for they had been afraid of displeasing her. Arganto then said to them,
"Here, Bleuette, is the apartment prepared for you; your household
shall be formed to-night. Meanwhile, here are your waiting-women: let
me present them to you."

At these words, there appeared a dozen handsome young persons, carrying
all the innumerable trifles which have become so necessary to a lady's
toilet. They were followed by an equal number of valets-de-chambre,
bearing boxes and caskets, and who in a few moments fitted up and set
out a most superb dressing-table. Garments adapted to the season then
appeared in such great profusion that they covered all the chairs,
beds, and couches in this large apartment. When everything was arranged
according to the Fairy's pleasure, she said to Bleuette, "This all
belongs to you, and you have nothing to study but how to avail yourself
of it." She then showed her a basket full of ornaments and a jewel-case
crammed with precious stones as perfect in themselves as they were
tastefully set, saying to her, "Beautiful Bleuette, this little
jewel-box will amuse you, but let us now proceed to the apartment I
destine for Coquelicot." Bleuette followed the Fairy without being
able to reply; her surprise and astonishment appeared to her like a
beautiful dream. They all three passed into another apartment. It was
plain, but neat. Four valets-de-chambre, who were in the second room,
stept forward and presented him with clothes as tasteful as they were
superb, in order that he might select those in which he wished to
appear that day. They then opened the door of a sort of large cabinet,
containing all kinds of musical instruments, also a library well
stocked with historical works, but more particularly with romances and
fairy tales.

"Behold," said Arganto, "what will amuse you when you are weary of
the pleasures of society, or require rest after exercise." She then
commanded the person she had chosen for his equerry to appear.
"You may," said she to Coquelicot, "take his advice; he is a man to
be depended on, and a good companion. Show," continued she to this
gentleman, "the things of which you have the charge." There then
appeared servants in livery, who carried the most magnificent and
perfect arms for war and the chase. And even this was not all: "Let
us," said Arganto, "look out of the window." They obeyed her, and
perceived fifty saddle-horses, led by five-and-twenty grooms, superbly
clothed and well mounted. "There," said she, "are your horses for
hunting and riding." She then ordered out the carriages: berlins,
berlingots, vis-à-vis, calêches of all kinds, defiled under the
windows, drawn by the prettiest and best groomed horses in the world,
with their manes tastefully plaited. Coquelicot, as much astonished as
Bleuette, observed also the same silence. "Learn, both of you," said
Arganto, "to make good use of what I have just given you; you are both
charming, but believe me, dress is necessary to beauty." She then left
them in their separate apartments, questioning their new domestics on
the particular use of all the novelties that surrounded them, for they
dared not yet give any orders. They at length dressed themselves, and
Coquelicot proceeding to the apartment of Bleuette, they were mutually
astonished at the agreeable effect of their attire, and uttering a
hundred praises of the good taste of Arganto, they became more than
ever convinced of the truth of what she had told them respecting
Bonnebonne, for whose simplicity they began to blush.

All the Court learning the arrival of Bleuette and Coquelicot, either
from curiosity or the desire to please the Fairy, came with great
eagerness to pay her a visit. The King himself did her this honour. The
praises of the men of Bleuette, and those of the women of Coquelicot,
gratified both exceedingly. They found that the language spoken in this
country had an agreeable style hitherto quite unknown to them; they
were struck by it, and thought of nothing but imitating it. Bleuette,
from the first day, perceived that Coquelicot was not made for his fine
clothes, and that he had a borrowed air which the other young men who
surrounded her had not: in short, both were occupied by a thousand new
fancies. They saw each other every day, it is true, but they sought
each other less; and the tender conversations, in which simplicity,
ingenuousness, candour, and truth had formerly so large a share, no
longer took place between them; they were only anxious now to place
their words and turn their phrases according to the style which they
had been so much struck with in their new residence.

The dress, the magnificence, and the brilliancy with which they dazzled
the whole court caused every one to give them the titles of prince and
princess. They knew well that they did not deserve them from their low
birth; but the mistake of others gratified their vanity. They agreed
between them to keep their real condition secret, and hoped privately
that their beauty and merit would in time really raise them to that
dignity.

Coquelicot had perfectly handsome features and a charming figure. He
performed all kinds of feats with marvellous success; almost all the
ladies were pulling caps for him. Bleuette was not in the least jealous
of his conquests, and although in such situations one is not always
just, she had at least the generosity not to reproach him in any way.
In fact, she deserved reproaching equally herself, for the Court and
its grand airs had changed her heart and mind as much as his. Bleuette,
on her part, thinking of nothing but how to attract admiration and
to outvie all the other beauties of the Court, became a practised
coquette. You may easily judge, knowing what I have told you, how long
she was in availing herself of all the presents of the Fairy. She very
soon invented fashions, which all the other ladies, handsome or ugly,
were, in spite of themselves, obliged to follow. During some time this
gratification of her vanity only presented to her view jealous rivals,
men captivated and admiring, flattered or plunged into despair, by her
glances and her deceptive and provoking speeches; but Bleuette was so
beautiful, she had so much wit and grace, that, even when making them
most miserable, she was the theme of their praises and the object of
attraction to all the finest people of the Court. She also conducted
herself with so much prudence that no one could cast the least slur on
her.

Coquelicot, on his part--"fickle adorer of a thousand different
objects"--flattered his vanity without ever satisfying his heart.

Such was the true and unhappy situation in which these two persons,
formerly the most loving and amiable possible, found themselves,
when this same vanity, the shoal on which so much happiness has been
wrecked, was itself violently offended.

It must be remembered that, dazzled by the splendour which surrounded
them, they had both received with pleasure the titles of princes;
but nothing is unknown to the world, and such vanity would awaken
a contempt for falsehood, in those who have no higher motive for
despising it. A youth, brought up, as they had been, by Bonnebonne,
in the Island of Happiness, having wandered from it, as many others
had done, in passing through several countries, had been attracted to
the Court inhabited by Bleuette and Coquelicot. He was astonished to
hear the grand titles of prince and princess added to their well-known
names, he ran, however, to the Fairy's palace to embrace them; but far
from receiving him kindly, they did not condescend even to recognise
him. He complained to everybody who would listen to him, and all
the Court were very soon informed that Princess Bleuette and Prince
Coquelicot were the children of, 'twas true, very honest people, but
who were nothing but poor shepherds. The Court is a region in which
nothing is forgiven, and where anything ridiculous is sought for with
the greatest eagerness; therefore, it profited by this affair. Songs
and epigrams were circulated in a moment; and the objects of their
attack could not pretend ignorance of them, for, according to the
praiseworthy custom of the authors of such works, the first copies were
addressed to the persons most interested. Coquelicot was bantered by
one of the wits of the Court; but he demanded very prompt satisfaction,
and the combat, in which he killed his adversary, brought him honour
in a place where truth is so rare, notwithstanding that a falsehood is
never pardoned. They rendered justice to his valour, but they no longer
paid him the same attentions; for in short, although riches can obtain
everything, the ridicule attached to low birth combined with vanity
is rarely overlooked at Court. As for Bleuette, whom wounded pride
rendered still more haughty than ever, and who hoped by her beauty
and accomplishments to stifle the disagreeable reports which had been
spread about her former pastoral condition--Bleuette, I must tell you,
had, in addition, the mortification to see some letters which she had
had the imprudence to write handed round amongst her acquaintances.
Her attraction diminished and her reputation tarnished (however
unjustly) hurt her deeply, and induced her to reflect seriously.
Recalling then the remembrance of her former happiness, the words of
Bonnebonne presented themselves to her mind.

Bleuette being thus agitated by all the recollections which led her
back to her first sentiments for Coquelicot, looked only with regret
upon the conduct she had pursued towards him since she had been at
Court. She was ashamed of it, but it was not possible for her to speak
to him openly on the subject. "He will consider," said she, "my most
sincere repentance to be caused either by coquetry or jealousy; and I
cannot complain, or he will believe that my birth being known and made
public in this country, has deranged my projects of advancement, and
that I am brought back to him only by a feeling of shame and necessity."
"No," continued she, "I will not betray to him all the weakness of my
heart, or all the pain which the false friendship of Arganto has caused
me."

Similar ideas tormented Coquelicot. He thought all those who treated
him, as formerly, like a prince, did so in mockery, and to ridicule
him, and felt satisfied that those whose conduct was changed by the
reports which had been spread respecting him would give him continual
annoyance; this situation, distressing as it really could well be, was
not the sole evil which oppressed him. The remembrance of Bleuette,
tender, faithful, simple, and innocent; the recollection of the
residence of Bonnebonne, and that of the charm and peace that pervaded
it, awoke in his soul so great a disgust for all that the world calls
pleasure, and which he had himself taken for happiness, that he
determined to fly from the Court. They had but to speak to one another,
and they would have been convinced and consoled; but still young and
inexperienced, they determined on the thing of all others to be avoided
in love and friendship--silence: for want of confidence increases and
envenoms the wound we have received, as well as that which we have
inflicted on others; thus, therefore, not daring to look at each other
(so much had the shame of their proceedings made an impression on
their hearts), they each separately, and without communicating their
intentions to any one, made up their minds to quit the Court. Solitude
appeared to offer them the only chance of consolation. They departed
the same morning, just as if they had been acting in concert. They
chose the plainest dresses they could find, not without regretting
those they had brought with them to the Court; they would have felt
still nearer approaching their former innocence, in habits so vividly
recalling the scenes of their past felicity. They took nothing away
with them but the portraits which Arganto had had painted of them in
miniature, representing them as they were when they left the Island of
Happiness.

They set out by very different roads; but in proportion as they left
the Court behind them, nature spoke to their hearts. The song of the
birds, the serenity of the air, the view of the country, that sweet
freedom which it inspires,--all recalled their former happiness, all
softened them, and drew them towards each other. "But how shall we ever
find each other again," said they unceasingly to themselves. "I should
have convinced him," thought Bleuette. "She would have pardoned me,"
sighed Coquelicot: "I will return to the Court. But how can I reappear
there (for each thought the other had remained in the palace) in this
miserable condition?" The remembrance of Bonnebonne again presented
itself to their mind. It is friendship we invoke in adversity. They
resolved then to have recourse to her kindness. If they had not
themselves known the delights of the Island of Happiness, if they had
not been anxious to revisit the scenes of their former felicity, it
is so natural to desire a similar habitation, that we often set out
in search of it on the description of others. Each, therefore, turned
their steps in the direction of the Island. It was very easy for them
to find the way, they who had once so worthily inhabited it. They
intended to address themselves to one of the columns of which I have
spoken, and which conveyed to the ears of the Fairy all the requests
of her petitioners. What was their surprise, or rather what was their
delight, to meet with each other again on a spot and in a dress which
explained everything! After the first transports, in which the eye
hardly sufficed to satisfy the soul, the first words they uttered were,
"Pardon me, I cannot live without you." The pardon which is mutually
sought is soon granted; and it was no longer necessary to implore the
aid of the Fairy. The unison of their desires had already transported
them into the most beautiful spot in the Island. They were anxious
to excuse themselves, and request the forgiveness of Bonnebonne; but
she prevented them. "I know all that has happened to you," said she,
"I have shared your troubles, although they were deserved. Enjoy the
happiness of my empire, you are now better able to appreciate its
delights."

They lived happily because they never ceased to love each other, and
they died at the same moment. Bonnebonne bestowed their names upon two
wild flowers[33] in order to immortalize their memory.


FOOTNOTES:

[32] Hair-powder was at this period of various colours. Brown
hair-powder was called "Maréchal," and grey powder was extremely
fashionable in England as late as 1763.

[33] The corn-flower and the poppy.



MADEMOISELLE DE LUBERT.



  [Illustration: The Princess Camion.--P. 373.]



THE PRINCESS CAMION.


There was once upon a time a King and Queen who had but one son, who
was their only hope. Fourteen years had elapsed from the time of
his birth, and the Queen had had no other children. The Prince was
marvellously handsome, and learnt with facility everything they wished
him to know. The King and Queen loved him to distraction, and their
subjects placed all their affections on him, for he was affable to
everybody, and yet he knew well how to distinguish between the people
who approached him. His name was Zirphil. As he was an only son, the
King and Queen resolved he should marry as early as possible, in order
to secure the succession to the crown should they unhappily be deprived
of Zirphil.

They therefore sought on foot and on horseback a Princess worthy of
the heir-apparent,[34] but none was found suitable. At length, after
a most diligent inquiry, the Queen was informed that a veiled lady
desired a private audience of her Majesty, on business of importance.
The Queen immediately ascended her throne in the audience-chamber, and
ordered the lady to be admitted. The lady approached, without removing
her white crape veil, which reached to the ground. When she arrived
at the foot of the throne, "Queen" said she, "I am astonished that,
without consulting me, you have thought of marrying your son. I am the
Fairy Marmotte, and my name is sufficiently celebrated to have reached
your ears." "Ah, Madam," said the Queen, quickly descending from her
throne, in order to embrace the Fairy, "you will easily pardon me my
fault when you learn that I have only listened to all the wonders which
have been told me about you as to a nursery tale; but now that you do
me the favour to come to my palace, I no longer doubt your power, and
beg you will honour me with your advice." "That is not a sufficient
answer to a Fairy," replied Marmotte. "Such an excuse might perhaps
satisfy a common person, but I am mortally offended; and to begin your
punishment, I command you to marry your Zirphil to the person I have
brought with me."

At these words she felt in her pocket, and, drawing out a toothpick
case, she opened it, and out of it came a little ivory doll, so pretty
and so well made that the Queen, despite her grief, could not help
admiring it. "This is my goddaughter," said the Fairy, "and I have
always destined her for Zirphil." The Queen was bathed in tears. She
conjured Marmotte, in the most touching words, not to expose her to
the ridicule of her people, who would laugh at her if she announced
to them such a marriage. "Laugh, indeed, will they, Madam?" said the
Fairy. "Ah, we shall see if they have reason to laugh, Madam. Ah, we
shall see if they will laugh at my goddaughter, and if your son ought
not to adore her. I can tell you that she deserves to be adored. She
is small, it is true; but she has more sense than there is in all your
kingdom put together. When you hear her talk, you will be surprised
yourself; for she can talk, I promise you. Now, then, little Princess
Camion," said she, to the doll, "speak a little to your mother-in-law,
and show her what you can do." Then the pretty Camion jumped upon the
Queen's _palatine_,[35] and paid her a little compliment so tender and
so sensible that her Majesty suspended her tears to give the Princess
Camion a hearty kiss.

"Here, Queen," said the Fairy, "is my toothpick-case; replace your
daughter-in-law in it. I wish your son to get well accustomed to her
before marrying her. I think it will not be long first. Your obedience
may soften my anger; but if you act contrary to my orders, you, your
husband, your son, and your kingdom, shall all feel the effect of my
wrath. Above all, take care to replace her in her case early in the
evening, for it is important that she should not be out late."

At these words she raised her veil, and the Queen fainted with fright
when she perceived an actual live Marmot[36]--black, sleek, and as
large as a human creature. Her women came to her assistance, and,
when she recovered from her swoon, she saw nothing but the case that
Marmotte had left with her.

They put her to bed, and went to inform the King of the accident. He
arrived in a great fright. The Queen sent every one away, and, with
a torrent of tears, she related her adventure to the King, who would
not believe it till he saw the doll that the Queen drew from the case.
"Just heaven!" cried he, after having meditated a little, "is it
possible that kings should be exposed to such great misfortunes? Ah! we
are only placed above other men in order to feel more acutely the cares
and afflictions attached to our existence." "And in order to give the
greater example of fortitude, sire," added the Doll, in a small, sweet,
and distinct voice. "My dear Camion," said the Queen, "you speak like
an oracle."

At length, after a conversation of an hour between these three persons,
it was decided that they should not yet divulge the contemplated
marriage, and that they should wait until Zirphil, who was gone hunting
for three days, should have returned, and consented to obey the command
of the Fairy, which the Queen undertook to communicate to him. In
the interim, the Queen, and even the King, shut themselves up, in
order to converse with the little Camion. She had a highly-cultivated
intellect, she spoke well, and with a singular turn of thought which
was very pleasing. But although she was animated, her eyes had a fixed
expression which was not agreeable, and the Queen was annoyed by it,
as she began to love Camion, and feared that the Prince might take a
dislike to her.

More than a month had elapsed since Marmotte had appeared, but the
Queen had not yet dared to show Zirphil his intended. One day he
entered her room whilst she was in bed. "Madam," said he, "the most
singular thing in the world occurred to me some days since whilst I
was hunting. I had wished to conceal it from you, but at length it has
become so extraordinary, that I must positively tell you of it.

"I followed a wild boar with great ardour, and had pursued it into
the midst of a forest without observing that I was alone, when I saw
him throw himself into a hole which opened in the ground. My horse
having plunged in after it, I continued falling for half an hour, and
at length found myself at the bottom, without any hurt. There, instead
of the boar, which I confess I feared to find, I saw a very ugly woman,
who begged me to dismount from my horse and follow her. I did not
hesitate, and giving her my hand, she opened a little door which had
previously been hidden from my view, and I entered with her a saloon
of green marble, where there was a golden bath, covered with a curtain
of very rich stuff; the curtain rose, and I saw in the bath a person
of such marvellous beauty that I thought I should have fallen to the
ground. 'Prince Zirphil,' said the lady, who was bathing, 'the Fairy
Marmotte has enchanted me, and it is by your assistance alone that I
can be released.' 'Speak, Madam,' said I to her: 'what must I do to
help you?' 'You must either,' said she, 'marry me instantly or skin me
alive.' I was as much surprised at the first proposition as alarmed at
the second. She read in my eyes my embarrassment, and said, 'Do not
imagine that I jest, or that I propose to you an act of which you may
repent. No, Zirphil, dismiss your fears; I am an unfortunate Princess
to whom the Fairy has taken an aversion; she has made me half-woman,
half-whale because I would not marry her nephew, the King of the
Whiting, who is frightful, and even more wicked than he is hideous. She
has condemned me to remain in my present state until a Prince named
Zirphil shall fulfil one of the conditions that I have just proposed
to you; to expedite this matter, I caused my maid of honour to take
the form of a wild boar, and it is she who has led you hither. I must
now tell you that you cannot leave this spot until you shall have
fulfilled my desire in one manner or the other. I am not mistress here;
and Citronette, whom you see with me, will tell you that it cannot be
arranged otherwise.'

"Imagine, Madam," said the Prince to the Queen, who listened
attentively, "in what a state this discourse left me." Although the
face of the Whale-Princess pleased me excessively, and her charms and
misfortunes rendered her extremely interesting, her being half a fish
horrified me exceedingly; and the idea of skinning her alive threw me
into utter despair. 'But, Madam,' said I to her, at length (for my
silence became as stupid as insulting), 'is there not a third way?' I
had hardly uttered those unlucky works, than the Whale-Princess and
her attendant uttered shrieks and lamentations which were enough to
pierce the vaulted roof of the saloon. 'Ungrateful wretch! cruel tiger!
and everything that is most ferocious and most inhuman!' exclaimed the
former. 'Thou wouldst, then, that I should also be condemned to the
torture of seeing you expire? For if thou dost not resolve to grant my
request, the Fairy has assured me thou wilt perish, and I shall remain
a whale all my life!'

"Her reproaches pierced my heart; she raised her beautiful arms out
of the water, and joined her charming hands to implore me to decide
quickly. Citronette was at my knees, which she embraced, screaming loud
enough to deafen me. 'But how can I marry you?' said I; 'what sort of
ceremony can be performed?' 'Skin me,' said she tenderly, 'and do not
marry me, I prefer that.' 'Skin her!' screamed the other, 'and fear
nothing.' I was in a state of perplexity which I cannot describe; and
while I considered what I ought to do, their shrieks and tears were
redoubled, till I knew not what would become of me. At length, after a
thousand and one struggles, I cast my eyes once more on the beautiful
Whale, and I confess that I found in her features an inexpressible
charm. I threw myself on my knees close to the bath, and taking her
hand, 'No, divine Princess,' said I to her; 'I will not skin you, I
would rather marry you!'

"At these words joy lighted up the countenance of the Princess, but a
modest joy, for she coloured, and casting down her beautiful eyes, 'I
shall never forget,' said she, 'the service that you render me; I am
so penetrated with gratitude, that you may expect anything of me after
this generous resolution.' 'Do not lose time,' cried the insupportable
Citronette; 'tell him quickly all that he must do.' 'It is sufficient,'
said the Whale-Princess, blushing again, 'that you give me your ring,
and that you should take mine; there is my hand, receive it as a pledge
of my faith.' I had hardly made this tender exchange, and kissed the
beautiful hand which she presented to me, when I found myself again
upon my horse in the midst of the forest. Having called my people, they
came to me, and I returned home without being able to utter a word, I
was so completely astounded. Since then, I am transported every night
without knowing how, into the beautiful green saloon, where I pass the
night near an invisible person; she speaks to me, and tells me that
the time is not yet come for me to know who she is."

"Ah, my son," interrupted the Queen, "is it possible, then, that you
are really married to her?" "I am, Madam," replied the Prince; "but
although I love my wife infinitely, I would have sacrificed this
affection if I could have escaped from the saloon without resorting
to that alternative." At these words, a little voice, proceeding from
the Queen's pocket, said, "Prince Zirphil, you should have flayed her;
perhaps your pity may be fatal to you."

The Prince, surprised at this voice, remained speechless. The Queen in
vain tried to conceal from him the cause of his astonishment; he felt
quickly in her pocket, which was hanging upon the arm-chair near the
bed, and drew from it the toothpick-case, which the Queen took from
his hand and opened. The Princess Camion immediately came out of it,
and the astonished Prince threw himself on his knees by the bed-side
of the Queen to inspect her nearer. "I vow, Madam," cried he, "that
this is my dear Whale in miniature. Is this some pleasantry, and have
you only wished to frighten me, by allowing me so long to believe
that you would not approve of my marriage?" "No, my son," at length
the Queen replied; "my grief is real, and you have exposed us to the
most cruel misfortunes by marrying that Whale, for, in fact, you were
promised to the Princess Camion whom you see in my hands." She then
related to him what had passed between her and the Fairy Marmotte, and
the Prince allowed her to say all she wished without interruption, so
much was he astonished to find that she and his father had agreed to
a proposition which was, on the face of it, so ridiculous. "Heaven
forbid, Madam," said he at length, when the Queen had finished, "that
I should ever oppose the designs of your Majesty, or that I should act
contrary to the wish of the King, my father, even when he commands me
to do anything as impossible as this appears to me to be; but had I
consented, could I even have fallen in love with this pretty Princess,
would your subjects ever have----" "Time is a great teacher, Prince
Zirphil," interrupted Camion; "but it is done; you cannot now marry me,
and my godmother appears to me a person who will not patiently suffer
any one to break their word with her. Diminutive as I am, I feel as
acutely as the largest woman would the disagreeable nature of this
adventure; but as you are not so much to blame, except perhaps for
having been a little too hasty, I may persuade the Fairy to mitigate
the punishment."

After these words Camion was silent, for she was exhausted with having
said so much. "My dear darling," said the Queen, "I implore you to take
some repose for fear you should be ill and not in a condition to speak
to the Fairy when she comes to afflict us; you are our consolation, and
however she may punish us, I shall not feel it so deeply if Marmotte
does not take you from us." The Princess Camion felt her little heart
beat at these words of the Queen: but being quite overcome, she could
only kiss her hand, and let fall upon it some tiny tears. Zirphil was
moved at this incident, and begged Camion to permit him to kiss her
hand in his turn: she gave it him with much grace and dignity, and
then re-entered her case. After this tender scene the Queen rose, in
order to go and tell the King what had passed, and take every rational
precaution against the anger of the Fairy.

The following night Zirphil, in spite of the guard which they had
doubled in his apartment, was carried off at midnight, and found
himself, as usual, in the company of his invisible wife; but instead of
hearing any of those sweet and touching things which she was accustomed
to say to him, he heard her weep, and found she kept aloof from him.
"What have I done?" said he at last, when quite tired of pursuing her.
"You weep, dear Princess, when you ought to console me for all the
peril I may have incurred, as the effect of my tenderness." "I know
all," said the Princess, with a voice interrupted by sobs--"I know all
the misery that may happen to me; but, ungrateful man! it is of you I
have most to complain." "Oh, heavens!" cried Zirphil, "what have you
to reproach me with?" "The love which Camion bears to you," replied
the voice, "and the tenderness with which you have kissed her hand."
"The tenderness," replied the Prince, quickly; "oh! divine Princess, do
you know so little of that I feel for you as to accuse me so lightly.
Besides, even if Camion could love me, which is impossible, as she only
saw me for a moment, can you be alarmed, knowing my love for you, and
after the proofs which I have given you of my attachment? It is you
whom I should accuse of injustice: for if I have looked at her with
any attention, it is because her features reminded me of yours, and
that being deprived of the pleasure of beholding you, anything which
resembled you gave me the greatest gratification. Be visible again, my
dear Princess, and I will never look on any other woman."

The invisible lady appeared to be consoled by these words, and
approaching the Prince, said, "Pardon me this little movement of
jealousy. I have too much reason to fear they will separate me from
you, not to feel afflicted by a circumstance which appeared to me to
announce the commencement of that misfortune." "But," said the Prince,
"may I not know why you are no longer permitted to show yourself?
For if I have delivered you from the tyranny of Marmotte, how is it
possible that you should be again subjected to it?" "Alas!" said the
invisible Princess, "if you had decided to flay me we should have
been very happy; but you had such a horror of that proposition, that
I did not dare press you further on the subject." "By what chance,"
interrupted the Prince, "was Camion informed of this adventure, for she
told me nearly the same thing?"

Hardly had he finished these words, when the Princess uttered a
frightful shriek. The Prince, in surprise, rose hastily. But what
was his alarm when, in the middle of the apartment, he perceived the
hideous Marmotte, who held by the hair the beautiful Princess, now no
longer either half a whale or invisible! He was about to seize his
sword when the Princess, in tears, begged him to moderate his anger,
for it would be of no avail against the power of the Fairy; and the
horrible Marmotte, grinding her teeth, emitted through them a blue
flame which scorched his beard. "Prince Zirphil," said she to him,
"a fairy who protects thee prevents me from exterminating thee, thy
father, thy mother, and all that belong to thee: but thou shalt suffer
at least in all that is most dear to thee, for having married without
having consulted me, and thy torment shall never finish, nor that of
thy Princess, until thou shalt have obeyed my commands."

In finishing these words the Fairy, the Princess, the chamber, and
the palace, all disappeared together, and he found himself in his own
apartment, in his night-dress, and his sword in his hand. He was so
astonished, and so transported with rage, that he did not feel the
severity of the cold, though it was in the depth of winter. At the
noise which he made his guards entered the room and begged him to go to
bed, or to allow them to dress him. He took the latter course, and went
to the Queen's chamber, who, on her part, had passed the night in the
most cruel state of anxiety. She had not been able to sleep after going
to bed, and in order to induce slumber she had wished to talk over her
grief with little Camion; but she sought in vain for her in her case:
Camion was no longer there. She feared she might have lost her in the
garden: she rose, and having ordered flambeaux to be lighted, went in
search of her, but without success--she had entirely disappeared, and
the Queen retired to bed again in an alarming state of affliction; she
gave fresh vent to it as her son entered. He was so distressed himself
that he did not perceive the tears of the Queen. She, on her part,
observing his agitation, exclaimed, "Ah! without doubt, you have come
to announce to me some dreadful tidings!"

"Yes, Madam," replied the Prince; "I come to tell you that I shall die
if I do not find my Princess." "How!" said the Queen; "do you already,
my dear son, love that unhappy Princess?" "What, your Camion?" said
the Prince: "can you suspect me, Madam, of such a thing? I speak of my
dear Whale-Princess who has been torn from me; it is for her alone that
I live, and it is Marmotte, the cruel Marmotte, who has carried her
away!" "Ah, my son," said the Queen, "I am far more unhappy than you,
for if they have taken your Princess away from you, they have robbed me
of my Camion. Since last evening, she has disappeared from her case!"

They then related to each other their respective adventures, and wept
together over their common misfortunes. The King was informed of the
cries and despair of the Queen, and the grief of his son. He entered
the apartment in which this tragic scene was passing, and as he was
an exceedingly clever man, the thought occurred to him immediately of
advertising Camion, with the offer of a large reward to whoever should
bring her back. Everybody agreed this was a capital idea, and even the
Queen, in spite of her great grief, was obliged to confess that no one
of ordinary capacity could have imagined so singular an expedient. The
handbills were printed, and distributed, and the Queen became rather
calm in the hope of soon hearing some tidings of her little Princess.
As for Zirphil, the loss of Camion interested him no more than her
presence; he resolved to seek a fairy of whom he had heard speak. He
asked permission of the King and Queen, and departed with a single
equerry in attendance on him.

It was a great distance from that country to the one inhabited by the
Fairy; but neither time nor obstacles could check the fond impatience
of the youthful Zirphil. He passed through states and kingdoms without
number: nothing particular happened to him because he did not desire
it; for being handsome as Cupid and brave as his own sword, he would
have had no lack of adventures had he sought for them.

At length, after a year's travelling, he arrived at the commencement of
the desert wherein the Fairy had fixed her abode; he dismounted from
his horse, and left his equerry in a little cottage, with orders to
await him there, and not to be impatient. He entered the desert, which
was frightful from its solitude; screech-owls alone inhabited it, but
their cries did not alarm the valiant spirit of our Prince.

One evening, he perceived at a distance a light which made him think he
was approaching the grotto; for who but a fairy could live in such a
horrible desert. He walked all night long; at length, at break of day,
he discovered the famous grotto; but a lake of fire separated him from
it, and all his valour could not protect him from the flames, which
spread right and left. He looked about for a long time to see what he
could do, and his courage nearly failed him when he found that there
was not even a bridge. Despair proved his best friend, for in a frenzy
of love and anguish, he resolved to end his days in the lake, if he
could not traverse it. No sooner had he taken this strange resolution
than he put it in execution, and throwing himself bodily into the
flames, he felt a little gentle warmth which did not even inconvenience
him, and passed without the least trouble to the other side. Hardly had
he landed, when a young and beautiful Salamander emerged from the lake,
and said, "Prince Zirphil, if your love be as great as your courage,
you may hope for everything from the Fairy Lumineuse; she favours you,
but she wishes to prove you."

Zirphil made a profound bow to the Salamander in acknowledgment, for
she did not give him time to speak; she plunged again into the flames,
and he pursued his way. He arrived at length at the foot of a rock of
prodigious height, which from its great brilliancy appeared all on
fire. It was a carbuncle, so large that the Fairy was very commodiously
lodged in the inside. As soon as the Prince approached, Lumineuse came
out of the rock; he prostrated himself before her, she raised him, and
made him enter the grotto.

"Prince Zirphil," said she, "a power equal to mine has neutralized
the benefits I bestowed on you at your birth; but you may hope for
everything from my care. It requires as much patience as courage to
foil the wickedness of Marmotte; I can tell you nothing more." "At
least, madam," replied the Prince, "do me the favour to inform me if
my beautiful Princess is unhappy, and if I may hope to see her again
soon?" "She is not unhappy," replied the Fairy: "but you cannot see her
till you have pounded her in the mortar of the King of the Whiting."
"Oh! heavens!" cried the Prince; "is she in his power; and have I to
dread not only the consequences of his passion, but the still greater
horror of pounding her with my own hands?" "Summon up your courage,"
replied the Fairy, "and do not hesitate to obey; upon that depends all
your happiness, and that of your wife." "But she will die if I pound
her," said the Prince, "and I would rather die myself." "Away," said
the Fairy, "and do not argue; each moment that you lose adds to the
fury of Marmotte. Go and seek the King of the Whiting; tell him you are
the page I promised to send him, and rely on my protection."

She then pointed out to him on a map the road he must take to reach
the dominions of the King of the Whiting; and took her leave of him,
after having informed him that the ring which the Princess had given
him would show him all he had to do whenever the King commanded him to
execute a difficult task.

He departed, and after some days' travelling arrived in a meadow which
stretched down to the sea, to the shore of which was moored a small
sailing-vessel of mother-of-pearl and gold. He looked at his ruby, and
saw himself in it going on board the vessel. He therefore stepped into
it, and after having cast off, the wind took it out to sea. After some
hours' sail, the vessel brought up at the foot of a crystal castle,
built upon wooden piles. He jumped ashore, and entered a court-yard
which led through a magnificent vestibule to apartments without number,
the walls of which were of rock crystal, admirably cut, and which
produced the most beautiful effect in the world. The castle appeared
to be inhabited only by men with fishes' heads of all species. He
felt convinced this was the dwelling of the King of the Whiting, and
shuddered with rage; but he restrained himself so far as to inquire of
a turbot, who had the air of being a captain of the guard, how he could
manage to see the King of the Whiting. The man-turbot very gravely made
him a signal to advance, and he entered the guard-chamber, where he saw
under arms a thousand men with pikes' heads, who formed in line for him
to pass.

At length, after making his way through an infinite crowd of men-fish,
he came to the throne-room. There was not much noise, for the courtiers
were all dumb, the greater part having whiting's heads. He saw several
who appeared of more consequence than the rest, from the crowd which
surrounded them, and by the air which they assumed with the others.
They arrived at the King's cabinet, out of which he saw the council
issue, composed of twelve men who had sharks' heads. The King at length
appeared himself. He had a whiting's head, like many of the others;
but he had fins on his shoulders, and from his waist downwards he was
a veritable whiting. He could speak, and wore only a scarf made of the
skin of goldfish, which was very brilliant, and a helmet in the form of
a crown, out of which arose a codfish's tail, which formed the plume.
Four whiting carried him in a bowl of Japanese porcelain, as large as
a bath, full of sea water. His greatest pride consisted in causing it
to be filled twice a day by the dukes and peers of his kingdom. This
office was extremely sought after.

The King of the Whiting was very large, and had more the air of a
monster than of anything else. When he had spoken to some of those
who had presented him with petitions, he perceived the Prince. "Who
are you, my friend?" said he to him. "By what chance do I see a man
here?" "My lord," said Zirphil, "I am the page the Fairy Lumineuse has
promised you." "I know what she means," said the King, laughing, and
showing his teeth, like those of a saw. "Lead him into my seraglio,
and let him teach my crayfish to talk." Immediately a troop of whiting
surrounded him, and conducted him according to the King's orders. In
returning through the apartments all the fish, even those the highest
in favour, professed, by various signs, a great deal of friendship for
him. They led him through a delicious garden, at the end of which was
a charming pavilion, built entirely of mother-of-pearl, and ornamented
with great branches of coral. The favourite Whiting introduced him
into an apartment similarly adorned, the windows of which overlooked a
magnificent piece of water. They made him understand that that was to
be his residence, and after having shown him a little chamber at one
corner of the saloon, which he understood was to be his bed-room, they
retired, and he remained alone, very much astonished to find himself
something very like a prisoner in the palace of his rival.

He was meditating on this position of affairs, when he saw the doors of
the chamber open, and ten or twelve thousand crayfish, conducted by one
larger than the rest, entered, and placed themselves in straight lines,
which nearly filled the apartment. The one which marched at their head
mounted upon a table near him, and said, "Prince, I know you, and you
owe much to my care; but as it is rare to find gratitude in men, I will
not tell you what I have done for you, for fear you should destroy the
sentiments with which you have inspired me. I have only, therefore,
to inform you that these are the crayfish of the King of the Whiting,
that they alone speak in this empire, and that you are chosen to teach
them refined language, the customs of the world, and the means of
pleasing their sovereign. You will find them intelligent; but you must
every morning choose ten to pound in the King's mortar, to make his
broth."[37]

The Crayfish having ceased speaking, the Prince replied, "I had no
idea, Madam, that you had interested yourself in my concerns. The
gratitude I already feel towards you should induce you to abandon the
bad opinion you have conceived of men in general, since on the bare
assurance which you have given me of your friendship, I feel deeply
obliged to you. But what I am very anxious to learn is, the course I
should take in reasoning with the persons whose education you would
confide to me. If I were sure that they had as much intellect as you, I
should have no trouble, and I should feel a pride in the task; but the
more difficult I should find them to teach, the less should I have the
courage to punish them for faults for which they are not responsible.
And having lived with them, how can I have the heart to deliver them
to a torture?" "You are obstinate and a great talker," interrupted the
Crayfish; "but we know how to subdue you." So saying, she rose from the
table, and jumping to the ground, took her real form of Marmotte (for
she was that wicked fairy). "Oh, heavens!" cried the Prince; "so this
is the person who boasts of the interest she takes in my affairs--she
who has done nothing but make me miserable. Ah, Lumineuse," continued
he, "you abandon me!" He had hardly finished these words, when Marmotte
precipitated herself by the window into the reservoir and disappeared,
and he remained alone with the twelve thousand crayfish.

After having meditated a little as to how he should proceed to educate
them, during which time they waited in complete silence, it occurred
to him that he might very probably find amongst them his beautiful and
unfortunate Princess, because the hideous Marmotte had ordered him
to pound ten of them every morning. "And why should I be selected to
pound them," said he, "if it be not to drive me distracted? Never mind,
let us look for her," continued he, rising; "let us at least try to
recognise her, even if I die of grief before her eyes." Then he asked
the crayfish if they would kindly permit him to search amongst them for
one of his acquaintance. "We know nothing about it, my Lord," said the
first who spoke; "but you can make what inquiry you please up to the
time of our return to the reservoir, for we must positively pass the
night there." Zirphil commenced his inspection; the more he sought, the
less he discovered, but he surmised, from the few words which he drew
from those he interrogated, that they were all princesses transformed
by the wickedness of Marmotte. This caused him inconsolable grief, for
he had to choose ten for the King's broth.

When evening came, they repeated that they must retire to the
reservoir, and it was not without pain that he relinquished the sweet
occupation of seeking the Princess. He had only been able in the whole
day to interrogate a hundred and fifty; but as he was certain at least
that she was not amongst them, he determined to take ten from that
number; he had no sooner chosen them than he proceeded to carry them
to the King's offices; but he was arrested by the most astonishing
peals of laughter from the victims he was about to immolate; he was
so surprised by it, that he was some time without speaking; at length
he interrupted them to inquire what it was they found so amusing in
their present circumstances? They renewed their shouts of laughter so
heartily that he could not help, in spite of his own sorrows, partaking
in their mirth. They wanted to speak, but could not for laughing; they
could only ejaculate, "Oh, I can say no more!" "Oh, I shall die of it!"
"No, there is nothing in the world so amusing!" and then roared again.
At length he reached the Palace with them all laughing together, and
having shown them to a pike-headed man, who seemed to be the principal
cook, a mortar of green porphyry, ornamented with gold, was set before
him, into which he put his ten crayfish, and prepared to pound them.
At that moment the bottom of the mortar opened, emitted a brilliant
flame, which dazzled the Prince, and then closing up again, appeared
perfectly empty; even the crayfish had vanished. This astonished, but
at the same time gratified him, for he was very reluctant to pound such
merry creatures. The man-pike, on the contrary, seemed sadly distressed
at this adventure, and wept bitterly. The Prince was as much surprised
at this as he was at the laughter of the crayfish, and he could not
ascertain the cause, as the pike's-head was dumb.

He returned, much disturbed by his adventure, to his pretty apartment,
where he no longer found the crayfish, for they had returned to the
reservoir. The following morning, they re-entered without Marmotte;
he sought for his Princess, and still not discovering her, he again
chose ten of the finest for pounding. The same adventure occurred--they
laughed, and the man-pike wept when they disappeared in the flame. For
three months this extraordinary scene was daily repeated; he heard
nothing of the King of the Whiting, and he was only uneasy at not
discovering his beautiful Princess.

One evening, returning from the kitchen to his own apartments, he
traversed the King's gardens, and passing near a palisade which
surrounded a charming plantation, in the midst of which was a little
sparkling fountain, he heard some one speaking; this surprised him, for
he believed all the inhabitants of that kingdom to be as dumb as those
he had seen. He advanced gently, and heard a voice, which said,--"But
Princess, if you do not discover yourself, your husband will never
find you." "What can I do?" said the other voice, which he recognised
as that he had so often heard. "The cruelty of Marmotte compels me
to remain silent, and I cannot discover myself without risking his
life as well as my own. The wise Lumineuse, who aids him, conceals
my features from him in order to preserve us to each other: he must
absolutely pound me, it is an irrevocable sentence." "But why should
he pound you?" inquired the other. "You have never yet told me your
history; Citronette, your confidante, would have related it to me had
she not last week been chosen for the King's broth." "Alas!" replied
the Princess, "that unfortunate has already undergone the torture which
I await; would that I were in her place, for assuredly by this time she
is in her grotto." "But," rejoined the other voice, "as it is such a
beautiful night, tell me now why you are subjected to the vengeance of
Marmotte. I have already told you who I am, and I burn with impatience
to know more about you." "Although it will renew my grief," replied the
Princess, "I cannot refuse to satisfy you, especially as I must speak
of Zirphil, and I take pleasure in all that relates to him."

One may easily judge of the delight which the Prince felt at this
fortunate moment; he glided gently into the plantation, but as it was
very dark he saw nothing; he listened, however, with all his ears, and
this is word for word what he heard:--

"My father was King of a country near Mount Caucasus; he reigned to
the best of his ability over a people of incredible wickedness; there
were perpetual revolts, and often the windows of his Palace were broken
by the stones which they hurled against them. The Queen, my mother,
who was a very accomplished woman, composed speeches for him to make
to the disaffected; but if he succeeded in appeasing them one day,
the next produced a new trouble. The judges were tired of condemning
to death, and the executioners of hanging. At length things arrived
at such a pitch that my father, seeing all our provinces were uniting
against us, resolved to withdraw from the capital, that he might no
longer witness so many disagreeable scenes. He took the Queen with
him, and left the kingdom to the government of one of his ministers,
who was very wise, and less timid than the King, my father. My mother
was expecting my birth, and travelled with some difficulty to the foot
of Mount Caucasus, where my father had chosen his habitation. Our
wicked subjects fired the guns for joy at their departure, and next day
strangled our minister, saying that he wished to carry matters with
too high a hand, and that they much preferred their old Sovereign.
My father was not at all flattered by their preference, and remained
concealed in his little retreat, where very soon I saw the light.

"They named me Camion, because I was so very diminutive.[38] Moreover,
the King and Queen, tired of the honours which had cost them so dear,
and wishing to conceal my high birth from me, brought me up as a
shepherdess. At the end of ten years (which appeared to them like ten
minutes, so happy were they in their retreat), the fairies of the
Caucasus, indignant at the wickedness of the people who inhabited our
kingdom, resolved to restore order in it. One day that I was tending my
sheep in the meadow which adjoined our garden, two old shepherdesses
accosted me, and begged me to give them shelter for the night; they had
such a sad dejected air that my soul was moved with compassion. 'Follow
me,' said I; 'my father, who is a farmer, will receive you willingly.'
I ran to the cottage to announce their arrival to him; he came to meet
them, and received them with much kindness, as did my mother also. I
then brought in my sheep, and set milk before our guests. Meanwhile,
my father prepared them a nice little supper, and the Queen, who, as I
before told you, was a clever woman, entertained them wonderfully.

"I had a little lamb which I loved excessively; my father called to
me to bring it to him that he might kill it and roast it. I was not
accustomed to dispute his will, and therefore took it to him; but I
was so distressed at having to do so that I went and sat down weeping
beside my mother, who was so occupied in talking to these good women
that she took no notice of me. 'What is the matter with little Camion?'
said one of them, who saw me in tears. 'Alas, Madam!' said I to her,
'my father is roasting my pet lamb for your suppers.' 'How?' said the
one who had not yet spoken, 'is it on our account that pretty Camion
is thus distressed?' Then rising and striking the ground with her
stick, a table rose out of it magnificently covered, and the two old
women became two beautiful ladies, in dresses so dazzling with precious
stones, that I was struck motionless, so much so, indeed, that I paid
no attention when my little lamb bounded into the room, and made a
thousand leaps, which much amused the company. I ran at length to him,
after having kissed the hands of the beautiful ladies; but I was quite
amazed to find his wool all of silver purl, and covered with knots of
rose-coloured ribbon.

"My father and mother paid every attention to the Fairies, for such I
need not tell you they were both. They raised the King and Queen, who
had fallen at their feet. 'King and Queen,' said she who was the most
majestic, 'we have known you for a long time past, and your misfortunes
have excited our pity. Do not imagine that greatness exempts any one
from the ills attached to humanity. You must know by experience that
the more elevated the rank the more keenly are they felt. Your patience
and virtue have raised you above your misfortunes: it is time to give
you your reward. I am the Fairy Lumineuse, and I come to ask what
would be most agreeable to your majesties. Speak, and do not fear to
put our power to the proof; consult together, your wishes shall be
accomplished; but say nothing respecting Camion--her destiny is apart
from yours. The Fairy Marmotte, envious of the brilliant fate which has
been promised her, has obscured it for a time: but Camion will better
know the value of her happiness when she shall have experienced the
ills of life; we will protect her by softening them: that is all we are
permitted to tell you. Speak; with that exception we can do anything
for you.'

"The Fairies, after this harangue, were silent. The Queen turned to
the King that he might reply, for she wept to find I was doomed to be
unhappy; but my father was no better able than herself to speak: he
uttered piteous exclamations, and I, seeing them in tears, left my lamb
to come and weep with them. The Fairies waited with much impatience,
and in perfect silence, till our tears were ended. At length my mother
pushed the King gently to let him know they were expecting his reply.
He took his handkerchief from his eyes and said, that as it was decided
that I should be miserable, nothing they could offer him could be
agreeable to him, and that he refused the happiness which they promised
him, as he should always find it embittered by the idea of what I
had to dread. The Queen added, seeing that the poor man could say no
more, that she begged the Fairies to take their lives on the day when
my sad destiny was to be fulfilled, for that her only wish was not to
be compelled to witness my misery. The good Fairies, affected by the
extreme grief which reigned in the royal family, spoke together in a
whisper. At length Lumineuse, who had already addressed us, said to the
Queen, 'Be consoled, Madam; the misfortunes which threaten Camion are
not so great but that they may terminate happily; for from the moment
that the husband destined for her shall have obeyed the commands of
fate, she will be happy with him, and the malignity of our sister can
have no further power over either. The Prince we have selected is one
worthy of her; and all we can tell you is, that you must absolutely
lower your daughter every morning into the well, and that she must
bathe in it for half-an-hour. If you strictly observe this rule,
perhaps she may escape the evil with which she is threatened. At twelve
years old the critical period of her fate will commence; if she reach
the age of thirteen in safety, there will be nothing more to fear. That
is all which regards her. Now wish for yourselves, and we can gratify
your desires.'

"The King and Queen looked at each other, and after a short silence,
the King asked to become a statue until after I should have completed
my thirteenth year; and the Queen limited her request to the modest one
that the temperature of the well in which I was to be dipped should be
always according to the season. The fairies, charmed at this excess of
parental tenderness, added that the water should be orangeflower water,
and that the King, whenever the Queen should throw this water over
him, should resume his natural form, and again become a statue when he
pleased. At length they took leave of us, after having lauded the King
and Queen for their moderation, and promised to assist them whenever
they should require it, by burning a bit of the silver purl with which
my lamb was covered.

"They vanished, and I felt real anguish for the first time in my life,
at seeing my father become a great statue of black marble. The Queen
burst into tears, and I also; but at length, as everything has an end,
I ceased to cry, and occupied myself in consoling my mother, for I felt
a sudden increase both of sense and sensibility.

"The Queen passed her life at the feet of the statue, and I, after
having bathed as they had ordered me, went to milk my ewes. Upon that
food we lived, for the Queen would not take anything else, and it was
only from love to me that she could be prevailed on to preserve an
existence, which to her was so full of bitterness. 'Alas! my daughter,'
said she, sometimes, 'of what use to us have been our grandeur and
our high birth? (for she no longer concealed from me my rank.) 'Would
it not have been better to have been born in a lower sphere, since a
crown draws down on us such great misfortunes? Virtue, and my affection
for you, my dear Camion, alone enable me to support them; but there
are moments when my soul seems impatient to leave me, and I confess
I feel pleasure in imagining that I shall soon die. It is not for me
you should weep,' added she, 'but for your father, whose grief, still
greater than mine, has carried him so far as to make him desire a worse
fate than ceasing to live. Never forget, my dear, the gratitude you owe
him.' 'Alas! Madam,' said I, 'I am not capable of ever forgetting it,
and still less can I forget that you have wished to live in order to
assist me.'

"I was bathed regularly every day, and my mother was sadly distressed
to see the King always an inanimate statue. She dared not, however,
recall him to life, fearing to inflict on him the pain of witnessing
the misfortune with which I was threatened. The Fairies not having
specified what it was, we were in mortal fear. The Queen especially
fancied no end of frightful things, because her imagination had an
unlimited field to range over. As for me, I did not trouble myself much
about it, so true is it that youth is the only time when we enjoy the
present.

"My mother told me repeatedly that she felt a great desire to bring my
father to life again, and I had the same inclination. At length, after
six months, finding that the Fairies' bath had greatly embellished
both my person and mind, she resolved to gratify this longing, if but
to give the King the pleasure of seeing my improvement. She therefore
desired me to bring her some water from the well. Accordingly, after
my bath, I drew up a vase of this marvellous water, and the statue was
no sooner sprinkled with it, than my father became a man again. The
Queen threw herself at his feet, to ask pardon for having troubled his
repose. He raised her, and embracing her tenderly, forgave her readily,
and she presented me to him.

"I am ashamed to tell you that he was both delighted and surprised.
For how can you believe me, beautiful Princess?" said the voice,
hesitatingly, "me, the most hideous of crayfish?" "Alas! I can well
believe you," replied the one to whom she spoke; "I also might boast
of being handsome, but is it possible to appear so in these frightful
shells? Pray continue, however, for I am eager to hear the rest of your
history." "Well, then," said the other voice, "the King was enchanted
with me, loaded me with caresses, and asked the Queen if she had any
news to tell him. 'Alas!' said she, 'who in this desert should come
to tell me any? Besides, being occupied solely in lamenting your
transformation, I have taken little interest in the world, which is
nothing to me without you.' 'Well,' said the King, 'I will tell you
some news, then; for do not think that I have been always asleep.
The Fairies who protect us have disclosed to me the punishment of my
subjects. They have made an immense pond of my kingdom, and all the
inhabitants are men-fish. A nephew of the Fairy Marmotte, whom they
have set up as their king, persecutes them with unequalled cruelty:
he devours them for the least fault; and at the end of a certain time
a prince will arrive who will dethrone him, and reign in his stead.
It is in this kingdom that Camion will be made perfectly happy. This
is all that I know; and it was not a bad way of passing my time' said
he, laughing, 'to have discovered these things. The Fairies came every
night to inform me of what was doing, and I should perhaps have known
much more if you had let me remain a statue a little longer; but,
however, I am so delighted to see you once more, that I do not think I
shall very soon wish to become a statue again.'

"We passed some time in the happiest manner possible. The King and
Queen, notwithstanding, were rather anxious when they thought of my
approaching the age of thirteen. As the Queen bathed me with great
care, she hoped that the prediction would not be fulfilled. But who can
boast of escaping their destiny? One morning that the Queen had risen
early, and was gathering some flowers to decorate our cottage, because
the King was fond of them, she saw come out from beneath a tube-rose an
ugly animal, something like a marmot. This beast threw itself on her,
and bit her nose. She fainted with the pain which this bite occasioned
her, and my father, at the end of an hour, not seeing her return, went
to seek her. Judge of his consternation at finding her nearly dead, and
covered with blood! He uttered fearful cries. I ran to his assistance,
and we together carried the Queen into the house, and placed her in
bed, where she was two hours without coming to herself. At length she
began to give some signs of life, and we had the pleasure of seeing her
very shortly recovered, except from the pain of the bite, which caused
her much suffering.

"She asked directly if I had been to bathe: but we had quite forgotten
it in our anxiety about her. She was much alarmed at hearing this;
however, seeing that as yet no accident had happened to me, she became
re-assured, and related to us her adventure, which surprised us
immensely.

"The day passed over without any other trouble; the King had taken his
gun and sought in every direction for the horrid beast without finding
it. The next day at sunrise the Queen awoke and came to fetch me, to
repair the fault of the preceding morning; she lowered me into the
well as usual, but alas, fatal and unlucky day! at this same instant,
although the heavens were quite serene, a dreadful clap of thunder rent
the air, the sky seemed suddenly all on fire, and from a burning cloud
there issued a flaming dart which flew into the well. My mother in her
fright let go the cord which held me, and I sank to the bottom, without
hurting myself, it is true, but horrified at discovering that I was
partially transformed into an enormous fish which they call a whale. I
rose to the surface again, and called the Queen with all my power. She
did not reply. I was sadly afflicted and wept bitterly, as much for
her loss as at my metamorphosis, when I felt that an invisible power
forced me to descend to the bottom of the well. Having reached it, I
entered a grotto of crystal, where I found a species of Nymph, ugly
enough, for she was like an immensely fat frog. However, she smiled at
my approach, and said to me--'Camion, I am the Nymph of the Bottomless
Well; I have orders to receive thee, and to make thee undergo the
penance to which thou art sentenced for having failed to bathe; follow
me, and do not remonstrate.'

"What, alas, could I do? I was so distressed and so faint at finding
myself on dry ground, that I had not the strength to speak. She dragged
me, not without pain, into a saloon of green marble which was near
the grotto; she there put me into an immense golden tub filled with
water, and I then began to recover my senses. The good Nymph appeared
delighted at this. 'I am called Citronette,' said she to me; 'I am
appointed to wait on thee; thou canst order me to do anything thou
wilt--I know perfectly well both the past and the present; as for the
future, it is not my province to penetrate it. Command me, and at least
I can render the time of thy penance less irksome to thee.'

"I embraced the good Citronette at these words, and related to her the
events of my life. I then inquired of her what had become of the King
and Queen. She was about to reply, when a hideous marmot, as large
as a human being, entered the saloon, and froze me with horror. She
walked upon her hind legs, and leant upon a gold wand, which gave her
a dignified air. She approached the tub, in which I would willingly
have drowned myself, I was so frightened, and raising her wand, with
which she touched me--'Camion,' said she, 'thou art in my power, and
nothing can release thee but thy obedience and that of the husband whom
my sisters have destined for thee. Listen to me, and cast off this
fear, which does not befit a person of your rank. Since thine infancy
I wished to take care of thee, and to marry thee to my nephew, the
King of the Whiting. Lumineuse, and two or three other of my sisters,
combined to deprive me of this right; I was provoked, and not being
able to revenge myself on them, I resolved to punish thee for their
audacity. I doomed thee, therefore, to be a whale for at least half
the term of thy existence. My sisters protested so strongly against
what they called my injustice, that I diminished my vengeance by
three-quarters and a half; but I reserved to myself the right of
marrying thee to my nephew in return for my complaisance. Lumineuse,
who is imperious, and unfortunately my superior, would not listen to
this arrangement, because she had destined thee, before me, to a Prince
whom she protected. I was compelled then to consent to her plan, in
spite of my resentment; all that I could obtain was that the first who
should deliver you from my claws should be thy husband. Here are their
portraits,' continued she, showing me two gold miniature cases, 'which
will enable thee to recognise them: but if one of them come to deliver
thee, he must betroth himself to thee whilst thou art in the tub, and
before thou canst leave it, he must tear off the skin of the whale;
without that, thou wilt always remain a fish. My nephew would not
hesitate a moment to execute that order; but the favourite of Lumineuse
will consider it a horrible task, for he has the air of a very delicate
little gentleman. Set, then, thy wits to work to make him skin thee,
and after that thou shalt be no longer unhappy, if to be a beautiful
whale, very fat and well fed, and up to the neck in water, can be
called unhappiness.'

"To these words I made no reply, but remained very dejected, as much at
my present state as by the thought of scaling to which I must submit.

"Marmotte disappeared, leaving with me the two miniature cases. I wept
over my misfortunes and my situation, without dreaming of looking at
the portraits, when the good and sympathising Citronette said to me,
'Come, we must not lament over ills which cannot be remedied. Let us
see if I cannot help to console you; but first, try not to weep so
much, for I have a tender heart, and I cannot see your tears without
feeling inclined to mingle mine with them. Let us chase them away by
looking at these portraits.'

"So saying, she opened the first case, and showing it to me, we both
uttered shrieks like Melusine's[39] at seeing a hideous whiting's head,
painted, it is true, with all the advantages which could be given to
it; but, in spite of that, never in the memory of man had anything been
seen so ugly. 'Take away that object,' cried I to her; 'I cannot bear
the sight of it longer. I would rather be a whale all my life than
marry that horrible Whiting!'

"She did not give me time to finish my imprecations on this monster,
but said, 'Behold this darling young man! Oh, as for him, would he but
skin you I should be delighted.' I looked hastily to see if what she
said was true; I was only too soon convinced. A noble and charming
countenance presented itself to my view; fine eyes full of tenderness
embellished a face which was both mild and majestic; an air of
intellectuality was spread over it, which completed the fascination of
this delightful painting; a profusion of black hair, curling naturally,
gave an air to it which Citronette mistook for indifference, but which
I interpreted, and I think rightly, as conveying a precisely opposite
sentiment.

"I contemplated this beautiful face with a pleasure of which I was
scarcely conscious. Citronette remarked it first. 'Without a doubt,'
cried she, 'that is the one we will choose.' This bantering roused
me from my reverie, and colouring at my own ecstasy, 'Why should I
trouble myself,' said I; 'ah, my dear Citronette, this appears to me
very like another trick of that cruel Marmotte; she has exhausted her
art in endeavouring to make me regret the impossibility of finding
a similar object in nature.' 'What,' said Citronette, 'already such
tender reflections on this portrait? Ah! truly, I did not expect that
so soon.' I blushed again at this jest, and became quite embarrassed
at finding that I had too innocently betrayed the effect which this
beautiful painting had produced on my heart. Citronette again read my
thoughts. 'No, no,' said she, embracing me, 'do not repent of this
avowal, your frankness charms me; and to console you, I will tell you
that Marmotte does not deceive you, and that there is in the world a
Prince who is the veritable original of the picture.'

"This assurance filled me with joy at the moment; but the next instant
that feeling departed, when I remembered that this Prince would never
see me, as I was in the depths of the earth, and that Marmotte, by
her power, would sooner enable her monster of a nephew to penetrate
my abode than give the least assistance to a prince whom she hated,
because they had destined me to him without her consent. I no longer
concealed what I thought from Citronette; the attempt, indeed, would
have been useless, for she read with surprising facility the utmost
secret of my thoughts; I therefore preferred to take the credit of
candour; she deserved my confidence for her attachment to me, and I
found it a great consolation, for I have felt from that time that when
the heart is filled with one object there is much happiness in being
able to speak of it. In fact, I loved from that moment, and Citronette
dissipated, with much address and clear-sightedness, the confusion and
trouble which the commencement of a violent passion produces in the
mind. She soothed my grief by allowing me to speak of it; and when I
had exhausted words, she gently changed the conversation, which almost
always, however, bore upon my troubles or my affection.

"She had informed me that the King, my father, was transported to the
abode of the King of the Whiting; and that the Queen, at the moment
that she lost me, had become a crayfish. I could not understand this.
'One cannot become a crayfish,' said I. 'Can you better understand how
you have become a whale?' said she.

"She was right; but we are often surprised at things which happen
to others, although we have in ourselves still greater subject for
astonishment. My small experience was the cause of this. Citronette
laughed frequently at my innocence, and was surprised to find me so
eloquent in my affection, for truly I was so on that subject; and I
found that love throws much light into the mind. I could not sleep;
I woke the good-natured Citronette an hundred times in the night to
talk to her of my Prince; she had told me his name, and that he hunted
almost every day in the forest beneath which I was interred. She
proposed to me to try to attract him to our dwelling, but I would not
consent, although I was dying to do so. I was afraid that he would die
for want of air; we were accustomed to it, that was a different thing;
I feared also that it would be too great a freedom; besides, I was in
despair at appearing to him in the form of a whale, and I measured his
aversion for me by that which the portrait of the King of the Whiting
had inspired me with. Citronette re-assured me, telling me that spite
of the whale's body my face was charming. I believed it sometimes,
but more often I was uneasy, and after having looked at myself, I
could not imagine I was sufficiently handsome to inspire with love one
who had made me so well acquainted with it. My self-love came to the
support of my prudence. Alas! how rarely it is that our virtues can be
traced to purer inspirations.

"I passed my time in forming projects for obtaining a sight of him,
and letting him see me, and rejected by turns each that occurred to
me. Citronette was a great assistance to me at this time; for it must
be confessed that she has plenty of sense, and still more gentleness
and amiability. One day that I was even more sad than usual--for love
has the peculiarity of infecting gentle souls with melancholy--I saw
the frightful Marmotte enter, with two persons whom I did not at first
recognise. I took it into my head that it was her wretched nephew whom
she brought with her; I uttered frightful shrieks as they approached me
hastily. 'Why, she could not cry louder,' said the horrid Marmotte, 'if
they were skinning her! Look what terrible harm is done to her!' 'Good
gracious, sister,' said one of these persons who accompanied her, and
whom I then remembered with joy having formerly seen in our village; 'a
truce to your stories of skinning, and let us tell Camion what we have
to tell her.' 'Willingly,' said Marmotte; 'but on the conditions which
you are aware of.'

"'Camion,' said the good Fairy, without replying to Marmotte, 'we
are too much distressed at your condition not to think of remedying
it, more especially as you have not deserved it. My sisters and I
have resolved to ameliorate it as much as lies in our power. This,
therefore, is what we have determined on. You are about to be presented
at the Court of the Prince to whom I have destined you from your
infancy; but, my dear child, you will not appear there as you are,
and you are commanded to return three nights a week and plunge again
in your tub; for until you are married'--'and skinned!' interrupted
the odious Marmotte, laughing violently. The good Fairy merely turned
towards her, shrugging her shoulders, and continued--'Until you are
married you will be a whale in this place. We can tell you no more;
the rest you will be informed of by degrees; but above all keep your
secret; for if a word escape you which tends to discover it, neither I
nor my sisters can do anything for you, and you will be delivered up to
my sister Marmotte.' 'That is what I expect,' said the wicked Fairy;
'and I already see her in my power; for a secret kept by a girl would
be a phenomenon.' 'That is her own affair,' said Lumineuse (for it was
she who had already spoken). 'To proceed, my daughter,' said she, 'you
will become a little doll made of ivory, but capable of thinking and
speaking; we shall preserve all your features, and I give you a week
to consider whether what I propose to you will suit you; we will then
return, and you shall tell me if you consent to it, or if you would
prefer awaiting here the event which must bring you one of the two
husbands selected for you.'

"I had not time to reply; the Fairies departed after these words, and
left me astounded by what I had just seen and heard. I remained with
Citronette, who represented to me that it was a great treat for me to
become an ivory doll. I sighed when I thought that my Prince would
never take a fancy to such a bauble; but at length the desire to see
him and become acquainted with him overcame the anxiety to please
him, and I resolved to accept the proposal which was made to me, and
the more readily as Zirphil (for they had mentioned his name) might
possibly be forestalled by the King of the Whiting, and this idea made
me nearly die of grief.

"Citronette told me that Prince Zirphil hunted daily in the forest
which was above us; and I made her take every day the form of a stag,
a hound, or a wild boar, in order that she might bring me some news,
which never failed to be in some way connected with the subject
which occupied my heart. She described him to me as an hundred times
handsomer than his picture, and my imagination embellished him to such
a degree that I resolved to see him or to die. But one more day had to
elapse before the expected arrival of the Fairies, and Citronette, in
the form of a wild boar, was roaming the forest to find food for my
curiosity, when suddenly I saw her return, followed by the too amiable
Zirphil. I cannot describe to you my joy and astonishment; there are
no terms which can express them to you. But what enchanted me most
was, that this charming Prince appeared equally delighted with me;
perhaps I desired this too much not to help to deceive myself. However,
I thought I saw in his eyes that he felt the impression he had made.
Citronette, more anxious for my happiness than mindful of our ecstasy,
aroused us from it, by begging him either to skin or to marry me. Then
coming to myself, and feeling the danger of my situation, I joined in
her entreaties, and by our prayers and tears induced him to plight me
his faith. I had hardly accepted it, when he vanished, I know not how,
and I found myself in my ordinary form, lying on a good bed; I was
no longer a whale, but I was still in the depths of the earth in the
green saloon, and Citronette had lost the power of leaving it and of
transforming herself.

"I expected the Fairies in a state of the greatest trepidation. My
love had redoubled since I had become personally acquainted with its
object, and I feared that my charming husband might be included in
the vengeance of the Fairies for not having waited till they could
witness my marriage. Citronette had enough to do to re-assure me; I
could not overcome my grief and fear. Marmotte appeared with the dawn
of day, but I neither saw Lumineuse nor her companion; she did not
seem more irritable than usual; she touched me with her wand without
speaking to me, and I became a charming little doll, which she put in
her toothpick-case, and then transported herself into the presence of
the Queen-mother of my betrothed. She gave me to her, with orders to
marry me to her son, or to expect all the evil which she was capable of
inflicting, telling her that I was her goddaughter, and was called the
Princess Camion. I took, in fact, a great fancy to my mother-in-law; I
considered her charming, as being the mother of Zirphil, whom I adored,
and my caresses were returned by her. I was transported every night
into the green saloon, and there enjoyed the pleasure of meeting my
husband, for the same power acted on him, and transported him likewise
into this subterraneous dwelling. I knew not why they forbad me to
tell him my secret, as I was married; but I kept it in spite of his
impatience to know it. You will see," continued the speaker, with a
sigh, "how impossible it is to avoid one's fate. But it begins to get
light, and I feel I am quite tired with being so long out of the water;
let us return to the reservoir, and to-morrow, at the same hour, if we
are not selected for the soup of that worthless King of the Whiting, we
will resume the thread of our discourse.--Come, let us go."

Zirphil heard no more, and himself returned to his apartment, much
concerned at not having made known to the Princess his being so near
her; but the fear of increasing her misfortunes by this indiscretion,
consoled him for not having risked it; the misery of knowing she was
likely to perish by his hand made him resolve to continue his diligent
search amongst the crayfish.

He retired to bed, but not to sleep, for he did not close his eyes all
night. To have found his Princess in the form of a crayfish, ready
to be made into soup for the King of the Whiting, appeared to him a
still more frightful torment than the death to which he had believed
her destined. He was sighing and distressing himself cruelly, when he
was disturbed by a great noise in the garden; he at first heard it
confusedly, but listening attentively, he distinguished flutes and
conch shells. He rose and went to the window, when he saw the King of
the Whiting, accompanied by the dozen sharks who composed his council,
advancing towards the pavilion; he hastened to open the door, and the
train having entered, the King first had his tub filled with sea water
by the peers of the realm who bore it, and after a short repose, and
making the council take their places, he addressed the young Prince,
"Whoever you may be," said he, "you have resolved, apparently, to make
me die of hunger, for you send me every day a broth which I cannot
swallow; but, young man, I must tell you, that if you are leagued with
evil powers to poison me, you have taken a very foolish part. As nephew
of the Fairy Marmotte I am beyond all such attempts, and my life is
safe."

The Prince, astonished at being suspected of so base an act, was about
to reply with haughtiness, but by chance, as he raised his hand, he
cast his eyes upon his ring, and saw therein Lumineuse, who placed
her finger on her mouth as a sign to him to be silent; he had not
before thought of consulting his ring, he had been so engrossed by his
grief. He accordingly held his tongue: but he betrayed his indignation
in his countenance, which the sharks remarked, for they made signs
of approbation, which appeared to say that they did not believe him
capable of such a thing. "Ho, ho!" said the King, "as this myrmidon
appears so angry, we must make him work before us. Let them go to my
kitchen; let them bring the mortar for the crayfish; I shall give
my council a treat." Immediately a pike's-head went to execute the
King's commands, and during this time the twelve sharks took a large
net, which they threw into the reservoir from the window, and drew in
three or four thousand crayfish. During the interval that the council
was employed in fishing, and the pike's-head in fetching the King's
mortar, Zirphil reflected, and felt that the most critical moment of
his life approached, and that his happiness or misery would depend upon
his present conduct. He armed himself with resolution for whatever
might come to pass, and placing all his hopes in the Fairy Lumineuse,
he implored her to be favourable to him. At the same moment he looked
at his ring, and saw in it the beautiful Fairy, who made a sign to him
to pound courageously; this revived him, and took from him some of the
pain he felt at consenting to this cruelty.

At length the horrid mortar was produced. Zirphil approached it boldly,
and prepared to obey the King. The council put in the crayfish with
great ceremony, and the Prince tried to pound them; but the same thing
happened to them as to the former ones in the kitchen--the bottom of
the mortar opened and the flames devoured them. The King and the odious
sharks amused themselves for a long time with this spectacle, and were
never tired of filling the mortar; at length there was but one left
of the four thousand; it was surprisingly large and fine. The King
commanded that it might be shelled, in order to see if he should like
to eat some of them raw. They gave it to Zirphil to shell; he trembled
all over at having to inflict this new torture, but still more when
this poor fish joined her two claws, and, with her eyes filled with
tears, said, "Alas! Zirphil, what have I done to you that you should
wish to do me so much harm?"

The Prince, moved by these words, and his heart pierced with grief,
looked at her sadly, and at length took it on himself to beg the
King to allow her to be pounded. The King, jealous of his authority,
and firm in his resolution, was enraged at this humble request, and
threatened to pound Zirphil himself if he did not shell it. The
poor Prince took it again from the hands of the shark to whom he
had confided it, and with a little knife which they had given him
he tremblingly touched the crayfish; he looked at his ring, and saw
Lumineuse laughing and talking to a veiled person whom she held by
the hand. He could not understand this at all, and the King, who did
not give him time to reflect, cried out to him so loudly to finish,
that the Prince stuck the knife with such force under the shell of the
crayfish that it cried piteously; he turned away his eyes from hers,
and could not help shedding tears. At length he resumed his task,
but to his great astonishment he had not finished the shelling when
he found in his hands the wicked Marmotte, who jumped to the ground,
uttering shrieks of laughter so loud and disagreeable in mockery of
Zirphil, that it prevented him from fainting, or he would have fallen
on the floor.

The King cried in astonishment, "Why, it is my aunt!" "And truly
it is she," said this annoying animal. "But, my dear Whiting, I
come to tell you a terrible piece of news." Whiting grew pale at
these words, and the council assumed an air of satisfaction, which
increased the ill-humour of the King and his terrible aunt. "The fact
is, my darling," continued Marmotte, "you must return to your watery
dominions, for this rash boy whom you see here has chosen to display
a constancy that nothing can shake, and has triumphed over all the
traps I set for him to prevent him from carrying off the Princess I had
destined for you."

At these words the King of the Whiting fell into such a rage, that he
could not contain himself: he committed extravagances which proved he
was possessed of the most violent passions. Marmotte tried in vain to
calm him; he broke his bowl into a thousand pieces, and, being on dry
ground, he fainted. Marmotte, mad with rage, turned to Zirphil, who had
remained a quiet spectator of this tragic scene, and said to him, "Thou
hast conquered, Zirphil, by the power of a fairy whom I must obey; but
thou art not yet at the end of thy troubles. Thou canst not be happy
till thou shalt have given into my own hand the case which enclosed the
accursed Camion. Even Lumineuse agrees to this, and I have obtained her
consent for you to suffer until that time."

At these words she took the King of the Whiting on her shoulders, and
threw him into the reservoir, as well as the sharks, the palace, and
all its inhabitants. Zirphil found himself alone at the foot of a
great mountain, in a country which was as arid as a desert, without
being able to perceive the vestige of a habitation, or even of the
great reservoir. All had disappeared at the same moment. The Prince
was even more distressed than astonished at so extraordinary an event.
He was accustomed to wonders--he was only alive to the grief which the
persecution of the Fairy Marmotte occasioned him. "I cannot doubt,"
said he, "that I have pounded my Princess. Yes, I must have pounded
her; yet I am none the happier for it. Ah, barbarous Marmotte! And you,
Lumineuse, you leave me without help, after having obeyed you at the
expense of all which a heart as sensitive as mine could suffer!"

His grief, and the little repose which he had taken since the previous
night, threw him into such a state of weakness, that he would have
sunk altogether if he had not had the courage to wish to live. "If I
could but find something to support me," said he; "but in this horrible
desert I shall seek in vain a single fruit which can refresh me." He
had not pronounced the word when his ring opened, and a little table
covered with excellent viands came out of it. It became in a moment
large enough to accommodate the person for whom it was intended. He
found on it all that could tempt his eye and his appetite, for the
repast was so beautifully arranged, that in fact nothing was wanting,
and the wine was delicious. He returned thanks to Lumineuse, for who
else could have assisted him so opportunely? He ate, drank, and felt
strong again.

When he had finished, the table lost its form, and re-entered the
ring. As it was late, he did not make much progress in ascending the
mountain, but stretched himself under a wretched tree, which had hardly
enough leaves to protect him from the night air. "Alas!" said he,
as he laid himself down, "such is the nature of man. He forgets the
good that is past, and is only sensible of present evil. I would now
willingly exchange my table for a couch a little less hard than this."
A moment after he felt that he was in a comfortable bed; but he could
see nothing, for it appeared to him that the darkness was redoubled. He
ascertained that this was caused by the ample curtains which surrounded
his bed, and protected him from the cold and dew, and having again
thanked the good and attentive Lumineuse, he dropped off to sleep.
On waking at daybreak, he found himself in an angel-bed,[40] of
yellow taffety and silver, which was placed in the middle of a tent of
satin of the same colour, embroidered all over with ciphers in bright
silver, which formed the name of Zirphil, and all the ciphers were
supported by whales formed of rubies. Everything that could possibly
be required was to be found also in this beautiful tent. If the Prince
had been in a more tranquil state of mind he would have admired this
elegant habitation generally; but he only looked at the whales,
dressed himself, and went out of the tent, which folded itself up, and
re-entered the ring from which it had issued.

He began to ascend the mountain, taking no longer any trouble in
seeking food or lodging, for he was certain to have both as soon as he
wished for them. His only anxiety was to find Lumineuse; for his ring
was mute on that subject, and he found himself in a country so strange
to him, and so deserted, that he was necessarily compelled to trust to
chance.

After having passed several days in ascending without discovering
anything, he arrived at the brink of a well which was cut in the rock.
He seated himself near it to rest, and began to exclaim, as usual,
"Lumineuse, can I not find you, then?" The last time he pronounced
these words, he heard a voice which proceeded from the well say, "Is it
Zirphil who speaks to me?" His joy at hearing this voice was increased
by recognising her to whom it belonged. He rushed to the brink of the
well, and said, "Yes, it is Zirphil. And are you not Citronette?"
"Yes," replied Citronette, emerging from the well, and embracing the
Prince.

It is impossible to express the pleasure which this sight gave him.
He overwhelmed the nymph with questions about herself and about the
Princess. At length, after the excitement of their first meeting had
subsided, they spoke more rationally together. "I am about to inform
you," said she, "of all that you are ignorant of; for since the time
you pounded us, we have enjoyed a happiness which was only alloyed by
your absence, and I awaited your arrival here on the part of the Fairy
Lumineuse, to tell you what remains for you to do in order to obtain
possession of a Princess who loves you as much as you love her. But as
some time must elapse before you can arrive at this happiness, I will
relate to you the rest of the marvellous history of your amiable bride."

Zirphil kissed the hand of Citronette a thousand times, and followed her
into her grotto, where he thought he should die of mingled pleasure
and grief when he recognised the spot in which he had for the first
time seen his divine Princess. At length, after partaking of a repast
which came out of the ring, he begged the good Citronette to have the
kindness to resume the narrative of the Princess from where she had
herself left off in the palace garden.

"As it is here," said Citronette, "that Lumineuse is to meet you, you
shall, whilst waiting for her, learn all that you wish to know, for
it is useless for you to run after her. She confides you to my care,
and a lover is less impatient when one talks to him about her whom he
loves. The fairy Marmotte was not ignorant of your marriage; she had
transformed our friend into an ivory doll, believing that you would
be disgusted at her. Lumineuse conducted this affair herself, knowing
that nothing could deprive you of the Princess if you married her,
or if you destroyed her enchantment by skinning her. You chose the
former alternative, and you know what followed. By night she resumed
her proper form, and lamented at having to pass all her days in your
royal mother's pocket, for Marmotte had been permitted by Lumineuse to
torment the Princess until you had fulfilled your destiny, which was,
to skin her; so enraged was she at finding that you had married her,
and that the King of the Whiting, her nephew, could not become her
husband.

"As the Princess was no longer a whale, there was no fish to skin; but
Marmotte, fertile in expedients, determined to make you pound her, and
had forbidden the Princess to tell you anything about it, under pain
of your life, promising her afterwards the greatest felicity. 'How
will he ever resolve to pound me?' said she when expecting you. 'Ah,
my dear Citronette, if it were only my life that Marmotte threatened,
I would give it cheerfully to shield my husband from the torments they
prepared for him; but they attack his life--that life which is so dear
to me. Ah, Marmotte! barbarous Marmotte! Is it possible that you can
take pleasure in making me so miserable when I have never given you
any cause for it?' She knew the period prescribed for your separation
from her, but she dared not tell you of it. The last time that you saw
her, you know that you found her in tears; you asked her the cause, she
pretended it was on account of your attentions to little Camion, and
accused you of inconstancy. You appeased her apparent jealousy; and
the fatal hour at which Marmotte was to fetch her arrived. You were
transported into the palace of the King, your father; the Princess
and I were changed into crayfish, and placed in a little cane basket,
which the Fairy put under her arm, and ascending a car drawn by two
adders, we arrived at the palace of the King of the Whiting. This
palace was that of the royal father of the Princess: the city, changed
into a lake, formed the reservoir which we have inhabited, and all the
men-fish that you have seen were the wicked subjects of that good King.

"I must tell you, my Lord," said Citronette, interrupting herself,
"that that unfortunate Monarch, and the Queen, his wife, being in
despair at the moment when the Princess sank to the bottom of the well,
the Fairies who had formerly come to their assistance, appeared, to
console them for her loss; but the unhappy pair knowing that it was to
their kingdom that Camion would be exiled, chose to be there rather
than at a distance from her, notwithstanding what they had to fear from
the cruelty and ferocity of the King of the Whiting, whom his Aunt had
caused to be crowned by these men-fish. The Fairies did not conceal
from them the future fate of the Princess; and the King, her father,
begged to be the clerk of the kitchen and keeper of the King of the
Whiting's mortar. The Fairy immediately gave him a tap of her wand,
and he became the pike-headed man you saw in that situation; and you
need no longer be surprised at his having wept bitterly whenever you
brought the crayfish to pound, for as he knew that his daughter must
undergo this torture, he always thought she was amongst the number; and
the miserable Monarch had not a moment's rest, because his daughter had
no means of making herself known to him. The Queen had requested to be
changed into a crayfish, in order to be with the Princess, and her wish
was also granted.

"As soon as we arrived at the palace of the King of the Whiting, the
Fairy presented us to him, and ordered him to have crayfish soup made
for his dinner every day. We were then thrown into the reservoir. My
first care was to seek the Queen, in order to soothe a little the grief
of the Princess, but either by the decree of fate or stupidity on my
part, I found it impossible to discover her. We passed our days in
this mournful search, and our pleasantest moments were those in which
we recalled the circumstances of our unhappy lives. You arrived at
length, and they presented us to you; but the Fairy had forbidden us
to make ourselves known before you should interrogate us, and we dared
not infringe this rule, so continually were we compelled to submit to
severities for trifles.

"The Princess told me she thought she should have died of fright at
observing you in conversation with the cruel Marmotte; we saw you
searching amongst our companions with a mortal impatience, it being
obvious that, by the direction you took, you had little chance of
arriving at us.

"We knew that we must be pounded; but we had also learnt that
immediately after we should be restored to our former condition, and
that the wicked Marmotte would have no further power over us. On the
eve of the day on which you were to commence the infliction of this
torture on us, we were all assembled in a cavity of the reservoir,
weeping over our destiny, when Lumineuse appeared. 'Do not weep, my
children,' said that admirable fairy; 'I come to inform you that
you will escape the punishment they threaten you with, provided you
go gaily to the mortar, and do not answer any questions that may be
addressed to you. I can say no more at present--I am in haste; but do
as I have told you, and you will not repent it. Let her whose fate
appears the most cruel not lose hope--she will soon find relief.' We
all thanked the Fairy, and appeared before you perfectly resolved
to keep our secret. You spoke to some, who only made vague replies,
and when you had chosen ten, we returned to the reservoir, where the
assurance of our speedy deliverance inspired us with a natural gaiety
which assisted the project of our protectress.

"The last words Lumineuse had spoken gave to the beautiful Camion a
lightness of heart which rendered her charming in the eyes of her
mother and me; for the Queen had at length recognised her, and we three
were inseparable. At length your choice fell on the Queen and me, and
we had not time to say adieu to the Princess. An unknown power acted
on us at the moment, and inspired us with such gaiety that we thought
we should die of laughter at the absurd things we said to each other.
You carried us to the kitchen, and we had not touched the bottom of
the fatal mortar before Lumineuse herself came to our assistance, and
restoring me my natural form, transported me to my customary abode. I
had the consolation of seeing the Queen and our companions also resume
theirs, but I know not what became of them. The Fairy embraced me, and
told me to await you, and relate to you everything when you should come
to seek the Princess.

"I awaited this moment with impatience, as you will well believe, my
Lord," said Citronette to the Prince, who listened most eagerly to
her; "and yesterday I seated myself at the mouth of the well, when
Lumineuse appeared. 'Our children are about to be made happy, my
dear Citronette,' said she to me; 'Zirphil has only to recover the
toothpick-case of Marmotte to finish his labours, for at length he has
skinned the Princess.' 'Ah! great Queen,' cried I, 'are we so happy
as to be certain of this?' 'Yes,' replied she, 'it is quite true;
he thought that he only skinned Marmotte, but it was in reality the
Princess. Marmotte was concealed in the handle of the knife he used
for that act, and the instant he had finished his task she caused the
Princess to vanish, and appeared in her place, for the purpose of again
intimidating him!" "What!" cried the Prince, "was it to my charming
bride that I did that harm? Have I had the barbarity to inflict on her
such a cruel torment! Ah, heavens! she will never pardon me, and I do
not deserve she should!" The unhappy Zirphil spoke so impetuously, and
distressed himself so greatly, that poor Citronette was sorry she had
told him this news.

"How," said she, at last, seeing that he was quite overcome by his
reflections, "how, you did not know it?" "No, I did not know that,"
said he; "what determined me to take the shell off that unhappy and too
charming crayfish was, that I saw Lumineuse in my ring speaking to a
veiled person who even laughed with her, and who, I flattered myself,
was my Princess; and I thought that she had passed through the mortar
like the rest. Ah, I shall never forgive myself for this mistake!"
"But, my Lord," said Citronette, "the charm depended on your skinning
or pounding her, and you had done neither one nor the other; besides,
the person to whom Lumineuse spoke was the mother of the Princess; they
awaited the end of your adventure in order to seize on your bride and
protect her for you; it was quite necessary that it should so happen."
"Nevertheless," said the Prince, "if I had known it, I would rather
have pierced my own heart with that horrid knife!" "But consider,"
said Citronette, "that in piercing your heart you would have left the
Princess for ever in the power of your enemy and frightful rival, and
that it is far better to have shelled her than to have died and left
her in misery."

Apparently this argument, so obviously founded on truth, appeased the
grief of the Prince, and he consented to take a little nourishment
for his support. They had just finished, when the roof of the saloon
opened, and Lumineuse appeared, seated upon a carbuncle drawn by a
hundred butterflies; she descended from it, assisted by the Prince,
who bathed the hem of her garment with a torrent of tears. The Fairy
raised him, and said, "Prince Zirphil, to-day you are about to reap
the fruit of your heroic labours. Console yourself, and enjoy at
length your happiness. I have vanquished the fury of Marmotte by my
prayers, and your courage has disarmed her: come with me to receive
your Princess from her hands and mine." "Ah, Madam," cried the Prince,
throwing himself at her feet, "am I not dreaming? Is it possible that
my happiness is real?" "Do not doubt it," said the Fairy, "come to your
kingdom and console the Queen, your mother, for your absence, and for
the death of the King, your father: your subjects wait to crown you."

The Prince in the midst of his joy felt a pang at the tidings of the
death of his father; but the Fairy to divert him from his affliction,
made him place himself by her side, permitted Citronette to seat
herself at their feet, and then the butterflies spread their brilliant
wings, and set out for the empire of King Zirphil.

On the road, the Fairy told him to open his ring, and he there found
the toothpick-case which he had to return to Marmotte. The King
thanked the generous Fairy a thousand times over, and they arrived
at the capital of his dominions, where they were expected with the
utmost impatience. Zirphil's mother advanced to receive the Fairy as
she descended from her car, and all the people becoming aware of the
return of Zirphil, uttered acclamations which diverted him a little
from his grief; he tenderly embraced his mother, and all ascended to a
magnificent apartment which the Queen had prepared for the Fairy.

They had hardly entered, when Marmotte arrived in a car lined with
Spanish leather, and drawn by eight winged rats. She brought with
her the beautiful Camion, with the King and Queen, her father and
mother. Lumineuse and the Queen hastened to embrace Marmotte, Zirphil
respectfully kissed her paw, which she extended to him, laughing; and
he returned her the toothpick case. She then permitted him to claim his
bride, and presented her to the Queen, who embraced her with a thousand
expressions of joy.

This numerous and illustrious assemblage began speaking all together.
Joy reigned supreme amongst them. Camion and her charming husband
were the only persons who could not speak a word. They had so much to
say. There was an eloquence in their silence which affected every one
present; the good Citronette wept with joy whilst kissing the hands of
the divine Princess.

At length, Lumineuse took them both by the hand, and advancing with
them towards the Queen, mother of Zirphil: "Behold, Madam," said she,
"two young lovers who only wait your consent to be happy: complete
their felicity; my sister Marmotte, the King and Queen, here present,
and I myself, all request you to do so."

The Queen replied as she ought to this courteous speech, and
tenderly embracing the happy pair, said, "Yes, my children, live
happily together, and permit me, in relinquishing my crown to you,
to participate in that happiness." Zirphil and the Princess threw
themselves at her feet, from whence she raised them, and again
embracing them, they conjured her not to abandon them, but to aid them
by her counsels.

Marmotte then touched the beautiful Camion with her wand, and her
clothes, which were already sufficiently magnificent, became silver
brocade embroidered with carat diamonds, and her beautiful locks fell
down and rearranged themselves so exquisitely that the Kings and Queens
declared her appearance was perfectly dazzling: the toothpick-case
which the Fairy held was changed into a crown formed entirely of
brilliants, so beautiful and so well set that the room and the whole
palace became illuminated by it. Marmotte placed it on the head of the
Princess. Zirphil, in his turn, appeared in a suit similar to that of
Camion; and from the ring which she had given him came forth a crown
exactly like hers.

They were married on the spot, and proclaimed King and Queen of that
fine country. The Fairies gave the royal wedding-breakfast, at which
nothing was wanting. After having spent a week with them, and having
overwhelmed them with good things, they departed, and reconducted the
King and Queen, father and mother of Camion, into their kingdom, the
old inhabitants of which they had punished, and repeopled it by a new
race faithful to their master. As for Citronette, the Fairies permitted
her to come and pass some time with her beautiful Queen, and consented
to allow Camion, by only wishing for her, to see her whenever she
pleased.

The Fairies at length departed, and never were people so happy as King
Zirphil and Queen Camion. They found their greatest felicity in each
other: and days seemed to them like moments. They had children who
completed their happiness. They lived to an extreme old age; loving
with the same intensity, and striving which should most please the
other. On their decease their kingdom was divided, and after various
changes it has become, under the dominion of one of their descendants,
the flourishing empire of the Great Mogul.


FOOTNOTES:

[34] _Dauphin_ in the original.

[35] In the _Lady's Dictionary_, 1694, we find a palatine "is
that which used to be called a sable tippet; but that name is changed
to one that is supposed to be finer, because newer, and _à la mode de
France_."

[36] The Marmot of the Alps (_Aretomys_--literally
"Bear-rat"), a large mountain-rat, more than a foot long, with a body
shaped something like a bear.

[37] See Appendix.

[38] _Camion_ signifies in French what we call a minikin-pin.

[39] Melusine is the heroine of a story as old as the
fourteenth century, and on which some portion of "La Princesse Camion"
appears to have been founded (_Vide_ Appendix). Brantôme says she
haunts the castle of Lusignan, where she announces by _loud shrieks_
any disaster that is to befal the French monarchy. This legend gave
rise to the expression of "Cris de Melusine."

[40] _Lit d'ange_--a bed with curtains suspended over it by a
ring or pole.



PRINCESS LIONETTE AND PRINCE COQUERICO.


In the Circassian mountains lived an old man and his wife who had
retired from the world, weary of the caprices of fortune. They had
found for themselves a convenient retreat in a cavern, which extended
far beneath one of the mountains, and the dread of seeing each other
expire was the only anxiety that troubled them in their solitude.
They had lived at Courts, and knew all the insincerity that prevailed
in them; and far from regretting the brilliant positions they had
occupied, they pitied those who, from ambition or want of experience,
were desirous of them. They lived a happy and quiet life. Their food
consisted of fruit and fish, the latter abounding in a large pond,
wherein the old man amused himself by taking them; while a flock of
sheep which the old woman had the care of, produced the finest wool
in the world to make their clothes with. The old man called himself
Mulidor, and his wife was named Phila. They incessantly implored the
gods to send somebody to console whichever might be left the last upon
earth, or to close their eyes, but their prayers had not yet been
granted. It must not, however, be supposed that the gods rejected such
pure and reasonable desires, but they wished to prove the constancy of
these good people, to recompense them afterwards with interest.

  [Illustration: Princess Lionette and Prince Coquerico.--P. 416.]

The old man had just caught some fish, and after fastening his boat to
the bank, he spread his net upon a rock to dry it in the sun, when a
lion rushed out from one of the cavities of the rock, and went to drink
in the pond. Mulidor was afraid at first, but afterwards finding that
the proud beast was roaring because he could not reach the water, which
was too far off from the edge at this spot, he re-entered his boat, and
filling a bowl offered it to the lion, who came and emptied it several
times. After he had quenched his thirst, he raised his head and looked
at his benefactor so mildly, that the good man ventured to caress him.
The lion appeared pleased at his doing so, and ate some bread and
cheese which the old man took from a basket he had slung on his arm.
As, however, this was not a very safe companion, Mulidor thought he
had better return to his cavern, fearing that his wife, uneasy at his
absence, might come in search of him, and that the lion, having less
respect for her than for him, would devour her.

This idea was beginning to agitate him, when the lion, after licking
his hand, returned to his own home, leaving the old man at liberty
to do so likewise. Upon reaching the cavern he found his wife, as he
expected, alarmed at his delay; he related his adventure to her, which
made her shudder. They continued to talk upon the subject, and drew
this inference, that men might learn lessons of kindness and gratitude
from animals. "Do not, however, place yourself again at the mercy of
this fierce beast," said she, affectionately, "or let me go with you,
for I could not live under the fear I shall henceforth be in concerning
you. You have been restored to me this time, but can I flatter myself
that the Gods will be always equally gracious to me." The old man,
touched by her affection, promised to avoid the lion in future. This
conversation kept them up late, and consequently they did not awake
till the golden rays of morning shone full upon them. On opening the
door to go out and feed her sheep, Phila was greatly surprised to find
at it a lion of prodigious size and strength, and a lioness of equal
power and beauty, the latter carrying on her back a little girl of five
or six years old, who, as soon as she saw the old woman, alighted, ran
to her, and embraced her.

The good woman stood motionless with fear and wonder, and the lions,
after kissing the little girl, who returned their caresses, ran off,
and disappeared in an instant, leaving her in the good wife's hands.
Recovering from her fright she looked at the child, who never ceased
kissing her, took her in her arms, and went into the cavern to show her
to her husband. They both of them admired her beauty and gentleness;
she was quite naked, her fair hair only falling over her shoulders, and
upon her right breast she had a singular mark in the shape of a crown.

The good people thanked the Gods for this gift; they dressed the
beautiful little child in a light snow-white robe, with a rose-coloured
girdle, and tied up her hair with ribbon of the same colour. She
allowed them to do so quietly, and without saying a word. They fondled
her, and gave her some ewe's milk quite fresh. She smiled at the sight
of it, and looking at them, uttered a little cry resembling the roar
of a lion. She soon became accustomed to them, however; she had no
resemblance to a lion but in her voice, and from that circumstance
they called her Lionette. She answered to this name, and her natural
intelligence soon enabled her to understand what they said to her,
and at length to speak and explain herself. She had been a year with
these good people, who loved her dearly, and were equally loved by her,
when Mulidor, to make her familiar with their way of life, in case she
should lose them, took her out to fish with him. He had been there
several times alone without meeting the lions, but little Lionette was
no sooner at the foot of the rock where the good man dried his fish
than she uttered a little roar, which awoke the lion and lioness, who
ran out to her immediately, each vying with the other in fondling and
caressing her. She embraced the lioness affectionately, who allowed her
freely to do so; at length she jumped upon her back, and the lions ran
off with her in a moment. The poor old man was in consternation; he
threw himself upon the ground and prayed to die, now that he had lost
Lionette. After lying there a long time, finding his despair could be
of no avail, he dragged himself to his cavern, and created fresh misery
there in relating to Phila the accident that had happened to Lionette.

"Lionette! my dear Lionette!" cried the good woman, "is it possible we
can have lost you? Alas! why did the Gods present you to us, so cruelly
to take you from us? Of all the goods we have lost we but regret you!"
Their affliction was inconsolable, and poor Mulidor had scarcely
spirit enough to bear up against this misfortune. The night was passed
in lamentations and tears. At break of day they went in search of
her, fearing neither the lions nor their fury; their great love for
Lionette made them wish to be devoured also, if she had undergone that
frightful fate. They ran to the rock where the lions had chosen to
establish themselves, when suddenly they saw little Lionette riding
on the lioness towards them. As soon as the lovely child saw them she
jumped down, and ran and threw her arms round their necks; then taking
from the back of the lioness a kid that she had killed in the chase,
"There," said she, "see what mother lioness gives you; she took me
hunting to get game for you." These good people were half crazy with
delight at seeing her again; they could not help crying, and bathing
her pretty face with their tears. "My dear daughter! my dear child!"
they exclaimed, "you are restored to us again." Lionette was affected
at this sight. "Do you then," said she, "forbid me from seeing the
lioness, that you can say nothing to her, and that you shed tears in
embracing me?" "No, no, my dear child," they both cried at once, "but
we feared that you had abandoned us." "Mother lioness does not wish
it," said the child, "she wishes me to be your daughter." She turned
round for her to agree to what she said, but she was no longer there,
and Lionette returned cheerfully with them to the cavern.

Mulidor and Phila thought this was a very wonderful adventure; they
had many private conversations about it, and determined they would
not refuse the child to the Lioness, when she chose to come for her;
at the same time, Mulidor obtained his wife's consent to consult
Tigreline upon Lionette's destiny. She was a very learned Fairy. "I
had already thought of doing so," replied Phila, "and it had better be
done directly." It was settled he should start the first thing in the
morning.

The good woman prepared a present for the Fairy, to induce her to be
more gracious--nothing very precious, the Fairies do not desire it--it
was a piece of sky-blue ribbon, and a little basket of nuts, which
Tigreline was passionately fond of. Mulidor set out on his journey to
her dwelling; she had fixed her habitation in the heart of an immense
forest which was filled with tigers--it was from that circumstance she
took her name. When any one sought her for a good object, the tigers
did them no harm, but if they went thither with any evil design,
they tore them to pieces, and none such were ever known to reach the
Fairy's castle. The old man having nothing to fear upon that subject,
did not arm himself with any weapon of defence, and arrived without
difficulty at the castle at the moment the Fairy was getting up. He
found her occupied in stringing large pearls on a golden thread. She
received him very graciously, and taking her spectacles from off her
nose, "Approach, wise old man," said she. "I know what has brought
you here, and I am very glad to see you." Mulidor bowed profoundly,
and kissed Tigreline's robe. He offered his little present, which she
received very kindly, then making him sit down, she told him she would
consult Destiny in her large book, that she might answer correctly the
questions he came to ask her. After reading for some time, she raised
her eyes to Heaven, then fixing them upon Mulidor, "Listen," said she,
"to what I think of Lionette. She must be warned from loving one who
is her direct opposite, otherwise great misfortune may happen to her,
even to the loss of life. Should she arrive at twenty without this
fate befalling her, I answer for her happiness." She then informed the
old man that Lionette was a great Princess, exposed to be eaten by
lions almost immediately after she was born, through the wickedness
of a certain Queen; but she would not tell him anything more, and
exhorted the old man to continue to cultivate in the child all those
good feelings which he himself possessed, and left it to him to decide
on telling her who she was, trusting to his prudence for securing her
happiness.

She then gave him for Lionette the string of pearls she had just
finished. "If she do not lose it, or give it away," said the Fairy,
"it will preserve her from many dangers. It may, indeed, insure her
happiness if she take special care of it." The old man thanked the
Fairy and returned home, where he arrived before nightfall.

He found his wife and Lionette; the latter embraced him a thousand
times, and he tied the Fairy's pearls round her neck, earnestly
entreating her to take great care of them. She was enchanted with this
new ornament, and the old man related to Phila, as soon as they were
alone, all that the Fairy had told him. They consulted together upon
the course they should take, and resolved they would say nothing to
Lionette of her birth, to prevent her feeling useless regrets. "We
can tell her at any time, should it be necessary to do so," added the
prudent wife; "and we should be sorry for it (not having it in our
power to give her more than the education of a simple shepherdess) if
her disposition, sweet as it is now, should be changed by the knowledge
of her rank. Let us attend to her heart and mind: princesses have not
the time to do so. She will learn from her own experience that they are
as subject as other mortals are to the caprices of Fortune, and perhaps
she may be the happier for it."

Mulidor quite agreed with the truth of this, and they applied
themselves more than ever to the education of this amiable child, whose
natural excellence left them nothing to wish for. She was twelve years
old, and continued to go hunting with the Lioness, very often carrying
on her shoulder a little quiver, and skilfully shooting the wild
beasts. One night, returning later than usual, the cavern resounded
with the roars of the Lioness. Mulidor and Phila both went out, and
found the Lioness at the door, having brought Lionette with her, who
was seated on the ground, endeavouring to console the poor animal,
that appeared in deep despair. "The Lion is dead," cried the young
child, "and my mother cannot be comforted--a hunter has killed him."
The Lioness rolled upon the ground, and shed torrents of tears. The old
man, his wife, and Lionette did their best to soothe her grief; but
after passing the whole night in the vain attempt, the Lioness expired
herself in the morning. The sobs and grief of Lionette were excessive,
she could not leave the body of the poor beast, she embraced it, and
shed tears over it. At length they dragged her from this sad scene,
and while the old man buried the Lioness, the kind Phila attended to
Lionette, who was in the deepest affliction. When Mulidor came in, he
was much moved by the child's grief, and was anxious to comfort her,
but finding he only increased her sorrow, he said, "What would you have
done, then, my child, if this accident had happened to either of us? It
is not possible you could have felt it more keenly." "Ah! my father,"
cried she, holding her arms out to embrace him, fearing that he was
offended at the little attention she paid to his consolations, "if the
Gods have reserved so much misfortune for me, I implore them to let me
die instantly, for I shall not be able to support it." "The Gods, my
child," replied the old man, "do not always grant such rash petitions.
It is offending Providence not to submit humbly to its decrees. Do you
suppose you are the only one who suffers from affliction in this life?
Is this the courage I thought you capable of?"

Lionette cast down her eyes: the severity of this remonstrance had
brought a slight colour into her cheeks, which made her more lovely.
Mulidor felt he had said enough; he went out and left his wife to
soften anything he might have said too harshly; and Phila, embracing
Lionette, said, "Really, my child, you would make us believe you could
have no greater grief. No doubt the friendship you show for these poor
animals is highly laudable, but you must take comfort, and thank the
Gods that they have not inflicted on you greater misfortunes." "Ah!
my mother," cried Lionette, embracing her, "how much obliged I am to
you for speaking to me thus; do not let my father be angry with me any
more--I feel I could not bear it." Mulidor re-entered; Lionette ran to
embrace him; he returned her caresses with a fondness that consoled the
charming child. They could not sufficiently admire the goodness of her
heart, her sensibility, her gentleness, and frankness; and she also
loved them dearly.

Lionette, however, continued to deplore the loss of the Lions: a deep
melancholy appeared to have taken possession of her; she dared not give
way to it before Mulidor, but she felt less restraint with Phila. The
worthy couple often conversed together upon this subject; they became
alarmed at Lionette's condition; they tried to amuse her; they went out
more frequently, took walks with her, allowed her to go hunting and
fishing, gave her birds, flowers, shells; but she preferred hunting to
all other amusements. The part of the country in which they lived was
so wild a desert that persons must either have come there on purpose,
or have lost their way, to be seen in it, so there was little danger of
Lionette meeting with anybody. Still, the fact of the Lion having been
killed by a hunter was remembered by Mulidor. He never could understand
how a man could get so far without having found out their retreat, or
being more astonished at seeing a young girl mounted on a Lioness, and
hunting in company with a Lion. They did not dare ask Lionette any
questions about it, fearing they should renew her grief; and yet they
feared to prohibit her from hunting, feeling, good souls, how cruel it
would be to deprive her of her favourite amusement. They only entreated
her, therefore, to take care she did not lose herself.

At the end of some months, Lionette regained her spirits a little.
The old man and his wife were enchanted at this happy change. They
congratulated themselves upon having promoted it by their indulgence,
and trusted that she would in time forget the Lions. She grew fast, and
began to evince character; she was wonderfully beautiful, even in the
most simple of her dresses. Phila had made her garment of the finest
tigers' skins, and a little cap of the same material; and thus attired,
one might have taken her for Diana herself, she was so graceful and
majestic. Her beautiful black eyes heightened the brilliancy and
vivacity of her complexion, which neither the hottest sun nor the
most scorching wind had any effect upon, nor could they injure the
whiteness of her arms or neck. She was not at all aware of her beauty;
her strength of mind and her education made her above priding herself
on her personal advantages. She spoke well, and her ideas were even
superior to her language. The good people were astonished to see her at
so early an age evincing so much talent and judgment. She was then just
approaching her fifteenth birthday.

For some days past, Phila perceived that she had taken the trouble
to put her hair in curls on going to bed, and that on going out she
glanced at herself with a kind of satisfaction in a fountain adjoining
the cavern. She mentioned this to Mulidor, who was as much surprised
at it as herself; they, however, did not choose to speak to her about
it, but determined to watch her closely, that they might discover
the motive of this unusual attention to her personal appearance, and
they recollected that for some time past she had appeared thoughtful,
uneasy, and indifferent to matters which had previously amused her.

Lionette returned to the cavern rather earlier on that day; she brought
with her a brace of partridges that she had killed. The good woman
asked her if she felt too tired to help her with some spinning she
wished to finish. "If you could dispense with my assistance," said
Lionette, "I should be very much obliged to you; I feel so inclined to
sleep."

Phila consented, and let her go into a little nook of the cavern which
made a kind of room for her. She had decorated it with all the rarest
things that she had found. The hangings were composed of the feathers
of singular birds, and an abundance of flowers in shells, which she
kept filled with fresh water, ornamented this pretty chamber. Mulidor
had taught her to paint; she had finished some charming pictures,
and with the wool she had found in the cavern she had embroidered
some cushions, which she had arranged as a couch. Upon this she threw
herself, looking more like a goddess than a mortal.

The good woman becoming uneasy at the length of time she slept, went
to seek her; she found her, as I have just described, reclining on the
cushions; her eyes were shut, but a few tears that were struggling
to escape through their long lashes, convinced her that the lovely
Lionette was in some distress. She stood looking at her for some time,
she had never seen her look so beautiful; but at length, alarmed at
her condition, she drew nearer, and taking her hands, pressed them
affectionately between her own.

This action aroused Lionette, and turning her eyes towards Phila, "Ah,
mother!" said she, throwing herself upon her neck, "how ashamed I am to
appear thus before you." "Why, my dear girl," said Phila, "why do you
conceal your troubles from me? Do you not know how interested we both
feel for you? What is the matter with you, my child? Do not hide your
distress from me; perhaps I could assuage it."

Lionette was some time before she ventured to answer. She kept her
head bent down in the old woman's hands; she kissed them passionately.
At length she regained her courage, and raising herself, her cheeks
suffused with blushes, "I am about to tell you something," said she,
"which has tormented me for some time past. Let me hope this avowal at
least will serve to obtain your forgiveness." "Speak, my dear girl,"
said Phila, "and fear nothing. I am more uneasy at your grief than
angry at your having concealed it from me."

Lionette encouraged by this, told her that, on her way to the forest,
about three months ago, she had seen a young shepherd fast asleep, and
that an arrow which she had shot at a bird having missed it, fell and
pierced the young man's hand; that attracted by the cry he uttered,
she approached him, and assisted in stanching the blood. "This wound,"
she added, "awoke in my heart a strange emotion. I trembled in applying
to it the herbs I had gathered, the properties of which you had taught
me. He, far from being angry with me, told me he should never complain
of that wound, but eternally of the one my eyes had inflicted on him.

"This language, quite new to me, was so fascinating that I wished never
to quit him. He wept as he gazed on me; he kissed my hands to detain
me. I proposed that he should follow me, that my father might assist in
curing him. 'I cannot do so, beautiful Lionette,' said he (I had told
him my name), 'a most cruel fate has forced me to fly from the world;
but promise me to come sometimes and cheer my solitude, and I shall ask
nothing more from the Gods. I shall believe their anger is appeased.'
I did promise him--he asked me too tenderly to be refused. At length I
felt you would be uneasy at my stay, and I left him with so much regret
that I burst into tears, and hurried away that he might not perceive
it, for I was ashamed, I think, of my compassion for him.

"I returned, restless and miserable. Next morning I went in search of
him. I cannot tell what prevented me from making you acquainted with
it, but I was on the point of telling you a hundred times, and as often
I felt it would be impossible to do so--perhaps it was because he
had begged me to keep it a secret. I ran to look for him, to ask his
permission to tell you. Approaching the spot where we had seen each
other the evening before, I stopped suddenly. A feeling of reproach
came over me for having hidden this proceeding from you; and besides, I
was so agitated, I feared I should be ill. 'What shall I do by myself
here?' thought I; 'I am without help, and that which I might find is
perhaps dangerous to wait for. Unfortunate Lionette, what hast thou
promised to do? Fly, return to thy duty, for it is clear that thou
hast wandered from it, since thou art so much disturbed at taking this
secret step. The Gods warn thee. This state of mind is not natural.'
I had sat down to reflect. I got up. I retraced my steps, when a
grievous thought arrested me. 'Alas!' said I, 'perhaps he is unable to
come to meet me, from the wound I inflicted on him; and if so, what
will be his despair at not seeing me? There is no one to help him in
this desolate place but myself. To refuse him my assistance would be
inhuman. Let me find out whether he wants me, and see him but for that.'

"I proceeded, therefore, to the fatal place where I had wounded him the
evening before. He was not there. I became alarmed; my limbs failed
me; I fell upon the moss which covered the ground. I saw some traces
of his blood still remaining on it. I was nearly suffocated by my
grief. Happily my tears flowed, and that relieved me; but I felt the
keenest affliction when I thought that perhaps I had been the cause
of his death. I drew out my arrows, and broke them deliberately as a
punishment for my cruelty. I caught sight by chance of the one with
which I had wounded him. It was still upon the ground, and stained
with his blood. My tears flowed faster at this frightful sight. I gave
utterance to my agony in piercing shrieks. They were interrupted by
the sight of the young shepherd himself, running quickly towards me.
I could not rise. He threw himself on his knees near me, in so much
terror that I was alarmed myself at his excessive paleness. He asked
me what had happened. At the same time I put the same question to him.
We re-assured each other. I told him the reason of my tears. Never was
any one thanked so tenderly. His words had a charm in them that went to
my heart. I listened with a pleasure I had never felt before; I nearly
forgot his wound, so much I feared to interrupt him. I was astonished,
however, to hear him say how much he loved me--he, whom I had scarcely
ever seen; and I was still more surprised to find how dear he had
become to me, for he told me more than I could dare tell him; and I
believe he could read my heart, for I thought exactly as he did, only
it appeared to me I could not so well have expressed myself.

"At last he told me that he wished to be mine. 'And are you not so
already?' said I. 'Can you be more so than you are? That would enchant
me.' He smiled at my words. I thought I had said something wrong, and
I blushed at my awkward manner of expressing myself. I know not what
he thought, but he said a thousand more affectionate things to me. He
informed me he was the son of a great king, and would be my husband.
'I cannot be your wife,' said I: 'they will not let me.' 'Ah! who will
oppose it,' exclaimed he, 'if you consent?' I then told him that my
father and mother had always said a crown would be an obstacle to the
happiness of my life, and that they certainly would never consent to
such a union. 'Wait for a few days,' said he, 'and I will tell you
how to soften their severity. If you love me you will assist me in
conquering it; but never refrain from coming to this place. My life
depends upon your acquiescence. Fear nothing from me, lovely Lionette;
nothing can be purer than my affection, and I call all the divinities
of the forest to witness that I shall ever respect as much as I love
you.' He gave me his hand; I gave him mine, and I vowed, as he had
done, to love for ever, if you consented to it.

"I examined his hand, and found the wound had healed; I was delighted
at this, and left him, promising to return, and not to say anything to
you until he desired me. I returned so absorbed by his image that I
felt as though I only lived when he was present. I had no pleasure in
anything but him: the more I saw him the more I wished to see him. It
was the same with him. He is charming, mother! and were you to see him
you could not do otherwise than love him.

"Three months have passed in this sweet union, and now comes my misery.
This morning he told me that it was necessary that he should be
absent for some days upon important business which tended much to our
happiness. I had never known what it was to lose sight of him for more
than a few hours. I was as wretched as he was. He told me, however,
that he should soon return, and that he was even more anxious than
myself to complete our happiness. I wept bitterly. At length the hour
arrived for us to part, I unfastened my necklace, and tied it round his
arm----"

"Oh, heavens! what have you done, my child?" exclaimed Phila. "We are
lost beyond help."

She threw herself upon the ground, and filled the cavern with her
cries, Lionette, alarmed at this sight, arose to assist the good woman.
"What is the matter, then, mother?" she cried. "Why should a necklace
of such trifling consequence rouse you to so much grief?" "It is for
you I weep, my daughter," said Phila. "Your happiness was linked with
the preservation of that unfortunate necklace."

She then repeated what the Fairy Tigreline had said to Mulidor, and did
not conceal from her that she was a princess, but that she knew nothing
more. Lionette, who possessed naturally an elevated mind, was not
astonished at this news. "Very well, mother," said she; "the more you
convince me of the probability of my high birth, the more courageously
I ought to bear up against the sad events which are predicted of me,
though, to speak the truth, I do not believe in them; and I see nothing
unfortunate here but the absence of the shepherd whom I love, and his
unhappy name, which made me fly from him without being able to control
myself. These are the only misfortunes I know of." "What say you, my
daughter?" exclaimed the old woman; "his name caused you to fly from
him? Explain this riddle--I do not understand it." "Alas! this is
the cause of my despair," replied Lionette. "I had scarcely tied the
necklace round his arm, when he kissed my hand with such transport that
I forgot my grief for the moment. 'Yes, beautiful Lionette,' he said,
'it is for life that you have enchained the happy Prince Coquerico.'

"Hardly had he pronounced his name, which he had never told me (he
preferred that I should always call him my shepherd), than I felt
so horrified, without knowing wherefore, that I fled as swiftly as
possible. He followed me; he called me. I had not the power to return.
An invisible hand seemed to impel me forward. 'My dear Lionette,' he
cried, 'where are you going? It is your shepherd--it is Coquerico
who calls you.' I ran still faster. At last I lost sight of him,
either that I had taken paths he knew not of, or that he was afraid
of displeasing me by following me any longer. I arrived here in such
confusion I had some trouble in hiding it from you. You know the rest,
my mother--all that has happened to me, and I beg you a thousand
pardons for profiting so little from your good lessons; and although I
owe my birth to apparently powerful princes, I shall always submit to
your authority."

Mulidor came in as Lionette finished speaking; they made him acquainted
with this adventure; he was in great alarm at what might happen from
the loss of the necklace, and did not dare go and consult Tigreline,
whom they had so decidedly disobeyed. There was nothing to be done
but to wait and see what would befal the Princess. They entreated her
to forget this young man; they succeeded by degrees in consoling her
for his absence, and notwithstanding her melancholy, she took part
occasionally in their cheerful conversation.

Two months passed in this manner. One night they were suddenly awakened
out of a deep sleep by a clap of thunder which made them think the
cavern was crumbling to pieces. They started to their feet, and had not
time to recover themselves before a hideous and very richly dressed
Fairy touched them with her wand, and they were transformed into two
Lionesses and a Lion, she then transported them in an instant to the
Forest of Tigers, where she vanished and left them.

Who could express the consternation of the wise old man, or his wife's
distress? That of the Princess was still greater, she reproached
herself as being the cause of these good peoples' misfortune; and what
distressed her still more was, not being able to speak, she had not
the power of comforting them. This calamity for the moment made her
forget Prince Coquerico; but when she thought she should never see him
more, or that if she did, he would fly in terror from her, or at least
not recognise her, she uttered such frightful roars that the forest
resounded with them, and her poor companions came near her to try to
console her. Their grief was redoubled to find they could neither
understand nor speak to her. They groaned despairingly. At length it
occurred to all three of them to go to the Fairy, but they had no power
of communicating the idea to each other. The Lion was the first to
start, the two Lionesses followed him, but the Tigers stopped the way,
without, however, doing them any harm. Finding their intentions were
frustrated, they concluded it was by the Fairy's orders. They buried
themselves in the thickest part of the forest, and laid down very
sorrowfully upon some beautiful green grass, which served as a bed for
them. They passed some considerable time in this place without seeing
the Fairy, she took care, however, to send them food by one of the
Tigers regularly every day.

It is now time to acquaint the reader who Prince Coquerico was:--That
young Prince was the son of a King who had been very powerful, and who
had reigned in the Fortunate Islands. This King was dead, and having
left his son at a tender age, the Queen became regent. The ambition of
reigning, the pride of being Sovereign Mistress, had closed her heart
against the feelings of nature. She had her son brought up in a castle
upon the edge of the sea, in luxury and idleness unequalled; and her
excuse for this sort of education was a prediction of the Fairies at
his birth, to the effect that his life would be endangered if he took
up arms before he was twenty years old.

Everything was interdicted that could give him any desire for military
exercises, and the art of war was depicted in such frightful colours
that, however valiant the Prince might have been born, he shuddered
at even the picture of a sword. The King, his father, who had died in
battle, was represented to him as so sanguinary a sovereign that he
vowed he would never imitate him.

They had named this prince, Coquerico, in derision from his having
amused himself one day--contrary to the desire of his tutors--with
looking at a fight between two game cocks. He spent his life in
walking; in hearing sentimental romances read to him, the heroes of
which they represented in such a manner that he might not have a desire
to become like them; he learned to play upon several instruments, to
paint, and to work at tapestry. The Queen went to see him very often,
and pictured to him the fate of kings in such distressing colours, that
he dreaded the moment when he should ascend the throne.

He was just ten years old, the time appointed for the Queen to
resign the throne to him, when, walking on the coast, apart from his
followers, he was caught up by a whirlwind, and disappeared in an
instant. His tutors, surprised that he was so long a time in returning,
went to seek him, but could find him nowhere. The most diligent search
proved in vain, and they were compelled to apprise the Queen of this
mysterious circumstance. She would easily have been consoled for this
accident if the people of the Island, tired of her government, and
indignant at the education that had been given to their King, had not
risen in rebellion. After having torn her ministers in pieces, they
compelled her to fly to a neighbouring Monarch, who granted her an
asylum. This King had been a widower for two years, having but one
daughter, in giving birth to whom the Queen died.

He married the fugitive Queen; and the people of the Fortunate Islands
elected a council to rule the kingdom until they could obtain news of
their Prince Coquerico, whom they did not believe to be dead. They were
right, the whirlwind had been caused by a Fairy, who, delighted at the
sight of so beautiful a Prince, and angry to find him brought up so
badly, had resolved to purloin him from a mother who had proved herself
unworthy of being blessed with such a son.

To cultivate a fine disposition spoiled by so wicked an education, the
Fairy was impelled by another feeling less generous and more natural.
The beauty of this Prince had touched her heart, she imagined that
gratitude would make some impression upon that of the young Coquerico.
The few charms she possessed, however, were not likely to do so. She
was old, and had a horn in the middle of her forehead; but she was very
susceptible, and was always complaining that she had met with none
but ungrateful beings. "By bringing up this young man," she thought,
"he will become accustomed to my appearance, and perhaps my care and
affection for him will inspire him with sentiments that may lead in
time to that happy union of souls, that perfect mutual love, which I
have heard so much of and never experienced."

Cornue (that was her name) reasoned thus in transporting the handsome
Prince to her dwelling, which was in the Desert where the old man and
his wife had brought up the young Lionette for the last four years.
Cornue had built herself a charming palace upon the summit of one
of the mountains, but it was inaccessible to all human beings, in
consequence of the clouds with which it was continually surrounded. The
charms of life, its amusements, both rational and frivolous, were all
united there. This palace was of immense extent, although formed of one
single opal, so transparent and so beautiful that through the walls one
might see a grain of millet at the end of the garden, which was worthy
of so magnificent a palace, from its groves, terraces, parterres, and
fountains.

The tasteful Cornue had not spared anything, even in her dress, for
when, placing the Prince in the vestibule of her palace, she made
herself visible to him, she had enveloped her horn in a green velvet
case, covered with diamonds; her hair, which was rather grey, was
powdered white,[41] and tied with green _moulinet_ bows, in the
centre of each of which sparkled a large diamond; and her dress, of
flesh-colour and silver, showed her form so truly, that one could
perceive the Graces had striven among themselves which should give the
finishing touch to it.

The Prince was surprised at this apparition. She kissed his hand, and
asked his forgiveness for taking him away from his retirement without
his permission. "If I can avoid being your king," said he, with an air
which showed that he was not alarmed at the manner in which he had been
conducted thither, "I should be very well contented, for the fear of
ascending the throne made me desirous of leaving my kingdom, and you
have done me a favour in taking me away from it;--but I should like to
know," added he, quickly, "why you wear so pointed a head-dress, and
why your dress is of so peculiar a colour?" "We excuse such childish
questions at your age," said the Fairy, slightly blushing; "you will be
ashamed of them some day;--but let us enter the palace, and you will
find something to occupy your attention more agreeably."

She then gave him her hand, and they passed into a saloon in keeping
with the beauty of the rest of the palace. A hundred black slaves
were arranged in two files, through which the Prince and the Fairy
proceeded to the centre. It was sufficiently light to see the rarities
which ornamented this beautiful place; statues, sculptured marbles,
porcelain, furniture, were all admired with the taste of a connoisseur
by the young Prince. The slave opened the door of a magnificent
gallery, filled with charts, maps of the world, instruments of
geometry, models of the most beautiful cities in Asia, Europe, and
Africa; of palaces where the men and women of each nation were dressed
in their national costumes, and by the Fairy's skill they moved hither
and thither, spoke in their own language, and held conversations
according to their position. This amused the Prince for a considerable
time. He requested the Fairy to allow him to remain in that gallery a
little longer than she seemed inclined to do.

He made the slaves who accompanied him explain what this all meant;
he bade them repeat it, and was quite enchanted. He recognised the
Fortunate Islands; he saw his tutors seeking for him, and who appeared
in despair at not finding him--that touched his heart with pity. The
Fairy at length withdrew him from this scene, that he might not witness
the catastrophe. She amused him with other objects.

Some islands surrounded by the sea, upon another model, afforded him
great entertainment. Vessels filled with passengers executed some
wonderful evolutions; then there was a sea-fight, followed by a storm,
which dispersed the ships and sank several of them. This terminated the
diversions of this day. The Fairy then proposed supper, after which an
opera was represented; this was succeeded by a ball, and the Prince
danced with the Fairy, and with the nymphs in the Fairy's train, and
at last six slaves conducted him to a handsome apartment, in which he
retired to rest.

The next and following days were passed in conversations, sometimes
serious, sometimes mirthful; the slaves had orders to cultivate his
taste for the arts while amusing him, to which purpose he lent himself
readily. He was already accustomed to walk in a second gallery, which
formed a superb arsenal; he heard them talk of arms and of war with
pleasure; he almost wished to witness a battle, and felt ashamed he had
ever thought otherwise. The slaves formed themselves into battalions,
he placed himself at their head, he enjoyed his triumph in a sham
fight, he invented stratagems, he sought for glory everywhere; he no
longer feared to be a king. The gallery of models had displayed to him
the pleasures of royalty; he passed three hours each day in it, and
took lessons from the ablest politicians. The cabinet secrets of all
the Courts in the universe were no secrets to him.

There was a model of the whole globe in that gallery, and what
art pervaded that grand work! Not only all the kingdoms and their
various provinces, to the smallest habitation, were represented;
but every mortal upon the face of the earth was seen in pursuit of
his vocation. All spoke their own language, you heard them, you saw
them,--the most secret actions were displayed therein: the ocean and
its vessels, rivers, lakes, streamlets, deserts, even yet undiscovered
countries,--nothing was hidden from the learned Cornue. All was to
be found in her model. There was wherewithal to amuse one during the
longest life that ever was known.

The Prince was fascinated by this wonderful work of art; he studied it
for a long time; he could with difficulty tear himself from it; nor
did he consent to do so till the Fairy assured him that this gallery
forming a portion of his suite of apartments, he might visit it
whenever he wished.

He left it at length to enjoy new pleasures--an opera, a supper,
followed by a magnificent ball, in which the fairies of Cornue's Court
distinguished themselves in dancing, notwithstanding they were ugly
and old, for their mistress took care not to incur the reproach of
being the least handsome person in the Palace; and the designs she had
upon the heart of the young Prince would not admit of her neglecting
anything that would bring them to bear.

His education was entrusted to six fairies, who led him each morning
into the gallery of the globe for three hours; they explained the
various interests of Princes, he learned their languages, he heard
and saw the effect of their politics, their battles by land and sea,
which displayed to him the ability of ministers and of generals.
Already he was able to form sound opinions, and to speak of things
with the knowledge acquired from experience. His noble mind developed
itself, he burned with a desire for glory, he blushed at having been
afraid of it. He also appreciated the pleasures of royalty, he began
to find a satisfaction in being master, but he did not at all covet
the soft and effeminate life which he perceived in the seraglios of
the sovereigns of Persia and Constantinople; he preferred those kings
who reigned absolutely over their subjects, with a certainty that they
would shed their blood to preserve theirs. Insensibly he became the
most accomplished Prince living. He was not ignorant upon any point;
his fine intellect assisting his slight experience, he evinced in
everything the greatest judgment and discernment. "But where can one
see this land, and the inhabitants, that I observe in my model?" said
he sometimes to Cornue. "I will show you some day," answered she; "it
is not time yet." That would vex him; he was desirous of appearing of
some consequence himself in this fine plan of the universe, he was
annoyed at not seeing himself in it. This caused him many reflections,
but as they only sprang from his brain, they did not distress him
much--those suggested by the heart, more interesting, he knew nothing
of yet.

The Fairy did not fear that the beauties whom he saw in the model
would awake in him any emotions contrary to her wishes; they were
so exceedingly small, that he could but take them for pretty little
puppets, the largest figure, of a man even, not being taller than
one's thumb. His great amusement was the opera and comedy; he went to
them very often: the little figures acted wonderfully well, and as he
had a great appreciation of genius, he attended all orations of the
Academy,[42] and commented upon them with great sagacity.

Until he was eighteen years old, this gallery continued to be his
greatest pleasure; in fact, he knew no other. At that age he began to
wish to know the people whose portraits he saw; the Fairy, desirous
to please him, dared not oppose him too much; she put him off with
promises, but feared he would escape her. "I hunt in your park," he
said; "I walk in it; I always see the same things, it tires me; I
should like sometimes to see something different." "Ah! truly," said
the Fairy, "you have well preserved the faults of human kind. Miserable
state of men! Can they be perfectly happy?--they cannot believe
themselves to be so, they sigh for what they do not possess, and when
they have obtained it they are disgusted with it. Ah! what have you to
wish for here? do you not reign here? are you not the master? Do you
fear treachery here, false friends, or bad advisers? We live but to
please you; you are all-powerful in this Palace--you command; we obey
you. What being could be grander and happier than you are?"

The Prince bent his head at the enumeration of all the happiness the
Fairy had surrounded him with, and found that he still desired more.
He said nothing, but his uneasiness, his agitation, his weariness,
appeared in spite of him in all his actions. Cornue increased the
magnificence of her dress; the Prince did not notice it; he scarcely
ever looked at her. She was disconsolate; for the idea, entertained
ever since she had carried him off, the hope of being ardently loved by
him, had strengthened with time, and the Prince's increasing beauty had
contributed much to her passion. He was just at that happy age in which
we please without much trouble, and love with that frankness which is
so soon discarded.

Cornue was enraged that he did not think of her. "You ought to love me,
were it only to amuse you," said she to him, one day, when she was very
melancholy. "Love you," replied he, looking very vacantly at her; "do
I not love you?" Then, without thinking of it, he added immediately,
"I feel certain I shall never love." "Ah! why?" said the Fairy; "who
prevents you?" "Nobody," he replied; then rose, and took a gun, and
went shooting for the rest of the day.

The Fairy, in despair at his indifference, and fearing she should lose
him if she still persisted in opposing him, perceiving also that he
was thinner, and that his colour had faded, determined to allow him to
change the scene, and for this reason one morning she sent for him.
"The time has arrived," said she, "that I can give you your liberty to
leave the Palace. You will find the vast universe, of which I am about
to open the roads to you, resemble a very stormy ocean, but since you
wish to expose yourself to it, I will not detain you; all I advise
you to do is to confide in me when in trouble (for you will have much
to endure before you become King), and to commence your excursions
by going to my sister Tigreline, and asking her, from me, for the
wonderful necklace which can alone preserve you from the misfortunes
attached to your fate. Take this bottle, pour a drop of the spirit
it contains upon the clouds which surround the park; they will open
for you to pass, and this dog will guide you on your way back to the
palace."

The Prince, who did not expect so great a favour, displayed such
transports of gratitude that the Fairy felt nearly recompensed for her
trouble by the caresses she received from him. He promised to follow
her advice upon every point, and set out immediately. The boundaries
of the park adjoined a forest so wild and frightful that Coquerico
found the world was not quite so beautiful as he imagined it to be;
notwithstanding, he entered this vast wilderness, accompanied solely
by his dog. Guided by his faithful companion, he was pursuing a
path which led to the Forest of Tigers, when suddenly he saw a lion
of extraordinary size coming straight towards him. At first he was
startled at such a meeting, never having seen a lion in Cornue's
park; but recovering himself a little, he shot an arrow with so true
an aim that it pierced the lion's heart, and he fell dead at his feet.
He proceeded as fast as possible, but his attention was arrested a
moment afterwards by frightful roarings. He looked in the direction
from whence they came, and he saw in the distance another lion, running
at full speed, with a young child on its back; he was about to pursue
it, but his dog pulled him by the coat so hard that he thought the
Fairy Cornue had appointed this dog to be his guardian, and so, giving
himself up to his guidance, he arrived at Tigreline's abode without
further accident.

As soon as he had told her the reason of his journey, she replied,
"Prince Coquerico, you will inform my sister that I have disposed of
the necklace that she asks me for; doubtless it was for you she wanted
it. I hope, however, that it will not fall into your hands so soon,
whatever advantage you might desire from it. But to make up for the
loss of this gift, which I am no longer able to bestow, I warn you that
if you ever pronounce your name rashly, or without its being absolutely
necessary, you will lose, perhaps for ever, that which is most dear to
you. I advise you, therefore, to conceal your name from every one, or
at least not to mention it lightly. Go, Prince, I can do nothing more
for you."

The Prince thanked the Fairy very much, kissed her hand, retired, and
returned to Cornue's palace, very well satisfied with the little he had
seen. He was received most graciously; they asked him many questions;
he related all his adventures; he fancied he should never have finished
talking about them, everything had seemed of such singular beauty to
him. He was in high spirits all the evening. They praised him, they
caressed him, but that did not content him. He was resolved to go out
again, and the Fairy, perceiving how good-tempered he was, permitted
him to do as he wished. For a whole year he roamed to the furthest
extent of the beautiful country in the neighbourhood; sometimes he went
on horseback, and often dismounted to sleep under the trees during the
heat of the day. This sort of exercise increased his stature and his
strength. He was now in the prime of his beauty.

He was very anxious to ask the Fairy to restore him to his subjects;
he was tired of this life of privation; his mind, as fine as his
person, made him anxious to revisit his kingdom; but he dared not as
yet request Cornue's permission, lest he should appear ungrateful.
This brought back his former melancholy. Cornue became alarmed; she
endeavoured to amuse him in every imaginable way. He scarcely ever went
out; he passed his days almost entirely in the gallery of models, and
when he saw a battle he could not be got away from it. What was still
worse, he one day witnessed the coronation of a young King. At this
sight they thought he would go mad. The shouts of joy, the warlike
instruments, the pomp of the ceremony, transported him with anger as
well as delight. "Why, then," said he, "am I to be imprisoned here
during my youth, when I could be at the head of these people, making
either war or peace, enjoying really my rights of birth? They would
detain me here, a captive, render me as effeminate as Achilles at
the Court of Licomedia. Can I not find a Ulysses who will come to my
rescue?" He would have given still greater vent to his vexation had
they not come to announce to him that the Fairy was waiting for him
to order them to begin an opera she had commanded the performance of.
"What, always some fête?" said he. "Well," he continued, "I must submit
to it."

The opera they were to perform was _Armide_.[43] The Fairy, who had
been told what an ill-humour the Prince was in, watched him during
the performance. She thought that he seemed amused by it, for he was
so attentive to the piece. The fourth and fifth acts he certainly did
think wonderful; he spoke of it the whole of the evening; he admired
above everything the idea of the shield which restored the hero to
glory. "What," said the Fairy; "does not Armida interest you at all?
Do you not pity her? So much affection deserves a better recompense."
"By my faith, Madam," replied the Prince, "your Armida has what she
deserves. I should like to know if the heart is to be commanded; I
believe it to be perfectly independent of the will, as far as I am
concerned." Cornue felt the cruelty of this answer, but she did not
appear to do so, and turned the conversation to another subject.

The Prince retired early, that he might go the next day shooting.
This was the day that his hand was wounded by the beautiful Lionette's
arrow. Upon returning to the Fairy's palace the Prince considered
whether he should speak of this adventure; he was astonished at himself
for wishing to keep it a secret. A sweet feeling (hitherto unknown to
him) stole over his mind, and took such possession of it that he was
unable to conceal it. He asked himself what it could mean, and he could
find no reason for it. The name of Lionette enchanted him. He repeated
it incessantly. The grace, the beauty of this young girl enchanted him,
and he found himself within the palace without being aware how he had
arrived there. It was then he began to recover himself a little.

Under the effect of this intoxicating feeling, he said a thousand
gallant things to the Fairy. She was surprised at it, but flattering
herself that her charms had produced this alteration, she did not
inquire the reason of such extraordinary joy. His wound made her
uneasy, but he took care to tell her that he had hurt himself with one
of his own arrows, and the enamoured Cornue, anxious about everything
that concerned him, cured it by breathing upon it, without further
inquiry. He was in charming spirits for the rest of the day; Cornue
thought he had lost his senses; she ordered some music that he thought
delightful, although he had heard the same every day without noticing
it--so much does love embellish the slightest objects. His passion led
him to indulge in delicious meditations, and to discover in his heart
the existence of emotions he had never dreamed of. He retired early,
and hastened to the gallery, seeking for a representation of her whom
he had seen during the day--he was successful in his search; he saw
the lovely Lionette seated between the old people in the cavern, and
when, on separating for the night, they extinguished the light, and
she was in darkness, he still remained gazing in the direction of the
cavern, and did not leave the gallery until the following morning
was sufficiently advanced for him to go and meet the lovely huntress
herself. In traversing the forest he lost himself, and that was the
cause of his being so long before he rejoined his beautiful Lionette.

Unfortunately for the Fairy, her skill was now useless to her--from
the moment Fairies fall in love, their art cannot protect them; when
they recover their reason they regain their power; but in the interim
they can neither punish their rivals nor discover them, unless chance
assist them, as it might common mortals. Three months elapsed without
her having an idea of the cause of the change in Prince Coquerico;
she heard no more of his ambitious aspirations; a country life and
retirement was all he now desired; he dressed himself as a shepherd; he
composed eclogues and madrigals; he engraved them upon the trees in the
park, accompanied by gallant and amorous devices that the Fairy could
not understand. When she asked him for an explanation, he smiled, and
told her it was not for him to instruct so learned a person as she was.
"Ask your own heart, Madam," added he, "that will teach you; it was
mine that dictated it all to me."

The Fairy was quite contented with this answer; she interpreted it
according to her own wishes, but she could not reconcile to herself the
Prince's frequent absence, after all he had said to her; for he went
out the first thing in the morning, and did not return till the last
thing at night. She passed whole days in thinking about new dresses
and different entertainments. As she had a lively imagination, she
succeeded with the latter, but the former were absolutely useless--her
age and her horn entirely defeated all attempts at decoration. It was
upon this occasion that she invented the _Bal-Masqués_, which have been
ever since so successful. The Prince often indulged in this agreeable
delusion, and with his heart full of the beautiful Lionette, he spoke
to the Fairy as though he were addressing his love, and the credulous
Cornue took it all to herself.

Towards the end of the third month of this intense and secret passion,
the Prince at length resolved to ask the Fairy to conduct him to his
own kingdom. It was not ambition that induced him to wish it, but a
higher and more delicate sentiment. Why conceal it? Love itself made
him anxious to ascend the throne, that he might place the beautiful
Lionette on it beside him. He had scarcely spoken to the Fairy about
it before she consented, flattering herself that he wished to share
his crown with her. With what pleasure did she order everything for
his departure. The Prince, as we know, took leave of his lovely
shepherdess, and set out, with the Fairy and a numerous suite, for the
kingdom of the Fortunate Isles. Cornue was seated with him in a car of
rock crystal, drawn by a dozen unicorns; their harness was of gold and
rubies, as brilliant as the sun. A dozen other chariots, as pompous,
followed; and the Prince, as beautiful as Cupid, and magnificently
dressed, attracted the attention of every one. He had most carefully
concealed the necklace that the lovely Lionette had given him; he wore
it on his left arm as a bracelet, and his dress covered it. He was
delighted at the thought of appearing before Lionette in such grand
apparel, and to read in her looks the joy such proof of his love would
give her; but he could not help feeling a secret anxiety, which at
times cast a cloud over his mind; he attributed it to the distance
between him and his love, and sometimes he thought he had done wrong in
going so far away from her. "The happiness I am seeking, is it worth
what I lose?" said he. "Lionette loves me as she has seen me; will she
love me more for possessing a crown? Ah! Lionette, I know you too well
to wrong you so much; your noble and simple heart only estimates that
true grandeur which places man above his fellows by the elevation of
his mind."

At length he arrived at the Fortunate Isles, and the people, delighted
to see their Prince again, received him with acclamations. He was
crowned, and by the attentions of the enamoured Cornue, the ceremony
was followed by magnificent fêtes, in which the Prince, from gratitude,
insisted on her sharing all the honours. The fêtes ended, and the
affairs of this fine kingdom put in order by the Fairy and the
ministers she had chosen, she determined to have a complete explanation
with the King, and began by adroitly proposing that he should marry.
She had gained the ministers over to her wishes, and induced them to
join in the proposition she had made to him; but who can tell Cornue's
astonishment when the young Prince replied by acknowledging his love
for the beautiful Lionette, and entreating her to assist in rendering
him happy, by enabling him to share his throne with the object of his
affections! "Ah! where have you seen this Lionette?" replied the Fairy,
with a look in which astonishment, rage, and vexation were equally
visible. "What, then," added she, "is this the return for my care of
you?" The Prince, astonished at this sharp reply, and not fearing
her reproaches, ended by relating his interview with Lionette, and
painted his affection in such glowing colours that she plainly saw
the opposition she might make against it would only tend to irritate
him and increase his passion; then cleverly making her decision, "I
would not speak thus to you," said she, "but to reproach you for
your want of confidence, that you did not open your heart to me. I
should have served you better, and Lionette would have been to-day
Queen of the Fortunate Isles; but you have acted like a young man
without experience, and I doubt if I can serve you at present as I
could otherwise have done." "Ah! Madam," replied the King, "you can if
you will. Give me your chariot, and let me go and seek my beautiful
Lionette." "I will do better for you," said she, with a forced smile;
"I will go with you as soon as it strikes midnight; hold yourself in
readiness; we shall be on our way back before the sun is up, and I know
no other means of satisfying your impatience."

The Prince embraced the Fairy's knees, transported with joy and
gratitude, which wounded her much more than his unfortunate confidence;
she took leave of him under a pretext of consulting her books, but
really because she could not contain herself, and her fury had
risen to a most horrible height. Who could describe it? All that an
amorous, jealous, and mistaken woman could feel, she, as a Fairy, felt
still more; nor could the most forcible language paint but feebly
the tortures which racked her heart. She had promised, however,
to accompany the Prince; but that would enable her to execute the
vengeance she meditated.

She felt the more assured of her revenge as the Prince had let the
necklace fall from his arm, and had left her without being aware of
his loss. She picked it up, and thanking the stars for so lucky an
accident, no longer delayed taking measures for her revenge, which
would have been useless without that precious necklace. She closed
the doors of her apartment, that her absence might not be perceived,
and desired the King might be told she must consult her books in
private, and at midnight she would be visible. She mounted a flying
dragon, and speedily arrived in the cavern, where everything was in
profound repose; the dragon sneezed, which was like a clap of thunder,
and enough to rend the cavern. She accomplished, as we have already
seen, her wicked intentions, and returned to the Fortunate Isles as
the clock struck eleven. She could hardly restrain her delight while
waiting for the King; but soon the idea of his being in love, and
without doubt loved in return, renewed her fury; she was in a transport
of rage when he entered her room with an eagerness which assisted not a
little to increase it.

She endeavoured to calm herself, or rather to dissemble her rage;
her fury was at such a height that her horn was in a flame, and the
enamoured and too credulous Coquerico, thinking it was an attention she
was paying him to guide him in the darkness of the night, thanked her
a thousand times for this precaution. They mounted a chariot drawn by
three owls, set off at full speed, and descended in the forest close to
the cavern wherein Lionette had been reared. The Prince only knew it
from Lionette's description of it. Love invests with interest the most
trifling circumstance connected with its object.

He had often asked her to describe the place she inhabited. He
remembered every little detail distinctly. He could not be deceived;
besides, he knew her bow and arrow that were in the cabinet in which
she slept. His grief was excessive at not finding her; he called her,
he went in and out of the cavern a thousand and a thousand times, he
entreated the Fairy to throw a light from her horn upon places that
were obscure, and seeing some little pictures she had painted--"Ah!
this is her work," cried he; "I will preserve them all my life." The
Fairy was so irritated at his transports, that she threw out a flame
from her horn, which in a moment destroyed everything that was in the
cavern.

The Prince had great difficulty to save himself from this
conflagration. The Fairy protected him, however, and triumphed within
herself at the absence of her rival. She advised the Prince to seek
for her elsewhere. "Perhaps," said she, "her parents have married her;
or perhaps," she continued, ironically, "grief at your loss has caused
her death." "I know not what has happened," said the Prince, in a tone
which marked the agitation of his mind, and distracted at not being
able to find his mistress; "but I would rather believe her to be dead
than unfaithful; and if it be true that she exists no longer, very soon
I shall follow her to the grave." "Here is a furious determination of a
lover!" cried the Fairy; but considering that under the circumstances
it would be better not to irritate the King, she changed her tone.
"What I have said," pursued she, "is to prove the interest I take in
you. I am sorry you should have conceived an affection for a person
of such low extraction, and I cannot sufficiently thank Fate that, in
accordance with my own opinion, has removed this shepherdess, and thus
assisted your heart to recover from its error." "I know not if Fate has
assisted you to drive me mad," replied the Prince, sharply; "but if so,
I feel she has been more successful in that attempt than the other.
As to Lionette, I will repair the defect, if it be one, to be born of
obscure parents,--not that I believe it possible for her to be what
she appears. In any case, however, happy are the princesses who are as
high-minded as she is."

The Prince now, seeing how uselessly he was seeking for her in this
place, entered the chariot again with the Fairy, and returned to the
Fortunate Isles, where they arrived at sunrise without having spoken a
single word, both of them occupied--the one by her fury, the other by
his grief.

The King, upon his return, shut himself up in his palace, and thought
of nothing but by what steps he might recover Lionette. It occurred to
him he ought to go to Tigreline. This resolution taken, he proceeded
to Cornue to tell her his project. "I cannot imagine," said he to
her, "why you do not assist me in this affair; is your power so
limited? Is Tigreline's more extensive than yours?--for I believe,"
he added, instantly, "you are so interested in my happiness, that
you would exert all the skill you possess to increase it, if it were
possible. I could not even doubt it, without being ungrateful. I have
had sufficient proofs to be quite sure of it, and I feel that I can
never forget them." Cornue blushed at this question, which she did not
expect, and becoming acquainted with the extent of her misfortune by
the latter part of the King's discourse. "It is in consequence of that
very affection I have for you," said she, "as you ought to know, that
I will not serve you in fostering a passion that would diminish your
glory; and if you are as grateful as you say you are for the care I
have taken to make you happy, and for preserving your life, you will
discard an infatuation which will be your ruin. What an idea will your
people--will the whole universe--have of a king so little master of
himself that he runs after a poor shepherdess, to give her a crown
which he might share with the first princesses in the world--no matter
whom: perhaps even a fairy might not have disdained to partake of one
with you." These last words, which escaped her in spite of herself,
opened the King's eyes, and looking at the Fairy with astonishment, he
was convinced of the truth of his suspicions when he saw her standing
silent, confused, and carefully avoiding his gaze.

It was some time before he could find words to answer, from his
excessive astonishment; but unwilling either to irritate the Fairy at
the moment he so much wanted her assistance, or to encourage a hope
that he felt incapable of sustaining. "The knowledge you have of the
human heart, Madam," said he, at last, "ought to have taught you that
a King cannot dispense with the laws of nature more than other men. So
pure and intense a passion as I have for Lionette is not of a character
to be easily extinguished. Why did you not exert your power to render
me insensible? I should not then have felt the grief I have to-day, nor
the happiness you speak of. This choice of a great princess or of a
fairy who would deign to receive my vows and my crown--this happiness,
I say, does not at all affect me. Is it necessary that to be happy I
must sacrifice myself for ever to the whims of my people? I must choose
for myself. I would willingly make them happy. I feel a pleasure even
in desiring and being able to do so--but what can it signify to them
who I give them for their Queen? I value my greatness only because
it enables me to elevate her whom I love. This sweet pleasure would
induce me to support the weight of a crown; without it, what would be
every other enjoyment? And am I compelled, because I am their master,
to be deprived of the only pleasure I sigh for? No, Madam; in giving
them Lionette I consider that I make them as happy as I make myself.
Should they refuse to receive her, they will repent their temerity; and
whoever ventures to oppose me will find that my love has not made me
forget I am a king."

"Proceed, ungrateful one! Proceed to destroy me!" said the Fairy.
"You know too well all the violence of my love for you, and you only
pretend not to see it to overwhelm me the more by your severity. It is
I--it is I only--who will expose myself to the danger of resisting thy
base inclinations. Dare to punish me, and so complete the measure of
your crimes! But how wilt thou do it? Thou art in my power, and the
necklace which I hold, and which dropped from thine arm yesterday in my
room, will revenge me for thy ingratitude." In saying this, she arose,
and touching the King with her wand as he advanced to recover his
mistress's love-token, she transformed him into a cock; then, opening
one of the windows, she threw him down into the court of the palace;
after which, assembling the Council, she informed them that the King
had absented himself upon urgent business, and she, not being able to
remain longer in that kingdom, had determined to appoint a regent. This
affair concluded, she ascended her chariot and disappeared from their
sight.

The King was dizzy with his fall, but his wings had supported him,
in spite of himself, and when he had a little recovered his senses
he jumped upon a balustrade of white and rose-coloured marble,
which surrounded a piece of magnificent water in the centre of
the court-yard, to see himself in it. He was astounded at his
appearance--not but that he was the most beautiful bird in the world;
his body seemed as though it was covered with emeralds,--his wings were
of a bright rose-colour, and on his head was a crest of brilliants,
which threw out a most dazzling light,--his tail was a plume of green
and rose-colour,--his feet, of the latter hue, with claws blacker than
ebony, and his beak was a single ruby.

We will leave this unhappy King reflecting upon the cruelty of this
transformation, and return to Lionette, whom we left still more
unhappy. This beautiful Princess, after having been six months amongst
the tigers of the Fairy Tigreline, deploring her sad fate, was at
length withdrawn from them by the Fairy herself, who pitying her
situation, came to seek her and carry her to her palace, with both her
unfortunate companions. Then, after caressing them and conducting them
to a very comfortable den, she said to the Princess, "My dear Lionette,
you have been a sufficiently long time punished for your imprudence
in having given away your necklace, without my adding further useless
remonstrances to the misery you endure in not being able to change
your form until you have recovered that talisman; therefore, my dear
child, I shall not scold you any more--on the contrary, I will mitigate
your penalty as much as I can, and I am going to prove it to you by
restoring your good guardians to their natural forms, that they may
have the pleasure of talking to you, and consoling you." Poor Lionette
threw herself at the Fairy's feet, and by the tears she shed, evinced
at the same time her joy and her sorrow at not being able to answer
her. Tigreline touched the Lion and Lioness with her wand; in an
instant they resumed their human form, and after embracing the Fairy's
knees, they embraced Lionette a thousand times, who returned their
caresses as well as she could.

After this affecting scene, at which even Tigreline herself could
not restrain her tears, she thus addressed the old man and his wife:
"Good people, the days of your transformation will not be reckoned
in the term of your existence, neither will Lionette's when she has
passed through hers. Live to serve and console her until the time of
her severe punishment shall have ended. I will not have her shut up
any longer; she can run freely about my gardens and in my forest; as
for yourselves, you will remain in my palace, and have charge of her.
Let us wait patiently for time to bring about a more happy termination
to this adventure than I can dare to hope for, and at least by our
fortitude cause Fate to blush for her injustice." The Fairy ceased
speaking, and embraced Lionette with all her heart. Lionette's was
so full that she shed a torrent of tears, and uttered groans which
increased the affliction both of the Fairy and the good people.

She spent her days in the forest, hunting game, which the Fairy had
ordered to be put there for her. The tigers respected and saluted her
whenever she passed. She reclined during the heat of the day in the
most secluded and shady places, meditating on her fate, and feeling
less distressed at her own situation than at the absence or the loss of
Prince Coquerico. She sighed affectionately at the remembrance of him,
and her greatest grief was her separation from him. She scrawled with
her talons on the barks of the trees rudely formed initials, hearts and
arrows, and wept over her lover's and her own misfortune. At night she
returned to her den, and to the Fairy, who showed her great kindness.
The old man and his wife amused her by relating anecdotes to her.

One day that she was at the Fairy's with her guardians, she seized a
sheet of paper and a pen, and wrote a request to the Fairy that she
would tell her who she was. She presented it to Tigreline, who, as she
was very clever, contrived to read what the Lioness had written. (No
one but a Fairy could well have deciphered it.) She sighed, and raised
her eyes to Heaven, then looking affectionately at Lionette, she said,
"I am going to satisfy you, my dear Lionette. The trials that mortals
encounter often serve as lessons to persons of your rank. May it please
the just gods that those which you have endured from the commencement
of your life be the only trials ordained for you. But do not cease to
bear them with resignation and courage. You are a Princess, my dear
child; they did not deceive you when they told you so; you are the
daughter of the King of the Island of Gold; the Queen, your mother,
died in giving birth to you, and the King, your father, resolved not
to marry again, that he might preserve the crown for you. You were
scarcely four years old when a fugitive Queen, driven from her kingdom,
came to implore your father's assistance to regain the throne that her
rebellious subjects had made her descend from, for having persisted
in reigning to the prejudice of her only son, whom she detained at a
distance from the capital, for fear he should claim the sceptre.

"This ambitious Princess, perceiving that the King, your father,
would afford his assistance too slowly for her impatience, turned
her thoughts in another direction. She cared not where she reigned,
provided she did reign. She therefore resolved to marry your father;
but knowing he did not wish for an increase of family that might
deprive you of the crown, and that consequently as long as you lived
he would never marry, she came to consult me. She did not attempt to
conceal from me her sanguinary intentions respecting you; and I knew if
I were mistress of the necklace that she wore, I should be able to save
your life.[44] I listened, therefore, quietly to her, notwithstanding
the horror that these propositions gave me of her. 'Queen,' said I
to her, 'you will never obtain your object until I have possession
of your necklace. Give it to me, and be sure of the success of your
undertaking.' 'A Fairy who presided at my birth,' said she, 'commanded
that I should always wear it.' Those were her only words; but since
it has not prevented my falling from the throne to which my birth had
entitled me, I part with it willingly, and place it in your hands,
relying much more on your assistance than on the pretended charm to
make me happy.' 'Go,' said I, 'return to the Island of Gold, and wait
patiently the effect of my power, and above all, do not attempt the
life of the young Princess; I will serve you without adopting such
cruel means.'

"She returned to the Island, and after some time, married your father.
That very day I transported you, with the King and the Queen, into the
cavern where the old man found you, and changed them both into Lions.
The King because I feared his weakness, and the Queen to punish her
for her wickedness. I not only took from her the power of doing you
any harm, but obliged her to take care of you. As for the King, I knew
I need not inspire him with feelings of humanity; he retained them,
notwithstanding the natural ferocity of the animal into which I had
transformed him."

Poor Lionette at these words interrupted the Fairy by a melancholy
roar. Tigreline smiled, and caressing the Lioness, "Take courage, my
dear girl," said she; "you mourn the death of a good father; your
susceptible heart will feel equal joy in learning that I have saved his
life; that he is at present residing in a part of the world to which I
transported him after I had cured his wound; and that he is as anxious
to see you again as you can possibly desire." Lionette, who was couched
upon a great stone at the feet of the Fairy, licked her hand softly,
to show her gratitude, and her eyes sparkled with so much pleasure
that the Fairy, delighted at the effect of her good-tidings, kissed
her most tenderly. "As for the Lioness, your mother-in-law," continued
Tigreline, "she died, not from grief at losing the Lion, but from rage
at finding her projects frustrated by his death, which she really
believed; and the tears you have shed for her were far more than she
deserved for the unwilling care she took of you."

The Fairy had arrived at this point in her story, when in at the window
flew a cock of singular beauty, and perched upon her shoulder; they
were all very much astonished; the Fairy, who was spinning, let fall
her spindle, but quickly recovering herself, she held out her finger
to the bird, which jumped upon it, and flapping its wings in token of
gratitude, crowed out "Coquerico" two or three times. At the first
note the Lioness took fright, and ran off as fast as possible,[45] her
guardians following her. In the meanwhile, Tigreline examined the bird,
and seeing how wonderfully beautiful he was, immediately unravelled
the mystery of this adventure. "Prince," said she, "I believe I know
you, and I am much deceived if you have not just told me your name."
The Prince (for it was he) stooped his beak to her feet, as making a
low bow to the Fairy. "Oh, Heavens!" cried she, "is it possible there
should be such a complicated chain of misfortunes. The barbarous being
who has reduced you to this sad state has only allowed you the power of
pronouncing a name which is the cause of all kinds of evil to you. It
has even now occasioned your Princess to fly from you, and perhaps it
may have been the last time in your life that you could have seen her."

The Cock at these words looked at the Fairy with amazement; he had
only perceived in the room a lioness and two old people; he could
not comprehend these words of Tigreline; she read his thoughts, for
he could not express them. "She was here, I tell you," replied she,
"and I forgive you for not recognising her; but if my sister, the
cruel Cornue, has been able to change you into a cock, has she not
the power also of turning the Princess into a lion?" The Cock felt
as if he should faint at this cruel news. "Oh, Fate! pitiless Fate!"
continued the Fairy, "how blind are thy decrees! Why dost thou punish
the innocent, and let the guilty live?" Her thoughts would have quite
absorbed her if her eyes had not fallen upon the poor bird, who had
fallen down, and appeared dying. She took him in her arms, and giving
him some wonderful liquid to smell, he recovered his senses, but sighed
bitterly at being compelled to see the light again. "Do not distress
yourself, my dear Prince," said the Fairy, "I will use all my skill to
assist you; but to ensure my success you must second my endeavours. I
cannot render you perfectly happy so long as Cornue is in possession of
the necklace, and it is only through you that I can recover it. Repose
yourself, dear Prince; my books that I am going to consult to-night
will enlighten me as to what we shall do to-morrow."

The King could not sufficiently express his gratitude--he pressed his
beak on the Fairy's hand, and squeezed her arm gently with his claw--in
short, he displayed as much feeling as he possibly could. Tigreline,
after giving him something to eat and to drink, which he scarcely
touched, placed him upon a shelf in her cabinet, and then saluting
him, retired to her chamber to set about the work she had promised to
undertake for him.

While this was passing, poor Lionette, overcome with a fear she could
not recover from, fled with all her might, and had already gone far
beyond the Forest of Tigers, notwithstanding those animals had used
all their endeavours to detain her, for they were all fond of her, and
several of them were even in love with her; but she had forced her way
through every obstacle, and having no guide but terror, still believing
the Cock was pursuing her, she ran a hundred leagues at once, and never
stopped till her strength failed her. Her poor guardians called to
her and sought for her in vain; they returned very much distressed at
daybreak to the Fairy, to tell her of Lionette's flight.

The Fairy, who knew that if Lionette went beyond the limits of the
forest she had no longer any power over her, and that she would be
entirely at Cornue's mercy, left her unwillingly to her fate, and
thought only of being of service to King Coquerico. She entered the
cabinet wherein he had passed the night, to tell him what he had to
do. He flapped his wings at her arrival, and flew to the ground to
kiss the hem of her robe. The Fairy took him on her hand, placed him
on a little table, and drew it up in front of an arm-chair, in which
she seated herself. "Great King," said she, "the destiny that has
nursed you since your birth commands me to tell you that you will not
regain your natural form but upon very severe conditions. You must be
sufficiently fortunate to recover from Cornue the necklace given to you
by Lionette. If you fail to do so, you can never become a human being
again but by marrying Cornue. In that case, if Lionette, whom my wicked
sister insists upon being a witness to this ceremony, can restrain
the grief it must cause her, I foresee that you may become happy at
last; but if she have not the courage to support the terrible sight
of that marriage, I will not be answerable for anything." Coquerico at
these words bent his head and shed tears, at which the Fairy was much
affected. "A tender heart," said the Fairy, "is pardonable, and even
desirable in a King. Your grief, according to this principle, is very
excusable, but you must not abandon yourself too much to sorrow. Leave
to vulgar minds, my lord, complaints and lamentations, and without
wishing to be stronger than humanity demands, courageously resist the
blows of fate, and if you only succeed in testing your fortitude, and
finding it cannot be shaken, you ought to be content. It is the first
of all advantages, and yet one we rarely ask of the gods, because we do
not know the value of it. Take this bottle, and endeavour to throw a
drop of the liquid that is in it upon Cornue. That will make her swoon
away, and you will then obtain your object."

Coquerico, who was in no hurry to depart, looked at the Fairy to ask
her to explain herself still further: she understood what he would
say. She related in a few words Lionette's history. He thanked her in
the most affectionate manner he could, and he now recollected that the
Fairy, in speaking of her previously, had more than once called her the
Princess. He was enchanted to learn that this lovely girl was of such
high birth, but that did not increase his affection for her. Nothing,
indeed, could augment it. It was not so with respect to his indignation
against Cornue. Every moment it became stronger, particularly when the
Fairy, at the end of her narration, told him that the unhappy Princess
had taken flight at his crowing, as well as at his name, from the
antipathy that lions had naturally to the crowing of a cock, that the
malicious Cornue had increased it in the case of Lionette, that he had
so frightened her that she had flown beyond the bounds of the forest,
and that she might have fallen already into Cornue's power, as, having
once quitted the Forest of Tigers, she could not possibly re-enter it
till she had resumed her own shape.

King Coquerico was instantly anxious to depart, and indicated it as
well as he could to Tigreline, who could understand at half a word.
After embracing him, and fastening the bottle under his right wing, she
opened her window, and he flew away, perfectly resolved that rather
than crow to frighten the lions, he would be devoured by them.

To what fearful extent can passions increase in the hearts of those
who do not try to conquer them? The implacable Cornue, distracted by
turns, or rather at the same moment, by the most violent love and
by the most frightful jealousy, spent her days in the Opal Palace,
meditating the deepest revenge against her rival and her lover. What
more could she desire? Were they not sufficiently wretched? They could
not recognise each other, and flew from one another as soon as they
met. Could anything more cruel be imagined? Poor Lionette, overcome by
fatigue, fell down from faintness and fright upon some beautiful green
turf, which answered as a bed for the moment. She had run an hundred
leagues without stopping, as we have said before, and with incredible
swiftness, for she had quitted the Fairy in the evening, and by sunrise
next morning found herself in this strange country. So true it is that
fear lends one wings. She looked around her, and saw nothing but that
green sward, through which flowed a clear stream, refreshing the grass
and the little wild flowers that adorned it. She slept there profoundly
after drinking of the beautiful water, which possessed the property not
only to quench thirst, but at the same time to appease hunger.

She slept for fifteen hours. When she awoke she felt much refreshed,
and continued her journey along the bank, at the end of which she saw a
palace, of architecture as simple as it was wonderful. She entered it
by a beautiful portico of foliage; in it she saw cabinets, chambers,
and galleries, all formed of green hedges, and what charmed her
particularly was, that in the middle of each room were large groups
of flowers of all sorts, that greeted her with most friendly bows,
and said with one accord, as she approached, "Good morning, beautiful
Lionette." This wonderfully astonished her; she stopped at a tube-rose
plant that had saluted her still more graciously than the rest. "Lovely
flowers," said she to them, "by what happy chance is it that you have
given me the power of speech, that all the skill and friendship of
the generous Tigreline could not restore to me? Is it you that have
done this? Tell me, that I may return my thanks to you?" "The stream
that has quenched your thirst, beautiful Lionette," replied one of the
tube-roses, "has the merit of it; we have no power, and it is only
when we are watered by it that we have the faculty of hearing, seeing,
and expressing ourselves. We are flowers from the garden of the Fairy
Cornue; for some time past she has been very sad; she came to converse
with us, but we were unable to comfort her; perhaps that task was
reserved for you; you must use your endeavours. She will not return for
two days, as she was here yesterday; her palace is some distance from
this; wait for her, we will do all we possibly can to amuse you till
she returns."

The Tube-rose then ceased speaking, although she was naturally a little
talkative, but she yielded from politeness to Lionette's desire to
ask some questions. "I should like to know, obliging Tube-rose," said
Lionette, "if Cornue, of whom you speak, and to whom you belong, is a
beautiful fairy; and then I should be obliged by your telling me how
you knew my name and who I was as soon as you saw me." "A Rose-tree,
who is the oracle of this place," replied the Tube-rose, "at the last
sacrifice made to it by the Fairy, our mistress, predicted that a
great princess, in the form of a lion, would one day come hither, and
that here she would terminate all her distress. The Fairy displayed
immoderate joy at this; she redoubled the incense and the bees, they
being the only victims that are immolated here. This is an answer to
your two questions at once, for by the Fairy's delight you can easily
conceive her good intentions towards you."

The innocent Lionette thought there was great truth in the tube-rose's
conjectures; she thanked her heartily, and begged she would inform her
where the Rose-tree was, that she might consult it as to what conduct
she ought to adopt. The Tube-rose directed her, and she soon found the
spot; it was not far from the cabinet of tube-roses. This apartment
had some appearance of a temple, the hedges forming an arch above
the Rose-tree, which preserved it from the heat of the sun; a little
balustrade of jasmine and pomegranate trees surrounded this beautiful
plant, which was covered with so many roses that it was quite dazzling.
The Lioness was obliged to shut her eyes once or twice: she tremblingly
approached the balustrade, and prostrating herself, respectfully said,
"Divinity of this lovely place, deign to receive my homage, and tell me
my destiny."

The Rose-tree at these words appeared to be much agitated, the leaves
and flowers trembled, and became pale. Then a voice interrupted by sobs
issued from its branches, and Lionette heard the following words:--

    To the severe decree of Fate
    In blind submission bend.
    A Princess, most unfortunate,
    Will here her sorrows end.

The Princess was frightened at the indications of grief the Rose-tree
gave way to, and if the first words overwhelmed her, the latter
encouraged her a little. "Alas!" said she, "I fear nothing but the
prolongation of my existence; if I should end my miserable life here, I
should bless the fate that led me to this spot; but wise and generous
Rose-tree, before ending my days, may I not know if he to whom I would
willingly consecrate them still lives; and if he is happy, wherever he
may be? This is my only anxiety. I should die without one regret if I
knew that his destiny was decided." The rose-bush was again strongly
agitated, and thus replied:--

    For the last time, at thy desire,
    I raise my warning voice:--
    Thy lover only will expire
    Shouldst thou oppose his choice.

"Ah! wise Divinity," exclaimed the affectionate Lioness, "I will ask
you nothing more; if he live, I am too happy. May I alone suffer from
the severity of the Fairies! Their persecutions appear as nothing to
me if he be exempted from them, and I permitted to see him happy.
Ah! why should I fetter his inclinations? Alas! the choice which I
should be opposed to, whatever it might be, would never offend me;
what can he owe me? and what can I offer him worthy of his merits? The
unfortunate Lionette not having it in her power to make him happy,
should not prevent him from becoming so, at least I may be permitted
the desire of being the cause of it." Saying this, she retired to the
cabinet of the tube-roses, where she passed the night talking of her
shepherd, and telling her love for him to her faithful friend, who in
return more fully informed her what she knew of the Fairy Cornue and
of her floral companions. "As for the oracular Rose-tree," said she,
"all we know is, it is not of the rose-tree race, it was here when we
came, and I believe that the Fairy, to embellish its dwelling-place,
transplanted us hither; it speaks without being watered, and appears
but little amused by our conversation. It is naturally melancholy, and
you have seen for yourself it has a perfect knowledge of the past, the
present, and the future. The Fairy passes whole days, when she comes
here, in talking to it; rarely does she do us that honour, and I think
it is in consequence of the vexatious things she hears from it that she
feels no pleasure in talking to us. A pomegranate blossom, a very great
friend of mine, often repeated their conversation to me. The Rose-tree
conceals from the Fairy what it is--the Fairy cannot discover it; all
one can make out is, that it was not always a rose-tree."

She had spoken thus far, when a pink, a ranunculus, and some other
flowers entered, and after paying their compliments to the Lioness,
they announced to the Tube-rose that Cornue intended to visit them
a day earlier than usual; that they might expect her the following
morning, and that she proposed making a pompous sacrifice to the
Rose-tree; that they were ignorant of the cause of this grand ceremony,
but thought it denoted the approach of some great event. The flowers
wondered among themselves what this great event could be, without
coming to any definite conclusion.

They then talked about the weather, a conversation in which they shone
greatly, and which would have amused Lionette had she been in another
frame of mind, but she spoke little, and listened less. At sunset the
flowers retired each to their home; and Lionette, after taking a very
slight repast of herbs from the mossy ground, and drinking the water
from the wonderful rivulet, went to sleep at the feet of her faithful
friend the Tube-rose. The first rays of the sun having touched her
eyelids, she awoke: the flowers were already on the move. Lionette
arose, and repaired to the Rose-tree. She laid herself down in one
of the corners of its little temple, and saw all the flowers arrive,
and place themselves artistically to do honour to the Fairy, who did
not keep them long waiting. The whole of the temple glowed with the
beautiful colours of these various flowers; some formed themselves
into arbours, others into garlands, crowns, girandoles, in short, into
a thousand and a thousand kinds of ornaments, so marvellously arranged
that the general effect was dazzling. The sweetness of their perfume
was exquisite; and that which drew Lionette from her reflections was,
that after this arrangement, and on notice of the Fairy's approach,
they commenced so melodious a concert that the most melancholy beings
would have forgotten their grief, and have yielded to the sweet
enchantment in which this music wrapped the soul. The Tube-rose, above
all, was perfection. It charmed Lionette completely. She listened with
delight to this wonderful melody, and admired the poetry of the hymn
which they sang; when suddenly she saw the redoubtable Cornue enter,
blazing with jewels, but more frightfully ugly than can be described.
She was seized with a horror at this sight which she could not account
for. She reproached herself for it. "Is it possible," said she to
herself, "that I can be still affected by the weak prejudice of which
my sex is so susceptible? Ought we to decide upon the qualities of the
mind by the beauty or ugliness of the countenance? What feelings must I
inspire if they judge poor Lionette by her form? Judge thyself before
thou judgest others, and conceal not from thyself that if ugliness
induces thee to take an aversion to any one, thou must thyself inspire
a terrible horror."

While Lionette was constraining herself to vanquish the dreadful
feeling that the presence of the Fairy had possessed her with, the
latter, to the sound of joyful music which echoed through the temple
of the Rose-tree, advanced towards the balustrade and saw the Lioness,
who, seated in the corner to which she had retired, crouched in the
most humble manner as the Fairy gazed on her. Cornue's countenance
brightened with intense joy at this sight. "Oracle, whose words are
always those of truth," exclaimed she, "you have promised me that I
should one day find that which I have sought for so earnestly, and
which doubtless you have reserved as a recompense for the many honours
I have paid to you. Come," said she to the fairies who followed her,
"chain this wild beast, and fasten it to my chariot, after which let
us immolate our victims." Four fairies threw a chain about Lionette,
who allowed herself to be dragged out of the temple notwithstanding the
grief shown by the flowers, that looked as they do when Aurora sheds
her gentle dew upon them, for they all loved Lionette; but their tears
did not in the least soften the inflexible heart of the jealous Cornue.
The Rose-tree shot from its stem a flame which consumed the offering
of bees which the fairies had just placed upon a little golden altar
they had drawn towards it. Its roses became amaranth colour. Cornue
was quite alarmed at this change. "What prodigy is this?" cried she.
"Divinity of these realms, do you protect my rival, or is it the joy of
delivering her into my power that has produced this mysterious change?"
The Rose-tree shuddered at these words, and with a strong and terrible
voice thus answered the Fairy:--

    Immolate to my just wrath
    The first fowl that shall cross thy path.
    Mercy to it dare to show
    None thyself shall ever know!

The Rose-tree after this closed its flowers and leaves, and by this
action appeared to bid the Fairy depart. She left the temple much
discontented, and remounted her chariot, to which they had fastened
Lionette, with three other lions who were very handsome. She took the
reins that united these animals and drove slowly over the velvet lawn
by the side of the rivulet, the gentle murmuring of which favoured
her meditations, until one of the fairies, following in another
chariot, exclaimed that she saw a fowl in the water, which appeared
to be drowning. Cornue stopped her chariot, and ordered them to catch
and bring to her the bird that so luckily came to reconcile her with
the oracular Rose-tree. The fairies who were the lightest clad threw
themselves into the stream, and caught the poor bird, which was already
insensible. They carried it to Cornue, who was not at all surprised
at its beauty, for she instantly recognised, to her great dismay, the
unfortunate King Coquerico. "Oh, Heavens!" exclaimed she to herself;
"is it thus, cruel oracle, thou wouldst have me understand thee?" She
held the King up by his feet, and having made him eject the water
that he had swallowed, he reopened his eyes, already darkened by the
approach of death, then quickly touching him with her wand, said to
him, "Resume thy proper form, and save me thereby from the horror of
taking thy life, upon which mine depends." At these words the King,
safe and sound, appeared more brilliant than the sun, his royal mantle
on his shoulders, and his crown of brilliants gracefully encircling his
temples. What became of Lionette at this sight? Her lover stood before
her--her lover a king, and more beautiful than the day! She would have
been speechless with astonishment even had she not resolved beforehand
that she would not speak to the Fairy until she had discovered her
motive for ill-treating her so cruelly. She remained silent, therefore,
but her eyes were so affectionately fixed on the King, that if he had
not been pre-occupied by the adventure that had just occurred, he would
easily have recognised his unhappy Princess.

"What more do you require of me, Madam?" said he to Cornue. "Is it to
make me feel my miseries more keenly that you have restored me to my
form of which you so unjustly deprived me? or do you at last repent
that you have done me so much mischief?" "Ungrateful ever, and still
more ungrateful," replied the Fairy, presenting her hand for him to
assist her to descend from her chariot. "Come and justify yourself,
and do not accuse me." So saying, she stepped with him upon the mossy
bank of the rivulet, and leaving her chariot and her companions at
some distance, spoke thus to the King, whom she made to sit down
beside her:--"I need scarcely tell you that I have loved you from your
infancy; the care that I have taken of you must convince you of it,
if you still remember it, for I do not expect gratitude for such poor
benefits. I will only slightly touch upon what has hitherto passed,
for I experienced but cruel ingratitude, which my affection for you
disguised under the name of indifference, arising, perhaps, from my
lack of beauty. I believed for some time that by kindness I should
overcome this coldness. 'Beauty,' I said, 'is but a poor possession--a
sensible man is only caught at first by it. Unlimited power--a fairy
who condescends so far as to desire to please a mortal is always
sufficiently beautiful.' I discovered but too late the abuse of my
confidence, and saw with horror that I had a rival. What did I then do
to be revenged, but what every woman would have done? Far from availing
myself of my power, I only exercised my discretion. I took Lionette
away from you, but I did not kill her--what excess of weakness!--for
she was at my mercy--and what a proof of my love do you not recognise
in that weakness? Your insults and contemptuous coldness drove me to
despair. I deprived you of your form, and I left you. What greater
cruelty could you show me than I had inflicted on myself? No, all your
hatred did not torture me as much. In what misery did I pass my days
after that frightful separation! I accused myself of cruelty, I forgot
all your injustice, and when, becoming more calm, I thought of it as
it really had been, I reproached myself with having given you cause
for it by too much vivacity--in short, your image always present in
my mind, the thought of your anger constantly weighing on my heart,
I could get no rest. Some of the fairies who attended on me in the
Opal Palace advised me to consult the oracular Rose-tree respecting
my destiny. This Oracle, without any one knowing the reason, has
established itself here, or at least has planted itself in the Sward
of Eloquence (the name that is given to that which you behold here,
from the rivulet which surrounds it, because it possesses the faculty
of making everything speak that is watered by it). Persecuted by my
enemies, I came at last to consult this new Oracle. I found at first
some relief to my troubles; I took great pleasure in embellishing its
abode; by my art I caused all kinds of flowers to grow here; I raised
a little temple of verdure, and watering all the flowers from the
Rivulet of Eloquence, I enabled them to converse with the Rose-tree and
entertain it. The information I gathered respecting my destiny made
me grateful to the Oracle, and gave me confidence in its predictions.
I came often to question it, and I endeavoured to discover by whom it
could possibly be inspired. I ascertained that it was not one of those
deities who take pleasure in manifesting themselves to mortals, as at
Delphi. It was a man transformed into a rose-tree, and protected by a
power unknown to me, and carefully kept a secret. I offered him all
my power as a reward for what he had promised me, but he constantly
declined it. At last, having predicted an event which has occurred to
me this very day, and the commencement of my happiness, he commanded
me to sacrifice to him the first fowl that I should see. Judge if all
the happiness I could expect from its promises is to be weighed in the
balance against your life--for that is what he demands of me. Could I
feel, could I know, a comfort, deprived of it? Let the Oracle be angry
with me, overwhelm me if it will with the most dreadful calamities, I
will not avoid them by the sacrifice of your life. Continue, if you
dare, to treat me inhumanly, cruelly--I will submit to it, provided I
can still behold you; for I have resolved to suffer everything your
hatred can inflict upon me, sooner than consent to immolate you to the
strange caprice of the Rose-tree."

Cornue ceased speaking, and the King, having expressed his
acknowledgments, replied,--"What can I do for you, Madam? My heart
is mine no longer; I have no wish to deceive you; not only is such
perfidy incompatible with my nature, but you too well know what I think
for me to attempt to impose on your credulity, and I owe you too much
gratitude for saving my life willingly to deceive you, were it in my
power. But why have you preserved one who never can make you happy? Far
better would it have been for you to have obeyed your Oracle. Certain
that you will always oppose my happiness, I should have received my
death at your hands with pleasure, since I can never entertain for you
a warmer feeling than gratitude. You would have relieved me from the
shame of appearing thankless to you, and from being obliged to drag out
an existence far from the object of my eternal affection."

The King was silent, and the Fairy greatly agitated; neither spoke for
some time. "What did this deceitful Oracle promise you?" at length
inquired the King. "If you can be rendered happy by ending my life, why
defer the sacrifice? The generosity you have shown in preserving it,
excites in my heart a feeling of emulation. Conduct me to the temple,
it will not be you that will immolate me, at least; Love will acquit
you, for Love will dispose of my life, as it is he who prevents my
making you the mistress of it." "Talk no more of sacrifice," said the
Fairy, rising; "your life is too precious for me not to struggle to
preserve it, at the risk of all that may happen. Come to my palace, and
we will see to-morrow what can be done." She then moved towards her
chariot, which she stepped into with the Prince, and the Lions went at
such speed that they arrived almost immediately at the Opal Palace.

Here it was that Lionette abandoned herself to the bitterest grief when
she saw the Fairy descend from her chariot with the Prince, desiring
that her lions might be put into a grotto where a thousand other wild
animals were lodged that she drove in harness. "Oh, Heavens!" she
cried, "to what am I reduced?" She permitted herself to be led away to
the grotto, and retiring into a dark corner, stretched herself upon
a little straw, and passed the night groaning at her fate. Some days
elapsed without any one disturbing her sad repose; at the end of which
time two young fairies came to take four lions, some tigers, and two
bears to be hunted for the entertainment of the Fairy and in honour of
the King.

As the Princess was ignorant of the purpose for which these animals
were selected, she did not speak to the Fairies. But what a situation
for her! Her lover, whom she could not doubt was in the Palace, and who
could not know her--the severity of the Fairy--the horror of passing
her days in this strange place--all gave her a disgust to life, which
would not yield to the love she possessed for the King, though it had
been redoubled by the sight of him. "Ah, why should I continue to love
him?" she exclaimed. "Doubtless he no longer loves me. And to render my
punishment the greater, I feel he is more lovely than ever. Let me die;
and may he never know the extent of the misery he has caused me. Bereft
of his love--bereft of him--why should I regret to die?"

She could not suppose him to be enamoured of Cornue; she tried in vain
to think why he was at the Opal Palace; she lamented the timidity
that induced her to fly from Tigreline at the crowing of the cock. In
recalling to her mind the few circumstances she was cognizant of, she
felt convinced that the cock that flew in at the window was certainly
the same which was brought to Cornue, and re-transformed upon the
Sward of Eloquence. "How contrary is my destiny!" said she. "My heart
pants for an object which certainly compels me to fly from it. Let me
hasten to put an end to this torment. Can the approach of death be a
greater punishment? Coquerico, ungrateful Coquerico, has forgotten me.
Why should I any longer doubt it? Let me go and expire at the foot of
the Rose-tree, and for ever fly from a place that only aggravates and
redoubles my grief."

Fortunately the fairies had not shut the door of the grotto. The
wretched Princess stole out, and found herself in Cornue's forest. She
heard a great noise of horns and dogs; she entered a thick part of the
wood which appeared likely to conceal her. Anxious to let the chase
go by, she had thrust herself under some low branches, when she heard
a dear voice she could not be mistaken in. This voice spoke to one
whom she soon knew to be the Fairy Cornue. "Yes, Madam, I avow it. I
have an invincible repugnance to hunt lions ever since the unfortunate
Lionette has been changed into one. I know not what has become of her.
You wish me to remain in ignorance about her; you object to my taking
any means by which I might obtain knowledge of her present position.
You wish to kill me. Ah, why, then, do you hesitate, when your Oracle
demands my death? Let me go to consult it, or with my sword will I rid
myself of a life which is rendered insupportable by your tyranny." "How
can you imagine," replied the Fairy, "that I should allow you to seek
this Oracle who demands your death? For it is not that he desires a
cock as a sacrifice more than any other bird--it is you yourself that
the barbarous Oracle would have immolated; and do you think I will
consent to that? I love you, and you hate me--that is all my offence
in your eyes. And if I were to restore Lionette to you, you would soon
forget even the trifling gratitude you might profess to entertain for
me."