The Princess of Hearts

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Material Information

Title:
The Princess of Hearts
Physical Description:
172 p. : ill. (1 col.) ; 23 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Braine, Sheila
Woodward, Alice B ( Illustrator )
Jamieson Higgins Co ( Publisher )
Publisher:
Jamieson Higgins Co.
Place of Publication:
Chicago
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Princesses -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Queens -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fairy tales -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre:
Fairy tales   ( rbgenr )
fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by Sheila E. Braine ; illustrated by Alice B. Woodward.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002218998
notis - ALF9178
oclc - 181183964
System ID:
UF00079874:00001


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Hark, hark I the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chalic'd flowers that lies;
And Winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise:
Arise, arise-Cymbeline.







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Chap I. THE CHRISTENING OF JOAN OF HEARTS I

,, II. GRISELDA AND THE TOWER OF THE FOUR WINDS 33

SIII. WHERE THE GREEN PATH WENT TO 58

SIV. THE FROG-DUCHESS COMES TO COURT 77

V. TIGHEARUMAS ON THE WAR PATH 97

,, VI. JOAN VISITS THE MUGWUMP'S CASTLE 127

,, VII. JACK FINDS THE KEY ISI


















Page
"He was actually yawning" Frontis. 89
"Preferred a fur monkey to a fine lady nurse" .13
"The Frog-Duchess heard the titter" 17
"Each boy put his hand into the bag" 9
"Slyly pulled the. hair of the ladies-in-waiting 22
"What are little girls made of?" 24
"The head nurse went into hysterics" 27
"The Princess was the grubbiest of all" .30
The Royal Contradicter 35
An eligible Princess! 37
"Griselda could do very strange things" 40
"The Court Cook was sitting before the fire" 42
"Sister, whither away?" 45
"The Patriarch of the Owls" 49
"Griselda had taken a rod" 52
Out of it sprang a winged creature." 55
"Jack grew quite hot over it" 60
"His eye rested upon something that puzzled him" 62
"I will risk it" 65
"A solitary Crane" 67
"Bewate of the Prowly-Wowlies!" 69
"A beautiful dark-haired maiden" 71
"An old pedlar with a pack on his back" 73
"Hustled down into the cellar" 79
"What are you doing in my cellar?" 81
"Polishing up the King's crown" 84
"Boxing the ears of a page-of-the-wardrobe" 87
"The bridegroom stood like a statue" .








LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Page
"The Duchess tossed her head angrily" 93
"One hand stole from beneath her veil" 95
"We shall have to eat humble-pie" Ioo
"The Emperor's saucy herald." 103
"The Princess plaited her hair" o5
"Accompanying himself on the guitar" io6
"Carried him right out of the window" i
"A merry little water-wagtail" .. .15
"They look exactly like gold" 19
"Jane nearly went up to the ceiling" 121
"Something was wrong at the Palace" 123
"The magician sat down in his great arm-chair" 13
"Is that the end?" .132
"The Reciter finished up with a bow" 35
"The Princess leaned too far". .. 37
"The policeman was a frog" 139
"She peeped into the deserted kitchen" 141
"A huge footstool was handy". 145
"Nicely caught" 147
"A little curly-haired scullion was washing dishes" 154
"Tripped over a curious furry creature" 55
"He saw standing there the Frog-Duchess" 157
"Ran straight into each other's arms" 161
"The dreaded day came all too soon" 63
"Good-bye, dear home, for ever!" .. 65
Joan stoops and plucks a Mary-bud 67
Before the Queen of the Fairies 169

















NOW it is not generally known that the
King and Queen of Hearts had, besides
their son Jack, a lovely little daughter
named Joan. The history-books say very little
about her, partly because she never ascended the
throne, and principally because the historians
wanted all the space they could get to chronicle
the deeds of His Highness the Crown Prince,
his strange illness and wonderful recovery. Not
that they knew all the ins and outs of that, by
the way! How should they, in sooth, poor blind
bats, sitting with their noses in the ink-pots,
and their backs turned to the beautiful sunlight?
The chief historian, moreover, was nearly a
hundred years old, with a beard so long that he
had to tuck it into his girdle when he wrote, to







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


keep it out of the dust. He always stuffed his
ancient ears with cotton-wool, not to hear more
than one side of a question, which he said was
upsetting to a literary man.
The Maid of Hearts could have told the
historians a good deal, but then they never
dreamed of asking her. What had a girl, even
a royal girl entitled to H.R.H. before her name,
to do with history? Which shows that none
of them knew what they were talking about.
All girls are important; though some girls
are more important than others.
Joan of Hearts was several years younger
than her brother. She was born on the 31st
of April, an uncommon day for birthdays, and
this perhaps helped to make her rather different
from ordinary people.
The Princess was a beautiful baby. Without
exaggeration, she was the sweetest, the best, the
loveliest, the most dimpled, and the most in-
telligent infant that ever said-in the vulgar
tongue-" Gah, gah I "; and openly preferred a fur
monkey with a long tail to a fine lady nurse in







JOAN OF HEARTS


satin and lace. The nurse wore a brooch with
a very unpleasant pin to it; that may have been
one reason.
Joan was certainly a dear, lovely little fairy;


she was christened as soon as she was a month
old, and the Frog-Duchess was invited to be
one of the godmothers.
"It will please the marsh folk immensely,
my love," said the King, when the Queen re-
marked, with a little pout, that the very sight







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


of the Duchess gave her cold shivers down her
back.
"That may be true, but she is such a clammy
person!" sighed the Queen. "I wish your
Majesty would be graciously pleased to select
some one drier."
I think it absolutely necessary.to invite the
Frog-Duchess," returned her consort firmly.
"She will be gratified by the compliment, all
her subjects will be gratified by the compliment,
and it will consolidate the empire. That, my
dearest life, is greatly to be wished."
"Oh, then of course we must have her; I
give in." said the Queen with a shrug of her
shoulders. She was sitting in the great oriel
window of her parlour; it was wide open, down
to the ground, and one of the royal peacocks
was strutting about just outside, as if to exhibit
to her his jewelled plumage. The Queen had
heard that speech about consolidating the empire
before, and knew it meant that his Majesty was
determined to have his own way,
"Pray do as you wish, my liege," said the







JOAN OF HEARTS


Queen, and stroked the peacock's long fea-
thers.
Being a wise woman she gave in gracefully,
and received the Frog-Duchess with cordiality
when she arrived at court. She even went so
far as to call her "Cousin" twice, which piece of
condescension pleased the marsh folk hugely,
and kept them for a long time from turning the
water on to the King's land that bordered their
own, and so making it unfit for any but marsh
people to inhabit it. This was a trick they were
fond of playing.
The Frog-Duchess brought a large train of
attendants with her, and each of them carried a
bouquet of marsh-marigolds. "But we call
them Winking Marybuds, your Majesty," ob-
served her Grace; "see how the Princess loves
them"
For at that moment the baby opened her
eyes, and with a chuckle of delight made a
grab at the bright golden blossoms. The
Duchess broke off one carefully from her
bouquet, and laid it in the Princess's cradle.







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


It will bring her luck," she croaked; and her
suite chimed in with:
"The Winking Marybud will bring the
Princess luck. It is true, true, true!"
"They mean well, I have no doubt, but what
hideous voices they have!" thought the Queen.
So thought her attendants, and the youngest
maid of honour, a giddy thing not more than
fourteen, actually tittered. She was a pretty
girl with a great flood of fair hair down her
back.
The Frog-Duchess heard the titter; she looked
at the girl and she looked at her hair, and then
she smiled and muttered something to herself.
The next morning, poor CEnone's hair was a
bright red. and red it stayed, as a warning to
all to be polite to visitors, even if they have
croaky voices.
The Duchess came to the christening in a
coach lined with quilted green satin, and painted
brown to accord with her complexion, which was
a fine mahogany. The be-wigged coachman
and footmen were attired in canary-yellow, as







JOAN OF HEARTS


was also a small page, whose duty it was to
slam the carriage-door after his mistress was
seated. The louder he slammed, the better
pleased he was with himself. The page wore


no hat, for as his eyes were nearly at the top,
of his head, it-would have been an inconvenient
article of apparel. When the Duchess got out
of her coach, it was the page's business to.keep
her train out of the mud.
The Queen was heartily glad when the cere-







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


mony was over, and the Princess safely chris-
tened by the fourteen names that had been
selected for her. Every member of the royal
House of Hearts was obliged to have fourteen;
nobody knew why, but it had always been so.
After the christening fourteen beans were put
into a velvet bag, each engraved with one of the
fourteen names. Fourteen little charity boys,
with their faces nicely washed and their boots
nicely blacked, were taken to Court by their
master, and each boy put his hand into the bag
and pulled out a bean. The name written on
the last bean drawn in this way was the name
by which the Royal baby would henceforth be
known. After the drawing, the charity boys
made their bow to the grand folk, and went
away to have a very fine supper, which they
talked about for the rest of the year.
Joan was a nice little name, quaint, and easy
to remember, and the Queen was very glad
when it came out last. She was dreadfully
afraid her darling baby might have to be known
as Sophonisba, or Tryphaena, or Pandora, or







JOAN OF HEARTS


something else she would not like. Joan of
Hearts sounded both sweet and suitable.
"But, oh, your Majesty," exclaimed the


Queen, when the Duchess and her party were
gone, "of all the shabby presents to bring a
Princess, this is truly the shabbiest!"
"What, what, what?" cried the King, a little
worn-out by having to be gracious and conde-







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


scending for so long together. He, too, was
relieved to have the christening over. "What,
what, what?" repeated the King impatiently
Nothing but a miserable packet of marsh-
marigold seed! Nothing in the world but that,
if your Majesty will have the goodness to be-
lieve me. Not even a silver mug, or a couple
of spoons in a case."
Gently, gently, my love;, I assure you I am
quite prepared to believe you, especially as I
plainly perceive the packet in your hand. Dear
me, not apparently a very elaborate present, as
you say. What can the Frog-Duchess have
meant by it, I wonder?"
"A pack of nonsense, that's all," cried the
Queen contemptuously. I will throw the seed
away, my liege; of what use can it possibly be
to our little darling?"
She regarded the insignificant offering with
royal disdain; her consort, however, held up
his hand hastily.
Be not too speedy, wife," said he, looking
very wise, "there may be more in that packet







JOAN OF HEARTS


than meets the eye. The Duchess is a person
of no common character.' (" Clammy," mur-
mured the Queen.) "Put it away, therefore,
with the other presents. Time will show if it
be worth aught."
"As your Majesty wills," replied the Queen
dutifully, and went away to the nursery to talk
nonsense to her baby. Oddly enough she could
do this quite as well as any ordinary woman.
"Very extraordinary of the Frog-Duchess!"
mused the King. "They say she has cellars
under the marsh simply stacked with gold. A
packet of marigold seed worth perhaps two-
pence halfpennyl Very extraordinary!"
Joan of Hearts grew from a pretty baby into
a still prettier little girl. She had her own
miniature court-her tiny ladies-in-waiting, with
gentlemen and pages to correspond. True, the
pages sometimes slyly pulled the hair of the
ladies-in-waiting, or the gentlemen-in-waiting
made faces at them, whereupon the indignant
ladies ran after them with intent to box their
ears if possible. But as a rule it was a well-







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


behaved little court, that could be beautifully
dignified upon occasions. It was rather em-
barrassing once, however, when the Turkish


Ambassador arrived quite unexpectedly to pay
his respects to the Princess.
For it happened by ill-luck that the whole
Court was eating caramels, the kind that is so
amazingly sticky. The consequence was that
the Marshal of the Household (aged nine) could
not introduce the Ambassador properly, the
Mistress of the Robes (ten) could only curtsy






JOAN OF HEARTS


with her lips fast closed, and Joan the Princess
was obliged to mumble in the most ridiculous
manner. The Ambassador retired in a huff.
Fortunately such accidents did not often occur.
Joan had a little carriage drawn by six white
goats, and a shell-like boat on the lake drawn
by two tame swans, who seemed quite proud
of their task. The King often kept his poor
ministers waiting, while he went to look at
his daughter driving off in state, kissing her
hand.
Bless her little heart!" he would say, just
like an ordinary papa living, let us say, at
Hammersmith.
The Princess was very carefully educated,
you may be sure of that. Up to her fifth year
no one was permitted to speak to her in words
of more than one syllable. After her fifth birth-
day words of two syllables were sanctioned,
after her eighth, words of three. It being con-
trary to etiquette to catechize a person of royal
birth, the following notice was posted up in the
school-room, for the guidance of teachers:-






THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


"Never ask her Highness any question upon
any subject whatever."
One poor, doddering, old professor, very


learned, but with a head like a billiard-ball,
forgot this, and inquired one day sportively:
"What are little girls made of?"
He was promptly dismissed, and of course
lost all his private pupils too.







JOAN OF HEARTS 25
Special maps were prepared for the Princess;
maps with all unnecessary and tiresome places
left out, and her piano had only the white keys,
so that she need not be harassed with sharps
and flats. It will be seen that Joan travelled
along the Royal Road to Learning, which some
people declare does not exist at all. Needless
to say that her teachers combined in asserting
that there never was such a clever child. No
other pupils shared the Princess's studies, but
she was allowed to have her dolls with her.
Twenty-five consequently, from queenly Ara-
minta down to little black-faced Sambo, were
educated in the royal school-room; Joan being
invariably at the top of the class, though, being
of a kind disposition, she did her best to en-
courage the rest. But none of them, alas! took
naturally to learning not even Paulina Mary,
who had a sweetly intelligent expression.
"But I am sure they listen most attentively,"
said Joan consolingly to her professors.
All this time the Frog-Duchess had taken no
notice of her godchild; she did not even send






THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


her on the 31st of April a card with "Many
Happy Returns of the Day", which is the least
a godmother can do.
But it was observed that Joan of Hearts
had a passion for the flowers that grew in
the marsh which lay on the east side of the
palace. Give her a lapful of Winking Mary-
buds and she was entirely happy. She would
gaze lovingly into their glowing chalices, stroke
their bright-green leaves, twist coronals of
them, and play with them for hours together.
"It is really very curious, is it not?" the
Queen remarked meaningly to the King. "The
Frog-Duchess must have laid a spell upon the
child."
Humph!" returned his Majesty, an observa-
tion which might mean anything you liked.
One day there was a pretty disturbance at the
palace; the Princess and two of her ladies were
unaccountably missing. No one had seen them
for at least a couple of hours. The head nurse
went into hysterics, but, as nobody troubled
about her, she came out of them almost directly,







JOAN OF HEARTS


and went to look for the truants, which was far
more sensible than to sit on the floor and scream
herself black in the face. The Queen turned







THE -PRINCESS OF HEARTS


very pale, and caught hold of the King's arm,
and he said, "Courage, my love," and patted
her hand very kindly.
"Send out the Criers' to search for the Prin-
cess," ordered the King, "also the Bell-ringers,
the Buffetiers, the High Steward, the Low
Steward, the Clerk of the Pantry-I don't care
whether he has got the gout or not-the Clerk
of the Sideboard, the Yeomen of the Kitchen,
the Pages of the Front and Back Stairs, the
Keeper of the Bootjack, all the Sticks-in-wait-
ing, the Dog-whipper-and let him take the
dogs with him-all cooks, scullions, and assis-
tant dish-washers. And I will go myself,"
ended up his Majesty; fetch me the shoe-horn,
one of you, and be quick about it."
So they all trooped out, including the Hunts-
men, who had not been mentioned, and who
played Tra-la-la on their horns, and sang in
big jolly voices, such as huntsmen ought to
have, the time-honoured ditty:
"To-morrow the fox will come to town,
Keep, keep, keep, keep!







JOAN OF HEARTS


To-morrow the fox will come to town,
0 keep you all well there!
I must desire you neighbours all,
To hallo the fox out of the hall,
And cry as loud as you can call,
Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop!
And cry as loud as you can call,
O keep you all well there."

Which was very invigorating and exciting.
But after all it was the Crown Prince who
discovered the truants. He came upon them
all three, down by the marsh, under the alder
trees, with their shoes and stockings off, if you
please, enjoying themselves hugely. They had
gathered a great heap of Winking Marybuds,
and a sheaf of glossy green rushes; they had
made themselves as grubby as the ground, and
the Princess was the grubbiest of all.
When they caught sight of the Crown Prince,
a handsome boy of thirteen, the little girls
looked guiltily at each other, and tried to hide
their bare toes.
Oh, my, what a mess you are in, Joan!" said







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


the Prince, "and don't you know that every-
body is out looking for you? You will catch it
from the Countess."
Joan of Hearts rose with dignity; she knew


she was not fit to be seen, but she did not for-
get that she was a princess.
"Come, ladies-in-waiting," said she with re-
signation; and her attendants scrambled to their
feet in haste.
"Aren't you going to put on your shoes and







JOAN OF HEARTS


stockings?" asked the Crown Prince, giggling.
He thought it was a good joke, but when he
saw a very small tear in the corner of his
sister's eye, he became quickly serious.
"I say, darling," cried Jack, don't cry.
They were all going into the wood to look for
you; some donkey thought he had seen you
running that way. Perhaps Erick and I "-
Erick was his page-"could smuggle you in by
the parlour window, and you could run up the
Queen's private staircase to the nursery. Then
you could all put on clean pinafores or some-
thing, and wash your faces, and when they
came in, it wouldn't seem half so bad."
Joan brightened up at this.
"You are a dear, sweet Jack of Hearts," she
exclaimed, gratefully. "Come along, ladies-
in-waiting."
The plan succeeded; the Court Cat saw the
truants come stealing in, but she was a cat of
sense, and said nothing. The Princess made a
remarkable toilette, assisted by her small ladies.
Not one of them had ever buttoned a button








32 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS
for herself before, so that it was a novel ex-
perience for all three.
Prince Jack," called out the Princess after a
little while, "you can go and tell the Queen
that Joan of Hearts isn't lost any more."

















1 IME passed by, that dear
old gentleman with the scythe,
who mows the days and hours
a down like so many moon-daisies.
The Crown Prince grew into a
/ stately young man, tall, and strong,
and handsome. When he appeared in
public to lay a foundation-stone, or open a
bazaar, the people exclaimed:
"What a splendid king he will make one of
these days!"
And they tossed up their caps and cheered
him, and were extremely proud of their future
ruler.
Jack was very amiable and obliging, too,







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


which is not always the case with princes, who
generally get their own way too much to be
good for them. Perhaps it was owing to the
Royal Contradicter, who had attended the
Crown Prince ever since the latter could speak
plainly. The Royal Contradicter was an officer
specially appointed, at a fixed salary and three
new hats a year, to oppose whatever his High-
ness chose to say. If he remarked, for instance,
that it was raining cats and dogs, the Contra-
dicter instantly and flatly denied this, and de-
clared that, on the contrary, the day was dry
and fair.
When the courtiers paid the Crown Prince
compliments (which they did whenever they
had the opportunity), the Contradicter kept up
a running comment of Pshaws!" and H'ms!"
with such observations as, All a pack of non-
sense!" or Not a word of truth in it!"
No wonder the courtiers loathed the poor
man, who, after all, was merely doing his duty.
It was a known fact that few Royal Contra-
dicters lived to be old; most of them came to a






GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT


speedy, sometimes a violent, end. The office
had been established by a former sovereign in
order to prevent the
heir to the throne from
growing up conceited.
As soon as a wife was
found for the Prince,
the Contradicter retired
with a pension. His
services were con-
sidered no longer
necessary.
WhenJack of Hearts
was twenty, the King
sat one day all through
dinner with so gloomy
a face that the Queen
could not imagine what
was the matter. He
played with his soup, waved away the entree,
scarcely touched the fish, and glared almost
savagely at the joint. In the middle of dessert
he got up and went into the aviary, where







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


thirteen gorgeous parrots swung in golden
hoops, and made melody together; melody, be
it understood, of a peculiar kind. It gave
some people the earache.
The King began pulling the birds' tails, a
sure token that he was put out about some-
thing.
What is it that troubles you, sire?" inquired
the Queen anxiously.
Our son, madam," answered the King curtly,
and tweaked another tail.
I am sure he is a very good boy," cried the
Queen loudly, for she could hardly make herself
heard for the screeching of the birds.
But he troubles me, madam, notwithstand-
ing."
Oh, do come out of the aviary, your Ma-
jesty, or I shall go distracted
"I have only three more tails to pull," said
the King. The last parrot succeeded in bit-
ing the royal thumb to the bone; after which
the bird turned a somersault, and stood on his
head in his golden hoop to express his triumph.






GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT


Presently the King told his consort that it
was the marriage of the Crown Prince that
bothered him.
"Ah, yes, Jack is
twenty!" said the
Queen softly, and a
smile crossed her
face; "it is time he
was betrothed. Shall
I fetch my list of
eligible princesses?"
The King frowned,
groaned,. and finally
kicked a footstool to
the other end of the
room.
"Eligible prin-
cesses!" he growled,
"eligible fiddlesticks! An embassy has arrived
from the Emperor Tighearumas demanding our
son's hand in marriage for his daughter Cylindra.
What do you say to that, madam? Is she on
your list of eligible princesses by accident?"







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


"Oh, sire, she is hump-backedl" the Queen
spoke in a faint voice.
"I believe so."
"She squints with the left eye."
I have heard so."
"And she has two long front teeth."
"That may be true."
"She has a shocking temper, and she is years
older than our dear, dear Jack. Oh, oh, oh!"
The Queen began to cry, and her royal
spouse, to relieve his feelings, kicked a second
footstool across the room. This time it hit a
Plum-pudding Dog lying on the hearth-rug; he
howled, and bounced out of the window, alight-
ing on the Court Cat, who was sunning herself
below.
"Rude, unmannerly person!" shrieked the
Cat, clawing him vigorously, "why don't you
look before you leap? I'll tell the 'baker's
terrier, Blinkie, where you bury your bones.
I'll go round with him myself and help him dig
them up. See if I don't!"
The Plum-pudding Dog was so frightened at






GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT 39
the Cat's furious attack, that he turned tail and
bolted; finding the palace door open, he ran
away, and took service with a sweep.
All at once the Queen ceased to sob; an idea
had come into her mind.
"I presume, sire, that to fight Tighearumas
is beyond the strength of our, armies?"
"To fight him, no; but to beat him, yes.
He is ten times more powerful than your unfor-
tunate husband, madam. Our son must put
up with Cylindra; perhaps she may improve
upon acquaintance."
"Not with that squint," returned her Majesty
firmly, but will you grant me until to-morrow,
sire? I have a plan in my head."
"Yes, if you wish it," replied the King, but
he did not look particularly hopeful.
Now, it happened that a short time before
there had been employed in the palace a scullery-
maid whose name was Griselda. She was such
a peppery little person that she was styled by
her fellow-servants Griselda the Impatient.
Most of them were afraid of her, for it was







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


known that Griselda could do very strange
things, such as ride round the garden on a
broomstick, charm people's ailments away, and
find lost articles
Without so much
as looking for
them.
Nobody ever
forgot the extra-
ordinary inci-
dent of old
Mother Milli-
S gan's pet hen
that went gad-
ding, and that
-i the poor woman
L feared would
__ never come
home any more.
Griselda took a
clean table-cloth, tied a farthing up in one
corner of it, and hung the corner out of a
front window. That very same evening the






GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT 4r
hen came back, looking quite ashamed of her-
self, and carrying in a basket all the eggs that
she had laid whilst away. Old Mother Milligan
wept over the hen; wept over the basket; and
poached three of the eggs for her supper, just
to show there was no ill-feeling.
Griselda the Impatient was not long in ser-
vice at the Palace; she was really too uppish for
a scullery-maid. But the Queen had not for-
gotten her and her strange uncanny powers.
"If anyone can help us now it will be
Griselda," she said; and she descended into the
kitchen herself, to find out from the Cook where
the scullery-maid was to be found. The Court
Cook, a portly person, was sitting before the
fire reading a penny story, entitled The Wicked
Earl's Revenge; or, The Fatal Tea-spoon. A
large cookery-book was on the table, open at
the recipe, How to Smother an old Rabbit".
The Cook, being a high and mighty per-
sonage, was at first rather annoyed at the liberty
the Queen had taken in coming into her kitchen.
But discovering that it was merely Griselda







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


the Impatient who was wanted, the Lady of the
Kitchen unbent.
Griselda, your Majesty, is living in the
Tower of the Four Winds, across the moor."


But that is miles and miles from here, isn't
it?" The Queen's face fell several inches.
"Dear, yes, your Majesty, and you could
never find the way at this time of night. But-"







GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT


But what, Mrs. Cook? By the by, I think
that your wages really ought to be doubled."
"Much obliged to your gracious royal
Majesty; I try to give satisfaction, but the
sauces are aggravating at times, and the creams
not always what I should wish. Now, look
here, ma'am,"-the Cook spoke in a mysterious
whisper,-" Griselda was partial to me, and she
left me this, so that I might go and visit her
when I'd a fancy to."
She unlocked a cupboard, and took out of it
a long broomstick.
"You open your window wide, ma'am, you
seat yourself upon this, and you say three times,
'Horse and Hattock'. Then the broomstick
will take you to the Tower of the Four Winds.
That's what Griselda told me, leastways; I
haven't tried it myself."
"But I will," exclaimed the Queen bravely,
for what would she not risk for the sake of her
darling'son?
"Then you won't forget the spell, your Ma-
jesty? 'Horse and Hattock', three times over."







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


No, I sha'n't forget it," answered the Queen.
She trembled with excitement as she carried
the broomstick up to her room, set the window
wide open, and muffled herself in a cloak and
hood. As soon it was dusk she bravely
mounted her wooden steed, wondering whether
she would ever get back alive.
"Now for it!" cried her Majesty, "I must
start before I have time to be frightened.
Horse and Hattockl Horse and Hattockl"-
She paused to screw up her courage.-" Horse
and Hattock!"
The broomstick immediately floated out of
the window. As soon as the Queen had got
over the strangeness of being up in the air; she
found the motion easy and delightful. The soft
wind fanned her face; downy bits of cloud,
that looked as if they had been broken off big
ones, sailed past her. She could see very little,
not having cat's eyes, but she was conscious of
being in a new world, as full no doubt of in-
habitants as the one she lived in down below.
There was frequently the rustle and whirr of








~~~-~1


sn~-D ~ 6
o

Q
o


~JbC






GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT 47
wings, and shadowy forms flew past. More
than once the Queen caught gentle murmurs
wafted to her ear: "Greeting, oh sister!" or,
"Sister, whither away?" But she could not
tell who had spoken them, or distinguish their
faces, as she might have done had she thought
to borrow the Court Cat's double-barrelled
spectacles.
The Tower was a lonely erection, set high on
a hill, and blown upon by all the winds of
heaven. It was gray and crumbling with age,
but it held together bravely, and the kindly ivy
mantling round it concealed the ravages Time
had made in its ancient walls. A light twinkled
like a little star from its summit, but this dis-
appeared as the broomstick, slackening its pace,
deposited its rider before the heavily-barred
door.
The Queen was out of breath, for they had
come very rapidly, and she was a novice in the
art of broomstick riding. While she was hunt-
ing about for a knocker or a bell, the door
suddenly opened, and there stood Griselda,







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


holding a lamp above her head, a smile upon
her handsome face.
"Welcome to your Majesty!" she cried, with-
out any sign of surprise. "I have been watch-
ing for you."
"But how could you know I was coming?"
asked the Queen.
"Peterkin told me," said Griselda, stroking
a small gray owl perched on her shoulder, "and
the White Grand-daddy told him."
"I don't know what you are talking about,'
said the Queen; and oh, Griselda, I am in such
a state of mind. I have come to you for help.
Do you live all alone in this Tower, child?"
"Alone? Oh dear, no! I live with my
Double-Uncle."
"With your what, Griselda?"
My Great-Uncle, if you prefer it, but I always
call him my Double-Uncle. He lives on the
first floor. I live on the second floor, and the
owls rent the attic and the battlements. I say
rent, but they really pay next to nothing; a red
rose at Christmas, and a snowball at midsum-







GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT


mer. Nobody can say they are overcharged.
The White Grand-daddy is the Patriarch of the


Owls; he is very wise, almost as wise as my
Double-Uncle. I think it must be because they
both sleep so much. You can learn a great
deal while you are asleep."


~6
~-----~







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


"I didn't know that," observed the Queen
meekly.
"This is my Double-Uncle, your Majesty."
Griselda had led the Queen up a winding stair-
case into a room on the first floor, a room
crammed with stuffed creatures of curious forms,
and all kinds of queer machines and instruments.
It was rather an alarming sort of room.
A little old man dressed in black velvet, with
a skull-cap on his head, lay asleep in a great
carved chair.
"You won't wake him, madam; he has gone
to sleep for thirty days, thirty minutes, and
thirty seconds."
How strange to know exactly how long to
a moment!" said the Queen, looking curiously
at the placid figure of Griselda's relative.
Not when you know as much as he does,"
replied the girl, gazing at the sleeper respectfully.
Now, your Majesty, I will take you to my
own room, if you will follow me."
On the way, the Queen, to save time, for she
was afraid of being missed at the Palace if she







GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT


stayed too long, told Griselda what she had
come for.
"You see the question is, how are we to
refuse to let the Crown Prince marry Cylindra,
without bringing Tighearumas down upon the
country?" sighed the poor Queen. "His Ma-
jesty says there will be an Uncivil War among
our own people, unless something can be
done."
"Oh, don't have an Uncivil War," said Gris-
elda in a shocked tone. "It would be so bad
for everybody's manners. All the people, too,
who live in glass houses, would be rendered
homeless."
"You talk as if I could countermand it, just
as if it were a wedding-cake," cried the Queen.
"Oh, Griselda, what are you going to do with
that?"
Griselda had taken a rod and was drawing a
pentagram on the floor. Now the shape of a
pentagram is a star with five points.
Your Majesty must come inside this, if you
please,"she said gravely, "and, whatever happens,








THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


don't step a fraction of an inch outside of it. I
have stolen my Uncle's conjuring book, and I
am going to try what I can do with it. He


never will let me look into it, and I have always
wanted to, dreadfully."
Griselda tossed her head with an air of mis-
chief.
But how will this help me?" was the Queen's
not unreasonable question.






GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT


"Somebody may come who will tell you
what to do," replied the girl mysteriously, and
she sprinkled some powder into four gilt saucers,
and put a match to each. A little column of
smoke began to ascend from the saucers, and
Griselda, looking rather scared, opened the
great book belonging to her Double-Uncle, the
wizard, and commenced to read at haphazard.
Whatever it was, it sounded gibberish to the
Queen, waiting, entrenched within her penta-
gram, for she knew not what.
Can you see anything?" whispered Griselda,
when the light from her lamp suddenly burned
green.
Nothing at alll" answered the Queen.
Griselda turned over some leaves and tried
again. The light burned blue, and she whis-
pered once more "Can you see anything?"
Nothing at all," repeated the Queen..
She was beginning to think that her former
scullery-maid's powers had been greatly over-
rated.
"Oh, I know what's the matter," exclaimed







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


Griselda impatiently. "I ought to read the
book backwards."
"Now can you see anything? If you can't,
I'll throw the book in the fire, and go back to
dish-washing."
The light burned a deep orange.
"Yes, I can see faces," whispered the Queen
faintly.
Griselda went on reading very fast, gabble,
gabble, gabble. There was a low, rumbling
sound of thunder, like an angry growl; and the
old Tower shook slightly. The Queen saw all
around them a crowd of shadowy faces, ugly
creatures with long noses and gooseberry eyes,
who pointed skinny fingers jeeringly at them,
and put out their tongues. And then came a
number of black imps with their tails over their
arms, and a great dog with glowing eyes, and
then a huge figure of a giant, with a mouth like
a cavern, and flames issuing from it.
Griselda gabbled faster and faster, and the
shadows succeeded each other, and the Queen
was ready to swoon with terror.






GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT


A great ball of fire rolled into the middle of
the floor, and Griselda stopped to cry, Oh,
dear. how frightened I am!" The ball burst,
and out of it sprang a winged creature, beautiful,







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


but terrible to look upon. And that too vanished,
and the air seemed full of glittering serpents.
all wriggling and twining together.
This was too much even for Griselda, and she
slammed the magic book together, while the
Queen sank down and hid her face.
When she looked up again, Griselda was
standing quietly by her side, the light was
burning steadily, and the room wore its usual
appearance.
"I am so sorry," said the girl regretfully,
"I couldn't find the proper place to read. And
I couldn't make any of them stay and answer
questions, as my Double-Uncle can."
"And very glad I am that you couldn't,"
remarked the Queen emphatically; "and now,
Griselda, I think I will go home."
"I am really very sorry," repeated Griselda,
quite depressed at her failure; "if my.Double-
Uncle had only been awake, he would have
managed it beautifully. Shall I run up to the
top of the tower, and ask the White Grand-daddy
what he advises about the Crown Prince?"







GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT


"I think I have had enough for one evening,
thank you," answered the Queen; "please tell
me how to get home again, Griselda?"
When she next saw the King, he said,
"Well, my dear?"
"Our son will have to marry Cylindra, said
the Queen sadly
Not at all!" chuckled his Majesty. I also
have had an idea. Our son is to marry the
Frog-Duchess's daughter!"



















OAN OF HEARTS called to her
brother to go down to the marsh with
her, and pick Winking Marybuds to
decorate her sitting-room. She was
as fond of these flowers as she had
been when a mere toddler. As he
was long in coming, the Princess went on
without him.
Jack was busily engaged in hooding a young
hawk that the falconer had been keeping for
him, and which he himself had taken from its
nest on the high cliff. It was a dangerous
climb, and if it had been known that the heir
to the throne had done such a risky deed, there
would have been a pretty fuss. But only






THE GREEN PATH


Erick, the Crown Prince's page, was with him,
and Jack was half-way up the cliff before he
could say anything. Then, of course, he fol-
lowed his master, as a dutiful servant was
bound to do, and both the foolhardy young men
all but broke their necks. But they got two
young hawks instead of one, and Jack made
Erick take one, and put the other into the cage
in the shed, with some fresh straw and a nice
little bit of beef. The beef was fixed to a lure,
for the Prince knew that in training birds you
cannot begin too early. The lure was a bunch
of feathers at the end of a cord and tassel; quite
a pretty plaything, with a cleft stick in the
middle, where the hawk's bit of meat was stuck.
The bird soon learned to come to the lure-one
of the first lessons, but it bit savagely at its
master when he tried to hood it with a little cap
of leather. How would you like to have your
head tied up in a bag, with only a little hole
for your nose to come through? Not at all, it
is very certain. And Jack's hawk simply hated
it, and said so in unmistakable language.







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


Jack grew quite hot over it, for a hawk must
learn to wear a hood, and sit on its master's
wrist until the prey, perhaps a noble heron, is


in sight; when the falconer shouts Hooha-ha-
ha-ha!" and away goes Longlegs, and away
goes Master Hawk after him.







THE GREEN PATH


"You are a tiresome and untutored bird!"
cried the Crown Prince, out of patience. "Didn't
I carry you down the cliff at the risk of break-
ing my neck?"
"I wish you had broken it," screamed the
hawk; "you came up our private way, and that
was trespassing. So you ought to be prose-
cuted."
"You'll have to go through your lesson to-
morrow, my lively young gentleman," said Jack,
"and the sooner you learn it the sooner you
will get out into the world again."
The Prince then followed his sister, but took
a wrong turning, and reached finally a part of
the great marsh which he did not remember to
have seen before. He could see nothing of
Joan and her ladies-in-waiting, and how dreary
and desolate it seemed where he was standing!
So silent, too; not a sound broke the profound
stillness, not even the croak of a frog, or the
merry.splash of a water-rat diving off the bank.
The alders that fringed the marsh threw long
weird shadows, the reeds hardly swayed.







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


"I don't like this, I'll go back," said the
Crown Prince, shivering in spite of himself.
But at that moment his eye rested upon











-?








something that puzzled him; he could not resist
the temptation to examine it. It was nothing
more nor less than a narrow green path going
right across the marsh; and it was made of
marsh-marigold leaves placed in a long row,







THE GREEN PATH


their edges overlapping each other. Where the
path led to could not be seen from where he
stood. The Prince gazed at it with wondering
eyes.
"What a fascinating little green road!" he
exclaimed. "I hardly fancy it will bear my
weight, and yet I feel strangely tempted to try."
He took one step down towards it, then an-
other, then paused irresolutely, remembering
tales he had heard of people venturing on to
the marsh, and never being heard of again He
recollected, too, the legend of the Phantom
Dancers, sheeted figures with lights in their
hands, who enticed strangers to come and join
their revels. Whoever did so was given a pair
of high-heeled slippers, which obliged him to
go on dancing until he dropped down dead.
These were not reassuring stories, nevertheless
an irresistible force seemed to draw Jack on-
ward. The green path looked so smooth, so
firm and alluring. Each leaf spread itself out
invitingly, as if to say, "Pray now have con-
fidence in me".







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


Jack took another step towards the green
path.
"Surely there can be no harm in trying
whether the first leaf will bear me. I can hold
fast to an alder branch, and easily spring back
if it does not. If there is anything I can do,
it is jumping. Didn't the old gymnasium
master call me Spring-heeled Jack behind my
back? Courage, my boy, courage! it is only the
first step that costs."
If Jack had chanced .to look about him, he
might have seen dozens of fantastic little faces
peering at him through the branches of the
alders, and grinning with amusement. Tiny
fingers were pointed at him, and caps waved;
every now and then a twig shook, as if one of
the elves had gone off into a fit of laughter.
"Courage!" cried the Prince once more, and
took hold of a branch. He had no idea that at
the same moment it was seized at the upper
end by a crowd of elves, who valiantly held it
up, in order to prevent it.from breaking. Jack
planted one foot in the exact centre of a marsh-







THE GREEN PATH


marigold leaf; it bore his weight, and the
second foot quickly followed its brother.


I will risk it," he cried boldly. See where
the path leads to, I must and will;" and he let
the branch go. The elves grinned at each other,







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


and peeped between the leaves to watch the
young hero stepping bravely over the marsh.
The Crown Prince had walked for, it might
be, a quarter of an hour, when he met a solitary
Crane, with a specimen-box slung round his
neck, who told him he was searching for
extinct animals.
"What is the use of that?" asked the Prince.
The Crane shook his head in a melancholy
manner. "Don't know," he replied; "but all
the professions are overcrowded, and my mamma
said I had better strike out a line for myself.
So I decided to take up extinct animals."
"And have you found any to take up, Mr.
Crane?"
Not the ghost of a bone." The Crane looked
about him vaguely. I intended, of course, to
write a book about them and their habits, if I
happened to come upon any specimens. You
don't know of a good opening for a young man,
I suppose? I have been a teetotaler from my
cradle."
No, I am afraid I do not," answered Jack.







THE GREEN PATH


"You don't look very strong in the legs
either."
"Appearances are deceptive," said the Crane.


" However, it doesn't matter. I may end by
finding an extinct animal. Good-day to you!"
He meandered on, and the Prince hastened
in the opposite direction. Presently he per-







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


ceived in front of him what appeared to be a
bright-yellow hedge. It stood right in his
path, and as he approached it, Jack discovered
that it was a dense thicket of extraordinarily
fine Winking Marybuds. He could not force
his way in among them. and did not dare to
step off the path to see if he could by chance
get round the hedge on the other side.
"How extremely tantalizing!" muttered the
Crown Prince, annoyed at this unexpected ob-
stacle; and it seemed to him that all the Mary-
buds winked their golden, eyes maliciously,
enjoying his discomfiture.
All at once a voice began to sing on the
farther side of the hedge; a voice so sweet
and clear and thrilling, that the Prince stood
still in a perfect rapture of delight. He could
hear the words quite plainly.
"Over the marsh he came to me,
By the pathway of green and gold;
A velvet cap and a plume had he,
My warrior blithe and bold;
The gate was locked; but he found the key,
And so my story is told."







THE GREEN PATH


"What a lovely voice; like a lark's!" mur-
mured Jack, and his heart gave a great thump.
" But what does the song mean? I wear a vel-


vet cap and plume, and have come over the
marsh. 'The gate was locked, but he found
the key.' What gate can that be? Well, how
funny; I didn't see that before!"
Jack rubbed his eyes; staring him in the face







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


was an oaken gate with ugly-looking spikes
fixed to the top bar. A notice hung- over it,
with the following warning in large red letters:
Beware of the Prowly-Wowlies!"
"So I will when I see them," remarked our
valiant Jack, shaking the gate, which was fast
locked. "The song says he found the key.
If he's me, where's the key?"' Which was'to
the point, if hardly grammatical.
Jack hunted high and hunted low, but no-
where could he find the missing article. Then
it occurred to him that he might perhaps be
able to see something if his head would go
through the bars. This was a happy thought,
for, by dint of squeezing, he really did manage
to see what was inside the Marybud hedge.
There was a garden, and a dear little brown
house with a red roof, and a neat little porch
with a pot of flowers hanging in it, and a little
twisted chimney. But the prettiest thing of all
was a beautiful dark-haired maiden, who sat
spinning on the grass plot in front of the little
brown house. She was clad in soft green silk,







THE GREEN PATH 7r
and a bunch of Marybuds was tucked into her
belt. The Crown Prince had never seen any-


one so perfectly sweet and charming. Oh, if
he could only find that key!
The Prince heaved such a sigh that the marsh







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


maiden must have heard it. She sprang up,
looking frightened, and suddenly caught sight
of Jack, and turned rosy-red. The next mo-
ment she disappeared into the house, leaving
the disappointed Prince to get his curly head
from between the bars as best he might.
The marsh maiden did not return, but a little
white kerchief fluttered for an instant from the
window.
"I shall come here again to-morrow," de-
clared Jack, comforted, "and perhaps I shall
find that key"; and he went back, humming as
he walked:

"Over the marsh he came to me,
By the pathway of green and gold;
A velvet cap and a plume had he,
My warrior blithe and bold ".

A great black crow suddenly rose and fluttered
over his head, calling Craw, Craw It settled
on the bank, but when the Prince reached the
spot, there was no crow to be seen, but only an
old pedlar with a pack on his back.







THE GREEN PATH 73
"Good-day to your Highness!" said the old
fellow, bowing as well as his pack would let
him. Can I tempt you with any pretty wares,
such as young folks fancy?"
"Go in a good hour," returned the Prince.
"I need nothing, I thank you; nothing that
you are likely to
have, unless you
keep keys."
"Nay, -I am
no travelling
locksmith, your
Highness. But
let me show you
one beautiful
trinket."
"Go, go and leave me in peace, man," ex-
claimed Jack, continuing his way. The old
man had a crafty face, and eyes that gleamed
with a disagreeable light from beneath bushy
gray eyebrows.
The pedlar made his reverence with apparent
submission, and stepped back, but he began to







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


hum in a voice loud enough to reach the Crown
Prince's ears:

"A velvet cap and a plume had he,
My warrior blithe and bold;
The gate was locked, but he found the key,
And so my story is told".

Jack came back in an instant, with a bright
look in his eyes. If he had known that the
pedlar was a wicked malicious old magician in
disguise, he would, perhaps, have hurried on.
"After all I may as well look at the trinket
you spoke of," said Jack. "What was that
song you were singing just now?"
"Only a simple ditty I picked up on my
travels. But see here my Prince; this is what
I desired to show you."
It was a Winking Marybud modelled in the
finest gold, with all its delicate stamens com-
plete, and with veined leaves of the same
precious material. The Crown Prince no sooner
took the flower in his hand, than he felt an
overpowering desire to possess it.







THE GREEN PATH


"What will you take for the Marybud, old
man?" he asked.
The answer was an unexpected one.
"I will take your heart, my Prince; that is
my only price. I am a dealer in hearts, and
have a fancy for yours. You can have a marble
one instead; I can furnish you with that, and it
will give you no trouble at all."
"Your wits must be gone wool-gathering,"
cried the Prince disdainfully.
"Quite a number of people have marble
hearts," said the cunning old magician. "I
keep ten dwarfs constantly employed myself
in the Stony Mountains, quarrying out the
marble."
"No, no," said the Prince, it won't do, old
pedlar."
"Think once more; the flower is worth an
out-of-the-way price. And what after all is a
heart such as you have now? An article that
gives you quite as much pain as pleasure."
A dazed expression crept into the Prince's
eyes. Was the pedlar right? A marble heart







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


would always be calm and cool; no doubt about
that. And he wanted that Winking Marybud
desperately.
"I-I accept your terms," he whispered
faintly.
A look of evil triumph came into the pedlar's
face. He laid his hand on the Prince's breast
for a second, and Jack felt an icy chill pass
through him. Then the magician shouldered
his pack once more.
"Farewell, Jack of Hearts," he cried, "for a
Prince you are really wonderfully stupid. I
will leave you to repent of your bargain at
leisure."

















THE King's idea was rather a risky one.
It was to get Jack married on the spot,
and then to reply to the Emperor that
the Crown Prince, having already a wife, could
not do himself the extreme honour of wedding
the adorable Cylindra.
"But we could not get an eligible Princess
here in time," objected the Queen.
"Not a Princess, perhaps; but the Frog-
Duchess has a daughter."
That clammy person again!" interrupted the
Queen.
Is this a time, madam, to consider whether
a person is clammy or not? With Tighearumas
able to snuff this little realm of mine off the







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


map! Our son's marriage with the Duchess's
daughter will consolidate the empire."
Oh, very well then, your Majesty, the sooner
the ceremony is over the better. The young
woman can't be worse than Cylindra, and she
may be better. And I hope", her voice became
tremulous, "that when she takes my place, she
will always use home-made jams in the Palace;
not those nasty bought pots, full of nothing but
pips and stones."
"Tut, tut," cried the King, "is this the time
to think of jam?"
The Ambassadors of the Emperor, much to
their astonishment, were hustled down into the
cellar, and locked up there, to keep them from
knowing what was on foot-the idea being
that they should be hauled out the next day,
assured that it was all a most unfortunate
mistake, and then rushed out of the country
by a guard of honour.
This ingenious plan, however, was partially
frustrated, and by whom, think you? By the
Court Cat!







THE FROG-DUCHESS


There happened to be a small grating to the
cellar, and the Cat, who often went down there,
and looked upon it as her private and particular


hunting-ground, was surprised to hear voices
coming up through the bars. This put her in
rather a bad temper.
"What are you doing in my cellar?" she
cried, in no very amiable tone of voice.
" Catching my mice, are you? Robbing a poor
widowed mother with four tabby children of






THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


her principal means of subsistence? Yah!
greedies!"
The Ambassadors were startled, and came
beneath the grating. All they could see was a
pair of emerald-green eyes glaring reproachfully
down at them.
"We do not catch mice," answered one of
them loftily, "we have other fish to fry."
"Then what are you doing in my cellar?"
demanded the Cat suspiciously. I don't smell
fish frying."
"Nothing at all. What are you doing up
there?"
Curling my whiskers for the Crown Prince's
wedding. I shall creep in when nobody is
looking; I do not mind a kick or two in a good
cause."
The Ambassadors gave a start of surprise;
one of them-exclaimed hastily:
"Oh, intelligent and beautiful Cattums, say
that again about the Crown Prince!"
"Are you so stupid as not to know that he
is going to be married to the Frog-Duchess's







THE FROG-DUCHESS


daughter ? You
might have heard
it; I see you have
the usual number
of ears. I pity
such ignorance,
and despise it.
Good-bye; I must
go now, or I shall
not get a good
place. Remem-
ber, I rely upon
your honour not
to catch my
mice."
The Ambassa-
dors of the great
Tighearumas
were furious.
The Emperor
will know how to
avenge this insult," they cried, dancing with
rage.







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


And won't the beautiful squint-eyed Cylindra
be angry!"
My brothers," advised the oldest of the
party, "recollect that we are still in the
dominions of the King of Hearts, and therefore
let us dissemble our indignation."
"That is true," assented the others, "we will
lie low until we are out of the country. But
the King shall pay for this."
"And the Cat shall have a collar of gold and
a pension."
When the Crown Prince was informed by his
father that he was to be married immediately
for reasons of state, he received the news with
complete indifference. In fact, all he remarked
was "Oh, indeed!" for the Lord Chancellor
heard him through the keyhole, and nearly
betrayed himself by calling out, "Oh, model
youth, how I do honour thee!" The Lord
Chancellor styled himself a literary man, because
he read bits of Shakespeare every Saturday
night while the barber curled his wig. And he
was fond of reciting The quality of mercy is







THE FROG-DUCHESS


not strained" to his wife while she darned his
noble scarlet stockings; and she always knew
the exact places where he had to be prompted.
"The Crown Prince consents!" gasped the
Lord Chancellor, releasing the door-handle; in
two minutes the happy news was all over the
palace.
Dear, dear boy," said the Queen, he is all
heart! He would do anything to please his
parents and consolidate the empire."
She then became very busy giving orders
for the wedding, and polishing up the King's
crown, which she never allowed anyone to
touch but herself.
There was so much to be done that nobody
seemed to know where to begin, and therefore
got in everybody else's way. There was such
a running to and fro; such a hurrying here,
there, and everywhere of pages, equerries, guards,
ushers, ladies'-maids, and. court tailors! The
cooks in the kitchen were all dancing about like
so many lunatics, because they had to prepare
a huge banquet in a very short time. The







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


dogs, on the other hand, were licking lips and
wagging tails, for they knew that afterwards


there would be bones, very many, and probably
large bones.
Down at the marsh the alders were nodding,







THE FROG-DUCHESS


and bending, and whispering to each other; the
rushes were swaying about excitedly, and all
the pretty Marybuds were winking their golden
eyes, and curling their leaves for joy and delight.
"The Frog-Duchess's daughter is to be
married to-day to the Crown Prince," they
chanted, "we know, we know, we know!"
They held out their yellow cups to the sun,
who poured his warm beams into them with a
liberal hand.
"How merry you are, my marsh children!"
said the Sun benevolently.
"Very true, true, true," chanted the Mary-
buds. "The Frog-Duchess's daughter is to be
married to the Crown Prince to-day."
"Oh, indeed! I am very glad to hear it. I
will remember to shine upon the bride."
"We are the Winking Marybuds, and when
we are happy, we wink, wink, wink."
"And when you are unhappy?"
We wink, wink, wink just the same. Why
shouldn't we?"
I am sure I don't know. Wink away, my







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


marsh children, if it pleases you; I must go on
with my day's work," said the Sun, with a
gigantic smile that took everything in except
the moles burrowing in the banks. They hated
the light, and thought it altogether a mistake.
"Why, even a tom-cat's smile is sweet in the
dark!" old Granny Mole was wont to observe,
when it came to arguments; and no one could
deny that that might be true.
At the Palace the excitement grew greater
every moment. Mounted outriders dashed up
to announce that the Frog-Duchess's coach was
on the road. The Queen, being robed in her
gala attire, went to put the finishing touches to
the King's; and found him boxing the ears of
a page-of-the-wardrobe.
"You rascal," roared his Majesty, "you have
put- scent again on my clean pocket-hand-
kerchief! You ought to know by this time,
rapscallion, that I detest scent."
The trembling page fell upon his knees.
"There, get up, silly!" said' the King, relent-
ing. "I pardon you because it is the Crown







THE FROG-DUCHESS


Prince's wedding-day. But don't do it again.
Now, my love, I am ready;" and he offered the
Queen his hand to lead her downstairs with all
stateliness and decorum.


I do hope dear Jack does not dislike being
married," murmured the Queen.
H'm!" returned her consort, he was very
calm about it, certainly. But it will turn out
all right, my dear, don't you alarm yourself.
Ah, there goes the cannon!"
Boom, boom! A regiment of the Golden







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


Guards dashed out of the gates to escort the
Prince's bride. Boom, boom! The High
Stewards, with their white wands -of office,
stepped down solemnly through the great
doors, flung wide open. At the upper end of
the Hall of Audience stood the King and
Queen, with their Court, a picturesque group,
blazing with jewels.
The Crown Prince might be seen at the
King's right hand, all in white velvet, holding
his plumed cap, in which glittered a magnificent
emerald. He looked very handsome, but
strangely indifferent to what was going forward.
No one would have imagined that he was the
principal person concerned.
"Hoity-toity! what ails the boy?" muttered
the King, "one would think it was his funeral
instead of his wedding."
Erick stood behind his young master with
a grave face; he was afraid the Prince was
bewitched. Something had happened that had
taken all the life and joy out of him. What
could it have been?







THE FROG-DUCHESS


Joan of Hearts, too, cast thoughtful and
troubled glances at her brother. She feared he
was annoyed at being wedded in this hurry.
How she hoped the Frog-Duchess's daughter
would prove beautiful and sweet, and so make
the Prince love her!
What! He was actually yawning! How
could he, oh how could he, with his bride
coming up the steps!
Their Majesties moved nine paces forward,
which was as far as etiquette permitted. The
Duchess advanced, leading by the hand a white
figure closely veiled from head to foot. It was
impossible to say in the least what she was like.
Both ladies made a deep reverence, the Crown
Prince bowed mechanically, but looked over his
bride's head. The unfortunate young man,
having a marble heart, had lost all power of
feeling; nothing could cause him either pleasure
or grief.
The marriage proceeded, the bride remaining
veiled the whole time; her voice was very clear
and sweet. The Prince seemed in a dream, and







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


repeated listlessly what he was told to say.
The spectators noticed that the Duchess's
brow was growing as black as thunder; she
could not but be aware of the bridegroom's
extraordinary behaviour. Even the Court Cat
was struck by it.
Deary me, a clothes-peg could look happier
than that if it tried," she remarked; "the poor
fellow must have something on his mind."
As soon as the ceremony was concluded,
the Royal Contradicter stepped forward, and
solemnly broke his wand in two. His task was
done; as far as he was concerned, the Prince's
education was complete.
"And now," cried his Majesty jovially, "may
we behold the blushing bride?"
It is for the Crown Prince to raise her veil."
said the Duchess severely.
The bridegroom stood like a statue, and made
no movement.
His Highness must be taken ill!" was the
general murmur, and every face wore a look of
consternation.







THE FROG-DUCHESS


The King lost his temper, and gave his son
a push. "Where are your manners, lout?" he


exclaimed angrily; "what are you dreaming of?
Wake up and behave like a prince and a gentle-







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


man. Yonder stands your bride; go and ask
her permission to raise her veil."
"Perhaps she prefers to keep it down," said
Jack in a tone of hopeless indifference.
At this dreadful speech the white figure was
observed to tremble a little. As for the Duchess,
she was undoubtedly trembling, but it was from
rage, pure and simple. She was literally boiling
over, and no longer attempted to repress her
indignation.
My coach this instant!" shrieked the
Duchess; "my daughter and I have been
grossly insulted. Back she shall go with me,
and never shall that craven-hearted Prince see
her again."
Bless me, what a commotion there is going
to be!" said the Cat, peeping from under a chair.
"I would not have missed this for a fat rat!"
"But consider, my good lady, consider-"
began the King hastily.
The Duchess tossed her head angrily and
picked up her train, while she seized her
daughter by the hand.







THE FROG-DUCHESS


I will consider nothing," she cried; I have
been deeply insulted. Jack of Hearts, forsooth!
I call him a Knave to his face! He must be


mad, and if so, he is no fit husband for my
child. Is my carriage there?"
The Queen took her son's arm, and remon-
strated with him eagerly.
"My own darling boy, why do you behave
thus? You will break all our hearts."
"Heartsl" repeated the Crown Prince, play-







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


ing with his sword-knot, "there are no such
things. That's an old tale, madam; don't you
believe it."
"He must, indeed, be out of his mind,"
exclaimed the Queen, in the deepest distress.
"And oh, the Duchess is really going? This
is terrible"
The Frog-Duchess was too much offended to
wait until somebody found an explanation. She
turned a deaf ear to all the King said to her,
and swept her daughter off, croaking in a high
key, a sign that she was very much put out
indeed. Nobody could tell what the poor bride
thought of it all, she was too closely shrouded
in her white veil. But it seemed to some that
she went rather unwillingly. As her mother
hurried her away, she paused for a second by
the Crown Prince's side; one hand stole from
beneath her veil, and placed in his a golden
Marybud.
Jack's fingers closed upon it; he looked up
eagerly for a moment, and seemed about to
speak. The whole assembly watched him in







THE FROG-DUCHESS


the greatest suspense. Perhaps matters would
right themselves at the eleventh hour after all.
But the sudden light in Jack's dull eyes died


out; he had still a heart of marble; and with a
shrug of his shoulders, the Prince relapsed into
his former moody indifference.







96 -THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS
The Duchess's coach was heard driving away;
the Queen burst into tears.
"Captain of the Golden Guard," cried the
King in a terrible voice, "arrest the Crown
Prince, and let him be kept in close confinement
in the Turquoise Tower until our pleasure be
known."
So poor Jack of Hearts was marched off a
prisoner.















OOR dear Jack of Hearts, he was
truly in a bad way. The phy-
sicians could make nothing of
his case; they thought them-
selves mighty clever, but they
never discovered that his heart was made of
marble. The more puzzled they grew, the wiser
they looked, and the longer were the words they
used. The Queen was quite frightened, and
the more the physicians explained, the less the
poor good lady understood. At last it was
tolerably decided, however, that the Crown
Prince was either suffering from the mubble-
fubbles, or a moonflaw in the brain; two
mysterious complaints, for which the doctors
proceeded to treat him. As they could not
agree which it was, they very kindly treated
him for both at the same time.







THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS


So they gave poor Jack brimstone and treacle,
and a new bicycle, and marrons glacds, and
mud-baths, and gentle carriage exercise, fol-
lowed by violent broadsword exercise, and
cocoa-nut ice, and Perkins' Pale Pills for Pink
People (which he threw out of the window
when they weren't looking). Then, because
these remedies left him just where he was
before, they ordered him biology lectures, and
Badminton, and tickling, and garden parties,
and mince-pies, and oh, a whole lot of other
things, which were all perfectly useless.
The physicians then wagged their heads
solemnly, and said it was an obstinate case, and
if they had not been called in, the consequences
might have been serious. But they did not
cure their unlucky patient, they only irritated
him.
The curious illness of the heir to the throne
threw a gloom over the Palace, which was not
lightened by a rumour that the Emperor was
preparing to avenge the insult offered to him-
self and his daughter. The King of Hearts