YO T SA ID N
The Baldwin Library
PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH
^ JTiirQ btSmance
FOR YOUTHS AND MAIDENS.
BY T. C.
ILLUSTRATED BY A. C. 6I' s ^ )
EDMONSTON AND DOUGLAS.
THE WISH IS WISHED, 1
THE CHARM BEGINS TO ACT, .
IO TRIUMPH, .. 14
A BADGERED KING,. 22
THE CHARM IS BAFFLED, 26
IN THE NICK OF TIME,, 41
THE CHARM BEGINS TO PALL, 44
NAVY REFORM, .
ALMENA IS INCONSISTENT, . .
THE CHARM IS LOATHED, 6
THE WISH IS UNWISHED, 7
",I I ,'"
PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
A FAIRY ROMANCE.
THE WISH IS WISHED.
ONG ago-before chronology had even been
invented-two sons, Clavius and Perindo, had
been born into the Royal House of Chebuia,
and when I tell you that Clavius was the elder of the
brothers, you will at once understand that my tale is
to be altogether about Perindo, for every one with the
slightest pretension to Fairy lore is well aware that
eldest sons are of no use whatever, except at the beginning
of the first chapter, to meet an old woman in a wood, to
2 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISII.
whom they refuse to surrender the choicest parts of their
breakfast, for which unheard-of conduct they are of course
very properly turned into stones.
I now come to facts which I am very reluctant to
mention, but as they must be mentioned sooner or later,
I shall trust to the clemency of my youthful readers, and
break to them as gently as I can the startling intelligence
that Perindo was not surpassingly beautiful, or even
marvellously clever. I am afraid he was almost plain,
though there were some pleasing features in his face; his
lessons, too, gave him almost as much trouble as if he
had been an ordinary English boy; and instead of his
being the idol of his parents and an adoring nation, his
father, mother, and even his tutor, often found fault with
him when his conduct was displeasing.
I am glad, however, to be able to inform them that he
had so much at least of the Fairy Prince about him as
to make him feel that this was a very unnatural and
intolerable state of things, and he would spend hours
bemoaning his sad fate as he roamed in the woods
behind the palace. Of course he knew quite well that the
only remedy was that a Fairy should step upon the scene
and grant him a wish,-perhaps two wishes; but though
he peered expectant into every hollow tree and cave
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 3
and grotto he could find, he had as yet come upQo nothing
more interesting than a rabbit or a woodpecker.
"Well," said he to himself one day, "I must at least
': -; i '
S*,, Ill' /
be well prepared when I do meet a fairy, and not spoil
7 / .,
A \ .I\ '
"" ^' i4 '. -
He peered expectant into every hollow tree.
be well prepared when I do meet a fairy, and not spoil
my chances for ever by wishing for something foolish and
ill-considered, as they all do in story-books. Let's see,
I4 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
there was King Midas, who wished that everything he
touched might turn into gold, and was starved to death-
poor stupid creature-for his folly I think it was very
ill-natured of the Fairy. Of course she might have known
quite well he meant everything his hands touched, though
even that were silly enough;-well, I certainly won't
wish for gold. Then there was poor Tithonus, about whom
I was reading yesterday: he wished for immortality, and
grew old and shrivelled ; that too was cruel of the gods, but
they are just like Rosamond's mother in The Purple Jar,'
and always seem to take advantage of you, when they can.
I must wish for something really safe; not for a purse that
always has a piece of gold in it-I should be sure to be
robbed, and besides money is a stupid sort of thing; and I
won't wish for health, for I've got very good health, and be-
sides, every one makes so much of Clavy when he has one
of his headaches, that I think it must be rather nice to be
ill occasionally;--I know what I'll wish for: I'll wish
that every Chebuian may love and admire me more than
any one else in the world; that is, I think, a perfectly
wise wish. Oh, if only the Fairy-." As these last
words escaped his lips there stood before him a majestic
figure, whom he at once, and rightly, guessed to be his
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 5
"I have heard all," she said, "and, Perindo, I am pre-
pared to grant your request; but that you may not
accuse me of being like Rosamond's mother, I implore you
to consider well before you make your choice. You are
only sixteen-wait three years longer, when you will be
fitter to judge what is good for you, or, if you refuse to
wait, let me be the chooser, will you ?"
"What would you choose for me, lovely being ?" said
It will sound very commonplace to you, I am afraid,"
said the Fairy; "but really I think your best wish would
be for a contented spirit."
Perindo's countenance fell. Miust I wish for what you
tell me ?" he asked earnestly.
"No; I confess that it is beyond my power to make
you desire anything so sensible. I am very sorry to be
obliged to grant your wish at all, but in a weak moment
I promised to your mother, when you were quite a little
child, that I would give you anything you asked for when
you had attained the age of sixteen."
"I thank you kindly," said Perindo; "my mind is
"Who ever knew a mind at sixteen which was not ?-
Well, poor young thing, I suppose you must learn from
6 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
experience, like the rest of your kind : I grant your
"A thousand thanks," exclaimed Perindo. How de-
licious to think that whatever I may become, wherever
I may go, I shall in future meet with nothing but kind
and approving words and looks !"
"Ah no !" interrupted the Fairy; "I have not been
quite so cruel as you suppose; I have left you a loop-
hole: your wish was that every native of Chebuia should
be thus blinded; the charm shall not extend farther than
your own island, and the day will come when you will
thank me for the limitation."
At this moment both voice and vision ceased, and
Perindo was half afraid he had only dreamed a dream.
Enter, good Eic htho.
THE CHARM BEGINS TO ACT.
LICHTHO, the tutor of the princes, vowed that
these freaks of his younger pupil must be put
an end to. Much as he disliked the duty, he
felt it necessary to inform the King of Perindo's incorri-
gible idleness during the last month, and accordingly
THE CHARM BEGINS TO ACT.
LICHTHO, the tutor of the princes, vowed that
these freaks of his younger pupil must be put
an end to. Much as he disliked the duty, he
felt it necessary to inform the King of Perindo's incorri-
gible idleness during the last month, and accordingly
8 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
requested an audience of his Majesty, which was at once
"Enter, good Elichtho," said the King kindly. "'Tis
but too seldom that I can snatch a few hurried moments
from the duties of my office to hold soul-reviving converse
with the preceptor of my infants on the rich mines of
thought imbedded in his ar-
dent and mist-piercing spirit,
Which promises to bear such
abundant fruit for the nour-
",- ishment and culture of our
"If only his Majesty
wouldn't always think it
/ necessary to talk 'fine' with
7 me, what a comfort it would
be 1" sighed the tutor in-
Swardly, but bending low he
said,- -"To commune with
your gracious Majesty on sub-
jects aesthetic and philoso-
The King talks t.ne. phical would be my great
privilege and constant pleasure, were it not evident to me
that in so doing I should be depriving your Majesty's
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 9
subjects of the light of your beneficent guidance. No,
Sire, it is on a far less pleasing, though on a very impor-
tant subject that I must for a brief space detain your
Speak on, good sage."
"It is with the greatest pain that I must acquaint your
Majesty with the distressing news of the inveterate idle-
ness of your younger son."
"The young scamp I'll inveterate-idleness him," inter-
rupted the monarch.
"For some time he has performed all his tasks in the
most listless and perfunctory manner, nay, has often
indeed avoided them altogether by escaping to the forest
at early dawn, and not returning till the set of sun."
"I'll settle him," remarked the King.
I felt assured," proceeded Elichtho, "that such con-
duct could not approve itself to a mind of your Majesty's
penetration and acuteness; and it has become my duty to
put the case in your hands, knowing well that it will thus
be dealt with in the wisest and most discriminating
By Jupiter, I'll not stand this !" cried the King. Here
am I paying a man 1200 a year that these young rascals
may have a good education, and it seems that Clavius's
10 PRINCE PERIN'DO'S WISH.
headaches only allow him to study for half an hour in the
day, while Perindo thinks fit to shirk his work altogether !
Good heavens, man! if you can't manage them I must
look out for some one who will.-Leave the room, sir;
remember what I've said: if I hear any more complaints
you must go.-Stop though, Elichtho," said the King,
relenting as his common-sense returned, "I daresay it's
not so much your fault after all; it must be rather hard
to keep these boys in order, especially as you've never
been allowed to flog them.-Send the young rascal to
me; I warrant I'11 bring him to reason."
"Your Majesty's commands shall be obeyed," said
Elichtho, and left the room.
In spite of the Fairy's promise, Perindo approached the
palace with some misgivings. Elichtho had told him that
the next time he shirked his work the King must posi-
tively be informed, and not all his belief in the power of the
Fairy's charm could entirely reconcile him to the prospect
of having an interview with his father in such circum-
stances. Still, it must be gone through sooner or later,
and Perindo, though sensitive to blame, was no coward,
so he went into the schoolroom in the most nonchalant
style, whistling an air from the latest opera in the jauntiest
manner he could command. Elichtho met him with a
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 11
frown, but somehow no sooner had he looked at him than
the furrows forsook his forehead, and the angry words
his mind had formed were changed into--
"I am much concerned, your Royal Highness, that I
have been betrayed by a momentary hotness of temper
into informing his Majesty of your absence from study
to-day; indeed, I am almost afraid that our gracious King
may not be so thoroughly convinced as I am of the
excellent reasons which have doubtless dictated this course
of conduct to your Royal Highness. Permit me to precede
you to the royal chamber, to disarm your father of his
undeserved and hasty displeasure."
Perindo could hardly refrain from giving a laugh of
delighted relief. "Not. for the world, sir. I have treated
you badly enough as it is; it is very good of you not to
say any more about it."
"Will future ages believe in such greatness of soul ?"
inquired the grateful preceptor.
Now for it !" said our hero, as he knocked boldly at
his father's door.
"Is it you, you young vagabond ?" roared the King.
" I've a crow to pluck with you; just wait where you are
till I'm ready."
In about five minutes the King bade him open the
12 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
door, but ordered him to come no farther than the other
side of the screen, as he had no desire to look at him.
Now, sir," growled King Ronigarde, you '11 please to
listen to me. If you think I'm going to stand such conduct
any longer, you are very much mistaken. Clavius has
some excuse for his backwardness; you have none, you
great hulking booby, and I may just as well tell you at
once that all the punishments you have yet received have
been a perfect joke to what you are now to get. Now
COME HERE, SIR!" roared the King in a voice of
thunder. Perindo's faith in the charm was greatly
shaken, and he came slowly and unwillingly from behind
the screen, but no sooner did Ronigarde behold him than
there came over his countenance the most ludicrous
change of expression, and he exclaimed hastily, What
mad words have I been saying? I, who am the last man
in the world to find fault with a lad of spirit for showing
his old prig of a tutor that a Prince can have a will of
his own? Gad I it's just what I should have done myself
at your age, only I don't know if I could have carried it
out with the same pluck and general ability.-We '11 teach
that interfering old idiot how to come between a father
and his son again. Not another instant shall he stay in
the palace. I'll take care-"
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 13
"Stop, dear father," said Perindo gently; I think you
take too stern a view of Elichtho's offence; I daresay he
thought he was only doing his duty."
"I '11 duty him !" said the monarch.
It was, perhaps, somewhat forward of him," interceded
Perindo, "but we all have our faults, and he is really
"And he has the most generous-minded pupil that ever
a snivelling old dominie was blessed with. Well, my dear
boy, I'll forgive him this time for your sake, but if such a
thing occurs again-"
"It will not occur again," answered the Prince promptly.
"Do not think so meanly of Elichtho, my father; I give
you my word that this is his last offence."
RINCE PERINDO became convinced that it
was not a dream, but a most dazzling and
delightful reality; never in his most compla-
cent moods had he put half so favourable a construction
on all he did and said, as hundreds of devoted subjects now
rendered to his most trivial speech or gesture. This devo-
tion was only limited to hundreds, because the Royal
Family were still living in retirement in their summer-
palace, and it was necessary to see the Prince in order to be
influenced by the magic spell, but meantime he passed his
days very happily amid the adulation of those around him,
giving himself up with the greatest ardour to all those
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 15
tastes and pursuits which had formerly either been for-
bidden, or only permitted under the most galling restric-
Time passed as rapidly as it usually does when we are
enjoying ourselves, and before Perindo had killed half as
many stags as he wished, a keen frost and driving winds
set in, which made him cower over the fire, and acquiesce
willingly in his father's remark, that as it was more than
a month past the usual time, perhaps his darling son
might be induced to take into his favourable consideration
the idea of returning to the capital.
The King was anxious for this on many accounts, but
principally because the murmurs of his faithful subjects
had lately become loud and menacing. The Sturremup
Awakener, the Radical organ, had gone so far as to insist
that this inaction of the monarch was almost equivalent
to an abdication, and it hinted that if the Sluggard
King" did not return within the following week it would
become the duty of all good citizens to supply his place.
Now although the editor and entire staff" were promptly
put in chains to await their trial for high treason, still
this had not been accomplished without disorder, and even
bloodshed, and King Ronigarde felt rather uncomfortable.
It was therefore with no small delight that he perceived
16 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
that his son shared his views, and matters were at once
put in train for instant departure.
"Clavius and I are going to ride up to town," said
Perindo to his mother on the morning before the start.
"My darling boy, what do you tell me ? You will at
least allow the carriage to accompany you ?"
"Most certainly not; why, all the fun is in getting off
the high-road, and ascending the pass, so that we may
have a gallop over the high downs."
"But, my own dear son, it will be most dangerous;
the snows have already begun on the mountains, and our
subjects in the fastnesses beyond are said to be somewhat
"Nonsense, mother! You never made any difficulty
about it before. I can't think what has come over you."
"I have never realized till now what a terrible thing it
would be should anything happen to my best one. My
son, my son I shall be wretched if you persist in this.
I admire and delight inexpressibly in the courage which
prompts you, but have pity, have pity on your poor
mother, and give up this daring scheme."
"I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my
life !" said Perindo. "I am determined on this; pray
say no more about it."
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 17
"Alas, alas what influence can a poor stupid woman
like me have with one so wise and valiant ?" and the Queen
burst into tears.
Perindo saw that he had gained his point, and at once
wrote a line to a friend,the son of a noble who lived in a
neighboring castle, asking him to meet him at half-past
eight next morning, prepared for the expedition. At that
time precisely his friend appeared. Clavius was ill and
could not join the party, so the two young men set off
unaccompanied save by two squires, though not before
Perindo had undergone a course of most affectionate
farewells. Elichtho, who had never been on horseback in
his life, and who never liked leaving the library for more
than an hour, sobbed his farewells as he embraced his
pupil, and implored to be allowed to accompany him. All
the servants were in tears. The King was almost speechless
with grief, and could only murmur in broken accents that
the Queen felt quite unequal to the agitation of seeing her
son again, but that they both conjured him to be careful
of his precious, precious health, whereupon an old butler
became so much moved as to burst into loud and pro-
longed howls of grief, in which he was speedily joined by
the whole Court. Perindo saw nothing for it but instant
flight, and putting spurs to their horses the young men
18 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
galloped till the sound of the wailing was lost in the
After riding seven miles over level ground, their path
began to ascend, and in a short time the country became
so steep and broken that they had to adopt a walking
pace. Just as they reached the head of the pass, and were
beginning to make up for lost time, a loud cry from
the valley below arrested their attention. Looking down,
they beheld fifty men on horseback in full armour, and at
their head Perindo thought he recognized the Commander-
in-Chief of his father's forces.
"What can be the matter ?" said Pelaphon. Heaven
grant that rebellion has not broken out in any part of his
Majesty's dominions !"
What fun it would be !" was the response. I'm sure
they'd give me a detachment to command. You'd be my
aide-de-camp-wouldn't you, Pelly ?"
Till the death," answered Pelaphon; but one of them
is putting a speaking-trumpet to his lips.-Listen."
The wind brought faintly to their ears, Business of
the utmost importance; wait for us here, as you value
It can be nothing less than a rebellion," said Perindo
decidedly. Charge, good men all," and down the hill they
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 1
set at a pace which seemed little short of madness; but
whether aided by the miraculous powers of one of their
riders, or by their own surefootedness, the steeds descended
in safety, and Perindo, excited and breathless, demanded
the news, whereupon the general replied :-
"Their gracious Majesties, the King and Queen, seized
with the gravest fears for your Royal Highness's safety,
attended as you are by but three followers, have decided,
to the great joy of the whole Court, to send me at the head
of fifty faithful soldiers to protect your Royal Highness's
person until you shall have reached the capital."
Perindo stamped his foot violently, and his face glowed
with anger as he said, I never in my life heard of such
imbecile folly Now we shall have to climb the pass
again, and shall probably not reach the inn till past
If your Royal Highness will please to recollect," said
the trumpeter, I shouted that our band would join your
Highness at the top."
"I please to recollect nothing but that you are a pack
of officious fools !"
"What wonderful decision of character!" murmured
Will your Royal Highness permit me to point out
20 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
that we have prepared for the casualties of the night ? We
have brought with us four carpenters, who will put up a
tent for your repose, and as his Majesty's chief cook is
also of our party, the Court has every hope that you may
pass the night as comfortably as possible under such
"Insufferable nonsense!" answered the Prince; "as if
all the fun of it was not to go incognito to an inn, and to
look out for adventures by the way."
What modesty what brilliance of fancy! what deter-
mination to be valued for his worth alone!" were the
comments which met our hero's ear at the end of his last
"Away with every one of you said Perindo. "All
you can do for me is to leave me in peace."
"We obey with sorrow," answered the general; "there
is no resisting your :Royal Highness, but I fear that his
Majesty will be sorely displeased."
Perindo wrote a few words on a piece of paper, and
then handed it to the general. There," he said;
"you need not fear my father's displeasure if you
show him that: I have told him that you could not help
A thousand thanks cried the general. There is now
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 21
only one thing more I have to urge upon your Highness.
The Queen has intrusted me with a jacket of chamois-
leather, which, as the weather is very cold upon the
mountains, she implores you to wear next to your-august
This was too much for the newly-fledged dignity of
sixteen, and to make matters worse, Perindo fancied he
saw a faint smile on the face of Pelaphon. Throwing the
poor jacket violently on the ground, he retraced his
course up the mountain with all possible speed, while
the little army, dejected and crest-fallen, slowly bent its
steps toward the palace.
., .. ". .*
A BADGERED KING.
RRIVED at last !" said King Ronigarde, as the
royal carriage drove up before the winter
"Ah, yes," said the Queen. "Do you think we shall
find our dear boy here to welcome us ?"
No, Prince Perindo had not arrived, and sick at heart
the King ordered five regiments to scour the country for
him. They then sat down to supper, but the poor King
was not to be allowed to eat it in peace, for in a very few
minutes a servant opened the door, and said, Please your
Majesty, the Prime Minister's in the study, and he wishes
to speak to you very particular."
Can't he wait till I've finished my supper ?"
He said you was to come immed- Leastways he
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 23
said he hoped your Majesty would find it suitable to
your august convenience to-"
"Oh yes, I know," said the King. Of course I must
go." Turning to the Queen, he added,-" Keep that hot
for me, my dear," and left the room.
When the usual compliments had been interchanged
the King said abruptly, "Now tell me what it's all about,
as shortly as possible, please."
My party is in great difficulties, and we earnestly hope
your Majesty will permit us to withdraw the 'Increased
Taxation Bill,' or at least to postpone it till another session;
there is a very large majority against us, and unless you
consent I am afraid we must tender our resignation."
"Nonsense !" said the King. How am I to pay my
debts if you don't help me ? I thought that was the use
of ministers." And at last he talked the Premier into
making a fight for it, but alas not before the roast
pheasant had become almost cold.
Next day the King opened Parliament, and for' about
a week everything went smoothly, but as the day for the
" Increased Taxation Bill" drew near his heart failed him;
all the journals, with the sole exception of the Oficial
Bulletin, wrote very bitterly against the measure, and even
the Ministerial organ supported it in a very half-hearted
way. The dreaded day at length arrived, and King Roni-
24 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
garde came into the Senate-house looking the very shadow
of his former self, for his debts pressed more heavily upon
him daily, each day he saw less prospect of persuading
Parliament to grant the necessary moneys,-and to crown
all, there was still no news of Prince Perindo.
Amid an ominous silence the proposer of the hated
measure ascended the rostrum, and it was in faltering
accents that he began :-
The purport of the Bill now before the House is known
to all here, and it is unnecessary for me to mention the
profound sorrow which it occasions to his most gracious
Majesty and to the Cabinet to request Parliament to
ratify a bill for even so small a sum as that which is
proposed to be added to the income-tax, for the intense
love and truly paternal anxiety for the welfare of his
people manifested by the King on countless occasions
are facts with which the enlightened world has long been
ringing. (General disorder.) I am not at liberty to state
the reasons which have made it,necessary to impose this tax
on the country, but I feel confident that before many years
have passed, not only will the nation be relieved of it, but
indeed most of the taxes will probably be abolished.
(Ironical cheers.) I will not detain the House with any
further words of mine (Hear, hear), but will conclude
by moving that .the Bill receive the sanction of this
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 25
Assembly." (Hissing and hooting from almost all parts
of the House.)
When the motion had been seconded, the leader of the
opposition rose to his feet amid loud cheers. He was a
tall, strong, fine-looking man, greatly beloved and respected
by the people.
"I rise," he said, "with feelings of shame and indig-
nation, which I believe are shared by every respectable
member of this House. Three years ago the country
submitted to a tax even heavier than that.which was levied
when a foreign army was ravaging our island. The reason
which was given for imposing it was that war must be
declared against Benocha. You will remember, gentle-
men, that directly the money was received a peace was
patched up with that country, and from that time to this
there have been no symptoms of hostility. We are now
commanded, without the shadow of a reason-" and so on
for a long period of invective, under which King and
Cabinet greatly winced, concluding with a passionate
appeal to the House in the name of liberty, which was
violently enforced from all parts of the Senate.
The King was at his wits' end, and was just about to
agree to the withdrawal when-in marched Prince
THE CHARM IS BAFFLED.
S HE young men had ridden on for a long time
-\7 in utter silence. Pelaphon saw-that his friend
was much put out, but considered that his
best plan was to take no notice, and so allow the dis-
pleasure to wear itself away. In a little while the
cloud rolled off Perindo's brow, but the shades of night
now drew on apace, and the steeds gave evident signs of
weariness; their riders, too, began loudly to complain of
hunger, and yet Perindo's squire declared that they were
still ten miles from the nearest inn.
At last Pelaphon ventured to say, What a pity it is
that we cannot go to my uncle's castle! It must be
within two miles, and he would be only too delighted to
welcome your Highness."
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 27
And what in the world prevents our going there ?"
Only the justness of your remark to General Kurmai,
when you said that all the pleasure of such expeditions
consisted in going incognito to an inn."
"You always take one so literally. Of course one had
to say anything that came into one's head to drive the
old goose away."
I beg ten thousand pardons for my stupidity."
Say no more about it," answered Perindo graciously,
"but lead as quickly as possible to your uncle's castle."
In a very short time Pelaphon had discovered the
path, which led them into a dense forest, where the in-
terlacing branches of the trees and the tangled under-
growth at their feet gave them no little trouble; before
long, however, they were rewarded by seeing a brilliant
light glimmer through the trees in front of them, and in
a short time the baying of several gigantic mastiffs
announced their near approach to the castle.
"Who goes there ?" cried the keeper of the draw-
"Prince Perindo and the Knight Pelaphon, with their
attendant squires," was the reply.
In a very few minutes they were ushered into the lofty
hall, and the lord of the castle was welcoming the
28 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
Prince and his nephew. Our hero was at once taken to the
state chamber, where a bath of deliciously scented water
and the choice of three gorgeous changes of apparel
invited him to prepare for supper. He was however too
hungry to delay over his toilet, and in a very brief
space of time he had joined his host in the lofty dining-
hall. An enormous fire-place of pure silver, and most
richly carved, with blazing heaped-up logs of rose and
sandal wood, first attracted his attention, but before his
eye had time to wander to pictures, curtains, or even to
the sumptuous repast spread before him, his gaze was
fixed by the loveliest maiden he had ever seen. A com-
plexion of lilies and roses, eyes of the deepest and purest
blue, hair of the brightest gold, matchless features, and a
perfect form, all crowned by the sweetest expression ever
seen,-these were charms sufficient to enslave Perindo
in even less time than I have taken to describe them.
"Allow me to introduce my niece to the Prince
Perindo," said the lord of the castle, whose name was
The young Almena greeted him without the slightest
embarrassment, and said, as she courtesied to him, that
she was afraid he must be very tired after his journey.
I am inured to fatigue," was the answer; but were I
THIS, MY DEAR, IS PRINCE PERINDO.
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 29
Sat death's door the sight of these bright orbs would bring
me back to instant health and vigour."
Almena seemed infinitely amused, but her uncle said
sternly, "I am sure, niece, that this compliment will be
recorded in your family archives, and cherished as a most
precious heirloom till the end of time."
"I am afraid we have no family archives at home,
uncle, except our births, deaths, and marriages-and
fancy my inserting pretty speeches like this among them!
What would papa say ?" and she laughed again.
"Really, Almena, your levity is most unseemly. I can
only attribute it to a fit of hysteria, brought on by having
such an unusual honour paid to you; and though this
style of behaviour may be quite proper in Benocha, please
"to remember that you have now come to live among
civilized people, and comport yourself accordingly."
Almena answered not a word, and Perindo even
fancied for a moment that a slight look of scorn came
over her face, but this was so utterly impossible that he
felt assured he must have been mistaken. At this moment
the door opened, and Mashura's only daughter, Thyrosa,
accompanied by Pelaphon, entered the room.
This young lady greeted the Prince with such an excess
of deferential admiration that-it made no impression
30 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
upon him, while Almena did not so much as look at him
during the remainder of the meal, which disquieted him
What a very remarkable creature she is What can
be the meaning of this ?" he wondered to himself. Surely
the Fairy must have played me false, or- stay-what was
that she said about natives of Chebuia only? Ah, yes !
and her uncle implied she was a Benochese. Never mind,
I ought to need no borrowed charms to win the heart of
a maid of Benocha, and it will be rather a relief to find
that I am loved without the aid of a spell. What can I do
to touch her heart ? I know: I will sing to her. Elichtho
calls me a second Orpheus.-May we have some music ?"
he asked abruptly, turning to Thyrosa.
"With the greatest pleasure, your Royal Highness,"
that acquiescent young lady replied, and they at once
adjourned to the drawing-room.
Hardly had they seated themselves when Thyrosa
moved to the piano, and in a loud metallic voice
floundered through a long and difficult operatic scena."
"Thank you," said Perindo absently, when she had
finished, and he made a movement towards the in-
"Perhaps your Highness will have the extreme kindness
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 31
o favour us with a song ?" said Thyrosa, with what she
considered her irresistible look.
Certainly," was the reply; but that of yours was very
nicely sung-very nicely sung indeed."-" I shall make
Almena jealous," he thought to himself.
He sang for a long time, uninterrupted, except by
interjections of rapture from three of his auditors. Of
these, however, he took no notice, but as he neared the
end of his ditty he came to a passage which he had been
told he always rendered with exceeding power and pathos.
Letting out all his voice, he dwelt on a high note till the
room rang again. Just then he heard a stifled cry from
Almena; he turned round, but she had hidden her face.
"Are you unwell, dear ?" said Thyrosa.
No, no; it is nothing," said Almena. "Pray go on"
(to Perindo), and she retired into the farthest corner of the
room; thither, however, Perindo followed her at once, and,
sitting down by her side, murmured in a very audible
whisper, I will not go till I hear that in that supreme
moment your soul beat an answering throb to mine."
"My soul is not in the habit of beating throbs," said
Almena. "Pray leave me, sir. See, the company is all
impatience for the remainder of your song."
"I will not quit this spot until I hear that Cupid's
arrow glanced not idly by."
32 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
"Then I am afraid that I must leave you to answer
the question by yourself, for besides that I do not quite
understand it, there is something I must say to Thyrosa
about this piece of work."
Ah, no, fair tyrant," said Perindo, let us remain thus
for ever," and he grasped her hand.
"This is too much," cried Almena, as with a crimson
blush, she tore herself away from him, and left the
Not all Thyrosa's blandishments or the plaudits of
her father ,could restore Perindo to anything like equa-
nimity, and, before very long, he remarked sulkily that
he should like to go to bed.
"Ah! a craving for repose arises even in the greatest
souls," said Mashura.
Hold your peace," cried Perindo, almost beside himself
"Peace all! his Highness speaks," said Mashura.
"No, he doesn't," cried the Prince.
"No more he does; how stupid of me !"
"I am afraid I have been very rude," said Perindo.
" Pray excuse me, I feel rather out of sorts. Good-night."
He made his escape, though not before he had heard-
"Ah the wear and tear of daily life is too much for his
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 33
highly-strung frame; our grosser natures can better stand
such jars than-" Here Perindo banged the door.
Next morning he awoke with his ruffled spirits some-
what restored. "After all," he thought, "her very
agitation showed that she was not insensible to me; she
is coy to a fault, but it cannot be that there is no feeling
underneath ; besides, the fact remains that she was affected
by my singing." At breakfast, however, he was not a
little discouraged by an intimation that Almena meant
to keep her room.
"Dear me she must be unwell," said 31M I-hi i.
Though the doctor could find nothing amiss with her,
Almena insisted on keeping her chamber for the whole of
that week. Once or twice she came down to dinner, but as
she always retired to her room so soon as the meal was
ended, Perindo had no opportunity for any private con-
versation with her, and his hopes grew fainter. Thyrosa
paid him unremitting attention, but with no other effect
than that of making Pelaphon intensely miserable. At last
Perindo discovered this, and, taking him aside; inquired
"We have been engaged from our infancy," was the
reply; "but it is evident to me that she no longer loves
me. Who can wonder at it? Your Royal Highness is
34 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
constantly before her eyes. I resign her to you without a
murmur, though-" but here Pelaphon burst into tears.
"Nay, cheer ap, Pelaphon, you have no rival in me;
my love is all for the proud Almena who scorns me; your
case is better than mine, for I will entreat Thyrosa to
accept your hand."
"Alas, alas it is hopeless."
Not at all; you shall see, I will manage it nicely."
Accordingly Perindo asked Thyrosa that evening if
she would have some conversation with him; she com-
plied with readiness, and he began without further pre-
"Thyrosa, there is an affection deeply seated in my
heart, will you promise to give it a place in yours ?"
Thyrosa murmured a faint Yes."
I love Pelaphon better than any man in the world,
you engage to do the same," and without more ado, he rose
and left her, telling Pelaphon that he had made him a
Perindo now began to feel that he was using his father
and mother very ill; he knew that their anxiety must
be very great-absurdly so, indeed; still, proceeding as
it did from laudable motives, he resolved that he ought no
longer to trifle with it, but he was quite determined that
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 35
before he left he must have an interview with Almena. It
was impossible that he should fail in gaining her affections;
he had discovered that she had never been presented at
Court, and that her father was a mere country gentleman;
and moreover Thyrosa had hinted to him that he had sent
her to visit them in compliance with her deceased mother's
last request, that she might have the opportunity of
making a good match; and then, too, he was quite sure
that though he might owe a good deal of the fuss which
people made about him to his fairy gift, he possessed
still enough of personal charm and attraction to make
it extremely unlikely that he should be displeasing to a
young and unsophisticated Benochese maiden; was it
not possible that her treatment of him might arise from
excessive coquetry, from timidity, from fear that he was
only laughing at her-from anything, in short, rather than
from indifference ? Just as he was pursuing this cheering
train of thought, a vision of white and gold flashed before
his eyes at the other end of the park; his lover's instinct
told him that it could be none other than Almena, and in
a few minutes he was at her side.
Allow me to hope," he stammered out, that you have
recovered from your late indisposition."
I am quite well, thank you."
36 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
"And has your heart too recovered from its seeming
"I believe my circulation is much as usual."
Cruel, unfeeling maid, to trifle with a passion such as
"I must ask forgiveness of your Highness, but we have
the misfortune in Benocha to be a very literal matter-of-
fact kind of people, and my education has been much
neglected in the matter of hearts and darts and such-
In what style of language must I then address you ?"
Oh it is not for me to dictate to your Highness in
such matters ; but the weather, I think, and possibly the
state of the crops, might be safe topics, if only you would
be so good as to use as few long words as possible, for I
am rather stupid."
"I will try to make my meaning plain," said Perindo.
"I love you, and ask you to be my wife."
"Prince Perindo, I have not deserved this treatment
at your hands; it has been my constant desire, ever since
you came to the castle, to show you that your attentions
are distasteful to me; when in an unhappy moment I leave
the prison to which you have consigned me, and venture
into the park to breathe the air for a short time, you at
v^/ J/ ^ ./.^. :
^ j ,1 a ^ '*^ ''1! ; ^
^*^."^ ; I- )- *;"- ^ ^'LC
'y ~ Lv^ ^^i ^')I. ,
~ ~' I il 1 : ,' .-2b -
~~-I~t1 I ,
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 37
once pursue me, and now, adding insult to injury, you
offer me your hand."
Heaven and earth could he have heard her aright?
was it possible his addresses were received in this way ?
Yes, unless his ears and eyes deceived him, he was re-
pulsed, and with scorn. And yet, how incredible !- such
could not be her real intention, and besides, her agitation
at his song was evidently not fictitious. He would get to
the bottom of this mystery.
"To deem the offer of the hand and heart of one of the
blood-royal of Chebuia an insult, were so evidently absurd,
that the lady Almena must pardon me for disbelieving in
her sincerity. What the cause of this extraordinary be-
haviour is I cannot pretend to guess at, but your blushes
during supper, the evening I arrived, did not escape me,
and, though you strove hard to conceal it, your emotion
while I sang was evident to all. Your motives for so
hiding your feelings are indeed inexplicable, but if they
arise from any doubt as to my sincerity in making you
this offer, be assured-"
Stop, sir," cried Almena, in a tone that he could not
disregard. For some moments she remained silent, though
her eyes sparkling with anger, her little hands tightly
clenched together, and her heaving breast, were more
38 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISIH.
eloquent than words. "Give me time," she at length
broke forth, and I shall not despair of making my mean-
ing plain, even to your understanding. I received your
first foolish compliments with only a slight distaste; the
bold and self-satisfied stare with which you persecuted
me during supper roused my disgust, it is true, but not to
an overpowering degree; when you sang out of tune, it
shocked my nerves and offended my ears so much that I
was weak enough to betray it by a sound (here Perindo
started) ; yet all this could be. borne; when, however, in
the presence of my uncle and cousin, you grossly and
deliberately insulted me, I resolved that you should never
have it in your power to behave so again; since then, you
have been on the watch for my every footstep, and have
at last succeeded in tracking me to a place where there
was no escape; but if you have one spark of knightly
feeling in you, you will now give up this ignoble chase,
and, by quitting the castle at once, make the only amends
in your power."
Perindo answered neither by word nor by look, but in
half an hour he was on his way to the capital.
If our hero could have analysed his feelings at this
time-a thing he was quite incapable of doing--he would
have been surprised by the number of the passions that
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 39
were moving him. There was a great deal of indignation
that he should have been so treated, there was no trifling
amount of wounded vanity, there was a good deal of
honest wonder at the strangeness of it all, and yet under
and through every one of these feelings there was a some-
thing that told him that he had behaved in an arrogant
and unjustifiable manner, and had only met with some-
thing very like his deserts; there was, too, a good deal of
admiration for the spirited way in which she had repulsed
him, and there was a tiny grain of a tenderer emotion.
Swayed by all of these contending impulses in turn, he
presented a picture that even Almena might have pitied,
and it is just possible that his better nature might in time
have asserted itself, Qould he have met a right-thinking
friend, who could have put the case fairly before him, but
alas the Fairy's gift had shut him off from all chance of
such a blessing, for every one in the island, no matter
how good and right-minded, was constrained to behold
him through rose-coloured glasses. Perindo felt that there
was no one to whom he could go for counsel, and at last,
poor wretch I he gave himself up to the guidance of his
own evil passions.
"She shall see," he said to himself, "whether it was
wise and seemly to treat, as she has chosen to do, the
40 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
darling of the nation. She shall hear of the all-command-
ing influence I exercise in state affairs; she shall feel the
power of Perindo the people's idol, and then she will rue
too late the folly which insulted and defied him."
It was in this amiable state of mind that he entered the
Senate-house. But of the further proceedings there we
must speak in another chapter.
A .... .\ i.
j"! -. 7..
IN THE NICK OF TIME.
HEN King Eonigarde beheld his son, the feel-
'ing of joy at seeing him once more safe and
-- : sound banished at first all fears and anxieties
from his breast, but after the first rapturous greeting
Perindo brought him back to the state of affairs by
saying, "What is the meaning of all this uproar, my
father ? Every one looks as if he meant to tear every one
else to pieces."
Then in a few hurried sentences the King informed
him of his difficulties.
Cheer up," said Perindo; "see if I don't put it all to
rights." So saying he rose, and signified his wish to
address the House. Now everybody was so excessively
anxious to make everybody else be quiet, that it was a
considerable time before anything approaching to a lull
42 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
could be obtained ; but the Prince, confident of ultimate
success, waited with patience, and was rewarded by the
absolute and complete attention of every Member, when
he at last began :-" Gentlemen, when I entered the House
a few minutes ago, what a sight met my eyes For some
time I fancied I must be in the most hidden recesses of
barbarous Benocha, so great was the disorder, so loud the
savage and insulting cries. At one end of the Chamber I
saw my august father, with a piteously small band of
faithful followers, menaced, and apparently almost over-
whelmed, by those whose chiefest and most cherished
privilege it ought to be to obey his slightest nod. Rush-
ing with all speed to the succour of my honoured parent,
I inquired the cause. Words fail me to describe my horror
when I found that those whose whole lives have been nobly
and entirely given up to the arduous task of governing the
people of Chebuia, have been requited by an impious and
malignant opposition-and for what ? Will not all just
men refuse to believe their ears, when they learn that
certain moneys being needed by those whom we ought
never to cease to honour, not only was a question raised as
to the possibility of obtaining them-a course of conduct
only to be looked for among the most abandoned of the
barbarous Benochese,-but the King and his Ministers
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 43
were met by a flat and insolent denial, and, more frightful
still-woe is me that I should live to utter the words!-
they were assailed by threats. Yes I weep on, arrogant and
impious men, it may still be that King Ronigarde, in his
endless mercy, may at length pardon your offence, and
even permit you to give evidence of the sincereness of
your contrition by allowing you to contribute a double
share of gold to those moneys which it is the joy of every
loyal nation to cast at the feet of its King. Despair not,
for I will even now intercede for you with his Majesty."
So saying he bent down to the King, and in a few minutes
raised his head saying, "Rejoice, men of Chebuia ye are
pardoned every one of you-even down to that hardened
offender, the leader "of the opposition. Evince by your
future acts the sincerity of your repentance, let your
only contention now be, who shall most heartily serve
his Sovereign. Pass with all readiness the Bill now
graciously prepared for your acceptance,-and it may be
that by the alacrity of your present obedience you may
succeed in effacing the recollection of past offences."
Throughout the House there rang such thunders of
applause that in every lonely hamlet twenty miles from
the city the day is commemorated as "The Day of the
THE CHARM BEGINS TO PALL.
S .i M this day Perindo's career was a perpetual
Veni, vidi, vici," for not only was his every
"- act, word, or gesture made the theme of un-
bounded eulogy by his devoted subjects, but even in
the things which he left undone, every one saw matter
for endless praise and admiration. The newspapers of
course became the willing slaves of this new phase of
popular emotion, and every incident, however trivial,
however remotely associated with Perindo, so long as he
had some share in it, was eagerly devoured by high and
low, wise and foolish, rich and poor, Tory and Radical;
indeed, these last terms became a complete misnomer,
except that the "Liberal" organs rather took the line of
predicting future glory and renown for the Prince, of
showing how all that he did and said harmonized with
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 45
the truest dignity of the subject and well-being of the
nation, and of pointing out and advocating any means by
which the fame and greatness of the Prince might be
increased; while the Conservatives, as a rule, were more
occupied in hunting up all the stories that could be
gathered of the Prince's infancy and childhood. It was
they who procured Perindo's old nurse as a member of
their editorial staff-a great hit by the way, as her
"Recollections of His Royal Highness in Long Clothes"
covered daily, for more than a month, three columns of
the fortunate newspaper in which they were inserted.
The Conservatives, too, were wont to bask contentedly in
the sunshine of the present, and were rather afraid of the
Liberal schemes for increasing the glory and dignity of
their common idol, declaring that they could see hardly
any means by which that glory could be increased, while
they feared that by an injudicious haste it might be
seriously imperilled. Both parties, however, agreed on
one thing : it was admitted on all hands that the insolence
of the Benochese, who had actually been heard to sneer
at their loyal feeling, ought to be promptly and effectually
punished, and it was only the absolute and hitherto im-
movable silence of the Prince on 'the subject, which had
prevented the instant chastisement of Benocha. Every one
46 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
agreed that it was Perindo's unique clemency and good-
ness of heart which prevented his acquiescing in their
proposals, and often was he entreated to give his subjects,
-for the King and Clavius had practically resigned in
favour of Perindo,-an opportunity of testifying their zeal
for him, but they had never as yet succeeded in obtaining
a decided reply.
It may be feared by some that all this absorbing hero-
worship was not favourable to the cause of learning,
and I must confess that Perindo's celebrated mot, to
the effect that Science, and Languages, and all that kind
of thing, was great nonsense and a horrid bother," had a
most prejudicial effect on education. It was now thought
utterly "bad form" to read anything heavier than a
novel, and the few who were unfortunate enough to have
linguistic and scientific tastes very strongly developed,
pursued their studies in secret, and with the air of men
who were thoroughly ashamed of their pursuits. An old
gentleman who was discovered to be working on the
sly at the production of a book on The Differential
Calculus,"-while he had left the "Perindianae, or the
Sayings of the Wisest and Wittiest of Princes," half unread,
-was almost stoned by an infuriated mob, and his defence,
that he found the Perindianae," unless interspersed with
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 47
some light and foolish reading, too exciting for his con-
stitution, only just procured him an escape from Lynch
law, and a speedy return to his native country,
The following is a fair specimen of the kind of writing
at this time prevalent in the newspapers :-
" ENTIRELY NEW AND THOROUGHLY AUTHENTIC ANECDOTE
OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE PERINDO.
"A gentleman who is making a tour among the
Krahlee Mountains has sent a letter to his friend con-
taining an account of his doings, from which, by the kind
permission of both parties, we make the following inter-
esting and deeply instructive extracts:-
"'I found a side-table spread out with good things for
me when I returned, but the principal table of the little
inn was occupied by covers for a party of four, who
were travelling incognito, and were expected very shortly.
This, as you may imagine, put me into a great flutter, and
quite prevented my doing anything like justice to the
"good cheer before me. Judge of my feelings when I saw
enter the apartment, followed by three courtiers, his most
gracious Highness! It cost me an infinite struggle to
remain quiet in my seat, but I remembered the instruc-
48 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
tions about incognito, and succeeded in giving no sign
of my emotions. I have pleaded hard with one of the
attendant nobles to be allowed to relate to you and to
the public the details of this most interesting occurrence,
but could only obtain permission to divulge two remarks
of the Prince. One of them was a very valuable hint as
to the best means of making tea; but let me give his own
graphic words. I distinctly heard him say to the gentle-
man next to him, Be sure that the water is boiling, and
on no account let the tea stand more than five minutes."
Penetrated with the wisdom of this counsel, I at once
adopted it, and I assure you that I shall never repent this.
One other observation of his Highness, in answer to a
remark I am not permitted to mention, I will give you: I
distinctly heard him say, 'Everything must have a begin-
ning.' How tersely, how wisely, how comprehensively
said, my dearest friend; the more I think of it, the
truer, the more pregnant with exalted wisdom does this
sentence become, it might form the text of many a sermon;
but it is post-time, so for the present I must conclude.'
"We forbear spoiling the above beautiful incident with
any remarks of our own.--Ed."
Matters went on in this way for about a year, and, if
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 49
the truth must be told, Perindo began sometimes to find
it very wearisome. He would never allow this even to
himself, and he still felt great delight in the easy
accomplishment of all his frequent plans and pleasures,
but in the midst of their fulfilment there often came over
him a feeling of weariness, sometimes even of disgust and
horror, at the thought that there was no one who could
ever tell him the truth, who could see him as he really
was, but he always stifled those feelings as much as he
could, and sometimes even a savage pleasure would come
over him in saying and doing as silly things as possible;
but this too palled upon him, for, let him do what he liked,
the Chebuians still found in it a theme for admiration
and loving praise. If he could only win Almena he thought
he could bear anything; but she had left the island, and
with the thought a feeling of utter despair came over him.
One day, about a year and a half after his ddbut in the
Senate-house, Perindo received the news that Almena had
come tB the capital again to visit her uncle. He resolved
that he would make one supreme effort for her hand, and
in spite of the rebuffs he had received he could hardly
believe that he should be unsuccessful.
I will show her the palace in all its grandeur," he
said to himself; "she shall see the state-rooms thronged
50 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
with all that is most dazzling and splendid in Chebuia. I
will give a public ball, and it shall be the most brilliant
that has ever been known in our realms."
Now Royalty, especially when aided by such perfect
devotion on the part of its subjects as was the fortune of
Prince Perindo, has the power of executing its plans in a
very short time, so, although the arrangements were to be
conducted on an altogether unheard-of scale of splendour,
the ball was to take place in less than three weeks. You
will not find it difficult to guess what was the reigning
topic of conversation through the capital. Of course all
the young maidens dreamed of nothing else but dancing
with Prince Perindo-that was natural; but his dress
-even the kind of perfume he would patronize-formed
subjects of the warmest interest in all circles among
old and young, and only escaped being discussed in
the newspapers by the distinct command of the censors
of the Press. Mashura and Thyrosa were, you may be
sure, not a whit less absorbed in these tremendous
interests than the rest of the world, and the latter was
especially severe upon the transparent affectation and
hypocrisy of Almena, who declared that so long as she
got good dancers and agreeable men as her partners
she really cared for very little else.
' rA r .. ^ ~. 1
_.-WIV _ _.- '.'.
i ^ I I I ti
- t4 i ,'
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 51
Every one who had the smallest connexion with the
nobility was to obtain admittance; nay, even the claim of
Toadaccia, who had once shaken hands with a man who
had a .bowing acquaintance with the King's head coach-
man, was not rejected.
At length the long-wished-for day arrived; and, if
Thyrosa entered the hall with a wildly-beating heart, a
flushed cheek, and an eager eye, she only felt and looked
as all the young maidens around her did. Even Almena
was much excited; it was her first ball, and she was
young, lovely, and gay-hearted.
When .Thyrosa and she entered the ball-room perfect
stillness prevailed, and every eye was turned on Prince
Perindo with a look of intense expectation.
"What does it all mean ?" asked Almena impatiently ;
"I thought we came here to dance and to enjoy ourselves,
and every one is quieter than if it were a funeral."
"Hush !" answered Thyrosa in a low and angry voice;
"did I not 'tell you before that the dancing always
begins with several minuets, which his Highness per-
forms with whomever he honours by his choice."
How provoking! And how long do these minuets
Seldom for more than an hour.-But do be quiet,
perhaps he may choose me."
52 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
Scarcely had the music begun when Perindo crossed
the hall, and with the most bewitching smile requested
Thyrosa to honour him with her hand. -He had hoped, of
course, to pique Almena by this, but I need not say his
hopes were vain.
"How wretchedly he dances!" remarked this incor-
rigible young lady to a gentleman standing near her; "so
carelessly, and in such bad time, and oh! only look
how awkward-he has torn poor Thyrosa's dress; I do
trust it is only the gathers."
The gentleman gazed at her with an odd mixture of
disapproval and admiration; of course it was most
shocking to speak of Prince Perindo in this way, but
Almena seemed so artless, she was so wonderfully lovely,
and besides he was himself a perfect dancer-he could
not be altogether displeased.
"Don't speak in such a dreadfully treasonable way,"
he said; "I am sure your cousin will rejoice to have such
a memento of Prince Perindo in her possession, and I
think he dances beautifully; it is rather vulgar to
take excessive pains, and besides, the music ought to keep
time with the Prince, if it had any manners.-You will
give me a dance later on, won't you?" he added im-
ploringly, as he looked at her.
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 53
Now this was a very inconsequent ending to his
speech; but though the Fairy's charm could do a great
deal, it could not prevent him from falling in love with
Almena on the spot.
Oh! I'm afraid I am much too vulgar for you to dance
with," said Almena mischievously. I have a stupid trick
of always keeping time to the music, and-dare I confess
it ?-I am so ill-bred as to do all the steps as well as I
"So do I dance as well as I can," answered the other,
rather confused; "I only meant that his Highness was
placed above the common rules of conduct."
"Well, I will dance with you, if you will promise not
to say another word about his Mightiness; such subjects
are too deep for me."
"I believe it will be best so," answered the young
gallant sorrowfully; "surely the time will soon come
when you will see such matters as we all do."
After this the conversation took a turn agreeable to
both of them. Only keep them away from their mono-
mania, and many of the Chebuians are as pleasant and
rational as people can be "-so wrote Almena to her father
on one occasion.
"When Prince Perindo had achieved three of his minuets,
54 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
he could no longer resist coming up to Almena. "May
I have the pleasure?" he said, not at all interrogatively.
"Well, I hardly know, your Royal Highness. Don't you
think we had better put it off till the end of the evening ?
I am almost afraid of the people getting too much
excited if they see so many together."
"Oh! not at all," said Perindo.-" Can she be laughing
at me again ?" he thought.
We had better at least make it very short," she
answered, seeing there was no help for it; "and please
do have mercy on my poor dress," glancing at Thyrosa.
Now Perindo's experience at the castle had not been
quite thrown away upon him; he saw that Almena must
be wooed in a different way from any other maiden, and
the first thing he did was to apologize for his conduct in
One, two, three, four," replied Almena; "your High-
ness didn't manage that hop quite correctly, and it is my
left hand you must take as you go down the middle."
Perindo was not quite pleased, but had to content
himself with deferring his explanations till the end of the
dance, when Almena said, smiling, "Well, I suppose
I must forgive you- only promise to behave better in
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 55
"It is surely only the manner of my former communi-
cation that I have to ask pardon for. I was perhaps too
abrupt and self-confident; but you have shown that you
forgive me, and I now humbly and earnestly entreat
you to be my wife."
"I implore your Highness not to say another word
upon the subject."
"But I cannot, will not be silent, until I obtain a
"Then, sir, I must tell you that I can think of no
possible circumstances in which I could be tempted to
answer Yes to your proposal."
"Take care, Almena; think again," cried Perindo, trans-
ported with anger. "Remember that the fate of your
country is in my hands; to-morrow, if I choose, I can
launch an overwhelming force against Benocha."
"Which proves to me what I have long suspected,
that to an inordinate amount of egotism and conceit
your Royal Highness adds a meanness of soul such as
I have never seen before,"-so saying, she broke from
him and rejoined her party.
There were no more minuets after that, and Almena,
who danced incessantly, almost succeeded in forgetting
what seemed to her an ugly impossible threat.
56 PRINCE PEBINDO'S WISH.
But on awaking next morning it did not seem to her
so impossible. She knew that such a war would be very
popular; she conjectured that the force of such passions
as now swayed Prince Perindo might be very strong.
She shuddered when she thought of the unprepared state
of Benocha, and finally she resolved to depart thither
without delay; so making a small bundle from her
possessions she stole softly out of the house, and, closely
veiled, and wrapped in a long loose cloak, reached the
harbour of the city, where to her great delight she
found a ship just about to set sail for Benocha. In this
she embarked, and in two hours was able to descry the
cliffs of her native land.
-. .,, -. ,. : ,, , F "
HEN Perindo discovered that Almena had left
the island, his anger and disappointment
.'." were extreme-so great were they that he at
once resolved on making war on Benocha. "The days
of clemency are at last ended," he said to himself;
" Almena shall feel my power."
So the whole fleet of Chebuia was got together in
haste. "It is unnecessary to load the ships with pro-
visions," cried Perindo; "we shall find plenty of food in
Benocha.-You are too old, Sire, to have anything to do
with the command, and so is Kurmai: I shall make
Pelaphon my second officer, and we must be gone within
In three days, accordingly, some sort of an army was
got together, and Perindo gave orders that every trust-
58 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
worthy vessel (I am afraid he would have said "reliable,"
only the word had not then been invented) should set
sail for Benocha. The Admiral formerly in command
ventured to suggest that ten galleys should be left to
defend their own shores in case-
In case of what, I should like to know?" said Perindo,
with a withering look, and as all the courtiers imme-
diately darted still "witheringer" glances at him, the
Admiral was quenched.
Now I can fancy some one is saying, "A pretty fellow
you to sneer at the word 'reliable,' which has quite
grown into the language, when you make use of such an
awful comparative as I have just encountered."
I might answer, if I liked, Well, I am sinning in very
good company at any rate; I am sure Mr. Carlyle says
'beautifuller,' and I rather think he even makes use of
'distressfuller;'" but I have long been of opinion that
two blacks do not make a white, or even a grey, so I
prefer to answer that witheringer" is Perindo's word,
not mine; he had discovered that the "'more" and 'most"
which are generally used for the sign of the comparative
and superlative were a great bother, and so all the Court
had adopted-the witheringer" process; he had also gone
in for spelling words phonetically-I beg his pardon,
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 59
fonettikally,-and this was now the method pursued in
all the schools.
What a digression It is my first, however, and besides
it is altogether the fault of the man who invented
":" reliable." What did we ever do, I wonder, that wasn't
the fault of somebody else ? But now I hear a reader say,
"For goodness' sake don't drivel into little disjointed
goody reflections; it is not fair, when one takes up a thing
calling itself a Fairy Romance, to find one might just
as well have been reading
M- T.--. I've my
suspicions that your story is
nothing but a great big
moral from beginning to end,
and I believe that the reason
you go maundering on like
this is, that you don't know
enough of strategic matters
to describe either a sea or a
Can it be M- T-
I answer that it doesn't in the least signify. What is
the good of writing a Fairy Tale, if one is not to escape
criticism in matters of detail and technicality? I can assure
you that I will manage it all just as I like, and if you
60 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
expect me to con Alison or Admiral Byng and the battle
of Futtehpore for my military tactics you will find your-
self very much mistaken.
To proceed: the evening before the departure our hero
went to the docks to make a tour of inspection: he was
sure there was great room for a series of judicious
Surely, your Royal Highness, the eve of a battle is not
the best time for instituting them ?" said the Admiral, who
had been born at sea, and was therefore no Chebuian.
Q," said Perindo.
The young Prince had read of an Emperor of China
who, when the conversation took a turn he did not care
about, or went on longer than he liked, said "P," after
which it was the height of vulgarity to pursue the subject.
He was so charmed with this plan that he at once adopted
it, with merely a change of letter, remarking, It is well
to be original when one can."
"How frightfully extravagant!" observed the Prince.
"Do you mean to tell me that you have a pilot for every
vessel ? Shocking!"
"It has generally been considered necessary," replied
the Admiral, rather grimly.
"Absurd !" was the response of the young reformer.
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 61
"One pilot can go in the first ship, and all the others may,
follow him. Let there be one in my vessel-that will
be quite enough."
"Am I to understand that your Highness means Vieh-
terahne to be the only pilot connected with the fleet ?"
"No; I think I shall dismiss Viehterahne; he is rather
old, and I remember hearing that an accident once hap-
pened to a ship which he was steering."
That was more than thirty years ago," answered the
Admiral, "and on a sea of which he had no knowledge.
What has happened once may happen again," said
Perindo sagely. I am going to put Tyrrhone in his
"New brooms sweep clean," put in the sometime
leader of the Opposition, delighted to make use of an old
catch-word, however unfit the circumstances.
"Your Highness must allow me to remark," cried the
Admiral, that Tyrrhone is only eighteen years old, and
"Q," said the Prince.
"Will your Highness permit me to make one remark
more-it is not on the subject of Tyrrhone ?"
"Yes, you may make one," said the Prince.
62 PRINCE PEITNDO'S WISH.
"-Allow me to remind your Highness that to-morrow is
Friday, and we seamen think it unlucky to commence a
voyage on that day."
"Q," said Perindo.
I never give way to superstition, it is against my
But the sailors will start dejected, and with no hope
of success. Surely it is important-"
A FAIRY ROMANCE. '63
"I must educate the navy," interrupted the Prince. I
fear I have devoted my energies too exclusively to lands-
"Will not your Highness defer the education until-"
Q him, the old bore !" put in Mashura, or he'll prose
on for ever."
"Q," exclaimed Perindo, on which the Admiral bowed
Next morning the fleet set sail, and for about an hour
and a half everything went on smoothly, but as they
neared Benocha the breakers on all sides of them gave
sure signs of the dangers of the coast, and perhaps Perindo
would soon have begun to wonder whether he had been
altogether prudent, if a violent shock had not taken all
power of sustained thought from him.
She has struck on a rock, your Highness," were the
first words he heard.
"Then we must die, I suppose," said Perindo; "just
after I had managed everything so nicely too !"
"We must take to the lifeboats immediately," said the
second mate. She has sprung a leak in three places, the
smallest one enough to sink a vessel."
So into the lifeboats the crew hurried, but that which
contained Perindo was the only one fortunate enough to
64 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
get to shore. There he and his comrades waited for several
hours anxiously looking for the fleet, but quite in vain, for
a strong contrary wind had sent all the other vessels out
to sea; hunger stared them in the.face on the shore, insult,
perhaps, nay almost certainly, destruction if they ventured
inland-what were they to do ? But they were spared the
trouble of deciding, for a trim little corps of Benochese
perceived them before night-fall, and easily captured the
irresolute and exhausted Chebuians.
ALMENA IS INCONSISTENT.
IHEN are the Chebuians to be tried, my father ?"
said Almena one day, about a week after the
shipwreck and capture.
In a fortnight's time, my dear."
It is very sad to think of poor Prince Perindo in a
It is very joyous to think of our country freed from
the dangers of invasion," replied Tolminez.
But it is such a change for him "
Changes are not necessarily misfortunes."
But he is so inexperienced."
"Experience comes through trial."
But some break down under it."
Better to break down than to rust away."
But he is very young."
66 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
His folly is the more hurtful."
"Father, you are very unfeeling !"
"And you, my dear daughter, are not a little unreason-
able. How often have I heard you long for the time when
that young man should see himself as others, at least
Benochese, see him, and now, when for his frantic crimes
he is to meet with a fair trial, you bemoan his fate as if
he were a martyr about to be unjustly butchered by
"There are people I pity more than martyrs," said
Almena. "I pity him who never has a chance given to
him to look at things fairly, who has no real friend, no
true or wise adviser. Prince Perindo's most trifling speech
or gesture is invariably magnified into a piece of unex-
ampled genius or virtue, he is surrounded by flatterers,
the more dangerous, because I imagine they firmly believe
every word they say in his praise to be true ; oh there is,
I know there is, much nobleness in him, and it would
assert itself if he had only a chance given to him."
"This is scarcely consistent with your last speech to
him in the ball-room, my dear."
Consistent! of course it is not consistent," flashed out
Almena. Forgive me, dear father, but I hate consistency;
it only means that if you have said one stupid, untrue
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 67
thing you must stick to it in all circumstances and in
all places for ever. Father, dearest father, do use your
influence to save his life, and I will for ever bless you."
Well, my dear, I will do my best, as you are so anxious
about it, but do you know, if you had not refused him, and
laughed at him so much, I should almost be disposed to
think that you 1-"
"I do like him-a little, dear," said Almena hastily.
That evening Tolminez told his daughter that he had
received the consent of the King to remove the Prince
to private apartments belonging to himself.
".I am so glad!" said Almena; "it is so confiding of
them to have trusted him so far."
"I have become his surety, my dear, but I have not
told him so; I prefer trusting to the strength of my bolts,
and the guard I have placed there."
"What happens if he escapes ?"
"It would go hard with me, very hard in that case.
Your mother was a Chebuian, and I might be suspected-
but it is impossible that he should get away; you may
make your mind perfectly easy."
THE CHARM IS LOATHED.
RINCE PERINDO had really been very un-
happy, and disgusted with himself and every
one else, during the last six months. The
prospect of the war had been a delightful distraction--but
now all was over; he was in a prison, living on common
fare, simply clad, and with no better company than him-
self ; and very poor company he felt that he was. He had
read of men in prison who had solaced themselves with
noble thoughts, with the recollection of noble deeds. But
what comfort of that kind was there for him ? Some Ben-
ochese newspapers and pamphlets were the only literature
provided for him, and in them he was regaled chiefly with
invective against his country, his family, and more
especially himself. By degrees his past conduct appeared
to him in all the vileness of its true colours, and he was
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 69
thus reduced to such a state of despondency and remorse
as his worst enemy might have pitied. The day which
conveyed him to Tolminez's apartments was welcome as
affording him a change of scene, but it brought him no
lasting consolation, and his spirits were considerably below
zero, when one evening a figure entered his chamber in
the dress of a Chebuian priest. Any one was welcome from
that country, and Perindo's greetings were most warm.
"I have come, my liege, on a most glorious mission,"
said the visitor; I have come to set you free."
"Free !" gasped the Prince, "free! did you say?-
free!! he repeated in a tone of rapture, "but how is it
to be done ? Oh, don't lose a moment in explaining."
Then the priest began : "No sooner was the captivity
of your Highness made known to us in Chebuia than a
club was secretly formed in the city for your liberation.
The proposal which met with acceptance was, that the
young man who should be found to be most like your
Highness, should enter your prison disguised, and remain
there instead of you ; accordingly for three days all the
young nobles were scattered over the country to find this
man. I, your Royal Highness, was successful among a
dozen candidates-yes I am the thrice happy man. Lose
no time, Sire, I beseech you. Strip off your clothes, put on
70 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
this cassock and the rest of my attire, and quit the island
as quickly as may be."
"But you are not in the least like me," said Perindo.
"Your hair is jet black, and your beard and moustache-."
Are all false," interrupted the other. Here, put them
on, and for Heaven's sake lose no time."
"But I will not leave you to die instead of me, you
noble man," said our Prince, with a gush of generous love
and pity, which transfigured his face.
But you must, Sire. I have sworn by the most sacred
oath to fulfil my trust, and I have received the promise
of my fellow- countrymen to put me to a violent death if I
fail. In fact, a law has been passed to that effect; besides,
I am persuaded that I shall not die: the Benochese
never slay inen for such offences as mine."
So Perindo had to consent, though unwillingly, and
habited as a priest he made his way to the harbour. A
boat was in readiness for him, and before morning he
was in the palace.
"Ah! you have come home, my son, my son!" said
the King joyfully. You have given the Benochese a
lesson; you have manfully headed an army against them,
and but for a most unaccountable occurrence must have
routed them utterly; as it is, you have gained a moral
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 71
victory worth ten physical ones." And then they all
praised him in a way I can compare to nothing but
Goneril's and Regan's opening speeches to Lear, and I
am afraid even that is not a good comparison, as the
Chebuians all believed every word they uttered, and
these words raised in Perindo's mind no feeling except
one of profound shame and disgust. Day by day his
misery grew, and there was no relief, no possibility of
relief, for his woes only increased the assiduous attentions
of all, and those attentions again only increased his
A day came when he could bear it no longer. During
the long two hours of dinner he had been treated to
nothing but praise and congratulations on his whole life.
"Oh cease, cease, if you have any pity," he almost
screamed. "Will no one blame me, scold me, beat me ?
If this goes on, I must go mad, or die!"
Every one was grieved and embarrassed beyond expres-
sion. He had asked them to do the one thing that was
impossible for them. How could they scold their idol? how
blame their paragon? and, 0 ye gods! how beat the
quintessence of wisdom and valour, the light of their
eyes, the supreme joy and pride of their life ?
Some one, however, must make the attempt; no wish of
72 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
the Prince could be disregarded; so at last the Queen
ventured to say, her eyes brimming over with love and
admiration, "You naughty boy!" but, seeing the thunder-
struck look of the Court, she felt how harsh she had been,
and added at once, Dearest, I didn't mean it."
Perindo dragged himself through the next week he
hardly knew how. All at once it struck him that he
would go and consult a wise and virtuous old sage. He
understood that he was a foreigner, which gave him hope,
and he had the reputation of being perfectly sincere.
The wise man, whose name was Luflotheis, received
him very kindly, and, after they had dined together on
the simplest of fare, Perindo requested him to hear his
piteous tale. The old man willingly complied, and he
He told him of his passionate longings and bitter dis-
content before the wish had been granted; he went on to
say how this had been followed by excessive delight, how
this delight had gradually begun to be alloyed, how fear-
ful doubts had come over him from time to time, always
growing stronger and stronger, as to whether the attain-
ment of his desire were not proving fatal to his character;
how he had persistently thrust those doubts away, until
they had become certainties; how he had resolved to
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 73
stifle this better nature which told him such unpleasant
truths; how he had sought for relief in pleasure, in
oppression of his father's subjects, and in feeding his own
vanity;-he told without disguise the whole story of his
impertinence and meanness toward Almena, and then,
with tears in his eyes, he implored Luflotheis to point
out for him the way to a better and purer life.
Luflotheis was much moved, and it was some minutes
before he made any reply. At length he said, I must
entreat you, my son, to preserve silence until I have
finished what I have got to say." Perindo bowed assent.
"The exquisite sensitiveness of your nature, and your
marvellous modesty, make you wonder how it is that
your people so intensely love you; so abiding a mystery
is this to you that you invent the solution of the Fairy's
Charm in your sleep; after that, this same modesty leads
you to believe every act or word of approval on the part
of your subjects is founded on a false idea; you have thus
invariably, after performing any noble act, never rested
until you have set it down to the worst possible motives;
starting from these principles, the admiration of your
subjects has naturally seemed to you foolish and ex-
aggerated. As to this Almena, I have no doubt that
she is an artful and intriguing woman, who has treated
74 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
your love in this cruel and disdainful manner to decoy
you over to Benocha, there to murder you. The conduct of
her father, who is now on the point of suffering execution
for his crimes, substantiates this opinion."
Perindo's contempt and indignation now gave way to
extreme surprise and horror. About to suffer execution!"
he exclaimed; why, he was always spoken of as a most
virtuous man. What are these crimes ? "
"You know, my son, that I live entirely out of the
world, and for years I have heard no news whatever; but
two days ago, as I was going to get some edible moss,
which grows by the sea-shore, I came upon the body of an
apparently lifeless man. I succeeded, however, in restoring
him to animation, when he told me that he had come
from Benocha, where Tolminez, father of the beautiful
Almena, was on the point of being put to death, for
having given means of escape to a public enemy he had
promised to keep safe in prison. They say the man was
a Prince, and that Tolminez had him disguised as a
"Tell me, O foreign sage," implored Perindo, where is
the nearest boat that will take me to Benocha ?"
"Very willingly," replied Luflotheis; "but do not call
me a foreigner, for though my parents were both natives
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 75
of the distant Penarnium, and though it was there that I
spent my boyhood and youth, still I was born in Chebuia,
for my father and mother were at that time paying a visit
in the house of an uncle of the noble Mashura."
"You are then a Chebuian," exclaimed Perindo; "that
explains it all. I must despair, I see, of hearing truth on
this side Benocha."
THE WISH IS UNWISHED.
"Y father, you look sad."
I have reason, Almena."
"Prince Perindo has escaped !"
"It is impossible !"
It is true A young Chebuian, very like him in face
and figure, entered his chamber disguised as a priest;
they exchanged clothes, and escape was effected."
Then, father, you are not answerable for this."
No; leave was given that the young man might see
a priest if he desired it ; but my enemies will have it that
the disguised Chebuian was a tool of mine, and that the
escape was in reality planned by me."
But can any Benochese believe this ?"
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 77
"It would appear so; my investigation or trial is to
take place immediately."
By the aid of a little perjury his enemies procured from
the jury a verdict against Tolminez, and a fortnight
later he was to be beheaded, while the disguised Chebuian
was not only acquitted, but even rewarded with a Cross
of Honour" for his valour and patriotism,-so strange were
the manners of this people.
The day of execution arrived, but although Tolminez
continued calm and cheerful, Almena could not forgive
herself for the part she had played in the matter, and she
had not even the comfort of believing that Perindo's life
would have been sacrificed if she had not acted as she
did, for she knew that the Benochese could forgive any
but the traitor to his country. What was to be done ?
She herself had fallen under suspicion, and was kept in
close confinement, or, I believe, she would have found
means of communicating with Perindo, and implored him
to come over and save her father ; but this was impossible :
she could only sit and weep, and watch the dreaded day
approaching nearer and nearer. Tolminez was led forth
to the block; it was no pleasure to Almena to be told
that a pardon was to be granted to her after the beheading
of her father; isolation was more dreadful to her than
78 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
Tolminez, on being asked if he had anything to urge
in his defence, replied, "No, men of Benocha; if my
whole life does not give the lie to an imputation of
treason, I cannot now defend myself by a few words."
But I can defend you, I can clear you, I can restore
you to honour among your countrymen Hear me, I con-
jure you, O men of Benocha, before it be too late."
Every one turned towards the speaker, and the crowd
beheld Prince Perindo. The effect was electrical. There
he stood, unsquired, unarmed, and travel-stained. With
clasped hands, and eyes suffused with tears, he knelt before
them, and begged to be allowed to address the assembly.
Permission was given, and he began-
"Men of Benocha, I do not come to crave your mercy
for myself--deal with me as you will; but I beseech you
pardon the noble man who now stands before you as a con-
demned prisoner. Believe me, he is entirely innocent of
abetting my escape, and had I known that he had become
my surety, I never should have attempted it. I have taken
neither food nor rest since the time when I heard of his
condemnation, and I now entreat you to put me to death
in his stead, and to restore him to his former dignity and
The Benochese are an impetuous people, and before
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 79
Perindo had ended, the fetters were struck off Tolminez,
deafening applause rent the air, and the King came
forward and said, Tolminez, forgive us our false
judgment. There must have been foul play somewhere,
or we never could have been so deceived. What can
we do to show our sorrow and contrition? Make any
request that seems good to you, and I swear that it shall
Then Tolminez answered, I will show by my requests
to your Majesty how sure I am that I am forgiven and
freed from all suspicion: I ask for the acquittal and
liberation of Prince Perindo."
The King's face became troubled. "I must grant your
request," he said, "but allow me to impose one condition.
The country has, been kept unquiet and alarmed for many
years by the hostile aspect of Chebuia. Prince Perindo
must promise that he will never again enter on hostilities
Our hero's face became crimson. King," he said,
"I never think of those dreadful wars but a feeling of
shame and misery overwhelms me. So far from declaring
war against your country, I would entreat you that I
may remain for ever a citizen of Benocha; I have no wish
to return to my own land."
80 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
The request of Prince Perindo, though surprising, was
yet too flattering not to be fully and freely granted.
The Prince now joined Tolminez and Almena, and
entreated the forgiveness of both, especially of the latter.
This was of course granted, and Almena even discovered
that she had behaved very badly to him, for which she
apologized so prettily as to send him from her side more
desperately in love than ever.
Tolminez pressed him to remain with them as their
guest, but Perindo declared that he was not yet worthy
of that honour. The fact was, he believed that Almena
would never really love him so long as his mind was
ignorant and uncultivated, and he resolved to attend the
lectures at the University of Benocha. He took lodgings
in a remote part of the town, far from noise, bustle, and
gaiety; here he flattered himself he should obtain peace
and repose. He wrote to his parents, telling them of his
retreat, imploring them to inform no one, so that he
might remain undisturbed, and promising to come to see
them at some future time.
For about nine or ten months all went well, but at
last, in spite of a disguise he always wore when he
walked about, some young Chebuians tracked him, and
then, poor youth! his days of quiet were at an end. He
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 81
was now too humble-minded to be rude to them, but
they were a constant worry. One of them insisted on
sleeping in front of his door-step at night, another was
sure that whenever he sighed it was because his food
did not agree with him, and a third, worst of all, insisted
on keeping his books and papers tidy. At last in despair
he went to Tolminez: could he think of any plan for
giving him relief ?
"Well, I have a most excellent room under ground,"
answered Tolminez, smiling; "it was once a cellar, in
fact, but it is not without ventilation, and I am sure it
is very quiet."
"The cellar, papa !" said Almena, in dismay, why, the
boudoir and best bedroom on the first floor are never
occupied, and I am sure Prince Perindo could study
there all day long, as that seems the only thing he cares
"No, no," exclaimed Perindo, I have had enough of
boudoirs; they have indeed been nothing but pouting
rooms to me, and never will be anything else. I wish to
read; commend me to the cellar."
"The cellar let it be," said Tolminez.
Accordingly, Perindo spent the greater part of the next
six months in the cellar, undisturbed alike by Chebuians
82 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
and by any one else. He saw but little of Almena,
and that designedly, for he thought it would be imprudent
to seek her society until he had improved his mind still
further, so that he might have something really worth
hearing to say when he made his final attempt to win
her hand, for he was resolved to make one more trial;
yet he was greatly dispirited by her manner when they
met; she looked cold and haughty, and seemed wholly
engrossed by her occupations and gaieties; still he did
not utterly despair.
And now, after a year had passed, Almena's manner was
as chilling as ever. Perindo could not understand this; he
must have offended her without knowing how; he would
seek an explanation. She was in the drawing-room, he
would go there.
Come in," said Almena, and Prince Perindo stood
before her. This is a very unexpected pleasure," said she.
"What can have brought your Highness here? I am
afraid there is not a folio, or even a quarto, in the room."
I have again been so unfortunate as to displease you,"
said Perindo; "and I cannot guess how; I fear that you
cannot forget my conduct in the old days at Chebuia."
I have at least had very little to remind me of it,"
answered Almena, in a tone he could not quite understand.
A FAIRY ROMANCE. 83
"And yet I have offended you. Ah what can it all
"Offended me!" laughed Almena. "Oh, dear, no How
can we be offended with people whom we never see ? But
I am afraid your Greek dictionary has just cause for
jealousy. Heartless man! do you know that you have
forsaken her for at least three minutes ?"
"It is all for your sake I-" stammered Perindo.
"All for my sake you abandoned her! Really I am
greatly flattered. But you don't suppose that excuse will
pacify her, do you ?"
How can you pretend to misunderstand me?" answered
the Prince; you know that if I explained myself more
fully, you would give me a well-deserved rebuke."
"I know that I am sadly uneasy at taking up the time
of so learned a young professor," she retorted. Prince
Perindo in Chebuia was not always very polite, but at
least he always meant what he said-if he too persistently
said what he meant; but Prince Perindo in Benocha
hardly ever completes a sentence, answers generally in
monosyllables, puts on the look of a martyr, and darts off
to his study before dinner is finished, without so much as
saying, 'By your leave.' I really think-I liked-the
young Chebuian best."
84 PRINCE PERINDO'S WISH.
"Almena, Almena, you are no coquette, what am I
to understand by this ?" Then, as he caught sight of her
downcast eye and blushing cheek, he exclaimed, as he
pressed her hand, "Can you mean that you really-
"Yes," answered Almena softly, "I believe I can mean
whatever you like."
They sat on till the shades of evening appeared, when
suddenly a radiance shone throughout the chamber, and
they beheld the Fairy. She said-
"We Fairies are said to give our gifts oddly; we love
to pour down blessings on those who are most blessed.
Now, many people would say you have had quite your
share of good fortune, but I feel impelled to grant you
one wish more-what shall it be?"
Let me unwish that one I obtained from you in the
wood; I have nothing more to ask for in life," he answered.
"It is granted," said the Fairy, and she vanished.
EDINBURGH: T. AND A. CONSTABLE,
PRINTERS TO THE QUEEN, AND TO THE UNIVERSITY.