Citation
The Princess of Hearts

Material Information

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

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 )
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

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

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
027331195 ( ALEPH )
ALF9178 ( NOTIS )
181183964 ( OCLC )

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”

VI.

Vil.

. THE CHRISTENING OF JOAN OF HEARTS . ol

. GRISELDA AND THE TOWER OF THE FOUR WINDS 33

. WHERE THE GREEN PATH WENTTO . . . 58
. THE FROG-DUCHESS COMES TO COURT : eee:
. TIGHEARUMAS ON THE WAR PaTH . . - 97

Joan VISITS THE MuUGWUMP’S CASTLE - . 127

JACK FINDS THE KEY . - ee ee TSE







Page
‘“‘He was actually yawning” . : . Lrontis, 89
“ Preferred a fur monkey to a fine age nurse” . : eels
“The Frog-Duchess heard the titter” . . : : esl
“Each boy put his hand into the bag”. : : . Ig
“Slyly pulled the hair of the ladies-in-waiting” . : 22
“What are little girls made ofp” www asa

“The head nurse went into hysterics” : ; a2 7,
“The Princess was the grubbiest of all” . ; : » 30
The Royal Contradicter . A ; : : : Eas
An eligible Princess! A ; A : ee 37
“Griselda could do very erence canes Birt. : : . 40
“The Court Cook was sitting before the fire” . : EacA2
“Sister, whither away?” . : : : é : Mae A5
“The Patriarch of the Owls” . : ‘ : : . 49
“Griselda had takenarod” . : - : : eg 2
** Out of it sprang a winged creature” : : : 55
é Jack grew quite hot over it” . ‘ : . 66
“ His eye rested upon something that puzzled nin aes ee O2
“T will risk it” . : . g : : ; . 65
“A solitary Crane” : : ; : e 2307
“ Beware of the Brom Wowie” : : : a . 69
“A beautiful dark-haired maiden” . A : eT
“ An old pedlar with a pack on his back” : : a3
“ Hustled down into the cellar” ; : 5 : . 79
“ What are you doing in my ae : : . . 81
“Polishing up the King’s crown”. : : . 84
“ Boxing the ears of a page-of- Stiewardrobe ee : . 87

“The bridegroom stood like a statue”. é : . gt



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,

3 Page

“The Duchess tossed her head angrily” . . , - 93
“One hand stole from beneath her veil” . 0 ; - 95
‘““We shall have to eat humble-pie” ; " ame - 100

“The Emperor’s saucy herald.” : : , : . 103
“The Princess plaited her hair” : : 6 ; » 105
“ Accompanying himself on the guitar” . : , « 106
“Carried him right out of the window” . , . . IIE
“A merry little water-wagtail” . : : - 7 . 15
“ They look exactly like gold” . ; : , , . 19
“Jane nearly went up to the ceiling” i " : . 121
‘Something was wrong at the Palace”. : f . 123
“The magician sat down in his ies arm-chair” . - 130
“Ts that the end?” . : : : ; 132
“The Reciter finished up oo a tor en . f » 135
“The Princess leaned too far” : . 2 ' els 7,
“The policeman was a frog”. : : 5 : . 139
“‘She peeped into the deserted kitchen” . 7 ‘ . 141
“ A huge footstool was eee : : ‘s , - 145
“Nicely caught” . : : - 147
* A little curly-haired scullion was washing dishes” , - 154
“Tripped over a curious furry creature”. . : » 155
“He saw standing there the Frog-Duchess” _. : - 157
“Ran straight into each other’s arms” : * - 161
“The dreaded day came all too soon”. : : . 163
“ Good-bye, dear home, for ever!” . ; A - 165
Joan stoops and plucks a Mary-bud : : ; . 167

Before the Queen of the Fairies ; : : ; . 169







OW it is not generally known that the

N 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



12 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!”; and openly preferred a fur
monkey with a long tail to a fine lady nurse in



JOAN OF HEARTS 13

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



14 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.”

“T 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



OAN OF HEARTS I
v 5

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.



16 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“Tt 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 GEnone’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 17

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 fop,
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-



18 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 Tryphzena, or Pandora, or



JOAN OF HEARTS 19

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

SS

Zs

ui : ‘ i
\(



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-



20 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 7 21

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 halfpenny! 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-



22 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 23

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 :—



24 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



26 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.

“Tt 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 27.



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



28 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—lI 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, a 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 29

To-morrow the fox will come to town,

O 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



30 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

the Prince, ‘‘and don’t you know that every-
body is out looking for you? You weé/ catch it
from the Countess.”

Joan of Hearts rose with dignity; she knew




ih

ht,

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 31

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.

“T 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 [’—.,
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.”







t= IME passed by, that dear

old gentleman with the scythe,
who mows the days and hours
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,



34 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 35

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 conccited.
As soon as a wife was
found for the Prince,
the Contradicter retired
with a pension. His
services were con-
sidered no _ longer
necessary.

When Jack 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





36 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.

“IT 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

‘““T 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 37

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 \g
was betrothed. Shall






Sos ,
STE
j Aa Ded PLR SS Gz
. yy Yo 5)

I fetch my list of dq
Gt ; on aay
eligible princesses? Af
GY
The King frowned, 1 A



WRLYS>

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?”

ry
zTASy Rte



38 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

‘Oh, sire, she is hump-backed!” the Queen
spoke in a faint voice.

iT believe so.

‘She squints with the left eye.”

“T 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? TI’ll tell the ‘baker's
terrier, Blinkie, where you bury your bones.
V’ll go round with him myself and help him dig
them up -see 1f | dont!

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.”

“Ves, 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



40 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-
gan’s pet hen
that went gad-
ding, and that
the poor woman
feared would
Hever = 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 4I

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
Liarvl’s Revenge, ov, 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



on 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 43.

‘“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.”



44 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 Hattock! Horse and Hattock!’—
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





















GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT 47

wings, and shadowy forms flew past. More
than once the Queen caught gentle murmurs
waited. 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,



48 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.”

‘“T 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 49

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.”



50 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

‘“T 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 5r

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,



52 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 53

“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 all!” 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



54 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

Griselda impatiently. ‘I ought to read the
book backwards.”

“Vow 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.

‘Ves, 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 [MPATIENT 55



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,



56 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.

“T am so sorry,” said the girl regretfully,
“T 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.”

“T 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 57

‘“T 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 59

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 acord 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.



60 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 61

“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?”

“J wish you ad 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.



62 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“JT 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 63

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”.



64 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 caz 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 65

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



“T 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,



66. 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 67

“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-



68 — 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 69

‘“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



70 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 71

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



WB 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.

“T 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.
“T 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





74 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 — 75

“What will you take for the Marybud, old
man?” he asked.

The answer was an unexpected one.

“T 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; J 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



76 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

would always be calm and cool; no doubt about —
that. And he wanted that Winking Marybud
desperately. |

“TI—I accept your terms,” he whispered
faintly. 7

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.”







HE 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.
“Ts 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



78 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 79

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



80 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 themexclaimed 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 81

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.



82 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 83

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



84 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 85

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?”

“T am sure I don’t know. Wink away, my



86 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 87

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





88 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 89

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



90 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 gr

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-



92 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.
“T 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 93.

‘‘T 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.”

“Hearts!” repeated the Crown Prince, play-



94 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 95

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



shrug of his shoulders, the Prince relapsed into
his former moody indifference.



96 _ “JHE 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.















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\\ OOR dear Jack of Hearts, he was
e 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.









98 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS —

So they gave poor Jack brimstone and treacle,
and a new bicycle, and marvons glacés, 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



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VI.

Vil.

. THE CHRISTENING OF JOAN OF HEARTS . ol

. GRISELDA AND THE TOWER OF THE FOUR WINDS 33

. WHERE THE GREEN PATH WENTTO . . . 58
. THE FROG-DUCHESS COMES TO COURT : eee:
. TIGHEARUMAS ON THE WAR PaTH . . - 97

Joan VISITS THE MuUGWUMP’S CASTLE - . 127

JACK FINDS THE KEY . - ee ee TSE




Page
‘“‘He was actually yawning” . : . Lrontis, 89
“ Preferred a fur monkey to a fine age nurse” . : eels
“The Frog-Duchess heard the titter” . . : : esl
“Each boy put his hand into the bag”. : : . Ig
“Slyly pulled the hair of the ladies-in-waiting” . : 22
“What are little girls made ofp” www asa

“The head nurse went into hysterics” : ; a2 7,
“The Princess was the grubbiest of all” . ; : » 30
The Royal Contradicter . A ; : : : Eas
An eligible Princess! A ; A : ee 37
“Griselda could do very erence canes Birt. : : . 40
“The Court Cook was sitting before the fire” . : EacA2
“Sister, whither away?” . : : : é : Mae A5
“The Patriarch of the Owls” . : ‘ : : . 49
“Griselda had takenarod” . : - : : eg 2
** Out of it sprang a winged creature” : : : 55
é Jack grew quite hot over it” . ‘ : . 66
“ His eye rested upon something that puzzled nin aes ee O2
“T will risk it” . : . g : : ; . 65
“A solitary Crane” : : ; : e 2307
“ Beware of the Brom Wowie” : : : a . 69
“A beautiful dark-haired maiden” . A : eT
“ An old pedlar with a pack on his back” : : a3
“ Hustled down into the cellar” ; : 5 : . 79
“ What are you doing in my ae : : . . 81
“Polishing up the King’s crown”. : : . 84
“ Boxing the ears of a page-of- Stiewardrobe ee : . 87

“The bridegroom stood like a statue”. é : . gt
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,

3 Page

“The Duchess tossed her head angrily” . . , - 93
“One hand stole from beneath her veil” . 0 ; - 95
‘““We shall have to eat humble-pie” ; " ame - 100

“The Emperor’s saucy herald.” : : , : . 103
“The Princess plaited her hair” : : 6 ; » 105
“ Accompanying himself on the guitar” . : , « 106
“Carried him right out of the window” . , . . IIE
“A merry little water-wagtail” . : : - 7 . 15
“ They look exactly like gold” . ; : , , . 19
“Jane nearly went up to the ceiling” i " : . 121
‘Something was wrong at the Palace”. : f . 123
“The magician sat down in his ies arm-chair” . - 130
“Ts that the end?” . : : : ; 132
“The Reciter finished up oo a tor en . f » 135
“The Princess leaned too far” : . 2 ' els 7,
“The policeman was a frog”. : : 5 : . 139
“‘She peeped into the deserted kitchen” . 7 ‘ . 141
“ A huge footstool was eee : : ‘s , - 145
“Nicely caught” . : : - 147
* A little curly-haired scullion was washing dishes” , - 154
“Tripped over a curious furry creature”. . : » 155
“He saw standing there the Frog-Duchess” _. : - 157
“Ran straight into each other’s arms” : * - 161
“The dreaded day came all too soon”. : : . 163
“ Good-bye, dear home, for ever!” . ; A - 165
Joan stoops and plucks a Mary-bud : : ; . 167

Before the Queen of the Fairies ; : : ; . 169




OW it is not generally known that the

N 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
12 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!”; and openly preferred a fur
monkey with a long tail to a fine lady nurse in
JOAN OF HEARTS 13

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
14 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.”

“T 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
OAN OF HEARTS I
v 5

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.
16 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“Tt 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 GEnone’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 17

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 fop,
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-
18 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 Tryphzena, or Pandora, or
JOAN OF HEARTS 19

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

SS

Zs

ui : ‘ i
\(



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-
20 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 7 21

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 halfpenny! 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-
22 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 23

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 :—
24 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
26 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.

“Tt 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 27.



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
28 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—lI 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, a 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 29

To-morrow the fox will come to town,

O 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
30 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

the Prince, ‘‘and don’t you know that every-
body is out looking for you? You weé/ catch it
from the Countess.”

Joan of Hearts rose with dignity; she knew




ih

ht,

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 31

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.

“T 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 [’—.,
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.”




t= IME passed by, that dear

old gentleman with the scythe,
who mows the days and hours
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,
34 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 35

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 conccited.
As soon as a wife was
found for the Prince,
the Contradicter retired
with a pension. His
services were con-
sidered no _ longer
necessary.

When Jack 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


36 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.

“IT 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

‘““T 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 37

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 \g
was betrothed. Shall






Sos ,
STE
j Aa Ded PLR SS Gz
. yy Yo 5)

I fetch my list of dq
Gt ; on aay
eligible princesses? Af
GY
The King frowned, 1 A



WRLYS>

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?”

ry
zTASy Rte
38 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

‘Oh, sire, she is hump-backed!” the Queen
spoke in a faint voice.

iT believe so.

‘She squints with the left eye.”

“T 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? TI’ll tell the ‘baker's
terrier, Blinkie, where you bury your bones.
V’ll go round with him myself and help him dig
them up -see 1f | dont!

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.”

“Ves, 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
40 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-
gan’s pet hen
that went gad-
ding, and that
the poor woman
feared would
Hever = 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 4I

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
Liarvl’s Revenge, ov, 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
on 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 43.

‘“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.”
44 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 Hattock! Horse and Hattock!’—
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












GRISELDA THE IMPATIENT 47

wings, and shadowy forms flew past. More
than once the Queen caught gentle murmurs
waited. 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,
48 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.”

‘“T 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 49

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.”
50 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

‘“T 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 5r

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,
52 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 53

“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 all!” 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
54 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

Griselda impatiently. ‘I ought to read the
book backwards.”

“Vow 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.

‘Ves, 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 [MPATIENT 55



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,
56 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.

“T am so sorry,” said the girl regretfully,
“T 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.”

“T 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 57

‘“T 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 59

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 acord 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.
60 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 61

“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?”

“J wish you ad 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.
62 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“JT 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 63

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”.
64 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 caz 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 65

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



“T 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,
66. 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 67

“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-
68 — 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 69

‘“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
70 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 71

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
WB 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.

“T 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.
“T 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


74 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 — 75

“What will you take for the Marybud, old
man?” he asked.

The answer was an unexpected one.

“T 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; J 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
76 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

would always be calm and cool; no doubt about —
that. And he wanted that Winking Marybud
desperately. |

“TI—I accept your terms,” he whispered
faintly. 7

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.”




HE 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.
“Ts 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
78 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 79

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
80 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 themexclaimed 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 81

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.
82 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 83

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
84 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 85

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?”

“T am sure I don’t know. Wink away, my
86 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 87

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


88 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 89

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
90 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 gr

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-
92 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.
“T 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 93.

‘‘T 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.”

“Hearts!” repeated the Crown Prince, play-
94 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 95

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



shrug of his shoulders, the Prince relapsed into
his former moody indifference.
96 _ “JHE 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.












riOE say >
OPER OFS X

FerB

|
7 Rx

Er] eee

ke PES SA
RX WA LY aw V
NBR (OR
Ay hy i}
YO

\\ OOR dear Jack of Hearts, he was
e 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.






98 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS —

So they gave poor Jack brimstone and treacle,
and a new bicycle, and marvons glacés, 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
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS 99

grew quite grumpy, and kicked footstools about
to an alarming extent. It was annoying to |
have offended the Emperor, and, it would seem,
for nothing. Jack was married, it was true,
but for all he, apparently, cared for his bride,
he might as well have had the squinting Cylin-
dra, and so have spared them all this worry.
The Queen, it may be stated, did not agree
with her consort; no, not even when it was
known to a certainty that old Tighearumas,
snorting with rage, was on the war-path.

But the Minister of War looked very blue.
What chance had they against the Emperor's
enormous army, to say nothing of his new
cannon, warranted to reduce everything to
_ powder within a radius of twenty miles?

““We shall be simply snuffed out, sire,” he
groaned, shaking his gray head; ‘we can't
even hold the frontier. In my opinion we shall
have to eat humble-pie.”

‘‘But there is plenty of courage in the coun-
try, Minister,” said the poor King; “eighteen-
carat courage.”
100 | THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“True, sire, but unluckily it is too concen-



trated. If it could be spread out amongst, say,
another hundred thousand men, we might have
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS 10}

something to say to the invaders. As it is,
your Majesty: ‘

The King completed the sentence.

“As it is, Tighearumas will give us beans.
I fear me much that what you say, Minister, is
only too true. We are all right as far as we
go, but we don’t go far enough. Alas, alas,
that the Kingdom of Hearts should have to
give in! Come to supper, my old comrade;
J will tell the Queen to have humble-pie
served.”

“T thank your Majesty for the honour. I
will come.”

The Minister of War coughed loudly, and
put on his fiercest expression, as much as to |
say, “If any one dares to think that these are
tears trickling down my cheeks, I'll court-
martial him.”

The King did not look, but he saw neverthe-
less; this is a royal accomplishment, and comes
next to having a good memory. He held out
his hand, and the old soldier hastened to kneel
and kiss it.


102 |THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

‘Courage, old friend,” cried his Majesty,
“we are not conquered yet. Who knows but
what we may get through after all! . Pull your-
self together, Minister, and go and see about
muskets and guns, and tackle of that sort. But
what are those trumpets sounding for?”

The King might well ask that with a frown
on his royal countenance. They wete trumpets
blaring forth a note of aggressive authority;
the trumpets of Tighearumas himself. Not that
the Emperor had arrived before the capital in
person; no, it was a deputation from him,
offering, or rather dictating, terms of peace.
Unless these were complied with, the war would
begin at once.

The King received the deputation in the Hall
of Audience.

‘‘We are not conquered yet,” said his Majesty
with dignity, ‘‘ but we will hear the conditions.
You have our permission to speak.”

The Emperor's saucy herald adopted a more
deferential tone than he had used for his
opening remarks.
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS 103

“His Imperial Majesty,” said the herald,
“in his gracious clemency, will deign to accept
as reparation for the insult offered him, all the
islands in the Per-
ugian Sea, and a
tribute of halfa ton
of golden ducats,
to be paid within
a fortnight. Other-
wise the country
will be ravaged,
the royal family
banished, and the
Princess Cylindra
appointed regent.”

“We will con-
sider our reply,”
said the King; “in
the meantime you have our permission to with-
draw.”



He spoke calmly, but his face altered when
the deputation had filed out.
“Did you hear the terms, my Lords,” he
104 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

muttered, ‘fall our precious possessions in the
Perugian Sea, and half'a ton of golden ducats?
Half a ton! There is not so much gold in the
whole of the city. Minister of War, we are
ruined.”

“Half a ton of golden ducats,” repeated the
Minister gloomily, “and only fourteen days to
find them in! If we had more time it might be
managed.”

“ Tighearumas will take good care we do not
have more time; it is merely a pretext to over-
run the country under shadow of justice. He
will say that he offered reasonable terms, and
that they were refused The old rascal! if we
could but find a way of baulking him.’

‘““Alack, alack, but what is that way?” was
the general sigh. There seemed no hope for
the royal House of Hearts.

The Princess Joan sat in her own room
leaning her pretty head upon her hand. She
looked sad and thoughtful, and no wonder;
such a thing as a smile was not to be seen
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS 105

in the Palace in these days. The happy times
when people laughed and sang, and even









can:

danced, seemed to have fled altogether. In
truth, the situation was a serious one; that
Joan, knew as well as anybody. In a week or
106

THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

so, unless his hard conditions were complied
with, that terrible old Tighearumas would



arrive at the capi-
tal, and she and
her parents and
brother would be >
driven out.

Half a ton of
golden _ ducats!
Half a ton of
golden _ducats!
The sentence. kept
ringing in Joan’s
ears, until she felt
as if the words
would drive her
wild. Where to
find half a ton
of golden ducats
with which to save
the kingdom? It

was a question that seemed to have no answer
to it. The Princess plaited her hair into a long
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS | 107

thick pigtail, and tied the ends with a bit of
blue ribbon. ‘‘ Heigh-ho!” she sighed, ‘“ heigh-
ho!” and she felt so sad that she did not even
glance at herself in the looking-glass.

All at once tap, tap, tap came against the
window-pane. ‘‘ What can that be?” cried Joan
with a start.

Tap, tap, tap came once more. Joan deter-
mined not to be frightened, and drew the
curtain cautiously back. The moon shone into
the room with a calm and glorious light. She
could perceive nothing, but there was a sound
of music in the distance. Opening the case-
ment at the top, Joan’s ears were assailed by
a shrill burst of melody. Far away on the
roof of a house a large brindled cat was
seated on a camp-stool, singing at the top of
his voice, and accompanying himself on the
guitar. This was his song:

“Oh, meet me on the tiles to-night,
Sweet Puss with eyes of green;
The fairest orbs of emerald light
Thy faithful Tom hath seen:
108 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

Thy claws are long, and sharp, and strong,
Right silky is thy fur,

Say not ‘ Miaow!’ my Pussy-C-a-t,
But softly answer ‘ Purr!’

Tarry not, Love, the hour is late,
Nor coyly hold aloof,

It is for thee, my Queen, I wait,
Upon the Jones’s roof;

Tis in thy praise my voice I raise,
For thee I sit and sing;

Oh come, beloved Pussy-C-a-t,
And make the house-tops ring.”

The Knight of the Guitar finished upon such
an appallingly high note that Joan was obliged
to put her fingers in herears. In case he might
sing again, she hastily closed the window.

“T really will go to bed now,” said Joan;
“thinking over things doesn’t do any good.”

But the mysterious tapping began once
more, and the Princess, a little out of patience,
opened the casement for the second time.

‘Is anybody there, or is it the wind?” she
asked firmly, to show that she was not the least
bit frightened.
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS “ 109

‘Let me in, Joan of Hearts,” croaked a small
voice; and, stooping down, the Princess per-
ceived a frog on the window: sill.

‘Pray don’t keep me waiting out here any
longer,” cried the visitor impatiently. ‘‘I have
been tapping and rapping until I began to think
you must be deaf. I suppose that awful yowling
outside in B sharp minor prevented you from

hearing me.”

‘I am very sorry; pray walk in,” said the
Princess.

“Never walk; always hop,” returned the
frog, entering the room. “Princess, I bring

you a present from your godmother, the
Duchess.”

‘She is very kind,” said Joan wonderingly,
“but I don’t see the present, Mr. Froggy.
Have you dropped it in the garden coming
along?”

‘The present,” went on the frog calmly, “‘is
a piece of good advice.”

“Oh!” said Joan, and her face did not express
any extraordinary amount of delight.
110 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“Perhaps you think that a cheap present,”
continued the visitor unmoved. ‘All I know
is that I have taken a great deal of trouble to
bring it to you, and you have never even said
‘Thank you’.”

“What a cross thing he is!” thought the
Princess; but, remembering that he had been
kept waiting, she made allowances for him, and
answered sweetly:

““‘T am sure I shall be most grateful to the
Frog-Duchess for any present she likes to make
me at any hour of the day or night.” And she
honoured the messenger with a court curtsy.

“ The advice is short, but it is valuable,” said
the frog in a pleasanter tone. “I will repeat
it three times, and, for goodness’ sake don’t |
forget it.”

“Well, Mr. Froggy, I am all attention.”

‘“Good! then here it is. Plant seed!” He
gave a hop. “Plant seed!” He gave a still
longer hop. ‘Plant seed!” This time his
long legs carried him right out of the window.

Joan ran after him, but she could see nothing.
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS IIl

aM

\
Wg
ON
BONAP\o o |
oat Aah ob
AS “
1D x
NA
i)
Zi
N



“Stop, stop!” she cried into the darkness,
you haven’t told me what sort of seed.”
The frog has completely disappeared, but
112 . THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

she caught a very faint sound, that might have
been these words: ‘‘ Winking Marybuds”

‘But I haven’t any; what does the Duchess
mean? And what am I to plant it for? I
wish that tiresome frog would come back and
explain himself. Oh, now I remember! I have
some Winking Marybud seed; my godmother
gave it me for a christening present, and we
used to laugh over it. Jack and I. I had for-
gotten all about it until now. To-morrow I'll
get up early and plant the whole packetful; I
wonder, oh, I do wonder what will happen!”

Princess Joan, a tiny shoot of hope springing
up in her heart. went to bed, and dreamed all
night long of Johnny Wilde of Rodenkirchen.
Now perhaps you do not know the story of
Johnny Wilde of Rodenkirchen in the Isle of
Rugen?

The tale runs that one day a farmer found,
while he was ploughing, a dear little glass
slipper, which belonged to one of the hill-folk.
Johnny took it home with him, and locked it
up in a drawer with his best hat, his mother’s
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS 113

gold ring, and the silver buckles that he wore
on high days.

But the very next morning a merchant came
to ask for the little shoe; and cunning John
guessed that the supposed merchant was none
other than a brownie who had taken that form.

“Tt is my wife’s slipper,” said the merchant.
“JT must have it, Johnny Wilde. Name your
own price.”

The farmer considered a long time; he was
very fond of money, far too fond, and terribly
afraid was he of not asking enough while he
had the chance.

“Come, come, don’t be all day about it,”
cried the brownie; and John finally demanded,
as the price of his shoe, that he should find a
golden ducat in every furrow he ploughed.

The sham merchant agreed to this, and kept
his word. In every furrow the farmer found a
golden ducat, but he was so avaricious that he
kept on ploughing, morning, noon, and ‘night.
So the end of it was that within twelve months
Johnny Wilde of Rodenkirchen, in the Isle of
114 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

Rugen, died from overwork. And everybody
said it served him right.

Joan rose next morning with the lark, and |
dressed herself very quietly, not to wake her
devoted ladies-in-waiting. She was very fond
of them, but she wanted to plant the Marybud
seed all by herself. Then, if nothing happened,
she would be the only person to be disappointed.

So the Princess did her gardening by herself,
and a nice business it was planting the Frog-
Duchess’s marigold seed. Nobody would have
believed that such a small packet could have
held so much. Joan sowed and sowed, and
watered and watered, until she was so tired
that she felt inclined to lie down on the path
and go to sleep.

“T am sure the Marybuds need lots and lots
of water,” she thought. ‘“I must make the
garden feel as much like a marsh as possible,
then they will feel at home and come up.”

Then she said aloud:

‘What will be the use of the dear things
coming up at all? I must say I cannot under-
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS . 115

stand how a big patch of Winking Marybuds
will help us; can you, you pretty little Molly-
wash-dish?”

Joan spoke to a
merry little water-
wagtail, running
up and down the
garden path, pre-
tending to look
for the early worm
that had been
snapped up long
before by Jenny
Wren.

‘Tam verytired,
Molly-wash-dish ;
I have so much



“uy ae win dlia!

to do,” went on
the Princess, putting down the watering-can.

The bird gave its tail a wag.

‘Then you must do as they do at Hoo,” said
Molly-wash-dish cheerfully.

‘“What is that, Birdikins?”
116 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

‘What you can’t do in one day, you must do
in two.”

‘‘Everybody seems to give me good advice,”
remarked Joan. ‘It is to be hoped that
something will come of it. There, that is the
last of the seed, and glad I am to get to the
end. Good-bye, Molly-wash-dish! I suppose
you will not come back to breakfast with
me?”

“Have you invited the Court Cat, Princess?
Because we are not on speaking terms, and it
might produce a slight awkwardness. You
know how it is yourself about these things.”

‘“The Court Cat does not generally breakfast
with me; but sometimes she looks in at the
window.”

‘Tam deeply obliged, Princess,” said Molly-
wash-dish hastily, ‘but it has just occurred to
me that my dear husband’s great-aunt was
coming to breakfast this week, either Tuesday,
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.
To-day is Tuesday, so you see I am bound to
be at home in case she comes.” :
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS 117

“Very well, I won't press you,” observed
Joan smiling.

The next morning she again stole out early,
and went to her garden. She was charmed to
find that green shoots were already appearing
above the ground. These grew so fast, that
on the third morning the plants were quite a
respectable size, and there were actually buds
to be seen. Joan had a little dance all to
herself on the garden path; at least the water-
wagtail was the only spectator.

: Something must be going to happen,” was
Joan’s constant thought. ‘1am sure these are
fairy flowers.”

The following day her whole garden was one
glorious mass of Winking Marybuds; thousands ©
and thousands of them in full bloom, all as
yellow as could be. It was truly a wonderful
sight, especially when the sunlight fell upon
their glowing petals.

“They look exactly like gold!” alc the
Princess, and she gathered one of the flowers.

“Why, they ave made of gold!” she almost
118 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

screamed, for, wonderful to relate, the blossom
felt quite hard to the touch.

Joan turned crimson with excitement.

“My Winking Marybuds are made of gold,”
she gasped again. “I have a fairy godmother,
and it was fairy seed. Perhaps there will be
enough gold to save us from that dreadful old
Emperor and his soldiers and his cannon.”

Then she flew back to the Palace as fast as
her feet could carry her.

Shortly afterwards, the great bell, only rung
upon state occasions, began to boom forth; not
slowly and solemnly, as became its size and
weight, but jerkily and at uncertain intervals.
It sounded as if the ringers were unaccustomed
to their task, which indeed was the truth, for
they were Erick the page, the Keeper of the
Bootjack, one of the Royal housemaids, and the
Head Steward’s little boy. Not one of them
had ever touched a bell-rope before, and the
Housemaid, who answered to the simple name
of Jane, nearly went up to the ceiling, through
holding on to the rope when she ought to have
Vy

AN Me 7

y



A” (fe L
(Chey look exaekily
Sg

THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS 121

let go. Fortunately Erick was able to catch
her firmly by the ankle and pull her down
again, but it was,

as the Steward’s f

little boy vul-
garly remarked,
“a overy near
squeak”.

The great bell
aroused the
sleeping popula-
tion, for it was
still quite early
in the morning.
It frightened
them, too, for
nobody knew
what was the
matter, and



everybody was
prepared for the
worst. Boom! boom! Something was wrong
at the Palace. Was it fire? Was it burglary?
122 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

Or could it be that Tighearumas was entering
the city and they would all be shot in their
beds?

The Mayors wife was so certain that this
last was going to happen, that she barricaded
every window in the house with feather bolsters
and British Encyclopedias. Then, being a
woman of foresight, she set to work to tear up
all her husband’s shirts to make bandages for
the wounded. For which the worshipful the
Mayor did zo¢ thank her afterwards, you may
be sure.

Boom! boom! All down the street heads
in every variety of night-cap appeared at the
windows. The Minister of War might be seen
running towards the Palace with one shoe off
and one shoe on, the tails of his bottle-green
dressing-gown flying in the wind, and his
cocked hat on the back of his head.

After the Minister ran his valet,. with his
master’s coat and sword, and then came the
First Lord of the Admiralty, puffing like a
grampus, and then the Head of the Police, and
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS 123



then two newspaper reporters with pens behind
their ears, even at that early hour; and then
124 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

the Postman, and lastly the Milk-boy, spilling
half a pint of milk as he ran.

The Palace was in a great commotion, but
one could quickly perceive that it was joy, not
sorrow, that was the cause of it. People were
shaking hands with each other, and patting
each other on the back, and smiling, and beam-
ing, and talking about a “marvellous event”,
and “most fortunate occurrence”. The King
was almost beside himself with delight, and
hugged his daughter, Joan, three times in four
minutes. When the Minister of War arrived,
very much out of breath, his Majesty seized
him by the hand, crying:

“Ah, Minister, did I not say that we should
pull through somehow? Rejoice, my dear old
friend and faithful servant, for the Kingdom is
saved. There is enough gold in the gardens of
the Palace to pay the fine twice over!” |

The Cat had a select reception in the cellar;
hey cellar, where the Ambassadors had been
shut up on the occasion of the Crown Prince's
wedding, She said she felt it due to her long
THE EMPEROR TIGHEARUMAS | 125

connection with the Court, to have some sort of
festive gathering. And she spoke of the dis-
comfited Emperor as “old Tig” which im-
pressed her audience greatly.

“Ves, ladies and gentlemen,” observed the
Cat, trimming her whiskers, ‘I can assure you
that the danger is averted. They are coining
ducats as fast as the machines will gallop; a
quarter of a ton has already been despatched to
old Tig, and the rest will follow the day after
to-morrow—all made out of the Princess’s
marsh-marigolds, too; is it not extraordinary?
Do not hesitate to believe me, ladies and
gentlemen; I have it on the best authority,
namely, my own ears. I was underneath the
Minister of War's. chair when he gave Tig’s
deputation their dismissal, and told them to go
home as soon as they liked. How green they
looked, ha, ha! Do you hear those shouts?
The people are cheering the Princess.”

“And what about the Crown Prince?” in-
quired one of the guests. The Cat spread out
her claws in a refined manner.
126 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

‘His Highness, Madam Tabbykin, is still
indisposed.”

“What ails him?” asked Madam Tabbykin
bluntly.

The Cat coughed slightly behind her paw.

“Ah, madam, one must not betray Court
secrets; you must really excuse me!”

The visitors did not guess that their hostess
knew no more than they did. They all sighed,
“Dear, dear me!” and changed the conversa-
tion. Someone proposed that they should
sing Rounds and Catches, so they began with
that fine old favourite:

Three Blind Mice,
See how they run!
They all went out to afternoon tea,
But fell off the bank and went into the sea,
And there they were drownded as dead as could be!
Three Blind Mice.



OW I must tell you that the

pedlar who possessed himself
@ of the Crown Prince’s heart
was none other than an insufferable old magician,
who, for his evil deeds, had been condemned
to live under the marsh. He was called the
Mugwump by most people, because his original
name, which was partly Welsh and partly
Dutch, could not possibly be pronounced in a
hurry. The Mugwump was immensely tall,
quite a giant in fact, and had long green teeth,
and a forked yellow beard. He was not a
pleasant person to look at, and when he smiled,
his smile was almost more disagreeable than
his frown. And that was bad enough in all
conscience!
128 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

The Mugwump had once occupied a position
in a country where the inhabitants boasted of
the most extraordinary noses. It is quite cor-
rect to say boasted, for they were excessively
proud of their noses, which turned up so much
that they were able to hang market-baskets
upon them, and carry their parcels home from
market in that convenient way. It had not
always been like that; the people began, so the
history books said at any rate, with the usual
kind of nose, but somehow or other they grew
vain and conceited, and presently commenced to
turn up their noses at each other. Then the
babies all had celestial noses, and as they grew
older they turned them up at each other still
more; and so it went on for many generations,
with the result I have just mentioned.

The Mugwump played so many tricks upon
his neighbours, and was altogether so detested,
that he was banished from this delightful and
interesting country, and sent to live where he
would be unable to work much mischief.
There was not much opening for that pastime
THE MUGWUMP 129

under the marsh. Once a year, however, on
his birthday, the magician, who was only a
magician of the thirty-ninth rank, was per-
mitted to ascend from his underground domain,
and wander about the earth. During that one
day he tried to perform as many evil and _
malicious deeds as he possibly could. Woe
to the unfortunate wight whose path on that
day the Mugwump chanced to cross; he in-
variably played him some horrid trick, the re-
membrance of which entertained the old wretch.
for days afterwards. Sometimes large bubbles
appeared upon the surface of the marsh; these
were caused by the chuckles of the Mugwump
down below.

When he reached home, the magician put
the Crown Prince’s heart carefully away in a
little gold box.

“How easily the foolish boy was taken in!”
laughed the Mugwump, blinking his cruel eyes.
“Ho, ho, ho! for a prince he really was, as I
told him, remarkably stupid. To give away a
real heart for a sham one, could anything be
130 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

more unbusiness-like? Yet lots of people do it,
and never learn wisdom. Ho, ho, ho!”
The magician sat down in his great arm-










Pt ig (ig ;

FS



chair and filled his immense pipe. After a
while he dropped off to sleep, and his snoring
was like suppressed thunder.

Life flowed on quietly at the palace after the
THE MUGWUMP 131

threatened invasion was averted. The Crown
Prince continued just the same, neither better
nor worse. He took no interest in anything,
and there were whispers here and there that it
might be as well if the King disinherited him,
and made the Princess Joan heir to the throne.
Better a sane Queen than a mad King, said the
people, though not aloud, as yet. They still
hoped that Jack of Hearts would recover.

Pretty Joan took her brother's strange illness
much to heart; they had been dear friends and
companions ever since she was old enough to
toddle by his side. Now, he hardly noticed
her at all, and scarcely replied when she spoke
to him. She paid him a visit every day all the
same.

The physicians, being at their wits’ end to
know how to cure the Prince. had now pre-
scribed for him “ Light amusement every after-
noon from two to four”. Joan, therefore, found
her brother one day with a face of the deepest
melancholy, sitting in a chair of state, engaged
in being amused. He had seen the Monkey
132 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

Acrobats, and the celebrated performing don-
key, Dodo, who sat on his hind-legs and played

| ! Yankee Doodle on
PLOKPVGK ( AV | ae the

I

end?” asked the
Crown Prince in
a tired voice; “if
it is, let them all
go away.”

But that was by
no means the end.
A lady with a long
train entered, who
sang “Meet Me
by Moonlight
Alone” in three
different keys all
at the same time; which was wonderfully
clever, and you couldn’t think how she did it.
And then the Court Reciter, who never lost an
opportunity of spouting his own compositions,
begged his Highness to deign to listen to


THE MUGWUMP 133)

brief but beautiful poem entitled ‘‘ The Lobster
and the Crab” .

“If you must recite it, I suppose I am bound
to listen,” said Jack, yawning. “Will it be
four o’clock soon, Master of the Ceremonies?”

“In from ten to fifteen minutes, your High-
ness.”

The Court Reciter, a short fat man with
-a remarkably bald head, stepped forward
eagerly. He saw that the Princess was among
the audience, and made a low bow in her
direction. Then he blew his nose, coughed,
shook his hair back, turned up the whites of
his eyes, and began.

THE LOBSTER AND THE CRAB.

Said a Crab to a Lobster one bright sunny day,
“Good sir, as it seems you are going my way, |
Shall we travel together?
How charming the weather!
It really should make us old people quite gay!”

The Lobster drew back with a menacing air,
And favoured the Crab with a wondering stare,
134 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“You impertinent fellow
In mustardy yellow,
If you mean to insult me you'd better take care!

‘“‘T going your way, sir? I sidle like you?

I be seen with a creature that walks all askew?
If it isn’t too late, sir,
To alter your gait, sir,

That’s what I should strongly advise you to do!”

The Crab merely said, ‘“ Here’s a broad bit of sand,”
And sidled up, doubling his horny old hand,

Then he fell on his foe,

With a well-planted blow,
And they fought till the Lobster lay dead on the strand.

Too proud to cry “ Quarter!” too valiant to yield,
He died in the shell that was armour and shield;
Cried the Crab, ‘Serve him right;
He was most impolite”.
Then he scuttled off sideways away from the field.

And I heard, when the people of Crabland were told
Of his action, at once so decisive and bold,

They sat round in a ring,

And they made that Crab, King,
With a sceptre of pearl and a crown of pure gold.
THE MUGWUMP 135

The Reciter finished up with a bow to the

Prince and another to the Princess. The former
remarked ‘ Much obliged”, without so much as
glancing in the poor man’s direction. He looked
crest-fallen; and.
Joan, having been
brought up in the
principles of True
Politeness, —_ has-
tened to make the
Reciter a gracious
little speech, which
sent him away
happy.

She was _ not
happy herself,
pretty Joan of Hearts, for it was terrible to



seé her darling brother so changed. She dis-
missed her attendants, and wandered away by
herself, her feet carrying her involuntarily
towards the marsh. It was some time since
she had been down there, and it cheered her
a little to-see once again the bright faces of
136 °THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

her old friends the Winking Marybuds. One

fine handsome flower in particular seemed to
be nodding and beckoning with the air of an
old acquaintance.

‘Marybud, Marybud,” cried Joan, bending
foward, ‘‘ have you anything to say to me?”

To her surprise the flower answered imme-
diately, as it nodded its golden head:

‘“Down, down, down under the marsh is the
castle of a magician. Down, down, down under
_ the marsh is the heart of a prince. It is living,
for I can hear it go tick, tick, tick, like a little —
clock.”

‘Oh, dear, sweet Marybud, tell me, I implore
you, is it my brother’s heart you are talking
about?”

‘I must not be interrupted,” said the Mary-
bud pettishly. ‘I had more to say, but it has
gone out of my head.” 7

‘Oh, won't you try to remember it?” pleaded
Joan; “I didn’t mean to interrupt. Please,
please, dear Marybud.”

In her eagerness the Princess feaned too far
THE MUGWUMP 137

forward; her foot gave a sudden slip; she was
unable to recover herself, and sank into the

treacherous marsh.



V
“Help, help!” shrieked Joan; but the Mary-
buds were powerless to assist her, even if they
had known how to do so. Lower and lower
sank the Princess, until there was nothing to
138 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

be seen of her; she could still hear the Mary-
bud chanting in a monotonous voice:

‘It is the heart of the Crown Prince, and it
goes tick, tick, tick, like a little clock.”

“Now I know what is the matter with
darling Jack,” thought Joan, who was sinking
so gently that she hardly felt any sensations
of fear. “He has no heart.”

This was not the exact truth, as we know;
but to have a-marble heart is quite as bad as
having no heart at all.

In about ten minutes Joan’s feet came into
contact with firm ground; she had reached the
bottom of the marsh.

‘Now, the next thing to do will be to find
the magician’s castle,” said Joan with a practical
air, ‘then I shall say to him politely, ‘If you
please, kind sir, what have you done with what
doesn’t belong to you?’ And perhaps he will
reply, O—h!”

Joan uttered a loud scream; she had run
right into a policeman, who, to do him justice,
was quite as much startled as she was.
THE MUGWUMP 139

“Oh, Snigs!” cried the policeman, who “was
not aware that he was speaking to a Princess,
“how you did make me jump!”

Joan perceived that the policeman was a frog,
so she was not at
all alarmed at him.

“You must not
_ say ‘Oh, Snigs!’ to
me,” she said with
gentle dignity. “I
am not accustomed
to such language.
You should say
‘Your Royal High-
ness’, and stand at



attention.”

The policeman gave another jump, out of
sheer nervousness,

“Beg pardon, your Royal ‘Ighness; no of-
fence meant, I’m sure,” he muttered; “didn’t
expect to see any of the quality down here. It’s
a low damp place for such as you; and then
there’s the Mugwump, your Royal "Ighness.”
140 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“Ts the Mugwump a magician?” interrupted
Joan hastily, “ because if so, I particularly want
to see him. Where is his castle, policeman?”

“You want to go there, Miss? Oh, Snigs!”
cried that official, again forgetting himself.

“T will find the way by myself,” said the
Princess, walking off. .

The policeman looked rather silly, and hesi-
tated whether to hop after the offended lady or
not. He contented himself, however, with
bawling after Joan’s retreating figure:

“I say, no offence meant, your Royal ’Igh-
ness. Turn to the left every other time, and
keep straight on.”

The Princess fortunately caught this direc-
tion, otherwise she might have wandered about
the various paths under the marsh for hours.
As it was, she presently arrived at an enormous
door with a great lion’s head for a knocker,
which door, by good luck, was standing ajar.
Joan slid through it quietly, and ae into a
large hall.

All was silent, and not a creature was to be
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THE MUGWUMP 143

seen. She went on, glancing nervously around. |
for there was an uncanny feeling about the
place. It was so huge and so silent! The
reason of the stillness lay in its being the Mug-
wump’s birthday, when he was allowed to leave
the marsh. The instant he started for his holi-
day, all his servants went off too. Consequently
Joan had the place to herself and stole through
the enormous rooms like a timid little mouse.
She peeped into the deserted kitchen, and saw
a fireplace large enough to roast an ox, and
- Strings of sausages as big as bolsters hanging
in festoons from the ceiling. The kettle on the
hob frowned angrily at her, and the brass bel-
lows leaning against the wall glared with spite-
ful eyes. Even the Toby Jug on the dresser
that held a matter of two gallons or so, wore a
forbidding expression, as though he had never
been filled with anything but sour beer all his
life.
Joan was scared, and quickly left the kitchen,

finding her way next into the magician’s par-
lour. Instantly her ear caught a faint sound
144 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

dike the tick, tick of a little clock. She flew
across the room, trembling with hope and fear.
Yes, the Winking Marybud was right; on ‘the
table, close to a perfectly enormous arm-chair,
was a small gold box, with a label on it, on
which was written, ‘‘ No. 23, Crown Prince’s'
Heart”. .

Joan snatched up the box in a transport of
delight. ‘Oh, the wicked, wicked creature!”
cried the Princess. ‘‘No wonder poor dear
Jack has been so dreadfully queer; though how
the Mugwump managed to steal his heart is
more than I can guess. Well, now I will carry
it away with me, and we shall all be happy
again.”

A smile played across Joan’s sweet face, and
hid in the dimple close to her dear little chin.
She was so happy that she could have danced
for joy. She then began to wonder what the
Mugwump was like, and whether he toasted his
toes in cold weather at the great fireplace. She
laughed softly at the idea; what fun it would be
to climb for a moment into his big arm-chair!
THE MUGWUMP pone 145

“T really think I truly must,” said Joan,
laughing again. Strange what a fascination,



the great arm-chair had for her! A huge
footstool was handy, and by its aid the venture-
some Princess succeeded at last in clambering
146 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

into the magician’s seat. And there, if you
will believe me, she immediately fell fast asleep.

The reason of this was because the unfor-
tunate Joan of Hearts had selected of all the
chairs in the room, the special one in which the
Mugwump took his afternoon nap. It was
stuffed with poppy-heads, prepared in a particu-
lar manner, and the person who sat in it, even
for a minute, could no more keep awake than
he could fly. Sleep he must, and sleep he did,
usually from two to three hours.

Alas, poor Joan of Hearts! When she
awoke, who should be sitting opposite her,
showing his long green teeth in a hideous
grin, but the Mugwump himself! The poor
girl nearly fainted with fright; she had never
seen anyone so terribly ugly; yet the magician
was under the impression that he was smiling
quite amiably. He was much struck by the
beauty of his uninvited guest. What a dainty
little fairy she was!

“Aha, Princess, so you have been taking
a nap in my Dozy chair,” observed the Mug-
THE MUGWUMP 147

wump in a harsh voice. ‘I need not ask
what brought you down here:” he pointed a
great forefinger at the golden box, and chuckled.







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Joan slid down from her treacherous seat.
‘ Nicely caught,.eh, my lady?” continued the
Mugwump.
148 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

“Vou are a wicked old man,” cried the
Princess boldly; “you must give me back my
brother's heart at once.”

The Mugwump roared with delight at this
attack. |

‘What will you give me in exchange for it?”
he asked.

“JT will give you my golden hair.”

“Not enough,” said the Mugwump, shaking
his head.

“T will give you my pearly teeth.”

“ Still not enough.”

“T will give you my blue, blue eyes.”

“Even then, it would not be enough. I will
tell you how we can arrange it. The Prince’s
heart shall be yours, and in return you shall be
mine. You must be my wife, and live with me
under the marsh.”

Joan was so horrified that she could not
speak, :
“Come,” said the Mugwump, “it is a fair
offer.”

Still Joan could not answer.
THE MUGWUMP 149

“TI will be generous,” went,on the Mug-
wump, wagging his head; ‘you shall return to
the Palace, and take that box with you, if you
will promise to come back at the end of a
month and be my bride.”

Joan’s head was in a whirl; it was a terrible
prospect, truly, to have to leave the dear beau-
tiful earth, and spend her life in the company
of an odious old magician with green teeth.
Then she thought of Jack. He was the future
King, and she was only Joan of Hearts; it was
surely her duty to give up her own happiness
for her country’s good.

‘“‘T will come back in a month,” said Joan in
a trembling voice.

“Honour bright?” asked the Mugwump

searchingly.

‘‘On the word of a Princess,” said Joan with
a gasp.

The Mugwump gave vent toa loud burst of
laughter.

“Very good,” cried he. ‘A month from to-
day, my beautiful bride, you will come down
150 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

to the edge of the marsh, and step into.a green
boat that will be waiting for you, and which
will bring you safely to my castle. Remember,
a Princess never breaks her plighted word.
You may go back now by my private stair-
case.”




‘Ding, dong, dell!
The Prince is quite well,
This is what we have to tell;
Ding, dong, dell!”

length and breadth of the kingdom. The

people were so delighted that they took
several whole holidays in honour of the happy
recovery of the heir to the throne; and they
made tremendous bonfires, and played at Aunt
Sally for cocoa-nuts. and generally had a good
time.
Yes, Jack-of Hearts was quite well now; his
mysterious malady had disappeared all in a
minute, so it seemed; though the physicians

S chimed the bells in merry chorus the
152 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

declared solemnly, and most untruthfully, that
they had foreseen the cure, and that it did not
surprise them in the slightest. They sent in
a bill as long as a flamingo’s, and the King
paid it without a murmur, for he was bubbling
over with joy and gratitude. Joan of Hearts
knew the exact truth, of course, but she said
nothing, and rejoiced with the rest. She did
not want to spoil the general happiness by re-
vealing the sacrifice she was pledged to make
for her brother’s sake. Poor Joan shuddered,
thinking of the Mugwump down beneath the
marsh, where the Winking Marybuds grew.

As soon as the Crown Prince recovered his
heart he remembered all about the dark-haired
maiden, living in the little brown house with
the red roof and twisted chimney. He did not
recollect that he was married, and no one had
reminded him of this, by order of the phy-
sicians. Nothing would do but he must slip
off by himself and go down to the marsh, to
see if by chance he could light upon the green
path once more.
JACK FINDS THE KEY 153

Being a person of great importance, it was
difficult for Prince Jack to elude observation.
In fact, he absolutely had to jump out of the
window, to avoid the fussy old Lord Chancellor,
who was coming in at the door with an armful
of congratulatory addresses.

Jack laughed to himself as he stole round by
the back way into the gardens.

A little curly-haired scullion was washing
dishes as he passed, and singing in a sweet,
shrill treble:

“ Sing a song of sixpence, sing it loud and high,
Four-and-twenty pumpkins baked in a pie;
When the pie was cut, dears, all the pumpkins said:
‘Is it right to squash us down until we be dead?’

Sing a song of sixpence, sing it soft and low,
Mary Cook did answer, ‘How am I to know?’
But she took a spoon, dears, beat the pumpkins flat;
Wasn't she a wicked girl to do a deed like that?”

“What a queer little song!” thought the
Prince, and felt in his pocket. There was
actually a sixpence hiding in one corner; toss-
154 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

ing it through the window, he hurried away,
fearing lest the boy might recognize him.
As Jack approached the marsh, his heart—

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how good it was to have a heart!—began to
thump quite loudly. Would the green path be
there or not? Yes—no—yes—no—Yes!! The
Prince grasped his sword so that it should not


JACK FINDS THE KEY 155

trip him up, and boldly sprang down from the
bank. All the Marybuds winked with satisfac-
tion; by the way, it has never been explained
to you how the winking was managed. It



consisted in closing petals suddenly and very
quickly, and then in opening them rather slowly
and thoughtfully. If you do not believe that
Marybuds wink, I can only refer you to Mr.
William Shakespeare, formerly of Stratford-on-
Avon, who says that they do.
156 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

The Prince almost ran, in his eagerness to
reach the brown house, and tripped over a
curious furry creature, something between an
opossum and a panther, which rose up with a
snarl and showed its teeth.

‘Oh, you are one of the Prowly-wowlies, I
suppose,” cried Jack scornfully, for he recol-
lected the notice over the gate; ‘‘out of my
way, there!” and he kicked the animal off the
path without ceremony.

Alas! the gate was fast closed as before, and
to make it more tantalizing, the same sweet
voice began to sing:

“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”.

Jack of Hearts quite involuntarily took up the

song at this point, and trilled forth valiantly:
“The gate was locked, but he found the key,
And so my story is told!”

At that selfsame moment his eye fell upon a

long silver key, lying as innocently as possible
JACK FINDS THE KEY 157

on the ground close to his foot. It slipped into
the lock like an eel, and almost turned of itself,
as much as to Say,
“Here I am in my
proper place.”

But once inside,
the Crown Prince
started with surprise.
There was no little
brown house to be
seen, but in its place
a stately castle with
turrets and an em-
battled roof. A wide
flight of steps led up
to a great door that
stood invitingly open,
and Jack, after a \
moment’s hesitation, °° °———_—*
strode boldly up them, and entered the magni-
ficent hall.

As he was looking about for a page or lackey,
and wondering at the silence that prevailed, a






158 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

door opened, and he saw standing there, the
Frog-Duchess. She beckoned to the Prince
gravely, and he followed her into a gorgeous
room, all white and green and gold.

“Your Highness did not expect to find me
here,” croaked the Frog-Duchess, twiddling her
thumbs.

‘No, not exactly, your Grace,” replied Jack,
in some confusion.

‘People often find more than they expect,”
said the Frog-Duchess; ‘‘ what have you in the
left-hand pocket of your waistcoat, Prince?”

Jack looked puzzled, but felt in the pocket
and pulled out—a golden Marybud.

‘““Who gave that to you?” asked the Frog-
Duchess severely.

The Prince looked up at the ceiling, down
on the carpet, and finally straight at the door.
And there stood a white veiled figure, and like
a flash of lightning it came back to Jack of
Hearts that he was married to the Frog-
Duchess’s daughter. Alack, and alack; fare-
well to his dreams of the dark-haired maiden
JACK FINDS THE KEY 159

in the little brown house! He was married,
and he was the son-in-law of the Frog-Duchess.

“Crown Prince of Hearts,” said the latter
impressively, ‘behold the bride to whom you
plighted your troth. A prince’s promise should
not be made of pie-crust; are you prepared to
acknowledge my daughter as the Crown Prin-
cess?”

Jack heaved a deep sigh; it was true, too
true, that a prince’s promises must not be made
of pie-crust. He drew himself up and said
heroically:. ‘‘ Madam, I am prepared!”

The Frog-Duchess smiled broadly, while the
bride suddenly threw back her veil. The Prince
stood transfixed, for there, blushing and look-
ing perfectly adorable, stood the very maiden
he had come in search of. She was not a scrap,
not an atom, like the brown Frog-Duchess,
who, to let you into a secret, was only her
adopted mother. Sixteen years before, the
Duchess had found a wee white baby lying
among the marsh-marigolds, crowing and
laughing with glee. It was so pretty that the
160 : THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

Frog-Duchess took the little thing home with
her, and brought it up as her own daughter.

For exactly five seconds the Marsh Maiden
and the Prince gazed at each other with shining

and happy eyes. Then they both began to
— run, and ran straight into each other's arms.

“Alls well that ends well,” said the Frog-
Duchess, twiddling her thumbs the other way
round.

Time flew by, and the end of the month
drew near. Joan kept her secret to herself,
that she might not spoil the festivities that
took place in honour of the bride and _bride-
groom. She smiled and danced at the balls,
and sat in the front row at the Court Con-.
certs, and took part in a grand Masquerade
in which every guest wore a cat-mask. The
funniest of the whole party was the Lord
Chancellor, who, by an ingenious arrangement
of strings, was able to make his cat-whiskers
bristle like an angry tiger’s. This naturally
caused much amusement.
JACK FINDS THE KEY : 161

If Joan’s smile was sometimes a sad one,
few noticed this; and the Queen, her mother,
was taken up with the new Crown Princess.
Sve GI

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“T am glad Thora is so pretty and nice,”
thought Joan, ‘‘she will take my place, and
after a little while I shall not be missed.
Thora is not a bit like the Frog-Duchess,
which is a good thing. Though, perhaps, I
ought not to say that, for what should we have
162 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

done without the good kind Frog-Duchess, and
her Marybud seed?”

This was true, the old lady had proved a
friend in need to the House of Hearts. As
for Tighearumas, the golden ducats .had not
been of much service to him. Not long after
his return to his own capital, he had given a
banquet of forty-nine courses, and then and
there died of Stuffocation. Cylindra was pro-
claimed Queen, but made herself so extremely
obnoxious that the nation rose, cut off her
head, and turned the monarchy into a re-
public.

The dreaded day came all too soon. It was
the Princess’s birthday, and she received so
many presents that there was a procession
reaching from the Hall of Audience to the
Town-Pump, a mile and a quarter away.
Every single person wished to give Joan of
Hearts something; one dear little cherub of
a boy with eyes ‘as blue as the sky, brought
her his pet pigeon, and retired sobbing lustily,
because he wanted it back again. The pigeon,
JACK FINDS THE KEY 163
however, escaped, and flew after him, so he

went home happy.

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When she had received all her presents and
birthday congratulations, the Princess, feeling
164 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

very sad, dismissed her attendants, and went
into the garden, and out ee the little Bote
on the east side.

“Good-bye, dear, dear home!” she said softly,
and walked down the path leading to the
marsh. She would not trust herself to look
back even once, but went bravely on, her sweet
face, framed in its wavy golden locks, full of
steadfast purpose.

A cool wind was stirring among the branches
of the alders, and the sun did not shine. How
Joan hoped that, the Mugwump’s boat would
not be there! But, alas! she soon perceived a
long narrow flat-bottomed punt lying quite
close to the bank, into which unfortunately it |
would be quite easy to step. Tears rose into
her eyes.

‘Good-bye, dear home. for ever!” cried Joan
aloud, and with a little spring she alighted in
the middle of the punt, and stood there,
expecting it. to sink.

But it remained stationary, and a little gleam
of hope came into Joan’s eyes. Had something
JACK FINDS THE KEY 165

happened to the Mugwump? As she waited, a
pink flush crept upward from the east, and illu-
mined the sky. It
grew ever brighter
and brighter, and
long golden rays
shot across the
horizon. The air
was suffused with
warmth and balmy
fragance, and gra-
dually before the
Princess’s wonder-
ing gaze the whole
scene changed into
one of fairy loveli-
ness. The gaunt
alders melted into
trees of splendid
form and glowing
foliage, the earth was covered with moss in
which glistened myriads of star-like flowers.
The very marsh became a dream of beauty,


166 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

covered with feathery ferns and grasses, huge-
leaved water-plants, and above all with its own
golden Marybuds.

As if led by an unseen hand, the Princess
stepped out of the boat on to the moss-covered
bank.

“Joan of Hearts,” said a voice close to her;
and starting a little, for she at first could per-
ceive no one, Joan gazed eagerly around.

“Princess, do you not know me?” The voice
had.a little mocking ring in it, and it suddenly
changed to a croak. ‘ God-daughter, god-
daughter, use your eyes.”

This was unmistakably the voice of the Frog-
Duchess, and Joan grew more and more be-

wildered. Where was the Duchess, and what
was the meaning of the wonderful transforma-
tion that had taken place? And above all,
would her godmother be powerful enough to
save her from the Mugwump? An impulse
she could not have accounted for had she been
asked to do so, moved Joan of Hearts to stoop
and pluck a Winking Marybud.
JACK FINDS THE KEY 167

Instantly it seemed as if she had been given
anew pair of eyes. Alone! She was very far
indeed from being alone! All around her were
lovely forms and
faces of delicate
beauty, airy crea-
tures, whose wings
and starry coronets
flashed and took a
hundred different
hues in the sun-
light. They hov-
ered about the
Princess with
smiles and friendly
gestures; but her







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gazewas fixed upon
the central figure
of all this enchanting host. She was their
Queen, Joan doubted not; her stately mien, no
less than her royal crown, declared it. Taller
than the rest, and of more imposing build, she
looked a right gracious and dignified lady, fit
168 _ THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

sovereign of the vast and varied realm of Fairy-
land.

‘“Make way, my subjects,” cried the Queen,
“for her Royal Highness, Joan, Princess of
Hearts.” Then Joan came to herself, and,
making her lowest Court curtsy, moved for-
ward until she stood opposite her Majesty.

The latter smiled, and said, ‘Look at me
well, Joan of Hearts, and tell me whether you
have seen me before.”

‘Never, to my knowledge, your Majesty.

‘What, never? Look again, child.”

This time the words were spoken in a croak-
ing voice, that made the Princess start and
blush.

“Why, you are—you must be the Frog-
Duchess, my godmother.”

A silvery peal of laughter broke from the
fairy throng. ‘‘She has guessed right!” they
cried, clapping their hands. .

The Queen looked at the astonished Joan
with gentle and serious eyes.

‘‘ Ah, Princess,” she said, ‘‘there is more in
Y Vay
i! | eapoegl



JACK FINDS THE KEY 171

Fairyland than mortals dream of, and our lives
are linked to theirs with the golden cord of
Love! We have always watched over the
House of Hearts, and you, sweet goddaughter,
I have watched from day to day, since you came
to live in this world of many joys and much
sorrow. You have done nobly and well, and
your trials are now ended. The wretch you
dreaded is no more; he was doomed to extinc-
tion for his many evil deeds, and his castle is
dissolved into air. Go back, therefore, Joan of
Hearts, to home and happiness; and may you
be ever the light and joy of those you love!
Queen though I am, I have no better wish for
you than that. Happy they who have royal
natures as well as royal birth. Farewell, fare-
well!”

The Queen stooped and pressed her lips to
the Princess’s forehead. That instant the whole
radiant picture began to fade away; each figure
became less and less distinct, until it could be
no longer seen; while the beautiful trees and
plants changed into their former shapes, or
172 THE PRINCESS OF HEARTS

disappeared altogether. In a word, the marsh
resumed its original appearance. Only the
Winking Marybuds seemed to glow more splen-
didly than before.

Joan of Hearts stood for a few moments lost
in her thoughts. It was all so marvellous, so
undreamed of! Then, whispering a farewell to
the golden flowers she loved, the Princess with

a happy face went home.




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