Citation
The little princess and the great plot

Material Information

Title:
The little princess and the great plot
Series Title:
Children's library
Creator:
Eckenstein, Lina, d. 1931
Heath, Dudley ( Illustrator )
T. Fisher Unwin (Firm) ( Publisher )
R. & R. Clark (Firm) ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
T. Fisher Unwin
Manufacturer:
Printed by R. & R. Clark
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
160 p., [2] leaves of plates : ill. ; 17 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Princesses -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Princes -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1892 ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1892
Genre:
Children's stories
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Title page and series t.p. printed in red and black.
Funding:
Children's library (London, England)
Statement of Responsibility:
by Lina Eckenstein ; illustrated by Dudley Heath.

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:
026675788 ( ALEPH )
ALG5905 ( NOTIS )
63077280 ( OCLC )

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Full Text










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- CHILD
oe Rey

LIBRARY



THE LITTLE PRINCESS

AND

THE GREAE PLOT





THE CHILDREN’S LIBRARY.

THE BROWN OWL,

THE CHINA CUP, AND OTHER STORIES,
STORIES FROM FAIRYLAND, _
THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO.





“SWEAR BY THE GHOST OF YOUR FUTURE
MOTHER-IN-LAW.”



THE

LITTLE PRINCESS

' AND THE

GREAT PLOT

BY

LINA ECKENSTEIN

ILLUSTRATED BY DUDLEY HEATH

LONDON

T, FISHER UNWIN
1892















CONTENTS

PAGE
I. Tue LITTLE PRINCESS AND THE

GREAT PLor . : Q ped
II. THe PRINCE AND THE ToaDsS . 33
III. How THE SPIRIT FOUGHT THE

Cat. : : : : . 62

IV. THE BANISHED PRINCESS . eanOd









THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND
THE GREAT PLOT

s|N distant seas lies an island,
; the King and the Queen of
which died within a short
time of each other, leaving
one little child, a daughter called Eva.
Her uncle, who was King of another
country, thought it well that she should
come and live with him for a time.
The Princess was therefore taken to
his Court and there given over into
the charge of two wise and experienced
governesses. One was called Mrs.

Tiffin, the other Mrs. Griffin.
Mrs, Tiffin and Mrs. Griffin differed

B





2 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

in opinion on every conceivable subject
except on the well-being of the Princess.
As soon as they were alone they began
to quarrel; and their quarrels were
sometimes about the colour of their
bonnets, sometimes about the number
of pieces of sugar which a lady should
take in a cup of tea. But when the
Princess was with them, they were
gentleness and amiability itself; the
point on which they thoroughly agreed
being’ that Eva was the dearest of
little Princesses. ES 0 gales :
Meanwhile, affairs in the Princess’s
own island went wrong. Eva’s uncle
had sent two old councillors there to
look after things. But these old gentle-
men, instead of looking after business,
spent most of their time, not in looking
after business, but in eating biscuits and
drinking sherry. One day it occurred
to the islanders that they might as well
eat the biscuits and drink the sherry
themselves as pay two old fellows for
doing it for them. Therefore they



THE GREAT PLOT 3

rigged out a ship and sent the old men
back to Eva’s uncle, with a letter to
say that they did not care to have
foreigners to rule over them.

‘If we are to be ruled over at all,’
they wrote, ‘we will be ruled over by
our own Princess. We will rather bow
before a child than before two old men,
who within six months have emptied
four casks of gold-coloured sherry and
twenty-two tins of Huntley and Palmer’s
Sea Foam Biscuits.’

When Eva’s uncle read this letter
he became much excited and paced up
and down the room, every now and
then pulling out his large silk handker-
chief to mop his scarlet face. Then
he called for the newest kind of
American drink; and when he had
swallowed it he felt a good deal better,
and sent for his niece.

The Princess Eva was skipping when
her uncle’s messenger arrived. Mrs.
Tiffrn and Mrs. Griffin were turning
the rope, and although Mrs. Tiffin was



4 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

short and stout, while Mrs. Griffin was
stout and tall, they managed between
them to turn the rope very nicely.

When the page knocked at the door
each one dropped an end of the rope.
Mrs. Tiffin pulled out the folds of
Eva’s brocade gown, and Mrs. Griffin
tried to smooth her hair.

‘You remember the pretty verse
about the skylark,’ Mrs. Tiffin said
‘be sure and repeat it slowly should
His Majesty ask you to repeat poetry.’

“And when you enter the room be
sure and make a nice curtsey,’ Mrs.
Griffin said. ‘His Majesty is partial
to good manners, and quite right, too,
in a king.’ ,

‘Very well,’ the Princess answered.
And she ran down the corridor before
the page, who dared not run after her
for fear he should look undignified.

As soon as the door had closed
Mrs. Griffin and Mrs. Tiffin began to
quarrel as usual.

‘You might have let her wear her



THE GREAT PLOT 5

ruby-coloured sash,’ Mrs. Tiffin said in
a vexed tone.

‘Ruby sash, indeed!’ Mrs. Griffin
answered. ‘It isn’t every one who
cares for gaudy colours as you do.’

‘Gaudy colours!’ Mrs. Tiffin re-
peated. ‘Nothing could be gaudier
than the bonnet you went to church
in last Sunday !’

‘Better go to church in a gaudy
bonnet than not go at all,’ Mrs. Griffin
answered.

And she went out of the room,
slamming the door behind her; while
Mrs. Tiffin, who, on the whole, was the
more good-natured of the two, picked
up the skipping-rope and put it in a
drawer.

In the meantime the Princess Eva
was with her uncle.

On entering the room she had
dropped a little curtsey, and then
climbed into a high chair.

The King had been writing a letter.
When his niece came into the room he



6 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

was just putting his royal signature to
it, making two large blots by mistake.
He could not find the blotting-pad, so
he dabbed the spots with his handker-
chief, making them much worse.

Now Eva’s uncle the King was always
in a hurry, and never stopped to think
if people would understand what he
was saying or not.

‘Tt is not quite their fault, he said,
looking earnestly at Eva ; ‘old council-
lors are always fond of sherry. But I
forget, you do not understand. You
are nothing but a baby!’

‘T shall be nine next birthday, uncle,’
Eva said gravely.

‘Nine, will you indeed!’ the old
King answered. ‘Why, it seems but
yesterday that your mother wrote to
me and said you had cut your first
tooth. But of course there’s no telling,
people will grow up. Though I think
you are much too small to go to that
island. The idea is preposterous!’

Eva was very much surprised to



THE GREAT PLOT 7

hear anything about the island. She
asked her uncle what he meant, and
listened attentively while the King ex-
plained.

‘No, no,’ the old King said in con-
cluding. ‘Nine years old, and going
there quite by yourself—I will not hear
of it!’

‘Could not Tiffin and Griffin go
with me, uncle?’ Eva asked as soon
she understood.

‘Tiffin and Griffin, of course, of
course,’ the King made reply. ‘And
do you really think you could go ?’

‘Why not, uncle? . It is my father’s
island,’ Eva said, ‘and surely my father
would like me to reign after him.’

The King looked round for his snuff-
box, took two large pinches, sneezed
violently, and then fluttered his large
silk handkerchief about.

‘You are a brave girl,’ he said;
‘you shall go. For we all learn by
experience, and that is worth more
than books. Though books contain a



8 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

lot which it is as well to know also.
Sherry and biscuits; nine years old
next birthday. It all makes my head
whirl round. Yes, of course, you must
take Griffin and Tiffin with you. You
could not do without them. Besides,
if they did not go with you, they might
stay here and think they must look
after Me!’

The King, after taking another pinch
of snuff, rang the bell and gave orders
that a boat should at once be prepared
for the voyage.

‘We must have at least four weeks
to buy an outfit for the Princess,’ Mrs.
Tiffin said.

‘And an extra week to look after
our own,’ Mrs. Griffin added.

Five weeks after this conversation
the Princess Eva set out for the island
in a ship. And she had with her in
attendance the two governesses Mrs.
Griffin and Mrs. Tiffin. During the
whole voyage they had fine weather,
and the sea was as smooth as a pond.



THE GREAT PLOT 9

The Princess and Mrs. Tiffin kept in
the best of health and spirits all the
way; but not so Mrs. Griffin! The
fact was that every now and then—
although the sea was smooth—she felt
very uncomfortable; and her com-
plexion, which was naturally colourless,
turned a curious kind of grayish-green.

When some one came to her berth
and told her at last that the shore of
the island was sighted, Mrs. Griffin
gave a deep sigh of relief.

A few hours later the ship heaved- to
beside the pier of the island. The
sun was shining and the church bells
rang. A large crowd had gathered
together to see the arrival of the
Princess, and when she stepped on
to the shore the crowd shouted and
hurrahed.

As she stepped on to the shore a
kindly old gentleman came forward
and took her by the hand.

‘My dear little Princess,’ he said,
‘TI am here in the name of your Parlia-



to 6THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

ment to welcome you. We are very
glad you have come to live in your
own kingdom, and we feel quite sure
that we shall be able to make you
happy.’

At this the whole assembled crowd
cheered.

The old gentleman then offered to
lead the Princess to her carriage; Mrs.
Tiffin and Mrs. Griffin followed.

Now, Mrs. Griffin felt offended be-
cause the old gentleman merely bowed
to her. The expression of her face,
already soured by sea-sickness, became
more and more peevish as she walked
along. The people in the crowd
noticed her looks, and one little
naughty boy pointed his finger as she
passed and called out:

‘Oh dear, the big mother-in-law
has lost her bonnet !’

Mrs. Griffin at once put her hand to
her head. Her bonnet was safely there,
of course, and the crowd was beginning
to laugh.



THE GREAT PLOT EL

Mrs. Griffin glared at the people, but
the more she glared the more they
laughed. This frightened Mrs. Tiffin,
who did not like it at all, and she hurried
Mrs. Griffin on towards the carriage.

They got into the carriage after the
Princess, and drove off amidst cheering
and cries of ‘ Long live the Princess!’

Eva and Mrs. Tiffin smiled and
bowed, but Mrs. Griffin did neither.
She sat as upright as possible and pre-
served a dignified silence.

After some time the procession drew
up at the palace gates. The Princess
alighted before a stately portico, through
which she was ushered up a grand stair-
case into the royal suite of apartments.

The palace was very beautiful. There
were large-sized rooms and small-sized
rooms. There was a set of middle-
sized rooms fitted up specially for the
Princess, with looking-glasses, treasure-
cupboards, and shelves full of books
and toys.

And in one of these middle-sized



wz THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

rooms a tea-table was spread, at which
Eva and the governesses presently sat
down to afternoon tea.

‘Isn't it all quite like a fairy story?’
Eva said, clapping her hands, ‘ An
island of my own, a palace of my own,
and then this nice little tea-party! Tell
me, both you dears, did you ever ex-
pect anything so delightful ?’

‘The muffins certainly look very
nice,’ Mrs. Tiffin said, lifting up a lid
and peeping,

‘And the cracknels and the buns
evidently are made by a baker who
knows what he is about,’ Mrs, Griffin
said, visibly brightening up.

Eva poured out the tea and felt very
happy. She handed a cup to Mrs.
Griffin and one to Mrs. Tiffin.

‘I hope you are feeling well and
happy, both you dears!’ she said.

Mrs. Tiffin helped herself to five
pieces of sugar.

‘Indeed I feel very comfortable,’
she said. ‘But I did not like the old



THE GREAT PLOT 13

gentleman shaking you by the hand.
He should have gone down on one
knee.’

Mrs. Griffin was busy spreading the
butter very thick on her toast.

‘Ves, I feel better,’ she said. ‘But
he ought not to have talked like that
of Parliament. Every one knows that
Parliaments all through history were a
nuisance.’

‘Tell me,’ she went on, turning to
Mrs. Tiffin, ‘have you a good word
to say for the Long Parliament, or for
the Short Parliament, or even for the
Rump Parliament? Every one of
them should have been blown up.’

‘Dear Griffin,’ Eva said, ‘I don’t
mind those things in lesson-time, but
it is teatime now. Would it not be
better to think of something pleas-
anter ?’

“Something pleasanter, Princess—
you are right,’ Mrs. Griffin replied,
trying to smile. ‘Something pleas-
anter indeed-! ’



4 ©THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

And she helped herself to a currant
bun, and passed the plate to Mrs,
Tiffin.

They chatted cheerfully after that,
enjoying all the nice things and feeling
the better for them. All went well
through. that first afternoon tea, and
through many other afternoon teas on
the days that followed.

The time passed not at all unpleas-
antly. The Princess soon grew very
fond of her new home, and her
governesses grew to like it also.

Wherever the Princess went the
people seemed good and friendly ; and
the little girls of her own age came and
talked to her in the pleasantest way.
She soon made many friends, and often
asked other children to the palace to
play with her and her beautiful toys,

In the morning she did lessons ; in
the afternoon she drove out with her
governesses, sometimes into the country
and sometimes into the park. Then
came afternoon tea and visitors ; and



THE GREAT PLOT 15

then Mrs. Griffin or Mrs. Tiffin would
propose a game of some kind. There
was always a good deal of fun, and
Tiffin and Griffin heartily joined in it.
But when Parliament was sitting,
every afternoon for two hours, Eva was
called upon to be present, because as
Princess of the island she was expected
to join in the Government. She sat
at the top of the Chamber in a grand
velvet chair, while the members talked,
and she did her best to understand.
The old gentleman who had met her
at the boat was the Speaker of the
House. And he said she had better
be present even though she did not
understand, because it would accustom
her to the business of reigning.
Therefore she always came and al-
ways sat perfectly still. Sometimes
the members all walked out of the
hall and presently they all came walk-
ing in again. -It amused Eva very
much. She noticed that some did
not seem to care what they were doing,



1 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

and took sly naps; others, on the
contrary, seemed always to be wanting
to talk. ;

But if the Princess found it easy to
be silent, that was not the case with
Mrs. Tiffin and Mrs. Griffin. When-
ever there was an opportunity Mrs.
Tiffin very good-naturedly called out,
‘Hear, hear!’

Mrs. Griffin for a long time pre-
served a grim silence, until one day
some one spoke about the grievances
of washerwomen. Whereupon Mrs.
Griffin rose up and exclaimed ;

‘Gentlemen, there are other griev-
ances besides those of washerwomen.
Let me talk to you of the grievances
of governesses !?

‘Hurrah for a maiden speech!’ one
gentleman who was a wag called out.

‘Hurrah for women’s rights!’ an-
other one shouted who thought Mrs.
Griffin a ridiculous old thing.

‘What does this Parliament meet
for, I should like to know?’ Mrs.



THE GREAT PLOT 7

Griffin continued, talking as quickly as
she could and at the top of her voice.
She did this for fear she should be
stopped before she had done.

The Speaker interrupted her, calling
for order. Mrs. Griffin took no notice.

Then the Speaker called to her
again, and some of the gentlemen
began hooting and laughing. But the
greater the noise, the louder became
Mrs. Griffin’s voice.

At last the Speaker rang his bell,
the House was in an uproar. Two
policemen at once came in and were
directed to march Mrs. Griffin out.
There was no resisting them, but as
she was led away she went on louder
than ever.

Mrs. Tiffin rushed after her, but the
Princess Eva sat perfectly still. It did
not surprise her after she got home
that an order arrived directing that
Mrs. Griffin and Mrs. Tiffin must in
future be left behind when she came
to the House.



1 ZTHE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

Mrs. Griffin said that, certainly after
what had happened, she declined to
enter the House again. But that did
not prevent her saying bitter things
about the Parliament to Mrs. Tiffin.
Indeed, for some time her temper was
so roused, that poor Mrs. Tiffin found
her society very trying.

Not long afterwards Mrs. Griffin
said she had found her mission; she
said it was among the washerwomen.
What this meant Eva could not think.
But Mrs. Griffin suddenly became
mysterious and preoccupied, though
otherwise regaining her cheerfulness.
The Princess did not understand ; but
she said nothing when Mrs. Griffin
went out by herself instead of staying
at home with Mrs. Tiffin.

The summer went by, the winter
came, and again it was spring.

One day the Princess Eva received
a letter from her uncle saying that he
was coming to pay her a visit. She
was delighted at the idea, and went



THE GREAT PLOT 19

dancing in and out of the rooms which
were being prepared for the old King.
She looked to see whether the tables
and chairs were arranged as he liked ;
whether there was enough paper and
blotting-paper for his use; and she
hemmed three large silk pocket-hand-
kerchiefs of a pattern of yellow and
red, which she felt sure he would be
pleased with.

The Princess was cheerful and
merry ; not so the governesses. They
put their heads together, and exchanged
looks and whispers. And when Eva
asked the reason they replied she would
know soon enough.

The day before the King’s arrival
came; Parliament was sitting, and Eva
had 6 go to the House.

Dressing for Parliament always
began at two o’clock; the carriage
came at half-past two, so that she got
to the House a little before three.

On these occasions Mrs. Griffin
always came to dress her in the royal



20 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

brocade gown, and Mrs. Tiffin ac-
companied her as far as the House.

On this specialafternoon the Princess
waited for her’ governesses for a long
time. It was long: past two o’clock
and there was no sign of either Mrs.
Griffin or Mrs. Tiffin. Eva thought
her clock must be wrong and ran out
into the hall to look at another; but
the hall clock was the same as her
own. .Then she went to the window
to see if the carriage were coming;
but there was ‘no sign of the carriage.

At last Eva rang the bell and asked
the maid what she had better do.
The maid answered :

‘TI think your Royal Highness should
begin to dress, Let me brush out the
tangles of your hair.’

She tied a little dressing cape round
the Princess’s shoulders, and began
brushing her hair. Just then the door
opened and in came Mrs. Tiffin. She
looked quite white and sank down on
a chair.



THE GREAT PLOT 21

‘Princess,’ she panted out, ‘there is
no occasion for you to dress this
afternoon ; you are not going to the
House !’

Eva jumped up, and, taking a fan,
fanned her governess.

‘Tiffin dear,’ she said, ‘calm your-
self. What has happened? has Griffin
met with an accident? are you ill?’

Mrs. Tiffin said nothing, so great
was her excitement.

‘Do try and speak to me,’ Eva
said; ‘tell me, why am I not to go to
Parliament. Where is Griffin? Why
is the carriage not ordered ?’

At last Mrs. Tiffin somewhat revived.

‘Send Eliza out of the room,’ she
said; ‘the time has. come for me to
speak. Princess, this day is the day
of the gunpowder plot. The whole
Parliament will be blown up!’ :

Eva was utterly bewildered; she
thought Mrs. Tiffin’s mind was wander-
ing.

‘What Parliament?’ she asked;



22 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

‘what gunpowder plot? This isn’t
the fifth of November.’

‘No, not that gunpowder plot— Our
gunpowder plot,’ Mrs. Tiffin faltered
out. ‘A new gunpowder plot: Mrs.
Griffin and the washerwomen are in it.
Be quiet, Princess, listen to me!’

The Princess stood stock still.

‘Mrs. Griffin always thought,’ Mrs.
Tiffin went on to say, ‘that Parliament
was a nuisance, and that it had best
be done away with. She thought of
a plan, and the washerwomen helped
her. That was the secret we were
keeping from you. She confided in
me! It was dreadful! But I did
not dare to tell.’

Mrs. Tiffin, who was very much
overcome, here buried her face in her
handkerchief and shuddered.

Eva pulled away the handkerchief.

‘Tell me more,’ she said, ‘make
haste !”

‘Griffin managed it all,’ Mrs. Tiffin
said, ‘she is so bold. The vaults



THE GREAT PLOT 23

beneath the House—! The six
barrels of gunpowder—! It was ot
dirty linen though every one thought
it was! The six barrels contained
gunpowder !’

Here poor Mrs. Tiffin fell to weeping.

The whole plot seemed to flash on
Eva in a moment.

‘Impossible!’ she exclaimed ; ‘im-
possible! Tiffin dear! Tiffin darling!
Tell me it is alla dream! A fancy of
yours that can never come true! Tell
me that you only mean to frighten
me.’

‘Indeed, I don’t,’ Mrs, Tiffin replied ;
‘it is all quite true. That is why
Griffin has not come, that is why you
must not go to the House. Ten
minutes to three! Three o’clock is
the time fixed upon for the explosion !’

‘No, no,’ the Princess exclaimed,
‘it shall not be—it must not be! I
must write! I must send a mes-
senger! ‘Tiffin dear, help me! What
can I do?’



24. DHE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

‘Nothing,’ Mrs. Tiffin gasped—
‘nothing! And Mrs. Griffin says I
ought to thank her. But I feel I
cannot —I cannot. No! I cannot
thank Griffin,’

‘Still there is a chance,’ Eva per-
sisted; ‘it is ten minutes to three
If the carriage were but here! How-
ever, I can run; I can run very fast.’

And she drew her little cape round
her shoulders and flew to the door.

But Mrs. Tiffin jumped up and held
her back.

‘You shall do nothing of the kind,’
she cried. ‘Are you mad? If you
go into the House now you may be
killed !?

‘What do I care!’ Eva exclaimed.
‘I must go. ‘Tiffin, I command you,
let go my skirts !’

And she violently shook off her
governess’s hold.

But Mrs. . Tiffin leant the whole
weight of her body against the door.

‘The child is beside herself!’ she



THE GREAT PLOT 25

exclaimed, turning the key and putting
it in her pocket. ‘To go to the
House now would be certain death !’

The Princess stood quite still.

‘Ah!’ she suddenly cried out, catch-
ing sight of the door which led into
her bedroom.

And, before Mrs. Tiffin could pre-
vent her, she bounded off, flew into
her bedroom, and through it into the
corridor; and, sliding down the whole
length of the banisters in a twinkling,
she ran out of the hall and down the
park avenue as fast as she could.

She passed the park lodge as the
minster clock struck three. At the
first ‘sound Eva stopped short.

‘Was that the beginning of the
explosion?’ . Then she ran on all the
faster. It was only three o'clock.
Perhaps there was a chance of getting
to the House in time! The explosion
might be delayed, or the clock might
be wrong !

How the trees and the flower-beds



26 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

seemed to fly past her! Out by the
gates, into the road she went, and
down the road, across the High Street,
towards the river bridge.

Some silly little boys who were |
playing in the road caught sight of
her, and one called out, ‘Stop thief!’

Then another jumped towards her,
trying to hold her back by her little
fluttering cape.

Fortunately the ribbon gave way,
the cape was left behind, and the
Princess bounded on.

Across the wide square she ran,
across the stone-paved court, into the
entrance hall of the Parliament,

She flew up the steps which led to
the gallery, and along that into the
Chamber where the members were
sitting.

‘I am the Princess,’ she cried, and
the porters at once stood aside. They
recognised her in spite of her wild
looks, and so did the members when
she came rushing in.



THE GREAT PLOT 27

She ran to the side of the Speaker
and panted out:

‘Tell them all to be gone at once!
There is a conspiracy! A gunpowder
plot! An explosion! Tell them all
to be gone! To run for their lives!’

And she léant back against the wall,
white and gasping.

_ What happened then she could not

afterwards recall. There was shout-
ing, crowding, and running. Eva,
overcome by sudden giddiness, felt
herself sinking back, taken up and
carried out. When she opened her
eyes again she was in the square in
the arms of the Speaker. Suddenly
she remembered she had something
more to say.

‘The vaults!’ she cried at the top
of her voice; ‘the vaults! Stop
Griffin if you can!’

And again she was overcome by
giddiness.

When Eva afterwards recalled the
events of the afternoon she remem-



28 YIHE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

bered her relief when she heard the
words: ‘All is safe; Mrs. Griffin is
made prisoner.’

She was still in the arms of the
Speaker when there was a sudden
falling back of the crowd. She heard
a great shouting. The words were:

‘The Guy, the Guy; here comes
the Guy!’

And presently Mrs. Griffin was led
along, her head held high, her bonnet
strings flapping in the wind. She had
been apprehended in the vaults, and was
now led into prison amidst the shouting
and the hooting of a great crowd.

When the Princess’ saw her, she
felt she had never seen her governess
look so bold. On each side of Mrs.
Griffin walked a policeman, two other
policemen were walking behind. Still
Mrs. Griffin held herself as bolt up-
right as usual; as she came in sight
she opened her parasol, and when the
crowd began to laugh, she angrily
scowled at the little boys,



THE GREAT PLOT 29

The Princess would have run up
to her, but the Speaker held her and
would not let her go. He carried
her in his arms and called for a car-
riage; and putting her in, he rode
with her back to the palace, where
Mrs. Tiffin was just recovering from
her third fainting fit.

It afterwards came out that Mrs.
Griffin had been discovered sitting in
the vaults on a barrel of gunpowder.
She was holding a match-box in one
hand, and the latest number of 77#-Bits
in the other. She was waiting for
the clock to strike, but a prize tit-
bit so fascinated her that she did
not hear the clock striking. She
was in the act of pulling out her
own watch to ascertain the exact
minute, when some of the gentlemen
from the House rushed upon her,
and the whole of the conspiracy came
to an end.

Princess Eva -was dreadfully un-
happy to think of Mrs. Griffin in



30 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

prison. She begged and entreated
she might be set free.

In the House of Parliament the
Speaker, on the next day, for once
made a speech of his own. He said
that as they all owed their safety to
the bravery of the little Princess, it
was only right they should grant her
wish in regard to her governess.

Mrs. Griffin was accordingly set
free. She promised she would never
meddle in State affairs again, and
would not try to make washerwomen
think of anything but soap and starch,
and the best way of getting up clean
linen.

Thus all was settled even before the
old King arrived. Then there was no
end of feasting, of entertaining, and
of rejoicing. The old King was de-
lighted to see his niece, and delighted
to hear how well she had behaved.

During his stay he wrote many
letters and took a great many pinches
of snuff. But when he was not busy



THE GREAT PLOT 31

he was full of fun; and one evening
at a grand banquet, in spite of what
had happened, he proposed the health
of Mrs. Tiffin and Mrs. Griffin.

‘After all,’ he said, gallantly rising
from his chair; ‘after all I believe it
is owing to these ladies that my niece
has become so popular. If there had
been no gunpowder plot, there would
have been no bravery; and who ever
would have believed that a niece of
mine could be plucky unless she had
done what she did! But IT am mix-
ing up things—myself, my niece,
bravery! As usual my head is in a
whirl; all I want to do is to propose
a toast. It is a good thing these
ladies came here with my niece Eva.
If they had not, who knows but they
might now be arranging gunpowder
plots in my kingdom. And I feel
sure there is no one there who could
have prevented them carrying them
out. I mean to say that these ladies
are just where they should be, and



32° THE LITTLE PRINCESS

» that Iam proud to rise and propose
this toast. Mrs. Griffin, Mrs. Tiffin,
allow me to pledge you. I drink to
the very good health of you both!’

He held his glass high,-bowing to
the ladies. It was indeed a proud
moment for them both.

The Princess Eva held up her glass
also. She nodded to her governesses,
and called out:

‘Both you dears! I drink to your
health,’

Mrs. Griffin bowed with stateliness.
Mrs. Tiffin cried merrily: ‘We thank
you for your toast, and we pledge
you in return. Long life and happi-
ness to the darling of all of us.
Little Princess Eva, may she have
a long and happy reign !’







THE PRINCE AND THE
TOADS

S|NCE upon a time there
lived a prince who readily
took dislikes to what did
not please him. He was
a gentle, curly-haired boy, and his
mother, the Queen, was very fond of
him.

‘Mother,’ he said to her, ‘I cannot
bear what is ugly—talk to me only of
what is nice. Iam a prince, and the
world princes live in should be fair.’

‘You are right, Tommy,’ said his
mother, smiling on him ; ‘tell me when
anything displeases you: it shall be
D





34 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS. .





taken away at once. Your deat
had a strong dislike to ugly thing eo
At one time it was proposed; ie
marry the Princess Carrahel
but he could not overcome his horror
of her squint. He flatly refused to have
anything to do with her, and married
me instead. I have not much in the
way of ancestors to boast of, but no
one can find fault with my looks.’

Saying this the Queen turned to the
mirror and pulled out the edge of her
ruff. She was a proud lady in spite of
her lack of ancestors, and more especi-
ally proud of the way in which she
brought up her son. Prince Tommy
was near his coming of age—princes
come of age when they have barely
outgrown being children. The time
was drawing near when Tommy would
be crowned king.

Hitherto the Prince and his mother
were living in a castle inside the city ;
the Queen now proposed a stay in the
summer residence. Only a few weeks





THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 35

were, wanting and the festivities of the
coronation would begin. The Queen
thought it well to recruit her own and
her son’s strength by going into the
country.

The Court accordingly removed from
the city. Fifteen waggons were re-
quired to convey the Queen’s summer
clothes alone. Three waggons were
filled with the toilet requisites of the
Lord Chamberlain. And the three
Gentlemen-in-Waiting each chartered
a special waggon for the conveyance of
bales of playing-cards. These gentle-
men spent most of their time waiting in
the ante-room, which they whiled away
playing rubbers of whist. Being mem-
bers of the Royal household, they
never used the same pack of cards
twice.

Among the things to which the
Prince had taken a dislike were frogs
and toads and such animals. These
harmless creatures lived a happy life
in the gardens of the Royal summer



36 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

residence before the Court came there.
The toads wandered about leisurely
devouring caterpillars, and the frogs,
after busily hopping about all day, per-
formed croaking concerts on the edges
of the ponds at night.

This happiness was very soon dis-
turbed.

Shortly after his arrival the Prince
was walking in the garden one even-
ing, when his foot struck against what
looked like a stone, but felt quite soft.
The thing to his surprise began to
move.

‘Fetch it, fetch it!’ he cried to his
dog.

The spaniel seized the thing between
his teeth, but instantly dropped it.
The Prince in vain set him onit. He
shook his snout in disgust, and the
thing, which happened to be a toad,
leisurely waddled on its way.

Hurrying back to the castle, the
Prince went straight to his mother,
whom he found counting over sover-



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 37

eigns previous to tying them up in
small bags.

She listened attentively to her son’s
account of what had happened.

‘I shall not stay in this place unless
those nasty creatures are done away
with,’ the Prince ended by saying.

‘No more you shall,’ said Her
Majesty in reply. ‘Touch the bell,
Tommy ; I must talk the matter over
with the Lord Chamberlain.’

The Lord Chamberlain, who pre-
sently arrived, was the perfection of a
courtier from top to toe. He was
blond, he was bland; he was inscrut-
able, he was immovable. Entering
the room with his feathered hat in one
hand, his other hand gracefully poised
on the hilt of his sword, he listened
with profound attention and with a
smile on his face to what Her Majesty
said.

The Queen as usual spoke to the
point.

‘I command complete and entire



38 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

destruction of the toads,’ she said; ‘1
create a new office for the purpose of
their destruction. Lord Chamberlain
of my Household, I invest you with a
new dignity. I appoint you—Toad-
Destroyer in Ordinary to His Royal
Highness the Prince !!’

The Lord Chamberlain bowed his
head in silence, but his feelings were
conflicting. A new title—glory! A
connection with toads—horrors ! !

The Queen, reaching the last money-
bag she had filled, pulled the strings
to, tying and knotting them.

‘Here is your first quarter’s salary,’
she said, holding out the bag; ‘I trust
my interest to your keeping.’

The Lord Chamberlain changed his
feathered hat from one hand to the
other, and received the money-bag with-
out uttering a word. He would have
spoken, but the thought of his new
dignity so upset his mind that it felt
quite empty. He hesitated for a
moment, then he bowed himself out



LHE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 39

with perfect and wordless good breed-
ing.

But when he had walked half down
the corridor a thought came to him,
causing him to press the forefinger of
his right hand to his forehead fully
to grasp it. Truly this was a Happy
Thought! On reaching his room he
sent for the Master of the House-
hold.

The Master of the Household, who
presently came blustering in, was a fat,
florid fellow who cared little for dignity
and less for work. When the Lord
Chamberlain offered him half his salary,
on condition of his destroying the
toads, he gave a loud laugh and took
the money.

‘ All right and merry,’ he said, ‘hand
over the cash! T’ll look after your in-
terest just as well as you look after Her
Majesty’s !’

And he ran off to the Clerk Comp-
troller, where he halved the money
again, passing half of it on, together



40 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

with the order about destroying the
toads.

The Clerk Comptroller yawned lazily.
The only thing he cared for in this
world was novel-reading, and he was
just cutting the leaves of a third volume.
But he dared not refuse.

‘Bother them toads!’ he cried, in-
different to grammar. And taking the
money, he did as the Master of the
Household had done; he halved the
sum received, pocketing the one half,
and sent the other half, with the order
to destroy the toads, to the First
Gentleman-in-Waiting.

This First Gentleman was glad
enough of a little money; luck in
cards had lately been against him.
But, as he felt superior to carrying out
the order about the toads in person,
he again handed on the order and
half the money to the Second Gentle-
man-in-Waiting, who in like manner
handed on half of it to the Third.

This went on again and again, first



THE PRINCE :AND THE TOADS 41

above and then below stairs, till two
half-crowns and the order to destroy
the toads in course of time got down
to the scullery-boy. This scullery-boy
was a plucky little fellow. After
scouring his pots and pans, he set
to work that self-same evening and
captured one large toad. But the
evening after, feeling particularly tired,
he laid himself down under a tree and
fell fast asleep.

When the Prince was walking in
the gardens a few days later, he again
came upon a toad. Running home
he bitterly complained to his mother,
who was not a little annoyed. She
adjusted her ruff with dignity, rang
the bell, and called for the attend-
ance of the Lord Chamberlain, Toad-
Destroyer in Ordinary to His Royal
Highness the Prince.

Hereupon there began a running to
and fro along the corridors, a whisper-
ing along the passages.

The Lord Chamberlain sent for the



42 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

Master of the Household, who sent for
the Clerk Comptroller. The Clerk
Comptroller came running into the
ante-room, where the three Gentlemen-
in-Waiting, starting up from the card
table, made off for the steward, who
ran for the valet, who ran for the foot-
man, who ran for the page, who ran
for the scullery-boy.

The whole Royal household was
astir while Her Majesty the Queen
tapped her foot with impatience and
rang the bell four times in succession.

At last the door was thrown open ;
in walked the Lord Chamberlain. In
one hand he held a_ handkerchief
which he pressed to his nose; in the
other, suspended by a short bit of
string, he carried the corpse of a large
squashed toad.

‘Here is the proof that your
Majesty’s orders have been duly carried
out,’ he said, depositing the wretched
corpse at the feet of his Sovereign.

The Queen glanced at the toad.



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 43

‘Take it away!’ she said; ‘have it
buried at once! I don’t care to see
toads, either dead or alive. Take it
away, I tell you!’

The Lord Chamberlain did as he was
bid, smiling agreeably. He spoke
about neglect of duty to the Master of
the Household that evening, but only
got a laugh for his pains.

The story about the halving and
the handing on of the money had got
about. Every one laughed and talked
about it.

The scullery-boy merrily clinked his
two half-crowns when he came across
the page in the hall.

‘The fact is,’ he said, ‘there were
ten of us, besides myself, all working
for half-pay. I got two half-crowns by
the business; shall I tell you how
much the Lord Chamberlain got by it ?’

And he quickly multiplied five
shillings over and over again by two till
he arrived at the sum of two hundred
and fifty-six pounds.



44 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

The page would not believe it.

‘Nonsense,’ he said; ‘I am not
good at arithmetic, but no one will
make me believe that ten times five
shillings is two hundred and fifty-six
pounds. Besides, if the Lord Chamber-
lain got that sum, he began by giving
away half of it to the Master of the
Household.’

‘So he did,’ replied the merry
scullery-boy. ‘There is no help for it
then, I must work the sum out ona
slate.’

The Lord Chamberlain, who had set
the story going, did not like it at all.
But he liked it even less, when a note
from Her Majesty was brought to him
after a little, saying that the double
office was evidently too much for him ;
the Queen desired that the dignity of
Toad-Destroyer in Ordinary should
pass on to the Master of the House-
hold.

At this the Lord Chamberlain was
sorely aggrieved. He had always



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 45

served his Sovereign faithfully, and he
was not aware now that the Master of
the Household had behaved differently
from himself. He took the matter so
much to heart that he brought on a fit
of dyspepsia, which took all the starch
out of his appearance, and made him
look limp and listless. He seemed
so wretched that the Court Physician
ordered him a change to the sea. He
was to eat plenty of green vegetables
to improve his digestion, and he was to
read plenty of comic papers to enliven
his spirits.

Meanwhile the Master of the House-
hold sprinkled a disinfecting powder
about the gardens, with such good
results that the toads altogether de-
serted them. The Prince took his
walks in peace, and the day of his
coming of age drew on apace.

For this occasion grand preparations
were made on all hands. There was
to be a driving in state from the
summer residence into the city, a



46 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

speech from the throne with a banquet
to follow, a gala levee, and a Court
ball in the evening.

Every one in general, and the Queen
in particular, was in a state of flutter
and excitement. On the night previous
to the celebration, the Prince coming
into his mother’s room, found her busy
as she had never been before.

‘The argent trappings are to be put
on the roans,’ she was saying to the
Master of the Horse; ‘the bays are to
wear trappings with gules. My dear
boy,’ she added, turning to her son,
‘is it not time for you to go to bed?’

‘It is not eight o’clock,’ the Prince
said ; ‘it is quite light yet, and I want
to go into the garden. Dear me,
what would become of all these pre-
parations if I were missing to-morrow
morning !’

‘Don’t talk nonsense, Tommy,’ his
mother replied. ‘Give me a kiss, my
boy, and say good-night. It is as well
you should go to hed early to-day.’



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 47

The Prince kissed his mother and
was running down the corridor to the
wing where his rooms lay, when he
passed the open portico which led into
the garden, and the wish to run out
came back to him.

‘Why should I go to bed?’ he said
to himself; ‘the sun is shining, and I
never do before eight o’clock.’

There had been a heavy shower in
the morning; in the afternoon the
weather had cleared. The garden
looked fresh and balmy. Calling to
his spaniel, the Prince ran across the
lawn, and down the shrubbery in the
direction of the park gates. These
stood wide open. Out ran the Prince
with his dog scampering after him,
along a path which led right away to
a piece of meadowland watered ‘by a
stream.

When he recollected himself and
turned back to go home, he could not
remember the way he had come. He
was by the side of the rivulet, but he



48 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

had left the path. When he tried to
retrace his steps, the rivulet seemed to
have overflowed its banks, flooding
the meadows in some places, and
spreading out into a network of tiny
watercourses in others.

In vain the Prince tried to find his
way back; his spaniel seemed equally
at aloss. He ran hither and thither
barking violently, so that it needed
his master’s repeated call to quiet
him.

The Prince was walking round and
round, uncertain of his direction, un-
willing to go through the water, when
he espied a lump of rock standing up
from the meadow just in front of him.
This he determined to climb for an
outlook. With some difficulty he
scrambled up, and sat down to look
round.

Meadowland, pools, and ponds were
about him. A little way farther, and
there was the path leading right away
by the river. The Prince was making



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 49

sure of the direction before leaving the
rock, when his attention was arrested
by what looked like rows of brown
stones rising and moving across the
meadowland. Again the spaniel barked
violently, and then, as if afraid, tried
to leap upon the rack on which sat the
Prince. After several attempts, which
sent him rolling down, he gained the
height, and crouched down beside his
master. g

Daylight was fading ; it was getting
late. The Prince sat motionless, and
gazed in wonder at the moving lumps.
Suddenly he recognised what they
were. Here in this meadowland,
away from the gardens, the toads had
collected which he hated so much,
Here they were, paddling in the
ponds, waddling in the pools, their
crumpled bodies like lumps of brown
stone, their large eyes reflecting the
last rays of daylight.

The Prince was doubting what to
do, when he was startled by a cry.

E



so THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

‘Caught!’ the cry sounded from
the bank of the river; ‘caught’ was
echoed back from the meadow oppo-
site. ‘Caught, caught, caught!’ the
watchword went round from pool to
pool and pond to pond.

A huge frog had alighted on the
path by the river. In a minute he
was joined by another; then came a
third, a fourth, a fifth, A whole band
of frogs before long sat collected on
the bank of the rivulet croaking, some-
times in turns, sometimes all together,
to a tune which sounded in the
Prince’s ears like ‘Caught, caught,
caught !’

The spaniel sat up growling angrily.
The Prince did not stir. It was not
that he felt afraid. As long as he
kept on the rock he was safe out of
reach of these creatures. But how
about going home? How about
crossing the meadow with these frogs
and these toads about? The sun had
set, darkness was closing in. If he



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 51

sat there much longer, the chance
would be altogether gone of finding
his way home.

‘Caught !’ the frogs sang out lustily ;
‘caught, caught, caught!’ each of
them croaked in turn. Yes, there
was no denying it, the Prince felt that
he was taken prisoner. While the
frogs kept up their tune, and the toads
sat making an audience to them, there
was no chance of the Prince’s getting
away.

The last light faded from the sky,
darkness closed in, still the frogs kept
up their concert. Only when night
came did the members of the choir
drop off one by one. The Prince
heard splash after splash as they made
off for the night. Then all was still.
But for the Prince there was no going
home now in the dark. There was
no finding the way back for him even
if he had cared to leave his rocky ele-
vation. He sat still yet awhile, then
drowsiness overcame him and he



52 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

curled himself up. The spaniel’s back
made a resting-place and a pillow.
He nestled against it and was soon
fast asleep.

In the meantime Her Majesty the
Queen was vastly busy. Hour on
hour slipped by while she signed
letters, gave orders, looked over
arrangements, trying in between to get
the speech by heart which she would
make from the throne on the morrow.
Till past midnight there was walk-
ing and talking in the wing of the
building where her rooms lay, while
the silence at the other end of the
corridor in the Prince’s apartments was

scarcely disturbed.
_ There, in the ante-room, the three
Gentlemen-in-Waiting sat, waiting for
the Prince to come to bed.

They were finishing their seventh
rubber when the First Gentleman
spoke:

‘I wonder if Tiny is coming to
bed to-night?’ he said, putting down



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 53

the cards for the Second Gentleman to
cut. Among themselves these gentle-
men always spoke of the Prince as
Tiny.

‘No doubt Tiny’s mamma cannot
come to an end in giving him good
advice,’ replied the Second Gentleman,
who was partner to Dummy, taking up
Dummy’s cards and exposing them.

The Third Gentleman had taken up
his hand and was annoyed by sight of it.

‘I wish you would not talk,’ he
said; ‘it is enough to spoil any one’s
chance of the rubber.’

After that silence reigned again un-
disturbed, while round upon round
brought the cards down on the table.
The Second Gentleman was the one to’
make the odd trick, and he gloated
over it.

The Third Gentleman was propor-
tionately vexed. It was the fourth
rubber which he had lost, and he re-
fused to begin another game.

‘You must play double Dummy if



54 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

you want to go on,’ he said; ‘waiting ©
for Tiny makes me feel as blind and
as deaf as a Dummy myself.’

And he flung himself full length on
the sofa, while the Second Gentleman
lighted himself a cigarette; and the
First Gentleman, having nothing else to
do, opened the door which led into the
corridor, as if his looking for the Prince
would bring him there sooner.

The sight which met his gaze was
wholly unexpected.

In the corridor the page, who sat up
also waiting for the Prince, had yielded
to drowsiness; and the lady’s-maid
coming from the Queen’s apartments,
where she had been dismissed for the
night, found him asleep in his chair.

Now this lady’s-maid was middle-
aged and vain; she thought the page
young and uppish, When she saw
him sitting fast asleep, it struck her
the time had come for her to punish
him for his uppishness and play him a
trick.



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 58

Stealthily she drew his handkerchief
from his pocket, and had succeeded in
winding it round both the page’s leg
and the leg of the chair he was sitting
on, when the First Gentleman’s opening
the door caused the page to start up
and the lady’s-maid to start back.

‘What is this?’ the page exclaimed,
trying to stand up, but feeling himselt
caught by the leg.

‘What is this ?’ the First Gentleman
cried, coming forward and confronting
the lady’s-maid.

The lady’s-maid, who saw there was
no chance of escape, tried to justify
herself.

‘Why is the silly boy up so late?’
she said; ‘Her Majesty would be not
a little annoyed if she knew it.’

‘Why then does Her Majesty keep
her own boy up so late?’ the First
Gentleman said in reply.

“Yes, why does not Tiny come to
bed?’ asked the other two gentlemen,
joining their companion in the corridor.



56 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

‘The Prince is not with the Queen,’
said the lady’s-maid.

‘He certainly is not here,’ the First
Gentleman said in answer.

‘Not here?’ the lady’s-maid cried,
clasping her head.

‘Not here!’ the gentlemen answered,
shaking theirs.

‘But if he is not here, what can
have become of him ?’ the lady’s-maid
exclaimed, more and more alarmed.
‘He was with his mother before eight
o’clock, and said good-night to her.’

‘He certainly did not come to bed,’
the First Gentleman answered ; ‘since
before eight we have sat here waiting
for him,’

A moment of consternation followed.

‘The Queen must be informed,’ the
three gentlemen declared with one
accord.

‘Of course,’ said the lady’s-maid ;
‘but who has the courage to do it?’

They were disputing this point when
the page, who had loosened his leg,

ae



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 57

rushed to the gong. Snatching up the
mallet he beat a sudden and violent
tattoo, that rolled through the castle
like a peal of thunder.

In a moment all the members of the
Royal household were out of their beds.
Seizing any articles of clothing, they
flew down the stairs and crowded into
the corridor.

The Master of the Household was
there first, wrapped in a _ blanket;
behind him ran the valet in a yellow
dressing-gown. The Clerk Comptroller,
forgetting all need of extra clothing,
with the exception of a tie, came run-
ning along in a white garment with two
blue streamers fluttering. The Master
of the Horse rushed in, whip in hand ;
the steward in his hurry had snatched
up a boot-jack. The footmen came
on the scene struggling into their coats,
the maids hung over the banisters
afraid of showing their curl-papers.

All the members of the household
were assembled, shouting and calling



58 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

to each other that the Prince was
missing, when Her Majesty the Queen
suddenly stood confronting them.

Was there ever, would there ever be
again, the sight of such a levee in un-
dress !

It took some minutes to make clear
the cause of the alarm; then the sug-
gestions as to the Prince’s whereabouts
were of the wildest.

‘He may be on the roof star-gazing,’
said one.

‘He may be in the fields hay-making,’
said another.

_ ‘He may be in the parlour tea-
drinking,’ said a third.

‘And to-morrow the day of the
coronation!’ cried the lady’s-maid,
bursting into tears. ‘A coronation
without a king! Hu, hu, hu—u!’

‘No,’ Her Majesty’s voice rose above
the tumult, ‘nothing of the sort!
The Prince knows better than to go
star-gazing this time of night. He
spoke of going into the garden; he



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 359

has run out and lost his way. Mem-
bers of my household, arm yourselves
with links, lanterns, and torches! I
command a thorough search of the
country around in a circuit of seven
miles before break of day.’

A quarter of an hour later the gar-
dens and the park were alive with
moving lights and torches borne aloft.
The thought of a coronation without a
king had struck a chill to every breast ;
if the Prince were missing on the
morrow, it would be eternal disgrace to
the nation.

There was no question now of pass-
ing on work to some one else; every
member of the household exerted him-
self in person, regardless alike of dew,
damp, and darkness.

It was the scullery-boy on whose
efforts success smiled again. It was
his whistle which made the Prince’s
spaniel start up and send an answering
bark ; it was his call which roused the
Prince from his slumbers.



60 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

A little while afterwards and the
Clerk Comptroller caught sight of the
two boys, trudging through the wet
with the dog behind them, the scullery-
boy leading the Prince by the hand.
The Clerk Comptroller no sooner saw
them than he rushed on the Prince,
seized him in his arms, and bore him
off in triumph, leaving the scullery-boy
and the spaniel to follow.

Little remains to be told.

When the Queen saw her son safe,
she wept tears of joy; when she heard
about the toads, she frowned on the
Master of the Household with such
displeasure that he knew it meant loss
of his office to him.

On the following day the coronation
took place with all splendour; the
festivities followed each other in due
course, and the nation rejoiced at the
sight of their King.

One of the first acts of the new
King was to promote the scullery-boy
to a post of honour, A few weeks



THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 61

later, when the Lord Chamberlain
returned from the sea, little benefited
by his stay, the new King summoned
him.

‘I wish you to reassume the office of
Toad-Destroyer in Ordinary,’ he said.
‘It is not that I want you to do any
work ; it is no use trying to do away
altogether with unpleasant things; I
mean to leave them to themselves as
much as possible. But my mother the
Queen created the office; rather than
let it drop I will make it a sinecure.
Draw your salary every quarter, and
let me see you regain your health
speedily !’

The smile and the bow alone with
which the Lord Chamberlain received
the news were tokens of his speedy
recovery. A fortnight later he was as
graceful and elastic in his bearing as
ever.

But the page is still meditating dire
revenge on the lady’s-maid who tied
him to a chair by the leg.







HOW THE SPIRIT FOUGHT
THE CAT

: HE wings of the Spirits who
live up in heaven are
white and downy, but the

Spirits who dwell on earth
have wings that are dusky and mem-
branous.

There was once an earth-born Spirit
who wished to know about heavenly
things. In the evening when his
day’s work was done, he fluttered on
to a house-top, and there he would sit,
with his back against a stack of chim-
neys, and his dark wings drooping,
wondering if ever he should get to

CON



THE SPIRIT AND THE CAT 63

know about heaven, and find out what
angels were like.

An old Bat who lived near some-
times came hovering round and talked
to him. The Bat thought himself
‘mighty wise, so that the Spirit was glad
to listen to the Bat, and asked him
what he had to say about heaven.

The Bat thought it foolish to think
about heaven at all.

“Why should you trouble about what
is so far off?’ he said. ‘When I was
young I used to wonder if the moon
liked growing round and thin again,
and if the stars could be swallowed
like fire-flies. But nothing ever came
of it. Now I think about real things
and find that it answers much better.’

It was on a moonlight night that the
Bat first spoke to the Spirit. He had
watched him before, but had never
come near to him. To-night he had
come out earlier than usual, and was
poking about some chimneys in search
of food, when he caught sight of the



64 HOW THE SPIRIT

Spirit on the house-top creeping along
the gutter. The Bat was no larger
than a good-sized rat; the Spirit was
about. as big as a small child. But
because the Spirit looked so different
from himself, the Bat thought him a
silly little thing.

Now the earth-born Spirit had been
wishing for some time to make friends
with the birds. He fancied that these
soft creatures with their feathery wings
might know about angels whose wings
are feathery also.

But the birds never stayed when
they saw the Spirit come near. Maybe
they felt afraid of his curly hair and
dark wings; maybe his coming up re-
minded them it was near bed-time.
The moment they caught sight of him
out on the roof, one of them gave a
warning cry, and then the whole
feathered troop went sailing away into
the sky. The Spirit sat far down
near the chimneys wondering if he
should ever make friends with them.



FOUGHT THE CAT 65

On this special evening the Spirit
had determined on a stratagem: he
meant to take the birds by surprise.
Instead of fluttering over the roof as
he usually did, he came creeping along
the gutter, and it was then that the
Bat stayed to watch him.

The birds had collected along the
parapet ; the gutter was hidden from
their view. Cautiously the Spirit crept
along, his heart going wildly pit-a-pat
with expectation. Already he was
close to the birds ; he could hear them
chirping and chattering on the farther
side of the chimney-stack. He paused
for a moment to listen. Then he
grasped the brickwork and curled his
body round the corner. He nodded
his head and said politely :

‘Good evening! I hope I am not
disturbing you !’

But the moment the birds heard
him they spread their wings and were
gone. There was a whirring of wings,
a swishing of feathers, and the Spirit

F



66 HOW THE SPIRIT

stood sadly gazing at the empty parapet
while they were already far away in the
sky.

It was then that the Bat wheeled
nearer, and turning to the Spirit said:

‘Some folks are as rude as they are
scatter-brained !’

The Spirit looked up wonderingly ;
he was surprised to find himself
addressed by the Bat.

‘Yes,’ said the Bat, ‘not every one
has good breeding. Birds are terribly
wanting in that respect.’

‘But they are so beautiful,’ the
Spirit said. :

‘Beautiful!’ exclaimed the Bat in
surprise.

‘Yes, and they sing so prettily; I
love to listen to them,’ said the Spirit.

‘I have listened to them over and.
over again,’ said the Bat with disgust ;
‘they never said anything I could
remember.’

‘Perhaps your memory is not good,’
the Spirit said.



FOUGHT THE CAT 67

‘Nonsense,’ the Bat cried, ‘my
memory! Why, don’t you know that
I spend the livelong day hanging by
my claws with my head down? There
is nothing like that for improving one’s
memory. Things sink into the mind
of themselves.’

‘Do they indeed?’ asked the Spirit.

‘Yes, said the Bat; ‘you hang
there thinking and thinking, till one
day you are surprised to find yourself
grown so wise. In the days of my
youth I used to oil my wings with
scented pomatum ; I gave up swallow-
ing gnats that my voice might im-
prove. Now I care no more for such
vanities. I am content to think, think,
think; it makes you feel so superior,
you know.’

After that an evening rarely went
by but the Bat came to talk to the
Spirit. Sometimes he called out a
few words to him from afar; sometimes
he squatted on the roof and talked by
the hour together. At times he was



68 HOW THE SPIRIT

dismal, but at times he was funny.
He laughed at the Spirit, and made
fun of his interest in the birds. The
Spirit, who did not care to have the
birds made fun of, began to tease the
Bat in return. The Bat, he soon found
out, was terribly afraid of cats; to
think of a cat was enough to make
him tremble with fear. So when the
Bat began talking of the birds, and
imitated their chirping in his squeaking
voice, the Spirit would sometimes give
a gentle mew. This sent the Bat
flying off the roof in a state of great
excitement ; he tried to be angry, but
the Spirit only laughed.

For some time the weather had
been damp and gusty; the Bat, who
hated wet, had not ventured from
home. Coming out again on a fine
clear evening, he was nearing the
chimney stack when he caught sight
of the Spirit making signs to him from
afar. He pointed up, he pointed
down, then he laid his finger on his



FOUGHT THE CAT 69

lips as though begging for silence,
The Bat flitted near without uttering a
sound; he could not think what was
going on.

‘Hush,’ the Spirit whispered, ‘ hush,
be sure you don’t squeak. Two spar-
rows have built a nest on the edge of
the roof, just behind the chimney; I
could not bear to have them scared.
The hen bird is sitting on the eggs
now; her mate is close by in the ivy.
Sit quite near to me and don’t talk
too loud.’

‘Birds again,’ said the Bat drily,
squatting on the roof over against the
Spirit ; ‘what do I care for birds?’

‘I know,’ said the Spirit, ‘but you
will be quiet to please me, I feel sure.
It was most exciting watching them
build the nest ; now they have laid four
little eggs inside. It is some time
since the hen bird began to sit on
them. How soon do you think that
the young will be hatched ?’

‘How should I know?’ said the



jo HOW THE SPIRIT

Bat; ‘that is not the way I should
care to bring up a family. I don’t see
the use of troubling to build a nest.’

‘But don’t you think it very won-
derful ?’ asked the Spirit.

‘Building a nest? I think it a
stupid habit,’ the Bat said. ‘Hens
‘lay their eggs in the sand, and it does
quite as well. If you or I set to
building a nest, fancy how ridiculous !’

He laughed at the thought, and the
Spirit laughed also.

‘What distresses me,’ the Spirit said
presently, ‘is that this nest is in a ter-
ribly exposed situation.’

‘ All the better for you, if you want
to watch what is going on inside,’ said
the Bat.

‘I was not thinking of that,’ said
the Spirit, ‘but of the possible danger,
Fancy what it might be if the Cat
found her way up here! I saw the
monster with the green eyes come
prowling along the lower roof yester-
day. The birds were quite still, so



FOUGHT THE CAT 71

presently she walked away, but at any
time she may come back.’

‘I wish you would not talk of cats,’
said the Bat rather angrily. ‘I hate
them even more than I do those silly
birds.’

‘Very well,’ said the Spirit ; ‘let us
talk of what interests you. How is
the young lady-bat with the lovely
pink ears?’

Three days later, when the Bat again
came to see the Spirit, he found him
even more excited, for the birds were
now hatched. But the Cat had again
been about on the lower roof; the
Spirit was planning how to protect the
birds against her in case she found her
way up to them. The Bat in vain
tried to persuade his friend it was best
not to interfere.

‘Birds are silly things,’ he said,
‘why think about protecting them?
Besides, it is natural for cats to eat
birds’

‘Natural indeed !’ cried the Spirit ;



72 HOW THE SPIRIT

‘I wonder how you would like it if I
said it was natural for cats to devour
young lady-bats with pink ears,’

This made the Bat give a nervous
shake to his wings.

‘You are always so personal in your
remarks,’ he said ; ‘the fair Battina can
take care of herself, I hope; at least
she won’t have me to take care of her.’

And presently he added: ‘ Besides,
if you wanted to help the birds, I
don’t see how you could.’

‘I shall begin setting up a fortifica-
tion to-morrow,’ said the Spirit; ‘and
if the worst comes to the worst, I shall
fight the Cat.’

The Bat looked more frightened
and nervous than ever. ‘It would be
worse than for a man to fight a lion,’
he said.

And he tried to persuade the Spirit
that it was folly to attempt it. But
the Spirit only laughed, and said his
mind was made up.

The following night was wet again,



FOUGHT THE CAT 73

so was the next one. Several days
went by before the Bat could come
out. He was anxious to know about
his friend, and came there straight
on the first clear evening ; the sight
which met his eyes was indeed a sur-
prise.

On the roof near the parapet there
was visible through the twilight a mass
of branches and brambles; they were
stacked up in a heap, and a broom-
stick tied about with rags, with a bat-
tered hat atop of them, stood straight
up in their midst like a great scare-
crow. A piece of hoarding rested
against the chimney; a wooden shutter,
a packing-case, and a bundle of sticks
were placed there too. Behind the
sticks and the hoarding sat the Spirit
in his usual corner, but he was sur-
rounded by weapons. On one side,
ready to hand, lay a large wooden
skewer ; on the other side was placed a
painting brush and a large pot of
white paint. A stick lay there also,



74, HOW THE SPIRIT

and resting against the Spirit’s knees
lay the lid of a hamper, a large wicker
lid, which he held like a shield.

‘TI dragged everything out of a loft
close by, which they use as a lumber-
room,’ he explained to the Bat, ‘What
do you think of the preparations?
How do you like the barricade?’

The Bat trembled with. fear, but
tried to conceal it. He gave a squeak,
and said: ‘It looks as though you
were setting up in the second-hand
line.’

The Spirit looked at him and
laughed. ‘Do I look like a pawn-
broker? Sit down; let us have a
quiet talk. The Cat was really here
last night.’

The Cat had been there, it seemed,
and had sniffed at the fortifications ;
the little birds in the nest had twit-
tered while she was there, and the
Spirit felt sure she would come back
to-night,

It was with difficulty that he per-



FOUGHT THE CAT 75

suaded the Bat to squat on the leads
and talk to him quietly. They had
not been talking for many minutes
when the Spirit started, and the Bat
jerked himself from the leads, giving a
violent squeak.

‘ There she is, there she is!’ he cried
out; ‘take care, she may get hold of
you.’

The next moment the scarecrow
with its rags came down with a crash
on the roof: the Cat had jumped on
it from behind. It fell down together
with her, and she lay sprawling among
the bushes on the leads, yelling with
rage at feeling the thorns in her fur.

The Spirit at once rushed to the
attack. Covering himself with his
shield, and grasping the skewer, he
made a dash straight at the Cat. The
Cat in an instant was on her legs
spitting and hissing; when the Spirit
came upon her she bounced off to the
side, Again the Spirit rushed at her,
again she sprang away. There she



76 HOW THE SPIRIT

stood fiercely hissing, with her body
curved into a great arch. Her tail
stuck up straight, with its tip waving
in the air. Her black fur was brist-
ling, sparks flashed from her eyes.
Never before had the Spirit faced such
a foe.

But nothing daunted he grasped his
shield firmer, and rushing at her made
a bold thrust at her with the skewer.
As he came upon her she again
bounded from him, jerking herself into
the air from all her four paws at once.
The Spirit rushed at her from in front ;
he tried to get a side thrust at her.
The Cat bounded up and bounded
round like an indiarubber ball. Every
time the Spirit made a thrust at her
the Cat evaded the threatening skewer ;
every time he rushed at her she
bounded round, bringing her green
eyes right in front of him again.

For some time this went on, the
Spirit making thrusts and the Cat
evading them. Once only the skewer



FOUGHT THE CAT 77

caught the Cat in her side, and large
drops of blood came oozing out on her
coat. But once also the Cat caught
the Spirit by the wing with her fangs ;
the Spirit jumped away, but there was
a large hole ripped in his wing.

The Cat was the stronger—the Spirit
began to feel it; going round and
round in this way he felt he must tire
first. So he cast aside the skewer and
took up the stick; it was long and
heavy, he could barely lift it with one
hand.

The Cat also at once changed her
tactics. Jumping at the shield of the
Spirit, she dug into it with her claws.
She pulled at it, she tugged at it, she
tried to wrench it away from the
Spirit; and hanging on to it by the
whole weight of her body, she tried
to drag it to the ground.

In vain the Spirit pulled his shield ;
in vain he tried to shake off the hold
which the Cat had got of it He
dealt her a blow from the side with



78 HOW THE SPIRIT

his stick, and caught her in the leg,
causing her to give a fierce yell. But
she had got a firm grasp of the shield,
and would not be made to let go.
The Spirit staggered with her pulling,
righted himself, again staggered. At
last he was firm again on his feet, but
the Cat had not let go.

Again they went round and round,
the Cat hissing and pulling. The Spirit
staggered but stood; he could hardly
lift the stick any more. Suddenly the
Cat, with a fierce yell, thrust a fore-paw
over the edge of the wicker shield.
She scratched four deep lines right
across the Spirit’s hand.

It was then that the Bat hovered
near, wildly squeaking, and that the
birds, roused from their slumbers,
came flying round and joined in his
cries.

The Cat’s blood was up; her fierce-
ness was at its highest; noise and
shrieks had no effect on her. With a
spring she fixed her hindpaws also







FIGHT BETWEEN THE SPIRIT AND THE CAT.



FOUGHT THE CAT 79

into the wicker shield ; down it came
with a crash, bringing the Spirit to the
ground. ,

But the Spirit was up again in a
twinkling. He let the shield lie, and
rushed for the pot of paint. With the
clear sight of desperation he dipped
the brush far into it; grasping it with
both hands he held it before him, drip-
ping with paint.

The Cat shook her claws free from
the wicker- work, then she turned and
came straight at the Spirit. But as
she rushed at him wildly she was met
by the brush full of paint thrust straight
into her face. She drew back, hissing
and spitting, and shaking her head.
Again the dripping brush was thrust
right into her face; the paint choking
and disgusting and well-nigh blinding
her.

Once more she bounded back, and
then jumped straight at the Spirit. She
caught the brush between her -teeth,
trying to wrench it away. But the



80 HOW THE SPIRIT

taste of the paint was too nasty. Pro-
voked beyond endurance, she let go.
One loud fierce yell she gave, shaking
her dripping face, then she finally
turned tail and scampered off the battle-
field, dragging her disabled limb after
her.

The Spirit sank back on the roof;
he was half-dead with exhaustion. The
Bat and the sparrows came hovering
near. They spoke to him, and fanned
his face with their wings, trying to
revive him. At last he sat up and
opened his eyes.

‘I feel better,’ he said ; ‘thank you,
I feel much better. It was a splendid
fight. And has she really gone?’

‘Gone, and for good,’ said the Bat
with enthusiasm. ‘You behaved like a
hero ; I congratulate you.’

‘It was the paint-brush that did it,’
the Spirit said gleefully. He sank back
on the roof and again closed his eyes.

‘Yes,’ the Bat said to the birds, ‘it
was a splendid fight, a glorious fight.



FOUGHT THE CAT 81

Those silly little ones of yours are
hardly worth taking such trouble for.’

‘Oh, our poor little darlings, our
poor helpless dear little darlings,’ the
sparrows twittered ; ‘they are learning
to fly, they will soon be able to fly,
and then they shall leave this cruel
wicked place. They shall all go, and
never, never come back again.’

‘All the better,’ said the Bat; ‘we
have had enough of stupid nest-build-
ing up here. And now,’ he added,
‘you had better go back to those silly
little darlings. Leave this hero to be
tended and watched over by me.’

And he proceeded to rub some oil
off his wings on the Spirit’s scratches.
He begged him to go to sleep, and
promised to stay the night. The Spirit
readily curled up against the wicker
shield ; but a little while and he was
fast asleep.

It was towards the morning that a
wonderful dream came to him, a dream
such as he never had after or before.

G



82 HOW THE SPIRIT

Round and round and round about
him a feathered troop went sailing,
nearer and nearer and nearer they
came till he heard the sound and felt
the fanning of their wings. He knew
they were not birds, but large white-
winged angels, who smiled at him, and
greeted him, and began singing a song.

Already they were so close to him
that he thought he could distinguish
the words they were singing, when he
opened his eyes and was dazzled by
the morning sun. Over against him
on the leads squatted the Bat, nodding
and napping, but around the whole
parapet was crowded with birds. In
long lines they sat waiting for the Spirit
to awaken ; when they saw him open
his eyes, they burst into jubilant song.
Lustily they went on chanting a hymn
of triumph, a regular peean, while the
Bat did his best to hold open his blink-
ing eyes. Then they came round the
_ Spirit and thanked him, in the name of
the whole feathered tribe, for his



FOUGHT THE CAT 83

doughty deed. They twittered so
much about courage and bravery that
the Bat began to think some of it must
be meant for himself. Indeed he felt —
the events of the evening so much to
his credit, that when he talked of them
to the pink-eared Battina, she thought
more of him than she had ever done
before.

The Spirit and the birds remained
fast friends ever afterwards. The Cat
was never seen again on that roof.











THE BANISHED PRINCESS

I

T’S a dreadful shame,’ the
| Princess cried, rushing
(G into the room and fling-
ing herself into a chair ;
‘thirteen years old and engaged to be
married. Oh, it is horrible having
one’s birthday spoilt in this way !’
Lady Begum crossed the room,
picked up the Princess’s handkerchief,
and smoothed down her skirts.
‘Thirteen years old, and your
Highness tumbles her clothes like a
child!’
‘What do I care?’ the Princess cried,





THE BANISHED PRINCESS 85

giving another kick; ‘a child? I
don’t mean to be anything else!’

Just then a flourish of trumpets
sounded in the courtyard. Lady Be-
gum opened the lattice and bent out
to see what was going on.

A gay troop of horsemen were crowd-
ing into the courtyard. Presently voices
became audible above the clatter of the
hoofs.

‘ Delighted, delighted, said a small
piping voice.

‘So am I, quite delighted,’ said a
young strong one. ‘And how about
the Princess ?’

‘She, too, is delighted, delighted,’
piped the small voice; ‘just now gone
to her rooms to prepare to receive you.’

‘What a sham and a cram,’ the
Princess said disdainfully, ‘when it is
nothing but a conspiracy to rob me of
my rights. You need not start, Begum,
and get redder in the face than usual.
My father was King; he died, and my
uncle succeeded to the throne when it



86 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

was really my turn. That was a wicked
thing to do, for there is no Salic Law
in this country. But I suppose, be-
cause I was a baby, no one interfered
in my behalf I see through it all
since I know more of history.’

‘Dear, dear, dear,’ cried Lady Be-
gum, ‘I never approved of girls learning
so much !’

‘Ves, Begum ; and that is his son to
whom they want to marry me convenient way, no doubt, to usurp all
my rights |’

‘How the child does talk!’ Lady
Begum said, and took her smelling-
bottle from her reticule. She held it
to her nose, and replaced it with care.

Presently she said: ‘ The reception
and banquet are fixed for five o'clock.
It is time for you to think of getting
ready.’

So it is,’ cried the Princess ; ‘where
have you got my large French wax
dolli?—the one your little nieces
played with when they came.’



THE BANISHED PRINCESS 87

Lady Begum opened her small eyes
as far as they could go.

‘My large doll with the lace frock,’
the Princess repeated. ‘I shall take
the twin babies, too, but I can find
those myself.’

She bounded to a drawer and
fetched out two pink-faced dolls dressed
in blue.

‘ There,’ she said, setting them side
by side in the arm-chair. ‘If I keep
in the company of these and the
French doll, I am sure to do well—

* Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks’ ;

see if I don’t do it, Begum.’

And taking up a book, one of her
birthday presents, she stretched herself
full length on the hearthrug and fell to
reading.

Lady Begum fetched the French doll
and put her in the arm-chair by the side
of the babies. Then she began to ex-
postulate on the need of getting dressed.



88 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

‘The embroidery of the train of the
new dress is really most tasteful,’ she
said, ‘and now that you are turned
thirteen your hair must be done up.’

The Princess was leaning on her
elbows with her hands to her ears.

‘You must be sure to walk slowly
so as not to tumble the train,’ Lady
Begum went on talking. ‘Why, I too
wore a long dress at thirteen, and
didn’t I feel proud.’

Instead of answering, the Princess
gave a toss to her mop of hair.

‘Wearing your hair on the top of
your head will make such a difference !
I shouldn’t wonder if the Court thought
you quite grown-up.’

Presently the Princess looked up,
laughed, and said, ‘Are you in a pet,
Begum ??

‘I am afraid it is you, Princess,’
was that lady’s reply.

‘Not yet, but I shall be if you go on
talking like this. Train down, and hair
up, and train again! It is no use



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LIBRARY



THE LITTLE PRINCESS

AND

THE GREAE PLOT


THE CHILDREN’S LIBRARY.

THE BROWN OWL,

THE CHINA CUP, AND OTHER STORIES,
STORIES FROM FAIRYLAND, _
THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO.


“SWEAR BY THE GHOST OF YOUR FUTURE
MOTHER-IN-LAW.”
THE

LITTLE PRINCESS

' AND THE

GREAT PLOT

BY

LINA ECKENSTEIN

ILLUSTRATED BY DUDLEY HEATH

LONDON

T, FISHER UNWIN
1892









CONTENTS

PAGE
I. Tue LITTLE PRINCESS AND THE

GREAT PLor . : Q ped
II. THe PRINCE AND THE ToaDsS . 33
III. How THE SPIRIT FOUGHT THE

Cat. : : : : . 62

IV. THE BANISHED PRINCESS . eanOd






THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND
THE GREAT PLOT

s|N distant seas lies an island,
; the King and the Queen of
which died within a short
time of each other, leaving
one little child, a daughter called Eva.
Her uncle, who was King of another
country, thought it well that she should
come and live with him for a time.
The Princess was therefore taken to
his Court and there given over into
the charge of two wise and experienced
governesses. One was called Mrs.

Tiffin, the other Mrs. Griffin.
Mrs, Tiffin and Mrs. Griffin differed

B


2 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

in opinion on every conceivable subject
except on the well-being of the Princess.
As soon as they were alone they began
to quarrel; and their quarrels were
sometimes about the colour of their
bonnets, sometimes about the number
of pieces of sugar which a lady should
take in a cup of tea. But when the
Princess was with them, they were
gentleness and amiability itself; the
point on which they thoroughly agreed
being’ that Eva was the dearest of
little Princesses. ES 0 gales :
Meanwhile, affairs in the Princess’s
own island went wrong. Eva’s uncle
had sent two old councillors there to
look after things. But these old gentle-
men, instead of looking after business,
spent most of their time, not in looking
after business, but in eating biscuits and
drinking sherry. One day it occurred
to the islanders that they might as well
eat the biscuits and drink the sherry
themselves as pay two old fellows for
doing it for them. Therefore they
THE GREAT PLOT 3

rigged out a ship and sent the old men
back to Eva’s uncle, with a letter to
say that they did not care to have
foreigners to rule over them.

‘If we are to be ruled over at all,’
they wrote, ‘we will be ruled over by
our own Princess. We will rather bow
before a child than before two old men,
who within six months have emptied
four casks of gold-coloured sherry and
twenty-two tins of Huntley and Palmer’s
Sea Foam Biscuits.’

When Eva’s uncle read this letter
he became much excited and paced up
and down the room, every now and
then pulling out his large silk handker-
chief to mop his scarlet face. Then
he called for the newest kind of
American drink; and when he had
swallowed it he felt a good deal better,
and sent for his niece.

The Princess Eva was skipping when
her uncle’s messenger arrived. Mrs.
Tiffrn and Mrs. Griffin were turning
the rope, and although Mrs. Tiffin was
4 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

short and stout, while Mrs. Griffin was
stout and tall, they managed between
them to turn the rope very nicely.

When the page knocked at the door
each one dropped an end of the rope.
Mrs. Tiffin pulled out the folds of
Eva’s brocade gown, and Mrs. Griffin
tried to smooth her hair.

‘You remember the pretty verse
about the skylark,’ Mrs. Tiffin said
‘be sure and repeat it slowly should
His Majesty ask you to repeat poetry.’

“And when you enter the room be
sure and make a nice curtsey,’ Mrs.
Griffin said. ‘His Majesty is partial
to good manners, and quite right, too,
in a king.’ ,

‘Very well,’ the Princess answered.
And she ran down the corridor before
the page, who dared not run after her
for fear he should look undignified.

As soon as the door had closed
Mrs. Griffin and Mrs. Tiffin began to
quarrel as usual.

‘You might have let her wear her
THE GREAT PLOT 5

ruby-coloured sash,’ Mrs. Tiffin said in
a vexed tone.

‘Ruby sash, indeed!’ Mrs. Griffin
answered. ‘It isn’t every one who
cares for gaudy colours as you do.’

‘Gaudy colours!’ Mrs. Tiffin re-
peated. ‘Nothing could be gaudier
than the bonnet you went to church
in last Sunday !’

‘Better go to church in a gaudy
bonnet than not go at all,’ Mrs. Griffin
answered.

And she went out of the room,
slamming the door behind her; while
Mrs. Tiffin, who, on the whole, was the
more good-natured of the two, picked
up the skipping-rope and put it in a
drawer.

In the meantime the Princess Eva
was with her uncle.

On entering the room she had
dropped a little curtsey, and then
climbed into a high chair.

The King had been writing a letter.
When his niece came into the room he
6 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

was just putting his royal signature to
it, making two large blots by mistake.
He could not find the blotting-pad, so
he dabbed the spots with his handker-
chief, making them much worse.

Now Eva’s uncle the King was always
in a hurry, and never stopped to think
if people would understand what he
was saying or not.

‘Tt is not quite their fault, he said,
looking earnestly at Eva ; ‘old council-
lors are always fond of sherry. But I
forget, you do not understand. You
are nothing but a baby!’

‘T shall be nine next birthday, uncle,’
Eva said gravely.

‘Nine, will you indeed!’ the old
King answered. ‘Why, it seems but
yesterday that your mother wrote to
me and said you had cut your first
tooth. But of course there’s no telling,
people will grow up. Though I think
you are much too small to go to that
island. The idea is preposterous!’

Eva was very much surprised to
THE GREAT PLOT 7

hear anything about the island. She
asked her uncle what he meant, and
listened attentively while the King ex-
plained.

‘No, no,’ the old King said in con-
cluding. ‘Nine years old, and going
there quite by yourself—I will not hear
of it!’

‘Could not Tiffin and Griffin go
with me, uncle?’ Eva asked as soon
she understood.

‘Tiffin and Griffin, of course, of
course,’ the King made reply. ‘And
do you really think you could go ?’

‘Why not, uncle? . It is my father’s
island,’ Eva said, ‘and surely my father
would like me to reign after him.’

The King looked round for his snuff-
box, took two large pinches, sneezed
violently, and then fluttered his large
silk handkerchief about.

‘You are a brave girl,’ he said;
‘you shall go. For we all learn by
experience, and that is worth more
than books. Though books contain a
8 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

lot which it is as well to know also.
Sherry and biscuits; nine years old
next birthday. It all makes my head
whirl round. Yes, of course, you must
take Griffin and Tiffin with you. You
could not do without them. Besides,
if they did not go with you, they might
stay here and think they must look
after Me!’

The King, after taking another pinch
of snuff, rang the bell and gave orders
that a boat should at once be prepared
for the voyage.

‘We must have at least four weeks
to buy an outfit for the Princess,’ Mrs.
Tiffin said.

‘And an extra week to look after
our own,’ Mrs. Griffin added.

Five weeks after this conversation
the Princess Eva set out for the island
in a ship. And she had with her in
attendance the two governesses Mrs.
Griffin and Mrs. Tiffin. During the
whole voyage they had fine weather,
and the sea was as smooth as a pond.
THE GREAT PLOT 9

The Princess and Mrs. Tiffin kept in
the best of health and spirits all the
way; but not so Mrs. Griffin! The
fact was that every now and then—
although the sea was smooth—she felt
very uncomfortable; and her com-
plexion, which was naturally colourless,
turned a curious kind of grayish-green.

When some one came to her berth
and told her at last that the shore of
the island was sighted, Mrs. Griffin
gave a deep sigh of relief.

A few hours later the ship heaved- to
beside the pier of the island. The
sun was shining and the church bells
rang. A large crowd had gathered
together to see the arrival of the
Princess, and when she stepped on
to the shore the crowd shouted and
hurrahed.

As she stepped on to the shore a
kindly old gentleman came forward
and took her by the hand.

‘My dear little Princess,’ he said,
‘TI am here in the name of your Parlia-
to 6THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

ment to welcome you. We are very
glad you have come to live in your
own kingdom, and we feel quite sure
that we shall be able to make you
happy.’

At this the whole assembled crowd
cheered.

The old gentleman then offered to
lead the Princess to her carriage; Mrs.
Tiffin and Mrs. Griffin followed.

Now, Mrs. Griffin felt offended be-
cause the old gentleman merely bowed
to her. The expression of her face,
already soured by sea-sickness, became
more and more peevish as she walked
along. The people in the crowd
noticed her looks, and one little
naughty boy pointed his finger as she
passed and called out:

‘Oh dear, the big mother-in-law
has lost her bonnet !’

Mrs. Griffin at once put her hand to
her head. Her bonnet was safely there,
of course, and the crowd was beginning
to laugh.
THE GREAT PLOT EL

Mrs. Griffin glared at the people, but
the more she glared the more they
laughed. This frightened Mrs. Tiffin,
who did not like it at all, and she hurried
Mrs. Griffin on towards the carriage.

They got into the carriage after the
Princess, and drove off amidst cheering
and cries of ‘ Long live the Princess!’

Eva and Mrs. Tiffin smiled and
bowed, but Mrs. Griffin did neither.
She sat as upright as possible and pre-
served a dignified silence.

After some time the procession drew
up at the palace gates. The Princess
alighted before a stately portico, through
which she was ushered up a grand stair-
case into the royal suite of apartments.

The palace was very beautiful. There
were large-sized rooms and small-sized
rooms. There was a set of middle-
sized rooms fitted up specially for the
Princess, with looking-glasses, treasure-
cupboards, and shelves full of books
and toys.

And in one of these middle-sized
wz THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

rooms a tea-table was spread, at which
Eva and the governesses presently sat
down to afternoon tea.

‘Isn't it all quite like a fairy story?’
Eva said, clapping her hands, ‘ An
island of my own, a palace of my own,
and then this nice little tea-party! Tell
me, both you dears, did you ever ex-
pect anything so delightful ?’

‘The muffins certainly look very
nice,’ Mrs. Tiffin said, lifting up a lid
and peeping,

‘And the cracknels and the buns
evidently are made by a baker who
knows what he is about,’ Mrs, Griffin
said, visibly brightening up.

Eva poured out the tea and felt very
happy. She handed a cup to Mrs.
Griffin and one to Mrs. Tiffin.

‘I hope you are feeling well and
happy, both you dears!’ she said.

Mrs. Tiffin helped herself to five
pieces of sugar.

‘Indeed I feel very comfortable,’
she said. ‘But I did not like the old
THE GREAT PLOT 13

gentleman shaking you by the hand.
He should have gone down on one
knee.’

Mrs. Griffin was busy spreading the
butter very thick on her toast.

‘Ves, I feel better,’ she said. ‘But
he ought not to have talked like that
of Parliament. Every one knows that
Parliaments all through history were a
nuisance.’

‘Tell me,’ she went on, turning to
Mrs. Tiffin, ‘have you a good word
to say for the Long Parliament, or for
the Short Parliament, or even for the
Rump Parliament? Every one of
them should have been blown up.’

‘Dear Griffin,’ Eva said, ‘I don’t
mind those things in lesson-time, but
it is teatime now. Would it not be
better to think of something pleas-
anter ?’

“Something pleasanter, Princess—
you are right,’ Mrs. Griffin replied,
trying to smile. ‘Something pleas-
anter indeed-! ’
4 ©THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

And she helped herself to a currant
bun, and passed the plate to Mrs,
Tiffin.

They chatted cheerfully after that,
enjoying all the nice things and feeling
the better for them. All went well
through. that first afternoon tea, and
through many other afternoon teas on
the days that followed.

The time passed not at all unpleas-
antly. The Princess soon grew very
fond of her new home, and her
governesses grew to like it also.

Wherever the Princess went the
people seemed good and friendly ; and
the little girls of her own age came and
talked to her in the pleasantest way.
She soon made many friends, and often
asked other children to the palace to
play with her and her beautiful toys,

In the morning she did lessons ; in
the afternoon she drove out with her
governesses, sometimes into the country
and sometimes into the park. Then
came afternoon tea and visitors ; and
THE GREAT PLOT 15

then Mrs. Griffin or Mrs. Tiffin would
propose a game of some kind. There
was always a good deal of fun, and
Tiffin and Griffin heartily joined in it.
But when Parliament was sitting,
every afternoon for two hours, Eva was
called upon to be present, because as
Princess of the island she was expected
to join in the Government. She sat
at the top of the Chamber in a grand
velvet chair, while the members talked,
and she did her best to understand.
The old gentleman who had met her
at the boat was the Speaker of the
House. And he said she had better
be present even though she did not
understand, because it would accustom
her to the business of reigning.
Therefore she always came and al-
ways sat perfectly still. Sometimes
the members all walked out of the
hall and presently they all came walk-
ing in again. -It amused Eva very
much. She noticed that some did
not seem to care what they were doing,
1 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

and took sly naps; others, on the
contrary, seemed always to be wanting
to talk. ;

But if the Princess found it easy to
be silent, that was not the case with
Mrs. Tiffin and Mrs. Griffin. When-
ever there was an opportunity Mrs.
Tiffin very good-naturedly called out,
‘Hear, hear!’

Mrs. Griffin for a long time pre-
served a grim silence, until one day
some one spoke about the grievances
of washerwomen. Whereupon Mrs.
Griffin rose up and exclaimed ;

‘Gentlemen, there are other griev-
ances besides those of washerwomen.
Let me talk to you of the grievances
of governesses !?

‘Hurrah for a maiden speech!’ one
gentleman who was a wag called out.

‘Hurrah for women’s rights!’ an-
other one shouted who thought Mrs.
Griffin a ridiculous old thing.

‘What does this Parliament meet
for, I should like to know?’ Mrs.
THE GREAT PLOT 7

Griffin continued, talking as quickly as
she could and at the top of her voice.
She did this for fear she should be
stopped before she had done.

The Speaker interrupted her, calling
for order. Mrs. Griffin took no notice.

Then the Speaker called to her
again, and some of the gentlemen
began hooting and laughing. But the
greater the noise, the louder became
Mrs. Griffin’s voice.

At last the Speaker rang his bell,
the House was in an uproar. Two
policemen at once came in and were
directed to march Mrs. Griffin out.
There was no resisting them, but as
she was led away she went on louder
than ever.

Mrs. Tiffin rushed after her, but the
Princess Eva sat perfectly still. It did
not surprise her after she got home
that an order arrived directing that
Mrs. Griffin and Mrs. Tiffin must in
future be left behind when she came
to the House.
1 ZTHE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

Mrs. Griffin said that, certainly after
what had happened, she declined to
enter the House again. But that did
not prevent her saying bitter things
about the Parliament to Mrs. Tiffin.
Indeed, for some time her temper was
so roused, that poor Mrs. Tiffin found
her society very trying.

Not long afterwards Mrs. Griffin
said she had found her mission; she
said it was among the washerwomen.
What this meant Eva could not think.
But Mrs. Griffin suddenly became
mysterious and preoccupied, though
otherwise regaining her cheerfulness.
The Princess did not understand ; but
she said nothing when Mrs. Griffin
went out by herself instead of staying
at home with Mrs. Tiffin.

The summer went by, the winter
came, and again it was spring.

One day the Princess Eva received
a letter from her uncle saying that he
was coming to pay her a visit. She
was delighted at the idea, and went
THE GREAT PLOT 19

dancing in and out of the rooms which
were being prepared for the old King.
She looked to see whether the tables
and chairs were arranged as he liked ;
whether there was enough paper and
blotting-paper for his use; and she
hemmed three large silk pocket-hand-
kerchiefs of a pattern of yellow and
red, which she felt sure he would be
pleased with.

The Princess was cheerful and
merry ; not so the governesses. They
put their heads together, and exchanged
looks and whispers. And when Eva
asked the reason they replied she would
know soon enough.

The day before the King’s arrival
came; Parliament was sitting, and Eva
had 6 go to the House.

Dressing for Parliament always
began at two o’clock; the carriage
came at half-past two, so that she got
to the House a little before three.

On these occasions Mrs. Griffin
always came to dress her in the royal
20 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

brocade gown, and Mrs. Tiffin ac-
companied her as far as the House.

On this specialafternoon the Princess
waited for her’ governesses for a long
time. It was long: past two o’clock
and there was no sign of either Mrs.
Griffin or Mrs. Tiffin. Eva thought
her clock must be wrong and ran out
into the hall to look at another; but
the hall clock was the same as her
own. .Then she went to the window
to see if the carriage were coming;
but there was ‘no sign of the carriage.

At last Eva rang the bell and asked
the maid what she had better do.
The maid answered :

‘TI think your Royal Highness should
begin to dress, Let me brush out the
tangles of your hair.’

She tied a little dressing cape round
the Princess’s shoulders, and began
brushing her hair. Just then the door
opened and in came Mrs. Tiffin. She
looked quite white and sank down on
a chair.
THE GREAT PLOT 21

‘Princess,’ she panted out, ‘there is
no occasion for you to dress this
afternoon ; you are not going to the
House !’

Eva jumped up, and, taking a fan,
fanned her governess.

‘Tiffin dear,’ she said, ‘calm your-
self. What has happened? has Griffin
met with an accident? are you ill?’

Mrs. Tiffin said nothing, so great
was her excitement.

‘Do try and speak to me,’ Eva
said; ‘tell me, why am I not to go to
Parliament. Where is Griffin? Why
is the carriage not ordered ?’

At last Mrs. Tiffin somewhat revived.

‘Send Eliza out of the room,’ she
said; ‘the time has. come for me to
speak. Princess, this day is the day
of the gunpowder plot. The whole
Parliament will be blown up!’ :

Eva was utterly bewildered; she
thought Mrs. Tiffin’s mind was wander-
ing.

‘What Parliament?’ she asked;
22 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

‘what gunpowder plot? This isn’t
the fifth of November.’

‘No, not that gunpowder plot— Our
gunpowder plot,’ Mrs. Tiffin faltered
out. ‘A new gunpowder plot: Mrs.
Griffin and the washerwomen are in it.
Be quiet, Princess, listen to me!’

The Princess stood stock still.

‘Mrs. Griffin always thought,’ Mrs.
Tiffin went on to say, ‘that Parliament
was a nuisance, and that it had best
be done away with. She thought of
a plan, and the washerwomen helped
her. That was the secret we were
keeping from you. She confided in
me! It was dreadful! But I did
not dare to tell.’

Mrs. Tiffin, who was very much
overcome, here buried her face in her
handkerchief and shuddered.

Eva pulled away the handkerchief.

‘Tell me more,’ she said, ‘make
haste !”

‘Griffin managed it all,’ Mrs. Tiffin
said, ‘she is so bold. The vaults
THE GREAT PLOT 23

beneath the House—! The six
barrels of gunpowder—! It was ot
dirty linen though every one thought
it was! The six barrels contained
gunpowder !’

Here poor Mrs. Tiffin fell to weeping.

The whole plot seemed to flash on
Eva in a moment.

‘Impossible!’ she exclaimed ; ‘im-
possible! Tiffin dear! Tiffin darling!
Tell me it is alla dream! A fancy of
yours that can never come true! Tell
me that you only mean to frighten
me.’

‘Indeed, I don’t,’ Mrs, Tiffin replied ;
‘it is all quite true. That is why
Griffin has not come, that is why you
must not go to the House. Ten
minutes to three! Three o’clock is
the time fixed upon for the explosion !’

‘No, no,’ the Princess exclaimed,
‘it shall not be—it must not be! I
must write! I must send a mes-
senger! ‘Tiffin dear, help me! What
can I do?’
24. DHE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

‘Nothing,’ Mrs. Tiffin gasped—
‘nothing! And Mrs. Griffin says I
ought to thank her. But I feel I
cannot —I cannot. No! I cannot
thank Griffin,’

‘Still there is a chance,’ Eva per-
sisted; ‘it is ten minutes to three
If the carriage were but here! How-
ever, I can run; I can run very fast.’

And she drew her little cape round
her shoulders and flew to the door.

But Mrs. Tiffin jumped up and held
her back.

‘You shall do nothing of the kind,’
she cried. ‘Are you mad? If you
go into the House now you may be
killed !?

‘What do I care!’ Eva exclaimed.
‘I must go. ‘Tiffin, I command you,
let go my skirts !’

And she violently shook off her
governess’s hold.

But Mrs. . Tiffin leant the whole
weight of her body against the door.

‘The child is beside herself!’ she
THE GREAT PLOT 25

exclaimed, turning the key and putting
it in her pocket. ‘To go to the
House now would be certain death !’

The Princess stood quite still.

‘Ah!’ she suddenly cried out, catch-
ing sight of the door which led into
her bedroom.

And, before Mrs. Tiffin could pre-
vent her, she bounded off, flew into
her bedroom, and through it into the
corridor; and, sliding down the whole
length of the banisters in a twinkling,
she ran out of the hall and down the
park avenue as fast as she could.

She passed the park lodge as the
minster clock struck three. At the
first ‘sound Eva stopped short.

‘Was that the beginning of the
explosion?’ . Then she ran on all the
faster. It was only three o'clock.
Perhaps there was a chance of getting
to the House in time! The explosion
might be delayed, or the clock might
be wrong !

How the trees and the flower-beds
26 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

seemed to fly past her! Out by the
gates, into the road she went, and
down the road, across the High Street,
towards the river bridge.

Some silly little boys who were |
playing in the road caught sight of
her, and one called out, ‘Stop thief!’

Then another jumped towards her,
trying to hold her back by her little
fluttering cape.

Fortunately the ribbon gave way,
the cape was left behind, and the
Princess bounded on.

Across the wide square she ran,
across the stone-paved court, into the
entrance hall of the Parliament,

She flew up the steps which led to
the gallery, and along that into the
Chamber where the members were
sitting.

‘I am the Princess,’ she cried, and
the porters at once stood aside. They
recognised her in spite of her wild
looks, and so did the members when
she came rushing in.
THE GREAT PLOT 27

She ran to the side of the Speaker
and panted out:

‘Tell them all to be gone at once!
There is a conspiracy! A gunpowder
plot! An explosion! Tell them all
to be gone! To run for their lives!’

And she léant back against the wall,
white and gasping.

_ What happened then she could not

afterwards recall. There was shout-
ing, crowding, and running. Eva,
overcome by sudden giddiness, felt
herself sinking back, taken up and
carried out. When she opened her
eyes again she was in the square in
the arms of the Speaker. Suddenly
she remembered she had something
more to say.

‘The vaults!’ she cried at the top
of her voice; ‘the vaults! Stop
Griffin if you can!’

And again she was overcome by
giddiness.

When Eva afterwards recalled the
events of the afternoon she remem-
28 YIHE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

bered her relief when she heard the
words: ‘All is safe; Mrs. Griffin is
made prisoner.’

She was still in the arms of the
Speaker when there was a sudden
falling back of the crowd. She heard
a great shouting. The words were:

‘The Guy, the Guy; here comes
the Guy!’

And presently Mrs. Griffin was led
along, her head held high, her bonnet
strings flapping in the wind. She had
been apprehended in the vaults, and was
now led into prison amidst the shouting
and the hooting of a great crowd.

When the Princess’ saw her, she
felt she had never seen her governess
look so bold. On each side of Mrs.
Griffin walked a policeman, two other
policemen were walking behind. Still
Mrs. Griffin held herself as bolt up-
right as usual; as she came in sight
she opened her parasol, and when the
crowd began to laugh, she angrily
scowled at the little boys,
THE GREAT PLOT 29

The Princess would have run up
to her, but the Speaker held her and
would not let her go. He carried
her in his arms and called for a car-
riage; and putting her in, he rode
with her back to the palace, where
Mrs. Tiffin was just recovering from
her third fainting fit.

It afterwards came out that Mrs.
Griffin had been discovered sitting in
the vaults on a barrel of gunpowder.
She was holding a match-box in one
hand, and the latest number of 77#-Bits
in the other. She was waiting for
the clock to strike, but a prize tit-
bit so fascinated her that she did
not hear the clock striking. She
was in the act of pulling out her
own watch to ascertain the exact
minute, when some of the gentlemen
from the House rushed upon her,
and the whole of the conspiracy came
to an end.

Princess Eva -was dreadfully un-
happy to think of Mrs. Griffin in
30 THE LITTLE PRINCESS AND

prison. She begged and entreated
she might be set free.

In the House of Parliament the
Speaker, on the next day, for once
made a speech of his own. He said
that as they all owed their safety to
the bravery of the little Princess, it
was only right they should grant her
wish in regard to her governess.

Mrs. Griffin was accordingly set
free. She promised she would never
meddle in State affairs again, and
would not try to make washerwomen
think of anything but soap and starch,
and the best way of getting up clean
linen.

Thus all was settled even before the
old King arrived. Then there was no
end of feasting, of entertaining, and
of rejoicing. The old King was de-
lighted to see his niece, and delighted
to hear how well she had behaved.

During his stay he wrote many
letters and took a great many pinches
of snuff. But when he was not busy
THE GREAT PLOT 31

he was full of fun; and one evening
at a grand banquet, in spite of what
had happened, he proposed the health
of Mrs. Tiffin and Mrs. Griffin.

‘After all,’ he said, gallantly rising
from his chair; ‘after all I believe it
is owing to these ladies that my niece
has become so popular. If there had
been no gunpowder plot, there would
have been no bravery; and who ever
would have believed that a niece of
mine could be plucky unless she had
done what she did! But IT am mix-
ing up things—myself, my niece,
bravery! As usual my head is in a
whirl; all I want to do is to propose
a toast. It is a good thing these
ladies came here with my niece Eva.
If they had not, who knows but they
might now be arranging gunpowder
plots in my kingdom. And I feel
sure there is no one there who could
have prevented them carrying them
out. I mean to say that these ladies
are just where they should be, and
32° THE LITTLE PRINCESS

» that Iam proud to rise and propose
this toast. Mrs. Griffin, Mrs. Tiffin,
allow me to pledge you. I drink to
the very good health of you both!’

He held his glass high,-bowing to
the ladies. It was indeed a proud
moment for them both.

The Princess Eva held up her glass
also. She nodded to her governesses,
and called out:

‘Both you dears! I drink to your
health,’

Mrs. Griffin bowed with stateliness.
Mrs. Tiffin cried merrily: ‘We thank
you for your toast, and we pledge
you in return. Long life and happi-
ness to the darling of all of us.
Little Princess Eva, may she have
a long and happy reign !’




THE PRINCE AND THE
TOADS

S|NCE upon a time there
lived a prince who readily
took dislikes to what did
not please him. He was
a gentle, curly-haired boy, and his
mother, the Queen, was very fond of
him.

‘Mother,’ he said to her, ‘I cannot
bear what is ugly—talk to me only of
what is nice. Iam a prince, and the
world princes live in should be fair.’

‘You are right, Tommy,’ said his
mother, smiling on him ; ‘tell me when
anything displeases you: it shall be
D


34 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS. .





taken away at once. Your deat
had a strong dislike to ugly thing eo
At one time it was proposed; ie
marry the Princess Carrahel
but he could not overcome his horror
of her squint. He flatly refused to have
anything to do with her, and married
me instead. I have not much in the
way of ancestors to boast of, but no
one can find fault with my looks.’

Saying this the Queen turned to the
mirror and pulled out the edge of her
ruff. She was a proud lady in spite of
her lack of ancestors, and more especi-
ally proud of the way in which she
brought up her son. Prince Tommy
was near his coming of age—princes
come of age when they have barely
outgrown being children. The time
was drawing near when Tommy would
be crowned king.

Hitherto the Prince and his mother
were living in a castle inside the city ;
the Queen now proposed a stay in the
summer residence. Only a few weeks


THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 35

were, wanting and the festivities of the
coronation would begin. The Queen
thought it well to recruit her own and
her son’s strength by going into the
country.

The Court accordingly removed from
the city. Fifteen waggons were re-
quired to convey the Queen’s summer
clothes alone. Three waggons were
filled with the toilet requisites of the
Lord Chamberlain. And the three
Gentlemen-in-Waiting each chartered
a special waggon for the conveyance of
bales of playing-cards. These gentle-
men spent most of their time waiting in
the ante-room, which they whiled away
playing rubbers of whist. Being mem-
bers of the Royal household, they
never used the same pack of cards
twice.

Among the things to which the
Prince had taken a dislike were frogs
and toads and such animals. These
harmless creatures lived a happy life
in the gardens of the Royal summer
36 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

residence before the Court came there.
The toads wandered about leisurely
devouring caterpillars, and the frogs,
after busily hopping about all day, per-
formed croaking concerts on the edges
of the ponds at night.

This happiness was very soon dis-
turbed.

Shortly after his arrival the Prince
was walking in the garden one even-
ing, when his foot struck against what
looked like a stone, but felt quite soft.
The thing to his surprise began to
move.

‘Fetch it, fetch it!’ he cried to his
dog.

The spaniel seized the thing between
his teeth, but instantly dropped it.
The Prince in vain set him onit. He
shook his snout in disgust, and the
thing, which happened to be a toad,
leisurely waddled on its way.

Hurrying back to the castle, the
Prince went straight to his mother,
whom he found counting over sover-
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 37

eigns previous to tying them up in
small bags.

She listened attentively to her son’s
account of what had happened.

‘I shall not stay in this place unless
those nasty creatures are done away
with,’ the Prince ended by saying.

‘No more you shall,’ said Her
Majesty in reply. ‘Touch the bell,
Tommy ; I must talk the matter over
with the Lord Chamberlain.’

The Lord Chamberlain, who pre-
sently arrived, was the perfection of a
courtier from top to toe. He was
blond, he was bland; he was inscrut-
able, he was immovable. Entering
the room with his feathered hat in one
hand, his other hand gracefully poised
on the hilt of his sword, he listened
with profound attention and with a
smile on his face to what Her Majesty
said.

The Queen as usual spoke to the
point.

‘I command complete and entire
38 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

destruction of the toads,’ she said; ‘1
create a new office for the purpose of
their destruction. Lord Chamberlain
of my Household, I invest you with a
new dignity. I appoint you—Toad-
Destroyer in Ordinary to His Royal
Highness the Prince !!’

The Lord Chamberlain bowed his
head in silence, but his feelings were
conflicting. A new title—glory! A
connection with toads—horrors ! !

The Queen, reaching the last money-
bag she had filled, pulled the strings
to, tying and knotting them.

‘Here is your first quarter’s salary,’
she said, holding out the bag; ‘I trust
my interest to your keeping.’

The Lord Chamberlain changed his
feathered hat from one hand to the
other, and received the money-bag with-
out uttering a word. He would have
spoken, but the thought of his new
dignity so upset his mind that it felt
quite empty. He hesitated for a
moment, then he bowed himself out
LHE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 39

with perfect and wordless good breed-
ing.

But when he had walked half down
the corridor a thought came to him,
causing him to press the forefinger of
his right hand to his forehead fully
to grasp it. Truly this was a Happy
Thought! On reaching his room he
sent for the Master of the House-
hold.

The Master of the Household, who
presently came blustering in, was a fat,
florid fellow who cared little for dignity
and less for work. When the Lord
Chamberlain offered him half his salary,
on condition of his destroying the
toads, he gave a loud laugh and took
the money.

‘ All right and merry,’ he said, ‘hand
over the cash! T’ll look after your in-
terest just as well as you look after Her
Majesty’s !’

And he ran off to the Clerk Comp-
troller, where he halved the money
again, passing half of it on, together
40 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

with the order about destroying the
toads.

The Clerk Comptroller yawned lazily.
The only thing he cared for in this
world was novel-reading, and he was
just cutting the leaves of a third volume.
But he dared not refuse.

‘Bother them toads!’ he cried, in-
different to grammar. And taking the
money, he did as the Master of the
Household had done; he halved the
sum received, pocketing the one half,
and sent the other half, with the order
to destroy the toads, to the First
Gentleman-in-Waiting.

This First Gentleman was glad
enough of a little money; luck in
cards had lately been against him.
But, as he felt superior to carrying out
the order about the toads in person,
he again handed on the order and
half the money to the Second Gentle-
man-in-Waiting, who in like manner
handed on half of it to the Third.

This went on again and again, first
THE PRINCE :AND THE TOADS 41

above and then below stairs, till two
half-crowns and the order to destroy
the toads in course of time got down
to the scullery-boy. This scullery-boy
was a plucky little fellow. After
scouring his pots and pans, he set
to work that self-same evening and
captured one large toad. But the
evening after, feeling particularly tired,
he laid himself down under a tree and
fell fast asleep.

When the Prince was walking in
the gardens a few days later, he again
came upon a toad. Running home
he bitterly complained to his mother,
who was not a little annoyed. She
adjusted her ruff with dignity, rang
the bell, and called for the attend-
ance of the Lord Chamberlain, Toad-
Destroyer in Ordinary to His Royal
Highness the Prince.

Hereupon there began a running to
and fro along the corridors, a whisper-
ing along the passages.

The Lord Chamberlain sent for the
42 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

Master of the Household, who sent for
the Clerk Comptroller. The Clerk
Comptroller came running into the
ante-room, where the three Gentlemen-
in-Waiting, starting up from the card
table, made off for the steward, who
ran for the valet, who ran for the foot-
man, who ran for the page, who ran
for the scullery-boy.

The whole Royal household was
astir while Her Majesty the Queen
tapped her foot with impatience and
rang the bell four times in succession.

At last the door was thrown open ;
in walked the Lord Chamberlain. In
one hand he held a_ handkerchief
which he pressed to his nose; in the
other, suspended by a short bit of
string, he carried the corpse of a large
squashed toad.

‘Here is the proof that your
Majesty’s orders have been duly carried
out,’ he said, depositing the wretched
corpse at the feet of his Sovereign.

The Queen glanced at the toad.
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 43

‘Take it away!’ she said; ‘have it
buried at once! I don’t care to see
toads, either dead or alive. Take it
away, I tell you!’

The Lord Chamberlain did as he was
bid, smiling agreeably. He spoke
about neglect of duty to the Master of
the Household that evening, but only
got a laugh for his pains.

The story about the halving and
the handing on of the money had got
about. Every one laughed and talked
about it.

The scullery-boy merrily clinked his
two half-crowns when he came across
the page in the hall.

‘The fact is,’ he said, ‘there were
ten of us, besides myself, all working
for half-pay. I got two half-crowns by
the business; shall I tell you how
much the Lord Chamberlain got by it ?’

And he quickly multiplied five
shillings over and over again by two till
he arrived at the sum of two hundred
and fifty-six pounds.
44 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

The page would not believe it.

‘Nonsense,’ he said; ‘I am not
good at arithmetic, but no one will
make me believe that ten times five
shillings is two hundred and fifty-six
pounds. Besides, if the Lord Chamber-
lain got that sum, he began by giving
away half of it to the Master of the
Household.’

‘So he did,’ replied the merry
scullery-boy. ‘There is no help for it
then, I must work the sum out ona
slate.’

The Lord Chamberlain, who had set
the story going, did not like it at all.
But he liked it even less, when a note
from Her Majesty was brought to him
after a little, saying that the double
office was evidently too much for him ;
the Queen desired that the dignity of
Toad-Destroyer in Ordinary should
pass on to the Master of the House-
hold.

At this the Lord Chamberlain was
sorely aggrieved. He had always
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 45

served his Sovereign faithfully, and he
was not aware now that the Master of
the Household had behaved differently
from himself. He took the matter so
much to heart that he brought on a fit
of dyspepsia, which took all the starch
out of his appearance, and made him
look limp and listless. He seemed
so wretched that the Court Physician
ordered him a change to the sea. He
was to eat plenty of green vegetables
to improve his digestion, and he was to
read plenty of comic papers to enliven
his spirits.

Meanwhile the Master of the House-
hold sprinkled a disinfecting powder
about the gardens, with such good
results that the toads altogether de-
serted them. The Prince took his
walks in peace, and the day of his
coming of age drew on apace.

For this occasion grand preparations
were made on all hands. There was
to be a driving in state from the
summer residence into the city, a
46 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

speech from the throne with a banquet
to follow, a gala levee, and a Court
ball in the evening.

Every one in general, and the Queen
in particular, was in a state of flutter
and excitement. On the night previous
to the celebration, the Prince coming
into his mother’s room, found her busy
as she had never been before.

‘The argent trappings are to be put
on the roans,’ she was saying to the
Master of the Horse; ‘the bays are to
wear trappings with gules. My dear
boy,’ she added, turning to her son,
‘is it not time for you to go to bed?’

‘It is not eight o’clock,’ the Prince
said ; ‘it is quite light yet, and I want
to go into the garden. Dear me,
what would become of all these pre-
parations if I were missing to-morrow
morning !’

‘Don’t talk nonsense, Tommy,’ his
mother replied. ‘Give me a kiss, my
boy, and say good-night. It is as well
you should go to hed early to-day.’
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 47

The Prince kissed his mother and
was running down the corridor to the
wing where his rooms lay, when he
passed the open portico which led into
the garden, and the wish to run out
came back to him.

‘Why should I go to bed?’ he said
to himself; ‘the sun is shining, and I
never do before eight o’clock.’

There had been a heavy shower in
the morning; in the afternoon the
weather had cleared. The garden
looked fresh and balmy. Calling to
his spaniel, the Prince ran across the
lawn, and down the shrubbery in the
direction of the park gates. These
stood wide open. Out ran the Prince
with his dog scampering after him,
along a path which led right away to
a piece of meadowland watered ‘by a
stream.

When he recollected himself and
turned back to go home, he could not
remember the way he had come. He
was by the side of the rivulet, but he
48 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

had left the path. When he tried to
retrace his steps, the rivulet seemed to
have overflowed its banks, flooding
the meadows in some places, and
spreading out into a network of tiny
watercourses in others.

In vain the Prince tried to find his
way back; his spaniel seemed equally
at aloss. He ran hither and thither
barking violently, so that it needed
his master’s repeated call to quiet
him.

The Prince was walking round and
round, uncertain of his direction, un-
willing to go through the water, when
he espied a lump of rock standing up
from the meadow just in front of him.
This he determined to climb for an
outlook. With some difficulty he
scrambled up, and sat down to look
round.

Meadowland, pools, and ponds were
about him. A little way farther, and
there was the path leading right away
by the river. The Prince was making
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 49

sure of the direction before leaving the
rock, when his attention was arrested
by what looked like rows of brown
stones rising and moving across the
meadowland. Again the spaniel barked
violently, and then, as if afraid, tried
to leap upon the rack on which sat the
Prince. After several attempts, which
sent him rolling down, he gained the
height, and crouched down beside his
master. g

Daylight was fading ; it was getting
late. The Prince sat motionless, and
gazed in wonder at the moving lumps.
Suddenly he recognised what they
were. Here in this meadowland,
away from the gardens, the toads had
collected which he hated so much,
Here they were, paddling in the
ponds, waddling in the pools, their
crumpled bodies like lumps of brown
stone, their large eyes reflecting the
last rays of daylight.

The Prince was doubting what to
do, when he was startled by a cry.

E
so THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

‘Caught!’ the cry sounded from
the bank of the river; ‘caught’ was
echoed back from the meadow oppo-
site. ‘Caught, caught, caught!’ the
watchword went round from pool to
pool and pond to pond.

A huge frog had alighted on the
path by the river. In a minute he
was joined by another; then came a
third, a fourth, a fifth, A whole band
of frogs before long sat collected on
the bank of the rivulet croaking, some-
times in turns, sometimes all together,
to a tune which sounded in the
Prince’s ears like ‘Caught, caught,
caught !’

The spaniel sat up growling angrily.
The Prince did not stir. It was not
that he felt afraid. As long as he
kept on the rock he was safe out of
reach of these creatures. But how
about going home? How about
crossing the meadow with these frogs
and these toads about? The sun had
set, darkness was closing in. If he
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 51

sat there much longer, the chance
would be altogether gone of finding
his way home.

‘Caught !’ the frogs sang out lustily ;
‘caught, caught, caught!’ each of
them croaked in turn. Yes, there
was no denying it, the Prince felt that
he was taken prisoner. While the
frogs kept up their tune, and the toads
sat making an audience to them, there
was no chance of the Prince’s getting
away.

The last light faded from the sky,
darkness closed in, still the frogs kept
up their concert. Only when night
came did the members of the choir
drop off one by one. The Prince
heard splash after splash as they made
off for the night. Then all was still.
But for the Prince there was no going
home now in the dark. There was
no finding the way back for him even
if he had cared to leave his rocky ele-
vation. He sat still yet awhile, then
drowsiness overcame him and he
52 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

curled himself up. The spaniel’s back
made a resting-place and a pillow.
He nestled against it and was soon
fast asleep.

In the meantime Her Majesty the
Queen was vastly busy. Hour on
hour slipped by while she signed
letters, gave orders, looked over
arrangements, trying in between to get
the speech by heart which she would
make from the throne on the morrow.
Till past midnight there was walk-
ing and talking in the wing of the
building where her rooms lay, while
the silence at the other end of the
corridor in the Prince’s apartments was

scarcely disturbed.
_ There, in the ante-room, the three
Gentlemen-in-Waiting sat, waiting for
the Prince to come to bed.

They were finishing their seventh
rubber when the First Gentleman
spoke:

‘I wonder if Tiny is coming to
bed to-night?’ he said, putting down
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 53

the cards for the Second Gentleman to
cut. Among themselves these gentle-
men always spoke of the Prince as
Tiny.

‘No doubt Tiny’s mamma cannot
come to an end in giving him good
advice,’ replied the Second Gentleman,
who was partner to Dummy, taking up
Dummy’s cards and exposing them.

The Third Gentleman had taken up
his hand and was annoyed by sight of it.

‘I wish you would not talk,’ he
said; ‘it is enough to spoil any one’s
chance of the rubber.’

After that silence reigned again un-
disturbed, while round upon round
brought the cards down on the table.
The Second Gentleman was the one to’
make the odd trick, and he gloated
over it.

The Third Gentleman was propor-
tionately vexed. It was the fourth
rubber which he had lost, and he re-
fused to begin another game.

‘You must play double Dummy if
54 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

you want to go on,’ he said; ‘waiting ©
for Tiny makes me feel as blind and
as deaf as a Dummy myself.’

And he flung himself full length on
the sofa, while the Second Gentleman
lighted himself a cigarette; and the
First Gentleman, having nothing else to
do, opened the door which led into the
corridor, as if his looking for the Prince
would bring him there sooner.

The sight which met his gaze was
wholly unexpected.

In the corridor the page, who sat up
also waiting for the Prince, had yielded
to drowsiness; and the lady’s-maid
coming from the Queen’s apartments,
where she had been dismissed for the
night, found him asleep in his chair.

Now this lady’s-maid was middle-
aged and vain; she thought the page
young and uppish, When she saw
him sitting fast asleep, it struck her
the time had come for her to punish
him for his uppishness and play him a
trick.
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 58

Stealthily she drew his handkerchief
from his pocket, and had succeeded in
winding it round both the page’s leg
and the leg of the chair he was sitting
on, when the First Gentleman’s opening
the door caused the page to start up
and the lady’s-maid to start back.

‘What is this?’ the page exclaimed,
trying to stand up, but feeling himselt
caught by the leg.

‘What is this ?’ the First Gentleman
cried, coming forward and confronting
the lady’s-maid.

The lady’s-maid, who saw there was
no chance of escape, tried to justify
herself.

‘Why is the silly boy up so late?’
she said; ‘Her Majesty would be not
a little annoyed if she knew it.’

‘Why then does Her Majesty keep
her own boy up so late?’ the First
Gentleman said in reply.

“Yes, why does not Tiny come to
bed?’ asked the other two gentlemen,
joining their companion in the corridor.
56 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

‘The Prince is not with the Queen,’
said the lady’s-maid.

‘He certainly is not here,’ the First
Gentleman said in answer.

‘Not here?’ the lady’s-maid cried,
clasping her head.

‘Not here!’ the gentlemen answered,
shaking theirs.

‘But if he is not here, what can
have become of him ?’ the lady’s-maid
exclaimed, more and more alarmed.
‘He was with his mother before eight
o’clock, and said good-night to her.’

‘He certainly did not come to bed,’
the First Gentleman answered ; ‘since
before eight we have sat here waiting
for him,’

A moment of consternation followed.

‘The Queen must be informed,’ the
three gentlemen declared with one
accord.

‘Of course,’ said the lady’s-maid ;
‘but who has the courage to do it?’

They were disputing this point when
the page, who had loosened his leg,

ae
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 57

rushed to the gong. Snatching up the
mallet he beat a sudden and violent
tattoo, that rolled through the castle
like a peal of thunder.

In a moment all the members of the
Royal household were out of their beds.
Seizing any articles of clothing, they
flew down the stairs and crowded into
the corridor.

The Master of the Household was
there first, wrapped in a _ blanket;
behind him ran the valet in a yellow
dressing-gown. The Clerk Comptroller,
forgetting all need of extra clothing,
with the exception of a tie, came run-
ning along in a white garment with two
blue streamers fluttering. The Master
of the Horse rushed in, whip in hand ;
the steward in his hurry had snatched
up a boot-jack. The footmen came
on the scene struggling into their coats,
the maids hung over the banisters
afraid of showing their curl-papers.

All the members of the household
were assembled, shouting and calling
58 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

to each other that the Prince was
missing, when Her Majesty the Queen
suddenly stood confronting them.

Was there ever, would there ever be
again, the sight of such a levee in un-
dress !

It took some minutes to make clear
the cause of the alarm; then the sug-
gestions as to the Prince’s whereabouts
were of the wildest.

‘He may be on the roof star-gazing,’
said one.

‘He may be in the fields hay-making,’
said another.

_ ‘He may be in the parlour tea-
drinking,’ said a third.

‘And to-morrow the day of the
coronation!’ cried the lady’s-maid,
bursting into tears. ‘A coronation
without a king! Hu, hu, hu—u!’

‘No,’ Her Majesty’s voice rose above
the tumult, ‘nothing of the sort!
The Prince knows better than to go
star-gazing this time of night. He
spoke of going into the garden; he
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 359

has run out and lost his way. Mem-
bers of my household, arm yourselves
with links, lanterns, and torches! I
command a thorough search of the
country around in a circuit of seven
miles before break of day.’

A quarter of an hour later the gar-
dens and the park were alive with
moving lights and torches borne aloft.
The thought of a coronation without a
king had struck a chill to every breast ;
if the Prince were missing on the
morrow, it would be eternal disgrace to
the nation.

There was no question now of pass-
ing on work to some one else; every
member of the household exerted him-
self in person, regardless alike of dew,
damp, and darkness.

It was the scullery-boy on whose
efforts success smiled again. It was
his whistle which made the Prince’s
spaniel start up and send an answering
bark ; it was his call which roused the
Prince from his slumbers.
60 THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS

A little while afterwards and the
Clerk Comptroller caught sight of the
two boys, trudging through the wet
with the dog behind them, the scullery-
boy leading the Prince by the hand.
The Clerk Comptroller no sooner saw
them than he rushed on the Prince,
seized him in his arms, and bore him
off in triumph, leaving the scullery-boy
and the spaniel to follow.

Little remains to be told.

When the Queen saw her son safe,
she wept tears of joy; when she heard
about the toads, she frowned on the
Master of the Household with such
displeasure that he knew it meant loss
of his office to him.

On the following day the coronation
took place with all splendour; the
festivities followed each other in due
course, and the nation rejoiced at the
sight of their King.

One of the first acts of the new
King was to promote the scullery-boy
to a post of honour, A few weeks
THE PRINCE AND THE TOADS 61

later, when the Lord Chamberlain
returned from the sea, little benefited
by his stay, the new King summoned
him.

‘I wish you to reassume the office of
Toad-Destroyer in Ordinary,’ he said.
‘It is not that I want you to do any
work ; it is no use trying to do away
altogether with unpleasant things; I
mean to leave them to themselves as
much as possible. But my mother the
Queen created the office; rather than
let it drop I will make it a sinecure.
Draw your salary every quarter, and
let me see you regain your health
speedily !’

The smile and the bow alone with
which the Lord Chamberlain received
the news were tokens of his speedy
recovery. A fortnight later he was as
graceful and elastic in his bearing as
ever.

But the page is still meditating dire
revenge on the lady’s-maid who tied
him to a chair by the leg.




HOW THE SPIRIT FOUGHT
THE CAT

: HE wings of the Spirits who
live up in heaven are
white and downy, but the

Spirits who dwell on earth
have wings that are dusky and mem-
branous.

There was once an earth-born Spirit
who wished to know about heavenly
things. In the evening when his
day’s work was done, he fluttered on
to a house-top, and there he would sit,
with his back against a stack of chim-
neys, and his dark wings drooping,
wondering if ever he should get to

CON
THE SPIRIT AND THE CAT 63

know about heaven, and find out what
angels were like.

An old Bat who lived near some-
times came hovering round and talked
to him. The Bat thought himself
‘mighty wise, so that the Spirit was glad
to listen to the Bat, and asked him
what he had to say about heaven.

The Bat thought it foolish to think
about heaven at all.

“Why should you trouble about what
is so far off?’ he said. ‘When I was
young I used to wonder if the moon
liked growing round and thin again,
and if the stars could be swallowed
like fire-flies. But nothing ever came
of it. Now I think about real things
and find that it answers much better.’

It was on a moonlight night that the
Bat first spoke to the Spirit. He had
watched him before, but had never
come near to him. To-night he had
come out earlier than usual, and was
poking about some chimneys in search
of food, when he caught sight of the
64 HOW THE SPIRIT

Spirit on the house-top creeping along
the gutter. The Bat was no larger
than a good-sized rat; the Spirit was
about. as big as a small child. But
because the Spirit looked so different
from himself, the Bat thought him a
silly little thing.

Now the earth-born Spirit had been
wishing for some time to make friends
with the birds. He fancied that these
soft creatures with their feathery wings
might know about angels whose wings
are feathery also.

But the birds never stayed when
they saw the Spirit come near. Maybe
they felt afraid of his curly hair and
dark wings; maybe his coming up re-
minded them it was near bed-time.
The moment they caught sight of him
out on the roof, one of them gave a
warning cry, and then the whole
feathered troop went sailing away into
the sky. The Spirit sat far down
near the chimneys wondering if he
should ever make friends with them.
FOUGHT THE CAT 65

On this special evening the Spirit
had determined on a stratagem: he
meant to take the birds by surprise.
Instead of fluttering over the roof as
he usually did, he came creeping along
the gutter, and it was then that the
Bat stayed to watch him.

The birds had collected along the
parapet ; the gutter was hidden from
their view. Cautiously the Spirit crept
along, his heart going wildly pit-a-pat
with expectation. Already he was
close to the birds ; he could hear them
chirping and chattering on the farther
side of the chimney-stack. He paused
for a moment to listen. Then he
grasped the brickwork and curled his
body round the corner. He nodded
his head and said politely :

‘Good evening! I hope I am not
disturbing you !’

But the moment the birds heard
him they spread their wings and were
gone. There was a whirring of wings,
a swishing of feathers, and the Spirit

F
66 HOW THE SPIRIT

stood sadly gazing at the empty parapet
while they were already far away in the
sky.

It was then that the Bat wheeled
nearer, and turning to the Spirit said:

‘Some folks are as rude as they are
scatter-brained !’

The Spirit looked up wonderingly ;
he was surprised to find himself
addressed by the Bat.

‘Yes,’ said the Bat, ‘not every one
has good breeding. Birds are terribly
wanting in that respect.’

‘But they are so beautiful,’ the
Spirit said. :

‘Beautiful!’ exclaimed the Bat in
surprise.

‘Yes, and they sing so prettily; I
love to listen to them,’ said the Spirit.

‘I have listened to them over and.
over again,’ said the Bat with disgust ;
‘they never said anything I could
remember.’

‘Perhaps your memory is not good,’
the Spirit said.
FOUGHT THE CAT 67

‘Nonsense,’ the Bat cried, ‘my
memory! Why, don’t you know that
I spend the livelong day hanging by
my claws with my head down? There
is nothing like that for improving one’s
memory. Things sink into the mind
of themselves.’

‘Do they indeed?’ asked the Spirit.

‘Yes, said the Bat; ‘you hang
there thinking and thinking, till one
day you are surprised to find yourself
grown so wise. In the days of my
youth I used to oil my wings with
scented pomatum ; I gave up swallow-
ing gnats that my voice might im-
prove. Now I care no more for such
vanities. I am content to think, think,
think; it makes you feel so superior,
you know.’

After that an evening rarely went
by but the Bat came to talk to the
Spirit. Sometimes he called out a
few words to him from afar; sometimes
he squatted on the roof and talked by
the hour together. At times he was
68 HOW THE SPIRIT

dismal, but at times he was funny.
He laughed at the Spirit, and made
fun of his interest in the birds. The
Spirit, who did not care to have the
birds made fun of, began to tease the
Bat in return. The Bat, he soon found
out, was terribly afraid of cats; to
think of a cat was enough to make
him tremble with fear. So when the
Bat began talking of the birds, and
imitated their chirping in his squeaking
voice, the Spirit would sometimes give
a gentle mew. This sent the Bat
flying off the roof in a state of great
excitement ; he tried to be angry, but
the Spirit only laughed.

For some time the weather had
been damp and gusty; the Bat, who
hated wet, had not ventured from
home. Coming out again on a fine
clear evening, he was nearing the
chimney stack when he caught sight
of the Spirit making signs to him from
afar. He pointed up, he pointed
down, then he laid his finger on his
FOUGHT THE CAT 69

lips as though begging for silence,
The Bat flitted near without uttering a
sound; he could not think what was
going on.

‘Hush,’ the Spirit whispered, ‘ hush,
be sure you don’t squeak. Two spar-
rows have built a nest on the edge of
the roof, just behind the chimney; I
could not bear to have them scared.
The hen bird is sitting on the eggs
now; her mate is close by in the ivy.
Sit quite near to me and don’t talk
too loud.’

‘Birds again,’ said the Bat drily,
squatting on the roof over against the
Spirit ; ‘what do I care for birds?’

‘I know,’ said the Spirit, ‘but you
will be quiet to please me, I feel sure.
It was most exciting watching them
build the nest ; now they have laid four
little eggs inside. It is some time
since the hen bird began to sit on
them. How soon do you think that
the young will be hatched ?’

‘How should I know?’ said the
jo HOW THE SPIRIT

Bat; ‘that is not the way I should
care to bring up a family. I don’t see
the use of troubling to build a nest.’

‘But don’t you think it very won-
derful ?’ asked the Spirit.

‘Building a nest? I think it a
stupid habit,’ the Bat said. ‘Hens
‘lay their eggs in the sand, and it does
quite as well. If you or I set to
building a nest, fancy how ridiculous !’

He laughed at the thought, and the
Spirit laughed also.

‘What distresses me,’ the Spirit said
presently, ‘is that this nest is in a ter-
ribly exposed situation.’

‘ All the better for you, if you want
to watch what is going on inside,’ said
the Bat.

‘I was not thinking of that,’ said
the Spirit, ‘but of the possible danger,
Fancy what it might be if the Cat
found her way up here! I saw the
monster with the green eyes come
prowling along the lower roof yester-
day. The birds were quite still, so
FOUGHT THE CAT 71

presently she walked away, but at any
time she may come back.’

‘I wish you would not talk of cats,’
said the Bat rather angrily. ‘I hate
them even more than I do those silly
birds.’

‘Very well,’ said the Spirit ; ‘let us
talk of what interests you. How is
the young lady-bat with the lovely
pink ears?’

Three days later, when the Bat again
came to see the Spirit, he found him
even more excited, for the birds were
now hatched. But the Cat had again
been about on the lower roof; the
Spirit was planning how to protect the
birds against her in case she found her
way up to them. The Bat in vain
tried to persuade his friend it was best
not to interfere.

‘Birds are silly things,’ he said,
‘why think about protecting them?
Besides, it is natural for cats to eat
birds’

‘Natural indeed !’ cried the Spirit ;
72 HOW THE SPIRIT

‘I wonder how you would like it if I
said it was natural for cats to devour
young lady-bats with pink ears,’

This made the Bat give a nervous
shake to his wings.

‘You are always so personal in your
remarks,’ he said ; ‘the fair Battina can
take care of herself, I hope; at least
she won’t have me to take care of her.’

And presently he added: ‘ Besides,
if you wanted to help the birds, I
don’t see how you could.’

‘I shall begin setting up a fortifica-
tion to-morrow,’ said the Spirit; ‘and
if the worst comes to the worst, I shall
fight the Cat.’

The Bat looked more frightened
and nervous than ever. ‘It would be
worse than for a man to fight a lion,’
he said.

And he tried to persuade the Spirit
that it was folly to attempt it. But
the Spirit only laughed, and said his
mind was made up.

The following night was wet again,
FOUGHT THE CAT 73

so was the next one. Several days
went by before the Bat could come
out. He was anxious to know about
his friend, and came there straight
on the first clear evening ; the sight
which met his eyes was indeed a sur-
prise.

On the roof near the parapet there
was visible through the twilight a mass
of branches and brambles; they were
stacked up in a heap, and a broom-
stick tied about with rags, with a bat-
tered hat atop of them, stood straight
up in their midst like a great scare-
crow. A piece of hoarding rested
against the chimney; a wooden shutter,
a packing-case, and a bundle of sticks
were placed there too. Behind the
sticks and the hoarding sat the Spirit
in his usual corner, but he was sur-
rounded by weapons. On one side,
ready to hand, lay a large wooden
skewer ; on the other side was placed a
painting brush and a large pot of
white paint. A stick lay there also,
74, HOW THE SPIRIT

and resting against the Spirit’s knees
lay the lid of a hamper, a large wicker
lid, which he held like a shield.

‘TI dragged everything out of a loft
close by, which they use as a lumber-
room,’ he explained to the Bat, ‘What
do you think of the preparations?
How do you like the barricade?’

The Bat trembled with. fear, but
tried to conceal it. He gave a squeak,
and said: ‘It looks as though you
were setting up in the second-hand
line.’

The Spirit looked at him and
laughed. ‘Do I look like a pawn-
broker? Sit down; let us have a
quiet talk. The Cat was really here
last night.’

The Cat had been there, it seemed,
and had sniffed at the fortifications ;
the little birds in the nest had twit-
tered while she was there, and the
Spirit felt sure she would come back
to-night,

It was with difficulty that he per-
FOUGHT THE CAT 75

suaded the Bat to squat on the leads
and talk to him quietly. They had
not been talking for many minutes
when the Spirit started, and the Bat
jerked himself from the leads, giving a
violent squeak.

‘ There she is, there she is!’ he cried
out; ‘take care, she may get hold of
you.’

The next moment the scarecrow
with its rags came down with a crash
on the roof: the Cat had jumped on
it from behind. It fell down together
with her, and she lay sprawling among
the bushes on the leads, yelling with
rage at feeling the thorns in her fur.

The Spirit at once rushed to the
attack. Covering himself with his
shield, and grasping the skewer, he
made a dash straight at the Cat. The
Cat in an instant was on her legs
spitting and hissing; when the Spirit
came upon her she bounced off to the
side, Again the Spirit rushed at her,
again she sprang away. There she
76 HOW THE SPIRIT

stood fiercely hissing, with her body
curved into a great arch. Her tail
stuck up straight, with its tip waving
in the air. Her black fur was brist-
ling, sparks flashed from her eyes.
Never before had the Spirit faced such
a foe.

But nothing daunted he grasped his
shield firmer, and rushing at her made
a bold thrust at her with the skewer.
As he came upon her she again
bounded from him, jerking herself into
the air from all her four paws at once.
The Spirit rushed at her from in front ;
he tried to get a side thrust at her.
The Cat bounded up and bounded
round like an indiarubber ball. Every
time the Spirit made a thrust at her
the Cat evaded the threatening skewer ;
every time he rushed at her she
bounded round, bringing her green
eyes right in front of him again.

For some time this went on, the
Spirit making thrusts and the Cat
evading them. Once only the skewer
FOUGHT THE CAT 77

caught the Cat in her side, and large
drops of blood came oozing out on her
coat. But once also the Cat caught
the Spirit by the wing with her fangs ;
the Spirit jumped away, but there was
a large hole ripped in his wing.

The Cat was the stronger—the Spirit
began to feel it; going round and
round in this way he felt he must tire
first. So he cast aside the skewer and
took up the stick; it was long and
heavy, he could barely lift it with one
hand.

The Cat also at once changed her
tactics. Jumping at the shield of the
Spirit, she dug into it with her claws.
She pulled at it, she tugged at it, she
tried to wrench it away from the
Spirit; and hanging on to it by the
whole weight of her body, she tried
to drag it to the ground.

In vain the Spirit pulled his shield ;
in vain he tried to shake off the hold
which the Cat had got of it He
dealt her a blow from the side with
78 HOW THE SPIRIT

his stick, and caught her in the leg,
causing her to give a fierce yell. But
she had got a firm grasp of the shield,
and would not be made to let go.
The Spirit staggered with her pulling,
righted himself, again staggered. At
last he was firm again on his feet, but
the Cat had not let go.

Again they went round and round,
the Cat hissing and pulling. The Spirit
staggered but stood; he could hardly
lift the stick any more. Suddenly the
Cat, with a fierce yell, thrust a fore-paw
over the edge of the wicker shield.
She scratched four deep lines right
across the Spirit’s hand.

It was then that the Bat hovered
near, wildly squeaking, and that the
birds, roused from their slumbers,
came flying round and joined in his
cries.

The Cat’s blood was up; her fierce-
ness was at its highest; noise and
shrieks had no effect on her. With a
spring she fixed her hindpaws also




FIGHT BETWEEN THE SPIRIT AND THE CAT.
FOUGHT THE CAT 79

into the wicker shield ; down it came
with a crash, bringing the Spirit to the
ground. ,

But the Spirit was up again in a
twinkling. He let the shield lie, and
rushed for the pot of paint. With the
clear sight of desperation he dipped
the brush far into it; grasping it with
both hands he held it before him, drip-
ping with paint.

The Cat shook her claws free from
the wicker- work, then she turned and
came straight at the Spirit. But as
she rushed at him wildly she was met
by the brush full of paint thrust straight
into her face. She drew back, hissing
and spitting, and shaking her head.
Again the dripping brush was thrust
right into her face; the paint choking
and disgusting and well-nigh blinding
her.

Once more she bounded back, and
then jumped straight at the Spirit. She
caught the brush between her -teeth,
trying to wrench it away. But the
80 HOW THE SPIRIT

taste of the paint was too nasty. Pro-
voked beyond endurance, she let go.
One loud fierce yell she gave, shaking
her dripping face, then she finally
turned tail and scampered off the battle-
field, dragging her disabled limb after
her.

The Spirit sank back on the roof;
he was half-dead with exhaustion. The
Bat and the sparrows came hovering
near. They spoke to him, and fanned
his face with their wings, trying to
revive him. At last he sat up and
opened his eyes.

‘I feel better,’ he said ; ‘thank you,
I feel much better. It was a splendid
fight. And has she really gone?’

‘Gone, and for good,’ said the Bat
with enthusiasm. ‘You behaved like a
hero ; I congratulate you.’

‘It was the paint-brush that did it,’
the Spirit said gleefully. He sank back
on the roof and again closed his eyes.

‘Yes,’ the Bat said to the birds, ‘it
was a splendid fight, a glorious fight.
FOUGHT THE CAT 81

Those silly little ones of yours are
hardly worth taking such trouble for.’

‘Oh, our poor little darlings, our
poor helpless dear little darlings,’ the
sparrows twittered ; ‘they are learning
to fly, they will soon be able to fly,
and then they shall leave this cruel
wicked place. They shall all go, and
never, never come back again.’

‘All the better,’ said the Bat; ‘we
have had enough of stupid nest-build-
ing up here. And now,’ he added,
‘you had better go back to those silly
little darlings. Leave this hero to be
tended and watched over by me.’

And he proceeded to rub some oil
off his wings on the Spirit’s scratches.
He begged him to go to sleep, and
promised to stay the night. The Spirit
readily curled up against the wicker
shield ; but a little while and he was
fast asleep.

It was towards the morning that a
wonderful dream came to him, a dream
such as he never had after or before.

G
82 HOW THE SPIRIT

Round and round and round about
him a feathered troop went sailing,
nearer and nearer and nearer they
came till he heard the sound and felt
the fanning of their wings. He knew
they were not birds, but large white-
winged angels, who smiled at him, and
greeted him, and began singing a song.

Already they were so close to him
that he thought he could distinguish
the words they were singing, when he
opened his eyes and was dazzled by
the morning sun. Over against him
on the leads squatted the Bat, nodding
and napping, but around the whole
parapet was crowded with birds. In
long lines they sat waiting for the Spirit
to awaken ; when they saw him open
his eyes, they burst into jubilant song.
Lustily they went on chanting a hymn
of triumph, a regular peean, while the
Bat did his best to hold open his blink-
ing eyes. Then they came round the
_ Spirit and thanked him, in the name of
the whole feathered tribe, for his
FOUGHT THE CAT 83

doughty deed. They twittered so
much about courage and bravery that
the Bat began to think some of it must
be meant for himself. Indeed he felt —
the events of the evening so much to
his credit, that when he talked of them
to the pink-eared Battina, she thought
more of him than she had ever done
before.

The Spirit and the birds remained
fast friends ever afterwards. The Cat
was never seen again on that roof.








THE BANISHED PRINCESS

I

T’S a dreadful shame,’ the
| Princess cried, rushing
(G into the room and fling-
ing herself into a chair ;
‘thirteen years old and engaged to be
married. Oh, it is horrible having
one’s birthday spoilt in this way !’
Lady Begum crossed the room,
picked up the Princess’s handkerchief,
and smoothed down her skirts.
‘Thirteen years old, and your
Highness tumbles her clothes like a
child!’
‘What do I care?’ the Princess cried,


THE BANISHED PRINCESS 85

giving another kick; ‘a child? I
don’t mean to be anything else!’

Just then a flourish of trumpets
sounded in the courtyard. Lady Be-
gum opened the lattice and bent out
to see what was going on.

A gay troop of horsemen were crowd-
ing into the courtyard. Presently voices
became audible above the clatter of the
hoofs.

‘ Delighted, delighted, said a small
piping voice.

‘So am I, quite delighted,’ said a
young strong one. ‘And how about
the Princess ?’

‘She, too, is delighted, delighted,’
piped the small voice; ‘just now gone
to her rooms to prepare to receive you.’

‘What a sham and a cram,’ the
Princess said disdainfully, ‘when it is
nothing but a conspiracy to rob me of
my rights. You need not start, Begum,
and get redder in the face than usual.
My father was King; he died, and my
uncle succeeded to the throne when it
86 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

was really my turn. That was a wicked
thing to do, for there is no Salic Law
in this country. But I suppose, be-
cause I was a baby, no one interfered
in my behalf I see through it all
since I know more of history.’

‘Dear, dear, dear,’ cried Lady Be-
gum, ‘I never approved of girls learning
so much !’

‘Ves, Begum ; and that is his son to
whom they want to marry me convenient way, no doubt, to usurp all
my rights |’

‘How the child does talk!’ Lady
Begum said, and took her smelling-
bottle from her reticule. She held it
to her nose, and replaced it with care.

Presently she said: ‘ The reception
and banquet are fixed for five o'clock.
It is time for you to think of getting
ready.’

So it is,’ cried the Princess ; ‘where
have you got my large French wax
dolli?—the one your little nieces
played with when they came.’
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 87

Lady Begum opened her small eyes
as far as they could go.

‘My large doll with the lace frock,’
the Princess repeated. ‘I shall take
the twin babies, too, but I can find
those myself.’

She bounded to a drawer and
fetched out two pink-faced dolls dressed
in blue.

‘ There,’ she said, setting them side
by side in the arm-chair. ‘If I keep
in the company of these and the
French doll, I am sure to do well—

* Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks’ ;

see if I don’t do it, Begum.’

And taking up a book, one of her
birthday presents, she stretched herself
full length on the hearthrug and fell to
reading.

Lady Begum fetched the French doll
and put her in the arm-chair by the side
of the babies. Then she began to ex-
postulate on the need of getting dressed.
88 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

‘The embroidery of the train of the
new dress is really most tasteful,’ she
said, ‘and now that you are turned
thirteen your hair must be done up.’

The Princess was leaning on her
elbows with her hands to her ears.

‘You must be sure to walk slowly
so as not to tumble the train,’ Lady
Begum went on talking. ‘Why, I too
wore a long dress at thirteen, and
didn’t I feel proud.’

Instead of answering, the Princess
gave a toss to her mop of hair.

‘Wearing your hair on the top of
your head will make such a difference !
I shouldn’t wonder if the Court thought
you quite grown-up.’

Presently the Princess looked up,
laughed, and said, ‘Are you in a pet,
Begum ??

‘I am afraid it is you, Princess,’
was that lady’s reply.

‘Not yet, but I shall be if you go on
talking like this. Train down, and hair
up, and train again! It is no use
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 89

stopping my ears, I hear you all the
same. Now, if you go on like this I
shall believe that you too are in the
conspiracy: conspirators always begin
by bribing people all round. I read
that too inthe history book the other
day. Now, don’t you listen to. them,
Begum, if they come round bribing
you.’

Lady Begum gave a nervous twitch
to her reticule. ‘I’m sure it isn’t
money I want,’ she said pettishly.
And turning about she walked out of
the room.

At five o’clock the Court had as-
sembled in the reception hall. On a
chair of state sat the King; his son,
holding a feathered cap in his hand,
stood by his side. Ladies with high
fuzzy head-dresses and rustling gowns
moved about, handling their fans and
chatting to courtiers, when the door
was flung open and Princess Hyld was
announced.

She came in in her short frock, with
go THE BANISHED PRINCESS

her mane of hair about her shoulders,
carrying two dolls in one arm and one
in the other. She smiled and nodded
to the ladies as she came forward to
curtsey to the King.

‘My congratulations .. .’ the Prince
began, stepping forward.

‘Yes,’ she interrupted him, ‘it is
kind of you to arrive to-day. So far
it has been a very pleasant birthday.
I have had a number of beautiful
presents.’

‘These too?’ the Prince asked,
motioning to the dolls.

‘No,’ she replied, ‘I had no dolls
given me to-day. I suppose people
think I am too old to care for them
now. But J don’t mean to neglect my
old darlings just yet.’

‘I too. . .’ saidthe Prince, beckon-
ing to his page; ‘a small gift...
And he opened a velvet case, in which
lay a necklace of five rows of pearls.

‘How kind of you,’ cried the Prin-
cess, ‘how I shall like to wear them
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 9

when I am older. Not but that I am
almost as tall as you now.’

And she chatted on gaily, laughing
when the Prince felt shy of holding a
doli while she took the necklace.

‘Why,’ she cried, ‘are you still so
much of a boy that you are afraid of
holding a doll?’

Two ladies who stood by tittered,
and the courtiers who looked on‘found
it hard to keep their countenance. But
the prince gallantly held out his arm
for the doll, while Hyld took the neck-
lace from its case, greatly admiring it.

The Prince was a pleasant-faced
youth with his moustache just showing.
He had been travelling abroad for his
education ; Hyld had not seen him for
three years. She had always been fond
of him, though she enjoyed the fun
of teasing him. But the Prince was so
good-natured that he did not mind.
They stood together now, laughing
and chatting; after not meeting for so
long there seemed so much to say.
92 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

The King, seated on his chair, had
beckoned to Lady Begum. ‘Why on
earth,’ he began in his piping voice,
the rest of what he said being lost in a
squeak.

Lady Begum looked helpless, and
had recourse to her reticule.

‘ After this the announcement. . .’
the King piped angrily. ‘Treason
among my subjects . . . no, it is no
laughing matter ;’ and again what he
said was audible to none but her.

The doors leading from the hall
were now thrown open. His Majesty,
leaning on the arm of a courtier, led
the way into the banqueting-hall. The
Prince walked by the side of Hyld,
who had given up her dolls and
present ; ladies and courtiers followed
them two and two. Lady Begum
walked by the side of Sir Nolan de
Balbrigg, a courtier plump as a dump-
ling, whose legs, cased in blue hose,
seemed in danger every moment of
giving way beneath his weight.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 93

‘In a regular fizz,’ he said, winking
one eye in the direction of His Majesty.

‘A fizz?? said Lady Begum. ‘I don’t
understand slang, Sir Nolan.’

‘Very well, then, nursing his dol-
drums, putting up his monkey; it all
comes to the same,’ was Sir Nolan’s
reply. ‘Now there’s nothing I enjoy
like seeing the toils spread, but when
it comes to marrying off a child

. no, I’m not saying anything,’ he
said, feeling himself nudged in the side
by his fair companion ; ‘we all know
what the King’s up to, I suppose.
Why not call a spade a spade, and
His Majesty’s usurpation perfection?
Though for my part I have not cut my
wisdom teeth if that girl’s spirit is not
sure to carry her through. Ah, what a
nosegay of turtle-soup and cherry-pie !
My stars! If I weren’t a courtier 1
should like to be a cook !’

The banquet was set forth with
elegance and splendour. Venison and
game, greenmeats and sweetmeats,
94 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

pies and pastries, tarts and tartlets, all
good things were there one reads of in
story-books. ‘The dishes were handed
by light-legged pages, and all partook
heartily of the good cheer. Allalong the
table there was talk and good-humour ;
all were happy save only the King.

His Majesty sat with two servants
behind him. The servant on his right
served him from each dish that was
handed, the servant on his left remov-
ing the plate with the food on it
scarcely touched.

The fact was the King this time was
seriously put out. He had got a speech
by heart in which to propose the
health of Hyld, coupling the toast
with the announcement of her impend-
ing marriage to his son the Prince.

He was going to put it so neatly, her
being grown-up now and endeared to
them all, and her always having been
attached to her cousin. For the
thought of her union to his son had
been in the King’s mind for years.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 95

He was a fond father, determined to
secure to his son the throne he had
himself appropriated.. And this would
be accomplished simply and definitely
’ by uniting him to the Princess.

But what was he todo now? Could
he talk of the marriage of a girl who
carried about dolls? The King felt
that to deliver the speech he had pre-
pared was to run the risk of bringing
ridicule on himself. In all the years
he had ruled, the King had not learned
to be indifferent to what his courtiers
thought of him. He was well enough
informed to know that some were ready
to criticise his doings severely.

But the speech, the speech! It had
taken him the whole forenoon to go
over and rehearse it. Now he must
say something different and say it at a
moment’s notice, and he had only this
one speech by heart! There was no
way out of it. It was Hyld’s birthday,
her health must be proposed. But the
longer the banquet lasted, the more
96 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

incapable the King felt of making a
speech at all.

When the soup was handed he
gulped down a few spoonfuls, thinking
he might manage it. When the fish
patties were put before him he angrily
poked at them with his fork, feeling he
had nothing to say. The roast, and
the boiled, and the stew he let pass
disdainfully. With the odour of the
cherry-pie came a brilliant thought.

Why not call on the Lord Chancellor
to make the speech of the day for him?
What was the use of dependants if
they could not do your work for you at
a pinch P

This thought so relieved the King
that he gobbled up the cherries rapidly.
The servant on his right helped him
to more, but the servant on his left
trembled lest he should choke with
the stones.

In the meantime Sir Nolan de Bal-
brigg was keeping his end of the table
lively.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 97

‘An Ax little sausage,’ he said, hold-
ing up one on a fork. And turning to
Lady Begum: ‘Have you heard the
crack recipe for making a fortune in
sausages—in pork sausages, I mean?’

‘Cats,’ a courtier suggested who was
sitting opposite.

‘Partly,’ said Sir Nolan. ‘This is the
recipe. You begin by buying a pig in
a poke with open eyes, which is not at
all easy. And then, whatever you do
when you're alone, don’t let the cat out
of the bag when any one is by.’

‘Ha, ha, ha!’ the courtiers laughed
who sat opposite. But Lady Begum
looked severe and said:

‘Now, is that common sense?’

‘Uncommon sense, I. should say,’
cried a bright-eyed lady who sat on the
other side of Sir Nolan. And again
every one laughed.

‘Did you hear how young De Courcy
was roasted the other day,’ asked Sir
Nolan, ‘when he called on Sir Toulmin
de Falaise about the post of equerry ?

H
98 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

Sir Toulmin was seedy and living on
sops, but knowing how poor De Courcy
is, and how devoted to Bacchus, he
ordered up a bottle of Burgundy and
pressed De Courcy to drink.’

‘Very kind and considerate of him,’ .
said Lady Begum.

‘Very,’ said the courtier ; ‘and how
did it go on?’

‘Well,’ said Sir Nolan, ‘De Courcy
drank one glass and begged to be let
off. But Sir Toulmin pressed him,
saying it would cost him his good
graces if he did not drink. Then De
Courcy got up and said he had thought
better of it; he did not care for the
appointment any more.’

‘Had the wine made him tipsy?’
asked the lady with the bright eyes.

‘Tipsy! One glass!!’? Lady Begum
said disdainfully.

‘But how did it go on?’ asked the
courtier ; ‘how did it go on?’

‘Well,’ said Sir Nolan, ‘the page
took the bottle and at once smelt
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 99

something was wrong. And what do
you think he found inside? Not the
ordinary candle-ends,’

‘I cannot think,’ said the bright-
eyed lady.

‘Nothing less than a black-beetle
launched into eternity,’ said Sir Nolan.

‘Excellent !’ cried the courtier.

‘ How nasty !’ said Lady Begum.

‘Not at all, it was delicious,’ said
Sir Nolan——‘for the black-beetle, of
course. Fancy drinking oneself to
death in Burgundy !’

‘Dear, dear, dear, how you do talk,’
said Lady Begum.

‘You are right, my tongue is running
away with me; I must devote myself
to the kickshaws!’ replied Sir Nolan.
And he helped himself to four mer-
ingues, and stuck his spoon into the
sugar crust of one, so that it cracked
right across.and bounded off his plate.

The pudding stage had come, and
with it the time for the toasts. The
King whispered to the Lord Chancellor,
100 §©=9THE BANISHED PRINCESS

who sat by him, and the Lord Chan-
cellor rose to his feet. When quite a
young man he had devoted himself to
studying a book of set speeches, so as
to be able always to say the right thing
at the right time. And so he did now.

‘He spoke for some minutes with a
flow of words which every one thought
agreeable, and no one could follow.
And he ended by bowing to Hyld,
pledging her in the name of His
Majesty, who, he said, felt slightly
indisposed to-day.

The King felt relieved, but only for
a minute. When the Lord Chancellor
sat down and he saw Hyld get up to
reply, he sat with bated breath, mur-
muring, ‘Dreadful child!’ — .

‘T thank the Lord Chancellor,’ Hyld
said; ‘he is very kind. I am pleased
with my birthday-party. I thank him
for proposing my health. They want
me to be grown-up to-day, but at thir-
teen I don’t feel I want to rule my
kingdom. My uncle, who is so kind
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 101

as to rule for me, will go on a little
longer, I am sure.’

‘Go on a little longer?’ stammered

the King, sinking back in his chair.

i ‘Yes,’ Hyld went on speaking; ‘I
hope to succeed my papa very soon.
But until I am rather older it seems
folly to attempt to be Queen.’

‘Queen?’ gasped the King, looking
wilder and wilder.

All the others were struck silent ;
one might have heard a pin drop.
Lady Begum sat spell-bound, fright-
ened at the noise her teeth made in
a piece of meringue crust. Courtiers
and ladies alike were amazed at the
Princess’s boldness; courtiers and ladies
alike sat staring at their plates.

‘Shall I wind up by proposing your
health?’ Hyld asked in a lowered
voice, turning to her cousin.

‘I think you might,’ the Prince
answered, who felt vastly amused.

‘Very well. And I want to say
how glad I am the Prince has arrived
toz THE BANISHED PRINCESS

to-day. And I rise to propose his
health !

When Hyld finished speaking for a
moment no one stirred. But the Lord
Chancellor, recalling his book of set
speeches, with great presence of mind
pushed back his plate and stood up.

‘I second the toast!’ he cried ; and
with a loud voice he began singing—

‘For he’s a jolly good fellow !
For he’s a jolly good fellow !’

‘For he’s a jolly good fellow!’ the
courtiers joined in; ‘and so say all of
us !?

‘With a hip, hip, hip, hurrah! with
a hip, hip, hip, hurrah!’ shouted Sir
Nolan.

And by the time three-times-three
was over, thé company had regained
their cheerfulness.

But His Majesty the King, changing
from the white of dismay to the purple
of rage, had risen from the banquet,
and, leaning on a courtier’s arm, walked
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 103

away straight into the council cham-
ber. There he sank down on a velvet
chair. He sent for the Lord Chan-
cellor, for the Prince, for Lady Begum,
for his ministers.

‘Treason, sedition, disobedience !’
he squeaked ; ‘the girl to talk of her
kingdom, to talk of being Queen in her
own right! J must be calm, I will be
calm ; the situation requires it.’

But really he was more and more
boiling over with rage.

‘ Disgraceful, scandalous, for a woman
to speak in public,’ he cried to Lady
Begum. ‘Now, don’t you say it isn’t
your fault. That girl’s behaviour is a
disgrace to your sex !?

Lady Begum had her smelling-bottle
out in a moment.

‘Unreasonable, stupid chit of a girl,’
he cried to his ministers. ‘Now, don’t
you pretend that she has any claim or
any right of her own !’

The ministers said nothing, and
bowed their heads in acquiescence.
1og = LHE BANISHED PRINCESS

‘I have a good mind to send for her
and marry her to you on the spot,’ he
cried to the Prince. ‘Now, don’t you
say no! I command, and you obey!’

‘But what if ske says no?’ the Prince
replied. ‘Supposing that she refuses
to marry me, what then?’

His father stared at him open-
mouthed. ‘Dreadful child!’ he mur-
mured. ‘Quite true, after that begin-
ning she is capable of any wickedness !’

Lady Begum urged that kindness
was the best way of dealing with her.

‘Yes,’ said the Lord Chancellor ; ‘I
also feel sure that the best thing to do
is to divert her mind. My youngest
daughter, too, at one time got hold of
new-fangled notions. She talked of
women’s rights, and women’s claims,
and what not. But we gave her a
lot of the gewgaws and knick-knacks
young ladies delight in, and her sense
of duty gradually came back.’

‘All right,’ piped the King; ‘kind-
ness shall do it. She shall go on a
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 105

holiday—she shall go on a holiday of
indefinite length—she shall go on a
holiday and enjoy herself in the proper
way.’

So the matter was settled. A meet-
ing was arranged for the following
morning, and the council broke up,
all rejoining the company.

The King, in the course of the even-
ing, beckoned Hyld aside and informed
her he had another birthday surprise in
store for her; she was to go and stay
in the country with Lady Begum for a
time. Hyld was delighted at the idea,
and altogether relieved to find her uncle
well-disposed towards her. In her heart
of hearts she had felt doubtful how he
would take what she said.

‘And my being engaged to the
Prince,’ she asked ; ‘is there anything
settled ?’

‘Oh, about that we can talk when
you come back,’ said the King.

‘ All the better,’ said Hyld, ‘for I did
not like the idea.’
10606 6- THE BANISHED PRINCESS

And as the King bowed his head,
she went back to the dance.

But what distressed her was to find
the Prince looking quite gloomy. She
watched him keenly as he stood over
against her in Sir Roger de Coverley.

‘Don’t be so mopy,’ she said when
they came together at the bottom of
the room. ‘You used to be fond of
dancing Sir Roger with me.’

The Prince bowed his head lower
than was necessary to pass beneath the
hands joined overhead.

‘I am sorry you are going away so
soon,’ he said with a sigh.

‘ Now, if you are mopy because of my
going, I shall think you a selfish old
boy,’ Hyld said.

‘Yes,’ he said sadly as they neared
the top of the room ; ‘I shall lose sight
of you, and who knows for how
long 2?

His tone made Hyld thoughtful.
‘Shall I tell the King I don’t want to go
into the country?’ she asked suddenly.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 107

‘He can’t make me go if I say I
won't |’

‘Oh no, no,’ the Prince cried;
‘whatever you do, be sure you don’t
do that.’

She looked at him in surprise, letting
go hands and standing back without
speaking. What had become of her
old playmate’s spirit? she thought.
Why did everybody seem in such fear
of the King?

Sir Nolan, who stood at the farther
end of the line of dancers, now moved
back from his partner, the bright-eyed
lady.

‘Rum ti tum ti diddle di, Tum ti
tum ti diddle di! Your Royal High-
ness,’ he called out, dancing forward
with right hand extended, ‘I am trying
to catch your eye. Keep the game
going, if you please! Tiddle di, tiddle
di, tiddle di, Rum ti tum ti tiddle di!’
he sang, moving back after turning her
round.

The sight of his thin blue legs, as
308 =LHE BANISHED PRINCESS

he danced forward and backward, made
Hyld laugh.

“You really are splendid,’ she cried.

‘On the light fantastic toe, at your
service,’ he called out. And they went
round, left hand, both hands, and
back to back, and then made a curtsey
and a bow before the tops led off.

I

Four weeks later the Princess Hyld
and Lady Begum arrived in a country
residence in a distant province of the
kingdom. The house was a picturesque
villa looking out on a garden, with a
meadow and a park stretching beyond.
Beautiful clumps of old trees stood
between the house and a broad, fast-
flowing river. The river shut in the
park on one side; on its other three
sides it was closed in by a high stone
wall.

At first Hyld liked the place ex-
tremely. She roamed in the park, she
THE BANISRED PRINCESS tog

gathered fruit in the garden, she read
the story-books, of which there was an
ample supply. She sat for hours up
among the branches of an old oak,
where a round seat had been con-
structed for herself and her pet cat,
and which was called the Hawk’s
Nest—a hawk being in her royal
crest.

Life was very pleasant. There was
nothing to do save now and then a
little fancy work; nothing to do all
day long but enjoy herself; nothing to
do except what she liked from morn-
ing to night.

The pleasantest holiday can last too
long, however. After two months Hyld
longed to go back to her old occupa-
tions, and wished to have lessons again.
But Lady Begum said she could not
tell how much longer they would stay ;
it lay with the King to fix the date of
their return.

Except Lady Begum, and the few
servants of the house, and the gardeners
110 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

at work in the grounds, Hyld saw no
one. No visitors came; Lady Begum
said it was’ too far to ask any one.
And they never went a walk beyond
the gates of the park.

At last, after three months of solitude,
Sir Nolan de Balbrigg arrived. He
was courier, appointed to carry letters,
and he brought a despatch from His
Majesty to Lady Begum. A passage
from this Lady Begum read out to
Hyld. The King wrote that he was so
glad to think of them in the country
house: ‘I can imagine nothing more
suitable,’ he wrote, ‘for our darling
Princess.’

As they were at so great a distance
from Court, Sir Nolan stayed a few days
to rest himself and to refresh his horses.
When he left he carried away with him
a budget of letters.

Hyld too sent a letter to the King.
In this she wrote that she wished to
leave the country, as she no longer
cared to be idle; and she begged her
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 111

uncle would order Lady Begum to
take her home.

Another month went by. Then Sir
Nolan came again, bringing letters.
They were all for Lady Begum; for
Hyld, he said, there would be a reply
from the King next time he came.

The Princess’s suspicions were
aroused. Why was she kept in the
country? Why was she kept away
from Court? Autumn was coming,
the leaves were turning from green to
brown. And the days, which got
shorter every day, seemed to Hyld
to be getting longer and longer. As
she had not brought any history books
with her from home, and found none.
but story books and poetry books in
the country house, she tried to think
of and recall the things she had read
about formerly. How did kings behave
who usurped the throne in regard to
those who really ought to be reigning ?
What happened to Lady Jane Grey,
and to King Richard’s nephews? and
12 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

the children of King Charles the First,
what became of them ?

One day the Princess and tady
Begum were sitting in the. garden.
‘Why do you suppose -there is a high
wall all round this park?’ Hyld sud-
denly asked.

‘I suppose,’ replied Lady Begum—
‘I suppose to prevent people outside
from getting in.’

‘Do you? Well, J believe, Hyld
said slowly— 7 believe it is to prevent
people inside from getting out.’

Lady Begum looked _ startled.
‘Would you like to begin the new
story book Sir Nolan brought with him
when he came here last ?—TZhe For-
tunes of a Banished Monkey; shall 1
get it for you?’

‘Thanks,’ said Hyld; ‘just now I
have other fortunes to think of—7he
Fortunes of a Banished Princess. It
sounds very interesting, don’t you
think? But it isn’t at all nice, I can
tell you!’
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 113

Lady Begum sat up in her chair.
If she had not had her smelling-bottle
out in a twinkling, to a certainty she
would have fainted, she got so white
in the face.

‘It sounds very interesting,’ Hyld
went on. ‘ Begum, you said once that
it wasn’t the promise of money. What
else can it be that makes you obey this
wicked King ?’

‘Dear, dear, dear,’ Lady Begum
cried, pulling out her handkerchief.
‘Dear, dear, dear; no, I won’t have
it. He isn’t a wicked King!’

She hid her face in her handkerchief
and began weeping.

‘Do stop crying,’ Hyld said; ‘I
hate tears. Besides, it isn’t you, it is
I who have reason to cry. I ask you
again, what is it that makes you keep
me a prisoner here at the wish of that
wicked King ?’

‘Dear, dear, dear,’ sobbed Lady
Begum; ‘I am weak, I know, and
fond, and foolish, . But how can a

1
1144 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

woman help it when it comes to... to
... to...’ And she choked with
her sobs.

Hyld tore a handful of leaves from
a bush and twisted them into pellets,
which she aimed at the cat.

‘Foolish pussy!’ she cried, ‘snooz-
ing away in broad daylight when there
is so.much to think about. It is con-
spiracy then, and I have been decoyed
here on the promise of a holiday.
Holiday indeed! I don’t suppose I
shall long for another very soon!’

Presently she left Lady Begum, and
went and climbed into the Hawk’s
Nest. She sat there a good deal during
the next few weeks, thinking of what
she should do. To get over the wall
and run away—oh yes, that might be
managed. She might climb over the
park gates, or bribe some one to help
her to get out. But once outside, a
girl by herself, what could she do?

If she dressed like a servant girl it
might be easier. But could she wear
LHE BANISHED PRINCESS IIs

disguise, so as to escape being caught
and brought back? And, whether she
wore disguise or not, who would take
her in? who would protect her? Girls
who have no money and who have
learnt so little—nobody seems really to
want them in this world.

Days and weeks again went by,
slowly and drearily. At last there was
news of Sir Nolan’s arrival, The
Princess flew into the parlour where
he was unpacking his bag of letters.

‘Is there any news for me?’ she
shouted.

Sir Nolan held up two letters.

‘One from His Majesty, and one
from His Royal Highness the Prince,’

Hyld tore open the Prince’s letter—
four pages covered with all kinds of
news. He had been learning to play
chess, and there had been a dog show.
He had had some white horses sent to
him from abroad. And he wrote that
life at Court was so dull he longed to go
travelling. There were some words of
u16 = LHE BANISHED PRINCESS

affection too, and the wish expressed
that he might meet his cousin soon.

Hyld took up the King’s letter—a
few lines written in his fine scrawl.
He wrote he was so glad the country
air was doing Hyld good, and so glad
he could arrange for her to stay on, and
so glad she liked being there so much.

‘What a humbug and an impostor !’
Hyld cried, flinging down the note
before Lady Begum. ‘He is so glad
Tam staying on. Staying on! of course
—prisoners always stay on, that is what
they are there for. Begum, he is get-
ting wickeder and wickeder every day,
that King you care for so much,’

And turning suddenly to Sir Nolan
the Princess said politely :

‘Sir Nolan de Balbrigg, I invite you
to drink tea with me this afternoon in
the Hawk’s Nest, up in my tree.’

‘Ravished! delighted! I should
like nothing better!’ cried Sir Nolan.
‘But a whopper like me—how shall I
ever get there? My arms are no
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 117

wings, and my legs—well, my legs’—
he looked down at them—‘it is a long
time since my legs tried to climb trees.’

Hyld laughed at the face he made
as he looked at his legs, now cased in
brown stockings.

‘You need not feel afraid,’ she said.
‘You need not climb the tree like me;
you can go up by the ladder. The
page always brings out a ladder to
carry up tea.’

‘Jacob’s ladder leading straight to
heaven ?’ said Sir Nolan doubtfully.

‘Oh no,’ Lady Begum cried; ‘the
ladder is quite safe.’

‘If you say so, said Sir Nolan,
pressing his right hand to his heart
and bowing to Lady Begum, ‘I will try
my luck ; though it is a toss-up whether
I ever get to the top.’

Hyld was up in the nest soon after
luncheon. Later the page carried out
a ladder, fastened its upper end with
a rope, and brought out tea.

Presently Hyld caught sight of Sir
u18 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

Nolan slowly coming across the park
by the side of Lady Begum. They
had had a talk about Hyld and the
King’s plan of keeping her out of the
way. Sir Nolan was not at all favour-
ably disposed towards His Majesty.

‘His temper gets worse and worse
every day,’ he said. ‘His chief pur-
pose is to keep us all in a funk.’

‘He would not be a king,’ said
Lady Begum, ‘if he did not guard
his dignity.’

In regard to Hyld they were agreed
that the best policy was to give way
to her as much as possible; though
just now Sir Nolan hardly liked the
idea of scaling a ladder and sitting
up in a tree. But the sight of the -
ladder somewhat reassured him. It
was not twice as high as himself, and
over the edge of the nest there was
Hyld looking down in great glee.

She called out directions to Sir
Nolan, how to grasp the ladder, and
how to place his feet on the rungs.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 119

*Don’t be afraid,’ she cried; ‘after
all, you are not so fat. And up here
there are Bath buns awaiting you.’

‘Bath buns!’ cried Sir Nolan;
‘Bath buns, Bath buns!’ And he
slowly ascended step by step.

‘Bravo!’ shouted Hyld, as his red
face appeared over the edge of the
nest. ‘A dancer like you; I knew
you could manage it. Take hold of
my hand.’

Sir Nolan, puffing and panting, took
the hand she held out to him, and,
safely landing in the nest, sat down
on the seat.

“Hands across, set to partners,’ he
said, laughing and panting. ‘Yes,
thank you,’ he called out in answer to
Lady Begum, ‘I am on velvet now,
out of harm’s way.’ He bent over
the edge of the nest and waved his
handkerchief to her.

‘He is comfortably settled for some
time,’ Hyld called down. ‘Thank
you, I have got all I want, Begum.
~ 120 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

You can go now and have your after-
noon nap.’

Sir Nolan, still out of breath,
watched Lady Begum’s retreat. Slowly
she wandered away; now and then
looking back, she vanished from sight.

When she had disappeared he turned
to the Princess. But he jumped in
his seat when he saw what she was
doing. She was untying the cord
which bound the ladder to the tree.

‘Your Highness!’ he exclaimed ;

are you in your right mind ?’

‘One moment,’ Hyld- answered.
And drawing out the cord she gave
a push to the ladder, which sent it
falling to the ground.

‘Oh, pop-guns, fiddlesticks, tipsy-
cake!’ cried Sir Nolan; ‘oh, barrel-
organs, turnip-tops, kettledrums !’

‘Don’t be excited,’ Hyld said coolly.
‘I have made you prisoner. But we
will begin by having tea. How many
lumps of sugar do you take ?’

‘Oh, hobgoblins, nutmeg - graters,
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 121

peacock-feathers!’ cried Sir Nolan;
‘how shall I ever manage to get
down?’

‘Nothing easier,’ said Hyld. ‘When
things are settled I shall climb down
and reach the ladder up to you. But
if you don’t do as I tell you, I shall
get down and leave you up here by
yourself.’

‘I promise anything, anything,’ cried
Sir Nolan ; ‘only don’t behave like a
madcap; don’t tempt Providence by
leaving me here alone !’

‘Very well,’ Hyld replied; ‘then
you agree to my proposal. Here no
one can overhear us, and no one can
take us by surprise. Swear by all
that is sacred to you, by your wife,
by your children, that what passes
between us is a secret.’

‘I swear—TI swear to anything,’
cried Sir Nolan. ‘But you forget, I
have no wife, no children; I am an
old bachelor.’

‘No matter; swear by the ghost of
y22 )«= THE BANISHED PRINCESS

your future mother-in-law. May she
poison every dish you taste of, if you
betray one word of what I say !’

Sir Nolan looked solemn and made
the desired promise.

The Princess too looked solemn,
and in silence handed him a cup of
tea, then a bun. Then she poured
out her own tea and took a bite off a
bun.

But then she could contain herself
no longer, and burst into a merry
laugh.

‘Really, this is splendid—every bit
as good as a play,’ she cried. ‘Sir
Nolan de Balbrigg taken prisoner,
and drinking tea in a Hawk’s Nest
with a captive princess !’

Sir Nolan, who had eaten one bun,
helped himself to another. He was
inclined to enjoy the situation, won-
dering what it all meant.

‘All very well to kick down the
ladder,’ he said, ‘but why—why this
witchery ?’
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 123

‘Can’t you guess?’ Hyld said; ‘a
witty man like you! What do you
suppose is the purpose of a nest ?’

‘To hatch eggs ?’ said Sir Nolan.

‘Eggs, yes, but other things also.
Now you and I are met here to hatch
a plot for my deliverance and escape.
You and I, we are met here to outwit
that wicked King.’

‘Raptures ! ecstasies! Outwit His
Majesty! The mere thought of it
perks me up,’ cried Sir Nolan. But
he could not think how.

They talked long and talked seri-
ously —Hyld proposing, Sir Nolan
making objections.

‘Whatever happens,’ she cried,
‘doing fancy work and idling about
all day long, I will not stand it any
more.’

‘But isn’t that what all girls are
content to do?’ asked Sir Nolan. ‘I
never thought myself they were fit. for
much else.’

Hyld frowned, and said he was
124 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

behind the age. Sir Nolan apologised.
His rosy face looked grave; of a sud- .
den it cleared.

‘Here’s the egg of Columbus!’ he
cried; ‘get spliced with the Prince
and there is an end to the difficulty.
Say you will marry him on condition
that the King abdicates. You will be
Queen through your marriage, and get
a husband into the bargain. A hus-
band is always a desirable thing.’

Again Hyld frowned. ‘That would
be a mean way out of the difficulty,’
she said. ‘Besides, I have rights of
my own, which I mean to stand up
for.’

‘Quite true,’ said Sir Nolan; ‘but
ladies, especially young ladies, are
always happiest when they are looked
after.’

‘Judging by myself,’ said Hyld, ‘I
think they had better try to look after
themselves.’

Still Sir Nolan, who was a gallant
man, tried to make objections.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 125

‘Your sex,’ he began, ‘always young,
always fair :

‘Nonsense,’ Hyld interrupted him;
‘women too get old and ugly in time.
Now don’t think of my sex, but think
of me as a person who is treated
unjustly.’

And again they talked long and
talked seriously, till at last their tone
grew more cheerful.

‘A long pull, a strong pull, and a
pull all together,’ cried Sir Nolan.
‘Success smiles on the brave; we
are on the sunny side of the hedge.
But how I shall want to spout about
this visit to my friends !’

Hyld held up a finger, saying
slowly: ‘Ghost of a future mother-
in-law.’

And Sir Nolan, while he shuddered,
said: ‘Oh yes, I shall not forget.’

Hyld now proposed to get down
and replace the ladder. Sir Nolan
declared he was very snug and in no
hurry to go. Still the Princess thought


126 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

it well to replace the ladder to avoid
suspicion. Then they gaily chatted on
about their scheme, till Lady Begum
sent out to ask how about dinner-time.

Sir Nolan, with the help of the
page from below and of Hyld from
above, found no difficulty in getting
down from the nest. He praised his
visit to Lady Begum in ecstatic terms,
and talked so mysteriously about ‘the
fair sex putting men up a tree’ that
Lady Begum entreated him not to talk
slang. Every now and then he winked
in the direction of the Princess, she
trying to stop him by pretending not
to see. But he winked so _persist-
ently that she felt quite afraid his
eyelids would get out of order and
refuse to work together again.

Two days later the horses were
brought out, Sir Nolan got into his
saddle and rode away with his serv-
ant. The park gates closed behind
them. And to all appearance things
went on the same as before.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 127

It was late at night; it was blowing
a gale, and the wind was raging round
the house. It shook the lattices; it
whistled, trying to get in at the doors ;
it roared with anger at being caught
in the chimneys.

Lady Begum lay in bed listening.

Every now and then a loose tile on
the roof banged up and banged down.
Then she heard the wind rushing
among the trees of the park. Then
for a moment there was a lull.

Lady Begum listened if the Princess,
into whose room hers opened, were
quiet. She thought she heard Hyld
move, and she called out gently:

‘Are you awake, Princess ?’

All remained quiet.

‘How these young people do sleep !’
sighed Lady Begum. And pulling her
nightcap straight, she settled more
comfortably among her pillows.

In the meantime a slim figure, clad
in boy’s clothes, was hurrying across
the park, carrying a bundle. At the
128 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

wall it paused, a gleam of light shone
from above, then the end of a rope
was flung over the wall from outside.

The figure set to work tying the
bundle to the rope. Then it placed
its feet on the bundle and grasped the
rope firmly.

‘ All calm and serene?’ a voice came
from without.

‘All calm and serene,’ the voice
replied from within.

Then the rope was hoisted up with
the bundle, the figure holding on to it.

‘Sit on the top of the wall,’ said the
voice outside ; ‘ chuck down the bundle,
while I fix up the ladder. Be careful
you don’t come a cropper. A wall is
no tree.’

A few minutes passed, and along
the wall all again was darkness and
silence. Only the wind rushed
up and rushed down, bullying the
trees. Making once more for the
house, it caught its broad front and
shook it to its foundations.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 129

Lady Begum sat up in bed.

‘What a night!’ she muttered.
‘My pillows are all of a bundle. I
cannot go to sleep, and still I seem to
be dreaming. Did I hear steps on the
"stairs, and the house-door bang? I
wonder Her Royal Highness can sleep
so soundly.’

She took the shade off her night-
light, pushed back her bed-clothes,
and slipped into her dressing-gown.

‘If I see her fast asleep,’ she thought,
‘it may comfort me. Anything is
better than lying in bed listening.’

But when with taper held high
Lady Begum entered the Princess’s
room, she drew back and shuddered.
The bed-clothes lay on the floor, the
Princess’s night-dress was flung on the
table. And the Princess herself?
When Lady Begum’s eyes fell on the
bed she felt her heart leap into her
mouth—the Princess’s bed was empty !
Lady Begum snatched at the bell-
rope; she fell forward fainting on the

K
130 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

bed. And the wind outside swept
round the house, roaring boisterously.

When she came to, in the arms of
her maid, the whole house was astir.

The Princess Hyld had gone, and
no mistake; all the servants were
despatched in pursuit of her. Lady
Begum, half-crazy with anger, dis-
appointment, and fear, tore off her
night-cap. With the wisps of her
gray hair standing out from her head,
she rose and looked about her. In
the middle of the table lay a paper
bag, and beside it a note, folded up
neatly. She tore open the note; she
brought it near the light. These were
the words she read :

‘Dear BecumM—lI am going, and for
good. I cannot take my hair, so I
am leaving it. Perhaps you may care
for a curl in remembrance of yours
affectionately, your captive Princess
no longer, HYLp.’

With panting heart Lady Begum
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 131

opened the paper bag; it was stuffed
full of hair. Hyld’s whole tangled
mop, a mass of spun gold, was crammed
into it. Lady Begum stared at it for
a moment.

‘A curl, a curl,’ she muttered. And
she sank into a chair, holding her head
with both hands.

Far away outside two figures on
horseback were riding across country.
The wind was blowing on them from
behind.

‘Can you manage to keep on astride?’
cried one voice.

‘What do you say?’ shouted the
other.

Presently they drew up in shelter
of a barn.

‘These clothes are too big for you ;
my aunt will find some to fit you
better. . Are you comfortable ?’

‘Rather cold about the ears.’

‘Tie my handkerchief round your
head. All the better if you seem to
have toothache. And now press on,
332 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

we have many miles to go. I hope .
you don’t miss your side-saddle !’

And again they rode on across
country, the whistling wind blowing
on them from behind.

Il

The years came and went—summer
and autumn and winter and spring—
and no news reached the Court
concerning the whereabouts of the
Princess Hyld. Her disappearance
had caused a great disturbance. Why
she had gone; and how she had gone,
and where she had gone, was the
subject of much controversy. There
were those who held with the King,
saying that a girl’s doings are un-
accountable. Others declared that
her going had a deeper significance.
This party included all the courtiers
and ladies who were displeased or
felt’ themselves disregarded. They
laughed at His Majesty, and ridiculed
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 133

the idea that he wanted the Princess
back. :

But the King left no stone unturned
to bring back his niece. Messengers
were despatched throughout the land
in search of her; a high reward was
offered to any one bringing news of
her whereabouts.

Lady Begum was accused of high
treason, and fetched up from the
country under escort of an armed
band. She confessed she had been
wanting in watchfulness, but denied
being party to the Princess’s escape.
She was acquitted, but was given the
hint that her presence at Court was
no longer desired. She left the city
and went to live some way up the
river in a house of her own, in sullen
solitude. To be out of touch with
Court life was very trying to her; her
spirits got terribly low. But a friend
of hers presently presenting her with
a pair of Persian cats, her temper
improved, and she devoted herself
134 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

to the rearing of families of Persian
pussies.

At Court the distinction increased
between those who sided with the
King and those who sided against him.
One of the King’s party appeared one
day with the talon of a falcon attached
to his cap, a falcon being in the King’s
crest. Beneath was embroidered the
Latin motto Ut possidetis, which
means ‘Stick to what you have got.’
This badge was forthwith adopted by
all the King’s adherents.

But the courtiers who sided against
the King presently appeared with a
hawk’s beak attached to their caps,
the hawk being the crest of the elder
branch of the royal family, to which
Hyld belonged. Underneath the beak
was embroidered in large letters
Suum cuigue, which is Latin also and
means ‘ To each person his due.’

The parties now began to be called
Falcons and Hawks. And very soon
the ladies of each party, wanting also
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 135

to signify their sympathies, adopted
a distinctive head-dress. The Falcon
ladies wore their hair twisted together
& la houppe de faucon. The ladies of
the Hawk party wore their hair loosely
tied together 4 Ja toupée de vis-a-vis.

The Falcon head-dress set off smooth
hair to great advantage; but to have
one’s hair dressed 4 a toupée de vis-a-
vis was to make the most of curls.
As curls on the whole were liked most,
there being a pleasant excitement
about trying the effect of curl-papers
and singeing-tongs when the hair does
not curl naturally, the ladies of the
Hawk party more and more gained in
number on the Falcon ladies.

Every addition to the fashions added
to the antagonism between the parties.
When the Falcons wore pointed shoes,
the Hawks adopted shoes with square
toes. When the Hawks carried walking-
sticks terminating in a beak, the Falcons
affected sticks terminating in a claw.
At first it was all pleasurable excite-
136 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

ment, but it did not remain so. Things
went so far that a Falcon father broke
off his daughter’s engagement, on the
ground that the Falcon she was about
to marry had shown Hawk sympathies.
In vain the lady pointed to her fiancé’s
badge and motto. The father said
his shoes were square, and declared that
sooner would he see his daughter an
old maid than let her marry a possible
Hawk.

Excitement was general — Falcons
trying to bully Hawks, and Hawks
trying to bully Falcons—when an event
happened which made all feel that a
revolution was near at hand.

The servant who had accompanied
Sir Nolan when he carried letters to
and from Lady Begum, returned to
Court after a stay abroad of several
years. He accused Sir Nolan of having
been party to the Princess’s escape.
For, coming away from the country
house, when the first stage of their
journey was reached, he sent on the
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 137

servant with the letters, saying he felt
himself seized with the gout. The
servant had since ascertained that Sir
Nolan did not remain at the house where
he left him, but rode away that self-
same night. Now the servant claimed
the money-reward on the ground that Sir
Nolan’s fit of gout had been a pretence.
The day when he left him was the
day of the Princess’s flight and dis-
appearance.

Sir Nolan de Balbrigg was appre-
“hended and brought before the King.
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘he had not had the
gout, but more than that he was bound
not to reveal.’ The King ordered him
to prison, expecting that the poor fare
would soon soften him. But month
after month went by, and Sir Nolan
sat in his stone cell, shaking his head
slowly from side to side when the
Lord Chancellor called to ask if he
had any further information to give
them.

It was in vain also that the Hawks
138 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

called asking him to share his secret
with them. Sir Nolan shook his head
and said:

‘Falcons and Hawks, Hawks and
Falcons, mortal horrors, do your worst !
What are you compared with the ghost
of a possible mother-in-law ?’

And he returned to his reading,
which was cooking recipes—a cookery
book being the only literature allowed
him besides the Bible.

So Sir Nolan languished in prison,
cut off from intercourse with the world.
Month after month passed and no
messenger carried letters from him to
the castle in the distant border-land
where dwelt his old maiden aunt, the
crotchety lady whose eccentric ways
were considered a disgrace to her
family.

Only Sir Nolan was on friendly
terms with her, she having liberally
supplied him with toffee in his child-
hood. It was many years since she
had been at Court. Her boxing a
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 139

gentleman’s ears in the Queen’s draw-
ing-room when he whispered to her;
her walking abroad in watermen’s boots
when she ought to have been riding
in a sedan-chair; her going for a swim
in a lake, and her other vagaries, had
become history—they were incidents
of the past.

But these incidents were green in
the memory of the sparse lady who,
wrapped in a flowered dressing-gown,
sat one summer’s day in an ancestral
arm-chair in the hall of her ancestral
castle, watching the flames that danced
round and about the logs, which were
heaped up on the fire-dogs in her
ancestral chimney.

She had been reading; now she
put down her book, and began rocking
herself to and fro while she stared into
the fire.

Her appearance was peculiar. On
the top of a very large head, the white
hair of which was cut short, a small
red cap was perched. As she rocked
140 =THE BANISHED PRINCESS

herself the tassel of the cap bobbed
up and down, causing the cap to slip
about on her head. Her hands were
large and white, her feet were cased in
huge red felt slippers. And as she
recalled her life at Court, and became
lost in thoughts of the past, she brought
her toes closer and closer to the fire.
At last a smell of burning caused her
to draw back her feet. She turned in
her chair, and, looking up, caught sight
of a rosy-faced, curly-haired youth,
who had entered the room and stood
there waiting.

The lady stretched out a strong
hand and pointed over her shoulder
to a slate which lay on the oaken table
behind her.

‘Sums right, school-days over,’ she
said in a deep voice. ‘Cross-roads
reached. Court-life there, here life
aloof.’

The Princess Hyld, for it was she,
came forward smiling.

‘Dear old crony,’ she said, ‘you
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 141

know I must eventually go back to
Court. But do you think the time
has come? Am I old enough, am I
fit, to face those parties ?’

The lady nodded her head with
such energy that the tassel, bobbing up
and down, made the cap slip off her
head altogether.

‘Petticoats,’ was all she said, in a
tone of disgust, while Hyld sprang
forward and replaced the cap for
her. :

‘Oh, I shan’t mind those,’ cried the
Princess; ‘Ill readily wear women’s
clothes again if they are made sensibly.
But how about Sir Nolan? How about
the Falcons and the Hawks ?’

The lady held out a crumpled letter
to her.

‘Poor boy, tongue stopped,’ she
said in her abrupt way. ‘ Hawks await
you; go, be Queen !’

The Princess gave an exclamation
of delight, and, throwing her arms
about the old lady, gave her a hug,
142 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

which sent the cap off again and both
the slippers flying.

‘Darling old crony,’ she cried, re-
placing the cap and giving it a pat
that it should keep on better. ‘Shall
I really see our palace again, and jolly
Sir Nolan, and the Prince, my old
playfellow ?’

‘Husbands, friends,’ said the maiden
lady ; ‘vanities of this world. Better
never be tied. Solitude, liberty !’

But Hyld did not listen. Wild
with delight she went capering round
the room, only stopping to pick up
the red slippers, which she flung up
into the air and caught again.

‘Hurrah !’ she shouted, ‘hurrah for
my own rights! I shall be Queen, I
shall be Queen before the year is out.
And won’t all girls have a good time
of it when a woman rules!’

So the matter was settled. The
maiden lady ordered the necessary
preparations for the journey to be
made, and with her own strong hand
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 143

wrote letters and despatches in which
she informed the Hawks of the Prin-
cess’s whereabouts, and the King of his
niece’s speedy return. The maiden
lady, when she liked, could be energetic
and business-like. Indeed, she inti-
mated to Hyld that her ambition as a
girl had been to become Prime Minister,
a post for which she always felt herself
peculiarly suited. _

And early one morning the Princess,
once more wearing woman’s ‘clothes,
once more seated on a side-saddle, rode
forth from the castle accompanied by a
few men-servants. She took an affec-
tionate farewell of the maiden lady,
whom she felt sorry to leave. The old
lady too was sorry to lose the girl who
had been her pupil and companion for
so long, but she showed no sign of feel-
ing at parting, pretending not to care.

‘Self-control, strength,’ was all she
murmured, And later, from the turret
height of her ancestral castle, she
watched Hyld riding away.
144 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

On a rocky knoll the Princess halted,
for the last time waving her handker-
chief before she disappeared down the
hill. The maiden lady had taken her
cap off and waved it. in reply. No,
she would not accompany Hyld—no,
not though the times were ever so
much changed. And she carefully
replaced her cap, and gathered her
flowered dressing-gown about her, ”
previous to descending the turret stairs.
When she had gone down half-way
she stood still for a moment and
sighed.

‘Solitude, liberty,’ she murmured ;
‘better never be tied!’ And she
walked down the rest of the stairs, one
corner of the dressing-gown sweeping
down behind her.

And the Princess rode on. On she
rode, over the rocky and heathery
ground, where she had dreamed like a
girl and roamed like a boy. She was
a woman now; still she cherished many
of her childish thoughts. Down the
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 148

hillside, towards the valley and the
cornfields and the grassy meadows of
the lowlands she rode, and onwards
towards the villages and cities of her
kingdom.

The news of her approach went out
before her. Everywhere the country
folk and the gentry came forward to
greet her, to express joy at her return,
and to assure her of their devotion.
At the last halting stage, within a day’s
journey of the city, a number of old
friends and a deputation of Hawks
came forward to meet her. They
assured her that no claims to the
throne but hers would they recognise ;
no longer would they submit to the
rule of a usurping King. The whole
army, they said, and the police force
had gone over to the Hawk party;
only in the city corporations the
Falcons prevailed. And throughout
the city the demand for square-toed
shoes had become so great that shoe-
makers were at work day and night.

L
144 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

The ladies who came with the Hawk
deputation had their hair done all in
fluttering curls; they greeted Hyld with
great joy. They said how glad they
were Hyld in future would set the
fashion: a queen would understand
the needs of their sex much better than
a king.

In the city there was great restless-
ness ; a subdued tone reigned in the
royal palace. Carpets never before
seemed so soft to the tread; doors
never before had opened and closed
with so little noise. Falcons flitted up-
stairs and downstairs, put their heads
together, whispered, and flitted apart
again. In the innermost council-
chamber of the palace sat the King,
his legs loosely hanging, his arms on
the arms of his chair. On the table
before him lay his late brother’s crown,
which fifteen years before he had
appropriated. And by the side of the
‘crown there lay heaped up a mass
of unpaid bills. The news of the
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 147

Princess’s arrival had caused every
one to send in their bills in a great
hurry. But the King had no money
to pay them with, the royal treasury
had given out.

The Lord Chancellor, spruce as
ever, had brought in the bills, and now
stood by the chimney in an elegant
attitude. Other ministers sat and stood
about, but apparently no one had any-
thing to say.

Suddenly there came a rap at the
door, The page standing by it looked
towards the King; the King grasped
the arms of his chair.

The door was bolted; the King
shook his head.

‘No admission here; what do you
want?’ cried the page.

The door was violently pushed.
‘Nonsense,’ a voice shouted outside.
‘Open this minute !’

‘What shall I do? where shall I
go?’ piped the King, wildly looking
round.
148 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

‘Get behind the curtain!’ cried
one minister.

‘Hide under the table!’ cried
another.

‘Get inside the cupboard!’ cried a
third.

The Lord Chancellor crossed the
room and, with his usual presence of
mind, said: ‘First let me ascertain
who it is.’

The next moment he drew back
the bolt, opened the door, and in
walked the Prince.

‘ How you do frighten me!’ squeaked
the King.

‘What is there to be frightened at?
Why this tomfoolery of locking me
out?’ said the Prince.

He came up to the table, glanced
at the bills, and lifted the crown in his
hand.

‘I came to say,’ he said, ‘that I
have sent for a pawnbroker. I am
pawning my jewels to pay some of
these bills before Hyld arrives. THE BANISHED PRINCESS 149

pity we cannot pawn this crown—it
would go a long way.’

‘Pawn my crown!’ cried the King.

‘Your crown no longer,’ said the
Prince; ‘its rightful owner will be
here before the day is out.’

‘Cruel, cruel!’ squeaked the King ;
‘my child turning Hawk! A Falcon
Prince with Hawk sympathies! No,
I shall not, I will not, I cannot stand
it any more.’

‘Yes, you may as well fly,’ said the
Prince coolly ; ‘but where will you go
to?’

There was a bustle outside ; another
rap came at the door.

‘Bolt the door, bolt it!’ cried the
King. ‘

‘Why, it may be my cousin,’ the
Prince cried joyfully. And pushing
aside the page, he opened the door wide.

There were ladies’ voices and a
rustling of skirts. But the lady who
came sailing in was no other than
Lady Begum.
1so THE BANISHED PRINCESS

She advanced towards the King,
she bent over his hand, and a large
tear dropped from each of her eyes on
to it, And in a voice broken with
sobs she explained why she had come.

Yes, the King had treated her
cruelly; he had made promises to
her, and he had broken them. When
she went to stay with Hyld, he had
promised . . . but no, she could not
’ speak of this; let the past be the past.
She was a lone, lorn woman now; but
the King, too, was in distress. Would
he take refuge in her country house?
Would he let her screen him and pro-
tect him? Lady Begum’s tears got
larger and larger, and the King, too,
was moved.

Her offer was too good to refuse ;
the Prince pressed his father to accept
it, And while Hyld, inthe midst of a
large party of Hawks, entered the city
by. one gate, a carriage bearing away
the ex-King and Lady Begum drove.
out at the other.
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 151

How glad the Princess was to see
the familiar town and the familiar sur-
roundings—the streets, the shops, and
the palaces! There were people
crowding in the street and at the
windows who shouted a welcome to
her.

Way was made everywhere for her
till she came near the market-place.

Here, in front of the royal palace,
a crowd of Falcons had collected.
And here they stood, clamouring for
the King, while Hawks pressed in,
trying to force a passage for the Prin-
cess.

It was an exciting moment. Hyld
was halting in the main street in view
of the palace, when a window was
flung open and the Prince stepped out
on the balcony.

‘Falcons!’ he shouted; ‘friends,
Falcons, countrymen !—for I suppose
all of you are Falcons, and hold
yourselves enemies to the Hawks. I,
too, am a Falcon; that is why Iam
1532 ZLHE BANISHED PRINCESS

here to ask you a question. What is
the difference between a Falcon and
a Hawk ?’

There was silence for a moment,
then muttering here and there. One
voice cried, ‘Pointed shoes!’ Some
one else shouted, ‘ Walking-sticks !’

‘Some one says pointed shoes,
another walking- sticks,’ cried the .
Prince. ‘I agree with both of them.
Shoes and walking - sticks are import-
ant things in life; a shoe that pinches
is most uncomfortable. But shoes
and walking-sticks are tatters of
fashion, not of ornithology. Again I
put the question to you, What is the
difference between a Falcon and a
Hawk ?’ ,

This time no one replied; per-
plexity was depicted in every coun-
tenance.

‘ Friends,’ the Prince continued
speaking, ‘my advice is, go home
and look at your natural history books.
I have studied the question long and
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 153

carefully, but I want you to judge for
yourselves. I have no doubt the con-
clusion you will arrive at will be the
same as mine. There really is no
difference between a Falcon and a
Hawk !’

Again there was silence, and then
again muttering. People talked to-
gether here and there. One man
shouted out loud, ‘I have no natural
history book!’ Another one shouted,
‘Let the King tell us what the differ-
ence is!’ :

‘Yes, the King, the King!’ others
cried; ‘if any one knows the differ-
ence, surely it is he. The King, the
King! where is the King ?’

The Prince held up one hand.
‘Friends!’ he shouted, ‘friends! the
King cannot tell you the difference,
On my word of honour, the King is
not here; the King has fled.’

This news had the effect of a thun-
derclap on the crowd. ‘The King,
the King has deserted us!’ the Fal-
134 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

cons cried, and they began to dis-
perse.

In a moment the crowd seemed to
melt from Falcons into Hawks. There
was a general cry of ‘Hurrah for
the Queen!’ and the way for Hyld
and her party was cleared.

She rode up and halted in front. of
the royal palace. Her cousin, the
Prince, came forward and helped her
to dismount.

‘Dear, bad old boy!’ she cried,
‘till I saw you on the balcony I
thought you had forgotten me. What
a Mark Antony you have grown into.
Why, you look quite a man!’

The Prince only said, ‘Welcome,
my Queen!’ Then he led her up
the stairs, through the reception hall,
and into a sitting-room, while she
gaily chatted and began teasing him
as of old.

She talked to him of her flight, of
her stay with the maiden lady, of her
return. How difficult all seemed be-
THE BANISHED PRINCESS — 155

forehand, and how easily it had come
off.

‘If we had been living in a story-
book instead of in reality,’ she said,
‘I am sure the Prince would have
rushed to the rescue of the Princess
long ago. But in real life little boys
always do as their papas wish!’

The Prince blushed: ‘I would not
act contrary to my father’s wish, No,
not even to please you,’ he said.

But the Princess jumped up.

‘Here we sit talking, and what of
that poor Sir Nolan, languishing in
prison?’ she cried. ‘Cousin, where is
my hat? Can you show me the
way ??

And out she rushed, out by the
palace gates, into the street, and down
the street into the back alleys; the
Prince kept up with difficulty, telling
her which way to go.

At last they stood at the prison
gates. The warder had heard of the
defeat of the Falcons. When he saw
156 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

Hyld, together with the Prince, he
opened quick enough.

She told him why she had come,
and asked where was Sir Nolan—which
was the way to him. The warder
went for his keys, while Hyld, with .
the Prince behind her, jumped up
the prison stairs two and two.

She stopped; which door could it
be? She heard a voice—she listened.
And in a moment she knew which
door it must be, and held her ear
close to it.

‘Take fifteen sponge-cakes,’ came
the voice of Sir Nolan—he was reading
slowly and sadly—‘ take fifteen sponge-
cakes, spread a little jam on each, and
arrange in a dish. Pour over them
raisin wine, a rich custard, and garnish
with chocolate and other drops. Pro-
bable cost, 4s. This makes a delicious -
dish.’ Sir Nolan sighed a deep sigh,
and then he read on: ‘Tiverton pud-
ding. Take four eggs, three ounces
of butter, six of sifted sugar——’
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 157

But just then the key screeched in
the lock. It was turned once, then
a second time; the heavy door swung
back on its hinges, and a fair curly
head was thrust in. Sir Nolan stared
at it, dumb with astonishment.

‘Dear Sir Nolan de Balbrigg,’ cried
Hyld. ‘Don’t you know me? I hardly
know you, you have grown so thin.
I invite you to supper. Tipsy cake
and Tiverton pudding—anything you
like to order you shall have!’

‘I shall be there, I shall be there,
Princess, in the twinkling of a bed-
post,’ cried Sir Nolan. ‘What a good
thing you have come. I could not
have stayed here much longer. I
have the whole cookery-.book by
heart.’

Our story draws to its close. Little
remains to be told concerning the
banished Princess. The banished
Princess was a thing of the past, Fal-
cons and Hawks were reconciled, and
Hyld was everywhere acknowledged
138 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

Queen. The account of her reign
belongs to another chapter of history ;
it suffices to mention here that corona-
tion-day was fixed for an early date,
and that on the evening of that day
Queen Hyld made an offer of mar-
riage to the Prince.

‘You see, I cannot help having to
propose to you,’ she said, between
smiles and tears; ‘they tell me queens
are never proposed to, and I cannot
do without you, you know. When one
has got one’s rights, so many things
go happening the other way round.
Will you care to share the throne with
me? Please, do not say no!’

The Prince went down on one
knee, kissed her hand, and joyfully
accepted.

When a messenger arrived shortly
after at Lady Begum’s country house,
bearing the announcement of this
news, the ex-King was walking up
and down the river-side, waiting for
Lady Begum, who was superintending
THE BANISHED PRINCESS 159

the going-to-bed of her twenty-two
cats.

She joined him ; he showed her the
letter.

‘Well,’ she said cheerfully, ‘well,
you have got what you wanted. After
a lot of fuming, things have come out
pretty much the same. Your son will
be King and married to Hyld!?

The ex-King frowned: ‘Yes, what
I wanted has come about,’ he piped ;
‘what I wanted, yes; as I wanted it,
no!?

Presently his mood softened, and he
said in a gentler tone: ‘Young people
are uppish nowadays, but they are
not altogether fools. What do you
say, Lady Begum, shall we follow the
example of those two ?’

Lady Begum had out her smelling-
bottle and her handkerchief in a
moment. But the tears which she
wept were tears of joy.

Sir Nolan de Balbrigg very soon re-
covered from the effects of his im-
.

160 THE BANISHED PRINCESS

prisonment. Three months later he
was travelling north to fetch his
maiden aunt to Court, who had ordered
a new dressing-gown and slippers for
the wedding of Hyld and the Prince.

THE END

Printed by R. & R. CLark, Edinburgh.
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