The Rose and the Ring, by William Makepeace Thackeray

This etext was prepared by Dianne Bean, Chino Valley, Arizona. The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackeray PRELUDE It happened that the undersigned spent the last Christmas season in a foreign city where there were many English children. In that city, if you wanted to give a child’s party, you could not even
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  • 12/1854
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This etext was prepared by Dianne Bean, Chino Valley, Arizona.

The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackeray


It happened that the undersigned spent the last Christmas season in a foreign city where there were many English children.

In that city, if you wanted to give a child’s party, you could not even get a magic-lantern or buy Twelfth-Night characters–those funny painted pictures of the King, the Queen, the Lover, the Lady, the Dandy, the Captain, and so on– with which our young ones are wont to recreate themselves at this festive time.

My friend Miss Bunch, who was governess of a large family that lived in the Piano Nobile of the house inhabited by myself and my young charges (it was the Palazzo Poniatowski at Rome, and Messrs. Spillmann, two of the best pastrycooks in Christendom, have their shop on the ground floor): Miss Bunch, I say, begged me to draw a set of Twelfth-Night characters for the amusement of our young people.

She is a lady of great fancy and droll imagination, and having looked at the characters, she and I composed a history about them, which was recited to the little folks at night, and served as our FIRESIDE PANTOMIME.

Our juvenile audience was amused by the adventures of Giglio and Bulbo, Rosalba and Angelica. I am bound to say the fate of the Hall Porter created a considerable sensation; and the wrath of Countess Gruffanuff was received with extreme pleasure.

If these children are pleased, thought I, why should not others be amused also? In a few days Dr. Birch’s young friends will be expected to reassemble at Rodwell Regis, where they will learn everything that is useful, and under the eyes of careful ushers continue the business of their little lives.

But, in the meanwhile, and for a brief holiday, let us laugh and be as pleasant as we can. And you elder folk–a little joking, and dancing, and fooling will do even you no harm. The author wishes you a merry Christmas, and welcomes you to the Fireside Pantomime.

W. M. THACKERAY. December 1854.























This is Valoroso XXIV., King of Paflagonia, seated with his Queen and only child at their royal breakfast-table, and receiving the letter which announces to His Majesty a proposed visit from Prince Bulbo, heir of Padella, reigning King of Crim Tartary. Remark the delight upon the monarch’s royal features. He is so absorbed in the perusal of the King of Crim Tartary’s letter, that he allows his eggs to get cold, and leaves his august muffins untasted.

‘What! that wicked, brave, delightful Prince Bulbo!’ cries Princess Angelica; ‘so handsome, so accomplished, so witty–the conqueror of Rimbombamento, where he slew ten thousand giants!’

‘Who told you of him, my dear?’ asks His Majesty.

‘A little bird,’ says Angelica.

‘Poor Giglio!’ says mamma, pouring out the tea.

‘Bother Giglio!’ cries Angelica, tossing up her head, which rustled with a thousand curl-papers.

‘I wish,’ growls the King–‘I wish Giglio was. . .’

‘Was better? Yes, dear, he is better,’ says the Queen. ‘Angelica’s little maid, Betsinda, told me so when she came to my room this morning with my early tea.’

‘You are always drinking tea,’ said the monarch, with a scowl.

‘It is better than drinking port or brandy and water;’ replies Her Majesty.

‘Well, well, my dear, I only said you were fond of drinking tea,’ said the King of Paflagonia, with an effort as if to command his temper. ‘Angelica! I hope you have plenty of new dresses; your milliners’ bills are long enough. My dear Queen, you must see and have some parties. I prefer dinners, but of course you will be for balls. Your everlasting blue velvet quite tires me: and, my love, I should like you to have a new necklace. Order one. Not more than a hundred or a hundred and fifty thousand pounds.’

‘And Giglio, dear?’ says the Queen.


‘Oh, sir,’ screams Her Majesty. ‘Your own nephew! our late King’s only son.’

‘Giglio may go to the tailor’s, and order the bills to be sent in to Glumboso to pay. Confound him! I mean bless his dear heart. He need want for nothing; give him a couple of guineas for pocket-money, my dear; and you may as well order yourself bracelets while you are about the necklace, Mrs. V.’

Her Majesty, or MRS. V., as the monarch facetiously called her (for even royalty will have its sport, and this august family were very much attached), embraced her husband, and, twining her arm round her daughter’s waist, they quitted the breakfast-room in order to make all things ready for the princely stranger.

When they were gone, the smile that had lighted up the eyes of the HUSBAND and FATHER fled–the pride of the KING fled–the MAN was alone. Had I the pen of a G. P. R. James, I would describe Valoroso’s torments in the choicest language; in which I would also depict his flashing eye, his distended nostril–his dressing-gown, pocket-handkerchief, and boots. But I need not say I have NOT the pen of that novelist; suffice it to say, Valoroso was alone.

He rushed to the cupboard, seizing from the table one of the many egg-cups with which his princely board was served for the matin meal, drew out a bottle of right Nantz or Cognac, filled and emptied the cup several times, and laid it down with a hoarse ‘Ha, ha, ha! now Valoroso is a man again!’

‘But oh!’ he went on (still sipping, I am sorry to say), ‘ere I was a king, I needed not this intoxicating draught; once I detested the hot brandy wine, and quaffed no other fount but nature’s rill. It dashes not more quickly o’er the rocks than I did, as, with blunderbuss in hand, I brushed away the early morning dew, and shot the partridge, snipe, or antlered deer! Ah! well may England’s dramatist remark, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!” Why did I steal my nephew’s, my young Giglio’s–? Steal! said I? no, no, no, not steal, not steal. Let me withdraw that odious expression. I took, and on my manly head I set, the royal crown of Paflagonia; I took, and with my royal arm I wield, the sceptral rod of Paflagonia; I took, and in my outstretched hand I hold, the royal orb of Paflagonia! Could a poor boy, a snivelling, drivelling boy–was in his nurse’s arms but yesterday, and cried for sugarplums and puled for pap–bear up the awful weight of crown, orb, sceptre? gird on the sword my royal fathers wore, and meet in fight the tough Crimean foe?’

And then the monarch went on to argue in his own mind (though we need not say that blank verse is not argument) that what he had got it was his duty to keep, and that, if at one time he had entertained ideas of a certain restitution, which shall be nameless, the prospect by a CERTAIN MARRIAGE of uniting two crowns and two nations which had been engaged in bloody and expensive wars, as the Paflagonians and the Crimeans had been, put the idea of Giglio’s restoration to the throne out of the question: nay, were his own brother, King Savio, alive, he would certainly will the crown from his own son in order to bring about such a desirable union.

Thus easily do we deceive ourselves! Thus do we fancy what we wish is right! The King took courage, read the papers, finished his muffins and eggs, and rang the bell for his Prime Minister. The Queen, after thinking whether she should go up and see Giglio, who had been sick, thought ‘Not now. Business first; pleasure afterwards. I will go and see dear Giglio this afternoon; and now I will drive to the jeweller’s, to look for the necklace and bracelets.’ The Princess went up into her own room, and made Betsinda, her maid, bring out all her dresses; and as for Giglio, they forgot him as much as I forget what I had for dinner last Tuesday twelve-month.


Paflagonia, ten or twenty thousand years ago, appears to have been one of those kingdoms where the laws of succession were not settled; for when King Savio died, leaving his brother Regent of the kingdom, and guardian of Savio’s orphan infant, this unfaithful regent took no sort of regard of the late monarch’s will; had himself proclaimed sovereign of Paflagonia under the title of King Valoroso XXIV., had a most splendid coronation, and ordered all the nobles of the kingdom to pay him homage. So long as Valoroso gave them plenty of balls at Court, plenty of money and lucrative places, the Paflagonian nobility did not care who was king; and as for the people, in those early times, they were equally indifferent. The Prince Giglio, by reason of his tender age at his royal father’s death, did not feel the loss of his crown and empire. As long as he had plenty of toys and sweetmeats, a holiday five times a week and a horse and gun to go out shooting when he grew a little older, and, above all, the company of his darling cousin, the King’s only child, poor Giglio was perfectly contented; nor did he envy his uncle the royal robes and sceptre, the great hot uncomfortable throne of state, and the enormous cumbersome crown in which that monarch appeared from morning till night. King Valoroso’s portrait has been left to us; and I think you will agree with me that he must have been sometimes RATHER TIRED of his velvet, and his diamonds, and his ermine, and his grandeur. I shouldn’t like to sit in that stifling robe with such a thing as that on my head.

No doubt, the Queen must have been lovely in her youth; for though she grew rather stout in after life, yet her features, as shown in her portrait, are certainly PLEASING. If she was fond of flattery, scandal, cards, and fine clothes, let us deal gently with her infirmities, which, after all, may be no greater than our own. She was kind to her nephew; and if she had any scruples of conscience about her husband’s taking the young Prince’s crown, consoled herself by thinking that the King, though a usurper, was a most respectable man, and that at his death Prince Giglio would be restored to his throne, and share it with his cousin, whom he loved so fondly.

The Prime Minister was Glumboso, an old statesman, who most cheerfully swore fidelity to King Valoroso, and in whose hands the monarch left all the affairs of his kingdom. All Valoroso wanted was plenty of money, plenty of hunting, plenty of flattery, and as little trouble as possible. As long as he had his sport, this monarch cared little how his people paid for it: he engaged in some wars, and of course the Paflagonian newspapers announced that he had gained prodigious victories: he had statues erected to himself in every city of the empire; and of course his pictures placed everywhere, and in all the print-shops: he was Valoroso the Magnanimous, Valoroso the Victorious, Valoroso the Great, and so forth;–for even in these early times courtiers and people knew how to flatter.

This royal pair had one only child, the Princess Angelica, who, you may be sure, was a paragon in the courtiers’ eyes, in her parents’, and in her own. It was said she had the longest hair, the largest eyes, the slimmest waist, the smallest foot, and the most lovely complexion of any young lady in the Paflagonian dominions. Her accomplishments were announced to be even superior to her beauty; and governesses used to shame their idle pupils by telling them what Princess Angelica could do. She could play the most difficult pieces of music at sight. She could answer any one of Mangnall’s Questions. She knew every date in the history of Paflagonia, and every other country. She knew French, English, Italian, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Cappadocian, Samothracian, Aegean, and Crim Tartar. In a word, she was a most accomplished young creature; and her governess and lady-in-waiting was the severe Countess Gruffanuff.

Would you not fancy, from this picture, that Gruffanuff must have been a person of highest birth? She looks so haughty that I should have thought her a princess at the very least, with a pedigree reaching as far back as the Deluge. But this lady was no better born than many other ladies who give themselves airs; and all sensible people laughed at her absurd pretensions. The fact is, she had been maid-servant to the Queen when Her Majesty was only Princess, and her husband had been head footman; but after his death or DISAPPEARANCE, of which you shall hear presently, this Mrs. Gruffanuff, by flattering, toadying, and wheedling her royal mistress, became a favourite with the Queen (who was rather a weak woman), and Her Majesty gave her a title, and made her nursery governess to the Princess.

And now I must tell you about the Princess’s learning and accomplishments, for which she had such a wonderful character. Clever Angelica certainly was, but as IDLE as POSSIBLE. Play at sight, indeed! she could play one or two pieces, and pretend that she had never seen them before; she could answer half a dozen Mangnall’s Questions; but then you must take care to ask the RIGHT ones. As for her languages, she had masters in plenty, but I doubt whether she knew more than a few phrases in each, for all her presence; and as for her embroidery and her drawing, she showed beautiful specimens, it is true, but WHO DID THEM?

This obliges me to tell the truth, and to do so I must go back ever so far, and tell you about the FAIRY BLACKSTICK.


Between the kingdoms of Paflagonia and Crim Tartary, there lived a mysterious personage, who was known in those countries as the Fairy Blackstick, from the ebony wand or crutch which she carried; on which she rode to the moon sometimes, or upon other excursions of business or pleasure, and with which she performed her wonders.

When she was young, and had been first taught the art of conjuring by the necromancer, her father, she was always practicing her skill, whizzing about from one kingdom to another upon her black stick, and conferring her fairy favours upon this Prince or that. She had scores of royal godchildren; turned numberless wicked people into beasts, birds, millstones, clocks, pumps, boot jacks, umbrellas, or other absurd shapes; and, in a word, was one of the most active and officious of the whole College of fairies.

But after two or three thousand years of this sport, I suppose Blackstick grew tired of it. Or perhaps she thought, ‘What good am I doing by sending this Princess to sleep for a hundred years? by fixing a black pudding on to that booby’s nose? by causing diamonds and pearls to drop from one little girl’s mouth, and vipers and toads from another’s? I begin to think I do as much harm as good by my performances. I might as well shut my incantations up, and allow things to take their natural course.

‘There were my two young goddaughters, King Savio’s wife, and Duke Padella’s wife, I gave them each a present, which was to render them charming in the eyes of their husbands, and secure the affection of those gentlemen as long as they lived. What good did my Rose and my Ring do these two women? None on earth. From having all their whims indulged by their husbands, they became capricious, lazy, ill-humoured, absurdly vain, and leered and languished, and fancied themselves irresistibly beautiful, when they were really quite old and hideous, the ridiculous creatures! They used actually to patronise me when I went to pay them a visit–ME, the Fairy Blackstick, who knows all the wisdom of the necromancers, and could have turned them into baboons, and all their diamonds into strings of onions, by a single wave of my rod!’ So she locked up her books in her cupboard, declined further magical performances, and scarcely used her wand at all except as a cane to walk about with.

So when Duke Padella’s lady had a little son (the Duke was at that time only one of the principal noblemen in Crim Tartary), Blackstick, although invited to the christening, would not so much as attend; but merely sent her compliments and a silver papboat for the baby, which was really not worth a couple of guineas. About the same time the Queen of Paflagonia presented His Majesty with a son and heir; and guns were fired, the capital illuminated, and no end of feasts ordained to celebrate the young Prince’s birth. It was thought the fairy, who was asked to be his godmother, would at least have presented him with an invisible jacket, a flying horse, a Fortunatus’s purse, or some other valuable token of her favour; but instead, Blackstick went up to the cradle of the child Giglio, when everybody was admiring him and complimenting his royal papa and mamma, and said, ‘My poor child, the best thing I can send you is a little MISFORTUNE’; and this was all she would utter, to the disgust of Giglio’s parents, who died very soon after, when Giglio’s uncle took the throne, as we read in Chapter I.

In like manner, when CAVOLFIORE, King of Crim Tartary, had a christening of his only child, ROSALBA, the Fairy Blackstick, who had been invited, was not more gracious than in Prince Giglio’s case. Whilst everybody was expatiating over the beauty of the darling child, and congratulating its parents, the Fairy Blackstick looked very sadly at the baby and its mother, and said, ‘My good woman (for the Fairy was very familiar, and no more minded a Queen than a washerwoman)–my good woman, these people who are following you will be the first to turn against you; and as for this little lady, the best thing I can wish her is a LITTLE MISFORTUNE.’ So she touched Rosalba with her black wand, looked severely at the courtiers, motioned the Queen an adieu with her hand, and sailed slowly up into the air out of the window.

When she was gone, the Court people, who had been awed and silent in her presence, began to speak. ‘What an odious Fairy she is (they said)–a pretty Fairy, indeed! Why, she went to the King of Paflagonia’s christening, and pretended to do all sorts of things for that family; and what has happened–the Prince, her godson, has been turned off his throne by his uncle. Would we allow our sweet Princess to be deprived of her rights by any enemy? Never, never, never, never!’

And they all shouted in a chorus, ‘Never, never, never, never!’

Now, I should like to know, and how did these fine courtiers show their fidelity? One of King Cavolfiore’s vassals, the Duke Padella just mentioned, rebelled against the King, who went out to chastise his rebellious subject. ‘Any one rebel against our beloved and august Monarch!’ cried the courtiers; ‘any one resist HIM? Pooh! He is invincible, irresistible. He will bring home Padella a prisoner, and tie him to a donkey’s tail, and drive him round the town, saying, “This is the way the Great Cavolfiore treats rebels.”‘

The King went forth to vanquish Padella; and the poor Queen, who was a very timid, anxious creature, grew so frightened and ill that I am sorry to say she died; leaving injunctions with her ladies to take care of the dear little Rosalba.–Of course they said they would. Of course they vowed they would die rather than any harm should happen to the Princess. At first the Crim Tartar Court Journal stated that the King was obtaining great victories over the audacious rebel: then it was announced that the troops of the infamous Padella were in flight: then it was said that the royal army would soon come up with the enemy, and then–then the news came that King Cavolfiore was vanquished and slain by His Majesty, King Padella the First!

At this news, half the courtiers ran off to pay their duty to the conquering chief, and the other half ran away, laying hands on all the best articles in the palace; and poor little Rosalba was left there quite alone– quite alone; and she toddled from one room to another, crying, ‘Countess! Duchess!’ (Only she said ‘Tountess, Duttess,’ not being able to speak plain) ‘bring me my mutton sop; my Royal Highness hungy! Tountess! Duttess!’ And she went from the private apartments into the throne-room and nobody was there;–and thence into the ballroom and nobody was there;–and thence into the pages’ room and nobody was there; –and she toddled down the great staircase into the hall and nobody was there;–and the door was open, and she went into the court, and into the garden, and thence into the wilderness, and thence into the forest where the wild beasts live, and was never heard of any more!

A piece of her torn mantle and one of her shoes were found in the wood in the mouths of two lionesses’ cubs whom KING PADELLA and a royal hunting party shot–for he was King now, and reigned over Crim Tartary. ‘So the poor little Princess is done for,’ said he; ‘well, what’s done can’t be helped. Gentlemen, let us go to luncheon!’ And one of the courtiers took up the shoe and put it in his pocket. And there was an end of Rosalba!


When the Princess Angelica was born, her parents not only did not ask the Fairy Blackstick to the christening party, but gave orders to their porter absolutely to refuse her if she called. This porter’s name was Gruffanuff, and he had been selected for the post by their Royal Highnesses because he was a very tall fierce man, who could say ‘Not at home’ to a tradesman or an unwel come visitor with a rudeness which frightened most such persons away. He was the husband of that Countess whose picture we have just seen, and as long as they were together they quarrelled from morning till night. Now this fellow tried his rudeness once too often, as you shall hear. For the Fairy Blackstick coming to call upon the Prince and Princess, who were actually sitting at the open drawing-room window, Gruffanuff not only denied them, but made the most ODIOUS VULGAR SIGN as he was going to slam the door in the Fairy’s face! ‘Git away, hold Blackstick!’ said he. ‘I tell you, Master and Missis ain’t at home to you;’ and he was, as we have said, GOING to slam the door.

But the Fairy, with her wand, prevented the door being shut; and Gruffanuff came out again in a fury, swearing in the most abominable way, and asking the Fairy ‘whether she thought he was a going to stay at that there door hall day?’

‘You ARE going to stay at that door all day and all night, and for many a long year,’ the Fairy said, very majestically; and Gruffanuff, coming out of the door, straddling before it with his great calves, burst out laughing, and cried, ‘Ha, ha, ha! this is a good un! Ha–ah–what’s this? Let me down–O–o– H’m!’ and then he was dumb!

For, as the Fairy waved her wand over him, he felt himself rising off the ground, and fluttering up against the door, and then, as if a screw ran into his stomach, he felt a dreadful pain there, and was pinned to the door; and then his arms flew up over his head; and his legs, after writhing about wildly, twisted under his body; and he felt cold, cold, growing over him, as if he was turning into metal; and he said, ‘O–o–H’m!’ and could say no more, because he was dumb.

He WAS turned into metal! He was, from being BRAZEN, BRASS! He was neither more nor less than a knocker! And there he was, nailed to the door in the blazing summer day, till he burned almost red-hot; and there he was, nailed to the door all the bitter winter nights, till his brass nose was dropping with icicles. And the postman came and rapped at him, and the vulgarest boy with a letter came and hit him up against the door. And the King and Queen (Princess and Prince they were then) coming home from a walk that evening, the King said, ‘Hullo, my dear! you have had a new knocker put on the door. Why, it’s rather like our porter in the face! What has become of that boozy vagabond?’ And the house-maid came and scrubbed his nose with sandpaper; and once, when the Princess Angelica’s little sister was born, he was tied up in an old kid glove; and, another night, some LARKING young men tried to wrench him off, and put him to the most excruciating agony with a turn screw. And then the Queen had a fancy to have the colour of the door altered; and the painters dabbed him over the mouth and eyes, and nearly choked him, as they painted him pea-green. I warrant he had leisure to repent of having been rude to the Fairy Blackstick!

As for his wife, she did not miss him; and as he was always guzzling beer at the public-house, and notoriously quarrelling with his wife, and in debt to the tradesmen, it was supposed he had run away from all these evils, and emigrated to Australia or America. And when the Prince and Princess chose to become King and Queen, they left their old house, and nobody thought of the porter any more.


One day, when the Princess Angelica was quite a little girl, she was walking in the garden of the palace, with Mrs. Gruffanuff, the governess, holding a parasol over her head, to keep her sweet complexion from the freckles, and Angelica was carrying a bun, to feed the swans and ducks in the royal pond.

They had not reached the duck-pond, when there came toddling up to them such a funny little girl! She had a great quantity of hair blowing about her chubby little cheeks, and looked as if she had not been washed or combed for ever so long. She wore a ragged bit of a cloak, and had only one shoe on.

‘You little wretch, who let you in here?’ asked Mrs. Gruffanuff.

‘Div me dat bun,’ said the little girl, ‘me vely hungy.’

‘Hungry! what is that?’ asked Princess Angelica, and gave the child the bun.

‘Oh, Princess!’ says Mrs. Gruffanuff, ‘how good, how kind, how truly angelical you are! See, Your Majesties,’ she said to the King and Queen, who now came up, along with their nephew, Prince Giglio, ‘how kind the Princess is! She met this little dirty wretch in the garden–I can’t tell how she came in here, or why the guards did not shoot her dead at the gate!–and the dear darling of a Princess has given her the whole of her bun!’

‘I didn’t want it,’ said Angelical

‘But you are a darling little angel all the same,’ says the governess.

‘Yes; I know I am,’ said Angelical ‘Dirty little girl, don’t you think I am very pretty?’ Indeed, she had on the finest of little dresses and hats; and, as her hair was carefully curled, she really looked very well.

‘Oh, pooty, pooty!’ says the little girl, capering about, laughing, and dancing, and munching her bun; and as she ate it she began to sing, ‘Oh, what fun to have a plum bun! how I wis it never was done!’ At which, and her funny accent, Angelica, Giglio, and the King and Queen began to laugh very merrily.

‘I can dance as well as sing,’ says the little girl. ‘I can dance, and I can sing, and I can do all sorts of ting.’ And she ran to a flower-bed, and pulling a few polyanthuses, rhododendrons, and other flowers, made herself a little wreath, and danced before the King and Queen so drolly and prettily, that everybody was delighted.

‘Who was your mother–who were your relations, little girl?’ said the Queen.

The little girl said, ‘Little lion was my brudder; great big lioness my mudder; neber heard of any udder.’ And she capered away on her one shoe, and everybody was exceedingly diverted.

So Angelica said to the Queen, ‘Mamma, my parrot flew away yesterday out of its cage, and I don’t care any more for any of my toys; and I think this funny little dirty child will amuse me. I will take her home, and give her some of my old frocks.’

‘Oh, the generous darling!’ says Mrs. Gruffanuff.

‘Which I have worn ever so many times, and am quite tired of,’ Angelica went on; ‘and she shall be my little maid. Will you come home with me, little dirty girl?’

The child clapped her hands, and said, ‘Go home with you–yes! You pooty Princess!–Have a nice dinner, and wear a new dress!’

And they all laughed again, and took home the child to the palace, where, when she was washed and combed, and had one of the Princess’s frocks given to her, she looked as handsome as Angelica, almost. Not that Angelica ever thought so; for this little lady never imagined that anybody in the world could be as pretty, as good, or as clever as herself. In order that the little girl should not become too proud and conceited, Mrs. Gruffanuff took her old ragged mantle and one shoe, and put them into a glass box, with a card laid upon them, upon which was written, ‘These were the old clothes in which little BETSINDA was found when the great goodness and admirable kindness of Her Royal Highness the Princess Angelica received this little outcast.’ And the date was added, and the box locked up.

For a while little Betsinda was a great favourite with the Princess, and she danced, and sang, and made her little rhymes, to amuse her mistress. But then the Princess got a monkey, and afterwards a little dog, and afterwards a doll, and did not care for Betsinda any more, who became very melancholy and quiet, and sang no more funny songs, because nobody cared to hear her. And then, as she grew older, she was made a little lady’s-maid to the Princess; and though she had no wages, she worked and mended, and put Angelica’s hair in papers, and was never cross when scolded, and was always eager to please her mistress, and was always up early and to bed late, and at hand when wanted, and in fact became a perfect little maid. So the two girls grew up, and, when the Princess came out, Betsinda was never tired of waiting on her; and made her dresses better than the best milliner, and was useful in a hundred ways. Whilst the Princess was having her masters, Betsinda would sit and watch them; and in this way she picked up a great deal of learn ing; for she was always awake, though her mistress was not, and listened to the wise professors when Angelica was yawning or thinking of the next ball. And when the dancing-master came, Betsinda learned along with Angelica; and when the music-master came, she watched him, and practiced the Princess’s pieces when Angelica was away at balls and parties; and when the drawing-master came, she took note of all he said and did; and the same with French, Italian, and all other languages–she learned them from the teacher who came to Angelica. When the Princess was going out of an evening she would say, ‘My good Betsinda, you may as well finish what I have begun.’ ‘Yes, miss,’ Betsinda would say, and sit down very cheerful, not to FINISH what Angelica began, but to DO it.

For instance, the Princess would begin a head of a warrior, let us say, and when it was begun it was something like this–

But when it was done, the warrior was like this–

(only handsomer still if possible), and the Princess put her name to the drawing; and the Court and King and Queen, and above all poor Giglio, admired the picture of all things, and said, ‘Was there ever a genius like Angelica?’ So, I am sorry to say, was it with the Princess’s embroidery and other accomplishments; and Angelica actually believed that she did these things herself, and received all the flattery of the Court as if every word of it was true. Thus she began to think that there was no young woman in all the world equal to herself, and that no young man was good enough for her. As for Betsinda, as she heard none of these praises, she was not puffed up by them, and being a most grateful, good-natured girl, she was only too anxious to do everything which might give her mistress pleasure. Now you begin to perceive that Angelica had faults of her own, and was by no means such a wonder of wonders as people represented Her Royal Highness to be.


And now let us speak about Prince Giglio, the nephew of the reigning monarch of Paflagonia. It has already been stated, in page seven, that as long as he had a smart coat to wear, a good horse to ride, and money in his pocket, or rather to take out of his pocket, for he was very good-natured, my young Prince did not care for the loss of his crown and sceptre, being a thoughtless youth, not much inclined to politics or any kind of learning. So his tutor had a sinecure. Giglio would not learn classics or mathematics, and the Lord Chancellor of Paflagonia, SQUARETOSO, pulled a very long face because the Prince could not be got to study the Paflagonian laws and constitution; but, on the other hand, the King’s gamekeepers and huntsmen found the Prince an apt pupil; the dancing-master pronounced that he was a most elegant and assiduous scholar; the First Lord of the Billiard Table gave the most flattering reports of the Prince’s skill; so did the Groom of the Tennis Court; and as for the Captain of the Guard and Fencing Master, the VALIANT and VETERAN Count KUTASOFF HEDZOFF, he avowed that since he ran the General of Crim Tartary, the dreadful Grumbuskin, through the body, he never had encountered so expert a swordsman as Prince Giglio.

I hope you do not imagine that there was any impropriety in the Prince and Princess walking together in the palace garden, and because Giglio kissed Angelica’s hand in a polite manner. In the first place they are cousins; next, the Queen is walking in the garden too (you cannot see her, for she happens to be behind that tree), and Her Majesty always wished that Angelica and Giglio should marry: so did Giglio: so did Angelica sometimes, for she thought her cousin very handsome, brave, and good-natured: but then you know she was so clever and knew so many things, and poor Giglio knew nothing, and had no conversation. When they looked at the stars, what did Giglio know of the heavenly bodies? Once, when on a sweet night in a balcony where they were standing, Angelica said, ‘There is the Bear.’ ‘Where?’ says Giglio. ‘Don’t be afraid, Angelica! if a dozen bears come, I will kill them rather than they shall hurt you.’ ‘Oh, you silly creature!’ says she; ‘you are very good, but you are not very wise.’ When they looked at the flowers, Giglio was utterly unacquainted with botany, and had never heard of Linnaeus. When the butterflies passed, Giglio knew nothing about them, being as ignorant of entomology as I am of algebra. So you see, Angelica, though she liked Giglio pretty well, despised him on account of his ignorance. I think she probably valued HER OWN LEARNING rather too much; but to think too well of one’s self is the fault of people of all ages and both sexes. Finally, when nobody else was there, Angelica liked her cousin well enough.

King Valoroso was very delicate in health, and withal so fond of good dinners (which were prepared for him by his French cook Marmitonio), that it was supposed he could not live long. Now the idea of anything happening to the King struck the artful Prime Minister and the designing old lady-in-waiting with terror. For, thought Glumboso and the Countess, ‘when Prince Giglio marries his cousin and comes to the throne, what a pretty position we shall be in, whom he dislikes, and who have always been unkind to him. We shall lose our places in a trice; Mrs. Gruffanuff will have to give up all the jewels, laces, snuff-boxes, rings, and watches which belonged to the Queen, Giglio’s mother; and Glumboso will be forced to refund two hundred and seventeen thousand millions nine hundred and eighty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty-nine pounds, thirteen shillings, and sixpence halfpenny, money left to Prince Giglio by his poor dear father.’

So the Lady of Honour and the Prime Minister hated Giglio because they had done him a wrong; and these unprincipled people invented a hundred cruel stories about poor Giglio, in order to influence the King, Queen, and Princess against him; how he was so ignorant that he could not spell the commonest words, and actually wrote Valoroso Valloroso, and spelt Angelica with two l’s; how he drank a great deal too much wine at dinner, and was always idling in the stables with the grooms; how he owed ever so much money at the pastry-cook’s and the haberdasher’s; how he used to go to sleep at church; how he was fond of playing cards with the pages. So did the Queen like playing cards; so did the King go to sleep at church, and eat and drink too much; and, if Giglio owed a trifle for tarts, who owed him two hundred and seventeen thousand millions nine hundred and eighty-seven thousand four hundred and thirty-nine pounds, thirteen shillings, and sixpence halfpenny, I should like to know? Detractors and tale-bearers (in my humble opinion) had much better look at HOME. All this backbiting and slandering had effect upon Princess Angelica, who began to look coldly on her cousin, then to laugh at him and scorn him for being so stupid, then to sneer at him for having vulgar associates; and at Court balls, dinners, and so forth, to treat him so unkindly that poor Giglio became quite ill, took to his bed, and sent for the doctor.

His Majesty King Valoroso, as we have seen, had his own reasons for disliking his nephew; and as for those innocent readers who ask why?–I beg (with the permission of their dear parents) to refer them to Shakespeare’s pages, where they will read why King John disliked Prince Arthur. With the Queen, his royal but weak-minded aunt, when Giglio was out of sight he was out of mind. While she had her whist and her evening parties, she cared for little else.

I dare say TWO VILLAINS, who shall be nameless, wished Doctor Pildrafto, the Court Physician, had killed Giglio right out, but he only bled and physicked him so severely that the Prince was kept to his room for several months, and grew as thin as a post.

Whilst he was lying sick in this way, there came to the Court of Paflagonia a famous painter, whose name was Tomaso Lorenzo, and who was Painter in Ordinary to the King of Crim Tartary, Paflagonia’s neighbour. Tomaso Lorenzo painted all the Court, who were delighted with his works; for even Countess Gruffanuff looked young and Glumboso good-humoured in his pictures. ‘He flatters very much,’ some people said. ‘Nay!’ says Princess Angelica, ‘I am above flattery, and I think he did not make my picture handsome enough. I can’t bear to hear a man of genius unjustly cried down, and I hope my dear papa will make Lorenzo a knight of his Order of the Cucumber.’

The Princess Angelica, although the courtiers vowed Her Royal Highness could draw so BEAUTIFULLY that the idea of her taking lessons was absurd, yet chose to have Lorenzo for a teacher, and it was wonderful, AS LONG AS SHE PAINTED IN HIS STUDIO, what beautiful pictures she made! Some of the performances were engraved for the Book of Beauty: others were sold for enormous sums at Charity Bazaars. She wrote the SIGNATURES under the drawings, no doubt, but I think I know who-did the pictures–this artful painter, who had come with other designs on Angelica than merely to teach her to draw.

One day, Lorenzo showed the Princess a portrait of a young man in armour, with fair hair and the loveliest blue eyes, and an expression at once melancholy and interesting.

‘Dear Signor Lorenzo, who is this?’ asked the Princess.

“I never saw anyone so handsome,’ says Countess Gruffanuff (the old humbug).

‘That,’ said the painter, ‘that, Madam, is the portrait of my august young master, his Royal Highness Bulbo, Crown Prince of Crim Tartary, Duke of Acroceraunia, Marquis of Poluphloisboio, and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Pumpkin. That is the order of the Pumpkin glittering on his manly breast, and received by His Royal Highness from his august father, His Majesty King PADELLA I., for his gallantry at the battle of Rimbombamento, when he slew with his own princely hand the King of Ograria and two hundred and eleven giants of the two hundred and eighteen who formed the King’s bodyguard. The remainder were destroyed by the brave Crim Tartar army after an obstinate combat, in which the Crim Tartars suffered severely.’

What a Prince! thought Angelica: so brave–so calm-looking–so young–what a hero!

‘He is as accomplished as he is brave,’ continued the Court Painter. ‘He knows all languages perfectly: sings deliciously: plays every instrument: composes operas which have been acted a thousand nights running at the Imperial Theatre of Crim Tartary, and danced in a ballet there before the King and Queen; in which he looked so beautiful, that his cousin, the lovely daughter of the King of Circassia, died for love of him.’

‘Why did he not marry the poor Princess?’ asked Angelica, with a sigh.

‘Because they were FIRST COUSINS, Madam, and the clergy forbid these unions,’ said the Painter. ‘And, besides, the young Prince had given his royal heart ELSEWHERE.’

‘And to whom?’ asked Her Royal Highness.

‘I am not at liberty to mention the Princess’s name,’ answered the Painter.

‘But you may tell me the first letter of it,’ gasped out the Princess.

‘That Your Royal Highness is at liberty to guess,’ said Lorenzo.

‘Does it begin with a Z?’ asked Angelica.

The Painter said it wasn’t a Z; then she tried a Y; then an X; then a W, and went so backwards through almost the whole alphabet.

When she came to D, and it wasn’t D, she grew very excited; when she came to C, and it wasn’t C, she was still more nervous; when she came to B, AND IT WASN’T B, ‘O dearest Gruffanuff,’ she said, ‘lend me your smelling-bottle!’ and, hiding her head in the Countess’s shoulder, she faintly whispered, ‘Ah, Signor, can it be A?’

‘It was A; and though I may not, by my Royal Master’s orders, tell Your Royal Highness the Princess’s name, whom he fondly, madly, devotedly, rapturously loves, I may show you her portrait,’ says this slyboots: and leading the Princess up to a gilt frame, he drew a curtain which was before it.

O goodness! the frame contained A LOOKING-GLASS! and Angelica saw her own face!


The Court Painter of His Majesty the King of Crim Tartary returned to that monarch’s dominions, carrying away a number of sketches which he had made in the Paflagonian capital (you know, of course, my dears, that the name of that capital is Blombodinga); but the most charming of all his pieces was a portrait of the Princess Angelica, which all the Crim Tartar nobles came to see. With this work the King was so delighted, that he decorated the Painter with his Order of the Pumpkin (sixth class) and the artist became Sir Tomaso Lorenzo, K.P., thenceforth.

King Valoroso also sent Sir Tomaso his Order of the Cucumber, besides a handsome order for money, for he painted the King, Queen, and principal nobility while at Blombodinga, and became all the fashion, to the perfect rage of all the artists in Paflagonia, where the King used to point to the portrait of Prince Bulbo, which Sir Tomaso had left behind him, and say ‘Which among you can paint a picture like that?’

It hung in the royal parlour over the royal sideboard, and Princess Angelica could always look at it as she sat making the tea. Each day it seemed to grow handsomer and handsomer, and the Princess grew so fond of looking at it, that she would often spill the tea over the cloth, at which her father and mother would wink and wag their heads, and say to each other, ‘Aha! we see how things are going.’

In the meantime poor Giglio lay upstairs very sick in his chamber, though he took all the doctor’s horrible medicines like a good young lad; as I hope YOU do, my dears, when you are ill and mamma sends for the medical man. And the only person who visited Giglio (besides his friend the captain of the guard, who was almost always busy or on parade), was little Betsinda the housemaid, who used to do his bedroom and sitting-room out, bring him his gruel, and warm his bed.

When the little housemaid came to him in the morning and evening, Prince Giglio used to say, ‘Betsinda, Betsinda, how is the Princess Angelica?’

And Betsinda used to answer, ‘The Princess is very well, thank you, my Lord.’ And Giglio would heave a sigh, and think, if Angelica were sick, I am sure _I_ should not be very well.

Then Giglio would say, ‘Betsinda, has the Princess Angelica asked for me today?’ And Betsinda would answer, ‘No, my Lord, not today’; or, ‘she was very busy practicing the piano when I saw her’; or, ‘she was writing invitations for an evening party, and did not speak to me’; or make some excuse or other, not strictly consonant with truth: for Betsinda was such a good-natured creature that she strove to do everything to prevent annoyance to Prince Giglio, and even brought him up roast chicken and jellies from the kitchen (when the Doctor allowed them, and Giglio was getting better), saying, ‘that the Princess had made the jelly, or the bread-sauce, with her own hands, on purpose for Giglio.’

When Giglio heard this he took heart and began to mend immediately; and gobbled up all the jelly, and picked the last bone of the chicken–drumsticks, merry-thought, sides’-bones, back, pope’s nose, and all–thanking his dear Angelica; and he felt so much better the next day, that he dressed and went downstairs, where, whom should he meet but Angelica going into the drawing-room? All the covers were off the chairs, the chandeliers taken out of the bags, the damask curtains uncovered, the work and things carried away, and the handsomest albums on the tables. Angelica had her hair in papers: in a word, it was evident there was going to be a party.

‘Heavens, Giglio!’ cries Angelica: ‘YOU here in such a dress! What a figure you are!’

‘Yes, dear Angelica, I am come downstairs, and feel so well today, thanks to the FOWL and the JELLY.’

‘What do I know about fowls and jellies, that you allude to them in that rude way?’ says Angelica.

‘Why, didn’t–didn’t you send them, Angelica dear?’ says Giglio.

‘I send them indeed! Angelica dear! No, Giglio dear,’ says she, mocking him, ‘_I_ was engaged in getting the rooms ready for His Royal Highness the Prince of Crim Tartary, who is coming to pay my papa’s Court a visit.’

‘The–Prince–of–Crim–Tartary! ‘ Giglio said, aghast.

‘Yes, the Prince of Crim Tartary,’ says Angelica, mocking him. ‘I dare say you never heard of such a country. What DID you ever hear of? You don’t know whether Crim Tartary is on the Red Sea or on the Black Sea, I dare say.’

‘Yes, I do, it’s on the Red Sea,’ says Giglio, at which the Princess burst out laughing at him, and said, ‘Oh, you ninny! You are so ignorant, you are really not fit for society! You know nothing but about horses and dogs, and are only fit to dine in a mess-room with my Royal father’s heaviest dragoons. Don’t look so surprised at me, sir: go and put your best clothes on to receive the Prince, and let me get the drawing-room ready.’

Giglio said, ‘Oh, Angelica, Angelica, I didn’t think this of you. THIS wasn’t your language to me when you gave me this ring, and I gave you mine in the garden, and you gave me that k–‘

But what k was we never shall know, for Angelica, in a rage, cried, ‘Get out, you saucy, rude creature! How dare you to remind me of your rudeness? As for your little trumpery twopenny ring, there, sir, there!’ And she flung it out of the window.

‘It was my mother’s marriage-ring,’ cried Giglio.

‘_I_ don’t care whose marriage-ring it was,’ cries Angelica. ‘Marry the person who picks it up if she’s a woman; you shan’t marry ME. And give me back MY ring. I’ve no patience with people who boast about the things they give away! _I_ know who’ll give me much finer things than you ever gave me. A beggarly ring indeed, not worth five shillings!’

Now Angelica little knew that the ring which Giglio had given her was a fairy ring: if a man wore it, it made all the women in love with him; if a woman, all the gentlemen. The Queen, Giglio’s mother, quite an ordinary-looking person, was admired immensely whilst she wore this ring, and her husband was frantic when she was ill. But when she called her little Giglio to her, and put the ring on his finger, King Savio did not seem to care for his wife so much any more, but transferred all his love to little Giglio. So did everybody love him as long as he had the ring; but when, as quite a child, he gave it to Angelica, people began to love and admire HER; and Giglio, as the saying is, played only second fiddle.

‘Yes,’ says Angelica, going on in her foolish ungrateful way. ‘_I_ know who’ll give me much finer things than your beggarly little pearl nonsense.’

‘Very good, miss! You may take back your ring too!’ says Giglio, his eyes flashing fire at her, and then, as his eyes had been suddenly opened, he cried out, ‘Ha! what does this mean? Is THIS the woman I have been in love with all my life? Have I been such a ninny as to throw away my regard upon you? Why– actually– yes–you are a little crooked!’

‘Oh, you wretch!’ cries Angelica.

‘And, upon my conscience, you–you squint a little.’

‘Eh!’ cries Angelica.

‘And your hair is red–and you are marked with the smallpox–and what? you have three false teeth–and one leg shorter than the other!’

‘You brute, you brute, you!’ Angelica screamed out: and as she seized the ring with one hand, she dealt Giglio one, two, three smacks on the face, and would have pulled the hair off his head had he not started laughing, and crying–

‘Oh dear me, Angelica, don’t pull out MY hair, it hurts! You might remove a great deal of YOUR OWN, as I perceive, without scissors or pulling at all. Oh, ho, ho! ha, ha, ha! ho he he!’

And he nearly choked himself with laughing, and she with rage; when, with a low bow, and dressed in his Court habit, Count Gambabella, the first lord-in-waiting, entered and said, ‘Royal Highnesses! Their Majesties expect you in the Pink Throne-room, where they await the arrival of the Prince of CRIM TARTARY.’


Prince Bulbo’s arrival had set all the court in a flutter: everybody was ordered to put his or her best clothes on: the footmen had their gala liveries; the Lord Chancellor his new wig; the Guards their last new tunics; and Countess Gruffanuff, you may be sure, was glad of an opportunity of decorating HER old person with her finest things. She was walking through the court of the Palace on her way to wait upon Their Majesties, when she espied something glittering on the pavement, and bade the boy in buttons who was holding up her train, to go and pick up the article shining yonder. He was an ugly little wretch, in some of the late groom-porter’s old clothes cut down, and much too tight for him; and yet, when he had taken up the ring (as it turned out to be), and was carrying it to his mistress, she thought he looked like a little cupid. He gave the ring to her; it was a trumpery little thing enough, but too small for any of her old knuckles, so she put it into her pocket.

‘Oh, mum!’ says the boy, looking at her ‘how–how beyoutiful you do look, mum, today, mum!’

‘And you, too, Jacky,’ she was going to say; but, looking down at him–no, he was no longer good-looking at all–but only the carroty-haired little Jacky of the morning. However, praise is welcome from the ugliest of men or boys, and Gruffanuff, bidding the boy hold up her train, walked on in high good-humour. The guards saluted her with peculiar respect. Captain Hedzoff, in the anteroom, said, ‘My dear madam, you look like an angel today.’ And so, bowing and smirking, Gruffanuff went in and took her place behind her Royal Master and Mistress, who were in the throne-room, awaiting the Prince of Crim Tartary. Princess Angelica sat at their feet, and behind the King’s chair stood Prince Giglio, looking very savage.

The Prince of Crim Tartary made his appearance, attended by Baron Sleibootz, his chamberlain, and followed by a black page carrying the most beautiful crown you ever saw! He was dressed in his travelling costume, and his hair, as you see, was a little in disorder. ‘I have ridden three hundred miles since breakfast,’ said he, ‘so eager was I to behold the Prin–the Court and august family of Paflagonia, and I could not wait one minute before appearing in Your Majesties’ presences.’

Giglio, from behind the throne, burst out into a roar of contemptuous laughter; but all the Royal party, in fact, were so flurried, that they did not hear this little outbreak. ‘Your R. H. is welcome in any dress,’ says the King. ‘Glumboso, a chair for His Royal Highness.’

‘Any dress His Royal Highness wears IS a Court dress,’ says Princess Angelica, smiling graciously.

‘Ah! but you should see my other clothes,’ said the Prince. ‘I should have had them on, but that stupid carrier has not brought them. Who’s that laughing?’

It was Giglio laughing. ‘I was laughing,’ he said, ‘because you said just now that you were in such a hurry to see the Princess, that you could not wait to change your dress; and now you say you come in those clothes because you have no others.’

‘And who are you?’ says Prince Bulbo, very fiercely.

‘My father was King of this country, and I am his only son, Prince!’ replies Giglio, with equal haughtiness.

‘Ha!’ said the King and Glumboso, looking very flurried; but the former, collecting himself, said, ‘Dear Prince Bulbo, I forgot to introduce to Your Royal Highness my dear nephew, His Royal Highness Prince Giglio! Know each other! Embrace each other! Giglio, give His Royal Highness your hand!’ and Giglio, giving his hand, squeezed poor Bulbo’s until the tears ran out of his eyes. Glumboso now brought a chair for the Royal visitor, and placed it on the platform on which the King, Queen, and Prince were seated; but the chair was on the edge of the platform, and as Bulbo sat down, it toppled over, and he with it, rolling over and over, and bellowing like a bull. Giglio roared still louder at this disaster, but it was with laughter; so did all the Court when Prince Bulbo got up; for though when he entered the room he appeared not very ridiculous, as he stood up from his fall for a moment he looked so exceedingly plain and foolish, that nobody could help laughing at him. When he had entered the room, he was observed to carry a rose in his hand, which fell out of it as he tumbled.

‘My rose! my rose!’ cried Bulbo; and his chamberlain dashed forwards and picked it up, and gave it to the Prince, who put it in his waistcoat. Then people wondered why they had laughed; there was nothing particularly ridiculous in him. He was rather short, rather stout, rather red-haired, but, in fine, for a Prince, not so bad.

So they sat and talked, the Royal personages together, the Crim Tartar officers with those of Paflagonia–Giglio very comfortable with Gruffanuff behind the throne. He looked at her with such tender eyes, that her heart was all in a flutter. ‘Oh, dear Prince,’ she said, ‘how could you speak so haughtily in presence of Their Majesties? I protest I thought I should have fainted.’

‘I should have caught you in my arms,’ said Giglio, looking raptures.

‘Why were you so cruel to Prince Bulbo, dear Prince?’ says Gruff.

‘Because I hate him,’ says Gil.

‘You are jealous of him, and still love poor Angelica,’ cries Gruffanuff, putting her handkerchief to her eyes.

‘I did, but I love her no more!’ Giglio cried. ‘I despise her! Were she heiress to twenty thousand thrones, I would despise her and scorn her. But why speak of thrones? I have lost mine. I am too weak to recover it–I am alone, and have no friend.’

‘Oh, say not so, dear Prince!’ says Gruffanuff.

‘Besides,’ says he, ‘I am so happy here BEHIND THE THRONE that I would not change my place, no, not for the throne of the world!’

‘What are you two people chattering about there?’ says the Queen, who was rather good-natured, though not overburthened with wisdom. ‘It is time to dress for dinner. Giglio, show Prince Bulbo to his room. Prince, if your clothes have not come, we shall be very happy to see you as you are.’ But when Prince Bulbo got to his bedroom, his luggage was there and unpacked; and the hairdresser coming in, cut and curled him entirely to his own satisfaction; and when the dinner-bell rang, the Royal company had not to wait above five-and-twenty minutes until Bulbo appeared, during which time the King, who could not bear to wait, grew as sulky as possible. As for Giglio, he never left Madam Gruffanuff all this time, but stood with her in the embrasure of a window, paying her compliments. At length the Groom of the Chambers announced His Royal Highness the Prince of Crim Tartary! and the noble company went into the royal dining-room. It was quite a small party; only the King and Queen, the Princess, whom Bulbo took out, the two Princes, Countess Gruffanuff, Glumboso the Prime Minister, and Prince Bulbo’s chamberlain. You may be sure they had a very good dinner–let every boy or girl think of what he or she likes best, and fancy it on the table.*

*Here a very pretty game may be played by all the children saying what they like best for dinner.

The Princess talked incessantly all dinner-time to the Prince of Crimea, who ate an immense deal too much, and never took his eyes off his plate, except when Giglio, who was carving a goose, sent a quantity of stuffing and onion sauce into one of them. Giglio only burst out a-laughing as the Crimean Prince wiped his shirt-front and face with his scented pocket-handkerchief. He did not make Prince Bulbo any apology. When the Prince looked at him, Giglio would not look that way. When Prince Bulbo said, ‘Prince Giglio, may I have the honour of taking a glass of wine with you?’ Giglio WOULDN’T answer. All his talk and his eyes were for Countess Gruffanuff, who you may be sure was pleased with Giglio’s attentions–the vain old creature! When he was not complimenting her, he was making fun of Prince Bulbo, so loud that Gruffanuff was always tapping him with her fan, and saying–‘Oh, you satirical Prince! Oh, fie, the Prince will hear!’ ‘Well, I don’t mind,’ says Giglio, louder still. The King and Queen luckily did not hear; for Her Majesty was a little deaf, and the King thought so much about his own dinner, and, besides, made such a dreadful noise, hobgobbling in eating it, that he heard nothing else. After dinner, His Majesty and the Queen went to sleep in their arm-chairs.

This was the time when Giglio began his tricks with Prince Bulbo, plying that young gentleman with port, sherry, madeira, champagne, marsala, cherry-brandy, and pale ale, of all of which Master Bulbo drank without stint. But in plying his guest, Giglio was obliged to drink himself, and, I am sorry to say, took more than was good for him, so that the young men were very noisy, rude, and foolish when they joined the ladies after dinner; and dearly did they pay for that imprudence, as now, my darlings, you shall hear!

Bulbo went and sat by the piano, where Angelica was playing and singing, and he sang out of tune, and he upset the coffee when the footman brought it, and he laughed out of place, and talked absurdly, and fell asleep and snored horridly. Booh, the nasty pig! But as he lay there stretched on the pink satin sofa, Angelica still persisted in thinking him the most beautiful of human beings. No doubt the magic rose which Bulbo wore caused this infatuation on Angelica’s part; but is she the first young woman who has thought a silly fellow charming?

Giglio must go and sit by Gruffanuff, whose old face he, too, every moment began to find more lovely. He paid the most outrageous compliments to her:–There never was such a darling–Older than he was?–Fiddle-de-dee! He would marry her–he would have nothing but her!

To marry the heir to the throne! Here was a chance! The artful hussy actually got a sheet of paper, and wrote upon it, ‘This is to give notice that I, Giglio, only son of Savio, King of Paflagonia, hereby promise to marry the charming and virtuous Barbara Griselda, Countess Gruffanuff, and widow of the late Jenkins Gruffanuff, Esq.’

‘What is it you are writing, you charming Gruffy?’ says Giglio, who was lolling on the sofa, by the writing-table.

‘Only an order for you to sign, dear Prince, for giving coals and blankets to the poor, this cold weather. Look! the King and Queen are both asleep, and your Royal Highness’s order will do.’

So Giglio, who was very good-natured, as Gruffy well knew, signed the order immediately; and, when she had it in her pocket, you may fancy what airs she gave herself. She was ready to flounce out of the room before the Queen herself, as now she was the wife of the RIGHTFUL King of Paflagonia! She would not speak to Glumboso, whom she thought a brute, for depriving her DEAR HUSBAND of the crown! And when candles came, and she had helped to undress the Queen and Princess, she went into her own room, and actually practiced on a sheet of paper, ‘Griselda Paflagonia,’ ‘Barbara Regina,’ ‘Griselda Barbara, Paf. Reg.,’ and I don’t know what signatures besides, against the day when she should be Queen, forsooth!


Little Betsinda came in to put Gruffanuff’s hair in papers; and the Countess was so pleased, that, for a wonder, she complimented Betsinda. ‘Betsinda!’ she said, ‘you dressed my hair very nicely today; I promised you a little present. Here are five sh–no, here is a pretty little ring, that I picked– that I have had some time.’ And she gave Betsinda the ring she had picked up in the court. It fitted Betsinda exactly.

‘It’s like the ring the Princess used to wear,’ says the maid.

‘No such thing,’ says Gruffanuff, ‘I have had it this ever so long. There, tuck me up quite comfortable; and now, as it’s a very cold night (the snow was beating in at the window), you may go and warm dear Prince Giglio’s bed, like a good girl, and then you may unrip my green silk, and then you can just do me up a little cap for the morning, and then you can mend that hole in my silk stocking, and then you can go to bed, Betsinda. Mind I shall want my cup of tea at five o’clock in the morning.’

‘I suppose I had best warm both the young gentlemen’s beds, Ma’am,’ says Betsinda.

Gruffanuff, for reply, said, ‘Hau-au-ho!–Grauhawhoo!–Hong- hrho!’ In fact, she was snoring sound asleep.

Her room, you know, is next to the King and Queen, and the Princess is next to them. So pretty Betsinda went away for the coals to the kitchen, and filled the royal warming-pan.

Now, she was a very kind, merry, civil, pretty girl; but there must have been something very captivating about her this evening, for all the women in the servants’ hall began to scold and abuse her. The housekeeper said she was a pert, stuck-up thing: the upper-housemaid asked, how dare she wear such ringlets and ribbons, it was quite improper! The cook (for there was a woman-cook as well as a man-cook) said to the kitchen-maid that she never could see anything in that creetur: but as for the men, every one of them, Coachman, John, Buttons, the page, and Monsieur, the Prince of Crim Tartary’s valet, started up, and said–

‘My eyes!’ }
‘O mussey!’ } ‘What a pretty girl Betsinda is!’ ‘O jemmany!’ }
‘O ciel!’ }

‘Hands off; none of your impertinence, you vulgar, low people!’ says Betsinda, walking off with her pan of coals. She heard the young gentlemen playing at billiards as she went upstairs: first to Prince Giglio’s bed, which she warmed, and then to Prince Bulbo’s room.

He came in just as she had done; and as soon as he saw her, ‘O! O! O! O! O! O! what a beyou–oo–ootiful creature you are! You angel–you peri–you rosebud, let me be thy bulbul–thy Bulbo, too! Fly to the desert, fly with me! I never saw a young gazelle to glad me with its dark blue eye that had eyes like shine. Thou nymph of beauty, take, take this young heart. A truer never did itself sustain within a soldier’s waistcoat. Be mine! Be mine! Be Princess of Crim Tartary! My Royal father will approve our union; and, as for that little carroty-haired Angelica, I do not care a fig for her any more.’

‘Go away, Your Royal Highness, and go to bed, please,’ said Betsinda, with the warming-pan.

But Bulbo said, ‘No, never, till thou swearest to be mine, thou lovely, blushing chambermaid divine! Here, at thy feet, the Royal Bulbo lies, the trembling captive of Betsinda’s eyes.’

And he went on, making himself SO ABSURD AND RIDICULOUS, that Betsinda, who was full of fun, gave him a touch with the warming-pan, which, I promise you, made him cry ‘O-o-o-o!’ in a very different manner.

Prince Bulbo made such a noise that Prince Giglio, who heard him from the next room, came in to see what was the matter. As soon as he saw what was taking place, Giglio, in a fury, rushed on Bulbo, kicked him in the rudest manner up to the ceiling, and went on kicking him till his hair was quite out of curl.

Poor Betsinda did not know whether to laugh or to cry; the kicking certainly must hurt the Prince, but then he looked so droll! When Giglio had done knocking him up and down to the ground, and whilst he went into a corner rubbing himself, what do you think Giglio does? He goes down on his own knees to Betsinda, takes her hand, begs her to accept his heart, and offers to marry her that moment. Fancy Betsinda’s condition, who had been in love with the Prince ever since she first saw him in the palace garden, when she was quite a little child.

‘Oh, divine Betsinda!’ says the Prince, ‘how have I lived fifteen years in thy company without seeing thy perfections? What woman in all Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, nay, in Australia, only it is not yet discovered, can presume to be thy equal? Angelica? Pish! Gruffanuff? Phoo! The Queen? Ha, ha! Thou art my Queen. Thou art the real Angelica, because thou art really angelic.’

‘Oh, Prince! I am but a poor chambermaid,’ says Betsinda, looking, however, very much pleased.

‘Didst thou not tend me in my sickness, when all forsook me?’ continues Giglio. ‘Did not thy gentle hand smooth my pillow, and bring me jelly and roast chicken?’

‘Yes, dear Prince, I did,’ says Betsinda, ‘and I sewed Your Royal Highness’s shirt-buttons on too, if you please, Your Royal Highness,’ cries this artless maiden.

When poor Prince Bulbo, who was now madly in love with Betsinda, heard this declaration, when he saw the unmistakable glances which she flung upon Giglio, Bulbo began to cry bitterly, and tore quantities of hair out of his head, till it all covered the room like so much tow.

Betsinda had left the warming-pan on the floor while the princes were going on with their conversation, and as they began now to quarrel and be very fierce with one another, she thought proper to run away.

‘You great big blubbering booby, tearing your hair in the corner there; of course you will give me satisfaction for insulting Betsinda. YOU dare to kneel down at Princess Giglio’s knees and kiss her hand!’

‘She’s not Princess Giglio!’ roars out Bulbo. ‘She shall be Princess Bulbo, no other shall be Princess Bulbo.’

‘You are engaged to my cousin!’ bellows out Giglio. ‘I hate your cousin,’ says Bulbo.

‘You shall give me satisfaction for insulting her!’ cries Giglio in a fury.

‘I’ll have your life.’

‘I’ll run you through.’

‘I’ll cut your throat.’

‘I’ll blow your brains out.’

‘I’ll knock your head off.’

‘I’ll send a friend to you in the morning.’

‘I’ll send a bullet into you in the afternoon.’

‘We’ll meet again,’ says Giglio, shaking his fist in Bulbo’s face; and seizing up the warming-pan, he kissed it, because, forsooth, Betsinda had carried it, and rushed downstairs. What should he see on the landing but His Majesty talking to Betsinda, whom he called by all sorts of fond names. His Majesty had heard a row in the building, so he stated, and smelling something burning, had come out to see what the matter was.

‘It’s the young gentlemen smoking, perhaps, sir,’ says Betsinda.

‘Charming chambermaid,’ says the King (like all the rest of them), ‘never mind the young men! Turn thy eyes on a middle-aged autocrat, who has been considered not ill-looking in his time.’

‘Oh, sir! what will Her Majesty say?’ cries Betsinda.

‘Her Majesty!’ laughs the monarch. ‘Her Majesty be hanged. Am I not Autocrat of Paflagonia? Have I not blocks, ropes, axes, hangmen–ha? Runs not a river by my palace wall? Have I not sacks to sew up wives withal? Say but the word, that thou wilt be mine own,–your mistress straightway in a sack is sewn, and thou the sharer of my heart and throne.’

When Giglio heard these atrocious sentiments, he forgot the respect usually paid to Royalty, lifted up the warming-pan, and knocked down the King as flat as a pancake; after which, Master Giglio took to his heels and ran away, and Betsinda went off screaming, and the Queen, Gruffanuff, and the Princess, all came out of their rooms. Fancy their feelings on beholding their husband, father, sovereign, in this posture!


As soon as the coals began to burn him, the King came to himself and stood up. ‘Ho! my captain of the guards!’ His Majesty exclaimed, stamping his royal feet with rage. O piteous spectacle! the King’s nose was bent quite crooked by the blow of Prince Giglio! His Majesty ground his teeth with rage. ‘Hedzoff,’ he said, taking a death-warrant out of his dressing-gown pocket, ‘Hedzoff, good Hedzoff, seize upon the Prince. Thou’lt find him in his chamber two pair up. But now he dared, with sacrilegious hand, to strike the sacred night-cap of a king–Hedzoff, and floor me with a warming-pan! Away, no more demur, the villain dies! See it be done, or else,–h’m– ha!–h’m! mind shine own eyes!’ and followed by the ladies, and lifting up the tails of his dressing-gown, the King entered his own apartment.

Captain Hedzoff was very much affected, having a sincere love for Giglio. ‘Poor, poor Giglio!’ he said, the tears rolling over his manly face, and dripping down his moustachios; ‘my noble young Prince, is it my hand must lead thee to death?’

‘Lead him to fiddlestick, Hedzoff,’ said a female voice. It was Gruffanuff, who had come out in her dressing-gown when she heard the noise. ‘The King said you were to hang the Prince. Well, hang the Prince.’

‘I don’t understand you,’ says Hedzoff, who was not a very clever man.

‘You Gaby! he didn’t say WHICH Prince,’ says Gruffanuff.

‘No; he didn’t say which, certainly,’ said Hedzoff.

‘Well then, take Bulbo, and hang HIM!’

When Captain Hedzoff heard this, he began to dance about for joy. ‘Obedience is a soldier’s honour,’ says he. ‘Prince Bulbo’s head will do capitally,’ and he went to arrest the Prince the very first thing next morning.

He knocked at the door. ‘Who’s there?’ says Bulbo. ‘Captain Hedzoff? Step in, pray, my good Captain; I’m delighted to see you; I have been expecting you.’

‘Have you?’ says Hedzoff.

‘Sleibootz, my Chamberlain, will act for me,’ says the Prince.

‘I beg Your Royal Highness’s pardon, but you will have to act for yourself, and it’s a pity to wake Baron Sleibootz.’

The Prince Bulbo still seemed to take the matter very coolly. ‘Of course, Captain,’ says he, ‘you are come about that affair with Prince Giglio?’

‘Precisely,’ says Hedzoff, ‘that affair of Prince Giglio.’

‘Is it to be pistols, or swords, Captain?’ asks Bulbo. ‘I’m a pretty good hand with both, and I’ll do for Prince Giglio as sure as my name is My Royal Highness Prince Bulbo.’

‘There’s some mistake, my Lord,’ says the Captain. ‘The business is done with AXES among us.’

‘Axes? That’s sharp work,’ says Bulbo. ‘Call my Chamberlain, he’ll be my second, and in ten minutes, I flatter myself, you’ll see Master Giglio’s head off his impertinent shoulders. I’m hungry for his blood Hoooo, aw!’ and he looked as savage as an ogre.

‘I beg your pardon, sir, but by this warrant I am to take you prisoner, and hand you over to–to the executioner.’

‘Pooh, pooh, my good man!–Stop, I say,–ho!– hulloa!’ was all that this luckless Prince was enabled to say, for Hedzoff’s guards seizing him, tied a handkerchief over his mouth and face, and carried him to the place of execution.

The King, who happened to be talking to Glumboso, saw him pass, and took a pinch of snuff and said, ‘So much for Giglio. Now let’s go to breakfast.’

The Captain of the Guard handed over his prisoner to the Sheriff, with the fatal order,


‘It’s a mistake,’ says Bulbo, who did not seem to understand the business in the least.

‘Poo–poo–pooh,’ says the Sheriff. ‘Fetch Jack Ketch instantly. Jack Ketch!’

And poor Bulbo was led to the scaffold, where an executioner with a block and a tremendous axe was always ready in case he should be wanted.

But we must now revert to Giglio and Betsinda.


Gruffanuff, who had seen what had happened with the King, and knew that Giglio must come to grief, got up very early the next morning, and went to devise some plans for rescuing her darling husband, as the silly old thing insisted on calling him. She found him walking up and down the garden, thinking of a rhyme for Betsinda (TINDER and WINDA were all he could find), and indeed having forgotten all about the past evening, except that Betsinda was the most lovely of beings.

‘Well, dear Giglio,’ says Gruff.

‘Well, dear Gruffy,’ says Giglio, only HE was quite satirical.

‘I have been thinking, darling, what you must do in this scrape. You must fly the country for a while.’

‘What scrape?–fly the country? Never without her I love, Countess,’ says Giglio.

‘No, she will accompany you, dear Prince,’ she says, in her most coaxing accents. ‘First, we must get the jewels belonging to our royal parents. and those of her and his present Majesty. Here is the key, duck; they are all yours, you know, by right, for you are the rightful King of Paflagonia, and your wife will be the rightful Queen.’

‘Will she?’ says Giglio.

‘Yes; and having got the jewels, go to Glumboso’s apartment, where, under his bed, you will find sacks containing money to the amount of L2I7,000,000,987,439, 13S. 6 1/2d., all belonging to you, for he took it out of your royal father’s room on the day of his death. With this we will fly.’

‘WE will fly?’ says Giglio.

‘Yes, you and your bride–your affianced love–your Gruffy!’ says the Countess, with a languishing leer.

‘YOU my bride!’ says Giglio. ‘You, you hideous old woman!’

‘Oh, you–you wretch! didn’t you give me this paper promising marriage?’ cries Gruff.

‘Get away, you old goose! I love Betsinda, and Betsinda only!’ And in a fit of terror he ran from her as quickly as he could.

‘He! he! he!’ shrieks out Gruff; ‘a promise is a promise if there are laws in Paflagonia! And as for that monster, that wretch, that fiend, that ugly little vixen–as for that upstart, that ingrate, that beast, Betsinda, Master Giglio will have no little difficulty in discovering her whereabouts. He may look very long before finding HER, I warrant. He little knows that Miss Betsinda is–‘

Is–what? Now, you shall hear. Poor Betsinda got up at five in winter’s morning to bring her cruel mistress her tea; and instead of finding her in a good humour, found Gruffy as cross as two sticks. The Countess boxed Betsinda’s ears half a dozen times whilst she was dressing; but as poor little Betsinda was used to this kind of treatment, she did not feel any special alarm. ‘And now,’ says she, ‘when Her Majesty rings her bell twice, I’ll trouble you, miss, to attend.’

So when the Queen’s bell rang twice, Betsinda came to Her Majesty and made a pretty little curtsey. The Queen, the Princess, and Gruffanuff were all three in the room. As soon as they saw her they began,

‘You wretch!’ says the Queen.

‘You little vulgar thing!’ says the Princess.

‘You beast!’ says Gruffanuff.

‘Get out of my sight!’ says the Queen.

‘Go away with you, do!’ says the Princess.

‘Quit the premises!’ says Gruffanuff.

‘Alas! and woe is me!’ very lamentable events had occurred to Betsinda that morning, and all in consequence of that fatal warming-pan business of the previous night. The King had offered to marry her; of course Her Majesty the Queen was jealous: Bulbo had fallen in love with her; of course Angelica was furious: Giglio was in love with her, and oh, what a fury Gruffy was in!

‘Take off that {cap } I gave you,’
{petticoat} they said, all
{gown } at once,
and began tearing the clothes off poor Betsinda.

‘How (the King?’ } cried the Queen, dare you {Prince Bulbo?’ } the Princess, and flirt with {Prince Giglio?’} Countess.

‘Give her the rags she wore when she came into the house, and turn her out of it!’ cries the Queen.

‘Mind she does not go with MY shoes on, which I lent her so kindly,’ says the Princess; and indeed the Princess’s shoes were a great deal too big for Betsinda.

‘Come with me, you filthy hussy!’ and taking up the Queen’s poker, the cruel Gruffanuff drove Betsinda into her room.

The Countess went to the glass box in which she had kept Betsinda’s old cloak and shoe this ever so long, and said, ‘Take those rags, you little beggar creature, and strip off everything belonging to honest people, and go about your business’; and she actually tore off the poor little delicate thing’s back almost all her things, and told her to be off out of the house.

Poor Betsinda huddled the cloak round her back, on which were embroidered the letters PRIN. . . ROSAL. . . and then came a great rent.

As for the shoe, what was she to do with one poor little tootsey sandal? the string was still to it, so she hung it round her neck.

‘Won’t you give me a pair of shoes to go out in the snow, mum, if you please, mum?’ cried the poor child.

‘No, you wicked beast!’ says Gruffanuff, driving her along with the poker–driving her down the cold stairs–driving her through the cold hall–flinging her out into the cold street, so that the knocker itself shed tears to see her!

But a kind fairy made the soft snow warm for her little feet, and she wrapped herself up in the ermine of her mantle, and was gone!

‘And now let us think about breakfast,’ says the greedy Queen.

‘What dress shall I put on, mamma? the pink or the peagreen?’ says Angelica. ‘Which do you think the dear Prince will like best?’

‘Mrs. V.!’ sings out the King from his dressing-room, ‘let us have sausages for breakfast! Remember we have Prince Bulbo staying with us!’

And they all went to get ready.

Nine o’clock came, and they were all in the breakfast-room, and no Prince Bulbo as yet. The urn was hissing and humming: the muffins were smoking–such a heap of muffins! the eggs were done, there was a pot of raspberry jam, and coffee, and a beautiful chicken and tongue on the side-table. Marmitonio the cook brought in the sausages. Oh, how nice they smelt!

‘Where is Bulbo?’ said the King. ‘John, where is His Royal Highness?’ John said he had a took hup His Roilighnessesses shaving-water, and his clothes and things, and he wasn’t in his room, which he sposed His Royliness was just stepped trout.

‘Stepped out before breakfast in the snow! Impossible!’ says the King, sticking his fork into a sausage. ‘My dear, take one. Angelica, won’t you have a saveloy?’ The Princess took one, being very fond of them; and at this moment Glumboso entered with Captain Hedzoff, both looking very much disturbed.

‘I am afraid Your Majesty–‘ cries Glumboso.

‘No business before breakfast, Glum!’ says the King.’ Breakfast first, business next. Mrs. V., some more sugar!’

‘Sire, I am afraid if we wait till after breakfast it will be too late,’ says Glumboso. ‘He–he–he’ll be hanged at half-past nine.’

‘Don’t talk about hanging and spoil my breakfast, you unkind, vulgar man you,’ cries the Princess. ‘John, some mustard. Pray who is to be hanged?’

‘Sire, it is the Prince,’ whispers Glumboso to the King.

‘Talk about business after breakfast, I tell you!’ says His Majesty, quite sulky.

‘We shall have a war, Sire, depend on it,’ says the Minister. ‘His father, King Padella. . .’

‘His father, King WHO?’ says the King. ‘King Padella is not Giglio’s father. My brother, King Savio, was Giglio’s father.’

‘It’s Prince Bulbo they are hanging, Sire, not Prince Giglio,’ says the Prime Minister.

‘You told me to hang the Prince, and I took the ugly one,’ says Hedzoff. ‘I didn’t, of course, think Your Majesty intended to murder your own flesh and blood! ‘

The King for all reply flung the plate of sausages at Hedzoff’s head. The Princess cried out ‘Hee-kareekaree!’ and fell down in a fainting fit.

‘Turn the cock of the urn upon Her Royal Highness,’ said the King, and the boiling water gradually revived her. His Majesty looked at his watch, compared it by the clock in the parlour, and by that of the church in the square opposite; then he wound it up; then he looked at it again. ‘The great question is,’ says he, ‘am I fast or am I slow? If I’m slow, we may as well go on with breakfast. If I’m fast, why, there is just the possibility of saving Prince Bulbo. It’s a doosid awkward mistake, and upon my word, Hedzoff, I have the greatest mind to have you hanged too.’

‘Sire, I did but my duty; a soldier has but his orders. I didn’t expect after forty-seven years of faithful service that my sovereign would think of putting me to a felon’s death!’

‘A hundred thousand plagues upon you! Can’t you see that while you are talking my Bulbo is being hung?’ screamed the Princess.

‘By Jove! she’s always right, that girl, and I’m so absent,’ says the King, looking at his watch again. ‘Ha! there go the drums! What a doosid awkward thing though!’

‘Oh, papa, you goose! Write the reprieve, and let me run with it,’ cries the Princess–and she got a sheet of paper, and pen and ink, and laid them before the King.

‘Confound it! where are my spectacles?’ the Monarch exclaimed. ‘Angelica! go up into my bedroom, look under my pillow, not your mamma’s; there you’ll see my keys. Bring them down to me, and–Well, well! what impetuous things these girls are!’ Angelica was gone, and had run up panting to the bedroom, and found the keys, and was back again before the King had finished a muffin. ‘Now, love,’ says he, ‘you must go all the way back for my desk, in which my spectacles are. If you would but have heard me out. . . Be hanged to her! There she is off again. Angelica! ANGELICA!’ When His Majesty called in his LOUD voice, she knew she must obey, and came back.

‘My dear, when you go out of a room, how often have I told you, SHUT THE DOOR. That’s a darling. That’s all.’ At last the keys and the desk and the spectacles were got, and the King mended his pen, and signed his name to a reprieve, and Angelica ran with it as swift as the wind. ‘You’d better stay, my love, and finish the muffins. There’s no use going. Be sure it’s too late. Hand me over that raspberry jam, please,’ said the Monarch. ‘Bong! Bawong! There goes the half-hour. I knew it was.’

Angelica ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. She ran up Fore Street, and down High Street, and through the Market-place, and down to the left, and over the bridge, and up the blind alley, and back again, and round by the Castle, and so along by the Haberdasher’s on the right, opposite the lamp-post, and round the square, and she came–she came to the EXECUTION PLACE, where she saw Bulbo laying his head on the block!!! The executioner raised his axe, but at that moment the Princess came panting up and cried ‘Reprieve!’ ‘Reprieve!’ screamed the Princess. ‘Reprieve!’ shouted all the people. Up the scaffold stairs she sprang, with the agility of a lighter of lamps; and flinging herself in Bulbo’s arms, regardless of all ceremony, she cried out, ‘Oh, my Prince! my lord! my love! my Bulbo! Thine Angelica has been in time to save thy precious existence, sweet rosebud; to prevent thy being nipped in thy young bloom! Had aught befallen thee, Angelica too had died, and welcomed death that joined her to her Bulbo.’

‘H’m! there’s no accounting for tastes,’ said Bulbo, looking so very much puzzled and uncomfortable that the Princess, in tones of tenderest strain, asked the cause of his disquiet.

‘I tell you what it is, Angelica,’ said he, ‘since I came here yesterday, there has been such a row, and disturbance, and quarrelling, and fighting, and chopping of heads off, and the deuce to pay, that I am inclined to go back to Crim Tartary.’

‘But with me as thy bride, my Bulbo! Though wherever thou art is Crim Tartary to me, my bold, my beautiful, my Bulbo!’

‘Well, well, I suppose we must be married,’ says Bulbo. ‘Doctor, you came to read the Funeral Service–read the Marriage Service, will you? What must be, must. That will satisfy Angelica, and then, in the name of peace and quietness, do let us go back to breakfast.’

Bulbo had carried a rose in his mouth all the time of the dismal ceremony. It was a fairy rose, and he was told by his mother that he ought never to part with it. So he had kept it between his teeth, even when he laid his poor head upon the block, hoping vaguely that some chance would turn up in his favour. As he began to speak to Angelica, he forgot about the rose, and of course it dropped out of his mouth. The romantic Princess instantly stooped and seized it. ‘Sweet rose!’ she exclaimed, ‘that bloomed upon my Bulbo’s lip, never, never will I part from thee!’ and she placed it in her bosom. And you know Bulbo COULDN’T ask her to give the rose back again. And they went to breakfast; and as they walked, it appeared to Bulbo that Angelica became more exquisitely lovely every moment.

He was frantic until they were married; and now, strange to say, it was Angelica who didn’t care about him! He knelt down, he kissed her hand, he prayed and begged; he cried with admiration; while she for her part said she really thought they might wait; it seemed to her he was not handsome any more–no, not at all, quite the reverse; and not clever, no, very stupid; and not well bred, like Giglio; no, on the contrary, dreadfully vul–

What, I cannot say, for King Valoroso roared out ‘POOH, stuff!’ in a terrible voice. ‘We will have no more of this shilly-shallying! Call the Archbishop, and let the Prince and Princess be married offhand!’

So, married they were, and I am sure for my part I trust they will be happy.


Betsinda wandered on and on, till she passed through the town gates, and so on the great Crim Tartary road, the very way on which Giglio too was going. ‘Ah!’ thought she, as the diligence passed her, of which the conductor was blowing a delightful tune on his horn, ‘how I should like to be on that coach!’ But the coach and the jingling horses were very soon gone. She little knew who was in it, though very likely she was thinking of him all the time.

Then came an empty cart, returning from market; and the driver being a kind man, and seeing such a very pretty girl trudging along the road with bare feet, most good-naturedly gave her a seat. He said he lived on the confines of the forest, where his old father was a woodman, and, if she liked, he would take her so far on her road. All roads were the same to little Betsinda, so she very thankfully took this one.

And the carter put a cloth round her bare feet, and gave her some bread and cold bacon, and was very kind to her. For all that she was very cold and melancholy. When after travelling on and on, evening came, and all the black pines were bending with snow, and there, at last, was the comfortable light beaming in the woodman’s windows; and so they arrived, and went into his cottage. He was an old man, and had a number of children, who were just at supper, with nice hot bread-and-milk, when their elder brother arrived with the cart. And they jumped and clapped their hands; for they were good children; and he had brought them toys from the town. And when they saw the pretty stranger, they ran to her, and brought her to the fire, and rubbed her poor little feet, and brought her bread and milk.

‘Look, father!’ they said to the old woodman, ‘look at this poor girl, and see what pretty cold feet she has. They are as white as our milk! And look and see what an odd cloak she has, just like the bit of velvet that hangs up in our cupboard, and which you found that day the little cubs were killed by King Padella, in the forest! And look, why, bless us all! she has got round her neck just such another little shoe as that you brought home, and have shown us so often–a little blue velvet shoe!’

‘What,’ said the old woodman, ‘what is all this about a shoe and a cloak?’

And Betsinda explained that she had been left, when quite a little child, at the town with this cloak and this shoe. And the persons who had taken care of her had–had been angry with her, for no fault, she hoped, of her own. And they had sent her away with her old clothes–and here, in fact, she was. She remembered having been in a forest–and perhaps it was a dream–it was so very odd and strange–having lived in a cave with lions there; and, before that, having lived in a very, very fine house, as fine as the King’s, in the town.

When the woodman heard this, he was so astonished, it was quite curious to see how astonished he was. He went to his cupboard, and took out of a stocking a five-shilling piece of King Cavolfiore, and vowed it was exactly like the young woman. And then he produced the shoe and piece of velvet which he had kept so long, and compared them with the things which Betsinda wore. In Betsinda’s little shoe was written, ‘Hopkins, maker to the Royal Family’; so in the other shoe was written, ‘Hopkins, maker to the Royal Family.’ In the inside of Betsinda’s piece of cloak was embroidered, ‘PRIN ROSAL’; in the other piece of cloak was embroidered ‘CESS BA. NO. 246.’ So that when put together you read, ‘PRINCESS ROSALBA. NO. 246.’

On seeing this, the dear old woodman fell down on his knee, saying, ‘O my Princess, O my gracious royal lady, O my rightful Queen of Crim Tartary,–I hail thee–I acknowledge thee–I do thee homage!’ And in token of his fealty, he rubbed his venerable nose three times on the ground, and put the Princess’s foot on his head.

‘Why,’ said she, ‘my good woodman, you must be a nobleman of my royal father’s Court!’ For in her lowly retreat, and under the name of Betsinda, HER MAJESTY, ROSALBA, Queen of Crim Tartary, had read of the customs of all foreign courts and nations.

‘Marry, indeed, am I, my gracious liege–the poor Lord Spinachi once–the humble woodman these fifteen years syne. Ever since the tyrant Padella (may ruin overtake the treacherous knave!) dismissed me from my post of First Lord.’

‘First Lord of the Toothpick and Joint Keeper of the Snuffbox? I mind me! Thou heldest these posts under our royal Sire. They are restored to thee, Lord Spinachi! I make thee knight of the second class of our Order of the Pumpkin (the first class being reserved for crowned heads alone). Rise, Marquis of Spinachi!’ And with indescribable majesty, the Queen, who had no sword handy, waved the pewter spoon with which she had been taking her bread-and-milk, over the bald head of the old nobleman, whose tears absolutely made a puddle on the ground, and whose dear children went to bed that night Lords and Ladies Bartolomeo, Ubaldo, Catarina, and Ottavia degli Spinachi!

The acquaintance HER MAJESTY showed with the history, and noble families of her empire, was wonderful. ‘The House of Broccoli should remain faithful to us,’ she said; ‘they were ever welcome at our Court. Have the Articiocchi, as was their wont, turned to the Rising Sun? The family of Sauerkraut must sure be with us–they were ever welcome in the halls of King Cavolfiore.’ And so she went on enumerating quite a list of the nobility and gentry of Crim Tartary, so admirably had Her Majesty profited by her studies while in exile.

The old Marquis of Spinachi said he could answer for them all; that the whole country groaned under Padella’s tyranny, and longed to return to its rightful sovereign; and late as it was,

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