All story: Septimus
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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

THERE was once upon a time a king and queen, who had a very small kingdom to govern. The king was named Petard ; he was a very good man, rather blunt, of a weak and limited mind ; but otherwise -the best king in the world. His subjects were nearly as much masters in his kingdom as himself, for on the most unimportant occasions they gave their advice rather loudly and without its being asked for ; and each of them wished him notions on government to be noticed and followed.
The queen was called Gilletta ; she had no larger share of talents than her husband, but still her character was mild, timid and inoffensive, which caused her to speak little, and often by sentences only ; she paid that submissive deference to the long, which a wife usually pays to the husband to whom she owes her fortune.
As Petard was the only child of the king and queen, his father and mother, they resolved, from his birth, to marry him to a little princess, the niece of an old lairy, named Gangan, who was at that time the intimate friend of Petard's father and mother. It is true that the princess was not yet come into the world ; but, on Gangan's assuring them that she should one day be an accomplished person, all that she required was promised, and an oath was even taken to ensure it.
Petard having arrived at twenty-five years of age, thought it would be proper to marry to his own mind ; he troubled himself but little about his father and mother's promises, and married, without their consent, an extremely pretty young lady, of whom he was very fond. She was only a rich farmer's daughter ; but although she was married to a king's son, her natural good sense prevented her becoming vain, that is to say, silly.
The king, Petard's father, angry at that prince's marriage, could not refuse to Gangan the right of avenging the affront which he had put on them both ; he accordingly disinherited his son, forbade him ever to appear at his court, and gave him his portion, which it was settled should be a pretty considerable estate, on which his father in law was farmer. All the favour that was granted him was, leave to erect this little estate into a sovereignty, himself having the title of king and majesty. Shortly after his disgrace, his father died ; and his mother having obtained the regency, was not sorry to be unencumbered with a son, who, notwithstanding his want of wit, might have been able to thwart her projects, and to oppose her desire of reigning.
Petard was neither ambitious nor a conqueror ; consequently he was not long in accustoming himself to his small estate, and even in becoming very well pleased with it : small as it was, he reigned therein, as though it were larger ; in fact it was quite as large as was necessary for him ; and the titles of king and majesty served him instead of a large kingdom. But as the most bounded minds have always at least their share of vanity, he soon prided himself in imitating the king his father, and created a seneschal, a solicitor- general, and a chamberlain (for in these days, chancellors, parliaments, and farmers-general were alike unknown; the kings administered justice themselves, and received in person their revenues). He also coined money, instituted, with his seneschal, regulations for the police of his little kingdom ; his father in law Carbuncle being the person whom he honored with the title of seneschal. He was a frank, sincere, and upright man, and was endowed hy nature with good common sense and some imagination : accordingly he decided slowly, but nearly always justly : he knew by heart the verses of the poets of his time, and was fond of reciting them. This little appointment did not make him vain ; for he continued to make the farm as valuable as before ; which so gained him his son-in-law's confidence, that his majesty soon was unable to do without him.

Carbuncle visited the king every morning, and took his breakfast with him : they talked on business, but the minister would very often say to the king : " Sire, with your permission, you do not understand it ; allow me to manage and all will go well; ' let every body mind his own affairs,' says the poet." " But," replied the kin g, " what shall I do then r" " Whatever you like," answered Carbuncle ; " you can govern your wife, and your kitchen -garden ; that is all that is required of you." " In truth, I think that you are right," said the king ; " so do as you think fit." However, to lose nothing on the score of reputation, he always displayed himself on feast-days, in a royal cloak of red cloth printed with flowers of gold, a cap of the same material with a gilded wooden sceptre, which he had bought of an old strolling player, who had retired from the stage. In accordance with the advice of his seneschal, he obtained Francis Moore and Partridge's almanacks, which were forwarded to him from Stationers' Hall every year in the month of July, and which he had regularly bound in fine marble paper with the edges gilt. In the one he learned the proper sowing time ; also the season for planting, cutting, grafting, draining and clearing ; and he trusted in it so implicitly that he often physicked himself and his queen when they did not want it. In the other, he studied political prophecies, with which he was so bewildered, that he understood nothing about them. At the end of a few years, all these almanacks formed for him, quite a little library, of which he was as fond as though it had been equal to the Bodleian, and he and the seneschal alone had keys to it. In the afternoon, he employed himself in his royal little kitchen garden, and in putting in practice what his almanack had taught him in the morning. In the evening he sent for Carbuncle with whom he played until supper time, at beat my neighbour out of doors or piquet ; he then supped in public with the queen, and at ten o'clock every body was in bed.
Gilletta on her part, employed herself with the household affairs ; she spun with her women ; and made, with her cows' and goats' milk, excellent cheese ; but, above all, every morning, she never failed to knead a little cake of barley-flour, which she baked on the hearth and carried, with a cream cheese, to her little garden, where she placed it at the foot of a rose tree ; as she had been directed in a dream to do the day after her wedding.
The tranquillity which they both enjoyed in their little kingdom was only disturbed by the wish of having children. They had been married two years, and Petard had begun to despair, when one day, as he was in his fruit garden with his seneschal, the midwife of his kingdom, who was also first lady of honour to the queen, came and announced to him that he was likely to become a father.
Transported with joy at this intelligence, he embraced the midwife with all his heart, and taking from his finger a fine ring formed of a cat's eye, he presented it to her. He did not stop there, for he gave that evening a grand supper to all the chief men of his kingdom ; after which he fired off himself all his artillery, which consisted of twelve arquebusses with locks, and six carbines with rods. It is said that at supper, his immediate joy made him say things incompatible with his dignity ; and that when his seneschal remonstrated with him upon the subject , he replied by throwing a large glass of wine in that minister's face ; saying : " Many thanks, father-in-law, you are, perhaps, right , but one is not a father every day : however, let us say no more about it, and let us rejoice, for, in my place, you would, perhaps, act quite as wisely." Carbuncle made no reply, and every body withdrew from their majesties, very well pleased.

As the king was loved by his subjects, rejoicings were duly made, the same day and hour, all over the kingdom to celebrate this event.
" Every thing comes in time to him who can wait," said the queen quietly. And thus, instead of one child, at one birth she brought Petard seven ; three boys, three girls, and then another boy. The last child had the most beautiful eyes that were ever seen ; a white skin, and eyebrows, like his hair, black as jet ; as he was born with curly hair, the king and queen liked him better than the others ; and the queen absolutely wished herself to nurse her little Septimus, which was his name.
At the end of eighteen months the three princes became so lively and playful, that the nurses could not do any thing with them. When they complained to the king, he answered them : " Let them alone ; when they shall be as old as I am, they will not be so lively : I was the same, I who am now speaking to you : and all in good time." The three princesses, on the contrary, were gentle ; but so dull, so quiet, that they would remain in any places they were put ; which caused the king to like his sons best, and the queen to prefer her daughters, except in regard to Septimus, who had none of his brothers' and sisters' defects and was the prettiest child in the world. He would soon have been spoiled, if a kind fairy, unknown to Gangan and even to Gilletta, had not endowed him with an equable and unchangeable character.
When it was necessary to wean the children of their majesties, a cabinet council was called, composed of the seneschal, the solicitor general, the chamberlain and the nurses, who were also summoned. After a long discussion, it was resolved, by the advice of Carbuncle, to use cows' milk for the three beys, and goats' milk for the three girls : this appeared to be a very good and simple means of correcting the vivacity of the princes, and the dullness of the princesses ; but, when they were older, and it became necessary to give them more substantial food, they consumed such an enormous quantity, that the king's revenues were considerably diminished thereby ; besides, as the princes had only lost part of then* vivacity by their early nourishment, and the princesses had acquired an additional quantity, there was an uproar and frightful quarrelling all day long. They fought and pulled each other about, and wore out so many, many clothes, that there could hardly be enough found for them. The little Septimus alone was mild and obedient ; and his brothers and sisters were always playing him some roguish trick. The king would frequently say to the queen:" Your three daughters grow excessively tall, and by my sceptre, I hardly know what I shall do with them ; as for my boys I will give them the care of my farm; but for your daughters, it is different." To which the queen would answer : " Sire, let us have patience ; for every thing comes in time to him who can wait."

While king Petard made himself uneasy, and queen Gilletta kept herself quiet, their children attained seven years of age. Every one of those who composed their court, had already given his advice or rather his decision as to the establishment of the princesses and princes, when one morning the queen who had just kneaded her little cake, perceived on the table a pretty little blue mouse nibbling the dough : her first impulse was to drive it away, but an involuntary feeling withheld her ; she watched it attentively, and was much surprised to see it seize the little cake and carry it up the chimney. Her quietness now gave way to her impatience, and running after the mouse with the intention of taking its booty from it, she saw both disappear, and beheld in their place a little shrivelled old woman a foot high at most. After making several grimaces, and uttering some half intelligible words, this little hop o' my thumb put the shovel and tongs across, described over them with the broom, three circles and three triangles, uttered seven short sharp cries, and finished by throwing the broom over her head . The queen, notwithstanding her fear, did not fail to remark that the old woman, while tracing the circles and triangles, had distinctly pronounced these three words, confidence, discretion, happiness; and was trying to discover their meaning, when a voice which she heard in the next room, attracted her attention. As she thought it was Septimus's voice, she ran there immediately ; but had hardly opened the door when she perceived three large may-flies, each of which held in its paws one of her daughters ; and three tall young ladies who had on their backs her three sons. They all immediately passed through the window, singing in chorus and very melodiously : " Fly away, fly of May Fly away, fly away."
What moved Gilletta most was, to see in the midst of them, Septimus between the blue mouse's paws ; they were both in a little car made of a large rose-coloured snail- shell, and drawn by two goldfinches, with beautifully streaked feathers. The mouse, who appeared to be larger than mice generally are, was dressed in a beautiful gown of Persian silk, and a mantle of black velvet, a hood tied under its chin, and had two little blue horns over its forehead. The car, the may-flies and the young ladies, went away so quickly, that the queen soon lost sight of them. Then, more concerned at the loss of Septimus and her children, than, at the fairies and their power, she began to call out and to weep with all her might. The king hearing her grief, ran to the chamber, followed by his seneschal, and was anxious to know what had occured ; but Gilletta's grief was so overwhelming that she could only answer him in these words : " The may-flies ! the young ladies! ah! Sire my children are torn from me ! " The king who only paid attention to these last words, abruptly quitted Gilletta, and ordered Carbuncle to take two muskets from his ante-chamber, for he always had a half dozen by him in expectation that he should one day have as many guards. Then crossing -his royal kitchen garden, he reached the country with the design of pursuing and killing the robbers.
About an hour after he was gone, the queen, who had exhausted her tears, and was .sighing for the loss of her children, heard something humming round her, and saw fall at her feet a piece of paper folded square ; she picked it up, opened it precipitately, and read as follows:

"Calm your uneasiness, my dear Gilletta, and remember that your happiness depends on confidence and discretion ; you have begun Well by your exactitude in giving me your cakes and cheeses, and my gratitude will do the rest ; but always be convinced that ' every thing comes in time to him who can wait,' and that you may hope every thing from your friend, " The Fairy of the Fields."
This note, together with her confidence in the power of the fairies, sufficed to calm her inquietude, and, addressing a little linnet which she perceived at the top of her bed : " Linnet, pretty linnet," said she " I will do all that you wish, but tell me I beg of you, as soon as you hear of him, some news of my little Septimus." At these words the linnet fluttered its wings, sang a few notes, and flew away; and the queen, persuaded that this was as much as to say, " I consent," thanked it and made the bird a low curtsey. In the mean time the king and his seneschal, tired of their useless pursuit, had returned r to the house, and finding the queen so very tranquil, the king was somewhat offended at her apparent indifference. He asked her several questions to ascertain the cause ; to which Gilletta gave no other answer than : " Every thing comes in time to him who can wait." This coolness so vexed him that he would have gone into a passion, if his seneschal had not urged on him that Gilletta was right, and that the poet Pibrac had said so before her in one of his couplets, which he forthwith recited. The king, to whom Carbuncle was an oracle, was silent, and listened with attention to a nice little sermon which he then preached to him on the evil of having children, and the vexation and expense that they almost always entail on their parents. " By my sceptre," said the king, " my father-in-law is right ; and those seven brats would have ruined me, had they remained with me much longer ; therefore, many thanks to him or her who has taken them ; as they came so are they gone : it is only so much lost time ; so let us rejoice and begin again." The queen, who was afraid of saying too much, very prudently said nothing ; and the king, having no more to say, returned to his closet and played a game at piquet with his seneschal.
While all this was passing with king Petard, the queen, his mother, tiring of her widow-hood, which had now lasted an unusually long time, resolved to re-marry. With this intention she cast her eyes on a young prince of a neighbouring kingdom, sovereign of the Green Isles. He was* handsome, well made, and his mind was as pleasing as his person ; his pleasures were his only employments ; nothing was to be heard of but his gallantries ; and it was averred that every pretty woman in his kingdom was deeply in love with him.

His advantageous reputation, together with a portrait of the prince, so turned the head of the queen, that she flattered herself with the idea of making him love her and fixing his inconstancy. There was only one difficulty, which was, that she was neither young nor lovely ; she was tall and thin, had small eyes, a long and crooked nose, and a large mouth, not entirely without a beard on the upper lip. Such a figure might not be without its advantages to a queen, as it would command respect ; but it was little calculated to inspire love. It is difficult to blind one's self to one's defects, when they reach a certain point ; she felt, therefore, in moments of reflection, that, with her person, it would be impossible for her to please the young king of the Green Isles, and that to succeed in so doing, she must possess beauty, or, at least, youth ; but how to come by it ? how to change gray hairs and masculine features, for an amiable figure, infantine graces and an enticing mien? It is true that Gangan, her friend, might have been of great assistance to her in this affair, but as that fairy had several times vainly urged the queen to adopt her niece, and to proclaim her heiress to the crown, she had every thing to fear from exciting her choler by such a proposal. The old queen felt all this, hesitated, and struggled, but looked so frequently at the portrait of the handsome prince of the Green Isles, that love at last conquered her fear of the fairy, to whom she communicated her sentiments, conjuring her, in the most pressing terms to assist her with her art, and not to refuse her this essential proof of her friendship. She even went so far as to shew her the portrait of the young prince, begging her approval of her design. Gangan could not conceal her surprise, but she dissimulated her resentment ; she foresaw the bad con- sequences of protesting openly against this marriage, since the king of the Green Isles, who had nearly ruined his estates in supporting his extravagance, might find it convenient to con- clude the union from interested motives and might oppose her designs by the assistance of a powerful protecting genius of his kingdom : so pretending to give her hand to this affair, she promised the queen to set to work at making her young again ; but she promised herself, at the same time, to deceive the queen, and to put the execution of her will out of her majesty's power.
On the day that the fairy had appointed for the fulfilment of her promises, she appeared dressed in a long flesh coloured and silver satin robe ; her head dress was composed entirely of artificial flowers and tinsel trinkets ; a little dwarf held the end of her robe, arid carried under his left arm a black china box. The queen received her with the greatest marks of respect and gratitude, and begged her, after the usual compliments, not to delay her happiness. The fairy consented, made every body retire, and ordered her dwarf to shut the doors and windows ; then having taken from her box a vellum book, ornamented with large silver clasps, a wand made of three metals, and a phial which contained a very clear but greenish liquid, she seated the queen on a cushion in the middle of the room, and desired the dwarf to place himself opposite her majesty ; then having traced round them three spiral circles, she read in her book, touched the queen and the dwarf three times with her wand, and sprinkled them with the liquid just spoken of. Then the queen's features began to grow gradually less, and the size of the little dwarf to increase in proportion ; so that in less than three minutes, they changed figures without feeling the slightest inconvenience. Although the queen was armed w r ith courage, still she could not witness the dwarf's increasing size without some fear ; which was so augmented by a bluish flame which rose all at once from the three circles, that she suddenly fainted away ; when the fairy, having finished the enchantment, opened a window and disappeared with her page, who, notwithstanding his in- creased height, still held his mistress's robe and carried the china box.

The first thing that the queen did, after she had re- gained her senses, was to consult her looking glass; she there saw, with the utmost pleasure, that her features were charming in the extreme ; but did not remark that these same features were those of a little girl of eight or nine years old ; that her dress hat had taken the shape of a girl's cap, furnished with ringlets of fair hair, and that her gown was changed to a frock with short sleeves and a lace apron ; all this, added to her slender figure, which the charm had not in the least degree diminished, made her a very droll object, however, she observed it not, for, of all the ideas that she had possessed before the enchantment, those only remained which referred to the prince of the Green Isles, and to the love which she felt for him. She was, therefore, quite as contented with herself as her courtiers were astonished at her appearance ; they knew not what to do even, or what part to take, when the prime-minister, on whom all the great depended, extricated them from their embarrassment, and decided that, so far from contradicting the queen, it was necessary to flatter her majesty's tastes and humours ; and he began by ordering his wife and daughters to conform themselves to her will. Soon, to please the minister, the example was followed, and, in a short time, all the court dressed like the queen, and imitated her in all she did. Every one, even the men, spoke childishly ; no one played at any game but puss in the corner, at forfeits, or birds beasts and fishes. The cooks had to dress nothing but custards, tartlets and little puffs. Nothing was done but dressing and undressing dolls, and at all the games and feasts, the only subject of conversation was the king of the Green Isles. The queen spoke of him a hundred times a day, and always called him her little hus- band. She asked for him continually, and was satisfied for some time, with each subterfuge which was used to flatter or deceive her ; but at last gaiety gave way to caprice, and she felt all the humours of a child who has not obtained what it wants and whose nurse dares not oppose its will. After being amused for some time with so singular an event (for the indolence of a court causes it to amuse itself with any thing) , people grew tired of the puerilities of this great child ; and weary of the constraint, as well as of the complaisance which it was necessary to display ; they forsook her court, and it was on the point of being quite abandoned, when it was positively stated in the Court Circular, that the long of the Green Isles, who was travelling over the neighbouring kingdoms, would soon arrive there. At this news their courage revived. The queen became so gay and cheerful, that she did nothing but sing and dance while awaiting the prince's arrival. The happy moment at length arrived ; she ran to meet him; and although she was told that it was contrary to etiquette, she actually determined to receive him at the foot of her staircase ! but as she was hastily descending, she became entangled hi her train, which had been recently lengthened in accordance with the fashion, and fell with considerable violence. Although her hands had saved her head, and her nose was only slightly grazed, she was so frightened that she uttered loud cries, and was carried to her chamber, when her face was bathed with Hungary water, and she was only quieted on being informed that her little husband was come to see her, and in truth the prince appeared, but the sight of so ridiculous a figure made him burst into such violent fits of laughter, that he was obliged to quit the room and even the palace. The queen, who witnessed his departure, began to cry, with all her might, that she wanted her little husband ; he was followed and entreated to return ; but ineffectually ; for he would not consent, but made the best of his way from a court where every body appeared to him to be insane. The queen, as may be supposed, was inconsolable; in vain every means was tried to calm her, her ill humour only became the more insupportable in consequence, and the yoke appeared to press too heavily, on those even who liked her best. The majority, ashamed to be the subjects of such a queen, were of opinion that it would be the best to dethrone her, which was about to be done, when Gangan, who only wished to disgust her with marriage, disenchanted her and restored her original appearance. At the sight of her natural figure ; she thought of stabbing herself in despair ; she had found herself charming under that she had just quitted, and now saw, in its place, but a face of upwards of sixty and an ugliness which she detested. She never conceived that she had been in the least ridiculous under her late metamorphosis, and had certainly lost none of her love, so that the loss of her youth, and of the prince of the Green Isles, threw her into a languor which threatened her life, and inspired her at the same time with an implacable hatred for the fairy Gangan. With regard to her subjects, they began to pity her, and to look on these events as a just punishment for the sacrifice she had made of her maternal tenderness and gratitude, at the shrine of ambition and to her insensate desires.

It was about this time that the Fairy of the Fields had taken away the children of Petard and Gilletta. The generous fairy was the protectress of those who were obliged to live in the country ; and occupied herself incessantly in preventing or diminishing the misfortunes to which they were destined. She was the better able to protect them, inasmuch as she possessed the friendship and favour of Titania, the Queen of the Fairies.
The Isle Bambine, which that queen had placed under her government, was the place to which she had transported the four boys and three girls of King Petard and Queen Gilletta. This isle was inhabited by children only, w T ho, under the protection of the fairies, were well looked after, by nurses and their attendants. A perpetual Spring reigned there ; the trees and meadows were always covered with fruits and flowers, and the ground produced spontaneously, all that could please the eye or gratify the palate. The walks were charming, the gardens varied and filled with pretty little carriages of all kinds, drawn by spaniels with long ears. But nicest and best of all the walls of the children's rooms were made of sugar-candy, the floors of preserved citron, and the furniture of excellent ginger- bread. When they were very good, the children might eat of these nice things as much as they pleased, without its diminishing or injuring them in the slightest degree, and besides this, in the streets and walks were to be seen all sorts of pretty little dolls, magnificently dressed, who walked and danced of them- selves. The little girls, who were neither proud, nor greedy, nor disobedient, had only to form a wish, and immediately sweetmeats and fruits came of themselves to seek them ; the dolls threw themselves into their arms, and allowed themselves to be dressed and undressed, caressed and whipped with unparallelled docility and discretion ; but when, on the other hand, these little girls committed any fault, the dolls ran away from them, making faces at those who had called them ; the sweet-meats changed into gall, and the dolls' dresses became dirty and slovenly. With regard to the little boys, when they were neither obstinate, story- telling nor idle, they had little punchinellos, kites, rackets, and playthings for every sport that can be thought of; but when the nurses were discontented, the punchinellos laughed at the naughty boys, bouncing against their noses, and upbraiding them with the faults they had com- mitted ; the kites had no wind, the rackets were pierced ; in a word nothing succeeded with them, and the more obstinate they were, the worse this was. There were punishments and rewards of some kind or other for all ages ; as, for example, one finding himself on a donkey, who had expected to be mounted on a little horse nicely caparisoned, or another hearing it said of herself: "Ah! how ugly she is! how slovenly she is! how ever did she come here ?" while the good young ladies were well dressed, caressed and rewarded ; in a word, nothing was neglected to correct in the children, faults both of heart and head ; and to instruct and amuse them, they were allowed to read the annals of fairyism, which contain the most remark- able histories of that empire, as Blue Beard, Prince Lutin, the Beneficent Frog, the Good little Mouse, the Blue Bird, and many others ; for the Fairy of the Fields made a great matter of it, and collected them with great care from all the kingdoms of the world, and it is from her copy, that most of the tales in the " Child's Fairy Library," are printed.

While the children of Petard and Gilletta were residing in the isle of Bambine, every means imaginable was put in practice to overcome the obstinacy of the three boys and the pride of the three girls; but these faults, far from diminishing, only augmented with their years. For four years, the particular interest which the fairy governess herself took in these children, joined to the cares, the attention and patience of the nurses, had scarcely wrought the slightest perceptible change in their dispositions ; when feeling but too strongly that their natural tendencies were too powerful for a simple education, the fairy no longer sought to overcome them by the usual means, but was obliged to have recourse to the violent remedy of a metamorphosis ; and in truth, although this extreme measure appear somewhat hard, it was yet indispensable under the circumstances, with a view to the formation of their future characters. The children, notwithstanding their changes, preserved the ideas and sentiments of what they were, and of what they had been ; still yielding to the laws of their new state. When the fairy, who had the power of penetrating their thoughts, believed them reclaimed, she restored to them their proper forms and her friendship ; and even procured them advantageous establishments. She changed then, although with considerable pain to her own feelings, the three sons of Petard into Punchinellos, and the three girls into Dancing Dolls, and condemned them to remain as puppets for the space of three years. As she was, however, as satisfied with prince Septimus as she had been displeased with his brothers and sisters, she did not wish him to be a witness of their disgrace, and resolved to remove him from them. The only difficulty was to find an asylum where he would be safe from the machinations of Gangan : so to neglect nothing on his account, she thought it would be well to consult with her friend, the Queen of the Fairies, and take her mature advice on what she was about to do. With this intention, she put on her green velvel farthingale, her jonquil- coloured satin mantle, and her little blue riding-hood : and with nine white may-flies attached to her gilded wicker post-chaise, their harness being of rose-coloured ribbon, she set out with all diligence, and arrived in a short time at the Fortunate Island, where the Queen of the Fairies ordinarily resided.
Having alighted at the end of a magnificent avenue of orange and citron trees, she entered the court-yard of the castle, where she found, in a row, twenty-four black genii, six feet high, wearing long gowns with trains, and carrying on the left shoulder a polished steel club ; they had behind them seventy- four black ostriches spotted with red and blue, which they held in leashes, keeping a profound silence. These black genii were wicked fairies, condemned to hold these posts as slaves for several ages, according to the nature of their crimes. When they perceived the fairy, they saluted her, grounding their clubs on the pavement ; and as that was of steel also, it made a clashing sound, and emitted sparks of fire. This honour was rendered to all who, like the Fairy of the Fields had a government. Having ascended the staircase, which was made of porphyry, jasper, agate and lapis-lazuli, she saw in the first apartment twelve young ladies simply dressed, without hoods ; they had only a key chain round their waist, and the half- wand, with which they saluted her as had done the slaves ; the fain- returned their salutation, for their employment was such as is generally given to those who are about to be initiated in the art of fairyism. She passed through a long suite of apartments magnificently furnished, and at last reached the queen's ante-chamber, which she found full of fairies, who were met there from all parts of the world, some on business, others to pay their court to her majesty.

The queen's closet was nearly empty, when she saw the old fairy Gangan come from it. The respect which fairies and all good people ever pay to then* sovereign, could scarcely prevent her from laughing at the sight of so grotesque a figure as that of Gangan. Over a skirt of green satin, bedizened with blue and gold lace, she wore a large farthingale of the same material, embroidered with rose-coloured caterpillars and trinkets ; and a half girdle enriched with emeralds. Hanging to a silver chain, she had a small looking-glass and patch-box, a large watch, and a casket of rare coins ; her ears were loaded with two large pearl and ruby drops, and she had on her head a light yellow velvet hood, with an aigrette of amethysts and topazes ; a large bouquet of jasmin ornamented the front of her person, and ten or twelve patches scattered over a faded rouge, covered a wrinkled and dry-rose-leaf-coloured skin.
If the Fairy of the Fields was surprised at the ridiculous equipage of Gangan, the latter was not less so at meeting with her rival, at a moment when she least expected it. She was not ignorant of the protection afforded by the fairy to the children of Petard and Gilletta ; but as the place they were then in, pre- vented her giving vent to her resentment, she concealed it as well as she could ; and affecting an air of politeness mingled with dignity, said to her : " What, madam, have you resolved to leave the quiet of the country, to revel in the tumult of a court ? you must have had weighty reasons to induce you to such a sacrifice." " The reasons which bring you and myself here are certainly widely different," interrupted the Fairy of the Fields ; "as neither interest nor ambition have ever been motives for the grant of my protection ; and as I only yield it to the worthy and grateful." " I believe so," replied Gangan, " turkies and geese are a very good sort of people." " True," answered the Fairy of the Fields warmly, " much more so than Gangans, for they are not unjust ; what say you to that ?"
The dispute would not have ended here, if the Fairy of the Fields had not been warned that the queen was alone and wished to speak with her. So the two fairies saluted and parted, as women who perfectly hate each other always do.
Titania who perceived the emotion that this dispute had raised in her friend, feigned ignorance of its cause, but requested to be informed on the subject. The Fairy of the Fields, pleased to gratify her mistress's curiosity, did not hesitate in revealing the unjust motives of Gangan for persecuting king Petard and queen Gilletta, and informed her that pity had made her endeavour to thwart the perfidious designs of that fairy. " Your intentions are praiseworthy," said the queen to her, " and I am glad to see in you this generous zeal in protecting the unfortunate ; but I am afraid, notwithstanding, that Gangan will still manage to avenge herself for the kindness you have shewn to the good Gilletta and her children. She is wicked, and I often receive complaints in respect to her ; but be assured that if she again abuse her power to your injury, I will punish her in a terrible and exemplary manner ; I can say no more : the council hour has arrived, but at my return we will confer together on the means of thwarting your enemy's wicked designs." The queen then left the apartment.

When the Fairy of the Fields was alone, she could not resist an inclination to consult her sovereign's books. All the mysteries of fairyism are therein revealed, and by them may be discovered, from day to day, what is passing all over the universe. The queen only, had the power of suspending or turning the course of events ; holding over fairies the same dominion as the fairies hold over mankind. The protectress of our hero had no sooner opened these books, than she read in them distinctly, that by the power of Grand Fairyism, the perfidious Gangan was at that moment carrying off the young prince Septimus, and was then transporting him to the inaccessible Island in which she had kept her own niece, since the hour of her birth. At this sight, she at first trembled for the life of her protege, and then for his heart and his sentiments, for she knew that this wicked fairy was more capable of corrupting than of forming the mind.
The uneasiness that this event caused her, gave way to reflection, and she was considering the means of preventing the consequences of this occurrence, when the queen came from council and rejoined her. From the sorrow which she perceived on her friend's countenance, Titania guessed what had taken place during her absence ; and speaking to her said : " You have, I see, satisfied your curiosity : and have learned that which I would have kept from your knowledge. I was unable, it is true, to refuse Gangan the power of Grand Fairyism, since, according to our laws, it is due to her long standing ; but the knowledge which I possess of her character has made me limit this power to a certain space of time ; be assured, generous fairy, that when that period has elapsed, your enemy shall be severely punished, if she shall have abused the power which she holds only from our laws and my kindness. However, to give you to day a proof of my friendship for you, and to place Gilletta's other children, in whom you are interested, out of Gangan's reach, take this phial, and rub them with the liquid it contains. It is Invisible-water ; and conceals objects from the sight of fairies alone ; its charm is such that Gangan, with all her power cannot overcome it. Go, my dear friend, remember always that your queen loves generosity, protects virtue : and ever rely on her protection and tenderness." At these words the fairy respectfully took the queens hand, kissed it, and departed.
No sooner was she hi her island than she made use of the Invisible-water. With it she rubbed the three punchinellos and the three dancing- dolls, with the exception of the tips of their noses, which she left visible in order to recognize them herself ; then, having given her orders and consulted her books, she set out for Petard's kingdom, where she learned that her presence WAS necessary.
In truth, when she arrived there, Petard's little state was in sad disorder, and the cause was this. It was now a long time past, since the house in which his majesty had resided, and in which his father-in-law, the seneschal, had lived before him, had fallen in on all sides, in spite of the repairs which it had undergone.

Petard had resolved, in a consultation with a master mason, whom he had made his chief architect, to rebuild another. This crown- officer, not having for some time done any thing for their majesties, had completely rased the old building, with the design of commencing a new one, which, according to his account, was to be much more magnificent. The king's savings, since the abduction of his children, and his annual revenues, not however being sufficient for the erection of this new edifice, he resolved, at the recommendation of his chamberlain and solicitor-general, to levy a tax, in order to raise the funds necessary to meet the expense of his new palace. His subjects, who had not hitherto paid taxes, murmured loudly, and swore not to do so then ; they even threatened to complain of him to the- queen-mother. To their discontent, which as usual, was not very civilly expressed, were joined the remonstrances of Carbuncle, who insisted that it was ridiculous to make others pay for a thing which could be neither useful nor profitable to them ; that his majesty was in truth, but a man like other men ; that having his own property and revenues, he ought not to take those of others for the sake of having more to spend ; that, consequently, while he had only the means of building a house, he ought not to have a castle; and that he, who had only a crown, ought to spend a crown only. All these reasons appeared very good to the king; but, at the same time, the solicitor- general and the chamberlain told him that he was master; that it was not worth while having subjects if they were not made to pay for the trouble that was taken in their government ; that they were made to work and kings to spend ; and that there was but one seneschal capable of thinking or advising otherwise. The king thought that they also reasoned very justly, and determined, consequently, to levy the tax. However, each of the councillors took his own side of the question, and loudly proclaimed his decision. " They shall not pay," said one party, " They shall be made to pay," said the other. " It shall not be so," said Carbuncle, " I am deter- mined." " It shall," said the solicitor- general, " or I will lose my Latin." At last they made such a hubbub that it would have been impossible to hear one's self speak. The king-, who no longer understood what they said, and knew not what part to take, left them and when he was with the queen, said to her ; " Oh ! by my sceptre if this continues I will give up governing, and then whoever wishes to be king may ; and I will go so far, so far, that I will not hear speak of the kingdom, the people, nor the palace." " Do not irritate yourself, Sire," said the queen to him quietly, " I have already had the honour of telling your majesty, that every thing comes in time to him who can wait." " Odds fish," said the king, " what do you wish me to wait for ? If they who have taken away our children, had left us a house instead of them, we should not have been so badly off; but doubtless Gangan has done it all ; and, if this continue, we shall have no more houses than we have children." Then he commenced repeating so many tiresome invectives against the fairies, that the good Gilletta was much vexed with him.

The fairy who had witnessed for some time what was passing, and was very anxious for the queen's peace of mind, at last appeared to her in the shape of a linnet, as she had done before ; and quieted her with the assurance that she would soon give her convincing proofs of her friendship and protection. Gilletta, transported with joy, kissed her a thousand times, having first asked her permission, entreated her to stop, and promised her, as an inducement, that, every day, while she resided with her, she should have a little cake, made of millet-flour, hemp-seed and milk : the fairy agreed, and Gilletta's promises were duly fulfilled. A fortnight after her arrival, the king, who generally rose early, was very much surprised to find himself in quite a new house, very convenient, and strongly built : I say a house ; for it was but a house, and not at all a palace ; there was about it neither architecture, painting, sculpture, nor gilding. On the ground-floor was a kitchen, a pantry, a dining-room and an audience- chamber; on the first-floor, an ante-chamber, a bedroom, a closet, the queen's wardrobe, and a large closet in a wing for the king, in which his library, of which mention has been made, was already arranged. Above were nice galleries, well ceiled, from which was visible the most beautiful prospect in the world. A dairy had not been forgotten, with all the utensils thereunto appertaining; but the most admirable part of the whole affair was, that the house was well furnished and stored with every thing necessary : the furniture was exactly like, both in materials and shape, to that of their majesties, and they could hardly have told it apart, if the one had not been newer than the other. Petard's astonishment may be easily imagined, at finding himself in a strange house ; but it was considerably increased when, on looking through one of his bed-room windows, he saw where had been his little royal kitchen-garden, a large grass plot and bowling-green, at the end of which was a very pretty pond, and a forest of lofty trees. To the right of the bowling-green was a kitchen garden, stocked with different vegetables, and to the left an orchard planted with all kinds of fruit trees. He considered all this for some time : but, his surprise giving way to joy, he ran to the queen, who was in bed and still asleep, and waking her, cried : " My dear, my dear, pray get up, and look at our new house and fine gardens. Do you know the meaning of it all ? I have not the least idea." The queen hardly gave herself time to put on her petticoat, morning-gown and slippers, before she ran to the window with the king, who immediately conducted her all round the apartments and thence to the ground- floor, where they found the kitchen and pantry furnished with every thing that was necessary. All these marvels only made good king Petard afraid ; but the queen, who guessed whence it had all come, had not the same feeling, but dared not say any thing about it. They were in this state when the seneschal, who had been looking for them for an hour in the king's house, entered this, more in the way of the duty of his situation, than in the hope of finding their majesties there ; he too knew not what to think of a house built in a single night ; and although he was less fearful than his son-in-law, he only began to take courage when he found himself in company with them. The king, for his part, was glad enough to see him come in ; and, each taking an arm of the queen, they went over the house a second time from top to bottom, and all over the gardens.

Every body argued a good deal on the singularity of this occurrence : some were of opinion that their majesties were very bold to reside in a house built by fairies, and so run the risk of being tormented by them ; others, on the contrary, held that they did quite right, and that it was to be wished that all the old houses in the kingdom were rebuilt in a similar manner. As one is easily reconciled to comfort and to novelties, after having talked a good deal, no more was said about it ; and the king gradually grew as accustomed to his new house, as though he had lived in it all his life. Thus the question of the tax was no longer discussed ; quietness returned to the kingdom of Petard, and union once more existed between the high crown officers. The poor architect alone, had half a mind to hang himself, but was at last contented with wishing all genii and fairies at the bottom of the sea, for interfering with his employment ; calling them a hundred times magicians and sorcerers.
While the Fairy of the Fields was bringing about all these wonders, she observed in Gilletta so much respect for the fairies, and so much gratitude to her, that, feeling herself more and more interested in that queen's welfare, she could not refuse to make a longer stay at her court than she had originally intended.
She re- assured the queen also of her children's fate, and explained to her their punishment, and her reasons for proceeding to this extremity ; but as true and tender friendship knows how to disguise the most interesting things when a knowledge of them would afflict the person loved, she carefully concealed from her the abduction of her dear Septimus, and the anxiety she felt for him herself ; then, having recommended to her confidence, patience and discretion, if she wished to attain happiness, she quitted her with regret, to return to her government of the Isle of Bambine.
On her arrival there, she was immediately informed of an event, of a nature unheard-of since the establishment of the Island. The senior nurse, who, during the fairy's absence, had performed the duties of governess, stated to her that some obstinate and unruly children, who had been forgiven upon several occasions, assisted by their friends the dolls, had revolted, and had expressed their determination of no longer obeying their nurses ; and that the spirit of rebellion had grown to such an extent in a short time, that its course had been with much difficulty arrested ; that, she had therefore been compelled to exert all her authority, and had begun by imprisoning the dolls in boxes ; and that as to the children, she had condemned some to have nothing but dry bread to eat for a fortnight ; others to wear their nightcaps in the day-time for a month, and some even to be imprisoned between four chairs, for two hours on each day, until they had publicly asked for pardon. The fairy highly approved of the senior nurse's conduct, and praised her very much for her zeal ; but, as an example was necessary, for the maintenance of order, she condemned the most mutinous of the rebels to a transformation of a hundred years, as Punches, Judies and Dancing Dolls ; sending them into different parts of the world, to work for their livelihood as puppets, and thus to minister to the amusement of all good little girls and boys, and to serve as sights for the people. She proceeded to this extremity with the less regret, as she was informed that her six favourites had taken but a small part in the rebellion. Charmed with the alteration which thus began to appear in them, she made them come before her, and, speaking to the tips of their noses (for she could see no more of them), she reprimanded them, in terms rather mild than severe, and dismissed them with a promise of her friendship and rewards, if she should, in the sequel, have reason to be satisfied with their conduct.

Though this event, and her duty, did not allow her absence from a place where, indeed, her presence seemed so necessary, yet she could not long contain her feelings on behalf of little Septimus, and her impatience to hear some news of him. So soon, therefore, as she thought her little people could go on tolerably well without her, she departed, with the hope of satisfying her curiosity, and of gratifying her fondness for the young prince. That she might not be perceived by the genii and fairies, who are continually traversing the middle region of the air, she took to her little post-chaise, which she care- fully closed on all sides, providing herself with her wand and other articles of fairy ism, above all not forgetting the invisible water ; then, having ordered her six flying lizards to use great speed, she arrived in a few minutes at a short distance from the Inaccessible island. She alighted, dismissed her chaise, and rubbing herself over with the water just named, she overcame, without being seen, obstacles which, but for this liquid would have successfully opposed her entrance. Gangan had, in order to prevent genii and fairies from entering her island, surrounded it with a treble enclosure, formed by a rapid torrent, the waters of which rolled over rocks which they had split with their violence, tearing up trunks of trees and dashing the fragments in the waves. The shores of this isle were defended by twenty-four dragons of enormous size ; and the flames which they vomited at the sight of fairies or genii reached to the clouds, and, uniting, formed an impenetrable wall of fire.
The Fairy of the Fields had hardly been seeking for intelligence as to the fate of Septimus above an hour, when chance afforded her the most favourable opportunity in the world ; she saw coming towards her Gangan, accompanied by a Dive, for she was only served by evil genii, and her countenance appeared inflamed with passion, and she spoke very vehemently. Profiting by her invisibility, the Fairy of the Fields, resolved to listen, when she heard Gangan speak to her companion nearly as follows : " Yes, my dear Barbarec, you see me in despair ; I am about to lose for ever the largest king- dom of the universe. The ungrateful mother of Petard has died without even a desire to be reconciled with me ; nor is that all, she has bound her subjects by an oath, not only never to receive at my hands a successor to her crown, but even to restore the throne to her son, or to one of her grandsons. I tried to win the people by my kindness, but found everywhere an inveterate hatred against me ; they refused my gifts, which they looked on as equally perfidious and treasonable, and they have decided by an unanimous and formal resolution on following the queen's direction, by depriving me of a throne on which I had reckoned to place my niece. It shall not, however, be long ere this ungrateful people feel the effects of my just anger; and, to begin with the principal causes of my disgrace, take from my stables one of my largest griffins, fly to the Isle of Bambine, seize the brothers and sisters of Septimus, and bring them here. Myself will undertake to carry off Petard and Gilletta, and when they are brought together, I will transform the king and his queen into rabbits and their children into terriers.

If a spark of pity which I yet feel for Septimus should abandon me, I will not answer that he also do not feel the effects of my vengeance. Hasten, however, to prepare every thing for the execution of my plans, and let us remember, my dear Barbarec , that having abandoned the laws of the Peris for those of the Dives, we are become the enemies of fairies and of mankind, and that we must neglect nothing to overwhelm them all with the weight of our hatred." The Fairy of the Fields could not hear this discourse without shuddering ; she remained for some time motionless; but recalling her senses, and feeling of what consequence it was to stay any longer in this terrible abode, she hastened to implore the powerful assistance of the Queen of the Fairies. She immediately left the island, which she had scarcely done, when the sky became obscured, the earth trembled, and dreadful groanings, accompanied with thunder and lightning seemed to announce the speedy destruction of the universe. Shortly afterwards the air was restored to calmness ; but the day growing still darker and darker, a new spectacle, as terrible as the preceding, succeeded, The twenty-four dragons who guarded the approaches to the isle, making frightful howlings, lanced against each other streams of flame and strove in fiery combat, which concluded by consuming them all. Day again re-appeared, and where the torrent and island had been, nothing was to be seen but a dry and arid rock, while from its summit, there was seen to fly a black ostrich, carrying on its back Prince Septimus and the little princess, Gangans niece. These prodigies had not so much overcome the Fairy of the Fields but that, moved with the situation of these amiable children and her kindness inclining her to follow them, she immediately set out with so much diligence, that, in a short time, she overtook the black ostrich. Her first impulse was to take from it the prince and princess ; but observing that the bird was directing its flight towards the Fortunate Island, she contented herself with following and watching it at a short distance.
Indeed, in a short time, the ostrich alighted on that island, and directed its steps towards the Queen of the Fairies herself. This sovereign was seated at the entrance of her palace on a golden throne enriched with jewels, surrounded by her twelve fairies, the twenty-four black genii who have been before mentioned, and by a numerous court. The moment the ostrich approached the throne, the Fairy of the Fields seized the prince and princess and placed them at the queen's feet ; when Gangan resumed her original shape and proper character : confusion, malice and despair were depicted by turns on her countenance, and she was in the most cruel suspense as to what was about to happen, when the queen spoke to her in these words : " The malignity of your mind and the perversity of your heart have, I see, prevented yourmaking agood use of that power which I bestowed upon you. Very far from repairing your first faults by the gift of Grand Fairyism, which the laws and my kindness vouchsafed to you, you have, on the contrary abused that, and as this abuse now calls for my justice upon you ; receive at once the punishment due to your misdeeds. You will lose for two years all power as a fairy, and assuming during that period the shape of a stork, you shall be the slave of my humblest geni." With these words, the queen touched her with her sceptre ; and all the fairies, having held over her their wands in token of approbation, they pronounced certain words, during which the unfortunate Gangan became a Stork, and immediately went to join the other animals of the species.

The queen then summoned the fairy Judicious, and confided the young prince and princess to her care while they should remain at her court, particularly advising her to form their hearts by cultivating their minds ; she embraced Septimus and Feliciana (which was the princess's name), and these amiable children, penetrated with joy and gratitude quitted her arms with sorrow for those of their guardian Judicious.
They profited so well by their education, during the two years they resided with the queen of the fairies, that they obtained the love and admiration of all her court. When the one had reached the age of fourteen and the other of twelve years, the queen of the fairies resolved to unite them in marriage, and to restore them with the brothers and sisters of Septimus to King Petard and his Queen Gilletta ; but at the same tune she informed the Fairy of the Fields that, as an example to Septimus and Feliciana, she had resolved that the rebellious children, although now perfectly cured of their faults, should only resume their proper shapes in the presence of the newly-married couple, and when they should have arrived at the king their father's-palace. Then having determined the time of their departure, she confided to the Fairy of the Fields the six children of whom she had been so careful, and having ordered her to choose for them husbands and wives, she summoned the fairy Judicious, and charged her to accorrpany the Prince Septimus and his princess. These amiable children shed tears on quitting her to whom they owed all their happiness, and the generous queen, embracing them tenderly, promised them her friendship, and saw them depart with much sorrow.
They lost no time in repairing to the court of Petard, where that king had been for some days extremely embarrassed. His mother, the queen, after languishing for many years, had at last vacated the throne, and deputies had been despatched from her kingdom inviting her son to accept the crown. They had already asked for an audience, and Petard was greatly puzzled as to the manner in whichit should be granted. He was uncertain whether he ought to receive them standing or seated, on horseback or on foot, and to debate this point the council was assembled, where everybody decided as usual ; the seneschal Carbuncle maintained that the king ought to be standing, asserting that he had heard, that the Emperor Charlemagne and the twelve peers of France were always standing, and that they never seated themselves except to eat and to sleep. The solicitor-general opined that his majesty should be seated, because kings and judges ought always to be at their ease, and that except a bed, there was nothing so convenient as an arm-chair. The chamberlain, on the contrary, was of opinion, that the king should appear on horseback, alleging that that was the most noble attitude for kings, inasmuch as their statues always thus represented them ; each of the councillors maintained as usual his own opinion ; they shouted, they quarrelled, and would perhaps even have gone farther, if the king, raising his voice above theirs, had not said : "Do you intend to leave off ? there is surely noise enough about a chair more or less ! As I shall meet them, so they shall see me ; and as they find me, so they must take me, that is all I know about the matter ; but as to becoming their king, many thanks to them, I should go mad with all the cares of royalty, which they tell me, I should have on my mind. So, long flourish my little kingdom ; since I am well off with that, I will hold fast to it ; and they must accommodate themselves as well as they can : however, as they wish to have an audience, an audience they must have ; so let them be summoned." The councillors then retired, each murmuring that the king had not taken his advice, and blaming him for always doing as he thought proper for himself.

While they went to fetch the deputies to the presence, his majesty, thinking himself wiser than his council, put on his royal clothes, and seated himself at the foot of his bed, of which he had had the curtains arranged in festoons around the posts ; he held in one hand his sceptre, in the other his cap and fringed gloves ; the queen was at his right hand, on a chair overed with blue serge and ornamented with large gilt nails, with her women behind her. On the left of the king were his high officers, who were, nearly all, laughing hi their sleeves at the singular figure of their king.
When all was arranged, the door was opened, and the deputies entered, followed by all the people of King Petard's little state ; they made him three deep salaams, which the king and queen acknowledged by three others as profound, and were about to commence then: harangue, when a woman of majestic figure entered, leading a young man about fourteen or fifteen years of age, and addressing herself to Gilletta, thus spoke : " Queen, every thing comes in time to him who can wait. Your misfortunes are over, and your destiny has changed its course. Behold the prince your son, whom a superior power has protected from the effects of Gangan's wickedness ; the perfidious fairy can no longer annoy him, her malice has just been confounded. Receive at last, your dear son Septimus ; and you, deputies, render homage to the lawful successor to the throne of your kingdom." The king, acknowledging his son, took him in his arms and kissed him a thousand times ; then hastening to the fairy, he embraced her without paying any regard to her age or character ; he did the same with Carbuncle, the solicitor- general, the chamberlain and all who were around him ; then taking off his royal mantle , he put it upon Septimus, gave him his sceptre, seated him at the foot of the bed, and began to shout with all his might : " Long live the king ! " which was immediately repeated by the nobles, and taken up by all the people, to whom the king kept crying- out : " Shout away, you there, shout away !" Meanwhile the queen, penetrated with joy and gratitude, had fallen at the fairy's feet, embracing her and weeping ; when the fairy, having raised her, signified that she wished to speak. Every body was immediately silent excepting the king, whose joy was so great, that he neither saw nor heard anything, until at last, finding himself out of breath, he also was quieted, and the fairy spoke : " What you see," said she, " is only a portion of the favours which your friend, the Fairy of the Fields, bestows upon you : she gives you, with the prince, a young and amiable princess, whom the queen of the fairies has destined to be the wife of your king. If the qualities of her mind, and the beauty of her person, are some slight guarantee for the happiness of this favoured couple, the mildness of her character and the goodness of her heart, which I have taken pains to form, may assure to you its duration. Confirm then this happy union, and thus deserve the Fairy of the Fields' powerful protection, as well as that of " The king would hear no more, but taking the hands of the prince and princess : " Done," cried he, " I marry them with all my heart, and give to them all my kingdoms and my revenues ; as to my other children, I shall trouble myself no more about them ; our friend, this good lady of the fields, will not allow them to want for anything ; so let us have the wedding and rejoice ; you shall all dine with me, though, by the bye, I do not know that I shall have too much to give you ; but, as my wife says, every thing comes in time to him who can wait. Now, father-in-law," he continued, turning to Carbuncle, "go to the kitchen, have all killed that is in my poultry-yard, and above all, let us have good cheer, for T would have this affair well spoken of." The seneschal obeyed ; but as he was crossing the dining-room, he perceived a table laid, with twenty-four dishes of the best meats. He went no farther, but quickly returned to relate to the king and queen what he had just seen. Every body, anxious to behold this fairy festival, went immediately to the dining-room, not, however, without some fear, and, consequently, without much ceremony. The sight surprised them greatly at first; they hesitated at tasting the victuals, but after a while, taking heart, began to think they looked very nice, and the king, to whom all this cost nothing, set them the example, by eating with all his heart, and drinking bumpers every time the bottle came round to him. It is said that he was not sparing of his old stories and bons-mots, but that although the good man often repeated them, and always in the same terms, they were always followed by shouts of laughter.

When they had been at table about two hours, violins were heard in the audience chamber ; and as they had all eaten and drunk enough, they willingly rose from table. The king, in high good humour, wished for nothing better than a dance, and insisted on opening the ball with the young queen, calling for his favourite dance, " Sir Roger de Coverley." The violins struck up, and he began ; but after putting them all out twenty times and telling them they did not know the figure, he gave up in despair, and asked the young prince and princess to dance a minuet, which they did with admirable grace. They were just performing the last obeisance, when six puppets entered the room finely dressed, three as Roman knights, and three as Roman ladies ; each of these six puppets had by its side the visible tip of a nose, and the whole entree was conducted by a lady, who was, however, taken little notice of, so much attention did the spectacle of the puppets attract. They all made room to receive them, and the puppets immediately performed a pas de douze, in which the six tips of the noses figured admirably. The ballet over, they arranged themselves in a ring, in the same order they had observed on entering. Their conductress placed herself in the centre, touched the six tips of the noses with the end of her wand, and immediately there appeared in their places, three Punchinellos and three Dancing- Dolls. " Very good, very good," said the king, " all that will do for my grand-children, and provided they cost me nothing to keep and clothe, I will take care of them with pleasure till the grand- children come." " Not so fast, Sire," replied the lady, " have patience, every thing comes in time to him who can wait." Immediately the twelve puppets began to dance again, and the spectators were in the highest degree astonished to see them change perceptibly, and gradually take another face and new dress. " Mercy on us ! " cried the king, " why, there are Harry, Dick and George, my dear ! why, surely there are Josephine, Clementina and Arabella, love ! no, really I cannot believe it. Oh ! by my sceptre, but this is admirable." Then, speaking to their conductress : " Hold," said he to her, " I will bet my cap and royal mantle, that you are our friend, the lady of the fields ; i'faith you are worth your weight in gold, and here are our children, all ready shod and clad, and as big as then* father and mother ; but how are we to get them married ?" " I will manage that," replied the Fairy of the Fields, for it was herself, " and it shall be done immediately." At these words, the king, beside himself with joy, took her hand, paid her, I know not how many, compliments after his fashion, and seated her near Gilletta, to whom he cried : " This is the lady of the fields, and our very good friend." The queen, overcome by her feelings, gave herself up completely to all her gratitude to the fairy, and all her tenderness to her children. The fairy then introduced to Gilletta the unknown princes and princesses, who were with her, and proposed them in marriage with her six children. The king and queen consented immediately ; all who were present applauded the fairy's choice, and the deputies proclaimed Septimus and Feliciana king and queen. The seven marriages were celebrated in a manner worthy of the wisdom of the fairy Judicious, and the noble simplicity of the Fairy of the Fields. Septimus gave to each of his brothers and brothers- in-law, the government of the largest and most wealthy provinces of his kingdom ; and the seven princes set out with their wives, and accompanied by the fairies, who only quitted each on his arrival at their several capitals. They there gave them instructions for the government of their families and provinces : and, after loading them with marks of kindness and generosity, returned each to her own duties.
As for Petard and Gilletta, their children's fortune made them neither ambitious nor jealous, nor did it change their ways of thinking. The pomp and majesty of a grand queen did not agree with Gillette's simplicity ; while Petard's character and genius were not suited to the cares of a large kingdom ; and they would not have exchanged, the one his seneschal, his game at piquet, and his kitchen-garden ; the other, her spinning-wheel, her dairy, and the friendship of the Fairy of the Fields, for all the grandeur in the world. 


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