THE PRINCESS ANGELICA
(From "The Rose and the Ring")
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 unwelcome 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, bold 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 all 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! that is a good 'un!
Ha—ah—what's this? Let me down—oh—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,
"Oh—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 bozzy vagabond?" And the housemaid
came and scrubbed his nose with sand-paper; 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!
And 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 Gruffanuff.
"Dive me dat bun," said the little girl, "me vely hungry."
"Hungry! what is that?" asked Princess Angelica, and gave the child the
"Oh, Princess!" says 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
"I didn't want it," said Angelica.
"But you are a darling little angel all the same," says the governess.
"Yes, I know I am," said Angelica. "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
"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: "O
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
"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
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 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'
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 afterward a little dog, and
afterward a doll, and did not care for Betsinda any more, who became
very very melancholy and quiet, and sang no more funny songs, because
nobody cared to hear her. And, 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 learning; 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'
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.
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 graceful, 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
And now let us speak about Prince Giglio, the nephew of the reigning
monarch of Paflagonia. It has already been stated, in Chapter II, 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 would 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 Linnĉus. 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
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 will be in, whom he dislikes, and who have always
been unkind to him. We shall lose our places in a trice; Gruffanuff will
have to give up all the jewels, laces, snuff-boxes, rings, and watches
which belong 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 Honor 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 stable
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 upon her cousin,
then to laugh at him and scorn him for being so stupid, and 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.
Tomazo Lorenzo painted all the Court, who were delighted with his work;
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 drawing 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 any
one 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 body-guard. 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 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 forbids 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' name," answered the
"But you may tell me the first letter of it," gasped out the Princess.
"That your Royal Highness is at liberty to guess," says 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 backward through almost the whole alphabet.
When she came to D, and it wasn't D, she grew very much 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, "Oh, dearest Gruffanuff," she said, "lend
me your smelling-bottle!" and hiding her head in the Countess' 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' name, whom he fondly, madly, devotedly,
rapturously loves, I may show you her portrait," says the sly-boots;
and, leading the Princess up to a gilt frame, he drew a curtain which
was before it.
Oh goodness! the frame contained a LOOKING-GLASS! and Angelica saw her
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 picture 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 side-board, 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 meanwhile 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 (beside 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
to-day?" And Betsinda would answer, "No, my lord, not to-day"; 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
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—drum-sticks, 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 down-stairs—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!" cried Angelica; "you here in such a dress! What a
figure you are!"
"Yes, dear Angelica, I am come down-stairs, and feel so well to-day,
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
"The—Prince—of—Crim—Tartary!" Giglio said, aghast.
"Yes, the Prince of Crim Tartary," said 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
Giglio said, "Oh, 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 that 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 two-penny 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 have 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 then, as quite a child, he gave it to Angelica, people began
to love and admire her; and Giglio, as the saying is, played only
"Yes," said Angelica, going on in her foolish ungrateful way, "I know
who'll give me much finer things than your beggarly little pearl
"Very good, miss! You may take back your ring, too!" says Giglio, his
eyes flashing fire at her; and then, as if 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
"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 small-pox—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,
"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! he, 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 Highness! 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 spied 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
"Oh, mum!" says the boy, looking at her, "how—how beyoutiful you do
look, mum, to-day, 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
carrotty-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 to-day." 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 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
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 forward 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 redhaired, 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 Giglio.
"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 cries. "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.
"Beside," 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 overburdened 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 bed-room, his luggage was there
and unpacked; and the hair-dresser 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.
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, beside,
made such a dreadful noise, hob-gobbling in eating it, that he heard
nothing else. After dinner, his Majesty and the Queen went to sleep in
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 dear 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' 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 beside, 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 to-day; 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
"It's like the ring the Princess used to wear," says the maid.
"No such thing," says Gruffanuff; "I have had it 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
"I suppose I had best warm both the young gentlemen's beds, ma'am?" says
Gruffanuff for reply said, "Hau-au-ho!—Grau-haw-hoo! 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
"O mussy!} what a pretty girl
"O jemmany!} Betsinda is!"
"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 eyes that had eyes like thine. 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 carrotty-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 must
certainly have 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? Pisch! 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
"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 his
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 the 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
"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 down-stairs. 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 the row in the building, so he
stated, and smelling something burning, had come out to see what the
"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
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 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 foot 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!—h'm—h'm! mind thine 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 moustaches. "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
"I don't understand you," said Hedzoff, who was not a very clever man.
"You Gaby! he didn't say which Prince," said Gruffanuff.
"No; he didn't say which, certainly," says 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
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
"Have you?" says Hedzoff.
"Sleibootz, my Chamberlain, will act for me," says the Prince.
"I beg your Royal Highness' 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
"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.
Hoo-oo-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
The Captain of the Guard handed over his prisoner to the Sheriff, with
the fatal order,
"At Sight Cut Off The Bearer's Head.
"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
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 awhile."
"What scrape?—fly the country? Never without her I love, Countess,"
"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 of Paflagonia."
"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
£217,000,000,987,439 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
"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?"
"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
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 courtesy. 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!
"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' 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 shoes 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 pea-green?" 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. Marmatonio the cook brought in the sausages. Oh, how nice
"Where is Bulbo?" said the King.
"John, where is his Royal Highness?"
John said he had a took up his Roilighnessesses shaving-water, and his
clothes and things, and he wasn't in his room, which he sposed his
Royliness was just stepped hout.
"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 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 it to be
"Sire, it is the Prince," whispers Glumboso to the King.
"Talk about business after breakfast, I tell you!" says His Majesty
"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
"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 reply flung the plate of sausages at Hedzoff's head. The
Princess cried out, "Hee-karee-ka-ree!" and fell down in a
"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 parlor, 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! Hark, there goes the drums! What
a doosid awkward thing, though!"
"O 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 come 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
Angelica ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. She ran up Fore street, and
down High street and through the Marketplace and down to the left, and
over the bridge and up the blind alley, and back again, and around by
the Castle, and so along by the haberdasher's on the right, opposite the
lamp-post, and around the square, and she came—she came to the
Execution place, where she saw Bulbo laying his head on the block!!!!
The executioneer 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, "O 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 taste," 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 seemed 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 that 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 off-hand!"
So, married they were, and I am sure for my part I trust they will be