+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

young king was about to take unto himself
a wife, and that he invited all the young
ladies far and near to assemble at a grand
festival to be held in his palace, that he
might have ample opportunity to make a
suitable choice. The three daughters of
Yolka's mistress were only too glad to
accept, and for some weeks the damsel's
work in fitting up the ladies for the festival
was nearly as hard as the toil at the
farmhouse. But she was consoled every night by
her brilliant godmother, who visited her in
her dreams, and who, while she charged her
to do her duty in dressing the young ladies,
urged her to follow them to the ball, where
she would outshine all present. Accordingly,
when the mother and daughters had taken
their departure, Yolka held private
discourse with her basket. Would that all
discourse led to such practical benefit.
Wonderfully fine garments, after the fashion
set by her godmother, lay upon the bed;
her own features came back again as soon
as she had washed her face, and when she
looked at the glass, she found that she was
literally a fright; for she was frightened
out of her wits by her own surprising
beauty. Down the steps she floated, and
at the bottom of the steps was a carriage
drawn by four horses, yellow as the yolk
of an egg, and off she went with the speed of
lightning. But when she reached the palace
of the king, she found to her horror that
she had left the basket behind! What was
to be done? Should she go all the way

Do not be needlessly excited, gentle
reader. Nothing important came of this
little incident, which is only intended to
cause a gentle twitter. While Yolka was
hesitating, the politest of swallows
appeared at the window of the carriage with
the basket in its beak, which was duly and
gratefully received.

Need we dwell on the buzz of admiration
that arose when Yolka entered the
hall, or the rapture of King William, or the
comments of the old folk, who remembered
the brilliant godmother, and declared that
the new-comer was a chip of that exquisite
block? No! We will hurry on to
midnight, when the hall was wrapped with a
gauzy fog, which, gradually dispersing,
revealed the brilliant godmother.

As usual, that august lady prepared
herself for tall talk.

"The young person," she said, "who has
made an impression deep, but not
unaccountable, in the assembly, more particularly
upon our royal host, and who is so uncommonly
like me, was once wrongly supposed
to be his sister; but the hypothesis was
incorrect. She is the grand-daughter of a
king, whose realm is separated from this
by a distance of several million miles, and
I had the honour of dissolving the spell
which a fell enchanter had cast upon the
princess, her mother. The best thing you
can do, King William, is to put the other
young ladies out of their misery, by marrying
the lovely Yolkathat is her name
without delay."

"I will!" exclaimed King William, with

Then came a clap of thunder, and the
brilliant godmother was gone.

"Look here," said an old courtier to his
neighbour. "That story about the
enchanted princess is all very well for younger
heads than ours, and some greenhorns may
believe in the several million miles. But
if the lady who came in the fog isn't the
mamma of the lady who came in the
carriage, I'm a Dutchman."

Now Ready, price 5s. 6d., bound in green cloth,
To be had of all Booksellers.

MESSRS. CHAPPELL AND CO. have great pleasure
in announcing that ME. CHARLES DICKENS, having some
time since become perfectly restored to health, will
resume and conclude his interrupted series of FAREWELL
READINGS at St. James's Hall, London,
early in the New Year.
The Readings will be TWELVE in NUMBER, and none
will take place out of London.
In redemption of MR. DICKENS'S pledge to those
ladies and gentlemen of the theatrical profession who
addressed him on the subject, there will be Two MORNING
READINGS, one on Friday, January 14, and one on
Friday, January 21, 1870. The EVENING READINGS
will take place on Tuesdays, January 11, 18, 25;
February 1, 8, 15, 22; March l, 8, and 16. The Prices and
all other arrangements will be as before. The announced
number of Readings will on no account be exceeded.
All communications to be addressed to Messrs.
CHAPPELL and Co., 50, New Bond-street, W.