Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

years old.

was

NCE upon a time there was a little looking at them. I say that it was bad for

princess. Her mother, the queen, the king, of course, but it was very much

was dead long ago, oh, very long worse for the princess. ago—ages ago, in fact, for she died when

I am sorry for that king, and for any other the little princess was only a baby ; and that king who thinks he has to earn a million dolmust have been a very long time ago, for lars a year that is likely—no, sure—to keep the little princess had got to be eighteen him from the little princes and princesses for

And when one is eighteen years years at a time. There is a lot of pleasure to old it is a very long time since one be got out of merely watching princes and a baby. Anybody knows that. The king, princesses, especially if they are your very her father, was not dead. On the contrary, own, and seeing them grow—though that is he was very much alive.

But he was very

sad, too, to see them growing up so fastbusy indeed, and rarely came home, which and seeing about proper schools for them, was about the same as being dead so far as and seeing that they have the kind of teachers the little princess was concerned.

that they ought to have for their music and For the king, her father, was a great their dancing and the rest. And it is lots of engineer, who had to be going about the fun to teach them, yourself, to skate and to world all the time—or most of it—looking at swim and to ride a horse and to sail a boat. rivers, or the places where rivers ought to be, I know; and that is why I am so sorry for and at dams, and at deep holes in the ground this king, for he didn't scem to know. If he where rivers would be as soon as they turned had known, he would have taken that salary the water in, and at locks and canals and of a million dollars for just one year, and such things. To be sure, he had a salary of then he would have settled down to see about nearly a million dollars a year for looking at the teaching of his little princess_his very these things; but what is a million dollars a year compared with a little princess of your Now, this little princess that I am telling And will looking at holes in the

a very pretty, fetching little ground, even at such a fabulous salary as a princess, and, of course, she had almost million dollars a year, be as pleasant for a everything that she wanted—which was king as looking at his princess? It was too entirely fitting, when the king, her father, bad for the king, too, for he was a good king made so much money every year ; and she and a pleasant man—when he was at home. had some things she did not want—and that I don't know what sort of a man he was was fitting, too. She had nurses without end, when he was looking at the dams and the when she was a child, and one special nurse rivers, for I never saw him when he was that seemed to be without end, for she stayed

own.

about was

very own ?

[graphic]

with the princess for a very long time; in princess seemed made for happiness and not fact, she was still staying with her when the at all for unhappiness, and her eyes were not princess was eighteen, and she acted as if she the kind for tears, although she would have meant to stay on as long as she lived. And looked very fetching and touching still, even the princess thought that was nice-gener- if she were crying ; that is, unless her tears ally; once in a while she got out of sorts were tears of real, downright grief, and then with her faithful old nurse and wished that your heart would have nearly broken to see she would take into her head to go away.

her. She had not lived long enough yet to But that wish lasted only a little while, and the weep such tears. She wanted to cry because nurse didn't go. Indeed, I don't know where she did not have what she wanted, as a child she would have gone to, for she had lived cries for the moon; but it was a very nice with the princess for so many years that she moon and she did want it so! And, just as hadn't any other home. Her own home had she had got to this point in her thoughts, gone all to rack and ruin long before and she her nurse came in. But I suppose I should had forgotten it.

not call her a nurse any longer. The prinAnd, besides this special nurse without cess had given up calling her a nurse long ago, end, the princess had some aunts, who came and I don't know what she did call her; and, and went, and whom she never got to feel- not knowing what else to call her, I must call ing that she knew very well ; for just as her a nurse. she was beginning to know them they would She saw that something was wrong as up stakes and go away, and a perfectly soon as she came in. “ What's the matter brand-new aunt would come, that she had with my lamb ?” asked the nurse. Such an never seen, or at any rate had not seen absurd way of speaking to a princess as the for two years at least. And she had some

nurse had! uncles, of course, but they didn't count, The princess was so absorbed in thinking anyway, for they were always away at their of her hard lot that she forgot to

ow offices and she scarcely knew them by sight. absurd the nurse's words were. "Oh, MarAnd there was a cousin or two, but they tha,” she said, “I wish that I hadn't a cent weren't of much more use than the uncles. in the world, not a cent!she said.

And besides the aunts and the uncles What an absurd thing for a princess to and the cousin or two and the nurse—her

But the nurse didn't seem to think it special nurse—the princess had horses and absurd. She put her arms about the little automobiles and a yacht that was big enough princess.

princess. “What's the old money been doing ocean steamer, and men servants to my dearie now?” said she. and maid servants, and everything else that And as the princess was just about to usually goes with a million dollars a year; answer, being very sorry for herself—which everything except the thing that she wanted is a dangerous state to get into—she hapthe most of all, and that she could not pened to look out of the window. get, although she tried as hard as ever she “ Oh !" she cried, and straightened up. could, and that was very hard indeed.

And her tears fled away, and the tightness One day the princess was sitting in her at her throat was gone, and she smiled, oh, room, among all her beautiful things, moping so sweetly! all by herself. For Martha, the and thinking upon her lot, and thinking old nurse, didn't count, of course.

It was a how very hard it was that, with all the mill- pity that there was no one to see but Martha, ion dollars a year, she could not get the for she had seen the princess smile many thing she wanted the most. And she thought times, although it is to be doubted if even she that, if she had no more than a thousand had ever seen her smile like that. Somedollars a year, or

even five hundred-or body ought to have been there to see it. nothing a year—she would stand a better And Martha looked out of the window, chance of getting the thing she wanted so naturally, to see what was the cause of that badly.

smile, and then she knew. Thinking that, she pouted a little and For somebody was out there in the snow, looked as if she wanted to cry; which you plowing joyfully through it; and he had a would have hoped she would not do, for smile on his face, too, a wholly impersonal that would have made her look unhappy smile. And the princess knew that the instead of merely out of sorts, and would smile on Somebody's face was not for her, not have been fitting at all. For this little but she didn't care—he wasn't looking up,

say!

for an

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

more.

car.

rose.

66

to go.

and he didn't know that she was there, of her head suddenly and smiled through her course-although that was little comfort to tears; a very determined smile. You would her; but she tried to think it was, and that, not have expected it of her. if he knew, he would look up at her. He “I will,” she cried. "I will." really ought to have looked. She would " Will what?" asked Martha. have been glad if that smile of Somebody's “Run after him," answered the princess. had been for her—she would have been “Can't you call the car, Martha ? And tell overjoyed. But, anyway, he was smiling. him to hurry with it. That's a dear Martha !"

And so she stood up there at her window. Martha considered for a minute—a very Of course she didn't wave at him or do any- short minute_looking at the princess the thing of that kind. She only thought-or she while. And the princess looked very wistdidn't consciously think, either; she felt that ful, and very pitiful, and very sweet, so a movement at her window might make him that Martha smiled at her. After all, what look up. And so it did, and he raised his hat harm? and smiled the

Who could have “Well,” she said, sighing; " I will call the helped it ? For the princess looked so young

But I must go with you." And she and bright, standing there, not pouting and wanting to cry, but smiling and smiling down The princess was all smiles now. “ Why, at him just as much as she dared. A prin- of course," she cried. " Of course you're cess has to be very careful how she dis

Now I must get ready. I won't be tributes her smiles about, and must give some three minutes." of them to each one of her suitors, and not And Martha went to the telephone and save them all for Somebody who is not a called the car ; but Clement, thinking, natsuitor at all. The little princess had suitors urally enough, that the car would not be enough, goodness knows, as all princesses wanted in that snow-storm, had its insides

, must have, just because they are princesses ; out on the floor, and they could not be put and, if they are as lovely as our little princess in again in less than half an hour. So Martha was, the suitors must be without end, just as called Michael and told him to bring the the nurses were. It was rather a pity that, horses around at once to take the princess after having so many of them, the one she out. And because Michael loved the prinwanted the most—the only one she wanted— cess dearly, and would have done anything should not be among them. For, as it was, in the world for her-anything that he could suitors were one of the things the princess do-he would have tried anything whether had that she did not want. She wanted the he could do it or not, even to standing on his moon, instead.

head in that snow-storm before her window, Martha, the nurse, saw it all. She had not if she only expressed a wish for it; and known it before. And when Somebody had Michael was getting on in years, and he was passed on, the little princess turned to her getting rather stout, too, and very dignified, and threw herself into Martha's arms, that as was fitting for a coachman to the kingwere always ready for her—always ready and because Michael loved the princess dearly, waiting

I say, he hurried, and he was at the door in "Oh, why," cried the princess, “couldn't a jiffy, before ever you would have thought he have stopped? Why couldn't he have it possible to get the harness on. stopped and come in ? Any of the rest of And the princess was waiting at the door, them would have—when I almost asked him and Martha was ready and waiting too,

It was just the same as asking. And I although I don't see how she had time to can't run after him."

get her things on. And the footman jumped And she cried a little there with Martha's down before the horses had stopped, but arms about her, and with Martha saying all he was not quick enough for the princess, sorts of foolish things to her. Such foolish and it was all he could do to get to the things to say to a princess who has a million side of the sleigh, to say nothing of getdollars a year!

ting up the steps to the great door of the “My little girl !" she said.

My poor

house. lamb! Martha's dear little lamb !" And But the princess didn't mind that; she never she rocked to and fro, as if it had been minded such small matters. And now she seventeen years earlier. But the princess was in such a hurry to be off. She smiled at seemed to find it comforting. She raised both of the men." Merry Christmas, James !"

,

to.

66

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

she said, " And merry Christmas, Michael ! the princess found herself feeling rather glad It's a fine snow-storm.”

and joyful before she knew it. But they And both of the men were so pleased, and didn't catch Somebody, although they went they both said something, they hardly knew straight ahead until they were out of the what, and they both smiled until you thought city. And the princess didn't feel glad any it must have hurt them, they smiled so wide. longer, but she felt as listless as it was And James tucked the furs about the princess possible for a girl to feel who was eighteen and Martha, and jumped up beside Michael years old, and who was as well as could just in time.

be, and who was out sleighing in that snow"Straight ahead, Michael," cried the ,

storm. princess, “and hurry!"

When they had gone so far that the prinSo Michael hurried, and the horses went cess knew that they must have missed Somefast, and their bells made a merry sound, and body, she told Michael to go around by the snow came softly down, and altogether another way and home. This other way was

« PredošláPokračovať »