Short Stories » Septimus

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.

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