Chapter 20290682

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Chapter NumberV.
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-03-07
Page Number459
Word Count1646
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleThe Magic Rose: A Story of Fact and Fancy
article text

The Magic Rose.


(Continued from last week.) CHAPTER V.


The queen led the way along a passage and into a room larger even than the immense hall. The great crystal lamps here had rose-coloured globes. There was a feeling of coolness and

dampness in the air, and a scent of fernß and mosses. The room was lined with dark-green marble, and out of the centre of the floor rose an enormous rook of solid silver. Bound its base the marble floor was hollowed out to form the channel of a stream of water, which sprang from some hidden source, and found an outlet somewhere far below, whenoe one could hear it splashing. Ferns and mosses were growing luxuriantly all among the crevices of the rook, which was so large that a hundred people could easily have found standing-room on it; yet this silver island had but one solitary inhabitant— the ill-fated Prince Silvio. He oould never leave it, except to swim about in the stream ; neither could any one cross to the rook. The queen led Gillian forward till they stood at the water's edge, and then called in a soft tone: " Silvio, here is Gillian." Immediately the form of a monster frog about 4ft. high reared itself up on the rook, and after making a low bow said (for after the first croak he had given at the time of his transformation Silvio's own voice had returned to him): "A hundred welcomes, maiden. Even if thou hadst not oome hither as our deliverer, to have looked upon thy face would have oonsoled us for all we have endured." Gillian scarcely understood the compliment, never having received the like before, but she stood amazed as she heard the sweet-toned voice proceed from that gaping hideous mouth. 41 The time has not yet come for our deliver anoe, my dearest," said the queen gently. " Patience and faith must be ours for a short time longer, and all will be well." After this they bade Prince Silvio adieu, and repaired to the hall, where the poor mushroom maidens had prepared a variety of amusements with which to entertain Gillian. "Gillian," said the queen one day, "you have become very silent and sorrowful of late. I feel sure you are pining for your freedom." " No, dear queen," was the reply, " for my own part lam perfectly happy and content; it is for your sakes only lam sad. I have dwelt here now for a year and a day, and still the spell binds you ac though I had never oome. I would do anything to obtain the power whioh whioh would set you free." •' I know you would, dear child," said the queen. " But do not despair. You have the power, and when the time is ripe you will know how to useit. Meantime, during your stay here, you have made us all quite happy, especially my dear Silvio. When you are with him he becomes light-hearted and merry as be was before he was transformed, although you oan only look upon him with horror."

" Oh, no, ncWejaaxe mistake*;" cried Gillian, but the qneen sMlyjß^ookrttef headx Yes, Gillian had:aewally Jiwd for a whole year in the enohanted cavern"; and, during that time, being quick and clever, she had learned from the mushroom-maidens all the accom plishment-? of which they themselves—ladies of noble birth and high rank—were mistresses. It was evening, as the inhabitants of the cavern knew by a great dock standing in the hall. This was not an ordinary clo^c. Instead of figures round its face it had inscribed upon it: MORNING, AFTERNOON, EVENING, NIOHT. The clock had but one hand, which moved round every six hours, pointing to mobnino or night, or whichever it might be at the time, when the clock would toll six times. As I have just said,' it was evening, and a tall slender form was gliding swiftly down the long passage which led to the Silver Rock Room. It was, of course, Gillian. She was robed in silvery-white silk, with a broad sash of palest blue knotted loosely round her waist. A string of sapphires wa» twined amid the gleaming gold of her hair, while round her white throat was tied^r cherished Bilver locket. Never did maiden look sweeter or lovelier than Gillian, as she took her place at the water's edge. " Dear maiden," Baid the prince, after a tew words had been interchanged, "when will thi«' hateful spell be broken ? Never have I longed so intensely to be free as I do now l'| t " Ah, Prince Silvio, do not too reproach me," replied Gillian piteously. "Yon little know, what I suffer when I feel how powerless I am." "I am impatient to regain my own form," 1, he replied, " only that I might hope to win thee for my bride. Now, thou oanst but regard me as an odious reptile." "I do not, indeed," said Gillian, and theft she added softly and shyly, " I lore you." "Then, beloved, when the happy day of release comes, you shall be my wife, exclaimed Silvio joyfully; adding, " Until then wear thii chain in token of our betrothal. I have no ring io give thee." So saying he unfastened a beauti fully wrought gold chain from about his neflk, and tossed it gently with great dexterity on to Gillian's lap. " We will make an exchange," said she, slip ping the silver looket from her neck. Her aim was not S3 true as his, for the locket struck the rook, and Silvio only just managed to save il as it was rebounding into the water. • " The locket has come open," exclaimed the brince, " and something it contained has fallen pnto the stream." And, true enough, the spring had given way the looket sharply struck the rook. j " Oh, please save it," cried Gillian, " 'tit my mother's hair and a little dead flower." Like a flash Bilvio plunged into the water and rescued the lock of hair and the rosebud, which had nearly floated away. As he did to the frog-form vanished, and in its place there JBtood a handsome young man dad in rich attire. In one hand he grasped Gillian's looket and the look of her mother's hair, and the other held a ; flower. It was a rose—and «icfc a rose I Iti colour was bluo, of a tint surpassing the deep, .pure blue of the loveliest summer sky, while its 'exquisite perfume seemed a combination of the scents of all the sweetest flowers that blossom. At the same moment the whole place reverbe rated with a sound as of thunder, whioh wu succeeded by a triumphant crash of harmonious music, and the sound of many feet advancing hurriedly down the gold-paved passage, mingled with a ohorus of eager, joyful voices. Then ,the curtains were drawn aside, and the beatiful fairy, Benevolina, entered the room where Silvio iand Gillian stood. She was closely followed by ithe queen, with thirty maids of honour, and many gallant gentlemen of the court, all anxious to pour forth their gratitude to the lovely maiden who was standing by the side of their prince. The fairy, however, raised her hand, and said: •• Dear friends, you will, I am glad to say, have ample opportunities of thanking the fair maiden by means of whom the enchantment whioh bound you is now broken; but never, never again will any of you, nor any one in the wide world look upon suoh a rose as that whioh Prince Silvio now holds. Without it you could never have been set free." Suddenly, as they gazed at the rose, the delioate blue petals beoame shrivelled as though by a flame, and what, a seoond before, had been a glorious flower, was but a few gray ashes. " Good people," Benevo lina said, "do not grieve for the rose; it has ful filled its mission of good. Gillian's flower was the only one of its kind that has ever been known. It first blossomed in the garden of an ancient Roman magician; and for hundreds of, years it had not been heard of, and was sup posed to be lost. Evillft, therefore, when she decreed that her spell was to be broken only by a maiden who owned the magic rose,,fancied that she had thus securod an unending revenge. Hark! dear friends, the olock is chiming the hours of night. To-morrow you will see the golden sun again, as he rises over the Isles of Innocence, where King Silvio shall reign in joy and peace with Gillian his bride." The good fairy oeased speaking, and all her listeners with happy hearts gratefully thanked her/or all she had done. ' [TUB END.]

In the Bute Hall of Glasgow University, on the 13th January, Professor Max Muller de livered the first lecture of the third series of Gilford lectures on natural religion. Chris tians, he said, did not hesitate to send mis sionaries to Jews, Turks, and infidels, to ask them to examine their own time-honoured religions. They attaoked their most saored convictions, they wounded their tenderest feel ings, they broke up the peace and happiness of their homes; and yet if some learned Jew, if some subtle Brahmin, or even if some out spoken Zulu turned round on them and asked them to examine the date and authorship of the books of the bid Testament or the New Testament, pressed them to explain some por tion of the Athanasian Creed, or challenged the evidence on which they accepted certain miracles, they were surprisod and offended, for* getthw that with regard to those questions they lliouUl olaim no privilege nor immunity.