|Newspaper Title||Illustrated Sydney News (NSW: 1881-1894)|
|Trove Title||Gladys and the Fairies|
Gladys and the Fairies.
" It is not true ; I knovr it is not !" said Gladys scornfully. "Pooh!-Pm not a baby, Miss Hotham. I don't believe in fairies one little weeny bit ; so you needn't have troubled to tell me that story."
" Oh, very well, Gladdie," returned Miss Hotham, pleasantly, " then we will talk of something else. Why do you not ask for adventures or some other story ?"
"I don't mind listening, you know, sometimes," said Miss Gladys, loftily, " but, all the same, 1 don't believe any of it. No; you had better go and tell it to
" Gladys, Gladys," sighed the young governess, " how do you pick up such phrases? I cannot imagine."
But a certain schoolboy brother could, and naughty Gladys toe.
" I will go and see if your beef-tea is ready now, and measure out your steel drops. You don't mind me leaving you, do you dear?" continued Miss Hotham, rising, and folding up her knitting.
"You can mix the beef tea and steel
drops together, and give them to the marines and see if they can swallow it, I won't," said the child in ber defiant, spoilt tone. A flush mounted the young go- verness's brow, but she went toward the house without a word ; she was becoming accustomed to her little pupil's naughti-
Gladys Burton had all her life been dreadfully spoilt, being the only girl, and somewhat delicate. She was just recover» ing now from an attack of typhoid fever, and was more spoilt and tyrannical than ever. Poor Miss Hotham had a very bad time of it. She tried to bear patiently with the child's whims and tempers, for she knew she was still very far from strong, and besides she had a widowed mother and
little crippled brother depending on her earnings, and could not afford to throw up her situation, as she often felt inclined.
" Horrid old thing," muttered Miss Gladys ; " I won't take the stuff-she only gives it to me out of spite."
Gladys was lying out in the warm sun-
shine on the lawn in a comfortable nest
made of pillows and shawls. " I wish oh, I wish I could run about again," she continued, half aloud. " I'd just climb up this pear; tree and get some of the blos- soms and then sit there hidden. Oh, it would be fun-at any rate, I'll hide old Botham's knitting," and she stretched out
her hand and reached it. " She'll be look-
ing all over for it. Oh, I wish Bertie
would come from school. I wish Miss Hotham was at Hanover. I wish I could run about. I wish-I wish-I wish--"
" Mortal of earthly mould, thy time has
Gladys started and looked around. No ; there was no one there, and yet those words had been very distinct.
" Who's there ?" she called out, crossly.
"Mortal of earthly mould, thy time has come !" said the strange bell-like voice again, and Gladys began to feel uncomfort- able. " Who's theres What do you want?" she. said, raising a pale thin little face from the soft pillows and peering around.
" Blind have thine eyes been, useless thy life till now," went on the clear little voice, " but now the time, I say, has come -has come, and I take thee to the abode of nature's most wonderful creation-to the
Land of Shadows and Spirits and Dreams and Fairies-to Fairyland, there you shall
" What ?'' said Gladys, breathlessly.
"What you Bhall see !" returned the elf« " But I can't see anything at all, now. I don't even know who is speaking," said Gladys, querulously, "and 1 believe it's you, Bertie, teasing me."
. But no boyish laughing face was near. No one was in si ¿ht, and suddenly some- thing cold and soft was laid on her eyes.
" 0, I've turned into someone else, or I've got some fairy's eyés," cried poor,ftightened little Glady?, looking round. By her side stood a tiny elf, dressed in a green suit, and wearing one pink pear blossom as a cap. In his hand He held a bright shining wand, just like one of Miss Hotham's knit- ting needles.
The elf advanced nearer, held his wand over Gladys, and she felt herself strongly drawn to it. He skipped along gaily, with his wand held out, and Gladys was obliged to follow, down the laurel walk, through the shrubbery, down the rosepath to the edge of ' a tiny stream, " just as if I were one of the fish in my box at home, and this was the magnet," thought poor little Gladys, vainly trying to stand still.
Suddenly the elf «topped at the margin of the stream. " This is Fairy Brook," he said gravely, "and ere you cross into our lands I must impart to you some of our properties." He passed the wand three times across her head, and she found her- self growing smaller and smaller.
"Ah ; now we will start," said the elf, and hardly had he spoken than a tiny cloudlet that had been sailing through the sky suddenly was wafted down and formed itself into a kind of boat for the two passengers.
"Is Fairyland Heaven?" asked Gladys, in a frightened whisper. " No, it lies be- tween the heavens and earth," returned the elf, guiding the cloud-boat;, along with his ever-useful wand* " We, of the mid re- gions, thus have communications with both countries-here we are," he ; added as the boat rested near what seemed like another cloud. Mortal alight, this land is the land of fairiep, " But I-I-can't walk on that cloud-I shall fall through to earth," said Gladys, shrinking back in fear. "Obey, and question not," said the elf in such a stern tone that she sprang out, and the fairy boat went sailing on, on up to fair golden regions, and was lott to sight.
(TO BB CONTINUED.)