332 SHEPHERDESS AND CHIMNEY-SWEEPER
might just as well have made a prince of him, if they had been so minded.
There he stood very nattily with his ladder, and with a face as white and pink as a girl's ; and that was really a fault, for he ought to have been a little black. He stood quite close to the Shepherdess : they had both been placed where they stood; but as they had been placed there they had become engaged to each other. They suited each other well. Both were young people, both made of the same kind of china, and both equally frail.
Close to them stood another figure, three times greater than they. This was an old Chinaman, who could nod. He was also of porcelain, and declared himself to be the grandfather of the little Shepherdess ; but he could not prove his relationship. He declared he had authority over her, and that therefore he had nodded to Mr. Billygoat-iegs-Lieutenant -and -Major- General-War-Commander-Sergeant, who was wooing her for his wife.
' Then you will get a husband !' said the old Chinaman, ' a man who I verily believe is made of mahogany. He can make you Billygoat-legs-Lieutenant-and-Major-General-War-Commander-Sergeantess : he has the whole cupboard full of silver plate, besides what he hoards up in secret drawers.'
' I won't go into the dark cupboard !' said the little Shepherdess. ' I have heard tell that he has eleven porcelain wives in there.'
' Then you may become the twelfth,' cried the Chinaman. 1 This night, so soon as it creaks in the old cupboard, you shall be married, as true as I am an old Chinaman ! '
And with that he nodded his head and fell asleep. But the little Shepherdess wept and looked at her heart's beloved, the porcelain Chimney-Sweeper.
* I should like to beg of you,' said she, ' to go out with me into the wide world, for we cannot remain here.'
' I'll do whatever you like,' replied the little Chimney-Sweeper. ' Let us start directly ! I think I can keep you by exercising my profession.'
' If we were only safely down from the table ! ' said she. ' I shall not be happy until we are out in the wide world.'
And he comforted her, and showed her how she must