30 AN IMPOSSIBLE ENCHANTMENT
people,' she said to her governess, ' and I dare say they are not all as hideous as the first one we saw. Anyhow, we shan't be so dreadfully lonely.'
' Dear me,' said Bonnetta, k how hopeful young people are to be sure! As for me I feel afraid of these folk. But what do you think of the lover you have captivated? '
'Oh, I could never love him,' cried the princess ; ' I can't bear him. But, perhaps, as his sister says they are related to the fairy Marina, they may be of sonic use to us.'
The mermaid often returned, and each time she talked of her brother's love, and each time Graziella talked of her longing to escape from her prison, till at length the mermaid promised to bring the fairy Marina to see her, in hopes she might suggest something.
Next day the fairy came with the mermaid, and the princess received her with delight. After a little talk she begged Graziella to show her the inside of the tower and let her see the garden on the top, for with the help of crutches she could manage to move about, and being a fairy could live out of water for a long time, provided she, wetted her forehead now and then.
Graziella gladly consented, and Bonnetta stayed below with the mermaid.
When they were in the garden the fairy said : ' Let us lose no time, but tell me how I can be of use to you.' Graziella then told all her story and Marina replied: ' My dear princess, I can do nothing for you as regards dry land, for my power does not reach beyond my own element. I can only say that if you will honour my cousin by accepting his hand, you could then come and live amongst us. I could teach you in a moment to swim and dive with the best of us. I can harden your skin without spoiling its colour. My cousin is one of the best matches in the sea, and I will bestow so many gifts on him that you will be quite happy.'