A FAIRY'S BLUNDER
graces, and surety no woman of sixty was ever handsomer than you! If your eyes had been as bright as of yore they would have matched badly with your faded skin. The wrinkles which I notice on your forehead explain the increased fulness of your cheeks, and your throat in withering is elegant in decay. Thus the harmony shown by your features, even as they grow old, is the best proof of their former beauty.
' Oh, monster,' cried Toupette, bursting into tears, 'is that all the comfort you can give me ?'
'But, Toupette,' answered Cornichon,' 'you used to declare that you did not care for beauty, as long as you had my heart.'
' Yes, I know,' said she, ' but how can you go on caring for a person who is as old and plain as I ? '
'Toupette, Toupette,' replied Cornichon, 'you are only talking nonsense. My heart is as much yours as ever it was, and nothing in the world can make any difference.'
At this point of the conversation the Prince Zeprady entered the room, witli the news that the genius, full of regret for his behaviour, had given Oornichon full permission to depart for Bagota as soon as he liked, and to take Toupette with him; adding that, though he begged they would excuse his taking leave of them before they went, he hoped, before long, to visit them at Bagota.
Neither of the lovers slept that night — Cornichon from joy at returning home, Toupette from dread of the blow to her vanity which awaited her at Bagota. It was hopeless for Cornichon to try to console her during the journey with the reasons he had given the day before. She only grew worse and worse, and when they reached the palace went straight to her old apartments, entreating the fairy to allow both herself and Cornichon to remain concealed, and to see no one.
For some time after their arrival the fairy was taken up with the preparations for the rejoicings which were to