506 THE COFFIN OF GLASS.
She appeared to be asleep, and her long flaxen hair covered her like a veil of costly material. Her eyes were closed; but the blush tinge on her cheek, and the heaving bosom as she breathed, proved that she still lived.
The tailor stood looking at her with a beating heart; when suddenly her eyes opened, and she gazed at him with a mingled look of joy and terror. "Righteous Heaven V she cried at last, " my deliverance is near. Quick, quick ! help me to escape from my prison. Just push aside the bolt of this glass coffin, and I am free."
The tailor obeyed without a moment's hesitation; and as soon as he raised the coffin lid the beautiful maiden stepped out, and hastening to a corner of the hall arrayed herself in a large mantle.
She then seated herself on a stone, called the tailor to her, and as she pressed a friendly kiss on his lips, she exclaimed, " My long-expected deliverer, kind Heaven has sent you to me to put an end to my sorrow. On the day this happens your good fortune begins. You are chosen by Heaven to be my future husband, and you will receive from me not only my fondest love, but I can lavish upon you every earthly good, so that you may live in happiness to the end of your days. Sit down again, and listen to the story of my fate.
" I am the daughter of a rich count, and my father died while I was still very ypung. He left me in his last will to the care of my elder brother, who brought me up.
" We loved each other so tenderly, and were so entirely of the same mind in thought and inclination, that we both made a determination never to marry, but to live with each other to the end of our lives. In our home we had no lack of companions. We had neighbours and friends in abundance, with whom we often exchanged friendly visits.
" It happened one evening, however, that a stranger on horseback arrived at our castle, and under the pretext that he could not reach his destination before midnight, begged for a night's lodging.
" We granted his request with ready courtesy, and invited him to join us at supper. During the repast he conversed so pleasantly, and related so many agreeable and amusing adventures, that my brother was quite delighted with him, and asked him to remain with us for a few days.