death; and then, perhaps, she reflected that there are worse positions than the queenship of Pantouflia. For Alphonso was gone—crying would not bring him back.
"Ah, Madam ! " said the prince, " you are forgiving------"
" For you are brave ! " said Molinda, feeling quite a respect for him.
" But neither your heart nor mine is ours to give. Since mine was another's, I understand too well the feeling of yours ! Do not let us buy life at the price of happiness and honour."
Then, turning to the king the prince said :
" Sir, is there no way but by death or marriage ? You say you cannot keep half only of your promise ; and that, if I accept the reward, I must also unite myself with my unwilling cousin. Cannot the whole proclamation be annulled, and will you consider the bargain void if I tear up this flimsy scroll ? "
And here the prince fluttered the cheque for £1,000,000 in the air.
For a moment the king was tempted; but then he said to himself:
"Never mind, it's only an extra penny on the income-tax." Then, " Keep your dross," he shouted, meaning the million; " but let me
keep my promise. To chapel at once, or------"
and he pointed to the executioner. "The word of a king of Pantouflia is sacred."