148 The Princess and the Goblin
As she spoke she set her down, and Irene saw to her dismay that the lovely dress was covered with the mud of her fall on the mountain road. But the lady stooped to the fire, and taking from it, by the stalk in her fingers, one of the burning roses, passed it once and again and a third time over the front of her dress; and when Irene looked, not a single stain was to be discovered.
" There!" said her grandmother, "you won't mind coming to me now?"
But Irene again hung back, eyeing the flaming rose which the lady held in her hand.
"You're not afraid of the rose—are you?" she said, about to throw it on the hearth again.
"Oh! don't, please!" cried Irene. "Won't you hold it to my frock and my hands and my face? And I'm afraid my feet and my knee? want it too!"
"No," answered her grandmother, smiling a little sadly, as she threw the rose from her; "it is too hot for you yet. It would set your frock in a flame. Besides, I don't want to make you clean to-night. I want your nurse and the rest of the people to see you as you are, for you will have to tell them how you ran away for fear of