230 The Princess and the Goblin
once in a month. The lady laughed too, and lifting her again upon her knee, took off her cloak and nightgown. Then she carried her to the side of the room. Irene wondered what she was going to do with her, but asked no questions—only starting a little when she found that she was going to lay her in the large silver bath; for as she looked into it, again she saw no bottom, but the stars shining miles away, as it seemed, in a great blue gulf. Her hands closed involuntarily on the beautiful arms that held her, and that was all.
The lady pressed her once more to her bosom, saying—
" Do not be afraid, my child."
"No, grandmother," answered the princess, with a little gasp; and the next instant she sank in the clear cool water.
When she opened her eyes, she saw nothing but a strange lovely blue over and beneath and all about her. The lady and the beautiful room had vanished from her sight, and she seemed utterly alone. But instead of being afraid, she felt more than happy—perfectly blissful. And from somewhere came the voice of the lady, sing-