CHRISTMAS AT THE COURT
herself over and over again, finding each time fresh comfort in the thought. " How wrong I have been ! Out of her disfigurement Veronica says my love for her has grown, and is worth much to her in comfort. It has brought us close together, and made us both happy. How grateful she is for every one's attention! And now the Prince still pleads for her! So! it was not her beauty that attracted him—it was not her beauty—not her beauty!" Thus she thought earnestly and long, and it brought her a strange sense of faith in herself and others. " I shall tell them all that I, too, know how truly she deserves her happiness ! "
And tell them she did, and they opened their eyes and bowed respectfully, and thought more of Princess Christobel than they had ever thought before.
New Year's Eve came round with its accustomed regularity, and the inmates of Cosmopolis Castle were looking unusually grave for the occasion. Princess Veronica was to appear once more in their midst, and with the bandages removed from her poor face. It was a silent, uneasy company that had gathered together in the great ballroom, and King Jorum, engaged in a game of " Snap" with Little Love in a corner, looked ill and worn from anxiety for his favourite child.
Suddenly the card-players rose, and a thrill of