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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 46. Delivered From The Ogre
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The Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 46. Delivered From The Ogre Post by :Grroeb9 Category :Long Stories Author :L. T. Meade Date :May 2012 Read :703

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The Palace Beautiful: A Story For Girls - Chapter 46. Delivered From The Ogre


"Here's the money, Primrose--here's all the money," said little Daisy, in a weak, weak voice, when her sister came up to her bedside, and bent over her. "It was lost and the Prince brought it back; you won't ask me any questions about it, will you, Primrose?"

"No," exclaimed Primrose, in her very quiet and matter-of-fact voice--the kind of voice which was most soothing to the excitable and nervous child at the present moment.

"I'm glad to have it back, Daisy, dear, for I have missed it; but of course, I shan't ask you any questions about it. I shall just put it into my purse, and you shall see what a nice fat purse I have got once more."

Then Primrose held her little sister's hand, and shook up her pillows, and tended her as only she knew how, but all that night Daisy grew more and more restless. The drowsy state in which she had hitherto been had changed to one of wakefulness. All through the long night the little creature's bright eyes remained open, and her anxious face had a question on it which yet she never spoke. At last, as the bright summer's morning broke, she turned to Primrose and said eagerly--

"Kneel down, Primrose, and ask God what a very ignorant, very unhappy little girl ought to do. Oh, Primrose, it's all about a promise--a promise that was most faithfully given. What shall I do about it?"

"Do you want to keep it, or to break it?" asked Primrose.

"It seems to me I ought to keep it, Primrose, because a promise, faithfully given, ought always to be kept; but Mr. Noel says I ought to break this promise; oh, I don't know what to do!"

"Your heart won't be at rest, Daisy, and you won't really get better, until you do know what to do," answered Primrose. "Of course, I will kneel down and ask God to tell you."

Then the elder sister prayed aloud a very few earnest words, and the little one joined her in whispered sentences. The prayer was not long, but in Daisy's case it was quickly answered. When the morning quite broke, and the real working-day had begun, Primrose sent a message to Noel to come at once to see the child. Daisy received him with a touching little smile.

"Was the little girl me?" she asked. "And was the wicked, wicked ogre, Mr. Dove?"

"It is clever of you to guess that much, Daisy," answered Noel.

"Am I the little girl?" continued Daisy, "who made a promise which she ought now to break? Will God forgive me for breaking a promise which I made so very, very faithfully? Mr. Noel, I will tell you something. That promise has nearly killed me. The old Daisy went away when that promise was made, and such a poor, cowardly, wretched Daisy came in her place. She'd have been selfish, too, but for you; but you taught her a little bit about the Palace Beautiful, and she was trying to be good in spite of the dreadful promise. Then the ogre came again, and the second time he was so dreadful that she even became very selfish to get rid of him. Oh, Mr. Noel, is it right for me--will God think it really right for me--to break that dreadful promise?"

"He will, Daisy. The promise ought never to have been made. Only an innocent and ignorant little child would have made it; yes, Daisy, dear, yours is one of the rare cases of a promise better broken than kept. See, I am the Prince, and I'm going to take the spell of the ogre from you. The wicked ogre is locked up in a dungeon instead of you, and the Prince commands the poor little captive to tell him everything."

Then Daisy, with some broken sobs, and with a piteous light in her blue eyes, told Noel the whole cruel story. He listened without once interrupting the little narrator. When she had finished, he kissed her, and told her that she now had nothing to fear, and then, bidding her sleep away all her troubles, he left her to Primrose's care. By the next train he himself went to London in full time to attend Dove's trial.

That worthy was at first inclined to brazen matters out, but when Noel, primed with Daisy's confession, appeared on the scene, his face underwent a remarkable change. Its rubicund tints quite deserted it, an alarming pallor spreading over every feature. Tommy Dove, who might have been seen in a foremost position amongst the crowd of spectators, was heard audibly to exclaim--

"Law, I guess there ain't no leg for my respected pa to stand on now!"

This, although not expressed aloud, seemed also to be Dove's opinion, for he then and there made a full confession of his wicked practices, and of the cruel threats he had employed to terrify Daisy. He received his sentence, which was a severe one, with much stoicism, and, as he was led away from his place in the prisoner's dock, addressed a parting word to his affectionate and hysterical spouse--

"Never mind, Mrs. Dove, my only love, even fourteen years comes to an end somehow, and when we meets again we'll make a rule for there being no attic lodgers."

"To the very end his was a poetic turn," his wife afterwards remarked to her favorite cronies.

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