Likewise a piece of chalk round the rims, I doing the colonel's, and he mine, but afterwards found in the bedroom looking-glass not natural, besides inflammation. Our conversation turned on being ninety. The colonel told me he had a pair of boots that wanted soling and heeling; but he thought it hardly worth while to mention it to his father, as he himself should so soon be ninety, when he thought shoes would be more convenient. The colonel also told me, with his hand upon his hip, that he felt himself already getting on in life, and turning rheumatic. And I told him the same. And when they said at our house at supper (they are always bothering about something) that I stooped, I felt so glad!
This is the end of the beginning-part that you were to believe most.
PART II. - ROMANCE. FROM THE PEN OF MISS ALICE RAINBIRD (Aged seven.)
THERE was once a king, and he had a queen; and he was the manliest of his sex, and she was the loveliest of hers. The king was, in his private profession, under government. The queen's father had been a medical man out of town.
They had nineteen children, and were always having more. Seventeen of these children took care of the baby; and Alicia, the eldest, took care of them all. Their ages varied from seven years to seven months.
Let us now resume our story.
One day the king was going to the office, when he stopped at the fishmonger's to buy a pound and a half of salmon not too near the tail, which the queen (who was a careful housekeeper) had requested him to send home. Mr. Pickles, the fishmonger, said, 'Certainly, sir; is there any other article? Good-morning.'
The king went on towards the office in a melancholy mood; for quarter-day was such a long way off, and several of the dear children were growing out of their clothes. He had not proceeded far, when Mr. Pickles's errand-boy came running after him, and said, 'Sir, you didn't notice the old lady in our shop.'
'What old lady?' inquired the king. 'I saw none.'
Now the king had not seen any old lady, because this old lady had been invisible to him, though visible to Mr. Pickles's boy. Probably because he messed and splashed the water about to that degree, and flopped the pairs of soles down in that violent manner, that, if she had not been visible to him, he would have spoilt her clothes.
Just then the old lady came trotting up. She was dressed in shot- silk of the richest quality, smelling of dried lavender.
'King Watkins the First, I believe?' said the old lady.
'Watkins,' replied the king, 'is my name.'
'Papa, if I am not mistaken, of the beautiful Princess Alicia?' said the old lady.
'And of eighteen other darlings,' replied the king.
'Listen. You are going to the office,' said the old lady.
It instantly flashed upon the king that she must be a fairy, or how could she know that?
'You are right,' said the old lady, answering his thoughts. 'I am the good Fairy Grandmarina. Attend! When you return home to dinner, politely invite the Princess Alicia to have some of the salmon you bought just now.'
'It may disagree with her,' said the king.
The old lady became so very angry at this absurd idea, that the king was quite alarmed, and humbly begged her pardon.