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The Princess Idleways A Fairy Story   By:

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The Princess Idleways





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1879, by HARPER & BROTHERS, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


You must not suppose that the Princess Idleways was a great, grand woman, for she was not: she was only a little lovely girl named Laura. To be sure, she was of high birth; that is to say, her father and grandfather and great grandfather, as well as all the fine lady grandmothers, were people who, not obliged to labor for themselves or others, having always had more time and wealth and pleasure than they knew what to do with, were something like the beautiful roses which grow more and more beautiful with planting and transplanting, and shielding from too hot a sun or too sharp a wind; but, for all that, roses, as you know, have thorns.

Little Laura Idleways was as bright and bewitching in appearance as any rosebud, but she had a few thorns which could prick. She lived in a great castle high up in the mountains, from the windows of which she could see hill after hill stretching far away up to the clouds, and eagles flapping their great wings over deep ravines, down which tumbled foaming cascades. The castle was a very ancient building, and part of it was nearly a ruin; indeed, it was so old that Laura's father who was a soldier, and not much at home had decided not to repair it, but allowed the stones to fall, and would not have them touched; so the wild vines grew luxuriantly over them, and made a beautiful drapery. But the part of the castle in which Laura lived was no ruin. The thick walls kept it cool in summer and warm in winter, and made nice deep seats for the windows, which were hung with heavy folds of crimson silk. The walls were covered with superb paintings, the wide rooms were beautiful with all manner of comforts and luxuries. Low divans of rich and soft material, ottomans and rugs of Persian and Turkish wool, statues and statuettes of marble, graceful forms, filled the corners and the niches. Birds of many colors sang in golden cages, and curious cuckoo clocks chimed the hours. Laura's mamma was a fine musician, and her harp and piano were always ready to yield sweet tones. The library shelves held books of all kinds and colors; and the cabinets of richly carved wood, before the glass doors of which Laura often stood, contained rare shells, minerals, stuffed birds and insects, and strange foreign things that a child could only wonder about.

Of all places in which to play "hide and seek," this castle was the best it had so many nooks and corners, such little cosy turns in the stairs, such odd cupboards, such doors in strange places, so many quaint pieces of furniture to hide behind and yet Laura never played hide and seek.

There was a delicious garden, too, full of fragrant bushes and arbors and rustic seats, and two fountains rained liquid diamonds into marble basins. But Laura did not play in the garden.

The truth is, Laura was a petted, spoiled, wayward little creature, always depending upon others for entertainment, too lazy to amuse herself, and much less inclined to study or to find happiness in being useful.

She had nurses and governesses. She had toys and trinkets, and the latter were of about as much service as the former. Her mother had always loved her fondly, but even she began to see that something was amiss with Laura, and to think her little child needed something she could not buy for her. Absorbed in her books, her music, and her embroidery, Laura's mother was constantly occupied; but, strange to say, she seemed to forget that Laura, too, might need occupation. One day Laura's mamma went alone on an excursion into the woods. She had seemed very much distressed... Continue reading book >>

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