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The Sacrifice

The fear that Ourson would feel repugnance towards her made her heart tremble; but this thought, which was wholly personal, was very fleeting—it could not triumph over her devoted tenderness. Her only response was to throw herself in the arms of Agnella, and say:—

"Mother, embrace your fair and pretty Violette for the last time."

Whilst Agnella, Ourson and Passerose embraced her and looked lovingly upon her—whilst Ourson, on his knees, supplicated her to leave him his bear-skin to which he had been accustomed for twenty years—Violette called out again in a loud voice:—

"Fairy Drolette! Fairy Drolette! come and accept the price of the life and health of my dear Ourson."

At this moment the fairy Drolette appeared in all her glory. She was seated in a massive chariot of gold, drawn by a hundred and fifty larks. She was clothed with a robe of butterflies' wings, of the most brilliant colors while from her shoulders fell a mantle of network of diamonds, which trailed ten feet behind her and it was so fine in texture that it was light as gauze. Her hair, glittering like tissue of gold, was ornamented by a crown of carbuncles more brilliant than the sun; each of her slippers was carved from a single ruby and her beautiful face, soft, yet gay, breathed contentment. She fixed upon Violette a most affectionate regard.

"You wish it, then, my daughter?" said she.

"Madam," cried Ourson, falling at her feet, "deign to listen to me. You, who have loaded me with undeserved benefits—you, who have inspired me with boundless gratitude—you, good and just—will you execute the mad wish of my dear Violette? Will you make my whole life wretched by forcing me to accept this sacrifice? No, no, charming and humane fairy, you could not, you will not do it!"

Whilst Ourson was thus supplicating, the fairy gave Violette a light touch with her wand of pearl and Ourson another—then said:—

"Let it be according to the wish of your heart, my daughter. Let it be contrary to your ardent desires, my son.

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