Page:Ségur Old French Fairy Tales.djvu/164

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they saw before them the fairy Puissante, who said:—

"Most welcome to your kingdom. Prince Charmant, follow me; all is prepared for your marriage. Conduct Rosette to her room that she may change her dress, whilst I explain to you all the events of this day which seem so incomprehensible to you. I have one hour at my disposal."

The fairy and Charmant now led Rosette to an apartment, ornamented with the most exquisite taste, where she found her maids waiting to attend upon her.

"I will return to seek you in a short time, my dear Rosette," said the fairy; "my moments are counted."

She departed with Charmant and said to him:—

"The hatred of the king and queen against Rosette had become so intense that they had blindly resolved to defy my vengeance and to get rid of Rosette. Seeing that their cunning arrangements in the chariot race had not succeeded after I substituted my horses for those which would certainly have killed Rosette, they resolved to have recourse to violence. The king employed a band of brigands, who swore to him a blind obedience; they pursued your steps with vengeance in their hearts and as the king knew your love for Rosette and foresaw that you would defend her to the death, he was resolved to sacrifice you also to his hatred. Orangine and Roussette, ignorant of this last project of the king, attempted to kill Rosette, as you have seen, by dashing their heavy chariots violently against the light chariot

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