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"My poor child," said the lady, wiping
her eyes, "I am just as sorry to part with
you as you are to part with me, but there
are certain unalterable laws that we must
all obey. You are a mere mortal, and in
the course of a few years must perish and
pass away. We, though our form is human,
are beings of a higher nature, to whom
death is altogether foreign. In childhood
which sees before it, not death, but life
there is something akin to immortality, and
while you were a child you could remain
with us; but your childhood is at an end
now. Good-night!"

Elsie went sadly to bed, feeling that all
her happiness was gone, and that a blank
lay before her. On the following morning
she again saw the lady, who put a
golden ring on her finger, hung a golden
locket about her neck, and, taking an
affectionate leave of her, consigned her to
the care of the old man. No sooner was
she alone, than the old man tapped her
head with his wand, and at once she felt
that she was changed into a bird. With
the instinct of a bird she shot up into the
air, and flew for several days in a southern
direction, feeling rather tired, but by no
means hungry, and not in the least missing
the twelve dishes of the Tontla Wood
dinner. Her flight was, however, suddenly
and painfully stopped by a sharp arrow,
which brought her to the ground, where
for some time she lay senseless. When
she recovered, she found herself restored to
human form, lying under a hedge, and was
soon agreeably surprised by the appearance
of a fine prince, who, leaping from his
horse, assured her that for half a year he
had seen her nightly in a dream, and that
on the day before he had shot an eagle,
which must have dropped on the very
spot on which he now stood. Nothing
remained for Elsie but to go home with her
adorer to the court of the king, his father,
where she was received with great
magnificence. This part of the tale is so
utterly clumsy, poor, and common-place,
that we get over it with all possible speed.

Luckily, the facts relating to the future
of Elsie's counterpart save our story from
a lame and impotent conclusion. No
sooner had the figure fashioned by the
ingenious old gentleman reached Elsie's
village, than it was seized by its supposed
stepmother, and thrashed with ill-bestowed
vigour. This process was repeated every
day till, on one occasion, the fiery dame
being more irate than usual, threatened
to kill the thing of loam, and, accordingly,
pressed its throat with both hands so
tightly, that at last a black worm flew out
of its mouth, and bit her too active tongue,
and caused immediate death. The horror
instinctively felt by Elsie's father, when,
on returning home, he saw the body of his
wife stretched upon the floor, soon gave
place to unmitigated joy, when he reflected
that he had got rid of a very bad bargain.
So, regaling himself with three anchovies
and a piece of bread which he found on the
table, he retired to rest. Next morning
he was found dead in his bed, and was
shortly afterwards buried in the same grave
with his wife. Elsie's counterpart had
vanished altogether, and of the events we have
just narrated nothing was heard by Elsie:
who lived a happy princess, and on the
death of the old king became a happy
queen, delighting to recount the history
of her life in the Tontla Wood, omitting
all antecedents. Strange to say, the wood
itself was never seen after it had been
quitted by Elsie.

Readers, have you not, every one, at
some period of your lives, lived in a Tontla
Wood, which seemed a world in itself,
never destined to perish; and which, when
it had passed away, you felt could never be



"IT was in the year 1793," said my
uncle, "that I made the acquaintance of
William Dunblane, afterwards Lord
Dunblane, at the University of St. Andrews.
His bachelor uncle, the then lord, was not
a very rich man, and he was a stingy one.
William's father, too, was still alive, so that
the young man was somewhat straitened
as to money. We were just of an age, and
my father was very liberal to me. Our
relative positions, therefore, were more equal
at that time than they afterwards became;
and, in spite of the great difference of rank,
Dunblane singled me out to be his favourite
companion. I cannot say why this was,
unless it may have been that I was a more
patient listener than many other young
fellows, to his long stories about his ancestry,
and that while I always endeavoured to tell
him the truth, I was more indulgent to this
weakness of family pride than the rest were.
They used to laugh at him, at first; but
that, he soon showed them, he would never
stand. He was very strong, and very
passionate; and his face at such moments

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