In the meanwhile Blue Beard, with a great cutlass in his hand, called out with all his might to his wife, "Come down quickly, or I will come up there." "One minute more, if you please," replied his wife; and immediately repeated in a low voice, "Anne! sister Anne! dost thou not see anything coming?" And sister Anne replied, "I see nothing but the sun making dust, and the grass growing green." "Come down quickly," roared Blue Beard, "or I will come up there." "I come," answered his wife, and then exclaimed, "Anne! sister Anne! dost thou not see anything coming?" "I see," said sister Anne, "a great cloud of dust moving this way." "Is it my brothers?" "Alas! no, sister, I see a flock of sheep." "Wilt thou not come down?" shouted Blue Beard. "One minute more," replied his wife, and then she cried, "Anne! sister Anne! dost thou not see anything coming?" "I see," she replied, "two horsemen coming this way; but they are still at a great distance." "Heaven be praised!" she exclaimed, a moment afterwards. "They are my brothers! I am making all the signs I can to hasten them." Blue Beard began to roar so loudly that the whole house shook again. [Pg 7] The poor wife descended, and went and threw herself, with streaming eyes and dishevelled tresses, at his feet.
"It is of no use," said Blue Beard. "You must die!" Then seizing her by the hair with one hand, and raising his cutlass with the other, he was about to cut off her head. The poor wife turned towards him, and fixing upon him her dying eyes, implored him to allow her one short moment to collect herself. "No, no," said he; "recommend thyself heartily to Heaven." And lifting his arm―― At this moment there was so loud a knocking at the gate, that Blue Beard stopped short. It was opened, and two horsemen were immediately seen to enter, who, drawing their swords, ran straight at Blue Beard. He recognised them as the brothers of his wife―one a dragoon, the other a musqueteer, and, consequently, fled immediately, in hope to escape; but they pursued him so closely, that they overtook him before he could reach the step of his door, and, passing their swords through his body, left him dead on the spot. The poor wife was almost as dead as her husband, and had not strength to rise and embrace her brothers. It was found that Blue Beard had no heirs, and so his widow remained possessed of all his property. She employed part of it in marrying her sister Anne to a young gentleman who had long loved her; another part, in buying captains' commissions for her two brothers, and with the rest she married herself to a very worthy man, who made her forget the miserable time she had passed with Blue Beard.
Provided one has common sense, And of the world but knows the ways, This story bears the evidence Of being one of bygone days. No husband now is so terrific, Impossibilities, expecting: Though jealous, he is still pacific, Indifference to his wife affecting. And of his beard, whate'er the hue, His spouse need fear no such disaster. Indeed, 'twould often puzzle you To say which of the twain is master.
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD.
Once upon a time there was a King and a Queen, who were so vexed at not having any children―so vexed, that one cannot express it. They visited all the baths in the world. Vows, pilgrimages, everything was tried, and nothing succeeded. At length, however, the Queen was brought to bed of a daughter. There was a splendid christening. For godmothers they gave the young Princess all the Fairies they could find in the country (they found seven), in order that each making her a gift, according to the custom of Fairies in those days, the Princess would, by these means, become possessed of all imaginable perfections. After the baptismal ceremonies all the company returned to the King's palace, where a great banquet was set out for the Fairies. Covers were laid for each, consisting of a magnificent plate, with a massive gold case, containing a spoon, a fork, and a knife of fine gold, enriched with diamonds and rubies. But as they were all taking their places at the table, there was seen to enter an old Fairy, who had not been invited, because for upwards of fifty years she had never quitted the tower she resided in, and it was supposed she was either dead or enchanted.