David tells me that fairies never say "We feel happy": what they say is, "We feel dancey."
Well, they were looking very undancy indeed, when sudden laughter broke out among the onlookers, caused by Brownie, who had just arrived and was insisting on her right to be presented to the Duke.
Maimie craned forward eagerly to see how her friend fared, though she had really no hope; no one seemed to have the least hope except Brownie herself who, however, was absolutely confident. She was led before his grace, and the doctor putting a finger carelessly on the ducal heart, which for convenience sake was reached by a little trap-door in his diamond shirt, had begun to say mechanically, "Cold, qui--," when he stopped abruptly.
"What's this?" he cried, and first he shook the heart like a watch, and then put his ear to it.
"Bless my soul!" cried the doctor, and by this time of course the excitement among the spectators was tremendous, fairies fainting right and left.
Everybody stared breathlessly at the Duke, who was very much startled and looked as if he would like to run away. "Good gracious me!" the doctor was heard muttering, and now the heart was evidently on fire, for he had to jerk his fingers away from it and put them in his mouth.
The suspense was awful!
Then in a loud voice, and bowing low, "My Lord Duke," said the physician elatedly, "I have the honour to inform your excellency that your grace is in love."
You can't conceive the effect of it. Brownie held out her arms to the Duke and he flung himself into them, the Queen leapt into the arms of the Lord Chamberlain, and the ladies of the court leapt into the arms of her gentlemen, for it is etiquette to follow her example in everything. Thus in a single moment about fifty marriages took place, for if you leap into each other's arms it is a fairy wedding. Of course a clergyman has to be present.
How the crowd cheered and leapt! Trumpets brayed, the moon came out, and immediately a thousand couples seized hold of its rays as if they were ribbons in a May dance and waltzed in wild abandon round the fairy ring. Most gladsome sight of all, the Cupids plucked the hated fools' caps from their heads and cast them high in the air. And then Maimie went and spoiled everything. She couldn't help it. She was crazy with delight over her little friend's good fortune, so she took several steps forward and cried in an ecstasy, "Oh, Brownie, how splendid!"
Everybody stood still, the music ceased, the lights went out, and all in the time you may take to say "Oh dear!" An awful sense of her peril came upon Maimie, too late she remembered that she was a lost child in a place where no human must be between the locking and the opening of the gates, she heard the murmur of an angry multitude, she saw a thousand swords flashing for her blood, and she uttered a cry of terror and fled.
How she ran! and all the time her eyes were starting out of her head. Many times she lay down, and then quickly jumped up and ran on again. Her little mind was so entangled in terrors that she no longer knew she was in the Gardens.