What book was it?
February 27, 2015 9:29 PM   Subscribe

Bookfilter: I'm trying to locate a book I read as a child in the late 70's/early 80's. It was a (or in the style of) a Victorian melodrama, but written in a dry, humorous style. There were a few Tenniel-like illustrations here and there but it was mostly text. The little I remember is below the fold...

The story begins with a young princess (of a Royal Family newly come to the throne due to either revolution or usurpation) discovering a little girl her own age whilst out on a walk. The little beggar girl is an orphan and the princess adopts her like a pet as they are similar in age. Beggar girl may have been called Cecilia.

Of course, the beggar child is the last surviving member of the proper Royal Family, and this is apparent as she grows up as she is SO much more talented, pretty, intelligent etc etc than the current Princess. One of the illustrations (they are all line drawings in the style of John Tenniel) shows the Princess's attempt at a portrait (terrible), and then show's the "after" when Cecilia has completed the picture (awesomely).

Of the rest of the plot, I don't remember much except for a scene where Cecilia is to be thrown to the lions. The lions possibly refuse to eat her due to her being amazingly royal or some such thing.

Does this ring any bells?
posted by ninazer0 to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Rose and the Ring - William Makepeace Thackeray
posted by metaphorical at 1:28 AM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That's it! Awesome!!
posted by ninazer0 at 2:08 AM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

There are two sets of young people, one wronged and one with unjustified advantages. It's a satisfyingly symmetrical story. I've always liked the names, Rosalba (Betsinda) and Giglio, and Angelica and Bulbo. And the drawings are sometimes caricatures and sometimes really sweet. And there are rhyming couplets! It's a nice book altogether.
posted by glasseyes at 4:34 AM on February 28, 2015

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