366 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS
food, so I shall give orders to my women to take you to one of my chambers, where you will be provided with supper, and left to repose.'
By this time the princess's attendants were all awake, and listening to the conversation. At a sign from their mistress they rose, dressed themselves hastily, and snatching up some of the tapers which lighted the room, conducted the prince to a large and lofty room, where two of the number prepared his bed, and the rest went down to the kitchen, from which they soon returned with all sorts of dishes. Then, showing him cupboards filled with dresses and linen, they quitted the room.
During their absence the Princess of Bengal, who had been greatly struck by the beauty of the prince, tried in vain to go to sleep again. It was of no use : she felt broad awake, and when her women entered the room, she inquired eagerly if the prince had all he wanted, and what they thought of him.
'Madame,' they replied, ' it is of course impossible for us to tell what impression this young man has made on you. For ourselves, we think you would be fortunate if the king your father should allow you to marry anyone so amiable. Certainly there is no one in the Court of Bengal who can be compared with him.'
These flattering observations were by no means displeasing to the princess, but as she did not wish to betray her own feelings she merely said, ' You are all a set of chatterboxes; go back to bed, and let me sleep.'
When she dressed the following morning, her maids noticed that, contrary to her usual habit, the princess was very particular about her toilette, and insisted on her hair being dressed two or three times over. ; For,' she said to herself, ' if my appearance was not displeasing to the prince when he saw me in the condition I was, how much more will he be struck with me when he beholds me with all my charms.'
Then she placed in her hair the largest and most