THE SATIN SURGEON 199
found, when he reached the court, that they had already made proposals for the elder princess.
Now the emperor might just as well have gone openly, for his presence soon became known ; and when the king heard of it he prepared to receive him royally, though of course he had to pretend that he had no idea who he was. So it was settled that the ambassadors should present their master under the name of one of the princes, and in this manner he was received by the king.
At night there was a grand ball at which the young emperor was able to see the twro princesses and to make their acquaintance. The ugly face and figure and spiteful remarks of the elder displeased him so greatly that he felt he could not marry her even if she owned ten kingdoms, whilst the sweet face and gentle manners of the younger sister charmed him so much that he would' gladly have shared his throne with her had she been only a simple shepherdess.
He found it very difficult to conceal his thoughts and to pay the elder princess the amount of attention due to her, though he did his best to be polite ; while all he saw or heard during the next few days only increased his love for her younger sister, and at last he confessed that his dearest wish was to make her his wife, if she and her father would grant his desire.
He had commanded his ambassadors to put off their farewell audience for a little time, hoping that the king might perceive the state of his feelings ; but when it could be deferred no longer, he bade them propose in his name for the younger princess.
On hearing this news, so different from what he had been led to expect, the king, who—as we have said before —was devoted to his elder daughter and entirely under her influence, could hardly contain his displeasure. Directly the audience was over he sent for the princess and told her of the insolent proposal the emperor had made for her sister. The princess was even more