200 THE SATIN SURGEON
furious than her father, and after consulting together they decided to send the younger daughter to some distant place out of reach of the young emperor; but where, this should be they did not quite know. However, at length, after they had both racked their brains to find a suitable prison, they fixed on a lonely castle called the Desert Tower, where they thought she would be quite safe.
Meantime, it was thought best to let the court gaieties go on as usual, and orders were given for all sorts of splendid entertainments ; and on the day that was fixed for carrying off the princess, the whole court was invited to a great hunt in the forest.
The emperor and the young princess were counting the hours till this morning, which promised to be so delightful, should dawn. The king and his guest arrived together at the meeting place, but what was the surprise and distress of the young man at not seeing the object of his love amongst the ladies present. He waited anxiously, looking up and down, not hearing anything that the king said to him ; and when the hunt began and she still was absent, he declined to follow, and spent the whole day seeking her, but in vain.
On his return, one of his attendants told him that some hours before he had met the princess's carriage, escorted by a troop of soldiers who were riding on each side, so that no one could get speech of her. He had followed them at a distance, and saw them stop at the Desert Tower, and on its return he noticed that the carriage was empty. The emperor was deeply grieved by this news. He left the court at once, and ordered his ambassadors to declare war the very next day, unless the king promised to set free the princess. And more than this, no sooner had he reached his own country than he raised a large army, with which he seized the frontier towns, before his enemy had had time to collect any troops. But, ere he quitted the court, he took care to write a letter to his beloved princess,