98 PRINCESS ROSETTE
saults, and dance on a tight-rope, and do many other charming tricks. Their harness was all of crimson velvet with gold buckles, and behind the carriage walked sixty beautiful ladies chosen by the King to wait upon Rosette and amuse her.
The nurse had taken all the pains imaginable to deck out her daughter. She put on her Eosette's prettiest frock, and covered her with diamonds from head to foot. But she was so ugly that nothing could make her look nice, and what was worse, she was sulky and ill-tempered, and did nothing but grumble all the time.
When she stepped from the boat and the escort sent by the King of the Peacocks caught sight of her, they were so surprised that they could not say a single word.
' Now then, look alive,' cried the false Princess. ' If you don't bring me something to eat I will have all your heads cut off 1'
Then they whispered one to another :
' Here's a pretty state of things ! she is as wicked as she is ugly. What a bride for our poor King ! She certainly was not worth bringing from the other end of the world !'
But she went on ordering them all about, and for no fault at all would give slaps and pinches to everyone she could reach.
As the procession was so long it advanced but slowly, and the nurse's daughter sat up in her carriage trying to look like a Queen. But the peacocks, who were sitting upon every tree waiting to salute her, and who had made up their minds to cry, ' Long live our beautiful Queen! ' when they caught sight of the false bride could not help crying instead:
' Oh ! how ugly Bhe is I'
Which offended her so much that she said to the guards :
' Make haste and kill all these insolent peacocks who have dared to insult me.'
But the peacocks only flew away, laughing at her.
The rogue of a boatman, who noticed all this, said softly to the nurse:
' This is a bad business for us, gossip; your daughter ought to have been prettier.'
But she answered :
' Be quiet, stupid, or you will spoil everything.'
Now they told the King that the Princess was approaching.
' Well,' said he,' did her brothers tell me truly ? Is she prettier than her portrait ? '
' Sire,' they answered,' if she were as pretty that would do very well.'