GRACIOSA AND PERCINET
brocade, and combed out her long fair hair till it floated round her like a golden mantle, and put on her head a crown of roses and jasmine with emerald leaves.
"When she was ready nobody could have been prettier, but she still could not help looking sad.
Meanwhile the Duchess Grumbly was also occupied in attiring herself. She had one of he? shoe heels made an inch or so higher than the other, that she might not limp so much, and put in a cunningly made glass eye in the place of the one she had lost. She dyed her red hair black, and painted her face. Then she put on a gorgeous robe of lilac satin lined with blue, and a yellow petticoat trimmed with violet ribbons, and because she had heard that queens always rode into their new dominions, she ordered a horse to be made ready for her to ride.
While Graciosa was waiting until the King should be ready to set out, she went down all alone through the garden into a little wood, where she sat down upon a ruossy bank and began to think. And her thoughts were so doleful that very Soon she began to cry, and she cried, and cried, and forgot all about going back to the palace, until she suddenly saw a handsome page standing before her. He was dressed in green, and the cap which he held in his hand was adorned with white plumes. When Graciosa looked at him he went down on one knee, and said to her:
' Princess, the King awaits you.'
The Princess was surprised, and, if the truth must be told, very much delighted at the appearance of this charming page, whom she could not remember to have seen before. Thinking he might belong to the household of the Duchess, she said :
' How long have you been one of the King's pages ?'
' I am not in the service of the King, madam,' answered he, ' but in yours.'
' In mine ? ' said the Princess with great surprise. ' Then how is it that I have never seen you before '? '
' Ah, Princess !' said he, ' I have never before dared to present myself to you, but now the King's marriage threatens you with so many dangers that I have resolved to tell you at once how much I love you already, and I trust that in time I may win your regard. I am Prince Percinet, of whose riches you may have heard, and whose fairy gift will, I hope, be of use to you in all your difficulties, if you will permit me to accompany you under this disguise.'
' Ah, Percinet! ' cried the Princess, ' is it really you ? 1 have