116 IDEAL HOME LIFE
Third Maid (muttering).—It wasn't straight.
The Princess (sharply).—What did you say? Of course it
was straight; Princesses always throw straight. (To the
others) Don't they? The Others.—Oh yes! Yes! (To the Third Maid) How
can you say such things? The Princess.—Now don't stand chattering there; begin again,
and remember, after this, the first who misses shan't play
any more. (They throw again; the Princess misses.) The Princess (angrily).—There! That was your fault; you
can't throw straight any of you, and after all, it's a very silly
game. (Enter Emperor, RIGHT entrance. He wears a long embroidered dressing-gown, bedroom slippers down at the heel,
and a golden crown, which being a little too big, slips down over
one ear.) Emperor (fussily.)—What is all this about? Dear, dear!
Playing at ball again, are you ? And what a mess you have
made! Look at those chairs . . . and the rug . . . and
your hair. . . . My dear daughter, you are not fit to be seen;
go and tidy yourself directly; there is a handsome young
Prince coming to see you.
(The Maids of Honor bustle about putting things straight.) The Princess (carelessly tossing the ball and catching it again).
—A Prince? Who is he, and what is he coming to see me
for? The Emperor.—He lives in the next kingdom, and he is coming
to ask you to marry him. The Princess.—Why! That Prince? I shall certainly not
marry him, and if he comes I shan't see him. Emperor (crossly).—You are a naughty, tiresome girl, and it's
time you were married. I am tired of your tantrums and
hoity-toity ways. This is the sixth prince you have sent
away. The Princess.—Well, they were none cf them good enough;
one had too big a nose, and another couldn't speak without
gobbling like a turkey, and the rest were as stupid as owls,
but this one is the worst of all.