Graciosa and Percinet
`And you call her a dove?' cried the Princess. `_I_ should have called her a screech owl.'
`Hold your tongue,' said the King, very crossly. `I intend you to behave prettily to her. So now go and make yourself fit to be seen, as I am going to take you to visit her.'
So the Princess went very sorrowfully to her own room, and her nurse, seeing her tears, asked what was vexing her.
`Alas! who would not be vexed?' answered she, `for the King intends to marry again, and has chosen for his new bride my enemy, the hideous Duchess Grumbly.'
`Oh, well!' answered the nurse, `you must remember that you are a Princess, and are expected to set a good example in making the best of whatever happens. You must promise me not to let the Duchess see how much you dislike her.'
At first the Princess would not promise, but the nurse showed her so many good reasons for it that in the end she agreed to be amiable to her step-mother.
Then the nurse dressed her in a robe of pale green and gold 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 her 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 mossy 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.