The coachman touched his prancing horses lightly with his whip, and swiftly the carriage started off, and in a short time reached the palace.
The arrival of so splendid an equipage as Cinderella’s could not fail to attract general notice at the palace gates, and as it drove up to the marble portico the servants, in great numbers, came out to see it.
The king’s son, to whom it was announced that an unknown princess had arrived, hastened to receive her. He helped her out of the carriage, and led her to the ball-room. Immediately as she entered the dancing ceased, and the violins stopped playing; so much was every one struck with the arrival of an unknown princess; and the only sound heard was that of admiration.
The prince was immediately taken by Cinderella’s charm, and the more he talked with her and recognized her kindness and good nature, the more enraptured he became. He invited her to dance and they danced with such grace that everybody paused to watch. When supper was served the prince could partake of nothing, so much was he occupied in contemplating the fair nature of the stranger. Cinderella was likewise stricken, for the prince was very kind and charming in his own right.
Cinderella’s sisters looked on with envy as the prince lavished all his attention on the stranger. They did not recognize Cinderella, as they could not envision her as anything but a shabby servant.