Riquet with the Tuftpage 4 / 7
She had no sooner promised Riquet with the Tuft that she would marry him on that day twelvemonth than she found herself quite otherwise than she was before: she had an incredible faculty of speaking whatever she had in her mind in a polite, easy, and natural manner.
She began that moment a very gallant conversation with Riquet with the Tuft, which she kept up at such a rate that Riquet with the Tuft believed he had given her more sense than he had reserved for himself.
When she returned to the palace, the whole court knew not what to think of such a sudden and extraordinary change; for they heard from her now as much sensible discourse and as many infinitely witty phrases as they had heard stupid and silly impertinences before. The whole court was overjoyed beyond imagination at it. It pleased all but her younger sister, because, having no longer the advantage of her in respect of wit, she appeared in comparison with her a very disagreeable, homely girl.
The King governed himself by her advice, and would even sometimes hold a council in her apartment. The news of this change in the Princess spread everywhere; the young princes of the neighboring kingdoms strove all they could to gain her favor, and almost all of them asked her in marriage; but she found not one of them had sense enough for her. She gave them all a hearing, but would not engage herself to any.
However, there came one so powerful, so rich, so witty, and so handsome that she could not help feeling a strong inclination toward him. Her father perceived it, and told her that she was her own mistress as to the choice of a husband, and that she might declare her intentions. She thanked her father, and desired him to give her time to consider it.
She went by chance to walk in the same wood where she met Riquet with the Tuft, the more conveniently to think what she ought to do. While she was walking in a profound meditation, she heard a confused noise under her feet, as it were of a great many people busily running backward and forward. Listening more attentively, she heard one say:—