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she had brought up to be as proud and idle as herself. In fact, both of them had every unkind and unpleasant trait of their mother. They did not love to study and they would not learn to work; in short, they were much disliked by everybody who knew them.
Of course, when the gentleman married her, he knew nothing about these unpleasant things, for she tried to appear very gentle and well behaved toward him; but scarcely was the marriage ceremony over before the wife began to show her real temper. Especially did she dislike her husband's little girl, whose sweet and obliging manners made her own daughters appear a thousand times more hateful and disagreeable, and whose beauty put them to shame.
She therefore ordered the child to live in the kitchen, and if she happened to come into the parlor for anything the woman scolded her roundly till she was out of sight. The little girl was made to work with the servants, wash the dishes and polish the tables and chairs, and it was her place always to scrub the woman's chamber and that of her daughters, and to polish the furniture, which was all of mahogany finely inlaid with pearls. The beds were of the newest fashion, and in both rooms were looking-glasses so long and so broad that the women could see themselves from head to foot.
The little girl slept in a sorry garret upon the floor, in a wretched straw bed which had neither curtains about it nor clothes enough to keep her comfortable. The poor child bore everything without complaint, not daring to say one word to her father, for she saw that he was blind to the faults of his wife, who had him completely in her power. When the little drudge had finished her work she used to sit in the chimney corner among the ashes and burned-out fire, where she got so dusty that the older daughter called her the cinder girl; but the younger, who was, perhaps, not so uncivil and unkind, called her Cinderella, and by this name she came to be known to her family and the neighbors. Nevertheless, Cinderella, dirty and ragged as she was, always appeared much prettier than her sisters, though they were dressed in all their splendor.
After they had lived this way for some time, the king's son gave a great ball, to which he invited all the nobles and wealthy people in the country, and among his guests were the two daughters of whom we have been speaking. The king's son had no idea how disagreeable they were, but supposed, as they lived in such splendor, that they must be very lovable and amiable creatures. He did not invite Cinderella, for he had never seen her or heard of her.
Nothing could exceed the joy of the two sisters, who began immediately to prepare for the happy day. Every moment of the time was spent in dreaming about such gowns and shoes and headdresses as would be most becoming to them and make them appear most attractive in the eyes of the king's son. You can imagine how great a trouble and vexation all this was to poor Cinderella, for she it was who ironed and plaited her sisters' linen and worked for long hours over their dresses. She heard nothing but the talk of how the two should be dressed.
"I," said the older, "shall wear my scarlet velvet with the French trimming."
"I," said the younger, "shall wear the same petticoat I had made for the last ball, but to make amends for that I shall put on my gold muslin train and wear my diamonds in my hair. With these I must certainly look well."
CINDERELLA HELPED HER SISTERS
They sent to the distant town for the best hairdresser they could hire, and bought many jewels and ornaments of fashionable shapes.
On the morning of the ball they called upon Cinderella to give them her advice about how they should wear their hair and fix their dresses. In spite of her ill treatment, Cinderella gave them the best advice she could, and otherwise assisted them in getting ready for the ball, just as though she had been going, too.
While her busy fingers were working for them, one of them said, "Would you not like to go to the ball, Cinderella?"
"Ah," replied the little girl, "you are only laughing at me. It is not for such a person as I am to think about going to balls."
"You are right," replied the two. "Folks would laugh, indeed, to see Cinderella dancing in the ballroom."
Almost any other girl would have tried to spoil the dresses of the haughty creatures, or to make them look as ugly as she could. Cinderella, however, never even thought of such a thing, but did everything she could to make them appear well. For several days the sisters had eaten very little, so great was their joy at the approach of the happy day. They were always before the looking-glass, and many a lace they broke in trying to give themselves fine, slender shapes.
At length the much wished-for hour came; the proud young women stepped into the beautiful carriage, and, followed by servants in rich livery, drove toward the palace. Cinderella followed them with her eyes as far as she could, but when they were out of sight she sat down in her dusty corner and began to cry bitterly.
Her godmother, coming in just then, saw her in tears and asked her what was the matter. Poor Cinderella was able to utter scarcely a word, but managed to sob out, "I wish, w-i-s-h—"