It happened that the king’s son gave a ball, to which he invited all the nobility; and, as our two young ladies made a great figure in the world, they were included in the list of invitations. So they began to be very busy choosing what head-dress and which gown would be the most becoming. Here was fresh work for poor Cinderella; for it was she, forsooth, who was to starch and get up their ruffles, and iron all their fine linen; and nothing but dress was talked about for days together. “I,” said the eldest, “shall put on my red velvet dress, with my point-lace trimmings.” “And I,” said the younger sister, “shall wear my usual petticoat, but shall set it off with my gold brocaded train and my circlet of diamonds.”
They sent for a clever tire-woman to prepare the double rows of quilling for their caps, and they purchased a quantity of fashionably cut patches. They called in Cinderella to take her advice, as she had such good taste, and Cinderella not only advised them well, but offered to dress their hair, which they were pleased to accept. While she was thus busied, the sisters said to her, “And pray, Cinderella, would you like to go to the ball!” “Nay, you are mocking me,” replied the poor girl; “it is not for such as I to go to balls.” “True enough,” rejoined they; “folks would laugh to see a Cinderella at a court ball.”
Any other but Cinderella would have dressed their hair awry to punish them for their impertinence, but she was so good-natured that she dressed them most becomingly. The two sisters were so delighted, that they scarcely ate a morsel for a couple of days. They spent their whole time before a looking-glass, and they would be laced so tight, to make their waists as slender as possible, that more than a dozen stay-laces were broken in the attempt.