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|The Princess and the Goblin||George MacDonald|
Irene Behaves Like a Princess
|Page 1 of 2||
When the princess awoke from the sweetest of sleeps, she found her nurse bending over her, the housekeeper looking over the nurse's shoulder, and the laundry- maid looking over the housekeeper's. The room was full of women-servants; and the gentlemen-at-arms, with a long column of servants behind them, were peeping, or trying to peep in at the door of the nursery.
'Are those horrid creatures gone?' asked the princess, remembering first what had terrified her in the morning.
'You naughty, naughty little princess!' cried Lootie.
Her face was very pale, with red streaks in it, and she looked as if she were going to shake her; but Irene said nothing - only waited to hear what should come next.
'How could you get under the clothes like that, and make us all fancy you were lost! And keep it up all day too! You are the most obstinate child! It's anything but fun to us, I can tell you!'
It was the only way the nurse could account for her disappearance.
'I didn't do that, Lootie,' said Irene, very quietly.
'Don't tell stories!' cried her nurse quite rudely.
'I shall tell you nothing at all,' said Irene.
'That's just as bad,' said the nurse.
'Just as bad to say nothing at all as to tell stories?' exclaimed the princess. 'I will ask my papa about that. He won't say so. And I don't think he will like you to say so.'
'Tell me directly what you mean by it!' screamed the nurse, half wild with anger at the princess and fright at the possible consequences to herself.
'When I tell you the truth, Lootie,' said the princess, who somehow did not feel at all angry, 'you say to me "Don't tell stories": it seems I must tell stories before you will believe me.'
'You are very rude, princess,' said the nurse.
'You are so rude, Lootie, that I will not speak to you again till you are sorry. Why should I, when I know you will not believe me?' returned the princess. For she did know perfectly well that if she were to tell Lootie what she had been about, the more she went on to tell her, the less would she believe her.
'You are the most provoking child!' cried her nurse. 'You deserve to be well punished for your wicked behaviour.'
'Please, Mrs Housekeeper,' said the princess, 'will you take me to your room, and keep me till my king-papa comes? I will ask him to come as soon as he can.'
Every one stared at these words. Up to this moment they had all regarded her as little more than a baby.
But the housekeeper was afraid of the nurse, and sought to patch matters up, saying:
'I am sure, princess, nursie did not mean to be rude to you.'
'I do not think my papa would wish me to have a nurse who spoke to me as Lootie does. If she thinks I tell lies, she had better either say so to my papa, or go away. Sir Walter, will you take charge of me?'
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|The Princess and the Goblin
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