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|The Princess and the Goblin||George MacDonald|
The Little Miner
|Page 7 of 8||
'Well, perhaps it is,' answered Curdie. 'I never thought of that; it's a way we have. We do it because they don't like it.'
'Who don't like it?'
'The cobs, as we call them.'
'Don't!' said the nurse.
'Why not?' said Curdie.
'I beg you won't. Please don't.'
'Oh! if you ask me that way, of course, I won't; though I don't a bit know why. Look! there are the lights of your great house down below. You'll be at home in five minutes now.'
Nothing more happened. They reached home in safety. Nobody had missed them, or even known they had gone out; and they arrived at the door belonging to their part of the house without anyone seeing them. The nurse was rushing in with a hurried and not over-gracious good night to Curdie; but the princess pulled her hand from hers, and was just throwing her arms round Curdie's neck, when she caught her again and dragged her away.
'Lootie! Lootie! I promised a kiss,' cried Irene.
'A princess mustn't give kisses. It's not at all proper,' said Lootie.
'But I promised,' said the princess.
'There's no occasion; he's only a miner-boy.'
'He's a good boy, and a brave boy, and he has been very kind to us. Lootie! Lootie! I promised.'
'Then you shouldn't have promised.'
'Lootie, I promised him a kiss.'
'Your Royal Highness,' said Lootie, suddenly grown very respectful, 'must come in directly.'
'Nurse, a princess must not break her word,' said Irene, drawing herself up and standing stock-still.
Lootie did not know which the king might count the worst - to let the princess be out after sunset, or to let her kiss a miner-boy. She did not know that, being a gentleman, as many kings have been, he would have counted neither of them the worse. However much he might have disliked his daughter to kiss the miner-boy, he would not have had her break her word for all the goblins in creation. But, as I say, the nurse was not lady enough to understand this, and so she was in a great difficulty, for, if she insisted, someone might hear the princess cry and run to see, and then all would come out. But here Curdie came again to the rescue.
'Never mind, Princess Irene,' he said. 'You mustn't kiss me tonight. But you shan't break your word. I will come another time. You may be sure I will.'
'Oh, thank you, Curdie!' said the princess, and stopped crying.
'Good night, Irene; good night, Lootie,' said Curdie, and turned and was out of sight in a moment.
'I should like to see him!' muttered the nurse, as she carried the princess to the nursery.
'You will see him,' said Irene. 'You may be sure Curdie will keep his word. He's sure to come again.'
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|The Princess and the Goblin
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