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|The Princess and the Goblin||George MacDonald|
What the Nurse Thought of It
|Page 1 of 3||
'Why, where can you have been, princess?' asked the nurse, taking her in her arms. 'It's very unkind of you to hide away so long. I began to be afraid -' Here she checked herself.
'What were you afraid of, nursie?' asked the princess.
'Never mind,' she answered. 'Perhaps I will tell you another day. Now tell me where you have been.'
'I've been up a long way to see my very great, huge, old grandmother,' said the princess.
'What do you mean by that?' asked the nurse, who thought she was making fun.
'I mean that I've been a long way up and up to see My GREAT grandmother. Ah, nursie, you don't know what a beautiful mother of grandmothers I've got upstairs. She is such an old lady, with such lovely white hair - as white as my silver cup. Now, when I think of it, I think her hair must be silver.'
'What nonsense you are talking, princess!' said the nurse.
'I'm not talking nonsense,' returned Irene, rather offended. 'I will tell you all about her. She's much taller than you, and much prettier.'
'Oh, I dare say!' remarked the nurse.
'And she lives upon pigeons' eggs.'
'Most likely,' said the nurse.
'And she sits in an empty room, spin-spinning all day long.'
'Not a doubt of it,' said the nurse.
'And she keeps her crown in her bedroom.'
'Of course - quite the proper place to keep her crown in. She wears it in bed, I'll be bound.' 'She didn't say that. And I don't think she does. That wouldn't be comfortable - would it? I don't think my papa wears his crown for a night-cap. Does he, nursie?'
'I never asked him. I dare say he does.'
'And she's been there ever since I came here - ever so many years.'
'Anybody could have told you that,' said the nurse, who did not believe a word Irene was saying.
'Why didn't you tell me, then?'
'There was no necessity. You could make it all up for yourself.'
'You don't believe me, then!' exclaimed the princess, astonished and angry, as she well might be.
'Did you expect me to believe you, princess?' asked the nurse coldly. 'I know princesses are in the habit of telling make-believes, but you are the first I ever heard of who expected to have them believed,' she added, seeing that the child was strangely in earnest.
The princess burst into tears.
'Well, I must say,' remarked the nurse, now thoroughly vexed with her for crying, 'it is not at all becoming in a princess to tell stories and expect to be believed just because she is a princess.'
'But it's quite true, I tell you.'
'You've dreamt it, then, child.'
'No, I didn't dream it. I went upstairs, and I lost myself, and if I hadn't found the beautiful lady, I should never have found myself.'
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