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The Princess and Curdie George MacDonald

The King's Chamber

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'Fly, then,' said the doctor, looking satisfied.

Curdie stopped outside the curtain and blew an audible breath - no more; up came Lina noiseless as a shadow. He showed her the flagon.

'The cellar, Lina: go,' he said.

She galloped away on her soft feet, and Curdie had indeed to fly to keep up with her. Not once did she make even a dubious turn. From the king's gorgeous chamber to the cold cellar they shot. Curdie dashed the wine down the back stair, rinsed the flagon out as he had seen the butler do, filled it from the cask of which he had seen the butler drink, and hastened with it up again to the king's room.

The little doctor took it, poured out a full glass, smelt, but did not taste it, and set it down. Then he leaned over the bed, shouted in the king's ear, blew upon his eyes, and pinched his arm: Curdie thought he saw him run something bright into it. At last the king half woke. The doctor seized the glass, raised his head, poured the wine down his throat, and let his head fall back on the pillow again. Tenderly wiping his beard, and bidding the princess good night in paternal tones, he then took his leave. Curdie would gladly have driven his pick into his head, but that was not in his commission, and he let him go. The little round man looked very carefully to his feet as he crossed the threshold.

'That attentive fellow of a page has removed the mat,' he said to himself, as he walked along the corridor. 'I must remember him.'

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The Princess and Curdie
George MacDonald

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