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|The Princess and the Goblin||George MacDonald|
|Page 3 of 4||
'Break away,' shouted Curdie, and began singing again:
'Once there was a goblin, Living in a hole -'
'I really cannot bear it,' said the queen. 'If I could only get at his horrid toes with my slippers again!' 'I think we had better go to bed,' said the king.
'It's not time to go to bed,' said the queen.
'I would if I was you,' said Curdie.
'Impertinent wretch!' said the queen, with the utmost scorn in her voice.
'An impossible if,' said His Majesty with dignity.
'Quite,' returned Curdie, and began singing again:
'Go to bed,
'If you do,
'What a lie!' roared the queen in a rage.
'By the way, that reminds me,' said the king, 'that for as long as we have been married, I have never seen your feet, queen. I think you might take off your shoes when you go to bed! They positively hurt me sometimes.'
'I will do as I like,' retorted the queen sulkily.
'You ought to do as your own hubby wishes you,' said the king.
'I will not,' said the queen.
'Then I insist upon it,' said the king.
Apparently His Majesty approached the queen for the purpose of following the advice given by Curdie, for the latter heard a scuffle, and then a great roar from the king.
'Will you be quiet, then?' said the queen wickedly.
'Yes, yes, queen. I only meant to coax you.'
'Hands off!' cried the queen triumphantly. 'I'm going to bed. You may come when you like. But as long as I am queen I will sleep in my shoes. It is my royal privilege. Harelip, go to bed.'
'I'm going,' said Harelip sleepily.
'So am I,' said the king.
'Come along, then,' said the queen; 'and mind you are good, or I'll -'
'Oh, no, no, no!' screamed the king in the most supplicating of tones.
Curdie heard only a muttered reply in the distance; and then the cave was quite still.
They had left the fire burning, and the light came through brighter than before. Curdie thought it was time to try again if anything could be done. But he found he could not get even a finger through the chink between the slab and the rock. He gave a great rush with his shoulder against the slab, but it yielded no more than if it had been part of the rock. All he could do was to sit down and think again.
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