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|The Princess and the Goblin||George MacDonald|
The Little Miner
|Page 2 of 8||
'What's all the haste, nursie?' asked Irene, running alongside of her.
'We must not be out a moment longer.'
'But we can't help being out a good many moments longer.'
It was too true. The nurse almost cried. They were much too far from home. It was against express orders to be out with the princess one moment after the sun was down; and they were nearly a mile up the mountain! If His Majesty, Irene's papa, were to hear of it, Lootie would certainly be dismissed; and to leave the princess would break her heart. It was no wonder she ran. But Irene was not in the least frightened, not knowing anything to be frightened at. She kept on chattering as well as she could, but it was not easy.
'Lootie! Lootie! why do you run so fast? It shakes my teeth when I talk.'
'Then don't talk,' said Lootie.
'But the princess went on talking. She was always saying: 'Look, look, Lootie!' but Lootie paid no more heed to anything she said, only ran on.
'Look, look, Lootie! Don't you see that funny man peeping over the rock?'
Lootie only ran the faster. They had to pass the rock, and when they came nearer, the princess saw it was only a lump of the rock itself that she had taken for a man.
'Look, look, Lootie! There's such a curious creature at the foot of that old tree. Look at it, Lootie! It's making faces at us, I do think.'
Lootie gave a stifled cry, and ran faster still - so fast that Irene's little legs could not keep up with her, and she fell with a crash. It was a hard downhill road, and she had been running very fast - so it was no wonder she began to cry. This put the nurse nearly beside herself; but all she could do was to run on, the moment she got the princess on her feet again.
'Who's that laughing at me?' said the princess, trying to keep in her sobs, and running too fast for her grazed knees.
'Nobody, child,' said the nurse, almost angrily.
But that instant there came a burst of coarse tittering from somewhere near, and a hoarse indistinct voice that seemed to say: 'Lies! lies! lies!'
'Oh!' cried the nurse with a sigh that was almost a scream, and ran on faster than ever.
'Nursie! Lootie! I can't run any more. Do let us walk a bit.'
'What am I to do?' said the nurse. 'Here, I will carry you.'
She caught her up; but found her much too heavy to run with, and had to set her down again. Then she looked wildly about her, gave a great cry, and said:
'We've taken the wrong turning somewhere, and I don't know where we are. We are lost, lost!'
The terror she was in had quite bewildered her. It was true enough they had lost the way. They had been running down into a little valley in which there was no house to be seen.
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