CURDIE'S MISSION. 63
door stood the housekeeper, and she seemed to broaden herself out until she almost filled the doorway.
"So !" she said; "it's you, is it, young man? You are the person that comes in and goes out when he pleases, and keeps running up and down my stairs, without ever saying by your leave, or even wiping his shoes, and always leaves the door open ! Don't you know that this is my house ? "
"No, I do not," returned Curdie, respectfully. "You forget, ma'am, that it is the king's house."
" That is all the same. The king left it to me to take care oi, and that you shall know !"
" Is the king dead, ma'am, that he has left it to you ? " asked Curdie, half in doubt from the self-assertion of the woman.
"Insolent fellow!" exclaimed the housekeeper. "Don't you see by my dress that I am in the king's service ? "
"And am I not one of his miners?"
" Ah ! that goes for nothing. I am one of his household. You are an out-of-doors labourer. You are a ncbody. You carry a pickaxe. I carry the keys at my girdle. See!"
" But you must not call one a nobody to whom the king has spoken," said Curdie.
" Go along with you!" cried the housekeeper, and would have shut the door in his face, had she not been