78 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
As often as he gets at all anxious about you, he must take it and lay it in the fire, and leave it there when he goes to bed. In the morning he must find it in the ashes, and if it be as green as ever, then all goes well with you ; if it have lost colour, things go ill with you; but if it be very pale indeed, then you are in great danger, and he must come to me."
"Yes, ma'am," said Curdie. "Please, am I to go now ? "
" Yes," answered the princess, and held out her hand to him.
Curdie took it, trembling with joy. It was a very beautiful hand—not small, very smooth, but not very soft—and just the same to his fire-taught touch that it was to his eyes. He would have stood there all night holding it if she had not gently withdrawn it
"I will provide you a servant," she said, "for your journey, and to wait upon you afterwards."
" But where am I to go, ma'am, and what am I to do ? You have given me no message to carry, neither have you said what I am wanted for. I go without a notion whether I am to walk this way or that, or what I am to do when I get I don't know where."
" Curdie !" said the princess, and there was a tone of reminder in his own name as she spoke it, "did I not tell you to tell your father and mother that you were to