THE KINGS CHAMBER. 147
sion of love to him. But just for the time he thought it better to say nothing on either point.
" Does the king wander like this every night ?" he asked.
" Every night," answered Irene, shaking her head mournfully. u That is why I never go to bed at night. He is better during the day—a little, and then I sleep— in the dressing-room there, to be with him in a moment if he should call me. It is so sad he should have only me and not my mamma! A princess is nothing to a queen !"
" I wish he would like me," said Curdie, " for then I might watch by him at night, and let you go to bed, princess."
" Don't you know then ? " returned Irene, in wonder " How was it you came ?—Ah ! you said my grandmother sent you. But I thought you knew that he wanted you,"
And again she opened wide her blue stars.
" Not I," said Curdie, also bewildered, but very glad.
" He used to be constantly saying—he was not so ill then as he is now—that he wished he had you about him."
" And I never to know it!" said Curdie, with displeasure.
" The master of the horse told papa's own secretary that he had written to the miner-general to find you and send you up; but the miner-general wrote back to the