150 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
While he talked Curdie went to the door: Lina was not there.
The doctor approached the bed.
" And how has my beloved king slept to-night ? " he asked.
" No better," answered Irene, with a mournful shake of her head.
"Ah, that is very well!" returned the doctor, his fall seeming to have muddled either his words or his meaning. " We must give him his wine, and then he will be better still."
Curdie darted at the flagon, and lifted it high, as
if he had expected to find it full, but had found it empty.
"That stupid butler! I heard them say he was
drunk !" he cried in a loud whisper, and was gliding
trom the room.
"Come here with that flagon, you ! page!" cried the doctor.
Curdie came a few steps towards him with the flagon dangling from his hand, heedless of the gushes that fell noiseless on the thick carpet
"Are you aware, young man," said the doctor, "that it is not ever)' wine can do his majesty the benefit I intend he should derive from my prescription ?"