170 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
persuasion; but they grew feebler and feebler, and he was at last compelled to retire without having gained his object And well might his annoyance be keen ! For that paper was the king's will, drawn up by the attorney-general ; nor until they had the king's signature to it was there much use in venturing farther. But his worst sense of discomfiture arose from finding the king with so much capacity left, for the doctor had pledged himself so to weaken his brain that he should be as a child in their hands, incapable of refusing anything requested of him : his lordship began to doubt the doctor's fidelity to the conspiracy.
The princess was in high delight. She had not for weeks heard so many words, not to say words of such strength and reason, from her father's lips : day by day he had been growing weaker and more lethargic. He was so much exhausted however after this effort, that he asked for another piece of bread and more wine, and fell fast asleep the moment he had taken them.
The lord chamberlain sent in a rage for Dr. Kelman. He came, and while professing himself unable to understand the symptoms described by his lordship, yet pledged himself again that on the morrow the king should do whatever was required of him.
The day went on. When his majesty was awake, the princess read to him—one story-book after another; and