THE PROPHECY. 189
said the oldest and worst of the housemaids. u—One of ourselves, too !—Come, you hypocrite ! this is all an invention of yours and your young man's, to take your revenge of us because we found you out in a lie last night Tell true now :—wasn't it the same that stole the loaf and the pie that sent you with the impudent message ? "
As she said this, she stepped up to the housemaid and gave her, instead of time to answer, a box on the ear that almost threw her down; and whoever coulcf get at her began to push and hustle and pinch and punch her.
* You invite your fate," she said quietly.
They fell furiously upon her, drove her from the hall with kicks and blows, hustled her along the passage, and threw her down the stair to the wine-cellar, then locked the door at the top of it, and went back to their breakfast
In the meantime the king and the princess had had their bread and wine, and the princess, with Curdie's help, had made the room as tidy as she could—they were terribly neglected by the servants. And now Curdie set himself to interest and amuse the king, and prevent him from thinking too much, in order that he might the sooner think the better. Presently, at his majesty's request, he began from the beginning, and told everything he could recall of his life, about his father and mother