208 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
And now there was such a cleaning and clearing out
of neglected places, such a burying and burning of refuse,
such a rinsing of jugs, such a swilling of sinks, and such
* a flushing of drains, as would have delighted the eyes of
all true housekeepers and lovers of cleanliness generally.
Curdie meantime was with the king, telling him all he had done. They had heard a little noise, but not much, for he had told the avengers to repress outcry as much as possible; and they had seen to it that the more any one cried out the more he had to cry out upon, while the patient ones they scarcely hurt at all.
Having promised his majesty and her royal highness a good breakfast, Curdie now went to finish the business. The courtiers must be dealt with. A few who were the worst, and the leaders of the rest, must be made examples of; the others should be driven from their beds to the street.
He found the chiefs of the conspiracy holding a final consultation in the smaller room off the hall. These were the lord chamberlain, the attorney-general, the master of the horse, and the king's private secretary : the lord chancellor and the rest, as foolish as faithless, were but the tools of these.
The housemaid had shown him a little closet, opening from a passage behind, where he could overhear all that passed in that room; and now Curdie heard enough to