The Princess's King-Papa 107
shadowed from the afternoon sun by the overhanging of the rock itself. There was a little winding path up to the top of the rock, and on the top another seat; but they sat on the seat at its foot, because the sun was hot; and there they talked together of many things. At length the king said—
" You were out late one evening, Irene."
" Yes, papa. It was my fault; and Lootie was very sorry."
"I must talk to Lootie about it," said the king.
" Don't speak loud to her, please, papa," said Irene. " She's been so afraid of being late ever since! Indeed she has not been naughty. It was only a mistake for once."
"Once might be too often," murmured the king to himself, as he stroked his child's head.
I cannot tell you how he had come to know. I am sure Curdie had not told him. Someone about the palace must have seen them, after all. He sat for a good while thinking. There was no sound to be heard except that of a little stream which ran merrily out of an opening in the rock by where they sat, and sped away down