206 The Princess and the Goblin
weak. But he had uttered enough to let Irene know who he was.
" It's Curdie!" she cried joyfully.
"Hush! hush!" came Curdie's voice again from somewhere. "Speak softly."
"Why, you were singing loud!" said Irene.
"Yes. But they know I am here, and they don't know you are. Who are you?"
"I'm Irene," answered the princess. " I know who you are quite well. You're Curdie."
"Why, however did you come here, Irene?"
"My great-great-grandmother sent me; and I think I've found out why. You can't get out, I suppose?"
" No, I can't. What are you doing?"
" Clearing away a huge heap of stones."
"There's a princess!" exclaimed Curdie, in a tone of delight, but still speaking in little more than a whisper. "I can't think how you got here though."
" My grandmother sent me after her thread."
"I don't know what you mean," said Curdie; "but so you're there, it doesn't much matter."
" Oh, yes it does!" returned Irene. " I should never have been here but for her."