The Old Lady and Curdie 225
was at least as bad as for him not to believe her.
" I see a big, bare, garret-roomólike the one in mother's cottage, only big enough to take the cottage itself in, and leave a good margin all round," answered Curdie.
" And what more do you see?"
" I see a tub, and a heap of musty straw, and a withered apple, and a ray of sunlight coming through a hole in the middle of the roof, and shining on your head, and making all the place look a curious dusky brown. I think you had better drop it, princess, and go down to the nursery, like a good girl."
" But don't you hear my grandmother talking to me?" asked Irene, almost crying.
" No. I hear the cooing of a lot of pigeons. If you won't come down, I will go without you. I think that will be better anyhow, for I'm sure nobody who met us would believe a word we said to them. They would think we made it all up. I don't expect anybody but my own father and mother to believe me. They know I wouldn't tell a story."
" And yet you won't believe me, Curdie?" ex-
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