CURDIE'S FATHER AND MOTHER. 35
not grow. There, to the accompaniment of the water, as it hurried down to the valley and the sea, talking busily of a thousand true things which it could not understand, Curdie told his tale, outside and in, to his father and mother. What a world had slipped in between the mouth of the mine and his mother's cottage ! Neither of them said a word until he had ended.
" Now what am I to make of it, mother ? It's so strange !" he said, and stopped.
" It's easy enough to see what Curdie has got to make of it—isn't it, Peter ? " said the good woman, turning her face towards all she could see of her husband's.
"It seems so to me," answered Peter, with a smile, which only the night saw, but his wife felt in the tone of his words. They were the happiest couple in that country, because they always understood each other, and that was because they always meant the same thing, and that was because they always loved what was fair and true and right better—not than anything else, but than everything else put together.
" Then will you tell Curdie ? " said she.
"You can talk best, Joan," said he. "You tell him, and I will listen—and learn how to say what I think n he added, laughing.
"7," said Curdie, "don't know what to think."
"It does not matter so much," said his mother. "If