140 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
now till the doctor wakes him to give him his medicine. It is not really medicine, though, but wine. Nothing but that, the doctor says, could have kept him so long alive. He always comes in the middle of the night to give it him with his own hands. But it makes me cry to see him waked up when so nicely asleep.n
" What sort of man is your doctor ? " asked Curdie.
" Oh, such a dear, good, kind gentleman !" replied the princess. " He speaks so softly, and is so sorry for his dear king ! He will be here presently, and you shall see for yourself. You will like him very much."
" Has your king-father been long ill ?n asked Curdie.
" A whole year now," she replied. " Did you not know ? That's how your mother never got the red petticoat my father promised her. The lord chancellor told me that not only Gwyntystorm but the whole land was mourning over the illness of the good man."
Now Curdie himself had not heard a word of his majesty's illness, and had no ground for believing that a single soul in any place he had visited on his journey had heard of it Moreover, although mention had been made of his majesty again and again in his hearing since he came to Gwyntystorm, never once had he heard an allusion to the state of his health. And now it dawned upon him also that he had never heard the least expres-