i8o THE SHADOWS.
eyes. The king had seen all kinds of gnomes, goblins, and kobolds at his coronation ; but they were quite rectilinear figures compared with the insane lawlessness of form in which the Shadows rejoiced ; and the wildest gambols of the former were orderly dances of ceremony beside the apparently aimless and wilful contortions of figure, and metamorphoses of shape, in which the latter indulged. They retained, however, all the time, to the surprise of the king, an identity, each of his own type, inexplicably perceptible through every change. Indeed, this preservation of the primary ldea of each form was more wonderful than the bewildering and ridiculous alterations to which the form itself was every moment subjected.
" What are you ? " said the king, leaning on his elbow, and looking around him.
"The Shadows, your majesty," answered several voices at once.