THE SHADOWS. 183
"Can that be true which mocks at forms?3' said the'king.
"Truth rides abroad in shapeless storms," answered the Shadow.
" Ha ! ha ! " thought Ralph Rinkelmann, " it rhymes. The Shadow caps my questions with his answers. Very strange I" And he grew thoughtful again.
The Shadow was the first to resume.
"Please your majesty, may we present our petition?"
" By all means," replied the king. " I am not well enough to receive it in proper state."
"Nevermind, your majesty. We do not care for much ceremony ; and indeed none of us are quite well at present. The subject of our petition weighs upon us."
" Go on," said the king.
" Sire," began the Shadow, " our very existence