204 PRINCE RICARDO.
gleaming hall, ending in black nothingness. So she resumed her usual form, and walking to the edge of the darkness, found that it was not empty air, but something black, soft, and strong —something living. It had no form or shape, or none that she could make out ; but it pulsed with a heart. Jaqueline placed her foot on this curious thing, when a voice came, like thunder heard through a feather-bed :
"Not near time to get up yet !" and then there was a snore, and the great hall rocked like a ship at sea.
It was the Earthquaker !
The habits of this monstrous animal are very little known, as, of course, he never comes above ground, or at least very seldom, when he makes tracks like a dry river-bed across country. We are certain that there arc Earthquakers, otherwise how can we account for earthquakes ? But how to tackle an Earthquaker, how to get at him, and what to do with him when you have got at him, are questions which might puzzle even King Prigio.
It was not easy to have the better of an enchantress like Jaqueline and a prince like Ricardo. In no ordinary circumstances could they have been baffled and defeated ; but now it must be admitted that they were in a very trying and alarming situation, especially the princess. The worst of it was, that as Jaqueline sat and thought and thought, she began to