THE AVENGERS. 197
rolling as swiftly as the fleetest of them could run. The back of the legserpent not being flat, he could not quite trust himself to roll straight and not drop into the gulf. Curdie took him in his arms, and the moment he looked down through the hole, the bridge made itself again, and he slid into the passage in safety, with Ballbody in his bosom.
He ran first to the cellar, to warn the girl not to be frightened at the avengers of wickedness. Then he called to Lina to bring in her friends.
One after another they came trooping in, till the cellar seemed full of them. The housemaid regarded them without fear.
" Sir," she said, " there is one of the pages I don't take to be a bad fellow."
" Then keep him near you," said Curdie. " And now can you show me a way to the king's chamber not through the servants' hall ? "
" There is a way through the chamber of the colonel of the guard," she answered, " but he is ill, and in bed."
" Take me that way," said Curdie.
By many ups and downs and windings and turnings she brought him to a dimly-lighted room, where lay an elderly man asleep. His arm was outside the coverlid, and Curdie gave his hand a hurried grasp as he went by. His heart beat for joy, for he had found a good, honest human hand.