MORE VENGEANCE. 213
following them upstairs and downstairs, yielding no instant of repose except upon the way out, the avengers perse* cuted the miscreants, until the last of them was shivering outside the palace gates, with hardly sense enough left to know where to turn.
When they set out to look for shelter, they found every inn full of the servants expelled before them, and not one would yield his place to a superior suddenly levelled with himself. Most houses refused to admit them on the ground of the wickedness that must have drawn on them such a punishment; and not a few would have been left in the streets all night, had not Derba, roused by the vain entreaties at the doors on each side of her cottage, opened hers, and given up everything to them. The lord chancellor was only too glad to share a mattress with a stable-boy, and steal his bare feet under his jacket.
In the morning Curdie appeared, and the outcasts were in terror, thinking he had come after them again. But he took no notice of them : his object was to request Derba to go to the palace : the king required her services. She needed take no trouble about her cottage, he said; the palace was hencefonvard her home: she was the king's chastelaine over men and maidens of his household. And this very morning she must cook his majesty a nice breakfast.