230 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
whereas the evil spirits were in the city, unsuspected. One consequence of their presence was that, when the rumour came that a great army was on the march against Gwyntystorm, instead of rushing to their defences, to make new gates, free portcullises and drawbridges, and bar the river, each and all flew first to their treasures, burying them in their cellars and gardens, and hiding them behind stones in their chimneys; and, next to rebellion, signing an invitation to his majesty of Borsagrass to enter at their open gates, destroy their king, and annex their country to his own.
The straits of isolation were soon found in the palace : its invalids were requiring stronger food, and what was to be done ? for if the butchers sent meat to the palace, was it not likely enough to be poisoned ? Curdie said to Derba he would think of some plan before morning.
But that same night, as soon as it was dark, Lina came to her master, and let him understand she wanted to go out He unlocked a little private postern for her, left it so that she could push it open when she returned, and told the crocodile to stretch himself across it inside. Before midnight she came back with a young deer.
Early the next morning the legserpent crept out of the wine-cellar, through the broken door behind, shot into the river, and soon appeared in the kitchen with a splendid sturgeon. Every night Lina went out hunting,