The Subterranean Waters 299
The king listened, and a great stillness fell upon the company. Each man, seeing that the king listened, listened also, and the harper sat with his harp between his arms, and his fingers silent upon the strings.
" I do hear a noise," said the king at length— "a noise as of distant thunder. It is coming nearer and nearer. What can it be?"
They all heard it now, and each seemed ready to start to his feet as he listened. Yet all sat perfectly still. The noise came rapidly nearer.
" What can it be?" said the king again.
" I think it must be another storm coming over the mountain," said Sir Walter.
Then Curdie, who at the first word of the king had slipped from his seat, and laid his ear to the ground, rose up quickly, and approaching the king said, speaking very fast—
" Please your majesty, I think I know what it is. I have no time to explain, for that might make it too late for some of us. Will your majesty give orders that everybody leave the house as quickly as possible and get up the mountain."
The king, who was the wisest man in the king-