best to sit down and rest a while, first. Now, for the first time, the deep stillness of the place laid a clammy hand upon the spirits of the children. Becky said—
"Why, I didn't notice, but it seems ever so long since I heard any of the othersI'
" Come to think, Becky, ".e are away down below them—and I don't know how far away north, or south, or east, or whichever it is. We couldn't hear them here."
Becky grew apprehensive.
" I wonder how long we've been down here, Tom. We better start back."
" Yes, I reckon we better. P'raps we better."
" Can you find the way, Tom? It's all a mixed-up crookedness to me."
" I reckon I could find it—but then the bats. If they put both our candles out it will be an awful fix. Let's try some other way, so as not to go through there."
"Well. But I hope we won't get lost. It would be so awful!" and the girl shuddered at the thought of the dreadful possibilities.
They started through a corridor, and traversed it in silence a long way, glancing at each new opening, to see if there was anything familiar about the look of it; but they were all strange. Every time Tom made an examination, Becky would watch his face for an encouraging sign, and he would say cheerily—
" Oh, it's all right. This ain't the one, but we'll come to it right away! "
But he felt less and less hopeful with each failure, and presently began to turn off into diverging avenues at sheer random, in desperate hope of finding the one that was wanted! He still said it was "all right," but there was such .a leaden dread at his heart, that the words had lost their ring and sounded just as if he had said, "All is lost! " Becky clung to his side in an anguish of fear, and tried hard to keep back the tears, but they would come. At last she said:
"O, Tom, never mind the bats, let's go back that way! We seem to get worse and worse off all the time."
" Listen ! " said he.