102 THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE.
great cliffs that overhung it At last river and road took
a sudden turn, and lo ! a great rock in the river, which
dividing flowed around it, and on the top of the rock the
city, with lofty walls and towers and battlements, and
above the city the palace of the king, built like a strong
castle. But the fortifications had long been neglected,
for the whole country was now under one king, and all
men said there was no more need for weapons or walls. No man pretended to love his neighbour, but every one said he knew that peace and quiet behaviour was the best thing for himself, and that, he said, was quite as useful, and a great deal more reasonable. The city was prosperous and rich, and if anybody was not comfortable, everybody else said he ought to be.
When Curdie got up opposite the mighty rock, which sparkled all over with crystals, he found a narrow bridge, defended by gates and portcullis and towers with loopholes. But the gates stood wide open, and were dropping from their great hinges; the portcullis was eaten away with rust, and clung to the grooves evidently immovable ; while the loopholed towers had neither floor nor roof, and their tops were fast filling up their interiors. Curdie thought it a pity, if only for their old stcry, that they should be thus neglected. But everybody in the city regarded these signs of decay as the best pr< of of the prosperity of the place. Commerce and s.lf-