The Midnight Queen (Chapter 9, page 2 of 19)


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Chapter 9

"Not precisely. But, I say, Kingsley, what light is that shining through
there? I mean to see."

"No, you won't," said Sir Norman, rapidly and noiselessly replacing the
flag. "It's nothing, I tell you, but a number of will-o-'wisps having
a ball. Finally, and for the last time, Mr. Ormiston, will you have the
goodness to tell me what has sent you here?"

"Come out to the air, then. I have no fancy for talking in this place;
it smells like a tomb."

"There is nothing wrong, I hope?" inquired Sir Norman, following his
friend, and threading his way gingerly through the piles of rubbish in
the profound darkness.

"Nothing wrong, but everything extremely right. Confound this place!
It would be easier walking on live eels than through these winding and
lumbered passages. Thank the fates, we are through them, at last! for
there is the daylight, or, rather the nightlight, and we have escaped
without any bones broken."

They had reached the mouldering and crumbling doorway, shown by a square
of lighter darkness, and exchanged the damp, chill atmosphere of the
vaults for the stagnant, sultry open air. Sir Norman, with a notion in
his head that his dwarfish highness might have placed sentinels around
his royal residence, endeavored to pierce the gloom in search of them.
Though he could discover none, he still thought discretion the better
part of valor, and stepped out into the road.

"Now, then, where are you going?" inquired Ormiston for, following him.

"I don't wish to talk here; there is no telling who may be listening.
Come along."

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