the tomb, while those above stood listening
for a repetition of the sound.
"Dock rats," said De Clare, and then as though the devil guided them to
protect his own, two huge rats scurried upward from between the loose
boards, and ran squealing up the dark alley.
"Right you are," said De Montfort, "but I could have sworn 'twas a
child's feeble wail had I not seen the two filthy rodents with mine own
eyes. Come, let us to the next vile alley. We have met with no success
here, though that old hag who called herself Til seemed overanxious to
bargain for the future information she seemed hopeful of being able to
As they moved off, their voices grew fainter in the ears of the
listeners beneath the dock and soon were lost in the distance.
"A close shave," thought De Vac, as he again took up the child and
prepared to gain the dock. No further noises occurring to frighten him,
he soon reached the door to Til's house and, inserting the key, crept
noiselessly to the garret room which he had rented from his ill-favored
There were no stairs from the upper floor to the garret above, this
ascent being made by means of a wooden ladder which De Vac pulled up
after him, closing and securing the aperture, through which he climbed
with his burden, by means of a heavy trapdoor equipped with thick bars.
The apartment which they now entered extended across the entire east end
of the building, and had windows upon three sides. These were heavily
curtained. The apartment was lighted by a small cresset hanging from a
rafter near the center of the room.
The walls were unplastered and the rafters unceiled; the whole bearing a
most barnlike and unhospitable appearance.
In one corner was a huge bed, and across the room a smaller cot; a
cupboard, a table, and two benches completed the furnishings. These
articles De Vac had purchased for the room against the time when he
should occupy it with his little prisoner.
On the table were a loaf of black bread, an earthenware jar containing
honey, a pitcher of milk and two drinking horns. To these, De Vac
immediately gave his attention, commanding the child to partake of what
Hunger for the moment overcame the little Prince's fears, and he set
to with avidity upon the strange, rough fare, made doubly coarse by
the rude utensils and the bare surroundings, so unlike the royal
magnificence of his palace apartments.
While the child ate, De Vac hastened to the lower floor of the building
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