Sky Island

Page 56

"Oh, that's worse than being patched!" cried Trot.

"Much worse," said Tiggle with a groan.

But now an idea occurred to the girl. "Would you like to escape?" she asked the captive. "If I get you out of the palace, can you hide yourself so that you won't be found?"

"Certainly!" he declared. "I know a house where I can hide so snugly that all the Boolooroo's soldiers cannot find me."

"All right," said Trot. "I'll do it, for when you're gone, the Boolooroo will have no one to patch Cap'n Bill to."

"He may find someone else," suggested the prisoner.

"But it will take him time to do that, and time is all I want," answered the child. Even while she spoke, Trot was busy with the knots in the cords, and presently she had unbound Tiggle, who soon got upon his feet. "Now I'll go to one end of the passage and make a noise," said she, "and when the guard runs to see what it is, you must run the other way. Outside the palace, Jimfred and Fredjim are on guard, but if you tip over the bench they are seated on, you can easily escape them."

"I'll do that, all right," promised the delighted Tiggle. "You've made a friend of me, little girl, and if ever I can help you, I'll do it with pleasure."

Then Trot started for the door, and Tiggle could no longer see her because she was not now touching him. The man was much surprised at her disappearance, but listened carefully, and when he heard the girl make a noise at one end of the corridor, he opened the door and ran in the opposite direction as he had been told to do.

Of course, the guard could not discover what made the noise, and Trot ran little risk, as she was careful not to let him touch her. When Tiggle had escaped, the little girl wandered through the palace in search of Cap'n Bill, but soon decided such a quest in the dark was likely to fail and she must wait until morning. She was tired, too, and thought she would find a vacant room--of which there were many in the big palace--and go to sleep until daylight. She remembered there was a comfortable vacant room just opposite the suite of the Six Snubnosed Princesses, so she stole softly up to it and tried the door. It was locked, but the key was outside, as the Blueskins seldom took a door key from its place. So she turned the key, opened the door, and walked in.

Now this was the chamber in which Ghip-Ghisizzle had been confined by the Princesses, his arms being bound tight to his body, but his legs left free. The Boolooroo in his search had failed to discover what had become of Ghip Ghisizzle, but the poor man had been worried every minute for fear his retreat would be discovered or that the terrible Princesses would come for him and nag him until he went crazy. There was one window in his room, and the prisoner had managed to push open the sash with his knees. Looking out, he found that a few feet below the window was the broad wall that ran all around the palace gardens. A little way to the right the wall joined the wall of the City, being on the same level with it.

Ghip-Ghisizzle had been thinking deeply upon this discovery, and he decided that if anyone entered his room, he would get through the window, leap down upon the wall, and try in this way to escape. It would be a dangerous leap, for as his arms were bound, he might topple off the wall into the garden; but he resolved to take this chance. Therefore, when Trot rattled at the door of his room, Ghip-Ghisizzle ran and seated himself upon the window sill, dangling his long legs over the edge. When she finally opened the door, he slipped off and let himself fall to the wall, where he doubled up in a heap. The next minute, however, he had scrambled to his knees and was running swiftly along the garden wall.

Trot, finding the window open, came and looked out, and she saw the Majordomo's tall form hastening along the top of the wall. The guards saw him, too, outlined against the sky in the moonlight, and they began yelling at him to stop, but Ghip-Ghisizzle kept right on until he reached the city Wall, when he began to follow that.

Sky Island Page 57

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