"If I'm going to starve, I'll do it all at once -- not by degrees."
Cap'n Bill produced the biscuit and the creature ate it in a trice. Trot was rather hungry and whispered to Cap'n Bill that she'd take part of her share; but the old man secretly broke his own half-biscuit in two, saving Trot's share for a time of greater need.
He was beginning to be worried over the little girl's plight and long after she was asleep and the Ork was snoring in a rather disagreeable manner, Cap'n Bill sat with his back to a rock and smoked his pipe and tried to think of some way to escape from this seemingly endless tunnel. But after a time he also slept, for hobbling on a wooden leg all day was tiresome, and there in the dark slumbered the three adventurers for many hours, until the Ork roused itself and kicked the old sailor with one foot.
"It must be another day," said he.
Daylight at Last
Cap'n Bill rubbed his eyes, lit a match and consulted his watch.
"Nine o'clock. Yes, I guess it's another day, sure enough. Shall we go on?" he asked.
"Of course," replied the Ork. "Unless this tunnel is different from everything else in the world, and has no end, we'll find a way out of it sooner or later."
The sailor gently wakened Trot. She felt much rested by her long sleep and sprang to her feet eagerly.
"Let's start, Cap'n," was all she said.
They resumed the journey and had only taken a few steps when the Ork cried "Wow!" and made a great fluttering of its wings and whirling of its tail. The others, who were following a short distance behind, stopped abruptly.
"What's the matter?" asked Cap'n Bill.
"Give us a light," was the reply. "I think we've come to the end of the tunnel." Then, while Cap'n Bill lighted a candle, the creature added: "If that is true, we needn't have wakened so soon, for we were almost at the end of this place when we went to sleep."
The sailor-man and Trot came forward with a light. A wall of rock really faced the tunnel, but now they saw that the opening made a sharp turn to the left. So they followed on, by a narrower passage, and then made another sharp turn this time to the right.
"Blow out the light, Cap'n," said the Ork, in a pleased voice. "We've struck daylight."
Daylight at last! A shaft of mellow light fell almost at their feet as Trot and the sailor turned the corner of the passage, but it came from above, and raising their eyes they found they were at the bottom of a deep, rocky well, with the top far, far above their heads. And here the passage ended.
For a while they gazed in silence, at least two of them being filled with dismay at the sight. But the Ork merely whistled softly and said cheerfully:
"That was the toughest journey I ever had the misfortune to undertake, and I'm glad it's over. Yet, unless I can manage to fly to the top of this pit, we are entombed here forever."
"Do you think there is room enough for you to fly in?" asked the little girl anxiously; and Cap'n Bill added:
"It's a straight-up shaft, so I don't see how you'll ever manage it."
"Were I an ordinary bird -- one of those horrid feathered things -- I wouldn't even make the attempt to fly out," said the Ork. "But my mechanical propeller tail can accomplish wonders, and whenever you're ready I'll show you a trick that is worth while."
"Oh!" exclaimed Trot; "do you intend to take us up, too?"
"I thought," said Cap'n Bill, "as you'd go first, an' then send somebody to help us by lettin' down a rope."
"Ropes are dangerous," replied the Ork, "and I might not be able to find one to reach all this distance. Besides, it stands to reason that if I can get out myself I can also carry you two with me."
"Well, I'm not afraid," said Trot, who longed to be on the earth's surface again.
"S'pose we fall?" suggested Cap'n Bill, doubtfully.
"Why, in that case we would all fall together," returned the Ork. "Get aboard, little girl; sit across my shoulders and put both your arms around my neck."
Trot obeyed and when she was seated on the Ork, Cap'n Bill inquired:
"How 'bout me, Mr.