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the first time, the deep stillness of the place laid a clammy hand upon the spirits
of the children. Becky said “Why, I didn’t notice, but it seems ever so long since I
heard any of the others.” “Come to think, Becky, we are away down below
them-and I don’t know how far away north, or south, or east, or whichever it is.
We couldn’t hear them here.” Becky grew apprehensive.

“I wonder how long we’ve been down here, Tom. We better start back.” “Yes, I
reckon we better. P’raps we better.” “Can you find the way, Tom? It’s all a
mixed-up crookedness to me.” “I reckon I could find it-but then the bats. If they
put both our candles out it will be an awful fix. Let’s try some other way, so as
not to go through there.” “Well. But I hope we won’t get lost. It would be so
awful!” and the girl shuddered at the thought of the dreadful possibilities.

They started through a corridor, and traversed it in silence a long way, glancing
at each new opening, to see if there was anything familiar about the look of it;
but they were all strange. Every time Tom made an examination, Becky would
watch his face for an encouraging sign, and he would say cheerily“O, it’s all
right. This ain’t the one, but we’ll come to it right away!” But he felt less and less
hopeful with each failure, and presently began to turn off into diverging avenues
at sheer random, in the desperate hope of finding the one that was wanted. He
still said it was “all right,” but there was such a leaden dread at his heart, that
the words had lost their ring and sounded just as if he had said, “All is lost!”
Becky clung to his side in an anguish of fear, and tried hard to keep back the
tears, but they would come. At last she said: “O, Tom, never mind the bats, let’s
go back that way! We seem to get worse and worse off all the time.” Tom

“Listen!” said he.
Profound silence; silence so deep that even their breathings were conspicuous in
the hush. Tom shouted. The call went echoing down the empty aisles and died
out in the distance in a faint sound that resembled a ripple of mocking laughter.
“O, don’t do it again, Tom, it is too horrid,” said Becky.

“It is horrid, but I better, Becky; they might hear us, you know;” and he shouted

The “might” was even a chillier horror than the ghostly laughter, it so confessed
a perishing hope. The children stood still and listened; but there was no result.
Tom turned upon the back track at once, and hurried his steps. It was but a little
while before a certain indecision in his manner revealed another fearful fact to
Becky-he could not find his way back!

“O, Tom, you didn’t make any marks!”
“Becky I was such a fool! Such a fool! I never thought we might want to come
back! No-I can’t find the way. It’s all mixed up.” “Tom, Tom, we’re lost! we’re
lost! We never can get out of this awful place! O, why did we ever leave the
others!” She sank to the ground and burst into such a frenzy of crying that Tom
was appalled with the idea that she might die, or lose her reason. He sat down
by her and put his arms around her; she buried her face in his bosom, she clung
to him, she poured out her terrors, her unavailing regrets, and the far echoes

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