Down, down they went. The dwarves could not, course, compare with the hobbit in real stealth, and the made a deal of puffing and shuffling which echoes magnified alarmingly; but though every now and again Bilbo in fear stopped and listened, not a sound stirred below대전오피Near the bottom, as well as he could judge, Bilbo slipped on his ring and went ahead. But he did not need it: the darkness was complete, and they were all invisible, ring or no ring. In fact so black was it that the hobbit came to the opening unexpectedly, put his hand on air, stumbled for ward, and rolled headlong into the hall! There he lay face downwards on the floor and did no dare to get up, or hardly even to breathe. But nothing moved. There was not a gleam of light-unless, as seemed to him, when at last he slowly raised his head, there was a pale white glint, above him and far off in the gloom. But certainly it was not a spark of dragon-fire, though the wormstench was heavy in the place, and the taste of vapour was on his tongue.

At length Mr. Baggins could bear it no longer. "Come found you, Smaug, you worm!" he squeaked aloud. "Stop playing hide-and-seek! Give me a light, and then eat me if you can catch me!"

Faint echoes ran round the unseen hall, but there was no answer. Bilbo got up, and found that he did not know in what direction to turn. "Now I wonder what on earth Smaug is playing at," he said. "He is not at home today (or tonight, or whatever it is), I do believe. If Oin and Gloin have not lost their time tinder-boxes, perhaps we can make a little light, and have a look round before the luck turns."

"Light!" he cried. "Can anybody make a light?"

The dwarves, of course, were very alarmed when Bilbo fell forward down the step with a bump into the hall, and they sat huddled just where he had left them at the end the tunnel.

"Sh! sh!" they hissed, when they heard his voice: and though that helped the hobbit to find out where they were, was some time before he could get anything else out of them. But in the end, when Bilbo actually began to stamp in the floor, and screamed out light!' at the top of his thrill voice, Thorin gave way, and Oin and Gloin were sent back to their bundles at the top of the tunnel. After a while a twinkling gleam showed them returning, in with a small pine-torch alight in his hand, and Gloin with a bundle of others under his arm. Quickly Bilbo trotted to the door and took the torch; but he could not persuade the dwarves to light the others or to come and join him yet. As Thorin carefully explained, Mr. Baggins was still officially their expert burglar and investigator. If he liked to risk a light, that was his affair. They would wait in the tunnel for his report. So they sat near the door and watched.