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|Dead Men Tell No Tales||E. W. Hornung|
Chapter XV First Blood
|Page 3 of 5||
"I was afraid of it!" cried Eva, with a sudden sob.
"What is it?"
"They've taken away the key!"
Yes, the keen air came through an empty keyhole; and my lamp, held close, not only showed that the door was locked, but that the lock was one with which an unskilled hand might tamper for hours without result. I dealt it a hearty kick by way of a test. The heavy timber did not budge; there was no play at all at either lock or hinges; nor did I see how I could spend one of my four remaining bullets upon the former, with any chance of a return.
"Is this the only other door?"
"Then it must be a window."
All the back ones are barred."
"Then we've no choice in the matter."
And I led the way back to the hall, where the poor black devil lay blubbering in his blood. In the kitchen I found the bottle of wine (Rattray's best port, that they were trying to make her take for her health) with which Eva had bribed him, and I gave it to him before laying hands on a couple of chairs.
"What are you going to do?"'
"Go out the way we came."
"But the wall?"
"Pile up these chairs, and as many more as we may need, if we can't open the gate."
But Eva was not paying attention any longer, either to me or to Jose; his white teeth were showing in a grin for all his pain; her eyes were fixed in horror on the floor."
"They've come back," she gasped. "The underground passage! Hark - hark!"
There was a muffled rush of feet beneath our own, then a dull but very distinguishable clatter on some invisible stair.
"Underground passage!" I exclaimed, and in my sheer disgust I forgot what was due to my darling. "Why on earth didn't you tell me of it before?"
"There was so much to tell you! It leads to the sea. Oh, what shall we do? You must hide - upstairs - anywhere!" cried Eva, wildly. "Leave them to me - leave them to me."
"I like that," said I; and I did; but I detested myself for the tears my words had drawn, and I prepared to die for them.
"They'll kill you, Mr. Cole!"
"It would serve me right; but we'll see about it."
And I stood with my revolver very ready in my right hand, while with the other I caught poor Eva to my side, even as a door flew open, and Rattray himself burst upon us, a lantern in his hand, and the perspiration shining on his handso me face in its light.
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|Dead Men Tell No Tales
E. W. Hornung
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