Page:For the Liberty of Texas.djvu/276

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258
FOR THE LIBERTY OF TEXAS

soon be coming to give the place a thorough overhauling.

"They will kill us—" he began, when, on turning, his foot struck an iron ring in the flooring of the niche. He felt of the ring and soon became convinced that it was attached to a trap-door of some kind.

"If it's a trap-door it must lead to a cellar!" said Stover, hurriedly. "I hope to heaven it does. Try it, lad, an' be quick!"

Both crawled from the narrow opening, and Dan pulled upon the ring with all of his strength. Up came a trap-door about two feet square. Beneath this was a space of inky darkness.

"Don't mind the dark," went on the old frontiersman. "Let me go fust, and be sure an' shet the trap after ye!"

He began to lower himself into the hole, and his feet struck a flight of stone steps. Down this he sped and soon reached a narrow passageway lined with rough stone, from which the moisture oozed into pools at his feet.

"I'll try to put them off the scent," said Dan, and drew up one of the boxes in such a fashion that, when the trap fell into place, the box came down on top of it. Then he hastened to join Stover.

"I don't believe any of our soldiers knew of this secret passage," said Stover. "I wonder where it runs to?"