ments of Hezz, who, while the man held the lantern up, took a coil of rope from where it rested on a big stone, thrust his head and one arm through it, and began to climb up a rugged narrow crack at the end of the cavern—climbing as if he had been up there before, and soon disappearing from their view.
But they could hear him plainly enough, his boots grating on the rock, and his heavy breathing coming whispering down for some minutes before all was still, but only for the silence to be broken by a curious rustling sound, and Lance caught sight of the rope uncoiling as it fell.
"Up with you," said the man with the lantern, and Old Poltree's second son seized the rope, and by its help climbed up in much less time than his brother; while Lance longed for his turn to come that he might hurry away, but felt an unwillingness to go before the woman with them was saved.
"Come on," was whispered, and the other man gave the lantern to Mother Poltree, while the shouting and splashing at the cavern entrance grew fainter.
In a very short time there was another summons from above, but at this moment they were joined by big Billy Poltree.
"All right, mother," he said. "Mouth's pretty well covered. I'll go next, so as to help pull you up. They can't get in now."
The man seized the rope, and as he disappeared in the dark crack Lance thought of the consequences if the King's men came now and seized them, so that he started round guiltily when he heard a sound behind him; but it was only the old fisherman.
"Hullo, young squire," he said; "not gone? Well, I'll go next, and then I can help with you both."
With a display of agility that was wonderful in so old and heavy a man, he directly after seized the rope and