Page:Yule Logs.djvu/207

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191
A DANGEROUS GAME

climbed up, leaving Lance with the old woman, who stood silently holding the lantern and gazing back.

"Tide's right over the mouth now," she said.

"Is it?" replied Lance; and anxiously, "Pray tell them all, Mother Poltree, that I didn't betray them. I wouldn't do such a thing."

"Needn't tell 'em, my son," said the old woman. " No one would believe it of you. But it's a bad job for us if they catch my folk. It means sending 'em across the seas. Now, then, up with you, quick; and then I'll dowse the light."

"No, you first," said Lance.

"Nay, my son, you. Don't waste time. They ought to be making for the moors by now."

Lance seized the rope and climbed actively, finding plenty of foothold, and soon after reaching the open air in the spot which he felt sure was where he had heard the splashing and thrown down the stone.

"Now quick, boys," whispered Old Poltree. "She's got the rope fast round her I can feel. Haul steady; give her time; and then we must make for the hills. They won't hurt the women."

"Quick! this way; I can hear them," cried a familiar voice out of the darkness, and from two ways there was a rush of footsteps and a scrambling sound.

Lance made a dart to dash away, but some one flung his arms about him, lifted him from the ground, and rolled with him over and over amongst the furze and brambles.

"Keep still," whispered a voice in his ear; and he lay quiet, for it was Hezz listening to the sounds of struggling and pursuit till they died away, and then he rose.

"Don't say naught to me, Master Lance—I'm too bad; but you keep close to me and I'll show you how to get back to the big house without the King's men ketching of you. Quick! here's one of 'em."