Jack meanwhile had struck a match, and soon found the candles on the night-table near the bed. There was, at the same instant, the audible sound of scurrying along the passage. He ran out. The man assailed by the dog had reached the head of the stairs. As Jack got half-way down the corridor, man and dog disappeared over the balustrade. When he reached the hall the dog was inside, growling furiously, the door was closed and the man gone. Jack opened the door. Pizarro bounded out, and Jack followed. The dog stopped a moment, sniffed the ground, and made for the kitchen. A loud bark, followed by a ferocious growl, and a scream of mortal pain broke on the air; then a pistol-shot, and a long, pitiful gasp, and silence.
“Well, that dog won’t trouble any one now,” Jack heard, and the voice made his hair rise into bristling quills.
“Barney!” he cried; “Barney Moore, is that you?”
“It is; no one else. If I’m not drunk or dreaming, that’s my own Jack. God be praised!”
“How in Heaven’s name did you get here?”
“I might ask you the same question, but you have priority of query, as they say in court. I came here first to help rescue Captain Wesley Boone, and second to capture his rebel Excellency Jeff Davis.”
“O my God! my God! Barney, Barney, tell me all, and tell me quickly!”
Barney told all he knew, and told it rapidly, Jack catching his arm almost fiercely, as the miserable truth began to define itself in his whirling senses. Then the meaning of the two marauders in the ladies’ apartments became plain. Jack and Barney were hurrying toward the chamber as the latter talked, Jack filled with an awful fear.
THE STORY OF THE NIGHT.
Now, the timely—or untimely—appearance of Jack and Dick in the crisis of the plot came about in this way: Dick, on returning from Jack’s room, had remarked, with quickening suspicion, a gleam of light under Wesley’s door. Perhaps he is ill, the boy thought, compunctiously; if he were, he (Dick) ought to offer his services. He started to carry this kind thought into effect, when he heard suspicious sounds in the room. Some one was moving. He waited, now in alert anticipation. The plaintive signal of the whippoorwill—bringing passionate energy to Wesley—reached Dick’s ears; he heard the opening of the window; then silence. Could Wesley be descending thence to the ground? He blew out his candle, drew the curtain, and cautiously raised the window. No; Wesley was not getting out. Then the sound of the Pizarro episode came dimly through the walls. He thought the dog’s expostulatory growls a voice. There was someone in the room with Wesley. Perhaps it was Kate. It wouldn’t do to act until he was sure that his suspicions were a certainty. Besides, Jack had warned him not to interfere, with a mere escape on Wesley’s part, unless it seemed to involve