Moonfleet eBook

J. Meade Falkner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 292 pages of information about Moonfleet.
and from a bright flame turn into a little twinkling star, and then to a mere point of light.  At last it rested on the water, and there was a shimmer where the wood frame had set ripples moving.  We watched it twinkle for a little while, and the jailer raised the candle from the water, and dropped down a stone from some he kept there for that purpose.  This stone struck the wall half-way down, and went from side to side, crashing and whirring till it met the water with a booming plunge; and there rose a groan and moan from the eddies, like those dreadful sounds of the surge that I heard on lonely nights in the sea-caverns underneath our hiding-place in Purbeck.  The jailer looked at me then for the first time, and his eyes had an ugly meaning, as if he said, ’There—­that is how you will sound when you fall from your perch.’  But it was no use to frighten, for I had made up my mind.

They pulled the candle up forthwith and put it in my hand, and I flung the plasterer’s hammer into the bucket, where it hung above the well, and then got in myself.  The turnkey stood at the break-wheel, and Elzevir leant over the parapet to steady the rope.  ’Art sure that thou canst do it, lad?’ he said, speaking low, and put his hand kindly on my shoulder.  ’Are head and heart sure?  Thou art my diamond, and I would rather lose all other diamonds in the world than aught should come to thee.  So, if thou doubtest, let me go, or let not any go at all.’

‘Never doubt, master,’ I said, touched by tenderness, and wrung his hand.  ’My head is sure; I have no broken leg to turn it silly now’—­for I guessed he was thinking of Hoar Head and how I had gone giddy on the Zigzag.



The grave doth gape and doting death is near—­Shakespeare

The bucket was large, for all that the turnkey had tried to frighten me into think it small, and I could crouch in it low enough to feel safe of not falling out.  Moreover, such a venture was not entirely new to me, for I had once been over Gad Cliff in a basket, to get two peregrines’ eggs; yet none the less I felt ill at ease and fearful, when the bucket began to sink into that dreadful depth, and the air to grow chilly as I went down.  They lowered me gently enough, so that I was able to take stock of the way the wall was made, and found that for the most part it was cut through solid chalk; but here and there, where the chalk failed or was broken away, they had lined the walls with brick, patching them now on this side, now on that, and now all round.  By degrees the light, which was dim even overground that rainy day, died out in the well, till all was black as night but for my candle, and far overhead I could see the well-mouth, white and round like a lustreless full-moon.

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Moonfleet from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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