Nick of the Woods eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 393 pages of information about Nick of the Woods.
resuming their former positions.  From these, however, they now maintained an almost incessant fire; and by and by several of them, stealing cautiously up, effected a lodgment in a distant part of the ruins, whence, without betraying any especial desire to come to closer quarters, they began to carry on the war in a manner that greatly increased Roland’s alarm, their bullets flying about and into the hovel so thickly that he became afraid lest some of them should reach its hapless inhabitants.  He was already debating within himself the propriety of transferring Edith and her companion from this ruinous and now dangerous abode to the ravine, where they might be sheltered from all danger, at least for a time, when a bolt of lightning, as he at first thought it, shot from the nearest group of foes, flashed over his head, and striking what remained of the roof, stood trembling in it, an arrow of blazing fire.  The appearance of this missile, followed, as it immediately was, by several others discharged from the same tow, confirmed the soldier’s resolution to remove the females, while it greatly increased his anxiety; for although there was little fear that the flames could be communicated from the arrows to the roof so deeply saturated by the late rains, yet each, while burning, served, like a flambeau, to illuminate the ruins below, and must be expected before long to reveal the helplessness of the party, and to light the besiegers to their prey.

With such fears on his mind, he hesitated no longer to remove his cousin and her companion to the ravine; which was effected with but little risk or difficulty, the ravine heading, as was mentioned before, under the floor of the hovel itself, and its borders being so strewn with broken timbers and planks, as to screen the party from observation.  He concealed them both among the rocks and brambles with which the hollow abounded, listened a moment to the rush of the flood as it swept the precipitous bank, and the roar with which it seemed struggling among rocky obstructions above, and smiling with the grim thought, that, when resistance was no longer availing, there was yet a refuge for his kinswoman within the dark bosom of those troubled waters, to which he felt, with the stern resolution of a Roman father rather than of a Christian lover, that he could, when nothing else remained, consign her with his own hands, he returned to the ruins, to keep up the appearance of still defending it, and to preserve the entrance of the ravine.

CHAPTER XVI.

The flaming arrows were still shot in vain at the water-soaked roof, and the combustibles with which they were armed, burning out very rapidly, produced hut little of that effect in illuminating the ruins which Roland had apprehended, and for which they had been perhaps in part designed; and, in consequence, the savages soon ceased to shoot them.  A more useful ally to the besiegers was promised in the moon,

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Nick of the Woods from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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