“Silence,” said a voice that I well knew, although his face was completely disguised. It was Timothy! “Silence, Japhet,” again whispered Timothy; “there is yet much danger, but I will save you, or die. Take the hammer. Melchior is waiting outside.” Timothy put the lantern in the bin, so as to render it more dark, and led me towards the door, whispering, “when he comes in, we will secure him.”
Melchior soon made his appearance, and as he entered the cellar, “Is it all right?” said he, going up to Timothy, and passing me.
With one blow I felled him to the ground, and he lay insensible. “That will do,” replied Timothy; “now we must be off.”
“Not till he takes my place,” replied I, as I shut the door, and locked it. “Now he may learn what it is to starve to death.”
I then followed Timothy, by a passage which led outside of the castle, through which he and his companion had been admitted. “Our horses are close by,” said Timothy; “for we stipulated upon leaving the country after it was done.”
It was just dark when we were safe out of the castle. We mounted our horses, and set off with all speed. We followed the high road to the post town to which I had been conveyed, and I determined to pull up at Mrs M’Shane’s, for I was so exhausted that I could go no further. This was a measure which required precaution, and as there was moonlight, I turned off the road before I entered the town, or village, as it ought to have been called, so that we dismounted at the back of Mrs M’Shane’s house. I went to the window of the bedroom where I had lain down, and tapped gently, again and again, and no answer. At last, Kathleen made her appearance.
“Can I come in, Kathleen?” said I; “I am almost dead with fatigue and exhaustion.”
“Yes,” replied she, “I will open the back-door; there is no one here to-night—it is too early for them.”
I entered, followed by Timothy, and, as I stepped over the threshold, I fainted. As soon as I recovered, Mrs M’Shane led me up stairs into her room for security, and I was soon able to take the refreshment I so much required. I stated what had passed to Mrs M’Shane and Kathleen, who were much shocked at the account.
“You had better wait till it is late, before you go on,” said Mrs M’Shane, “it will be more safe; it is now nine o’clock, and the people will all be moving till eleven. I will give your horses some corn, and when you are five miles from here, you may consider yourselves as safe. Holy saints! what an escape!”
The advice was too good not to be followed, and I was so exhausted, that I was glad that prudence was on the side of repose. I lay down on Mrs M’Shane’s bed, while Timothy watched over me. I had a short slumber, and then was awakened by the good landlady, who told me that it was time for us to quit. Kathleen then came up to me, and said, “I would ask a favour of you, sir, and I hope you will not refuse it.”