Night came; she left her room, the common door locked and bolted, the secret one clogged with the furniture of the room, so that it would require the united strength of several men to force it open. The door of the secret passage which she had learned to open and shut from both sides, was closed after her, and alone she passed along that damp aisle, paused a moment before the mirror to note whether it reflected the scene without, and seeing upon its face but blank darkness, she opened the last door between herself and the world into which she was going, closed it as she passed through its portals, descended the stairs, reached the outer extremity of the passage, put out her lamp, and the next minute stood on the pebbles at the margin of the stream. A brief survey of the coast in all directions satisfied her that she was not observed, and without more delay she moved down the stream as rapidly as the nature of the ground and her want of experience in such places and mode of travel would permit.
It was about a mile from the starting point before she reached the first recession of the high bank, that afforded an opportunity to leave the stream, which she improved without delay, and after a laborious ascent of an inclined plane, more than a hundred yards in extent and quite steep, she found herself on the high bluff, with the cave in the distance.
But now a new and before unthought of difficulty faced her. She was in a wilderness, with no compass by which to direct her course, and no friendly guide to conduct her to the habitations of men. For a moment she was almost paralyzed by the magnitude of this untried danger, and hope well nigh fled from her breast. But rousing her energies she boldly looked her fate in the face, and committed herself into the hands of that Providence who had so often befriended her in former times of peril, and then shaping her course as well as she could by the stars, she plunged into the dense forest, with her face, as she believed, toward home, which she hoped to reach some time the next day.
Alas for her hopes! in less than an hour she was totally bewildered and lost in the wilderness! She felt her loneliness and helplessness now more than when facing her malignant enemy; and to add to the horrors of her situation, howls of wild beasts soon greeted her ears!
THE TABLES TURNING.