His fingers tore at my sleeve in his last agony, and I was tempted sorely. And it was his own knife that I had. The irony of it!
He muttered once or twice and cried out in fear of the man whom he had slain. I heard him gasp a little later. Then the hand fell from my sleeve. And after that there was no further sound.
It was the merest whisper from the wall. I thought it was a trick of my own mind. I dared not hope.
This was no fancy born of a delirious brain and the thick fumes of dynamite. It came from the wall a little way ahead of me. I crawled the three feet that the little cave afforded and put my hands upon the rock, feeling its surface inch by inch. There was a crevice there, not large enough to have permitted a bird to pass—the merest fissure.
“Jacqueline! Is that you, dear?” I called.
“Where are you, Paul?” she whispered back.
“Behind the wall,” I answered. “You are not hurt, Jacqueline?”
“I am lying where you left me, dear. Paul, I—I heard.”
“You heard?” I answered dully. What did it matter now?
“Why didn’t you tell me, Paul? But never mind. I am so glad, dearest! Can you come through to me?”
I struggled to tear the rocks away; I beat and bruised my hands in vain against them.
“Soon,” I muttered. “Soon. Can you breathe well, Jacqueline?”
“It is all open, Paul. It is nearly dawn now.”
“I will come when it grows light, Jacqueline,” I babbled. “When it grows light!”
She did not know that it would never grow light for me. Again I flung myself against the walls of my prison, battering at them till the blood dripped from my hands. Again and again I flung myself down hopelessly, and then I tried again, clutching at every fragment that protruded into the cave.
And at last, when my despair had mastered me—it grew light.
For a sunbeam shot like a finger through the crevice and quivered upon the floor of the cave. And overhead, where I had never thought to seek, where I had thought three hundred feet of eternal rock pressed down on me, I saw the quiver of day through half a dozen feet of tight-packed debris from the glacier’s mouth.
I raised myself and tore at it and sent it flying. I thrust my hands among the stones and tore them down like the tiles from a rotten roof.
I heard a shout; hands were reached down to me and pulled me up, and I was on my feet upon a hillside, looking into the keen eyes of Pere Antoine and the face of the Indian squaw.
And the Eskimo dog was barking at my side.
THE END OF THE CHATEAU
Only one thing marred the happiness of our reunion, and that was the loss of Jacqueline’s father.
We had talked much over what had happened, and ten days later, when Jacqueline had recovered from the shock and from what proved to be, after all, only a flesh-wound, we had visited the scene of our rescue by the old priest.