So Maguffin quietly escaped from the stables, and rode rapidly towards the fire, which shed its lurid light far over the clouded sky; and the pensioner trudged after him on foot, with his official baton under his arm, to make that conflagration acquainted with the law.
Bigglethorpe Hear Sounds—Invaders Repelled—Fire and
Explosions—Victims Walled In—Water Retreat in the Rain—The
Constable Secures Mark Davis—Walk Home in the Rain—Bangs and
Matilda—Into Dry Clothes—Miss Carmichael’s Mistake—A Reef in Mr.
Bangs—Ben has no Clothes—Three Young Gentlemen in a Bad Way.
Mr. Bangs had no fewer than eight men under his command, Bigglethorpe and the two Richards at the water, and Coristine and the veteran, the two Pilgrims and Rufus, up above. The latter tired themselves out, under the detective’s direction, looking for an opening in the ground, but found none, nor anything that in the least resembled one. Some of the searchers wondered why the chimney in Rawdon’s house was so unnecessarily large and strong, but no examination about its base revealed any connection between it and an underground passage. The detective, in conference with Mr. Terry and the lawyer, decided on four sentries, namely one each at the house and the lake, as already set, one at the road looking towards the entrance, and the other half way between the lake and the house, to keep up the connection. Some bread and meat and a pot of tea, with dishes, were sent down to the three men on the shore by the hands of Timotheus, but they rejected the cold meat, having already made a fire, and broiled the bass caught by Mr. Bigglethorpe. They had a very jolly time, telling fish stories, till about eight o’clock, and the fisherman of Beaver River was in wonderful spirits over the discovery of a new fishing ground. If those lakes had only contained brook trout he would move his store to the Lakes Settlement; as it was, he thought of setting up a branch establishment, and getting a partner to occupy the two places of business alternately with him. The Richards boys were pleased to think that their new acquaintance was likely to be a permanent one, and made Mr. Bigglethorpe many sincere offers of assistance in his fishing, and subordinate commercial, ventures. At eight Mr. Bangs came down the hill, and posted one of the Richards as sentry, while the fisherman indulged in his evening smoke, preparatory to turning in under the skiff with his friend Bill. “I went that fire put out, gentlemen,” said the detective, “net now, but say efter ten o’clock, as it might help the enemy to spy us out,” to which Bill Richards replied: “All right, cap’n; she’ll be dead black afore ten.” Rufus was placed on the hill side to communicate between the distant posts; Timotheus overlooked the encampment; and Sylvanus