“Wait,” he whispered softly.
The thunder of the sea grew less and less distinct. Before them shone a faint glimmer of light. Soon they reached the three steps which led up into the gun-room. Cecil and Forrest climbed up. Kate and Engleton followed. Cecil carefully closed the door behind them.
“You see,” he remarked, “we are reconciled to our defeat. Let us sit down for a moment and talk.”
“Open the window and give me some brandy,” Engleton said.
Kate felt him suddenly grow heavy upon her arm.
“Bring a chair quick,” she ordered. “He is going to faint.”
She bent over him, alarmed at the sudden change in his face. Her attention for one moment was relaxed. Then she felt her wrist seized in a grip of iron. The revolver, which she was still holding, fell to the ground, and Cecil calmly picked it up and thrust it into his pocket.
“You have played the game very well, Kate,” he said. “Now I think it is our turn.”
She looked at him indignantly, but without any trace of fear.
“You brute!” she exclaimed. “Can’t you see that he has fainted? Do you want him to die here?”
“Not in the least,” Cecil answered. “Here, Forrest, you take care of this,” he added, passing the revolver over to him. “I’ll look after Engleton.”
He led him to an easy-chair close to the window. He opened it a few inches, and a current of strong fresh air came sweeping in. Then he poured some brandy into a glass and gave it to Kate.
“Let him sip this,” he said. “Keep his head back. That’s right. We will call a truce for a few moments. I am going to talk with my friend.”
He turned away, and Kate, with a sudden movement, sprang toward the fireplace and pulled the bell. Cecil looked around and smiled contemptuously.
“It is well thought of,” he remarked, “but unfortunately there is not a servant in the house. Go on ringing it, if you like. All that it can awake are the echoes.”
Kate dropped the rope and turned back towards Engleton. The colour was coming slowly back to his cheeks. With an effort he kept from altogether losing consciousness.
“I am not going to faint,” he said in a low tone. “I will not. Tell me, they have the pistol?”
“Yes,” Kate answered, “but don’t be afraid. I am not going back there again, nor shall they take you.”
He pressed her hand.
“You are a plucky girl,” he muttered. “Stick to me now and I’ll never forget it. I’ve held out so long that I’m d—d if I let them off their punishment now.”
Cecil came slowly across the room.
“Feeling better, Engleton?” he asked.
Engleton turned his head.
“Yes,” he answered, “I am well enough. What of it?”
“We’d better have an understanding,” Cecil said.
“Have it, then, and be d——d to you!” Engleton answered. “You won’t get me alive down into that place again. If you are going to try, try.”