A continuation of the last chapter.
A year and two months have rolled by, since Nicholas, a convict, took up his abode within the frowning walls of a prison: thus much of Fuddle’s merciful sentence has he served out. In the dreary hours of night, fast secured in his granite cell, has he cherished, and even in his dreams contemplated, the means of escaping into that freedom for which his soul yearns. But, dearly does he love Sal Stiles, to whose keeping he confides the secret of his ambition; several times might he, having secured the confidence of Fladge, have effected his own escape; but the admonitions of a faithful heart bid him not leave her behind in slavery. To that admonition of his bosom did he yield, and resolve never to leave her until he secured her freedom. A few days after he had disclosed to her his resolution, the tall figure of Guy Grantham, a broker of slaves by profession, appeared in the prison yard, for the purpose of carrying away the woman, whom he had sold for the Washington market, where her charms would indeed be of much value during the session, when congress-men most do riot. Already were the inseparable chains about her hands, and the miserable woman, about to be led away, bathed in grief. Nicholas, in his studies, had just finished a piece of scroll-work for Mrs. Fladge, as a companion approached him in great haste, and whispered the word of trouble-"they’re taking her away"-in his ear. Quick as lightning did the anger of his very soul break forth like a tempest: he rushed from his place of labour, vaulted as it were to the guard gate, seized the woman as she stepped on the threshold in her exit, drew her back with great force, and in a defiant attitude, drawing a long stiletto from his belt, placed himself between her and her destroyer. “Foes of the innocent, your chains were not made for this woman; never shall you bear her from this; not, at least, while I have arm to defend her, and a soul that cares not for your vengeance!” spake he, with curling contempt on his lip, as his adversaries stood aghast with fear and trembling. “Nay!-do not advance one step, or by the God of justice I make ye feel the length of this steel!” he continued, as Grantham nervously motioned an attempt to advance. Holding the woman with his left hand pressed backward, he brandished his stiletto in the faces of his opponents with his right. This was rebellion in its most legal acceptation, and would have justified the summary process Grantham was about adopting for the disposal of the instigator, at whose head he levelled his revolver, and, without effect, snapped two caps, as Nicholas bared his bosom with the taunt—“Coward, shoot!” Mr. Fladge, who was now made sensible of the error his indulgence had committed, could not permit Grantham the happy display of his bravery; no, he has called to his aid some ten subguardsmen,