In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 353 pages of information about In Freedom's Cause .

Ronald now urged that they had better be moving, as it was possible, although unlikely enough, that one passing along the top of the cliffs might get sight of them.  They accordingly moved along the shore, and in a quarter of a mile reached the mouth of a great cave.  The bottom was covered with rocks, which had fallen from the roof, thickly clustered over with wet seaweed, which, indeed, hung from the sides far up, showing that at high tide the sea penetrated far into the cave.

“The ground rises beyond,” Ronald said, “and you will find recesses there which the tide never reaches.”  They moved slowly at first until their eyes became accustomed to the darkness; then they kept on, the ground getting more even as they ascended, until they stood on a dry and level floor.

“Now I will strike a light,” Ronald said, “and light the torch which I brought with me.  We are sure to find plenty of driftwood cast up at the highest point the tide reaches.  Then we can make a fire, and while you remain here I will go out and find some of the natives, and engage a guide to take us forward tonight.”

Taking out his flint and steel, Ronald proceeded to strike a light, and after several efforts succeeded in doing so and in igniting some dried moss which he had brought with him, carefully shielded from damp in the folds of his garment.  As a light flame rose he applied his torch to it; but as he did so, came an exclamation of astonishment, for gathered in a circle round them were a dozen wild figures.  All were armed and stood in readiness to strike down the intruders into their hiding place.  They were barefooted, and had doubtless been asleep in the cave until, when awakened by the approaching footsteps and voices, they had silently arisen and prepared to fall upon the intruders.

“We are friends,” Ronald said in the native language when he recovered from his start of surprise.  “I am Ronald, a fisherman from Rathlin, and was over here in the summer exchanging fish for sheep.”

“I recollect you,” one of the men said; “but what do you here so strangely and secretly?  Are the English hunting you too from your island as they have done us?”

“They have not come to Rathlin yet,” Ronald said.

“Doubtless they would do so, but `tis too poor to offer any temptation for their greed.  But they are our enemies as they are yours.  I am here to guide this Scottish knight, who is staying at Rathlin, a fugitive from their vengeance like yourself, and who is charged with a mission from the King of Scotland to your chiefs, whom he would fain induce to join in a rising against the power of the English.”

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In Freedom's Cause : a Story of Wallace and Bruce from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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