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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 418 pages of information about In Freedom's Cause .

When darkness fell, Archie, accompanied by Ronald and his guides, set out on his journey.  Alone he could never have found his way through the swamps, but even in the darkness his guides moved along quickly, following tracks known to them with the instinct of hounds; Archie kept close on their heels, as a step only a few inches from the track might plunge him in a deep morass, in which in a few seconds he would sink out of sight.  On nearing the edge of the bog the guides slackened their pace.  Motioning to Archie to remain where he was, they crept forward noiselessly into the darkness.  Not far off he could hear the calls of the English horsemen.  The sounds were repeated again and again until they died away in the distance, showing that a cordon had been drawn round the morass so as to inclose the fugitives from the battle of the previous day.

In a quarter of an hour the guides returned as noiselessly as they had departed, and Archie continued the march at their heels.  Even greater caution than before was now necessary in walking, for the English, before darkness had set in, had narrowly examined the edge of the morass, and had placed three or four men wherever they could discover the slightest signs of a track.  Thus Archie’s guides were obliged to leave the path by which they had previously travelled.  Their progress was slow now, the party only moving for a few yards at a time, and then halting while the guides searched for ground solid enough to carry their weight.  At last Archie felt the ground grow firmer under his foot, and a reconnaissance by the guides having shown them that none of the English were stationed opposite to them, they left the morass, and noiselessly made their way across the country until far beyond the English line.

All night they walked, and at daybreak entered another swamp, and lay down for the day in the long coarse grass growing on a piece of firm ground deep in its recesses.  In the evening one of the guides stole out and returned with a native of the neighbourhood, who undertook to show Archie the way on his further journey.

Ten days, or rather nights, of steady journeying brought Archie again to the rocky shore where he had landed.  Throughout he had found faithful guides, whom he had rewarded by giving, as was often the custom of the time, in lieu of money, a link or two of one of his gold chains.  He and Ronald again took refuge in the cave where they had passed the first night of their landing.  It was untenanted now.

Here they abode for a fortnight, Ronald going up every two or three days to purchase provisions at the scattered cottages.  On Saturday night they lit a great fire just inside the mouth of the cave, so that while the flames could be seen far out at sea the light would be unobserved by the garrison of Dunluce or any straggler on the cliff above.  It had been arranged with Duncan that every Saturday night, weather permitting, he should sail across and look for a signal fire.  The first Saturday night was wild and stormy, and although they lit the fire they had but slight idea that Duncan would put out.  The following week, however, the night was calm and bright, and after piling up the fire high they proceeded to the causeway, and two hours later saw to their joy a boat approaching.  In a few minutes they were on board, and by the following morning reached Rathlin.

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