The Young Carthaginian eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 412 pages of information about The Young Carthaginian.

All day they wandered about in the bottom of the ravine, searching every possible place, and sometimes removing boulders with great labour, where these were piled together in such a manner that any one could be hidden beneath them.

At nightfall they feasted upon the body of the bear first killed, which had been found where it had fallen in the ravine.  The body of one of the young bears which lay far up the cave, had escaped their search, and a portion of this furnished a meal to the two prisoners, who were, however, obliged to eat it raw, being afraid to light a fire, lest the smoke, however slight, should be observed coming out at the entrance.

The next morning, so far as they could see, the place was deserted by the natives.  Lying far back in the cave they could see that the men on the opposite side of the ravine had retired; but as it was quite possible that the natives, feeling still convinced that the fugitives must be hidden somewhere, had set a watch at some spot commanding a view of the whole ravine, they did not venture to show themselves at the entrance.

After making another meal of the bear, they sallied out, when it again became dark, and made their way along the path.  When they neared the end they saw a party of the enemy sitting round a great fire at the mouth of the ravine below them.  They retired a short distance, and sat down patiently until at last the fire burned low, and the natives, leaving two of the party on watch, lay down to sleep.  Then Malchus and his companion rose to their feet, and made their way along the path.  When they were nearly abreast of the fire, Malchus happened to tread upon a loose stone, which went bouncing down the side of the hill.

The scouts gave a shout, which called their companions to their feet, and started up the hillside towards the spot where the stone had fallen.

Nessus discharged an arrow, which struck full on the chest of the leader of the party, and then followed Malchus along the hillside.

A shout of rage broke from the natives as their comrade fell; but without pausing they pushed on.  Malchus did not hurry.  Silence now was of more importance than speed.  He strode along, then, with a rapid but careful step, Nessus following closely behind him.  The shouts of the savages soon showed that they were at fault.  Malchus listened attentively as he went.  Whenever the babel of tongues ceased for a moment he stopped perfectly still, and only ventured on when they were renewed.

At last they had placed a long gap between them and their pursuers, and came out on a level shoulder of the hill.  They continued their way until they found themselves at the edge of the forest.  It was so dark under the trees that they could no longer advance, and Malchus therefore determined to wait till the dawn should enable them to continue their journey.  Whether they were in a clump of trees or in the forest, which covered a large portion of the mountain side, they were unable to tell; nor, as not a single star could be seen, had they any indication of the direction which they should take.  Retiring then for some little distance among the trees, they lay down and were soon asleep.

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The Young Carthaginian from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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