He tore aside the tapestry, and tried to see through the gloom of the cavern. His eyes could not pierce the blackness, and he looked around for a light, while Venner and Tomlin walked toward him with sudden interest in their faces.
They spent quite two hours in this wonderful cavern, and when at length they emerged into daylight once more they found that already a whole army of vultures had gathered about the carcass of the strange monstrous beast, and were busily engaged in devouring the malodorous flesh.
On the slope of Mont Pelvoux, about a third of the way up, there was formerly a great cavern, on the combe of Capescure, called La Balme-Chapelle though now nearly worn away by the disintegration of the mountain-side in which the poor hunted people contrived to find shelter. They built up the approaches to the cavern, filled the entrance with rocks, and considered themselves to be safe.
Like a flash the walls of the guest chamber were whisked away, scuttling off into the night or back into the depths of the cavern. With the deluge came the man. From among the stifling robes he snatched her up and bore her away, she knew not whither. "May all storms be as pleasant as this one!" she heard someone say, with a merry laugh. The next instant she was placed soundly upon her feet.
'Come in, by all means! she said; 'sit down by the fire so that your clothes may dry! 'There is a shocking draught here, said the Prince, as he sat down on the ground. 'It will be worse than this when my sons come home! said the woman. 'You are in the cavern of the winds; my sons are the four winds of the world! Do you understand? 'Who are your sons? asked the Prince.
It was about eight o'clock when he wrapped his large cloak around his tall figure, pulled his hat low over his sinister brow and set out to walk alone to the secret cavern in the side of the Demon's Punch Bowl.
Now Oldbuck, a shrewd and suspicious man, and no respecter of divine hereditary right, was apt to cavil at this sacred list, and to affirm, that the procession of the posterity of Fergus through the pages of Scottish history, was as vain and unsubstantial as the gleamy pageant of the descendants of Banquo through the cavern of Hecate.
Nothing in the shape of a regular cavern presented itself, and he finally nestled down beside one of the largest rocks which could be discovered, with the intention of sleeping until morning. Ned thought it strange that he should feel so frightened. With the gathering of darkness he grew so nervous that all possibility of sleep was driven away.
Quietly, with similar caution, Joe took hold of the same root, let himself down, and when at full length swung himself in under the ledge. His feet found a pocket in the cliff. Letting go of the root, he took his rifle, and in another second was safe. Of all Wetzel's retreats for he had many he considered this one the safest. The cavern under the ledge he had discovered by accident.
In a few moments all was hushed, except the roaring of the winds and the dashing of the waves; the wreck was buried in the deep, and not an atom of it was ever afterwards seen. The shock which this gave to the trembling wretches in the cavern was awful. Though themselves hardly rescued from the sea, and still surrounded by impending dangers, they wept for the destiny of their unhappy companions.