Suddenly from out of these houses sprang a band of men disguised as common robbers, whose faces were hidden by cloths with eye-holes cut in them. They seized the horses by the bridles, and before we could do anything, leapt upon us and held us fast. Then a tall man speaking with a foreign accent, said, "Search that officer and the dwarf.
The eyes shone, not out of a human face foul or fair, but out of the slits in a black cowl, drawn so tightly over its wearer's head that nothing of him was to be seen from forehead to chin. There was this horrible black thing, a blot upon the bright sunlit sky behind, peeping at me from over the rock, and out of its eye-holes gleamed two eyes, as keen and bright as those of a wild animal.
Even after the confetti had sprinkled her black hair until it reminded me of Skeet's blossom wreath, infinitely multiplied, I still saw the glances through the eye-holes of masks follow us wonderingly. Opposite the city hall, where we must cross to get to the Capehart street, we were again almost stopped by the dense crowd.
"This clever white man has taken the trouble of a long walk in the sun to come here to ask me whether he may be allowed the privilege of presenting you with a weapon of great value in return for a service that any man of your years in Zululand would love to give for nothing in such company? "Son Saduko, because my eye-holes are hollow, do you think it your part to try to fill them up with dust?
Presently through the door there came one clothed in the long white garments of a Brother of Pity, the eye-holes dark and cavernous, and the eyes shining through the mask with a look as if the wearer were much more frightened than those who looked upon him. "Child of the White Wolf," he said, in a shaking voice, "would you dare all and become one of the companions of the mysteries?"
Its eyes returned no shine they did not even stare, for not a pane of glass was left in a window: they were but eye-holes, black and blank with shadow and no-ness. The roofs were gone all but that of the great hall, which they had not dared to touch. She climbed the grand staircase, open to the wind and slippery with ice, and reached her own room.
It struck the belly of the horse and bounded into the middle of the street. "Ha, we've got ye!" jeered the leader, as he and two or three others covered Westerfelt with their revolvers. The gang formed a semi-circle round Westerfelt and his horse. In their white caps and sheets they appeared ghostly and hideous, as they looked down at him through the eye-holes of their masks.
"Improved!" exclaimed M. Nioche, under his breath. "Do you call this improvement?" And he glanced at the treasures in his arms. "Why, you are on your travels," Newman rejoined. "A visit to London in the season is certainly a sign of prosperity." M. Nioche, in answer to this cruel piece of irony, lifted the puppy up to his face again, peering at Newman with his small blank eye-holes.
Close up to the side of the coach rides the daring young outlaw, his piercing orbs peering out from the eye-holes in his black mask, one hand clasping the bridle-reins the other a nickel-plated seven-shooter drawn back at full cock. "You do well to stop, Bill McGucken!" the road-agent, observes, reining in his steed. "I expected you hours ago, on time."
Lower, plainer, somehow deadlier than a gibbet with its flamboyant beam, which one never sees empty without imagining the malefactor aswing upon it; the heading-block did not frown, it grinned yes, grinned like the eye-holes of a skeleton with a candle behind them, while the torches glinted through the interstices of the framework as it was being nailed together.