They were all too hungry to refuse the bread or the water, which, in spite of its brackish taste, quenched the thirst from which they had long been suffering. Their gaoler left them the lantern, in order that they might see how to divide the bread.
To all appearance the map was merely to give Hopperdown his directions for entering the cove. There was absolutely no mark upon it to show where the treasure had been buried. Now for the writing on the sheet below the map. It was in another hand than that which had written Lantern Bay across the face of the cove, and which, though labored, was precise and clear.
As he stooped to do it, however, the ship heaved up upon a swell, and the captain saw in the yellow light of his lantern sinuous black cracks which radiated away backwards from the central hole. "How much in the well?" he asked. "Five and a half feet." "Then the ship is lost. I could put my finger between her planks as far as I can see back. Keep the pumps going there!
So the little band of the heathen paused irresolute at the corner, and melted before the attractions of a magic lantern, like a glacier in spring.
"Light the lantern," he said unsteadily. Nayland Smith, who again had been peering suspiciously about into the shadows, struck a match and lighted the lantern which he carried. He turned to the solicitor. "Be calm, Mr. Henderson," he said sternly. "It is your plain duty to your client." "God be my witness that I doubt it," replied Henderson, and opened the door. We descended the steps.
Wood grasped his companion's arm to attract his attention to this unexpected means of escape. The ladder was now within reach. Both advanced towards it, when, by the light of the lantern, Wood beheld, in the countenance of the stranger, the well-remembered and stern features of Rowland. The carpenter trembled; for he perceived Rowland's gaze fixed first upon the infant, and then on himself.
As he sent home the dagger his foot struck the lantern, overturning it, and sent the iron case with its burning contents rolling across the floor toward the powder train. In another instant the fire will have reached the fuse, and 'tis not yet time! With a frantic push he hurled the victim of his murderous blow away from him, and hastened to snatch the sputtering light.
Her father might perhaps have noticed them, for one groom carried a torch, and the one-eyed maid's lantern was shining directly into her face. But while she was struggling not to weep aloud, emotion and anxiety for the old man who, through her fault, would be exposed to so much danger, extorted the cry: "Take care of him, Herr Pyramus! I will be grateful to you."
It was an exciting chase in the darkness, for we knew not whither we were going, nor into what pitfall or ravine or treacherous marsh we might fall. Once we saw afar through the trees the light of a lantern held by a guard, and already the sweet-faced girl beside me seemed tired and terribly fatigued.
From the garden the scent of the roses and mignonette came to me in the soft Indian darkness. I ventured a little bit along the road, too anxious to remember, or, remembering, to care, that I had no lantern, and that at any moment I might tread on a snake. I could only think of one thing, and how often I pictured it! Mr.