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Pleasure Book for Boys - Chapter 7

FORESTER OF THE FLANNELS.

By K. Netson Abbott

Chapter 7

I shan’t be in any danger. It wouldn’t be much use holding me for ransom. There’s not a person who would pay a cent to get me back,” said Dick bitterly.

After some further argument he gained his point, and leaving their hiding place, he dodged from cover to cover, as the moon had now risen, lighting up the scene and throwing deep shadows from every rock or bush.

Before he reached the mule track that led down to the mine, it flashed upon him that it would be as well to go and see what was happening at the house. No one was in sight as he made his way carefully through the gardens. All sounds of hammering had ceased, but from the back of the house proceeded shouting and singing.

“The swine ! They have got to the wine cellar!” he muttered.” Now if I could only-” He paused, well hidden behind a tall fern, and thought out a plan.

A voice rose above the others in a catchy drinking song. Dick waited until a number of voices joined in the chorus, then under cover of the noise, crept on all fours towards the back door, keeping well away from the light that streamed through the lower windows. He found the door torn off its hinges, and inside the back entry he paused and listened, but all sounds came from the wine cellar. The steps leading down to it were along the passage to his right. The lights were all switched on, and if any one was about there would be no chance of escape. Slipping off his shoes, he was about to make a dash forward, when he heard the tramp, tramp of a sentry walking up and down the passage.

Terrified, he slithered back into the dark shadow of the porch and waited breathlessly. Caution urged him to slip away while he had the chance, but he hated the idea of running from the fight without firing a shot. Peering through the thick creeper that draped the doorway, he watched the man’s movements. Evidently he was longing, yet fearing, to join his merry companions, for each time he passed the top of the steps he paused irresolute, then marched on, whistling the catchy refrain.

Another song started, the sentry stopped to listen, then descended a couple of steps. This was Dick’s opportunity. He bounded across the passage, and shortening the grasp of his stick, brought it down heavily on the sentry’s head as he stooped forward.