Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution >> Chapter XXXI: Night Adventure in the Hovel >> Page 269

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 269

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
Transcription JOSCELYN269
He. started to his feet. A torch was blazing in the hands of the old
woman, where she stood in her doorway. It gave sufficient light to
the apartment, and Walter came to his perfect consciousness only on
perceiving the outer door unclose, while a figure, which he conjec-
tured to be that of the stranger, his late companion, was making his
way through it. He sprang after him, but the door was hastily shut
in his face, and when he had succeeded in making his way into the
open air, he found himself in such utter darkness, that pursuit and
search were seemingly in vain.
He returned to find his saddle-bags cut open, and lying upon the
floor. The shock which had awakened him was occasioned by their
sudden withdrawal from beneath his head, and that the robber was
arrested in his attempt, was due to the sudden glare of the torch-light
upon his proceedings, and the sharp, hurried interrogation of the
woman.
Walter was greatly relieved, upon examination, to find that his
packet of letters, his father's despatches, though actually withdrawn
from the saddle-bags, had fallen from the grasp of the robber, and
lay beside them upon the floor. The prompt interruption of the
woman alone had saved him from loss of property and possibly of
life. No attempt had been made upon his purse.
"He is gone! " said she to Walter; "you could not see him."
"It was too dark to see a step before me."
"Ah! what a thing it is to get sleep when you want it, for young
people can sleep ; but it's not so with the old ones. I was jubous
about you two men, and when I heard a noise in the bed-room, where
that man slept, I was more jubous. He overthrowd my barrel of
peaches, and made such a noise that if you hadn't been dead with
sleep, it must have awakened you. Then I watched, and then I
waited and listened. It was a long time before the man moved again.
He was afeard. But when I heard the door creek, I know'd he was
moving; so I got up and just lighted the pine, and when I opened
the door, there he was, with his knife opened and standing over you,
just ready to kill; then I screamed out, and then he run. But, Lord
love you! young man, here I'm a-keeping you talking when there's
no knowing what mischief he's a-doing now. You couldn't find him
in the dark. You but, Lord love you! why didn't you push for the
stable? Your horse, man, your horse ! "