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Bertram began to be seriously anxious for their fate. There was no stir in the house ; it seemed as if the jailor had deserted his charge, and left the prison with its wretched inhabitants to the mercy of the conflagration which was spreading towards them. In the meantime a new and fierce attack was heard upon the outer gate of the Correction-house, which, battered with sledge-hammers and crows, was soon forced. The keeper, as great a coward as a bully, with his more ferocious wife, had fled ; their servants readily surrendered the keys. The liberated prisoners, celebrating their deliverance with the wildest yells of joy, mingled among the mob which had given them freedom.
In the midst of the confusion that ensued, three or four of the principal smugglers hurried to the apartment of Bertram with lighted torches, and armed with cutlasses and pistols.-"Der deyvil," said the leader, “here's our mark !” and two of them seized on Bertram ; but one whispered in his ear, “Make no resistance till you are in the street.” The same individual found an instant to say to Dinmont>"Follow your friend, and help when you see the time come.”
In the hurry of the moment, Dinmont obeyed and followed close. The two smugglers dragged Bertram along the passage, down stairs, through the court-yard, now illuminated by the glare of fire, and into the narrow street to which the gate opened, where, in the confusion, the gang were necessarily in some degree separated from each other. A rapid noise, as of a body of horse advancing, seemed to add to the disturbance.
“Hagel and wetter, what is that?" said the leader; “ keep together, kinder, look to the prisoner.” But in spite of this charge, the two who held Bertram were the last of the party.
The sounds and signs of violence were heard in front. The press became furiously agitated, while some endeavoured to defend themselves, others to escape; shots were fired, and the glittering broadswords of the dragoons began to appear flashing above the heads of the rioters. “Now," said the warning whisper of the man who held Bertram's left arm, the same who had spoken before, “shake off that fellow, and follow me.”
Bertram, exerting his strength suddenly and effectually, easily burst from the grasp of the man who held his collar on the right side. The fellow attempted to draw a pistol, but was prostrated by a blow of Dinmont's fist, which an ox could hardly have received without the same humiliation. “Follow me quick,” said the friendly partisan, and dived through a very narrow and dirty lane which led from the main street.
No pursuit took place. The attention of the smugglers had been otherwise and very disagreeably engaged by the sudden appearance of Mac-Morlan and the party of horse. The loud manly voice of the provincial magistrate was heard proclaiming the riot act, and charging "all those unlawfully assembled, to disperse at their own proper peril.” This interruption would indeed have happened in time sufficient to have prevented the attempt, had not the magistrate received upon the road some false information, which led him
to think that the smugglers were to land at the Bay of Ellangowan. Nearly two hours were lost in consequence of this false intelligence, which it may be no lack of charity to suppose that Glossin, so deeply interested in the issue of that night's daring attempt, had contrived to throw in Mac-Morlan's way, availing himself of the knowledge that the soldiers had left Hazlewood-House, which would soon reach an ear so anxious as his.
In the mean time, Bertram followed his guide, and was in his turn followed by Dinmont. The shouts of the mob, the trampling of the horses, the dropping pistol-shots, sunk more and more faintly upon their ears; when at the end of the dark lane they found a post-chaise with four horses. “Are you here, in God's name?” said the guide to the postilion who drove the leaders.
Ay, troth am I," answered Jock Jabos, “and I wish I were ony gate else.”
“Open the carriage, then. - You, gentlemen, get into it-in a short time you'll be in a place of safetyand (to Bertram) remember your promise to the gipsy wife !"
Bertram, resolving to be passive in the hands of a person who had just rendered him such a distinguished piece of service, got into the chaise as directed. Dinmont followed ; Wasp, who had kept close by them, sprung in at the same time, and the carriage drove off very fast. “Have à care o me,” said Dinmont, “but this is the queerest thing yet !-Odd, I trust they'll no
coup us—and then what's to come o' Dumple ?-1 would rather be on his back than in the Deuke's coach, God bless him.”
Bertram observed, that they could not go at that: rapid rate to any very great distance without changing horses, and that they might insist upon remaining till day-light at the first inn they stopped at, or at least upon being made acquainted with the purpose and termination of their journey, and Mr. Dinmont might there give directions about his faithful horse, which would probably be safe at the stables where he had left him.-“Aweel, aweel, e'en sae be it for Dandie.—Odd, if we were ance out o' this trindling kist o' a thing, I am thinking they wad find it hard wark to gar us gang ony gate but where we liked oursells."
While he thus spoke, the carriage making a sudden turn, showed them, through the left window, the village at some distance, still widely beaconed by the fire, which, having reached a storehouse wherein spirits were deposited, now rose high into the air, a wavering column of brilliant light. They had not long time to admire this spectacle, for another turn of the road carried them into a close lane between plantations, through which the chaise proceeded in nearly total darkness, but with unabated speed.