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Vocabulary: admiralty, cordially, lieutenant
1. After breakfast next morning, the squire asked his friend to go with him into his study.
2. "I have been thinking this matter over," he said, "very seriously, and, upon reflection, I agree with you that it is undesirable that Aggie should see much of Richard, until she is of an age to form a fair opinion for herself, and to compare him with other young men. I agree with you, also, that we have not yet sufficient proofs that he is completely changed. I hope that he is. You think he is not. At any rate, he must have a longer trial, and until it is proved to your satisfaction, as well as mine, that he is in every way a desirable husband for Aggie, the less they see of each other, the better. I therefore propose to write at once to my friend Admiral Hewson, to ask him to use his influence, at the admiralty, to get the young fellow appointed to a ship. Does that meet your approval, my friend?"
3. "Quite so," the other said cordially. "Nothing could be better. In the meantime, as you say, should Richard turn out well, and the young people take a liking for each other, no match could be more satisfactory. What I want is that she should take no girlish fancy for him, at present."
4. "So be it, then," the squire said. "I think, you know, that we are a couple of old fools, to be troubling ourselves about Aggie's future, at present. Still, in a matter which concerns us both so nearly, we cannot be too careful. If we had a woman with us, we could safely leave the matter in her hands; as it is, we must blunder on, as best we may."
5. And so it was settled, and a week later, Richard Horton received an official letter from the admiralty, ordering him to proceed at once to Portsmouth to join the Thetis, to which he was appointed as fourth lieutenant. The order gave Richard extreme satisfaction. He was beginning to find his life desperately dull, and he was heartily sick of playing the attentive nephew. He was well content with the progress he had made; nothing had gone wrong since he returned, his uncle had clearly taken him back into his favour, and he had no doubt that Aggie quite appreciated the pains he had bestowed to gain her liking.
6. He detested the squire's companion, for he felt that the latter disliked and distrusted him, and that his projects would meet with a warm opposition on his part. Still, with the squire and Aggie herself on his side, he did not fear the result. As to James Walsham, whom he had come home prepared to regard as a possible rival, from his early intimacy with the child, and the fact that his mother was her governess, he now regarded him with contempt, mingled with a revengeful determination to pay off the old score, should a chance ever present itself.
7. He therefore started next day in high spirits, assuming, however, a great reluctance to tear himself away. A few days later a letter came from him, saying that he hoped that he should be able to come back, sometimes, for a day or two, as the Thetis was at present to be attached to the Channel squadron, and it was not expected that she would, for some time, proceed on foreign service.
8. Early in October, James Walsham was to go up to London, to commence his medical course. A week before he was to start, Mr. Wilks went down in the morning, intending to insist on his returning with him to the Hall. As he went down towards Sidmouth, the old soldier noticed how strongly the wind was blowing, the trees were swaying and thrashing in the wind, the clouds were flying past overhead. Everything portended a severe gale.
9. Finding, at Mrs. Walsham's, that James was down on the beach, he continued his course until he joined him there. James was standing with a group of fishermen, who were looking seaward. Now that he was exposed to the full force of the wind, Mr. Wilks felt that, not only was it going to blow a gale, but that it was blowing one already. The heavy clouds on the horizon seemed to lie upon the water, the waves were breaking with great force upon the beach, and the fishermen had hauled their boats up across the road.
10. "It's blowing hard, Jim," he said, laying his hand on the young fellow's shoulder.
11. "It is blowing hard, and it will blow a great deal harder before nightfall. The fishermen all think it is going to be an exceptional gale. It is blowing dead on shore. It will be bad work for any ships that happen to be coming up Channel today. Eight or ten of our boats are out. We thought we had made out three of them just before you came, but the cloud closed down on them. The fishermen are just going to get lifelines ready. I am afraid we are going to have a terrible night of it."
12. "I came down to ask you if you will come up to lunch, Jim, but I suppose you will not be able to tear yourself away from here."
13. "I shouldn't like to leave now, indeed. There is no saying what may happen. Besides, so many of the fishermen are away, that I may be useful here if a vessel comes ashore, and there may be half a dozen before the morning. Every hand will be wanted to give assistance."
14. "But you could not get a boat out through those breakers, could you, Jim?"
15. "Yes," Jim replied, "we might get one of the big boats through it now; but it's going to be worse, presently. When I went out, last year, with a boat to the brig which was driven ashore, it was worse than this.
16. "I shall be very glad to come up tomorrow, if you will let me. I hear that fellow Horton went away last week."
1. Who was the Squire’s friend? _______________________________________
2. What was the name of Richard’s ship? ________________________________
3. In what month was James to go to London? ____________________________
4. Where did Mr. Wilks find James? _____________________________________
Vocabulary: desirable, thoroughly, squall
17. "Yes, he went away, Jim. But why his being there should have kept you from going up is beyond me."
18. "I don't like the fellow, Mr. Wilks. He may mean very well, but I don't like him. I have been in one row about him with the squire, and I don't want another; but I am quite sure, if I had gone up much while he was there, it would have ended in my trying to punch his head again."
19. "In that case, perhaps," the old soldier said, smiling, "you were wise to stay away, Jim. I don't like the lad myself. Still, punching his head would not have been a desirable thing."
20. "I am glad you don't like him," James said, warmly. "Somehow I made up my mind that you were all sure to like him, and I don't suppose the idea made me like him any the better. He was just the free-and-easy sort of fellow to get along well, and I was quite sure that Aggie would not want me, when she had him to go about with her. I saw him drive through in the pony carriage with her, two or three times, and it was easy to see how thoroughly she was enjoying herself."
21. "Well, it was your own fault, my boy. If you choose to sulk down here, and never to go up to the Hall, you can't blame Aggie for letting herself be amused by someone else."
22. "Oh! I don't blame her," James said hastily. "Of course, it is all right that she should enjoy herself with her cousin. Only somehow, you know, after being great friends with anyone, one doesn't like to see someone else stepping into your place."
23. "But as I have told you, over and over again, during the last three years, Jim, you have willfully stepped out of your place. You know how often I have asked you to come up, and how seldom you have come. You have never shown Aggie that you have any wish to continue on the footing of friendship, on which you stood towards each other when she was at your mother's, and as you have chosen to throw her over, I don't see why she shouldn't take to anyone else who takes pains to make himself pleasant to her."
24. "Oh! I don't blame her a bit, Mr. Wilks. How could you think such a thing! I was very fond of little Aggie when she was at my mother's; but of course, I was not donkey enough to suppose that she was going trotting about the country with me, when she once went up to the Hall as the squire's granddaughter. Of course, the whole thing was changed.
25. "Ah! Here comes the rain."
26. As he spoke, a sudden splash of rain struck them. It might have been noticed coming across the water in a white line. With it came a gust of wind, to which that which had already been blowing was a trifle. There was no more talking, for nothing less than a shout could have been heard above the roaring of the wind. It was scarcely possible to stand against the fury of the squall, and they were driven across the road, and took shelter at the corner of some houses, where the fishermen had already retired.
27. The squall lasted but a few minutes, but was soon succeeded by another, almost equally furious, and this seemed to increase in strength, until the wind was blowing a perfect hurricane; but the fishermen now struggled across the road again, for, between the rain squalls, a glimpse had been caught of two of the fishing boats, and these were now approaching the shore. A mere rag of sail was set on each, and yet they tore over the waves at tremendous speed.
28. One was some two hundred yards ahead of the other, and by the course they were making, they would come ashore nearly at the same spot. The news that two boats were in sight spread rapidly, and many of the fishermen's wives, with shawls over their heads, ran down and stood peering out from behind shelter, for it was well-nigh impossible to stand exposed to the fury of the gale.
29. An old fisherman stood, with a coil of rope in his hand, close to the water's edge. Several of the others stood close to him, and four of them had hold of the other end of the rope. When the boat was within fifty yards of shore, the sail was lowered; but she still drove straight on before the wind, with scarce an abatement in her speed. A man stood in her bow, also with a coil of rope in his hand, and, as he approached, threw it far ahead. The fisherman rushed waist deep into the water and caught the end of it, which in a moment was knotted to the one in his hand.
30. "Run along with her," he shouted.
31. For a moment, the boat towered on the top of a wave, which raced in towards the shore. The next, as it came, took her stern, and she was in the act of swinging round, when the strain of the rope came upon her, and brought her straight again. Higher and higher the wave rose, and then crashed down, and the boat shot forward, like an arrow, in the foam. The fishermen rushed forward and caught it, those on board leapt out waist-deep; all were taken off their feet by the backward rush, but they clung to the sides of the boat, while the men at the head rope, with their heels dug deeply into the sand, withstood the strain, and kept her from being swept out again.
32. A few seconds, and the boat was left dry, and the next wave carried it high up on the beach, amid a loud cheer from the fishermen and lookers on; but there was no time to waste, for the next boat was close at hand. Again, the rope was thrown to the shore, but this time the strain came a moment too late, the following wave turned the boat round, the next struck it broadside and rolled it, over and over, towards the shore. The fishermen, in an instant, joined hands, and rushing down into the water, strove to grasp the men.
33. Several times, those in front were knocked down and rolled up on the beach, but three of the crew were brought in with them. There was one still missing, and there was a shout as he was seen, clinging to an oar, just outside the line of breakers. James Walsham had been working with the fishermen in saving those already brought to shore. He now fastened the end of a line round his body.
34. "You can never get through those rollers--they will break you up like an eggshell," the old fisherman shouted.
35. "I will dive through them," Jim shouted back. "Give me plenty of slack, and don't pull, till you see I have got him."
5. What did James say he would do to Richard if he had come up to the Hall?
6. Did James blame Aggie for liking Richard? _____________________________
7. How long did the first squall last? ____________________________________
8. How many crew men were on the second ship? _________________________
Vocabulary: sunder, conscious, prostrate
36. The lad waited for his opportunity, and then, rushing down after the sheet of white foam, he stood, waist deep, as a great wave, some twelve feet high, towered up like a wall towards him. It was just going to break, when James plunged, head foremost, into it. There was a crash which shook the earth, a mass of wildly rushing foam, and then, some ten yards beyond the spot where the wave had broken, Jim's head appeared above the surface. It was but for a moment, for he immediately dived again, under the next wave, and then came up within a few yards of the floating oar. A stroke or two, and he was alongside. He seized the man, and held up one arm as a signal. In a moment the rope tightened, and they moved towards shore. When they were close to the
edge of the breaking waves, Jim held up his hand, and the strain stopped.
37. "Now," he said to the man, "the moment they begin to pull, leave go of the oar, and throw your arms round me."
38. He waited until a wave, bigger than ordinary, approached, and, just as it began to pass under him, gave the signal. Higher and higher they seemed to rise, then they were dashed down with a tremendous shock. There was a moment's confusion as they were swept along in the white water. Jim felt a terrific strain, and it seemed to him that the rope would cut him in sunder. Then he was seized by a dozen strong arms, and
carried high and dry, before the next wave could reach him.
39. For a minute or two he was scarce conscious. The breath had been almost knocked out of his body, with the break of the wave, and the rushing water seemed still singing in his ears.
40. "Are you hurt, my boy? Are you hurt, James?" were the first words he clearly heard.
41. "No, I think I am all right," he said, trying to sit up. "Is the other fellow all right?"
42. "He has broke his arm," one of the fishermen, who had just helped the man to his feet, replied. "He may be thankful it's no worse."
43. James was now helped to his feet.
44. "I am all right," he repeated to Mr. Wilks, "except that I feel as if I had a hot iron round my body. That rope has taken the skin off all round me, I fancy, and doesn't it smart, just, with the salt water!"
45. "Oh, James, how could you do it?" a girl's voice said suddenly.
46. The fishermen drew aside, and Aggie Linthorne pressed forward.
47. The squire had gone into her schoolroom and had said: "Mrs. Walsham, I think you had better give up your lessons for the morning, and get home. It is blowing a gale now, and we shall probably have the rain down before long. I will walk down with you. The wind is dead on the shore, and it will be a grand sight."
48. Aggie at once set her mind on going, too; but the squire refused, until Mrs. Walsham suggested that, if it came on wet, Aggie could stop at her house until it cleared up, or, if necessary, till morning. Whereupon, the squire had given way, and the three had started together for Sidmouth, leaving Mrs. Walsham at her house as they passed. The others had struggled down, against the wind, until they came within sight of the sea. The first boat had just been run safely on shore when they arrived, and Aggie gave a cry, and put her hands over her face, as the second boat was seen to capsize.
49. "Cling to me, Aggie," the squire said. "See, they are rushing in the water to save them. They will have them, yet!"
50. At the cheer which broke out from the spectators, clustering thickly now, as the first of the shipwrecked crew was brought to shore, Aggie looked out again. It was a sight she never forgot. With the great waves crashing down on the shore, and the line of straggling figures, waist deep in the white foam, in which were scattered, here and there, portions of the boat, oars, sails, and nets.
51. "Well done, well done!" the squire exclaimed. "They have dragged up three of them. I don't know whether there are any more."
52. "Yes, yes, look!" Aggie cried; "there, out in the waves--there, I can see a head. That's just about where I was nearly drowned. Oh, grandpapa, take me away, I can't look at it."
53. "There's someone going out to save him, Aggie. Listen to the cheer."
54. Aggie looked again.
55. "Oh, grandpapa, stop him, stop him!" she cried, "it's James."
56. But at the same moment the plunge was made, and the figure lost to sight.
57. Aggie threw her arms round her grandfather, and hid her face.
58. "I can't look, I can't look," she cried. "Tell me about it."
59. "There, he is up; bravo!" the squire exclaimed, almost as excited as she was. "He has dived again, dear,"--then, after a pause--"there he is close to him. He has got him, Aggie! Now he is waving his hand; now they are tightening the rope; now he is waving his hand again, and they are waiting. There!"
60. There was a pause, which seemed to the girl to be endless, then the squire cried: "They have got them out, both of them;" and a loud cheer broke from all standing round.
61. "Come along, grandpapa, let us go down to them."
62. "Stay a moment, my dear. They may be hurt. It's better you should not go."
63. The girl stood, with her hands clasped, gazing at the fishermen grouped on the shore, stooping over the prostrate figures. Then one of them stood up and waved his hand, and the spectators knew that all was well. Then the girl ran down to join them.
64. "Why, Aggie!" James exclaimed in astonishment, as she pressed forward. "Why, my dear, what brings you here in this storm? Whatever will the squire say?"
65. "The squire has brought her down himself," Mr. Linthorne said, following closely behind his granddaughter; "and he is glad he did, James, for she has seen a grand sight.
66. "You are a fine fellow;" and he wrung the lad's hand.
67. "A grand fellow, Wilks, isn't he?"
68. "I always said so, squire," the old soldier said, his face beaming with satisfaction; "but now, let us get him home, and Aggie, too. The child will be blown away."
9. What had the rescued man broken? ________________________________
10. What did James say the rope felt like around him? _____________________
11. Did Aggie want James to risk his life? _______________________________
12. Was the Squire glad he brought Aggie down to the beach? ______________
Vocabulary: grog, occurrences, chafe, anxious, wheal
69. But, for a minute or two, they could not carry James off, so closely did the men and women press round him, and shake him by the hand. At last they got him away, and, escorted by a crowd of cheering boys, led him back to his mother's.
70. "Your son is a hero, Mrs. Walsham!" the squire exclaimed as they entered; "but don't talk to him now, but mix him a glass of hot grog.
71. "Wilks, you get him between the blankets directly. I will tell his mother all about it, while she is mixing the grog.
72. "Hallo, Aggie! Why, bless the child, she's fainted."
73. The girl had borne up till they reached the house, towards which the wind had blown her along, as she clung to her grandfather's arm; but the excitement had been too much for her, and, the instant they entered the room, she had dropped into an armchair, and at once lost consciousness.
74. Mrs. Walsham kept her presence of mind, in spite of her bewilderment at these sudden occurrences. She at once laid the girl on the sofa, removed her dripping bonnet and cloak, and poured a few drops of brandy between her lips, while she set the squire to work, to chafe her hands. Aggie soon opened her eyes, and recovered her consciousness.
75. "Don't try to get up, Aggie," Mrs. Walsham said. "You are faint and shaken with all this excitement. Your grandpapa and I were two very foolish people, to let you come out.
76. "Now, Mr. Wilks, the best thing you can do, is to find a boy outside, and send him up to the Hall, with a message that the carriage is to come down directly.
77. "I think, Mr. Linthorne, she had better get back home. I should be glad enough, as you know, to keep her here for the night; but this house is rocking with the wind, now, and she would not be likely to get any sleep here. I will run up and see how James is, and if he is all right, I will come up with her and stop the night. She is very much shaken, and had better not be alone."
78. Mrs. Walsham soon came downstairs again, and said that James said he never felt better in his life, and that, by all means, she was to go up to the Hall. She then set about and prepared a cup of tea, which greatly restored Aggie, and, by the time the carriage arrived, the girl was able to walk to the gate.
79. Mr. Wilks had offered to remain with James, but the latter would not hear of it. The lad was, indeed, well pleased to hear that they were all going up to the Hall, as thereby he escaped hearing any more of his own praises. Besides, he was most anxious to get down to the beach again, for no one could say what might take place there before morning.
80. As soon, therefore, as he heard the door close, he jumped out of bed, and when, peeping through the blinds, he saw the carriage drive off with its four occupants, he at once began to dress. He felt bruised and sore from the blows he had received, and a red wheal round his chest, beneath the arms, showed where the rope had almost cut into the flesh. However, he soon dressed himself, and descended the stairs, went into
the kitchen, and told the astonished girl that he was going out; then, having made a hasty meal of bread and cold meat, he put on his oilskins again, and started for the shore.
81. He did not, however, wait long. So heavy was the sea, now, that nothing whatever could be done should any vessel drive ashore, and, as for the fisher boats, the sailors shook their heads as they spoke of them.
82. "They were farther away to the west, so the chaps as got ashore tells us. They may have got in, somewhere, before it got to the worst. If not, it must have gone hard with them."
83. Finding that there was nothing to be done, and that he was much more stiff and bruised than he had believed, Jim made his way back again, and turned into bed; where he soon fell asleep, and did not wake until the following morning.
13. What did Aggie drop into when she fainted? ____________________________
14. What did Mrs. Walsham have them bring down from the Hall? ______________
15. Who offered to remain with James? ___________________________________
16. In what direction had the other fishing boats been? _______________________
Vocabulary: draught, convalescent, collisions, bludgeons
84. One of the grooms had come down from the Hall, at six o'clock, to inquire how he was, and the message given by the girl, that he had been out, but that he had come back and was now sound asleep, satisfied Mrs. Walsham, and enabled her to devote her undivided attention to her charge, who needed her care more than her son. Before night, indeed, the squire had sent down to Sidmouth for Dr. Walsham's successor, who
said that Aggie was very feverish, and must be kept perfectly quiet for some days. He sent her up a soothing draught, and Mrs. Walsham sat up with her all night. She slept but little, and talked almost incessantly, sometimes rambling a little.
85. The first thing in the morning, the doctor was again sent for, and on his recommendation the squire at once sent off a man, on horseback, to Exeter, for the leading physician of that town. When he arrived, late in the afternoon, Aggie was somewhat quieter, and his report was more cheering.
86. "Her pulse is very high," he said; "but Mr. Langford tells me that it is not so rapid as it was in the morning, and that he thinks the symptoms are abating. Undoubtedly, it is a sharp feverish attack, brought on by excitement and exposure. A very little more, and it would have been a case of brain fever, but I trust now that it will soon pass off. The sedatives that have been administered are taking effect, and I trust she will soon fall asleep.
87. "As you requested, I have made my arrangements for staying here tonight, and I trust that, by the morning, we shall have her convalescent."
88. Mr. Wilks had gone down, the first thing in the morning, to see James, and found him up and about as usual. He was very greatly concerned, at hearing that Aggie had passed a bad night, and came four times up to the Hall, during the day, to inquire about her; and on his last visit, late in the evening, he was told that she was sleeping quietly, and that the doctor had every hope that she would wake, in the morning, free from fever. This proved to be the case; but she was ordered to keep her bed for a day or two.
89. On the morning after the storm, the wind had gone down much, although a tremendous sea was still breaking on the shore. Messages arrived, in the course of the day, to say that all the missing boats, with one exception, had succeeded in gaining the shore before the storm was full on. The missing boat was never heard of again.
90. Two days later, James Walsham had strolled up the hill to the east of the town, and was lying, with a book before him, in a favourite nook of his looking over the sea. It was one of the lovely days which sometimes come late in autumn, as if the summer were determined to show itself at its best, before leaving. It could not be said that James was studying, for he was watching the vessels passing far out at sea, and inwardly moaning over the fact that he was destined for a profession for which he had no real liking, instead of being free to choose one of travel and adventure.
91. Presently, he heard voices behind him. The position, in which he was lying, was a little distance down on the slopes, on the seaward side of the path, and, as a screen of bushes grew behind it, he could not be seen by anyone passing along.
92. "All the men, with their pistols and cutlasses, are to assemble here at ten o'clock tonight, Johnson. But do not give them orders till late, and let them come up, one by one, so as not to attract attention. Lipscombe's men are to assemble at the same hour, and march to meet us. This time, I think, there is no mistake. The cargo is to be landed
where I told you. It will be high tide at twelve o'clock, and they are sure to choose that hour, so that the cutter can run close in. I have sent off a man on horseback to Weymouth, for the revenue cutter to come round. If she's in time, we shall catch that troublesome lugger, as well as her cargo. She has been a thorn in our side for the last year. This time, I do hope we shall have her."
93. The speakers then moved on out of hearing, but James Walsham recognized the voice, as that of the revenue officer commanding the force at Sidmouth.
94. Smuggling was, at that time, carried on on a large scale along the coast, and there were frequent collisions between those engaged in it and the revenue officers. The sympathies of the population were wholly with the smugglers, and the cheating of the revenue was not at all considered in the light of a crime.
95. Many of the fishermen, from time to time, took a hand in smuggling cruises, and the country people were always ready to lend assistance in landing and carrying the cargoes.
96. When out in their boats at night, James had often heard the fishermen tell stories of their smuggling adventures, and more than once he had been with them, when they had boarded a lugger laden with contraband, to warn them that the revenue cutter was on the cruising ground, and it would not be safe to attempt to run cargo at present. He now
determined, at once, that he would warn the smugglers of their danger. The question was, where was the cargo to be run? The officer had not mentioned the spot, but, as the force from the next station to the east was to cooperate, it must be somewhere between the two.
97. Waiting till the speakers must have gone well along the cliff, he rose to his feet, and returned to Sidmouth. He thought, at first, of telling some of the fishermen what he had heard, but as, in the event of an affray, it might come out how the smugglers had been warned of the intention of the revenue officers, he thought there would be less risk in giving them warning himself. He knew every path down the cliff for miles, and trusted that he should be able to make his way down, and give the boats notice of their danger, before the revenue men reached the shore.
98. At nine o'clock he dressed himself, in the rough sailor's suit he wore when he went out with the fishermen, and started along the cliff. For some distance he kept well inland, as the officer might have placed a man on the lookout, to stop anyone going towards the scene of action. The spot he thought the most likely was a mile and a half along the shore. There was a good landing place, and an easy path up the cliff, and he knew that cargoes had been more than once run here. Accordingly, when he reached this spot, he sat down among some bushes on the edge of the cliff, and waited for some sort of signal. Half an hour later, he heard the tramp of a number of men, passing along behind him.
100. "There go the revenue men," he thought to himself. "I suppose they are going to meet those coming the other way."
101. An hour passed without further sound, and James began to get uneasy. If this was the spot fixed for the landing, some of the country people ought to be arriving, by this time, to help to carry off the cargo. They might, for aught he knew, be already near, waiting for the signal before they descended the path. No doubt the revenue men would be lying in wait, a short distance off, and would allow the friends of the smugglers to go down to the water, without letting them know of their presence.
102. He kept his eyes fixed on the water to the east, watching anxiously for the appearance of a light. Presently he started. Immediately in front of him, about a mile at sea, a bright light was shown. In a second, it disappeared. Three times it flashed out, and then all was dark. The night was a very dark one. There was no moon, and the stars were obscured, and although he strained his eyes to the utmost, he could not make out the vessel from which the light had been shown.
103. "How foolish to show such a bright light!" he said to himself. "It would have been almost sure to attract the attention of anyone on the watch."
104. He made his way to the path, and descended to the edge of the water, and waited, expecting momentarily to be joined by people from above. But no one came. He strained his ears listening for the fall of approaching oars; but all was silent.
105. Half an hour passed, and then it flashed across him that the signal must have been made to deceive the revenue men, and to cause them to assemble at that spot, and so leave the point really determined upon free for operations.
106. With an exclamation of disgust at his own stupidity, in having been deceived, James ran up the path again at the top of his speed, and then took the road along the cliff. For two miles, he ran without interruption, and then saw a dark mass in front of him. He turned off, instantly, to the left. Doubtless he had been heard approaching, for two or three men detached themselves from the rest, and started to cut him off. James ran straight inland, and in the darkness soon lost sight of his pursuers. Then he turned, and made for the cliff again. Two or three hundred yards farther along, there was another path to the shore, and this he had no doubt, now, was the one the smugglers were about to use. He struck the cliff within a few yards of the spot. In an instant, two men jumped up and seized him.
107. "Who are you?"
108. For an instant, James thought that his assailants were revenue men, but, even in the darkness, he saw that they were countrymen.
109. "Quick!" he said. "The revenue men are close at hand. They are watching, two or three hundred yards along. Listen! Here they come."
110. A tramping of feet coming rapidly along the cliff was clearly heard, and the men, with an oath, released their hold and ran off, giving a loud whistle, and made for their carts, which were stationed a few hundred yards inland. James dashed down the path, shouting at the top of his voice. He had not gone many yards before he met a number of men, coming up with tubs of spirits on their shoulders.
111. "Throw them down," he cried, "and make along the shore. The revenue men are close behind."
112. His advice was taken at once. The tubs were thrown down, and went leaping and bounding down to the shore, while the men followed James, at full speed, down the path.
113. Their pursuers were close behind. There was no longer any use in concealment. Their officer shouted to them to press forward at full speed, while, from the beach below, a hubbub of voices suddenly broke out, and, at the same moment, a blue light was lit on the cliff above.
114. "Beat them back, my lads," one of the smugglers was shouting, as James ran down to the little crowd of men standing near two boats. "We are five to one against them. Come on."
115. "Surrender in the king's name," the revenue officer shouted, as he rushed forward, followed by his men.
116. The answer was a pistol shot, and, in a moment, a furious melee began. The advantage in numbers was all on the side of the smugglers. Those who had landed with the kegs were all armed with pistol and cutlass, and the countrymen had heavy sticks and bludgeons. The ten revenue men would have been overpowered, but suddenly a shout was heard, and another party of sailors ran up along the shore, and joined in the
fray. It was the detachment from the other station, which had been waiting, at some little distance along the shore, for the signal from above.
117. "To the boats, lads," the leader of the smugglers shouted. "We are caught in a trap."
118. The smugglers rushed to the boats, and James, who was standing by the water's edge, leaped on board with them. Most of the country people fled at once along the shore, pursued by some of the revenue men, while the others made a rush for the boats. These had been kept afloat a few yards from the shore. Grapnels had been dropped over their sterns, and, as the men in charge hauled out the moment the fight began, they were in water shoulder deep when the smugglers scrambled on board.
119. The revenue men dashed in after them, and strove to hold the boats; but they were beaten off with oars and cutlasses, and the boats were soon hauled out into deep water. The grapnels were lifted, and the men, many of whom were wounded more or less severely in the fray, got out their oars and pulled to the lugger, amid a dropping fire of pistol shots from shore.
17. At what time did one of the grooms check on James? _____________________
18. How many of the missing boats were never found? _______________________
19. What time were the revenue men to assemble? __________________________
20. How far did James run without interruption? _____________________________