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Jack Harkaway and his son's Escape From the Brigand's of Greece by Bracebridge Hemyng

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friends."

"You may trust me," said Jack.

"I know it, for I have saved your boys."

* * * * *

They reached the prison.

"Sebastian," said Theodora, presenting Harkaway to her foster-sister
and the latter's lover, "this is Mr. Harkaway."

The Greek official bowed with an air of constraint.

"Theodora has told you all, sir?"

"Yes, you have risked much to save my boys' lives."

"Since I can count upon your forbearance," said Sebastian, "I will say
no more. Follow me to the presence of the boys."

So saying, Sebastian led the way through the stone-paved passages to
the tower overhanging the sea, in which the cell of the two boys was
situated.

At the base of the tower were jagged, sea-beaten rocks.

Beside the tower, at about half the height of the tower, reckoning from
the level of the sea, was a gravel terrace, covered with a waterproof
canopy, so as to form a sort of shed.

And looking out of the tower windows as they passed up its steep inner
staircase, Harkaway inquired what this place was.

"That is used as the prison mortuary."

"Those black, ugly outlines there are--"

"Bodies."

"Ugh!"

"They are put into those black bags in lieu of winding sheets, then
placed into those rough wooden shells, which are lowered to the prison
cemetery below by that crane you see to the right"

"A very poor look-out."

But away with such dull thoughts.
Here he was on the threshold of new joy--new life.

"Your boys are here," said Sebastian, pausing before a huge barred
door.

He undid the fastenings, and pushing open the door, made way for
Harkaway to pass in.

"Enter, sir," he said.

Harkaway's heart beat high.

He pushed open the door--entered.

"Where are they?"

"There."

A momentary pause.

"There's no one there," said Harkaway, in a tone indicative of
powerfully-suppressed emotion.

Dire apprehensions of evil stole over both Sebastian and Theodora as
they followed Harkaway into the cell.

"Theodora," gasped Sebastian, staggering back, "they are gone."

"Where? How?"

"They must have escaped."

"Liar!" yelled Harkaway, suddenly springing back and drawing his six-
shooter; "this is some plot. Thieves! murderers! You think to fool me;
but you shall pay the penalty for your villainy. You are in an injured
father's grasp. Die, brigands!"

CHAPTER XXXIII.

YOUNG JACK AND HIS COMRADE HARRY GIRDWOOD--DEAD OR ALIVE--THE
RIDDLE UNRAVELLED--THE PLAN IN CYPHER--A RELIC OF THE PAST--EUREKA!--
THE CYPHER UNRAVELLED.

Now for young Jack.

Once more let us see the bold young Harkaway and Harry, his brave
comrade.

Too long have we been absent from them.

Too long have we been forced by the exigencies of our history to leave,
not only the Harkaway family and party generally, under the cruel
impression that the two boys had been foully murdered, but the reader
likewise.

They lived.

Aye, it was every word true that Theodora had said.

Sebastian was not a wit less truthful.

When he opened the door of the cell in the tower, he fully expected to
find the two boys there.

Where were they?

By what jugglery had they contrived to get out of such a formidable
fortress as that place?

This the present chapter is to relate.

To give it clearly, however briefly, we must go back to the day of
their entrance into their gloomy prison home.

Jack and Harry were alone.

"This is a rum go, Jack," said Harry Girdwood. "What do you think of
it?"

"Precious dull, old boy," grumbled young Harkaway.

"Better than a grave on the mountain side."

"It is just that," said young Jack. "But it wouldn't be quite so good
if this sort of thing was meant to be permanent."

"Growler, growler," said Harry Girdwood. "Why, I call these famous
diggings, after that hole they meant us to rest in while the worms made
meat of us. Besides, we must get away."

"How?"

"Escape."

Young Jack looked up at the word, and his heart beat a little quicker.

But he said nothing.

Frowning walls on every side.

The cell was fully eighteen feet high, and the window was close up by
the ceiling.

"If we want to get out of this," said young Jack, "we must begin
operations from this moment."

"Good."

"Do you know, Harry, what is to be the first step?"

"No."

"To get at that window."

"But it is about eighteen feet high."

"Well, we must reach it," said young Jack.

Both boys were expert gymnasts.

The greasiest of greasy poles were vanquished by either with the
greatest of ease.

In the stormiest weather they could mount into the topmost parts of the
rigging on board ship.

And the consequence was that the morning after their entrance into
their prison found young Jack perched up at the window, looking down at
his comrade and fellow-prisoner, and giving graphic descriptions of all
he saw there.

"What's on the other side, Jack?"

"The sea, the open sea, old fellow," cried Jack.

"And below?"

"The sea, again, old fellow."

"To the right?"

"The sea, the sea--the open sea, old fellow. Water, water, everywhere,
and not a drop to drink. At least it would be an awful _drop_ to
get at it."

"Can you see any thing to the right?"

"Water only."

"Is that all?"

"Yes--hallo!"

Some thing fell.

A roll of some thing white and soft dropped at Harry Girdwood's feet,
and he hastened to pick it up.

Some thing white, we said.

Well, it had once been white, but now it had got very considerably
discoloured with age and dust, which seemed to indicate that it had
been a long while up on the shelf in its hiding place.

Yes, its hiding place.

They opened the bundle, and found it to be composed of three slips of
cotton, upon which were written, in red ink, curious things which they
could not make much of.

Upon one of these pieces of cotton were certain cabalistic signs, such
as figures, algebraical marks, and geometrical figures.

Upon another was traced a plan of some building.

A third was a sectional view, drawn roughly, but upon architectural
principles, and marked with initial letters of reference.

"This is a rum go," said Harry Girdwood, laughing.

Young Jack had dropped from his perch and joined his fellow-prisoner on
_terra firma,_ and together they poured over these singular rags.

Now young Harkaway soon lost patience, and speaking contemptuously of
their find, he proposed pitching it through the grated window into the
sea.

"Not I," said Harry; "there's some thing here which it will amuse me to
puzzle out."

"If you like to kill time that way, Harry," answered young Jack,
laughing, "no harm; there's plenty of time to kill in this dreadful
dungeon."

And puzzle over this precious treasure Harry did.

The cloth upon which were the cabalistic signs was headed with certain
words, which were all but illegible, and this he managed to construe.

"Simple cypher, left in hopes that it may yet serve some unfortunate
Englishman to escape from the tender mercies of this hole."

Below this were the following figures and signs--

3. 15. 21. 14. 20.--6. 15. 21. 18.--19. 20. 15. 14. 5. 19.
--21. 16.--6. 18. 15. 13.--7. 18. 15. 21. 14. 4.--20. 23.
15.--6. 15. 21. 18.--19. 9. 4. 5.--15. 6.--3. 8. 9.

Neath)
13. 14. 5. 25.-- > C.--23.
Press)
it.

8. 1. 20.--9. 19--
revealed.

Now when Harry Girdwood had got through the above puzzle once or twice,
he was in a regular fog. The only result was to get himself heartily
laughed at by his fellow-prisoner.

So Harry Girdwood kept what he knew of the matter to himself.

Upon that same day towards sundown, when Sebastian came round to bring
their food, Harry Girdwood said--

"We are not the first Englishmen who have been here, my friend."

Sebastian gave him a sharp glance, as he answered--

"How do you know that?"

"There is no mystery in it," replied Harry Girdwood; "I saw some words
written in pencil upon the wall,"

"Where?"

The eagerness of his manner aroused the curiosity of both the boys.

"Somewhere here," replied Harry, pretending to seek for the marks upon
the wall.

But of course he found nothing.

"It is strange," he said, still looking about; "for I made sure it was
hereabouts somewhere. I saw some words which made me sure that it was
occupied by an Englishman once."

"You are right," replied Sebastian; "quite right. An Englishman named
Terence Dougherty--"

"That Englishman was Irish," said young Jack.

"Possibly; but he was a priest. He was confined here for a long while.
So long that he went mad."

"Mad, did you say?"

"Yes, and raving at last; his madness appeared to have so much method
in it that it quite deceived our head doctor."

"How did he deceive the head doctor?"

"By his apparent sanity. He was mad as a March hare, and he used to
rave about having discovered the way out of the prison."

The two boys pricked up their ears at this speech.

"What was more natural?" said Sebastian. "A prisoner is always thinking
how he can get away."

"Of course."

"And yet," said Sebastian, "the old priest was sure he had discovered
the way to elude our vigilance when he chose to put his plan into
execution; and his dying words startled us."

"How?"

"He said to the doctor within twenty minutes of drawing his last
breath--'Doctor, you think I am mad. Not a bit of it, and I tell you
that I have given my life to the study of prison breaking--getting out
of this particular cell--and, doctor, I should have got out if the
great commander death had not ordered me off by another route. As it
is, I leave my work for the benefit of the first Briton who shall fall
into your claws and drop into my cell, and then--mark me well--he'll
profit by my work, unless he be a greater fool than you have taken me
to be, and get away."

"He was very mad," said young Harkaway.

"Very."

Harry Girdwood said nothing.

* * * * *

They were alone.

Young Jack was full of deep and serious thought.

Harry Girdwood arose suddenly from his puzzle.

"Eureka!" he cried; "I have discovered it."

"What?" demanded the startled Jack.

"The cypher. It is alphabetical. Listen here."

Young Jack approached.

"It is clear as daylight," said Harry; "these figures correspond with
the letters of the alphabet.

_"'Count four stones up from ground. Two from side of chimney. Press
underneath. See what is revealed under it.'"_

"Hurrah!" cried young Jack.

"Hurrah!" yelled Harry Girdwood; "but stop. Let us see if there is any
thing in it, for we may yet escape."

CHAPTER XXXIV.

WHAT THE CYPHER DID FOR THEM--THE END OF THE PASSAGE--NEARLY
SAVED--BACK AGAIN--LOST--THE DEAD-HOUSE ON THE TERRACE.

Four Stones up.

Two across.

"Do you understand it now, Harry?"

The latter scratched his head and looked about.

"I understand it well enough," he replied; "but there is one
difficulty."

"What?"

"A tool."

"Let us try with our hands first," said Jack.

And so saying, he set to work himself to try as he suggested.

"One, two, three, four, and two up. Good! Now, Harry, lend a hand here.
Come."

Harry Girdwood dropped on one knee beside his companion and together
they pressed the stone indicated in the singular cypher.

For a moment they felt no effect, but after a minute's effort they
found that they had made an impression.

The discovery set them all aglow.

"Once more."

"Harder yet."

"Of course; only mind, Jack, no jerking."

"All right"

"We must work without making any noise; a jerk might bring down one of
the stones with a clatter, which would alarm the guards.

"Caution is our watchword."

Soon they had the satisfaction of seeing the stone revolve and drop out
into their arms.

Then they saw that beyond the hole thus left there was an open space.

It was pitch dark.

Now, the hole in the wall was only just big enough for one of them to
squeeze through, and Harry Girdwood pushed in eagerly, and then he
perceived that beyond was a sort of tunnel on a small scale, with a
roughly-hewn flight of steps at the end of it.

"I can see some steps," said he.

"Go on," said Jack, with feverish eagerness.

"I will; but you go to the door, Jack, and listen."

Jack stood eagerly watching at the dungeon door.

Young Jack was full of eagerness.

Harry had disappeared, and he could not see or hear him.

"All right."

The answer came in a hollow, echoing sound, which indicated that Harry
Girdwood had made some considerable progress.

This increased his eagerness greatly.

* * * * *

"Harry."

No answer.

He was too far for young Jack's voice to reach him.

Quitting his post at the door, young Jack ran back to the hole in the
wall, and called out eagerly to his exploring comrade--

"Harry, Harry!"

"Hullo!"

"Come back, quick! I can hear someone coming."

"The deuce you can."

Back he scrambled as fast as the narrow space would allow of, and he
was soon in the cell again.

"What is it?"

"I heard the bell go and the iron door along the passage outside.
Sebastian is coming."

"Confound it! Look what a precious mess."

The displacing of the stone had left traces of the work.

But having seen their danger, they were prepared to provide against it.

Quick as thought they swept up the dirt, mortar, and rubbish, and threw
it into the hole.

Then, joining hands, they raised the stone and lifted it into its
place.

At that moment the key turned in the massive and half rusty lock.

Sebastian entered the cell, tray in hand.

He had not the faintest suspicion that any thing was wrong.

"Will you leave the tray, Sebastian?"

"Why?"

"For us to work up our appetites; we have none to speak of now."

"Very good," returned the man; "there can be no harm in that."

"Of course not."

Sebastian then left the room.

"Thank goodness he's gone!" said young Jack, who was all impatience to
see what Harry was to do next.

Harry Girdwood watched until the door was fairly closed, and then
turned again to the hole in the wall.

"Come along. Follow me, Jack."

"Trot on," said young Harkaway. "I'm after you."

They both scrambled through the hole, and when they were upon the other
side, they replaced the stone.

And this done, the cell wore its original aspect.

Their way now lay down a rugged flight of steps, roughly cut in the
solid earth.

The greatest care was necessary to avoid stumbling.

At length Harry Girdwood came to a standstill.

"Jack," he said, in a whisper,

"Here."

"Keep close now."

"Right."

"Nearer. Lend me a hand here. That's it. Now help me to raise the stone
here."

"Are you sure you are right?"

"Certain."

"Why?"

"This is exactly the position of the stone we have to lift away that
old Dougherty describes in his plan."

Young Jack said no more, but lent his aid, and together they shifted
the stone from its place.

Then daylight peeped into their dark hiding-place.

There was something leaning against the opening.

They pushed it aside, and stepping over a pile of sacks, found
themselves in a covered shed overlooking the sea.

A place of curious aspect, with no sign of life in it

All was as still and gloomy-looking as if it were a huge mausoleum.

"I know what this place is," said Harry Girdwood.

"What?"

"It must be the dead-house on the terrace that I see noted down in old
Dougherty's plans."

* * * * *

While they were in the dead-house upon the terrace, a stirring scene
was being enacted in the cell in the tower above, which they had only
lately vacated.

In fact, Jack Harkaway the elder had only just entered the cell with
Sebastian as they found themselves upon the terrace.

"Where are we now?"

There were several ugly-looking long boxes, whose shape was uniform and
suggestive, standing upon tressels.

Besides these, there were no objects in the room or shed beyond a few
badly-filled sacks which rested against the wall.

They looked anxiously about them.

Nearly facing the place where they had made their entrance was a door,
and this they tried without a moment's loss of time.

Fast.

Immovable.

"The window, then," said Harry Girdwood.

Back they ran on tip-toe to the window, and pushing open the casement,
they looked out.

The sea.

Between thirty and forty feet below, and lashing the very base of the
prison.

They turned to each other simultaneously.

"Ugh!"

"No chance here."

"This is a funny go."

"Well, Jack," said Harry, ruefully, "I'm glad you find it funny; for my
part, I don't see the joke."

"Your friend, old Dougherty, did, no doubt."

"Don't be hard on poor old Dougherty," said Harry, laughingly. "It is
very likely that his plan is complete, if we could only find it out."

"Where is it?"

"In our cell," said Harry; "I'll go back and get it."

And putting aside the sack, he pressed his way into the opening.

Young Jack glanced around him at the boxes on the tressels.

An unpleasant feeling stole over him.

He did not relish being left alone with the dead.

He felt convinced that those ugly boxes did contain the bodies of dead
prisoners.

"I'm with you, Harry," he said.

After him he pressed, and up the long, narrow tunnel made by old
Dougherty they passed.

Sometimes on all fours; sometimes standing nearly upright.

"A few steps more, and we are there," said Harry.

"Hah!"

"What now?"

"Listen!"

"I can hear voices," said Harry, in a whisper. "This is the stone which
is all we have to displace to get back to the cell."

"Then the voices are there?"

"Yes."

"By jingo!" exclaimed young Jack, "then they must have discovered our
absence already."

"Of course."

"How I should like to yell out something! Wouldn't it startle them just
a little?"

"Don't be foolish, Jack," said his companion, uneasily. "You would ruin
us."

"They'd never discover where we were. Shall I startle them?"

"No. Our only chance of safety depends upon keeping snug."

"All right."

They could hear noisy tones of anger, which denoted that something
unusual had occurred.

"There are several people there," said Harry, listening intently at the
stone.

"By Jove! how I should like to give them a cheer."

"Keep quiet," exclaimed Harry. "You will ruin us."

But, by a mere chance, he was wrong there.

Had young Jack really indulged in his propensity of devilment on this
occasion, it would have saved them many hours of mental anguish and of
bodily suffering, for the angry words uttered in the cell but lately
tenanted by the two boys were spoken by Jack Harkaway the elder?

Yes.

Cruel fate was playing them a sad trick.

They were now actually fleeing from their father and protector.

The voice raised in anger, and whose echo came but feebly to them in
their hiding-place, was his.

Harkaway's.

And thus were these loving hearts parted by a few inches of stone wall.

The boys, on the one hand, taking the confused sounds for the murmur of
their enemy's voice.

And at that very moment Harkaway was nearly distracted to have all his
hopes dashed rudely to the ground.

And in his anger, two lives were sorely endangered.

Sebastian and Theodora were both menaced--aye, both.

Harkaway could only believe that they had been fooling him, and that he
had been trapped there with a view to further treachery.

His rage, in consequence, knew no bounds.

But we must now follow the two brave boys.

"Back we go, or we shall be captured," said Harry Girdwood.

Young Jack led the way back as fast as the narrow space would permit.

And soon they were in the dead-house again, and groping about here,
they presently came upon a cupboard in which they discovered a number
of tools.

"Luck at last," ejaculated Harry.

"Here, let's make sure of these two knives," said young Jack.

They were long-bladed weapons, something similar in shape to the
American bowie.

They took one each and placed them in their waist belts.

They little thought then of the singular yet immense service these were
to be to them.

Now barely were these knives secreted when they were startled by the
sound of heavy foot-falls upon the stone-paved passage beyond the dead-
house door.

"What shall we do now?"

Young Jack stepped up to the door, and listened intently for awhile.

"There are only two people," he said to his comrade, Harry, in a
whisper.

"Only two. Well, that's quite enough, I should say."

"Let us hide behind the door," said young Jack, eagerly, "and then fall
upon them, and make a dash for liberty."

The steps drew nearer and nearer.

"Let us hide here," said Harry, pushing the lid off one of the long
coffins or shells.

But even as he did so, both boys started back with looks of horror.

And why?

The removal of the coffin lid revealed a ghastly corpse, the face
showing the last agonies which the dead man had suffered, and they, to
judge by the distorted face and twisted mouth, must have been horrible
indeed.

They pushed back the lid.

"Ugh!"

"Horrible, horrible!" gasped young Jack. The footsteps sounded nearer.

They were coming to this place, whoever it was.

The boys looked about them in despair.

At the last moment young Jack's eye lighted upon an empty sack upon the
ground, lying beside the full ones to which we have previously alluded.

"Let's get in that."

"Good."

Harry Girdwood jumped at the proposition.

Now the sacks were very large, and made of coarse canvas, thick enough
to avoid falling into folds, which would reveal the contents to any one
at a glance.

So, quick as thought, young Jack held it open while Harry got in, and
then Harry, holding up the sides of it with both hands, stood erect
while young Jack joined him.

"This is a novel way of jumping in sack," said the irrepressible Jack.

"Hush!"

"They come."

A key was heard grating in the rusty lock, and as the boys inclined
against the other sacks so as to look as much like one of the pile as
possible, the heavy door ground suddenly ajar, and two ugly-looking,
black-visaged men entered the shed.

CHAPTER XXXV.

THE BLACK TRADE--A TRAFFIC IN DEATH--A PLACE OF HORROR--CAN IT
BE TRUE?--TWO BOYS IN ONE SHROUD--A FIGHT WITH A SHARK--GIVING HIM THE
SACK--DEEP-SEA FISHING ON A NOVEL PLAN.

The two black-looking ruffians looked about them stealthily as though
they were on no good errand there.

Then one of them listened at the door awhile.

"You had better lock the door, Fleon," said one of the men. "What we
have to do mustn't be overlooked."

"True."

The boys heard the door closed and locked, and the sound seemed to lock
out another hope for them.

"Now, Fleon, come here."

"Well, what now?"

"We must come to terms."

"Of course, Barthes, but there is no need to go far into that matter;
the terms are simple enough."

"You are allowed forty-five francs for each burial, that is, for cost
of the shell and sheet,"

"No, forty only."

"Well, forty; and if I sign the register in my quality of head
gravedigger, you can go and get your money at once. Besides, you will
have my sacks."

"You drive a bargain like a Jew. Keep your sacks."

"And drop the bodies out into the water?"

"Of course."

"Impossible."

"Why?"

"They would float."

"No matter, the sharks below would soon take care of the few that
floated."

"Are we agreed," cried Fleon, "for halves?"

The other made some grumbling rejoinder, but grumbling he closed with
the proposition.

"Very good, very good," said Fleon, rubbing his hands. "Now let us cast
them up."

"One, two, four, six, eight, eleven, thirteen," said Barthes.

Now they were standing so close to the pile of sacks that the boys in
their novel place of concealment could not only hear every word, but
they actually felt the speakers brushing against them.

But they dared not speak.

They even held their breath.

They heard, and partly understood, yet could not believe that they
guessed aright.

What could it mean?

Surely not--

No, no, no!

The thought maddened the boys.

It was too horrible.

Yet what did the rest of the sacks contain?

Besides, there were no other sacks in the shed but these.

Both the boys heard the conversation.

Yet so fearful a notion was it that each felt that he had not heard
aright.

They dared not speak.

And their worst fears were indeed correct.

* * * * *

"Hullo!"

"What now?"

"Thirteen."

"Yes."

"You are wrong," said Fleon; "count them again."

The man obeyed.

"Thirteen; I was sure of it."

"Well, that's a rum go," said Fleon. "I am positive that there were
only twelve."

"There's a baker's dozen now," said Barthes, with his brutal laugh;
"the more the merrier."

"Right."

"What are you staring at?"

"I can't make out that thirteenth one."

"Well, I don't see that that's any thing to weep over. Thirteen at
dinner is an awkward number, they say; but I dare say that the sharks
won't object to it; they're nor so weak-minded as to be superstitious.
Ha, ha, ha!"

But still Fleon could not get over this last sack.

"I've got it."

"What, where the last sack came from?"

"Yes."

"Well, then, out with it, and ease your mind--not that I care much, so
long as we land the money."

"Why, they have brought the last one in from the hospital fever-ward; I
heard the bell tolling at midnight, and I remember now that they said
another was all but gone."

"Why, of course," said Barthes; "and see how the lazy beggars haven't
even taken the trouble to tie the neck of the sack round."

"That's easily done."

Before the boys could guess what was next to take place, the sack was
jerked over, and a rope was twisted around the neck of the sack, thus
excluding nearly all the air.

But young Jack had already grown desperate, and he held his knife in
his hand ready for an emergency.

The jerk had sent the knife through the sack about two inches, and it
prodded Barthes in the hand.

"Hullo!"

He yelled and drew back his hand

"What now?"

"I've cut myself."

"Why, how on earth did you manage that?"

"There's a knife sticking out of the sack. Let's open it and get it
out."

"What for?"

"It's a pity to throw such a thing into the sea."

The boys shivered.

This time there could be no mistaking the words.

"Jack," whispered Harry Girdwood, "do you hear?"

"Yes; let us show ourselves, and go back to prison, or--"

But before he could complete his proposition, they were jerked in the
sack up on to their feet.

"Come, let's do it quick"

"Good!"

"Phew!" grunted Barthes; "it's precious heavy."

"Heavy enough for two," said Fleon.

"Over with it. Now, then, both together at the word three."

"One."

"Two."

"Three."

They raised the sack on to the window ledge and--

"Oh, murder!" cried Barthes, his cheek blanching with terror. "I felt
something move in the sack."

"So did I," faltered Fleon.

"It's alive," cried the man Barthes, turning pale.

"Over with it, then; sharp."

It was poised for an instant, no more, over the dizzy height.

Then down it went.

As it fell, a wild, despairing shriek went up to Heaven.

A piteous cry.

It was cut short by the sharp flight through the air.

A splash.

Then all was still.

* * * * *

The two ruffians stood staring at each other, their eyes half starting
from their sockets.

The perspiration stood out in big beads upon their foreheads, and they
shook like ague-stricken wretches.

"Look over," said Fleon in a hoarse whisper. "What do you see?"

"I see," responded the other, in the same constrained tone, "there's a
shark! I see his fin."

"There's plenty more in the neighbourhood."

"No; he's all alone, and, my eye! what a feast he'll have!"

"I see him! He strikes for the bottom. He's got him, whether he's dead
or alive."

CHAPTER XXXVI.

A WATERY GRAVE--THE BED OF THE OCEAN--A BOLD STROKE FOR LIFE--
THE RACE WITH A SHARK--A NARROW SQUEAK--HOW TO GIVE A SHARK THE SACK--
THE BOAT--"FREE, FREE AS AIR!"--A STRANGE ENCOUNTER WITH A GENTLEMAN ON
TWO WOODEN LEGS.

Poor boys!

Unhappy Jack.

Luckless Harry Girdwood.

The fall from such a height to the water would render death almost a
certainty.

Hand and foot bound, they could not move.

Yet stay.

Could it be possible that these noble boys were to fall victims to the
villainy of such ruffians?

No.

As they reached the bottom, the two boys, momentarily deprived of their
senses by the fall, were partially restored by the shock.

Instinctively the knives go to work.

Young Jack here rendered the most signal service.

He held his knife in a tight grip even as they fell.

And barely did they come in contact with the bed of the ocean, when
young Jack stabbed upwards, and, at a single stroke, cut his way out of
the sack.

At the self-same instant his left hand grappled his friend and trusty
comrade Harry.

To kick the earth fiercely with his feet was to Jack a natural impulse,
and striking upwards, he made for the surface.

Will he reach it?

Doubtful.

It seemed a weary, weary way to get.

But now the water grows lighter and less dense.

Jack and Harry can see about them.

Both are experienced swimmers and divers, and they always keep their
eyes open under water. And now this habit serves them in good stead,
for looking up, Jack perceives a huge floating mass bearing down upon
him through the water.

Jack and Harry have Fleon's words, and the cruel jokes of Barthes,
still ringing in their ears, and they know, alas too well what it
means.

A shark.

With the energy of despair, both boys strike out, diving lower.

And now for a moment their fate seems sealed.

They discover that their rapid movements are stopped by the sack, which
they have not got quite clear of, and which, puffed, follows them up
through the water in their progress to the air and light.

And this, by a miracle, saves them.

The voracious monster of the deep strikes for the two boys, but its
unwieldy body not answering its helm with the swiftness of an ordinary
fish, it shoots fairly into the ripped-up sack, in which it gets its
huge maws entangled.

A strange trap for a shark.

A shark trapped by no more cunning contrivance than a canvas sack,
ripped up on one side.

And while the fierce beast wallows about in this novel trap, lashing
the water furiously with its fins, the two boys gain the surface of the
water, marvelling at their escape.

Together they turn over on their backs, and gulp down big draughts of
the welcome air.

Presently they get their breath again.

"Jack, old boy, are you safe?" was Harry's question.

"For the present, Harry, old chum. How do you feel?"

"Saved, thank Heaven!"

"God bless you, old man."

Thus the two boys, rescued from such a complication of perils, pass
their first moments in getting a gasp of Heaven's fresh air.

Each is full of thankfulness for the other's escape, and for the moment
thinks but little of himself.

Suddenly young Jack reverts to their last danger.

"Where is he, the monster?" he asks, with great eagerness.

"The shark?"

"Yes."

"Don't know."

"Doesn't relish us."

"Fancies we shan't be tender after getting out of prison so recently."

Young Jack and Harry were only just out of the jaws of death, and
already they were joking.

"Have you got your wind yet, Harry?"

"Then follow me. I can see a sort of archway in the prison wall, and a
boat, I think."

"Hah!" cried Harry, "I remember."

And turning easily over, he shot out for the prison wall.

A few strokes brought them in sight of a flight of stone steps under
the archway.

And as they catch sight of the steps on ahead, they become conscious
that they are being pursued by another of those ravenous beasts of
which Barthes and Fleon were talking in such cruel levity.

"Quicker, Harry, quicker, old lad!" gasps young Jack.

"Right; I see."

Three vigorous strokes, and Harry grasps a chain fastened to a staple
in the wall to which a boat is moored.

He is on the steps.

Then grappling with young Jack, he helps him up with a desperate jerk.

Just in time.

Hardly are they landed when the hideous monster shoots past him.

"Ugh! you beast!" growled young Jack.

And he shook his fist at the shark, while the latter, after shooting
past, turned round and paddled leisurely back, making sure of them yet.

But they were not left long at liberty to enjoy the shark's
disappointment, for they were startled by a great noise and commotion
going forward in the prison.

Young Jack looked inquiringly at his companion.

"Our absence discovered?"

"I suppose so. Let us make tracks as soon as we can."

With this they set to work to loosen the boat.

It took them some little time to force the padlock which held the chain
to the staple, but together they accomplished it.

Then, lowering their sculls, they pushed out to sea.

"Free," murmured young Jack, exultantly; "free at last."

"Don't be too fast"

Now each took a scull, and with long, deep strokes they pulled for
their own safe part of the coast.

Wind and tide were in their favour, and they shot through the water at
racing pace.

"Pull round; here's our place. Now for it."

"Both together," said Harry Girdwood, excitedly.

Three long, vigorous strokes, and the boat ground far up high and dry
upon the shingle.

They ran on wildly.

And now the villa was in sight, which fact made them increase their
speed.

Ah, how their young hearts beat at the sight of it.

"Won't they be surprised?"

"And pleased."

"And shan't we? Ah, me! Hello! who's this coming here? Why, blow me,
Harry, do you see who it is?"

"Of course; it's old King Mole."

"Mr. Mole, Mr. Mole, Mr. Mole!" they both yelled out. "Here we are safe
back!"

The old gentleman staggered back in sheer amazement.

"Is it possible?" he exclaimed. "Surely--yet, no; it can't be."

"Can't it though?"

And to put all doubt at rest, they each seized hold of a hand and
nearly dragged him off his frail supports.

CHAPTER XXXVII.

RESTORED--GENERAL REJOICINGS--HOW MR. MOLE WAS CRUELLY
MALIGNED--FATHER AND SON--THE DEATH KNELL AND THE REPRIEVE--"SOON WE
WEIGH ANCHOR"--GOODBYE TO GREECE.

"Mrs. Harkaway?"

"Who's there?"

"Me; your obsequious humble to command."

"Good gracious!"

And then upon the other side of the door Mrs. Harkaway was heard to
whisper--

"It's Mr. Mole. I declare he is quite tipsy."

"You are right there, my dear Mrs. Harkaway," responded the gallant
Isaac; "more than tipsy--obfuscated, groggy--excuse the slangy phrase--
tight--not with liquor, but yet full of spirits--figuratively
speaking."

"Whatever is he talking about?" muttered Mrs. Harkaway.

"About introducing a young gentleman to you," replied Mole, who
overheard every word, but who was too overjoyed with recent events to
take umbrage at any thing now.

"Excuse me just now, Mr. Mole," replied the lady, "I--I am dressing."

"Humph!"

Young Jack was bursting with impatience to push him aside and rush into
his mother's arms.

But Mr. Mole restrained him.

"The young gentleman I would introduce, my dear Mrs, Harkaway, brings
us news of our young Jack."

"Hah!"

A cry of joy, delight, anxiety, fear, hope, all commingled, burst from
the mother of our young hero.

The door was opened, and Mrs. Harkaway stood upon the threshold.

She stared confusedly at the two boys.

"Mother!"

"Jack!"

No more.

In a moment they were locked in each other's arms.

"Oh, Jack, Jack!" exclaimed the astonished mother. "Where have you
been? Now that you are come back, I may tell you I feared I should
never see you again."

Jack's eyes filled with tears.

He kissed her tenderly and held out his hand to Harry.

"Here, mother dear," he said; "there is a sweet little cherub that sits
up aloft to keep watch over the life of poor Jack--and Harry is the
cherub,"

"Hush! Jack."

"I shan't hush, Harry; you know that it's true. You are the cherub, and
you know it. Why, mother, now that it's all over, and I am here, I must
tell you that I never should have been here if it hadn't been for
Harry."

"Bless you, Harry," said Mrs. Harkaway, squeezing his hand.

Just then, Mr. Mole, who had felt a tingling sensation at the nose, and
fearing that he was about to disgrace his manly reputation by a tear,
had retired, came stumping back with some news.

"Here comes Jack--old Jack, I mean. Here's luck for us."

A well-known footstep was heard, and Jack Harkaway entered the room.

As his eye fell upon Harry Girdwood, he started back, and the colour
forsook his cheek.

Then he caught sight of his boy, and he gave a cry of delight as he
held open his arms.

Young Jack flew to him

"Come here, Harry," cried Harkaway; "here, my boy--for you are a second
son to me."

And the two boys were soon locked in his arms.

For some minutes not a word was spoken.

His heart was too full for speech, but whilst they were thus engaged--
engrossed by their own happiness--a deep sound was heard.

A dismal, moaning sound.

A bell that sounded like a distant funeral knell.

What was it?

Harkaway started up at the mournful sound.

"Hark!" he exclaimed. "Do you hear that?"

"Yes."

"What is it?"

"An execution."

"Where?"

"At the prison."

"Of whom?"

"The brigands."

"The villains have earned their fates right well."

"Yes, yes," exclaimed Jack Harkaway, hurriedly; "but this execution
must not take place, though Tomaso was shot yesterday."

"Tomaso, the brigand," cried young Jack, "then why not the rest of the
brigands."

"Why? Because it is unjust, for the men condemned to suffer death have
been sentenced for murdering you, my own boys."

As the word was uttered, there was a loud commotion, and Theodora burst
into the room.

She gave a cry on seeing the two boys, and rushed up joyfully to Harry
Girdwood.

"Thank Heaven you are safe," she said hysterically; "but my own brave
boy, do you hear? Do you know that that bell sounds the death-knell of
men who, bad and wicked as they are, have been wrongfully condemned?"

"I know."

"Yes, my girl," said Harkaway; "we know--but there is yet time to save
them. Come on, to the prison."

They all left precipitately, and in a very brief space of time they
were at the prison and the brigands respited.

As young Jack said, they had earned the full penalty of the law.

But they would not have it upon their consciences that these lawless
ruffians should suffer for a crime which they had not committed.

"There is one strange fact about this," said the governor of the prison
to Harkaway, "and that is, that one of the prisoners has taken the
liberty of respiting himself."

"Which one?"

"The Englishman Hunston."

"What, Hunston escaped!"

"Impossible."

"Indeed it is not."

"But how?--when? Why Hunston any more than the others?"

"We can only give a guess," said the governor, "but it is a good one.
His gaoler has disappeared with him; the rest is not a difficult matter
to guess."

It was quite true.

Hunston, Harkaway's old schoolfellow and bitter foe, had once more
contrived to elude justice.

Both had disappeared--prisoner and gaoler with him.

"I'm sorry for that," said Harkaway, "for it would have been a good
thing to take care of that double-dyed traitor, but no matter, we shall
have nothing to fear from him now; we have had enough of this place."

"Are we, then, to leave Greece, dad?"

"Yes, all our preparations are made, and in a few days, we will weigh
anchor and get away from romantic Greece, and its precious scoundrels
and brigands."

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE LAST OF THE BRIGAND BAND--HUNSTON'S PERIL--HIS WANDERINGS--
STARVATION IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY--ON THE LANDING STAGE AT NIGHT--AN
ADVENTURE.

And what of the band?

Where was it?

The fear-stricken few remaining of this once formidable host hid
themselves in the recesses of the mountains, lurking, like thieves and
miscreants as they were, in retired nooks and crannies.

And so their lives grew wretched.

Their famous recruit, Geoffrey, who was such a famous hand at bringing
in plunder every day, disappeared.

And with him disappeared all the booty he had brought them.

Altogether, therefore, this Geoffrey was not so much of an advantage to
them as they had at first supposed.

And with the disappearance of Geoffrey, the sham brigand, we have to
chronicle the sudden return of our old friend, Dick Harvey, to his
beloved Harkaways.

And what of Toro, the giant brigand?

He was completely lost sight of for awhile.

No one knew what had become of him.

Hunston's first care on getting free from the prison was to get into
the mountain fastnesses, in search of his old comrade, Toro.

But he could not discover the least trace of his old comrade.

He skulked about at night and fled to sleep in the mountains by day,
shrinking at the echo of his own footfalls--starting at his own shadow.

"My curses light upon the Harkaways one and all," was the speech ever
upon his tongue; "they have been my bane--my curse through life."

He resolved to get away from this place.

Yes; he would fly.

But how?

Here was he well-nigh starving in the midst of plenty, possessed of a
sum of money which was a small fortune in that land, and yet he dare
not change or part with it.

This life grew unendurable, and he resolved at all hazards to change
it.

Yes; he would get away from this place at once.

Soon after dusk, he ventured, well disguised, into the town and down to
the water side, and lolling about, he soon chanced to hear something
which greatly interested him.

A group of French sailors were smoking, and gossiping upon a subject
which caught his attention as soon as he heard a name mentioned.

Harkaway.

"Yes; Mr. Harkaway and friends are going away tomorrow," said one of
the sailors, who appeared to be a petty officer.

"I shall come down and see the ladies go on board," said one of the
sailors.

"No, you won't," laughed the former speaker.

"Why not?"

"You're too late."

"They're not on board already, surely?"

"Indeed, they are."

"They start early."

"They weigh anchor at daybreak, I hear."

"Ah, well," said the other sailor, joining in; "they'll miss Monsieur
Harkaway here, for he's as rich as Croesus."

"Or Monte Christo," said another, laughingly.

"Aye, that he is," said another sailor. "I was here when the ladies
went on board, and I was lucky enough to be able to render some little
service to Madam Harkaway."

"What was it?"

"It is not worth repeating," replied this modest Gallic tar. "All I
know is, that Monsieur Harkaway made such a fuss about it that he would
insist upon my going on board with him to drink their health."

"And you went?"

"Yes; and we swam in good wine. And when I came away, it was with
pockets full of cigars and money to stand treat to you all round."

"What a splendid fellow this Monsieur Harkaway is."

"Aye, that he is."

And amidst these words of praise Hunston slunk away, gnashing his teeth
in rage and bitterness.

"Hang him!" he muttered; "his old brag and ostentation have caught
these fools! I wonder where his vessel is? If I could fire a torpedo
under it and send them all where young Jack and the other boy have gone
to, I shouldn't have a dull moment for the rest of my life."

And the ruffian chuckled to himself maliciously.

"Ah, but I was one with them," he muttered, "when I had their precious
boy and that Harry Girdwood shot like dogs that they were. Ah! that was
grand. Those were crumbs of comfort."

And rubbing his hands and chuckling, he rambled on.

He paused presently upon coming to a long, wooden landing stage,
jutting out a long way to sea.

Arrived at the head of the jetty, he looked out earnestly seaward, in
the endeavour to trace out which of the many ships in the offing could
be the Harkaways' vessel.

"Well, well," he murmured to himself, "I don't care much, for I don't
see what I could do if I knew it. I could only send my blessing
straight after it--hah, hah! But with Harkaway's departure, I can
breathe more freely. I have only to get over a few weeks quietly, and
then all the dust which he has kicked up will blow over, and I can live
quietly upon his money like a gentleman, until I decide upon the next
step."

While he sat thus looking out to sea, his attention was suddenly
attracted shorewards.

"Confusion!" he ejaculated, starting up; "there's someone coming along
the jetty."

It was true.

Two sailors and a woman came sauntering along the landing stage,
chatting as they came.

There was barely room for four abreast upon the narrow wooden pier, and
consequently they might recognize him, providing they had heard the
description of him.

"What an ass I was to come here," muttered Hunston; "to drive myself
into a corner."

He looked round.

They did not appear to notice him.

Not yet at least.

So he crouched down, and lowered himself into a boat, which was moored
to one of the end piles.

Beneath the end of the jetty was a series of crossbars and beams,
resting upon the low range of piles, which indeed served as the main
foundation for the whole structure.

So Hunston clambered nimbly out of the boat into this species of
scaffolding.

Here he lay at full length, listening for the approach of these three
people.

* * * * *

"You had better come ashore now, miss," said one of the sailors.

"No, no," replied Mrs. Harkaway's new maid.

"But you'll never be up in time if you go to bed at all."

"Oh, yes, Mistaire Saileur, I get up at the hour which I like; I shall
go on board at three o'clock," said the wilful girl. "I shall get the
seasickness quite early enough, I know. Besides, I don't like the water
when it so dark."

"The moon will be up directly."

Jack Tiller was right.

The moon just then burst through a thick cloud, and shot a ray of
silvery light just upon the spot where the girl was kneeling.

It fell across a living face just below the flooring of the jetty.

A face rendered ghastly white by the action of the moonlight, with eyes
upturned in eagerness and expectation.

A startling sight.

A weird and ghastly object to come suddenly before the strongest nerve.

She started back, and sprang to her feet.

Then, with a piercing shriek, she fled.

The sailors looked aghast, staring at each other for explanations.

"Let's after her, Jack!" cried one; "she'll be overboard double quick
if she fouls agin them blessed bulwarks. It's as rotten as tinder."

Off they ran, and they tried all they could to bring the girl back.

But she had had such a scare that she would not hear of it.

She had seen a man hiding there.

"Bah!" cried Jack Tiller, "why should a man hide away from us?"

"Yes, that's it, miss, why?"

"I don't care, I know it was a man. I knew the face. I have seen it in
madame's book of photographs."

"The dooce you did."

"Who was it?"

"One of the brigands. The likeness was taken in prison."

This made the gallant tars laugh again.

"That's the natural bogey hereabouts," said Joe Basalt; "damme if I
believe half their yarns about the brigands."

"Nor I neither."

And so, failing to persuade the girl to go on board then, they went
back up the jetty, dropped into their boat, and, unlocking it, rowed
out to sea.

CHAPTER XXXIX.

A TRIP BY WATER--BOAT, AHOY!--A COMPACT FOR MONEY--THE STOWAWAY
ON BOARD THE "WESTWARD HO!"--HIS VISION--IN THE HANDS OF THE
PHILISTINES.

Hunston had overheard every word uttered.

The full sense of his danger flashed across him.

He was watched, he felt sure.

"Not yet," said Hunston to himself, "not yet. Sooner than let them get
hold of me, I'd lay my bones at the bottom of the sea."

With which intention he dropped into the water.

But he did not even touch the bottom, for before he had got far under,
he struck out, and after taking a dozen strokes; under water, he came
to the surface.

"That's another narrow squeak," he said to himself, as he took in a
deep draught of air. "The last time I had to swim for it was in Cuba,
and a narrow squeak it was too."

He had been rescued on that memorable occasion by his enemy, Jack
Harkaway himself.

"Well, this squares that old account," he said, turning over on his
back to float. "He saved me last time. He's the cause this time of my
having to take this risk."

He began to look anxiously about him.

There was a boat at no great distance being rowed by two men, so
Hunston thought of signalling them.

"Suppose they are some of those wretched Greeks, and recognise me?"

He gave it up.

But he could hardly keep himself afloat now.

What if they did recognise him?

Would they give him up?

Perhaps.

Well, at the worst they could only take his life for his misdeeds, and
his life was in sore jeopardy now.

So he resolved to hail the men in the boat.

* * * * *

"Boat ahoy!"

"Hullo!"

"Man overboard!"

The signal of the sinking man caught the quick ears of the two men in
the boat, and they pulled towards him double quick.

Hunston caught hold of the side of the boat.

"This arm. Catch under my armpit. There; thanks. I've hurt the other."

Barely rescued from the jaws of death, and yet all his coolness and
presence of mind had come back to him.

In a trice he was lying at the bottom of the boat, panting and waiting
to recover his breath to renew his thanks for their service.

"Why, mounseer, you speak English," said one of the sailors.
Hunston nodded.

"I am English."

"So are we."

"I guessed as much," retorted Hunston, "by the way you pulled to help a
poor devil. It was nearly all over with me."

"Just in time. Well, that's one to us, messmate."

"Yes, and you'll find that I'm able to reward you with something more
solid than thanks."

"Get along; me and my mate here don't save lives at so much an 'ed."

"I believe you," said Hunston, "but I should be a villain if I did not
do something handsome for you if I could."

"I tell you what, mate, you shall lug me and my mate out of the water."

"When you get the chance," laughed the other.

"Jes' so."

"How came you there, though?" demanded the former sailor, suddenly.

"It's a long story," said Hunston, taking breath, and thinking up a
good plausible "whacker"; "so I'll tell you without all the details."

"Do."

"There's a very rich and powerful man in this place, who has a very
lovely wife. Well, this lady--"

"Casts sheep's eyes at you."

"Ha, ha!"

"Well, that is about it," returned Hunston, laughingly. "It's no fault
of mine. I'm sure I never encouraged her. But her husband is precious
jealous, and the consequence is that he had got me out to sea in a boat
with a gang of murderers--"

"The swabs!"

"Marlinspikes and grampuses!" cried the other.

"They were going to practise a curious trick upon me. It is an
institution of their neighbours and masters, the Turks, and they call
it the bowstring."

"D--n their fiddling," ejaculated one of the sailors; "I'd like to have
'em here just awhile. I'd bowstring 'em and show 'em what black eyes,
and good old English fisticuffs mean."

"I don't think that they would care to be instructed in that," said
Hunston.

"I'd, I'd--"

"Let the gentleman go on," said the other.

"Well, the fact is, I got out, jumped overboard and capsized the boat
in my struggling, and some of them, I dare say, have gone to the
bottom."

"Hurrah!" shouted one of the sailors.

"Hurrah!"

"I hope you finished off the lot of the swabs."

"I don't think that. But anyhow, I'd give a trifle if I could get clear
out of this place."

"I can tell you how to do it"

"You can?"

"Yes."

"That's jolly."

"Easily done."

And then the sailor suggested bringing him aboard their ship and
introducing him to the skipper.

Hunston listened and then shook his head.

"What," exclaimed the sailor, "won't do?"

"No."

"Why?"

"I'll tell you; a blessed outcry would be raised, and the skipper would
be forced to give me up to be tried."

"Well, they would not dare to play false."

"Not while there was a British man-o'-war in the harbour; but nothing
short of that would prevent the villains doing any thing they liked
with me. They would go through the mockery of a trial with me, and I
should be condemned to death beforehand."

"The wampires."

"Wuss wuss, nor wampires, Joe," said the other sailor, wagging his head
gravely.

"There is only one way to get out of this scrape," said Hunston.

"Out with it then."

"Why, earn forty pounds apiece and stow me away on board in the hold,
anywhere, until you are out at sea," said the fugitive.

The two sailors looked hard at each other.

"Can't do it."

"No."

"Why not?"

"Unpossible."

"I'll tell you why not. Our skipper is the best commander afloat, on'y
he won't have no nonsense. We daresn't do it, we daresn't."

"Right, Joe."

"Now, harkye, messmates," said Hunston. "I'm not the man to get any man
to fail in his duty; I wouldn't insult you by mentioning it. But mark
my words, your skipper would be the first man to approve of such an
act."

They shook their heads.

"Not he."

"I know he would, if what you say of him is right; only, d'ye see, he'd
think it his duty to give me up for a fair trial. Well, and what would
be the result of that? Why, as soon as you had set sail, they'd just do
what they liked with me, and you'd never hear of me again in this
world, whereas if I was concealed unknown to the skipper, he'd only be
too glad afterwards to have such a good action done on board his ship
without his having failed in his duty."

They listened to this, and listening they were lost.

That night Hunston slept in the hold of a ship, the two sailors having
contrived to smuggle him on board with the greatest secrecy.

It had been a difficult task for them, and indeed the sailors well
earned the money which he gave them.

Not a soul on board the ship, with the exception of the two sailors,
had the least idea of his presence there.

They contrived to make him up a very snug hiding-place behind some
barrels of sugar and salt pork.

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