Chapter 65584387

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Chapter NumberXXXV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65584387
Full Date1883-08-17
Page Number0
Corrections0
Word Count1400
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleKerang Times and Swan Hill Gazette (Vic. : 1877 - 1889)
Trove TitleAdventures of Three Young Ladies
article text ADVENTURES OF THREE YOUNG LADIES -0o CHAPTER nfXT. But none of them were sufficiently ac quainted with Asiatic cunning and deception to be on their guard. The empress rose eagerly. Respect for her rank, and supposed in fluence over her son, gave her many privi leges. She had no fear of being interrupted for an hour, when she said so. Rising, she led the way to an alcove at the end of the room, at the end of which was a superb mirror. Stopping, she turned a small button, upon which the mirror slipped on one side, reveal ing a dark and gloomy aperture. All shuddered as a gust of cold damp air puffed in their faces. But the empress, with a cold determined mein, took up the lamp, and led the way. The path sloped downwards for some disc tance, as if between the thick stone walls, and then suddenly ended in a dark vaulted chamber. But from this decnded a flight of steps, which brought them to what looked like a vaulted tunnel. The interpreter was not with them, but had already informed them that when the empress pointed forward, the road was clear to the mole. Here, then she paused, handed the lamp to Mrs Bacon, and with a cold and scornful smile, re-ascended the steps. ' I don't like the look of that woman.' said the chaperon; she reminded me awfully of Lady Macbeth.' All the girls shuddered. Some such thought had passed very rapidly through their brains, 'Wehat an awful place,' said the merry hearted Kate, in a dismal voice; 'it is like the castle dungeons we read of in the old German novels.' ' Better have trusted to the moollah,' ob. served Edith, with a sudden pang. 'What matters,' cried Jessie in a tone of overwrought and strained enthusiasm, ' I know we are marching to death.' ' My dear girl, do not give way to gloomy and horrible fancies,' exclaimed Mrs. Bacon. ' Heaven, what is that.' All stood still, crowded together in a terri fled group, as a horrible groan fell upon their A low, fearful moan, as of one dying in mor tal agony. It was close to them. Whence did it come, asked Kate. in a low whisper. It is some fellow-creature in danger and diffis culty, said Mrs :Bacon. And raising her hand, she pointed to several heavy doors, leading probably to dungeons, in which the wretched victims of despotismwere probably confined. They were only fastened by outer latches. Again the groan startled them. LMrs Bacon removed the latch of the one nearest to her and peeped in. On a heap of straw lay what appeared to be a bundle of rags but as the light flashed it moved, rose, and revealed the ashen face of Medoro. A low moan was all she could utter as they carried her from that foul, chocking, pestilen tial don, into the stream of air in the tunnel. While the girls supported her Mrs Bacon who had made out almoaning on the other side opened it and the young Greek tottered out nearTy def a from asphyxia. lie sr a (d wildly at her but explanation was most' f possible. He andMrs Bacon could muster afew words of tinuas TFrneca. She explained that they were escaping and were delighted to hear that the Greek had a speronari in the harbour. ERcape appeared therefore, within the range of possibility. All hurried on. And they advanced descending slowly,the at., mosphcre grew denser and fouler. They felt dizzy and sick. SHush, suddenly explained ?Irs Bacon; ' we are pursued' I hear footsteps. We must run. cried the Greek; surely the exit is not far distant. And they exerted themselves with wondcrous energy to flee. They entered a large and lofty vault. The Greek was in advance. Suddenly he threw himself back with out stretched arms. Back certain death is in advance. For about two minutes the lamp had been spluttering and as he spoke the last flicker was given and they found themselves in total dark, ness. A fearful gulf lies before us said the Greek an abyss of which I could not fathom the depth. 'Stop, in the name of heaven stop. Ye go to death, gasped a voice at no great distance. 'Saved, cried Edith, as turning a corner the moollah came in sight. Undeterred by the presence of others the Moslem priest clasped her fainting,-panting form in his arms. 'Just in time, he murmured, under his breath The incarnate fiend, to send you to a fearful 'oom. SCould we not escape, asked Itrs Bacon. Scarcely with an experienced guid. You were cose on the pit of death when I came up; sent here to die in the most awful way by a vile wretch the empress mother. ' Her interferance, then, was treacherous. Base in the evtreme. But whom have we here asked the moollah, glancing at the Greek and Medora with rather a stern and severe cast of countenance. Mlrs Bacon explained. Not a minute is to be lost, said the moollah in reply; 'thereis much perilous work to be done this night. We must return to the harem where, if possible, these wretched beings may hide-but at their own peril. lie then turned to the Greek and explain ed. 'I am your slav, said the youth, earnestly give me but a chance for life and I will be grateful. The moollah had it on his lips to speak very harshly to Medosa but he refrained, and bade all hurry after him. as every moment was prec ious. His presence was easy and briefly explain ed. He had reached the heart of the aenana, by tie secret way just allludled to, in time to hear the empress, half in soliloquy, half in a trium phant speech to her interpreter, glout over the hedious trick uhn played upon the giaour girls.. . Their was, to anyone who knew the way well ameans of exitby the mole, but one not in the secret inevitable fallinto the murderer's pit, the more that she had selected a lamp, which would not last more than half an hour, All were profuse in their expressions of gra titudc to the moollah. Edith, however used no words, but he had seen the deep earnest love light in her eye, when snatched from the jaws of death, and that was enough fr hinm. The room from which they had taken their departure with tlhe empress was now empty. 'Be as calm as you can. said the moollah in a low whisper, and have faith in me. With which he left then., followed by the two young Greeks. CIIAPTEIR sXVII. 'Sfy dears, said Irs Bacon, what a mersy thlatjwe were saved from the machinactiosn of that awful woman. To what good, replied Jessie, who never dur ing all these trials separated from the dagger, the tiny instrument of death, whica shelooked upon as her guardian, we must perish sooner or later. Have courage cried Kate,see what marvellous escapes we have already had. Thanks to the muoollah, murmured Edith. Two of ?h? aettendacits of thelharem now en tered with sent for their robes and hair. They looked ralther strangly at the slightly disordered state of their toilette, but probably thinking it the resultof their Feringhee ignoranceproceeded to rectify it. Then the girls were finally escorted to the place of honour in the room and a flurish of triumpets proclaimed that the ceremony was about to commence. At this molaeut the curtains were drown frtam a doorway and a young lady superbly cos turned entered hurriedly. ' What is the matter, cried Polly Snapper rushing up to them, in her old impetuous way. How you look, ?a if you had seen your grand mother's gost. Polly, exclaimed Edith, how glad I am to see you, we have missed you so miuch. Well. you see, she continued. seating herself beside her old mistress, there is a screw loose somewhere, the prince my supposed husband, she added with an odd little laugh and a blush and the old emperor an't the best of friends. We have heard that, said Mrs Bacon. So I was ordered tto o keep away until fur ther orders, she went on, it wade tolerable wild. For what was I playing at princess, for except to serve you (To be continued.)