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Sherwood crept noiselessly over the intervening rise, followed at short intervals by the rest of the party, with the exception of one man left behind in charge of the torches. Having descended to the level beyond, they again paused to listen and reconnoiter before venturing any farther. All was dark and silent before them. And concluding that their intended victims had retired within the cave and were, probably, by this time, reposing in unsuspecting slumbers, they now congratulated themselves on a certain and easy conquest, and, with freshened impulse, once more began to move briskly forward; when the loud whoo / whoo ! whoo / whoo / of the “dismal bird of night,” or of something strikingly resembling it in note, proceeding from some point above, came pealing through the darkness, with fearful distinctness, to the ears of the company. All gave an involuntary start. Even the stout-hearted Munroe, for the instant, could scarcely avoid quaking at the strangely dismal notes that thus broke from utter stillness so unexpectedly upon them. The next moment, however, as the consciousness of the insignificant cause of their affright came over them, a half stifled giggling ran through the company; while their leader muttering a dry “umph 1 scared at a damned owl l’ motioned Sherwood to proceed. But the latter, more accustomed to the notes of the supposed animal, and thinking he detected something not quite natural in the sounds they had just heard, became secretly impressed with the fears of an ambush, and, without imparting his suspicions, he hastily pointed out to the sheriff the mouth of the cave, whose dim outlines had now become discernible, and, instantly returning to the rear, quickly retreated over the hill. With a few muttered expressions of contempt at the flight of the wary and timid guide, Munroe once more set forward with the determined motions of one who is resolved not again to be interrupted by any slight causes. And being now promptly followed by his men, he soon, and without further obstacle, arrived at the mouth of the cave, and, bringing up his forces, immediately surrounded it. Here they all paused, standing motionless and silent, listening long and intensely. Every thing within and around was as still as if no living being was within a mile of the place. “Hallo !” at length sharply uttered the sheriff, after waiting till he began to doubt whether his anticipated captives had escaped, or were all snugly asleep in the cave, “hallo! within there !” “Hallo, without there !” was the ready reply from the cavern. “Ha! ye rebel dogs ’’ exultingly exclaimed Munroe; “you are there, are ye? We have kennelled ye at last, then. Now hear me — I command ye to surrender yourselves to the king's warrant, every scoundrel of ye — but first of all, Charles Warrington — do you hear the summons P” “We hear the summons, and well comprehend its import,” coolly replied the voice from the cave, which was evidently that of the person especially named by the sheriff; “but touching your last demand, mine ancient friend—for in your voice I think I recognize the person with whom I once exchanged civilities in the southern part of our favored settlement — touching your last demand, I beg leave to observe, that being somewhat personally interested myself in the decision to be made in regard to the requirement, I would respectfully refer you to my friends here, who will doubtless give you such answer as their unbiassed judgments shall dictate.” “Do you think to dally with me, scoundrel ?” stormed Munroe, nettled at the provoking coolness of his antagonist, and especially at his ironical allusion to a personal chastisement received from his hands the year before; “such attempts will but little avail you 'll find. Nor will it be of the least use, let me tell you all, to think of contending against our numbers: and the longer you hold out the worse it shall be for ye. So yield yourselves instantly, or, so help me Beelzebub, every dog of you shall swing for it.” “Assertions,” observed Selden, who being Warrington's only companion in the cave, now took up the discourse on the hint of his superior; “assertions, sir sheriff, sometimes, unfortunately, are more easily made than proved. You may not find us, perhaps, so entirely unprepared for your visit as you have expected, notwithstanding our warder thought fit, in his owl-like wisdom, to be somewhat tardy in announcing your approach. It may not be prudent in us, however, to speak wholly without reserve in this matter, as we know not how much aid your honor may expect from the friend you last invoked.” The intimations which they gathered from these replies, together with the jeering calmness attending them, which seemed to imply a sense of security in the assailed from resources unknown to the assailants, considerably dampened the ardor of the sheriff and his band; and they began to suspect that their triumphs might not prove so cheaply won as they had anticipated. The men, indeed, now began to show symptoms of fear and uneasiness at standing longer before the mouth of the cave, from which, for aught they could see or know, a dozen loaded rifles might be pointed against them; and their leader shouted loudly to the man left in the rear, directing him to come on with lights, and declaring at the same time with a tremendous oath, that if the stubborn rascals did n’t instantly yield, he would send a volley of balls in among them, and if that failed, he would smoke them out like so many burroughed foxes. He was not allowed, however, much time to attempt the fulfilment of his menaces; for the Green Mountain Boys, two of whom only, as before mentioned, were in the cave, the rest being stationed in the nearest surrounding coverts, now deemed it time to begin their plan of operations. Suddenly a fearful screech, something between that of a man and a wild brute, issuing from the thicket above the cave, resounded through the forest, sending its startling thrill to the very hearts of the appalled and astonished assailants. All eyes were involuntarily turned upwards to the spot from which these terrific sounds seemed to proceed. “A catamount a catamount l” wildly shouted several of the party. “Where ? where?” eagerly exclaimed others. “There ! up there in the fork of that tree l’hurriedly replied the former, pointing to the top of a leaning tree that projected nearly over the mouth of the cave, in a broad fork of which the outlines of a dark body, as if some large animal crouching for a leap upon his prey, with great fiery eye-balls glaring down upon them, was sufficiently discernible to justify their alarm. “He moves 1’’ cried one, “hark hear him fixing his claws in the bark! There, he stirs again look out ! he 's going to leap down upon us — fire! quick, all hands, fire l’” “Hold I hold !” shouted Munroe, the suspicion of a trick now for the first time flashing across his mind. But the command came too late; for while the words were in his mouth, every gun and pistol in the party except his own, were discharged at the object of their terror, which was seen, in the expiring flash, to bound out from the tree directly over the place where they stood; and all, in their eagerness to avoid the clutches of the leaping animal, well known to be terrible when wounded, even if in the last agonies of death, broke away, and fled in confusion from the spot, wholly unmindful of their duty in guarding the mouth of the cave, and every thing else, but their own safety, in the general panic that had seized them. A momentary pause followed the explosion of the fire-arms, in which nothing was heard save the hasty scrambling of the terrified Yorkers in their eager efforts to escape. In an instant, however, a rushing from other quarters was heard — dark forms were seen swiftly gliding from the cave and the thickets above, in the direction of the retreating party, among whom, in a moment more, a cry of dismay rose wildly on the air. Munroe, and three of his men, were suddenly seized round their waists or legs, from behind, by the iron grasp of grappling arms, and, being lifted from the ground, were upborne with resistless force and rapidity towards the shore of the lake; all of them but their leader verily believing, in the fright and confusion of the moment, that it was the catamount, whose fearful image was still uppermost in their minds, that had seized them and was bearing them off in his grasp. “Help ! help here ! He has got me ! for God's sake help me !” screamed one in an agony of terror. “Murder l’’ exclaimed another; “Oh I get him off— get him off! murder | murder l’” “Oh aw!” cried the third in a yell of despair; “he has got his claws in my throat — he'll kill me — he will! he will 1 yah! yah l’’ Munroe alone, of all the thus oddly captured party, was mute. Rightly judging the character of the foe into whose hands he had fallen, and boiling with silent rage, he made the most desperate struggles to free himself from the vice-like grasp of his captor, who, he at once concluded from his great strength, the effects of which he had before experienced, could be no other than Warrington. But wholly failing in this attempt, and finding himself still carried rapidly onward, he knew not to what destination, he next tried to disengage his dirk from its sheath, in which it was confined beneath the grappling arm of his opponent. Before succeeding in this, however, and while intent only on his murderous design, he was borne by his intended victim to the margin of the water, and, with a giant effort, hurled headlong over the bank. The loud splashing that succeeded, told that he was now struggling in the embrace of a different, though not a much more comfortable, antagonist; while three more heavy plunges, following in irregular succession along the bank, still further announced that the vanquished sheriff was not without the company of a good share of his friends to console him in the discomforts of the new element, into which they all had been so suddenly and unexpectedly translated. The shrill notes of Warrington's signal whistle now sounded the preconcerted retreat. In a moment more the victorious party were assembled at the appointed landing—in another, they were embarked; while their boat, by the strong push of the last man springing in, was sent, by the single impulse, so far into the lake as to put a safe distance between them and their foes, now beginning to rally, with cries of rage, on the shore. An uncontrollable peal of laughter, ending in three loud and lively cheers, now burst from the Green Mountain Boys, rending the welkin above, and startling the deep recesses of the surrounding forests with the triumphant shout. “The battle being over,” observed Warrington, after the noise of their merriment and exultation had measurably subsided; “let us now turn our attention to the wounded and missing.” “All whole of skin, I imagine,” said Selden ; “though here is one, Smith, I believe it is, who comes from the fight, as near as I can discover, like the Benjaminite of the Scripture, just escaped from the Philistines, with head bare and garments rent.” “I must leave my old otter-skin cap in their hands, I spose,” coolly replied Smith; “I had to take it to finish off the catamount's head with ; for I couldn’t fix the fox-fire for the eyes into the end of that bundle of dry grass, that I made the body of, so as to look any how natural without it, and when I pushed the thing out of the crotch, as I stood behind the tree with my pole, I gave it such a hoist over into the bushes among the scared devils, that 't was out of the question to think of looking for the cap, and grabbing one of the scamps too. But as to my coat being tore here a little, I don’t valley it a fraction, seeing as how the ragamuffin I hove into the lake got pretty well choked to pay for it.” “Ah, you have done well, Smith,” said the leader; “all of you, indeed, have done nobly ; but of that hereafter — one of our number I believe is missing — which is it 7” “It is Pete Jones,” replied Brown. “And the Indian chap,” added Smith. “The Indian,” resumed Warrington, “after announcing the enemy for us by his admirable imitation of the owl, departed by himself, I presume. As near as I could gather from him, he did not wish to be known as acting against the Yorkers. He probably lives with some family in the vicinity, who are trying to stand neutral in this warfare, and who have cautioned him to govern himself accordingly. His absence, therefore, does not surprise me. But what can have become of Jones. He surely, is not a fellow to be easily ensnared, or overpowered.” “I rather suspect,” replied Brown, “he is after that traitor. As, when the Yorkers were creeping on toward the cave, he whispered to me he thought he saw a fellow pointing out the place, and slipping back over the hill, who, he guessed, was the

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