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long time of silence both within and without. At last the tapping
recommenced, and, to our indescribable joy and gratitude, died
slowly away again until it ceased to be heard.

“Mother,” said I, “take the whole and let’s be going,” for I was
sure the bolted door must have seemed suspicious and would
bring the whole hornet’s nest about our ears, though how thankful
I was that I had bolted it, none could tell who had never met that
terrible blind man.

But my mother, frightened as she was, would not consent to
take a fraction more than was due to her and was obstinately
unwilling to be content with less. It was not yet seven, she said, by
a long way; she knew her rights and she would have them; and she
was still arguing with me when a little low whistle sounded a good
way off upon the hill. That was enough, and more than enough, for
both of us.

“I’ll take what I have,” she said, jumping to her feet.
“And I’ll take this to square the count,” said I, picking up the
oilskin packet.

Next moment we were both groping downstairs, leaving the
candle by the empty chest; and the next we had opened the door
and were in full retreat. We had not started a moment too soon.
The fog was rapidly dispersing; already the moon shone quite
clear on the high ground on either side; and it was only in the
exact bottom of the dell and round the tavern door that a thin veil
still hung unbroken to conceal the first steps of our escape. Far
less than half-way to the hamlet, very little beyond the bottom of
the hill, we must come forth into the moonlight. Nor was this all,
for the sound of several footsteps running came already to our
ears, and as we looked back in their direction, a light tossing to

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