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[391] death, and if he breathes no faster, he is more fitted for a hero than I am.

In the agony of that moment — in the sudden and utter helplessness I felt to discover my true bearings-I was about to let myself gently into the stream, and breast its current for life or death. There was no alternative. The Northern pickets must be reached in safety before the morning broke, or I should soon swing between heaven and earth, from some green limb in the dark forest in which I stood.

At that moment the low, sullen bay of a bloodhound struck my ear. The sound was reviving — the fearful stillness broken. The uncertain dread flew before the certain danger. I was standing to my middle in the shallow bed of the river, just beneath the jutting banks. After a pause of a few seconds, I began to creep mechanically and stealthily down the stream, followed, as I knew, from the rustling of the grass and frequent breaking of twigs, by the insatiable brute; although, by certain uneasy growls, I felt assured he was at fault. Something struck against my breast. I could not prevent a slight cry from escaping me, as, stretching out my hand, I grasped the gunwale of a boat moored beneath the bank. Between surprise and joy I felt half choked.

In an instant I had scrambled on board, and began to search for the painter in the bow, in order to cast her from her fastenings. Suddenly a bright ray of moonlight — the first gleam of hope in that black night-fell directly on the spot, revealing the silvery stream, my own skiff (hidden there ten days before), lighting the deep shadows of the verging wood, and, on the log half

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