The Pirate Woman (Chapter 12)

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Chapter 12 : Page 1 of 9

In the rock passage the hush was complete. For the space of ten long breaths Sancho stood quivering under the weird spell of the infernal red radiance from the hidden lights, while almost invisible ahead of him Dolores bent to listen to a last moment's communication from Pascherette. With Milo behind him, and the great unknown ahead, the pirate's usual fierce courage oozed out through his boots. Yet he was hypnotized by the vague glitter that shone at the end of the tunnel--the glitter, though he knew it not yet, of the great sliding door to the inner mystery.

Suddenly the mighty rock reverberated and shook to a Titanic volley of thunder, and Sancho shrieked with nervous terror. His shriek was echoed by a rippling laugh from Dolores, and she came back swiftly toward him, pushing Pascherette before her. She handed the little octoroon on to Milo, and said, with a kindly pat on the girl's head: "Open, Milo, and let thy sweetheart complete her good works. Now I shall have none but faithful friends about me. Pascherette, thou'rt more than forgiven: thou'rt my good friend. I shall reward thee fittingly when"--she smiled dazzlingly at Sancho--"I have rewarded Sancho."

The rock door rolled aside, and Pascherette passed out into the storm. Sancho's nerves gave way utterly now, and he rushed toward the opening, screaming: "Let me out! I want air! I want none of the great chamber! Let me pass!"


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