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He had to call several times before the frightened woman could answer. Then from out the darkness there cam a feeble response.
He groped his way along in the darkness.
He found a cell door, tore it open and reached her side.
At this moment some one lighted a torch within the jail. A scene, wild, weird and terrible burst upon their view. The prisoners were almost driven to madness by the sudden appearance of the savage and civilized liberators.
Charles Stevens, with chisel and hammer, quickly cut the chains of his mother and hastened to liberate Cora. Her father held the light, while he cut the iron band.
« Free! free!" cried the excited Charles. "Let us away before the town is roused!”
“No,” answered Mr. George Waters; “not while a prisoner remains to suffer the wrath of prejudice.”
Then with chisel and hammer he went from one to another and cut the iron bands which bound them.
Oracus and Henry Waters joined him in the work of liberation, until all were freed.
This required several moments of time, and the confusion and uproar which they were compelled to make was rousing the town.
Mr. Parris, half-dressed, ran barefoot through the town, waving his long arms in the air, and
shouting that the fiends of the air had conspired to liberate the prisoners. His words and his wild, fanatical manner tended rather to increase the fear of the people of Salem, than diminish it. Then there went out the report through the village that the Indians had attacked the town, and the people, roused from their midnight slumbers, magnified the numbers of the assailants ten to one. “Cora!
Mother!” whispered Charles, “this way!”
He took a hand of each and started to run from the jail down the street.
“Fly! all of you! Fly for your lives!” cried Henry Waters, who, now that his work was done, flung aside his iron bar and sledge.
At a word of command from Oracus his warriors formed a hollow square about the escaping fugitives, and moved off as rapidly as they could.
Everybody was bewildered. Everybody run. ning into the street was asking:
“What has happened? What has gone amiss?”
They are rescuing the prisoners,” shouted Mr. Parris, wildly. “Don't you see them hurrying away with them."
He ran to the sheriff and cried:
“Bestir yourself! Do you not see they are taking your prisoners away?”
“I have no deputies," answered the sheriff. “They number hundreds, and the Indians are with them."
“Nonsense! They are only disguised, and are not a dozen. Come! I will go with you."
Four or five by-standers, being thus emboldened, offered to go themselves and aid in recovering the prisoners.
“Come! I will lead you!” cried the eager preacher, allowing his zeal to overcome his discretion.
They ran after the escaping party, and Mr. Parris, either being more zealous than the others, or more swift of foot, outran them and, eluding some of the Indians, who tried to intercept him, ran to where Charles Stevens was half leading and half dragging his mother and Cora from the village.
“Fire-brand of hades! you shall not escape me, ” cried Mr. Parris seizing Cora's shoulder with a clutch so fierce as to make her
out. Charles released both his mother and Cora, and, seizing Mr. Parris by the throat, hurled him to the ground, and raised a hammer to brain him; but at this moment a strong hand seized his arm, and the calm, kind voice of Mr. Waters said: “Stay your hand, Charles.
Do the man 00 harm."
Next moment, a pair of dusky hands seized Mr. Parris, and he was hurried away to the rear. Mr. Henry Waters caused a couple of guns to be fired in the air in order to intimidate their
purThis had the desired effect, and the mention of Indians was sufficient to drive all to the defense of their homes.
The fugitives reached the forest before the sheriff and Mr. Parris could get an armed party in pursuit.
They followed them to the brook, and fired a volley at them, but in vain. The number of accused who escaped on that night, has been esti. mated at from twenty to one hundred.
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE.
Though high the warm, red torrent ran,
The liberated prisoners went whithersoever they pleased. Some went to Boston, others to Plymouth, many to New York, New Jersey and Maryland, while a few returned to England. They were wearied with their experience in the New World, and were content to spend their days in England.
Charles Stevens retained a firm hold on his mother and Cora, until it was quite evident that their pursuers had, for the present, at least, given up the chase. They went on in the forest until they were joined by the five savages left to guard Joel Martin. Martin was no longer with them. Charles did not inquire what had become of him, for he was wholly engrossed in the safety of Cora and his mother.