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CHAPTER XI. IT IS FINISHED.
Passing around the house to escape from the rear, the two girls suddenly came upon two men, whom, in the darkness, they conceived to be Van Zandt and Carl.

Theresa, in the excitement of the moment, lifted her sword in her hand and pointed it at the breast of the nearest, who rushed toward her.

[97]

“Stand back,” she cried; “I will not be taken alive.”

“Theresa!”

“Willie!”

The strength which had sustained her until this moment gave way, and she sunk into the arms of her lover.

“Let us away,” said Willie. “Come, Robert, you are slow.”

Robert Holmes dropped the bar with which he had been prying open the window, and came forward, saying:

“Our work is taken out of our hands. Katrine, have you no greeting for me, now that I am no longer Boston Bainbridge, but Robert Holmes?”

His voice broke the spell; she was in his arms in a moment, sobbing. “They told me you were dead. I thought I knew your voice.”

“Let us get out of this, Robert,” said Willie. “You had better carry Katrine. How much they must have endured.”

“Preserve the sword, Willie,” whispered Theresa, “it has saved me.”

Keeping in the rear of the house, they stole out of the postern gate through which they had entered, and soon placed the girls in safety in the house which was first taken. This done, the young men went back to their duty. Van Curter was there.

“Have you succeeded?” he cried, taking his cue from their happy faces.

“Yes, thank God, the girls are out of that villain’s power, and we have nothing to restrain us from an attack upon the house. Give me that white scarf, and I will speak to them.”

“Be careful, Robert,” said his brother; “they are desperate men, and may not respect the flag.”

“Robert took a ramrod, and fastened the white scarf upon it. Ordering his men to cease firing, the young man passed into the parade and called to Van Zandt.

“Why are you here again?” he demanded, angrily.

“To ask you to yield. Why should we shed blood, when nothing can be gained? Open your doors and let us enter.”

“You ask in vain,” was the stern answer; “you want the girls, I suppose; but you shall never see the face of Katrine, and Theresa has bid good-by forever to your friend Barlow. So away with you if you would save them trouble.”

[98]

“If you could look into the room where you placed the girls, you would see a broken casement and an empty cage. The girls are safe in our hands.”

“A Yankee horse-trader’s lie.”

“Go and see.”

Van Zandt rushed away and tried the door of Theresa’s room; it was fast bolted. He soon dashed a hole in it with the butt of his heavy rifle, and saw the empty cage of which the other had spoken: the nest was warm, but the birds had flown.

He went back and whispered to Carl; their conference over, Van Zandt went again to the window.

“What terms can we make?”

“The terms shall be the same as those given to Van Curter.”

“To all?”

“To every one.”

“I ask no more,” said the Dutch captain. “Go down and open the door, Jan.”

The doors opened and they passed out, Joseph and Carl looking back with strange meaning on the shattered window from which the girls had escaped. The countenance of the young German, Anselm, pale with contending passions, looked absolutely hideous under the glare of the rising sun. He had been foiled at every point; the revenge he had hoped for was torn from his grasp.

“Bear up, Carl,” whispered the young captain; “do not let these villains see how you are moved.”

He controlled his feelings by an effort of his powerful will. “It shall be as you say,” he replied in a hushed tone. “They shall be aroused only by the blow I shall strike them. Do your best, so that we shall pass another night in this place.”

“I will set about it,” answered the young captain. “I can read your thoughts.”

“That is well; then I need not speak. Where are the girls.”

“In one of the houses, a............
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