Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/259

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straw, and turning short on his heel left without a word.

“There was no question now but we were suspected, so we held a council of war and determined to keep quiet—at least for some nights. What was up we didn’t know, but at all events it was best to go slow. So we stuffed most of the dirt back in the hole and waited—our ears open to every sound, our teeth chattering. You get pretty nervous in jail—especially when you have about made up your mind that the next hour is your last.

“We didn’t wait long.

“That afternoon the bolts were slid back and the head jailer, who had never before appeared at that hour, stood in the doorway.

“I thought right away that it was all over with us; that we were discovered and that we were either to be shot or moved to another cell—I really didn’t care which, for instant death could not be much worse than lingering in a South American prison until we were gray-bearded and forgotten.

“The jailer stepped inside, half closed the door, and made this announcement:

“‘The American consul is outside and wants to see you.’ Then he stepped out, leaving the door open.