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For The Temple by G. A. Henty

Chapter 8: Among The Mountains.

Jonas was in high spirits as they started from the farm. He was leaving no friends behind and, so long as he had John with him, he was perfectly contented. He was delighted to be on the move again for, although he had worked steadily in getting in the harvest, regular labor was distasteful to him and, accustomed as he had been to wander, for weeks, free and unchecked with his goats among the mountains, the regular life and order of the farm were irksome to him.

John, on the other hand, was silent; replying briefly to the boy's questions. He felt the danger of the enterprise upon which he had embarked, and his responsibility as leader; and the thought of the grief which his father and mother would feel, did ought befall him, weighed on his mind. Presently, however, he roused himself.

|Now, Jonas, you must keep a sharp lookout round for, if we see any Roman soldiers in the distance, I must hide my sword and buckler before they discover us, and you must stow away your sling and pouch; then we will walk quietly on. If they question us, we are going to stay with friends at Capitolias and, as there will be nothing suspicious about us, they will not interfere with us. After they have passed on, we will go back for our arms. We are not traveling in the direction of Gamala, and they will have no reason to doubt our story.|

They did not, however, meet any of the parties of Roman horse who were scouring the country, carrying off grain and cattle for the use of the army; and they arrived, in the afternoon, on the bank of the Hieromax. Upon the other side of the river rose the steep slopes of Mount Galaad, high up on whose side was perched the little town of Abila.

|Here we can wait, Jonas. We are nearly opposite the town. The others will, doubtless, soon be here.|

It was not long before the band made their appearance, coming along in twos and threes as they had met on the river bank. By sunset the last had arrived, and John found that each of his first recruits had brought two others.

He looked with satisfaction at the band. The greater part of them had been fishermen. All were strong and active; and John saw that his order that young men, only, should be taken had been obeyed, for not one of them was over the age of twenty-three and, as he had laid it down, as an absolute rule, all were unmarried. All were, like himself, armed with sword and buckler; and several had brought with them bags with javelin heads, to be fitted to staves, later on. All their faces bore a look of determination and, at the same time, of gladness.

The massacre on the lake had excited the inhabitants of the shore to fury, and even those who had hitherto held back from the national cause were now eager to fight against the Romans; but many shrunk from going to Gamala -- which was, indeed, already as full of fighting men as it could hold -- and John's proposal to form a band, for warfare in the mountains, had exactly suited the more adventurous spirits.

All present were known to John, personally. Many of them were sons of friends of Simon; and the others he had met at village gatherings, or when fishing on the lake. There were warm greetings, as each accession to the party arrived; and each member of the band felt his spirits rise higher, at finding that so many of those he knew, personally, were to be his comrades in the enterprise.

When the last comer had arrived, John said:

|We will now be moving forward. We had best get well up the mountain, before night falls. It matters not much where we camp, tonight; tomorrow we can choose a good spot for our headquarters.|

It being now the height of the dry season, the river was low, and they had no difficulty in wading across. Then they struck up the hill, to the right of Abila, until they had fairly entered the forests which clothed the lower slopes of the mountains. Then John gave the word for a halt.

Dead wood was soon collected, and a fire made. Cakes of meal were baked in the ashes and, after these had been eaten, the party lay round the fire and, a few minutes later, John rose to his feet.

Illustration: John Incites his Countrymen to Harass the Romans.

|You all know the reason for which we are gathered together here. We all long for vengeance on the oppressors of our country, the murderers of our kinsmen and friends, the men who carry off our women to shame and slavery in Rome. We are all ready to die, for our country and our God; but we would fain die doing as much harm to the Romans as we can, fighting like freemen in the open, instead of rats slaughtered in a cage. That is why, instead of going into Gamala, we have gathered here.

|I am the youngest among you; but I have so far assumed the leadership because, in the first place, I have been much with Josephus, who -- although he may now, most unworthily, have gone over to the Romans to save his life -- was yet a wise governor, and a great leader. From him, I have learned much of the Romans. In the second place, I have seen more of their warfare than any of you, having passed through the terrible siege of Jotapata. Lastly, I believe that God, having saved me almost alone of all the host that defended the town, has intended me as an instrument for his service.

|Therefore have I taken upon myself the command, in the first place, of this band; but at the same time, if you think that I am too young, and would rather place another at your head, I will stand aside, and release from their oath those who have already sworn. I am not self seeking. I crave not the leadership over you, and will obey whomsoever you may choose for your chief. But to whomsoever is the leader, prompt obedience must be given; for there must, even in a band like this, be order and discipline. We work for a common good, but we must yield to the direction of one will, and one head.

|Now, what say you? I will walk away, to leave you free to consult one with another; and will abide by your decision, whatever it be. Only the decision, once made, must be adhered to. There must be no after grumbling, no hesitation or drawing back. You must have absolute confidence, and give absolute obedience, to him whom you choose. For only so can we hope to succeed in our enterprises.|

John had gone but a short way among the trees, when he was called back again. All had come prepared to follow him. His father had always been a man of weight and position among the villagers on the shore and, democratic as were the Jewish institutions, there was yet a certain respect paid to those of position above their fellows. John's experience and, especially, his escape from Jotapata, seemed specially to mark him as one destined to play an important part. And his quiet resolute bearing, now -- the feeling that he knew what was to be done, and how to do it; that he was, in fact, their natural leader -- came home to all, and it was with sincerity that they assured him that they accepted him as their leader.

|Very well,| John said, quietly. |Then let those who have not already taken the oath stand up, and do so.|

This was done, and John then said:

|Now, I will tell you more of my plans; although these, of course, cannot be in any way settled until we see how things turn out. It is by watching for opportunities and seizing the right moment, only, that we can hope for success. We are all ready to give our lives for our country, but we do not wish to throw them away. We want each of us to do as much as possible. We want to live, so as to share in the defense of the Temple; therefore, we have to combine prudence with daring.

|As for an attack upon any strong body of Roman troops, it would be impossible -- unless they attempt to follow us among the mountains. One of our first duties will be to learn the country well, so that we may know where to defend ourselves, should they come up after us; where, from eminences, we can cast down rocks upon them; where there are crags which we can climb, but up which their heavy-armed soldiers cannot follow us. This is our first task for, as yet, they have not commenced the siege of Gamala. When they do so, we must draw down near them and hide ourselves, mark the position of their camp, see how their tents are arranged, and where their sentries are placed.

|Then we can begin work: sometimes falling upon their guards; at other times creeping in past their sentries, scattering through the camp and, at a given signal, firing their tents with the brands from their fires; slaying those who first rush out, and then making off again to the hills.

|Then, too, they will be sending great numbers of men up the hills, to cut timber and branches for their embankments, their breastworks, and the construction of the wattles to protect their machines. We shall be in hiding and, when a party of men separates from the rest, we will fall upon these; we will harass their workers from a distance, always avoiding a regular combat, but hindering their work, and wearing them out. Thus we may do better service, to the defenders of Gamala, than if we were within the walls.

|At present we have only swords, but we must get bows and arrows. It would not have been safe to have carried them across the plains; but we can procure them at Abila, or Jabez Galaad. I fear that we shall not be able to interfere with the provisioning of the army -- for upon the plains we shall have no chance with their cavalry -- but, here in these mountains, stretching away over Peraea into Arabia and Moab, we can laugh at pursuit by the Romans; and even Agrippa's light-armed Arabs will have difficulty in following us, and of them we need have little fear. At Jotapata we proved ourselves a match for the Romans; and their light-armed troops will not care to venture against us, alone, as they will not know our numbers, and will fear being led into ambushes.

|There is one question which we have to consider, and that is food; as to flesh, we shall have it in abundance. There will be many flocks of goats, belonging to those in Gamala, straying among the mountains without an owner; therefore of goats' milk and flesh we can take abundance, but there will be a scarcity of grain. I have some money with me, with which we can purchase it at Abila, and the villages. As for Jabez Galaad, it is too close to Gamala; and the Romans will probably ascend the hill and destroy it, or place a guard there. At any rate, the money will be sufficient to purchase meal for us, for some time -- much longer, probably, than Gamala will be able to hold out -- and when that has fallen, it will be time to arrange about the future. Only let us take nothing without payment; let us not be like the robber bands, which prey upon the people, until they long for the Romans as masters.

|Only we must remember that, while we desire now to do the Romans as much harm as possible, this is but the beginning of our work; and that we must save ourselves for the future. Gamala is but one town; and we shall have plenty of opportunities for striking at the enemy, in the future. We have put our hands to the plow now and, so long as the war lasts, we will not look back. It may be that our example may lead others to follow it and, in that case, the Romans' difficulties will thicken, every day. Were there scores of bands of determined men, like us, hanging around them; ready to attack small bodies, whenever they venture away from their camps to gather in provisions and forage, and to harass them, at night, by constant alarms, we could wear them out.

|Only, we must always avoid a pitched battle. In irregular fighting we are as good as they -- better, for we can move more quickly -- but when it comes to fighting in order of battle, we have no chance with them, whatever. Their cavalry, the other day outside Tarichea, were like wolves among a flock of sheep. Nothing but disaster can come of fighting in the plain. Every people should fight in the way that suits them best, and an attempt to meet an enemy in their own way of fighting is sure to lead to disaster. Let the Roman keep the plain, with his cavalry and his heavy infantry; let the Jew, light footed and swift, keep to the hills. He is as much superior, there, as is the Roman in the plains.

|And now, we must establish signals. We will get horns, at Abila; and I will fix upon signals. One long note will mean, gather to me; two, fall back gradually; three, retire at once with all speed, to the spot agreed upon, before setting out in the morning. Two short notes will mean, advance and attack in the manner arranged; one short note, oft repeated, will tell you the Romans are advancing, sound your horns -- for it were well that each provided himself with a cow's horn, so that the signals can be repeated. If we are scattered over a hillside among the trees, and the Romans hear horns sounded in many quarters, they will think that there must be a large body of men assembled. This will make them slow and cautious in all their movements; will force many to stand prepared, with their arms, to guard those at work; and will altogether confuse and puzzle them.

|And now, we will lie down and sleep; as soon as it is dawn, we will be on foot again.|

The next two days were spent in exploring that part of the mountains: examining the direction, and extent, of each valley and ravine; seeing where steep precipices afforded an opportunity for rolling down rocks upon an enemy passing along the valley, or trying to storm the height; in searching for pools in dried watercourses; and in deciding upon a spot favorable for the camp. They fixed upon a spot high up on the mountains, two miles east of Abila, as their headquarters. It was in a pass between two peaks, and gave them the option of descending either to the north or south, or of skirting along the mountains towards the sources of the Jabbok river, and thence crossing the Hermon range beyond the limits of Peraea.

Jonas was sent, the first thing, to discover whether the Romans had taken possession of Jabez Galaad; which lay but five miles from Gamala, and on the southern side of the range of hills on whose western spur Gamala was built. He returned, in a short time, saying that he had found the inhabitants in a state of great alarm; for that a Roman force could be seen, coming up the road from the plain. Most of the fighting men of the town were in Gamala; the rest, with the young women, were leaving, so that only old people and children would be found in the town when the Romans arrived. Jonas also brought word that Vespasian's whole army was moving against Gamala.

John had given Jonas money, before he started, to purchase bows and arrows. He had brought back bows for the whole party, and as many arrows as he could carry.

|I paid nothing for them,| he said, as he threw them down. |The man who sold them was praying those who were leaving the town to take them -- for he thought that, if the Romans found them in his house, they would destroy it -- but no one listened. All were too busy, in carrying off such of their household goods as they could take, to burden themselves further; so he gladly gave me as many as I could take. I carried off nearly all his bows; and I left him breaking up the rest, and his store of arrows, in order to burn them before the Romans arrived.

|A boy, carrying a bag of arrowheads, came with me some little distance. I paid the man for them, and they are now hidden in the forest. You can fetch them when you will, but I could not carry more with me than I have got.|

|You have done well, Jonas,| John said, as the men seized each a bow, and divided the arrows among them; and then stood waiting, expecting orders from John to proceed, at once, to harass the Roman column as it ascended the hill.

John said, in answer to their looks:

|We will not meddle with them, today. Did we shoot at them, they would suppose that we belonged to Jabez Galaad; and would, in revenge, destroy the town and all those they may find within it; and our first essay against them would bring destruction upon thousands of our countrymen.|

The others saw the justness of his reasoning, and their faith in him as their leader was strengthened by his calmness, and readiness of decision.

|Is the bag of arrowheads heavy, Jonas?|

|It is as much as the boy, who was about my own age, could carry,| Jonas replied.

|Then do you, Phineas, and you, Simeon, go with Jonas to the place where the bag is hidden, and carry it to the place we have fixed upon for our camp. If, on the way, you come across a herd of goats, shoot two or three of them and take them with you, and get fires ready. The day is getting on, but we will go across the mountains, and see where the Romans are pitching their camp and, by sunset, we will be with you.|

Making their way along the mountain the band came, after an hour's walking, to a point where they could obtain a view of Gamala. The city stood on the western extremity of the hill which, after sloping gradually down, rose suddenly in a sharp ridge like the hump of a camel -- from which the town had its name, Gamala. On both sides, this rock ended abruptly in a precipitous chasm; in which ran the two branches of the Hieromax, which met at the lower end of the ridge, and ran together into the end of the lake at Tarichea, three miles away.

Thus, Gamala was only accessible from behind, where the ridge joined the mountains. Across this neck of land a deep fosse had been dug, so as to cut off all approach. The houses were crowded thickly on the steep slope of the ridge, which was so abrupt that the houses seemed to overhang one another. On the southern crag, which was of immense height, was the citadel of the town. There was a spring, supplying abundance of water, within the walls. Had it been defended by a garrison as brave and numerous as that of Jotapata, it would have been well-nigh impregnable; but Cheres and Joseph, who commanded, had none of the genius of Josephus, although they were brave and determined.

The city was crowded with fugitives from all parts; and had already, for seven months, resisted a besieging force which Agrippa had sent against it. It was impossible to blockade the whole circuit of the town; but Vespasian took possession of all the neighboring heights, and established his camp, with that of the Fifteenth Legion, on the hill facing the city to the east. The Fifth Legion threw up works, opposite the center of the city; while the Tenth set to work to fill up ditches and ravines, in order to facilitate the approaches.

Agrippa approached the wall, to persuade the inhabitants to surrender; but was struck on the right elbow by a stone from a sling, and forced to retire. This insult to the native king, who came in the character of an ambassador, enraged the Romans; and they set about the operations for the siege with great vigor In spite of the efforts of the Jews, the fosse which protected the wall on the east was speedily filled up; and the Romans then began, as at Jotapata, to raise an embankment facing the wall.

The day after the Romans had established their camp, John and his followers advanced along the mountain until they could look down upon it and, for a long time, watched the Romans at work, and learned all the details of the camp.

|You must fix them in your minds,| John said, |in order that, even on a dark night, you may be able to make your way about it without difficulty; so that you may be able, after striking a blow, to fly directly to the mountain -- for any who get confused, and miss their way, will assuredly be killed. You see, the enemy have placed a strong guard, halfway up the hillside, in order to protect themselves from surprise; but it will be possible, by moving down to the streams, and then mounting again, to reach the camp without passing through them. And by the same way we must make our retreat for, if we succeed in setting the camp on fire, the flames will enable the guard on the mountains to see us approaching them.

|I had hoped that we might be able to penetrate, unobserved, to the tent of Vespasian, and to slay him and some of his generals but, by the bustle that we see round that tower on the hillside, and by the strong force of cavalry picketed round it, it is evident that he has taken up his quarters there and, indeed, from the top of the tower he can look down upon the town, and on all that is passing there, and issue his directions to his troops accordingly; so we must give up that idea. Another time, we may be more fortunate.

|But see, a great number of troops are ascending the hill towards us, doubtless to cut timber for their works. As soon as they are at work, we will attack them.|

The party retired into the forest and, as soon as they heard the sound of the Roman axes, they crept quietly forward; moving noiselessly, with their sandaled feet, among the trees. When within a short distance of the Romans, John ordered them to halt; and crept forward, with Jonas, to reconnoiter There was little fear of their being heard, for several hundred men were at work, felling trees; a line of sentries, at ten paces apart, standing under arms to prevent a surprise. The Romans were working too thickly to permit of any successful action, by so small a party; and John saw that the idea of an attack must be abandoned, and that he must confine himself, for the present, to harassing the sentries.

Rejoining his men, he told them what he had discovered; and bade them scatter along the line and, crawling up under the protection of the trees, to approach as near as they could to the line of sentries; and then to shoot at them -- or at the workmen, many of whom, having thrown off their heavy armor to enable them the better to work, offered more favorable marks for the arrows than the sentries -- whose faces, only, were exposed.

They were on no account to come to close quarters with the Romans. If the latter advanced, they were instantly to retire, approaching again as soon as the Romans recommenced their work; and so to continue, until he blew the signal for them to draw off, altogether. They were not to begin until they heard his signal for attack.

After allowing some little time to elapse for the men to get into position, John blew his horn. A moment, and cries and shouts were heard along the whole Roman line. The sound of chopping instantly ceased, and the Roman trumpets blew to arms.

John had advanced sufficiently near to see the Roman workmen before he gave the signal. Jonas was a little in advance of him and, as the horn sounded, he saw him step out from behind a tree, whirl his sling round his head and discharge a stone and, almost simultaneously, a Roman sentinel, some forty paces away, fell with a crash upon the ground.

The Roman soldiers who had retained their armor ran instantly forward, to support their sentries. The others hastily buckled on their breastplates, caught up their bucklers and helmets, and joined their comrades. Arrows continued to fall among them from their invisible foes and, although most of these fell harmless from their armor, several soldiers fell, in addition to the seven or eight who had been killed by the first volley.

The centurion in command soon saw that the number of his assailants was small but, afraid of being drawn into an ambush, he hesitated to give orders for an advance; but dispatched a messenger instantly to camp, contenting himself with throwing out strong parties a hundred yards in advance of his line. These now became the objects of attack, while arrows ceased to fall among the main body of the troops.

John moved round the flank, till he gained a position whence he could observe the camp. The trumpets above had been heard there, and the troops had already taken up their position under arms. As he looked on, he saw the messenger run up to a party of mounted officers. A minute later a trumpet sounded, and a strong body of Arabian archers advanced, at a run, up the slope. John at once withdrew to his first position, and sounded the order for instant retreat; and then, hurrying back half a mile, sounded the note for his followers to assemble at the spot where he was standing.

In a few minutes, all had joined him. They were in high spirits at the success of this first skirmish; and wondered why they had been so suddenly called off, when the Romans had shown no signs of advancing against them.

|There are fully a thousand Arab archers in the forest, by this time,| John said. |They are as fleet of foot as we are, and it would be madness to remain. We have stopped their work, for a time; and have killed many, without a scratch to ourselves. That is well enough, for today. Tomorrow we will beat them up, again.|

At daybreak, two of the party were sent forward to the edge of the wood, to see with what force the Romans went out to work. They brought back the report that they were accompanied by a strong body of archers; and that, as soon as they reached the forest, the archers were scattered in front of them for a long distance, and that it would be impossible to approach them, unobserved.

On the previous afternoon, John had dispatched Jonas to Abila, and he had returned with a number of cows' horns. Round the fire in the evening, the men had set to work to pierce the points with heated arrowheads, and had converted them into instruments capable of giving a deep, prolonged sound. On the return of the scouts, John set his men in motion.

|We cannot fight them, today, but we can hinder their work. We will scatter through the forest and, as we approach them, each is to sound his horn; and continue to do so, from time to time. The Romans will think that a great force is advancing against them.|

This was done, with the effect John had anticipated. Hearing the sound of horns, all over the mountainside, the Romans concluded that a great force was advancing to attack them; and the archers were at once recalled. The troops all stood to arms and, for several hours, remained waiting an attack. Then, after strong bodies of heavy-armed troops -- preceded by the archers, skirmishing before them -- had pushed some distance into the forest without meeting with an enemy, the work recommenced; a considerable number still standing to their arms, as protectors to the rest.

Although a certain amount of time had been gained, for the city, by the interruption of the work of bringing in timber, John had undertaken these sham attacks rather with the purpose of accustoming his band to work together, and to give them confidence, than with the view of troubling the Romans. In this he was perfectly successful. The band, when they reached their camp, that evening, were in high spirits. They had, for two days, puzzled and baffled a large Roman force; had inflicted some loss upon them, and forced them to desist from their work. They were pleased with themselves, and their leader; and had lost much of the dread of the Romans which the capture of Jotapata, Japha, and Tarichea, and the tales of their cruelty and ferocity, had excited among the whole population.

A reverse, at the commencement of their work, would have been fatal; and John had felt that, however earnest the men were, in their determination to die fighting for their country, the loss of a few of their number at the outset would have so dispirited the rest that the probability was that the band would disperse -- or would, at any rate, be unwilling to undertake any desperate operation. But in their present mood they were ready for any enterprise upon which he might lead them; and he, accordingly, told them that he should abstain, next day, from a continuance of his attacks upon the working party; but that, at night, he would carry out the design of setting fire to their camp.

Accordingly, the following day, the Romans pursued their work unmolested; although they still continued the precaution of keeping a force of archers, and parties of heavy-armed troops, in advance of those working in the wood. John did not move till the afternoon; and then, descending the hill to the right, he skirted along in the lower forest until within two miles of Gamala. Here he halted until nightfall.

While waiting for the hour of action, he gave final instructions to his men, and assigned to them the order in which they should ascend from the river towards the rear of the camp. When they approached the spot where they would probably find Roman sentries posted, they were to advance singly, crawling along upon the ground. Those who first went through were to keep straight on until they reached the further end of the camp; stopping, as near as they could judge, fifty paces apart. They were then to wait for half an hour, so as to be sure that all would have gained their allotted positions. Then, when they saw a certain star sink below the horizon (a method of calculating time to which all were accustomed) they were to creep forward into the Roman camp; and each to make his way, as noiselessly as possible, until he came within a few paces of one of the smoldering fires of the Romans, and to wait until they heard a single note from John's horn.

Each was at once to spring forward, seize a lighted brand and fire the nearest tent; and then to crawl away -- cutting, as they went, the ropes of the tents, so as to bring them down, and create as much confusion as possible. Then, either by crawling or, if discovered, by leaping to their feet and making a sudden rush, all were to make their way down to the river again; to follow its banks for half a mile, and then wait in a body for an hour. At the end of that time they were to make their way back to their camp in the mountain; certain, by that time, that all who were alive would have rejoined them. Should he himself not be with the party, they were at once to proceed to the election of another leader.

At about ten o'clock they again moved forward and, descending to the river, followed its banks until they arrived at the spot they had fixed on; then, in single file, they began to climb the hill. John placed himself in the middle of the line, in order to have a central position when the attack began. As soon as they reached the top of the slope, they lay down and, one by one, crawled forward into the darkness; two or three minutes being allowed to elapse between the departure of each man. They could hear the call of the Roman sentries as they answered each other, every half hour; and knew that the line was but a hundred yards or so in front of them. The night was very dark, and no sudden shout proclaimed that those ahead had been noticed.

When John's turn came to advance, Jonas was to follow next behind him. All had left their bows, arrows, bucklers, and swords behind them, and carried only their knives; for they had not come to fight, and the knives were required only for cutting the tent ropes or, in case of discovery, to enable them to take a life or two before they fell, fighting. Each had sworn to kill himself, if he found escape impossible, in order to escape a death by torture if he fell alive into the hands of the Romans.

John, on approaching the line of sentries, was guided by sound, only, in trying to avoid them. He could not see their figures; but could hear the sound of their footsteps, and the clash of their arms, as they tramped a few yards backwards and forwards. He was, like his comrades, stripped to the waist -- having only on a short garment, reaching halfway down the knee -- as it was upon speed, and activity, that his life would depend.

Without interruption, he crawled through the lines of sentries and continued his course until he was, as near as he could tell, opposite the center of the long line of tents; then he lay quiet, watching the setting of the star. No sound was heard from the camp in front; although from down the hillside beyond it came a confused noise, as of a host of men at work; and the glare of many fires reddened the skies for, there, five thousand men were at work raising the embankment against the doomed city; while the archers and slingers maintained a never-ceasing conflict, of missiles, with the defenders on the walls.

The star seemed, to John, as if it hung on its course; so long was it in sinking to the horizon. But at last it sank; and John, crawling noiselessly forward, made his way into the Roman camp. It was arranged with wide and regular streets, laid out with mechanical accuracy. Here and there, in front of a tent of a commanding officer, sentries paced to and fro; the sound of their footsteps and the clash of their arms, each time they turned, giving warning of their positions. In the center of the streets the fires -- round which the soldiers had, shortly before, been gathered -- still glowed and flickered for, although the days were hot, the cold at night rendered fires desirable; and there was an abundance of fuel to be obtained, from the hills.

John crawled along with the greatest care. He had no fear of being seen, but had he come roughly against a tent-rope he might have brought out some wakeful occupant of the tent to see who was moving.

He continued his course until he found himself opposite a fire, in which some of the brands were burning brightly; while there was no sentry on guard, within a distance of fifty yards. So far, everything had gone well; neither in passing through the lines of the sentries, nor in making their way into the camp, had any of the band been observed. It was certain now that some, at least, would succeed in setting fire to the tents, before they were discovered; and the wind, which was blowing briskly from the mountains, would speedily spread the flames; and a heavy blow would be inflicted upon the enemy.

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