Up to this time he had fought as mute as a fox. But now that it had come to mere butchery, he cried out, in his agony, "They'll kill me. My mother! Help! Murder! Help!"
"Ay! thou'lt never forge no more!" roared Cole, and thwack came down the crushing bludgeon.
"Help! Murder! Help!" screamed the victim, more faintly; and at the next blow more faintly still.
But again the murderous cudgel was lifted high, to descend upon his young head.
As the confederates held the now breathless and despairing victim to receive the blow, and the butcher, with one eye closed by Henry's fist, but the other gleaming savagely, raised the cudgel to finish him, Henry saw a huge tongue of flame pour out at them all, from outside the church, and a report, that sounded like a cannon, was accompanied by the vicious ping of shot. Cole screamed and yelled, and dropped his cudgel, and his face was covered with blood in a moment; he yelled, and covered his face with his hands; and instantly came another flash, another report, another cruel ping of shot, and this time his hands were covered with blood.
The others rolled yelling out of the line of fire, and ran up the aisle for their lives.
Cole, yelling, tried to follow; but Henry, though sick and weak with the blows, caught him, and clung to his knees, and the next moment the place was filled with men carrying torches and gleaming swords, and led by a gentleman, who stood over Henry, in evening dress, but with the haughty expanded nostrils, the brilliant black eyes, and all the features of that knight in rusty armor who had come to him in his dream and left him with scorn.
At this moment a crash was heard: two of the culprits, with desperate agility, had leaped on to the vestry chest, and from that on to the horse, and from him headlong out of the window.