LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 247
" That must be Michael," he said ; " I think I know the sound of his gallop;" and he rose up and stretched his head anxiously back'over the road.
A man riding in hot haste was now dimly descried at the top of a distant hill.
" There he is, I do believe !" said Phineas. George and Jim both sprang out of the wagon, before they knew what they were doing. All stood intensely silent, with their faces turned towards the expected messenger. On he came. Now he went down into a valley, where they could not see him ; but they heard the sharp, hasty tramp, rising nearer and nearer ; at last they saw him emerge on the top of an eminence, within hail.
"Yes, that's Michael! " said Phineas; and, raising his voice, — " Halloa, there, Michael! "
" Phineas ! is that thee ? "
" Yes ; what news — they coming ? "
" Right on behind, eight or ten of them, hot with brandy, swearing and foaming like so many wolves."
And, just as he spoke, a breeze brought the faint sound of galloping horsemen towards them.
" In with you, — quick, boys, in ! " said Phineas. " If you must fight, wait till I get you a piece ahead." And, with the word, both jumped in, and Phineas lashed the horses to a run, the horseman keeping close beside them. The wagon rattled, jumped, almost flew, over the frozen ground; but plainer, and still plainer, came the noise of pursuing horsemen behind. The women heard it, and, looking anxiously out, saw, far in the rear, on the brow of a distant hill, a party of men looming up against the red-streaked sky of early dawn. Another hill, and their pur- . suers had evidently caught sight of their wagon, whose white cloth-covered top made it conspicuous at some distance, and a loud yell of brutal triumph came forward on the wind. Eliza sickened, and strained her child closer to her bosom ; the old woman prayed and groaned, and George and Jim clenched their pistols with the grasp of