Glossin, though a bold and hardy man, felt his heart throb, and his knees knock together, when he prepared to enter this den of secret iniquity, in order to hold conference with a felon, whom he justly accounted one of the most desperate and depraved of men. "But he has no interest to injure me," was his consolatory reflection. He examined his pocket-pistols, however, before removing the weeds and entering the cavern, which he did upon hands and knees. The passage, which at first was low and narrow, just admitting entrance to a man in a creeping posture, expanded after a few yards into a high arched vault of considerable width. The bottom, ascending gradually, was covered with the purest sand. Ere Glossin had got upon his feet, the hoarse yet suppressed voice of Hatteraick growled through the recesses of the cave.
"Dark? der deyvil! ay," said Dirk Hatteraick; "where should I have a glim?"
"I have brought light;" and Glossin accordingly produced a tinder-box, and lighted a small lantern.
"You must kindle some fire too, for hold mich der deyvil, lch bin ganz gefrorne!"
"It is a cold place to be sure," said Glossin, gathering together some decayed staves of barrels and pieces of wood, which had perhaps lain in the cavern since Hatteraick was there last.
"Cold? Snow-wasser and hagel! it's perdition--I could only keep myself alive by rambling up and down this d-d vault, and thinking about the merry rouses we have had in it."
The flame then began to blaze brightly, and Hatteraick hung his bronzed visage, and expanded his hard and sinewy hands over it, with an avidity resembling that of a famished wretch to whom food is exposed. The light showed his savage and stern features, and the smoke, which in his agony of cold he seemed to endure almost to suffocation, after circling round his head, rose to the dim and rugged roof of the cave, through which it escaped by some secret rents or clefts in the rock; the same doubtless that afforded air to the cavern when the tide was in, at which time the aperture to the sea was filled with water.
"And now I have brought you some breakfast," said Glossin, producing some cold meat and a flask of spirits. The latter Hatteraick eagerly seized upon, and applied to his mouth; and, after a hearty draught, he exclaimed with great rapture, "Das schmeckt! That is good--that warms the liver!"--Then broke into the fragment of a High-Dutch song,