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having a tight boddice rising no higher than the shoulders, and leaving bare the scraggy neck, and the thin but sinewy arms, and descending loosely from the waist to about the middle of the leg, formed the whole of its drapery. As the head and countenance indicated age, so, on the other hand, the shape of the body and the bare limbs betokened extreme agility and strength of action.
Amherst at first gazed on the figure with surprise. It was busily employed in heaping up fuel on the fire, which, in consequence of its exertions, had already begun to give forth fresh volumes of flame and smoke, and whilst engaged in this occupation, he saw it lift up logs of wood, bigger than itself, with an ease that
perfectly confounded him. As he looked, it went on, placing them endwise, one leaning against the other, so as to form a high pile, filling the intervals every now and then with dry brushwood, and fanning the flame energetically with a large branch of furze. All these actions were performed with inconceivable expedition, the figure wheeling round and round the pile with a rapidity almost supernatural, yet emitting no
sound, save that of a low muttered chaunting, the words of which were lost.
Amherst gazed on this singular being for a few moments. The deep sleep he had just been roused from left him for some time in doubt whether it was not a dream. At length he recovered his recollection, and being seized with an irresistible desire to satisfy his curiosity, by arresting the flight of a creature so uncouth and mysterious, he extricated himself, by one sudden exertion of all his strength, from the iron grasp of his servant's fear, and rushed forward into the main cavern. But the apparition was gone The noise he had made in his momentary struggle with OʻGollochar had alarmed it, and although only a few yards intervened between the spot where he had slept, and the fire where it had been busied, yet so swift were its motions, that it ran three times round the blazing pile, darted off like the bolt of death, and he only reached the centre of the cavern in time to see it vanish in the thick smoke rolling along the roof, immediately over the heaped up fragments resting against the further extremity of the vault.
Amherst stood thunder-struck for a moment. But recollecting himself, he seized upon a lighted brand from the fire, and running towards the end of the cavern where the figure had disappeared, he climbed, with some difficulty, from one immense mass of fallen rock to another, to the height of thirty or forty feet, until he had nearly reached the roof, examining every part with the greatest attention, in the hope of being enabled to account upon rational principles for its escape. But all his endeavours were fruitless. Again his wonder was renewed and redoubled, and the more he reflected on the almost inaccessible ascent the creature had scaled, as it were, with wings, the more he was perplexed.
Baffled and vexed, he sat him down on one of the stones, and was musing on the unaccountable occurrences of the evening, when his thoughts were interrupted by the noise of a desperate struggle in the sleeping place, and the half-choked voice of Cleaver. His first idea was, that his friend had been attacked, perhaps by banditti, and he rushed headlong to the recess. There all his apprehensions were not only immediately
removed, but were irresistibly converted into immoderate peals of laughter.
The Irishman had no sooner been shaken from his master, than the overwhelming dread he laboured under made him fly to the captain, who lay on his back like a great turtle, on the bed of stone he had selected, in that disturbed, though deep sort of sleep, resulting from repletion of stomach. Not contented with mere proximity, O’Gollochar griped him round the neck, and afterwards laid himself at length upon him, with all his weight, like a night
But Cleaver's sleep was so profound, that although his breathing was affected almost to suffocation, he did not immediately awaken. When he was thus grappled by the terrified Cornelius, he was dreaming that his ship was sailing bravely before a gallant breeze, with every sail set, and going more knots than had ever been marked by log-line. Suddenly he felt a shock, as if the prow had struck upon some sunken sand-bank, and then she gradually went down under him. A wide ocean surrounded him, and death stared him in the face. He hastily attempted to prepare himself for swimming, but he could not move a hand nor a limb, and the water rose rapidly over the sinking vessel. A huge hairy monster, half man, half fish, of tremendous strength, and with eyes like brazen censers, emerged from the sea, and grasping him about the neck, was dragging him downwards with a weight like that of ten first-rate anchors. He already felt the stifling of the waves, with all the horrors of drowning, and in utter despair of life, he struggled so desperately with the foul fiend, that he rolled O'Gollochar and himself off the bench; when being awakened from his sleep, by the fall, but not from his dreadful dream, he began bellowing out, as well as the pressure upon his wind-pipe would permit, in notes resembling those of a half-stopped postman's horn, and at the same time buffetting with might and main the unfortunate Irishman, whose fear made him keep his hold like a bull-dog, notwithstanding the numerous thumps that rained upon him; so that, when Amherst reached the scene of action, they were tumbling one over the other on the ground in most ludicrous conflict, the eyes of both starting from their sockets, partly from the different terrors that possessed them, and