Simon stepped onward, and behind him young Jack and Harry were forced to march.
They were walking into captivity, but they could not help themselves; and so they wisely obeyed, so as not to give their captors fresh excuse for further barbarity.
The road which Simon led them was a gloomy and narrow defile that wound precipitously up among the hills.
Sometimes the rocks overhung the road, so that the sky was barely visible, and here and there heaven was altogether obscured, for they had to walk through tunnels in the solid rock—too solid apparently to have been worked by the hand of man.
On they walked upon the gloomy track, the silence only broken by the echo of their own footfalls.
Any thing so desolate our boys had never beheld.
A dull settled feeling of loneliness and despair fell upon the two boy prisoners.
After journeying in this way for about two miles they came unexpectedly (to them—for of course Simon the guide knew where he was leading the party) upon a circular opening among the hills, beneath which was what appeared to be a table land of dark earth or peat.
"A swamp," said Harry Girdwood.
"It looks like a bog," said young Jack, "but yet I can see something moving."
"It is water."
"How black—how dismal it looks."
It did, indeed.
Silent and gloomy, like a table of metal, spread the darkling waters of this strange lake.
Wild and desolate was it in the extreme.
On every side it was enclosed by towering heights, bare, treeless and solemn.
Both boys were plainly impressed with the dull solemnity of the scene.
"What does that look like?" said young Jack, in a low voice to his companion.
"I don't know—Lerna, the famous marsh, near Argos."
"No; it was there that Hercules killed the Hydra, wasn't it?"
"I should like to think that it was like that," he said, glancing around at the brigands about them.
"And that you or we might emulate the example of Hercules."
"But our enemies are more than hydra-headed."
The other glanced eagerly about him before he spoke.
"It is a question; I should almost sooner run a good deal of risk than be marched quietly off."