"Fly!" cried Julia; "fly! upstairs: the leads."
He darted to the door, and out on the landing.
It was too late. Rooke had just turned the corner of the stairs, and saw him. He whistled and rushed after Alfred. Alfred bounded up the next flight of stairs: but, even as he went, his fighting blood got up; he remembered his pistol: he drew it, turned on the upper landing, and levelled the weapon full at Rooke's forehead. The man recoiled with a yell, and got to a respectful distance on the second landing. There he began to parley. "Come, Mr. Hardie, sir," said he, "that is past a joke: would you murder a man?"
"It's no murder to kill an assassin in defence of life or liberty; and I'll kill you, Rooke, as I would kill a wasp, if you lay a finger on me."
"Do you hear that?" shouted Rooke to some one below.
"Ay, I hear," replied the voice of Hayes.
"Then loose the dog. And run in after him."
There was a terrible silence; then a scratching was heard below: and, above, the deadly click of the pistol-hammers brought to full cock.