though none of the influences to which I have referred
It must be done without noise, for the room above him was Little's, and Little, he knew, had a wire by means of which he could summon Ransome and the police in the turn of a hand.
The cold of the night, and the now present danger, made Cole shiver all over, and he paused.
But he began again, and, taking out a fine steel saw highly tempered, proceeded to saw the iron slowly and gently, ready at the first alarm to spring from his ladder and run away.
With all his caution, steel grated against steel, and made too much noise in the stilly night. He desisted. He felt about, and found the grating was let into wood, not stone; he oiled the saw, and it cut the wood like butter; he made two cuts like a capital V, and a bar of the grating came loose; he did the same thing above, and the bar came out.
Cole now descended the ladder, and prepared for the greatest danger of all. He took from its receptacle the little metal box lined with glazed paper, which contained the fulminating silver and its fuse; and, holding it as gently as possible, went and mounted the ladder again, putting his foot down as softly as a cat.
But he was getting colder and colder, and at this unfortunate moment he remembered that, when he was a lad, a man had been destroyed by fulminating silver--quite a small quantity--in a plate over which he was leaning; yet the poor wretch's limbs had been found in different places, and he himself had seen the head; it had been torn from the trunk and hurled to an incredible distance.
That trunkless head he now fancied he saw, in the middle of the fog; and his body began to sweat cold, and his hands to shake so that he could hardly told the box. But if he let it fall--
He came hastily down the ladder and sat down on the dirty ground, with the infernal engine beside him.