“Do you know,” here interrupted Mr. Walters, “that I’ve my suspicions that that villain is at the bottom of these disturbances or at least has a large share in them. I have a paper in my possession, in his handwriting—it is in fact a list of the places destroyed by the mob last night—it fell into the hands of a friend of mine by accident—he gave it to me—it put me on my guard; and when the villains attacked my house last night they got rather a warmer reception than they bargained for.”
“You astonish me! Is it possible your place was assaulted also?” asked Mr. Balch.
“Indeed, it was—and a hot battle we had of it for a short space of time. But how did you hear of this affair?”
“I was sent for by I can’t tell whom. When I came and saw what had happened, I immediately set about searching for a will that I made for Mr. Garie a few weeks since; it was witnessed and signed at my office, and he brought it away with him. I can’t discover it anywhere. I’ve ransacked every cranny. It must have been carried off by some one. You are named in it conjointly with myself as executor. All the property is left to her, poor thing, and his children. We must endeavour to find it somewhere—at any rate the children are secure; they are the only heirs—he had not, to my knowledge, a single white relative. But let us go in and see the bodies.”
They walked together into the back room where the bodies were lying. Mrs. Garie was stretched upon the sofa, covered with a piano cloth; and her husband was laid upon a long table, with a silk window-curtain thrown across his face.
The two gazed in silence on the face of Mr. Garie—the brow was still knit, the eyes staring vacantly, and the marble whiteness of the face unbroken, save by a few gouts of blood near a small blue spot over the eye where the bullet had entered.
“He was the best-hearted creature in the world,” said Walters, as he re-covered the face.
“Won’t you look at her?” asked Mr. Balch.
“No, no—I can’t,” continued Walters; “I’ve seen horrors enough for one morning. I’ve another thing on my mind! A friend who assisted in the defence of my house started up here last night, to warn them of their danger, and when I left home he had not returned: it’s evident he hasn’t been here, and I greatly fear some misfortune has befallen him. Where are the children? Poor little orphans, I must see them before I go.”
Accompanied by Mr. Balch, he called at the house where Clarence and Em had found temporary shelter. The children ran to him as soon as he entered the room. “Oh! Mr. Walters,” sobbed Clarence, “my mother’s dead—my mother’s dead!”
“Hush, dears—hush!” he replied, endeavouring to restrain his own tears, as he took little Em in his arms. “Don’t cry, my darling,” said he, as she gave rent to a fresh outburst of tears.
“Oh, Mr. Walters!” said she, still sobbing, “she was all the mother I had.”