Those were to her the three longest hours of her life. Wearily and impatiently she paced up and down the long saloon, watching the hands of the clock as they appeared to almost creep over the dial-plate. Twenty times during those three hours did she compare the clock with her watch, and found they moved on unvaryingly together.
At last the hour for the departure of the train arrived; and seated in the car, she was soon flying at express speed on the way towards her home. “How much sooner does the other train arrive than we?” she asked of the conductor.
“Two hours and a half, miss,” replied he, courteously; “we gain a half-hour upon them.”
“A half-hour—that is something gained,” thought she; “I may reach my father before that man. Can he be what I suspect?”
On they went—thirty—forty—fifty miles an hour, yet she thought it slow. Dashing by villages, through meadows, over bridges,—rattling, screaming, puffing, on their way to the city of New York. In due time they arrived at the ferry, and after crossing the river were in the city itself. Lizzie took the first carriage that came to hand, and was soon going briskly through the streets towards her father’s house. The nearer she approached it, the greater grew her fears; a horrible presentiment that something awful had occurred, grew stronger and stronger as she drew nearer home. She tried to brave it off—resist it—crush it—but it came back upon her each time with redoubled force.
On she went, nearer and nearer every moment, until at last she was in the avenue itself. She gazed eagerly from the carriage, and thought she observed one or two persons run across the street opposite her father’s house. It could not be!—she looked again—yes, there was a group beneath his window. “Faster! faster!” she cried frantically; “faster if you can.” The door was at last reached; she sprang from the carriage and pressed through the little knot of people who were gathered on the pavement. Alas! her presentiments were correct. There, lying on the pavement, was the mangled form of her father, who had desperately sprung from the balcony above, to escape arrest from the man with the keen grey eyes, who, with the warrant in his hand, stood contemplating the lifeless body.
“Father! father!” cried Lizzie, in an anguished voice; “father, speak once!” Too late! too late! the spirit had passed away—the murderer had rushed before a higher tribunal—a mightier Judge—into the presence of One who tempers justice with mercy.
The night that Lizzie Stevens arrived in Philadelphia was the one decided upon for the marriage of Emily Garie and Charles Ellis; and whilst she was wandering so lonely through the streets of one part of the city, a scene of mirth and gaiety was transpiring in another, some of the actors in which would be made more happy by events that would be productive of great sorrow to her.