Despair settled upon the white people. They were confronted by a new and serious peril: poison! At no time could they feel safe. Chase took it upon himself to talk to the native servants, urging them to do nothing that might reflect suspicion upon them. He argued long and forcefully from the standpoint of a friend and counsellor. They listened stolidly and repeated their vows of fidelity and integrity. He was astute enough to take them into his confidence concerning the treachery of Jacob Von Blitz. It was only after most earnest pleading that he persuaded them not to slay the German’s wives as a temporary expedient.
One of the stable boys volunteered to carry a note from Chase to Rasula, asking the opportunity to lay a question of grave importance before him. Chase suggested to Rasula that he should meet him that evening at the west gate, under a flag of truce. The tone of the letter was more or less peremptory.
Rasula came, sullen but curious. At first he would not believe; but Chase was firm in his denunciation of Jacob von Blitz. Then he was pleased to accuse Chase of duplicity and double-dealing, going so far as to charge the deposed American with plotting against Von Blitz to further his own ends in more ways than one. At last, however, when he was ready to give up in despair, Chase saw signs of conviction in the manner of the native leader. His own fairness, his courage, had appealed to Rasula from the start. He did not know it then, but the dark-skinned lawyer had always felt, despite his envy and resentment, a certain respect for his integrity and fearlessness.
He finally agreed to follow the advice of the American; grudgingly, to be sure, but none the less determined.
“You will find everything as I have stated it, Rasula,” said Chase. “I’m sorry you are against me, for I would be your friend. I’ve told you how to reach the secret cave. The chests are there. The passage is closed. You can trap him in the attempt to rob the bank. I could have taken him red-handed and given him over to Lord Deppingham. But you would never have known the truth. Now I ask you to judge for yourselves. Give him a fair trial, Rasula—as you would any man accused of crime—and be just. If you need a witness—an eye-witness—call on me. I will come and I will appear against him. I’ve been honest with you. I am willing to trust you to be honest with me.”
DEPPINGHAM FALLS ILL
That evening Lord Deppingham took to his bed with violent chills. He shivered and burned by turns and spent a most distressing night. Bobby Browne came in twice to see him before retiring. For some reason unknown to any one but himself, Deppingham refused to be treated by the young man, notwithstanding the fact that Browne laid claim to a physician’s certificate and professed to be especially successful in breaking up “the ague.” Lady Agnes entreated her liege lord to submit to the doses, but Deppingham was resolute to irascibility.