“And you only told him I was the captain’s wife?” asked Edna. “You didn’t say I was Captain Horn’s wife?”
Cheditafa tried his best to recollect, and he felt very sure that he had simply said she was the captain’s wife.
When his examination was finished, Cheditafa burst into an earnest appeal to his mistress not to go out again alone while she stayed in Paris. He said that this Rackbird was an awfully wicked man, and that he would kill all of them if he could. If the police caught him, he wanted to go and tell them what a bad man he was. He did not believe the police had caught him. This man could run like a wild hare, and policemen’s legs were so stiff.
Edna assured him that she would take good care of herself, and, after enjoining upon him not to say a word to any one of what had happened until she told him to, she sent him away.
When Edna sat in council with herself upon the events of the morning, she was able to make some very fair conjectures as to what had happened. The scoundrel she met had supposed her to be the wife of the Rackbirds’ captain. Having seen and recognized Cheditafa, it was natural enough for him to suppose that the negro had been brought to Paris by some of the band. All this seemed to be good reasoning, and she insisted to herself over and over again that she was quite sure that Captain Horn had nothing to do with the letter which the man had been intending to give her.
That assurance relieved her of one great trouble, but there were others left. Here was a member of a band of bloody ruffians,—and perhaps he had companions,—who had sworn vengeance against her and her faithful servant, and Cheditafa’s account of this man convinced her that he would be ready enough to carry out such vengeance. She scarcely believed that the police had caught him. For she had seen how he could run, and he had the start of them. But even if they had, on what charge would he be held? He ought to be confined or deported, but she did not wish to institute proceedings and give evidence. She did not know what might be asked, or said, or done, if she deposed that the man was a member of the Rackbird band, and brought Cheditafa as a witness.
In all this trouble and perplexity she had no one to whom she could turn for advice and assistance. If she told Mrs. Cliff there was a Rackbird in Paris, and that he had been making threats, she was sure that good lady would fly to her home in Plainton, Maine, where she would have iron bars put to all the windows, and double locks to her doors.
In this great anxiety and terror—for, although Edna was a brave woman, it terrified her to think that a wild and reckless villain, purple with rage, had shaken his fist at her, and vowed he would kill Cheditafa—she could not think of a soul she could trust.
Her brother, fortunately, was still in Belgium with his tutor—fortunately, she thought, because, if he knew of the affair, he would be certain to plunge himself into danger. And to whom could she apply for help without telling too much of her story?