His soul was in a wild riot of grief and revenge. Two thoughts tore at his brain: one was to see the judge before he died, and the other was to capture Ricks Wilson.
IN THE DARK
An ominous stillness hung over Hollis farm as Sandy ran up the avenue. The night was dark, but the fallen snow gave a half-mysterious light to the quiet scene.
He stepped on the porch with a sinking heart. In the dimly lighted hall Mr. Moseley and Mr. Meech kept silent watch, their faces grave with apprehension. Without stopping to speak to them, Sandy hurried to the door of the judge’s room. Before he could turn the knob, Dr. Fenton opened it softly and, putting his finger on his lips, came out, cautiously closing the door behind him.
“You can’t go in,” he whispered; “the slightest excitement might finish him. He’s got one chance in a hundred, boy; we’ve got to nurse it.”
“Does he know?”
“Never has known a thing since the bullet hit him. He was coming into the sitting-room when Wilson fired through the window.”
“The black-hearted murderer!” cried Sandy. “I could swear I saw him hiding in the bushes between here and the Junction.”
The doctor threw a side glance at Mr. Meech, then said significantly:
“Have they started?”
“Not yet. If there’s nothing I can do for the judge, I’m going with them.”
“That’s right. I’d go, too, if I were not needed here. Wait a minute, Sandy.” His face looked old and worn. “Have you happened to see my Nettie since noon?”
“That I have, doctor. She was driving with me, and the harness broke. She’s home now.”
“Thank God!” cried the doctor. “I thought it was Nelson.”
Sandy passed through the dining-room and was starting up the steps when he heard his name spoken.
“Mist’ Sandy! ‘Fore de Lawd, where you been at? Oh, we been habin’ de terriblest times! My pore old mas’r done been shot down wifout bein’ notified or nuthin’. Pray de Lawd he won’t die! I knowed somepin’ was gwine happen. I had a division jes ’fore daybreak; dey ain’t no luck worser den to dream ‘bout a tooth fallin’ out. Oh, Lordy! Lordy! I hope he ain’t gwine die!”
“Hush, Aunt Melvy! Where’s Mrs. Hollis?”
“She’s out in de kitchen, heatin’ water an’ waitin’ on de doctor. She won’t let me do nuthin’. Seems lak workin’ sorter lets off her feelin’s. Pore Miss Sue!” She threw her apron over her head and swayed and sobbed.
As Sandy tried to pass, she stopped him again, and after looking furtively around she fumbled in her pocket for something which she thrust into his hand.
“Hit’s de pistol!” she whispered. “I’s skeered to give it to nobody else, ’ca’se I’s skeered dey’d try me for a witness. He done drap it ’longside de kitchen door. You won’t let on I found it, honey? You won’t tell nobody?”