It is seldom that any man or woman enters into the region of danger without premonitions. The delicate instincts of the soul hoist the warning signals, but the wild passions disregard them.
It was to this moment that their consciences traced their sorrows; it was to that act of their souls which permitted them to enjoy that momentary rapture that they attached their guilt; it was at that moment and in that silent place that they planted the seeds of the trees upon which they were subsequently crucified.
A POISONED SPRING
“It was the saying
of a great man, that if we could trace our
descents, we should find all slaves to come from princes and all
princes from slaves!”—Seneca.
Early the next morning the two adventurers took their departure.
The jovial quack lavished his good-byes upon the landlord and the “riff-raff” who gathered to welcome the coming or speed the parting guest at the door of the country tavern. He drove a pair of beautiful, spirited horses, and had the satisfaction of knowing that he excited the envy of every beholder, as he took the ribbons in his hand, swung out his long whip and started.
If her husband’s heart was swelling with pride, Pepeeta’s was bursting with anxiety. An instinct which she did not understand had prevented her from telling the doctor of her interview with the Quaker. Long before the farmhouse came in sight she began to scan the landscape for the figure which had been so vividly impressed upon her mind.
The swift horses, well fed and well groomed, whirled the light wagon along the road at a rapid pace and as they passed the humble home of the Quaker, Pepeeta saw a little child driving the cows down the long lane, and a woman moving quietly among the flowers in the garden; but David himself was not to be seen.
“He has gone,” she said to herself joyously.
On through the beech grove, around the turn of the road, into full view of the bridge, they sped.
It was empty! And yet it was there that he had agreed to meet them!
A tear fell from her eye, and her chin quivered. With the utmost effort of her will she could not repress these evidences of her disappointment, and with a spasmodic motion she clutched the arm of the driver as if it were that of Destiny and she could hold it back.
So sudden and so powerful was the grasp of her young hand, that it turned the horses out of the road and all but upset the carriage.
With a violent jerk of the reins, the astonished driver pulled them back, and exclaimed with an oath:
“You little wild cat, if you ever d-d-do that again, I will throw you into the d-d-ditch!”
“Excuse me!” she answered humbly, cowering under his angry glances.
“What in the d-d-deuce is the matter?” he asked more kindly, seeing the tears in her eyes.