The noise caused by the entrance of Vernon had awakened Henry Carroll from his slumbers. He listened, but could not make out the occasion of it; for, in consideration of his feeble condition, he had not been informed of the meditated attack. The cry for help uttered by Emily convinced him of the nature of the disturbance. His first impulse was to rise and rush to her assistance; but of his inability to do this he was painfully reminded in his attempt to rise. The heavy fall of Vernon on the floor, and the voice of Hatchie, assured him that, whatever the affair might be, it had assumed a new phase. His painful apprehensions were quieted by the appearance of Hatchie, who in a concise manner related the events of the night.
The last lingering doubt of the suspicious invalid was removed by the entrance of Emily herself.
“You are safe, dear Emily!” exclaimed he.
“I am, thank God!”
“And I could not assist in your defence!”
“Heaven will protect me, Henry. It seems as if a veritable angel hovered over my path to shield me from the thousand perils that assail me.”
“The angels do hover around you, Emily; you are so pure, and good, and true, that they are ever near you, even in your own heart. Angels always minister to the good,—to those who resist the temptations of the world.”
“You speak too well of me. But you have been excited by this tumult, Henry.”
“I was a little disturbed; but, unable to help myself, I could do nothing for others,—not even for you, dearest.”
“I know what you would have done, if you had been able. I know your heart, and I feel just as grateful as though your strong arm had rescued me.”
Dr. Vaudelier, who had succeeded in restoring Vernon—or, by his true name, Jerome Vaudelier—to consciousness, now entered the room. He appeared more melancholy and harassed in mind than Emily had before seen him. His soul seemed to be crushed by the terrible realization that his son was a common felon—worse than felon, the persecutor of innocence. A soul as sensitive as his to the distinctions of right and wrong could hardly endure the misery of that hour.
With an absent manner, he inquired into the condition of the patient, and took the necessary steps to soothe him to slumber again.
Hatchie, having satisfied himself that the prisoners were all safe, left them under guard of the woodmen, and returned to the chamber of the sick man; and, at the doctor’s urgent request, Emily left Henry to his care.
Can you forgive?
Elmore. As I would be forgiven.”