Emily vainly attempted to assure herself that her companion was conducting her in good faith to the home of her early years. An undefined feeling of insecurity was painfully besetting her, whichever way she turned. She considered and reconsidered the evidences he had brought to Cottage Island of the truth of his own statements, and of his own trustworthiness. It was all in vain. Could those papers have been forgeries? It was a terrible thought to her.
The carriage stopped, and the attorney invited her to alight. Change—anything, was a relief to the painful sensations which had almost overpowered her, and without reflection she did so. Her faculties were so confused she did not notice that it was not the private entrance of the St. Charles. She took everything for granted, and accepted the offered arm of De Guy. She crossed the broad side-walk, and, raising her eyes, was overwhelmed by seeing at the side of the door she was about to enter the sign of “Anthony Marwell, Attorney and Counsellor at Law.”
“Please to walk up stairs,” squeaked the attorney, drawing her after him to the inside of the door, which he immediately closed and bolted.
“Not a step further, sir!” said she, with as much firmness as she could command. “What means this? Am I again betrayed?”
“Nay, nay, madam, walk up quietly,” said De Guy, in a soothing tone, as he applied a little gentle force to the arm he held.
“Unhand me, sir!” screamed Emily, as loud as her agitated condition would permit.
But De Guy heeded her not; and, without condescending to utter another word, he took her up like a child, and bore her up the stairs to Maxwell’s office. Turning the key to prevent interruption, he opened the lawyer’s private apartment in the rear, and placed the fainting girl upon the bed, and retired.
Unlocking the office door, he was confronted by an old negress, who had charge of the sweeping and cleaning department of the building.
“Sar! what’s all dis about?” screamed she, in no gentle tone; for the colored lady had witnessed De Guy’s achievement from the stair-case above.
“Sar! who are you dat come inter Massa Maxwell’s room widout no leave?”
“Never mind who I am, Dido. There is a lady in the bedroom, by whom Mr. Maxwell sets his life—do you hear?—sets his life. She has fainted, and you must take care of her,”—and De Guy slipped a half-eagle into the negress’ hands.
“Dat alters de case,” said the black lady, eying the money with much satisfaction. “Massa Maxwell’s a sly dog. I take good care ob de lady—not de fus time, nuder.”
“Don’t let her get away; take good care of her, and you shall have half a dozen just such pieces.”
“Never fear, Massa, I’s use to de business.”
De Guy left the building, satisfied, it would seem, of the negress’ fidelity.