“Perhaps not; but probably she is.”
“And it was not she that was buried?”
“As to that, I cannot say; I never saw the lady alive.”
“And what are your plans?” asked Jaspar, with a glance of doubt at the overseer.
“I will go to France, if you provide the means.”
“Suppose I will not?”
“Perhaps your niece will.”
“What if she is dead?”
“I can better tell when I know that she is dead.”
“How much money do you require?”
“A large sum.”
“From millions your niece would gladly give more.”
“I will think of your proposition. Come in again in two hours, and you shall have my answer.”
“Better give me an answer now.”
“I wish to consider.”
“You have only to choose between twenty thousand dollars and the whole fortune. With your means at command, much reflection is not needed.”
“Show me the papers, and I will decide at once.”
“Then I must consider whether your pretensions are well founded.”
“I will not be over nice; but any attempt to play me false shall rest heavily on your own head.”
“Honor!” said Jaspar, with something like a smile, but more like a sneer.
With compressed lips, and the scowl of a demon, Jaspar witnessed the departure of the overseer. His case looked desperate, and he felt something like the gloominess of despair. Dalhousie could be disposed of, but the niece!—the niece, if she yet lived, would be the destruction of all his avaricious schemes.
As usual when agitated, he paced the room; and, as he reflected upon the danger, and the desperate remedies which suggested themselves, his manner grew more and more demoniacal. He resolved to trust no man. This was a dark thought, and could proceed only from the darkest mind.
The twenty thousand dollars he could pay; but the man who had such a hold upon him would never be satisfied while a dollar remained. And revenge was sweet! No! Dalhousie must not be bought off! It was a feast to his mind to anticipate the torture of the overseer!
An exclamation of satisfaction escaped him, as he suddenly decided upon the means of torture. In imagination he could see before him the thing, who had dared to threaten him, lingering out the moments of a hated life in slow agony. The vision was one of pleasure, and he rubbed his hands with delight.
The means of accomplishing his dark purpose then came up for consideration, and in this connection he happened to think of De Guy. He must be the minister of his vengeance, and the herald of his future safety; and he summoned him again to his presence.
“Thou hast stepped
in between me and my hopes,
And ravished from me all my soul held dear.” ROWE.