Dalhousie felt the full weight of Mr. Faxon’s rebuke, and acknowledged the justice of the punishment he had received. Uncle Nathan heard with astonishment the wickedness of which the uncle of Emily had been guilty, and his simple New England heart was sorely perplexed by it. He had no “idea” of such depravity, and he was tempted, even in spite of the Scripture injunction to the contrary, to “thank God that he was not like other men.”
In the course of the conversation to which the incidents of the evening had given rise, the honest farmer found an opportunity to broach the subject of his mission; and the time was occupied, until a late hour, in discussing the means of doing justice to the injured, in restoring to Bellevue its rightful mistress.
“To do a great right, do a little wrong.”
Emily Dumont remained a close prisoner in the rear apartment of Maxwell’s office. Dido, the old negress, was her only attendant during her incarceration; for, though the room was supplied with every luxury the most pampered appetite could desire, her confinement deserved no better name. She recognized the place, and doubted not she should be again subjected to the infamous persecution of her old enemy. She wondered that he had not already presented himself, and concluded he could not yet have returned from his up-river journey, or he would have done so. No one visited her but the negress, whose conversation, in her eagerness to serve the liberal proprietor of the office, was disgusting to her refined sensibilities. Not oven De Guy came, to give her any intimation of the nature of the fate which awaited her.
Maxwell’s mind, she was satisfied, was fixed upon the possession of her estates. She could not now entertain the belief which once, in her weak pity, she had countenanced, that the attorney could love her. O, no! God forbid that even the human heart can love, and, at the same time, persecute the object of its affections! It was her estates; and she half resolved to compromise with her tormentor by yielding him one-half of her property, on the condition of his restoring the other half, for she doubted not that he was able to do so. But there was something so debasing to her sentiment of truth and justice in the fact of bargaining with so base a man, that she could not conquer her prejudice, and finally determined to suffer everything rather than succumb to the villain.
Hope had not yet abandoned her. She had too much confidence in the omnipresent justice of an overruling Providence to doubt that all would yet end well.
Dido was her jailer, and she scarcely left the office, through which alone egress was had from the apartment of Emily. There she dozed away the day and night, freely indulging in the fashionable habit of “imbibing,” to chase away the ennui of the heavy hours. Her liberal perquisites enabled her to gratify her appetite without stint or measure, though a sort of demi-consciousness of her responsibility deterred her from an entire abandonment to the pleasures of the cup.