“There is not,” said Jaspar, uneasily.
“Perhaps an examination of it will disclose something of the robber, if not of the will.”
“So I thought this morning, and for this purpose went to the river, but the canoe was not to be found. I did not secure it last night, and probably it broke adrift and went down,” replied Jaspar, whose ingenuity never deserted him.
“Very likely,” said the minister, with a kind of solemn sarcasm. “This whole affair seems more like romance than reality.”
“I cannot believe my father was so cruel,” cried Emily, the tears again coming to the relief of her full heart.
“Do you doubt the word of the witnesses, and the mark and signature of your father?” said Jaspar, fiercely, with the intention of intimidating her.
“No, no! but, Uncle—”
“Call me not uncle again! I am no longer the uncle of the progeny of my brother’s slaves. This cheat has already been continued too long.”
“I will not call you uncle, but hear me,” replied Emily, frightened at Jaspar’s violence.
“I will hear nothing more. You will prepare to leave for Cincinnati next week. I will no longer endure the presence of one upon whom my brother’s bounty has been wasted. Have you no gratitude, girl? Remember what you are!”
With these cruel words Jaspar hurried out of the room, satisfied that he had established his position, and, at least, silenced Emily. The minister he regarded, as he did all of his profession, with contempt.
Mr. Faxon and Emily had a long consultation upon the embarrassing position of her who had so lately been the envied heiress. The murder of the mulatto, the conduct of Jaspar, and some other circumstances, afforded ground to believe that the will was a forgery. If such was the fact, the minister was compelled to acknowledge that it was a deep-laid plot. Everything seemed to aid the conspirators; for he was satisfied, both from the wording and the chirography of the will, that Jaspar, whatever part he played, was assisted by others. There was not the slightest clue by which the mystery could be unravelled. If there was hope that the will was a forgery, there was no immediate prospect of proving it such.
Under these circumstances, Mr. Faxon felt compelled to advise obedience to the instructions of the will. The journey to the North could do no harm, and was, perhaps, advisable, under the state of feeling which would follow the publicity of the will. Emily, painful as it was to leave the home of her childhood at such a time, acquiesced in the decision of her clerical friend. But there was a feeling in her heart that she was wronged,—that she should go forth an exile from her own Bellevue.
On the following week, Jaspar and Emily proceeded to New Orleans, in the family carriage, to take a steamer for Cincinnati.