The woodman approached the bed-side, and, observing the faint breathing which gently heaved her chest, he seemed comforted.
“Whar’s the wound?” asked he, in a melancholy tone.
“In her side,” replied Emily; “the bullet seems to have penetrated the region below the heart.”
“Poor gal! I’m feered it’s all up with her. She has been a good woman to me.”
“I am afraid my visit to your house will prove a sad day to you, even if she recovers,” said Emily, in a sad tone.
“No, stranger, no! Suke would have died any day to save a neighbor from misery;” and the woodman’s eyes filled with tears at the remembrance of his humble companion’s virtues.
“But let us hope for the best. Is there a physician in the vicinity?”
“Ay, stranger, there is one that sometimes helps the poor folks about here.”
“Then, Hatchie, you can go for him.”
“Stop a little! The doctor is an oncommon strange man, and lives on an island down the bend.”
“I will go for him,” said Hatchie.
“I dar say; but whar you gwine? that’s the pint. Nobody can find the way that warn’t there before. My son, Jim, will soon be here.”
“But we must be as speedy as possible,” suggested Emily.
The arrival of the woodman’s son terminated the difficulty. It was arranged that Hatchie should go with him, to assist in rowing back.
As they were about to depart, Vernon showed signs of returning life, and Hatchie conveyed him to an out-building till a more convenient season, and then dismissed the negro and his vehicle, which had been brought to convey Emily to Vicksburg.
“Then rose from
sea to sky the wild farewell;
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave;
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell,
As eager to anticipate their grave.” BYRON.
We left the Chalmetta in a situation which demands explanation.
Emily retired to her state-room on that dreadful night entirely relieved from the distressing anticipations which had before oppressed her. Her name and her home were virtually restored to her. The foul stain upon the honor of her father had been removed. Doubt and fear scarcely disturbed her; the battle yet to be fought seemed but a trifle. Maxwell had said her uncle was left at a wood-yard. This was strange. It looked not like an accident, but the doing of the wily attorney; and perhaps Jaspar had voluntarily withdrawn; perhaps her uncle had made her the reward of Maxwell’s silence. But these reflections were now robbed of their bitterness. She felt that in Henry Carroll she had a sufficient protection.
She retired to her state-room with a light heart, and even Maxwell’s villanous designs were forgotten as she revelled in the bright hopes before her. She knew nothing of the foul plot which had been concocted for her abduction. She knew not that Henry Carroll was then watching over her. In blissful ignorance of the danger that hovered near her, she sunk into the quiet sleep of innocence.