“Yes, it just grazed my hair and carried away a lock, I think. Yes, let us thank the Lord.” And he poured out a short but fervent thanksgiving, to every word of which her heart said “Amen!”
“Yes, there is a lock gone, sure enough,” she said, stroking his hair caressingly as he bent over her. “Ah, if we had not lingered so long here, this would not have happened.”
“Not here, but elsewhere perhaps.”
“That is true, and no doubt all has been ordered for the best.”
Aunt Chloe presently returned, with the announcement that the bed was ready; and they retired for the second time, leaving the house in the care of Uncle Joe and the women servants.
It was some time before Elsie could compose herself to sleep, but near daybreak she fell into a deep slumber that lasted until long past the usual breakfast hour. Mr. Travilla slept late also, while the vigilant Aunts Chloe and Phillis and Uncle Joe took care that no noise should be made, no intruder allowed access to their vicinity to disturb them.
The first news that greeted them on leaving their room, was of the failure of the pursuit after the burglar. He had managed to elude the search, and to their chagrin Spriggs and his party had been obliged to return empty-handed. The servants were the first to tell the tale, then Spriggs came in with a fuller report.
“The scoundrel!” he growled; “how he contrived to do it I can’t tell. If we’d had hounds, he couldn’t. We’ve none on the place, but if you say so, I’ll borrow——”
“No, no! Mr. Travilla, you will not allow it” cried Elsie, turning an entreating look upon him.
“No, Spriggs, the man must be greatly weakened by the loss of blood, and, unable to defend himself, might be torn to pieces by them before you could prevent it.”
“Small loss to the rest of the world if he was,” grumbled the overseer.
“Yes, but I wouldn’t have him die such a death as that; or hurried into eternity without a moment for repentance.”
“But might it not be well to have another search?” suggested Elsie. “He had better be given up to justice, even for his own good, than die in the woods of weakness and starvation.”
“Hands are all so busy with the sugar-cane just now, ma’am, that I don’t see how they could be spared,” answered Spriggs. “And tell you what, ma’am”—as if struck with a sudden thought—“the rascal must have a confederate that’s helped him off.”
“Most likely,” said Mr. Travilla. “Indeed, I think it must be so. And you need give yourself no further anxiety about him, my dear.”
“Revenge at first though
Bitter erelong, back on itself recoils.”
—MILTON’S PARADISE LOST.
At the instant of discharging his revolver, Jackson felt a sharp stinging pain in his right arm, and it dropped useless at his side. He hoped he had killed both Mr. Travilla and Elsie; but, an arrant coward and thus disabled, did not dare to remain a moment to learn with certainty the effect of his shot, but rushing along the veranda, threw himself over the railing, and sliding down a pillar, by the aid of the one hand, and with no little pain and difficulty, made off with all speed across the lawn.