“No danger, Mrs. Travilla,” cried the doctor, looking back as he rode off.
“Oft those whose cruelty
makes many mourn
Do by the fires which they first kindle burn.”
—EARL OF STIRLING.
“As crimes do grow, justice
should rouse itself.”
Jackson thought he read suspicion in the doctor’s eye as the latter left the office; also he felt sure the physician would not ride far before hearing of the attack on Viamede, and would speedily come at the truth by putting that and that together; perhaps return with a party of avengers, and hang him to a tree in the adjacent forest.
“I must get out o’ this before I’m an hour older,” said the scoundrel to himself. “Oh, for the strength I had yesterday!”
“Why don’t you lie down, sah, as Massa Doctah tole ye?” asked Nap, returning. “Massa always ’spects folks to do prezactly as he tells dem.”
“Why, Sambo, I’m too dirty to lie on that nice sofa,” replied Jackson, glancing down at his soiled garments.
“Sambo’s not my name, sah,” said the negro, drawing himself up with dignity; “I’se Napoleon Boningparty George Washington Marquis de Lafayette, an’ dey calls me Nap for short. If ye’ll take off dat coat, sah, an’ dem boots, I’ll take ’em out to de kitchen yard an’ clean ’em.”
“Thank you; if you will I’ll give you a dollar. And if you’ll brush the mud from my pants first, I’ll try the sofa; for I’m nearly dead for sleep and rest.”
“All right, sah,” and Nap went to a closet, brought out a whisk, and using it vigorously upon the pantaloons, soon brushed away the mud, which the sun had made very dry. A few blood stains were left, but there was no help for that at present. The coat was taken off with some difficulty on account of the wounded arm, then the boots, and Jackson laid himself down on the sofa and closed his eyes.
Nap threw the coat over his arm, and taking the boots in the other hand went softly out, closing the door behind him. “Safe ’nuff now, I reckon,” he chuckled to himself; “guess he not trabble far widout dese.”
He was hardly gone, however, when Jackson roused himself and forced his weary eyes to unclose. “As dangerous as to go to sleep when freezing,” he muttered. He rose, stepped to the closet door, and opened it.
A pair of boots stood on the floor, a coat hung on a peg. He helped himself to both, sat down and drew on the boots, which were a little too large but went on all the more readily for that. Now for the coat. It was not new, but by no means shabby. He took out his knife, hastily ripped up the right sleeve and put it on. It fitted even better than the boots.
Nap had brought a bottle of wine and left it on the office table, forgetting to carry it back to the dining-room. Jackson took it up, and placing it to his mouth drained the last drop. Then putting on his hat, he stole softly from the house and down the avenue.