BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH.
And while Sir Everard Kingsland lay in his felon’s cell, doomed to die, where was she for whose murder he was to give his life? Really murdered?
Harriet—Lady Kingsland—was not dead. Hundreds of miles of sea and land rolled between her and Kingsland Court, and in a stately New York mansion she looked out at the sparkling April sunshine, with life and health beating strong in her breast.
Mr. George Washington Parmalee had saved her life. On that tragic night of March tenth, he had quitted the Blue Bell with Mrs. Denover, and descended at once to the shore, where a boat from the “Angelina Dobbs” was awaiting them.
Mr. Parmalee took the oars and rowed away in the direction of the park. The sickly glimmer of the moon showed him the stone terrace and the solitary figure standing waiting there. But the noise of the wash on the beach and the sighing of the trees prevented Harriet from hearing the dip of the sculls. On the sea the night was so dark that the boat glided along unseen.
He had neared the spot and rowed softly along under the deep shadow of overhanging trees, when he espied a second figure, muffled in a cloak, emerge and confront the lady. He recognized, or thought he recognized, the baronet, and came to a deadlock, with a stifled imprecation.
“It’s all up with them three hundred pounds this bout,” he thought; “confound the luck!”
He could not hear the words—the distance was too great—but he could see them plainly. The wild shriek of Lady Kingsland would have been echoed by her terrified mother had not the artist clapped his hand firmly over her mouth.
“Darnation! Dry up, can’t you? Oh, good God!”
He started up in horror, nearly upsetting the boat. He had seen the fatal blow given, he saw the body hurled over the railing, and he saw the face of the murderer!
A flash of moonlight shone full upon it bending down, and he recognized, in men’s clothes, the woman who was to be his wife.
The assassin fled. As she vanished G. W. Parmalee looked up with a hollow groan, remained irresolute for an instant, shook himself, and took up the oars.
“We must pick up the body,” he said, in an unearthly voice. “The waves will wash it away in five minutes.”
He rowed ashore, lifted the lifeless form, carried it into the boat, and laid it across the mother’s knee.
“We’ll put for the ‘Angelina,’” he observed. “If there’s any life left, we’ll fetch her to there.”
“Her heart beats,” said Mrs. Denover, raining tears and kisses on the cold face. “Oh, my child, my child! it is your wretched mother who has done this!”
They reached the “Angelina Dobbs,” where they were impatiently waited for, and captain and crew stared aghast at sight of the supposed corpse.