Mary’s brothers, with the exception of the words in which they joined their father and mother in consoling her, scarcely uttered a syllable that night—the same silent spirit, be it of good or evil, remained upon them. They looked at each other, however, from time to time, and seemed to need no other interpreter of what passed within them, but their own wild and deep-meaning glances. This did not escape their father, who was so much struck, perhaps alarmed, by it, that he very properly deemed it his duty to remonstrate with them on the subject.
“Boys,” said he, “I don’t understand your conduct this night, and, above all, I don’t understand your looks—or rather, I think I do, I’m afraid I do—but, listen to me, remember that revenge belongs to God. You know what the Scripture says, ’Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay it.’ Leave that bad son of a worse father to God.”
“He has destroyed Mary’s reputation,” said John, the eldest; “I might, possibly, forgive him if he had killed her like a common murderer, but he has destroyed our pure-hearted sister’s reputation, ha, ha, ha.” The laugh that followed these last words came out so unexpectedly, abruptly, and wildly, that his father and mother both started. He then took the poker in his hands, and, with a smile at his brothers, in which much might be read, he clenched his teeth, and wound it round his arms with apparent ease. “If I gotten thousand pounds,” said he, “I could not have done that two hours ago, but I can now—are you satisfied?” said he to his brothers.
“Yes, John,” they replied, “we are satisfied—that will do.”
“Yes,” he proceeded, “I could forgive anything but that. The father’s notice to us to quit the holding on which we and our forefathers lived so long, and expended so much money—and his refusal to grant us a lease, are nothing:—now we could forgive all that; but this, this—oh, I have no name for it—the language has not words to express it—but—well, well, no matter for the present. If the cowardly scoundrel would fight!—but he won’t, for the courage is not in him.”
—Introduction of a New Character—Correspondence between Evory Easel, Esq., and Sam Spinageberd, Esq.—Susanna and the Elder; or, the Conventicle in Trouble—Phils Gallantry and Courage.
It was about eleven o’clock the next day that a person in the garb of a gentleman, that is, the garb was a plain one enough, but the air of the person who wore it was evidently that of a man who had seen and mingled in respectable life, was travelling towards Springfield, the residence of Mr. Hickman, when he overtook two females, one of whom was dressed in such a way as made it clear that she wished to avoid the risk of being known. She was a little above the middle size, and there could be little doubt, from the outline of her figure, that, in the opinion of