Suddenly a thick cloud of dust appeared in the road, and Mr. Dubois, Mr. Norton, and Micah, were soon distinguished turning the heads of their horses towards the house.
Adele uttered an exclamation of joy, and bounded from her seat. As Mr. Lansdowne made way for her to reach the window, she glanced for a moment at his face, and there beheld again the strange light glowing in his eyes. It communicated a great hope to her heart.
She hastened past him to greet her father.
A MEMORABLE EVENT.
The morning of the sixth of October dawned. The heat of the weather had increased and become wellnigh intolerable. At breakfast, Mr. Dubois and Mr. Norton gave accounts of fires they had seen in various parts of the country, some of them not far off, and owing to the prevalence of the forest and the extreme dryness of the trees and shrubs, expressed fears of great devastation.
They united in thinking it would be dangerous for the two gentlemen to undertake their journey home, until a copious rain should have fallen.
During the forenoon, the crackling of the fires and the sound of falling-trees in the distant forest could be distinctly heard, announcing that the terrible element was at work.
Mr. Dubois, accompanied by Mr. Norton and John, ascended the most prominent hills in the neighborhood to watch the direction in which the clouds of smoke appeared. These observations only confirmed their fears. They warned the people around of the danger, but these paid little heed. In the afternoon, the missionary crossed, from the Dubois house, on the northern side of the river, to the southern bank, and explored the country to a considerable distance around.
In the evening, when the family met in the Madonna room, cheerfulness had forsaken the party. The languor produced by the heat and the heavily-laden atmosphere, solicitude felt for the dwellers in the forest, through which the fire was now sweeping, a hoarse rumbling noise like distant thunder, occasionally booming on their ears, and gloomy forebodings of impending calamity, all weighed upon the dispirited group.
Mr. Norton said it was his firm conviction that God was about to display His power in a signal manner to this people in order to arouse them to a sense of their guilt.
Before separating for the night, he requested permission to offer up a prayer to heaven. The whole circle knelt, while he implored the Great Ruler of all, to take them as a family under his protecting love, whether life or death awaited them, and that He would, if consistent with His great and wise plans, avert His wrath from the people.
The night was a dismal, and for the most of the family, a sleepless one. The morning rose once more, but it brought no cheering sound of blessed rain-drops. The air was still hot and stifling.