“God bless you, my son! and forgive you as I do!” passionately exclaimed the parent; and her heart was writhing with agony!
What a fearful thing it is to bow a parent’s head with shame! to crush out the joy from a tender mother’s heart, and shut the light from her spirit forever! And, oh, what a fearful thing to die with this consciousness burning into the soul like the sting of scorpions!
None of the horrid visions that visited his fevered brain in the hours of delirium were half so painful as the anguished expression on that mother’s face. It sunk to the great deep of the guilty son’s soul; and, with that pale face bending over him, his last glimpse of earth, his sight paled and his spirit left its clay tenement for eternity. What a lesson in his life and death!
THE DISGUISED VILLAINS MEET HADLEY—THE RESULT—CONCLUSION.
As already stated, Bill and Dick had disguised themselves in the garb of gentlemen, and with certain disfigurements of countenance which completely hid their features and rendered it impossible to identify them, either in their character of villainous murderers, or as the abductors, on a former occasion, of their present captive. When Bill first discovered Eveline in the woods, he was about to make known to her that he and Dick were the friends who had promised to liberate her, but on second thought he deemed it best to keep up the disguise, and learn, if possible, whether she had any knowledge of his real intentions and their ultimate destination. Hence her inability to trace the voice, which sounded so familiar, to the wily villain who had enticed her to meet Hadley for the purpose of placing her in Duffel’s power.
Bill endeavored by every indirect means, not calculated to excite suspicion, to draw from Eveline the facts of her situation, with the view of informing himself of her sentiments toward the friends who had promised her freedom; but she kept her own counsels, and completely baffled him in his object. He knew that the present course of deception could not long be persisted in, as, at furthest, on the morrow a development of facts must take place, or, at least, a continued persistence in the disguise as to destination would be impossible. How to make himself known in his real character was a matter which puzzled him not a little; for he well knew from her manners and from the resistance she had made to Duffel, that it would be no easy task to force her all the way to Virginia. If he could only manage to keep up appearances until a certain point was gained, which he hoped to reach by night on the second day, he felt pretty sure of final success; for he would then be on a route along which friends were numerous, and he knew where to stop for refreshments and at what places to put up for the night. But how to reach that point was the difficulty.