Bill and Dick were pursued, but escaped without the slightest clue to their whereabouts or identity being ascertained.
Perhaps we had as well remark, at this point, that Hadley’s departure was known to but two personal friends and their families, in the Mandeville settlement, and by them was to be kept a secret, as he did not wish Duffel, or any of his supposed companions, to know of his absence until he had been gone long enough to reach his destination, for he believed Duffel was bad enough at heart to stop short of no wickedness to carry his ends, and felt fearful he might send some of his minions to waylay him. How nearly he guessed the truth! He, however, gave another reason for wishing the fact kept among his friends and though they thought a little singular of the request, they acted as desired.
Duffel overheard a part of the conversation between him and a young friend—hence his knowledge of Hadley’s movements. Mandeville did not know anything about the matter until some time afterward, and this ignorance led him to suspect Hadley of the theft, as already recorded.
He and Duffel agreed to keep their suspicions to themselves, until they could get at some tangible evidence to prove Hadley guilty. This exactly suited Duffel’s purpose, as it gave him just the time and advantage he desired, in order to perfect his own schemes.
How easily a few words would have exonerated Hadley in the eyes of Mandeville: and had he made a confidant of the magistrate in this second instance, those words would have been spoken, to his enlightenment, and the great relief and joy of his daughter. But, by an unfortunate combination of circumstances, the reverse was the case.
When Duffel learned that Mr. Mandeville would not interpose parental authority to compel his daughter to acquiesce in his wishes for her in regard to marriage, he set his scheming wits to work for the purpose of devising some means whereby to accomplish his ends. As we have already said, Duffel had taken a fancy to Miss Mandeville, with whom he was better pleased than with any other lady of his acquaintance. He called his passion love, but it was too sordid and selfish to be worthy of a name so sacred. More than once he called to see Eveline, and though she treated him civilly, he saw plainly that she had an aversion for his society, and that it cost her an effort to treat him with politeness, even though it was formal; so, as we were saying, he endeavored to hit upon some more successful mode of furthering his wishes.