“Yes; and he said he would kill me if I ever told that I had met him there on the road that night. He said that nothing could save me from him, and oh, how he did curse and swear what he would do. He made my blood run cold.”
“And did you promise that you wouldn’t tell?” Lois asked.
“No, indeed I didn’t! I jerked myself suddenly away from him and ran home as hard as I could. He ran after me, but he didn’t catch me. I was so afraid to look for Mr. David after that. I stayed in the house till near midnight before I went out again.”
“So that was what was troubling you so much, was it?” Lois asked.
“Yes. I was afraid that he would kill me. I guess I’m a coward anyway. But when I saw the constables take Mr. Jasper away this afternoon I made up my mind to tell you all about it. I don’t mind now if the artist does kill me if I can save Mr. Jasper. Anyway, I am glad that he has cleared out.”
“Don’t be afraid, Betty, he will not hurt you at all,” and Lois put her arms lovingly around the girl. “I am so thankful that you have told me this. Come, now, and let us go home.”
LOIS GOES TO THE CITY
Betty’s story filled Lois with still greater hope, and she was anxious to see Jasper’s lawyer that she might tell him what she had learned. For most of the night she thought about the matter, and she tried to find some reason why Bramshaw should commit the murder. She thought, too, of Jasper, and wondered how he was bearing himself in his lonely cell. She longed to speak to him and tell him of the discovery she had made. She knew that his mental suffering must be great, and she did want to help him to bear his trouble.
Lois learned from her father and Dick upon their arrival from the city what a strong feeling was abroad against Jasper. People condemned him in no measured language, and denounced him as a dastardly villain who deserved the severest punishment. Mr. Sinclair told of the conversation he had with several people along the road, and how all were loud in their severe denunciations. Even the city papers, following the popular cry, had editorials about the murder. Though they did not mention Jasper by name, yet their allusions were so pointed that no one could mistake their meaning. All united in condemning the criminal and declaring that the deed was all the more abhorrent owing to the age of the murdered man and the friendly relations which had existed between him and his suspected assailant.
All this was very hard for Lois to endure. It annoyed her to think how willing people were to condemn a man and judge him worthy of death before he had received a fair trial. She had a secret satisfaction, however, in the information Andy and Betty had imparted to her. It buoyed her up with the hope that it would greatly assist in freeing Jasper and clearing him entirely from all blame. It was only natural that she should desire to see the ones who condemned him so severely put to an ignominious silence. She smiled almost bitterly as she thought how they would come about Jasper with their smooth, oily words of congratulation when he again came into their midst.