His companions endeavored to have him remain, but in vain. He unbolted the door, and, leaving, closed it upon them.
Mrs. Venet, who was standing without, laid hold of his coat, and, knowing the excited state of Mrs. Dayton, and fearing that the appearance of her husband would be too much for her to bear, endeavored to induce him not to enter the room, or, at least, to wait until he had recovered from the effects of his drinking.
He appeared rational for a while, but, suddenly breaking away, shouted, “Emily, where are you?”
The sound of his voice resounded through the building, and his drunken companions, hearing it, made the building echo with their boisterous laughter.
He ran through the entries gazing wildly around, and loudly calling for his wife.
The servants, hearing the tumult, hastened to the spot; but neither they nor Mrs. Venet could induce him to become quiet.
The latter, finding she could have no influence upon him, repaired to the room in which she left Mrs. Dayton, and found her senseless upon the floor, and to all appearances dead. She had heard his wild cries, and what she had so much feared she then knew to be true.
Mrs. Venet rang for the servants, and ordered some restoratives. These were soon obtained, and by their free use she had nearly recovered, when her husband rushed into the room.
Upon seeing his wife, the raging lion became as docile as a lamb. A sudden change came over him; he seemed to realize the truth, and it sent an arrow to his soul.
Again the injured wife fainted, and again the restoratives were faithfully applied; but it was evident that if Mr. Dayton remained in her presence it would be difficult to restore her, and the man who before would not be approached was led quietly away. In a short time Mrs. Dayton became sensible, and her first words were to inquire after Edward. Being told, she was induced to lie down, and, if possible, enjoy a little sleep; but sleep she could not. Her mind became almost delirious, and fears were entertained by her attendants that she would lose her reason.
The effects of Edward’s carousal were entirely dissipated by the sudden realization of the truth.
To Mrs. Dayton this was an hour of the deepest sorrow. She looked back upon the past, and saw happiness; in the future nothing but misery seemed to await her. Yet a change came over her; she thanked God for his past mercies, and wisely trusted him for their continuance. She implored pardon for past ingratitude, and prayed that she might be more grateful in future, and that, having tasted of the cup of sorrow, she might not drink the bitter draught.
The next morning Edward repented of his crime, and in his inmost soul felt it to be such,—a crime of deepest dye.
Emily wept as she bent over him.