“Not going along with us, eh?” ejaculates the captain, as, from the capsill, Rosebrook looks round to bid him good-by.
“Not to-day” (he returns, laconically). “Take good care of my friends; the young invalid from Lousiana in particular.” Just then he catches the stranger’s eye, and, with a significant motion of his fingers, says, “All safe!” With a nod of recognition the stranger makes his adieu; the fastenings are cast away, the faint tinkle of a bell is heard amid the roar of steam; the man at the valves touches the throttle bar; up mounts the piston rod-down it surges again; the revolving wheels rustle the water; the huge craft moves backward easy, and then ahead; a clanking noise denotes the connections are “hooked on,” and onward she bounds over the sea. How leaps with joy that heart yearning for freedom, as the words “She’s away!” gladden Annette’s very soul! Her enraptured feelings gush forth in prayer to her deliverers; it is as a new spring of life, infusing its refreshing waters into desert sands. She seems a new being, with hope, joy, and happiness brightening the future for her. But, alas! how vain are hopes,—how uncertain the future!
Rosebrook watched the steaming craft as she crosses the bar, and dwindles out of sight. “Thou art safe, poor slave,” he says to himself, as she passes from view behind the distant peak.
Something touches him on the shoulder as he returns to his carriage. “Ah! this you, Pringle Blowers?” he exclaims, turning round suddenly, as the full face of that important personage presented itself. “Been seeing some friends off to—?”
“No,” replies Blowers, with seeming indifference. He is just shying round,—keeping an eye out for a smart kind of “a gal,” lost last week.
“Quite a misfortune, that, Blowers! God bless me, I’m sorry,” returns Rosebrook, dryly. Rosebrook invites him to get in and ride a short distance. Blowers has not the slightest objection; seats his square frame on the left side of the carriage. “Those were clever posters you put out for the apprehension of that girl, Blowers!”
“Took some genius, I reckon,” interrupts Blowers, with broad laugh.
“They say she was very handsome, and, if it be true, I hope you may get her, Blowers,” continues Rosebrook, naively.
The disappointed man shakes his head, touches the other on the arm, and says, “Nothing is more sure!”
How daddy bob departed.
Let us again beg the indulgence of the reader, while we go back to the night when Marston was found dead in his cell, and when that old negro, whose eventful history we shall here close, sat by his bed-side, unconscious that the spirit of master had winged its way to another world. Bob, faithful unto death, remained his lone watcher. Disguising his ownership, he has toiled from day to day that the fruits thereof