A new direction was now given to the interest of the assembled and distinct crowds that had witnessed these startling incidents. Scarcely had the wretched man gained the protection of the soldiery, when a shriek divided the air, so wild, so piercing, and so unearthly, that even the warrior of the Fleur de lis seemed to lose sight of his victim, in the harrowing interest produced by that dreadful scream. All turned their eyes for a moment in the quarter whence it proceeded; when presently, from behind the groups of Canadians crowning the slope, was seen flying, with the rapidity of thought, one who resembled rather a spectre than a being of earth;—it was the wife of Halloway. Her long fair hair was wild and streaming—her feet, and legs, and arms were naked—and one solitary and scanty garment displayed rather than concealed the symmetry of her delicate person. She flew to the fatal bridge, threw herself on the body of her bleeding husband, and imprinting her warm kisses on his bloody lips, for a moment or two presented the image of one whose reason has fled for ever. Suddenly she started from the earth; her face, her hands, and her garment so saturated with the blood of her husband, that a feeling of horror crept throughout the veins of all who beheld her. She stood upon the coffin, and across the corpse—raised her eyes and hands imploringly to Heaven—and then, in accents wilder even than her words, uttered an imprecation that sounded like the prophetic warning of some unholy spirit.
“Inhuman murderer!” she exclaimed, in tones that almost paralysed the ears on which it fell, “if there be a God of justice and of truth, he will avenge this devilish deed. Yes, Colonel de Haldimar, a prophetic voice whispers to my soul, that even as I have seen perish before my eyes all I loved on earth, without mercy and without hope, so even shall you witness the destruction of your accursed race. Here—here—here,” and she pointed downwards, with singular energy of action, to the corpse of her husband, “here shall their blood flow till every vestige of his own is washed away; and oh, if there be spared one branch of thy detested family, may it only be that they may be reserved for some death too horrible to be conceived!”
Overcome by the frantic energy with which she had uttered these appalling words, she sank backwards, and fell, uttering another shriek, into the arms of the warrior of the Fleur de lis.