Silently granting this last request, the rabbi turned suddenly to observe the entrance of the guide, who by this time returned.
Not a word was spoken a he entered.
By the side of the table, where lay the pistol, the rabbi and Mr. Mordecai both sat down, each in turn eyeing the deadly weapon with unuttered horror.
The dying negro’s confession had filled them both with sorrow and amazement. The earnestness of his labored story impressed them at once with its undeniable truth; and with hearts distressed and agitated, they sat in silence by the bed-side, till a struggle arrested their attention. Looking up once more they both caught the voiceless gaze of the earnest eye, which seemed unmistakably to say, “I have told the truth. Believe my story. Farewell.” Then the old carrier’s earthly struggles were forever ended.
The strange, almost incredible, and yet evidently truthful confession of old Peter, fell upon the heart of Mr. Mordecai with a weight that broke its stubbornness, and at once softened his wrath toward his unhappy and unfortunate daughter.
The thought that she was alone in the world, alone since the mysterious disappearance of her husband from his Cuban home-alone and undoubtedly struggling with life for existence, grew upon him with maddening intensity. His heart became tender, and he resolved to seek her face, and once again assure her of his love. Immediately carrying out this good resolve, he sought her, first in Cuba, but did not find her; and to his bitter disappointment, all his subsequent efforts proved unavailing. Months passed, and grieving from day to day over the unfilled hope of meeting her and atoning for his severity by a manifold manifestation of tenderness, Mr. Mordecai lived on in sorrow as the months slowly passed by.
He little dreamt that, not many leagues from his door, his lovely daughter was performing, in weakness, in sorrow, even broken-hearted, the wearisome task that gave daily bread to herself and child.
And yet Leah had often seen her father, so changed by sorrow since she last embraced him; seen him only to creep away into deeper obscurity, dreading to confront his anger, and determined not to meet his coldness. And so changed indeed was she, that not a single soul among the scores she often passed, and who were once friends, had ever suspected her identity. Such were the workings of sorrow and misfortune.
In quiet Bellevue street in the Queen City, still stood the only monument erected there during the war, that was worthy of perpetuation. It was the Bellevue Street Home for the Friendless. During the war, this institution was known as the Bellevue Street Hospital, and there many brave soldiers perished, and many recovered from ghastly wounds under the kindly care and attention of its efficient managers.
After the first shock of her grief was passed, Eliza Heartwell Marshall had been called to the position of matron in this institution of mercy.