“Hush! the citadel clock strikes the quarter to twelve! Dear old room! Chair, bed, books, pictures-all, farewell!”
The house below was silent. The lights had been darkened for an hour. With stealthy step along the upper hall, and silent footfall on the stairway, the cloaked and hooded figure of Leah approached the sleeping apartment of her father and his wife. The sound of heavy breathing betokened heavy slumber, as she silently turned the door-knob and stood within the chamber. Reassured by this sound, she glided toward the cabinet, and noiselessly adjusting the key, turned it gently in the lock. The white, delicate finger stole softly about the first smoothly polished drawer, to find it empty. Then one and another underwent, in quick succession, the same noiseless inspection, till the fourth and last drawer was reached; and that one yielded up the coveted treasure. Hastily placing it in her bosom, she closed the drawer, and then glided out as softly as she had glided into the room. On the threshold she cast back one fond, lingering look at the dimly outlined figure of her father, as he lay before her in unconscious slumber. “Heaven ever shield him,” she whispered softly; and passed on-on and out beyond the heavily-bolted front door-out forever! In the starlight, chill and faint, she found herself, with trembling limbs and trembling heart, and for a moment sat down on the cold stone step to rally her failing strength and courage before she sought the lodge. At the sound of approaching wheels she arose, and walked with rapid step to the lodge, reaching it just as a coach drew up before it.
“Is it you, Emile?” said Leah softly, as the lodge door opened and a manly form appeared.
“Yes, darling. Thank fortune, your courage has not failed you. I have been feverish with anxiety and impatience for hours. Are you ready, dear?”
At these words Leah trembled, and faltered “Yes.”
“Well, I thought it best to bring the minister with me, and so my friend Bishop Leveret is in the carriage. Suppose we have the ceremony performed here; then there can be no possible disappointment or danger. Are you afraid?”