Her anxiety increases. She has reached the road debouching towards the bridge—has crossed it—is drawing near—nearer—when, what is this? Men—women—coming from the right, coming from the left, running out of houses, flocking from every side street, filling up the road! A lesser mob than that from which she had just escaped, but still, a mob, and all making for one point—the judge’s house! And he? She can see his carriage now. Held up for a moment by the crowd, it has broken through, and is rolling quickly towards Ostrander Lane. But the mob is following, and she is yet far behind.
Shouting to the chauffeur to hasten, the insistent honk! honk! of the cab adds its raucous note to the turmoil. They have dashed through one group;—they are dashing through another;—naught can withstand an on-rushing automobile. She catches glimpses of raised arms threatening retaliation; of eager, stolid, uncertain and furious faces—and her breath held back during that one instant of wild passage rushes pantingly forth again. Ostrander Lane is within sight. If only they can reach it!—if only they can cross it! But they cannot without sowing death in their track. No scattered groups here, the mob fills the corner. It is packed close as a wall. Brought up against it, the motor necessarily comes to a standstill.
Balked? No, not yet. Opening the door, Deborah leaps to the ground and in one instant finds herself but a mote in this seethe of humanity. In vain her efforts, she cannot move arm or limb. The gate is but a few paces off, but all hope of reaching it is futile. She can only hold herself still and listen as all around are listening. But to what? To nothing. It is expectation which holds them all silent. She will have to wait until the crowd sways apart, allowing her to—Ah, there, some heads are moving now! She catches one glimpse ahead of her, and sees—What does she see? The noble but shrunk figure of the judge drawn up before his gate. His lips are moving, but no sound issues from them; and while those about are waiting for his words, they peer, with an insolence barely dashed by awe, at his white head and his high fence and now at the gate swerving gently inward under the hand of some one whose figure is invisible.
But no words coming, a change passes like a stroke of lightning over the surging mass. Some one shouts out coward! another, traitor! and the lifted head falls, the moving lips cease from their efforts and in place of the great personality which filled their eyes a moment before, they see a man entrapped, waking to the horror of a sudden death in life for which no visions of the day, no dreams of the night, had been able to prepare him.
It was a sight to waken pity not derision. But these people had gathered here in a bitter mood and their rancour had but scented the prey. Calls of “Oliver!” and such threats as “You saved him at a poor man’s expense, but we’ll have him yet, we’ll have him yet!” began to rise about him; followed by endless repetitions of the name from near and far: “Oliver! Oliver!”