She had some reason for these doubtful conclusions. In her ramblings through the house she had come upon Bela’s room. It was in a loft over the kitchen and she had been much amazed at its condition. In some respects it looked as decent as she could expect, but in the matter of bed and bedclothes it presented an aspect somewhat startling. The clothes were there, tossed in a heap on the floor, but there was no bed in sight nor anything which could have served as such.
It had been dragged out. Evidences of this were everywhere; dragged out, and down the narrow, twisted staircase which was the only medium of communication between the lower floor and this loft. As she noted the marks made by its passage down the steps, the unhappy vision rose before her of the judge, immaculate in attire and unaccustomed of hand, tugging at this bed and alternately pushing and pulling it by main strength down this contracted, many-cornered staircase. A smile, half pitiful, half self-scornful curved her lips as she remembered the rat-tat-tat she had heard on that dismal night when she clung listening to the fence, and wondered now if it had not been the bumping of this cot sliding from step to step.
But no! the repeated stroke of a hammer is unmistakable. He had played the carpenter that night as well as the mover, and with no visible results. Mystery still reigned in the house for all the charm and order she had brought into it; a mystery which deeply interested her, and which she yet hoped to solve, notwithstanding its remoteness from the real problem of her existence.
Night! and Deborah Scoville waiting anxiously for Reuther to sleep, that she might brood undisturbed over a new and disturbing event which for the whole day had shaken her out of her wonted poise, and given, as it were, a new phase to her life in this house.
Already had she stepped several times to her daughter’s room and looked in, only to meet Reuther’s unquiet eye turned towards hers in silent inquiry. Was her own uneasiness infectious? Was the child determined to share her vigil? She would wait a little longer this time and see.
Their rooms were over the parlour and thus as far removed as possible from the judge’s den. In her own, which was front, she felt at perfect ease, and it was without any fear of disturbing either him or Reuther that she finally raised her window and allowed the cool wind to soothe her heated cheeks.
How calm the aspect of the lawn and its clustering shrubs. Dimly seen though they were through the leaves of the vines she had but partially clipped, she felt the element of peace which comes with perfect quiet, and was fain to forget for awhile the terrors it so frequently conceals. The moon, which had been invisible up to this moment, emerged from skurrying clouds as she quietly watched the scene; and in an instant her peace was gone and all the thronging difficulties of her position came rushing back upon her in full force, as all the details of the scene, so mercifully hidden just now, flashed again upon her vision.