“News!” he cried. “News! A cablegram from the Azores! A Swedish sailor—”
But here a man with more authority than the amateur detective pushed his way to the carriage and took off his hat to Mr. Sutherland.
“I beg your pardon,” said he, “but the prisoner will not leave town to-day. Important evidence has just reached us.”
Mr. Sutherland saw that it was in Frederick’s favour and fainted on his son’s neck. As the people beheld his head fall forward, and observed the look with which Frederick received him in his arms, they broke into a great shout.
“News!” they shrieked. “News! Frederick Sutherland is innocent! See! the old man has fainted from joy!” And caps went up and tears fell, before a mother’s son of them knew what grounds he had for his enthusiasm.
Later, they found they were good and substantial ones. Sweetwater had remembered the group of sailors who had passed by the corner of Agatha’s house just as Batsy fell forward on the window-sill, and cabling to the captain of the vessel, at the first port at which they were likely to put in, was fortunate enough to receive in reply a communication from one of the men, who remembered the words she shouted. They were in Swedish and none of his mates had understood them, but he recalled them well. They were:
“Hjelp! Hjelp! Frun haller pa alb doda sig. Hon har en knif. Hjelp! Hjelp!”
“Help! Help! My mistress kills herself. She has a knife. Help! Help!”
The impossible had occurred. Batsy was not dead, or at least her testimony still remained and had come at Sweetwater’s beck from the other side of the sea to save her mistress’s son.
. . . . . .
Sweetwater was a made man. And Frederick? In a week he was the idol of the town. In a year—but let Agnes’s contented face and happy smile show what he was then. Sweet Agnes, who first despised, then encouraged, then loved him, and who, next to Agatha, commanded the open worship of his heart.
Agatha is first, must be first, as anyone can see who beholds him, on a certain anniversary of each year, bury his face in the long grass which covers the saddest and most passionate heart which ever yielded to the pressure of life’s deepest tragedy.