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Melville, at that instant, felt the warm blood course more quickly through his veins.
A waiter, knocking at the door, announced breakfast.
“Mr. Melville-Miss Mortimer," said Mr. Edgemonte, offering his arm at the same instant to Mrs. Mortimer. “Clara, you must take care of Mr. Griswold. Fred, you and Mr. Mordaunt must bring up the rear.”
With this he led the way, followed by Mr. Mortimer and Mrs. Edgemonte; the rest of the party in the order he had designated.
Once seated at the breakfast-table, Mordaunt, for a time, became the life and soul of the party. He wished to win the friendship of the elder portion of the coinpany. He well knew that Mr. Mortimer, as an orator, had few equals, in the forum, or before his constituents. His style was scholastic and practical. Mordaunt had been a severe student; and, in letters, carried“ an old head upon youthful shoulders.” Using his advantages with a skillful touch, he succeeded in winning first the respect, and then the high esteem of Bell's father. Mr. Edgemonte, who could not appreciate the refined, belles-lettres style, looked through. the smile of the man, at his eye; and, through sinister but instantaneous glances, which Mordaunt almost unconsciously allowed to mingle with his assumed gaiety, he read the blackness of the heart within. He had reason for this. Bell's unusual lowness of spirits had been a study with Mr. Edgemonte during the morning. He now saw, or thought he saw, the
To-night, Mr. Melville, there is to be a social evening party at Miss Blackwood's residence,” said
Clara. “I propose to visé your passport to that lady's domain. My friend, Miss Mortimer, shall perform the same duty for Mr. Griswold.”
“ With pleasure I accept the generous offer, Miss Edgemonte, and shall be only too happy to become a humble addition to your party."
“I never dispute my cousin's right to get me into trouble,” interposed Bell, playfully, “because I find it does no good. Your passport, Mr. Griswold, shall be entirely correct. Fred, will you please become my private secretary, and attend to all the details ?”
"Most certainly, Bell,” replied Frederick Morti
“We shall expect you, gentlemen, at 8 o'clock precisely,” said Clara.
Mordaunt, the morning previous, when Miss Blackwood's invitations came, had arranged with Bell to accompany her to this very party. It was to be entirely young company; what is esteemed to be one of Young America's follies, had been again committed. Married ladies, the balance-wheels of youthful enjoyment; the happy examples for inexperience to study; the splendid brilliants, polished to perfection, were among those "not included." The ambitious young lady who issues as her fiat, that married ladies are “not included," before her party is well over, will be told by experience that her beautifully clustered brow is not unclouded.”
Our gentlemen readers (who do not agree with this), will please excuse the digression.
Bob Shank-The Fire—The Cave.
“BOB! in with your head; these fellows hev shown you as how they kin shoot. Furies! there he goes out o the winder; that shot's settled him. Run, Sally, run-quick !” saying these words, the tavernkeeper, with whom the reader is already somewhat acquainted, hastened down stairs and ran out beneath the window, where the robber had fallen. Apparently, he was dead. Picking up the body, he carried it into the house. His wife used what little effort she could to assist him, and afterwards to bring him to life. Her efforts in the latter respect, however, were useless.
“This is bad bis’niss, Sally; two pals done fur in one day, and one as good as dead."
“Why don't ye git out the hoss and go for a doctor ?" said his wife.
" I'se thinkin' as 'ow this 'ere matter won't bear talkin' to a doctor 'bout. You see, old 'oman, as 'ow thim fellers ’ul go and 'peach, and it ain't safe fur any on us to stay here over night. The grabs will be here early to-morrow mornin', ur I'm no proffit. I'se thinkin' we'd better sot the old crib a-burnin' and leave. The house won't bear sarchin'."
To pack up all they could conveniently carry, was the work of a short time only. Getting out his horses, the old man lifted the two wounded men into the wagon. When all was ready for a start, turning to Sally, he said:
“Now, you jist drive on through the woods till you come to the “big maple: there wait for me; I'll be there in 'bout an hour.”
After his wife had been gone about fifteen minutes, he applied a torch to the building; hastily heaping on some dry wood, in a few moments the building was in a blaze.
Well, you've come at last; I was gittin' a little 'feared," said the tavern-keeper's wife. “That blaze makes a bright light.”
“ Yes, and I ain't sorry nuther. The place was gittin' to be suspicioned, anyhow. I've made ’nuff out ov it, and the land wouldn't sell fur mor'n a hundred dollars. Now, we'll make for the big cave."
Striking into the wood, by a peculiarly circuitous winding among the trees, the old man was able to drive his horses, although no road had ever been constructed. About daybreak, he arrived at a deep ravine. He was now more than ten miles from any dwelling. Near a huge rock there was an entrance to a large cave. No one unacquainted with the cave would be at all likely to discover it, as the rock was so completely surrounded by underbrush that the entrance was concealed.
“Here is our home for awhile, Sally; we've been here afore, and l’se thinkin’ we kin stay here agin.”
The horses were unhitched, and one by one led into the cave. The traps were next carried in. Several beds were unpacked, and as soon as they were ready, the wounded men were placed on them. The robber known as Bob, had given evidence that he was yet living. When they had been duly cared for, the old man took his wagon apart and carried that into the cave, piece by piece. His precautions, when he left the burning building, were useless : none of his neighbors saw or knew of the fire until the following day. A few then came and viewed the ruins, pitied the old man, and wondered what had become of him.
“Now, Sally, I'll saddle the mare and go fur a doctur; it must be did, at any cost, fur Bob's my right-hand man. I'd give a hundred fur one shot to revenge Bob.”
Suiting action to words, the tavern-keeper was soon on his way through the woods.
“Oh!" groaned the miserable man, who now suffered from the effect of Melville's pistol ; "oh! I would like to kill the villain who put a hole in my shoulder. Let it alone !” he shrieked, as the doctor ran his probe into the wound to find the bullet. His cries of pain and blasphemy, however, were impotent. The doctor, who was a most skillful surgeon, ordered his patient to be firmly held. In a short time he found and extracted the ball. But for the very barrel which had nearly discovered Melville to the tavernkeeper, the robber would doubtless have been killed by the fall. The ball had entered near his left shoulder. In falling, he had put forward his right arm, striking his hand upon the barrel in such a way, that it in all probability was the means of saving his life. The right arm was broken in two places. Having dressed the wound, the surgeon set the arm.