The Two Destinies
4. The Curtain Falls
FOR the rest of the day, and through the night, I was kept a close prisoner in my room,
watched by a man on whose fidelity my father could depend.
The next morning I made an effort to escape, and was discovered before I had got free of
the house. Confined again to my room, I contrived to write to Mary, and to slip my note
into the willing hand of the housemaid who attended on me. Useless! The vigilance of my
guardian was not to be evaded. The woman was suspected and followed, and the letter
was taken from her. My father tore it up with his own hands.
Later in the day, my mother was permitted to see me.
She was quite unfit, poor soul, to intercede for me, or to serve my interests in any way.
My father had completely overwhelmed her by announcing that his wife and his son were
to accompany him, when he returned to America.
"Every farthing he has in the world," said my mother, "is to be thrown into that hateful
speculation. He has raised money in London; he has let the house to some rich tradesman
for seven years; he has sold the plate, and the jewels that came to me from his mother.
The land in America swallows it all up. We have no home, George, and no choice but to
go with him."
An hour afterward the post-chaise was at the door.
My father himself took me to the carriage. I broke away from him, with a desperation
which not even his resolution could resist. I ran, I flew, along the path that led to
Dermody's cottage. The door stood open; the parlor was empty. I went into the kitchen; I
went into the upper rooms. Solitude everywhere. The bailiff had left the place; and his
mother and his daughter had gone with him. No friend or neighbor lingered near with a
message; no letter lay waiting for me; no hint was left to tell me in what direction they
had taken their departure. After the insulting words which his master had spoken to him,
Dermody's pride was concerned in leaving no trace of his whereabouts; my father might
consider it as a trace purposely left with the object of reuniting Mary and me. I had no
keepsake to speak to me of my lost darling but the flag which she had embroidered with
her own hand. The furniture still remained in the cottage. I sat down in our customary
corner, by Mary's empty chair, and looked again at the pretty green flag, and burst out
A light touch roused me. My father had so far yielded as to leave to my mother the
responsibility of bringing me back to the traveling carriage.
"We shall not find Mary here, George," she said, gently. "And we may hear of her in
London. Come with me."