Agatha Webb HTML version

reappearance on the scene of the inquiry kept secret till Mr. Sutherland had
given his evidence and retired from under the eyes of his excited fellow-
"The sight of me might unnerve him," was Sweetwater's thought,
"precipitating the very catastrophe we dread. One look, one word on his part
indicative of his inner apprehensions that his son had a hand in the crime
which has so benefited him, and nothing can save Frederick from the charge
of murder. Not Knapp's skill, my silence, or Amabel's finesse. The young man
will be lost."
He did not know, as we do, that Amabel's finesse was devoted to winning a
husband for herself, and that, in the event of failure, the action she threatened
against her quondam lover would be precipitated that very day at the moment
when the clock struck twelve.
. . . . . .
Sweetwater arrived home by the way of Portchester. He had seen one or two
persons he knew, but, so far, had himself escaped recognition. The morning
light was dimly breaking when he strode into the outskirts of Sutherlandtown
and began to descend the hill. As he passed Mr. Halliday's house he looked
up, and was astonished to see a light burning in one deeply embowered
window. Alas! he did not know how early one anxious heart woke during
those troublous days. The Sutherland house was dark, but as he crept very
close under its overhanging eaves he heard a deep sigh uttered over his
head, and knew that someone was up here also in anxious expectation of a
day that was destined to hold more than even he anticipated.
Meanwhile, the sea grew rosy, and the mother's cottage was as yet far off.
Hurrying on, he came at last under the eye of more than one of the early
risers of Sutherlandtown.
"What, Sweetwater! Alive and well!"
"Hey, Sweetwater, we thought you were lost on the Hesper!"
"Halloo! Home in time to see the pretty Amabel arrested?" Phrases like these
met him at more than one corner; but he eluded them all, stopping only to put
one hesitating question. Was his mother well?
Home fears had made themselves felt with his near approach to that humble
cottage door.