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Chapter 16
ONE morning confusion seemed to reign in the house, and Jemima came in
terror, to inform Maria, "that her master had left it, with a determination, she was
assured (and too many circumstances corroborated the opinion, to leave a doubt
of its truth) of never returning. I am prepared then," said Jemima, "to accompany
you in your flight."
Maria started up, her eyes darting towards the door, as if afraid that some one
should fasten it on her for ever.
Jemima continued, "I have perhaps no right now to expect the performance of
your promise; but on you it depends to reconcile me with the human race."
"But Darnford!"--exclaimed Maria, mournfully--sitting down again, and
crossing her arms--"I have no child to go to, and liberty has lost its sweets."
"I am much mistaken, if Darnford is not the cause of my master's flight--his
keepers assure me, that they have promised to confine him two days longer, and
then he will be free--you cannot see him; but they will give a letter to him the
moment he is free.--In that inform him where he may find you in London; fix on
some hotel. Give me your clothes; I will send them out of the house with mine,
and we will slip out at the garden-gate. Write your letter while I make these
arrangements, but lose no time!"
In an agitation of spirit, not to be calmed, Maria began to write to Darnford.
She called him by the sacred name of "husband," and bade him "hasten to her,
to share her fortune, or she would return to him."--An hotel in the Adelphi was the
place of rendezvous.
The letter was sealed and given in charge; and with light footsteps, yet
terrified at the sound of them, she descended, scarcely breathing, and with an
indistinct fear that she should never get out at the garden gate. Jemima went
A being, with a visage that would have suited one possessed by a devil,
crossed the path, and seized Maria by the arm. Maria had no fear but of being
detained--"Who are you? what are you?" for the form was scarcely human. "If
you are made of flesh and blood," his ghastly eyes glared on her, "do not stop
"Woman," interrupted a sepulchral voice, "what have I to do with thee?"--Still
he grasped her hand, muttering a curse.
"No, no; you have nothing to do with me," she exclaimed, "this is a moment of
life and death!"--
With supernatural force she broke from him, and, throwing her arms round
Jemima, cried, "Save me!" The being, from whose grasp she had loosed herself,
took up a stone as they opened the door, and with a kind of hellish sport threw it
after them. They were out of his reach.
When Maria arrived in town, she drove to the hotel already fixed on. But she
could not sit still--her child was ever before her; and all that had passed during
her confinement, appeared to be a dream. She went to the house in the suburbs,
where, as she now discovered, her babe had been sent. The moment she