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THE WOMAN IN BLACK.
The greatest of thy follies is forgiven,
Even for the least of all the tears that shine
On that pale face of thine.
Evil and ignorant, and thou shalt rise,
CHARLES STEVENS, his mother and Cora and her wounded father found safety and shelter at the home of Richard Stevens in Boston. Richard Stevens was an uncle to Charles, and a man past middle life, but noted for his practical common
Like all others of this noted family, he never rose high in either social or political circles. They were simply farmers or small tradesmen, with more than average intelligence, patriotic and honest as their great projenitor, who came over with Columbus.
Richard Stevens knew that the delusion of witchcraft could not last. In his house, which was among the best in Boston, save those occupied by
the governors and officers, the fugitives, save Mr. Waters, remained all during the latter part of 1692. As soon as his wound was healed, George Waters, mysteriously disappeared. He reached Williamsburg, Va., just after his brother was acquitted. He did not meet with Henry, for he had already taken a ship for Boston.
George Waters went to Robert Stevens, where he made himself known and learned of his brother's acquittal.
“The mistake was soon discovered,” said Robert Stevens; "even before the case came on to be tried. Hearing that you had been arrested, I went to see you and discovered that they had the wrong man; then I procured his release.”
George Waters thanked Mr. Stevens for what he had done.
“What are you going to do now?" asked Robert. “I shall return to Boston." “He will never cease to follow you." "No."
Then Mr. Waters again became thoughtful, and Robert asked:
“Are you going to slay him ?”
“And have you done everything ?”
That night George Waters set out by land to return to New England. It was a formidable journey in those days, and required many weeks. There were large rivers to be crossed, and he had to go to the headwaters before he could swim them. Many days and nights did the lone traveller spend in the forest.
One afternoon he was suddenly aware of a man pursuing him. Instinctively, he knew it was his enemy Joel Martin. The man was alone, and George Waters, who was an expert marksman, could have waylaid and shot him. Martin came to seek his life, and; ordinarily, one might say that he was fully justified in killing him. George paused on the crest of a high hill, and with the declining sun full on him, watched the determined pursuer.
“Joel Martin is a brave man,” thought Mr. Waters. “He is as brave as he is revengeful."
Martin was almost a mile away; but he clearly saw the figure of the horseman and supposed he had halted to challenge him to battle. Martin unslung his rifle and urged his jaded steed forward at a gallop, waving his weapon in the air.
“I might be tempted to do it," George Waters thought, and he took his gun from his back, threw it on the ground and rode away.
Joel Martin, who witnessed the strange proceeding, was puzzled to know what it meant.
He came up to the gun of his enemy and saw him riding rapidly across the hills and rocks.
“Now he is at my mercy,” cried Martin. - The fool hath thrown away his gun to increase his speed."
George Waters was fully a mile ahead of Joel Martin, when he heard the sharp report of a rifle followed by the crack of two or three muskets, accompanied by an Indian yell. Waters felt his heart almost stand still. He sought shelter in a dense thicket on the banks of a stream to await the shadows of night. He wondered what had become of Martin, and when he heard the yells of savages as he frequently did, he asked himself if they were not torturing the unfortunate prisoner to death.
When night came, he saw a bright fire burning further down the creek, and, leaving his horse tied to a bush, the brave Englishman crept through the woods, crawling most of the way.
At last he was near enough to see a score of savages sitting about a camp fire. Near by, tied to a tree was the miserable Virginian. Mr. Waters saw that he had two wounds, and was no doubt suffering greatly.
His horse had been killed and afforded a feast for the savages, who evidently had not yet decided the rider's fate. Having feasted until their stomachs were overgorged, the Indians lay down upon the ground and fell asleep. Their prisoner was severely wounded and tied with stout deer-skin thongs, so that it would be utterly impossible for him to escape, and in the heart of this great wilderness the dusky sons slept in perfect security.
George Waters crept up closer and closer to the prisoner, and had to actually crawl between two sleeping savages, to reach him; then he slowly rose at the feet of Martin, who, unable to sleep for pain, was the only human being in the camp awake. The prisoner saw him approaching, saw him draw his knife, and expected to be killed by his enemy; but he made no outcry. Better be stabbed to the heart by George Waters than tortured by his fiendish captors.
George Waters cut the deer-skin thongs which bound him to the tree and, in a whisper, asked:
“Can you walk?”
He took the wounded man on his own broad shoulders, and carefully bore him from the camp. Not a word was said. Joel Martin's tongue seemed suddenly to have become paralyzed. George