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“George! George! George!” “Away! away!”
“No, no! Now that I have found you, I will not let you go.
You may kill me, cut off my hands, and still the fingers will cling to you. Oh, God! I thank thee, that, after so many years, thou hast answered my prayers!” “Woman, release me!"
George! George!” Cora was lost in a maze of bewilderment. She was conscious of the strange woman in black clutching her father's arm and calling him George, while he strove to drive her away.
A great throng of people gathered about them. Mr. Waters became rude in his efforts to break away. At last he flung her off, and she fell, her forehead striking on the sharp corner of a stone, which started the blood trickling down her fair white brow. The woman swooned. Sight of blood touched the heart of George Waters, and, stooping, he raised the inanimate form in his arms, as tenderly as if she had been an infant,.and bore her to a public house and a private room.
When the woman in black recovered consciousness, she and George Waters were alone, and he was tenderly dressing the wound he had made.
“George,” she said with a smile, "you will let me talk with you now?”
“George, you believed me guilty when you abandoned me at Edinburgh ?”
" Yes." “You do yet?” “I do." “George, Joseph Swartz told you a falsehood.” “No, no, woman, do not-"
“Hold, George; let me show you his dying confession. Let me show you the testimony of a priest.'
She took up a small, red leather bag, such as was used in those days by ladies, undid the strings and, opening it, drew forth some papers, which she handed to him.
“Do you know the writing?” she asked.
“This is Joseph Swartz, my best and truest friend."
“No, no; read his death-bed confession, and you will see he was your malignant foe.”
He read the paper through, and his hands trembled with excitement, astonishment and rage. He was about to say something, when she interrupted him with:
“No, no; don't, don't, George. He is dead let us forgive. If you want more proof, I have it. See Father Healey's statement. He took Joseph Swartz's confession."
Glancing at the paper, he threw it aside and cried:
“Honore! Honore! Forgive me! I should have believed you, not him. I stole your child and, like a foolish man, ran away, without questioning you."
“I have been sixteen years seeking these proofs. I would not have come without them. You are forgiven, for, now that you have the proof, you believe.”
When George Waters went out of the room, he was met by his daughter, Cora, who asked:
Father, who is she—the woman in black?" “An angel-your mother!” “May I see her?” “Yes, at once," and he led her to the apartment,
How calm, how beautiful comes on
In his dungeon cell, Charles Stevens learned that the veil of mystery which, like a threatening cloud, had enshrouded the life of Cora Waters was lifted, and the sunlight, for the first time, streamed upon her soul.
She knew a mother's love. Her parents, estranged since her infancy, were again united. Such incidents are told in song and story, but are seldom known in reality. Charles heard the story in all its details related by his mother on one of her visits. He also learned that the colony of Virginia, by royal sanction, had granted a pardon to Mr. George Waters for the “death of one James Martin, late overseer to Thomas Hull."
“I am glad they are happy, mother," the unhappy prisoner said.
“It is the reward which in the end awaits the just,” she said.
“They have forgotten me.”
“Had not Cora Waters forgotten me, surely she would have visited me while sick and in prison.”
They have just heard of it,” she answered. “Just heard of it!” he repeated, amazed. “I have lain here pining in this dungeon for three long weeks, and you tell me they have but just heard of it.”
“I am assured they have.”
“Mother, that seems impossible. Why, I thought all the world knew it." “But few know of it, my son.
It seems to be the scheme of the prosecution to keep the matter secret. You have not written. You have sent no message?”
“Then, pray, how could they learn of it save by the merest accident? A passing stranger bore the
Charles Stevens heaved a sigh.
"Perhaps 'tis so; but it seemed that my groans and sighs must be heard round the world, yet neither Cora Waters nor Adelpha Leisler, at whose