Percy's thoughts, diverted for the moment only from the lady of his love, returned to her with renewed fidelity. "Let us hear what Charlotte thinks of it," he said. "Where is she?"
It was impossible to answer this question plainly and in few words.
Terrified at the effect which her attempt at explanation produced on Percy, helplessly ignorant when she was called upon to account for her daughter's absence, Mrs. Bowmore could only shed tears and express a devout trust in Providence. Her husband looked at the new misfortune from a political point of view. He sat down and slapped his forehead theatrically with the palm of his hand. "Thus far," said the patriot, "my political assailants have only struck at me through the newspapers. _Now_ they strike at me through my child!"
Percy made no speeches. There was a look in his eyes which boded ill for Captain Bervie if the two met. "I am going to fetch her," was all he said, "as fast as a horse can carry me."
He hired his horse at an inn in the town, and set forth for Justice Bervie's house at a gallop.
During Percy's absence, Mr. Bowmore secured the front and back entrances to the cottage with his own hands.
These first precautions taken, he ascended to his room and packed his traveling-bag. "Necessaries for my use in prison," he remarked. "The bloodhounds of Government are after me." "Are they after Percy, too?" his wife ventured to ask. Mr. Bowmore looked up impatiently, and cried "Pooh!"--as if Percy was of no consequence. Mrs. Bowmore thought otherwise: the good woman privately packed a bag for Percy, in the sanctuary of her own room.
For an hour, and more than an hour, no event of any sort occurred.