he said he was, although poor Anne never saw the proof which others got of it.”
At last McNamar
, mounting an old horse that had participated in the Black Hawk
war, began his journey.
In passing through Ohio
he became ill with a fever.
For almost a month he was confined to his room, and a portion of the time was unconscious.
As he approached a return to good health he grew nervous over the delay in his trip.
He told no one around him his real name, destination, or business.
He knew how his failure to write to New Salem would be construed, and the resulting irritation gave way to a feeling of desperation.
In plainer language, he concluded it was “all up with him now.”
Meanwhile a different view of the matter was taken by Miss Rutledge
Her friends encouraged the idea of cruel desertion.
The change of McNeil
had wrought in their minds a change of sentiment.
Some contended that he had undoubtedly committed a crime in his earlier days, and for years had rested secure from apprehension under the shadow of an assumed name; while others with equal assurance whispered in the unfortunate girl's ear the old story of a rival in her affections.
Anne's lady friends, strange to relate, did more to bring about a discordant feeling than all others.
Women are peculiar creatures.
They love to nettle and mortify one another; and when one of their own sex has fallen, how little sympathy they seem to have!
But under all this