"We had a very long passage, not downright tempestuous, but contrary winds, and a stiff gale or two. Instead of twenty days, as they promised, we were six weeks at sea, and what with all the fighting and the threats--I had another letter signed with a coffin just before I left that beautiful town--and the irritation at losing so much time on the ocean, it all brought on a fever, and I have no recollection of leaving the boat. When I came to myself, I was in a house near Boston, belonging to the old gentleman I spoke of. He and his nieces nursed me, and now I am as well as ever, only rather weak.
"Mr. Ironside, that is his name, but it should be Mr. Goldheart, if I had the christening of him--he has been my good Samaritan. Dear Grace, please pray for him and his family every night. He tells me he comes of the pilgrim fathers, so he is bound to feel for pilgrims and wanderers from home. Well, he has been in patents a little, and, before I lost my little wits with the fever, he and I had many a talk. So now he is sketching out a plan of operation for me, and I shall have to travel many a hundred miles in this vast country. But they won't let me move till I am a little stronger, he and his nieces. If he is gold, they are pearls.
"Dearest, it has taken me two days to write this: but I am very happy and hopeful, and do not regret coming. I am sure it was the right thing for us both.
"Please say something kind for me to the good doctor, and tell him I have got over this one trouble already.
"Dearest, I agreed to take so much a year from Bolt, and he must fight the trades alone. Such a life is not worth having. Bayne won't wrong me of a shilling. Whatever he makes, over his salary and the men's wages, there it will be for me when I come home; so I write to no one at Hillsborough but you. Indeed, you are my all in this world. I travel, and fight, and work, and breathe, and live for you, my own beloved; and if any harm came to you, I wouldn't care to live another moment."
At this point in the letter the reader stopped, and something cold seemed to pass all through his frame. It struck him that all good men would pity the writer of this letter, and abhor him who kept it from that pale, heart-broken girl inside the cottage.
He sat freezing, with the letter in his hand, and began to doubt whether he could wade any deeper in crime.
After a minute or two he raised his head, and was about to finish reading the letter.