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Unfettered By Sutton E. Griggs Characters: 5263

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

As Tony peered around the bend in the road, Mrs. Dalton caught sight of him and uttered a piercing scream. Tony knew the horse to be that of Lemuel Dalton and he perceived at once that the situation was full of danger for him, as the unintentional frightening of white women in the South had furnished more than one victim for the mob. Knowing so well the feelings of Lemuel Dalton toward Negroes, he reasoned that if the white woman who had become frightened at him, returned to the house and reported that she had come upon a Negro with a drawn pistol, public opinion among the whites would at once adjudge him guilty of harboring a purpose of committing a dastardly crime against woman's honor. He knew that a strong suspicion to this effect meant instant and violent death to the party suspected. He was determined to see to it that the woman did not leave him in a disturbed frame of mind. Rushing forward, he grasped the horse's bridle. This all the more frightened and excited Mrs. Dalton.

"Lady," said Tony, fear in every lineament of his face; "Lady," he repeated, in anxious tones, "don't be afraid. I am not going to harm you."

Mrs. Dalton instinctively looked down at the pistol, which seemed to be a contradiction to his words.

Seeing the look and interpreting it, Tony said, "There, I have thrown it away," accompanying his words with the casting of the pistol by the roadside.

Mrs. Dalton yet said nothing, her eye following the pistol. She noted that Tony had not thrown it very far away.

Tony, who was studying her countenance with a full knowledge of the fact that his life depended upon the outcome of the interview, read her impression that the casting aside of the pistol was but a ruse. "Lady," said Tony, "I have caught hold of your horse to keep you from going away from me frightened, for the white people will kill me on a mere suspicion of wrong intention on my part. I am harmless. I used to live out here."

This last remark increased Mrs. Dalton's agitation. She had heard of Harry Dalton, knew nothing of his death and feared that this was he, returning for vengeance.

"I got into trouble in the city and am running away. That's how I am out here so early."

"Oh, he is a criminal," said Mrs. Dalton, excitedly.

Tony saw that talking did not better his case, so he stopped. He bowed his head to meditate.

Mrs. Dalton thought that he was planning an attack, and her agitation was increasing every second.

"Plague on it!" said Tony. "I am in a pretty fix. I'll swear I wish those 'cops' had me safe in prison. I have swapped the witch for the devil."

Addressing Mrs. Da

lton he said: "Well, lady, I'll let you go and take my chances."

As soon as Tony turned loose the bridle Mrs. Dalton gave whip to her horse, intending to flee as fast as the speed of the animal would permit. Tony saw that his action in turning the horse loose had not inspired confidence in the woman and that she was leaving him fully impressed that his purposes were evil. He now decided to take advantage of every circumstance that he could to save his life.

Seizing his pistol, he ran forward and fired, intending to kill the horse and thus have a better chance to escape before the woman could reach her home and start others in pursuit. At his second shot the horse reared and Mrs. Dalton fell off to the ground. The horse also fell, a part of his huge frame falling upon and crushing her prostrate form.

When Tony Marshall saw what he had done, he turned to flee. Proceeding a short distance, he halted. "I must go back to find out whether the woman is dead," he said. He therefore turned and walked in a timorous manner toward the fallen woman. "Some one may have heard the shot and may be hurrying here," he thought, and halted again, casting furtive glances first up and then down the road. "What, oh, what have I done to be in such a fix!" he exclaimed in terror.

Continuing to look about him fearfully, Tony approached the spot where the horse and the woman lay. By dint of hard labor, he succeeded in removing that portion of the horse that lay upon her. He was overjoyed to find from her pulse that she was still alive. "What must I do next," he said. He sat down to meditate. "I haven't yet murdered anybody and I shall not let this woman die if I can help it," he said with determination.

Tony arose and, going to Mrs. Dalton, lifted her in his arms and proceeded in the direction of her home. After many pauses by the wayside for rest, he at last reached the Dalton estate. Through the window of his library, Lemuel Dalton saw his wife being brought home to him in an apparently lifeless condition. At once Morlene's prophecy came back to him. Raising the window and leaping out, he rushed to meet Tony and gathered his wife in his arms.

"Eulalie! Eulalie! Oh! Eulalie!" he cried. "Speak to me, beloved."

"Lemuel," she murmured, as she looked at him out of half opened eyes.

"Thank God! Oh! Thank God, she lives," he exclaimed, bearing his wife rapidly yet tenderly to her bedroom.

The family physician was summoned and he hastened to the bedside with all possible speed. Only a slight examination, however, was needed to disclose the fact that human skill would be of no avail.

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