At this moment his ear caught a murmur, a low buzzing of voices in the garden.
He naturally thought that Captain Dodd was exposing him to some of the townspeople. He was puzzled what to do, and, like a cautious man as he was, remained passive but on the watch.
Presently the voices were quiet, and he heard footsteps come very slowly towards the window at which he stood, and then make for the little gate. On this he slipped into the kitchen, which faced the street and got to a window there, and listened. His only idea was to catch their intentions if possible, and meet them accordingly. He dared not open the window; for about him on the pavement he saw a female figure half standing, half crouching: but soon that figure rushed wildly out of his sight to meet the footsteps, and then he ventured to open the window, and listening, heard cries of despair, and a young heart-broken voice say her father was dead.
"Ah!! that is all right," muttered Hardie.
Still, even this profound egotist was not yet so hardened but that he felt one chill of horror at himself for the thought--a passing chill.
He listened and listened, and by-and-bye he heard the slow feet recommence their journey, amidst sobs and sights; and those sorrowful feet, and the sobs and sighs of his causing, got fainter, and fainter, retreated, and left him in quiet possession of the L. 14,000 he had brought down to give it up: two minutes ago it was not worth as many pence to him.
He drew a long breath of relief. "It is mine; I am to keep it. It is the will of Heaven."
He went to his bed again, and by a resolute effort composed himself and determined to sheep. And in fact he was just dropping off, when suddenly he started wide awake again: for it recurred to him vividly that a window in his house had opened while David was cursing him and demanding his children's money.