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Cudjo's Cave
written by "Trowbridge, J. T. (John Townsend), 1827-1916"
...an't be away from him a minute. I mus' go back to him dis bery minute!" And Toby departed, having suddenly conceived an idea of his own for hiding Penn in the barn until the danger was over. He had been absent from the room but a moment, however, when those remaining in it heard a wild outcry, and presently the old negro reappeared, inspired with superstitious terror, his eyes starting from their sockets, his tongue paralyzed. "What's the matter, Toby?" cried Virginia, perceiving that something really alarming had happened. The negro tried to speak, but his throat only gurgled incoherently, while the whites of his eyes kept rolling up like saucers. "Penn—has anything happened to Penn?" said Mr. Villars. "O, debil, debil, Lord bress us!" gibbered Toby. "Dead?" cried Virginia. "Gone! gone, missis!" Struck with consternation, but refusing to believe the words of the bewildered black, Virginia flew to the sick man's chamber. Then she understood the full meaning of Toby's words. Penn was not in his bed, nor in the room, nor anywhere in the house. He had disappeared suddenly, strangely, totally. XII. CHIVALROUS PROCEEDINGS. Thus the question of what should be done with his guest, which Mr. Villars knew not how to decide, had been decided for him. Great was the mystery. There was the bed precisely as Penn had left it a minute since. There was the candle dimly burning. The medicines remained just where Toby had placed them, on the table under the mirror. But the patient had vanished. What had become of him? It was believed that he was too ill to leave his bed without assistance. And, even though he had been strong, it was by no means probable that one so uniformly discreet in his conduct, and ever so regardful of the feelings of others, would have quitted the house in this abrupt and inexplicable manner. In vain the premises were searched. Not a trace of him could be anywhere discovered. Neithe...

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