Page:Marietta, or the Two Students.djvu/44

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hour before he was wrapt in the forgetfulness of sleep. Then he dreamed of the dissecting room, of grinning corpses, with which the idea of Cecil was strangely blended. He saw again with awful distinctness that same disease-stricken body, upon which he had so recently gazed; and to his disordered fancy it seemed that the lifeless mouth opened, and spoke to him in a warning voice, bidding him to shun the evil which had wrought his own destruction; and then with a mournful look and tone, pointed to the form of Cecil, who formed part of the group; while from the lidless eyes, hot scalding tears fell over the half fleshless cheeks, scorching it to blackness in their descent.

Suddenly he seemed to stand by an open grave, and the same gastly finger was directed ominously towards it, regarding him the while with a gloomy and half-reproving, half-sorrowful expression. How much did the dreamer read in that steady, solemn gaze of warning, of anguish, of self-condemnation, and unavailing repentance. But that night with its visions and dreams of terror passed, and the sun looked into his room as brightly as though his rest had been undisturbed by the phantoms that attend remorse, and hover over the pathway of sin.

It was a late hour when he finished his toilet, and a light breakfast. Being solicitous for the health of Cecil, his first care was to visit the "granite front" to see, or make such enquiries as should inform him of her condition.

On the way he did not forget to procure those little delicacies which the sick are generally allowed to eat with impunity. What was his amazement, as well as chagrin, when he was told by the old virago with the grey hairs, that she whom he sought had gone into the country to stay until her health should be reinstated.

"Did she leave me a note?"

"No; she left nothing."

"Not any thing!"

"No; she would be more likely to take something, than to do that."

"'Tis a falsehood, woman—a vile one; she would take nothing that was not rightfully hers," replied Eugene, redening with anger at the hag's insinuation. "Did she not tell you what was her place of destination. Think a moment—don't hurry—take time, you may have forgotten."

"No; I repeat what I have said; she gave me not the slightest information as to where she was going, or her intentions in regard to you, but packed up her clothes—what few she had—in the greatest hurry, apparently, and was out of the house before I was hardly aware of her intentions; although I did ask her what I should tell you, and where you could find her. To these inquiries she only replied that it need not concern me, the hussy. There was a small sum due me on her board, as well as the rent of the room; and she had the best in the house, as well as extra fuel."

"Here is some money, woman. Say no more of that. Learn, if you can, where she is, and I will reward you for your trouble. Hear me; never insinuate in my presence that Cecil is guilty of theft," continued Eugene, sternly, "she would not purloin the slightest article, especially from such a person as yourself."

He had turned from the door and walked several yards, when a new idea suggested itself to his mind. Suddenly returning he again confronted the hag, saying, in a deep and threatening voice, "Woman,—if one like you deserve the title of woman—if you are deceiving me you shall have cause to repent it, and curse the hour when you told me a falsehood. If she suffer wrong through your agency, beware!" He then left the house.

At this time Levator was in bed, stiff and sore from the injuries he had sustained by his fall, and scarcely able to leave it. But reflecting on the situation of Cecil, with much difficulty he arose. Taking a hasty breakfast he again went in search of Eugene. But the fates seemed resolved to thwart his designs. It was with unfeigned sorrow that he heard the student had within the hour left for a ride in the country. He was perplexed and uncertain what course to pursue. He was unable, alone, to effect the release of Cecil, provided he was in his usual health and spirits; much less in his present condition, "I will visit and advise with Dr. Frene," he exclaimed, as he turned his steps in the direction of his residence.

While on the way he fell into a