Page:Marietta, or the Two Students.djvu/45

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THE TWO STUDENTS.

89

curious train of thinking, and regarded often with a saddened gaze, the ring he had taken from the white finger of the fair subject. Upon inspection he had found the letter M. engraved upon the inside. He indulged in many idle speculations as to what name the initial was intended for. How often had such thoughts rushed through his mind since that night when he first looked, upon that beautiful corpse. How often had he gazed upon it in dreams, and been tempted to press his lips to the placid brow.

At times he started at what he deemed his own folly, not to say impiety, in suffering his mind to dwell with such a strange and undefinable feeling upon it. He was horrified when the idea forced itself with irresistible power upon him, that he was in love with a corpse!!

Fain would he have smothered such thoughts at their very birth, but he lacked the ability to do so. He believed such feelings were, unnatural, and at periods regarded himself as little better than a monomaniac. He felt anxious to know if the body-snatchers had discharged faithfully their part, and returned the body to the earth; but knew not how he could obtain that knowledge. He felt certain that they had not; more especially when he reflected on the deception they had recently practised upon him.





CHAPTER IX.

Marietta—The Chase.

At this crisis of our tale, had you crossed the beautiful Mystic, turned ——— street, and so continued on until you come to No. — , you would,—or as the phrase goes—might have seen on the second story of an elegant wooden house, at one of the front windows, with the venitian blinds, a young female of angelic loveliness, who was apparently recovering from long sickness.

A mild saddened expression sat upon her fair, pale cheek, upon which, though the remorseless hand of disease had been laid, was not the less attractive, but on the contrary, it had lent a greater charm to her features. She turned her large soul-illuminated eyes upon the radiant sun, and its beams seemed to enlighten some dark spot in her heart. The blood mounted with a richer, warmer glow to her cheek—her chest heaved with a new energy, while bright, clear drops, started from beneath the "fringed lids." They were not the messengers of grief—those tears—but joy, deep, heartfelt, overflowing joy. Her head was now thrown back, and her hair streaming loosely upon her shoulders, her beautifully expressive eyes raised to heaven, while her hands were clasped in the attitude of prayer. Her lips moved, and she spoke with eloquent fervor of a "wonderful preservation" of an "almost miraculous interposition of Providence," and a "salvation from a worse than death, and for this wonderful manifestation of God's mercy, she thanked and extolled His preserving goodness." This done, she leaned upon the window-case, and was lost in meditation, while her eyes seemed to be fastened as by a spell on a ring which was on the middle finger of her left hand.

"Lady, why dost thou gaze thus upon that sparkling bauble—what charmed interest rivets on it thy attention? Dost thou know, lady? Or can'st thou not analize thy own heart. Was it the gift of a lover? or is there some secret mystery connected with that ring.—Speak! dreamer, speak! Yes, there was a mystery, a strange unacountable secret connected with that ring, which she could not unravel, though she strove to do so.

She drew it for the hundredth time from her tiny finger, and held it up to the light, and turned it "o'er and o'er," many times, yet she was not satisfied, but apparently was as much perplexed as before.

Upon the inside of that ring were the letters M. L., on which the gaze of the