Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/214

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she mark out the grave, the scent of which would be perceptible on the pillow of the second bridal? No—but rather level its green mound with the surrounding earth, as if, when she dug up again her buried heart, the spot had ceased to be a grave. Yet, in spite of these sentimentalities, I was prodigiously amused by an incident, of which I had not the good fortune to be a witness, but which Mr. Wigglesworth related with considerable humor. A gentlewoman of the town, receiving news of her husband's loss at sea, had bespoken a handsome slab of marble, and came daily to watch the progress of my friend's chisel. One afternoon, when the good lady and the sculptor were in the very midst of the epitaph, which the departed spirit might have been greatly comforted to read, who should walk into the workshop but the deceased himself, in substance as well as spirit! He had been picked up at sea, and stood in no present need of tomb-stone or epitaph.

'And how,' inquired I, 'did his wife bear the shock of joyful surprise?'

'Why,' said the old man, deepening the grin of a death's-head, on which his chisel was just then employed, 'I really felt for the poor woman; it was one of my best pieces of marble—and to be thrown away on a living man!'

A comely woman, with a pretty rosebud of a daughter, came to select a grave-stone for a twin-daughter, who had died a month before. I was impressed with the different nature of their feelings for the dead; the mother was calm and wofully resigned, fully conscious of her loss, as of a treasure which she