Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/285

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of pearl, or ruby, or emerald, or carbuncle, or a changeful opal, or perhaps a priceless diamond, Ralph Cranfield little cared, so long as it were a heart of one peculiar shape. On encountering this lovely stranger, he was bound to address her thus:—'Maiden, I have brought you a heavy heart. May I rest its weight on you?' And if she were his fated bride—if their kindred souls were destined to form a union here below, which all eternity should only bind more closely—she would reply, with her finger on the heart-shaped jewel,—'This token, which I have worn so long, is the assurance that you may!'

And, secondly, Ralph Cranneld had a firm belief that there was a mighty treasure hidden somewhere in the earth, of which the burial-place would be revealed to none but him. When his feet should press upon the mysterious spot, there would be a hand before him, pointing downward—whether carved of marble, or hewn in gigantic dimensions on the side of a rocky precipice, or perchance a hand of flame in empty air, he could not tell; but, at least, he would discern a hand, the forefinger pointing downward, and beneath it the Latin word Effode—Dig! And digging thereabouts, the gold in coin or ingots, the precious stones, or of whatever else the treasure might consist, would be certain to reward his toil.

The third and last of the miraculous events in the life of this high-destined man, was to be the attainment of extensive influence and sway over his fellow-creatures. Whether he were to be a king, and founder of an hereditary throne, or the victorious leader of a people contending for their freedom, or the apostle of a purified and regenerated faith, was left for futurity