Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/45

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39
EDWARD RANDOLPH'S PORTRAIT.

however, his most characteristic feature—he strove to shake off the spell of Randolph's countenance.

'Girl!' cried he, laughing bitterly, as he turned to Alice, 'have you brought hither your painter's art—your Italian spirit of intrigue—your tricks of stage-effect—and think to influence the councils of rulers and the affairs of nations, by such shallow contrivances? See here!'

'Stay yet awhile,' said the Selectman, as Hutchinson again snatched the pen; 'for if ever mortal man received a warning from a tormented soul, your Honor is that man!'

'Away!' answered Hutchinson fiercely. 'Though yonder senseless picture cried "Forbear!"—it should not move me!'

Casting a scowl of defiance at the pictured face, (which seemed, at that moment, to intensify the horror of its miserable and wicked look,) he scrawled on the paper, in characters that betokened it a deed of desperation, the name of Thomas Hutchinson. Then, it is said, he shuddered, as if that signature had granted away his salvation.

'It is done,' said he; and placed his hand upon his brow.

'May Heaven forgive the deed,' said the soft, sad accents of Alice Vane, like the voice of a good spirit flitting away.

When morning came there was a stifled whisper through the household, and spreading thence about the town, that the dark, mysterious picture had started from the wall, and spoken face to face with Lieutenant Governor Hutchinson. If such a miracle had been