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Of her imaginings. All-all are gone
Is this a Christian deed, to flaunt a vice,
While rudest hand disturbs her mouldering dust?
Is this a Christian deed? Shall mankind call it just?
But let that pass. I hear a nation's voice
I rise again above the woes of earth, Like unchained bird, seeking my native air. Men seldom see their fellow-creatures' worth, But blot sweet nature's page, however fair. Away, my soul, and seek thy nobler state, Where loving angels breathe their softest prayer, Where sweetest seraphs for thy coming wait, And ne'er suspicion's breath can pass the Golden Gate.
RETURNING one evening from a visit to a friend on earth, I was impelled to take a route with which I was unfamiliar. It led me far beyond the habitations of the city, into an open country whose surface was diversified by sloping hills and broad valleys.
The sun was quite low in the horizon, and dark purple clouds, gathering in the west, indicated an approaching storm. Anxious to reach my spirit-home before such an event, I was nevertheless compelled to keep within the earth's atmosphere.
The aspect of the country became more uneven as I advanced, and the disappearing sun threw out the hills in cold blue relief against the evening sky. One peak to the northward stood high and isolated from the surrounding hills, and was crowned by a spacious dwelling house; the high peaked roof' and dark gloomy color of its exterior comported strangely with the landscape.
To this building an unseen influence drew me. As I approached nearer I discovered the figure of a man walking with restless step upon the piazza which surrounded the dwelling. At times he would suspend his walk, and crouch, shuddering as with fear, against the shadowed balustrade. His face was of (29)
ashy paleness, and his hair, black as night, fell in neglected masses around his head. His eyes were bright and glassy, and their expression frightful to look upon.
Unconscious of my proximity, he arose from his crouching position, stood for a moment irresolute, and then walked up to the heavy oaken door and knocked.
Presently the door was opened by a lady; she looked out, but could see no one. "It must have been the wind," said she, shuddering slightly, and drawing her shawl closely around her, was about to close the door. But before she could accomplish her purpose the unseen guest had entered, with myself following closely behind, hoping to give comfort where it appeared most sorely needed.
Up a broad staircase he ascended and at a chamber door he paused—then entered. I followed. Ilis presence seemed to cause the very furniture to shake and rattle.
"Here," thought I, "I will solve the enigma. Here, without doubt, has occurred some grand disturbance. of nature. The walls of this apartment, its casements, its decorations, have been witness to some fell crime. The spectre of evil impresses itself upon matter."
While reflecting upon this wonderful law, which all my life I had perceived dimly, I observed withi care the evidently unhappy man. A bedstead of rich workmanship occupied one side of the apartment. Rushing toward it he burst forth in a cry of frenzy, swaying his hands fearfully and ejaculating and groaning in most piteous accents.
At this juncture steps were heard outside ascending
the stairs, and several members of the household entered, bearing lights. They looked about the room, at first timidly; then, gathering courage, peered under the bed, opened closets, and scrutinized every nook and corner of the apartment. Foiled in their efforts. to discover the inmate they turned to each other with amazement.
"I am positive the sounds came from this room,” said one. "There is no one to be seen here,” replied another; "what can it mean?"
The culprit stood in the corner, gesticulating violently, but they with their mortal eyes could not see him. They passed close to him, but their lighted candles could not reveal the shadowless!
Having satisfied themselves that the room was tenantless, they departed. Then I approached the unhappy wretch:
Friend," said I, "let me aid you." Unburden your woe to me; I too have suffered and am not without sin."
Casting his eyes upon me now for the first time, the man scowled with dogged sullenness, and said: "I want no help.”
"Nay," said I, "your looks belie your words; come, go with me to my quiet cottage; there you shall refresh yourself; you shall sleep to-night in peace."
"Peace!" he repeated scornfully. "I know no peace; nor can I leave this spot till every eye beholds the horrid deed that I committed here."
"Friend," said I, "tell me the nature of your crime; reveal to me your secret and your heart will be lighter for it."
"Ia! ha!" he answered, his voice dying away in a low wail. "Look upon that wall opposite the bed; it will speak better than I can." I looked, and beheld a faint photograph or impression of the couch, with its handsome drapery. Upon it reclined the figure of a female, and bending over her appeared the form of a man, whose livid face and black, disordered hair I recognized as an unmistakable reflection of the unfortunate man before me.
"You see that 'the very stones cry out against me, "" said he. "Every night for two years have I enacted that same scene, and I am held by some unseen influence to this baneful spot."
"Tell me your story," said I; "hide nothing-I am your friend."
He ran his thin fingers through his tangled hair, and with a voice husky with emotion answered:
"I will tell you. Some years ago, when a young man, haughty and passionate, I had the misfortune to love a girl whose youth and beauty proved my bane, and in a moment of recklessness I married her. In her nature were mingled the qualities of the serpent and the dove. She was my inferior, and I could not own her outwardly nor inwardly as my wife; but, unhappily for the peace of both, I could not rid myself of her. I gave her money, but it availed not; she was ignorant, and persisted in following me." Here the man looked around with a nervous air, as if he expected to see the unwelcome face peering at him through the shadows.
"To avoid her," he continued, "I secretly purchased this dwelling, remote from the place of her