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ered a handsome man, — although the fine silky hair, thin beard, sensitive nostril, and delicate mouth could never have expressed much of strength or resolution. The traces of disease and starvation were painfully apparent; but it seemed to the thoughtful Faith that behind these she could perceive in the sorrowful, downward curve of the lips, in the lines of the hollow, throbbing temples, in the gloomy light of the dark eyes, symptoms of a long corroding care, which, though secretly, had done its work of devastation more surely and more ruthlessly than the more apparent foes."How he must have suffered!" murmured she. It seemed as if the tone of gentle pity had penetrated the light slumber, and reached the heart of the sick man,— for, opening his eyes, he smiled upon the girl, a wan, sad smile, which was at once an assent and a benison. From that moment, until the welcome end of that sad life, Ichabod would patiently endure no tendance but Faith's; and she, with the calm and silent selfabnegation of her order, (for Florence Nightingale is but a type, and there are those all about us who lack but her opportunities.) devoted herself to him. Her mother sometimes remonstrated, and begged her to yield her place in the sick-chamber to'her or to one of the pauper women; but Faith, whose grave sweetness concealed more determination than a stranger would have guessed, would simply say,—"Dear mother, what is a little fatigue to one as well as I am, compared with the pleasure of making this poor stranger's death-bed happy and quiet?—which it certainly would not be, if he was crossed in his fancy for seeing me about him." And the conscientious mind of the mother was forced to yield assent to this simple logic. A few weeks thus passed, and then the sick man became a dying man. The pauper inmates of the house were all willing and anxious to watch beside him through the long nights, but Ichabod re
ceived all their attentions very ungraciously; nor was it till Faith told him, in her kind, decided way, that she could not stay with him at night, that he consented to allow the others to do so. At last there came the evening when the physician said to Mrs. Coffin, as he entered the room where she sat with her husband,—"He won't last till morning,—'tis impossible.""Then thee had better watch beside him, Phineas. It is not fitting that Faith should do so.""Certain. I'll go right up, and send her down," replied Phineas, readily. But when the arrangements for the night were made known to Ichabod, he caught hold of Faith's dress, as she stood at his bedside bidding him good-night, and gasped out,—
"No, no ! — you ! — I must have — you !— I shall die — die to-night! — And
— and I want to tell-—to tell you something.—Stay,—stay, Faith!—it's the last — last time, and I — I shall never trouble any one — any more.""Let me stay, mother; father, do!" pleaded Faith, looking from one to the other. "I should be very unhappy, always, if I was obliged to deny him this last request. I shall not be afraid, mother; and Betty can sleep in the chair by the fire, if you wish it, so as to be at hand, if"
"Well, child, if thee feels a call to do so, and it will make thee unhappy to be denied, I will hold my peace. But thee must certainly have Betty here, and promise to send her to call me, if Ichabod should be worse,— won't thee?" Faith gave the required promise, and in a short time the chamber was prepared for night. The old woman (whose skill in the last awful rites which man pays to man caused her always to be selected for such occasions) slept soundly beside the glowing fire, the dying man dozed uneasily, and Faith, shading the light from his eyes, opened the largeprint Bible, which her mother, careful both for the well-being of her daughter's they clasped their first-born in their arms, the name which rose from heart to lip, and which they bestowed upon him, was in itself a cry of anguish and despair.
immortal soul and temporal eyesight, had recommended for her night's perusal.
The hours passed slowly on, unmarked by change, until Faith had counted three solemn strokes from the old clock in the entry, when the sick man suddenly awoke.
As Faith came to his bedside, to offer him the draught for which he always asked on awakening, she was struck with a change in his face. The eyes were at once calmer and brighter, the look of uneasy pain had disappeared, and the thin lips wore almost a smile.
"Dear Faith," said he, in a gentle voice, which yet was stronger and more unbroken than any she had heard from him before, " how good you have been to me! I am dying; but do not call any one yet. I want to talk to you a little, first Put another pillow under my head, and raise me,—so. Now light your other candle, stir the fire to a brighter blaze, and then uncover—it."
Faith, pale and quiet, did as she was bid, stirred the fire, till its ruddy glow brightened every nook of the little whitewashed chamber, and made the old crone beside it wince and mutter in her sleep. Having shielded her from its fierce light, she then, with trembling fingers, opened ft little penknife which lay upon the table, and cut the twine with which the cover was sewed at the back. The last stitch severed, the cloth fell with a solemn rustle at her feet, and disclosed—a picture.
Faith examined it with much attention and some curiosity. It was the full-length figure of a man. dressed in rich robes of office, his powdered hair put back from his forehead, his left hand resting on the pommel of his sword, and his right clasping a roll of parchment The expression of his face was grave, majestic, and noble; and yet between those handsome features and the attenuated fare of the dying pauper Faith soon perceived one of those resemblances, strong, yet indefinable, which are so apparent to some persons, so undiscoverable by others.
"A noble gentleman. Faith,— was he
not?" said Ichabod, at length. u And they say his picture does not do him justice. He was an English gentleman of property and station,— the heir of a good fortune and honorable name; but be left all to come here and help found this new country,—this glorious land of freedom and conscience,— where every man has perfect liberty — to starve in his own fashion.
'- He came and was a great man among tbem. He built the finest house in the village of Boston, and then came hither, where they made him governor and named a bay alter him.
'• He went home for a visit to England. and there he had this picture painted by the court-painter of those days, and brought it back with him as a present to his wife.
"He was father of many children, mostly girls: and finally died in a very dignified and respectable manner, full of years and honors,— as they say in storybooks.
"His handsome property, being divided so often, made but rather small portions for the children, and several of the daughters died unmarried.
"Then the family began to decay, and each succeeding head of the family found it a harder struggle to keep up the old hospitalities and the traditional style of living. They died out, too. The lateral branches of the family-tree never nourished, and one after another came to an end, till about forty years ago the remnant of the family-blood and the familyname was centred in two cousins, a young man and a girl. They met at the funeral of the girl's mother, and found in a short conversation that they were tlie sole representatives of the old name, alive.
"They married, gloomily helping on the fate which awaited tbem, by uniting their two threads of life in one. that thus she might sever it more easily. I was their only child, and they named me Ichabod.—'the glory has departed.'
- It is a sad proof of how deeply die bitterness of life had entered their souls, that, even in the supreme moment when
"The husband soon died. Man breaks, woman bends, beneath the crushing weight of such a life. My mother lived, a dark and silent woman, till five years ago. Then she died, too, and I inherited my ancestor's portrait and the curse of the Withringtons.
"I tried to work, to earn my bread, as men all about me were doing. But no,
— the fate was upon me, the curse pursued me. Everything failed which I attempted. I sunk lower and lower, until the name and the picture, which had been my pride, became a shame and a reproach to me. I abandoned the one and concealed the other, resolved to reveal neither until the moment arrived when death should wipe out the squalor of life, conquer fate, and expiate the curse.
"Quick, Faith, quick! The hour has come. Take the knife you just held,—cut the canvas from its frame,— cut it in fragments, — lay it on the blazing fire. We will perish together,— the First and
— the Last."
"Nay, Ichabod, give it to me," said Faith, shrinking from the proposed holocaust "I will always keep it, and value it."
"Would you see me fall dead at your feet, while attempting to do for myself what you refuse to do for me?" asked the dying man, with feverish ardor, and half rising, as if to leave his bed. "No, no,— I will do it, since it must be so," exclaimed Faith, eagerly. "Lie down again and watch me."
Ichabod sunk back upon his pillows, and gazed with eyes of fitful light upon the girl, while she, opening the keen knife, cut slowly and laboriously round the margin of the stout canvas, which shrieked beneath the blade, as if the spirit of the effigy which it bore were resisting the fearful doom which threatened it. At last the canvas was entirely released, and Faith silently held it up before the eyes of the dying man, upon whose face had come a dull, leaden blankness, and whose eyes were painful to watch as they struggled to pierce the film which was gathering over them.
"Burn," he hoarsely murmured. With a sigh, Faith cut the picture into strips, and laid them gently, reverently, upon the coals heaped in the large fireplace. The greedy flames leaped up to grasp their prey, and Faith turned sick and faint as she watched them fasten upon that noble face, which seemed to contract and shrivel in its anguish as they seized upon it. She gazed a moment, painfully fascinated, then turned toward the bed,— but as her eyes fell upon Ichabod's face, she started back, and, rousing the old woman from her slumber, sent to summon her mother. Mrs. Coffin came immediately,— but when she entered the little chamber, the last fragment of the canvas was shrivelling in the flames, the last sigh of the dying man was parting from his white lips. They had perished together,— the First — and the Last.
THE PROFESSOR AT THE BREAKFAST-TABLE. WHAT HE SAID, WHAT HE HEARD, AND WHAT HE SAW. You will know, perhaps, in the course of half an hour's reading, what has been haunting my hours of sleep and waking for months. I cannot tell, of course, whether you are a nervous person or not. If, however, you are such a person,— if it is late at night,— if all the rest of the household have gone off to bed,—if the wind is shaking your windows as if a human hand were rattling the sashes,— if your candle or lamp is low and will soon burn out,— let me advise you to read the " Critical Notices" or some other paper contained in this number, if you have not already devoured them all, and leave this to be read by daylight, with cheerful voices round, and people near by who would hear you, if you slid from your chair and came down in a lump on the floor. I do not say that your heart will beat as mine did, I am willing to confess, when I entered the dim chamber. Did I not tell you that I was sensitive and imaginative, and that I had lain awake with thinking what were the strange movements and sounds which I heard late at night in my little neighbor's apartment? It had come to that pass that I was truly unable to separate what I had really heard from what I had dreamed in these nightmares to which I have been subject, as before mentioned. So, when I walked into the room, and Bridget, turning back, closed the door and left me alone with its tenant, I do believe you could have grated a nutmeg on my skin, such a "goose-flesh" shiver ran over it. It was not fear, but what I call nervousness,— unreasoning, but irresistible ; as when, for instance, one looking at the sun going down says, " I will count fifty before it disappears"; and as he goes on and it becomes doubtful whether he will reach the number, he gets strangely flurried, and his imagina
tion pictures life and death and heaven and hell as the issues depending on the completion or non-completion of the fifty he is counting. Extreme curiosity will excite some people as much as fear, or what resembles fear, acts on some other less impressible natures. I may find myself in the midst of strange facts in this little conjurer's room. Or, again, there may be nothing in this poor invalid's chamber but some old furniture, such as they say came over in the Mayflower. All this is just what I mean to find out while I am looking at the Little Gentleman, who has suddenly become my 'patient. The simplest things turn out to be unfathomable mysteries; the most mysterious appearances prove to be the most commonplace objects in disguise. I wonder whether the boys that live in Roxbury and Dorchester are ever moved to tears or filled with silent awe as they look upon the rocks and fragments of "puddingstone" abounding in those localities. I have my suspicions that those boys "heave a stone" or "fire a brickbat," composed of the conglomerate just mentioned, without any more tearful or philosophical contemplations than boys of less favored regions expend on the same performance. Yet a lump of puddingstone is a thing to look at, to think about, to study over, to dream upon, to go crazy with, to beat one's brains out against. Look at that pebble in it. From what cliff was it broken? On what beach rolled by the waves of what ocean? How and when imbedded in soft ooze, which itself became stone, and by-and-by was lifted into bald summits and steep cliffs, such as you may see on MeetinghouseHill any day,— yes,and mark the scratches on their faces left when the bouldercarrying glaciers planed the surface of the continent with such rough tools that the storms have not worn the marks out of it with all the polishing of ever so many thousand years?Or as you pass a roadside ditch or pool in spring-time, take from it any bit of stick or straw which has lain undisturbed for a time. Some little wormshaped masses of clear jelly containing specks are fastened to the stick: eggs of a small snail-like shell-fish. One of these specks magnified proves to be a crystalline sphere with an opaque mass in its centre. And while you are looking, the opaque mass begins to stir, and by-and-by slowly to turn upon its axis like a forming planet,— life beginning in the microcosm, as in the great worlds of the firmament, with the revolution that turns the surface in ceaseless round to the source of life and light .
A pebble and the spawn of a mollusk! Before you have solved their mysteries, this earth where you first saw them may be a vitrified slag, or a vapor diffused through the planetary spaces. Mysteries are common enough, at any rate, whatever the boys in Roxbury and Dorchester think of "brickbats" and the spawn of creatures that live in roadside puddles. But then a great many seeming mysteries are relatively perfectly plain, when we can get at them so as to turn them over. How many ghosts that "thick men's blood with cold " prove to be shirts hung out to dry! How many mermaids have been made out of seals! How many times have horse-mackerels been taken for the sea-serpent!Let me take the whole matter coolly, while I see what'is the matter with the patient. That is what I say to myself, as I draw a chair to the bedside.— The bed is an old-fashioned, dark mahogany four-poster. It was never that which made the noise of something moving. It is too heavy to be pushed about the room. — The Little Gentleman was sitting, bolJtered up by pillows, with his hands clasped and their united palms resting on the back of the head,—one of the three or four positions specially affected by persons whose breathing is difficult from disease of the heart or other causes. Sit down, Sir,—he said,-—sit down! I have come to the hill Difficulty, Sir, and am fighting my way up.—His speech was laborious and interrupted. Don't talk,— I said, — except to answer my questions. —- And I proceeded to "prospect" for the marks of some local mischief, which you know is at the bottom of all these attacks, though we do not always find it. I suppose I go to work pretty much like other professional folks of my temperament. Thus: — Wrist, if you please. — I was on his right side, but he presented his left wrist, crossing it over the other.—I begin to count, holding watch in left hand. One, two, three, four, What a handsome hand !— wonder if that splendid stone is a carbuncle. — One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, Can't see much, it is so dark, except one white object. — One, two, three, four, Hang it! eighty or ninety in the minute, I guess. — Tongue, if you please.— Tongue is put out. Forget to look at it, or, rather, to take any particular notice of it; — but what is that white object, with the long arm stretching up as if pointing to the sky, just as Vesalius and Spigelius and those old fellows used to put their skeletons? I don't think anything of such objects, you know; but what should he have it in his chamber for? — As I had found his pulse irregular and intermittent, I took out a stethoscope, which is a pocket-spyglass for looking into men's chests with your ears, and laid it over the place where the heart beats. I missed the usual beat of the organ.—How is this? — I said,— where is your heart gone to ? — He took the stethoscope and shifted it across to the right side; there was a displacement of the organ.— I am ill-packed,—he said ;—there was no room for my heart in its place as it is with other men. — God help him!It is hard to draw the line between scientif,c curiosity and the desire for the patient's sake to learn all the details of his condition. I must look at this patient's chest, and thump it and listen to it. For this is a case of ectopia cordis, my boy,— displacement of the heart; and