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the body, weighed the evidence, and being about equally at him; he treated him precisely as if he did not exist. divided in regard to the questiou of suicide, finally agreed To a person of Roath's cold, hard, steely têmper, and upon “ Accidental Death by Poison," as, upon the whole, obtuse sensibilities, this demeanour was, perhaps, the most the safer and less objectionable verdict. There seemed tolerable of which the circumstances admitted. It spared to be no good reason to suspect murder, nor any ground him the necessity of being either conciliatory or resentful ; whatever for implicating Roath, or anybody else, as a he was well content to ignore Trubie as completely as perpetrator thereof.
Trubie ignored him. Trubie, to be sure, persisted in his accusation ; but it He soon found, however, that he had greatly underwas with a vehemence and a dogmatism so unlike his estimated the moral force of an abhorrence deeply rooted wonted careless good nature, as to suggest the idea that in immitigable distrust. Though largely given to psychohis mind had been temporarily thrown off its balance by logical studies, and profoundly learned, for his years, in the shock of his friend's death. This idea gained colour the intricacies and tendencies of the human mind, he was from the fact that all which he could offer, in support of astonished to find how soon the atmosphere grew heavy so grave a charge, was the statement that he had long around him, how quickly Trubie's dogged dislike commuseen or suspected, in Roath, a secret. hatred of Arling, nicated itself, more or less strongly, to others; while the and a willingness to do him covert mischief. He had increased cordiality of a few, though kindly intended to even mentioned the suspicion to his friend; but Arling- offset it, only served to point him out more clearly as one being himself of the most candid and generous, as well as set apart, for the time, from life's ordinary course and unsuspecting temper, unable to conceive of any but an level, by the force of an unenviable, if undeserved, notoopen, honourable enemy-had refused to entertain it for riety. Not that he ever appeared to be conscious of either a moment. Trubie also solemnly affirmed that his of these manifestations, or of their ultimate effect. Nature passionate accusation of Roath, by the side of the newly- had given him a moral and intellectual fibre so tough, and discovered corpse, was the involuntary result of an he had trained himself to a control so perfect, that the intuition so sudden, so clear, and so powerful, that, keenest observer could not detect the least variation from though little given to look for supernatural agencies in bis usual composed, somewhat moody demeanour. Whathuman affairs, he could not rid himself of the conviction ever of suffering, or of sin, lay at the bottom of his heart, that it was the direct inspiration of his dead friend. But not a shadow thereof was seen in his face. it may readily be imagined how much weight a statement It might well be, however, that he was glad when of this sort was likely to have with men of plain minds and the examination was over, his degree obtained, and himsturdy understanding, searching among the external phe- self left free to depart by any one of the many paths nomena of the event, for grounds upon which to base a which life opened before him. reasonable verdict.
Yet he was in no suspicious haste to be gone. His On the other hand, the theory of accidental poisoning departure was fixed for an early hour on the following was supported, negatively, by the lack of apparent cause morning. Meanwhile, at dusk, he went out for his for self-destruction; and positively, by the fact that on habitual solitary stroll. Never had he invited companionthe dead man's table, side by side with the potent narcotic ship, and seldom was it thrust upon him. He had no before mentioned, stood a phial of exactly the same size, intimate friend. Though he had been not only admired, and with equally colourless contents. Of this Arling
but respected, by many, for his intellectual gifts, and for had been accustomed to take two or three spoonfuls, a certain firm, even texture of character, and dispassionmixed with a few drops of a third preparation of exceeding ateness of judgment, that often looked like virtue, whether bitter flavour. A careless hand might have mistaken the such in reality or not, he was beloved by none. one phial for the other. The taste of the morphine, so Where he went, what he thought, is not to the swallowed, would be much disguised; while the dose was purpose of our narrative. His walk was long, however ; sufficient, under the circumstances, to produce death. It he did not return until dusk had deepened into clear and will be seen, therefore, that the verdict rendered was the starry, but moonless night. As he came up through the only one upon which a coroner's jury could well have great, dim elm-arches, with their solemn resemblance to been expected to agree.
a vast cathedral nave, a strange tremor seized him. A The body was next solemnly laid in a vault, to await complete sceptic in regard to all superstitions and forethe disposal of the parents, who lived in a western state; · bodings, he yet felt his nerves shaking with an undefined and the widening circles of excitement, horror, curiosity, fear; he could not rid himself of the impression that and regret, of which it had been the unconscious centre, something unprecedented and sinister was at that moment rapidly subsided, or were effaced by the growing interests taking place. Reaching the college, he ascended the of the now imminent closing examination.
steps with a strange mixture of eagerness and reluctance ; Even Trubie, though he flatly refused to acquiesce in and immediately became aware of a subdued but excited the coroner's verdict, was forced tacitly to accept its murmur of voices in the upper hall.
At the same results. He took refuge in a complete personal pro- moment, Mark Tracey came rushing down the stairs, scription of Roath; he neither spoke to him nor looked carpet-bag in hand.
“What's up?" asked Roath, in a voice that trembled in spite of himself.
“I don't rightly know," responded Tracey, hurriedly ; “I am so late for the train, that I couldn't stop to hear. Something about a diamond that Trubie has found in Arling's glass—the one from which the poor fellow drank his death-draught, I believe. Good-bye!” And away he went.
Had he waited but for an instant, he would have been startled and spell-bound by the deadly whiteness of Roath's face. Through all the glimmering indistinctness of the dimly-lighted hall, his features were clearly discernible, by reason of that marble pallor. For the moment, he seemed to lose sense and consciousness; he would have fallen, except for the friendly support of the wall against which he leaned.
But it was only for a moment. The man's hard energy of character, his iron will, his rigid self-control, though they had gone down before the su idenness and severity of the shock, quickly rose again. With a mighty effort, he rallied his broken forces; back into his face came the look of purpose, the sense of power, the sternness of immitigable resolve ; and this with so rapid and almost imperceptible a change, that it seemed as if the granite man must have stood there from the first, and the weak man not at all. While Tracey's receding footsteps still echoed faintly from without, going swiftly in the direction of the city's principal thoroughfare-while the murmur of voices from above was still at its eager, wondering heighthe had turned, noiselessly descended the steps, and was gliding down through the sombre elm-arches, swift and stealthy as a phantom. The street was shadowy at best, but he chose the darker side ; it was well nigh deserted at that hour, but he soon turned into a still less frequented one, and then struck into a more assured and less noiseless, as well as swifter, pace.
As he went, he drew a ring from his finger, and glancing hastily round, to make sure that he was unobserved, he flung it far into the dusky shadow of a garden thicket. Only the day before a friend had said to him, “Roath, do you know that the stone is gone from your ring?" and he had answered,“ Yes, and I am sorry to have lost it, for it was my father's.”
And he had proceeded to point out the antique setting, and to describe the peculiar shape and tint of the gem which it had enclosed. He gnashed his teeth as he recalled the short but momentous conversation. But for that, he would not have fled.
The garden into which he had Aung the ring adjoined a small cottage ; and at one of the open windows a greyhaired dame sat in a high-backed chair, listening to the clear, musical voice of an invisible reader. This fragment of a sentence floated out to him on the dim night air“ He shall be holden with the cords of—”
Even at that moment, the words struck him sharply. Involuntarily be slackened his pace, and half-turned to catch the remainder of the sentence, but it was inaudible. The uncertainty before him, the terror behind, were for
the time almost forgotten in a certain chill curiosity. “Holden with the cords—holden with the cords,” he repeated to himself, as he hurried on; “I wonder what book she was reading! I should really like to hear the end of that sentence !"
Still keeping up his swift pace and vigilant glance, he nevertheless sank into a partial abstraction. Some disconnected sentences, breaking at intervals from his lips, served to show the current of his thoughts.
“Set it down, once for all," he muttered, " that crime -absolute crime, of which the law can take hold—is a mistake. Into the best-laid scheme, the one most carefully framed and skilfully executed, Chance-many would say, Providence (can there be a Providence, after all ?)-drops some trivial, fortuitous circumstance, which disconcerts or betrays everything. The question is, could it have been foreseen? I have worn that ring for sixteen years. No! no! it is too subtile and too intricate a matter to think about now.' I have more pressing subjects of reflection. Only, set it down for future use, that the essential thing is to keep clear of crime."
“Holden with the cords !". echoed suddenly and pertinaciously through his memory, as if by way of defiant answer to the conclusion that he had reached. He set his teeth, and dashed more swiftly onward.
Ere long, he reached the railway depôt. In a large, underground space, half filled with smoke and steam, a train stood on the track, the engine fretting and snorting like a steed impatient to be off, and the bell ringing out a hasty summons, curiously typifying the sharp call to leap on to some favourable train of circumstances, and be borne away to fortune or to ruin, which life often gives us, at certain fatal moments of its rapid career. Roath sprang to the rear platform, and on the instant the train moved.
Swiftly it left the depot behind : decayed fences, rickety outhouses, heaps of rubbish and offal, quickly receded into a dingy perspective of backside city life ; scattered coalyards, and freight and engine-houses, succeeded; and then the cool, moist air coming in at the windows, and a swiftgliding panorama of what looked like a terrestrial sky and stars, told him that he was being borne rapidly along the causeway that traversed the broad bay, in the tranquil waters of which the fair night-heavens were faithfully mirrored. Hastily running his eye over his fifty or sixty fellow passengers, and finding no familiar face, he settled himself back in bis seat with a long-drawn breath of relief. He remembered that he was on an express train, with twenty miles between him and the next station; he could count upon a safe half hour, at least, for the working out of the difficult problem before him. To that problem he at once addressed himself, with the whole force of his intellect and will; though ever and anon that perplexing fragment of a sentence would float distractingly through his mind, saying itself over and over to the accompaniment of the sharp click of the rails, “Holden with the cords—Holden with the cords !"
From that night, for many years, Edmund Roath disappeared as completely from the sight and search of all who had known him, as if from the train wherein he sat he had suddenly flung himself headlong into the narrow causeway, and those deep, silent, star-mirroring waters, closing above him, had steadfastly refused to give up their dead. In brief space of time, his very name, as well as the circumstances that had made it notorious, was forgotten by those who had been most diligent in passing it from mouth to mouth. Seldom was it recalled even by the few who had known him best, and had yielded the heartiest admiration to his rare intellectual gifts. Having never taken any real hold of any human heart, it was but natural that he should pass behind the first intervening cloud, and leave no vacancy.
Did he thereby escape the worst consequences of his sin?
A WAY THAT SEEMETH RIGHT.
"PROVERBS, AND THE INTERPRETATION."
The road was straight, level, and monotonous. It seemed to stretch on for miles, walled in, on either hand, by the rank and profuse foliage of the South. Great cottonwoods and water-oaks, walnuts, cypresses, larches, and junipers, stood side by side, with their brawny arms interlaced, and their trunks hidden in a dense and varied undergrowth; while jessamines and wild grape-vines climbed up to meet the sunshine at their tops, and pendent moss hung their boughs with swaying drapery of grey-green leaves and filaments.
What lay beyond these walls of verdure was only to be guessed at from occasional and indistinct glimpses. Here, a transient view of corn or vegetable rows, and a sound of voices, gave token of the vicinity of a small plantation or market garden. There, a scarcity of deciduous trees and a predominance of evergreens, a more lash and succulent character of undergrowth, and a dark gleam of stagnant water, betrayed the proximity of an extensive morass. Frequently, the eye lost itself in the complicated vistas of thick pine-barrens, stretching far away to rigbt and left. And, ever and anon, a sudden break in the long line of verdure, and a sight of a diverging wheel-track, quickly lost amid overhanging boughs, served to show in what direction some large rice or cotton estate lay hidden in the circumjacent forest.
It scarcely needs to be added that the road was pleasantly cool and shadowy in the late September afternoon. Even at mid-day, its track would present but few and scant patches of sunshine, alternating with dense masses of shadow or spots of flickering light and shade. Now, therefore, with the sun hanging red and low in the
western horizon, scarce a fitful orange gleam fell athwart the path of the only traveller in sight,-a young man, of thoughtful face and stalwart figure, striding on at a firm, even pace, with a portmanteau strapped across his shoulder. Both the face and the portmanteau seemed to indicate that his walk was not for pleasure merely, but tended to some definite, anticipated goal; while the keen, observant glance with which he noted, not only every object of interest along his route, but the character of the soil beneath and the foliage overhead, showed that his road was as unfamiliar as it had been, for the most part, solitary. Since he left the outskirts of the city of Savalla behind, more than two hours ago, he had seen but three human faces. First, an old negro woman, wrinkled and white-haired, had ducked her decrepit form to him in wbat would have been, but for the stiffness of her joints, a most deferential courtesy. Later on, a teamster, of the same dependent and obsequious race, had doffed to him the ragged remnant of a palm-leaf hat, and uttered a civil, “Good ebenin,' Massa.” Lastly, a lank, listless, unkempt, sallow-skinned personage, in a white covered waggon, snapping a long-lashed whip at a nondescript team, and belonging to the curious class known as “crackers," had suddenly nodded to him, after a prolonged, and, at first, contemptuous stare, as if finally convinced of his claim to the civility.
For some time past, the road had led through a monotonous pine barren, and the traveller had fallen into a fit of thought. Raising his eyes, at last, from the path on which they had been fixed in abstraction, he saw that the long vista before him was once more enlivened by a moving object. His keen, far sight, trained in western wilds, easily made it out to be a half-obsolete kind of chaise, moving in the same direction as himself, but moving so slowly that he gained on it at every step. In a few moments, he was close behind it, quietly observing its superannuated style and condition, as well as the skinny little horse that furnished its motive power. Hearing the sound of his quick, firm tread, its occupant lifted his
from the tattered volume over which he was poring, and turned to look at him.
He himself, in a very different way, was well worthy of observation. He was small and spare, probably not more than sixty years of age, but looking much older. He had that parched and wizened look, oftenest the work of circumstances rather than years, which makes it difficult to realize that the possessor was ever young. His hair and complexion had once been light; the one was now grey, the other sallow, except for a faint suggestion of red at the tip of an otherwise handsome nose. His breath exhaled a perceptible odour of strong drink, surrounding him as with an atmosphere of inflammable gas. His dress was made up of divers ill-fitting garments that had doubtless accrued to him from cast-off wardrobes ; not one of them bearing any relation to the other, but all being in an advanced stage of seediness well suited to the wearer. Something of the same fusing of special
incongruities into general fitness also characterized his manner ; wherein the mean and furtive air of the shiftless old vagabond was curiously blended with the pathetic dignity of the decayed gentleman.
He eyed the young foot traveller narrowly for a moment, though with a sidelong rather than a straightforward glance; then, bringing his willing horse to a stand by a jerk of the reins, and a sonorous “ Whoa!” he lifted his hat and gravely accosted him
“Manus manum lavat. Men were meant to help each other. Have a ride, sir?"
The stranger hesitated, perhaps trying to reconcile the address and the speaker, perhaps with a natural enough doubt as to the character of the companionship thus offered. “Thank you,” said he, at last, “but I doubt if it be worth while."
“Good and Quickly seldom meet,'" responded the other, sententiously. “Besides," he added, seeing that the traveller was puzzled to understand the drift of his saw, “Pegasus-I call him Pegasus because he's not winged -- is like a singed cat, better than he looks.' Moreover, Compagnon l'ien parlant vaut en chemin chariot branlant. Which may be freely translated, ‘Good company shortens the road as much as a swift horse.''
“Oh! I meant no disrespect to your equipage, I assure you," returned the young man, smiling. “Only, I suppose that I must be near my journey's end. Is it far to Berganton?"
“That depends. The last straw breaks the camel's back.' It is three miles, more or less. But I should have said, from your face, that you would want to stop this side of that."
“Do I look so tired? Indeed I am not."
“Um-no, I should say not. But faces show something besides weariness,-like father, like son,' you know. If your looks are to be trusted, there's an old mansion about a quarter of a mile further on, whose door ought to open to you of its own accord—if it can open at all."
The young man smiled and shook his head. sorry that
my looks should belie me," said he, “but I have no claim upon the said mansion's hospitality."
“Umph ! 'tis a wise child that knows its own father. Tush, tush, man!" he added, hastily, seeing the young man's cheek flush, “ I meant no harm ; proverbs run from my tongue like water from a Dutch roof. Besides, Nao ha palavra mal dita se nað fora mal entendidla,--that is to say, 'No word is ill-spoken which is not ill-taken.' But come! come! jump in! I'll carry you to Berganton, since that's your goal, and welcome. The night is drawing on apace; you'll be glad of my pilotage before we get there."
The young man glanced down the darkening road, from which the last ray of sunlight had vanished, and seemed still to hesitate ; but finally sprang lightly into the chaise, and the horse jogged on.
“ Proverbs," continued the old man, treating his three
last sentences as mere parentheses, “have been the study of my life. I know Lord Chesterfield bans them as vulgar, but is he wiser than Solomon? or better authority than Cicero, and Scaliger, and Erasmus, and Bacon, and Bentley? Bah! the whole gist of his writings might be compressed into two or three of the maxims that he affects to despise. “Fair-and-Softly goes far in a day,' will live when his ‘Letters' are forgotten. And a good reason why. Proverbs are the royal road to wisdom. They're the crystallized experience of the ages. They epitomize the minds and manners of the people that brought them forth. Who but a 'smooth, fause' Lowland Scot, for instance, would have said 'Rot him awa' wi' butter an' eggs?' Who but a marauding Hielander would have declared, “It's a bare moor that ane goes o'er and gets na a coo?' Who but poor priest-ridden, kingridden Spain, would have said, Fraile que pide por Dios, pide por dos, 'The friar that begs for God, begs for two ;' Quien la vaca del rey come faca, gorda la paga, 'He who eats the king's cow lean, pays for it fat;' but I ought to beg your pardon, perhaps you know Spanish ?"
“Not very well,” good-naturedly replied the young man, taking pity on his companion's inveterate habit of translation, and the delight which it plainly afforded him.
“Well enough, I suppose, to know that it's a mine of wealth to the proverb-hunter," rejoined the old man, graciously. “Here, now, is a good one, of a different character, Adonde vas, mal ? Adonde mas hay? “Whither goest thou, misfortune? To where there is more?' And here is a pertinent question for people who live well without visible resources, Los que cabras no tienen, y calritos venden, de donde les vienen? They who keep no goats, and yet sell kids, where do they get them ?' But, after all, for right sharp and serviceable proverbs, commend me to the Danish. Here is an old collection that I've lately picked up, printed at Copenhagen, in 1761 ; just let me read you two or three.”
He opened the dingy volume aforementioned, and proceeded to read, translate, and comment, with infinite zest. Ingen kommer i Skaden, uden han selv hielper til, No man gets into trouble without his own help' (a moral which no one can point better than your
humble servant); Naar det regner Vælling, saa har Stodderen ingen Skee, 'When it rains porridge, the beggar has no spoon' (there's no contenting discontented people); Ingen Ko kaldes broget uden hun haver en Flek, “A cow is not called dappled unless she has a spot' (most gossip has some small foundation); Hvo som vil gjöre et stort Spring, skal gaae vel tillage, ‘He that would leap higb must take a long run' (else we should have bishops and badges without grey hairs); Det kommer igien, sagde Alanden, han gav sin So Flæsk, “It will come back again, said the man, when he gave his sow pork ;' don't you see how the patient, shrewd, humorous character of the Danes peeps through them all ?
“Yet, if some proverbs are national, others are cosmopolitan, and fit all generations, and all countries. For
instance, there's the Greek saw, 'Apxù žulov TuvTÓS ; see how it comes down through every language under the sun, till, at last, it settles into terse English rhyme,
•Well begun Is half done.'
Or, take that common saying, “To carry coals to Newcastle,' which seems to have originated in the East. At least, we find it first in the Persian of Saadi, ‘To carry pepper to Hindostan ;' then the Hebrews have it, “To carry oil to the City of Olives; the Greeks, owls to Athens; the Latins, 'wood to the forest ;' the French, 'water to the river ;' the Dutch, 'firs to Norway ;' the Danish–Hallo! Pegasus; what are you about?”
The horse, being left to his own guidance while his master was riding his favourite hobby, had taken occasion to shoot off from the main road into an apparently little-used track, cut through a thick pine-barren at the left. He had made several lengths before his driver, taken at a disadvantage, could pull him up.
“Pegasus is of the opinion that “the longest way round is the surest way home,'” remarked the old man, apologetically, as he scanned the narrow, tree-lined track, with a view to the possibility of turning safely around. "Or," he added, with a glance of sly humour at the traveller, “perhaps he thinks, as I did just now, that Bergan Hall is your natural destination."
"Bergan Hall!” repeated the young man, in a tone of extreme surprise, “is this the way to Bergan Hall ? I thought you came to the village first, from Savalla.”
“So you did, once," rejoined the old man, looking surprised, in his turn; " but that must have been before you were born, if your face doesn't belie your age. The road used to make a long elbow, to get round that swamp which you crossed a mile back.
But it was straightened thirty years ago at least--Autre temps, autre chemin-a different time, a different road. And so you are going to Bergan Hall? Well, thanks to luck and Pegasus, you're in the right way."
“But I must not take you out of yours," responded
young man, good-naturedly.' And he had jumped out of the chaise before its owner was well aware of his intention.
* Canis festinans cæcos parit catulos,'' muttered the old man, in a tone of chagrin. “In other words, 'Look before you leap.' I'd as soon have gone this way as the other. My place lies between the Hall and the village, and the choice of roads isn't worth shucks—at least, in comparison with a pleasant chat. However, you're cut, and I suppose it's no use to ask you to get in again, since the Hall is but a few rods away. Keep straight ahead till you come to the old avenue, then turn to the left. Good-day, il n'y a si bons compagnons qui ne se separent - the best friends must part."
“Yes—to meet again," said the young man, plea
turned the old man, slowly and cautiously backing his crazy vehicle around. And with another “Good-day," and a parting gesture, he quickly disappeared among the fast-falling shadows.
The young man stood looking after him for a moment, with a smile half of amusement, half of pity, upon his lips. But his features soon settled into something more than their accustomed gravity, and suddenly facing about, he pursued his way.
Ere long the tall, crowded pines of the barren gave place to various stubble and fallow grounds, with here and there a late crop waiting to be harvested; and shortly after, the narrow, irregular track that he had been following encountered a broader and more beater one. Recognizing this, with some difficulty, as the “avenue" of which his late companion had spoken, he stopped, and gazed up and down with a look of surprise and pain.
It was bare of trees; but on either side extended a long row of live oak stumps, the size of which showed what massive trunks and far-reaching branches had once columned and arched it like a temple. Here and there, some forgotten bole or bough lay and rotted upon the very spot which it had formerly overhung with a soft canopy of verdure, and made beautiful with pleasant play of sunshine and leaf-shadow; while around it gathered a rank luxuriance of weeds, transmuting its slow aristocratic decay into teeming, plebeian life. In one or two cases, as if moved by an almost human sympathy, vines had sprung up around the bereaved stumps, and sought to soften their hard outlines with clinging drapery of leaves and tendrils. They had also done their best to cover up various unsightly gaps in the long lines of ruinous fence that divided the avenue from the open fields on either side. Yet the final effect of these gentle touches was only to deepen the painful impression of the scene. Where they did not reach, the bareness was so much inore bare, the dilapidation so much uglier.
The young observer felt this bareness and dilapidation to his heart's core ; felt it all the more keenly because an image of the avenue's pristine grandeur, derived from the surrounding fragments or from some other source), continually rose before his mind's eye, to heighten its present desolation by contrast. His brow contracted as he gazed ; and the expression of his face changed rapidly from surprise to dissatisfaction, from dissatisfaction to perplexity, from perplexity to doubt. Once, he turned as if halfminded to retrace his steps; but the next moment, he shook off his irresolution with a gesture of disdain, and immediately hastened forward.
The avenue terminated in an open, circular space. Evidently, it had once been a lawn; but it was now covered with half-obliterated furrows, showing that at some not very remote period, it had been planted with corn. Around it stood a number of gigantic live-oaks, heavily draped with moss, and brooding dusky shadows under their massy boughs. Fronting upon it, was a large mansion of dark brick, consisting of an upright,
"Very true; les l'eaux esprits se rencontrent," re