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A Reclaimed Pickpocket.j


[No title]


IRescued From the Grave.


Rescued From the Grave. There are some seasons when the grave- yard seems peculiarly beautiful. When hushed twilight wings her noiseless way from heaven to wrap the temples of the dead in her soft, transparent draperyâor the pleasant moon lights up the mossed graves, making lumi- nous the white sculptured marbleâit is sweet I to march up the shaded aisles of the slum- brous city, and muse upon the holy memories of the departed. The stars burned with lustre peculiar to summer skies. A clear, mild atmosphere, 1. v gave a refreshing elasticity to my spirits. I wandered along I scarcely knew where, and found myself, after" a leisured walk, near the old-fashioned burial-ground at DaHston Falls. 1 was a happy man, for having that day received a diploma, I was really and profes- sionally an M.D. What directed my steps to the rural bury- ing-ground I cannot now tell, but I believed at the time (I was romantic and an enthusiast then) that some mysterious agency shaped my course. As I drew near the rustic gate was open. The walks glittered in the strong yellow light; the shadows leaned down from the trees, and trescoed the smooth gravel with quaint tracery; the buds and flowers, grouped in dark masses upon the gently curved mounds (I knew they were buds and flowers, for their fragrance betrayed them), seemed whispering in their silent language to the beautiful deadipelow. In my youth I was fond of symbolising. Every inanimate thing had its type in some ideal of Oriental fancy. This evening 1 felt particularly poetical. My imagination was as fertileâyes, I thought as fertile as Milton's if my thoughts were not as grand as my images sublime. I sauntered carelessjy along the side where a hawthorn hedge twined its iirm tendrils to- gether, dragging my cane after me and musing t,6 in careless reverie. Suddenly I paused. I leaned by a huge, hoary elm and closed my eyes, as the magic breathing of a flute, skil- fully touched, floated through my dreaming brain. As 1 look back it seems tc me that that was the most blessed hourof my existence, for, mingling with that plaintive melody, came a gentle face, with sparkling eyes, serene brow, and check, just crimsoned enough to resemble two pale roso leaves flushing the purett snow. Oh, how I loved that sweet May Kendall Love! Forgetting my God, [ idolised her, and, egotist that 1 was, fancied that my un- tpoken passion was returned, But I will not linger. In those few moments I was pouring my very soul's depth and fervour into the heart that I fondly imaginedâas youth will sometimesâwas. in a sort of spiritual pre- sence, ever beside me. My reverie was broken by the approach of a stranger, and a light, silvery laugh shut out the music of the liute, for it was so like my love, May'sâso ringing, so joyous. Pre-ently, as a fine, manly form drew nearer [ recognised the features of one who had been my college mate two years ago. I would have sprung forward to meet him. His name was trembling on my lips when a sight .arrested my attention'that chilled my blood and made my teeth chatter with a sudden freezing fear. The two .had come almost beside me and there stopped charmed with the sylvan spot. The lady held her hat by the strings,one arm was passed confidingly through that of her companion, and when she turned her beaming face around towards me (1 wa. concealed by the shadow) I recognised, in the full flood of the moonlightâMay Kendali. I do Dot like, even at this late day, to re- view the feelings that shook my frame when 1 heard them murmur such words of tender- ness to each other in subdued and happy tones. A deathly faintness came over me as I gathered from th"ir own lips the knowlegde that they were betrothed; and, when that passed away, a fierce revenge sent the blood boiling through my veins. I could have leaped upon him, and demanded my May, my love, without whom life would be a curse, and the world a dread, dead blank. Put then by what right could I call her mine ? True, she had been most kind to me, but never more than maidenly modesty might warrant towards the most intimate friend. inovy I knewâGod forgive me for the rage that tugged at my heart-strings as I thought of it! âwhy she bad talked to Frederick. Oh, fool that I was not to comprehend before! She had smiled on me because I was his college mate- became I had ever some sweet recol- lection to tell, gome comely virtue of bis to pi 'se; and blinded by my own fondness, I fancied she loved me. How I stood there, weak, passionate, and panting with the violence of my emotions, even till I learned the day when the wedding would take place, I know not, for every nerve in my body seemed changed to an instrument of keen torture. Fortunately, they did not pass me, but retraced their steps and I, bending low with almost breaking heart, slowly left the pleasant graveyard, now only a valley of dry bones to me, and walked towards my dwelling, too wretched to think deli- berately, or feel all the crushing weight of disappointment. T he next day, before sunrise, I was on my way to a neighbouring city. I was in a strange tumult, that lknew not but might prove fatal to me. I was ready for almost any desperate deed, and had, more than onceâI shudder as I think of itâcontemplated self-destruction. Eut f called philosophy, nay, something higher, heiier, to my aidâreligion and in i time I became soothed, if not comforted; j that is after I knew May was irrevocably wedded. Two months passed. I deemed myself i sufficiently fortified with good resolutions to return once more to my chosen place of resi- dence. It was high moon when I drove up t lie principal street. A carriage dashed by meâa light vehicle. In anether moment it bad turned; and Frederick, May's husband, was abreast. I involuntarily drew iR my horse. My friend's face denoted anguish, intense and concentrated. -1 For God's sake, Dr. Lane, my early friend, do not stop till you reach Mrs, Ken- dall's My May lies there-âsickâdying he gasped. How ashy pale he was My face blanched.! I felt a singular tremor. He dashed ahead, neither speaking: and in lifteen minutes l! stood by the oouch of the young bride. That was an awful hour. At its close 1 pressed her white eyelids over her dull, glazed eyes. Ah, heaven! thought I, kneeling with an aching heait, can such beauty be dead?' And still, for all, there was triumph in the! feeJing-triumph until I beheld the awful grief of the bereaved husbandâsaw the big drops, bead like, blood his pale, broad fore- headâalmost forced him from the inanimate body to which he hung with the grasp of despair, clasping her to his bosom-kiesing the white lips, the whiter cheeks, even the gold locks that lay damp and uncurled over her shoulders, And, when 1 left that house of mouvning. was it not strange, the calmness felt settling over my spirits ? Could this thought, even in faintest tracery, pass through my mind at such a time ? Well, she is not mine; and neitktr is she Ms. I am glad that, as she could not be mint wnly, none but death can claim her now." I fear, had conscience rightly applied her torch, she might have read those scathing words written on the crimson portals of my he-art., The next day [ went over to be present at the funeral terries, and still I felt that ) sorrowful happiness. Poor Frederick was at times raving, then stupid with his great grief. I The mourners assembled: the beautiful dead lay robed in satin in her coffin already the large parlour was fitted with weeping friends. I took my station at the head of the corpse. With unutterable tenderness, yet without a tear, 1 gazed upon that heavenly counte- nance. It looked not like stern death, but soft and smiling slumber. There were all her young companions present, village maidens,' robed in wbite, whose silvery voices joined in a simple funeral song. But, oh! how those voices watered, trembled, until tears and sobs choked out their music; and one mournful, heartrending wail, sounded through the room. At last the hoary-headed man of God arose to pray. Never heard I a petition so mourn- fully tender, so simple, so powerful. llow gently he spoke of her youth and goodness; g the circumstances under which God was pleased to call her, just as it were, standing on the threshold of her happy life, and looking towards the rose-coloured future! I still kept my place at the head of the ccllin. My eyes, full of tears now, never once moved from that holy face. Was it fancy? I thought the dear features grew dim. My sight was failing, orâI bent close to the corpse; I drew back, wiped my eyeg, looked again. God of mercy God of compassion what sent a wild shock through my frame, and struck my brain as with a wand of lire ? I reeled. I fell almost upon the coinn. There was a moisture on the glassâmoisture that, when I applied my sleeve, would not come offâmoisture upon the inside of the glass. As was customary, every face was bowed towards the earth in prayer. What must I do ? There were fear- ful risks to run. My knees trembled and knocked together my heart beat against my side till my body rocked like a pendulum. The voice of the pastor whistled in my ear. Each moment was an hour; and yetâthe conflictâthe horrible temptation warring with my better nature came again. It was awful !âawful! if i kept my silence she was still the bride of death: and as much mine as another's. If I spoke she was again the wife of my rival! I dare not recall some of my emotions now. I could not have been myself when that fiend- ish temptation beset me, and whispered me to let the dark grave claim her, if I might not. The perspiration welled up from every pore, but the agony was passed, I could have throttled the old pastor that he did not cease, yet I feared for the life of the poor husband should he know the truth too suddenly. There was a tingling from my head to my fingers' ends. I shook like an aspen leaf. Amen Oh, how I thanked God for that sound! I clung to the coffin for one moment, weak and helpless as an infant. The chief mourners were called first, that they might be spared the shock of beholding the dear one borne out before their eye:. '1 he poor husband tottered out, supported on each side. What were my feelings as he passed me! Next moment the sobbing mother. i\*ow was my time. Quick friends f neighbours I gasped call the sexton in Now; fhan, off with the coffin-lid! For God's sake, delay not! She is not dead j I rather shrieked than said the last words. The change that came over that assembly Many swooned awav-a crowd rushed to the coffinâI pressed them backâthe hand of the undertaker trembledâscrew after screw fell I rattling to the floorâmy heart beat dull j and heavy with the excitement of hope and j fear. The coffin top was thrown aside. In my I arms I bore the fair creature to a couch.' As; I returned for a moment, I saw her only 8ister-a girl of sixteenâstanding as if riveted to the floor, her cheeks hollow and ghastly, her eyesiixed and frightfully glaring. I seized her by the arm, but she stirred not. I shook her rudely, saying: Unless you help me, Marie, she will really die. Quick: come, cut off her grave clothes She must not see them-must never know of this p The girl sighed, sh Terrd-then, with a wild, unnatural burst of laughter, roused her- self from her stupor. Then, as suddenly, a flood of tears came to her relief. All was right now. She followed me into the next room, untied the white satin ribbon that con- fined the delicate wrists, unloosed the iiiien bands on her breast, so that by the time the young bride opened her eyes she was lying as if she bad sought her bed for pleasant; slumber. And now, the most terrible excitement over I breathed freely. And yet another important task remained to be accomplished. Hy my orders the poor husband bad been briefly in-j formed that the ceremony would be detained for a moment. lie was so distracted with his grief that all news was alike to him. They led him where they liked. He sat in a little voom just across the entry so deadened were all his senses he had not heard the confusion, II went in, closed the door, and stood! beside him. lie glanced up but once, then buried his face in his hands with an unearthly moan that went to my very soul. Oh, such joy, such pure, exquisite ]oy as flooded my whole being as 1 fc:t what a heaven I should soon awake him to Only angels can tell how sweet it is to bring blessings to the way- worn and hope to the desponding. j Frederick," 81\id II placing my arm around his neck, my Jeer fellow." Don't try to comfort me, doctor," his broken voice responded; my heart is torn up by the roots." What should I next say? A thought oc- cnrred to me. j "Do you remember what Christ said about I the little maidF 'She is not dead, but sleepeth.' My. peculiar accent, my intonation, struck him instantly. lie shook suddenly, and raised his trembling hands, while a strange expres- sion shot over his face. There were tears in my eyes, but I smiled broad through them at; the same time. I tried to command my roice as I stammered, Did youâdid you ever hear of people falling into tranoes ?âand lie sprang to his feet, clinched my hands. breathed hard through his shut teeth, His eyes glittered. "Whatf he cried, comprehending the hopeful faces looking 111 upon us; "dead;"â in a trance?âlaid out?âburied Pâaliveâ: alive!âGreat God! Do you tell me she lives?âmy May ?âwho gasped in my arms ? âlay cold on this bosom ? Ob. have mercy .doll't mock me lie staggered against me, almost helpless. Frederick," I cried, tears raining down my cheeks, she lives! she lives! your precious May is saved 1" Another second, and I was in his arms, he dancing deliriously round with me. God bless you God bless you he cried. Oh, it is too beautiful, too good My dear I God I how I thank thee And he lifted his streaming eyes heavenward. Let me see her," be continued, looking my arm in his. I will be calmâvery calm. And, doctor," he exclaimed, if at any time my life will bay yov a precioua boon, it is yours." He did not dream, poor fellow, that he had been my rival. The mother h«ng over her ohildâthe bus- band bent over his bride, full of thanksgiving. She, with her large blue eyes moving languidly but fondly from one to the other, whispered: I am better, stronger. I shall soon be well again. I have been ill 10 long I" Frederiok kissed her white brow in reply aad imothered Uii »o!>i ui tbe pillow, And then I left them, a happier I)eitim --a be-Her. I man! May and her husband still live, a fonii beautiful pair, even now. I am an old bachelor; but have satisfaction of knowing I rescued her I loved from the grave \âEcea '<ag World. â