« AnteriorContinuar »
wards George—his arms were still folded his eyes were sparkling with joy—and his features wore he malignant expression of gratified revenge. Sir Henry sprang to his feet and rushed forward.
“George ! my brother! my brother!”
The maniac raised his pallid brow-his eye flashed consciousness—the blue veins in his forehead swelled almost to bursting-he tossed his arms wildly—and sunk powerless on the corpses around—his convulsive shrieks re-echoing in that lonely vault. Thompson seized the Maltese, and making him unlock the door, bore the brothers into the open air ; for Henry, at the time, wa as much overpowered as George himself.
A clear solution to that curious scene was never given, for George could not give the clue to his train of mental aberration. · With regard to his companion's share in the transaction, the man was closely questioned, and other means of information resorted to, but the only facts elicited were these :
His son had been executed some years before for a desperate attempt to assassinate a British
soldier, with whom he had had an altercation during the carnival.
The man himself said, that he had no recollection of ever having seen George before, but that he certainly did remember some officers questioning him on two occasions somewhat minutely as to his mode of life.
This part of his story was confirmed by another officer of the regiment, who remembered George · and Delancey being with him on one occasion, when the latter had taken much interest in the questioning of this man. The Maltese declared, that on the night in question he was taken entirely by surprise—that George entered the room abruptly -offered him money to be allowed to accompany him to the vault—and told him that he had just placed a young lady there whom he wished to see.
Colonel Vavasour, who took some trouble in arriving at the truth, was satisfied that the man was well aware of George's insanity, but that he felt too happy in being able to wreak an ignoble revenge on a British officer.
THE MARRIA G E.
“ The child of love, though born in bitterness,
And nurtured in convulsion."
For many days, George Delmé lay on his couch unconscious and immoveable. If his eye looked calm, it was the tranquillity of apathetic ignorance, the fixedness of idiotcy. He spoke if he was addressed, but recognised no one, and his answers were not to the purpose. He took his food, and would then turn on his side, and close his eyes as if in sleep. In vain did Acmé watch over him in vain did her tears bedew his couch-in vain did Delmé take his hand, and endeavour to draw his attention to passing objects.
George had never been so long without a lucid
interval. The surgeon's voice grew less cheering every day, as he saw the little amendment in his patient, and remarked that the pulse was gradually sinking. Colonel Vavasour never allowed a day to elapse without visiting the invalid; and in the regiment, his illness excited great commiseration, and drew forth many expressions of kindness.
“Oh God! oh God!” said Delmé, “he must not sink thus. Just as I am with him—just asoh, poor Emily! what will she feel? Can nothing be done, Mr. Graham ?”
“Nothing! Sir: we must now put our whole trust in an all-seeing Providence. My skill can neither foresee nor hasten the result.”
One soft summer's evening, when the wind blew in the scent of flowers from the opposite gardens -and the ceaseless hum of the insects—those twilight revellers—sounded happily on the ear, Acmé started from the couch as a thought crossed her.
“We have never tried music,” said she, “I have been too unhappy to think of it.”.
Her tears fell fast on the guitar, as she tuned its strings. She sung a plaintive Greek air. It was the first George ever heard her sing, and was the favourite. He heard it, when watching lover-like beneath her balcony, during the first vernal days of their attachment. The song was gone through sadly, and without hope. George's face was from her, and she laid down the guitar, weary of life.
George gently turned his head. His eyes wore a subdued melancholy expression, bespeaking consciousness. Down his cheek one big drop was trickling.
“Acmé!” said he, "dearest Acmé!”
Delmé, who had left the room, was recalled by the hysterical sobs of the poor girl, as she fell back on the chair, her hands clasped in joyful gratitude.
The surgeon, who had immediately been sent for, ordered that George should converse as little as possible.
What he did say was rational. What a solace was that to Henry and Acmé! The invalid too appeared well aware of his previous illness, although he alluded to it but seldom. To those about him,