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for ever; and my father's heart was broken. Therefore the desire of revenge grew up, and widened with my soul from day to day. I found a medium through which I traced all Homelli's movements, and when I learned distinctly that he was a prisoner in this country, I determined to pay him a visit. My father had left a small sum of money, but now it was nearly expended, having supported Charlotte and myself scarcely a year in the house of our maternal uncle, and we were likely soon to be entirely dependent upon him. On expressing my determination to go to England with my sister, I saw that he was very willing to get quit of us: and the better to insure our removal, he bought me a harp, and paid our passage to this country."
"Allow me to ask," interrupted Hume—" Did Charlotte know this wild purpose of yours?"
"No; she was staying with our aunt for a while when the above scene with the sailor took place, and my father was dead ere she knew of his illness. The thoughts of revenge which had already occurred to me made me conceal the true cause of my father's death; or, perhaps, to speak more strictly, although it was well known, that his having heard of his son Hugo's death struck the old man to the grave, yet I took care not to reveal through what channel the news had come, or the cruel mode of my brother's death. Had Charlotte known what was within me, she would have tried incessantly to break my purpose; but she could not possibly know it, and as my will was her law in indifferent matters, she readily followed me to this country. No sooner had we landed, than I made her vow never to reveal our true name or distinct place of abode till I gave her leave: And, in the meantime, we assumed the name of Cardo. After wandering about in England till we learned to speak the language fluently, which we attained the more easily that our father had taught it to us grammatically, I led the way to Scotland, gradually drawing near my victim, whose place of stay I had taken care to ascertain in Italy through the same means by which I had hitherto watched his movements. To make my soundings, I got into Romelli's house under a feigned sickness. When you saw me first, I had in truth no complaint save that the nearness of my victim and purpose had made my heart so deeply palpitate, that a degree of irritable fever had coma over me. The fair Julia was too kind and tender: 1 fell madly in love with her;—I almost forgot my stern duty of revenge. You cannot guess the choking struggles between my two master passions. Yielding so far to the former, I compromised my pride in another point, and consented to be a dependant of Mrs Mather's. By Heaven! I was not born with a soul to wait at palace doors—I would have rejoiced, under other circumstances, to live with my sister, free as the pretty little finches that hunt the bearded seeds of autumn; but love and revenge, mingled or separately, imposed it upon me to accede to your charity and Mrs Mather's, that I might be near the two Romellis. In her playful mood, perhaps, Julia one evening prophesied that 1 should become a murderer. You cannot conceive the impression which this made upon me. I had begun to flag in my first great purpose, but now again I thought myself decreed to be an avenger; and to avoid stabbing Romelli that very night in your house, I had to keep myself literally away from him. Now, judge me, my friend, Was it not by him that I was shut up in a madhouse? Yet, for your sake, and Mrs Mather's, and Charlotte's, and Julia's, and perhaps mine own, (for I have been too weak,) again I refrained from slaying him in your house —Nay, 1 left the place and neighbourhood altogether, and went to London. I engaged to sing and play in an opera-house, and made enough of money. My heart again grew up dangerous and revengeful. I returned to Scotland to pay Mrs Mather for having kept us, to send Charlotte to a sea-port town, whence a ship was to sail for the Continent on a given day, then to call Romelli to account, and thereafter to join my sister a few hours before the vessel sailed. On my arrival again in your neighbourhood, to make preliminary inquiries, I called at the house of a young woman, who was Mrs Mather's servant when I first came to the cottage; but who about a year afterwards went home to take care of her mother, an old blind woman. So, then, Charlotte was dead! My sister Charlotte!—My young Charlotte Marli!—and all in my most damnable absence' I heard it all, and your own noble generosity: But nothing of Julia's marriage with Stewart, which my informant, in her remote dwelling, had doubtless not yet heard. All this might change my line of politics. In the first place, I imposed secrecy as to my arrival on my young hostess, who readily promised to observe it, in virtue of having loved me for my music . I had now to concert not only how best to strike Romelli, but, at the same time, how to prevent for ever your marriage with Julia. You know my double scheme in one. The brother of my hostess had, in former years, been an organist, and one day I took his instrument, which the affectionate lass had carefully kept for his sake, and went to the remote churchyard to play a dirge over Charlotte's grave. You were there, and I found it an excellent opportunity of forwarding my scheme, by making you promise to meet me afterwards in the aisle ; which you did, when Signor Romelli happened to be there. Ha! ha! how came he there, the foolish man? Before naming to you the precise night of our threefold meeting, X held been prudent enough to find out that the excellent Signor had just come home from some jaunt, and in all probability would not again, for at least a few days, leave his house. To make sure, however, I instantly forwarded to him my letter of invitation. How expressed? how signed? I remember well (for nothing of that dreadful night will easily pass from my mind) the sailor's name whose story broke my father's heart. So, under his name, I scrawled a letter to Romelli, stating, that if the Signor would know the immediate danger in which he stood in consequence of certain things which once happened in a boat in the South Seas, when he was captain of the Arrow; and if he would not have these points now brought publicly to light, he must meet the writer alone, at the door of the given aisle, on Saturday night, precisely at eleven o'clock. I was much afraid that he would guess the true writer of the letter, and so would not come. However, about ten o'clock on the appointed night, I crouched me down, with a dark-lantern in my pocket, beneath Charlotte's tombstone, upon which, I may here mention, I had got a mason from the village, for a large bribe, to put a slight inscription relative to my brother, which he secretly executed between Friday evening and the dawn of Saturday. Almost contrary to my expectations, Romelli came; but I think, somewhat after the hour appointed, with a dark-lantern in his hand; and, finding the door of the aisle open, he advanced into the interior, and began, I suppose, to read the inscription, which, to heighten the effect of my revenge, as above stated, I had caused to be written the preceding night. In a moment I started up, and ordered him to fall down on his knees, and confess his crimes; but, instead of obeying me, no sooner did he see who I was than he drew a pistol, and shot at me, missing me, however. My turn was next, and I missed not him. He fell: I locked the aisle door that you might see through the grating, but not interfere. I had him now beneath my will and power. You know the rest! Hugo Marli is avenged: and I am willing to die."
Such were the prisoner Marli's explanations, partly won by the cross-examinations of Hume, but in general given continuously, and of his own accord.
"And now, Frederick Hume," continued the prisoner, after a long pause of mutual silence, "you alone, of all the human race, are dear to me; will you promise to lay my head in the grave, despite of the ill which Charlotte and I have done you?" "Bethink you of some other reasonable request, and I shall do it for you to the utmost," answered Frederick; "you know the above is impossible." "No, no," cried Marli, impatiently; "you shall lay me beside her in your own aisle." "Antonio Marli," returned Frederick solemnly, "must I remind you of your sad sentence?" "O ho! you mean the dissection? The precious carnival for Dr Pry and his pupils?" said the Italian, laughing grimly. "But if I can accomplish the half—If I can get quit of the claim of the law in that respect, would you so bury me, my brother?" "Talk not of this any more," said Hume, not comprehending what the prisoner meant; "but cry for the purifying mercy of Heaven ere you die." "You are from the point, sir." replied Antonio; "but hear me:—I will leave one request in a letter to you after my death, if you will promise, and swear—nay, merely promise (for I know your honour in all things) to fulfil the same." "Let me hear it, and judge," said Hume. u I will not," said the Italian; "but yet my request shall be simple, and your accomplishment of it very easy. Moreover, it shall be offensive neither to your country's laws, nor to your own wise mind. Give me this one promise, and 1 die in peace." "Be it so then," said Frederick; " I will do your request if I find it as you negatively characterise it" ''Then leave me—leave me for ever!" cried Marli. "But if my heart and body, and all my soul, could be fashioned into one blessing, they would descend upon thy head and thy heart, and all thy outgoings, thou young man among a million.—Oh! my last brother on earth!" So saying, Marli sprung upon Frederick's neck, and sobbed aloud like a little child; and so overcome was Frederick by the sense of his own unhappiness, but chiefly by pity for the fate of the poor Italian boy, in whose heart generosity was strongly mingled with worse passions, that he gave way to the infectious sorrow; and for many minutes the two young men mingled their tears as if they had been the children of one mother. At length Marli tore himself away, and flung himself violently down with his face upon his low bed.
The very next day word was brought to Frederick Hume, that the Italian had killed himself in prison by striking his skull against the walls of his cell, and at the same time the following letter was put into Hume's hands:—
"I claim your promise—I forbore distinctly stating to you my purpose last night, because I knew you would have teased me with warnings and exhortations, which, despite of my respect for your wisdom, could no more have stayed me in my antique appropriation of myself, than you could make a rain-proof garment from the torn wings of beautiful butterflies. Did you think my soul could afford to give such a spectacle to gaping boors? Well, we must be buried in the first instance (for the law and the surgeon have lost our limbs) among nettles, in unconsecrated ground, at a respectful distance from Christian bones, in the churchyard of this town. But now for my request, and your vow to fulfil it. I demand that you raise my body by night, and take it to your aisle, and bury it beside Charlotte Marli's beautiful body. This request, I think, implies nothing contrary to the laws of your country, or which can startle a wise heart free from paltry superstitions about the last rites of suicides. Moreover, you can do the thing with great secresy. Then shall I rest in peace beside her whom my soul loved; and we shall rise together at the last day: and you shall be blessed for ever, for her sake and for my sake. Farewell, my brother.
Hume prepared without delay to obey this letter, and providing himself with six men from the village of Holydean, on whose secresy he could well depend, he caused three of them by night to dig up the body of Marli from the grave-yard where it had been buried, whilst the other three, in the meanwhile, prepared another grave for it in Mrs Mather's aisle, as near as possible to his sister Charlotte's. The complexion of the night suited well this strange work, darkening earth and heaven with piled lofts of blackness. Frederick himself superintended the work of exhumation, which was happily accomplished without interruption. Leaving two of his men to fill up carefully the empty grave, with the third he then accompanied the cart, in which, wrapped in a sheet, the body of Marli was transferred to Holydean churchyard. There it was interred anew beside his sister's remains, and the grave being filled up level with the surface, the remains of the earth were carefully disposed of, so that, without a very nice inspection, it could not be known, from the appearance of the ground, that this new burial had taken place in the aisle. Thus was Antonio Marli's singular request faithfully accomplished.
Next morning Hume visited the aisle, to see that all was right. The history of the Marlis, and their late living existence, and his own share in their strange destinies, all seemed to him a dream; yet their palpable tombs were before him, and prostrate in heart from recurring recollections of their fate and his own so deeply intertwisted, he remained one last bitter hour beside the graves of these wild and passionate children of the South.
Julia Romelli heard, too late, how she had been imposed upon, in reference to Hume's supposed inconstancy of affection; but, for their mutual peace of mind, she determined never to see him more, and never to exchange explanations with him. As for Frederick,