Page:Marietta, or the Two Students.djvu/11

This page needs to be proofread.

THE TWO STUDENTS.

5

If the Doctor had any failings—which is an immunity few can boast—they were towards "virtue's side," that is towards "the sex." There had been certain vague rumors in circulation, among the gossips of the vicinity, in regard to intrigues with married ladies, assignations &c, in the absence of the deceived and much to be commiserated husbands.—But let this pass, and suffice it to say, that the doctor was a man of noble and generous impulses, and possessed of a soul, which, if not sin-less was capacious, and destitute of meanness. With this remark, which I could not conscientiously make of all his acquaintance, I proceed.

The other individual who accompanied the doctor, was a student much younger, less powerful in form, of fairer complexion, yet more elegant in person, softer in manners, and by some would have been considered more comely His hair was dark a brown, his countenance more ruddy, and his temperament partook more of the sanguine, than either of his companions.

"You have a second subject,"! said the Doctor, after holding his hands to the stove for a moment, addressing himself to the first student.

"I have," replied Levator, who had again resumed his seat beside the table as before, with the scalpel in his hand.

"Have you commenced the dissection?"

"No; and I do not think I shall."

"Do not think you shall! What is the matter with you now? Another fit of melancholy, I expect."

"Nothing of the kind, doctor."

"Why do you sit there then, as moodily as though you were listening to a sermon on future punishment."

"Doctor," replied the latter, rising, and looking him calmly in the face, and with great seriousness, "you are a feeling man, and sensitive; look at this corpse," And drawing gently aside the white cloth which covered the dead, he folded his arms upon his chest, and stepped back to give the doctor and his fellow student an opportunity of seeing.

The doctor gazed for a few moments in silence upon the face of the dead, then with a softened expression turned away, saying,

"Lovely, very lovely! death sits lightly and pleasantly upon those features."

"I cannot mutilate that form, doctor. I have essayed to do so several times, and as often relinquished the attempt.—I have reasoned myself into the belief that I could, and would commence, and when I have with the scalpel in my hand turned towards the body, I have relented, and shrunk from the self-imposed task."

"'Tis quite natural that you should not wish to mar the strange beauty of this subject, it being a female too. Still I do not think it should prevent you from making the dissection."

"I cannot, and I will not carry the edge of this instrument across this fair form," was the firm rejoinder of Levator.

"Then I suppose I must," said the second student, advancing to the table, and examining the edge of a scalpel.—With your assistance and directions, doctor, I shall, I imagine, make a very decent dissection, although I am astonished at the scruples of Levator. I will now disfigure the face, in order that it may not be recognized, providing it should be discovered by any of the friends of the deceased."

"Eugene," exclaimed Levator with energy, as he beheld him raise the knife, in the attitude of making an incision transversely across the brow, "desist; you shall not disfigure a single lineament of that face. That subject, you will allow, is mine, so far as the purchase of it