Page:Marietta, or the Two Students.djvu/19

This page needs to be proofread.

THE TWO STUDENTS.

13

who has made a good bargain, or done a clever thing and is pleased.

"This piece of businees is concluded, and now I have an affair on my hands in which I need your assistance."

"Speak, we are ready," cries Thick, who seems to act as spokesman, "It is probably to awake another sleeper."

"Exactly the reverse."

"What is that you say? Is it not to take a body from the earth that you want us?"

"You have heard correctly: it is to put one in."

"To bury one, eh!"

"Just so."

"Explain.

"You recollect the last subject—the female."

"Perfectly."

"That—mark my words—must be returned to the grave as you found it, tonight—without the least delay."

Gaunt recoiled a step—opened his frightful mouth, fixed his eyes in a dubious manner on the young man, and gave other intimations of extreme astonishment, while Thick, looked at him with a puzzled air, and then laughed in a style peculiar to himself.

"Do you comprehend me fully?" continued Levator, firmly. I wish the body of that young girl, that your sacrilegious hands dragged rudely from its resting place, carried back and placed precisely as you found it in the first instance. Am I intelligible?"

"Yes—I—I—you—but

(Peremptorily.) "No remonstrances. I'll not listen to them; you know my wishes and that is quite enough."

"Had you not better wait until to—"

"No, I shall not; It is impossible.—And see, here is your reward when you have faithfuly performed your task."— (holding up some bank notes.)

"Ah! my senses are more acute now. I take your meaning more readily," cried Thick, rubbing his hands with delight. I will earth that body for you in no time."

"Thick," said Levator, sternly, laying his hand upon his shoulder and gazing so steadily into his eye that he shrunk from the scrutiny and looked doggedly at Gaunt; "Thick, there must be no jugglery about this transaction, everything must be as I direct. But should you attempt to deceive me—and you will not hesitate to if you think there is the least prospect of succeeding—you shall suffer the consequences, and they will not be light."

"Pray what would you do," gasped Thick, turning pale.

"Expose your nefarious trade."

"There will be no occasion for that, doctor, we will perform our part of the contract faithfully, provided we make one."

"Do you promise to do what I require for this sum?"

(Both.) "We do."

"This very night?"

(Both.) "Aye, immediately."

"Is the burial place far from this?"

"Across the Mystic. We shall take it over in a boat. We keep it for the business."

"Very good; come with me."

"Taking a sack from the floor, and folding it into as small a space as possible, Gaunt thrust it beneath the folds of his coat, and with Thick followed Levator into the street, first taking the precaution to call an ugly looking female of advanced age, who soon made her appearance from an upper room, and whose province it appeared to be to guard the premises in the absence of the body-snatchers.

Groping his way through narrow lanes, dark courts, and unfrequented streets, his suspicious looking companions a short distance in the rear, Levator found himself once more in the apart-