Page:Marietta, or the Two Students.djvu/39

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THE TWO STUDENTS.

33

only half a minute more to live, if you stand where you are. Do you remember any of the prayers your mother taught you? It would be well for you to repeat them, if you do."

The cheek of the ruffian turned pale, and with a half uttered curse he left the passage, and retreated to the "dead-room," whither he was followed by the student, who proceeded directly to the chest, and opening it, pointed to the "subject," for which he had paid the body-snatchers.

"Have I not fulfilled my promise? Have I not proved you a liar?"

"Well, suppose you have," growled Thick. "What then?"

"I will tell you. You must take this body and carry it to my office."

"Must, did you say?" said the body-snatcher, contemptuously.

"That is the word. You heard me aright. You must carry it."

"I will not."

"Look at me, Thick, and see if I appear in earnest; then hear what I have to say. There are now two dead bodies in that box. If in the course of five minutes you do not do what I have bid you, there shall be three there; and the third shall be yours."

Saying this, he again looked at his repeater, "It now wants five minutes of nine."

The body-snatcher regarded for a short time the face of the student with the greatest interest; then moodily taking the sack, which hung against the wall, proceeded in a sullen manner to put m the body. Having done this, he signified that he was ready, and followed by the student, left the house. They took their way to the dissecting room in silence, avoiding as much as possible those in the street. The walk was soon accomplished, and the exchange effected to the gatification of Levator, and the great relief of Dr. Frene, whose patience was completely exhausted by the long absence of the former. Darting' a furious look at Levator, the body-snatcher lifted the corpse of the young female upon his shoulder, and left the dissecting room.

The former then gave the Dr. the particulars of his evening's adventure, not forgetting Cecil, and the critical situation in which she was placed. The Dr. was much surprised at these revelations; and admired the courage which the student displayed in effecting an exchange of subjects.

He was of the opinion that Eugene should be immediately informed of what he had heard, that he might take such measures as he thought proper for the liberation of his mistress. Accordingly Levator again leaving the Dr. to await his return, started in pursuit of his friend Eugene. He proceeded at once to his residence; but on enquiring, to his regret, found he was not at home.

The student was now at a loss to determine what he should do; but at last the idea occurred to him that he might be at Dr. G.'s, a particular friend of his, where he spent many of his evenings, who lived at the North End, on —— street, not far from Commercial street. It is now near the hour of ten, and the streets were almost deserted. A clerk, or a laborer could be seen occasionally on his way from business to his home. No females were seen unattended, save "nymphs of the pave." The latter needed no protectors, as they trusted in their own prowess, in all cases of emergency; and doubtless they did not overrate their powers. Several of these "ladies" passed and repassed him, each vieing with the others in their efforts to attract his attention; but finding their arts in vain, they started—unquestionably—in pursuit of more impressible subjects.

"Ah! he is insensible," said a frail-one, with a contemptuous curl of the lip, "quite stupid—let us leave him.

"He cannot, and what is worse, and still more likely, he does not wish to understand us."

"See," she continued, eagerly pointing her finger toward the object specified, "See, that tall, lean clerk yonder, who looks as though he was never made to bend his body from a right angle with the pavement, and is so daintily twirling his ivory-headed cane in his gloved fingers, I consider him as already caught."

"Indeed," replied another fair, and no less innocent one, "do you know him?"

"Know him! What a question. Do I know my alphabet? Do I know you? Do I know the seventh commandment?'

"Why, I have seen that clerk there, at almost every assignation house in the