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The sun shines bright again upon the town,
And pours o'er hill and dale its golden flood; It heeds not that it flings its radiance down,
Seeming to smile upon a deed of blood. See! even now it comes—a brutal throng
Forth from the confines of the prison gate ; And mid them moves that youth in chains along,
Calm and undaunted, to his barbarous fate.
Stands the last scion of a noble line ;
Why doth the sunbeam still so brightly shine ?
One's every sense. And now there's something gleams A moment in the sunshine. Ha! it falls !
And his warm life-blood o'er the green sod streams. And where is now the maiden of his love,
His soul's whole universe-Oh! where is she ? There, while their chief in judgment sits above,
She stands amid the mail-clad soldiery. There is a smile of calm defiance playing
On that young face, that once so sweetly shone ; While o'er her breast her night-dark hair is straying,
Like shadows over Parian marble thrown.
Almost too beautiful to be of earth;
The burning words to which her thoughts give birth. “ Ye foul barbarians! ye hare murdered him !
Now ye would vent your fiendish rage on me; Take me from hence, then-tear me limb from limb:
I hope for nought besides from such as ye! “Merciless wolves! who love to lap the stream
Of human life blood, I fear not your fangs ! Ye know not woman's strength if so ye deem :
She can endure a thousand deeper pangs! " Know, then, that I defy ye! Do your worst.
With one foul deed ye've shamed the light of day. Heaven looks down on ye, and ye are cursed ;
Ha! ye do tremble now, and well ye may !" Madly the tyrant shouted, “Let her go
Back to her dungeon!" But his rage was vain ; Her burning words were but her life's last glow,
Brightning as tapers brighten ere they wane. There is a cold, dark dungeon; on the walls
Hang the damp vapours, and the worm is there. Ye cannot see: but on the ear there falls,
Amid the gloom, the solemn sound of prayer.
Like the deep gurgling of a rapid river;
There soared the maiden's spirit free for ever.
DR. HEIDEGGER'S EXPERIMENT.
BY N. HAWTHORNE, ESQ.*
That very singular man, old Dr. Heidegger, once invited four venerable friends to meet him, in his study. There were three white-bearded gentlemen, Mr. Medbourne, Colonel Killigrew, and Mr. Gascoigne, and a withered gentlewoman, whose name was the Widow Wycherly. They were all melancholy old creatures, who had been unfortunate in life, and whose greatest misfortune it was, that they were not long ago in their graves. Mr. Medbourne, in the vigor of his age, had been a prosperous merchant, but had lost his all by a frantic speculation, and was now little better than a mendicant. Colonel Killigrew had wasted his best years, and his health and substance, in the pursuit of sinful pleasures, which had given birth to a brood of pains, such as the gout, and divers other torments of soul and body. Mr. Gascoigne was a ruined politician, a man of evil fame, or at least had been so, till time had buried him from the knowledge of the present generation, and made him obscure instead of infamous. As for the Widow Wycherly, tradition tells us that she was a great beauty in her day; but, for a long while past, she had lived in deep seclusion, on account of certain scandalous stories, which had prejudiced the gentry of the town against her. It is a circumstance worth mentioning, that each of these three old gentleman, Mr. Medbourne, Colonel Killigrew, and Mr. Gascoigne, were early lovers of the Widow Wycherly, and had once been on the point of cutting each other's throats for her sake. And, before proceeding farther, I will merely hint, that Dr. Heidegger and all his four guests were sometimes thought to be a little beside themselves; as is not unfrequently the case with old people, when worried either by present troubles or woful recollections.
“My dear old friends,” said Dr. Heidegger, motioning them to be seated, “I am desirous of your assistance in one of those little experiments with which I amuse myself here in my study."
If all stories were true, Dr. Heidegger's study must have been a very curious place. It was a dim, old-fashioned chamber, festooned with cobwebs, and besprinkled with antique dust. Around the walls stood several oaken bookcases, the lower shelves
* Our Publishers have just issued the volume, containing the beautiful tales of Mr. Hawthorne : they are advertised on the cover.-ED.
February, 1849.-VOL. LIV. NO. ccxiv.
of which were filled with rows of gigantic folios, and black letter quartos, and the upper with little parchment-covered duodecimos. Over the central bookcase was a bronze bust of Hippocrates, with which, according to some authorities, Dr. Heidegger was accustomed to hold consultations, in all difficult cases of his practise. In the obscurest corner of the room stood a tall and narrow oaken closet, with its door ajar, within which doubtfully appeared a skeleton. Between two of the bookcases hung a looking-glass, presenting its high and dusty plate within a tarnished gilt frame. Among many wonderful stories related of this mirror, it was fabled that the spirits of all the doctor's deceased patients dwelt within its verge, and would stare him in the face whenever he looked thitherward, The opposite side of the chamber was ornamented with the full-length portrait of a young lady, arrayed in the faded magnificence of silk, satin, and brocade, and with a visåge as faded as her dress. Above half a century ago, Dr. Heidegger had been on the point of marriage with this young lady; but, being affected with some slight disorder, she had swallowed one of her lover's prescriptions, and died on the bridal evening. The greatest curiosity of the study remains to be mentioned; it was a ponderous folio volume, bound in black leather, with massive silver clasps. There were no letters on the back, and nobody could tell the title of the book. But it was well known to be a book of magic; and once, when a chambermaid had lifted it, merely to brush away the dust, the skeleton had rattled in its closet, the picture of the young lady had stepped one foot upon the floor, and several ghastly faces had peeped forth from the mirror; while the brazen head of Hippocrates frowned, and said -“Forbear!”
Such was Dr. Heidegger's study. On the summer afternoon of our tale, a small round table, as black as ebony, stood in the centre of the room, sustaining a cut-glass vase, of beautiful form and elaborate workmanship. The sunshine came through the window, between the heavy festoons of two faded damask curtains, and fell directly across this vase; so that a mild splendor was reflected from it on the ashen visages of the five old people who sat around. Four champaigne glasses were also on the table. “My dear old friends,” repeated Dr. Heidegger,“ may
I reckon on your aid in performing an exceedingly curious experiment ?”
Now Dr. Heidegger was a very strange old gentleman, whose eccentricity had become the nucleus for a thousand fantastic stories. Some of these fables, to my shame be it spoken, might possibly be traced back to mine own veracious self; and if any
passages of the present tale should startle the reader's faith, I must be content to bear the stigma of a fiction.monger.
When the doctor's four guests heard him talk of his proposed experiment, they anticipated nothing more wonderful than the murder of a mouse in an air-pump, or the examination of a cobweb by the microscope, or some similar nonsense, with which he was constantly in the habit of pestering his intimates. But without waiting for a reply, Dr. Heidegger hobbled across the chamber, and returned with the same ponderous folio, bound in black leather, which common report affirmed to be a book of magic. Undoing the silver clasps, he opened the volume, and took from among its black-letter pages a rose, or what
once a rose, though now the green leaves and crimson petals had assumed one brownish hue, and the ancient flower seemed ready to crumble to dust in the doctor's hands.
“This rose," said Dr. Heidegger, with a sigh, “this same withered and crumbling flower, blossomed five-and-fifty years ago. It was given me by Sylvia Ward, whose portrait hangs yonder; and I meant to wear it in my bosom at our wedding. Five-and-fifty years it has been treasured between the leaves of this old volume. Now, would you deem it possible that this rose of half a century would ever bloom again?
“ Nonsense!” said the Widow Wycherly, with a peevish toss of her head. “ You might as well ask whether an old woman's wrinkled face could ever bloom again."
“ See," answered Dr. Heidegger.
He uncovered the vase, and threw the faded rose into the water which it contained. At first, it lay lightly on the surface of the fluid, appearing to imbibe none of its moisture. Soon, however, a singular change began to be visible. The crushed and dried petals stirred, and assumed a deepening tinge of crimson, as if the flower were reviving from a death-like slumber; the slender stalk and twigs of foliage became green; and there was the rose of half a century, looking as fresh as when Sylvia Ward had first given it to her lover. It was scarcely fullblown; for some of its delicate red leaves curled modestly around its moist bosom, within which two or three dew-drops were sparkling.
“ That is certainly a very pretty deception,” said the doctor's friends ; carelessly, however, for they had witnessed greater miracles at a conjurer's show : “ pray how was it effected ?"
“ Did you never hear of the “ Fountain of Youth ?” asked Dr. Heidegger, "which Ponce De Leon, the Spanish adventurer, went in search of, two or three centuries ago ?”
“ But did Ponce De Leon ever find it ?" asked the Widow Wycherly.
“No,” answered Dr. Heidegger, “ for he never sought it in the right place. The famous Fountain of Youth, if I am rightly informed, is situated in the southern part of the Floridian peninsula, not far from Lake Macaco. Its source is overshadowed by several gigantic magnolias, which, though numberless centuries old, have been kept as fresh as violets, by the virtues of this wonderful water. An acquaintance of mine, knowing my curiosity in such matters, has sent me what you see in the vase.'
“Ahem,” said Colonel Killigrew, who believed not a word of the doctor's story: "and what may be the effect of this fluid on the human frame ?"
“You shall judge for yourself, my dear colonel,” replied Dr. Heidegger ; "and all of you, my respected friends, are welcome to so much of this admirable fluid, as may restore to you the bloom of youth. For my own part, having had much trouble in growing old, I am in no hurry to grow young again. With your permission, therefore, I will merely watch the progress of the experiment."
While he spoke, Dr. Heidegger had been filling the four champaigne glasses with the water of the Fountain of Youth. It was apparently impregnated with an effervescent gas, for little bubbles were continually ascending from the depths of the glasses, and bursting in silvery spray at the surface. As the liquor diffused a pleasant perfume, the old people doubted not that it possessed cordial and comfortable properties; and, though utter sceptics as to its rejuvenescent power, they were inclined to swallow it at once. But Dr. Heidegger besought them to stay a moment.
“Before you drink, my respectable old friends," said he, “it would be well that, with the experience of a life-time to direct you, you should draw up a few general rules for your guidance, in passing a second time through the perils of youth. Think what a sin and shame it would be, if, with your peculiar advantages, you should not become patterns of virtue and wisdom to all the young people of the age !”
The doctor's four venerable friends made him no answer, except by a feeble and tremulous laugh; so very ridiculous was the idea, that, knowing how closely repentance treads behind the steps of error, they should ever go astray again.
“Drink, then,” said the doctor, bowing: “I rejoice that I have so well selected the subjects of my own experiment."
With palsied hands, they raised the glasses to their lips. The liquor, if it really possessed such virtues as Dr. Heidegger imputed to it, could not have been bestowed on four human beings who needed it more wofully. They looked as if they