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that needed no interpretation. “ Would you then no longer refuse to become mine ?"
At that moment of ecstasy months of disease and suffering were for. gotten; he drew towards Catharine, who in compassion for this long. attached admirer, her face covered with blushes, was about to confess that obedience to a mother's will had alone caused her former coldness. Already had his hand clasped hers, his arm passed around her waist, when, by a natural impulse, Hippsley's lips came in contact with the cheek of the fair girl —had a serpunt stung him ?--had the downy softness of that face changed on the instant to the leprosy of the lazar-house, the corruption of the grave? He flung the fond Catharine from him, exclaiming,
“ Never, never shalt thou be mine!”
Shaking in every limb, wildly he core his hair, and stamped the ground in agony of spirit.
“ Mr. Hippsley! I am electrified !” said the astounded object of his violence, who had with difficulty preserved herself from falling.
“ I know it! I know it !” shouted the distracted phenomenon, and rushed from the room. 6 Wretch that I am !-wretch that I am !" murdered Mr. Hippsley, as he furiously drove his stanhope towards London, “ had I even the privilege of a torpedo !-could I only re. strain at will the unnatural power with which I am invested !- The electric eel, the ray, in their voltaic natures find the means of sub. sistence, of defence, and assimilating with their kind, fulfil the appointed purposes of creation ; but I must for ever remain a solitary being, a man-monster !--the wonder of the learned and the curious, who will cautiously approach me, as though I were some dangerous animal, some human upas, while living ; and when dead, even the grave will be made to resign my corse-again will they try to awake the dormant brain—again may that voltaic pile become instinct with its wonted mysterious energies—again may the subtle electric fluid, coursing through the muscles, give forth its power, and in some museums, amid all the abortions, the excresences, and the monstrous of the human race, may I be condemned to become in death as in life a show and a marvel as the electrical man !”
“ Four pence, if you please, sir.” Mr. Hippsley had come to the turnpike, and this demand of that taking personage the toll-gatherer awoke him from his reverie. He drew off his glove, and producing from his pocket a fourpenny piece, was about to give it to the man, who somewhat impatiently awaited to receive it, when the phenomenon's eye rested on the silver in actual contact with his fingers. A twinge seemed to run up his arm, and imagining that he might communicate an electric shock, he dashed the coin on the ground.
• D-n your impudence !” said the pikemen. “I spose my hand isn't fit to be touched !” at the same ime administering to Hippsley's horse a kick on the flank, which made the animal restive. The master returned the blow which had been given to the beast with the butt-end of his whip over the man's head. In this act of vio. lence the reins slipt from his grasp ; attempting to recover them he leant forward, and lost his equilibrium, which was farther discom. posed by a knock on the side of the head from his assailant. Fall. ing on the back of his horse, the animal plunged furiously, and in another moment Hippsley was on the ground, bruised and senseless.
Leaving the unfortunate gentleman , to be conveyed to the nearest surgeon in a hackney-coach, and from thence to the residence indi. cated by the cards and letters found on his person, we will return to Miss Thornton, who was in deep conference with Dr. Mansell, her guardian.
“But is it not wretched to see one, who can be so agreeable and so gentlemanly, lost to society by these unhappy whims?" rejoined the young lady, to whom the doctor had been relating some of Hipps. ley's imaginary distresses.
“ It is indeed, my fair ward ; and as a medical man, thoroughly worn out by his perseverance in such fantasy, I had for some time given him up; but since your happiness is concerned, we must look a little more into the matter. You say he referred to his former proposals, and when you gave him to understand that they would no longer meet with refusal, threw himself into a state of violent excite. ment, said you should never be his, tore his hair, stamped on the floor, and on your expressing astonishment at his conduct, declared that he knew it, and rushed from the room. I can make nothing out of this, my dear girl ; I should be loath to come to the conclusion that hypo. condriasis has terminated in confirmed madness. We must wait a while. Whatever his present fancy may be, it will not last long. This peculiarity in his case has thrown great obstacles in the way of his re. turn to a natural and healthy state of mind. If he continued possessed of one fantastic idea till we had time to prove that he was actually wrong in his supposition, I really believe that the folly which was made evident to him would be his last ; but no time has been allowed me for experiment in any one of his afflictions, as he is pleased to call them. Suffering from hydrophobia to-day, to use his own phrase, he reads on the subject, and cures himself by eating rock-salt. Fairly recovered from his late symptoms, he has lock-jaw for a couple of days, and stumbling on the journal of some medical royager, where it is asserted that cockroaches have been used with effect in such a strait, he sends for this novel remedy from the West India Docks, and what he calls conquers the disease by poulticing his face with these insects crushed into a paste. I can assure you he was only saved from taking a decoction of the same by his servant substituting a cup of India soy. This reminds me that the messenger whom I despatched for Patrick ought to have returned. If I can find out from the faithful fellow the whim which has just now taken possession of his master, we shall be better able to act."
“ Dear doctor," said Miss Thornton, who had been a painfully atten. tive listener to her guardian's opinion of her lover's case, “ is not hypo. chrondiasis very nearly allied to madness ?"
“ It certainly, my dear, often assumes the character of monoma. nia ; but with our friend, so rapid are his changes from one folly to another, that his malady cannot be so designated. In great distress of mind, Mr. Hippsley found himself unwell
, took to studying me. dical books, and confounded any superficial knowledge he might have acquired in his desultory reading, by entering with avidity into every new system he might hear of. His rooms are full of pamphlets on animal magnetism, metallic tractors, and homoæpathy, with a host of other schemes. Each complaint that particularly attracts his attention he imagines himself to have, and then gravely
sets to work secundum artem, till he is pleased to consider that he has effected a cure. I really believe he suffers acutely from his fancied disorders ; but the wonder is to me that his remedies have not killed him. As to my attendance, it has long since been useless, I having been only required to mourn with him a while over his sufferings, and then expected to compliment him on his successful treatment ; or when he has actually injured the tone of his health, render his frame equal to bear another experiment.”
At this moment a servant entered the room, and presented on a salver a dirty, curious-looking letter.
“ Mr. Hippsley has had an accident, sir,” said the man," and Patrick begs pardon for not coming, but has written you a letter about his master's state of mind : and Patrick begs me to say, with his respects, that Mr. Hippsley fancies himself a—"
What portion of his written communication might have been sent in duplicate as a message, Dr. Mansell allowed not the footman to make known. Dismissing him, he turned to his ward, who was vainly attempt. ing to hide her agitation.
“ Read the note, my dear sir-mind not me I shall be better direct. ly. What has happened to Mr. Hippsley ?"
Nothing, my sweet girl, which I trust need alarm you,” replied her guardian, who in a few words communicated the contents of Patrick's epistle.
At a less grave moment it might have afforded amusement, being after this fashion :
“DEAR SIR,-I let you know that master is just now a lectrical machine according to command, and has had a great shock in tumbling out of his gig, or I should have come to tell you as much, if it hadn't happened; but now I write by master's sofa, where he has been bled, and had a composing draught : so hoping to see you as one of master's old friends I remain “ Your honour's servant to command,
" PATRICK O'TOOLE.” “ An electrical machine !” said the doctor musing.
6 This is a wilder fancy than ever. I wish he had broken his leg or his arm.”.
“ Good heaven, sir ! you are certainly not serious,” exclaimed Miss Thornton. “ Is it not enough that he is confined to his bed, and obligo ed to be bled ? Perhaps he is severely injured already."
And here the poor girl wept bitterly, nor could the doctor for a long time console her sufficiently to make her acquainted with a plan which had just occurred to him for the restoration of her lover. It was this—that Dr. Mansell should proceed with all despatch to Jermyn-s-reet, and with the concurrence of Mr. Hippsley's surgeon, place the hypochondriac's arm in splints, as though it were really broken, if possible before he awoke. This effected, Miss Thornton with her guardian would await his waking ; the former to convince him by actual experiment, in the kind pressure of his hand, that the fancied electric power had departed ; the latter to account for the same in the derangement of his frame consequent on the fracture of a limb. In a few minutes the doctor and Catherine were driving with all speed to put their scheme into effect. They found Mr. Hippsley on his sofa, still in a profound slumber, a circumstance which was the more fortunate, as Mrs. Martha Meddler met them at the door of the invalid's lodgings : she having heard of his accident,
MR. HIPPSLEY, THE ELECTRICAL GENTLEMAN.
had hastened to be of service ; and it is doubtful but she might have disturbed their patient to inquire what she could do for him. All worked according to their most sanguine wishes. The hypochon. driac was splinted and bandaged ere he awoke ; and when he opened his eyes, the welcome sight of a gathering of friends round his sick couch awaited him.
“ You feel better, my dear Mr. Hippsley,” said Catherine, pressing the hand she tremblingly held.
“ Allow me to put your cap straight, my dear,” kindly suggested Mrs. Martha, who, anxious to play her part in the affair, pulled his reading.cap over his eyes, which obliged the doctor to remove it.
“ Are you not electrified ?” exclaimed the invalid, turning from one to the other as their hands came in contact with him. “ Do I not shock you, dear Catherine, by your hand being in mine ?”
“ No, Charles; only by looking so ill and so strangely at me."
The invalid's eyes then rested on the splints which bound the limb.
“ What means this, Dr. Mansell ? I do not remember having broken my arm.”
“ You have been insensible, Hippsley, but your arm is nevertheless broken ; on which I sincerely congratulate you, as the fracture in your frame has destroyed that unity of parts, that wonderful sym. pathetic combination which had rendered you an electrical phenomenon."
The doctor knew he was talking nonsense, but looked wondrously grave to conceal this fact ; an art well known to some of his medical brethren.
“ Then I am a broken philosophical instrument,” said Hippsley, sighing heavily, as with the assistance of his friends he rose from his couch.
“ Exactly so," responded Dr. Mansell, now with difficulty restrain. ing a smile.
Mrs. Martha Meddler laughed outright ; and as Catharine's eyes met his, they were so bright with merriment, that the hypochondriac could not resist their influence ; something very like a smile stole over his features.
" Is my arm really broken ?" inquired he.
“ As really broken as you were this morning a walking electrical machine,” replied the doctor, cutting the bandages, and allowing the splints to fall
“ I am afraid I have been very foolish in all this. Will you forgive me, my good friends, and you especially, dear Catherine ?-have you not been shocked at my conduct ?"
“ Yes, a little, I must confess ; but never electrified, as I believe I once added to your distress by telling you.'
“ I have been in the wrong throughout.'
“ Master's right now for once,” remarked Patrick to Mrs. Martha, a suggestion which that lady graciously answered by an assent ; for all parties were so happy at the restoration of the invalid to a natural state of mind, that the distinctions of rank were for the moment laid aside. A compromise with the turnpike man was followed by Hipps. ley making a compromise with his friends. His past follies were to be buried in oblivion if he eschewed new ones. In due course of time he married the fair Catherine, and in the enjoyments of wedded life forgot the sorrows of his wooing,
THE NARRATIVE OF JOHN WARD GIBSON.
Concluded from page 366. To some natures human, perhaps I should say physical consider. ations are the first that, in cases of emergency, present themselves. My nature was of this kind. What had I done? I had killed a man in self-defence—one who would have plundered, and who had attempted to murder me. It was justifiablc homicide. Who, under the circumstances, could have acted otherwise ? Besides, the spectacle before me could not now unnerve me. The excitement of the recent struggle between us had not altogether subsided, and I had suffered so much for years past from another event, which Steiner himself had forced upon me, that I would not permit myself to be overwhelmed by this accident. I felt also that my hatred of Steiner had only lain dormant thus long; that his murderous assault upon me on the previous night had quickened, had revived, and if possible, had strengthened it; and I felt, ay, even as I gazed upon the lifeless body, that no time, no years passed in this world could obliterate or destroy it. I now bethought me what course was to lie pursued. I must rescue myself from the imputation that might be against me of having murdered Steiner; I must do more-I must establish the charge against the deceased, and hold up his name and his memory to execration and ignominy. No thought of Mrs. Steiner or of the boy obtruded itself upon me at the moment, or if it did, I rejected it. Justice must be done ; I had always loved justice--I had practised it hitherto, and they had felt it.
Thus resolved, I sat myself down in a chair, and awaited, not calmly but callously, the arrival of the old woman who attended upon me, and who came regularly at seven o'clock.
The pain in my arm was great, but that I heeded not; on the contrary, it supplied me with a motive for suppressing any regret I might be weak enough to feel, but there was little danger of that, in consequence of what had occurred.
A sudden thought flashed through my brain. Why was I seated inactive, when prudence pointed out the expediency of alarming the neighbourhood ? As it was, I had tarried too long. Every moment of farther delay would materially alter the complexion of the case, as it would present itself to indifferent witnesses: Would they indeed be. lieve the story I had to relate ? I turned faint and sick when that doubt proposed itself to me. The seclusion in which I had lived was calculated to increase suspicion against me, which doubtless had been long engendered, and Steiner's vengeance would at length be fulfilled.
Were these fears reasonable? I think not; and yet having once, and in an evil moment, entertained them, they grew upon me, and alto. gether paralysed my faculties. I felt intensely the necessity of imme. diate action, but was utterly deprived of the power to act.
Harlly conscious of the motive that prompted me, I drew the body of Steiner into the back-room, and covering it with a cloak, thrust it under a sofa, before which I placed some chairs, and re. turning to the parlour, I set the furniture hastily in its accustomed