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The Maniac Doctor

The Maniac Doctor image
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It must be eonfessed that it is a very provoking thing to receive a letter on Christmas tnorning, calling you two liundred miles away on "immediate and mportant business." Yes, it ie a very provoking thing, indeed - at least, so ï iound it, both in anticipation aDd in very deed; bi:t there was no help (or t. Snooks, nny hivvyer, wrote and told me hot if, on the 25th, I was not at O - , [ shoi'ld probably lose - never mind what, but something whieh induced me to pack my portmanteau in all laste, send for a hansom, and drive to he X. Y. Z. Station. When I arrived there, 1 found I was too late for the .rain I had wished to catcb, and that he next one did not utart for three luarters of an hour Inwardly cursng my ill fortune, I went to the waitng room, and endeavored to make mvself as comfortable as I could; but, deepite all my attempta, I think I never cnew time to pass to elowly in all inv ife. except a certain twenty .iiinutes ibout which I am going to teil. Althouh, as I said, the time went very s'owly, nevenhelees it did go; and n piocesn of time, I found rnysell snugy ensconced in n first class carriage, which had but one occupant beside myeelf, a cbeerful looking, little, old man, with grey hair and astrange restess look about the eyes. Directly I j;ot into the cairiage, he addresaed me n a familiar way : "A merry Christmas to you ! " "The same to you," said I, rather gruffly, as I was not in the best of humors, and did not íeel inclined to be cheerful and neighborly. I Why, bless me ! sir," said tl.e little old man, renewing the attack, "you aave not anythiog wherewith to keep yourself warm on this cold winter's day; allow me to offer you one of my traveling wrappers, I always taka are to be well provided with such things when I go on a jonrney." And my companion took from hie side a rolledup rug, unrolled it, and taking asmall mahogany box from the folds, threw the rug to me. 'Thank you, sir,' said I, foeling in 6pite of myself a shade more cheerful. '0, no thanks, no thnnke; I do it for my own benefit, not yours, I assure you.' 'How do you make out that ? ' 'Why, I liko to have a comfortable face opposite me; and, besides, the grand experiment, you know.' 'What grand experiment ?' I said, somewhat startled by tho man's excited manner. 'O, nothing, nothing,' said he, coloring violently; 'only, that is to say - exactly, are you a Freemason ? ' No, Eir.' 'Not a Freemason ? Why, blees me ! you ought most certainly to become ono.' 'Wliy so?' 'Because you would then know that they have got a sort of - that is to say - in fact, a secret.' '1 know that already.' 'Really ? I decalre you are the most extraordinary man I ever met; well, I've got a secret, too, and that's my grand experiment.' 'As it's a secret, I euppose you will not teil me what it is ? ' 'O, yes, I will thongh, but - perhaps I had better not; never mind, 1,11 teil you; it is simply this, to discover what are the different feelings of different persons on difierent occasions.' 'I should hardly cali Ihat an expert ment.' 'Wouldn't you, now ? Cnrious, that; yes, very ourious, for, to teil you the truth, I don't myself kaow whether I ara justified in calling it an experiment. But encugh of that matter for the present. May I ask where you are going to ? ' 'To O :' 'Have you any friends thero ? ' 'None, I am sorry to say. I nm callee thero on some disagreeable, though important business.' 'Then mny I have the pleasure o your company to dinuer wben we ar rïyfe liiere ? ' 'Thank yon; I shall have tho great eet pleasure in accepting your kiod in vitation.' 'By-the-by, do you know how miiDV times we stop before we reach 0 - ? ' " 'Only twice, as this is an expresa train: once at M , at 2 o'clook, and the seco, id time at F , at 5.' 'And when are wo duo at C ?' 'At half past six, I believe.' 'Thank you.' Thus, tor a timo, our conversation ended, but we often renewed it again, and I bogan to regard my companion as a clever, kind-hearted, though rather eccentric old man. Some time afterwe had passed M - , my eccentric friend composed himself for a sleep, and was soon snoring, and it was not long before I follcwed bis example. My dreams were troubled. First of all, I dreampt I was being hung; then that I was bing handcuffed; and, last of all, that a great weight was upon me, and that something was pressing heavily upon my chest. I then woke with a start, to find myself bound hand and loot, with a ropepassud round my neck, and fastened to the umbrella rack behind, in such a maner that, if I struggled in the least, I should inevitably choke myself; and my fellow traveler was standing over me, with one knee on my chent. 'What are you doing - ' said I ; but rr3' eentence was cut short by a gag, which my eccentric friend thrust into my mouth and tied behind niy head. - He then stood away to look at bis handiwork, with eyes glaring like those of a wild beast, and his whole frame trern3Üng with excitement. 'Now,' he said, with a wild langh, now I shall be able to try my grand experiment ! now I shall be able to ind whether the heart can be extracted while a man is alive, without killing ïim ! Twice I have failed, but the stars have told me that a thírd time I shall not O, fame, glory, immorality, I have you in my grasp ! - What ! pitiful fooi, do you turn pale and tremble? If you do die, you wil] die a glorious martyr to science ; and f you live, you and I will share the lory of this grand discovery ! " From this ridiculous rhodomontaed, [ perceived that my pleasant eccentric raveling companion was a raving malia. What was I to do ? I could not move hand or foot, or even ppeak, and the rnadman was arranging on the seat in front of me a collection oí right steel instruments which he took rom the mahogany box which I have mentioned beloro. Was there any jope for me ? I tried to remember ïow long it was after we left M efbr6 I went asleep, as I thought if we got to F the maniac would be discovered, and I should be relieved 'rom the horrible dealh which now beerned imminent; but as I had been dozing some time before I went reguarly off to sleep, I found ihat I could not in the least romember what time iad paNsed. After some time spent in preparing lis instruments, my persecutor began o preparo me by unbuttoning my waistcoat and baring my brnast. At ength, everylhing seemed to be to his satisfaetion, and he took up a sharp, Jeenbladed knife. I shall never forget my sensations whon I saw that little 'littering ínstiument, so poon to be dyed with my blood. I feit a cold shudder run through my body, and I onged to close my eves, but they seemed to keep open by asort of horriAa fascination. After trying the edge of the knife, and preparing u cloth, and giving one final look to his instruments, my eccentric friend pressed his finger close abovo my heart, and said : "This is how I am going to manage t, my friend; I am going to cut a circle in the flesh, about the boart, with tbis knife; it will not hurt much, as I shall ODly just cut through the skin, and the knife is exceedingly sharp. I shall then proceed to dig deeper with .his instrument, and finally extract the leart with this ! " The reader may imagine my sensaions during this cold blooded recital, lor I am utterly unable to describe them; but when the sharp steel first pierced my flesh, and l feit the warm 3lood flowing out, and my past life seemed to pass before my mind in a moment of time, only to make my desire of still living, and the horror of an gnominiou8 deat.h ten fold greater. Slowly the sharp knife plowed in my flesh, making my blood freezo in my veins, and my eye-balls burn and seem ready to burst from their sockets, and now I feit my reason gradually leaving me; the strain upon my nerves was too much - I feit that they must give way; but I considered that if they did my only hope would be gone; for if I moved I ehould be choked with the rope round my neck. Slowly the sharp steel, impelled by a steady hand, continued its deadly course; and now the circle was nearly accomplished, when I feit that tho speed of the train was being gradually diminished. A ray of hope illuminated my breast. I looked into my i ion's eyes to seo if he too noticod that we wre noaring F ; but he was too intent on his horrible work. At length he leaned back, and said : "There now, only abont an inch more, and I shall commence the deup cutting." Only about nn inch ! And the station was yet some way oft. Only about an inch ! My life hung upon the merest thread. It was not long thnt tho cxperimenter admired his diabolioal woik - he poon iell to it again; but 1 saw the lights of F Station flash past the windows of the carriage. I bíiw a strange arm seize my tormentor; I heard a loud nnd appnlling ory like that of a baffled wíld beast, nnd I became insensible. For weeks after this I lay between life and deatb, in a brain fever brought on by the intese excitement and fear oi those twenty minutes. I afterwards learned that my pleasant companion had been n doctor and surgeon, but that when he was a young man and just married, having performed an operation to extract Ja cáncer, of which she afterwards died, he went out of his mind, and had ever since been attempting to escape, n order that he might perform the dreadful experiment which so nearly resulted in my death. ii - ii A Hard Test. A gentleman once heard a laboring man swearing droadfully in the pres enee of a number of his companions. - He told him it was a cowardly thing to ewear so in company, when he dared not do it by himself. The man said he was not &fraid to swear at any time or in any place. "I'll give you ten dollars," eaid the gentleman, "if you will go into the village graveyard at 12 o'cleck to-night, and swear the same oaths thal you have uttered here to-day, when you are alone with God." "Agreed," eaid the man; "it's an oasy way of earning ten dollars." ''Well, you ehall come tomorrow and say you have done it, and the money shall be yours." ïbe timepasscd on - midnight carne; the man went to the gravevard. It was a night of pitchy darknesf. As he entered the graveyard not a sound was heard; all was as stil] ar death. Theu the gentleman's words, alone with God, came over him with wonderful power. The thonght oí the wickedness of what he had been doing, and of what he had come there to do, darted acress his mind like a flash oí lightning. He trembled at his folly. Afraid to take inother step, ho feil on his bnees, and nstead of the dreadful oaths that he carne to utter, the earnest cry went up- "Tod be mercifu] to me a sinner." The next dny he went to the gentleman and thanked him for whai he had done, and he had resolved not to swear xnother oath as long as he lived.


Old News
Michigan Argus