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A Double Bedded Room

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tn the spring cf 1860 I went to Steinton to transact some professional business, and attend a (rial wbich was then before tbe crimiual court, at that titile iü 8cesion. Í rGached the place late in the evoning, after a hard day's journey, and found that the only hotel in the village was full, with the exception of one bed in a double-bedded room. " The other bed is oocupied by a gentlemaD from New York," eaid the landlord, and as an inducenrent for me to help on the profits of the house, líe added, " he 8 neithei1 a logue nor a cutthroat, judging from bis appearance Thoy uever luive any such characters up thero in Gotbam. Of course, yöü'll not hav any scrnples obout sleeping in the satne room with one of your owu townsmen." As I hkd notbing tibutit me to tempt even a third-rate thief, and. had uever given any of my fellovv-iuen suffiuiont reason for severing my jugular in the dark, I decided to take the bed in que's tion, and soon after retired to uiv room. My fellow traveler was already in bed, and apparently asleep, with Lis face turned towards uio. It was that of a mild looking man of thirty-five, of a sandj' complexión, with a hungry lonk. As i ran itiv eye aloug his outliue under the bed cloües, I -did wish that he hüd been fatter, for u oue respect I am like Cnjsai', 1 prefer fat uien nbout me w-beu thei-o is anythiug like prospectivo daoger. There was nothing 11 hi jjLvh iogüomy, howcvor, that. led me to suspect hiin given to deeds of darkness, so I ensuonced rayseif in bed, and witli my last thoughts upou dear Mrs. Jones, I was 8000 as unconscious as oue of the seven eleepers. Little past midnight I WHB awakened by a voice fcom my neighbor's bed. I listened. He was uiuttiii ing soiuethiug iu his sleep. " Oh, Mary, how can yo cast ma off," he weut on, in the pleading tone ol a distriuvted lover. ' How cao you forget the ove tbat Las followed you for bo many yeais, and uevei' turned frrm you iu your minfortune when you Btood aioue in tlj-e world ?" Tlien carne a pause, after whioh he continued with tuore moving tones than before : "Say not so, say not eo. Before he with his wealtti erossed your path, we were happy in eah other, and why should I now be cast off aftor you have jworn by all tbat is high and good that yoa would be miue. Ah I Mary, if you reject me my soul will be giveu up ;o soine dark deed that will destroy us DOtb. I shall have faith neither in God sr woman to reetrain nre. " Theu you turn a deaf-ear to my last prayer. You have choseu yonr owu fa'te, and mark uiy word, you sball never marry him." The mind of the sleeper seeined to b-ave becomo ealin, and his dre;nns undisturbed, as soon as be had -givea uttcranee to tkuse last words. He doesn't sleep well, thought I. He s going thruugh wjth the ronaiiutic part ot' Jife. He Las taken the diseaee at au untimely age ; it goes hard with him. And as I remembered I had just such suc-b dreams at one time, when I cauie near losing the preseot Mrs. Jones, I was not alarmed by my neighbor's ominous expressions. I thought no more about the matter till I saw tbe man in oourt the next day. Tbe case was that of a young man on trial for the murder of a young wotnan to whora he had been betrothed. The ground of his arrest was, that on the nightof the murder in her owu father's house, he was the last person known to be with hor. tíhe had lived for several years in New York eity, aud it was reported that she there inade the acquaintance of a penuiless young man, to whom she was engaged to bo niariied ; and that sho had broken her engngeraent with him for a more wealthy rival, whom she met ou her return home. As I listened to the proceedings of the court, I noticed that rny lellowlodger seerned to take more of an interest in tbeni thau would be expected in on a ordinary spectator I theu began to thiüg whether theru could he any coniiection between thia crime and wtiat 1 heard him caying in his sleep in the precoding uight. It was a trikingeoineidenec that Mary was the name oí' the murdered young womau. He had eeeuied to be pressing bis claims as more binding thau thosu of a later and wealthy . lover. His threadbare uuit and unkept general makeup, showed that bo uiight j persónate the [oor lever. Slort'uver, he ' j waa from New York, and seemod to have no particular business, except to Lai g ubout the oom t-rooui aud note the proceedings. I ko[ t aty thought to myf-elf, however, and watchcd for further d'evelopmenU' That night I went to bed first. My stranga fiieud eamefup after I was p parently asleep. Ho seemed wholly uuoonscioüa of my preseuoe. Ho placed liis uaudle óu a table near bis bed, aud bogan to exumiuo some papers wbich he pulled from the breast pocket of his seedy coat. Occasionally Le vvould rise and paco back and forth, as f thüre was soiiie buiden on his soul. " Yes, it must be so," lie uiuttered. " There is no other w'ay for it. A mau driven on by such a passion as Mary inspired, is not master of himself, thougb close upon tho horrid deed rnay follow black remorse. Uut I'll to bed and bide the morrow's events; and tben, if 1 see no other way, I'll do il," What was it that he was to do? I could only speculate. That it was ' nected wilh the trial, I could not doubt. 1 It seemed plaïn that he was in soine ' way connected with the murder. ' haps he might be the real murderer, arni driven by a guilty conscience, was awaiting the aotion of the court bifore making a full confession of the crime. The noxt day [ attended court as before. My strange friend was there, aud seemed scareely less intcrested thau thtí prisouer at the bar. I watched him attentively. Later iu the afternoon, as I was ridiug through the outskirts of the village, over a desolate looking spot, I passed hiin pacing slowly aloug vvilli his hands behiud him, and so lost in tliought that he did not even look up as I went by. He returned to the hotel after the other guests were seated at the sutipor table, and ate his meal in silence. When I rctired for the uight, I left hira sitting in the bur-room, with an elbow on eaoh arm of the chair, guzing iutently at the lire. I had boen in bed about huif an hour, ■when he carne up staira with tvvo caudles, whioh he placed upon the table, then went to his valise aud took out several quices of foolscap, and lastly drow from bis pocket n email, bluok bottlu, and placed it by his side, as ho sat down and begau io wi'ite. I was too much interested in this irovement to think of going to sleep, so I lay still and kept my attentiou xed upon hiiü. At first his pen tnoved deliberately over the paper, aud as his hand pased over page after pasje, its scratching became loudor aud more uervuus. Tiiere was evidently a burning tiiought that must have expression in words. Tlie veins upou his forehead were swolleu as if rea-dy to burst, ant! his wlolu expression was that of intense exeiteinent. He seemed to have fbrgotteu that thero was anybody else iu the room, for 1 could hear him niuttering hïs thoughts aloud as he peuutd them. Now and theu ho would pause, dra' a long breutb, and then diish ou again. At last lio threw down his peu and struok his hand against his forehead, with the exelamation : ' I did it! And now she is gone, why do I tarry here to see that poor wretch sufteriug in my stead ? 'Twas as I said - she did not uiarrv him. There's comfort in the thougbt. 1 loved her well - so well that I did slav her. Gould I have seen her as Lis wife and not gotid mad ? Ye cruel fate?, ye were too many for me ia the unequal strife. when 'twas a woman's heart became the price of wealth ; but mv ' steel did find its way where gold is ] erless. I '11 wed her yet, lor here is that which nhall give me quick conveyance ] to 'the shore wliore she has gone before' ' He scizcd the little black bottle, took a. doep draught, and then resumed his writiug. I ísuü ít all now, thenght It is as I expeeted. This is the murderer ; thc lover who cüd the deed. He is couiinitting suicide, aud writing out bis confession. I was not inclined to distarb a man uuder such ciieurnstances, so 1 lay súll and awnitod the result. His pen dashed on inore furiously than over. Oceasiorially his haud would go to his bottle, whose conteDts were evidently working on bis brain. Ouo of the candles had gone out, and the other burned low in the soeket. He threw down his pen and applied his bottld ouoe more to his lips aud swallowcd the last drop it contained and in a sepulohral tone gave expression to these words as he stood befoeo the expiring light : " That is all. When they do look on this, then they will kuow why "twas they thought mu strango, There's my confession writ for (hose who think it was a little thing that she rejeettd me. They shall know that what I swore, I had the courage to perform. 1 'II to my ooucb, and let the morrow teil a tale of horror which shall mako their drowsy souls beliove there is a lovo far stronger than grim death. Farewell, earth, where gold doth rob ie of my loveí and hail though strnuge uuknown wherc sho doth wait my coming !:' Tho candlu burned blue as the excitad man uttered these last words, with gestures and tcmis of one talking with tho spirit of the murdered Mary. The last glimmer of tho light was gone, and then 1 heard the man throw himaelf heavily upon the bod. My first impulso was to givo the alarm, but a seoootl thongLt told me if he wan the murderer, and had wriuen out bis confossion, aud was now taking himself ofl'by a ijose of'poison, I could do uu good by bringing iiiin back to life ugain only to be stniag up and die like a dog. I did not see why I should try to keep a poor wrefeh in this orld when ho had becomo conviuoed that he had butter leave it. Ho iniglit inake nis exil i.nJer vorse circuu sta nes, uid a3 h j hud dono mu no wrong, I cúuld , not out of oharity ipterfere. With a quiet consuience, I drorpo 1 adeop, and did not wako tul ufter daylight the next rnorniEg. I looked t - ! wards my neighbor's bed. There he fay 011 tlie Odfcaido oi' the bed, with bit back tówards me, and nono of his clotliing removed. The candlusticks, the bkck bottle, the papers wero on the tab'.e with hiin. I rose and dressed rnyseü', and glanced at the papers, They eontainud a muvderer's confession, evideutly. The bottle was labeled "Puison," with a death'a head and crossbones, but hud a strong siuell of brandy I bent over the motionless figuro on tho bed. Ho was asleep. Tho whole thing was so myaterious that I said nothiug about it, but after eating my breakfast and settling my bill, luit for home, wondering whether I should see in the papers the noxt mortiiug " The Murderer's Uonfession." I looked for it somo time, but as it did uot appear, I began to suspect that Bomething had been the matter with my brain during my stay in Steinton. Several woeks afterward, I went into a theater to bear a aensatiou play which was that night to be brought out. I took my seat ia the gallcry, and watched the doveloprnent of tlie plot. It was one of the " love and murder" stamp. 1 could not help thinking how similar were the oircumstances to those of the triaj in Steioton. When in the last act, tbe raurderer's confension was reached, it S2emed but a repetitiou of tho soene in the doublé bedded room, whieh I have already desoribed. Th ere was the actor slriking his haud againet his forehead ; and, linally with outstretched anus, and eyes gazing into futurity, uttering those words which had been so deeply pressed upon my mind : " Farewell, earth, wbere gold doth ob me of inj love ; and hail the strange unknown vvhere she doth wuit my coiu"g!" He tl;en staggered toward a couch, and feil senseless upon it, as becomingly is could be expected of a suicide. The applaose was deafeiiing. My oeighbor, whom l had not p .rticularly uoticed before, chipped his hands and )eut the fioor with his boots uud oane ill theie was no breathing, from the ust he raised. I was about to reinontrate, vvheu my eyes assured me that ïo was uo other than nay lean fricnd of he double-beddei room. The truth fiashed upon me. I had heard of poor aulhors mingling withlho orowd aud golf.g wild with tiia puccüss of their plays. 13ut "tho opportunity as too good to lose. " My friend," s;iid I. "you seem to eonsider the play a master-stnikc,'' " Indeed I do," hu replied, liauiriiering uway to keep up tlie ap[)lause. " It tükcs you se the first tiiuo. I kiiew it would." " I think I have seeu it acted buiore," I remarkcd. '' Never, air, I assure you ; for I wrote it uiyself, and thie is the first time it has been put upon thu stage." " 1 do not do ibt your word, sir ; but, peïhaps, you havo iorgotten the doublébudded room u the lintel at títeinton, where the ' murde.'cr's eonfession' first ■aw the light of two tallow candles ?" " Ah,yusl I reooilect trying it on that night, alter I had worked it -out of' ;he murder trial " " But why did you have your brundyaottlo labeled ' puisou' ?" " Well, sir, the fact is, that I someimes forgot to put it away, and it lasts onger with that label. '' There was both philosophy and comDoii senso in the answer, aud I was sat sfiod.


Old News
Michigan Argus