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The National tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, October 01, 1879, Image 1

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' J Mhmfhb $otmml devoted to the interests of the oldiera and mhrn of the lute ivnr, itnd nil $$etmonerj of the $fmfcd fufe$.
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, Published by The -cjnT. TT-TNT.v 10 "W A STTTOaTfW. T) P, nnrPO"RTflR. 1R79.
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Specimen Ooplos .sent Free on Request.
Entered according to Act ofCongreu, In the near of bur Ji6rd) 137S, In the Office of the Librai tan ofOongreu, at Washington, D. 0.
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Art Thou Living Yet?
The following' swoot tribute to a mother's memory la full of
mler moaning, unci is worthy of tho poot-slngcr that wrote It.
Is thero no grand, Immortal sphere
' Beyond this vnle of broken ilea.
To till tho wants that mock us here,
And dry tho tears from weeping eyes ;
Where winter melts in endless spring,
' And June stands near with deathless flowers ;
Whore wo mav hear the dear ones sing
Who lovod lis In this world of ours? .
I ask, and lo I my cheeks are wet
With tears for one I cannot see ;
Oh, mother, art thou living yet,
And dost thou still remember mo?
1 feel thy kisses o'er mo thrill,
nThou unseen augol of my lilo ; '
Lhear thy hymns around me thrill,
An undertone to care and strife;
'Thv tender eyos upon me Shine,
vAEUfroin a belnsc glorified,
Till I nm thlno and thou art mine.
And I forget that, thou hast died ;
ralmo3t lose onchvuln regret
, In vision ofalifotobe;
But, mother, art thou living yet,
And doit thou still remember me ?
, Tho springtimes bloom, the summers fade,
, Tho winters blow along the way;.
But over every light or shade
Thy memory lives by night and day;
It soothes to sleep my wildest pain,
X.Iko somo swoot song that cannot die,
"And, like tho murmur of tho main,
Grows deeper when the storm is nigh.
I know the brightest stars that sot
Eeturn to bless the yearning sea ;
But, mother, art thou living yet,
And dost thou still remember me?
JL sometimes think thy soul comes back
From o'er the dark and silent stream,
Where last we watched thy shining 'track,
- To those green hills of which wo dream;
,T,hy loving arms around mo twlno,
H iuy checks bloom younger in thy breath,
Till thou art mine and lam thine,
wWUhout-ft thought of palOVatWw",,,,f
jAml yet, at times, my eyes aro wet
With tears for her 1 cannot see
Oh, mother, art thou llvlngyet,
,nd dost thou still remember me?
i-n vnltifrn c TM1 r.ill l.i.v,
, vu "H' ovr J. .1 Will XlilU
iad ever been since I knew him.
one of tlio lightest-hearted, cheeriest fellows in the
may be disturbing yon, I fear." lie would say anything
in a random sort of "way, to break the ice as ho called it.
No answer. A long pause. Very singular, he thought ;
and he moved to a seat exactly opposite tho figure, mak
ing another commonplace observation. No response or
any movement.
"Asleep, I suppose," he said to himself; and ho sat
watching her while the train rattlyd on for a mile or two.
A station was reached and a stoppage made, with the
usual accompaniments: of screech and whistling, and
slamming of doors, bujhwithout producing any change in
tho occupant of the opposite corner. Tho train moved on.
"Can't be asleep,' he muttered, "what's the matter
with hor?"
Tho window was shut; close ; ho let it down with a tre
mendous clatter and bang, remarking that "he hoped, as
the evening was fine, the weather warm, aud the carriage
close," (for he declared to me there was a peculiar odor
hanging about which struck him front the first), " she
would not object to a little air."
Still no reply. Then he said "ho feared she was not
well ; would she like him to ring the bell for the guard,
and have the train stopped again? " But nothing he could
say or do elicited any sign of life from her.
Jack now became seriously alarmed and uncomfortable
on her account. He thought she could not be asleep, but
had fainted. Suddenly it crossed his mind that she was
dead. Night had now closed in, but as the last tinge of
daylight faded from the sky, the carriage lamp gained its
full power and revealed every object more plainly than
lack leaned toward tho motionless form. A long black
veil, falling from a close-fitting hat-like bonnet, enveloped
nearly the whole upper part of her figure ; indeed, on
close inspection, it hardly locked like an ordinary veil, but j
more like a large black silk handkerchief. Her dress was i
of common black stuff, much worn and frayed, from amid
the folds of which appeared tho ends of a piece of rope
that must have been fastened round her waist; aud one
hand, innnsftrl in an old J"-fir.fi nor hlnnk n-lnvf lav rlacidlv
t on her lap.
Full of unpleasant sensations, Jack was about to lift
the veil when, for the first time, the figure moved ; its
other hand stole slowly from beneath the folds of the
dress, and the veil was gradually lifted and thrown up
over the head.
Involuntarily my friend shrank back into the corner of
his seat, for a face was revealed to him which no one
1 could have looked upon without a sense of awe. It was
I never saw such a change in a man m my life ! When j tunt of a woman somewhat past middle age, thin, hag
we last met, Jack well, I must not give his real name, f nl. aml nnlo. to a dewee whinh onlv diMith could rar.
considering what j. am
Jack Pallaut was, as he
world, full of fun, and up to everything, and gentle and
tender as a woman, with the courage of a lion. Aud
now, what did 1 find him? -Even though but three months
had elapsed, he had become a grave, dejected, saddened
man in a word, hardly recognizable, either mentally or
physically. I was shocked, and of course he saw that I
was. Ho came to see me, indeed, the moment ho heard
I was in town, that I might learn from his own mouth
what had happened, instead of at second-hand.
Jack had always been more or less a spoiled boy only
sons are always more or less spoiled and having lost his
mother when quito a child, it was not wonderful that his
poor old dad made much of him. But he had taken the
spoiling kindly, and beyoud making him perhaps a little
idle and thoughtless, it had done him no harm. There
was no harm in tho fellow ; he spent more money than he
should, but many young soldieis do that, without coming
to much grief in the long run, aud his father, a soldier be
fore him, regarded tho failing leniently, paid his bills, and
looked pleasant. Beyond adding that ho was a rather
short, dapper little fellow, I need not say much more
about him ; I have only to try and put into coherent shape
tho strange and tragic business which -had so fearfully
alterod liim.
He was coming to town one autumn evening for a few
days' leave from Gunnersholt. where ho was quartered. I
can see him as plainly as if I had been there, springing
into the first carriage that ottered room, without regard to
who was in it ; for he was tho least fastidious of men,
without tho slightest particle of "haw-haw' prido and
nonseuso, or that stand ofilshuoss of maimer, too usual
with men in his position ; ready to make himself happy
wherovor ho was, or in whatever company.
But it so happened, it appoars, on this occasion that ho
got into an empty carriage, at loast he thought so, for it
was twilight, and be did not observe for tho iirst moment
tho figure of a woman, seated in a further corner, dressed
in dark clothes and thickly veiled.
The sudden discoyory that ho was not nlono rather
startled him for a moraout, aud it may bo, as he said, that
tho Qvoning before haying boon a guest night at mess his
nerves wore not quito up to their usual tono. IIo was not
tho lad, however, to be long in such a situation without
making somo remark to his fellow-traveler, though in this
oaso an unusual hesitation to do so camo over him, owing
to hor mysterious appearance and extreme stillness. The
botweon-lights of the carriage lamp and tho evening sky
provontod him from discerning details, but there she sat,
perfectly rigid, and with uot a vestigo of hor faco visible
through tho thiok black veil.
"Ahoni! ahem!'' ho said, at last, shifting quo seat
nearer, to hermid nearly opposite ; "I hope I havo not
intrudod on you ; 1 thought tho carriage was ompty, I
gard, and pale, to a degree which only death could par
allel. The features, finely chiseled and proportioned,
I showed that at one time there must have beeu supreme
beauty: while, though the iron-gray hair looked a little
disheveled and unkempt, the glance of the eye was steady,
calm, aud determined.
In this glance lay, chiefly, the awe-inspiring expression '
of the face, for, in addition to the penetrating look, there
' was a persistency in it, and at the same time a fascination, l
' quite terrible. It fixed itself upon Jack from the first '
moment that eye met eye, and for several minutes not a
word was spoken on either side. Presently, however, he 1
i tried to pull himself together aud to assume his usual
light-hearted manner, which had thus for a minute been ,
so strangely and unusually disturbed, and he said, briskly: j
' I beg your pardon ; I was afraid you were ill."
She slightly bent her head, but spoke not a word nor !
withdrew hor glance.
, Ho felt more and more that it was causing him an effort '
! to be himself. Her slow, stealthy, albeit ladylike do
1 meauor added'grcatly to the effect already produced, and
' a curious sensation was gradually creeping over him that
impossible as it might seem that face was not strange
' to him. Little as ho, with his temperament, was giveu to
speculation or introspection, ho found himself striving to
1 look back for somo ovent or circumstance in his life whioh
' might give him a clow. Had ho over dreamed of such a
'face, or had he seen it in childhood? ,ne was puzzled,
1 affected, quite put out. And still tho deep, penetrating
eyes were fixed on his. pioiving, as it were, into his vory
soul. And tho hands! what were they doing? Taking
I off tho gloves as with a sot, deliberate purpose ; and the
1 long, white, thin, almost claw-liko fingers worked strangely
, and nervously, slowly closing aud opening upon tho palm,
i as if to grasp something.
j Again ho strove to throw off the unpleasant, unusual
' sensation which had crept over him.
j "! can't stand this," he thought; '! was never so un
I comfortable in my life 1 I must do something or say somo
i thing to put a stop to this, to make her take her eyes off
t "
He moved abruptly to tho farther corner of the carriage
and to tho same side on which tho woman sat.
"I'll fry aud dodge her in this way," ho said to him
self: sho shall not sit and crlare at mo in this fashion !"
j i
But sho, too, immediately shifted ber place, and rising
to her full height, which was very great, wont o or to tho
soat exactly opposite to him, never for ono single second
dropping hor eyes from his. Ho looked out of tho win
dow with a vague notion of getting out of the earriago ; !
wliirOi Kiirlrlnnlv ntiKfiinir n lit.Mo fiitii'm whinli ltft rAnnir. .'
nizod, but at whioh tho train did not stop, an idea struck!
him -r-an idea after his own heart a comic idea! IIo (
availed lumsolt oi it on tho mjstant, and assuming an ease
whioh doubtless sat ill upon him, and whioh ho was far
from feeling, ho pointed with his thumb baok toward tho
station they had just passed, as he said mysteriously 'in a
hollow voice :
" Do you know that place ? " ' l
She seemed to answer in tho affirmative by a slight in
clination of the head as before.
"Ah ! you do. Good ! Lancrmoor." ho went on :- "then
1 don't mind telling you a secret." He paused. (I'll
frighten her, he thought.) '" Criminal lunatics,' he said
aloud ; "I am one of them. I have just escaped from
there ! "
"So havo I!"
With what had already gone before, this put the finish
ing touch to Jack's uneasiuess of mind. It was not as he
said, the mere presence of the woman or the revelation
that his joke had elicited, which scared him, though tho
circumstance in itself might bo unpleasant enough
"I should have faced it right away from the first; as
any man would have done, had it not been for the remark
able influence her face and look had upon me ; that unac
countable feeling that she was no strauger to me it was,
that unnerved and even appalled mo."
No sooner had she uttered the word'; "So have I," than
Jack sprang to the cord communicating with the guard's
van, for he felt their truth, and saw in them a- key to the
whole mystery. But ero his hand had reached the cord
she had siezed him round the waist with ono arm as with
the grip of a vise, and at tho same instaut he felt one of
those terrible haads at his throat.
Every effort to release himself was fruitless ; her
strength seemed superhuman, and was as far beyontl his
as was her stature. Her face glowered close down iipbh
his now, still with the same feli oxpression.
uThe only thing I could have done," went on Jack, in
describing the scene to me and just here ho shall speak
for himself; " the only means by which I might perhaps
have made her relax her hold would have been by aiming
one or two tremendous blows with my right fist (which
was at liberty) at her faco. Had it been a man's, there
would havo been no hesitation ; had it been indeed that of
an ordinary womanut suck a pass I should not havo hesi
itated to strike her fo stun her,"if I could, by any means
but that face, that I seemed to .know so well, yet so mys
teriously. I could not raise my hand against it, and, as my
arm swung lip with the first impulse to deal her a blow, it
fell helpless by my side. Yain were my efforts to get her
hand away from my throat : there was a terrible swayiug
to and fro for a minute or two, I felt the grip of tho long
; lingers tightening, and myself choking. Suddenly we
fell there was a fearful jerk or two, a strange upheaving
' of the floor, a tremendous rattle and crash I appeared
to be thrown headlong to some great distance, and all
was darkness ! "
The termination of that deadly struggle was' brought
about in a manner as inavvelous and unlooked for as could
well have been imagined.
Some fifty souls, say, were traveling in that train, all
save one in perfect security. Jack's life alone was in dan
ger, when lo ! by one of those marvelous coincidences
which do happen at times in the supreme moments of ex
istence, the rescue came, but at the cost of many a life,
which just before would havo seemed worth treble the
purchase of Jack's.
At the very instant that his might have depended upon
another tightening grip or two from the hands of a man
iac, a frightful catastrophe occurred to the train. Tho
tire of an engiue-wheel broke, and half a dozen carriages
were hurled down a steop embankment. The scene that
succeeded is, unhappily, of too common an occurrence to
need more thau a word of reference here. Seven passe
gel's were killed outright ; double that number slightly
badly hurt ; tho remaiuder escaping, as by a miracle, witb
nothing else than a severe shock.
My friend was among the shaken. He had been thrown
clear of the ilebris on to a soft grassy spot, half bank, half
hedge ; emphatically, his life was saved !
But what followed it was that which caused the suffer
ing, that wrought tho terrible change in Jack.
In the darkness of that soft autumn night he strove,
i toremost amo
I such help as was
i official assistance came, and fires were sot blazing to give
light, almost his first care was to try and seek out his dau
' gerous fellow-traveler. In the confusion nobody was pre
pared, of course, to listen to Jack's account of hor, even
had he been prepared then to give it. She was not, evi
dently, moving about among the crowd ; ho assured him
self of that ; but supposing hor, like himself, to have
escaped injury, (and ho concluded that this was likely),
miguu sue not, wiui uio sukuui aim uuuutug niuiuuuuu io
her malady, be hiding, and by thus further eluding detec
tion, become, with her homicidal mania, as dangerous to
tho community at largo as somo fierce, wild animal would
be? Tho thought made him shudder; he must lose no
time in assuring himself of hor fato.
As soon as an approach to order could bo evolved out of
that awful chaos, ho had convinced himself that she'jvas
not among the injured. Then ho turned to the doad. His
oyo fell upon several mutulated and motionless forms,
which had beon laid in an ominous row at the foot of ouev
part of tho emba lkmont. Hers was not among them ; he
could find no trace of her. -
At length, as a sickly dawn was beginning to make' the
search easier, lie endeavored to discover the spot where
the carriage he had occupied had fallen, and to rotraco Ids'
stops (quite to the rear of tho train, by tho way) to tho
place vrhoro ho found himself lyiug after tho catastrophe.
KJ Wl ,. uv.u "vu.uu "-,.V Vi SVIV.1-,
those who had beon spared, to render,
possible to tho less fortunate. When, the'
i W
- 1

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