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The Twins By Martin Farquhar Tupper Characters: 3375

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

There is a muddy sort of sand-bank, acting as a delta to the Mullet, just where it spreads from deep to shallow, and falls into the sea. Strange wild fowl abound there, coming from the upper clouds in flocks; and at high water, very little else but rushes can be seen, to testify its sub-marine existence.

A knot of fishermen, idling on the beach, have noticed an uncommon flight of Royston crows gathered at the island, with the object, as it would appear, of battening on a dead porpoise, or some such body, just discernible among the rushes. Stop-that black heap may be kegs of whiskey;-where's the glass?

Every one looked: it warn't barrels-and it warn't a porpoise: what was it, then? they had universally nothing on earth to do, so they pushed off in company to see.

I watched the party off, and they poked among the rushes, and heaved out what seemed to me a seal: so I ran down to the beach to look at the strange creature they had captured. Something wrapped in a sail; no doubt for exhibition at per head.

But they brought out that black burden solemnly, laying it on the beach at Burleigh: a crowd quickly collected round them, that I could not see the creature: and some ran for a magistrate, and some for a parson. Then men in office came-made a way through the crowd, and I got near: so near, that my foolish curiosity lifted up the sail, and I beheld-what had been Julian.

O, sickening sight: for all which the pistol had spared of that swart and hairy face, had been preyed upon by birds and fishes!

There was a hurried inquest: the poor general and Emily deposed to what they knew, and the rustics, who escorted him from Oxton. The verdict could be only


So, by night, on that same swampy island, when the tide was low, they buried him, deeply staked into the soil, lest the waves should disinter him, without a parting prayer. Such is the end of the wicked.

In a day or two, I noticed that a rude wooden cross had been set over the spot: and it gratified me much to hear that a rough-looking crew of smugglers had boldly come and fixed it there, to hallow, if they could, a comrade's grave.

However, these poor fellows had been cheated hours before: Charles's brotherly care had secured the poor remains, and the vicar winked a blind permission: so Charles buried them by night in the church-yard corner, under the yew, reading many prayers above them.

Two fierce-looking strange men went to that burial with reverent looks, as it were chief mourners; and when all the rites were done, I heard them gruffly say to Charles, "God bless you, sir, for this!"

When the mother heard those tidings of her son, she was sobered on the instant, and ran about the house with all a mother's grief, shrieking like a mad woman. But all her shrieks and tears could not bring back poor Julian; deep, deep in the silent grave, she cannot wake him-cannot kiss him now. Ah well! ah well!

Then did she return to his dear room, desperate for him-and Hollands once, twice, thrice, she poured out a full tumbler of the burning fluid, and drank it off like water; and it maddened her brain: her mind was in a phrensy of delirium, while her body shook as with a palsy.

Let us draw the curtain; for she died that night.

They buried her in Aunt Green's grave: what a meeting theirs will be at the day of resurrection!

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