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THE CONFEDERATE MILITARY PRISON AT
SALISBLRY, NORTH CAROLINA, WHERE MANY UNION PRISONERS ARE CONFINED.—[DRAWN BY
SERGEANT WILL, 20TH MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS.]
"I have been there before . . . .
Oh!" with a shudder of disgust; "it is a hand—a woman's hand—oh, horrible,
Vane whispered across Cleveland,
who sat between us:
"She never was there; but she
described it all perfectly last time I saw her. To-day I brought a specimen,
preserved in spirits, of frightful disease of the hand. She would not, if she
saw it, know it for a woman's."
Cleveland's turn was next. He was
very pale, and his ungloved right hand was clasped on his heart. The glove had
fallen to the ground, and he was absently crushing it with the restless motion
of his foot.
"How shall I die ?" was his
question, in a deep, tremulous, husky tone that made us all start with sudden
Its effect on the seeress was
still more marked. She sprang into a sitting posture, and trembled from head to
foot, seeming unable to speak. The question was repeated.
"I—don't—know," she slowly
replied: then suddenly, "Oh no, no, NO!" the last word rising to a shriek.
Cleveland's face was, ghastly
beyond description or conception. There was a pause: Mr. Arnold exerted himself
to calm the girl, and presently called on me for a final question.
"What has become of my brother?"
A moment's hesitating silence—a
strange look of surprise, information, horror unspeakable, succeeding one
another on her pale, delicate face; and then a fearful, unearthly scream, which
froze the very blood in our veins. I never knew before what "spiritual terror"
meant. Assuredly I would rather meet any bodily danger than hear that scream and
see that face again. Evon Arnold was appalled, or I think he would have
interposed before the answer came in words: at first low, tremulous, uncertain;
then clear, rapid, agitated, while the girl's whole frame quivered with terrible
"I see—a mountain of snow, a
precipice on one side, a narrow road winding along the edge. Down, down—at the
bottom of that precipice, in a dry bed of a stream—there is a body covered with
blood—oh, horrible! I can not bear to look. It has been thrown there—thrown down
from the road. Wait a moment and I will tell you how. There are two men—they
come out of a house, and they are walking up the snow-mountain, along the road,
close to the edge of the precipice. One of them turns—he will not go on—he will
go back. The other laughs at him; he speaks—I do not hear what they say—he
speaks kindly to him. But the pale man is angry; he strikes his friend—oh, God!
he has flung him over the precipice; he has murdered him!"
I was horror-struck; I could not
rouse myself to think or speak. The girl's look and tone carried conviction, as
strong as if the scene she described in these broken sentences had been actually
passing before her eyes. Vane's voice it was I heard next:
"What is the murderer like?"
"He is tall, strong, pale—" She
sprang suddenly from her seat. "He is HERE!" she screamed, and, laying her hand
on Cleveland's shoulder, she exclaimed, with a shriek which rang through the
room, "THOU ART THE MAN!"
I need not attempt to portray the
scene that followed. Indeed, I could scarcely see or hear. I
only knew that Cleveland had
sprung from his seat, dashed aside the arms that were stretched out to seize
him, and was gone. The girl had fallen back upon her couch in violent
convulsions; and the mesmerist, himself trembling in every limb, was trying to
awaken her from the unnatural sleep which had been visited with so fearful a
Vane got me out of the room, I do
not recollect how; and when I became fully conscious of what was passing we were
on our way to Cleveland's lodgings. Arrived there, Vane inquired if he was in,
and was answered, "Yes, Sir; he is just gone up stairs. We were quite frightened
about him, he looked so ill." We ran up to the sitting-room, which was on the
first floor. The table-drawer was open: in it my dye caught sight of some papers
tied in a bundle and directed in Cleveland's bold but irregular hand to me.
Beside these was the silver-mounted ivory butt of a small pistol. Cleveland's
hat and gloves lay on the table; the owner was not there. My hand was on the
latch of the bedroom door, and I had just become aware that it was locked, when
the report of a pistol rang in my ear. I felt as if it had been fired close to
my head. In another moment Vane sprang at the door, burst it open with his
weight, and we entered the bedroom.
Cleveland lay on the bed, his
white shirt-front soaked with blood. The still smoking pistol—fellow to that
left in the drawer—had fallen from his right hand, which hung by his side. Vane
tore open his dress, and we saw a small hole, just above the heart, in the
scorched vest and shirt,
from which the blood had sprung
over the clothes. Life was already extinct, of course.
* * * * * * *
The papers directed to me were
produced at the inquest. They contained an account, incoherent but
circumstantial, of the murder of my unhappy brother, committed, said the writer,
in a moment of passion, utterly unpremeditated, and bitterly repented. The paper
closed with some strange and incomprehensible passages, expressive of gratitude
and affection for the murdered man. Vane's evidence induced the jury to return a
verdict of insanity, and Cleveland's remains received Christian burial.
It was not till the third night
after his death that I was able to sleep. Then my slumber was deep and profound;
and it was with difficulty that my landlady roused me at nine the next morning
to receive "a large foreign letter, which she thought might—might be of
consequence." I jumped out of bed mechanically, and received it at the door.
Good Heaven! it was Edward's
handwriting—bore, too, a post-mark only five days old. It most have been posted
after his death by some one who had taken possession of his papers. I tore it
open. More astonishing still, it bore date the same day on which it was posted.
A passage in which Cleveland's name occurred at once attracted my eye. It ran as
My unlucky compagnon de voyage
has left me. I was forced to let him go; for he quarreled with me, and would
have struck me, on a precipitous path, with a sheer descent of a hundred feet on
one side, and an equally steep ascent on the other, where one false step would
one or both of us our lives. He
had been moody and restless all morning, and finally, as we reached the most
dangerous part of the road, stopped, refused to go any further, and declared
that he must immediately return to England. I was surprised, and, when I noticed
the expression of his eyes, a little alarmed. I tried, however, to laugh him out
of his sudden fancy, but had no success; he grew angry, and, when I persisted,
struck at me with his alpenstock. I warded the blow; and he instantly turned,
and ran down the hill as if the furies pursued him. I waited till he was out of
sight, and then retraced my steps, hoping to find him at the hotel. But he had
been too rapid in his movements; had paid the bill, and was gone an hour before
I arrived, nor could I follow him, for no vehicle or horse was left in the
place. If he gets safe back to England, my dear fellow, pray look after him;
for—though you must keep it to yourself, or only hint it to Dr. Vane—I am firmly
convinced that Cleveland is, or soon will be, INSANE!
Insane! here was the solution of
the terrible mystery. Edward was safe and well; and the whole story of the
murder was the creation of a diseased brain, of which all who heard it had been
the dupes, and of which the deluded author was the wretched victim. The vision
of the clairvoyante, coinciding as it did with the story previously written out
by the self-imagined murderer, was a mere reflection of his delusion, which
hastened his end before Edward's return could dispel the horrible fancy. The
event gave such a shock to Arnold that he never ventured to practice the art
"And has it not had the same
effect on you?" I inquired. "I should have thought it would have caused you to
shrink from all such mysteries and mummeries for the future."
"Far from it," returned Clay,
seriously. "It seemed to throw a certain light on a difficult and abstruse part
of physical science; for I need hardly say that I regard the phenomena of
mesmerism and clairvoyance as purely physical, however abnormal; and I intend to
follow out the clew, at least till I have learned whether or no all these
phenomena may be traced to one cause—which we know to be operative in
mesmerism—the influence of one human mind upon another, as metaphysicians would
say; or, more properly speaking, of the brain of one human being on the nervous
system of another artificially excited and peculiarly susceptible. If it be
true, as I suspect, that no clairvoyante ever has told us or ever can tell us
any thing that has not already passed through the mind of some living and
present mortal—that they all are mere receptive mirrors of other minds—such
evidence as I shall collect will go far to establish the truth, and to set men's
minds at rest about the mystery; perhaps to teach them that, while on the stage
of life, we are to be indulged with no real glimpses behind the curtain. You
have let your pipe go out; mine is smoked to an end; good-night."
I did not sleep well that night,
UNION PRISONERS IN NORTH
WE publish on this page a view of
the CONFEDERATE MILITARY PRISON AT SALISBURY, NORTH CAROLINA, where the gallant
Colonel Corcoran is confined. Our picture is from a sketch by Sergeant F. Will,
Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers. On the same page we publish a picture, from
a sketch by our special artist, Mr. Angelo Wiser, of RELEASED UNION PRISONERS
COMING THROUGH THE DRAW-BRIDGE AT WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA. They were on board
two scows and a steamer.
RELEASE OF UNION PRISONERS TO GENERAL BURNSIDE, AT
WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA.—[SKETCHED BY MR. ANGELO WISER.]