Procuring a little terrier, through the charity of strangers, he trained him to be his guide, and started on his pilgrimage. Many weeks were consumed in the journey and many more in hopeless efforts to discover the thief. Through the aid of an old Cincinnati friend whom he accidentally encountered he located the fugitive at last; but in a cemetery! Ill-gotten wealth had precipitated the final disaster, for having turned the diamonds into money the fugitive entered upon a debauch which terminated in a horrible death. At the side of a grave in the potter’s field, the sexton one day saw a blind man leaning on a cane. After a long silence, he stooped down, felt carefully over the low ground as if to assure himself of something, then rose, lifted his cane to heaven, waved it wildly, muttered what sounded like imprecations, and soon after followed a little terrier to the gate of the cemetery and disappeared.
It was the doctor. One of his enemies had escaped him forever, and the trail of the others seemed hopelessly lost in the darkness which had settled down upon him. There was nothing left for him but to beg his living and impotently nourish his hate.
A MAN CROSSED WITH ADVERSITY
“One sole desire,
one passion now remains
To keep life’s fever still within his veins,
Vengeance! dire vengeance on the wretch who cast
O’er him and all he loved that ruinous blast.”
It was late in the evening when David returned to his apartments, excited, triumphant, eager.
“Well,” he cried, rushing impetuously up to Mantel, who stood waiting for him. “Is he still there? Is that place really his home?”
“Yes,” his friend answered; “he has lived there for more than a year, in solitude and poverty. His health is very poor and he is growing steadily weaker. He has declined so much recently that now he does not venture out until the afternoon.”
“Feeble, is he? Poor old man!” exclaimed David. “But at least he is not dead, and while there is life there is hope! I am not a murderer, and there is a possibility of my making atonement! How I cling to that idea, Mantel! In a single hour I have enjoyed more happiness than I thought a whole lifetime could contain. But even in this indescribable happiness there is a strange element of unrest, for it seems too good to last. Is all great gladness haunted by this apprehension of evanescence? But at any rate, I am happy now!”
“And I am almost happy in your happiness,” responded his friend, his face lighted up by an altogether new and beautiful smile.
“Sit down, then,” said David, giving him a chair and standing opposite to him, “and I will tell you my story.”
Words cannot describe the emotion, nay the passion, with which he poured that tragic narrative into the ears of his eager and sympathetic listener.