|"It don't skeer me, I tell ye! For six long years, day and night, it has laid by my side, with its jaw broke and its
tongue stickin' out, and yet I ain't a bit skeered! There it is now—on the left side, ye mind—in the light of the
fire. Ain't it an ugly corpse? Hey? A reel nasty Christian, I tell ye! Jist look at the knees, drawed up to the chin,
jist look at the eyes, hanging out on the cheeks, jist look at the jaw all smashed and broke—look at the big,
black tongue, stickin' from between the teeth—say it ain't an ugly corpse, will ye?
"Sometimes I can hear him groan—only sometime! I've always noticed when anything bad is a-goin to come
across me, that critter groans and groans! Jist as I struck him down, he lays afore me now. Whiz—wh-i-z he
came down the hatchway—three stories, every bit of it! Curse it, why hadn't I the last trap door open? He fell
on the floor, pretty much mashed up, but—but he wasn't dead—
"He riz on his feet. Just as he lays on the floor—in his shirt sleeves, with his jaw broke and his tongue out—he
riz on his feet. Didn't he groan? I put him down, I tell ye! Down—down! Ha! What was a sledge hammer to this
fist, in that pertikler minnit? Crack, crack went the spring of the last trap-door—and the body fell—the devil
knows where—I don't. I put it out o' my sight, and yet it came back to me, and crouched down at my side, the
next minnit. It's been there ever since. If I sleep, or if I'm wide awake, it's there—there—always on my left side,
where I hain't got no eye to see it, and yet I do—I do see it. What a cussed fool I was arter all! To kill him, and
he not got a cent in his pockets! Bah! Whenever I think of it I grow feverish. And there he is now—With his
d——d ugly jaw. How he lolls his tongue out—and his eyes! Ugh! But I ain't a bit skeered. No. Not me. I can
bear wuss things than that 'are—"
The light from the blazing coal-fire, streamed around the Doorkeeper's den. Seated close by the grate, in a
crouching attitude, his feet drawn together, his big hands grasping each knee with a convulsive clutch, his head
lowered on his breast, and his face, warmed to a crimson red by the glare of the flame, moistened with thick
drops of perspiration; Devil-Bug turned the orbless eye-socket to the floor at his left side, as though it was gifted
with full powers of sight, while his solitary eye, grew larger and more burning in its fixed gaze, until at last, it
seemed to stand out, from his overhanging brow, like a separate flame.
The agitation of the man was at once singular and fearful. Oozing from his swarthy brow, the thick drops of
sweat fell trickling over his hideous face, moistening his matted hair, until it hung, damp and heavy over his
eyebrows. The lips of his wide mouth receding to his flat nose and pointed chin, disclosed the long rows of
bristling teeth, fixed as closely together, as though the man, had been suddenly seized with lock-jaw. His face
was all one loathsome grimace, as with his blazing eye, fixed upon the fire, he seemed gazing upon the floor at
his left, with the shrunken and eyeless socket, of the other side of his face.
This creature, who sate crouching in the light of the fire, muttering words of strange meaning to himself,
presented a fearful study for the Christian and Philanthropist. His Soul was like his body, a mass of hideous and
Born in a brothel, the offspring of foulest sin and pollution, he had grown from very childhood, in full and
continual sight of scenes of vice, wretchedness and squalor.
From his very birth, he had breathed an atmosphere of infamy.
To him, there was no such thing as good in the world.
His world—his place of birth, his home in infancy, childhood and manhood, his only theatre of action—had
been the common house of ill-fame. No mother had ever spoken words of kindness to him; no father had ever
held him in his arms. Sister, brother, friends; he had none of these. He had come into the world without a name;
his present one, being the standing designation of the successive Doorkeepers of Monk-hall, which he in vain
endeavoured to assume, leaving the slang title bestowed on him in childhood, to die in forgetfulness.
Abijah K. Jones he might call himself, but he was Devil-Bug still.
His loathsome look, his distorted form, and hideous soul, all seemed to crowd on his memory, at the same
moment, when the word 'Devil-Bug'—rang on his ear. That word uttered, and he stood apart from the human
race; that word spoken, and he seemed to feel, that he was something distinct from the mass of men, a wild
beast, a snake, a reptile, or a devil incarnate—anything but a—man.
The same instinctive pleasure that other men, may feel in acts of benevolence, of compassion or love, warmed
the breast of Devil-Bug, when enjoyed in any deed, marked by especial cruelty. This word will scarcely express
the instinctive impulse of his soul, He loved not so much to kill, as to observe the blood of his victim, fall drop by
drop, as to note the convulsive look of death, as to hear the last throttling rattle in the throat of the dying.
For years and years, the instinctive impulse, had worked in his own bosom, without vent. The murder which
had dyed his hands, with human blood for the first time, some six years ago, opened wide to his soul, the
pathway of crime, which it was his doom and his delight to tread. Ever since the night of the Murder, his victim,
hideous and repulsive, had lain beside him, crushed and mangled, as he fell through the death-trap. The corpse
was never absent from his fancy; which in this instance had assumed the place of eyesight. Did he sit—it was at
his left side. Did he walk—crushed and mangled as it was, it glided with him. Did he sleep—it still was at his
side, ever present with him, always staring him in the face, with all its loathsome details of horror and bloodshed.
Since the night of the Murder, a longing desire had grown up, within this creature, to lay another corpse beside
his solitary victim. Were there he thought, two corpses, ever at his side, the terrible details of the mangled form
and crushed countenance of the first, would loose half their horror, all their distinctness. He longed to surround
himself with the Phantoms of new victims. In the number of his crimes, he even anticipated pleasure.
It was this man, this deplorable moral monstrosity, who knew no God, who feared no devil, whose existence
was one instinctive impulse of cruelty and bloodshed, it was this Outlaw of heaven and earth and hell, who held
the life of Byrnewood Arlington in his grasp.
"It's near about mornin' and that ere boy ought to have somethin' to eat. A leetle to drink—per'aps? Now sup-
pose, I should take him up, a biled chicken and a bottle o' wine. He sits down by the table o' course to eat—I
fix his plate on a pertikler side. As he planks down into the cheer, his foot touches a spring. What is the
consekence? He git's a fall and hurts hisself. Sup-pose he drinks the wine? Three stories down the hatchway—
reether an ugly tumble. He git's crazy, and won't know nothin' for days. Very pecooliar wine—got it from the
Doctor who used to come here—dint kill a man, only makes him mad-like. The Man with th' Poker is n't nothin'
to this stuff—Hallo! Who's there?"
"Only me, 'Bijah—" cried a woman's voice, and the queenly form of Long-Haired Bess with a dark shawl
thrown over her bridesmaid's dress advanced toward the light—"I've just left Lorrimer. He's with the girl you
know? He sent me down here, to tell you to keep close watch on that young fellow—"
"Jist as if I could'nt do it mesself—" grunted Abijah in his grindstone voice—"Always a-orderin' a feller about?
That's his way. Spose you can't make yourself useful? Kin you? Then take some biled chicken—and a bottle o'
wine up to the younk chap. Guess he's most starved—"
"Shall I get the chicken and the wine?" asked Bess gazing steadily in Abijah's face.
"What the thunder you look in my face that way fur? No you shant git 'em. Git 'em mesself. Wait here till I come
back. Do'nt let any one in without the pass word—'What hour of the night'—and the answer 'Dinner time'—you
And as Devil-Bug strode heavily from the den, and was heard going down into the cellars of the mansion, Bess
stood silent and erect before the fire, her face, shadowed by an expression of painful thought, while her dark
eyes, shot a wild glance from beneath her arching brows, suddenly compressed in a frown.
"Some mischief at work I suppose—" she whispered in a hissing voice—"I've sold myself to shame, but not to
A low knock resounded from the front door.
Suddenly undrawing the bolt and flinging the chain aside, Bess gazed through a crevice of the opened door,
upon the new-comers, who stood beyond the out-side door of green -blinds.
"Who's there?" she said in a low voice.
"Ha—ha—" laughed one of the strangers—"It's bonny Bess. 'What hour of the night' is it, my dear?"
" 'Dinner time,' you fool—" replied the young lady opening the outside door—"Come in Luke! Ha! There is a
stranger with you! Your friend Luke?"
"Aye, aye, Bessie my love,—" answered Luke as he entered the den, with the stranger at his side—"Did ye
hear the Devil-Bug say, whether there was fire in my room? all right—hey? And cards you know Bess—
cards? This gentleman and I, want to amuse ourselves with a little game. Bye-the-bye where's Fitz-Cowles? I
should like him to join us. Seen him to night my dear?"
"Up stairs you know Luke—" answered Bess with a meaning smile—" 'Veiled figure,' Luke you know? That's
a game above your fancy I should suppose?"
And as she said this with an expressive glance of her dark eye, Bess observed that the stranger who
accompanied Luke, was a very tall, stout man, wrapped up in a thick overcoat, whose upraised collar,
concealed his face to the very eyes. His eyes were visible for a single moment, however as half-hidden by the
shadow of Luke's figure, the stranger strode swiftly across the floor of the den. Bess started, with a feeling of
terror, akin to the awe one experiences in the presence of a madman, as those eyes, so calm and yet so burning
in their fixed gaze, flashed for a moment in the red light.
"Luke, I am—ready—" said the Stranger in a smothered voice—"To the room Luke—to the Room!"
Without a word Luke led the way from the den, and in a moment Bess heard the half-hushed sound of their
footsteps, as they ascended the staircase of the mansion.
"That's a strange eye for a man who's only a-goin' to play cards—" muttered Bess as she stood by the
fireplace—"Now it's more like the eye of a man, who's been playin' all night, and lost his very soul in a game
with the D——l! Lord!—But that's a wicked eye for a dark night!"
"Here's the biled chicken and the wine—" grated the harsh voice of Devil-Bug, who approached the fire, with a
large 'waiter' in his arms—"Take it up to the feller, Bess. He's hungry praps? And d'ye mind gal—set his plate
on the side of the table, furthest from the door?"
"Any particular reason for that, 'Bijah?"
"Cuss it gal, cant you do it, without axeing questions? It's only a whim o' mine. That bottle is worth its weight in
red goold. Don't taste such Madeery every day I tell you. Poor fellow—guess he's a-most starved—"
"Well, well, I'll take him the chicken and the wine—" exclaimed Bess pleasantly as she took possession of the
'waiter' with its cold chicken and luscious wine—"Hang it though, when I come to think o' it, why could'nt you
have taken it up yourself? 'Bijah,
you're growin' lazy—"
"Mind gal—" grunted Devil-Bug as the girl disappeared through the door—"Set his plate on the side of the table
furthest from the door. D'ye hear? It's a whim o' mine—furthest from the door—d'ye hear—"
"Furthest from the door—"echoed Bess, and in a moment her footsteps resounded with a low pattering noise
along the massive staircase.
"The Spring—and the bottle— " muttered Devil-Bug as he resumed his seat beside the fire—"It seems to me, I
should like to creep up stairs, and listen at his door to see how them things work. The niggers is there: but no
matter. May be he'll howl—or groan—or do all sorts of ravin's? Gusty did not exactly tell me to do all this—but
I guess he'll grin as wide as any body, when the thing is done. It seems to me I should like, to see how them
things works. It 'ud be nice to listen a bit at his door. Wonder if that gal suspicions anything?"
He rubbed his hands earnestly together, as a man is want to do, under the influence of some pleasing idea, and
his solitary eye, dilated and sparkled, with a glance of the most remarkable satisfaction. A slight chuckle shook
his distorted frame, and his lips, performed a succession of vivid spasms which an ignorant observer might have
confounded under the general name of laughter.
"Poor feller—guess he's cold with out a fire—" said complacent Devil-Bug as he rubbed his hand cheerfully
together—"I might build him a little fire. I might—I might—ha! ha! ha !" he arose slowly to his feet, and laughed
so loud, that the echoes of his voice resounded from the den, along the hall, and up the staircase of the
mansion—"I might try that—" he cried with a hideous glow of exultation—"Wonder how that would work?"
Opening the door of a closet on one side of the fire-place, he drew from its depths, a small furnace of iron; such
as housewives use for domestic purposes. He placed the furnace in the full light of the fire, surveyed it closely,
rubbed his hands pleasantly together yet once more, while a deep chuckle shook his form, from head to foot.
His face wore an expression of extreme good humor—the visage of a drunken loafer, as he flings a penny to a
ragged sweep, was nothing in comparison.
"A leetle kindlin' wood—" he muttered, drawing to the fire an old sack that had lain concealed in the darkness—
"And a leetle charcoal! Makes a rougeing hot fire! Fat pine and charcoal—ha, ha, ha! Rather guess the poor
fellow's cold! Now for a light—Cuss it how the fat pin blazes!"
He waited but a single moment for the wood and charcoal to ignite. It flared up at first in a smoky blaze, and
then subsided into a clear and brilliant flame. Seizing the iron handle of the furnace Devil-Bug suddenly raised it
from the floor, and rushed from the den, and up the staircase of the mansion, as though his very life hung on his
speed. And as he ascended the stairway, the light of the furnace gradually increasing to a vivid flame,
was thrown upward over his hideous face, turning the beetling brow, the flat nose and the wide mouth with its
bristling teeth, to a hue of dusky red. One moment as he swung the furnace from side to side, you beheld his
face and form in a glow of blood red light, and the next it was suddenly lost to view, while the vessel of iron,
with its burning coals, seemed gliding up the stairway, impelled by a single swarthy hand, with fingers like talons
and sinews starting out from the skin like knotted cords.
"Halloo! I didn't know Monk Luke was in his room—" he muttered, as he paused for a moment before a
massive door, opening into the hall, which extended along the mansion, above the first stairway—" There's a
streak of light from the keyhole of his door! And voices inside the room—but no matter! The charcoal's a-
burnin'—and—wonder how that'ill work?"
And up the staircase of the mansion he pursued his way, flinging the blazing furnace from side to side, while his
face, grew like the visage of a very devil, as again the words rose to his lips—
"The charcoal's a-burnin'—wonder how that'ill work?"
The light still flickered through the keyhole of the massive door.
Within the sombre panels, it shone over the rich furniture of an apartment, long and wide, with high ceiling and
wainscotted walls. There was a gorgeous carpet on the floor, a thickly curtained bed in one corner, a
comfortable fire burning in the grate, and a large table standing near the centre of the room, on which a plain
lamp, darkened by a heavy shade, was burning. The shade flung the light of the lamp down over the table—it
was covered with books, cards, and wine glasses—and around the carpet, for the space of a yard or more,
while the other portions of the apartment, were enveloped in faint twilight.
And in that dim light, near the fire, stood two men, steadfastly regarding each other in the face. The snake-like
eye of the tall and slender man, was fixed in keen gaze upon the bronzed face of his companion, whose stout
and imposing form seemed yet more large and commanding in its proportions, as occasional flashes from the fire-
place lighted up the dim twilight. It was a strange thing, to see those large blue eyes, gleaming from the bronzed
face, with such a calm and yet burning lustre.
"Luke—to the—the—room—" whispered a voice, husky with suppressed agitation.
"He is calm—" muttered Luke to himself—"I led him a d——l of a way in order to give him time to command
his feelings. He is calm now—and it's too late to go back."
Extending his hand he reached a small dark lanthern from the mantelpiece, and walked softly across the floor.
Opening the door of a wide closet, he motioned Livingstone to approach.
"You see, this is rather a spacious closet—" Luke whispered, as silently drawing Livingstone within the recess,
he closed the door, leaving them enveloped in thick darkness—"The back wall of the closet, is nothing less than
a portion of the wainscotting of the next room. Give me your hand—it is firm, by G——d!—Do you feel that
bolt? It's a little one, but once withdrawn, the panelling swings away from the closet like a door, and—egad!—
the next room lays before you!"
While Livingstone stood in the thick darkness of the closet, silent as death, Luke slowly drew the bolt. Another
touch, and the door would swing open into the next room. Luke could hear the hard breathing of the Merchant,
and the hand which he touched suddenly became cold as ice.
As though by mere accident, in that moment of suspense, when their joined fingers touched the bolt, Harvey
allowed the door of the dark lanthern, to spring suddenly open. The face of Livingstone, every line and feature,
was disclosed in the light, with appaling distinctness. Luke was prepared for a sight of some interest, but no
sooner did the light fall on the Merchant's face, than he gave a start of involuntary horror. It was as though the
face of a corpse, suddenly recalled to life, had risen before him. White and livid and ghastly, with the discolored
circles of flesh deepening beneath each eye, and with the large blue eyes, steadily glaring from the dark
eyebrows, it was a countenance to strike the very heart with fear and horror. The firm lips wore a blueish hue, as
though the man had been dead for days, and corruption was eating its way through his vitals. Around his high
and massive brow, hung his hair, in slight masses; fearful streaks of white resting like scattered ashes, among the
locks of dark brown.
"Well, Luke—you see—I am calm—" whispered Livingstone, smiling, with his lips still compressed—"I—am—
Luke slowly withdrew the bolt, and closed the door of the lanthern. The secret door, of the wainscotting swung
open with a faint noise.
" Listen!" he whispered to Livingstone, as the dark room lay before them—"Listen!"
And with his very breath hushed, Livingstone silently listened. A low sound like a woman breathing in her sleep,
came faintly to his ear. Luke felt the Merchant start as though he was reeling beneath a sudden blow.
"Give me the dark lanthern—" whispered Livingstone—"The pistols I have!" he continued, hissing the words
through his clinched teeth—"The room is dark, but I can discern the outlines of the bed—"
He pressed Luke by the hand with a firm grasp, took the lanthern, carefully closing its door, and strode with a
noiseless footstep, into the dark room.
Luke remained in the closet, listening with hushed breath.
There was a pause for a moment. It seemed an age to the listener. Not a sound, not a footstep, not even the
rustling of the bed-curtains. All was silent as the grave-vault, which has not been disturbed for years.
Luke listened. He leaned from the closet and gazed into the dark room. It was indeed dark. Not the outline of a
chair, or a sofa, or the slightest piece of furniture could he discern. True, near the centre of the place, arose a
towering object, whose outlines seemed a shade lighter than the rest of the room. This might be the bed, thought
Luke, and again, holding his breath, he listened for the slightest sound.
All was dark and still.
Presently Luke heard a low gurgling noise, like the sound produced by a drowning man. Then all was silent as
In a moment the gurgling noise was heard again, and a sudden blaze of light streamed around the room.
Next week find out what horrors await the brother in
The Tower Room