The scientific fervor of old Holabird was at last satisfied, and he allowed the current to die down to one of much less intensity, merely keeping, as he said, a little on in case of an emergency. A little! It felt like ten toothaches run into one, but was so much less than before that it seemed almost like a caress in the first moment of relief.
While I was standing there helplessly, wondering what they would do with me, the old man walked up to Geraldine, who stood wringing her hands, looking at me, with her last hope gone, too, poor girl! and said, —
"Come, Geraldine, we must go; the man is dead."
"Liar!" I shouted; but no one heard me.
"And there is no use staying here," he continued; "I tell you you must come. I promised John Haverford that you would see him to-night. He asked me for your hand, and I consented to-day."
Oh, I could have begged him to turn on the electricity again; each pang fate had in store for me was worse than before. Geraldine answered gloriously, —
"But I have not consented."
"What difference? I say you shall marry him!" he said, grasping her wrist.
"And I say I will not! I will be faithful to my dear dead Harry here!"
"Nonsense! You shall marry Haverford! You must!"
At this moment a strange thing occurred. Geraldine wrenched herself away from her father, threw herself upon the physical half of me, and whispered, "I'll die with him first!"
Something passed over me as a blinding lightning flash, and behold! The body in the coffin struggled, sat up, clasped a trembling arm about Geraldine, and exclaimed, —
"I am not dead, Geraldine. And you, you infernal old villain, get out of my sight! Take off the battery; give me something to eat and drink!"
The spirit had entered my body again. My love for Geraldine and her love for me had wrought the miracle, just as anxiety for her and love for her had wrought the first change. Ay, through love the world is made and destroyed.
There is nothing more to tell. My story was so circumstantial that people generally believe it in spite of the learned doctors, who hold it to have been merely a case of suspended animation. In my mind and Geraldine's, however, there is no doubt about it. Besides, does not the learned Archidechus say – but never mind; if it were not for this affair Geraldine says she might have been years in finding out her heart as she did when she thought me dead, and her father never would have consented to our marriage as he did.
He is very kind to us now, and we are very happy, and have only anxiety lest my spirit should ever take to wandering again. Geraldine says if it does she will marry John Haverford, who is still pining for her; but I know that is only a threat to prevent the dissolution of partnership, as she confesses in private that she would never marry any one but me – never!
I am very fat and well now, and have burned up the parchments of the learned Archidechus, and am training myself utterly to disbelieve such things. The memory seems like a faint dream now in the light of our present happiness, for Geraldine is the loveliest and sweetest of wives, and says I am the best of husbands. And giving her that last word, I lay down the pen.