'We did not wish to make a stir about it. Nobody knew of his death, and we laid him down quietly; one place I thought was as good as another when once the life was out of him. We are poor folk, and could not pay for ceremonies.'.'The truth at length eame out. Father and son were both members of a band of thieves; under this floor they concealed their plunder, and there too lay more than one mouldering corpse, victims who had occupied the room in which I slept, and had there met their death. The son was indeed buried in that spot; he had been mortally wounded in a skirmish with travellers, and had lived long enough to repent of his deeds and to beg for that priestly absolution which, according to his creed, was necessary to secure his pardon. In vain he had urged his hither to bring the confessor to his bedside; in vain he had entreated him to break off from the murderous band with which he was allied and to live honestly in future; his prayers were disregarded, and his dying admonitions were of no avail. But for the strange mysterious warning which had roused me from my sleep and driven me out of the house that night another crime would have been added to the old man's tale of guilt. That gasping attempt to speak, and that awful groaning whence did they proceed?
It was no living voice. Beyond that I will express no opinion on the subject. I will only say it was the means of saving my life, and at the same time putting an end to the series of bloody deeds which had been committed in that house.
'I received my passport that evening by the diligence from Rome, and started the next morning on my way to Naples. As we were crossing the frontier a tall figure approached, wearing the long rough cappoua of the mendicant friars, with a hood over the face and holes for the eyes to look through. He earned a tin money?box in his hand, which he held out to the passengers, jingling a few coins in it, and crying in a monotonous voice, 'Anime in purgatorio! Anime in purgatorio!'
I do not believe in purgatory, nor in supplications for the dead; but I dropped a piece of silver into the box nevertheless, as I thought of that unhallowed grave in the forest, and my prayer went up to heaven in all sincerity 'Requiescat in pace!' '