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crossed herself and called on the Virgin.
Beside Charles Temple there lay another
form. As soon as she had somewhat
recovered herself, and was able to examine
more closely, Sœur Thérèse found that it
was the dead body of his wife. She was
lying with her arms around Temple, who
was completely insensible, with her head
resting on his breast. Many were the
stories to which this strange circumstance
gave rise among the good sisters, who
fully believed, and indeed still say, that
the body of the heretic lady was carried
at midnight by the Evil One to the apartment
of her heretic husband. Doctor
Bernardine found, however, a more
realistic way of accounting for the marvel.
When the sister who watched beside Mrs.
Temple believed that she died, she had really
sunk into a deep trance-like sleep. To save
himself unnecessary pain the doctor had not
visited the supposed corpse of his favourite.
Had he done so he perhaps would have
discovered the mistake. Clara had awakened
from her trance in a delirious state, and
the passing strength given by fever had
enabled her to rise. Her love for Charles
being the one remaining note of harmony
amid the discords of the poor girl's brain,
she had gone straight into his room, which
was not far from her own. She entered the
room while Charles slept and seated herself
behind the curtain of his bed, as she used
to do when nursing him. When he called
for her she had risen and made herself
visible to him. Her mind during her illness
had been dwelling so much on death and
eternity that it was little wonder if her
wandering talk was of angels and spirits.
The ephemeral strength of fever had soon
given way; the dazzling light which often
precedes fainting had come before her eyes.
She had sunk upon her already unconscious
husband, folding her wasted arms around
him, and nestling her poor little head
against the dear familiar breast. No aid
had been at hand to keep the flickering
spark of life alight within her; and so
she passed away, to be, in truth, one of the


           CHAPTER XIII.

IN watching the course of very quiet lives
one is sometimes struck by seeing how
events crowd themselves into a marvellously
short space of time. John Miles' s life had
been one of an uninterrupted calm as any
man's; and now, suddenly, incidents of
vital interest succeeded each other rapidly.
During that silent half hour to Salisbury,
he had resolved on his line of action. He
would deliver up Miss Pomeroy into Mrs.
Hicks's charge: he would then speak certain
words which he felt must get themselves
said before he could leave her; and,
after that, he would start on his homeward
journey, to inform Lady Herriesson of the
discovery and safety of her errant

Fate willed it otherwise. On driving up
to the door of the small gabled house in
the Close, Martha ran out with a troubled

"I'm glad you're a-come back, Mister
John. I've been a-watching for you. Missis
has been took ill. We have all been fine
and frightened. She had a seizure about
an hour after you left. I thought it was
all up with her, Mister John, but she rallied.
The doctorhe has been with her ever
since, and says that she'll do now, if she
don't have another attack. Will you please
to walk up-stairs, and see her, sir?"

The old lady was quite conscious, and
her eyes smiled when she saw her nephew
enter the room. She tried to speak, but
was prevented by the doctor, who
whispered to John that it was, above all things,
essential that she should be kept quiet.
"Anything that excites her maybe fatal.
She must be most carefully watched for
some days. You can remain with her, can
you not?"

John notified that he could. He need
not be at Mortlands until Saturday night,
for his Sunday's duty, and he might manage
to return, perhaps, on Monday. In his
aunt's condition, it seemed obvious that he
ought to be here, if possible. As to Maud,
he must send off a telegram to Sir Andrew,
and write by post a fuller explanation of
the circumstances in which Miss Pomeroy
was now placed.

Maud sat in the little parlour below stairs,
listless; her hands lying impassive in her
lap, her eyes fixed upon the fire. The
violent emotions of the morning had left
her stunned. She had a dim consciousness
of humiliation and anguish, justly entailed
by her own conduct; and felt utterly
incapable of looking forward, or of laying
out any plan of action for herself. Only
one thingnot back to Mortlands! Her
mind kept repeating this with an obstinate
desperation. Nothing should drag her there.
Martha, wondering "whoever the young
lady can be as Mister John has brought" to
this quiet old house, where all goes on by
clockwork from one year's end to the other,