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attended by her maid, set out, travelling post,
to join him.

Early in the morning they had started, intending
to sleep that night at a town of some
importance on the way. But the roads were
heavy, and the horses so jaded, that it was
evident they could not reach their destination till
far on in the night, even supposing it possible
to achieve that much, and already fatigue and
anxiety were beginning to tell strongly on my

So there was nothing for it but to take the
first tolerable shelter they could reach, and at
ten o'clock they were glad to find themselves in
a rural, but really not uncomfortable roadside

Supper despatched, my mother was fain to
retire to bed. The room, though small and
poorly furnished, was clean, and the bed looked
not uninviting, and the only serious drawback
to its convenience was, that my mother's maid
had to sleep in a room above, there being none
other unoccupied on that floor. However, as
Wilson's chamber was the one immediately over
my mother's, and that she was a light sleeper, it
would be easy, by tapping with the point of an
umbrella on the low ceiling, at any moment to
summon her, in case of there being occasion to
do so.

And so, in a short time, my mother, worn out
with all she had gone through in the long day,
dropped into a profound sleep, and one by one
the lights and the noises in the house sank
into darkness and silence, and only the mice
held their nightly orgies behind the old

Only in one room a light was still burning at
two o'clock in the morning.

About that time my mother awoke; but in
such ghastly terror and horror that it seemed
not like waking from wholesome sleep, but like
waking from death in the place of outer darkness
where are weeping and gnashing of

For something was clutching and tearing
frantically at the bed-clothes, with a horrible gasping,
gurgling sound unlike anything in or out
of nature, and there was a struggling and
writhing on the floor by the bedside, as if the
thing was striving to clamber up on it. And
so strong was my mother's impression that this
was so, that though unable to scream, she put
forth her hand, as if to repulse the thing, and
felt it come in contact with something hot and
wet, that clung stickily to her fingers.

Then she found breath to burst into wild
ringing shrieks; and lights were brought;
and lying by the bedside was a man in the
agonies of death with his throat gashed,
and the blood welling from it, and saturating
the bed-clothes, and crimson on my mother's

She never recovered her senses, and a few
days after I was born.

My father, as soon as it was possiblemuch
sooner than it was safefor him to travel, came
and took her and me, the one mad, the other
apparently dying, to Cornwall. Two rooms on
the ground floor of the house were arranged for
her, opening on the enclosure that had so
often excited my curiosity, so that she might,
unseen, have air and exercise. There, attended
only by her maid, an elderly woman, attached
to her from her childhood, and by my father,
she remained till the period of her death, which
occurred but a few weeks after the night on
which I had seen her for the first and last time.
During the earlier years of her insanity she had,
usually, been tolerably quiet; but some months
before her death the infirmity took a new turn.
She would be seized with sudden frenzies,
uttering the shrieks that had occasionally
reached my ears, going in imagination through
the scene at the inn, constantly washing her
hands to remove the blood with which her
distracted fancy stained them, and examining the
throats of my father, the doctor, and nurse, as
she had examined mine.

And now was explained the meaning of the
painful surveillance of me which, in my poor
father, had so disturbed me. A constant dread
was on him lest the condition of my mother's
intellect at the period of my birth might exert
an influence on mine. Day and night this
terror haunted him; every word, look, and
action of mine was weighed and studied with
this idea; and little did he suspect how this
very anxiety, or rather the unconscious
evidence of it, tended towards producing a state of
mind calculated to engender, under exciting
circumstances, the very effect he dreaded.
Above all things he trembled lest the truth of
my mother's awful fate should, in any way,
reach me; and thus arose the mystery which,
I verily believe, might have been yet more
dangerous to me than even some knowledge of the
rightful fact.

My poor father! if error there were, it was
wholly error of judgment, and I have no
reason to blame himto do other than regard
his memory with pitying tenderness, to lament
over a fate so undeserved and so terrible. He
sleeps now under a monument I have erected
in our parish churchyard, side by side with
the wife from whom in life he was so cruelly

The unfortunate cause of the calamity which
thus overshadowed the lives of a family, proved
to be a young gentleman, the son of Scottish
parents, who, tired of the monotony of his quiet
home life, had come south, fallen in with evil
company, and, having disgraced the honest name
he bore, resolved, in a moment of desperation,
to end his life. No sooner, however, had his
hand committed the fatal act, than, repentant
and terrified, his only thought was to seek

Between his room and my mother's was a
door of communication, which neither she nor
Wilson had observed, and through this he,
having heard voices on the other side, trailed
himself, and, unable to speak, had sought to
call my mother's attention in the way