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"A week had passed since the strange event,
and it had made great noise in the town;
when Ernest, who was the most frequent
visitor at the castle, came to us with the
astounding intelligence that news of Max's
death had been received by his family. Ernest
had read the letter throughthe letter which
informed the Geheim-Rath von Nierstein, of
his son's death. It was a friend, whom Max
had made at the Bologna University, who
wrote a long and particular account of the
sad event, and the circumstances that
preceded it."

From this point I can take up the story:
for, I, too, read that deeply interesting
letter which told the fate of poor Max.
It was minutely particular: rambling (as
such letters always are); interspersed with
bursts of grief, encomiums, memories only
interesting to friendship. Of course, then,
I do not give the letter in extenso; but,
the following is a correct abstract of it.

The climate of Bologna did not agree with
Max from the beginning. Born in Schloss
Nierstein, close to one of the highest towns in
Europe, and breathing from his childhood,
the highly oxygenated air of that lofty
region, the relaxing warmth of the plains of
Italy had a most pernicious effect on his
health. With his usual and beautiful
unselfishness, Max would not alarm and
grieve his father, who doted on him, by
writing home one word about his indisposition.
On the contrary, he wrote cheerfully
to his relatives; and, battling with his
own feelings, did truly and manfully, try
to be cheerful. This kind of holy deception
was carried so far, that he had even
unknown to his relations spentsome
weeks in the Apennines, with a view to the
recovery of his health. From this mountain
trip he had returned to his university much
stronger, and free from that tendency to low
malaria fever, which had haunted him in the
gloomy streets of Bologna, and which had
obliged him to keep his bed for some time in
the preceding autumn.

But, suddenly, in the early spring, he had
a return of his complaint. He lingered on for
some time: not very ill, but low, and (as it
seemed) hypochondrical. Again, he would
not write home about his state, waiting
always waitingto be better. Then it was
he did not write at all.

The end was very rapidindeed sudden
Brain fever set in. Three days of delirium
did death's work. The friend was always at
his bedside, too much occupied in the attentions
necessary to a patient under such
circumstancestoo bewildered; too agonised;
yet too hopefulto write word to Nierstein
how ill Max was. A few days would
decide for life or death: so few, that a
summons for Max's relations was delayed
until something like a certainty should
declare itself. Had his family been sent for
in the beginning, they would have found him
either dead or recovering. And how much
Max would have disliked an unnecessary
summons to his sick bed, the Bologna friend
very well knew. So. in the midst of doubtng
and hoping, nothing was written, no
one was sent for (there was no electric
telegraph in those days), and Death stole
on. The records of poor Max's delirium were
very affecting. All his words showed a
good, pure, affectionate spirit. Many times
he seemed to be conversing with the brother
and sister whom he had lost, or with his
father, whom he dearly loved. Many times
he besought the love of his step-mother, who
(truth to say) had viewed him with a hard
eye. Then he would seem to be talking to
his betrothed, Caroline Marschner, or again,
his friend Ernest would be the phantom of
his brain. His death was unexpected, at the
moment it occurred, even by his medical

It happened on Easter-Eve. Neither during
the day nor when the doctor had recently visited
him late in the afternoon, had he appeared
to be worse. On the contrary, he had become
more tranquil. The friend was sitting by his
bedside. The night might be said to be
nearly over; for, in truth, Easter-Eve had
merged into Easter-Day. It was near one
o'clock in the morning, when Max, who
seemed to be asleep, startled his friend, by
suddenly calling out:

"Now I must go! They are expecting
me!" He partly raised himself in bed,
stretching out his arms and hands. Then, as
suddenly, he fell back upon the pillow dead
as if he had been shot.

After hearing these things, the blood-
written covenant, that had faded to a dim,
brownish hue, unlike any other colour, looked
to me terrible. I made haste to send it back,
to the keeping of Max's family.

Now Ready, Price Threepence, or stamped Fourpence,
                          THE PERILS
                       AND THEIR TREASURE
Of HOUSEHOLD WORDS; and containing Thirty-six
pages, or the amount of One regular Number and a half.
Household Words Office, No. 10, Wellington Street
North, Strand. Sold by all Booksellers, and at all
Railway Stations.