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give him this in consequence. If he should get into
scrapes, rescue him. If he fall into love, laugh at
him; if into debt, lend him whatever he wants, and
credit eternally your devoted friend,

"PRICE WATKINS."

I rang my bell very, very gently, and to the
waiter I said, in a whisper, " Tell the young
gentleman in No. 5 not to wait dinner for me;
that I am poorly, and have gone to bed; on no
account am I to be disturbed!" A five-franc
piece strengthened the force of the injunction,
and I was alone.

About eight o'clock, indeed, a knock came to
the door, and Towers cried out, "Are you
better? do you feel all right again?" But I
affected to snore deeply, and he stepped quietly
away and left me. Towards midnight I put my
trunk and carpet-bag into a little one-horse
baroccio, and started for Como, leaving strict
orders with the waiter to say that I had gone
towards Turin.

My companion I never saw more. At Como,
I rested for a day, and then set out for the
Breariza, a little rural district south of the Lake,
where I lodged with a steward's family in
the most retired manner, picking up some
execrable Italian, and learning the care and
culture of silkworms. October came, and with
the tenth of that month I knew Towers was
to sail for India, and so I came forth again into
the world, shaved off my three-months' beard,
and arrived at Milan. I now made a vow to
myself not to form any acquaintance, nor let any
circumstance seduce me into a companionship.
Resolving to put my theory of self-sufficiency to
a severe test, I went to Nice for the winter,
took up my quarters at Chauvein's, and dined
every day with about a hundred and twenty
others at table d'hote, never uttering a syllable
to man, woman, or child at table. They say that
when, a man has done anything sufficiently long
to be notorious for it, he is sure to like it. I
believe the theory. I know that I was as vain
of my silent system as other men were of their
agreeability. I loved to see the curiosity about
me; to overhear the muttered questions to the
waiter, " Was he always so? Was it a shock? Is
it for a wager?" and so on. To such a point
of perfection had I carried my practice, that
no matter what turn of gay, lively, serious,
or eventful the conversation around me took, I
never by the slightest change of feature showed
any passing interest in it. More than once it
occurred to me to meet persons I had seen in
society at home, but my dull, stolid, irresponsive
look deterred them all, and none attempted to
renew acquaintance with me. One day, just as
I took my place at table and was unfolding my
napkin, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned
gravely, sternly around to learn the cause.
"Don't you remember me, Barnes," said a very
fat and very florid young man, with a scarlet
neckcloth, " Tanby, of the Bays? You don't
forget me?"

I shook my head in silence. " Not remember
me!" cried he. " Why, you were constantly at
our mess!" Another shake of my head, more
doubtful than the former one. " And it was
through you we got to know that precious
fellow WatkinsPierce Watkins."

I arose and left the room. I must have had
something like a slight fit, for when I regained
consciousness I was lying on my bed, and the
waiter was placing wet towels on my forehead.
I rallied, however, quickly, and, hastening down
to the Post, took my place for Genoa, and
quitted Nice by ten o'clock that night, I trust
never to revisit it.

I will not dare to follow the uneventful days
that succeeded. A morbid terror of being
recognised, a fear I can only liken to a felon's
dread of detection, haunted me. It was in vain
I said to myself that I was guiltless; that
neither shame nor reproach attached to me. I
acquired no sense of courage through reason,
for I had soared into a region where reason has
little sway. In a word, I had begun to run
away from a shadow, and very little imagination
was needed to picture forth my pursuer.

I hasten to conclude.

It was about two years after my hurried
departure from Nice that I found myself towards
the close of autumn at Terracina. I was staying
at that inn which certain guide-books tell
us was once the seat of Cicero's villa, and
which, true or not, is one of the most charming
spots on the road southwards. The only other
travellers there at the time were an old English
general, a son seemingly far advanced in
consumption, and a pretty girl, his daughter, who
used to sit under the orange-trees and read
aloud for her brother, a practice of which I
derived my share of advantage, by affecting
to sketch from the rocks that skirted
the garden, but quite near enough to hear her
voice.

The general, who was always poking about
the strand after shellshe was a passionate
conchologistwould touch his hat as he passed
me, and I returned the salute; our acquaintance
went no further, but I knew Bella well, that is
to say, I heard her brother call her by that name
a dozen times a day, and her sweet thrilling
voice, as she read out Shelley or Keats, vibrated
within me like a bell in a shrine. That poor
fellow George coughed painfullyso painfully
that the reading would cease at times, and her
voice would subside to a low murmur, and then
out of deference to them I would steal away,
and not come back till the book was resumed.
Thus glided on the days, almost dream-like in
their shadowy form, when one morning, as I sat
in my accustomed nook, I heard Bella say
something about a book which she believed she had
brought with her, but found to her great regret
she had forgotten.

"And I am so sorry, George, for I wanted to
read you Genevieve, and make it one of your
favourites, as it is of mine."

Now, I had a copy of Coleridge in my room,
but I had not the courage to offer it, the more
since I had no pretext for knowing that they
wanted it, and yet what a churlish thing it was
to feel that the very book they wished for was

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