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for a little while. I saw her pass me on the
road. When I took the tidings home, our
father's heart burst; he never spoke one of the
words that filled it. I took my young sister
(for I have another) to a place beyond the reach
of this man, and where, at least, she will never
be his vassal. Then, I tracked the brother here,
and last night climbed ina common dog, but
sword in hand.—Where is the loft window? It
was somewhere here?'

"The room was darkening to his sight; the
world was narrowing around him. I glanced
about me, and saw that the hay and straw
were trampled over the floor, as if there had
been a struggle.

"'She heard me, and ran in. I told her not
to come near us till he was dead. He came in
and first tossed me some pieces of money; then
struck at me with a whip. But I, though a
common dog, so struck at him as to make him
draw. Let him break into as many pieces as he
will, the sword that he stained with my common
blood; he drew to defend himselfthrust at
me with all his skill for his life.'

"My glance had fallen, but a few moments
before, on the fragments of a broken sword,
lying among the hay. That weapon was a
gentleman's. In another place, lay an old sword
that seemed to have been a soldier's.

"'Now, lift me up, Doctor; lift me up.
Where is he?'

"'He is not here,' I said, supporting the
boy, and thinking that he referred to the brother.

"'He! Proud as these nobles are, he is
afraid to see me. Where is the man who was
here? Turn my face to him."

"I did so, raising the boy's head against my
knee. But, invested for the moment with
extraordinary power, he raised himself completely:
obliging me to rise too, or I could not have
still supported him.

"'Marquis,' said the boy, turned to him
with his eyes opened wide and his right hand
raised, 'in the days when all these things are
to be answered for, I summon you, and yours
to the last of your bad race, to answer for them.
I mark this cross of blood upon you, as a sign
that I do it. In the days when all these things
are to be answered for, I summon your brother,
the worst of the bad race, to answer for them
separately. I mark this cross of blood upon
him, as a sign that I do it.'

"Twice, he put his hand to the wound in
his breast, and with his forefinger drew a cross
in the air. He stood for an instant with the
finger yet raised, and, as it dropped, he dropped
with it, and I laid him down dead. * * * *

"When I returned to the bedside of the
young woman, I found her raving in precisely
the same order and continuity. I knew that
this might last for many hours, and that it
would probably end in the silence of the grave.

"I repeated the medicines I had given her,
and I sat at, the side of the bed until the night
was far advanced. She never abated the piercing
quality of her shrieks, never stumbled in
the distinctness or the order of her words.
They were always 'My husband, my father, and
my brother! One, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. Hush!'

"This lasted twenty-six hours from the time
when I first saw her. I had come and gone
twice, and was again sitting by her, when she
began to falter. I did what little could be done
to assist that opportunity, and by-and-by she
sank into a lethargy, and lay like the dead.

"It was as if the wind and rain had lulled at
last, after a long and fearful storm. I released
her arms, and called the woman to assist me to
compose her figure and the dress she had torn.
It was then that I knew her condition to be that
of one in whom the first expectations of being a
mother have arisen; and it was then that I lost
the little hope I had had of her.

"'Is she dead?' asked the Marquis, whom I
will still describe as the elder brother, coming
booted into the room from his horse.

"'Not dead,' said I; 'but like to die.'

"'What strength there is in these common
bodies!' he said, looking down at her with some
curiosity.

"'There is prodigious strength,' I answered
him, 'in sorrow and despair.'

"He first laughed at my words, and then
frowned at them. He moved a chair with his
foot near to mine, ordered the woman away,
and said, in a subdued voice,

"'Doctor, finding my brother in this difficulty
with these hinds, I recommended that
your aid should be invited. Your reputation is
high, and, as a young man with your fortune to
make, you are probably mindful of your interest.
The things that you see here, are things to be
seen, and not spoken of'.'

"I listened to the patient's breathing, and
avoided answering.

"'Do you honour me with your attention,
Doctor?'

"'Monsieur,' said I, 'in my profession, the
communications of patients are always received
in confidence.' I was guarded in my answer,
for I was troubled in my mind by what I had
heard and seen.

"Her breathing was so difficult to trace, that
I carefully tried the pulse and the heart. There
was life, and no more. Looking round as I
resumed my seat, I found both the brothers intent
upon me. * * * * *

"I write with so much difficulty, the cold is
so severe, I am so fearful of being detected and
consigned to an underground cell and total
darkness, that I must abridge this narrative.
There is no confusion or failure in my memory;
it can recal, and could detail, every word that
was ever spoken between me and those brothers.

"She lingered for a week. Towards the last,
I could understand some few syllables that she
said to me, by placing my ear close to her lips.
She asked me where she was, and I told her;
who I was, and I told her. It was in vain that
I asked her for her family name. She faintly
shook her head upon the pillow, and kept her
secret, as the boy had done.

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