2021-04-18 10:56:00

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ENGLISH Strange to say, however, when Rue was sought for, she was nowhere to be found. As messenger after messenger returned from the chambers, the quarter, and the grounds, and reported that no trace of her could be discovered, Doctor Remy and Mr. Bergan looked at each other in blank amazement. This new disappearance was equally startling and suspicious to both; each thought that the other must be privy to it; each wondered what it portended."Is that will in due form of law?" asked Mr. Bergan, breaking the pause.

"A ruined home, and a ruined life," he murmured, with a kind of bitter mournfulness,"they will suit each other well!""Mamma, could I not be excused?"Coralie explained what was wanted. "Would you like it?" she inquired, twining her arm round her friend. "There will be some fine artistic effects."

Astra mutely made way; her visitor glided into the room, cast a quick, comprehensive glance around, and sat down in front of the statue of Mercury.

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"'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.'"Mr. Bergan, meanwhile, had gone over to the Hall, partly to give a regretful look at his brother's dead face, and partly to have some further talk with Bergan. Thick-growing memories beset him, at every step of the way; and, the goal being reached, he had ample opportunity to reflect upon the sin and folly of family feuds, the miserably thin barriers which suffice to keep apart those who ought to be one in affection and interest, as in blood. He had not been very much to blame for their erection between him and his brother, but he regretted none the less that he had not wrought more perseveringly and lovingly to break them down. There had always been a generous side to Harry's character, which might have been successfully appealed to, at least in the earlier stages of the quarrel; his own influence might have been exerted for good; the dreary, empty Hall might still have been a pleasant home; this lonely death-couch might have been sweetened by the tender touch and tears of kindred hands and hearts, and sanctified by the gentle benedictions of religion. It all might have beenit could never be now! Death had closed every door to reconciliation and amendment, and written over each the mournful legend, "Too Late!""Because when I was wondering to whom I could go," answered Bergan, "I found myself standing before your door. Because you did me the honor, two weeks ago, to ask me a certain question, and I thought that this might be the beginning of a better answer than I was able to give you."

Yet he would have been glad to be able to answer the question,at least to himself. He was completely in the dark as to how Big Ben and his confederate had prospered in their evil undertaking. He knew that Bergan had not been found in his room, as was expected; but why he had gone forth so early, and whether he had encountered the ruffians, was altogether a mystery. All day, he had been holding himself ready for whatever might come,Bergan's sudden appearance in the flesh, or the bringing in of his dead body, or a summons to go and afford him medical aid;he did not mean to be taken off his guard, in any case. But the suspense was trying. It had not been contemplated in his original plan; it kept his mind and nerves continually on the stretch; it gave him an uncomfortable feeling that other hands than his own were busy with the dark threads of his schemes, weaving them into patterns that he had not designed. He longed to know precisely what he had to hope or to dread.

Doctor Remy did not move a muscle of his face, but his eyes sparkled, in spite of himself. Ben laughed, and nodded his head."Take care," exclaimed Mr. Sypher, in a warning voice, "you will catch fire."

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The answer to this question, although very gently given by Doctor Gerrish, was, of course, a severe shock; all the more, because Doctor Remy took care to throw in a covert insinuation that Bergan's absence betrayed some guilty connection with the disastrous event; bethinking himself that, in case the young man should escape Big Ben, he could be gotten rid of all the same, for the present, by being arrested for murder.

"Yes, it has been pointed out to me," replied Bergan.

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Apr-18 10:56:00