2021-04-18 10:38:59

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ENGLISH Mrs. Lyte had waked, as was too often the case, in a spasm of pain. Astra hastened to call Cathie from the kitchen to assist the laboring breath with gentle wafts of air from a fan, while she herself measured some drops of a soothing mixture, and lifted her mother's head on her arm, to enable her to swallow and to breathe more easily. Several anxious moments had passed thus, in silence broken only by the painful respirations of the invalid, when a low, sweet strain of melody stole so gently into the room that Astra could not tell, at first, from whence it came. So soft was it that it melted into the ear without making any apparent demand upon the attention, yet so clear that not one liquid note was lost. The swollen veins of Mrs. Lyte's forehead subsided; her chest ceased its agonized heaving; a peaceful, happy smile broke over her face.It soon appeared thatthanks to her father's promptnessCarice had sustained little injury from her immersion in the water; but, though heart and lungs were quickly brought to resume their functions, her senses remained fast locked in stupor. Knitting his brows, for a brief space, over this unexpected complication, Doctor Remy betook himself to a careful examination of the patient's head; and shortly announced that he had discovered a severe contusion of the skull, implying more or less serious injury to the brain.

"Miss Thane is quite right," said Bergan; "the matter was not worth mentioning. Certainly, it was not worth one of those tears, Miss Coralie; you will make me too proud of having gotten a small scratch in the fray. If it were ten times as much, it would in nowise offset what I owe your father. Now I must bid you farewell, or I shall miss the train."He looked up. "Bruno, how long has this been going on?"

The change in Doctor Trubie's face was startling. "This!" he exclaimed, his voice trembling with excitement, "who did you say wrote this?"Yet he did not shut out the shiver, nor distance the uneasiness. Some importunate Cassandra of the depths still insisted upon its clearness of vision, in respect to impending calamity. Troubled in spite of himself, he passed his recent operations in careful review, to see if he had left any loophole open to invite detection or impediment. None. On the contrary, all seemed safe and propitious. The Major was dying, or dead, in consequence of his own self-will and folly. Bergan Arling would shortly be disabled, or killed,but by another man's hand, and ostensiblyreally, even, in partto gratify another man's thirst for revenge. The Major's will had been found and destroyed; and anotherits exact counterpart, except for the omission of a few absurd conditions and restrictionshad been put in its place. A few days more, and the vast and valuable Bergan estate would be his own, and available to his ends. If his road to its possession had not been what men accounted straight and clean, whose fault was it? Had he not, in virtue of his marked talents and abilities, a better right to wealth and fame than most men?and was he to blame for the fatality which always placed some other life or heart between them and him? Had he not done his best to escape from it? Had he not tried more legitimate means to gain them, and failed?

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"Where can my nephew be?" he exclaimed in perplexity and even displeasure.Hubert drew back. "I take no man's hand which I have reason to believe is not clean," said he, haughtily. "As to your relations with my brother, he can settle them with you himself, if he still lives. If he does not, I warn you that any man whom I suspect to have been anywise concerned in his death, will meet with little mercy at my hands.""At your service," was the reply, with a bow of mock courtesy.

And Bergan, as he took the white, cool handempty now, except perhaps of a half-reluctant gratitude, and a moderate measure of good-willhad a singular intuition that some day it would be held out to him with an inestimable gift in it."But you are wanted," interrupted Mrs. Arling; "you are always wanted, as a friend."

Bergan had waited to hear this decision, and he now requested Doctor Gerrish to ride on to the Hall, where he would join him almost immediately, by the shorter way of the foot-bridge. His uncle detained him longer than he expected, however, for a final consultation about several important matters; and he was conscious that Doctor Gerrish must have been kept waiting for a considerable time, when he finally quitted the house. Hurrying to the foot-bridge, he saw two rough-looking men crossing it from the direction of the Hall. At sight of him, they interchanged a few words, and then came to meet him.

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Astra whispered softly that she had left a strange visitor in the studio, who appeared to be singing unconsciously to herself.Chapter 5 INTERCEPTED.

"I suppose that we shall have to proceed to business without my nephew, since he is not come," said Mr. Bergan, after a prolonged pause. "May I ask what is the object of this meeting?"Bergan quietly placed a chair for her.

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Apr-18 10:38:59