Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

He had thrown off his cravat-his throat was bare—his eyes glanced wildly.

“And who are you, Sir?” said he, as Henry entered.

“ What! not know me, dearest George ?” re· plied his brother, in agony.

"I do not understand your insolence, Sir; but if you are a dun, go to my servant. Thompson,” continued he, "give me my spurs ! I shall ride.”

“ Ride !” said Delmé.

Thompson made him a quiet sign. “I am very sorry, Sir," said he, “but the Arab is quite lame, and is not fit for the saddle.”

“Give me a glass of sangaree then, you rascal ! Port-do you hear?"

The glass was brought him. He drained its contents at a draught.

“Now, kick that scoundrel out of the room, Thompson, and let me sleep."

He threw himself listlessly on the sofa. Acmé was weeping bitterly, but he seemed not to notice her. It was late in the day. The surgeon had been sent for. He now arrived, and stated that

nothing could be done ; but recommended his being watched closely, and the removing all dangerous weapons. He begged Henry, however, to indulge him in all his caprices, in order that he might the better observe the state of his mind.

While George slept, Delmé entered another room, and ordering the servant to inform him when he awoke, he sat down to dinner alone and dispirited; for Acmé refused to leave George. It was indeed a sad, and to Sir Henry Delmé an unforeseen shock.

In a couple of hours, Thompson came with a message from Acmé. “Master is awake, Sirknows the Signora—and seems much better. He has desired me to brush his cloak, as he intends going out. Shall I do so, Sir, or not?”

“ Do so!” said Delmé, “but fail not to inform ine when he is about to go; and be yourself in readiness. We will watch him.”

CHAPTER XV.

THE CHARNEL HOUSE.

“ And when at length the mind shall be all free,

From what it hates in this degraded form,
Reft of its carnal life, save what shall be
Existent happier in the fly or worm ;
When elements to elements conform,
And dust is as it should be.

The last grey tinge of twilight, was fast giving place to the sombre hues of night, as a figure, enveloped in a military cloak, issued from the barrack at Floriana.

Henry at once recognised George ; and only delaying till a short distance had intervened between his brother and himself, Delmé and Thompson followed his footsteps.

Geerge Helmé walked swiftly, as if intent on

some deep design. The long shadow thrown out by his figure, enabled his pursuers to distinguish him very clearly. He did not turn his head, but, with hurried step, strode the species of common which divides Floriana from La Valette. Crossing the drawbridge, and passing through the porch which guards the entrance to the town, he turned down an obscure street, and, folding his cloak closer around him, rapidly—yet with an appearance of caution-continued his route, diving from one street to another, till he entered a small courtyard, in which stood an isolated gloomy-looking house. No light appeared in the windows, and its exterior bespoke it uninhabited. Henry and the domestic paused, expecting George either to knock or return to the street. He walked on, however, and, turning to one side of the porch, descended a flight of stone steps, and entered the lower part of the house.

“Perhaps we had better not both follow him," said the servant.

“ No, Thompson ! do you remain here, only taking care that your master does not pass you : and I think you may as well go round the house, and see if there is any other way of leaving it.”

Sir Henry descended the steps in silence. Arrived at the foot of the descent, a narrow passage, diverging to the left, presented itself. Beyond appeared a distant glimmering of light. Delmé groped along the passage, using the precaution to crouch as low as possible, until he came before a large comfortless room, in the centre of which, was placed a brass lamp, whose light was what he had discerned at the extremity of the passage. He could distinctly observe the furniture and inmates of the room. Of the former, the only articles were a table—on which were placed the remains of a homely meal-an iron bedstead, and a barrel, turned upside down, which served as a substitute for a chair. The bedstead had no curtains, but in lieu of them, there were hangings around it, which struck Delmé as resembling mourning habiliments. Whilst the light operated thus favourably, in enabling Sir Henry to note the interior of the apartment, it was hardly possible, from its situation, that he himself could

« AnteriorContinuar »