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be observed. Its rays did not reach the passage ; and he was also shrouded in some degree by a door, which was off its hinges, and which was placed against the wall. Fastened to the side of the room were two deep shelves—the lower one containing some bottles and plates ; the upper, a number of human sculls. In a corner were some more of these, intermingled in a careless heap, with a few bleached bones.
George Delmé was standing opposite the door, conversing earnestly with a Maltese, evidently of the lowest caste. The latter was seated on the barrel we have mentioned, and was listening with apparently a mixture of surprise and exultation to what George was saying. George's voice sunk to an inaudible whisper, as the conversation continued, and he was evidently trying to remove some scruples, which this man either affected to feel, or really felt. The man's answers were given in a gruff and loud tone of voice, but from the Maltese dialect of his Italian, Sir Henry could not understand what was said. His countenance was very peculiar. It was of that derisive character
rarely met with in one of his class of life, except when called forth by peculiar habits, or extraordinary circumstances. His eyes were very small, but bright and deeply set. His lips wore a constant sarcastic smile, which gave him the air of a bold but cunning man. His throat and bosom were bare, and of a deep copper colour ; and his muscular chest was covered with short curly hair. The conversation on George's part became more animated, and he at length made use of what seemed an unanswerable argument. Taking out a beaded purse, which Sir Henry knew well—it had been Emily's last present to George-he emptied the contents into the bronzed hand of his companion, who grasped the money with avidity. The Maltese now appeared to acquiesce in all George's wishes ; and rising, went towards the bed, and selected some of the articles of wearing apparel Delmé had already noticed. He addressed some words to George, who sat on the bedside quiescently, while the man went to the table, and took up a knife that was upon it. For a moment, Delmé felt alarm lest his design might
be a murderous one; but it was not so. He laughed savagely, as he made use of the knife, to cut off the luxuriant chestnut ringlets, which shaded George's eyes and forehead. He then applied to the face some darkening liquid, and commenced choosing a sable dress. George threw off his cloak, and was attired by the Maltese, in a long black cotton robe of the coarsest material, which, descending to the feet, came in a hood over his face, which it almost entirely concealed. During the whole of this scene, George Delmé's features wore an air of dogged apathy, which alarmed his brother, even more than his agitation in the earlier part of the day. After his being metamorphosed in the way we have described, it would have been next to an impossibility to have recognised him. His companion put on a dress of the same nature, and Sir Henry was preparing to make his retreat, presuming that they would now leave the building, when he was induced to stay for the purpose of remarking the conduct of the Maltese. He took up a scull, and placing his finger through an eyeless hole, whence once love beamed or hate flashed, he made some savage comment, which he accompanied by a long and malignant laugh. This would at another time have shocked Sir Henry, but there was another laugh, wilder and more discordant, that curdled the blood in Delmé's veins. It proceeded from his brother, the gaythe happy George Delmé; and as it re-echoed through the gloomy passage, it seemed that of a remorseless demon, gloating on the misfortunes of the human race. Delmé turned away in agony, and, unperceived, regained the anxious domestic. Screened by an angle of the building, they saw George and his companion ascend the stone steps, cross the yard, and turn into the street. They followed him cautiously—Delmé's ears ringing with that fiendish laugh. George's companion stopped for a moment, at a house in the street, where they were joined by a sallow-looking priest, apparently one of the most disgusting of his tribe. He was accompanied by a boy, also drest in sacerdotal robes, in one hand bearing a silverornamented staff, of the kind frequently used in processions, and in other observances of the Catholic religion ; and in the other, a rude lanthorn, whose light enabled Delmé to note these particulars. As the four figures swept through the streets, the lower orders prostrated themselves, before the figure of the crucified and dying Saviour which surmounted the staff. They again stopped, and the priest entered a house alone. On coming back, he was followed by a coffin, borne on the shoulders of four of the lower order of Maltese. At the moment these were leaving the house, Henry heard a solitary scream, apparently of a woman. It was wild and thrilling; such an one as we hear from the hovering sea bird, as the tempest gathers to a head. To Delmé, coming as it did at that lone hour from one he saw not, it seemed superhuman. In the front of .the house stood two calèches, the last of which, Sir Henry observed was without doors. At a sign from the Maltese, George and his strange companion entered it. They were followed by the coffin, which was placed lengthways, with the two ends projecting into the street. In the leading calèche were the priest and boy, the latter of