cooling, healing, hallowing wing. Dr. John, you pained me afterwards. Forgiven be every ill—freely forgiven—for the sake of that one dear remembered good!

Are there wicked things, not human, which envy human bliss? Are there evil influences haunting the air, and poisoning it for man? What was near me?

Something in that vast solitary garret sounded strangely. Most surely and certainly I heard, as it seemed, a stealthy foot on that floor, a sort of gliding out from the direction of the black recess haunted by the malefactor cloaks. I turned. My light was dim, the room was long; but, as I live, I saw in the middle of that ghostly chamber a figure all black or white; the skirts straight, narrow, black; the head bandaged, veiled, white.

Say what you will, reader; tell me I was nervous or mad; affirm that I was unsettled by the excitement of that letter; declare that I dreamed. This I vow: I saw there, in that room, on that night, an image like—a nun.

I cried out; I sickened. Had the shape approached me, I might have swooned. It receded. I made for the door. How I descended all the stairs I know not. By instinct I shunned the refectory, and shaped my course to madame’s sitting-room. I burst in. I said,—

“There is something in the grenier. I have been there; I saw something. Go and look at it, all of you!”

I said “all of you,” for the room seemed to me full of people, though in truth there were but four present—Madame Beck; her mother, Madame Kint, who was out of health, and now staying with her on a visit; her brother, M. Victor Kint; and another gentleman, who, when I entered the room, was conversing with the old lady, and had his back towards the door.

My mortal fear and faintness must have made me deadly pale. I felt cold and shaking. They all rose in consternation; they surrounded me. I urged them to go to the grenier. The sight of the gentlemen did me good and gave me courage. It seemed as if there were some help and hope, with men at hand. I turned to the door, beckoning them to follow. They wanted to stop me, but I said they must come this way. They must see what I had seen—something strange standing in the middle of the garret. And now I remembered my letter, left on the drawers with the light. This precious letter! Flesh or spirit must be defied for its sake. I flew upstairs, hastening the faster as I knew I was followed. They were obliged to come.

Lo! when I reached the garret-door, all within was dark as a pit; the light was out. Happily some one—madame, I think, with her usual calm sense—had brought a lamp from the room. Speedily, therefore, as they came up, a ray pierced the opaque blackness. There stood the bougie quenched on the drawers; but where was the letter? And I looked for that now, and not for the nun.

“My letter! my letter!” I panted and plained, almost beside myself. I groped on the floor, wringing my hands wildly. Cruel, cruel doom! To have my bit of comfort preternaturally snatched from me, ere I had well tasted its virtue!

I don’t know what the others were doing; I could not watch them. They asked me questions I did not answer; they ransacked all corners; they prattled about this and that disarrangement of cloaks, a breach or crack in the skylight—I know not what. “Something or somebody has been here,” was sagely averred.

“Oh, they have taken my letter!” cried the grovelling, groping monomaniac.

“What letter, Lucy? My dear girl, what letter?” asked a known voice in my ear. Could I believe that ear? No; and I looked up. Could I trust my eyes? Had I recognized the tone? Did I now look on the face of the writer of that very letter? Was this gentleman near me in this dim garret—John Graham—Dr. Bretton himself?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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