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stealthy steps along the corridor, and up the stairs, leaving him in the dressing-room below. It was several minutes before I could find the key of my jewel-case ; and when I did, in my trepidation, I could not open it for as many
At length, having placed the trinkets in a large silk reticule, I left my chamber, but had only advanced a few paces when I heard a noise. I returned in terror to my room and locked the door, convinced that
some one had detected the nocturnal visitor
I listened in breathless terror; but,
finding all continue quiet, I again stole down stairs, and found him where I had left him, but with a face nearly as pale as my own, and nearly equally embarrassed in manner.
“ Did you hear a noise ?" asked he, eagerly. I answered in the affirmative.
“ What could it be?" demanded he, eyeing me scrutinisingly.
Having ascertained that I was ignorant of the cause, he hastily added,
“ I think I had better depart; there may be danger in remaining longer.”
have not seen the trinkets for which
you sent me,” said I. “ True, true," he replied; “ where are
I delivered to him the silk bag that contained them, which he snatched, saying,
"I will examine them another time, but now I am in a hurry. Adieu, Caroline!”
“What are your plans ?" I asked, in fear and trembling. “Do not, I entreat you, send any more notes here from the alehouse: a repetition of such a course must excite suspicion; and my aunt is already but too much disposed to think harshly of me.”
“She will think harshly of you no more,”
said he, and a change was visible in his countenance ; “ for I will never betray you to her.”
“ Promise me this !” I eagerly exclaimed.
“ I promise you,” he answered ; and there was a wildness and strangeness in his countenance that I had never before seen it wear.
“I must go,” resumed he, hurriedly; and he opened the casement and disappeared.
An oppressive weight seemed removed from my breast when I again found myself alone. I examined all the room ; for, to say the truth, I suspected that the visible change and trepidation of his manner arose from his having purloined some of the articles of massive silver which he seemed to examine with such longing eyes. I was the more inclined to this suspicion from having heard a noise, resembling that produced by the closing of a window, when returning to the chamber, which led me to infer that he had placed something
on the outside of it.
All remained, however, as I had left it;
and it was a relief to me to find that he was not quite so base as I had suspected him to be. Having carefully fastened the shutters of the window, I stole back to my room; where, feeling too much agitated to hope for sleep, I have employed the rest of the night in detailing to you my nocturnal interview with this fearful man.
What bave I not still to dread from him! for I put no faith in his promises. The moment he has expended the scanty sum I have given him, and the amount of what the trinkets may produce, he will return here to denounce me to my aunt, from whose severity I can hope for no mercy.
It is strange what could have so changed his whole appearance and manner, while I was absent from the chamber. It could not have been above half an hour altogether. I left him half intoxicated and reckless, impatient for the trinkets I offered bim; and I found him pale as death, perfectly sobered, nearly as nervous as myself, and seeming to have quite forgotten the trinkets he had been so anxious to obtain ! Could it be that any supernatural appearance produced this visible change? I feel a dread steal over me even at the supposition. Merciful Providence, if such things are possible ! But let me conquer these painful creations of a distempered fancy.
Perhaps it was remorse for the infamous conduct he was pursuing towards me that struck some chord in his heart, and led to the change I observed. If so, and it operate to procure me a cessation of his visits and letters, I shall forgive him all the misery he has caused me within the last few hours and bitter has it been. Oh! Delphine, could you