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"I had no opportunity of asking her any
question, until I had told the brothers she was
sinking fast, and could not live another day.
Until then, though no one was ever presented
to her consciousness save the woman and
myself, one or other of them had always jealously
sat behind the curtain at the head of the bed
when I was there. But when it came to that,
they seemed careless what communication I
might hold with he; as ifthe thought passed
through my mindI were dying too.

"I always observed that their pride bitterly
resented the younger brother's (as I call him)
having crossed swords with a peasant, and that
peasant a boy. The only consideration that
appeared really to affect the mind of either of
them, was the consideration that this was
highly degrading to the family, and was ridiculous.
As often as I caught the younger brother's
eyes, their expression reminded me that he
disliked me deeply, for knowing what I knew from
the boy. He was smoother and more polite to
me than the elder; but I saw this. I also saw
that I was an encumbrance in the mind of the
elder too.

"My patient died, two hours before midnight
at a time, by my watch, answering almost
to the minute when I had first seen her. I was
alone with her, when her forlorn young head
drooped gently on one side, and all her earthly
wrongs and sorrows ended.

"The brothers were waiting in a room down
stairs, impatient to ride away. I had heard them,
alone at the bedside, striking their boots with
their riding-whips, and loitering up and down.

"'At last she is dead?' said the elder, when
I went in.

"'She is dead,' said I.

"'I congratulate you, my brother,' were his
words as he turned round.

"He had before offered me money, which I
had postponed taking. He now gave me a
rouleau of gold. I took it from his hand, but
laid it on the table. I had considered the
question, and had resolved to accept nothing.

"'Pray excuse me,' said I. 'Under the
circumstances, no.'

"They exchanged looks, but bent their heads
to me as I bent mine to them, and we parted
without another word on either side. * * * *

"I am weary, weary, wearyworn down by
misery. I cannot read what I have written with
this gaunt hand.

"Early in the morning, the rouleau of gold
was left at my door in a little box, with my
name on the outside. From the first, I had
anxiously considered what I ought to do. I
decided, that day, to write privately to the
Minister, stating the nature of the two cases to
which I had been summoned, and the place to
which I had gone: in effect, stating all the
circumstances. I knew what Court influence
was, and what the immunities of the Nobles
were, and I expected that the matter would
never be heard of; but, I wished to relieve
my own mind. I had kept the matter a
profound secret, even from my wife; and this, too,
I resolved to state in my letter. I had no
apprehension whatever of my real danger; but, I
was conscious that there might be danger for
others, if others were compromised by possessing
the knowledge that I possessed.

"I was much engaged that day, and could not
complete my letter that night. I rose long before
my usual time next morning, to finish it. It was
the last day of the year. The letter was lying
before me just completed, when I was told that
a lady waited, who wished to see me. * * *

"I am growing more and more unequal to the
task I have set myself. It is so cold, so dark,
my senses are so benumbed, and the gloom upon
me is so dreadful.

"The lady was young, engaging, and handsome,
but not marked for long life. She was in
great agitation. She presented herself to me, as
the wife of the Marquis St. Evrémonde. I
connected the title by which the boy had addressed
the elder brother, with the initial letter
embroidered on the scarf, and, had no difficulty in
arriving at the conclusion that I had seen that
nobleman very lately.

"My memory is still accurate, but I cannot
write the words of our conversation. I suspect
that I am watched more closely than I was, and
I know not at what times I may be watched.
She had in part suspected, and in part discovered,
the main facts of the cruel story, of her husband's
share in it, and my being resorted to. She did
not know that the girl was dead. Her hope had
been, she said in great distress, to show her, in
secret, a woman's sympathy. Her hope had been
to avert the wrath of Heaven from a House that
had long been hateful to the suffering many.

"She had reasons for believing that there
was a young sister living, and her greatest desire
was, to help that sister. I could tell her nothing
but that there was such a sister; beyond that, I
knew nothing. Her inducement to come to me,
relying on my confidence, had been the hope
that I could tell her the name and place of abode.
Whereas, to this wretched hour I am ignorant of
both. * * * *

"These scraps of paper fail me. One was
taken from me, with a warning, yesterday. I
must finish my record to-day.

"She was a good, compassionate lady, and
not happy in her marriage. How could she be!
The brother distrusted and disliked her, and his
influence was all opposed to her; she stood in
dread of him, and in dread of her husband too.
When I handed her down to the door, there was
a child, a pretty boy from two to three years old,
in her carriage.

"'For his sake, Doctor,' she said, pointing to
him in tears, 'I would do all I can to make
what poor amends I can. He will never prosper
in his inheritance otherwise. I have a presentiment
that if no other innocent atonement is
made for this, it will one day be required of him.
What I have left to call my ownit is little
beyond the worth of a few jewelsI will make
it the first charge of his life to bestow, with the
compassion and lamenting of his dead mother, on
this injured family, if the sister can be discovered.'