“O Nature, indulgent Mother, forgive! Open your arms，
I did not hesitate to look upon what had just happened as an hallucination. I had given proof of my courage in war in the presence of my worthy sergeant; I did not blush, therefore, to confess the truth to him. I answered his questions frankly, and I described my horrible vision with such minute details that he, too, was impressed with the reality of it, and, as he walked about with me in the courtyard, kept repeating with a thoughtful air:
"Singular, singular! Astonishing!"
"No, it is not astonishing," I said, when I felt that I had quite recovered. "I experienced a most painful sensation on my way here; for several days I had struggled to overcome my aversion to seeing Roche- Mauprat again. Last night I had a nightmare, and I felt so exhausted and depressed this morning that, if I had not been afraid of offending my uncle, I should have postponed this disagreeable visit. As we entered the place, I felt a chill come over me; there seemed to be a weight on my chest, and I could not breathe. Probably, too, the pungent smoke that filled the room disturbed my brain. Again, after all the hardships and dangers of our terrible voyage, from which we have hardly recovered, either of us, is it astonishing that my nerves gave way at the first painful emotion?"
"Tell me," replied Marcasse, who was still pondering the matter, "did you notice Blaireau at the moment? What did Blaireau do?"
"I thought I saw Blaireau rush at the phantom at the moment when it disappeared; but I suppose I dreamt that like the rest."
"Hum!" said the sergeant. "When I entered, Blaireau was wildly excited. He kept coming to you, sniffing, whining in his way, running to the bed, scratching the wall, coming to me, running to you. Strange, that! Astonishing, captain, astonishing, that!"
After a silence of a few moments:
"Devil don't return!" he exclaimed, shaking his head. "Dead never return; besides, why dead, John? Not dead! Still two Mauprats! Who knows? Where the devil? Dead don't return; and my master--mad? Never. Ill? No."
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