“I have attempted to tear asunder the veil you have hung，
"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."
After this colloquy the sergeant went and fetched a light, drew his faithful sword from the scabbard, whistled Blaireau, and bravely seized the rope which served as a balustrade for the staircase, requesting me to remain below. Great as was my repugnance to entering the room again, I did not hesitate to follow Marcasse, in spite of his recommendation. Our first care was to examine the bed; but while we had been talking in the courtyard the servant had brought clean sheets, had made the bed, and was now smoothing the blankets.
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