The Midnight Queen (Chapter 4, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 4

The two friends looked at each other in impressive silence for a moment,
and spake never a word. Not that they were astonished--they were long
past the power of that emotion: and if a cloud had dropped from the
sky at their feet, they would probably have looked at it passively, and
vaguely wonder if the rest would follow. Sir Norman, especially, had
sank into a state of mind that words are faint and feeble to describe.
Ormiston, not being quite so far gone, was the first to open his lips.

"Upon my honor, Sir Norman, this is the most astonishing thing ever I
heard of. That certainly was the face of our half-dead bride! What, in
the name ad all the gods, can it mean, I wonder?"

"I have given up wondering," said Sir Norman, in the same helpless tone.
"And if the earth was to open and swallow London up, I should not be the
least surprised. One thing is certain: the lady we are seeking and that
page are one and the same."

"And yet La Masque told you she was two miles from the city, in the
haunted ruin; and La Masque most assuredly knows."

"I have no doubt she is there. I shall not be the least astonished if I
find her in every street between this and Newgate."

"Really, it is a most singular affair! First you see her in the magic
caldron; then we find her dead; then, when within an ace of being
buried, she comes to life; then we leave her lifeless as a marble
statue, shut up in your room, and fifteen minutes after, she vanishes as
mysteriously as a fairy in a nursery legend. And, lastly, she turns up
in the shape of a court-page, and swaggers along London Bridge at this
hour of the night, chanting a love song. Faith! it would puzzle the
sphinx herself to read this riddle, I've a notion!"

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