The Ghost: A Modern Fantasy (Chapter 7)

 
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Chapter 7 : Page 1 of 7

We looked at each other, Rosa and I, across the couch of Alresca.

All the vague and terrible apprehensions, disquietudes, misgivings,
which the gradual improvement in Alresca's condition had lulled to
sleep, aroused themselves again in my mind, coming, as it were, boldly
out into the open from the dark, unexplored grottos wherein they had
crouched and hidden. And I went back in memory to those sinister days
in London before I had brought Alresca to Bruges, days over which a
mysterious horror had seemed to brood.

I felt myself adrift in a sea of frightful suspicions. I remembered
Alresca's delirium on the night of his accident, and his final
hallucination concerning the blank wall in the dressing-room (if
hallucination it was), also on that night. I remembered his outburst
against Rosetta Rosa. I remembered Emmeline Smith's outburst against
Rosetta Rosa. I remembered the vision in the crystal, and Rosa's
sudden and astoundingly apt breaking in upon that vision. I remembered
the scene between Rosa and Sir Cyril Smart, and her almost hysterical
impulse to pierce her own arm with the little jewelled dagger. I
remembered the glint of the dagger which drew my attention to it on
the curb of an Oxford Street pavement afterwards. I remembered the
disappearance of Sir Cyril Smart. I remembered all the inexplicable
circumstances of Alresca's strange decay, and his equally strange
recovery. I remembered that his recovery had coincided with an entire
absence of communication between himself and Rosa.... And then she
comes! And within an hour he is dead! "I love her. He has come again.
This time it is--" How had Alresca meant to finish that sentence? "He
has come again." Who had come again? Was there, then, another man
involved in the enigma of this tragedy? Was it the man I had seen
opposite the Devonshire Mansion on the night when I had found the
dagger? Or was "he" merely an error for "she"? "I love her. She has
come again." That would surely make better sense than what Alresca
had actually written? And he must have been mentally perturbed. Such a
slip was possible. No, no! When a man, even a dying man, is writing a
message which he has torn out of his heart, he does not put "he" for
"she" ... "I love her...." Then, had he misjudged her heart when he
confided in me during the early part of the evening? Or had the sudden
apparition of Rosa created his love anew? Why had she once refused
him? She seemed to be sufficiently fond of him. But she had killed
him. Directly or indirectly she had been the cause of his death.

 
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