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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
communi-cation I might hold with her; as if-the thought passed
through my mind-I 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 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 incumbrance in the mind of the elder,

“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

“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, weary-worn 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
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