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composed with unsteady hands) was clutched and dragged a
In crossing the bridge, she dropped the door key in the river.
Arriving at the cathedral some few minutes before her escort, and
waiting there, she thought, what if the key were already taken in a
net, what if it were identified, what if the door were opened and
the remains discovered, what if she were stopped at the gate, sent
to prison, and charged with murder! In the midst of these fluttering
thoughts, the escort appeared, took her in, and took her away.
“Is there any noise in the streets?” she asked him.
“The usual noises,” Mr. Cruncher replied; and looked surprised by
the question and by her aspect.
“I don’t hear you,” said Miss Pross. “What do you say?” It was in
vain for Mr. Cruncher to repeat what he said; Miss Pross could not
hear him. “So I’ll nod my head,” thought Mr. Cruncher, amazed,
“at all events she’ll see that.” And she did.
“Is there any noise in the streets now?” asked Miss Pross again,
Again Mr. Cruncher nodded his head.
“I don’t hear it.” “Gone deaf in an hour?” said Mr. Cruncher,
ruminating, with his mind much disturbed; “wot’s come to her?”
“I feel,” said Miss Pross, “as if there had been a flash and a crash,
and that crash was the last thing I should ever hear in this life.”
“Blest if she ain’t in a queer condition!” said Mr. Cruncher, more
and more disturbed. “Wot can she have been a takin’, to keep her
courage up? Hark! There’s the roll of them dreadful carts! You can
hear that, miss?” “I can hear,” said Miss Pross, seeing that he spoke
to her, “nothing. O, my good man, there was first a great crash, and
then a great stillness, and that stillness seems to be fixed and
unchangeable, never to be broken any more as long as my life
lasts.” “If she don’t hear the roll of those dreadful carts, now very
nigh their journey’s end,” said Mr. Cruncher, glancing over his
shoulder, “it’s my opinion that indeed she never will hear anything
else in this world.” And indeed she never did.