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Carmilla

out of my bed without my sleep having been interrupted, I whom the slightest stir
startles?”
By this time, Madame, Mademoiselle, my father, and a number of the servants
were in the room. Carmilla was, of course, overwhelmed with inquiries,
congratulations, and welcomes. She had but one story to tell, and seemed the
least able of all the party to suggest any way of accounting for what had
happened.
My father took a turn up and down the room, thinking. I saw Carmilla’s eye follow
him for a moment with a sly, dark glance.
When my father had sent the servants away, Mademoiselle having gone in
search of a little bottle of valerian and salvolatile, and there being no one now in
the room with Carmilla, except my father, Madame, and myself, he came to her
thoughtfully, took her hand very kindly, led her to the sofa, and sat down beside
her.
“Will you forgive me, my dear, if I risk a conjecture, and ask a question?”
“Who can have a better right?” she said. “Ask what you please, and I will tell you
everything. But my story is simply one of bewilderment and darkness. I know
absolutely nothing. Put any question you please, but you know, of course, the
limitations mamma has placed me under.”
“Perfectly, my dear child. I need not approach the topics on which she desires
our silence. Now, the marvel of last night consists in your having been removed
from your bed and your room, without being wakened, and this removal having
occurred apparently while the windows were still secured, and the two doors
locked upon the inside. I will tell you my theory and ask you a question.”
Carmilla was leaning on her hand dejectedly; Madame and I were listening
breathlessly.
“Now, my question is this. Have you ever been suspected of walking in your
sleep?”
“Never, since I was very young indeed.”
“But you did walk in your sleep when you were young?”
“Yes; I know I did. I have been told so often by my old nurse.”
My father smiled and nodded.
“Well, what has happened is this. You got up in your sleep, unlocked the door,
not leaving the key, as usual, in the lock, but taking it out and locking it on the
outside; you again took the key out, and carried it away with you to some one of
the five-and-twenty rooms on this floor, or perhaps upstairs or downstairs. There
are so many rooms and closets,so much heavy furniture, and such
accumulations of lumber, that it would require a week to search this old house
thoroughly. Do you see, now, what I mean?”
“I do, but not all,” she answered.
“And how, papa, do you account for her finding herself on the sofa in the
dressing-room, which we had searched so carefully?”
“She came there after you had searched it, still in her sleep, and at last awoke
spontaneously, and was as much surprised to find herself where she was as any
one else. I wish all mysteries were as easily and innocently explained as yours,
Carmilla,” he said, laughing. “And so we may congratulate ourselves on the
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