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Carmilla

of most of the great people whom we saw upon the terrace. I liked her more and
more every minute. Her gossip without being ill-natured, was extremely diverting
to me, who had been so long out of the great world. I thought what life she would
give to our sometimes lonely evenings at home.
“This ball was not over until the morning sun had almost reached the horizon. It
pleased the Grand Duke to dance till then, so loyal people could not go away, or
think of bed.
“We had just got through a crowded saloon, when my ward asked me what had
become of Millarca. I thought she had been by her side, and she fancied she was
by mine. The fact was, we had lost her.
“All my efforts to find her were vain. I feared that she had mistaken, in the
confusion of a momentary separation from us, other people for her new friends,
and had, possibly, pursued and lost them in the extensive grounds which were
thrown open to us.
“Now, in its full force, I recognised a new folly in my having undertaken the
charge of a young lady without so much as knowing her name; and fettered as I
was by promises, of the reasons for imposing which I knew nothing, I could not
even point my inquiries by saying that the missing young lady was the daughter
of the Countess who had taken her departure a few hours before.
“Morning broke. It was clear daylight before I gave up my search. It was not till
near two o’clock next day that we heard anything of my missing charge.
“At about that time a servant knocked at my niece’s door, to say that he had been
earnestly requested by a young lady, who appeared to be in great distress, to
make out where she could find the General Baron Spielsdorf and the young lady
his daughter, in whose charge she had been left by her mother.
“There could be no doubt, notwithstanding the slight inaccuracy, that our young
friend had turned up; and so she had. Would to heaven we had lost her!
“She told my poor child a story to account for her having failed to recover us for
so long. Very late, she said, she had got to the housekeeper’s bedroom in
despair of finding us, and had then fallen into a deep sleep which, long as it was,
had hardly sufficed to recruit her strength after the fatigues of the ball.
“That day Millarca came home with us. I was only too happy, after all, to have
secured so charming a companion for my dear girl.”
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