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The House on the Borderland

23. Pepper
"I WAS SEATED in my chair, back again in this old study. My glance wandered round
the room. For a minute, it had a strange, quivery appearance--unreal and unsubstantial.
This disappeared, and I saw that nothing was altered in any way. I looked towards the end
window--the blind was up. "I rose to my feet, shakily. As I did so, a slight noise, in the
direction of the door, attracted my attention. I glanced towards it. For a short instant, it
appeared to me that it was being closed, gently. I stared, and saw that I must have been
mistaken--it seemed closely shut.
"With a succession of efforts, I trod my way to the window, and looked out. The sun was
just rising, lighting up the tangled wilderness of gardens. For, perhaps, a minute, I stood,
and stared. I passed my hand, confusedly, across my forehead.
"Presently, amid the chaos of my senses, a sudden thought came to me; I turned, quickly,
and called to Pepper. There was no answer, and I stumbled across the room, in a quick
access of fear. As I went, I tried to frame his name; but my lips were numb. I reached the
table, and stooped down to him, with a catching at my heart. He was lying in the shadow
of the table, and I had not been able to see him, distinctly, from the window. Now, as I
stooped, I took my breath, shortly. There was no Pepper; instead, I was reaching towards
an elongated, little heap of grey, ash-like dust. . . . . . .
"I must have remained, in that half-stooped position, for some minutes. I was dazed--
stunned. Pepper had really passed into the land of shadows.
 
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