The Mystery of Orcival
Time passed. Hector and Bertha repaired to Sauvresy's room; he was asleep. They
noiselessly took chairs beside the fire, as usual, and the maid retired. In order that the sick
man might not be disturbed by the light of the lamp, curtains had been hung so that, when
lying down, he could not see the fireplace and mantel. In order to see these, he must have
raised himself on his pillow and leaned forward on his right arm. But now he was asleep,
breathing painfully, feverish, and shuddering convulsively. Bertha and Hector did not
speak; the solemn and sinister silence was only broken by the ticking of the clock, or by
the leaves of the book which Hector was reading. Ten o'clock struck; soon after Sauvresy
moved, turned over, and awoke. Bertha was at his side in an instant; she saw that his eyes
Do you feel a little better, dear Clement?" she asked.
"Neither better nor worse."
"Do you want anything?"
"I am thirsty."
Hector, who had raised his eyes when his friend spoke, suddenly resumed his reading.
Bertha, standing by the mantel, began to prepare with great care Dr. R.-'s last
prescription; when it was ready, she took out the fatal little vial as usual, and thrust one of
her hair-pins into it.
She had not time to draw it out before she felt a light touch upon her shoulder. A shudder
shook her from head to foot; she suddenly turned and uttered a loud scream, a cry of
terror and horror.
The hand which had touched her was her husband's. While she was busied with the
poison at the mantel, Sauvresy had softly raised himself; more softly still, he had pulled
the curtain aside, and had stretched out his arm and touched her. His eyes glittered with
hate and anger.
Bertha's cry was answered by another dull cry, or rather groan; Tremorel had seen and
comprehended all; he was overwhelmed.
"All is discovered!" Their eyes spoke these three words to each other. They saw them
everywhere, written in letters of fire. There was a moment of stupor, of silence so
profound that Hector heard his temples beat. Sauvresy had got back under the bed-clothes