The Two Destinies
9. Natural And Supernatural
I POINTED to the writing in the sketch book, and looked at my mother. I was not
mistaken. She had seen it, as I had seen it. But she refused to acknowledge that anything
had happened to alarm her--plainly as I could detect it in her face.
"Somebody has been playing a trick on you, George," she said.
I made no reply. It was needless to say anything. My poor mother was evidently as far
from being satisfied with her own shallow explanation as I was. The carriage waited for
us at the door. We set forth in silence on our drive home.
The sketch-book lay open on my knee. My eyes were fastened on it; my mind was
absorbed in recalling the moment when the apparition beckoned me into the summer-
house and spoke. Putting the words and the writing together, the conclusion was too plain
to be mistaken. The woman whom I had saved from drowning had need of me again.
And this was the same woman who, in her own proper person, had not hesitated to seize
the first opportunity of leaving the house in which we had been sheltered together--
without stopping to say one grateful word to the man who had preserved her from death!
Four days only had elapsed since she had left me, never (to all appearance) to see me
again. And now the ghostly apparition of her had returned as to a tried and trusted friend;
had commanded me to remember her and to go to her; and had provided against all
possibility of my memory playing me false, by writing the words which invited me to
meet her "when the full moon shone on Saint Anthony's Well."
What had happened in the interval? What did the supernatural manner of her
communication with me mean? What ought my next course of action to be?
My mother roused me from my reflections. She stretched out her hand, and suddenly
closed the open book on my knee, as if the sight of the writing in it were unendurable to
"Why don't you speak to me, George?" she said. "Why do you keep your thoughts to
"My mind is lost in confusion," I answered. "I can suggest nothing and explain nothing.
My thoughts are all bent on the one question of what I am to do next. On that point I
believe I may say that my mind is made up." I touched the sketch-book as I spoke.
"Come what may of it," I said, "I mean to keep the appointment."
My mother looked at me as if she doubted the evidence of her own senses.
"He talks as if it were a real thing!" she exclaimed. "George, you don't really believe that
you saw somebody in the summer-house? The place was empty. I tell you positively,