and after stooping and kissing it reverently, held it fast. The other hand was locked in
that of her husband, who held his other arm thrown round her protectingly. After a
pause in which she was evidently ordering her thoughts, she began.
"I took the sleeping draught which you had so kindly given me, but for a long time it did
not act. I seemed to become more wakeful, and myriads of horrible fancies began to
crowd in upon my mind. All of them connected with death, and vampires, with blood,
and pain, and trouble." Her husband involuntarily groaned as she turned to him and said
lovingly, "Do not fret, dear. You must be brave and strong, and help me through the
horrible task. If you only knew what an effort it is to me to tell of this fearful thing at all,
you would understand how much I need your help. Well, I saw I must try to help the
medicine to its work with my will, if it was to do me any good, so I resolutely set myself
to sleep. Sure enough sleep must soon have come to me, for I remember no more.
Jonathan coming in had not waked me, for he lay by my side when next I remember.
There was in the room the same thin white mist that I had before noticed. But I forget
now if you know of this. You will find it in my diary which I shall show you later. I felt the
same vague terror which had come to me before and the same sense of some
presence. I turned to wake Jonathan, but found that he slept so soundly that it seemed
as if it was he who had taken the sleeping draught, and not I. I tried, but I could not
wake him. This caused me a great fear, and I looked around terrified. Then indeed, my
heart sank within me. Beside the bed, as if he had stepped out of the mist, or rather as if
the mist had turned into his figure, for it had entirely disappeared, stood a tall, thin man,
all in black. I knew him at once from the description of the others. The waxen face, the
high aquiline nose, on which the light fell in a thin white line, the parted red lips, with the
sharp white teeth showing between, and the red eyes that I had seemed to see in the
sunset on the windows of St. Mary's Church at Witby. I knew, too, the red scar on his
forehead where Jonathan had struck him. For an instant my heart stood still, and I
would have screamed out, only that I was paralyzed. In the pause he spoke in a sort of
keen, cutting whisper, pointing as he spoke to Jonathan.
"`Silence! If you make a sound I shall take him and dash his brains out before your very
eyes.' I was appalled and was too bewildered to do or say anything. With a mocking
smile, he placed one hand upon my shoulder and, holding me tight, bared my throat
with the other, saying as he did so, `First, a little refreshment to reward my exertions.
You may as well be quiet. It is not the first time, or the second, that your veins have
appeased my thirst!' I was bewildered, and strangely enough, I did not want to hinder
him. I suppose it is a part of the horrible curse that such is, when his touch is on his
victim. And oh, my God, my God, pity me! He placed his reeking lips upon my throat!"
Her husband groaned again. She clasped his hand harder, and looked at him pityingly,
as if he were the injured one, and went on.
"I felt my strength fading away, and I was in a half swoon. How long this horrible thing
lasted I know not, but it seemed that a long time must have passed before he took his
foul, awful, sneering mouth away. I saw it drip with the fresh blood!"The remembrance
seemed for a while to overpower her, and she drooped and would have sunk down but
for her husband's sustaining arm. With a great effort she recovered herself and went on.