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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 371 pages of information about The Secret City.

When they had gone Bohun also went back to bed.  The house was very still and peaceful.  Suddenly he remembered the picture.  It would never do, he thought, if in the morning it were found by Sacha or Uncle Ivan with its face to the wall.  After hesitating he lit his own candle, got out of bed again, and went down the passage.

“The funny thing was,” he said, “that I really expected to find it just as it always was, face outwards.... as though the whole thing really had been a dream.  But it wasn’t.  It had its face to the wall all right.  I got a chair, turned it round, and went back to bed again.”

XIII

That night, whether as a result of my interview with Semyonov I do not know, my old enemy leapt upon me once again.  I had, during the next three days, one of the worst bouts of pain that it has ever been my fortune to experience.  For twenty-four hours I thought it more than any man could bear, and I hid my head and prayed for death; during the next twenty-four I slowly rose, with a dim far-away sense of deliverance; on the third day I could hear, in the veiled distance, the growls of my defeated foe....

Through it all, behind the wall of pain, my thoughts knocked and thudded, urging me to do something.  It was not until the Friday or the Saturday that I could think consecutively.  My first thought was driven in on me by the old curmudgeon of a doctor, as his deliberate opinion that it was simply insanity to stay on in those damp rooms when I suffered from my complaint, that I was only asking for what I got, and that he, on his part, had no sympathy for me.  I told him that I entirely agreed with him, that I had determined several weeks ago to leave these rooms, and that I thought that I had found some others in a different, more populated part of the town.  He grunted his approval, and, forbidding me to go out for at least a week, left me.  At least a week!...  No, I must be out long before that.  Now that the pain had left me, weak though I was, I was wildly impatient to return to the Markovitches.  Through all these last days’ torments I had been conscious of Semyonov, seen his hair and his mouth and his beard and his square solidity and his tired, exhausted eyes, and strangely, at the end of it all, felt the touch of his lips on mine.  Oddly, I did not hate Semyonov; I saw quite clearly that I had never hated him—­something too impersonal about him, some sense, too, of an outside power driving him.  No, I did not hate him, but God! how I feared him—­feared him not for my own sake, but for the sake of those who had—­was this too arrogant?—­been given as it seemed to me,—­into my charge.

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