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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 486 pages of information about Oddsfish!.

“I awakened about one o’clock this morning,” she said, “and knew that my sleep was gone from me altogether.  Yet I did not feel afraid or restless; but lay there content enough, expecting something, but what it would be I did not know.  The cocks were crowing as I awakened; and then were silent; and it appeared to me as if all the world were listening.  After a while—­I should say it was ten minutes or thereabouts—­I turned over with my face to the wall; and as I did so, I heard a soft step coming up the stairs.  One of the maids, thought I, late abed or early rising, for sickness.  When the steps came to my door they ceased; and a hand was laid upon the latch; and at that I made to move; but could not.  Yet it was not fear that held me there, though it was like a gentle pricking all over me.  Then the latch was lifted, and still I could not move, not even my eyes; and a person came in, and across the floor to my bed.  And even then I could not move nor cry out.  Presently the person spoke; but I do not know what she said, though it was only a word or two:  but the voice came from high up, as almost from the canopy of the bed, and it was the voice of an old woman, speaking in a kind of whisper.  I said nothing; for I could not:  and then again the steps moved across the floor, and out of the door; and I heard the latch shut again; and then they passed away down the stairs.”

My Cousin Dorothy was pale as death by this time; and her blue eyes were set wide open.  I made to take her by the hand; but I did not.

“You were dreaming,” I said; “it was the memory of the tale you have heard.”

She shook her head; but she said nothing.

“You have never had it before?” I asked.

“Never,” she said.

“You must lie in another chamber for a week or two, and forget it.”

“I cannot do that,” she said.  “My father would know of it.”  And she spoke so courageously that I was reassured.

“Well; you must cry out if it comes again.  You can have your maid to sleep with you.”

“I might do that,” she said; and then—­

“Cousin Roger; doth God permit these things to provide us against some danger?”

“It may be so,” I said, to quiet her; “but be sure that no harm can come of it.”

At that we heard her father calling her; and she stood up.

“I have told you as a secret, Cousin Roger; there must be no word to my father.”

I pledged myself to that; for I could see what a spirit she had; and we said no more about it then.

As the day passed on, the sky grew heavy—­or rather the air; for the sky was still blue overhead; only on the horizon to the south the clouds that are called cumuli began to gather.  The air was so hot too that I could scarcely bear to work, for I had set myself to take some plant-cuttings in a little glass-house that was in the garden against the south wall; and by noon the sky was overcast.

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