The Haunted Hotel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The Haunted Hotel.
sense.  Sometimes, sound sense makes a hopeful woman of me.  At one time, I had the hope that what seemed reality to me was only mad delusion, after all—­I even asked the question of an English doctor!  At other times, other sensible doubts of myself beset me.  Never mind dwelling on them now—­it always ends in the old terrors and superstitions taking possession of me again.  In a week’s time, I shall know whether Destiny does indeed decide my future for me, or whether I decide it for myself.  In the last case, my resolution is to absorb this self-tormenting fancy of mine in the occupation that I have told you of already.  Do you understand me a little better now?  And, our business being settled, dear Mr. Westwick, shall we get out of this hot room into the nice cool air again?’

They rose to leave the cafe.  Francis privately concluded that the maraschino punch offered the only discoverable explanation of what the Countess had said to him.

CHAPTER XX

‘Shall I see you again?’ she asked, as she held out her hand to take leave.  ’It is quite understood between us, I suppose, about the play?’

Francis recalled his extraordinary experience of that evening in the re-numbered room.  ‘My stay in Venice is uncertain,’ he replied.  ’If you have anything more to say about this dramatic venture of yours, it may be as well to say it now.  Have you decided on a subject already?  I know the public taste in England better than you do—­I might save you some waste of time and trouble, if you have not chosen your subject wisely.’

‘I don’t care what subject I write about, so long as I write,’ she answered carelessly.  ’If you have got a subject in your head, give it to me.  I answer for the characters and the dialogue.’

‘You answer for the characters and the dialogue,’ Francis repeated.  ’That’s a bold way of speaking for a beginner!  I wonder if I should shake your sublime confidence in yourself, if I suggested the most ticklish subject to handle which is known to the stage?  What do you say, Countess, to entering the lists with Shakespeare, and trying a drama with a ghost in it?  A true story, mind! founded on events in this very city in which you and I are interested.’

She caught him by the arm, and drew him away from the crowded colonnade into the solitary middle space of the square.  ‘Now tell me!’ she said eagerly.  ’Here, where nobody is near us.  How am I interested in it?  How? how?’

Still holding his arm, she shook him in her impatience to hear the coming disclosure.  For a moment he hesitated.  Thus far, amused by her ignorant belief in herself, he had merely spoken in jest.  Now, for the first time, impressed by her irresistible earnestness, he began to consider what he was about from a more serious point of view.  With her knowledge of all that had passed in the old palace, before its transformation into an hotel, it was surely possible

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The Haunted Hotel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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