The Haunted Hotel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The Haunted Hotel.

CHAPTER XXIII

’...You have some influence over Agnes.  Try what you can do, Henry, to make her take a sensible view of the matter.  There is really nothing to make a fuss about.  My wife’s maid knocked at her door early in the morning, with the customary cup of tea.  Getting no answer, she went round to the dressing-room—­found the door on that side unlocked—­and discovered Agnes on the bed in a fainting fit.  With my wife’s help, they brought her to herself again; and she told the extraordinary story which I have just repeated to you.  You must have seen for yourself that she has been over-fatigued, poor thing, by our long railway journeys:  her nerves are out of order—­ and she is just the person to be easily terrified by a dream.  She obstinately refuses, however, to accept this rational view.  Don’t suppose that I have been severe with her!  All that a man can do to humour her I have done.  I have written to the Countess (in her assumed name) offering to restore the room to her.  She writes back, positively declining to return to it.  I have accordingly arranged (so as not to have the thing known in the hotel) to occupy the room for one or two nights, and to leave Agnes to recover her spirits under my wife’s care.  Is there anything more that I can do?  Whatever questions Agnes has asked of me I have answered to the best of my ability; she knows all that you told me about Francis and the Countess last night.  But try as I may I can’t quiet her mind.  I have given up the attempt in despair, and left her in the drawing-room.  Go, like a good fellow, and try what you can do to compose her.’

In those words, Lord Montbarry stated the case to his brother from the rational point of view.  Henry made no remark, he went straight to the drawing-room.

He found Agnes walking rapidly backwards and forwards, flushed and excited.  ’If you come here to say what your brother has been saying to me,’ she broke out, before he could speak, ’spare yourself the trouble.  I don’t want common sense—­ I want a true friend who will believe in me.’

‘I am that friend, Agnes,’ Henry answered quietly, ‘and you know it.’

‘You really believe that I am not deluded by a dream?’

I know that you are not deluded—­in one particular, at least.’

‘In what particular?’

‘In what you have said of the Countess.  It is perfectly true—­’

Agnes stopped him there.  ’Why do I only hear this morning that the Countess and Mrs. James are one and the same person?’ she asked distrustfully.  ‘Why was I not told of it last night?’

’You forget that you had accepted the exchange of rooms before I reached Venice,’ Henry replied.  ’I felt strongly tempted to tell you, even then—­but your sleeping arrangements for the night were all made; I should only have inconvenienced and alarmed you.  I waited till the morning, after hearing from my brother that you had yourself seen to your security from any intrusion.  How that intrusion was accomplished it is impossible to say.  I can only declare that the Countess’s presence by your bedside last night was no dream of yours.  On her own authority I can testify that it was a reality.’

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The Haunted Hotel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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