“No, no!” exclaimed Glyndon, starting from her. “The worst revelation is to come. Since thou hast been here, since I have sternly and resolutely refrained from every haunt, every scene in which this preternatural enemy troubled me not, I—I—have—Oh, Heaven! Mercy—mercy! There it stands,—there, by thy side,—there, there!” And he fell to the ground insensible.
Doch wunderbar ergriff
mich’s diese Nacht;
Die Glieder schienen schon in Todes Macht.
(This night it fearfully
seized on me; my limbs appeared already
in the power of death.)
A fever, attended with delirium, for several days deprived Glyndon of consciousness; and when, by Adela’s care more than the skill of the physicians, he was restored to life and reason, he was unutterably shocked by the change in his sister’s appearance; at first, he fondly imagined that her health, affected by her vigils, would recover with his own. But he soon saw, with an anguish which partook of remorse, that the malady was deep-seated,—deep, deep, beyond the reach of Aesculapius and his drugs. Her imagination, little less lively than his own, was awfully impressed by the strange confessions she had heard,—by the ravings of his delirium. Again and again had he shrieked forth, “It is there,—there, by thy side, my sister!” He had transferred to her fancy the spectre, and the horror that cursed himself. He perceived this, not by her words, but her silence; by the eyes that strained into space; by the shiver that came over her frame; by the start of terror; by the look that did not dare to turn behind. Bitterly he repented his confession; bitterly he felt that between his sufferings and human sympathy there could be no gentle and holy commune; vainly he sought to retract,—to undo what he had done, to declare all was but the chimera of an overheated brain!
And brave and generous was this denial of himself; for, often and often, as he thus spoke, he saw the Thing of Dread gliding to her side, and glaring at him as he disowned its being. But what chilled him, if possible, yet more than her wasting form and trembling nerves, was the change in her love for him; a natural terror had replaced it. She turned paler if he approached,—she shuddered if he took her hand. Divided from the rest of earth, the gulf of the foul remembrance yawned now between his sister and himself. He could endure no more the presence of the one whose life his life had embittered. He made some excuses for departure, and writhed to see that they were greeted eagerly. The first gleam of joy he had detected since that fatal night, on Adela’s face, he beheld when he murmured “Farewell.” He travelled for some weeks through the wildest parts of Scotland; scenery which makes the artist, was loveless to his haggard eyes. A letter recalled him to London on the wings of new agony and fear; he arrived to find his sister in a condition both of mind and health which exceeded his worst apprehensions.