Ziska eBook

Marie Corelli
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 227 pages of information about Ziska.
are just beginning to ensnare you.  I repeat, I have known of such cases.”  And, unheeding the amazed and incredulous looks of his listeners, the little Doctor folded both his short arms across his chest, and hugged himself in the exquisite delight of his own strange theories.”  The fact is, “he continued,” you cannot get rid of ghosts!  They are all about us—­everywhere!  Sometimes they take forms, sometimes they are content to remain invisible.  But they never fail to make their presence felt.  Often during the performance of some great piece of music they drift between the air and the melody, making the sounds wilder and more haunting, and freezing the blood of the listener with a vague agony and chill.  Sometimes they come between us and our friends, mysteriously forbidding any further exchange of civilities or sympathies, and occasionally they meet us alone and walk and talk with us invisibly.  Generally they mean well, but sometimes they mean ill.  And the only explanation I can offer you, Monsieur Gervase, as to the present picture problem is that a ghost must have come between you and your canvas!”

Gervase laughed loudly.

“My good friend, you are an adept in the art of pleading the impossible!  You must excuse me; I am a sceptic; and I hope I am also in possession of my sober reason,—­therefore, you can hardly wonder at my entirely refusing to accept such preposterous theories as those you appear to believe in.”

Dr. Dean gave him a civil little bow.

“I do not ask you to accept them, my dear sir!  I state my facts, and you can take them or leave them, just as you please.  You yourself can offer no explanation of the singular way in which this picture has been produced; I offer one which is perfectly tenable with the discoveries of psychic science,—­and you dismiss it as preposterous.  That being the case, I should recommend you to cut up this canvas and try your hand again on the same subject.”

“Of course, I shall try again,” retorted Gervase.  “But I do not think I shall destroy this first sketch.  It is a curiosity in its way; and it has a peculiar fascination for me.  Do you notice how thoroughly Egyptian the features are?  They are the very contour of some of the faces on the recently-discovered frescoes.”

“Oh, I noticed that at once,” said the Doctor; “but that is not remarkable, seeing that you yourself are quite of an Egyptian type, though a Frenchman,—­so much so, in fact, that many people in this hotel have commented on it.”

Gervase said nothing, but slowly turned the canvas round with its face to the wall.

“You have seen enough of it, I suppose?” he inquired of Denzil Murray.

“More than enough!”

Gervase smiled.

“It ought to disenchant you,” he said in a lower tone.

“But it is a libel on her beauty,—­it is not in the least like her,” returned Murray coldly.

“Not in the very least?  Are you sure?  My dear Denzil, you know as well as I do that there is a likeness, combined with a dreadful unlikeness; and it is that which troubles both of us.  I assure you, my good boy, I am as sorry for you as I am for myself,—­for I feel that this woman will be the death of one or both of us!”

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Project Gutenberg
Ziska from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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