THE WEIRD SISTERS.
BY RICHARD DOWLING,
AUTHOR OF "THE MYSTERY OF KILLARD."
In Three Volumes.
TINSLEY BROTHERS, 8, CATHERINE ST., STRAND.
[All rights reserved.]
CHARLES DICKENS AND EVANS,
GREAT NEW STREET, LONDON.
EDMOND POWER, ESQ.,
Whose kindness to Mine and to Me
I SHALL NEVER FORGET
WHILE I AM.
Part II.—The Towers of Silence—continued.
Part III.—Husband and Wife.
THE WEIRD SISTERS.
PART II. THE TOWERS OF SILENCE.
WAT GREY'S BUSINESS ROMANCE.
Grey found his mother in the front parlour of her own house. She was as bright, intelligent as ever, and put down the Times and took off her spectacles as he entered.
"Henry," she exclaimed, as he came in, "what is the matter? You are looking like a ghost."
"It is only that I have seen one, mother," he said wearily, tenderly, as he kissed her, put his arms round her, and placed her in a chair.
"Seen what?" she demanded, looking up impatiently at her stalwart son.
"A ghost, mother."
"Nonsense, Henry. Of late I see but little of you; and when I do see you, you are full of mysteries, only fit for sempstresses in penny parts. You ought not to treat me as if I wanted to be roused into interest in your affairs by secrets and surprises."
She patted her foot impatiently on the floor, and looked with vivacious reproach in his face.
He placed his hand gently but impressively on her shoulder, and said, looking down calmly from his large blue frank eyes into her swift bright gray eyes:
"I am not, mother, practising any art upon you; I am practising a great art upon myself."
She now saw something serious was coming or was in his mind; and while she did not allow her courage to decline, or the resolution of her look to diminish, she asked simply,
"And what is that art, Henry?"
"That of enduring the company of a villain in the presence of the person I most respect on earth."
She looked round the room hastily.
"He can't mean this place," she thought, "for we are alone." Raising impatient eyes to his, she said, "I am listening. Who is this villain?"
"Say that again, my hearing——" She paused and put her hand behind her ear, and bent forward her wrinkled neck to catch the words.
"In your presence, mother, I am trying to endure the presence of your villanous son, my villanous self."
"Sit down, Henry," she said very quietly.
He sat down on a chair a little distance in front of her.
She thought, "His father never told me there was a taint of insanity on his side of the family, and I know there was none on mine. This is terrible, but I must keep cool. Perhaps it will pass away. We shall have the best advice. He looks haggard. The wisest thing is to make little of what he says." Then she said aloud, "Well, Henry, I suppose you are going to tell me something else?"
"I am going to tell you, mother, all man durst utter. The unspeakable must remain unsaid."
He leaned his elbow on a small table, and supported his brow with his thumb and forefinger, shading his eyes with the fingers and the palm of the hand.
She sat upright on her chair. It was an easy chair, but she disdained the support of elbows or back. She thought his words, "The unspeakable must remain unsaid." "My son! my son! what has turned his poor head?" Aloud she said, "Tell me all you please, Henry."
"It is so cool and sweet and pure here, mother, in this house of yours, in your presence; I would give all the world if I might live here."
"Then why not come? That great empty house is too much for you, and you are growing morbid there. Come here at once, and it will be like old times to you and me."
"I am not so lonely in that house as you might think," he said, with a ghastly contraction of the lips and a shudder.
"But you see no one now. You have no company, and even at its best and brightest it was a dismal old barracks. Suppose, Henry, I live with you?"
He looked up suddenly, fiercely, and cried in a loud voice: