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December 24, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Chs XXVII and XXVIII - Wilkie Collins - THE END

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Chs XXVII and XXVIII - THE END

Wilkie Collins

Henry returned to his room.

His first impulse was to throw aside the manuscript, and never to look at it again. The one chance of relieving his mind from the dreadful uncertainty that oppressed it, by obtaining positive evidence of the truth, was a chance annihilated by the Countess's death. What good purpose could be served, what relief could he anticipate, if he read more?

December 23, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXVI - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXVI

Wilkie Collins

Entering his own room on the upper floor, Henry placed the manuscript on his table, open at the first leaf. His nerves were unquestionably shaken; his hand trembled as he turned the pages, he started at chance noises on the staircase of the hotel.

The scenario, or outline, of the Countess's play began with no formal prefatory phrases. She presented herself and her work with the easy familiarity of an old friend.

'Allow me, dear Mr. Francis Westwick, to introduce to you the persons in my proposed Play. Behold them, arranged symmetrically in a line.

December 22, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXV - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXV

Wilkie Collins

The day had advanced to evening. Lord Montbarry and the bridal party had gone to the Opera. Agnes alone, pleading the excuse of fatigue, remained at the hotel. Having kept up appearances by accompanying his friends to the theatre, Henry Westwick slipped away after the first act, and joined Agnes in the drawing-room.

'Have you thought of what I said to you earlier in the day?' he asked, taking a chair at her side. 'Do you agree with me that the one dreadful doubt which oppressed us both is at least set at rest?'

 

December 21, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXIV - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXIV

Wilkie Collins

Henry and Agnes were left alone in the Room of the Caryatides.

The person who had written the description of the palace—probably a poor author or artist—had correctly pointed out the defects of the mantel-piece. Bad taste, exhibiting itself on the most costly and splendid scale, was visible in every part of the work. It was nevertheless greatly admired by ignorant travellers of all classes; partly on account of its imposing size, and partly on account of the number of variously-coloured marbles which the sculptor had contrived to introduce into his design. Photographs of the mantel-piece were exhibited in the public rooms, and found a ready sale among English and American visitors to the hotel.

December 20, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXIII - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXIII

Wilkie Collins

“...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.

December 19, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXII - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXII

Wilkie Collins

Having closed and secured the door on Lady Montbarry's departure, Agnes put on her dressing-gown, and, turning to her open boxes, began the business of unpacking. In the hurry of making her toilet for dinner, she had taken the first dress that lay uppermost in the trunk, and had thrown her travelling costume on the bed. She now opened the doors of the wardrobe for the first time, and began to hang her dresses on the hooks in the large compartment on one side.

 

December 18, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXI - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XXI

Wilkie Collins

Lord and Lady Montbarry were received by the housekeeper; the manager being absent for a day or two on business connected with the affairs of the hotel.

The rooms reserved for the travellers on the first floor were three in number; consisting of two bedrooms opening into each other, and communicating on the left with a drawing-room. Complete so far, the arrangements proved to be less satisfactory in reference to the third bedroom required for Agnes and for the eldest daughter of Lord Montbarry, who usually slept with her on their travels. The bed-chamber on the right of the drawing-room was already occupied by an English widow lady.

December 17, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XX - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XX

Wilkie Collins

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.'

December 16, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XIX - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XIX

Wilkie Collins

Avoiding the crowd under the colonnades, Francis walked slowly up and down the noble open space of the square, bathed in the light of the rising moon.

Without being aware of it himself, he was a thorough materialist. The strange effect produced on him by the room—following on the other strange effects produced on the other relatives of his dead brother—exercised no perplexing influence over the mind of this sensible man. 'Perhaps,' he reflected, 'my temperament is more imaginative than I supposed it to be—and this is a trick played on me by my own fancy?

December 15, 2020  

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XVIII - Wilkie Collins

The Haunted Hotel - Fourth Part, Ch XVIII

Wilkie Collins

Before the end of the week, the manager found himself in relations with 'the family' once more. A telegram from Milan announced that Mr. Francis Westwick would arrive in Venice on the next day; and would be obliged if Number Fourteen, on the first floor, could be reserved for him, in the event of its being vacant at the time.

The manager paused to consider, before he issued his directions.

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