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And sought in vain his friend's averted eyes.

Their steps, suppressed, creaked on the uncovered boards:

They stood beside the coffin's foot and head.

Both gazed in silence, with bowed facesGrey

With bony chin pressed into bony throat.

The woman's limbs were straight inside her shroud.

The death which brooded glazed upon her eyes

Was hidden underneath the shapely lids; But the mouth kept its anguish. Combed and rich

The hair, which caught the light within its strings,

Golden about the temples, and as fine
And soft as any silk-web; and the brows
A perfect arch, the forehead undisturbed;
But the mouth kept its anguish, and the

Closed after death, scemed half in act to speak.

Covered the hands and feet; the head was laid

Upon a prayer-book, open at the rite
Of solemnizing holy matrimony.
Her marriage-ring was stitched into the


Grey stood a long while gazing. Then he


The candle on the ground, and on his knees Close to her unringed shrouded hand, he prayed,

Silent. With eyes still dry, he rose unchanged.

They left the room again with heeded steps. On friendly Harling lay the awe of death And pity he took his seat without a sound.

Some of the hackneyed phrases almost passed

His lips, but shamed him, and he held his peace.

"Harling," said Grey, after a pause, “you think

No doubt that this is all-her death is all. Harling, when first I saw you in the street, I feared you meant to come and speak to me;

So hid myself and waited till you knocked; Longing that you, perhaps, would go. Waited behind the door until you knocked,

When I

Had opened it, I think I called you SirDid you not chide me? Do you know, it seemed

So strange to me that any one I knew Before this happened should be here the


And know me for the same that once I was, I could not quite imagine we were friends. It is not merely death would make one feel

Like this-no, there is something more behind

Harder than death, more cruel. Let me wait

Some moments; then no help but I must tell."

He gathered up his face into his hands From chin to temples, only just to think And not be seen. He had not seated him, But leaned against the chair. Nor Harling spoke.

"Two months are gone now," Grey pursued. "We two

Lived lovingly. I had to come down here, And here I met a surgeon of the town. Hell only knows-I cannot tell you-why,

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I asked him to return with me, and spend A fortnight at our house. Perhaps I wrote The whole of this to you when it occurred. His name is Luton."

Here he chose to pause. "Perhaps I am not certain," Harling said.

"I think you might be certain," answered Grey,

"If you're my friend." But then he checked himself,

Adding: "Forgive me. I am not, you see, Myself to-night-this night, nor many nights,

Nor many nights to come. Well, he agreed. Of course, he must agree; else I should


Have been like this, disgraced, made almost mad."

At this he found his passion would be near To drive him to talk wildly: so he kept Silence again some moments-then resumed.

"How should I recollect the days we passed Together? There must surely have been enough

To see, and yet I never saw it once.

Besides, my patients kept me out all day Sometimes. It was in August, John, was this

The end of August, reaping just begun. We've had a splendid harvest, you'll have heard."

"Indeed!" the other said, shifting the while His posture-and he knew not what to say.

"Yes, you detect me," Grey cried bitterly ;
"You know I am afraid of what's to come-
A coward. Now I do hope I shall speak,
And tell you all of it without a stop.
There was a lady staying with us then,
A cousin of my wife's-but older, much;
So that you understand how I could ask
This Luton down. Before his time was up,
He seemed to grow uneasy, and he left,--
Merely explaining, business called him


I said I had not noticed anything
Unusual; and yet I sometimes found
Mary in tears, and could not gather why.
One day she told me when I questioned her
It was for thinking of our girl that died
Months back-for that her cousin would

Often to talk to her about her own;

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At nights the chair she sat in, for she said This is the only place where I can sleep.' Yet her affection for me seemed to grow A kind of pity for its tenderness.

Oh! what is now become of her, that I, After to-morrow, shall not see her more, But have to hide her always from my sight ?"

He took some steps, meaning to go again And see her corpse; but, meeting Harling's eye,

Turned and sat down.

"Is it not," he pursued, With floorward gaze, "hard on me I must


This business word by word, the whole of it, While I can see it all before me there, And it is clear one word could tell it all? Can you not guess the rest, and spare me now ?"

"I will not guess; but you," said Harling, "keep

All that remains unspoken; for it wrings My heart, dear Grey, dear friend, to sce you thus."

"No, it is better I should speak it out, For you would fancy something; and at least

You will not need to fancy when you know. She came to me one morning-(this was like

A fortnight after he had gone away,

This Luton)-saying that she found it vain Attempting to compose her mind at home; That every place made her remember what The baby had done or looked there, and she felt

Too weak for that, and meant to see her friends

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Consent on my part-mere sick wilfulness I took it for. She left the house. I might Have told you she'd a lilac dress, and hair Worn plain. And so I saw her the last time

The last time, God in heaven!" He seized his fists

Together, and he clutched them toward his throat.

"Many days passed. She had begged me, feeling sure

It would excite her, not to write a line, And said she would not write, nor let her friends.

I think I did not tell you, though, how pale Her cheeks were; and, in saying this, she sobbed,

For such a lengthened silence looked like death.

"Three weeks, or nearly that, had passed

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"Coroner's Inquest—A Distressing Case.

An inquest was held yesterday, before
The County Coroner, into the cause
Of the decease of Mrs. Mary Grey,
A married lady. Public interest
Was widely excited.

"When the Jury came From viewing the corpse, in which are seen remains

Of no small beauty, witnesses were called. "Mr. Holmes Grey, surgeon, deposed: 'I live

In Oxford, where I practise, and deceased Had been my wife for upwards of three


About the middle of September, she Was suffering much from weakness, and a weight

Seemed on her mind. The symptoms had begun

Nearly a month before, and still increased,
Until at last they gave me great alarm,
Of which we often spoke. On the eighteenth
She told me she would like to stay awhile
With two of her sisters, living on the coast,
At Barksedge House, not far from here.
She went

Next day. I cannot speak to any more.'

"The Coroner: How were you first apprised

Of this most melancholy event?'-' By


Addressed to me by Mr. Luton here.'

"A Juror: Could your scientific skill
Assign some cause for this debility ?'
No. I believed it was occasioned (so
She intimated) by a domestic grief
Quite unconnected with the present case.'

"The Coroner: You'll know how to cx


The question which I feel compelled to put:

I have a public duty to perform.

Had you, before the period you described, Any suspicions ever ?- Never once: There was no cause for any, I swear to God.'

"The witness had, throughout his testimony,

Preserved his calm-though clearly not without

An effort, which augmented towards the close.

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