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Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:40 am

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We spoke of attachment, referring to a recent lawsuit. It was at the end of an evening in an old mansion in the Rue de Grenelle, and each of the guests had a story to tell, he assured us was true.

Then the old Marquis de la Tour-Samuel, eighty-two years old, stood up and came to lean forward on the mantelpiece. He told the following story in his voice trembling slightly.

"I have also witnessed a strange thing - so strange that the nightmare of my life it happened fifty-six years ago, and yet there is no one month if I do not see again in my dreams From that day .. I carried a mark, a mark of fear - you understand?

"Yes, ten minutes, I was a prey to fear, in such a way that has remained a constant fear in my soul unexpected sounds chill me to the heart;. Objects that I can ill be distinguished in the evening shadows make me long to escape. I'm afraid at night.

"No, I would not own anything before reaching my current age. But now I can tell everything. One can fear imaginary dangers eighty-two years old. But before real danger, I never turned back, _mesdames_.

"That affair so upset my mind, filled me with such a deep, mysterious anxiety that I could never tell. I kept it in the inner part, that corner where we hide our sadness, our shameful secrets, all the weaknesses of our lives that can not be confessed.

"I will tell you that just as the strange happenings took place, with no attempt to explain it. Unless I'm crazy for a short hour should be understandable, though. But I was not crazy, and I'll prove it to you . Imagine what you will here are the simple facts.:

"It was in 1827, in July. I was with my regiment quartered at Rouen.

"One day, when I was walking on the quay, I met a man I believed I recognized, though I could not quite place him with certainty. Instinctively I went slowly, ready to pause. The stranger saw my pulse, looked at me to, and fell into my arms.

"It was a friend of my younger days, who I loved. He seemed to have grown half a century older in the five years since I had seen him. His hair was white, and he stooped in his walk, as if he is exhausted. He understood my surprise and told me the story of his life.

"A terrible event had broken him down. He was madly in love with a young girl and married her in a sort of dreamy ecstasy. After one year of unalloyed bliss and exhausted passion, she suddenly deceased from heart disease, no doubt slain by the existence of love itself.

"He had left the country on the day of her funeral, and had come to live at his hotel in Rouen. He stayed there, lonely and desperate sadness slowly mining him so miserable that he constantly thought about suicide.

"" When I came back this about you, "he said," I'll ask you a big favor. I want you to my castle and a number of papers that I desperately need. They are writing-desk of my room, from _our_ room. I can not send an officer or a lawyer, because the message must be private. I want absolute silence.

"" I give you the room key, I locked myself thoroughly before leaving, and the key to writing-desk. I will also give you a note to the gardener, who will let you inside

"" Come with me to breakfast tomorrow, and we will discuss the matter. "

"I promised him to make that small service. It would mean, but a pleasant excursion for me, his house no more than twenty-five miles from Rouen. I could go there in one hour on horseback.

"At ten o'clock the next day I was with him. We had breakfast together alone, but he uttered no more than twenty words. He asked me to excuse him. The thought went into the room to visit, where his happiness lay crushed him angry, he said. In fact, he seemed upset, worried, as if some mysterious place conflict in his soul.

"Finally he explained what I had to do it was simple I was two packets of letters and some papers, locked in the first drawer on the right side of the desk that I had to take the key ... He added:

"" I should not ask you not to look at them. "

. "I was almost hurt by his words and told him, rather sharply, he stammered:

"" Forgive me. I suffer so much! "

"And tears came into his eyes.

"I left about a message on my reach.

"The day was bright, and I ran through the meadows, listening to the song of larks, and the rhythmic beat of my sword on my boots.

"Then I went to the woods, and my horse at the walk. Branches of the trees gently my face caressed, and occasionally I would be a leaf between my teeth, catch and bite with avidity, full of the joy of life, such as as fill for no reason, with an almost indefinable tumultuous joy, a kind of magical power.

"When I approached the house, I took the letter to the gardener, and noticed with astonishment that it was sealed. I was so surprised and so annoyed that I almost returned without my mission. Then I thought that I should appear so in bad taste and sensitivity. My friend could have sealed the unconscious, he was scared.

"The house looked like it was leaving the last twenty years, the gate wide open and rotten, kept one wondering how the paths filled Grass; .. You could not tell the limits of the lawn.

"When I kick a shutter sound, an old man came out a side door and was apparently surprised to see me there. I rose from my horse and gave him the letter. He read it once or twice, turned it over, looked me with suspicion, and asked:

"" Well, what do you want? "

"I replied sharply:

"" You know if you've read your master orders. I want to get into the house. "

. "He appeared overwhelmed, he said:

"" So - you're going to - in his room? "

"I was impatient.

"" _Parbleu! _ Do you intend to ask myself, by chance? "

"He stammered:

"" No - monsieur - only - it is not open, because - since the death if you wait five minutes, I will go on whether ---- see. "

"I interrupted angrily:

"" See here, you're kidding? You can not live in that room, as I have the key! "

"He did not know what to say.

"" Then, monsieur, I will show you the way. "

"" Let me up the stairs and leave me alone. I can find without your help. "

"" But - still - Monsieur ---- "

"When I lost my temper.

"" Now be quiet! Otherwise, you'll be sorry! "

"I pushed him roughly aside and went into the house.

"I first went through the kitchen, put two small rooms occupied by the man and his wife. From there I took a big hall. I went upstairs, and I recognized the door, my friend had described to me.

"I opened it with ease and entered

"The room was so dark I could not previously see nothing. I paused, arrested by the moldy and musty smell peculiar to abandoned and condemned rooms, dead room. Then gradually increased my eyes accustomed to the darkness, and I saw clearly prefer a large room in disarray, a bed without sheets still have mattresses and pillows, one of which bore the deep imprint of an elbow or a head, as if someone had just rest.

"The chairs all seemed confused. I noticed that a door, probably that of a closet, had remained ajar.

"I first went to the window and opened it to shed some light, but the hinges on the outside shutters were so rusty that I could not loosen them.

"I even tried to break them with my sword, but failed. Since the fruitless me irritated, and when my eyes were already adjusted to the dim light, I gave up hope of getting more light and went to the writing desk.

"I sat in an armchair, folded back the top, and opened the drawer. It was full to the brim. I needed but three packages, which I managed to discern, and I went looking for them.

"I had my eyes have trouble deciphering the inscriptions, when I thought I heard or rather felt a rustling behind me. I took no notice, thinking a single blind design was lifted. But one minute later, another movement, almost clear, sent a disagreeable little shiver over my skin. It was so ridiculous that even something so moving, that I would not turn around, being ashamed. I just had the second package I needed, discovered, and was about point of reaching the third, then a big sigh and sad, not far from my shoulder, made me do a crazy jump two meters away. In my spring, I turned my hand on the hilt of my sword, and certainly had I do not feel I would have fled like a coward.

"A tall woman dressed in white, was before me, behind the chair where I sat for one second did.

"Such a shudder ran through me that I almost fell back Oh, no one who has not felt them to this cruel and ridiculous fears to understand the soul melts;! Your heart seems to stop, your body is limp as a sponge, and you seem to share inner collapse.

"I do not believe in ghosts, and yet I broke the terrible fear of death, and I suffered, oh, I suffered more in a few minutes, the irresistible fear of supernatural terror, then I have suffered in all the rest of my life!

"If she had not spoken, I would have died, but she did speak, ... She spoke in a soft and plaintive voice that set my nerves vibrating, I could not say that I my self again No, I was past know what I have, but the kind of pride I have in me, as a military pride, me helped to maintain, almost despite myself, I was an honorable face to create a pose, a pose for myself and for her. for her, what she was, wife, or phantom. I realized later, for at the time of appearance, I could think of nothing. I was scared.

"She said:

"" Oh, you can be of great help to me, Monsieur! "

"I tried to answer, but I was unable to utter a word. A faint sound came from my throat.

"She continued:

"" Would you? You can save me, heal me. I suffer terribly. I've always suffered. Suffer me, oh, I'm suffering! "

"They sit quietly in my chair. She looked at me.

"" Would you? "

"I nodded my head, still paralyzed.

"She gave me a woman in tortoiseshell comb and murmured:

"" Oh my combs, comb my hair that will cure me Look at me -!. How I suffered and my hair -! How it hurts'

"Her loose hair, very long, very black, it seemed to me, hung over the back of the chair, touching the floor.

"Why did I do? Why do I, chills, accept that the comb, and why I have between my hands, her long hair, which left my skin a horrible impression of cold, as if I had handled snakes? I do not learn know.

"That feeling still clings to my fingers, and I shudder when I recall it.

"I've combed her, I treated, I do not know that her ice-bound and unbound I, .. I twisted like a braid a horse mane She sighed, bowed her head, seemed happy.

"Suddenly she said," Thank you! " tore the comb from my hands, and fled through the door I saw was half opened.

"Left alone, I had a few seconds the hazy feeling one feels in awakening from a nightmare. Then I found myself. I ran to the window and the shutters came by my furious attack.

"A stream of light poured in. I ran to the door through which the creature was gone. I found the lock and real estate.

"Then the flight of a fever seized me, a panic, the panic of the true battle I quickly three packets of letters from the open bar hold on. I left the room running, I take the stairs took four at a time. I found out myself, I do not know how, and seeing my horse around, I mounted in one jump and had a full gallop.

"I did not stop until I reached Rouen and pulled in front of my house. Thrown After the reins to my orderly, I flew to my room and locked myself into thinking.

"Then for one hour, I wondered if I had not the victim of a hallucination had been. Certainly, I have one of those nervous shock, one of those brain disorders such as lead to miracles, where the supernatural is power owe had .

"And I had almost concluded that it is a vision, an illusion of my senses when I close the window. My eyes accidentally looked down. My tunic was covered with hair, long hair woman who were trapped around the Buttons!

"I took them one by one and threw them out the window with trembling fingers.

"I then called my orderly. I also felt uneasy, to move, to go and see my friend that day. Besides, I had to think about what I should tell him.

"I have letters delivered to him. He gave a receipt to the soldier. He asked after me and was told that I was not good. I had a sunstroke, or had something. He seemed sad.

"I went to him the next day, early in the morning, bent on telling him the truth. He was the night before and had not returned.

"I returned the same day, but he had not seen. I waited one week. He did not return. I notice of the police. They looked for him everywhere, but no one could trace of his death or his retreat found.

"A careful search was made in the abandoned mansion. No idea suspicious was discovered.

"There was no sign that a woman had hidden.

"The autopsy gave no results, so the search went no further.

"And in fifty-six years I have learned nothing. I never know the truth."



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