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to show the cause of death but a little mark upon the neck,

2023-12-03 14:51:14 source:School of insects and fishauthor: bird click:248Second-rate

"How we two women managed to keep up the deceit, as, for three whole days, we did, I shall never myself know. Jeanie sat in the room where her dead sister, from its head to its sticking-up feet, lay outlined under the white sheet; and I stayed beside the living man, and told lies and acted lies, till I took a joy in them, and had to guard against the danger of over-elaborating them.

to show the cause of death but a little mark upon the neck,

"He wondered at what he thought my 'new merry mood,' and I told him it was because of my delight that his wife was out of danger; and then I went on for the pure devilment of the thing, and told him that a week ago, when we had let him think his wife was growing stronger, we had been deceiving him; that, as a matter of fact, she was at that time in great peril, and I had been in hourly alarm concerning her, but that now the strain was over, and she was safe; and I dropped down by the foot of the bed, and burst into a fit of laughter, and had to clutch hold of the bedstead to keep myself from rolling on the floor.

to show the cause of death but a little mark upon the neck,

"He had started up in bed with a wild white face when Jeanie had first answered him from the other room, though the sisters' voices had been so uncannily alike that I had never been able to distinguish one from the other at any time. I told him the slight change was the result of the fever, that his own voice also was changed a little, and that such was always the case with a person recovering from a long illness. To guide his thoughts away from the real clue, I told him Jeanie had broken down with the long work, and that, the need for her being past, I had packed her off into the country for a short rest. That afternoon we concocted a letter to him, and I watched Jeanie's eyes with a towel in my hand while she wrote it, so that no tears should fall on it, and that night she travelled twenty miles down the Great Western line to post it, returning by the next up-train.

to show the cause of death but a little mark upon the neck,

"No suspicion of the truth ever occurred to him, and the doctor helped us out with our deception; yet his pulse, which day by day had been getting stronger, now beat feebler every hour. In that part of the country where I was born and grew up, the folks say that wherever the dead lie, there round about them, whether the time be summer or winter, the air grows cold and colder, and that no fire, though you pile the logs half-way up the chimney, will ever make it warm. A few months' hospital training generally cures one of all fanciful notions about death, but this idea I have never been able to get rid of. My thermometer may show me sixty, and I may try to believe that the temperature IS sixty, but if the dead are beside me I feel cold to the marrow of my bones. I could SEE the chill from the dead room crawling underneath the door, and creeping up about his bed, and reaching out its hand to touch his heart.

"Jeanie and I redoubled our efforts, for it seemed to us as if Death were waiting just outside in the passage, watching with his eye at the keyhole for either of us to make a blunder and let the truth slip out. I hardly ever left his side except now and again to go into that next room, and poke an imaginary fire, and say a few chaffing words to an imaginary living woman on the bed where the dead one lay; and Jeanie sat close to the corpse, and called out saucy messages to him, or reassuring answers to his anxious questions.

"At times, knowing that if we stopped another moment in these rooms we should scream, we would steal softly out and rush downstairs, and, shutting ourselves out of hearing in a cellar underneath the yard, laugh till we reeled against the dirty walls. I think we were both getting a little mad.

"One day--it was the third of that nightmare life, so I learned afterwards, though for all I could have told then it might have been the three hundredth, for Time seemed to have fled from that house as from a dream, so that all things were tangled--I made a slip that came near to ending the matter, then and there.

"I had gone into that other room. Jeanie had left her post for a moment, and the place was empty.

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