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The Return Of The Soul
1896

written by "Hichens, Robert (Robert Smythe), 1864-1950"
...the box, opened it, and struck a light. The room was vaguely illuminated. I saw something white at the far end, against the wall. I put the match to a candle. The white thing was Margot. She was in her dressing-gown, and was crouched up in an angle of the wall as far away from where I stood as possible. Her blue eyes were wide open, and fixed upon me with an expression of such intense and hideous fear in them that I almost cried out. "Margot, what is the matter?" I said. "Are you ill?" She made no reply. Her face terrified me. "What is it, Margot?" I cried in a loud, almost harsh voice, determined to rouse her from this horrible, unnatural silence. "What are you doing here?" I moved towards her. I stretched out my hands and seized her. As I did so, a sort of sob burst from her. Her hands were cold and trembling. "What is it? What has frightened you?" I reiterated. At last she spoke in a low voice. "You—you looked so strange, so—so cruel as you came in," she said. "Strange! Cruel! But you could not see me. It was dark," I answered. "Dark!" she said. "Yes, until I lit the candle. And you cried out when I was only in the doorway. You could not see me there." "Why not? What has that got to do with it?" she murmured, still trembling violently. "You can see me in the dark?" "Of course," she said. "I don't understand what you mean. Of course I can see you when you are there before my eyes." "But——" I began; and then her obvious and complete surprise at my questions stopped them. I still held her hands in mine, and their extreme coldness roused me to the remembrance that she was unclothed. "You will be ill if you stay here," I said. "Come back to your room." She said nothing, and I led her back, waited while she got into bed, and then, placing the candle on the dressing-table, sat down in a chair by her side. The strong determination to take prom...

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