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From Whose Bourne   By: (1850-1912)

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First Page:

FROM WHOSE BOURNE

BY ROBERT BARR (LUKE SHARP)

AUTHOR OF "IN A STEAMER CHAIR" ETC.

[Illustration: William Brenton.]

WITH FORTY SEVEN ILLUSTRATIONS

BY C.M.D. HAMMOND, G.D. HAMMOND, AND HAL HURST

1893

TO

AN HONEST MAN

AND

A GOOD WOMAN

FROM WHOSE BOURNE

PRINCIPAL ILLUSTRATIONS:

Buel placed his portmanteau on the deck

William Brenton

"Do you think I shall be missed?"

He again sat in the rocking chair

He saw standing beside him a stranger

A Venetian Café

Venice

In Venice

The Brenton Murder

Mrs. Brenton

Gold

Publicity

The Broken Toy

"She's pretty as a picture"

Raising the Veil

Jane

The Detective

Jane Morton

"Oh, why did I do it?"

"How much time do you give me?"

In the prisoner's dock

"I feel very grateful to you"

"Here's the detailed report"

"Guilty! Guilty of what?"

CHAPTER I.

"My dear," said William Brenton to his wife, "do you think I shall be missed if I go upstairs for a while? I am not feeling at all well."

[Illustration: "Do you think I shall be missed?"]

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Will," replied Alice, looking concerned; "I will tell them you are indisposed."

"No, don't do that," was the answer; "they are having a very good time, and I suppose the dancing will begin shortly; so I don't think they will miss me. If I feel better I will be down in an hour or two; if not, I shall go to bed. Now, dear, don't worry; but have a good time with the rest of them."

William Brenton went quietly upstairs to his room, and sat down in the darkness in a rocking chair. Remaining there a few minutes, and not feeling any better, he slowly undressed and went to bed. Faint echoes reached him of laughter and song; finally, music began, and he felt, rather than heard, the pulsation of dancing feet. Once, when the music had ceased for a time, Alice tiptoed into the room, and said in a quiet voice

"How are you feeling, Will? any better?"

"A little," he answered drowsily. "Don't worry about me; I shall drop off to sleep presently, and shall be all right in the morning. Good night."

He still heard in a dreamy sort of way the music, the dancing, the laughter; and gradually there came oblivion, which finally merged into a dream, the most strange and vivid vision he had ever experienced. It seemed to him that he sat again in the rocking chair near the bed. Although he knew the room was dark, he had no difficulty in seeing everything perfectly. He heard, now quite plainly, the music and dancing downstairs, but what gave a ghastly significance to his dream was the sight of his own person on the bed. The eyes were half open, and the face was drawn and rigid. The colour of the face was the white, greyish tint of death.

"This is a nightmare," said Brenton to himself; "I must try and wake myself." But he seemed powerless to do this, and he sat there looking at his own body while the night wore on. Once he rose and went to the side of the bed. He seemed to have reached it merely by wishing himself there, and he passed his hand over the face, but no feeling of touch was communicated to him. He hoped his wife would come and rouse him from this fearful semblance of a dream, and, wishing this, he found himself standing at her side, amidst the throng downstairs, who were now merrily saying good bye. Brenton tried to speak to his wife, but although he was conscious of speaking, she did not seem to hear him, or know he was there.

[Illustration: He again sat in the rocking chair.]

The party had been one given on Christmas Eve, and as it was now two o'clock in the morning, the departing guests were wishing Mrs. Brenton a merry Christmas. Finally, the door closed on the last of the revellers, and Mrs. Brenton stood for a moment giving instructions to the sleepy servants; then, with a tired sigh, she turned and went upstairs, Brenton walking by her side until they came to the darkened room, which she entered on tiptoe.

"Now," said Brenton to himself, "she will arouse me from this appalling dream." It was not that there was anything dreadful in the dream itself, but the clearness with which he saw everything, and the fact that his mind was perfectly wide awake, gave him an uneasiness which he found impossible to shake off... Continue reading book >>




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