"'Marquis,' said the boy, turned to him with his eyes opened wide,and his right hand raised, 'in the days when all these things are tobe answered for, I summon you and yours, to the last of your bad race,to answer for them. I mark this cross of blood upon you, as a signthat I do it. In the days when all these things are to be answeredfor, I summon your brother, the worst of the bad race, to answer forthem separately. I mark this cross of blood upon him, as a sign that Ido it.'
"Twice, he put his hand to the wound in his breast, and with hisforefinger drew a cross in the air. He stood for an instant with thefinger yet raised, and as it dropped, and I laidhim down dead.
"When I returned to the bedside of the young woman, I found herraving in precisely the same order of continuity. I knew that thismight last for many hours, and that it would probably end in thesilence of the grave.
"I repeated the medicines I had given her, and I sat at the sideof the bed until the night was far advanced. She never abated thepiercing quality of her shrieks, never stumbled in the distinctness orthe order of her words. They were always 'My husband, my father, andmy brother! One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten,eleven, twelve. Hush!'
"This lasted twenty-six hours from the time when I first saw her.I had come and gone twice, and was again sitting by her, when shebegan to falter. I did what little could be done to assist thatopportunity, and by-and-bye she sank into a lethargy, and lay like thedead.
"It was as if the wind and rain had lulled at last, after a long andfearful storm. I released her arms, and called the woman to assistme to compose her figure and the dress she had torn. It was thenthat I knew her condition to be that of one in whom the firstexpectations of being a mother have arisen; and it was then that Ilost the little hope I had had of her.
"'Is she dead?' asked the Marquis, whom I will still describe as theelder brother, coming booted into the room from his horse.