This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Terrible Tales

Globoda shook his head.

‘Still another proof,’ resumed the Duke. ‘When I stood behind the lady at the Louvre, it happened that her handkerchief was drawn a little aside, and on her neck, otherwise white as alabaster, I observed a strange red mark.’

‘In God’s name, what is this?’ cried the Count. ‘You seem determined that I should be forced to believe things utterly incomprehensible.’

‘Can this mark be found on Laura’s neck?’

‘No,’ replied the Count.

‘Is it possible?’ cried Marino.

‘I have told you the truth. It is no less certain that Laura’s twin sister, Hildegarde, who resembled her in every feature, had the mark you describe, and carried it with her to the grave more than a year ago.’

‘Yet it is only a few months,’ answered Marino, ‘since I saw that lady in Paris.’

At this moment the old Countess and Laura drew near, anxious to know what could be the purport of this long conversation. The Count’s manner was so stern that they dared not ask any questions. He retreated with Marino farther into the recess, and I could not hear another word of their conversation.

No one knew what to conclude from the extraordinary orders given by Globoda at a late hour of that evening. He directed the sacristan to attend him in order that the coffin of the Countess Hildegarde should be opened in his presence, and he invited me to go with him on the occasion. He told me all that had passed between the Duke and himself. On our way to the chapel the Count said to me—

‘It is scarcely possible that any deception should