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Terrible Tales

out of the room, and, as I thought, tears glistened in her eyes. It was certainly Laura. I could not be mistaken, for I stood as near her when she passed as I now am to you, my lady Countess. It struck me, therefore, as remarkable that she should return in a few moments with an expression of the utmost cheerfulness on her features. I followed her, and with great surprise noticed that on coming up to the bridegroom she immediately led him out among the dancers, and, instead of dissuading him as before, seemed to enter into their amusements with as much animation as he did. I observed, too, that after one waltz the Duke went to bid his father-in-law and the Countess good-night. They shook hands, and he retired with Laura by a private door to their room.

By degrees the party began to break up, till at last no one remained in the room but myself, with our host and hostess. What was our astonishment, therefore, when we suddenly saw Laura, in her ball costume, enter, not from the door leading to the room to which she and the Duke had retired, but through the principal door, and look around her astonished to find the place so deserted.

‘What can be the meaning of this?’ said her mother, while the Count was so astonished that he could not utter a word.

‘Where is Marino?’ asked the bride.

‘Do you ask us, dear child?’ said the Countess. ‘Did we not see you retire with him nearly an hour ago?’

‘Impossible,’ cried she. ‘You are altogether mistaken.’

‘Nay, dearest Laura,’ answered her mother; ‘just after that waltz, when you danced with so much