Page:Magician 1908.djvu/121

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117
THE MAGICIAN

a cry. She knelt down and, looking round with terror, caught sight of Margaret.

Oh, mademoiselle, venez vite,” she cried.

Margaret was obliged to go. Her heart beat horribly. She looked down at Oliver, and he seemed to be dead. She forgot that she loathed him. Instinctively she knelt down by his side and loosened his collar. He opened his eyes. An expression of terrible anguish came into his face.

“For the love of God, take me in for one moment,” he sobbed. “I shall die in the street.”

Her heart was moved towards him. He could not go into the poky den, evil-smelling and airless, of the concierge. But with her help Margaret raised him to his feet, and together they brought him to the studio. He sank painfully into a chair.

“Shall I fetch you some water?” asked Margaret.

“Can you get a pastille out of my pocket?”

He swallowed a white tabloid, which she took out of a case attached to his watch-chain.

“I’m very sorry to cause you this trouble,” he gasped. “I suffer from a disease of the heart and sometimes I am very near death.”

“I’m glad that I was able to help you,” she said.

He seemed able to breathe more easily. She left him to himself for a while, so that he might regain his strength. She took up a book and began to read. Presently, without moving from his chair, he spoke.

“You must hate me for intruding on you.”

His voice was stronger, and her pity waned as he seemed to recover. She answered with freezing indifference.