Page:Tales of the Dead.djvu/39

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23
THE FAMILY PORTRAITS.

then went round the bed, and kissed the forehead of the other boy.

"I lost all recollection at that moment; and the following morning, when the children awoke me with their caresses, I was willing to consider the whole as a dream.

"Meanwhile, the moment for our departure was at hand. We once again breakfasted all together in a grove of lilacs and flowers. 'I advise you to take a little more care of yourself,' said the old count in the midst of other conversation; 'for I last night saw you walking rather late in the garden, in a dress ill suited to the damp air; and I was fearful such imprudence would expose you to cold and fever. Young people are apt to fancy they are invulnerable; but I repeat to you, Take advice from a friend.'

"'In truth,' I answered, 'I believe readily that I have been attacked by a violent fever, for never before was I so harassed by terrifying visions: I can now conceive how dreams afford to a heated imagination subjects for the most extraordinary stories of apparitions.'

"'What would you tell me?' demanded the count in a manner not wholly devoid of agitation. I related to him all that I had seen the preceding night; and to my great surprise he appeared to me in no way astonished, but extremely affected.