He had missed her for more than a week, and had written to her twice — rather angrily on the second occasion — when a rough unkempt boy in corduroy waited upon him in the dreary ward, where he and half a dozen other depressed and melancholy men sat at little tables writing letters, or pretending to read newspapers, and looking at one another furtively every now and then. There is no prisoner so distracted by his own cares that he will not find time to wonder what his neighbour is “in for.”
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The boy had received instructions to be careful how he imparted his dismal tidings to the “poor dear gentleman;” but the lad grew nervous and bewildered at sight of the Captain’s fierce hook-nose and scrutinising gray eyes, and blurted out his news without any dismal note of warning.
“The lady died at two o’clock this morning, please, sir; and mother said I was to come and tell you, please, sir.”
Captain Paget staggered under the blow.
“Good God!” he cried, as he dropped upon a rickety Windsor chair, that creaked under his weight; “and I did not even know that she was ill!”[url=http://www.mymulberryfactoryshop.com] mulberry factory shop[/url]
Still less did he know that all her married life had been one long heart-sickness — one monotonous agony of remorse and shame.
Diana Paget left the Kursaal, and walked slowly along the pretty rustic street; now dawdling before a little print-shop, whose contents she knew by heart, now looking back at the great windows of that temple of pleasure which she had just quitted.
“What do they care what becomes of me?” she thought, as she looked up at the blank vacant windows for the last time before she left the main street of Forêtdechêne, and turned into a straggling side-street, whose rugged pavement sloped upward towards the pine-clad hills. The house in which Captain Paget had taken up his abode was a tall white habitation, situated in the narrowest of the narrow by-ways that intersect the main street of the pretty Belgian watering-place; a lane in which the inhabitants of opposite houses may shake hands with one another out of the window, and where the odour of the cabbages and onions so liberally employed in the cuisine of the native offends the nose of the foreigner from sunrise to sunset.