to time, she drew a heavy stertorous breath, like a person oppressed in sleeping. "Is she likely to die?" Henry asked.
"She is dead," the doctor answered. "Dead of the rupture of a blood-vessel on the brain. Those sounds that you hear are purely mechanical--they may go on for hours."
Henry looked at the chambermaid. She had little to tell. The Countess had refused to go to bed, and had placed herself at her desk to proceed with her writing. Finding it useless to remonstrate with her, the maid had left the room to speak to the manager. In the shortest possible time the doctor was summoned to the hotel, and found the Countess dead on the floor. There was this to tell--and no more.
Looking at the writing-table as he went out, Henry saw the sheet of paper on which the Countess had traced her last lines of writing. The characters were almost illegible. Henry could just distinguish the words, "First Act," and "Persons of the Drama." The lost wretch had been thinking of her Play to the last, and had begun it all over again!
HENRY returned to his room.
His first impulse was to throw aside the manuscript, and never to look at it again. The one chance of relieving his mind from the dreadful
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Publication information: Book title: The Haunted Hotel:A Mystery of Modern Venice. Contributors: Wilkie Collins - Author. Publisher: Peter Fenelon Collier. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1970. Page number: 245.
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