She had scarcely set down my heavy box, which she seemed to have considerable difficulty in raising on the table, when the door of the room in which I had seen the coffin, opened, and a sinister and unexpected apparition entered.
It was the Count de St. Alyre, who had been, as I have told you, reported to me to be, for some considerable time, on his way to Père la Chaise. He stood before me for a moment, with the frame of the doorway and a background of darkness enclosing him, like a portrait. His slight, mean figure was draped in the deepest mourning. He had a pair of black gloves in his hand, and his hat with crape round it.
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The curious case which I am about to place before you, is
referred to, very pointedly, and more than once, in the
extraordinary Essay upon the drugs of the Dark and the Middle Ages,
from the pen of Doctor Hesselius.
Though carefully educated in medicine and surgery, I have never
practised either. The study of each continues, nevertheless, to
interest me profoundly. Neither idleness nor caprice caused my
secession from the honourable calling which…