you in the hurry of landing, and I haven't had a
chance since. This is the first time I have seen
you for nearly three years. I found the box this
morning, and I thought you might like to have it
again, so I brought it up."
John Manning rang the bell at the head of his
oed. The black crone answered it, and soon re-
tutned with the little square box. Manning im-
196 VENETIAN GLASS.
patiently broke the seals and cords that bound its
cover and began eagerly to release the goblet
from the cotton and tissue paper in which it had
been carefully swathed and bandaged. Mrs. Man-
ning, though her moods were subtler and more in-
tense, showed an anxiety to see the goblet quite as
feverish as her husband's. In a minute the last
wrapping was twisted off and the full beauty of
the Venetian glass was revealed to them. As-
suredly no praise was too loud for its delicate and
" Does Mrs. Manning know the story of the gob-
let ?" asked Larry; "has she been told of the
peculiar virtue ascribed to it ?"
" She has too great a fondness for the horrible
and the fantastic not to have heard the story in its
smallest details," said Manning.
Mrs. Manning had taken the glass in her fine,
thin hands. Evidently it and its mystic legend
had a morbid fascination for her. A strange light
gleamed in her wondrous eyes, and Laughton was
startled again to see the extraordinary resemblance
between her and the picture they had looked at on
the day the goblet had been bought.
" When the poison was poured into it," she said
at last, with quick and restless glances at the two
men, " the glass broke then the tale was true ?"
" It was a coincidence only, I'm afraid," said
her husband, who had rallied and regained strength
under the unwonted excitement.
Just then the old-fashioned clock on the stairs
VENETIAN GLASS. 197
struck five. Mrs. Manning started up, holding
the goblet in her hand.
" It is time for your medicine," she said.
" As you please," answered her husband wearily,
sinking back on his pillow. " My wife insists on
giving me every drop of my potions with her own
hands. I shall not trouble her much longer, and
I doubt if it is any use for her to trouble me now."
" I shall give you everything in this glass after
this," she said.
" In the Venetian glass ?" asked Larry.
" Yes," she said, turning on him fiercely ;
" Do you think the doctor is trying to poison
me ?" asked her husband.
" No, I do not think the doctor is trying to
poison you," she repeated mechanically as she
moved toward a little sideboard in a corner of the
room. " But I shall give you all your medicines
in this hereafter."
She stood at the little sideboard, with her back
toward them, and she mingled the contents of
various phials in the Venetian goblet. Then she
turned to cross the room to her husband. As she
walked with the glass in her hand there was a rift
in the clouds high over the other side of the
river, and the rays of the setting sun thrust them-
selves through the window and lighted up the
glory of her hair and showed the strange gleam in
her staring eyes. Another step, and the red rays
fell on the Venetian glass, and it burned and
198 VENETIAN GLASS.
glowed, and the green serpents twined about its
ruby stem seemed to twist and crawl with malig-
nant life, while their scorching eyes shot fire.
Another step, and she stood by the bedside. As
John Manning reached out his hand for the gob-
let, a tremor passed through her, her fingers
clinched the fragile stem, and the glass fell on the
floor and was shattered to shivers as its fellow
had been shattered three centuries ago and more.
She still stared steadily before her ; then her lips
parted, and she said, " The glass broke the glass
broke then the tale is true !" And with one
hysteric shriek she fell forward amid the frag-
ments of the Venetian goblet, unconscious there
after of all things.
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