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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XXV A Voice in the Night

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It was deep to blackness in the hollow of the evergreen. Marco stood in it, streaming with rain, but feeling nothing because he was full of thought. He pushed aside his greenery and kept his eyes on the place in the blackness where the windows must be, though he could not see them. It seemed that he waited a long time, but he knew it only seemed so really. He began to breathe quickly because he was waiting for something.

Suddenly he saw exactly where the windows were--because they were all lighted!

His feeling of relief was great, but it did not last very long. It was true that something had been gained in the certainty that his man had not left Vienna. But what next? It would not be so easy to follow him if he chose only to go out secretly at night. What next? To spend the rest of the night watching a lighted window was not enough. To-morrow night it might not be lighted. But he kept his gaze fixed upon it. He tried to fix all his will and thought-power on the person inside the room. Perhaps he could reach him and make him listen, even though he would not know that any one was speaking to him. He knew that thoughts were strong things. If angry thoughts in one man's mind will create anger in the mind of another, why should not sane messages cross the line?

``I must speak to you. I must speak to you!'' he found himself saying in a low intense voice. ``I am outside here waiting. Listen! I must speak to you!''

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He said it many times and kept his eyes fixed upon the window which opened on to the balcony. Once he saw a man's figure cross the room, but he could not be sure who it was. The last distant rumblings of thunder had died away and the clouds were breaking. It was not long before the dark mountainous billows broke apart, and a brilliant full moon showed herself sailing in the rift, suddenly flooding everything with light. Parts of the garden were silver white, and the tree shadows were like black velvet. A silvery lance pierced even into the hollow of Marco's evergreen and struck across his face.

Perhaps it was this sudden change which attracted the attention of those inside the balconied room. A man's figure appeared at the long windows. Marco saw now that it was the Prince. He opened the windows and stepped out on to the balcony.

``It is all over,'' he said quietly. And he stood with his face lifted, looking at the great white sailing moon.

He stood very still and seemed for the moment to forget the world and himself. It was a wonderful, triumphant queen of a moon. But something brought him back to earth. A low, but strong and clear, boy-voice came up to him from the garden path below.

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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