Her curiosity increased to such a degree that, without reflecting how rude it was to leave her company, she ran down a back staircase in such haste that twice or thrice she narrowly escaped breaking her neck. Arrived at the door of the closet, she paused for a moment, bethinking herself of her husband's prohibition, and that some misfortune might befall her for her disobedience; but the temptation was so strong that she could not conquer it.
She therefore took the little key and opened, tremblingly, the door of the closet. At first she could discern nothing, the windows being closed; after a short time she began to perceive that the floor was all covered with clotted blood, in which were reflected the dead bodies of several females suspended against the walls. These were all the wives of Blue Beard, who had cut their throats one after the other. She was ready to die with fright, and the key of the closet, which she had withdrawn from the lock, fell from her hand. After recovering her senses a little, she picked up the key, locked the door again, and went up to her chamber to compose herself; but she could not succeed, so greatly was she agitated. Having observed that the key of the closet was stained with blood, she wiped it two or three times, but the blood would not come off. In vain she washed it, and even scrubbed it with sand and free-stone, the blood was still there, for the key was enchanted, and there were no means of cleaning it completely: when the blood was washed off one side, it came back on the other .
Blue Beard returned that very evening, and said that he had received letters on the road informing him that the business on which he was going had been settled to his advantage. His wife did all she could to persuade him that she was delighted at his speedy return. The next morning he asked her for his keys again; she gave them to him; but her hand trembled so, that he had not much difficulty in guessing what had occurred. "How comes it," said he, "that the key of the closet is not with the others?" "I must have left it," she replied, "upstairs on my table." "Fail not," said Blue Beard, "to give it me presently." After several excuses, she was compelled to produce the key.
Blue Beard having examined it, said to his wife, "Why is there some blood on this key?" "I don't know," answered the poor wife, paler than death. "You don't know?" rejoined Blue Beard. "I [Pg 6] know well enough. You must needs enter the closet. Well, madam, you shall enter it, and go take your place amongst the ladies you saw there." She flung herself at her husband's feet, weeping and begging his pardon, with all the signs of true repentance for having disobeyed him. Her beauty and affliction might have melted a rock, but Blue Beard had a heart harder than a rock. "You must die, madam," said he, "and immediately." "If I must die," she replied, looking at him with streaming eyes, "give me a little time to say my prayers." "I give you half a quarter of an hour," answered Blue Beard, "but not a minute more." As soon as he had left her, she called her sister, and said to her, "Sister Anne" (for so she was named) serviced apartments in hong kong
, "go up, I pray thee, to the top of the tower, and see if my brothers are not coming. They have promised me that they would come to see me to-day; and if you see them, sign to them to make haste." Sister Anne mounted to the top of the tower, and the poor distressed creature called to her every now and then, "Anne! sister Anne! dost thou not see anything coming?" And sister Anne answered her, "I see nothing but the sun making dust, and the grass growing green."