ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

“First, miss, he's much better already, and almost sure, the doctor says, to be saved.”

“Thank Heaven !” murmured Ellen, tears gushing from her eyes, and clasping her hands.

“But it was a narrow escape, miss,” added Ruth, anxious not to resign the great delight of the lower orders—that of exciting surprise, and even horror,

“I beg you will tell me the particulars, Ruth.”

Why, then, miss, Mr. Grunter, from over-exertion of his brain — a-writing the biggest book as ever was, has broken a bloodvessel in his leg, and has well nigh bled to death!”

“Not in his leg, surely, Ruth—in his lungs, perhaps. Poor Mr. Grunter!”

“Oh, miss! I'm most positive it was in his leg, miss, for I've just seen Mr. Smith, Mr.Jobb's young assistant, a most genteel young man, miss, who has sat up all night with Mr. Grunter; and, on my asking how his patient was, miss, he told me the whole case, and said a blood vessel bursted in the leg was more dangerous than one in the lungs, miss — I suppose it's larger, miss; and Mr. Grunter, miss, you know, has a fine, large leg, very like the beadle's at St. James's church.”

[graphic]

“ Are you quite sure this strange tale is true, Ruth?”

“ Too true, miss—besides, I've seen quarts and quarts of blood that came out of Mr. Grunter's room last night, besides cloths soaked through, that Mr. Jobb used in attending him. Oh! if you had seen him when he came home, miss, supported by Mr. Fitzcribb and Mr. Jobb ; his teeth was shaking in his head like dice, and he was blue and green, and shivering, and couldn't walk a step. Well, miss, this morning, after I had spoken to Mr. Smith on the stairs, I took him a cup of coffee and a roll, which the housekeeper sent him into Mr. Grunter's room, and there, thinking you would be anxious to know all, miss, I took a close survey of Mr. Grunter.

“He was fast asleep, miss, and snoring like ......almost like the braying of father's donkey;

but Mr. Smith said it was “artificial sleep,” the result of an invaluable composing draught he had made himself. Well, miss, he looks, poor gentleman ! as if every drop of blood was drained out of him ; he seems to me about the colour of an old tombstone, miss, and there's a horrid black mark goes right across his face—it's sure to be from too much study, miss, for Mr. Smith says he's been a-talking to himself all night about history and philosophy, and the queen and archbishops, and chancellors, and all such great scholars; but Mr. Smith says, owing to the excellent treatment of Mr. Jobb and himself, he's almost sure to do well; it was at Mr. Fitzcribb's it bursted out, miss, just as Mr. Grunter was a-making part of his book. Cook says the whole room was full of blood she supposes, and the book spoiled ; and now Mr. Smith is gone, and Mr. Jobb is come to attend the patient—an elderly man, miss, to my mind not half so genteel as Mr. Smith.”

And my uncle ?” asked Ellen.
“ He came home from the opera, frightened

to death, miss, and offered Mr. Jobb a fortune to cure Mr. Grunter; he sat up with him till Mr. Smith came, and then he took a composing draught Mr. Jobb sent him, and went to bed, and James says, miss, he's still sound asleep.”

“ So much the better, Ruth.”
“ And Mr. Julian ?”
“He's already up, and gone out for a walk,

miss.”

“So early !- how strange! My sister, I suppose, knows nothing of this accident of poor Grunter's ?”

“No, miss, nothing."

“Well, do not alarm her; she will not be stirring yet for some time, so come and take a turn in the park with me, Ruth, for I feel faint and nervous."

Ruth had just opened the street-door for Ellen to go out, when she drew back, uttering a faint scream, and sunk almost fainting on a seat.

“ What is it?" asked Ellen, pale with terror.

“ Mr. Julian,” faltered Ruth.

Poor Ellen pressed forward — she saw a sort of litter, borne by several workmen, and escorted by De Villeneuve, and on it the apparently lifeless form of Julian Lindsay !

For a moment, Ellen was scarcely able to suppress a shriek of anguish the next she all but fainted; but, mastering both propensities with the strong fortitude of a devoted woman, she drew aside for the litter to enter the hall, and, going up to De Villeneuve, while her white and trembling lips could scarcely form the words, she said,

“ Is there any hope? Does he yet live ?”

“ He does,” said De Villeneuve; “ instant assistance might save him. I have sent to two or three surgeons; as yet, I fear, none are up, and every minute is precious.”

“There is a surgeon in the house - in Mr. Grunter's room,” exclaimed Ellen.

She tried to rush forth to call him, but her limbs could not support her — she sank by Julian's litter. Villeneuve darted to Grunter's room; in a few moments he returned,

« 前へ次へ »