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she said, with a faint smile, like sunshine on a snowdrop, while the large tears stole down her cheeks, “ as I have redeemed my pledge, and, at any rate, done no harm, perhaps, Mr. Jobb, you will allow me to be one of his nurses ?".
“I must say, miss,” said Jobb, washing his hands, “as a medical man-I must say you're an honour to your sex. If you'd been a man, miss, you'd have been an ornament to the profession. Few regular nurses have half your nerve, miss; and if you can hold up, I cannot refuse your occasionally looking in upon my patient. But you cannot stand it long, miss ; I shall have you on my list for this before two days are over our heads. Allow me....why, your pulse is like a bird's; however, if you will take some draughts hourly, which I will send you, I have no objection to your being now and then in the room with my patient. But directly I get home, I shall look out for two steady, regularly-educated hospital nurses, for my two patients. One (it's a curious thing) is a Mrs. Jobb-no relation, as you may believe; indeed, she has no right to the double b to her name. Now, if you please, miss, we're going to remove the patient; will you inform the ladies I am coming in a few minutes to prescribe for them ?”
Ellen left the room. Her first care was to throw herself on her knees, and thank her heavenly Father that her cousin's life had been spared; her next, to ascertain whether Mr. Lindsay had been informed of aught connected with this dreadful affair. Luckily, Mr. Jobb's composing-draught still enchained his senses in the soundest sleep. Mr. Grunter, too, was undisturbed ; Mrs. Lindsay and Augusta, who, when they were shut out of the library, found that they had just strength to convey themselves upstairs, were closeted with Ruth, weeping, screaming, and wringing their hands. Augusta's first agony had a little given way to a curiosity, excited by her mother, to know the cause of the duel, Ruth had heard a footman say “ that came of noticing foreigners.” This awoke a wild suspicion — a duel fought by Julian, and not for her! Augusta dashed away her tears—for jealousy is not a tearful
passion. On Ellen's approach, they eagerly darted forth to question her.
Poor Ellen ! — she had been too much engrossed by the result to have given one thought to the cause.
Her lot is on you: to be found untired,
When Mr. Lindsay awoke, he found himself stupified and giddy from Jobb’s strong soporific, and after crawling in his dressinggown and slippers to ascertain Mr. Grunter's state, he was glad to retire to bed again. He saw Grunter fast asleep, looking indeed most ghastly, but on listening to his slumbering thoughts as he growled them forth, he was rejoiced to hear the words, “ hunger,” “breakfast,” “ham,” “hot rolls and coffee,” mingled with “ The Philosophy of History and the History of Philosophy.” Thus convinced that a natural appetite was beginning to struggle with his feverish intellectual craving, his kind heart grew more at ease about the ci-devant usher.
He tottered back to his own bed, happily ignorant of the dreadful catastrophe which had almost deprived him of his only child; there, in the stillness and gloom of the darkened apartment, the opiate resumed its numbing influence over his faculties. He fell, first into a reverie, then into a dreamy doze, peopled with every kind of grotesque and fantastic shape, and at last sank into a sound sleep.
It was a great relief to poor Ellen to perceive this, when the noble and devoted girl, who in her own anxieties never forgot those of others, and who would not shrink from a duty, however painful, had stolen, pale yet resolute, to her uncle's room, to inform him as gently and soothingly as possible of that which she knew he must hear sooner or later, and dreaded his hearing from abrupt and unguarded lips.