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ed violently; then started up in the bed, felt about in haste for her handkerchief, raised it to her lips, and drew it away marked with blood.
She had burst a blood-vessel!
I was dreadfully alarmed for her. The incessant use she made of her handkerchief soon rendered it useless. It was steeped in blood. She pointed hurriedly to the drawers-I understood her-drew one of them open, and instantly brought her a clean handkerchief. That, also, was soon useless. In the intervals of this horrid work she attempted to speak to me—but I stopped her once for all, by laying my finger on my lips, and then addressing her solemnly-In the name of God, I charge you to be silent! A word a single word—and you are a dead woman! Your life is in the utmost danger' - again she seemed atteinpting to speak— if you utter a syllable, I tell you, it will destroy you; you know the consequences -you will therefore die a suicide—and, think of HEREAFTER!'.
A smile-one I cannot attempt to characterise, but by saying it seemed an unearthly one--flitted for a moment over her features and she did not seem disposed again to break my orders. I proceeded to bleed * her immediately, having obtained what was necessary-with great difficultywithout summoning any one for the present into the room. When she saw what I was about, she whispered faintly, with a calm, but surprised airpointing to her steeped handkerchiefs— What! more blood!'-I simply implored her to be silent, and trust herself in my hands. I bled her till she fainted. A few moments before she became insensible-while the deathlike hue and expression of fainting were stealing over her features, she exclaimed, though almost inaudibly—' Am I dying?'
When I had taken the requisite quantity of blood, I bound up the arm, as well as I could, took out my pencil, hastily wrote a prescription on a slip of paper, and called for such assistance as might be within reach. A young woman of odious appearance answered my summons by bursting noisily into the room.
La!' she exclaimed, on catching a glimpse of the blood, and the pallid face of my patient-La! Sure Sall's booked !'
Hush, woman!' said I sternly, 'take this '-giving her the prescription -'to the nearest druggist's shop, and get it made up immediately; and, in the meantime, send some elderly person here.' ,. Oh-her mother, eh?'.
• Her molher!' I echoed with astonishment. She laughed, 'La, nowyou don't know the ways of these places. We all calls her mother!!
Pity for the miserable victim I had in charge, joined with disgust and horror at the persons about me, and the place in which I was, kept me silent-till the woman last alluded to, made her appearance with the medicine I had ordered, and which I instantly poured into a cup and gave my patient. “Is the young woman inuch worse, sir ? ' she inquired, in an under tone, and with something like concern of inanner.
Yes'-I replied, laconically, “she must be taken care of, and that well -or she will not live the night out'-whispered.
• Better take her to the hospital, at once-hadn't we?' she inquired, approaching the bed, and eyeing Miss Edwards with stupid curiosity.
* I have often heard people express astonishment at my bleeding a patient who has already bled profusely from a ruptured veszel. It is with a view to lessening the heart's action, so as to diminish the volume of blood that it propels through the injured vessel, which may so have an opportunity of healing before it is called upon to perform its full functions.
"She is not to be moved out of her bed, at the peril of her life-not for many days, mind, woman-I tell you that distinctly.
You tell me that distinctly? And what the devil if you do? What, a God's name, is to be done with a sick young woman, here? We've something else to do beside making our house into an hospital!!
I could with difficulty repress my indignation. • Pray, for pity's sake, my good woman, don't speak so cruelly about this unfortunate girl! Consider how soon you may be lying on your own deathbed
• Deathbed, be — ! Who's to pay for her keep if she stops here? I can't, and what's more, I won't—and I defy the parish to make me! But, by the way,' she continued, suddenly addressing my patient, 'Sally, you had money enough a few days ago, I know ; where is it now?'.
*My good woman,' said I, gently removing her from the bedside, do but leave the room for a moment. I will come down stairs and arrange everything with you.' She seemed inclined to be obstreperous. I tell you, you are killing this poor girl!' said I, my eye kindling upon the old monster, with anger Muttering some unintelligible words of ill-teinper, she suffered me to close the door upon her, and I once more took my seat at the bedside. Miss Edwards' face evidenced the agitation with which she had listened to the cruel and insolent language of the beldam in whose power she for the present lay. I trembled for the effect of it.
Now, I entreat you, suffer me to have all the talking to myself for a moment or two. You can answer all my questions with a nod, or so. Do you think that if I were to send to you a nice respectable woman-a nurse from a dispensary with which I am connected-to attend upon you, the people of the house would let you remain quiet for a few days-till you could be removed ? Nod, if you think so!' She looked at me with surprise while I talked about removing her, but she simply nodded in acquiescence.
• If you are well enough by and bye, would you object to being taken from this place to a dispensary, where I would see to your comfort ?' She shook her head.
• Are you indebted to any one here?'.
•No, my guilt has paid' - she whispered. I pressed my finger on my lips, and she ceased. Well, we understand one another for the present I must not stay much longer, and you must not be exhausted. I shall charge the people below to keep you quiet, and a kind experienced nurse shall be at your bedside within two hours from this time. I will leave orders, till she comes, with the woman of the house to give you your medicine, and to keep you quiet, and the room cool. Now, I charge you, by all your hopes of life-by all your fears of death-let nothing prevail on you to open your lips, unless it be absolutely necessary. Good eveningmay God protect you !' I was rising, when she beckoned me into my seat again. She groped with her hand under her pillow for a moment, and brought out a purse .Pho, pho! put it away-at least for the present !' said I. Your fee must be paid!' she whispered.
I visit you as a dispensary patient, and shall assuredly receive no fee. You cannot move me, any more than you can shake St. Paul's,' said I, in a peremptory tone. Dropping her purse, she seized my hand in both hers, and looking up at me with a woeful expression, her tears fell upon it. After a pause, she whispered, Only a single word !-Mrs. - ' naming
my wife, you will not tell her of me?' she inquired with an imploring look. No, I will not!' I replied, though I knew I should break my word the moment I got home. She squeezed my hand, and sighed heavily. I did not regret to see her beginning to grow drowsy with the effect of the medicine I had given her, so I slipped quietly out of the room. Having no candle, I was obliged to grope my way down stairs in the dark. I was shocked and alarmed to hear, as I descended, by the angry voices both of men and women, that there was a disturbance down stairs. Oh, what a place for such a patient as I had quitted! I paused, when half way down, to listen. I tell you, I didn't take the watch,' shrieked the infuriate voice of a female. I'll be if I did.' •I saw you with it, I saw you with it!' replied a man's voice.
You're a liar! A liar!' There was the sound of a scuffle. • Come, come, my girl! Easy there! Easy !-Be quiet, or I'll take you all off to the watch-house !- Come, Bett, you'd better come off peaceably at once! This here gentleman says as how you've stolen his watch, and so you must go, of course!'_“I won't! I won't! I'll tear your eyes out! I'll see you all first! I will,' yelled the voice I had first heard, and tbe uproar increased. Gracious Heaven! in what a place was I! was my wretched patient! I stood on the dark stairs, leaning on my umbrella, pot knowing which way to go, or what to do. I resolved at length to go down; and on reaching the scene of all this uproar, found the passage and doorway choked with a crowd of men and women.
• What is the meaning of all this uproar?' I exclaimed, in as authoritative a manner as I knew how to assume. "For God's sake be quiet! Do you know that there is a young woman dying up stairs?'.
Dying! And what's that to me? They say I'm a thief-He says I've got his watch--he does, the liar!' shouted a young woman, her dress almost torn off her shoulders, and her hair hanging loosely all about her head and neck, and almost covering her face. She tried to disengage berself from the grasp of a watchman, and struggled to reach a young man, who, with impassioned gestures, was telling the crowd that he had been robbed of his watch in the house. My soul was sick within me. I would fain have slipped away, once for all, from such a horrid scene and neighborhood, but the thoughts of her I had left above, detained me.
"I wish to speak to you for a moment,' said I, addressing the old proprietress of the house. Speak to me, indeed!' she replied, scarce vouchsafing ine a look, and panting with rage. “Here's this — liar says he's been robbed here; that one o' my girls is a thief! He's trying to blast the character of my house '-and she poured such a volley of foul obscene names upon the object of her fury, as I had scarcely thought it possible for the tongue of man, much less of woman, to utter.
But, do let me have one word with you,' I whispered, imploringly– the poor girl up stairs-her life is at stake'
Here, Moll, do you come and speak to the Doctor! I've something else on my hands, 1 warrant ine!' and turning abruptly from me, she plunged again into the quarrel which I had interrupted.
The young woman she addressed made her way out of the crowd-led me into a small filthy room at the back of the house, and civilly, but with some agitation, arising from her having taken a part in the dispute, asked me what I wanted. Why only to tell you that Miss Edwards is my pa. tient that I know her'
Lord, sir, for the matter of that, so do a hundred others'
I tell you, Miss Edwards is my patient; that she is in dying circumstances; and I hold you all responsible for her safety. If she dies through being disturbed, or frightened in any way, recollect you will be guilty of murder, and I will witness against you!'
"I'm very sorry for the poor thing, sir-very!' she replied; "she's the quietest, civilest, best-behaved of any of our ladies, by far! What can we do, sir?
Keep the house quiet; do not let her be spoken to—and in an hour's time I shall send a proper woman to wait upon her.'
Lord, sir, but how's the poor creature to pay you and the woman, too? She's been laid up, I don't know how long-indeed ever since she's been here!
"That I will sec abont. All I want from you is to attend to what I have iold you. I shall call here early to-morrow inorning, and hope to find that iny wishes have been attended to. It will be a very serious business for you all, mind me, if they have not. If I do not find this hubbub cease is stantly, I shall, at my own expense, engage a constable to keep the peace here. Tell this to the people without there. I know the magistrates a - Street Office, and will certainly do what I say. She promised respectfully that all I said should be attended to as far as possible; and I hurried from such a scene as it has not often been my lot to witness. I thanked God heartily, on quitting the house and neighborhood, that I found myself once more in the open air, cold, dark, and rainy, though it was. I breathed freely for the first time, since entering within the atmosphere of such horrible contamination. A rush of recollections of Miss B- , once virtuous, happy, beautiful ; now guilty, polluted, dying-of former and present times-overwhelmned my mind. What scenes must this fallen creature have passed through! How was it that, long ere this, she had not laid violent hands upon herself,—that in her paroxysms of remorse and despair, she had not rushed from an existence that was hateful-hurried madly from the scene of guilt, into that of its punishment! I at once long. ed for and loathed a possible rehearsal of all. Full of such reflections as these, I found myself at the door of the dispensary. The hour was rather late, and it was with great difficulty that I could find sueh a person as I had undertaken to send. I prescribed the requisite remedies, and gave them to the nurse with all fitting directions, and despatched her to the scene of her attendance, as quickly as possible-promising to be with her as early as I could in the morning, and directing her to send for me without hesitation at any hour of the night, if she thought her patient exhibited any alarming features. It was past eleven when I reached home. I told the reader, a little way back, that I knew I should break my promise, that I could not help informing my wife of what had happened. I need hardly say the shock gave her a sleepless night. I think the present, the fittest opportunity for mentioning, shortly to the reader, the circumstances under which we became first acquainted with the soidisant Miss Edwards.
Several years before the period of which I have been writing, my wife's health required the assistance of change of scene and fresh country air. I therefore took her down, in the spring of the year, to what was then considered one of the fashionable watering-places, and engaged lodgings for her at the boarding-house of a respectable widow-lady, a little way out of the town. Her husband had been a captain in the East India service, who, as is but too frequent with that class of men, spent his money faster than he carned it; so that, on his death, nothing but the most active exertions of numerous friends and relatives preserved his widow and daughter from
little less than absolute destitution. They took for Mrs. B- the house she occupied when we became her lodgers, furnished it with comfort, and even elegance ; and, in a word, fairly set her a-going as the proprietress of a boarding-house. The respectability of her character, and the comforts of her little establishment, procured for her permanent patronage. How well do I recollect her prepossessing appearance as it first struck me! There was an air of pensive cheerfulness and composure about her features, that spoke eloquently in her favor; and I felt gratified at the thought of committing my wife and family into such good hands. As we were coming down stairs after inspecting the house, through the half-open door of a back parlor, I caught a glimpse of an uncommonly handsome and el. egantly dressed girl, sitting at a desk reading.
Only my daughter, sir," said Mrs. B- , observing my eye rather inquisitively peering after her.
• Dear !-How like she is to the pictures of the Madonna!' exclaimed my wife.
* Yes, Madam. It is often remarked here,' replied Mrs. B- , coloring with pleasure ; and what's far better, Ma'am, she's the best girl you'll meet with in a day's walk through a town! She's all I care for in the world!' she added with a sigh. We congratulated ourselves mutually ; expressing anticipations of pleasure from our future intercourse. After seeing my family settled in their new quarters, I left for London-my professional engagements not allowing me more than a day's absence. Every letter I received from my wife, contained commendations of her hostess, and the Madonna,' her beautiful, accomplished, and agreeable daughter, with whom she had got particularly intimate, and was seldom out of her company. The visits, like angels', few and far between,' that I was able to pay to — , made Miss B — as great a favorite with me as with my wife-as with all that knew or saw her, I might better say. I found that she was well known about the place by the name of the Madonna;' and was so much pestered with the usual impertinences of dandies, as to be unable to go about so much as she could have otherwise wished. The frank simple-hearted creature was not long in making a confidante of my wife ; who, in their various conversations, heard with but little surprise, of frequent anonymous billet-doux, copies of verses, &c. &c., and flattering attentions paid by the most distinguished strangers; and, in one instance, even by Royalty itself. She had refused several advantageous offers of marriage, pressed upon her to a degree that was harassing, on the score of her mother, to whom she wils passionately attached, and from whom she could not bear the thought of the most partial separation. Her education-her associations-her cast of character-her tastes and inclinations, were far beyond her present sphere. I once should have laughed, indeed, at any one talking of my becoming the daughter of a lodging-house keeper,' said the proud girl, on one occasion, to my wife, her swan-like neck curving with involuntary hauteur, which, however, was soon softened by my wife's calm and steady eye of reproof, as she assured her-Elcanor, I thought it no harm to be such a daughter.' This pride appeared to my wife, though not to me, some security against the peculiar dangers that beset Miss B
She's too proud-too high-spirited a girl,' she would say, 'to permit herself to tamper with temptation. She's infinitely above listening to nonsense. Trust me, there's that in her would frighten off fifty triflers a-day !!
My view of the maiter, Emily, is far different,' I would say. “Pride, unless combined with the highest qualities, is apt to precipitate such a girl