Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tomb, hardly appearing to breathe; and when I thought of the courage and devotion shown but a few hours before by the present almost inanimate form, I bent over her with admiration, and felt as if I could kneel before the beautiful shrine which contained such an energetic and noble spirit. While this was passing through my mind, Bramble had knelt by the bed-side and was evidently in prayer: when he rose up he said, “Come away, Tom; she is a maiden, and

may

feel ashamed if she awaken and find us men standing by her bed-side. Let me know when she wakes up, Mrs. Maddox, and tell her I have been in to see her; and now, Tom, let's go down :-I never felt the want of a pipe so much as I do now.”

CHAPTER XLIII.

A SCENE IN THE HOSPITAL, AND A STRANGE DISCOVERY. In a very few days Bramble and Bessy were sufficiently recovered to resume their usual avocations; but the former expressed no willingness to embark again, and Bessy's persuasions assisted to retain him at the cottage. With me it was different; I was still restless and anxious for change; my feelings toward Bessy were those of admiration and esteem, but not yet of love; yet I could not help recalling to mind the words of Bramble, “ Observe how she performs those duties which fall to her lot; if she is a good daughter she will make a good wife.” I felt that she would make a good wife; and I wished that I could have torn from my bosom the remembrance of Janet, and have substituted the form of Bessy in her place. We had been at the cottage nearly a week, when I received a letter from Anderson; he informed me that he had visited Old Nanny, who had made her will in due form, and confided it to him; and that he thought that she was more inclined to listen to him than she had before been ; that my father and mother and sister were well; and that Spicer had been obliged to go into the Hospital, with an abscess in his knee, occasioned by running something into it; and that it was reported that he was very ill, and, in all probability, amputation must take place. I felt convinced that Spicer must have, in his hasty retreat, fallen over the iron railings which lay on the ground, and which had, as I mentioned, tripped me up; but with this difference, that, as the spikes of the railing were from me, and consequently I met with little injury, they must have been towards him, and had penetrated his knee : and thus it was that he had received the injury. Anderson also stated that they were very busy at the Hospital, receiving the men who had been maimed in the glorious battle of Trafalgar. Altogether, I made up my mind that I would take the first ship that was offered for pilotage up the river, that I might know more of what was going on; and, as we sat down to supper, I tioned my intentions to Bramble.

All's right, Tom, you're young, and ought to be moving; but, just now, I intend to take a spell on shore. I have promised Bessy, and how can I refuse her anything, dear girl! I don't mean to say that I shall never pilot a vessel again; but I do feel that I

men

am not so young as I was, and this last affair las shaken me not a little, that's the truth of it. There's a time for all things; and when a man has enough he ought to be content, and not venture more. Besides, I can't bear to make Bessy unhappy ; so, you see, I've half promised-only half, Bessy, you know."

“ I think you would have done right if you had promised altogether," replied I; " you have plenty to live upon, and are now getting a little in years. Why should you not stay on shore, and leave them to work who want the money ?”

Bessy's eyes beamed gratefully towards me, as I thus assisted her wishes. “You hear, father,” said she, fondling him, “ Tom agrees with me.”

"Ah!" replied Bramble, with a sigh, "if —; but we cannot have all we wish in this world.”

Bessy and I both felt what he would have referred to, and we were silent. She cast down her eyes, and appeared busy with her fork, although she was eating nothing. I no longer felt the repugnance that I had a short time before; and I was in deep reverie, watching the changes of her beautiful countenance, when sho looked up. Our eyes met; she must have read my thoughts in mine, for from that moment each hour increased our intimacy and confidence. We were no longer afraid of each other.

A day or two after this conversation an opportunity was given to me of going up the river, which I did not neglect; and having delivered up charge of the ship, I hastened down to Greenwich. I found everything in statu quo at my mother's house, and Virginia much pleased at there being no lodgers. Anderson I met

walking with Ben the Whaler aud my father. He told me that Spicer had refused to have his leg amputated, when the surgeon had pointed out the necessity of the operation; and that it was now said that it was too late to have the operation performed; and that there was little or no chance of his recovery. They asked me many questions relative to tho narrow escape of Bramble, and the behaviour of Bessy.

As soon as I could get away, I set off to the Hospital to see Spicer ; for, as the reader must be aware, I had many reasons for having communication with him ;not that I expected that at first he would acknowledge anything: I knew that his heart was hardened, and that he had no idea of his danger; but I liad his secrets,-he was indeed in my power; and I hoped, by terrifying him, to obtain the information which I wished.

I found him in bed, in the corner of the Hospital ward, to the left. He was looking very pale, and apparently was in great pain.

“Spicer," said I, “I have come to see you; I am sorry to hear of your accident. How is your leg? is it better ?"

“No, not much," replied he, writhing, "I am in great pain; another man would scream out with the agony; but I'm like the wolf,—I'll die without complaint."

“But you don't think that you're going to die, Spicer ?”

“No, Jack, I don't think that, I never have thought that, when I have been worse than now.

I'll never believe that I'm dead until I find myself so. It must come some time or another, but I'm hale and hearty in constitution as yet, and my time is not yet come.”

“It was the iron railings which you fell over, was it not? I fell over them myself the same night when I landed, on the Monday, going up to Old Nanny's."

“Who told you it was those cursed spikes? Well, well, so it was; but not on the Monday, Jack, it was on the Wednesday.”

“Nay, that cannot be, for, on the Tuesday, as I went down to the beach, I saw them all fised up in the stonework, and soldered in. It must have been on the Monday—the night on which Old Nanny was nearly smothered by some one who went in to rob her, I came there just in time to save her life ; – indeed, if you recollect, you were lame the next day, when I met you in the Hospital."

“Well, Jack, you may think what you please ; but I tell you it was on the Wednesday.”

“ Then you must have fallen over something else.” "Perhaps I did."

“Well, it's of no consequence. I'm glad to find that you're so much better; for I was told that the doctor had said"

“What did the doctor say?" interrupted Spicer.

“ Why, it's better to tell the truth; he said it was impossible for you to get over it-that the inflammation was too great to allow of amputation now, and that it must end in mortification."

“ He said that !” said Spicer, wildly, raising himself on his elbow.

« AnteriorContinuar »