« ZurückWeiter »
He laid his hand, for a moment, on his cold wet breast.
Sir Bale knew what should be done in order to give a man in such a case his last chance for life. Everybody was speedily put in motion. Philip's drenched clothes were removed, hot blankets enveloped him, warming-pans and hot bricks lent their aid; he was placed at the prescribed angle, so that water flowed freely from his mouth. The old expedient for inducing artificial breathing was employed, and a lusty pair of kitchen bellows did duty for his lungs.
But these helps to life, and suggestions to nature, availed not. Forlorn and peaceful lay the features of poor Philip Feltram ; cold and dull to the touch ; no breath through the blue lips; no sight in the fish-like eyes ; pulseless and cold in the midst of all the hot bricks and warming-pans about him.
At length, everything having been tried, Sir Bale, who had been directing, placed his hand within the clothes, and laid it silently on Philip's shoulder and over his heart; and after a little wait, he shook his head, and looking down on his sunken face, he said,
I'm afraid he's gone. Yes, he's gone, poor fellow! And bear you this in mind, all of you ; Mrs. Julaper there can tell you more about it. She knows that it was certainly in no compliance with my wish that he left the house to-night : it was his own obstinate perversity, and perhaps—I forgive him for it—a wish in his unreasonable resentment to throw some odium upon this house, as having refused him shelter on such a night, than which imputation nothing can be more utterly false. Mrs. Julaper there knows how welcome he was to stay the night; but he would not; he had made up his mind, it seems, without telling any person. Had he told you, Mrs. Julaper ?
No, sir,' sobbed Mrs. Julaper from the centre of a pockethandkerchief in which her face was buried.
· Not a human being : an angry whim of his own. Poor Feltram ! and here's the result,' said the Baronet. We have done our best—done everything. I don't think the doctor, when he comes, will say that anything has been omitted; but all won't do. Does any one here know how it happened ?'
Two men knew very well—the man who had been ducked, and his companion, a younger man, who was also in the still-room, and had lent a hand in carrying Feltram up to the house.
Tom Marlin had a queer old stone tenement by the edge of the lake just under Mardykes Hall. Some people said it was the stump of an old tower that had once belonged to Mardykes Castle, of which in the modern building scarcely a relic was discoverable.
This Tom Marlin had an ancient right of fishing in the lake, where he caught pike enough for all Golden Friars ; and keeping a couple of boats, he made money beside by ferrying passengers over now and then. This fellow, with a furrowed face and shaggy eye
brows, bald at top, but with long grizzled locks falling upon his shoulders, said,
He wer wi' me this mornin', sayin' he'd want t' boat to cross the lake in, but he didn't say what hour; and when it came on to thunder and blow like this, ye may guess I did not look to see him to-night. Well, my wife was just lightin' a pig-tail—tho’ light enough and to spare there was in the lift already—when who should come clatterin' at the latch-pin in the blow o' wind and thunder but Philip, poor lad, himself; and an ill hour for him it was. He's been some time in ill fettle, though he was never frowsy, not he, but always kind and dooce, and canty once, like anither ; and he asked me to take the boat across the lake at once to the Clough o' Cloostedd at t'other side. The woman took the pet and wodn't hear o't; and, “ Dall me, if I go to-night," quoth I.
go to-night,” quoth I. But he would not be put off so, not he; and ding-drive he went to it, cryin' and putrein', ye'd a-said, poor fellow, he was wrang i' his garrets a'most.
So at long last I bethought me, there's nout o' a sea to the north o' Snakes Island, so I'll pull him by that side—for the storm is blowin' right up by Golden Friars, ye mind—and when we get near the point, thinks I, he'll see wi' his een how the lake is, and gie it up. For I liked him, poor lad; and seein' he'd set his heart on't, I wouldn't vex him, nor frump him wi' a no. So down we three-myself, and Bill there, and Philip Feltram—come to the boat; and we pulled out, keeping Snakes Island atwixt us and the wind. 'Twas smooth water wi'us, for 'twas a scug there, but white enough was all beyont the point ; and passing the finger-stone, not forty fathom from the shore o' the island, Bill and me pullin' and he sittin' in the stern, poor lad, up he rises, a bit rabblin' to himself, wi' his hands lifted so.'
“Look a-head !" says I, thinkin' something was comin' atort us.
• But 'twasn't that. The boat was quiet, for while we looked oo'er our shouthers oo'er her bows, we didn't pull, so she lay still; and lookin' back again on Philip, he was rabblin' on all the same.
“ It's nobbut a prass wi' himsel', poor lad," thinks I.
* But that wasn't it neither; for I sid something white come out o't'water, by the gunwale, like a hand. By Jen ! and he leans oo'er and tuk it; and he sagged like, and so it drew him in, under the mere, before I cud du nout.
There was nout to thraa tu him, and no time; down he went, and I followed ; and thrice I dived before I found him, and brought him up by the hair at last; and there he is, poor lad! and all one if he lay at the bottom o' t' mere.'
As Tom Marlin ended his narrative—often interrupted by the noise of the tempest without, and the peals of thunder that echoed awfully above, like the chorus of a melancholy ballad—the sudden clang of the hall-door bell, and a more faintly-heard knocking, announced a new arrival.
SIR BALE'S DREAM.
It was Doctor Torvey who entered the old still-room now, buttoned - up to the chin in his greatcoat, and with a muffler of many colours wrapped partly over that feature.
• Well !—hey? So poor Feltram's had an accident ?'
The Doctor was addressing Sir Bale, and getting to the bedside as he pulled off his gloves.
I see you've been keeping him warm—that's right; and a considerable flow of water from the mouth; turn him a little that way. Hey? O, ho !' said the Doctor, as he placed his hand upon Philip, and gently stirred his limbs. It's more than an hour since this happened. I'm afraid there's very little to be done now;' and in a lower tone, with his hand on poor Philip Feltram's arm, and so down to his fingers, he said in Sir Bale Mardyke's ear, with a shake of his head,
'Here, you see, poor fellow, here's the cadaveric stiffness; it's very melancholy, but it's all over, he's gone; there's no good trying any more.—Come here, Mrs. Julaper. Did you ever see any one dead? Look at his eyes, look at his mouth. You ought to have known that, with half an eye.—And you know,' he added again confidentially in Sir Bale’s ear, 'trying anything more now is all my eye.'
Then after a few more words with the Baronet, and having heard his narrative, he said from time to time, Quite right; nothing could be better ; capital practice, sir,' and so forth. And at the close of all this, amid the sobs of kind Mrs. Julaper and the general whimpering of the humbler handmaids, the Doctor standing by the bed, with his knuckles on the coverlet, and a glance now and then on the dead face beside him, said—by way of quieting men's minds,' as the old tract-writers used to say—a few words to the following effect :
Everything has been done here that the most experienced physician could have wished. Everything has been done in the best
way. I don't know anything that has not been done, in fact. If I had been here myself, I don't know-hot bricks-salt isn't a bad thing. I don't know, I say, that anything of any consequence has been omitted.' And looking at the body, “You see,' and he drew the fingers a little this way and that, letting them return, as they stiffly did, to their former attitude, you may be sure that the poor gentleman was quite dead by the time he arrived here. So, since he was laid there, nothing has been lost by delay.—And, Sir Bale, if you have any directions to send to Golden Friars, sir, I shall be most happy to undertake your message.
Nothing, thanks; it is a melancholy ending, poor fellow ! You SECOND SERIES, VOL. II. F.S. VOL. XII.