Chapter 9
Buda-Pesth, 24 August.
"My dearest Lucy,
"I know you will be anxious to hear all that has happened since we parted at the
railway station at Whitby.
"Well, my dear, I got to Hull all right, and caught the boat to Hamburg, and then
the train on here. I feel that I can hardly recall anything of the journey, except that
I knew I was coming to Jonathan, and that as I should have to do some nursing, I
had better get all the sleep I could. I found my dear one, oh, so thin and pale and
weak-looking. All the resolution has gone out of his dear eyes, and that quiet
dignity which I told you was in his face has vanished. He is only a wreck of
himself, and he does not remember anything that has happened to him for a long
time past. At least, he wants me to believe so, and I shall never ask.
"He has had some terrible shock, and I fear it might tax his poor brain if he were
to try to recall it. Sister Agatha, who is a good creature and a born nurse, tells me
that he wanted her to tell me what they were, but she would only cross herself,
and say she would never tell. That the ravings of the sick were the secrets of
God, and that if a nurse through her vocation should hear them, she should
respect her trust..
"She is a sweet, good soul, and the next day, when she saw I was troubled, she
opened up the subject my poor dear raved about, added, `I can tell you this
much, my dear. That it was not about anything which he has done wrong himself,
and you, as his wife to be, have no cause to be concerned. He has not forgotten
you or what he owes to you. His fear was of great and terrible things, which no
mortal can treat of.'
"I do believe the dear soul thought I might be jealous lest my poor dear should
have fallen in love with any other girl. The idea of my being jealous about
Jonathan! And yet, my dear, let me whisper, I felt a thrill of joy through me when I
knew that no other woman was a cause for trouble. I am now sitting by his
bedside, where I can see his face while he sleeps. He is waking!
"When he woke he asked me for his coat, as he wanted to get something from
the pocket. I asked Sister Agatha, and she brought all his things. I saw amongst
them was his notebook, and was was going to ask him to let me look at it, for I
knew that I might find some clue to his trouble, but I suppose he must have seen
my wish in my eyes, for he sent me over to the window, saying he wanted to be
quite alone for a moment.
"Then he called me back, and he said to me very solemnly, `Wilhelmina', I knew
then that he was in deadly earnest, for he has never called me by that name
since he asked me to marry him, `You know, dear, my ideas of the trust between
husband and wife. There should be no secret, no concealment. I have had a
great shock, and when I try to think of what it is I feel my head spin round, and I
do not know if it was real of the dreaming of a madman. You know I had brain
fever, and that is to be mad. The secret is here, and I do not want to know it. I